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Rumena the Tomb-Maker is a ancient drow old enough to remember the time before the Night. It serves as the foremost champion of Sve Noc, and later as Catherine Foundling's general in her drow army.



Biography[]

Background[]

Rumena served as a general back before the Tenets of Night, and had been honoured by the Twilight Sages for two victories on the surface, one of them against the Deoraithe in the Golden Bloom.[1] Among the honours granted were the titles of 'Great General Who Shook The World' and 'Victorious Commander of the South'.

Komena served as a high-ranking officer under him during this time.

Rumena later protested the kidnapping of dwarves for ritual fodder by the Twilight Sages, though he was ignored.[2] He later led the defence against the dwarves in the colonies of the Empire Ever Dark, though it was defeated. Eventually losing the city Lidara, first colony of the Empire Ever Dark, losing a great amount of prestige and standing.

As such, the Twilight Sages summoned Rumena back to Holy Tvarigu, intending on killing him and giving a more trustworthy general his soul, such that they may learn from his mistakes. It was around this time that Komena and Andronike came up with their plot to slay all the Twilight Sages and bring about the Fall of Night. Agreeing to support the Sisters, Rumena brought his army to Holy Tvarigu against the orders of the Twilight Sages.

During this time, the army had to pass through Great Perun on the way to the capital, and the ruler of Great Perun, Kurosiv, insisted that Rumena have drinks and a game of inic cin while they spoke. It was during this conversation that Kurosiv revealed he was aware of the Sisters' plot, and Rumena's role in it. Though Kurosiv still allowed them passage, as he saw opportunity to rise in the aftermath.

This was the start of their long, milennia-spanning rivalry and conflict.

When Sve Noc slayed the Twilight Sages and raised the Gloom, General Rumena continued leading his old army, gaining in the immediate aftermath a new role as one of Sve Noc's enforcers, being sent out to slay the ambitious by Komena, whom spoke to him in his dreams. In order to keep the bargain of Night to the Gods Below and ensure the survival of the Drow.

"When Cedna tried to devour all the people of Great Ilisiv, Rumena was sent to wade through the rivers of blood and put her down. The fools were not grateful for it. Mighty Cedna, they wept for her. She whose might would have saved us all. When they threw rocks General Rumena ignored it, but when the knives came out there was no choice. A fresh river of blood flowed, and Night flowed into him. Sometimes he saw himself reflected on water and was surprised.

In Arov he slew three kings and their queen, ending in the cradle the empire they claimed they would raise. In Jenen he buried three hundred who had once been mages and now called themselves priests of the Veiled Gods, claiming Sve Noc to be nothing but devils. Their followers were few, but rabid. In Taslawa he smashed the Victorious Honoured Northen Army, whose general he had once called a friend. She had emptied too many cities to be forgiven."

-Rumena's thoughts

As it went from victory to victory, General Rumena gained much Night, becoming Mighty, renouncing gender and having it's lifepan extended. Though it's soldiers did not survive, growing old and dying over the years.

Twenty-nine years after Night fell, General Rumena was sent out to break Mighty Kurosiv, whom was now King of Perun and Korondor, and was now reaching for Ratia. Rumena's army ambushed Kurosiv's in the rear, pincering them between the Ratian army and their own. The army slaughtered the Kurosiv Sigil to the last, until Kurosiv alone was the sole survivor, though the battle was fierce, and the army could possibly never recover.

In the aftermath, Rumena and Kurosiv had a short conversation, where Kurosiv scorned Sve Noc, leading Rumena to melt Kurosiv's jewelery onto it's skin as an example, before killing Kurosiv for the first time.

By the time Kurosiv reemerged a hundred years later, none of Rumena's original army were still alive, and Rumena was a general no longer. All that was left was the Rumena Sigil. Once again, Komena sent Rumena to kill Kurosiv, and so to the Outer Rings it went. Some Kurosiv were captured and after interogation, slain. Which was when Mighty Rumena saw just why the Sisters were so intent on killing Mighty Kurosiv; it had discovered some of the mechanisms behind Night, and knew how to use them exploit the system that Sve Noc built.

