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The History of the Minotaurs

The First Minotaurs
In the Human city of Thalos, at the end of the fourth century YH, the mages of Thalos were at the verge of a breakthrough. The people of Thalos had long desired stronger, sturdier slaves. They had turned to the mages of Thalos for help, which had resulted in the creation of the Giant-Kin. In 397 YH, a group of mages, under the urging of the Mayor of Thalos and his advisors, formed to continue the research begun during the creation of the Giant-Kin. At that time they had used their magics on their male slaves, altering them to be as compatible with Giants as they could, then used further spells at the time of conception, allowing the normally impossible crossbreeding of Human and Giant. These spells were extremely complex, and could only be cast by the most accomplished mages. These mages, joined together by the will of the Mayor, if not by friendship or mutual respect, now worked on an even more complex objective: to bind the essence of an animal into a Human child, at the moment of its conception. Many animals were considered and discarded before they settled on one. They choose a bull, for its great strength and power and for its stupidity, for intelligent slaves are far harder to control. Using their Human slaves as breeders, they began experimentation. The males were chosen for their bullish qualities, and wrapped in spells to enhance those qualities. The mages experimented and tested, bringing bulls into the laboratories and building them into the complex spells they wove during conception. Many bulls died in the laboratories, their lifeforces sucked out by the mages spells. Their fate was kinder than those of the slaves the experiments were planted within, however. During the years of experimentation, many slaves were lost giving birth to the monstrosities that resulted from failed attempts. The mages learned slowly, refining the creatures they created, until some lived for several days beyond birth. Then, in 404 YH, the first success was born. Although he had hooves, a tail, and a monstrous calf's head, he was a strong, healthy baby. The mages were excited, and quickly set about redoing the experiment, refining it with each use. The baby Minotaurs grew quickly, growing horns and amassing muscle, the females having only slightly shorter horns, and slightly less muscle. Their intellect did not keep pace with their impressive stature however, to the mages satisfaction. The young Minotaurs were slow, and easily trained to obey. When the Minotaurs were old enough they were bred, and they bred true. With a breeding population, the powerful, dangerous spells of creation were entrusted to the Guildmaster and locked away in the Mages' Guild's libraries. The mages and the Mayor were very pleased with their success, selling their Minotaurs for large profits, quickly making up the costs of the many years of development. The Human slave trade quickly shrank before the quickly maturing, more durable Minotaurs, and after a few demonstrations against the "horned devil-beasts", Minotaurs became accepted in Thalos. From Thalos they were sold to the Unnamed City, and to Amyklai. Mages everywhere took great pleasure in them, these symbols of Human mages' power over the world, and when the southern continent was discovered by Humans in 521 YH, the seamages took their slaves with them. When Altibia was founded on the coast of that continent in 522 YH, the mages whose spells protected the mighty ships that sailed the dangerous Maelmordian Seas insisted that slaves be allowed, overruling the dissenting voices. And so, Minotaur slavery persisted, even there, far out of the shadow of Maurice, in the holy Unnamed City.

