This character has already been approved before. I'm just bringing it out of retirement and posting it for everyone's benefit. Should any councilor have an issue with the character or its abilities, please feel free to state your concerns and I will address them appropriately.
Name: Tarnogh, the Colossus Age: 20 years Race: Minotaur Gender: Male
Hair: Tarnogh’s thick, long hair transitions is medium brown on his head, to dark brown at his neck and shoulders, and gradually fades from there to near black at his hooves.
Skin Color: Although it can really only be seen on his nose, his lips and his hands, Tarnogh's skin is a deep black color, with subtle and sparse mottling of a very dark brown.
Eyes: Tarnogh’s eyes are the rich, vivid color of molten gold. More importantly than their color though, is the expression that often crosses them; they are windows to the many savage and murderous things that inhabit his mind.
Appearance: Tarnogh is a truly colossal minotaur, who stands at just over three-quarters of a rod tall and amounts to nearly twenty hundredweights. His build is nothing short of remarkable, with an amazing muscular structure that stems from both his racial nature and many years of intense physical training. His grand, semi-curled horns are just four inches short of five feet wide from tip to tip, and his shoulders are almost as broad. His thick hide is covered in a healthy coat of wiry, dark red fur that becomes darker toward his head, until it is as black as coal. His intense golden eyes often echo his extreme and dynamic spirit, and the few truly cultured thoughts that ever cross his mind. The beast’s powerful hands, which are covered in a slightly longer hair than the rest of his body, are large enough to fold around a human skull with ease and, his fingers end in thick, deadly-looking claws.
His body seems to be an incarnation of raw power, and any part of him that isn’t, is made of metal. His great horns have been gilded with rich oriental gold not merely once, but twice, so that they look heavy and deep-colored. Similarly, his canines are golden, and the sides of his hooves have been coated in a heavy, glittering dark steel. Lastly, his feral voice is a stunningly deep bass, that kind that causes tremors in the ground he stands on, as well as any object of stone or metal within thirty feet of him.
Personality: Tarnogh is not a calm and gentle giant. Instead, he is more like a quiet but everlasting tantrum of nature. It would not even be surprising if Tarnogh really were a living natural cataclysm. As a minotaur, his spirit and many of his emotions are so powerful that they seem to surround him like a heavy aura. He is primal, driven, brutish, direct, stubborn and prone to wild fits of violence at the hap of things that other people might hardly even notice. He could be an earthquake and a hurricane at the same time.
By some, Tarnogh’s temper might be described as fickle. Any who would call it this do so only because they do not understand what things are important to him, what drives him, and what he is sensitive to. Many of these things are quite different than they would be for anyone else.
For Tarnogh, honor and respect are very important, but they are not dispensed equally. To be worthy of his honor, a person must display that they are either very strong, very large, or very wealthy, or they must challenge his superiority in some way. To challenge him makes the other an opponent in combat, to whom honor and respect are always allotted until they have done something to have it taken away; something deceitful or disrespectful. Since most beasts are incapable of understanding these things, it cannot be taken from them, but only them. Everyone who becomes worthy of his notice is immediately given respect, although the Colossus still expects deference from anyone who is not stronger, larger or more wealthy than himself.
Tarnogh is a proud individual, surrounding himself with an aura of hale eminence as he stands tall at any time he is not in the presence of someone or something greater than himself. He speaks directly, especially since his vocabulary of trade common (the language spoken by most people) is small by comparison to most people, although he speaks fluently and almost intelligently in the minotaur tongue. Belittling him or his accomplishments, making jokes at his expense – especially concerning his use of language and intelligence – and doing the same to those people who have earned his respect are all ways to invite his wrath.
To Tarnogh, wizardly magic is a crutch for the weak, although the magic granted by one’s god is a different circumstance, since that is given by divine favor. Anything given to a person by divine favor is their right, and should only be taken from them if they prove they do not have the strength to wield it any longer. The use of sorcery, on the other hand, is a deceitful and low thing, and its use marks its wielder as a dishonorable, disrespectful individual. In order to earn Tarnogh’s respect after showing talent and skill in magic, a person would have to do something very impressive, and put up with his contempt for a long time.
He tends to ignore people smaller than him, not even recognizing that they are there. He is a gruff individual, often considered rude by other people, particularly because he does not notice them. If a person did want to get his attention, they’d need to make a show of superior size, strength, spirit or wealth of gold, or challenge his superior status over them. The latter method often ends in the swift and brutal death of the challenger.
In the wild, the minotaur is most often a hunter, looking for game even larger than himself. For this reason, he might often be found in infernal planes – one of the many Abysses, Hells, Gehennas or elsewhere that the six rivers meander. More often, though, he will be found in the wilds, and he particularly likes hunting in mountains, forests, swamps and ruins. When he visits cities, he usually has something he’s doing there, like having his armor repaired or stocking up on supplies and information for another foray into the wilds for the hunt.
