Everyone said they were a myth, but I saw them! I saw them with my own eyes! The Luminaries are real, and they are all around us! I had strayed too deep into the Penumbra; I was lost and turned around, and with each step I grew more fearful that a Thramorri raider might leap out and take me into the Dark. Just when I thought I was done for, I saw a light, glimmering in the Dark beyond the edge of the Penumbra. I watched as the glimmer moved closer and shone brighter. The next thing I knew, I was staring at a Luminary! They weren't like the stories. This one wore armour made of silvery plates that moved like a second skin across its body, and it glowed from top to bottom as if its armour were made of sunstones. It stared at me; I couldn't see them but I could feel its eyes on me! I couldn't move, I stared right back. Finally, it nodded - nodded - to me, and walked slowly back into the deep Penumbra. By the Still it was something to see!
For millennia, legends have spread along the Lamp lines and Spires of the Western reaches of beings known as the "Luminaries". These mythical creatures resemble humans but their features are hidden by the steady white radiance emanating from their bodies. The Luminaries are able to cross the Dark without fear of the Thramorri who, according to the legends, are absolutely terrified of them. Sometimes, decades - even centuries will go by without a sighting, but then the beings will be seen by multiple witnesses for prolonged periods, before disappearing again. Sometimes, their appearance coincides with cases of missing villagers; other times, travelers in the deep Penumbra will report sightings of the Luminaries, as they battle Thramorri using spears of blue and white light. Some few accounts even describe encounters involving the Luminaries in which they appear to bless those they meet by passing a gentle greenish light over their bodies before vanishing into the Dark once more. Though there have been few sightings over the past century, in recent years the number of encounters has risen sharply. It appears the Luminaries walk the Dark once more.
The Luminaries are real, but they aren't creatures of legend but humans from an enclave far, far to the west of the known lands. The beings the Spire-folk call "Luminaries" are in fact scouts and exploratory teams of the Fortali, the only Dawn Children known to still exist. While the Spire-folk live in pre-industrial societies - some verging on early industrial - the Fortali are much more advanced. The size and strength of their Spire and Lamp networks, coupled with their geographic isolation and incredible natural resources meant the Fortali civilization never collapsed with the others after the Occlusion Event. In fact, in the more than four thousand years of Fortali history, not once have their walls ever been breached by a Thramorri raider. Their impressive defensive and offensive systems have effectively convinced the Thramorri to leave them be. As a result, the Fortali are among the most secure and stable cultures anywhere. When Spire-folk encounter Fortali scouts, they mistake the brilliant light emitted by their defensive gear for unearthly powers. They interpret their sealed environmental suits as mottled, almost featureless skin, and they interpret their energy-based weapons for spears of light. The Fortali rarely interact with their "Darklander" kin, and so to the Spire-folk, they are beings of almost pure legend.
The first sightings of the Luminaries occurred at the westernmost terminus of the Brightsire Lamp-line, when a group of deep Penumbral explorers chanced upon a small scouting team from the Fortali Enclave. The Spire-folk couldn't correctly interpret what they had seen, and when they recounted their experiences, it sounded to others like the explorers had come face to face with some sort of magical beings. As more sightings occurred, word of them began to spread along the Lamp-lines to the Brightspire, where they captured the imaginations of the region's artists and poets.
The Luminaries are often used in literature as a metaphor for spiritual struggle against the Dark. They are also sometimes used as exemplars of a more militarized and aggressive stance towards the Thramorri. People who hold such views believe the Luminaries are a sign that humans need to fight harder to reclaim their lands. In recent years, the Luminaries have become popular figures in the phenomenon of novelization, where authors write long, complex stories about the exploits of entirely fictional Luminaries whose prowess in battle in unmatched. These works are popular with younger readers.