The Kuroth Expedition
In 612 YH Kuroth Krakenkiller, a powerful Human mage of Altibia, decided to explore the interior of the southern continent. He gathered many of his fellow mages together, and they hired rangers to assist them. The mages brought their Minotaur slaves with them, to carry supplies and defend the camps. The Kuroth Expedition traveled up the In'zerre River, deep into the heart of the continent. There, while traveling through a strange misty region, the Minotaurs saw a chance and took it. They revolted, taking the boats and the supplies, and fleeing downstream. They soon abandoned the boats and headed west into the forest. They had learned to live off the land during the expedition and traveled for many weeks, wandering west into the mountains. There, among the high peaks of the Oort Range, they began the Fortress, in 613 YH. The Humans, led by a vengeance-minded Kuroth, followed the Minotaurs. Luckily for the Minotaurs, the kind-hearted rangers who were responsible for tracking the escaped slaves sympathized with them, and led the party in the wrong direction, further south. After months of slow travel through the forests, Kuroth discovered the truth. Enraged, he turned his magics on the head guide, draining his life force into his own. Standing over the twisted, empty body of the ranger, he commanded the others to swear their loyalty to him. The other rangers, cowed by this display of power, led the band north again, retracing their steps. Finding the true trail of the Minotaur band, now old and faint, they tracked them west, into the mountains. However, by this time the year was 614 YH, and the Fortress was well on its way to completion. The Minotaurs had learned much in their years of servitude to the powerful mage class of Altibia, and they had been expecting the Humans to follow them. Kuroth's band came upon the Fortress, and they saw not a scared group of slaves, but a city of Minotaurs. Kuroth was willing to attack them anyways, but his wife, who was with child, counseled him to wait, and let his band regain the strength they had lost after two years of travel. The band settled into some caves to the north of the Fortress, just outside the attack range of the Fortress. The months of resting turned into years, and the Caves of Kuroth grew into a small city. The Fortress grew during this time as well however, and neither could gain the upper hand. The hatred between the two has never waned, and they have warred with each other through the centuries, each gaining and losing ground, but never defeating the other.

The Destruction of Thalos
When Maurice left the realm in 1000 YH, Humans the world over were thrown into turmoil. With the death of the Unnamed City by plague, and the destruction of Amyklai in 1003 YH, Thalos was filled with refugees. The city was bursting at its seams, and the people were facing a world without their creator. People turned to good, disillusioned with evil, and freed slaves in their attempts to redeem themselves. The city was thrown into chaos, and from it, the long-suffering Minotaur slaves uprose. In 1004 YH they stormed the streets of Thalos, freeing those Minotaurs who were still enslaved. In a vengeful mob they fell upon the city, in a terrible riot that fed upon its own anger, growing into a city-wide revolution. The mighty golems that protected the city from any outside threat ignored the fighting in the streets, the magical rules that governed their behavior telling them that Minotaurs were not threats. The powerful Minotaurs fought with all the strength of 600 years of hatred, trampling and goring any and all Humans they could find. As they slaughtered the citizens of Thalos, they set fire to the city itself. The Mages' Guild was burnt with particular care, with the scrolls and grimoires that documented the spells for the creation of Minotaurs lost forever in the huge, multi-colored explosions of magical apparatus and ingredients. The Minotaurs took terrible losses, for the Humans were not defenseless, but the disheartened and unprepared Humans were no match for the unwavering bloodlust of the Minotaurs. By nightfall the last surviving Humans realized there could be no victory for them, and that the Minotaurs, with their infravision, would easily hunt them down in the darkness. They made a desperate escape over the city wall, and fled into the night. By dawn, dark and smoky, the Minotaurs had won, although at great cost. Thalos was dead.

In the days after the destruction of Thalos, the Minotaurs swept the city, finding and helping wounded Minotaurs, and finding and finishing off any wounded Humans. While doing this, they found the traces of the surviving band of Humans, leading west and north. After tending to their wounded, the Minotaurs gathered outside the smoking ruins, to discuss what would become of them. The discussions grew heated, as two plans of action slowly gained backing. One group, headed by a young and strong bull named Barak, wanted to persue the Humans, hunting them down and finishing them off. One the other side was Gorath, older, and more experienced. He argued for letting the Ogres of the forests finish them, if the gods willed that they be finished, and to concentrate instead on building a new life for themselves. The camp divided almost evenly into two herds, and it was clear that neither side would convince the other to join them. And so, Barak took his herd and followed the Humans, north and west into the forest. Gorath led his herd west, following the rocky coast. Gorath had been the slave of one of the more influential advisors of the Mayor of Thalos, and had learned much in the position. He knew of an island, barren and surrounded by dangerous seas, just off the coast, west of Thalos. It was to this island that he led his followers. At his orders they had carried what strong timbers they could salvage from the ruins of Thalos, and they constructed sturdy rafts to carry them to the island. Camping on the mainland, they sent scouts to map the island, and to survey it for their needs. The scouts reports were favorable. The island was large enough for all of them, and the only possible landing point was a small strip on the eastern coast. The Minotaurs moved to the island, and camped through the winter. In the spring of 1005 YH they began construction of a city, naming it, and the island, Mithas. To protect themselves from any future invasion they built a labyrinth between the city and the open eastern strip of coast, forcing any who visited the island to pass through it before reaching the city.