Despite his feral tendencies and otherwise barbaric ways, the minotaur is not completely unrefined or without compassion. The beast has a soft spot for children and infants, and looks on invalids with pity. He prefers a nomadic lifestyle, traveling here and there until he becomes Kanoh and can return home and await the next word of either his chieftain or tribe shaman.
In his leisure time and when not hunting or training, Tarnogh likes to cook food for himself and other travelers, even if they are smaller than he is, and especially if they can be useful to one another. He isn’t yet the world’s best cook but that’s why he practices so often. Other than that, Tarnogh enjoys the peaceful and harmonious scenery that can often be found in mountainous forests, especially where there are small waterfalls that lead to small, clear pools. When he is enjoying one of these places, he can be found in one of his rare, truly tranquil moments.
The Colossus is very pious and dedicated to his god, Necrucian, although he frequently commits a heterodoxy by not laying waste to nature, especially forests. Despite this disagreement he has with most other worshipers of Necrucian, he otherwise serves and protects the will of his god without question. Since his is the god of destruction, chaos, the void, fire and darkness, this generally means the minotaur has no qualms about killing others.
Tarnogh has very few goals in his life, but the ones he has are of great importance to him. First and foremost, he wishes to join the Circle of Ash, Necrucian’s holy order of destroyers and innermost trusted circle of followers. He has so far been unsuccessful in this endeavor, and is slowly growing impatient with Evalius, the leader of that same order, despite how many times the Dark Knight has praised the minotaur’s work while admonishing the members of the order.
His other goal is to become Kanoh, who was the largest and most powerful minotaur Renohk had ever seen. That monster was versed in both the ways of the warrior and gifted with the divine magic of Necrucian, making him a living terror. Kanoh was reputed to have mastered every warrior spirit and vahrgh technique ever known, and even to have created a few, himself. By “becoming Kanoh”, he means to learn and master all of these techniques, become a divine knight of Necrucian, and to become even larger and stronger than he already is.
“Havoc” – Tarnogh’s sword, which he usually keeps stored in a mechanical scabbard on his back, beneath his bow and arrows, is a twelve foot long single-edged fullblade (a type of greatsword) made of daemonsteel and the fangs, hide and bones of an ancient shadow dragon from one of the many abysses. Havoc’s heavy blade is nine and a half feet long, made from daemonsteel and the dragon’s fangs; its edge is purposefully jagged and serrated, making it rip through the minotaur’s quarry as much as it cuts. The sword’s hilt is two and a half feet long, with a tang made from daemonsteel, a handle from the dragon’s bones and wrapped in the glossy, black scaled dragonskin and equipped with a heavy, splayed crossguard of the shadow dragon’s teeth and bones. Its pommel is diamond-shaped, fashioned from both daemonsteel and one of the dragon’s claws.
As a hunter, Tarnogh uses his bow and arrows far more often than his sword. With a draw weight of seven hundred and twenty pounds, and a draw length of five feet and ten inches, the bow would be next to impossible for anyone but another giant to draw. It is usually harnessed over his back, and the bow is an eleven foot long compound made mostly from a black metal known as entrophite, pieces of daemonsteel and shadow dragon bones. The bow’s string is carefully repaired and added to constantly by Tarnogh, crafted from a piece of sinew from every worthy beast and opponent the minotaur has felled.
The bow’s arrows are each five feet and two inches long, from nock to tip, and weigh monstrously at about 4,150 avoirdupois grains apiece. They are made from heavy wood shod in a thin sheaf of steel, fletched with the feathers of some very large bird, and tipped with a white metal called sdiacq. Sdiacq is a strong metal, comparably to iron, which is noted for its ability to quickly build a frightening electrical charge when its fibers are rubbed against anything, even air.
Spoiler: Crunchy Math
For the benefit of anyone who would like to know the actual power of Tarnogh’s bow, I’ve found the mathematical formulae and crunched the numbers. Assuming that the bow maintains the equivalent dimensions of a compound with a 6 ½” brace height as it grades upward in size, it fires arrows at about 310 feet per second. Therefore, the kinetic energy of an arrow fired from this bow is 885.78* ft-lbs, which is determined with the equation ((mass)(velocity^2))/450240. The reader should know that a bow with < 25 ft-lbs is recommended for small game like rabbits, groundhogs and so forth; 25-41 ft-lbs is for things like deer, antelope et cetera; 42-65 ft-lbs is for hunting large game like elk, black bears, wild boars and so on and; > 65 ft-lbs is for the toughest game, like cape buffalo, grizzly bears and musk oxen.
*This number is not a typo.
