Auria – a neverending story

Finding himself in a situation more difficult than ever, with the Ottomans at the borders of Auria and the new rumors whispered around Auria about some strange creatures haunting the forests and scaring the people, King Rene must make a quick decision… And, probably, a vital one. Auria always been a prosperous land and its people peaceful, not much used with wars recently. The volunteers in General Eliades` army are not many, few thousands young men and women ready for adventure, but the Ottoman threat requires more than that, for their well trained armies have tens and hundreds of thousands of soldiers. King Rene knows that well trained mercenaries cost gold… lots of gold! If, in the past, the neighbor kingdoms helped Auria as Auria helped them with gold, now nobody seems willing to help anymore- everyone fears the Ottomans, so they better keep their gold, just in case a war comes. Therefore, King Rene must do the only thing he promised himself will never do: negotiate terms with his cousin, the prisoner former King Armand Karam, probably the richest King in all Europe, for his father, respectful King Theodosius, stole the whole treasury of Auria in old times, when Auria was the richest Kingdom in Europe. Nobody knows how big this treasure is, except one person: Armand. And nobody knows where this treasure is hidden, except Armand again. For there are rumors he split it in 10 equal parts, each buried in different spots. But who knows? They can only be rumors, and Armand is not willing to talk about it at all.

King Rene, after hard and long talks and negotiations with his cousin finally gets to a decision: Armand shall contribute to the Treasury of Auria with two millions golden coins, and Rene will release him and give him back his old Castle, to rule together as Kings of Auria and, in need, help each other in the war against the Ottomans, if they shall ever attack Auria. Armand finally accepts Rene`s terms and sends his men in a precise spot in the forests to dig and bring the gold…  So much that few donkeys had to carry it to the castle on their backs. More gold that Rene hoped he will ever get… But this raises few important questions: if Armand unburied so much gold from one single spot, how much really he has left? And where? And what he will do with it?

King Rene knows the risks, but still… Auria`s peace is more important than any concerns right now!

Ilyas Hamid, the Ottoman General sent to negotiate with the Auria King, finds himself in a weird situation, for he faces two kings now. As soon as Armand is set free and returns to his castle, General Hamid is called to him. A couple of days later, he leaves Auria. Nobody knows what the two, Hamid and Armand, talked about, but both Kings receive a letter from the Sultan, trying to negotiate new terms, his tone more friendly than before. But Rene knows for sure that the threat remains, and the Ottomans are as greedy and sneaky as always have been.

                                                           ARMAND KARAM

Armand was always a mysterious figure around Auria, especially recently, while he has been locked inside King Rene`s castle, guarded and never allowed to get out anymore. After an unsuccessful escape months ago, when he was hunted down and brought back, no one heard a word about him anymore. Now, that he is back under the circumstances we all know, his future actions can be quite unpredictable. Being far less popular and close to common people than his cousin Rene, Armand had different ways of seeing things and doing things. Being unpopular among Aurians does not make him absent charm. He knows exactly what is going on around him, he has the power and the gold and he won’t hesitate do whatever it takes to get back what he considers to be his right: Kingdom of Auria. Even reserved when it comes about showing his true feelings, he cannot forgive Rene for keeping him prisoner for such a long time. Together with his strange dark charm and great mind, he will find his ways. Keeping the Nobles that didn’t choose Rene’s side close and gathering, step by step, an army of mercenaries might, finally, give him the thing he always wanted. Or not? Time will tell, but surely the new situation in Auria will make everyone more careful than ever before.

Eden Stroganov

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Mysterious side of Auria – unexpected visitors!