Later, when Rumena caught up and cornered the Kurosiv Sigil at Loklava, it declared Kurosiv a leech, leading to Mighty Kurosiv's first epithet: Kurosiv the Leech. They fought once more, and once again Rumena exterminated the Kurosiv Sigil and personally killed the Mighty, though the fight was closer.

A century and a half later, Mighty Rumena, though tired, alone and bitter, continued to serve Sve Noc tirelessly. It was almost happy when Kurosiv reemrged once more, attempting to retake Great Perun. And once again, Rumena ambushed the Kurosiv and pincered them between the Rumena Sigil and the Cabal that they were fighting.

Again, Rumena defeated Kurosiv and personally slayed the Mighty. And again, the fight grew yet closer. And once again, Kurosiv cheated death and reemerged with yet another sigil.

"The fourth time Kurosiv's Sigil had grown large enough to take a city in the Outer Rings, Great Veroky.

The Kurosiv destroyed or suborned all other sigils for days around the city, then seeded traps all over the tunnels that led to it. Rumena led its sigil through, fighting constant ambushes from the rear and sides while losing dozens a day to traps of the like it had not seen in centuries. Several times rylleh tried to kill it in its sleep to end the campaign, for the sigil was not glad of the fight. There was little Night to gain, and too many had died already.

Fighting to take Great Veroky was even harsher. Entire swaths of the city were burned or collapsed to thin out Rumena's sigil, Kurosiv spending nisi and dzulu like a spendthrift to make corpses. The Mighty awaiting in the inner sanctum were more powerful than expected, especially the rylleh, and Rumena had to settle the fight itself before facing Kurosiv alone."

-Rumena's description of the fourth time it fought Kurosiv

Again Rumena defeated Kurosiv, destroying much of Great Veroky in the process, though it would have died had it not learned the Secret of Stone, the secret that would eventually become the reason it was known as the 'Tomb-Maker'. And for the fourth time, Rumena killed Kurosiv.

But the victory was harsh, the Rumena Sigil gutted. In order to replenish the depleted ranks, Rumena attacked another sigil and killed the sigil-holder, claiming the sigil for itself, but the Mighty that knelt were disloyal. Which was why when Kurosiv reemerged once more in Great Iskal, fifty years later, the battle went poorly, with desertions and betrayals plauging the Rumena Sigil, forcing Rumena to tear through the Kurosiv alone.

And for the fifth time Kurosiv and Rumena fought, and for the fifth time Kurosiv was personally slain by the Mighty, the battle once again growing closer. This was when Rumena realised that though it had killed Kurosiv yet again, it had lost the battle, for unlike Kurosiv, whom required solely expendable mobs to raise and empower, Rumena had to take time to rebuild it's Sigil after every battle, and cutting corners would lead to a repeat of Great Iskal.

The sixth time Rumena and Kurosiv fought, Rumena lost once again. Though it had taken it's time to properly reassemble the Rumena Sigil, Kurosiv had grown too quickly to be checked, forcing Rumena to collapse an entire cavern over Kurosiv and it's Sigil, destroying the entire city of Great Zorwan in the process. Once again, Kurosiv had been killed.

This was when Rumena's epithet of 'Tomb-Maker' came about. Mighty Ysengral had apparently meant it as a compliment on the way Rumena used the Secret of Stone to bury it's enemies, though many believed that it was due to Rumena's relentless attempts to slay Mighty Kurosiv, exterminating at least five sigils in the process.

The fear of burial via the Secret of Stone was enough that Kurosiv was able to convince the Mighty of the Inner Ring to found a cabal against the Tomb-Maker, dedicated to hunting Rumena down so long as it remained within the Inner Ring. A fact which it told Rumena, the seventh time they fought.

"The seventh time it was Kurosiv All-knowing and its sigil that came for it, not the other way around.

Rumena's sigil numbered four hundred and eleven, which it decided to spend a few decades to train to fight Kurosiv as a single force before expanding the sigil into a strike force. Kurosiv brought a mob that it threw at the Rumena Sigil in waves until they had all drowned. All of them were dead before an hour had passed."

