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|Centaurs, the Horsemen|
|Non-Playable Races Category|
Recorded and observed as a beastly and unruly species of half-men in every sense of the word, Centaurs are known across Edriel by the civilized races for their combative and savage nature towards anything they deem an adversary. The centaur is a type of ogrum resembling a cross between the torso and extremities of a wild horse and an upper body resembling a primal and burly human. With their ancient and secretive history unknown to the libraries and archives of civilized peoples, the common view of their race is usually personified by the riding of the Great Herd during the Age of Troubles; which ransacked and pillaged lands in the Orient while also making small intrusions into the west. They are, by definition, considered to be a semi-intelligent race due to their ability to communicate, create, and organize; their bloodthirsty and warlike culture are cited by contemporary scholars as reasons for their common view among the populace as being no better than beasts. Living in tribal and nomadic societies in untamed wilds, they are commonly regarded as a threat to civilized societies due to their tendencies to commit raids and attacks on undefended settlements, often enslaving inhabitants and pillaging valuable goods.
The history of the centaur race is shrouded in obscurity and hearsay, largely due in part to the centaurs themselves having a very rough and imprecise oral history passed down and repeated from parent to offspring. Many of their stories told are primarily about famous and well known ancestors, whose great raids and exploits are meant to empower and bring strength to their herd; or so the centaurs believe. What is known about early centaur history is collected from ancient human and elven documents detailing interactions with the centaurs. Since their earliest recorded interactions, not much has changed with the centaur. They still travel as nomads, raiding and plundering settlements.
The predictable and routine lifestyle of the centaur herds’ raiding against human villages came to a surprising uproar in the late 1300s as villages on the outskirts of the Yan Empire and in the Zhuansun Khanate began reporting larger and more organized centaur herds and attacks on more populated towns. What these reports and villagers experienced was the beginning of the largest centaur war herd to have ever roamed Edriel. Unbeknownst to the leaders of both the Yan and the Zhuansun; a clan of centaurs known as the Julaitikara began to rise in prominence. This clan had been residing in remote parts of the Eastern Talman and had in the past few decades come under the leadership of one who they called Tajuil. Large by even centaur standards, Tajuil was rumoured to be strong enough to split a boulder in half with a single swing of his axe (Tajuil is reported to have taken power somewhere in between the years of 1380-90 AE). Under the new influence of Tajuil, the clan was led to brutally assault and molest the towns of their home territory and in a practice not yet seen before by centaurs, after raiding a village or caravan Tajuil would give the survivors a choice: Serve him as a slave soldier or be trampled to death. Many who were said to have joined were paganistic and joined only because they believed only an otherworldly demon or spirit could be so shockingly terrible and monstrously sized. After it was clear that those poor lands that the Clan called home would not be enough to sustain Tajuil’s lust for power and spoils, he led his clan west. Records of the Julaitikara’s movement west is not well documented for but what is known is that as they identified other centaur clans, Tajuil would challenge the rival clan’s leader to a duel. With each victory the size of the Julaitikara grew larger, with each raid the herd grew in numbers and so did Tajuil’s ambition.
In the year 1400 AE,the Great Herd of Tajuil returned to the lands the Julaitikara had once called home in the Eastern Talman. Numbering now to be almost a million the Great Herd was truly a devastating and dreadful sight to behold so much so that the centaurs created a new word for the leader of such a devastating herd, Ajar. The herd would now be led by newly anointed Ajar: Tajuil the Thunderer. The Ajar’s sights for a first target would be the poor citizens living in the city of Karakar, a trading city on the coast of the Eastern Talman that had been set up generations before by the Zhuansun to interact and trade with their eastern cousins; the Tal’mattar Clans. What came to be known as the Massacre of Kalkar was the beginning of another terrible chapter that riddled the Age of Troubles. The Great Herd of Tajuil bounded and ripped through the outer layers of the city, mostly made up of visiting clan’s tents and nomadic housing as well as merchant stalls for the lower classes. When the inhabitants of the city and its guard were alerted to the onslaught of nigh on a million centaurs they began rushing to the city’s small but well constructed walled fort to escape the desolation and fighting. But upon entering the fort the soldiers and guards of the visiting clans noticed that the gate was not closing and that the entrances to the gatehouse had been barricaded, Tajuil had sent his slave soldiers into the city days before arriving to infiltrate it as visiting caravan guards, a move that had guaranteed an open gate for the herd but absolute horror for the inhabitants. What happened to the city of Karakar can only be described as absolute and unbarred butchery. Following the defeat and massacre of Karakar, the Great Herd took weapons, slaves, and plunder which only emboldened and strengthened Tajuil. The next three years were comprised of great raids on both the Yan and Zhuansun border cities, until Tajuil believed he had garnered and accumulated enough men and support to make a direct incursion into the fertile and rich heartlands of the southern Yan Empire.
