Of all Sangrar’s gods, the one I relate to best is Numra the Great Explorer. Out of the entire litter, only he ever went beyond the Girdle and beheld the Greater Realm, though he knew it as the Void. I think Spirit knew his destiny from the beginning, why else would she have whispered to him about the Flame? Spirit, you’ll recall, was Elemenes and awakened in the Void, so she knew what she was talking about.
When Celetran devised her plan to hatch the Vanara she modeled them after Numra and his sister Annumbra. They were the children of Finbardin and Spirit, and thus both Craeylu and Elemenes. On Sangrar, the number three was a potent number, and moreso when the third arose by bringing opposite together (it’s a corollary of the Necessity) and Numra and Annumbra embodied this concept. Their power came from both pantheons and was greater than the sum of its parts. This is what Celetran was trying to accomplish with the Vanara. She reasoned that if the Ealar came from Craeylu and the Elehu came from the Elemenes, then children born of both Ealar and Elehu would have sufficient power to defeat the Dark Lord in the final battle.
In her heart, Celetran knew that the Prophecies held the key to Sangrar’s puzzle. After all, she as much as Kandol served the Balance and knew truths hidden from the others, but even gods are allowed hope and the Vanara were her great experiment, her plan B in the event the Warrior, Prince and Priestess failed to uphold their end of destiny’s bargain. She didn’t tell Finbardin that the Vanara were a fail-safe. To him, she made them out to be the answer.
Numra was certainly a good role model to pattern the Vanara after. Strong, independent and curious about the world, the Explorer was Heaven’s Columbus. As a youth, he explored Tar-Livarre’s vast chambers and then the Singing Forest. After he’d visited every tree and drank from every brook, his curiosity drove him from Heaven in search of the Girdle. All he knew was that the Girdle was at the edge of Esel, but finding the edge of the infinite is no easy task. Only by raising his consciousness to a new level could he see the Girdle and when he did, Bayonell the Ancient One was waiting for him.
Numra recognized the black-skinned Herald from the stories he’d heard and right away they bonded. The Herald became like a father to Numra. Numra even resembled him. Both had black skin, but flames danced in Numra’s eyes. The Herald didn’t have eyes. It was like he’d been sealed in black plastic by a vacuum packer.
The Herald talked Numra out of testing the Girdle. Someday he promised, but not that day, and then he took Numra on a tour of the Girdle, where the Explorer was treated to glimpses of uncounted worlds hiding in its folds. Along the way, the Herald handed Numra Beleos, a staff of star metal, and suggested the Explorer hang on to it. The Herald knew it would come in handy later. The Star Brand, the staff wielded by Moonstrider (Numra’s high priest on Tyrnavalle during the last days of the age) was a replica of Beleos.
In time, Numra found himself enjoying the company of Ollare the Sky Sister, sister to Celetran, the Lady of Esel. Like him, Ollare had a love of Esel and she wandered far and wide to its remotest reaches to minister to the stars. After Finbardin had made Esel, the Primals had filled it with stars and commanded them to move in patterns, creating Sangrar’s constellations. The stars moved faster (forget Einstein ‘s laws and everything you know about physics, this was Esel and it worked differently) and more animated than the Milky Way’s. If you caught Esel on the right night, the stars put on a show worthy of halftime at the Super Bowl. Kal the Archer’s arrows flitted across the roof of Esel fast enough to see with the naked eye and when Nyvienne the Mermaid splashed under her waterfall, the sparkling did look like sheets of falling water. The stars were like cars on train tracks, riding a predetermined course, but the tracks required maintenance and that was Ollare’s job.
With the Darkening, Numra put his mother’s lessons to use and really came into his own. Everyone else had given up hope that the Suns would ever shine again, but when Numra saw that Solare yet lived, he knew there was a chance. The Summer Lord was god of the Suns back then (though he was perilously close to losing that job) and if he still lived, Numra reckoned, so did they. He needed to re-ignite them and knew just how to do it, or at least, he thought he did. Before departing Heaven, Ollare begged to go with him, but Numra said that this was something he had to do alone.
When he arrived at the edge of the Girdle, Numra found Aeriel waiting for him and she helped him get past it and enter the Void. Had she not been there, Numra might have failed and Sangrar would have truly experienced unending night. So, it was good that Aeriel was there, but as you can imagine, Ollare was none too happy when she found out. To achieve the Void, Numra had to forsake his flesh and become a pattern of light, like the Primals when they had wandered the Void. Thankfully, I never had to do that, I’m not sure I could have managed it. The first few times, to and from Sangra, with the Herald doing the driving, I just closed my eyes. Later, when I could come and go as I pleased, no discorporealization was involved. For me, it was more like walking through a door.
Once there, Numra was overjoyed to find his old friend waiting for him. The Herald took him to the Flame and Numra changed back into his body after assurances he’d be safe near the Flame. Then, Numra touched Beleos to the Flame and captured a spark. That’s where he earned the nickname Lord of the Secret Fire. Then Numra carried the spark inside the Girdle and set about putting things right. He separated into three bodies, as did Aeriel, and they flew into the Suns. After fighting through darkness, Numra touched the staff to the heart of each Sun, but the spark alone wasn’t enough. Darkness had taken root in the Suns and he needed Aeriel’s light. Together, they restored the Suns’ Radiance, but not the Full Radiance of the age just ending, that light was gone from the world thanks to Sorrow. From that day forward, Aeriel’s vigil has continued and she’s fought the darkness at each dusk and at each dawn.
Numra wouldn’t talk about what he’d seen in the Void. As far as he was concerned, what happened in the Void, stayed in the Void. I think it was because he couldn’t comprehend the vast nature of the Greater Realm. Numra later claimed that he couldn’t remember and I for one, believed him. Freud had it right, self-imposed amnesia is a classic defense mechanism, and Numra had mommy issues to boot. At first, I couldn’t make heads or tails out of the Greater Realm either. The Herald kept me focused on the unfolding Prophecies and that helped, but what helped even more was spending time in the Greater Realm afterwards. I lost track of how long I stayed (time has little meaning in the Greater Realm anyways) but it was more than the blink of an eye, more than Numra had by a long shot.
In the aftermath of victory, Aeriel sped to the ruins of Elrasirre where she found Erlik sulking. She would have killed him right then and there, but Numra forbid it and he held the power of the Flame to make his word law. Why did he save the Dark Lord? The Prophecies and the Necessity forced his hand. Love gone wrong had brought Sorrow to the world, but the Warrior, Prince and Priestess were still waiting in the wings.
Even after Erlik had been stuffed back into the Darkhold, Numra worried about the night and then he came up with his moon idea. He figured that when Erlik controlled the Suns, the moons could shed light over Sangrar and keep away the worst of the Darkness. Once again, Ollare wanted to help, but Numra said that only the combined power of Craeylu and Elemenes could create the moons and thanks, but no thanks. Then he asked for his sister’s help and together, they called upon their mother and father, which to Ollare was heaping insult upon injury. She called it quits right then and there and, as history shows, walked out the door right into Erlik’s arms, but that tale is told elsewhere. Numra meanwhile, with his sister and parents (Spirit recorporealized for the family reunion) raised up Velya, Vylna and Vorya and placed them in Esel.