There exist, beyond the Earth and past the Moon's sphere, beyond the very stars, strange worlds and expanses of which we have no understanding. Somewhere in this expanse, there dwells Ll'hhrau, the Thing Behind The Sky. A nightmarish being, Ll'hhrau is vast, blind, idiotic fungus-god-ocean, a gigantic living sea of bizarre flesh and alien organs. Periodically, Ll'hhrau releases fissal entities, spirits which are portions of itself; these strange and insane beings are the spores of Ll'hhrau, driven by ancient, cold intelligences beyond human understanding. The chill minds of the stars watch Ll'hhrau, and see that this being, though beyond the worlds of mere thought as humans know it, has created in these fissal beings a tool with which the Thing Behind The Sky can reach through the dimensions and free itself from it's durance, the cold, dead World of Bitter Reverence.
We know these beings as Minotauri, the nightmarish, abominable spawn of Ll'hhrau, whose purpose it is to prepare the Earth for the Imminence of Ll'hhrau, the dark rebirth of the fungus-ocean in the mortal world.
A Minotaur is worm-like in shape, generally 35-45 feet long, and weighing several tons. They have hideous, gelatinous, rugose hides, sometimes with the appearance of being intricately carved with mesmerizing whorls and spirals. Some Minotauri have their upper hides adorned with random scales and chitinous plates, or useless hissing gills, or fans of spiny fins. Some even have clusters of ugly, opaline, lidless eyes. A Minotaur's belly is covered in thousands of waving limbs, jointed legs, and tentacular muscles which propel it along the ground.
At one end (the 'tail' end) of the Minotaur is a cluster of flailing tails (four to eight, depending on the monster's age).
At the other end there is the 'head' of the Minotaur (though the loathsome sorcerors and philosophers who study these abominations call this the 'cranial bloom'). At this point, the rugose outer skin ramps together into the thick, blubbery 'shoulder' of the beast, and peels back away from the head like loathsome lips. The cranial bloom is composed of a semi-symmetrical mass of bizarre and disgusting redundant organs, limbs, eyes, tongues, extrusions, whiskers, and feelers. In the center of this bloom, there is a huge, toothy, snapping jaw-beak. From the sides of the jaw-beak protrude the so-called 'cornic arch' or 'minotauric arch', the tusk-horn-organs of the beast, gigantic sweeping horns, deeply carven with swirling, eldritch patterns, which form a huge crescent shape.
The whole of a Minotaur's body is coated in a clear, sticky slime which smells like rotting flesh and is mildly corrosive. They also have the ability to secrete a thick resin from resin-glands on the shoulder of their mantle.
Minotauri descend from the skies in the form of pod-like masses of alien flesh. These explode in mid-air, releasing the wriggling extraterrestrial into the skies, where it plummets to the Earth (some Minotauri have been observed to spread great, fan-like wings while in the air and fly, but this is not true of all specimens). When a Minotaur collides with the Earth, it typically rests and then devours the surrounding vegetation and life to regain it's energy.
When the Minotaur is sufficiently recuperated, it begins to construct it's lair, known as a 'tauric labyrinth'. The process by which this is done is unknown, but the result is a massively elaborate, intricate, and incomprehensible maze of tunnels, chambers, pits, and warrens. Those who are lured into these labyrinths often become lost for days or years in the darkness of the maze. Minotauri decorate their labyrinths in grisly fashion, according to some unknowable, alien aesthetic- they create sculptures of skin and organs which they pile or spread through chambers in insane symbols, carve bizarre, dreamlike works of art into the walls (often depicting surrealistic renderings of the environments beyond their burrows), or writing incomprehensible prophecies in ancient, obscure languages in their own bio-generated resin on the walls. One Minotaur, dubbed Loth Lokkurr, betrayed it's appetite, and constructed a living sculpture out of victims which it did not kill, melding them together with resin and slime and contorting them into a horrible moaning mass. The Savants have studied the labyrinths of Minotauri and have discovered that they construct these burrows in opposition to the elemental pleromatic flow of the land; the Minotaur aligns the labyrinth in a pattern or sigil which is antipleromatic. Thus, tauric labyrinths become a major 'clot' of natural power, where natural emanations stagnate and sicken, and become trapped in an eddy of power. The result of this is that a labyrinth often becomes the center of a large blighted area, a zone of evil if you will, which they decorate in the same fashion as their labyrinths. In addition, the predations of the voracious Minotaur often strip much of the area barren of life. Minotaurs are able to eat anything and everything, and often set fiendish traps for living beings; they savour the taste of hot blood.
Gradually, through the course of a Minotaur's habitation, a region becomes a blighted wasteland, empty of life or vitality, and scarred with bizarre symbols and works of alien aesthetics which signify only madness.
Minotaurs are obsessed with patterns, particularly spirals and swirls. They are fascinated with works of human art and construction, and make organized collections of things which they collect from their victims, rearranging and reorganizing them with a concentration which verges on mania. They select the choicest of these items and recreate them out of their body's resin in their own style (generally, this turns out bizarre and distorted- for instance, a sword remade in Minotaur resin might have spiral-shaped blade covered in strange patterns, and curl in on itself).
Many ancient texts are concerned with the phenomenon and celestial signs associated with Minotauri and Ll'hhrau.
The Minotauri fall to Earth only during certain astrological convergences, during the interaction of constellations, or during meteor showers. The Star of Rrishagh seems particularly connected to the appearance of Minotaurs, and ancient texts speak of 'the serpent-doom of the skies' when the Star is within the constellation of the Goharr. Many sorcerors who study Minotaurs (and their loathsome parent Ll'hhrau) are also studiers of astronomy, and the convergences of planets and constellations.
