Auberon the Cloak of Shadows

The Cloak of Shadows

Of the great relics, few are as sought after as Auberon, the Cloak of Shadows. Even among the Fae-Kin, it is unknown if this relic still exists or what it actually looks like. Research into the nature of the cloak is largely discouraged. According to legend, Auberon contains Mother Blood and all the protections and power that comes with it. Auberon is impervious to light, impenetrable, filled with pockets, answers to the Language of the Shadows. It was a favorite item of the Sister Between and chose to accompany her when she was exiled. Auberon has links to several human and fae myths under various names. Most notably, the Shirt of Nessus, Coat of Many Colors, Daniel, the Shroud of Turin, Nabrok, Gwenn (Mantel of Arthur), Tarnakappe, Palangineh, and Robe of the Fire Rat. It is generally accepted that the First Fae used Auberon to explain death to the Sisters by animating the cloak with help from the Shadows. It is also generally accepted that the cloak itself was lost to the Fae at the Fall of Arden Keep. There is no evidentiary support for either of these accepted beliefs. The last confirmed sighting of Auberon by the Fae is recorded in the obscenely redacted Alexandria Report.

Descriptions of Auberon’s true form come from the surviving translations of the leaves of the First Fae, the collected works of Orchid, Sunflower, and Night Jasmine. Their primary function was to raise the Sisters. The Goo created them in the afterglow of Love from the Mother. It followed her example and gave its creation all. Just as the Sisters were not the same as the Mother, neither were the First Fae the same as the Goo. Same ingredients, different results. This is life. The First Fae accepted their role without question. They were new and didn’t even know questions existed let alone that they should be asking them. As with all life, the Fae took a few moments to learn about their situation and then set about the business of rearing children. A business they were not all together prepared for nor interested in. What remains of The Leaves of the First Fae are frustratingly vague and dismissive on the subject of Auberon.

From Orchid’s First Leaf (extant rune translation):

“The moment of existence was loud. I was awake to all of the universe at once and filled with a desire to fulfill a specific purpose. The noise continued until each of us picked up a mewling flesh-sack. They immediately ceased their unpleasant noise making. I did not want to touch them. They were bulbous and covered in fluids not entirely their own. The smell was also unpleasant. But this was our purpose. This was our design. We had all the knowledge of the Goo, but the Goo didn’t know how to care for the human spawn. For that we would need humans or at the very least, earth creatures of similar biologic make up. Sunflower called a source. We bathed the Sisters and wrapped them in remnants of the Mother’s extra skin. The source told Night Jasmine about a set of creatures with young that we could observe in a nearby cave. She left for several hours. The Sisters made a great deal of noise and needed to be washed and dried several times. I have modified my exterior layer to repel liquid. NJ returned and explained about mammary glands.”

Orchid’s First Leaf describes the swaddling material as the Mother’s ‘extra skin’ but refers to the fae’s own skin as ‘exterior layer’. The distinction is important as the swaddling material is either pre-historic human fabric or it is pre-historic human skin. (Orchid combined runes in a haphazard manner before the chroniclers took over sometime around the Second Leaf.) Night Jasmine makes no mention of the swaddling material in her First Leaf as she was off learning about mammary glands. Most scholars believe Night Jasmine did not actually observe humans. She does mention the Sisters making clothing for the creatures as early as her Second Leaf.

From the Second Leaf of Night Jasmine (earliest rune translation):

“Sunflower taught them to sew. One measures. One cuts. One binds. She claims they will need this skill when they are older. The vixen agrees, as do the ravens. Every thing has been cut and stitched into smaller versions of human second-skins. The creatures refuse second-skins of other creatures. They have all the skins they need. Humans need the skins of others. The raven talked of killing without purpose. The wolf wore a second-skin of grass and sat at the table until moon rise.”

Orchid’s Third Leaf describes the Sisters sewing their swaddling into Auberon, the Cloak of Shadows.

From Orchid’s Third Leaf (Arden Runic Remnant):

“They took the swaddling skin, some shadow, and unicorn hair. They insist we call it Auberon. I’ve asked that they wash it before bringing it into the sleeping chambers. It flies about, which makes them scream. Sunflower says this is the primary function of Auberon, to make the unpleasant noise issue from them. Humans enjoy this. (Two of three Fae do not. Not that what we want matters.) They put it on the Parliamentarian. It spoke to them for several minutes.”

Orchid used an ancient collective rune most commonly translated as “they” when referring to the Sisters as a group. Several dragons have provided fragments that pre-date both fires. These fragments show the rune meaning ‘they’ as in ‘The Sisters’ is used at the beginning of the passage. It shows a different rune at the beginning of the next sentence. This rune, Mor Rioghain, is the collective pronoun for death. Dragons and rogue chroniclers point out the inclusion of this rune as part of the rune representing Auberon in all extant copies of Orchid’s leaves, including the Arden Runic Remnants, and the absence of it in the leaves of Sunflower and Night Jasmine. The dragons offered no opinions as to the author’s intent, just that the difference is present.

The Alexandria Report concluded that Auberon was destroyed in the fire of 48CE. Not even the Report’s authors believe this to be true. Eye witnesses, both human and fae, claim Auberon started the fire in the library. How Auberon came to be in possession of a phoenix egg or how it was exposed to starlight in the Alexandrian vault may never be known. Regardless of the source of the egg, Auberon is impervious to Phoenix fire and could not have perished in the library.

After the fire, Caesar appointed Brutus head of a secret task force to investigate, signaling his growing distrust of Marc Antony and the Fae. It was at this point that Fae-Kin Council lost faith in Caesar and his commitment to the Treaty of Arden. Correspondence between Fae-Kin Ambassador Iris and Marc Antony mention Caesar and Cleopatra both claimed to be in possession of Auberon after the fire. Marc Antony’s last letter confirmed his plans to re-secure Auberon. Iris testified several times before the Alexandria Tribunal. Though much of her tribunal testimonies remain classified, the criminal (and largely political) trail against her for violating the Treaty of Arden was public. She testified that she witnessed Marc Antony wrestle with Auberon in the Nile. She also testified that Cleopatra was dragged or pushed into the pit of vipers by Auberon. Iris is the last Fae to have seen the cloak in its true form but refused to describe it. Iris was banished for her silence. No human tale describes Auberon with any consistency.

Several other Sisters’ relics, entrusted to Alexander under the Treaty of Arden, were supposedly destroyed yet have resurfaced in human tales. Fae-Kin scholars insist this is because, like Auberon, they were not in the vault when it burned but returned to the Six Tribes, the Sisters’ human descendants. The sudden collapse of the Administration and the catastrophic burning flood of the Forest Archives in 44 CE both support and discount this. In four years, nearly all recorded Fae-Kin history, including all records of Auberon and the other relics, were lost to Phoenix flames, which everyone agrees is highly suspicious. The dragons believe the true tale of Auberon can be found in the Book of Rowan, the mythical tome of the seventh tribe. A classic dragon-tale told to their young that is nearly as fantastic as the Cloak of Shadows itself. It has also been missing since the fall of the Amazons and the death of Orchid.