Jugo

The kingdom of Jugo, originally Hugo, (ウーゴ) is a desert nation to the far east characterized as a country of “real men” (漢) with connotations of being physically strong and tough, brave and aggressive, straightforward and forthright, and honorable and reciprocal. All of these qualities encompass the idea of the fighting spirit, which may be why the country was given a Germanic name meaning “mind” or “spirit”. As a result, it is a country of simple warriors, a tradition which seems to trace back to its founder. Aurous is the hero of Jugo who established the kingdom and presumably its royal line, as the royal family continue to pass down his armor to this day. And as legend puts it, this armor is made of a mysterious substance that makes it invisible to cowards, hence his name’s obvious resemblance to the English aurora for its transient, nebulous look. Stories like this explain why Jugo’s culture developed around a macho man image, but where did Aurous come by the mysterious metal used to make this armor? Most likely, the founding desert king had originated from Heide.

Helmet handed down in the royal family of the desert country Hugo. It is said to have been worn by the hero who founded the nation, Aurous.

According to legend, it is made of a mysterious substance that doesn’t appear to a coward’s eyes. How about it, can you see it?

The visible Aurous set can be found in two places. One is in a chest adjacent to a Heide Knight in the Gutter. Another is obtained from a dark spirit who spawns on the ship at No Man’s Wharf on NG+ wielding the shield used by Heide’s Old Knights. This alone associates the armor with the descendants of Anor Londo, the transparent version worn by Rhoy when the explorer invades as a dark spirit in the Grave of Saints only reinforces this. The only other way to acquire this ghostly armor is from Maughlin when coming to him broke after having invested a great amount of souls into his business. The man collects his wares locally, so there is no doubt that several sets of Aurous’ armor exist in Drangleic. The armor thus may be yet another creation of Heide, whose knights already wear armor invented with unique metal alloys that remain an enigma to this day. It makes sense that armor barely visible to the eye would be created by a country founded upon the sunlight magic of the Anor Londo gods, the principles of which are the basis for spells like Hidden Weapon.

And so, Aurous is most likely a survivor of Heide’s destruction who escaped to a desert of the far east and carved out his own kingdom through battle. With his advanced armor and its rather deceptive appearance, he won the battle of strength with the locals and became the hero king for his new people in the generations to come. Regardless of his intentions, this produced a culture that loves and respects the art of war. Benhart, originally dubbed Banholt, (バンホルト) is the quintessential example of this. The man’s use of soregashi (某) as his personal pronoun indicates that he comes from a military family, and his reason for even coming to Drangleic is simply to hone his skills and test his mettle against the powerful monsters dormant in this land. There is nothing on his mind except mastering the art of war, and he is happy to boast about his own strength, albeit indirectly. At the same time, he gladly lends us his support to repay his debt after we remove an obstruction from his journey. Even then, he encourages us to kill him to take his valuables and will die without regrets if we do so. By all indications, the man is not even Undead and yet he lives to put his life on the line.

Unfortunately, there is nothing more that the old man can tell us about his kingdom’s warriors. While he wears a distinctive fur shawl and helmet adorned with a galea, the descriptions of his equipment acknowledge that these were things the warrior had picked up during his travels and thus don’t reflect the military uniforms of Jugan armies. They aren’t completely uninformative, however. Despite his clothes’ origins supposedly being unknown, his surcoat at least bears the crest of a blue stag of Mirrah, suggesting that the Jugan has been to the country of knights and acquired some of their equipment, perhaps through battle. Both countries are described as being situated east of Drangleic, so it makes sense that he might stop there early in his travels searching for strong opponents. But, the parma he carries depicts the antlers of that very stag on its face — with no mention of him picking it up in its description. Instead, we are told that it is old and probably some clan’s crest. What clan? From Mirrah? Why does Benhart have an old Mirrah shield in his possession when he uses a greatsword?

Small shield of Banholt of Hugo.

The pattern depicted on it is probably a clan’s crest or something. It seems to be old in itself, but it has no particular value.