Likewise, as the Minotauri come from the sky during astronomical phenomenon, so they can only be destroyed during certain phenomenon. There is generally only a small window of celestial convergence, a period when the stars are right, and only during this time can a Minotaur be defeated with mortal weapons. There is only one sure way to kill a Minotaur, and that is to use weapons made from meteoric iron touched by Ll'hhrau's enemy god, Y'laoth, who opposes all the actions of the Thing Behind The Sky (though not for the good of mankind, but for it's own alien desires).
Battling Minotauri is incredibly difficult- their hides are tough and sometimes plated, they are immensely strong, in addition to possessing numerous biological weapons (acids, resins). Another consequence of the antipleromatic nature of Minotauri is that the working of explicit magic in their presence and in the areas of their taint is extremely difficult- thus, battling them with spells is nigh impossible, and the only sorcerous recourse is reflexive spells of defense.
Certain individuals among the population are strangely affected by the patterns and arts that Minotauri create on their hunting grounds and in their labyrinths. They become obsessed, like the Minotauri, with patterns, with spirals, and with recreating and expanding the designs created by the hideous extraterrestrial serpents. This obsession, the 'tauromachic madness', seems to be contagious- sensitive individuals who are driven mad in this way also drive others of likewise sensitivity insane as well. The symptoms of the tauromachic madness gradually become worse and worse; the terminal stage before death results in the ritual self-mutilation and the mutilation of others in attempts to recreate the patterns with which the madman is obsessed. This stage results inevitably with death.
On occasion, Minotauri will become dormant. They seal the entrances of their labyrinths with a clot of resin, and the effects of their patterns and arts, as well as the stagnancy of the local essence, slowly fades away (except, perhaps, for a latent air of menace, and sense of slight unreality); however, at certain celestial junctions during a dormancy, the beast's patterns are sometimes broadcast up through the ground and cause brief periods of pollution and tauric madness. The purpose of this dormancy is unknown, though the sorceror Vagel the Imager (who is a casual student of minotaurology) has offered the theory that like the purple serpent of the jungles, the Minotaur uses this time to shed and devour it's old skin.
The Foul Design
It seems that as the Minotauri fall, their labyrinths and hunting grounds become more frequent along certain lines. Though it seems that many of these foul abominations existed during darker epochs, their numbers had largely decreased. But they are once again being seen, more and more often, these loathsome starfalls are seen in places of pleromatic significance, bringing disorder to the Earth's divine emanations.
Those who study Minotauri, and those who have read the dark tomes and scrolls concerning the unimaginable Thing Behind The Sky, believe that the increasing frequency of the 'doom from the skies' is a sign of evil times coming. The only meaning that can be gleaned from this increase is that the mindless Ll'hhrau is once again attempting to descend madly out of the cold voids of space onto the Earth.
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? Responses (19)
Wow. As an aside, I like that it was partially inspired (it was, right?) by Spiral Jacobs, a character from the Iron Council. I always wanted to use that idea for something, and now you've turned it around better than I ever could.
Now that Ria's questions have been answered, and we can see what they do, we are still stuck with the Why. Perhaps they will be randomly strewn on the world, until it completely turns into a wasteland. An alternative is the spoiling of natural powers, so if there are enough of such locations, the whole world will suffer terribly, possibly dieing or becoming a worthy home for the Thing Behind The Sky, when it comes to take over. On the same note, they may be just creating a 'landing area'.
So the question is, how are they spread? Are they just arriving randomly, mostly appearing in a certain area, or targeting important places of power? Not that anyone in world that could know.
Cthulu would be proud...or really really offended. Either way I like this alot! I profoundly like the negative repercussions of their labyrinth building and their description was suitably disgusting. My only question is do they have a goal, or do they just burrow into their holes and collect spirally things in an evil fashion?
Something finally came to me, when I read Scras' comment about the 'negative repercussions of their labyrinth building': the nasty manipulation of energy would make fighting them with magic quite hard, especially since that might be the only way to defeat them while it isn't 'the right time' in relation to the constellations.
It seems about finished to me... What do you guys think?
This is great for anyone, especially those who enjoy a good horror CoC game... wonderful.
Two quick complaints. The main body of text needs ot have definate paragraph definitions and the use of Minotaur and Minotauri and constantly used. I wasn't sure which one it was supposed to be.
All in all, this is a wonderful submission of dark fantasy/ horror. It is semi-believable. Wonderful, two pods up.
Minotauri is plural, where Minotaur is singular.
AH... definition noted.
Truely nasty beings.
No longer are Minotaurs dumb bull-like creatures with some cheap horns. You have made them so much more... alien and intelligent in a strange way, with a purpose far beyond the grasp of most mortals.
Yes, this reminds the Cthulhu mythos very strongly. Will you make your own variant one day?
All the new Minotaurs that have surfaced lately, its fun to see the different perspectives on each and everyone of them.Almost need a codec just for them.
Consider This Stolen.
It's Mad! Mad I tell you!
Great Job Cap'n!
Another gem. A horrid, disgusting, assault of evil and madness upon the senses; a fruitful method of tormenting heroes; a vision into the mind of the insane. That kind of gem :)
I must find some way to use this! Such a twisted spout of creativity must not be wasted.
5/5 and an HoH.
An eldritch horror! With Ll'hhrau, who seems like some sort of mad God. Very cool.