-Rumena's thoughts on the seventh time it fought Kurosiv

This was the seventh and last time that Rumena killed Kurosiv. A battle which lasted an entire day. Within three hours, every other Drow in the cavern had been slain as collateral damage. Rumena was forced to use every Secret it knew in the fight, but Kurosiv had learnt too many Secrets, allowing it to escape Rumena's onslaught. Without a choice left, Rumena was forced to collapse the entire cavern onto the both of them, to Kurosiv's triumphant laughter. Before the rocks crushed them, the two ancient rivals spoke briefly:

'"There." The Leech happily said. "Have your seventh tomb, Rumena. There will not be another."

"You are still only a snake, Kurosiv," the Tomb-Maker replied, shaking it's head. "And when I have my eight, you will not rise from it."'

The cavern then finished collapsing, killing Kurosiv for the seventh time. The very next day, Rumena began the walk out of the Inner Rings, hounded by hunters. It decided to head to Great Strycht in the Outer Rings, where it would remain for at least nearly four hundred years.

The Rumena Sigil would eventually become the strongest sigil in Great Strycht, claiming five wealthy islands of the city. They were mentioned to have grown to twice the size of the Jindrich sigil (the second most powerful sigil in Strycht), their rylleh were as strong as sigil-holders and there was a cabal dedicated solely to keeping them from conquering the rest of Great Strycht, of which virtually every other Strycht Mighty was a part of.

Rumena has it's own sigil, recognised by a golden sunflower on ochre background. Often, drow in Rumena's sigil will tattoo this sigil-symbol onto their cheeks or necks.

Book 4[]

During the Battle of Great Strycht, the Rumena Sigil made plans to conquer the entire city while everyone else was distracted by the reborn Winter Court led by Catherine. Malcontent Rylleh were approached, and Rumena Mighty searched for weaknesses in other Sigils. When the Battle began in earnest, Mighty Rumena led it's Sigil into taking the center of Great Strycht, sending a detachment led by three lesser Rylleh against the other Sigils in the northern front.

After the northern front was ended, Mighty Rumena personally confronted Queen Catherine, throwing a javelin to get her attention. It distracted her by talking about the Night, Everdark and Sve Noc long enough for her to be ambushed by the Longstride Cabal. Although the Longstride Cabal offered not to kill Rumena should it not interfere with their battle against Catherine, Rumena declined and joined the battle. Notably, it was the only Mighty to survive the ensuing melee, retrieving the wounded Queen Catherine, intending to bring her to Sve Noc for the ritual sacrifice needed to fully claim Winter.

Rumena carried Catherine through the ruins of Strycht, ignoring her attempts to kill or bribe it, taking great pleasure in tormenting her throughout the ordeal. When it brought Catherine before Sve Noc, Cat ordered it to stuff her pipe and light it for her, which Rumena complied. When Catherine attempted to bluff her way out of the situation, Rumena silenced her with a punch, but was thrown aside by the Longstride Cabal.

After the rebirth of the Empire Ever Dark, Rumena was promoted to a General and was given command of the fifty thousand strong Southern Expedition. General Rumena and Catherine spent most of the month before the Isseran Campaign trying to assemble the Southern Expedition from a gaggle of tribes into a functioning army, with limited success.

Book 5[]

Book 6[]

Book 7[]

After the Battle of Hainaut, General Rumena and the remainder of the Southern Expedition was recalled to Serolen, due to Kurosiv's rebellion against Sve Noc. There, it served alongside General Ysengral as commanders of the loyalist forces in the city, fighting against it's old rival Kurosiv and the two Traitor Generals: Moren Bleakwomb, the Third General, and Ishabog the Adversary, the Fourth General.

Ishabog attempted to seize the heart of the canals a week before Cat arrived in Serolen, but was foiled by Rumena. During this fight, Rumena tore Ishabog's ear off, causing the Fourth General to fixate on Rumena.

When Cat arrived, Rumena was sent to greet her party at the Shrine of Tears and escort them to the temple-fortress where Sve Noc was residing in. There, it and Ysengral gave Cat, Akua and Cordelia a briefing on the Serolen situation.

