Mar 06, 2017

IO: Aurum Saccularius is the mastermind behind the thieving of the Wheel of Fortune, and the Xeres people are the descendants of his cohort [two, three legions?] within the Court of Charity, then-termed the Golden Legion [?]. Aurum's original name has been either forgotten or buried under spiteful records keeping. The original reasoning for the thieving of the Wheel is unknown but heavily speculated upon by the Court of Charity and its related arms. The old guard of the Court argue that Greed took the heart of Aurum and his Legion, while others postulate (quietly) that the Court was relieved of the Rota Fortunae because its influence to commit Evil Deeds in the name of material gain was beginning to creep into the Court as a whole, and so Aurum stole the artifact to absolve the Court and confine the Temptation where it belonged: in Hell, where it would never be found.

Regardless of his reasoning, Aurum Saccularius and his cohort should not be mistaken for well-meaning or charitable people. Aurum and the Golden Legion are pitiless creatures, their malevolences welcomed and taken in wholly by Hell. The Golden Legion's unforgiving disdain towards the accumulation of material wealth is preserved in its entirety as a gleeful enjoyment of others' anguish of the loss of "beautiful things" and the costs of the accumulation of wealth on the body and soul.

The name "Xeres" is thought to be derived from old Celestial meaning "wealth" or "riches" or some derivative thereof.

Though rare, Xeres can be encountered outside of Hell, summoned as a pox or curse on someone with great wealth. The Xeres will inhabit the accursed's home or person, devouring or destroying anything of value, until either the victim is left penniless, or the curse is lifted and the demon permitted to return to Hell. The victim's belongings will either disappear entirely in the real world, or be replaced with "fakes", crafted from the scat produced from the consummation of the originals. A single Xeres will make short work of a fortune, and its removal as a blight takes considerable resources and effort on behalf of the exorcist, as the demon will resist any attempts to send it back to Hell. Its detection as a summon is difficult only for its propensity to be afflicted upon the very rich, who are unlikely to contact the esoteric for solutions, and its ease to be mistaken for an Imp infestation, who devour and steal everything as opposed to only things of "value". Inflicting a Xeres upon someone as a curse requires the target to possess considerable wealth in both gold and stones as a baseline. As Xeres possess a diet of precious metals, it is not uncommon for an abode cursed with a Xeres to have its wiring, nails, and cutlery systematically disappear along with its riches.

A person under possession of a Xeres demon will experience immediate desire to eat small items of value such as coins, bank notes, and small gemstones. This behaviour can be easily mistaken for pica in its beginning stages, which will allow the demon to gain a greater hold on the victim over time for lack of intervention by exorcism. Eventually, the possessed's appetite will expand to attempts at consuming larger, more valuable objects such as ingots, cutlery, china, and even exotic items such as paintings or rugs. This will result in choking, shattered teeth, internal injury, and poisoning. Unchecked, a person possessed by a Xeres will quickly succumb to self-inflicted injury in attempting to consume metals and minerals, or, simple starvation from a lack of nutritious intake.

The extent of damage or how quickly a possessed inidividual will fatally succumb to possession is highly dependent on both the personality and self-control of the demon, and that of the victim. A Xeres with high self-control towards consuming precious items will sustain a longer possession than that of one undisciplined. A victim with especially great willpower can curb the desire to eat money and stones, but if the demon is undisciplined, the strain of resistence will take a considerable toll on the possessed.

The affliction of a Xeres upon a home will result in signs of possession-behaviour across multiple persons inside the abode and various poltergeist-like phenomena. A house cursed with a Xeres summon will show varying signs of paranormal activity depending on how long the demon has been present. Initial signs can be mistaken for electrical or plumbing malfunction in the form of electrical shortages and noisy pipes. A Xeres will manifest spiritually in the most filthy location of the home, generally an unkempt basement, kitchen, or bathroom, with its influence taking form with tarnishing nails and mirrors, fraying electrical wiring, and the backing up of pipes. A faint odor of scat and ammonia will permeate wherever the demon first manifests, and will hang in the air throughout its occupation. As its presence lengthens, small items of value such as coins will begin to disappear or become damaged. In general, nickles will be affected first, followed by pennies, dimes, and eventually bank notes. Once larger items of value begin to vanish or become vandalised, stronger notifications of the demon's presence will manifest. Those who inhabit the home or otherwise spend considerable time within it on a regular basis will experience the desire to eat coins and chew cutlery, pick at and swallow small objects of falsified value such as metallic plastic, and eventually succumb to full instances of attempting to eat china, sculptures, and jewelry. Houses under prolonged affliction of a Xeres will eventually experience catastrophic failure of waste plumbing, with sinks, tubs, and toilets backing up and spraying filth. Water in taps or held elsewhere in the home will convert to urine and any food aged beyond four hours old will dissolve to offal. Walls will ooze what appears to be liquid metal, but upon touch will degrade to scat. The height of a Xeres curse upon an abode will culminate in all remaining residents fighting over what valuables remain while smearing themselves in their own waste touted as riches. Soon after, the house itself will slowly collapse from rotted support and flooding.

