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 Post subject: Minotaurs of Caenyr
PostPosted: Sun Aug 26, 2007 9:28 pm 
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Minotaurs of the Chail Mountains

Always have they roamed the underground lairs. Kings and warriors of the deep dark places of Caenyr. Mighty in strength and cunning in wit they make their halls of stone and metal into the great labyrinths which few intelligent creatures would dare to enter. Great is their magic, which is rivalled only by their territorial behavior. Are these simply the 'bull men' from the nightmares of many unfortunate traveller and merchant who dared to pass their goods through the mountains? Or are they simply another race, who like so many would simply wish to be left alone.



Description

When you are able to cut through all the tales of drunken travellers and through the yarns spun by bards seeking your last coin, you find the race known as 'minotaur'. They stand about a foot taller than the average man, and regardless of position in their society, are strongly built. They share the torso of a human man or woman, which is covered in a fine fur like the hide of a bull. The colors the hide or fur can range from a ruddy brown to a deep black. Below the calf they are have cloven hooves and from the upper chest up they have the head of a bull.

Generally among males there are two long and sharpened horns like that of a bull that protrude from the sides of the head and curve forward. These horns can grow to be as long and large as a man's forearm to the tips of his fingers. Among the females of the race are smaller more diminutive set of horns that usually grow no longer than man's hand length. Both males and females have the tails of a bull.

Minotaur only have a maximum lifespan of 55 years. A minotaur is mature at the age of 10. Females cannot reproduce until they have reached the age of 15.



Origins of the Minotaur

1136 B.L. (Midsummer) : In the northlands of Etaria in an area that would later be known as the Athkalta Village dwelled a nomadic group of humans. The name of these people has long since been lost due to their secretive nature. They often moved in tiny camps consisting of less than 20-30 people between the Etaric Forest, the Tu’lan River Valley, and the sea.

They were close to nature, which is evident in the fact that their camps very rarely disturbed anything in the area. In those long gone days it was whispered that the folk were spirits for in the morning there would not be a sign nor hint of their campfires.

There is some truth to this. These people it is said worshipped long forgotten gods and were possessed of a type of magic that only partially remains now in the powers granted by the deities that now hold sway over Caenyr.

They were also craftsmen whose patterns often reflected complex geometric shapes and designs; often formed into mind boggling maze like patterns. These patterns were said to be woven into the hides and skins they wore as clothing. Some few relics of these people can be found in ancient lairs though most of their original works are now the property of the Itheril. (see below)

The Minotaur of today keep no records of their history so at this point much becomes unclear until the actual first sighting of the Minotaur.

From the northern forests they came that midsummer, screaming in agony and fear. Their once human bodies twisted and reformed, their clothing all but shreds over their massively muscled frames. Through the countryside they ran as if fleeing, but the peoples of the small villages just forming saw them as beasts on the attack and drove the small number of minotaur from their lands.

Taking to the mountains they found seclusion in the caves. Beaten, cursed, and confused they found yet another problem. The Itheril quickly took the small band of minotaur into slavery and bound them in chains.

For 348 years the Minotaur, named that by the Itheril, served as slaves within the halls of their Itheril Mistresses. They proved valuable warriors for the Itheril who kept them often as grunts and the first fodder to die. During the three and half centuries of slavery the Itheril came to realize that the Minotaur bred faster than they had anticipated. Despite their best efforts at weeding out the young at birth, the numbers of the Minotaur were soon becoming a problem.

788 B.L. : With the miraculous defeat of the Commander Vorl Darkflame upon the Razorbane Highlands, the Minotaur who had been kept as a secret secondary force to be brought to bear against the forces of light saw their opportunity.

Reg'nelak'grr proclaimed himself the first Raja of the Minotaur as the news of the defeated echoed into the underground halls. Taking the position by brute strength he quickly led the rebellion against the Itheril masters.

The insurrection was bloody and swift. Reg'nelak'grr and his forces of armed minotaur unleashed their hatred for their masters. Many were lost of the Minotaur to the magicks of the Itheril Clerics who wielded the faith of their goddess. In the end the minotaur were scattered into the caverns of the underworld. It is presumed that through these caverns the Minotaurs found themselves spread across Caenyr in various lairs.

In an act of great defiance the victorious Reg'nelal'grr took his first lair in the Chail Highlands, not far from the battlefields where the Itheril Commander Darkflame and his forces were defeated.

788 B.L. to Present : Freed from captivity and the dominant rule of the Itheril, the Minotaur, long forgotten of their old ways and beliefs have forged a new path under new deities. They have proved ever cunning in their defence and raids against the Itheril.

Cloaking themselves in new traditions they remain the enigmatic tribes of their ancestors. Their language of today is shreds of their ancient dialect mixed with itheril learned in slavery.