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FAES – A very long time ago, even before the Romans conquered the Aurian lands, a very peaceful tribe of people were living in this part of the world. Good farmers, they lived in a land on plenty. Every spring, before they started plant their crops, a grand Festival of Fertility took place, where everyone was invited: man or woman, young or old. Three High Priests, worshiping the Father Sun and three High Priestesses, worshiping the Mother Earth, gathered together on the field to perform the old ritual. A drop of blood from every person in the tribe, a cup of wine and a cup of honey, all mixed together inside the skull bones of a hero warrior… A virgin girl was chosen by the elders, a young woman considered pure and innocent, to make the sacrifice ritual for the Gods, a different girl each year. That year, they choose beautiful Amma, the daughter of the miller. And so, the ritual began in the early morning, when Father Sun was showing the first rays of light. All the tribe was gathered, encircling the field, old people, so old they had to be bought there in the arms of their families, and small babies in the arms of their mothers. Everyone had to be present. And so, the ritual begins! Priests and Priestesses murmuring their old chants that no one else knew while young Amma was walking around in circles, pouring the mixture of blood, wine and honey from the skull, almost drop by drop, on the plowed field, ready to be seeded. Behind her, a child of the village, with a small bag in his back, was planting the first crop of the year- garlic. Known for it’s miraculous properties and healing powers, garlic was the first plant seeded every year. But something happens… Amma, who was a very curious young woman, gets an idea: to drink from the skull and see what happens. Before anyone could stop her, the maiden takes a sip before the ritual was finished. The last drops… A thunder falls from the clear sky right in the middle of the field and, a moment later, every each person in the tribe was falling dead on the ground. Everyone, except Amma, who watched everything with big eyes, petrified. She drops the skull from her hands, falling on her knees, stunned with grief. But it was too late… The dreadful curse fell upon her and those who were, now, dead.

The spirits of the dead people, moaning, found no rest in the after life they were sent before their time on Earth was over. Gathered together and crying, all they could do was haunting the fields, for hundreds, and hundreds of years… A new tribe of people migrates on their lands, the Aurians, not long after this happened. They found the empty houses, the empty plowed fields and wondered ever since… What happened to the people? It remained a great mystery, until one day, when the spirits of the dead found a way to come back and seek for their salvation. For that, they needed find Amma and destroy her. But how to find her after so many hundreds of years? What happened to her?

Amma, for the sacrilege she made, was cursed. Cursed to never find rest again and never die, unless the fire burned her flesh. Cursed to only be able to feed from blood, wine and honey. Blood was her food, wine and honey were her drink.

The restless spirits of the dead came back… They used human energy to materialize, but they were not more than some vague silhouettes walking around the forests. People saw them… And called them Faes. But they were not strong enough, they needed more human energy to make them more powerful and also make them look almost human: flesh and bones. So they seek for stronger bounds with the humans, for they needed their approval to cross the line between one life and another, between one dimension to another. They needed this to be able to make their presence known and look for Amma. And they were ready to do whatever it takes for the humans, so be allowed to use their vital energy they depend on. A human is capable to ‘feed’ with energy one or more Faes, but all things have a cost! They need sign a contract with a human for two months. After two months, they can sign it again with same human it or simply find another human. The contract terms are discussed between the two parts.

How do Faes look like? Well, considering they were, once, humans, they very much keep the form of their humanity. Perhaps, sometimes, a bit more ethereal… Their skin can look very human, if they are fully materialized, but also can look pale, sometimes glowing. Their eyes and hair can have strange colors, and they can look fragile. In any case, they should keep their human look as much as possible. How are they dressed? They can dress however they like, but probably most of them will dress like they did when they were alive, looking more Ancient than Medieval.

STRIGOII – are the ‘children’ of Amma. She knew they (the Faes) will find a way to come to her someday, so she gathered an army of her own to protect herself from them. So she choose- young and strong men and women, capable to defend her, from all over the world, from all the places she traveled. She offered them what they wanted: eternity. Just as their Mother, they use blood as food and wine and honey as drink. They need it to survive. For this, they swore an oath to ever protect her, no matter what. One thing they were forbidden: to kill a human being or an animal. Amma could never forgive herself for killing all the people in her tribe. That doesn’t mean they always obey the law. If they can hide their crime well, they are capable of doing it.