Exorcising a Xeres is a difficult affair. Discovering the demon requires the use of gold, as the Xeres' spirit will appear in its reflection. Any polished surface of real gold, plated or solid, will reveal the demon, but the larger the item the greater the chance of the creature taking notice of the exorcist and acting against them. Invoking Christ is considered ineffective in combatting Xeres, as the demon possesses no fear of the crucifix, holy water, or reverence towards the power of Yaweh. Attempting to expel a Xeres with Judeo-Christian methods will result in retaliation. Those possessed will likely strike at the exorcist, or aggravated phenomena will occur within an afflicted house, generally taking the form of waste seeping out of floor boards and the spontaneous tarnishing of precious material immediately nearby.

A mirror plated in 24-carat gold can exorcise a Xeres from a victim or a home instantly, but the mirror itself must be at least eight feet tall, capture the creature's direct gaze, and be immediately covered to prevent the demon from escaping. Xeres trapped in a golden mirror can escape back through the item as a physical manifestation should it become uncovered. Sending a trapped Xeres back to Hell requires the destruction of the mirror. A Xeres can be held in the mirror for a prolonged period of time for so long as the item's reflective surface is completely covered. Cloth or paint serve equally well, but if paint is used, the coating must be consistent, and any cloth must be of an intact weave, as any exposure of the mirror's face can allow the demon to fight for freedom. A Xeres-possessed mirror will warp and spoil any valuables within twenty metres. Metal will tarnish, stones will corrode and fog, paintings and rugs will dissolve into filth, and wine will convert into urine.

A physical manifestation of a Xeres can be achieved either via the demon's escape from a golden mirror, or extraction from the possessed. Extraction from the possessed will result in the victim's death via bone and organ warping and displacement as the demon exits from within the afflicted's body. As with all physical manifestations of demons, the only guaranteed way of sending a manifested Xeres back to Hell is to open a direct portal to Hell itself. Exorcists can attempt or reattempt to trap the demon inside a golden mirror, but with the demon freely roaming, this is markedly much more difficult. Killing the demon is the only other known method. However, fighting a Xeres demon is a tall order. The species' size and hardiness make it a difficult target to dispatch without similarly weighty weapons. As the species lacks pheromones and similar chemicals, a Xeres cannot hypnotise or hide its presence via "glamour". As a result, if manifested, these demons are aggressive and take little care in concealing themselves. Unless resistance is pronounced, a manifested Xeres will likely ignore the people around it and immediately make its way to any source of valuable items, with jewelry shops being the most common targets.

Aurum Saccularius and the Xeres can be invoked to barter gifts, but this is not recommended. Xeres that are invoked to bestow gifts will generally refuse or offer false treasures that will dissolve into sand or waste within three days. Attaining "true" treasure from a Xeres requires the invoker to proffer an item of considerable material value, as these demons will not barter on items of emotional value. However, should a summoner manage to make a trade, they must take care that the item given by the Xeres in exchange is not cursed in nature, as the riches under Xeres ownership are of ancient Babylon the Great and likely to be imbibed by the spirit of Hell.

Bartering with items of emotional value for gifts of material value can only be done with Aurum Saccularius. Attaining spiritual audience with this demon requires the commitment of grand Evil Deeds, and if performed correctly, the demon may impart upon the summoner the gift of alchemy. To summon Aurum, the invoker must prove that he or she values wealth above all else, via the grand Evil Deed of literally or metaphorically sacrificing their own blood for material wealth, and the further sacrificing of this wealth to attain greater potential wealth. This devotion to the accumulation of riches must reach to the pit of one's soul, and any faltering of this resolve will result in the failure to attain audience with the demon. Invokers must take care, as Aurum Saccularius cavorts in the dredge of the rich, and asking audience of the demon will consign their soul to the creature's possession to be retrieved whenever he sees fit. Bartering with Aurum will also gain the attention of the Court of Charity, who will attempt to use the victim to locate and prosecute the demon and his former Legions for the theft of the Rota Fortunae. Those who have undergone deal-making with either the Xeres or Aurum himself may be able to find solace and forgiveness through the Court of Charity, but the veracity of this is unknown.

Aurum's audience is not granted by commitment of wealth, but by commitment to wealth. His disdain for the attainment of riches at any expense has grown throughout his occupation in Hell, and he is happy to oblige the spiritual squalor the greedy entertain amongst themselves for his own amusement. Those that fall into his grasp are held within his pool of filth under the face of the Wheel of Fortune upon retrieval of their soul. Those that invoke him are given a vision of their fate upon Aurum's arrival for audience. Those that receive this warning often beseech the disciples of Uvogis in attempts at attaining life-extension to avoid their fate of infinite drowning in Aurum's pools of scat. Those who attempt and further succeed in extending their time in life to side-step claiming by Aurum are sent blights to remind them of what awaits. The smell of waste will invade their nostrils wherever they may go, flies will be present around their person regardless of location, and offal will permeate whatever pleasures they take of.