When the first Psionic warriors came screaming out of the jungles of the north, the mages and soldiers of V’aarad were utterly unprepared; nearly a thousand years later, the Psions remain a mystery. Their abilities are well documented—in battle they pummel and slash their enemies with terrible energies, sometimes siphoning away their very essence or inducing terrible seizures and hemorrhages, and their power to dominate and crush the mind is much feared. The origins and applications of this power, however, are unknown outside of the borders of Lumen.
Few records exist from the weeks in which the V’aarad Empire was toppled by the Psions; it was a time of violence, fear, and chaos. The near-total lack of response by the elves, however, as well as the few surviving accounts of the invasion, are enough to indicate that the Psionic abilities exhibited by the Luminians had never been seen before in Urda. Luminian citizens are taught that the first Psions, hard-working and brilliant men who discovered the art without aid from the “tyrant elves,” went on to become the Council of Ten; supposedly those same men have ruled Lumen ever since, training each new Psionic warrior personally. Scholars, for obvious reasons, doubt this account, but no one has yet provided a plausible alternate explanation.
No one outside of Lumen has ever been able to create or manipulate Psionic energy; the means by which the Luminians have unlocked this talent is unknown. The soldiers of Wistron have been fighting the Psions for centuries, however, and they have discovered several interesting trends that may someday provide a solution to this mystery. First, all Psions ever encountered have been both human and male. The former trait is easy enough to explain—all non-human races are considered impure by the Luminians and killed or enslaved on sight. Luminian women, though, fight and die alongside men in battle, so it may be that only males have the ability to learn Psionics. Second, all Psions ever observed are hairless and covered head-to-foot in strange tattoos; scholars are certain that this has something to do with their training. Third, no one has ever been able to interrogate a Psion because no one has ever captured one alive. Without exception, every Psion ever captured in battle has died within minutes, usually of massive hemorrhages in the brain.
Some early researchers were convinced that Psionics was nothing more than yet another divergent magical tradition, similar to the Talarian Hexblades or the ancient Jungle Druids, but experience in the field has proven that not only is Psionic energy fundamentally different from magical energy, strange—and occasionally lethal—reactions often occur when the two are mixed. Most notably, it has been observed that people trained in the use of any kind of magical energy are especially susceptible to Psionic mind-control; this is often cited as one of the reasons why the Elves, who relied heavily on offensive magic in wartime, were crushed so quickly.