Updated: Nov 4, 2019
Lukeni Kwilu was born in 1612 as a member of the royal House of Kwilu of the Kingdom of Kongo, an African kingdom located in west central Africa that occupied what is now, in whole or in part, Angola, Cabinda, the Republic of the Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Gabon. He was the son of the Duke of Mbamba, but his House did not have control of the throne.
Growing up, Lukeni enjoyed all the pleasures that children of royal families indulge themselves into, and he was somewhat shielded from the tensions brewing around him and his family. In 1622, the Kongo-Portuguese War took place, and the Kingdom of Kongo succeeded in driving back the Portuguese, but the newly elected king refused to push the army into the Portuguese territory and destroy whatever remained of their settlements. This allowed for factionalism and the return of the House of Kwilu to the throne. In 1632, Lukeni’s cousin, Álvaro IV was placed on the throne by Lukeni’s father but was only eleven years old. Trusted advisors began to manipulate the young king, and so Lukeni’s father marched on the capital to protect him.
While the Duke of Mbamba was away assisting his nephew, Lukeni was left behind and was lured away from the safety of home by a childhood friend. He was attacked by members of the royal House of Kimpanzu. So that his attackers could find little resistance, limestone dust was blown in his face, permanently damaging his eyes. He was chained and dragged to the Portuguese settlements where hundreds of slaves were being gathered for shipment across the Atlantic Ocean. Although the Duke of Mbamba was successful in restoring his nephew, Álvaro IV back to the throne, Álvaro V of the House of Kimpanzu managed to poison the young king and ascend the throne anyway. The House of Kimpanzu’s plans were eventually thwarted, however. Álvaro V was killed and the House of Kinlaza, led by Álvaro VI in 1636, took over. With the loss of Lukeni and the eventual death of the Duke, the House of Kwilu never regained the power it had since its inception in 1567.
During the trip across the Atlantic, Lukeni was pulled into the shadow realm and gifted the power of the Celestial Magi. He instantly became fully aware of the power and authority of the Trustees of the Realm, the history of magic, and the history of the deity from which he now draws power. As a Celestial Magus, Lukeni ages incredibly slow, but time also stands still in the several realms, so Lukeni has essentially not aged over the centuries. From within the Shadow Realm, Lukeni has also been able to see anything in any place he wishes, such as the end of his family’s dynasty as well as the fall of almost every nation on the African continent at the time. He witnessed the rise of colonialism, the horrors of slavery, the never ending infighting, and the global ramifications of it all on the African diaspora, causing him to become a recluse within the Shadow Realm with no real desire to leave.