But the Aurin? They aren't fighting for anything. They were dragged into this war by humans, propelled by a promise that grows ever more unlikely in its potential fulfillment. All that the Aurin wished to do was help people in obvious need, and their thanks -- and ultimate reward -- seems to trap them in an endless cycle of violence in which they're not naturally inclined to participate. In some ways, they're the most victimized race of the Exiles because they're limited by not just the Dominion but their fellow faction-mates.
Both the Chua and the Aurin start out on forest worlds, but the Aurin were always more of the tree-hugging sort than the bomb-developing sort. They lived in harmony with the trees, presumably following the ancient Protocols of the Filthy Hippie to their logical conclusion. It may not always have been a perfectly comfortable life, but it was a life, and it produced a culture in which the Aurin were charitable to strangers, kind to others, and all around good.
The Exiles abused this.
Officially, the Exiles did their best to cover their tracks, but the Dominion still wound up tracking their ships to the Aurin homeworld and ravaging Arboria. Unofficially, though... let's be real here. The Exiles saw a port in the storm and they took it. And the Aurin were all too happy to help, with almost naive generosity, giving these strangers food and shelter and a breather before they left.
But leave they did. And then the Dominion arrived. They wanted to know where the Exiles had gone, and the Aurin... well, they had sheltered a group of criminals. They had nothing the Dominion wanted. For all they knew, the Exiles were still in hiding. So they brought out the Planet Reapers and declared the planet as their own.
This is, without a doubt, the most unambiguously evil thing that the Dominion has done. But it also typifies what happened to the Aurin from the moment they were brought onto the larger galactic stage. This was not a race of people about to develop spaceflight, nor were they notably inventive or strong or anything like that. Some strangers came and asked for help, and now they were being punished for taking a side in a war that I doubt they even had fully explained to them. (If you were with the Exiles, would you have told the Aurin all about your pursuers?)
To their credit, the Exiles came back to help the Aurin. But it was a singular sort of help. They weren't there to fight against the Dominion or try to protect the Aurin, just to evacuate as many of them as possible. The Aurin stepped onto the ships, their queen promising to return...
How long ago was that, incidentally? Is there even anything left of Arboria now? Of the Aurin people who didn't flee with the Exiles? More to the point -- have the Exiles liberated a single world from Dominion control?
Arguably, doing so is next to impossible, and I completely understand that viewpoint. A ragtag army is not the ideal force to drive out an occupying force of incalculable might. But one has the notion that the Aurin were promised something more substantial. Queen Myala Everstar reached out in desperation to save her world, not to leave it. To save all of her people. This is not a race of warriors; the planet was at peace when the Dominion came.
The Aurin have learned to make war again, after a fashion. They're trying to settle down on Nexus, even though you can feel the tension because they just want to have a place to call their own. They want their world back. But they're still locked out of that, forced to stay on the run, working for the Exiles against an enemy that they resent, but more as a concept than anything.
I can't imagine the Aurin are naturally vindictive or want to make the Dominion hurt. The fight for Nexus is just a fight to have a home again, something so long denied and deferred by the necessities of fighting a war that the Aurin never willfully commenced. As a race, they've been found guilty by association, even though they just offered aid to people in dire need of succor.
So I wonder how much simmering resentment remains in the hearts of the Aurin, stuck in a war they never wanted, fighting an enemy when they wanted none. I wonder how many Aurin look at their erstwhile Exile allies and think that the only reason their home was destroyed was that they allowed the Exiles to rest. Left to their own devices, they wouldn't be fighting with anyone.
Within their homes, the Aurin tell their children that one day, they will return home and save their lost family members. And when the lights are out, the same parents who say that ask themselves whether they aren't believing in a pipe dream, whether perhaps the Exiles are never going back for Arboria. And that seed of doubt, planted in fertile soil, will blossom only in the fullness of time.
Feedback, as always, can be left in the comments below or mailed along to firstname.lastname@example.org. Next week, it's the year in review, and the week after that I'd like to talk about the Cassians just to balance things out.
Here's how it is: The world of Nexus can be a dangerous place for a tourist or a resident. If you're going to venture into WildStar, you want to be prepared. That's why Eliot Lefebvre brings you a shiny new installment of The Nexus Telegraph every week, giving you a good idea of what to expect from both the people and the environment. Keep your eyes peeled, and we'll get you where you need to go.