The Silver Tower Chronicles Adventures in other worlds, other times, and other realities

27Feb/13Off

Enzi’s Irregulars #0035

“The tale of the minotaurs starts a long time ago. Even I am not sure of all the original details,” Aldebaran stated in Nuvro, “But our most direct beginnings were on the isle of Casea.”

Ritter had heard a few snippets of information about Casea while he had been in the Disputed Lands. Most of the mercenaries there thought of it as a mystical land of treasure guarded by ferocious monsters. Many of the men thought that if they could survive there long enough to grab some of the treasures, that they would gain riches beyond their imagination. Of course, there were others who said that any good loot had already been taken and that all that was left was horrors from a bygone age. The Halz was most interested to see if the minotaur could explain some of the real truth.

“The Caseans had found a lot of information and research on creating new creatures. They never had any successes until one of their greatest scientists devised a new method with the help of a few artifacts. I know little of it, but it allowed the research to leap forward. The isle of Casea long had a population of fey creatures called the satyrs. They were animals in nearly humanoid form. I have seen them, I would have just called them goat men if they had any intellect.”

Eurysa hissed, “Were people would have hands, they have claws on terrible paws. They walk on two legs, but they are nothing more than vicious predators.”

“The Caseans wanted to see if they could create something to counter the satyrs,” Aldebaran said, “Something with the power of an animal but the mind of a man. They made several creatures, but most were failures. The melding of man and animal often meant creatures of terrible wrath and cunning. They worked to find a creature that had the right balance of animal power and human intellect. Eventually they created the minotaur. We were perfect for their needs. Powerful, strong, and fierce. Yet we were only fierce when roused to anger. It made us controllable enough to be useful.”

“Yet that was a long time ago,” Aldebaran said in his deep voice, “I was born far more recently. When I was born, Casea had long been ruined. A great flood had came to the island and the rest of the continent. The low lying coastal areas had been wiped out. Only the most vicious and sturdy survived. That included my people. Any humans that might have survived did not last long against the many creatures of the island. The satyrs, the giant ants, and many other horrors took over the isle of Casea. It also destroyed the Casean colonies on the Rava Coast. The Caseans that survived there eventually rebuilt and are now known as the Ravaleians.”

Kava croaked, “And they still work on the crazy science.”

Eurysa hissed, “Yes, but they were set back many generations and lost a great many items that had been crafted or found over the generations. They had to start from scratch without those aids.”

“With the Caseans gone, my people worked to build our own civilization. We settled on the shore, as most of the worst things were far inland. Our race bred slowly. Having been crafted, it was lucky we could do so at all. Of course, the Caseans had carefully controlled that. It was easier to breed an army than to spend massive resources crafting us one at a time with a chance of failure. We had to fight off incursion from the satyrs that swarmed the eastern part of the isle. Giant ants covered most of the central part. Undead had formed in the southern part of the isle and were quite dangerous.”

“The constant worry of those threats were our main concern. They should not have been. The Ravaleians came to reclaim their island. They wanted nothing to do with us. We tried to be peaceful, but it quickly broke out into battle. Their first ships was easily defeated and it fled back to the Rava Coast. However, the next ships that came were better prepared for the danger. We were soon fighting a war on multiple fronts. We were not numerous and we were eventually reduced to but a few.”

“The small tribe of survivors stayed on the move, fleeing from danger. Yet we were hunted down and eventually the last few were captured and taken back to Ravalei for study,” Aldebaran said as his gravelly voice wavered, “That is where I was born. I grew up in a cage, poked and prodded. I learned what little I am telling you from the other minotaurs. Each one died at the hands of the scientists until only I remained. What happened next is easy to predict. When the chance came, I escaped. I fought my way out and slaughtered anyone in my way.”

“Yet that was not enough to make me a monster. It is what came next. I was free in Ravalei. I was uneducated and did not understand their language. I only knew the language that the other minotaurs had taught me. The Ravaleians never spoke while they worked on us. The silence was rather creepy. I was the last of my kind, alone and enraged. I had but one goal. To repay all that had been done. I rampaged across the land, slaughtering any I could find. It did not matter to me who they were. I slaughtered the defenseless without any regard. To me, even the human children were monsters to be snuffed out.”

Knowing what I have learned now, I can not imagine how anyone could have seen me as anything but a slavering monstrosity that needed to be put down. It was all that I wanted. My people were dead, I expected to die as well but I was determined to take as many humans with me as I could. Yet this is where my tale intertwines with another. I met Enzi and tried to kill him, but found myself unable to move as if my muscles had turned to stone. He had another with him. A gorgon.”

Eurysa nodded, “I could not let you slay him, of course.”