Meanwhile, Barak and his herd traveled north. They followed the trail of the band of escaped Humans into the dark forest, being careful to avoid the bands of Ogres that roamed the forests at that time. They followed the trail to the north, easily. The fleeing Humans had made no attempt to hide their tracks, and only their head start kept them from being immediately overtaken by the Minotaurs. Suddenly, however, the tracks disappeared, as though the party had vanished from the forest. Barak and his Minotaurs searched the area, and finally found the faintest of tracks, hinting at a narrow gametrail. They followed, and found the forest around them changing, shifting behind them as they traveled. At the end of the path they emerged from the forest, on the southern edge of a great plain. Seated on rock in the shade of the edge of the forest was an Elf. He spoke to them, addressing them in oddly accented Minotaur, and calling Barak by name. He explained to the band that the Humans they followed were innocent workmen, women, and children, and that the Elves of the forest had hid their tracks and guided their path to a place of safety. He continued to explain that the Elves wished the Minotaurs no harm, but if they returned to the forest, they would find it closed against them. He advised them to forget their murderous intent, and to leave the Humans alone. He then bowed, and vanished into the forest. The Minotaurs were outraged, unbelieving that their vengeance could be stolen from them by this arrogant Elf and his tricks. They turned south again, but found the Elf's words were true, the forest seemed full of thick and thorny undergrowth, that dragged and cut them with every step. Finally, defeated, Barak and his herd turned north again. Determined now to leave the world and its Elves and Humans behind, they crossed the plains and the foothills, until they found a great frozen forest, nestled in the valleys at the base of a huge mountain range. They entered this strange forest, and walked through its icy trails. There they were hailed by a strange hunting party. They were short, bearded, and powerfully built. They were Dwarves, and the Minotaurs were wary at first. The Dwarves' smiles were friendly though, and their hearty laughter soon put the Minotaurs at ease. The Dwarves took them back to their underground city, Dwarvenhold, and with the aid of Dwarven cleric, established communication. Barak and his herd were treated to a banquet by the King and Queen, and the Dwarves listened to the Minotaurs tell their story long into the night, hearing of the departure of Maurice and the subsequent fall of Humans, and the fall of Thalos. The next night the banquet was continued, and the Minotaurs heard some of the story of the Dwarves, who had long before heard of the Humans from Elven travellers, and had decided not to reveal their existence to them. The Dwarves were sympathetic to the Minotaurs' desire to leave the world behind, and at the end of the feast the King of Dwarvenhold offered his assistance in the building of a new home for the Minotaurs, far from the travelled regions of the world. Barak and his herd gratefully accepted their help, and plans were slowly formed. The location decided upon was high on a mountain on the edge of some frozen wastelands to the north of the Whitefrost Forest, the frozen forest where the Dwarves had found the Minotaurs. There the Minotaurs and Dwarven craftsmen and builders worked during the spring and summer months of 1006 and 1007 YH. In the fall of 1007 YH the Minotaurs moved into their new city, though construction continued for the next several years. They named the city Mahn-Tor, and Barak became the first Mahn-Tor. The Minotaurs of Mahn-Tor trade with the Dwarves of Dwarvenhold, and the two races occasionally attend each others functions of state, but for the most part the Minotaurs have found the solitude they seek in the harsh frozen wastes, and only the most intrepid adventurers have disturbed their isolation through the centuries.

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