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The Vak'auga used to be a powerful slaver gang in Strand, but were devastated by Eirik and his allies, forcing them to flee the city shortly before the Third Great War.

Background[]

The Vak'auga are a very old gang from Strand, founded by the Magnus twins decades before the Third Great War. Their trade primarily laid in selling people they illegally captured, and running brothels consisting of women forced into prostitution, though they also engaged in smuggling of goods. The gang only preyed on human settlements in the south, as the varls were too strong for them to fight. The Magnus brothers used their unique ship called The Destiny of the Weak to transport their cargo, though its large size made it unfit for properly docking anywhere in Denglr's Bay. Since no one else except a few trusted people knew that there were two Magnuses, they spread the misinformation further and created a myth that their leader never slept, while using a baleful eye as their sigil.

For some years, the Vak'auga were not the only slavers in Strand, as at least one another gang, whom they were entirely unaware of, operated nearby. This changed when a drunk and destitute fisherman named Leiknir stumbled upon operations of both of them. Knowing that informing the authorities won't improve his lot, he decided to inform Magnus about his competition, hoping for some kind of reward. Magnus sent his men to verify this and had them wipe out the other gang after learning it was true. When he asked Leiknir why he should spare him, the latter told him that he could act as a spy for him since no one noticed him, and Magnus found the proposal wise.

After raiding for quite some while and growing more powerful, the ambitions of the Magnus twins grew bigger as they desired to take over Strand itself. The opportunity for making this a reality arrived when a new gang called the Aetla Hilmir, led by Nikolas, who was the Governor of Strand's late brother Helvir, emerged to challenge the governor for the throne of Strand. More than a year before the Third Great War, the Aetla Hilmir approached the Vak'auga with the offer for an alliance, guaranteeing smuggling of iron ore in exchange for the brothers offering them money and assistance.

The Magnus twins agreed to the Aetla Hilmir's offer, but first had them prove that they were serious about taking over Strand, by assassinating the governor's son Ragnar, who was touring Karlshus. Leiknir was sent to keep an eye on them despite his protests. While the gang failed in assassinating the governor-prince, Leiknir's report about their whole-hearted attempt convinced the brothers that they were indeed committed to what they proclaimed. They and Nikolas later also allied with the Mársmidr, whose leader Kjallak wanted the assistance of both the gangs to become the Varl King. The Vak'auga smuggled in varl skeletons and other goods for Kjallak, while also allowing the Mársmidr to use their warehouses.

Eight months before the Third Great War, the Vak'auga raided a village near a river. They slaughtered the male villagers who came in their way, and enslaved the female ones, except for those who put up armed resistance against them. One of those taken in the raid was a girl named Runa, who was later given by one of the Magnus brothers to Leiknir. Leiknir immediately freed her, but she soon decided to join his service out of gratitude and since she did not know anything about Strand. One of the survivors, Stefnir, also decided to take revenge on them and set out to find them.

Recent events[]

About four months before the Great War, Kjallak decided to acquire the Gift of Hadrborg, which was said to be able to revive the dead varls, and had his gang members steal the half possessed by Olaf. Two months later, he also tried to steal the half which he thought Ulfvalgr had but failed repeatedly, including when he tried to capture Olaf, Stefnir and Ulfvalgr after they came to Strand, due to Eirik and Valgard's intervention. The lord of the Mársmidr then asked for assistance from his allies, knowing that they would send their aid. He also told Skoegir to go to the Vaka'uga's warehouse at the western docks and make sure their latest shipment wasn't delayed.

Magnus later instructed Leiknir to help the triumvirate accomplish their plans, but the spymaster decided to expose the triumvirate instead, having grown to regret his life of crime. After Eirik and his allies found a varl skull in the Vak'auga warehouse, about which they had been told by Leiknir, Eirik hatched a plan to lure one of the triumvirate's lieutenants by getting Olaf and Ulfvalgr out in the open. He also had Leiknir inform about it to Magnus very late, so the Vak'auga and the Mársmidr would struggle to find anyone for the fight, while having the City Watch of Strand march there at a scheduled time to prevent any surprise attacks by the Aetla Hilmir. The Vak'auga had meanwhile smuggled in some varls led by the warlord Vilmundr, so Kjallak could fool them with the Gift of Hadrborg.

The Vak'auga eventually came to know about the tournament and Leiknir's betrayal, but by then it was too late. Eirik's plan succeeded as he and his allies won the tournament and captured the Mársmidr lieutenant Ottar, who told them about an important shipment being smuggled in by the Vak'auga for the Mársmidr at the Ninth Pier, stating that it was their best bet to capture Kjallak or Magnus. Eirik's allies decided to go alone despite his suggestions to bring in the City Watch, since the guards had failed them in past. Eirik was forced to go to the Great Hall on foot in order to inform the Governor's Steward Olvir about the triumvirate smuggling in goods at the Ninth Pier, and the two went there with Valgard and the City Watch.

After slaying a few guards, Hallvard, Olaf, Runa, Stefnir and Ulfvalgr soon reached the Ninth Pier and boarded The Destiny of the Weak, while it was unloading goods, and eventually reached the quarters of one of the Magnus twins. Their mistaken belief that there was only one Magnus spoilt their plans, as the other soon showed up and the distraction caused by his appearance allowed his trapped brother to escape. Stefnir and Runa went after the one they had surrounded, while Hallvard, Olaf and Ulfvalgr went after the other. Eirik, Olvir and Valgard soon arrived at the docks with the City Watch, attacking the gang members there.

The Magnus Stefnir and Runa were after proved too skilled for them, with the former plunging into the sea from the force of his attack, and the latter jumping into the waters to escape him. The one Hallvard, Olaf and Ulfvalgr were after meanwhile alerted his crew before they could catch him, forcing them to jump from the ship as it started sailing into the sea. Although the City Watch succeeded in slaying many of the Vak'auga and some of the Mársmidr, they failed to capture Magnus, before learning from Hallvard and Ulfvalgr that there were actually two Magnuses pretending to be one. They also realized about Kjallak's goal of conquering both Strand and Grofheim by convincing the varl warlord Vilmundr, after Olvir made Ulfvalgr tell them about the Gift of Hadrborg.

The triumvirate soon captured Runa and Stefnir, finding the other half of the Gift of Hadrborg on the latter. They also captured Leiknir, who was executed in front of Runa by the Magnus brothers in revenge for his betrayal. The Vak'auga then sent some of their slaves and gang members to an abandoned temple of Hadrborg in northern Strand, in order to host Vilmundr, but their plan was spoilt after Stefnir and Runa escaped, and led Eirik and his allies to the temple. A number of the triumvirate gangsters were killed by the warriors or in the fire which Nikolas' mother Melkorka accidentally started, while trying to kill Eirik for fatally wounding her son.

The City Watch soon arrived at the temple of Hadrborg due to the directions Eirik had marked for them, and rounded up the surviving gang members. The Magnus brothers fled Strand soon afterwards with what remained of their gang and their ship, in order to avoid being caught.

Trivia[]

The name of the gang means "evil eyes".

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