Aldebaran returned the nod, “I agree. Though I was quite furious at the time. Though fury was all that I had.”

Eurysa hissed, “It was quite disconcerting. I knew of your people but I had never seen rage personified like it had been within you.”

Aldebaran continued, “From there it was a long process of gaining trust and finding a language to teach me. We had fled to Nuvroc as I was being hunted in Ravalei.”

“As was I if you remember,” Eurysa interjected.

“Yes, so Nuvroc was a safe place. I learned their language and learned more about humans and their nature. At first I though of the Nuvroc and Feergrus as different creatures and thought of the Ravaleians as the evil kind of human. That was a simplification that was wrong. Like all people, they had those that were good and those that are evil. I learned that I had not been examined by true Ravaleian scientists. The people that visited the isle of Casea and had captured us were tied to criminal organizations.”

“Learning that I had punished innocent people for the actions of evil ones showed me what a monster I had been. You may say that I had every right to be angry. But can you honestly say that the slaughter of innocent children and unarmed citizens is not monstrous? I have sought to repay my debt since then, helping the innocent and the weak.”

“So Eurysa was already with Enzi? Anyone else or were you the first two?” Ritter asked.

“Definitely the first two,” Aldebaran said, “The only two for a great many years.”

“Yes,” Enzi said, “They helped me quite a lot in my nearly two decade journey of discovery. I formed the Irregulars out of seeing a need for such a group. Eurysa and Aldebaran were examples of those who needed help in a world that was against them.”

“I don't imagine that Eurysa and Aldebaran both being found early was entirely a coincidence,” Ritter said, “Especially after some of the things Kava mentioned about her knowledge of nature and Eurysa's inability to fit in her classifications.”

Eurysa hissed, “You are right. Though you may be too smart for your own good.”

Kava looked up at the mention of her name. She had heard the tale of Aldebaran before but the vodyanoi had not put everything together quite like Ritter. It might have been the delivery. Kava had heard the tale from only Aldebaran. The few small additions by Enzi and Eurysa had certainly stoked the curiosity of the Halz. The vodyanoi, of course, had not been paying attention at all.

“You might suspect that the gorgons were another fruit of the dabbling by Casean scientists,” Eurysa hissed, “You would be wrong. Our existence came before their experiments. We were one of the proofs that it had been done before. My people were studied by the Caseans. They learned a lot from those they captured. We fought to avoid capture, to escape the spread of the humans. I suppose that without the pain my people suffered, then Aldebaran might never have existed. The two of us are kin in many ways.”

Aldebaran snorted, “I only wish that neither of our peoples had been subjected to suffering and death.”

“So if the Caseans did not create the gorgons, then who did?” Ritter asked.

“That I do not have an answer for,” Eurysa replied, “There were only three of my kind left when I was born, and that was nearly ninety years ago. I only met the one who gave birth to me. She taught me very little before she perished. I survived through stealth, keeping my distance, and using my gaze if anyone got too close. Even with that there were still those that noticed me. Some hunted me, the rest merely fled. I only wanted to find a place where no one would bother me again.”

“Good luck with that,” Kava croaked, “Every place is pretty much got something in it. Plus the humans keep spreading.”

Eurysa nodded as her snaky hair wiggled, “I had been cornered when Enzi found me. There had been too many. I didn't know if I was going to be captured or killed. Either way it would not have been good. It was in a quiet, dirty, dead end alleyway in a Ravaleian town. There was no one to help me. There were only my attackers and one homeless wastrel in a corner.”

Enzi nodded, “A vagrant with no home and no purpose. The hunters didn't care about some worthless Feergrus man in rags in a dark corner of a dead end alley. It was a mistake on their parts. I awoke from my depression upon seeing the desperation of a gorgon. I defeated her enemies swiftly, then turned to try to speak to her.”

“When I promptly tried to use my power on you,” Eurysa hissed, “You luckily have a very strong will.”

Enzi chuckled, “Yes. We spent quite a while learning to understand each other. Much like Aldebaran, you did not speak any human language at the time. We had many adventures in Ravalei. Things quickly became more and more dangerous. Rumors of you kept growing. We decided on one last mission.”

“To take care of a rampaging monster slaughtering its way across the country,” the gorgon reminisced.

Enzi smirked, “And take care of him we did. Transporting him to Nuvroc.”

Aldebaran chuckled at that slightly. Ritter had not heard much mirth from the minotaur. Despite many years of good works, it was obvious he still blamed himself for the death of a great many innocents. The thought that both the gorgon and the minotaur were the results of ancient experiments in alchemy worried the Halz. He wondered what other things had been crafted. What worried him the most, however, was who had crafted the gorgons and left other proof of their works. The Caseans had been gone for hundreds of years. Who had come before them?

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