The very next day, Moren Bleakwomb had seized the Shrine of Tears, so Cat led the Rumena Sigil in an attempt to reclaim it. Rumena used the Secret of Stone to create a hallway for it's sigil to pass through Moren's storm, but the Third General collapsed the ceiling on them, forcing their retreat. Rumena itself was relunctant to leave, until Sve Noc showed it that Ishabog was moving to cut off their retreat, forcing the Tomb-Maker to intercept.

The night of the following day, Rumena launched a raid on the Singing Rings, aiming for the camp of captured loyalist dzulu, and possibly the sacrificial tower there, drawing away Moren and Ishabog as Cat, Akua and Masego made a covert infiltration of another sacrificial tower in the Relic Grove.

Rumena was part of the delegation sent to the Empty Shore, to attempt negotiation with the rebelling Sigils. When ordered, Rumena displayed the glyphs within the sacrificial tower, showing that it was in truth a variation of the ritual that destroyed the Kingdom of Sepirah and made the Dead King a god, though it was disbelieved.

When war broke out in earnest across Serolen, Rumena was among Sve Noc and Cat's escort to the Flowing Gardens, where it foiled Ishabog's attempt to kill the First Under the Night, catching the Adversary's spear barehanded. Komena ordered Rumena to make an example of Ishabog, an order it gladly complied with. But not before it told Catherine thus:

'"When you find the Leech," Rumena said, 'tell it this from me: this makes eight."'

A request that Catherine accepted, and conveyed, right before Ivah slayed Kurosiv, fufilling the Tomb-Maker's threat that the eighth time the ancient rivals fought would be Kurosiv's last and finally ending their milennia-spanning feud.

After the restoration of Sve Noc, Rumena was chosen to lead fifteen thousand Drow as reinforcements to the Grand Aliiance in the Siege of Keter, claiming that it would not fail it's sigil-oath.

Personality[]

Rumena has a very sarcastic and sardonic personality, frequently mocking it's opponents and Catherine, making contemptuous remarks about situations and Catherine's orders and treating it's inferiors and Catherine somewhat poorly. In fact, Catherine was rather alarmed when Rumena made a polite request, as it never treated anyone, especially her, nicely unless the situation was serious. Catherine even heavily suspects that Rumena learns new languages solely to find new ways to mock it's opponents.

Catherine mentions that Rumena thinks that almost every drow in the Empire Ever Dark was beneath it, seeing them as children putting on the regalia of the original Empire without any knowledge of the history and customs behind them. This extends to it's generalship, where Rumena was mentioned to treat it's subordinates with weary contempt and was very disappointed on the tribal nature of the army as compared to the profession armies it once led. That is not to say that Rumena is incompetent, as it has led the Southern Expedition through the Battle of Sarcella and the Prince's Graveyard with only minimal losses.

As someone that saw the Everdark before the Night and was once the superior of one of the Sisters, Rumena is not as religious as most other drow, treating Sve Noc more as a superior than a deity. That being said, it does quote the Tenets of Night from time to time, implying that it does still pay heed to them anyway.

Despite it's crabby nature, Rumena is rather brave and patriotic, facing the Saint of Swords in single combat twice under Catherine's orders despite her being the most dangerous heroine alive. It also fearlessly swore an oath in front of the entire Southern Expedition to destroy Keter, despite most drow being utterly terrified of the Dead King.

Rumena is also a cunning fighter, cautiously keeping it's distance while calmly provoking it's opponent. The Tomb-Maker also believes that it does not need to draw a weapon, due to it's extreme age, regarding all that fight it as children, and that children are disciplined by hand.

Appearance[]

Rumena was mentioned to be an ancient drow, with extremely wrinkled and leathery grey skin, visibly ridged, thick black veins, waist-lenght snow-white hair and unblinking silver-blue eyes. It was bent and stooped, implied to be due to when another Mighty broke it's spine and nearly killed it, but still taller than Catherine. When Rumena straightened itself up, it's back made a nasty crack. It normally wore a long tunic of obsidian rings, similar to mail, belted at the hip, with ochre and gold face paint in the style of a sunflower.