Religion

Minotaurs are fierce in everything they do. They are a race controlled by their passions, whether it be war making, worship, or stone shaping. While occasionally a Raja will declare his devotion to a God such as Arynaesis, the majority of minotaur worship Raekhan and Draxil.

The reasoning behind their worship of the Seething Rage is that minotaur do little to control their emotions and the emotion they are most in touch with is anger. Minotaur are known for their instinctive knowledge and understanding of Raekhan's 'Gift' of the Holy Rage. Minotaur Berserkers are renown among the subterranean races for their brutality in combat.

All Minotaurs pay homage and respect to Draxil for whom they see as the creator. They understand that Draxil in his wisdom needed a superior race to those of the humans, elves, and dwarves of the surface. It is understood by all Minotaur Shamans that their power is direct evidence of their faith in Draxil.

Those that worship Arynaesis are known as 'The Builders'. These are a special and revered sect among Minotaur society. They are said to be blessed among the Minotaur for they are the only ones capable of designing the great labyrinths. The Builder is the one who not only designs the incredibly chaotic and complex system of tunnels, planks, doors, or stairs, but is also the one who 'blesses' the labyrinth and the confusion it causes.

The Minotaur spit on any image or any mention of the name Valsharess. They see her and her minions as the greatest threat to their lairs and underground kingdoms. While Minotaur could care less about the insects of the surface world, they often conduct raids and attacks against any other force to be found below the top soil. They consider the Spider Queen weak and unworthy for she sets on high her female followers.


Society

Minotaur society is built on a warrior caste system. Every Minotaur knows its position in the clan from the time they are born, but the only way to improves one's caste position is by bloodshed and 'The Calling'. To most Minotaurs the clan is paramount, and generally a movement in caste only happens when there is a great disagreement between minotaurs. Disagreements among a race so stubborn and passionate often leads to bloodshed. Movements through bloodshed are recognized, but are often frowned upon by the Shaman and Raja.

Female Minotaur grossly outnumber the males, yet are kept under strict rules and watch. Female Minotaur are the servants and child bearers of the society. They are given almost no freedom and are considered the lowest caste. Most female Minotaur know their position and in the light of never being trained in the use of a weapon, do not rise against the males of the society. While the lowest caste they are generally treated well, certainly better than any enemy of the Clan.

It should be noted that female minotaur can have a direct impact on the life or death of their husband. While a male can have as many wives as he may take and keep from the hands of other minotaurs, if a female is found to be unable to reproduce, she and her mate are killed before the entire clan by fire. It is considered a curse among minotaur to be unable to reproduce. The male is 'delivered' by fire for being tainted by the female.


The Caste of the Clan

Raja King : Is the War Leader of the Clan. He is the supreme decision maker and the most powerful of the Minotaur. He gained his position almost always through 'The Calling'. The word Raja in the dialect of the Minotaur literally means 'Horn', which to them symbolizes a crown. Once a Raja falls in a 'Calling' or is defeated in an attack against the Clan, all his wealth and power go to the next to become the Raja.

It is a common mistake that other races think there is a King named Raja. This has led to the tale that the King Raja of the Minotaurs is immortal and that is why he never truly falls. The cunning Minotaur know of this folly among the lesser races and indeed do all they can to perpetuate the belief among outsiders.

The Builder :Is the Minotaur believed to be blessed by Arynaesis to create the labyrinth. This special Minotaur is blessed by all other Minotaur during its lifetime. It goes without want or need during its life and is granted the best of the meat and living space.

The Builder goes on a Spirit Quest to beg Arynaesis for the knowledge of the next labyrinth to be built and where inside the mountains. When he returns the construction begins. When the labyrinth is completed it is consecrated by the Builder's own blood. At the gate or threshold of the labyrinth the Builder cuts his own throat and with his blood is the magic of the place made.

The coming of the Builder is held once every 250 years. A great celebration is made when the Raja of the time is blessed with a vision granted him by Arynaesis as to which minotaur is about to be born to become the Builder.

There has never been a female builder.

Since the fall of Arynaesis no Builder has been appointed.

Raja Guard :Are the elite of the Shaman and Berserker castes. They are also always chosen by "The Calling". They are Berserkers who not only rose above the Shaman above them but also fought into the ranks of the Raja's Guard.

They are masters of weapon and magics and function solely as the personal bodyguards of the Raja. A Raja Guard can also hold another title of Lieutenant if they have been charged with the overseeing of a smaller unit of Berserkers or Shaman, this position is considered an insult to a Raja Guard as it signifies the Guard has been placed from the sight of the Raja. Raja's are only picked or can only come from this caste and nothing lower.

Shaman :Is the title given to the Minotaur who are blessed by Draxil or Raekhan with magical powers. They are given high esteem for their faith.

Shaman are not allowed to take wives as it could be seen as a diversion from the faith in their Gods. The devotion of the Shaman is unparalleled in Minotaur society and they considered the councillors for the Raja.

