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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