A mountain passage that opened into the north of the Shanhai province was Tajuil’s chosen path of invasion into the Yan Empire. Such an invasion by centaurkind had never been attempted, or even considered, until then. As the Great Herd traveled through the mountain pass, it rode day and night without little rest under the orders of Tajuil, now overcome by an addiction and uninhibited desire for victory. However, the Yan and Zhuansun had heard and prepared for this invasion, and in an alliance of mutual survival had united the armies of their two great nations together for the single purpose of destroying Tajuil and his Great Herd. In the days before, they had set up their two armies at the end of the pass, fortifying their position weeks in advance and preparing for the Great Herd with all manner of weapons and traps to contest them. As the herd finally approached the Army of the Orient’s position a man made rock slide was triggered to blockade a chokepoint in the passage that the herd had come through. Having cornered the Great Herd to deny them open terrain to move and encircle them the battle started. Though difficult, through the cunning and organized tactics of their commanders the Orient was victorious and broke the Great Herd, scattering it back to the wastelands of the East. With the defeat of the Great Herd, Tajuil was chased south by a small army of Yanese and Zhuansun cavalry with deathly intent of capturing, or in all likelihood, killing the Ajar of the Great Herd. He was chased and hunted for days by the cavalry until he attempted to hide in a small forest to escape the sight of his hunters. The commander that was leading the chase ordered his men to surround the forest and flush him out from all sides, the Yanese and Zhuansun did so, but as they started moving into the forest hours went by with no sight of him until all the men converged in the center with no sign of the feared Tajuil, it was as if he had vanished into the forest. After the Battle of Shanhai the Zhuansun Khanate held far more of a grudge against the Centaurs than the Yan. By order of the Khan hunting groups were organized and many centaurs in the Khanate were forced to flee. Many fled west fearing that the Yan would be just as harsh and the population of centaurs living in the lands of the Brazenmark Empire were increased. Over a thousand years later, centaurs still hold the reputation given to them by Tajuil for being feared raiders and wild marauders. In the east, the Zhuansun and the Yan Kingdoms are much more diligent in making sure another Tajuil doesn't rise up to rally the centaur in another Great Herd.
All centaurs, despite location, habitat, or breed are physiologically the same. Every centaur can be accounted to have the torso, or abdomen, of a horse along with its legs and tail. Beginning at what would be a normal horse’s chest is where the lower torso of what is similar to a human man begins. Discrepancies between the human part of a centaur and that of a human are that a centaur’s skin is tougher and more leathery than that of a human’s as well as centaur’s having an affinity to be able to grow thicker hair, more akin to that of horse hair than thin and fine human hair.
Oriental centaurs are the larger and most common of the recorded centaur breeds. Growing to be the tallest and bulkiest of the race due to the wide open spaces of their territory and habitat with ample room to roam. They bear a darker complexion and their hair ranges from dark browns to blacks.
While centaurs in the West did exist before the arrival of those fleeing the Zhuansun hunter’s aggression they were of much smaller population. The Western centaur’s preference to live in the forests and dense woods to avoid large populations influenced their slimmer build along with their lighter complexion and colors that contrast the dark hues of their oriental cousins. Western centaurs hair can range anywhere from whites to light browns along with their hair having been seen to be blonde, but often covered in dirt and caught vegetation.
