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Cucuvea Edit

Cucuvea was born in the First Age, when people lived peacefully with other races and in harmony with the earth. She was one of extraordinary twins, unlike any other beings, deeply connected to Gaia from birth. The twins were chosen by Gaia to be stewards, to look after mankind - her most beloved children.

Blessed as they were, they channelled the raw energy of anima long before other humans. Their magic was a union, most powerful and balanced when used together. It was magic in its earliest form, unknown even to higher beings. The perfect symbiosis of Life and Death energies was powered directly from Gaia. The sisters were, in essence, the first people of the secret world, and their reward was extended life.

Together with others - those who saw science as an ideal expression of progress - the sisters used their magic for the common good of mankind.

As the millennia came and went, however, and the perfect harmony between the races cracked, one of the key figures in the struggle for domination saw the sisters as tools - mere instruments of science - that could be used to tip the balance of power.

Lilith and the twins had been friends since childhood, inseparable. But somewhere along the way, friendship was sacrificed upon the iron altar of progress. Ruthlessness could harness more power than affection; manipulation ensure more control than love. And so Lilith, jealous of the magical abilities that she so sorely lacked, kidnapped the sisters in hopes of extracting their powers.

Lilith abused the twins for years through increasingly distressing experiments. She never succeeded in extracting their powers. No matter what she tried, the sisters' secret proved impossible to breach. Finally, in one painfully gruesome bid to bleed their powers from them, Lilith pushed too far. One of the sisters lay dead.

Cucuvea, barely alive herself, managed to escape through her connection with Gaia. She was never the same after her other half died. While she still retained great powers, they never again had the potency and balance as when she formed a union.

The First Age ended with the destruction of the world. Lilith played an important part, having created demons and monsters in her twisted lab experiments. She set much of the stage for the catastrophic war that ended the grandest of all the ages of humankind.

Cucuvea once again endured. Along with other survivors, she hid from the bitter, man-made winter that would keep them in caves for millennia.

Finally, mankind crawled out of their dark dens and squinted at the dawning of a new age. Unlike the humans, Cucuvea's motivation was not to rebuild society, develop technology, or look to the stars. She wanted to avenge her sister and protect her wards, the humans, from suffering the savage old fate. Knowing what Lilith was capable of, she felt obligated to stop her.

Cucuvea had the power to balance Lilith's evil offspring by manifesting Gaia's positive energies in protective nature spirits. These creatures, both the good and the bad, would become the stuff of myths and legends. Stories of fairies, nymphs, dryads, leprechauns and fauns are based on the creatures she made.

For the next hundred thousand years, Cucuvea searched for her nemesis, but would always be several steps behind. She travelled the earth, hiding underground at the end of each age, only to continue her quest when the world had healed again.

Over the course of these millennia, the lone twin bonded even deeper with Gaia, and, as a result, she developed the ability to take the form of any of Gaia's children. The owl would become her favourite fell.

As a creature with powerful transformation magic, several myths sprung up in Cucuvea's wake.

Since she always followed Lilith's footsteps, some linked the presence of the mystic owl to the monstrous children commanded by the queen of darkness. Others understood she was trying to protect them. Through the ages, Cucuvea, and owls everywhere, would garner a vibrant - and inconsistent - reputation.

To some, she was a symbol of good luck, wisdom and patience. To others, who saw only the shrouds of secrecy, she was an omen of impending disaster, the embodiment of darkness. She was the keeper of sorcery in a great many cultures, and sometimes depicted as a companion of the gods and goddesses of mankind. Over the span of three ages, Cucuvea was feared, revered and worshipped.

In the beginning of the Fourth Age, Cucuvea chose to permanently return to her human form. In a time when man lost contact with Mother Nature, and supernatural beings retreated to the safety of the deepest forests and darkest shadows, the clumsiness of human limbs became necessary.

She became the epitome of wise women all over the world, living in harmony with nature, teaching those who'd listen about Gaia while further nurturing her relationship with magical creatures great and small.

Over the many millennia she wandered the earth, Cucuvea slowly lost the taste for conflict and revenge. When she came to Transylvania almost two thousand years ago - still sneaking after Lilith's shadows - she found a place that needed her. It was a place where Gaia was strong, populated with creatures that had long ago vanished elsewhere. Instead of scrounging blindly for revenge, she decided to settle and swore to protect all beings in the valley.

She has nested in Bacas County since Dacian times, watching over its inhabitants, mostly keeping herself apart from the great struggles. Though not approving of Vlad III Dracula's methods, she did give him her support in the war against Lilith and Mara.

The great truce in the valley was also her doing. Following the back-and-forth purges of Lilith and Vlad's war, the inhabitants of the valley - both supernatural and human - were war-weary and exhausted. Cucuvea called for a truce and bade all of them to co-exist in mutual respect. The truce held for six centuries.

Nestled in her great oak tree near the forest's edge, she has always been somewhat of a recluse. Although she has sworn to protect the holy creatures and humans of the region, she is not easy to approach, and very slow to trust.

Generations of people in Bacas County have known the elusive woman as an eccentric old bag. No one ever learned her real name. But everything needs a name, and since she looks a bit owlish, they soon took to hooting after her and calling her by an archaic Romanian term for owl, the name she carries to this day - Cucuvea.

Now, as the bells of war toll once more, everything she has done for the peace of the valley is threatened. As the vampires return, Cucuvea, like every creature in the wretched valley, prepares for the inevitable coming of carnage.

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