While Luminous in their current state are only as old as the Godfall, they are a branch of humankind once separated into the mountains from nearly two Ages past. At the time semi-nomadic, martial followers once set upon their path by Nythura, the Goddess of the rising Moon and Sun; they lived in relative solitude save for trade agreements for a considerable period. Philosophical differences were frequent, however, as the Goddess' dual, antithetical portfolio eventually caused fragmentation amidst disagreements as to her nature - as religion is wont to produce. Conflicts ultimately led to fighting, creating an environmental schism to mirror that of the one of faith, and over time they grew into two distinct communities within the mountains -- the original township-turned-city of Ofcol, set around the Golden Citadel within the mountains of Astora, and the underground settlement turned massively sprawling though sparsely-populated village of Pannoval set within them, which had (and has) no such direct religious building to serve as the core of the city.
Though the split was amicable and there was no more violence between the two factions than could be expected in any large enough population, philosophical and social differences became amplified without the presence of frequent dissent, and as a somewhat isolated people, to begin with, these societal changes were perhaps hastened more amidst the Luminous than they would've been elsewhere.
The fundamental tenets principled by those within Ofcol (and particularly within the Golden Citadel, which despite its disagreements still marshaled protection over Pannoval) were those of proselytization and the rooting out and execution of heretics -- at the time, these were frequently worshipers of Gru'Thul, Ragabash, Kishari, and many of the so-called Old Gods. Prone to violence and righteous judgment, execution pyres did much to curb bandit activity in the region, as though the violation of the law and decency were not exactly heretical, many inquisitors were rather more cavalier with the label in practice. Conversely, as Pannoval began to grow and spread beneath the earth, the Luminous there found the natural caverns to be extremely hospitable for underground farming, and their increased isolation lent itself to an existence more of agrarian subsistence and philosophical reflection, eschewing their related faith's tendency toward violence in favour of contemplation, discussion, and communal living in lieu of disciplined hierarchies.
These two similar-yet-split societies would likely have existed in a comfortable sort of symbiotic relationship for quite some time, but as the Godfall began to spread across the lands it never even needed to reach into Astora to affect it -- the Walking Goddess Nythura was slain half a continent away, but for those within the mountains the effects were profound.
In practice, the mechanism or cause for what occurred is not fully (or even really partially) understood, though the prevailing (and exceedingly complex and unprovable) theory held (and closely guarded) by the Luminous themselves - particularly the Astoran - is that upon the moment of her death there was some form of theophanic transference of her pool of divine essence, and it was shunted toward her once-and-current faithful into a pool of shekhinah - divine energy - within the people themselves. Whatever the cause, the change was seen immediately within the first children born post-Godfall, and at that point, for all intents and purposes, the Luminous became a separate, distinct race from the rest of mankind, with the innate ability to manifest energy in line with their dead Goddess' power.
This theory -- while it lacks any and all proof whatsoever -- is guarded and held firmly by those who even still believe in it, as the social and political ramifications of being something even close to a Walking God (or indeed, also showing a degree of compassion or similarity to one) would be exceedingly disastrous. Even most Luminous remain unaware of it, and this is mainly the case for those born outside of families in the region; interestingly, even Luminous generations out from their ancestral home still manifest these powers with as much ease as those of old and pure blood, and their abilities (and thus the rest of the race's traits, though somewhat less so the physical) are visible even in those of half-pureblood human stock.
In terms of behaviour and political standing, the two cities in the Astoran mountains maintain much of their older -- to them, ancient -- ways and viewpoints, though these days much of the religious trappings are missing, save for the Golden Citadel which still stands (although it is no longer dedicated to the once-Goddess, let alone a single aspect of her). Pannoval births numerous philosophers and tends toward peace, and Ofcol is still frequently filled with those who feel fire and violence in their hearts, and it is often at minor odds with other groups in the area, being prone to skirmishes with barbarian tribes, raiders, and bandits. These behavioral traits are as much as a product of semi-isolation as they are of tradition and history, and consequently, exceedingly more metropolitan regions may view Luminous as something akin to backwater and as fragments of a bygone era -- particularly the Astoran.
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