After Mankind lost its place as the dominant species on the planet, its scattered remains had to protect their refuges from the forces of the encroaching Forest.
With every winter, the Eerie would scratch and hiss at the gates, only leaving with the dawn. The survivors would see the marks left from their terrible claws and hungry teeth and they would think better than to venture outside of the city during nighttime, and into the forest at all.
Not every danger coming from the Forest would be as aggressive and easy to spot as the Eerie. Far more dangerous were the work of the actual Fae, often staying in the background, commandeering the local animals and turning them feral, or perhaps fouling the weather and spoiling the crops.
They could not be fought directly, but with the help of blessed water, of the Vestals and the occasional use of some artifact from the Industrial Age, mankind managed to keep them at bay.
But there were other creatures.
One of these, known as the Angia, had two forms.
In the first it appeared as a magnificent serpent, twenty fathoms long and one thick, with a fearsome head full of knife-sharp teeth. Most impressively, it had a golden crest standing atop its head, similar to that of a rooster.
The Angia creature also possessed a terrible gaze that could burn things from afar.
Once, a hunter and the rest of his patrol spotted an Angia resting on a tree close to the city they were tasked to protect. The hunter aimed his rifle at the beast, but the Angia raised its head and flashed its gaze and the hunter’s rifle burst in a thousand incandescent pieces and a bout of flame.
It then disappeared.
The other reason why people feared Angias though, was because of their second form.
This happened during the nights where the moon was hidden, and no argent light caressed the fields, so that they could walk on two legs and whisper words from the unseen corners. Some of them even went farther, as this story explains.
Once, during a night with no moon, a farmer had remained in his fields past the time to go to bed. He wanted to repair some of the destruction wrought to his crops and thus he did not notice that it was almost twilight. There would be no moon that night, and in fact when he lifted his gaze from the field he saw a huge serpent disappear between the boughs. Then he picked up his rifle and went after it, reasoning that if he could not kill the beast, it could at least scare it off.
As he walked between the rows of cultivations, though, he did not see a hideous serpent, but a gorgeous naked young woman, walking among the fields with a mane of golden hair reaching up to her waist.
The farmer started, and he would have shot her, if not for how beautiful she was.
The Angia then walked up to him, made him lower his rifle and looking him deep in the eyes she said:
“Do not reveal anyone my secret and every morning you will find a coin under your pillow.”
The farmer, shaken, could only nod. The Angia smiled and kissed him on the brow, disappearing then between the growing shadows.
He made to go to the Temple and clean himself off with blessed water and ointments, but it occurred to him that the local Augur would quickly smell the presence of the Angia, and his role in all this, so he just came back to his house, had a light dinner on the mangy vegetables he had managed to grow, and went to bed.
Imagine his surprise when the next day he did find a coin under his pillow. It was nothing special, an old coil that still smelled like dirt, but the Angia did keep its word – and now it was his turn.
He waited a few more nights, still taking care of his crops in case everything failed, but each morning he kept his mouth shut, the Angia left him a small coin for his trouble, and he reasoned that it would not take long for him to become wealthy, or at least care less about his field.
After the twelfth day, when he had gathered a nice handful of coins, he went to town, purchasing much better vegetables than those he could grow himself, together with a new pair of trousers.
In time, as he did keep his mouth shut for days and days, he learned that the Angia would keep him under its protection, and so his confidence grew – and with it his foolishness.
People began to talk, and he made up a story about coins he found inside an old box he had found in his field. He surely could not tell them about the Angia, even though his heart ached at all the lies he had to make up.
Thus he began to catch the occasional adventurer shoveling away at his carrots, looking for more treasure.
But in time rumors did quench and he might have enjoyed a bit of peace, if not for the terrible secret that burned at his tongue. He resisted for week upon week upon week, and he began to drink to ease the pain.
Each morning, he would slither his hand under his pillow and find a fresh coin – and thus he would keep quiet.
Until one night he found himself in the company of others, and he raised one glass of wine to good fortune, an another to friends, and one more to gold, and at the fourth one, with his mind clouded and his already-shriveled intellect dulled, he raised one at the Angia whom he loved.
He came back home that he did not even realize what he had done, but as soon as he stepped inside a huge snake with teeth like knives and a golden crest coiled around him and squeezed him so tight nothing remained of his body save for a large bloodstain on the floor.
And it is said that when the Augur went to check on him days later and found the house abandoned and the field destroyed, she shook her head at the foolishness of the man who had accepted to protect the Angia.
And from there on, that dark bloodstain remained on the floor. No force had been able to clean it off. If people painted over it, it would reappear, and by covering it with planks it would seep through the wood and stain them over.
So in the end they decided to burn the house and salt the fields.
And there have been no more stories of Angias since then!
Author’s Notes: A quick experiment. I am learning about folklore and I really liked this monster, I thought it was cute. In the original tale, it would pay men to lay with it, and I decided to change the story a little and set it in the Patina universe. Thanks for reading.