Minotaurs are traditionally herders. Even when other races were busy building cities and making advances in technology, the minotaurs stuck to traditions of roaming the open planes of Athien, and passing on their love of the land, and its natural habitants, from generation to generation. Minotaur society is comprised of herds, ranging in size from a dozen to well over a hundred, with the shamans and spiritual leaders holding the positions of power within each herd. While brute strength and martial prowess come naturally to minotaurs, it is not traditionally held in as high regard as respecting the land and all living things. Herds are not territorial and few linger in the same place for too long. The movements of the herds, when tracked on a map, show a constant flow of movement with other races being unable to make rhyme or reason of it. The one common theme among the migration patterns of herds is their tendency to periodically visit the sites of ancient ruins, tapping into the history and knowledge of ages past.
The only race to have significant contact with the minotaurs are the dwarfs. The two races have been known to engage in barter trade, where minerals and precious stones, are traded by the minotaurs for dwarf made weapons and armour in times of war.
It was considered a great boon when Edarr was chosen by Torin, the god of time, to rise from mortality and take her place among the pantheon of the gods. Before her rise, Edarr was an assuming minotaur in one of the larger herds. She largely kept to herself, and only her closest family had any knowledge of her obsession with death. Unfortunately for the minotaurs, the rise and fall of Edarr would have a significant impact on them as a race, even going as far as to alter the fabric of their DNA. Their feral instincts were brought to the fore and an inherent blood lust, lying dormant for thousands of years, became more prominent in each generation following Edarr's death.
The earliest signs of the change were seen in the gladiator pits of Zaqai, when the mighty Thorgar, undefeated for more than a decade, evolved into a primal killing machine. Some scholars thought that Thorgar was the source of the curse that brought the minotaurs to their knees, however in later years it was successfully traced back to Edarr. The bloodlust turned herd against herd, and allowed unscrupulous warlords of the other races to engage the minotaurs primal instincts, hiring them as shock troops in the ever increasing wars that were spreading across Athien. The once peaceful culture descended into anarchy and saw the degradation of minotaurs to the point where they lost all credibility and filled the lower echelons of mainstream society.
Even those minotaurs not born with the genetic defect were somehow darker, more brooding, with a tendency towards the dark arts rather than shamanistic powers of the earth mother. Xyvera was one such minotaur, and her emergence was accompanied with omens of foreboding. She was obsessed with the curse and its origins, being one of the first to discover its roots all the way back to Edarr some 550 years earlier. The elves, who at this stage were perhaps the most powerful race on Athien, became wary of the danger the minotaur race posed to all civilisation. The elves feared that a powerful minotaur would unite the herds once more, and with their genetic bloodlust, the minotaurs would become an unstoppable force of destruction. The answer, by the elves, was to racially cleanse the minotaur race of the curse by killing all those that possessed the gene. This conflict was known as the Athien War, and instead of succeeding in their goal, the elves pushed the minotaurs into a position where they were forced to unite to ensure their survival. The folly of the elves actually brought about the thing they feared most, a united and focussed minotaur army.
The minotaurs succeeded in overthrowing the elves and for a time became the dominant race of Athien. This period of Athien's history is seen as a dark one where the minotaurs ruled by fear and society fell into decay. Unable to control themselves, or the lands they conquered, the minotaurs fell onto themselves once again resulting in their numbers dwindling dramatically. The elves, after living in isolation since their brutal defeat hundreds of cycles earlier, returned with technological advancement other races could only dream of, and effectively became the rulers of all of Athien, therefore reducing the minotaurs to their lowest ebb.
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