Back before the Empire Ever Dark fell, Rumena wore a lamellar of steel and obsidian, with a steel, red plumed helmet. The armour was ornate, befitting it's rank as an honoured general of the Empire, with twisted braids of gold and iron on its shoulders representing it's titles of Great General Who Shook the World and Victorious Commander of the South. It bore a long single-edged sword of steel.

A suit of armour that Rumena still had, over three thousand years later. Though it had intended to never allow the armaments it wore as a General of the Empire Ever Dark to see the light of Creation, hiding it in the deepest depths of it's shadow. Implicitly because it felt shamed for losing the war against the dwarves. Though Rumena made an exception to that rule when Sve Noc took the field during the Battle of Hainaut.

Rumena's voice was guttural, though serene and unruffled. It spoke Chantant with a distinct Bayuex accent.

Abilities[]

An ancient and powerful drow whom has served as the favourite champion of Sve Noc for at least three thousand years, Rumena the Tomb-Maker is the single most powerful Mighty in Great Strycht and the Southern Expedition. In fact, it was at worst, the third strongest Mighty of the entire Everdark, behind only Radegast the Guest and possibly Kurosiv the All-Knowing. Though by late Book 6 it was mentioned that Kurosiv had eclipsed even Radegast in power, and in Book 7, Moren Bleakwomb was empowered by Kurosiv to the point where it surpassed even Rumena.

It's power was such that it was able to defeat the Saint of Swords in an ambush and fight her to a draw the second time, nearly killing the strongest heroine alive in single combat more than once. That being said, Catherine estimates that the Saint is ultimately the superior combatant and would kill Rumena eventually.

Rumena possesses great strength, speed and durability, even without the Night. It could one handedly hold up a fully armed and armoured Robber by the scruff of his neck, as well as catch the veteran guerrilla specialist, despite being in the day. When night fell, Rumena's strength increased greatly, being able to hold the Saint of Swords up one handedly for a prolonged period of time without showing exhaustion. It also grew faster than the Saint of Swords, with superior reflexes as well. When the two of them began fighting, Moro Ifriqui, a veteran warrior, could not follow their movements. It also had great pain tolerance, not flinching despite the Saint cutting it's eye out or when it had to tear the wounded flesh around it's eye out. It could also leap great distances with precise coordination, such as over the ruined canals of Great Strycht, even while carrying Catherine over a shoulder. It's eyesight was also extremely sharp, capable of seeing Catherine clearly despite them being a long distance apart.

Over the millennia, Rumena has gained many Secrets from the Night, displaying the widest array of Night powers than any save First Under the Night Catherine herself. Including:

  • Blackflame generation
  • Collapse into a shadow tendril
  • Creating large amounts of corrosive Night from the ground or even the air with a person's lungs
  • Cause explosions of shadow with a few gestures
  • Inject poisonous Night that would melt even the Saint into a pile of bile and blight
  • Regenerate from it's injuries, regrowing it's eye when the Saint cut it out and even multiple limbs, during it's many battles against Kurosiv
  • Casting illusions, cloaking itself under a veil of shadows or even having the illusions turn solid to fight it's opponents as a decoy
  • Create a pocket dimension
  • Melt gold with a touch
  • Secret of Tolling Wrath- A blast powerful enough to destroy a gate into Arcadia, though Rumena could only use it once per night

Rumena's strongest and signature power is the Secret of Stone. Essentially geokinesis, the Secret of Stone is absurdly powerful in an underground region like the Everdark. With it, it could restructure tunnels at will, raise buildings quickly and move extremely swiftly through solid stone. But the main use of the Secret was to collapse entire tunnels and caverns onto it's foes, burying and crushing them underfoot. At it's most powerful, Rumena has been seen using this Secret to destroy an entire underground city, earning the epithet of Tomb-Maker in the process. And when trapped beneath Hainaut by the Dead King, Rumena's attempts at escape using the Secret of Stone was enough to cause the entire plateau to shudder and shake.

Even then, it displayed great control over it's powers, skilfully suppressing them to the extent that even Catherine's fae senses could not pick up any mote of power from it.

