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When the children of Dema are told stories of the wondrous Auric’s wealth and exotic folk, each telling usually ends with fanciful stories of The Great Hatin, Filo’ Ya. His Vastness, Ruler of The Auric Hatinate in Perpetuity, Deliverer of the Seeds. Filo’ Ya inherited these honorifics and control of the Gilded State’s most prosperous polity from his grandparents. He ran his nation with such brilliant deviousness that his court’s sinister antics are the subject of lavish plays and great painted tapestries. A reviled icon scorned by countless commoners and ‘asset’ Auric slaves who labored beneath him, some still found it hard not to feel a tiny parcel of affection for Filo’ Ya. His unique brand of orderly chaos overflowed from his deep laughs and irreversibly left their mark on the richest realm of the Usundi.
Immensely girthy and hedonistic, Filo’ Ya went to great expense to prove he was as cunning and mercantile as the generations of the Filo family before him. He was known even as a child to echo the largest words he heard elsewhere, almost always mispronounced and badly misused. It is likely he continued the practice as an adult to lull more educated visitors to the sprawling Court of the Hatin into underestimating him. As a young royal, most in Ya’s court could easily see through his garish gifts of silk and closely rehearsed wine toasts at dinner. They still paid deference to his whims, as he kept a close circle of competent advisors around him to make up for his lack of business sense.
Nevertheless a brilliant social schemer and manipulator, Filo’ Ya established himself as a dependably erratic trade partner in a city otherwise consumed in backhanded conspiracy and intrigue. His deals always left partners in an objectively better circumstance than they expected, but also often greatly inconvenienced. Ya’s stated goal was to “beget joy,” though for exactly whom he never clarified. Tellingly, Ya once settled a debt with his rival the Sunflower Duchess worth a cargo of gold by hauling an equivalent amount in copper coins soaked with sunflower oil to the Duchess’s villa, piling them so high that she could not leave through the front gates. A counting of the money later revealed Ya had repaid the coins with an extra 2% interest.
By the time Ya’s ruling mother Filo’ Saq fell in battle repelling Jana’haki raiders, Ya was ready to assume comfortable control of the Hatinate from his hundred bedroom estate within the Marble Roost. The band of companions he kept at hand were known as the Harlequins, a motley troupe of specialists and sages. Most infamous was Talla Kalazar, a human assassin that Filo’ Ya kept so busy culling rivals in other Houses that an entire book was eventually written about her exploits called Talla’s Dagger. From Filo’ Ya’s early adulthood in the final decades of the epoko de mallumo, all the way through the Uprising Era, Talla would be the most stalwart ally to Ya. Talla’s loyalty, she herself insisted, was because Ya could afford to pay her triple the offers from Ya’s rivals. For instance, at Ya’s request, Talla once assassinated the cinnamon magnate Tiric’ Zair by dropping an entire ship on his wipic chariot. The ship was reportedly three times larger than the ship Zair had offered Talla to poison Ya’s candied peach bowl.
The years of the early Uprising Era were the greatest test of Filo’ Ya’s rule of the Hatinate. With the Queen of the Night’s Uprising in full swing by 19 LS, Filo’ Ya was left with a sobering choice for his nation’s future. Emperor Remus of the human Solar Hegemony personally invited Filo’ Ya to a diplomatic visit in occupied Mundi. Ya arrived in a gilded pleasure barge so wide that it could not fit in Mundi’s canals, and distributed over ten tons of seeds and jewelry to the local Featherfolk. Emperor Remus proposed an economic alliance with the Gilded States against the forces of the rebelling Moon Realms. Ya readily accepted, as an old rival to House Filo was closely advising the Queen of the Night.
While this untrusting alliance with Emperor Remus would be shaky at the best of times, Filo’ Ya saw the Uprising as a means to draw public attention away from criticism of his rule at home, and as a means to ease tension between The Auric and the humans of the Light Plains. Ya provided a vast flow of funding and asset laborers into the Hegemony’s war machine that financed several of the war’s pivotal turning points. Mercenary companies from the Gilded States found irresistible contracts as auxiliaries in Hegemony legions. A hefty share of their loot was sent back to Filo’ Ya’s coffers as tribute. Curiously, Ya used a portion of these funds to buy every free Usundi in The Auric a small feathered hat -- which, on top of being a superfluous gift to people born with feathers, crashed the local clothing economy for several years after. Ya always insisted this was a crucial step in a greater plan that historians and the ninety-nine other great Houses never deciphered.
At the conclusion of the Moon Realms Conflicts, Filo’ Ya had made himself and the great Houses of The Auric far more prosperous than when he started. While the fate of humanity had been forever changed by the war, Ya's favor with the Solar Hegemony was stronger than ever. Ya thus began one of the largest transfers of enslaved sentients in history, by brokering and reselling tens of thousands of Nightriders into markets as far as Hollowfalls and Abresia. Of special focus was his completion of a “People Zoo,” a twenty acre exhibition in the middle of The Auric with slaves carrying out a facsimile of daily life from every culture of Dema. Vocal critics pointed to these enslaved workers as proof of Ya’s endless cruelty. After demanding he be brought more seeds, Ya’s standing response was always that the slaves’ fates were “spicier than the surrogative.”
As a man of hopelessly bankrupt morals, Filo’ Ya’s actions were still immensely profitable to the ruling merchant lords of The Auric. His efforts guaranteed that the rich would indeed continue to get richer while the poor descended deeper into destitution. Filo’ Ya passed away peacefully in his sleep in 34 LS, by all accounts with a smile on his face and seeds in his belly. It is perhaps his lasting legacy that The Auric was able to fend off a surprise betrayal and invasion by the Solar Hegemony from 46-48 LS. The military infrastructure Ya purchased secured The Auric’s regional supremacy for generations after his death.
Filo' Ya is just one of many Leaders and Heroes whose stories are told at length in the 5e Conversion Book's lore codex. Check out more information here!
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