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minotaur

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The Minotaur

 


 

 

Introduction

 

Minotaur, a word both plural and singular in the language of the great race of beings who called themselves as such, was a word that inspired awe in the many races of The Shield in the times following The Sundering. Though they were among some of the greatest poets with a rich linguistic heritage, they also had no concept of time, writing system, or mathematics... and they liked to break things.

 

These great beings were sometimes misclassified as Halfmen (a comparison they despised) due to being large, shaggy, bipedal bovines. They were reknowned for their mighty hammers, too large to be wielded by the other races upon the land, the only weapon that the Minotaur would wield. They considered swords and axes to be "sharp and cowardly."

 

Traveling about the plains as nomads, the bovine Minotaur were noble creatures, feeding upon the tall grasses that grew in the flat places of the world. Especially favored was the Chanteuse Grass that lulled their calves to sleep in the vast savannahs. In the early days of The Sundering, their herds were to be found wherever there was a flat, fertile place for them to chew the grasses down to little green stubs and then take their mobile villages elsewhere to seek their fortune.

 

 

The Herds

 

As with many large herbivores, the Herd is the primary unit of the Minotaur social organization. Herds are ruled by a dominant female (the High Cow) who directs them in their roamings across the landscape. Each of the Seven Great Herds of the Minotaur is led by a High Cow said by their Minotaur Shaman to be descended from Gaia herself.

 

The males are led by a dominant male (The High Bull-Chief) and are mostly content to stay out of the Herd's business (the exception of course being rutting season) and watch over its safety. The Bulls of the Minotaur are known for their great hammers, and the High Bull known for the largest and most powerful of all, the Herd Hammer that signifies his position of prominence. The High Bull is often depicted leaning upon his Hammer, surveying the grazing herds below him. So often seen propping himself up with it, the weapon is often given another term illustrated in its lengthy title. Tales of Yorn features a hammer named: Greatest MhOOO'rOK of the Hmuuu'mUUUr Herd, the Third Leg of High Bull-Chief Grorr the Hill-Strider..

 

"Foul Dog-Thing! Today the Third Leg of Grorr shall slap your stain from the very face of Gaia!"

 

 

The Hammer Lords

 

But wherever there are herds, there are great voracious predators to be found on the land... the great Dog-Crabs were relentless in their attacks, howls of the Dogmen packs were never far from their encampments, and the Spotted Trolls seemed never to tire, their shoddy waggons of shoddy merchandise pursuing the minotaur wherever they went.

 

From these troubled days rose the Hammer Lords, fearless wardens of the Plains, ever watchful of foes to fell with their mighty Hammers. They were always fraternal twins (which were considered lucky), and the Hammers of these twin Hammer Lords were blessed by a Minotaur Shaman, and said to bring great fortune to their wielders and protect them from diarrhea, a most debilitating ailment to affect the four stomachs of a Minotaur on the battlefield.

 

As the glory of the Minotaur faded, so did that of the Hammer Lords, all of whom would ultimately leave their herds for the glory of the battlefield. The last of these noble chieftains were the most famous: Haul and Gaul, the mighty Brothers of the Muu'hrrk'muu Herd. Their bellowing battlecries would tear the fields of the Great Battle of Great Unificationess, though the battle would sadly take the life of Gaul. His brother would wander aimlessly until his people were attacked by the Hammerlings of Urgel, when he would lead the last of the Hammer Lords in both victory and slaughter, again to find himself a lone wanderer who could no longer bear life among the great herds and the memories of his brother.

 

"He may be a dullwitted shaggy arseholder, but he fights like an angry shark riding a buffalo!"

 

--Duane

 

A saying of the Minotaur goes: "Brave Warrior, May Your Hammer Never Sharpen"

(Translation into the Minotaur Tongue would require several pages)

 

 

Life in the Herds

 

Minotaur Life was organized around the changing seasons, which determined their movements across the plains of Battal. Minotaur would carry their huts, made of long wooden poles and mats of woven grass (or the skins of Dog-Things in the case of a prominent figures such as Minotaur Shaman or Hammer Lords). Huts were mostly used for storage of grass, rituals to Mighty Taur, or places for Minotaur in need of the Minotaur Shaman's medical treatment. Rarely were they used for sleep, as Minotaurs much preferred to sleep outdoors, drifting into slumber while chewing their cud. Gentle as they appeared, they were quite violent when startled from sleep. A saying on the Great Plateaus of Yymp: "Never, ever tip a Minotaur."

 

Rutting Season

  • In the summer, the Minotaur enjoy the bounty of the fertile grasslands. As the Cows become ripe for impregnation, the Bulls struggle amongst each other to sieze the title of High Bull-Chief. ("He who wields the Third Leg shall seed the strongest Cows.") Still, in these times of bounty, there is chance for introspection, worship of Mighty Taur and Gaia, composition of epic tales in the Minotaur Tongue, and the brewing and enjoyment of Root Tea. By far, the latter of these is most popular.

