Order of Aurelius
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The select, the elite
The Order of Aurelius is an ancient religious cult of vampires named for the 12th century prophet Aurelius. Aurelius foretold the rise of the Anointed One. Some of its most prominent members are The Master, Darla and Luke. While part of the Master's bloodline, Angelus and vampires sired by him were never members of the Order. Spike and Dru do, however, work with and eventually take control of the remnants of the Order. Angelus is also offered membership, but turns it down.
Under the command of The Master, the Order of Aurelius is ruled by codes of severe ritualistic beliefs and extreme obedience to the Master: failure to follow the Master's will results in severe punishments, mostly mutilation or even death. Examples of this are the mutilation of the left hand of the vampire "Claw" and also the eye-gouging of the vampire Colin (not to be confused with Collin, the Anointed One).
The Master commands members not to live "among the human pestilence," instead dwelling underground and visiting the surface only to feed or to sire new vampires. Some members see the Order as the "elite" of the vampire race, destined to usher in the return of the Old Ones and the destruction of mankind, regarded by the Order as little more than animals, a "plague of boils" covering the earth.
At the Hellmouth
In 1937, the Order settles in Sunnydale in an attempt to bring about the end of the world. In preparation for the opening of the Hellmouth, the Aurelians are responsible for a series of gruesome murders. The murders cease after an earthquake interrupts the ritual that the Master is performing to open the Hellmouth, leaving the Master severely weakened and trapped within the portal he had been trying to open. The Order then lies low until early 1997.
In 1997 the time for The Harvest arrives. During the night of the Harvest, the Master plans to obtain strength from the blood of the victims of one of his minions, the so-called Vessel, through a mystical link between the two. The Master hopes to gain enough strength to break through his prison, and thereby open the portal that had trapped him in 1937. However, the Harvest is ruined by the interference of the Slayer, Buffy Summers.
Weeks later, some Brethren of the Order bring about the prophesied rise of the Anointed One. The Aurelians also decoy Buffy away from the true Anointed One by making a vampire of the maniacal Andrew Vorba, who is in turn slain by Buffy. Meanwhile the true Anointed, a child named Collin, is taken to the Master's presence.
Due to the actions of Buffy, the Order's numbers continue to thin, and many of the Master's most appreciated acolytes end up as dust. Dispirited, the Master summons the Three, a trio of battle-scarred vampire warriors, to hunt down the Slayer. They fail, thanks to the intervention of Angel, and lay down their lives in penance; The Master comforts himself by allowing Darla to kill them.
By May 1997, a number of portents announcing a new Apocalypse prompt the Aurelian vampires to once again perform a number of murders in preparation for the liberation of the Master and the fulfillment of the prophecy in the Pergamum Codex: the Slayer's death. The Order sires a large number of vampires to serve as the Master's army. The ancient vampire succeeds in escaping his prison, which causes the "opening of the Hellmouth": a portal to the Old Ones' universe opens and from it emerges a demon commonly referred to as the Hellmouth Spawn. Buffy finally slays the Master as Rupert Giles and others fight the Hellmouth demon back, averting the end of the world. A number of other vampires are also slain and many flee.
With the Master gone, the Anointed One remains as the leader of the Order of Aurelius.
Months later, under the orders of the Anointed One and his right-hand man, Absalom, the Order puts in motion a plan to resurrect the Master. The Master's bones are excavated and those around the Master at the time of his demise — Rupert Giles, Willow Rosenberg, Cordelia Chase and Jenny Calendar — are kidnapped to be sacrificed in the ritual. However, Buffy Summers, Angel and Xander Harris interrupt the ritual and slay all of the vampires except Collin, the Anointed One, who escapes. The Slayer smashes the Master's bones to dust, destroying the Order's last hope of resurrecting the Master.
Later, the Aurelian vampires resolve that whoever could kill the Slayer should take the Master's place and rule the Order. They choose the 'Night of Saint Vigeous', when a vampire's natural abilities are enhanced, for the contest. The plan is derailed when Spike, a new arrival in Sunnydale, is unable to wait and leads a mass assault against Buffy a few nights early. The assault is a failure and many vampires are killed. The Order's rules demand that Spike offer his life in penance, but Spike instead kills the Anointed One, takes the remaining vampires as his own minions and announces that they will have "a little less ritual and little more fun". With no one to continue leading its members, this is seemingly the end of the Order.
Following Spike's departure, The Mayor Richard Wilkins asserts control of a few of Sunnydale's vampires during Season Three, in preparation for his ascension into demon form. Following Wilkins' death, no central vampire authority is known to have replaced him.
An alternate world
In the alternate reality of "The Wish", created when Cordelia wishes Buffy had never come to Sunnydale, the Master, based in The Bronze, dominates Sunnydale; Willow and Xander are among his minions. Humans live in terror, hiding in their homes from dusk to dawn while the vampires run unchecked. The Master's consideration of humans as mere animals is made explicit by his blood extraction factory, in which humans are caged like cattle waiting to have their blood drained by a machine. The ensouled vampire Angel is held prisoner and tortured. Rupert Giles leads a small team of vampire-fighters known as the "White Hats", but they lack the proper resources to actually hurt them and are seen as little more than a nuisance.
During the course of "The Wish," Buffy winds up coming to Sunnydale (years after she was supposed to), and leads a battle against the Master. Buffy does not kill the Master but is killed instead by him. Nevertheless, right around this time Giles destroyed Anyanka's power-source, thus reverting the world to normal, though that time-line may still exist in some form, based on the events of "Doppelgangland."
Members and presumed members
- The Master (leader)
- Darla (departed the order with Angelus but eventually returned)
- Angelus (former)
- Collin, the Anointed One
- Jesse McNally
- The Three
- alternate Willow Rosenberg ("The Wish" and "Doppelgangland")
- alternate Xander Harris ("The Wish" and "Doppelgangland" (cameo))
- "Big Ugly"
- "Lean Boy"
- Colin: seen in "The Harvest"
- Zachary (mentioned)
- The Vampire Gathering ("Prophecy Girl")
As well as the above, there are many other unknown, unnamed vampires seen from season one until the death of the Anointed One and even beyond (as Spike makes the rest his minions).
- "Welcome to the Hellmouth": The Master, Darla, Luke, Thomas, unnamed vampires.
- "The Harvest": The Master, Darla, Luke, Colin, Jesse, unnamed vampires.
- "Teacher's Pet": Claw.
- "Never Kill a Boy on the First Date": The Master, Collin the Anointed One, Andrew Vorba, unnamed vampires.
- "Angel": The Master, Darla, Collin the Anointed One, the Three.
- "Nightmares": The Master, Collin the Anointed One.
- "Prophecy Girl": The Master, Collin the Anointed One, vampire gathering.
- "When She Was Bad": Collin the Anointed One, Absalom, Ned, Bob, Walt, Jane, Tara, Teaser vampire unnamed vampires.
- "School Hard": Collin the Anointed One, Spike, Drusilla, "Big Ugly", "Lean Boy", Sheila, unnamed vampires.
- "The Wish": The Master, Willow, Xander, unnamed vampires.
- "Doppelgangland": Willow, unnamed vampires
- "Darla": The Master, Darla, unnamed vampires.