The Ravaging of Arboria
Creatures of the Forest
For thousands of years, the Aurin lived simple lives on the forest world of Arboria. Having developed a symbiotic relationship with the trees of their homeworld, the Aurin were fierce and agile hunters that protected Arboria's forests and the creatures that lived within them. Led by an unbroken line of queens that communed directly with the ancient and powerful Mother Tree, the Aurin enjoyed an idyllic existence in their hidden paradise on the edge of the Fringe.
Isolated by the location of their homeworld, the Aurin had never encountered offworlders until the arrival of a ragtag band of humans - descendants of the survivors of Brightland's Rebellion on planet Cassus. Appreciating the good-natured independence of their visitors, the Aurin welcomed them, curious about their colorful stories of other worlds among the stars. The Aurin were happy to trade fresh food and water for the strange new tools offered by the humans, and a friendship born of kindness and generosity quickly blossomed between the two races. Fearful of bringing the Dominion down upon their new friends, the human fleet soon moved on, though from time to time individual ships would return to pick up fresh supplies and visit with Aurin friends.
The Planet Reapers
Despite the careful precautions taken by the rebel humans, the Dominion managed to trace the path of their fleet and eventually discovered the location of Arboria. As punishment for aiding the fugitive humans, the Dominion declared unconditional sovereignty over the Aurin's forest kingdom and sent an army of devastating Planet Reapers to collect the empire's rightful due.
The Aurin fought back bravely against the initial Dominion forces who invaded Arboria - but the Planet Reapers were monstrous mechanical resource harvesters designed to withstand all but the heaviest firepower, and Aurin weapons were no match for the technological might of the empire's military. Suffering heavy losses, the Aurin were forced to fall back, deeply affected by the agony of the trees as the Planet Reapers reduced huge swaths of their beautiful and verdant planet into barren, smoking wastelands. Desperate, their young and newly crowned queen, Myala Everstar, sent out a distress signal to their human friends—hoping that her people might be saved from destruction.
A Difficult Choice
The human leaders received Queen Myala's cry for help and immediately formulated a daring rescue plan. With the help of Granok mercenaries led by the indomitable Durek Stonebreaker, the main body of the fleet was sent to bait Dominion forces, while a second group - manning a flotilla of emergency shuttles - crept past them and landed on the surface. The rescuers quickly loaded as many Aurin as they could onto the shuttles while the Dominion was preoccupied fighting off the battle-hardened Granok mercs, who were more than ready to settle an old score with the empire.
Even with every transport ship available, it soon became clear not all the Aurin could be saved. Queen Myala initially refused to abandon her people, vowing to stay and fight for her beloved Arboria until the bitter end. But advisors like her First Consort, Arwick Redleaf, begged her to reconsider, for the loss of their queen could very well mean the end of the Aurin race. In the end, a brokenhearted Myala agreed to board the transport for the good of the Aurin people, but promised the remaining Aurin she would one day return.
The Will to Survive
Safely aboard the Exile fleet, the Aurin struggled to overcome the despair they felt leaving their homeworld while slowly learning to adjust to life in space. They embraced the sciences and technology of their new allies, using their affinity with nature to tend and maintain the fleet's agricultural vessels. Despite the tragedy they had suffered, the Aurin were determined to survive. The day would come when they would return to Arboria, drive out the Dominion, and reclaim their beloved homeworld.