 

Wandering Season

  • As the cold days of the fall turn to a chilly winter, and the last of the Cows have been impregnated, the High Cow leads her Herd to the lowest plains, away from the drifting snow. This is the most dangerous time of year, when predators are in their most savage and hungry state. The High Bull truly earns his hammer as he must lead his brothers to defend the herd against Dogmen, Dog-Crabs, Dog-Lizards and other marauding Dog-Things. (The Minotaur despise dogs, as they do anything that preys, barks, nips, or smells like a Dog. It is said that all Dog-Things, or (as they are derogatorily called in the Minotaur Tongue) "RrrrrH'OOOf" must smashed by the Bull-Chief's Third Leg as a punishment for their doggy style and habits.)

 

Calving Season

  • The beginning of this season is marked by the festival of Holywood, after which the High Cow leads her Herd to lush meadows as the snows recede from valley and dale, to bring her sisters there to birth their calves at the end of their arduous 18-month gestation. The Bulls keep a safe distance from their mates, asserting that they must watch the herd. Even the High Bull-Chief would rather face a hundred Dog-Things with his Third Leg than enter the tend of the High Cow as a 120-pound Minotaur Calf moves through her birthing places.

 

 

Culture

 

As with all gentle beings descended from the Hy-Kryatures, Minotaurs have a proclivity for introspection, and wish to express the feelings and musings within their hearts. But, unlike other beings who have much higher ambitions, the Minotaur prefer to express themselves through simpler means such as breeding, fighting, and eating grass. They have no system of mathematics... in fact, they don't even have numbers.

 

However, the Minotaur have a rich canon of song and poetry in the Minotaur Tongue, their ancient complex language that almost seems designed to weave tapestries of untold Epicness in their bellowing throats. The famous minotaur Singing Uurhh would be the first among his people to learn to harness the song of the Chanteuse Grass, and with it craft slow melodies of great sadness and wistful memory.

 

 

Religion

 

"Old shaman say that Mighty Taur of the Skyhammer wed Gaia the Earth," mused Grorr, "and from her womb sprang the first of the Minotaur."

 

"Your people sprang from the womb of the Earth? Didn't you just say the Earth was Mighty Taur's mother, too?" asked Yorn.

 

"Indeed she was, Young One. Mighty Taur's Third Leg rang in the darkest depths of--"

 

"Whoah!" shouted Yorn, sticking his fingers in his ears, "Too much information!"

 

The God Mighty Taur is an ancient and angry god, with whom the Minotaur communicate through the Minotaur Shaman of their herd. As they move through space and time, the Shaman guides them through a complex cycle of holidays, rituals, and bellowings. Their old religion is central to the lives of the Minotaur, whom take the three instructions of Mighty Taur quite seriously: "Breed! Graze! Hammer!"

 

Also see: Minotaur Cosmology

 

Pantheon

 

Time

 

Put simply: The Minotaur have little concept of time. In fact, the Minotaur Tongue has no word for it. The Three Seasons mark the passage of time for Minotaur, who easily lose track of days that are composed primarily of eating and sleeping. Years are kept track of by winter, which is the hardest season to forget is happening. The High Bull-Chiefs keep track of winters by carving notches in their Herd Hammers. Unfortunately, notches in the great hammer are also used to track the deaths of Great High Cheifs, the slaying of the Chief of a Dog-Thing, or a particularly exciting Rutting Season. Their time management skills are disorganized and inaccurate at best. Thus, "Minotaur Time" is an utterly frustrating concept to Men and the other races of Battal that occasionally interact with the Minotaur, as evidenced in Tales of Yorn:

 

"You can't leave now!" shouted Yorn, who seemed prone to shouting, "We need the aid of your Hammers!"

 

"You will have it in good time, little Yorn... all in good time." yawned Grorr, while chewing his cud, "But for now, the Herd must leave these lands for the Low Valleys e're the frost of Mighty Taur's slumber covers the Great Plateaus."

 

"When will you come back?"

 

"You shall see me again when the snows have faded from the mountains, when Mighty Taur soaks the skies in the fire of his Third Leg."

 

"Which is when?"

 

"Oh... I suppose whenever Mighty Taur feels like it."

 

The High Bull-Chief slowly turned and lumbered away, shouldering his titanic Herd Hammer as though it were a wispy sapling. As his shaggy frame was enveloped by the crepuscular dusk and gathering fog, and the smell of fermenting grasses disappeared with him, Yorn felt a sense of awe... and as though a great weight of hopelessness had been dropped upon his fragile quest.

 

Language

 

Please refer to the article on the Minotaur Tongue

 

The Decline

 

After the Haul, last of the Hammer Lords disappeared from the plains, the Minotaur once again returned to a more introspective lifestyle, caring little for the wars and affairs of the little, noisy people. Though warriors would rise and swing their hammers again in battle, and though occasionally a High Bull-Chief would leave the Herd to slam his Third Leg down upon the face of history, the Minotaur would mostly keep to their simple schedules... grazing, breeding, and hammering a simple life upon the plains, away from the high and deep places of the world.

 

 

Source Material

 

 

Discussion

asura It should probably be noted that while The Last Ones of Zonardia tend to fall in line with most of the above, that they provide several notable exceptions. Zonardian Minotaur do employ the concepts of counting, numerology, and have developed their own indigenous technologies. And, of course, the Duruds are the exception to the exception, as in some ways they bear more resemblance to their cousins back on The Shield. Then again, Duruds believe that the only way to gain knowledge is to eat as many kinds of things as possible... as they say in Zonardia, "Nobody gets Duruds, y'know?"

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