The answer is that Jugo is one of the neighboring nations that constantly assail Mirrah. The kingdom has a warrior culture that loves battle, and Benhart’s shield can easily be a spoil of war that the old man had acquired on the battlefield or inherited like the Bluemoon Greatsword. Said sword has been passed down his line for generations along with the story that only a true man can unleash its full power, making it a priceless artifact the warrior is unwilling to sell even to repay his debt to us. And yet, he swears to return the favor on this same sword and ultimately hands it over to us along with the parma and the clothes on his back, specifically after witnessing our strength against three different bosses when summoned to help. Therefore, it is reasonable for the parma to also be the old man’s inheritance, pillaged by some ancestor in one of likely many wars against Mirrah and its knights. Alternatively, this emblem is Benhart’s family crest and a sign that his clan originated from Mirrah and at some point defected — it would certainly fit the nature of the sword they have passed down.

Crest of Creighton (left) compared to crests of Benhart’s Parma (center) and Benhart (right)

The underlying goal of Benhart’s training is to slay a powerful foe with this greatsword in order to draw out its hidden power of moonlight. But an experienced merchant like Magerold infers it to be a forgery, even going so far as to say that it is often the case with ancestral swords. Indeed, the Bluemon Greatsword’s design slightly differs from that of the Moonlight Greatsword we can acquire in the original Dark Souls, and the description of the blade also casts doubt on it having any power within it. It is only the slightly different-looking sword which we can craft with the soul of Seath that can unleash such power. Benhart is unaware of this, but the fact that his family has been handing down a bogus sword with a somewhat bogus story is curious. How did they end up with a counterfeit Moonlight Greatsword in their possession? Were they duped by some unscrupulous merchant? Was it an ancestor that made the forgery based on old stories? Someone ultimately lied, so it is at least feasible for Benhart’s family to have done something as dishonorable as defect to the enemy using a fake legendary sword as political leverage.

In either case, the likelihood of Mirrah and Jugo being warring neighbors is high. But what about other aspects of Jugo society? Benhart’s remark about moonlight exorcising evil suggests that there was a religious culture in Jugo derived from the Way of Blue, but the lack of items related to Jugan priests indicates it to not be a prominent part of life there, at least compared to war. However, that doesn’t make it nonexistent either. Jugo is home to desert sorcerers who cast pyromancy via a fan rather than just their bare hands. Given that the underlying cause of any desert is the blazing heat of the sun upon land, it should come as no surprise that people of the sand would draw upon its magical power specifically. Neither is it a shock for the sorcerers to use fans instead of a traditional sorcery staff given the arid environment. The desert has undoubtedly shaped Jugo’s approach to magi — it may even be that this relationship between the sun’s flames and their homeland holds some religious significance to Jugans. Pyromancy has historically had a religious element to it, and the desert sorcerers do drop dragon charms tied to the Lindelt Monastery.

Hood of a sorcerer handed down in the foreign country Hugo. Looks like simply a thin cloth and possesses great magic power.

Sorcerers of the sands have an attractive appearance. But one should be able to guess that it is a trick to deceive their enemies if he is wise.

Having said that, whether he can withstand the temptation is another question.

Outside of a religious context, sorcerers of the sand dress in light and very revealing clothing. While their primary purpose is probably to help deal with the heat of the desert, these clothes have the added benefit of more sex appeal. This is the apparent reason that all of the Jugan sorcerers we meet are beautiful women — women who apparently use their seductive appearance to deceive men and lure their enemies into a false sense of security. Perhaps this is an outgrowth of the country’s huge emphasis on masculinity, but it provides an interesting counterbalance to the honest manly men of Jugo. As to its color, the red cloth presumably represents the flames that they love to wield.

The only other known wrinkle to Jugan culture is giant ant larva which they consider a delicacy. Due to their acidic body fluids that can dissolve flesh, these local ants are known as “corrosive bugs” (腐蝕蟲) and react violently to any threats to their sandy anthills. Otherwise, they seem to be no different from normal ants, though their Queen expels an acidic white gas that also detoxifies the body. The existence of Corrosive Urns implies that the ants are hunted for their acid, but it is never clarified if Jugo makes use of them. After all, it wouldn’t be honorable if they simply melted their opponent’s equipment.

Clay pot filled with the body fluids of the large ants known as corrosion bugs. Deals damage to equipment with its powerful acid.

There are giant anthills that produce these ants in the desert country Hugo. The larvae are known as a delicacy, but they will melt you to the bone if you carelessly destroy their mound.