Little is known about the Vynland centaur other than the fact that they exist. It is unknown if they share common attributes with their kind in Edriel. Despite this, it is theorized that their isolation from the advances and riches of Edriel, they are what could be considered the most apt representation of a “primal centaur” unchanged physically from the first centaurs that roamed the world.
Common centaurs have no permanent home, nest, or cave out of which they reside due the nomadic nature of their herds. Centaur herds will commonly set up a territory or area in which they move around, such areas are commonly uninhabited or scarcely inhabited by human populations but will always have the characteristic of easy access to raiding a nearby hamlet or village. One the few lands that seem to have never been troubled by the wildness of the centaurs is the Kyosin Empire, seemingly due to their coastal and river filled land but in majority to the Kyosin Wall that was constructed prior to the Age of Troubles.
The reason centaurs choose their territory depends mainly on the terrain they are in, for example centaurs in the land of the Mar’zuun may revolve around an oasis in the desert where traveling caravans stop to refill water, whereas centaurs in the north of the Brazenmark Empire may have a commonly traveled path that allows them to raid or harass a string of farming villages.
Society and Culture
To the layman, centaurs may appear to not have a culture or organized society but that is simply not true. Centaur society revolves around the herd and the herd’s successful raiding. The herd is nomadic, often going where the leaders of the herd, known as a Clan, deem it should go. While every herd has a territory it may often travel around and in a centaur herd is never restricted to that territory often going where the leading Clan wishes it to go.
Most times it is often misheard or used interchangeably, there is a defined difference between a centaur’s herd and clan. A herd is a group of centaurs that live and raid together as a whole, while the clan is the smaller family group of centaurs that lead the herd. The misunderstanding comes from the usage of the clan’s name to also be used to identify the herd as well. A herd may go through many changes of its leading clan due to the tradition of dueling for leadership, a ritual that is quite simply, another family of centaurs challenges the leading clan to a duel, the two heads of the families duel, and whomever is alive at the end becomes the new clan for the herd. This however causes many problems as centaur tradition also holds to the tradition of violent and unyielding blood feuds, which often is the cause for one duel to lead to a chain of challenges back and forth between the two families and many times drawing in allied families into a rivalry. These traditions can result in a herd splintering into many smaller herds, each with their own newly proclaimed leaders and clans. This constant fluctuation of power is a large part of the reason why the centaur have never established a coherent nation.
The centaur lifestyle revolves around raiding and combat. The origins of which are deemed to have most likely originated from the fact that centaurs, in spite of their equine appearance, are entirely carnivores and unable to digest plants. Due to their need for meat, their religious beliefs on souls, and the domination of livestock by human nations; it seems unavoidable for raiding to be an important part of their lifestyle.
Though common views from both centaurs and humans see each other as natural enemies or foes, since the practice of Tajuil using humans in his army there have been some occasions of humans and centaurs working together. Two such examples exist where this can be found; the first being an example of cooperation between some centaurs and certain Tal’mattar Clans due to their similar fondness for raiding and the other being the enslavement of humans and other species, though not as widespread and common as it once was due to the Orient having a negative view of centaurs and the West’s disdain of slavery.
Centaurs are very discreet with their religious beliefs, but what is known is that they follow a form of paganism. What is known about their religion is that they believe that a soul contains a sort of power and that, after death, this contained power can be transferred to another person or group of people through combat. This is displayed in their practice of dueling for the leadership of herds and is also probably a determining factor in their believed need to raid. However, when a centaur dies of a natural death it is said that their soul’s power and the strength of the centaur is instilled into the herd as a whole. These primal beliefs are founded on superstition, not fact. It’s impossible to measure or prove the validity of these beliefs, but modern scholars universally agree that the centaur’s religion is unfounded on reality.
|Creatures of Astra|
|Playable Races||Dragonkin • Dwarves • Elves • Humans|
|Non-Playable Races||Bristlefur • Centaurs • Goblins • Tuskers • Wraiths|
|Last editor: Brogan|
|Last edit: 18/02/2020|