Berserkers : Are the warriors of the Minotaur. They are Commanders of the general army of minotaur’s. All are devout worshippers of Raekhan who has blessed them with the Gift. All would rather kill and see blood flow than speak, sometimes even to others of their kin.

Berserkers often employ the heaviest and most brutal of weaponry. While on the surface men claim that a warrior on horse is worth ten foot soldiers, many itheril, grae, and olath cretok can attest the same is true for the Berserkers.

Warriors : The standing army of the Minotaur clan. These are the foot soldiers of the Clan responsible for the raids on the other underworld races. Warriors make up the bulk of Minotaur society among the males.

Crafts and Skilled Labor : These are Minotaur who work the smithies to make armor and weapons. They are the caste that works for the Builder when a labyrinth is created. This is the caste of Minotaur who provide the necessary labor for the forwarding of the Clan and race.

Often most minotaur do not rise above this caste. These minotaur do tend to live somewhat better than their brethren.

Females : Are the child bearers and mundane laborers of the society. Though treated well, especially during pregnancy, they are still considered little more than possessions for the males in the Clan.

Cleaning, cooking, and even mining are duties many female Minotaur share.

Slaves : Are any race that the Minotaur keep as cattle. In the Chail Mountains the Minotaur often keep Hill Giants as slaves and guardians to the initial portals into their lair.

Slaves are often kept also for training practice for the army and experiments conducted by a Shaman.


The Calling

'The Calling' is a ritual in which one of a lower caste seeks to improve themselves and their ranking. The Calling has many rules and is judged and granted by the Raja alone. In 'civilized' society it is nothing more than a gladiatorial arena, but the rules are difficult for outsiders to understand. The basic premise is that he who wishes to improve his station must fight one from the level above his, the challenged (or Called) is chosen by the Raja. Those who become the Called are often those who have found disfavor in the Raja's eyes generally from a failure of some kind. The combat ensues, but the Called is armed and armored. The Caller must fight without weapon or armor. If he succeeds in his challenge, the Caller assumes the Called's position and station. The Clan welcomes this change with a glad heart and there is always a feasting after the combat.

As part of the society, when a Minotaur improves his station he gains everything the loser possessed. This includes children and wives. The victor also now has gained his new position and all the responsibilities of it.


Whether it is by divine will or simply the natural order of their existence all Minotaur Clans seem to operate in the same patterns. In truth this race often is unaware of the existance of any other clans since many of the underground areas are divided by the subterranean races or the earth itself. This leads to a heightened sense of self-righteous importance as they believe they are truly unique and blessed by Draxil. Most should be wary if they encounter a Minotaur above ground or in their lair, as they are fierce and combative. Truly they may indeed be blessed of the Gods.

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PostPosted: Thu Sep 20, 2007 8:21 pm 
WoC Architect
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Joined: Sun Aug 19, 2007 1:10 pm
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Location: Vancouver BC
GSID: Waterjules
Name of Main PC: Laurel Dy'ness
Other Races (playable if so stated)


The Ageless Kin
Breathstealers
Bugbears
Conception, Gestation and Maturation Across the Species
Erri’l
Gobley: Language of goblins and hobgoblins
Half-Celestial (playable race)
Celestial Races Revisited
Half-Demons (playable race)
Half-Dragon (playable race)
Half-Nymphs (playable race)
History of Languages
History of the Yuan-Ti
Hook Horrors
The Githzerai
The Illithids
Kitsune
Llith
The Lupinal
Lycanthropes (playable race)
The History of Lycanthropy
Master Trees and Barklings
Merfolk
Minotaurs of Caenyr
The Pedryfan’elfen
Ri’asa (playable race)
Sea Siren
The Sidhe
Spirit Folk
Unique Undead of Etaria
Vampyre (Playable race)
Wemic

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PostPosted: Fri Jun 13, 2008 6:16 pm 
WoC Architect
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Joined: Sun Aug 19, 2007 1:10 pm
Posts: 1464
Location: Vancouver BC
GSID: Waterjules
Name of Main PC: Laurel Dy'ness
More reading on the Natural History of Caenyr:


A Basic Guide to Faerie Dragons
The Bitter Pole – The World’s Crown
The Bitter Sea
Bugbears
The Cycles of Caenyr
The Deep Sea
Dragons of Caenyr
Dragon Settlements
Heavenly Forces
The History of Gem Dragons
History of the Yuan-Ti
The Githzerai
Hook Horrors
Illithids
Luhta Kanta: Cursed Children of Aryanaesis
The Lupinal
Master Trees and Barklings
Minotaurs of Caenyr
Moons of Caenyr
Plants and their Uses
Poison – the Whats and Hows
Owlbears
Rare Cloths and Other Materials
Rauk’hra – Terror of the Black Fathoms
Star Stories
Wemic

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