Now, that the Faes found a way to return, Amma is determined to get rid of them and send them back into their world. Her children, Strigoii, were sent in Auria with the mission to stop the Faes. The best they can do is trying to keep Faes at distance, by attacking the humans that allow them to materialize, weakening them. A weak, hurt human is not capable give enough energy to their Fae(s) anymore, at least for a while. Kidnapping, torturing, draining humans of blood can weaken them very much and making them unable to provide enough vital energy, so, therefore, the Faes aren’t able to cross the line using the energy of that specific human, for few hours, days or weeks, depending on how bad their human was hurt. So, a Fae should do all they can to keep their human safe, even that means they have to fight the Strigoi away. The problem would be that Strigoii are stronger than a Fae, so it needs 2-3 Faes or more to chase a Strigoi away, or capture them. If a Strigoi is captured, though, the Faes and their humans should expect revenge. Strigoii care for each other very much and they do not allow their brothers and sister to be hurt. Can a Strigoi be destroyed? Yes, if they are burned. Old believes that they can be killed with a stake though their heart are not true. A Strigoi will not die in that case, but a stake though their heart could put them to ‘sleep’ for few hours, enough time for a human, if does that, to get as far as possible from that Strigoi. Garlic, as ancient medicine and charm plant, can chase a Strigoi- but only if he or she is young. Old Strigoii are immune to garlic.

Can a Strigoi travel under the sunlight? Yes. But they got used hide in the darkness of the night and sleep during day, for it was easier for them that way, during the centuries, to keep away from public eye. And easier to hunt, hidden in the shadows of the night. Where do they sleep? Nobody knows, they hide their places very well. They don’t want to risk being found.

Some of them will try to trick humans, and walk among them during the day, pretending they are humans. They can even get jobs in the city, talk and dress like humans… But better keep eyes wide opened! They never eat human food and have a very strong resistance to wine. They never get drunk. Of course, to fool humans, they could act like drunk now and then… That way, they can watch better and be closer to their food source, the humans, and their hate source, the Faes. They will never bind to Faes, for they would feel their energy and realize they are not humans. Of course, that does not mean that all unbounded humans are Strigoi! Not every human wants to be bounded. They are afraid and don’t want to deal with the Strigoi. Bounding can have advantages, but also disadvantages! Binding to Faes, as human, can get you in some trouble for sure. Being free human, you are way less exposed to the attacks of the Strigoii. But having a Fae, or more around you, on the other hand, can be very useful: Faes have magical powers and can keep humans healthy and vigorous. They know secret treasures and magic spells, they know magic herbs and ancient chants that can bring wealth and joy.

How do Strigoii look like? Considering Amma choose them carefully, the healthy and strong, they should look like it. Usually good looking young men and women, Strigoii can be very voluptuous and even swaggering, especially when they need something. They despise humans and their condition, but rarely showing it. They can be very charming creatures, but also dreadful creatures. They are merciless and intelligent. They like to play with humans as cats play with the mouse. Just like humans, they are perfectly capable of sexual activities, with one difference: they aren’t able to procreate. If they hunt humans for sex it’s just because they like to play. They love to be in control and fool humans every time they find the occasion. Never trust a Strigoi, because their lips tell lies, and they would tell you anything to fool you and enslave you. Avoid isolated places, especially in the night time- but remember, they can also walk in the day time… They probably won’t attack unbounded humans to drink their blood very much, but that doesn’t mean you are perfectly safe. Being careful is the best way!

Strigoii use to dress in dark colors and very much fallow the fashion of the century they live in, so they can be mistaken with humans. Dark colors keeps them more hard to be seen during the night time. They do not care wealth much, because they don’t need it. If they want objects, they simply steal them, for they are very fast and agile. A Strigoi has a beautiful ring and fancy clothes? You can be sure they have not paid a single bronze for what they have. If they have gold, it is stolen. So keep your treasures safe!

                                                                !!!IMPORTANT NOTE!!!

FAES – they are spirits, and NOT the ‘classic’ faes or fairies. If people called them ‘faes’ is because they thought they were faes when first saw hem in the forests of Auria, so, therefore, they kept calling them that way.

STRIGOII – do NOT mistake them with the vampires. Yes, they are somehow similar, but something else. No fangs, please, no huds, no bloodlines. How do they take human and animal blood to feed? Simply by using different tools: small daggers, needles, fake iron ‘nails’ and so on. The rest is just role play! Enjoy!

Eden Stroganov