Minotaurs are a race of anthropomorphic bulls and cows who originally hailed from the island of Minoa.
Minotaurs are the tallest of the goodly races of Tellest. Their upper bodies are shaped like a human or an orc, only broader, with the exception of their heads, which contain noticeably bovine features. Some of the notable differences are the widened nose, and extended ears (some tribes tie the ears from youth to grow them close to the head, and make them more aesthetically pleasing). Males have horns upon their heads, the directionality helping the race distinguish familial lines. Minotaurs also have hair upon their heads which they style accordingly. Males grow hair about the jaw line as well.
Minotaurs’ lower bodies are thick with hair, and end in wide hooves. A small, narrow tail can sometimes be found on a minotaur, but it is usually removed at birth.
Most minotaurs have a darker complexion, though skin tone is known to be akin to a human’s.
Clothing and Adornment
For a long while throughout history, minotaurs wore nothing at all. It was only once minotaurs started to integrate with other races that they started to notice the odd looks that they would receive from others. Lower bodies were clothed almost immediately, though upper bodies remained uncovered for a while longer. Eventually, females began covering their bodies in their entirety (they also began shaving unsightly hair from their bodies as well).
As time passed by, even males of the race became akin to the idea of wearing clothing, though in many tasks, they still go about their business uncovered, specifically during hard labor and when involved in prayer.
During battle, minotaurs do not retain a uniform ideal. Some will approach the battle naked; some will don heavy chainmail or plate armor. Leather is almost never an acceptable means of protection, understandably so.
Minotaurs are known throughout Tellest for their adornment of septum jewelry. Although the males of the race partake in the piercing in more recent times, it was the females who originally bore the septum rings. Originally, it was a sign of ownership. When the males of the race would pick their bride, a septum ring was placed upon her to demonstrate both her love for someone and her willingness to obey her partner. Males eventually began utilizing septum piercing as a coming of age ritual, but also because it can be imposing to others. It is rare for the race to pierce any other parts of their bodies, though rumors abound of the females of the race experimenting with newer options.
Tattoos are not meant to be experimented with. Minotaurs strive to put as much distance between the ways they are perceived from cows as possible. The idea of a tattoo is too similar to a brand to be socially acceptable in any way to a minotaur.
Relations to Other Races
Minotaurs strike a resemblance between cows and humans, though some scholars believe that the legs of the race more closely resemble an equine than a bovine.
Of the allied goodly races of Tellest, minotaurs are certainly the most aggressive. They often let their emotions get the best of them, and are quick to incite. Their immense size also makes them imposing, and incredibly dangerous. But it is because of the chaotic nature and obvious risk of angering minotaurs that most are treated with an utmost combination of respect and fear.
Minotaurs are also known to be very persistent. Just because something seems like it cannot be done, minotaurs will not deter. However, they will rarely change the way they do things, unless they actually witness a better way to complete the task.
Minotaurs are perhaps the most romantically disinclined race upon Tellest. This is not because they are incapable, but rather because both culturally and historically, polygamy was necessary to ensure the survival of the race. While minotaurs have spread to thicker numbers once again, polygamy is still the accepted form of mating. The choice of mates is made by the males, particularly the strongest males in a tribe, who are able to refute advances from other suitors. It is up to the alpha male to decide how many females he can tolerate. In some cultures, it is even acceptable for the alpha male to delegate to whom in the tribe the females will partner with.
Smaller tribes, traditionally ones north of the equator, abstain from polygamy. These small tribes treat love in much the same way that humans do. It is a fair decision made by two parties. Generally, these types of relationships are the only partnering that either of the individuals will have for the rest of their lives, regardless of whether or not the other partner passes away.
Family and Society
It is difficult growing into a minotaur family. Young males are pushed into aggression and labor very early, and females are ignored by most of their tribe nearly entirely until they reach sexual maturity.
If a minotaur male is determined to be a liability to his tribe, he is cast out, never to be accepted again. Likewise, if a female is a late bloomer in regards to sexual manifestation, they are removed from the tribe. Some of the more powerful tribes will remove them in a manner of extreme permanence. This is done in part because of the idea that the weak must fall so that the strong may prosper.
Elder minotaur are sacrificed in much the same way, though it is up to them to decide how they would end their lives. Usually they prefer to die against an unbeatable enemy. This is done for reasons twofold. First, their bravery is said to lead them to the afterlife at a quicker pace. Second, it is believed that any damage they do to their opponent before their death only makes the opponent weaker to the tribe and thus easier to control and overcome.
Female elders are not so lucky. Rather than being able to choose how to go out in a blaze of glory, they are let out to pasture so to speak. Just like the unfit youths of the race, elder females are taken from the tribe, never meant to reintegrate during their lifetime. Instead, the idea is that through their death, they make the rest of the world more fertile, and therefore more peaceful.
Behavior toward Other Races
Minotaurs are a very untrusting race. Unfortunately for those that come in contact with the minotaurs, they are a hurt now, ask questions later type of people. If something does not feel right to them, they are quick to put themselves out of harms way (usually by harming someone else first).