It is also a very skilled hand-to-hand combatant, believing that all that fight it are children due to it's great age and that all children are disciplined by hand. It could swat aside the Saint of Swords' blows barehanded and fight her to a standstill. As a veteran fighter, Rumena fought cautiously and cunningly, conservatively fighting from a distance with decoys and ambushes while provoking it's opponent. Despite Rumena's preference for barehanded combat, it wielded a sword until Kurosiv shattered the blade during their fifth fight, and could throw a javelin with remarkable power and accuracy.

As it was once a general, Rumena is a good tactician and commander, being trusted by Sve Noc and Catherine to lead the Southern Expedition of the reborn Empire Ever Dark. It knew how to compensate for the tribal nature of the army and take advantage of the unique traits of the Mighty and the other armies it fought alongside, such as ordering goblin sappers to fire Mighty Jindrich past the enemy frontlines with a trebuchet, knowing that the other sigil-holder could not only survive the ordeal unscathed but continue fighting unimpeded.

It also speaks several languages, including it's native Crepsular, Lower Miezan, Chantant and some Tradertalk. Catherine heavily suspects that Rumena learns them solely to insult it's foes.

Relationships[]

Catherine: Even after she became it's superior, Rumena treats Catherine with little to no respect, frequently mocking her, attempting to sneak up on her and making a point of looming over her whenever it could. In fact, Rumena treats Catherine so poorly that she was rather alarmed when it made a polite request to her. It thinks that Catherine is the single most aggressively ignorant creature that it ever met, feeling surprise at how she survived for so long and gained so much power. That being said, Rumena obeys Catherine's orders and follows her battle plans even when they are dangerous or it expresses doubts about them and is considered one of Catherine's key allies in the Southern Expedition, being trusted to keep the drow in line with fear and respect.

Komena: As she was once a high-ranking officer, perhaps even second-in-command, in Rumena's old army, Rumena and Komena have a good relationship. They treat each other with mutual respect and even before Night fell, Rumena was a supporter of her plot to slay the Twilight Sages, personally leading it's army in support. And although Komena became less close to Rumena after Night fell, she still has a certain fondness for the Tomb-Maker, treating it as her favourite champion, sending it to break the foes of the newborn goddessess. Commands which Rumena loyally and tirelessly followed for at least three thousand years. When Catherine begun convincing the Longstride Cabal to betray Komena, Rumena stayed loyal, silencing her with a punch. The fondness persists in the present, Komena insisting that Catherine address Rumena by it's proper title and is one of the few Drow that the crows perch on. She shares Rumena's liking of insulting Catherine, being frequently amused at it. That being said, she seriously contemplated giving Catherine the power to expel all drow, including Rumena, from the Faith.

Kurosiv: From their very first meeting in the last days of the Ancient Empire Ever Dark, Rumena disliked Kurosiv, thinking that he was an overly ambitious snake and a vain fool. A dislike which turned into hatred, over the years, for whenever Kurosiv reemerged, it was Rumena that Sve Noc sent to break it. Seven times accross over three thousand years, Rumena and Kurosiv fought, with ruinous costs, Rumena killing Kurosiv each and every time. Rumena was the one to coin Kurosiv's first epithet of 'the Leech', being angered at it's blasphemy towards Sve Noc. Their hatred was such that Rumena raised entire sigils dedicated to slaying it, and during their eighth and final conflict, Rumena outright asked Catherine to deliver one final barb from it to Kurosiv before killing the usurper, in stark contrast to Rumena's usual apathy and contempt towards fellow sigil-holders.

Trivia[]

  • Rumena considers Great Perun to be a pustule of a city.
  • Before Cat met Rumena, she was considering Larat to be the commanding officer of the drow.
  • Catherine has sworn to write an entire hymn about Rumena being a prick in her future holy book of Night. In turn, Rumena does not think that Catherine has the ability to make a purposeful rhyme for the hymn.

Gallery[]

References[]

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  1. Book 4 - Chapter 75: The Eye “I was a general, honoured twice for victories won in the Burning Lands by the Twilight Sages themselves,” Rumena said. “One of them, I think, against a people whose blood you hold. The look has little changed since those nights.”
  2. Book 4 - Chapter 79: As Above
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