Of all the races that the minotaurs call their allies, the elves, orcs and humans are least trusted. This stems back to a shared history between all of the tribes of minotaurs of Minoa. Though they are not trusted, the minotaurs realize they must live peaceably and cooperatively with the other people of Tellest to survive as best they can.
The obvious similarities between minotaurs and humans has helped to reestablish them as companions, though the relationship remains tenuous.
For the same reasons that many of the races are wary of orcs, minotaurs are even more so. Orcs usually find themselves most often on the receiving end of a minotaur beating, though many times the orcs have held their own just fine. Still, as time goes by, a tolerance has developed between the two races.
Elves and minotaurs have a very strained relationship. The elves do not deal with the minotaurs very often, and seem to draw back when confronted by them. The minotaurs are overly cautious when the elves act that way, which only further draws a wedge between the two races.
Minotaurs have been getting along with the dwarves and the gnomes fairly well for a long while. This stems in part from the fact that they are both diminutive races, and in part because their history does not speak of gnomes or dwarves as any type of passing danger. In fact, not only are the minotaurs tolerant of the smaller races, but they are outwardly friendly to them as well. It is not unheard of to have minotaurs and dwarves or gnomes living in close proximity (or in some cases, integration) of each other.
Minotaurs most despised enemies are rhinotaurs. After dispersing from Minoa, several different tribes of minotaur had run into the savage humanoids, all with the same treacherous results and lasting hatred that plagues the two races still.
Minotaurs only speak common. It is implied that before their interaction with humans, they had only communicated through grunts and other noises, but never with a tangible language.
Minotaurs have no interest in physical records of their history, and they do not avail themselves much time to pursue the enjoyment of a crafted story. All of their history is passed down aurally.
Minotaurs believe in one god, and one god alone: the lord of death, Cebrum. However, the bovine race does not look poorly upon the much hated god. They see him as a guide and a caretaker to the dead, believing that he judges those who enter his domain fairly and rewards justly. The minotaurs also have a deep spiritual connection to their ancestry, and believe that they can speak to and obtain advice from their deceased relatives.
Minotaurs originally hailed from the island nation of Minoa, which was the largest individual island on Tellest that was not classified as a continent. After a while, another humanoid race began migrating to the island, though the minotaurs will not say for sure which race it was. Likewise, they do not explain the events that followed in great detail. Due to some cataclysmic incident, Minoa began to purge itself. Volcanoes erupted, and the sea took the island to the depths below. The minotaurs evacuated as quickly as they could, but it was a chaotic endeavor, and families and friends were separated as the race scattered.
Minotaurs began arriving all over the globe, starting anew with scarce numbers. While struggling with the loss of a home, and the loss of their companions, many of the strewn tribes were attacked by rhinotaurs, who seemed to show up in as many places as the minotaurs. Eventually, the race was strong enough to fend for themselves, but never strong enough to destroy the rhinotaurs, who congregate in wastelands and caves.
After a while, minotaurs were introduced to other surface races, including the humans and orcs. Overly cautious due to the extreme loss of life, as well as the loss of their original home, the minotaurs did not take kindly to the advances of the other two races. It took some time before they dulled their aggression enough to open diplomatic relations with those who became their allies.
Myths and Legends
Supposedly, the minotaur homeland of Minoa still exists in one piece beneath the ocean. Some legends speak of the people who never made it off the sinking island, stating that they evolved into a hideous race of beings called razorfins. These aggressive beings still hold onto the rage of their home being destroyed, and are supposedly the most insidious predators of the deeps.
Another legend states that a minotaur hero will find a way to restore Minoa to its former glory, raising it from the depths, for all the minotaurs to return there one day.
Minotaurs are about as technologically inclined as their allies, the orcs. Except while the orcs are making advances in medicine and other health related discoveries, the minotaurs have begun to stagnate. They have limited amounts of running water, usually which meet at one congregative watering hole, which also sometimes doubles as a bathing site. Of all the goodly races of Tellest, minotaurs remain the most savage.
Minotaurs are one of the most magically absent races on the planet of Tellest. They employ shamanistic and geomantic magic, but that is usually all they have to offer. Necromantic minotaurs have been said to exist, but these beings are shunned by their own race.
Wars generally do not occur between minotaurs and other races, but it is said that they are not very organized during battle. Instead, they give in to their rage, and let it take them over, allowing them to wreak enough havoc as they can before their bodies give out and either they or their opponents are dead.
Weapons and Tools
Minotaurs favor axes and polearms, especially anything that has been specifically crafted for the oversized race. A particular polearm was crafted just for the minotaurs, called a bullova. It is a long polearm with a tall axe head affixed to its end. Sometimes it is also fashioned with a tip for stabbing in addition to slashing.
Wars and Enemies
While minotaurs generally start no wars, they have a deep seeded hatred towards rhinotaurs. Supposedly, many of the tribes of minotaurs are uniting with the idea of driving the rhinotaurs to extinction.