Armor: Unlike many monsters of his kind, Tarnogh garbs himself in a suit of armor to protect himself in battle. His armor was crafted by his own hands, according the the technique and the traditions created b his tribe. He used leather he crafted for himself, taken from an old, abyss-dwelling shadow dragon that was slain with his own anger, horns and claws; urgorn iron and entrophum ore that he clove and ripped from the bones of the earth himself, and smelted and refined into metal under the direction of the master of fire and metal in his tribe. With the master's wisdom and Tarnogh's own blood and spirit worked into them, these ores became daemonsteel and entrophite, respectively.
His armor is mostly thick leather in form, inlaid via a Renohkan technique with entire, equally thick plates of daemonsteel and entrophite over the least-bending parts of his anatomy. Tanned, softened and waterproofed, the armor covers all parts of his body except his horns, face, hooves and the "soft" sides of his hands. Due to the process in which the metal is lain into and fused to the leather, the armor is almost as quiet as normal leather, without compromising the protective qualities of the daemonsteel and entrophite.
Making it appear even more fearsome, Tarnogh’s armor is engraved with runes of the void, revenge, chaos and destruction, and is limned in a dim aura of blood red light. The armor is even complete with gauntlets more heavily clawed than his own hands. On the right plate of his tasset, many small lines have been scored into the metal. If a person knew the trick to counting these tallies, they would count to 2,613.
Carried Possessions: A heavily tooled leather backpack hangs from the right side of his belt, for all the world looking like a mere satchel when compared to the minotaur’s massive size. He carries a long, straight pipe with him and a number of matches, and is fond of smoking the herbs that grow naturally in forests, which he harvests himself. Not being a complete dunce, he also carries some jerky, dry rations and waterskins with him.
Battle Strengths: Although Tarnogh is an enormous brute, he isn’t called the Colossus just because of his size. His raw physical strength is herculean, able to swing his sword and fire his bow with remarkable ease, even while clad in his unique armor. To say that Tarnogh has “inhuman vitality” might be accurate, but also insufficient. Tarnogh has unusually robust spirit and verve even for the most hardened of minotaur warriors – or warriors of any other race, for that matter.
Tarnogh has been hunting, fighting and serving his god’s will for twelve years, which is a long span of time for the relatively short lifespan of the minotaur race, who on average do not live past thirty-five. Due to their short lives, the minotaurs enjoy getting to know everything about their profession, and learning it all quickly. The Colossus is no exception, he is a near master with the fullblade, the bow and arrow, and as a brawler. He moves with an agility contrary typical to brutish monsters such as himself, and has caught many a very dead foe off guard with such a burst of speed and dexterity.
Magic is the crutch of the weak, but the will of one’s god is a different matter entirely, and as a living force of destruction, Tarnogh is highly favored in his lord’s eyes. Many of his weapons and armor are imbued with the blessing of Necrucian, granting them the powers of chaos, destruction or revenge when Tarnogh’s personal prowess is not enough. Though these blessings are certainly not the root of the Colossus’ prowess, they are not powers to be trifled with, either.
Battle Weaknesses: Tarnogh, although cunning in battle and skilled in the hunt, is not an especially intelligent person. He has a simple manner of looking at nearly everything, and has difficulties thinking outside of his own perspective. Tarnogh is not versed in magic or defense against it; if magic is brought to heel against him, he will be at the caster’s mercy.
Minotaurs are a predator race that resembles a melding of man and bull. Physiologically, it's like they have the head of a bull placed onto the body of a humanoid. However, bulls aren't predators. Bulls have eyes of the sides of their heads. Minotaurs have eyes on the front of their heads, similarly to humans, great cats and wolves. Due to this disparity between the shape of his head and the placement of his eyes, Tarnogh suffers from a large blind spot behind him. This blind spot cannot be solved just by turning his head; he has to turn his entire upper body to see behind him. Tarnogh's ears can still be moved and turned to home in on the sources of sounds, so he's not completely helpless against characters trying to move around behind him, but seeing would be a whole lot better than hearing.
Although more of a personality trait than a strict battle weakness, the combination of Tarnogh being a simple-minded creature and living by his basic and direct honor code means that he will always assume that any intelligent opponent he comes up against will act in righteous and honorable way. He can adjust his strategies to fight deceit and dishonorable tactics once an opponent has used them, but it may take him a time or two to figure it out. Worse, he's never changed his attitude about assuming foes will be honorable, despite that he's been proven wrong on several occasions.
Tarnogh has an aversion to deep bodies of water. Which is to say, anything deeper than his nose, since he swims with all the grace and buoyancy of the average cast iron chair. Tarnogh will therefore avoid the water if he can, and is found to be uncharacteristically jittery on boats, for fear that he might fall through the deck.
Also, although this weakness does not come into play during combat often, Tarnogh has a very single-minded pursuit of his prey at any time. Once he’s on the hunt, he will hedge all other things out of his mind until he has brought down his quarry or it has escaped him.
Skills: Tarnogh is well trained and very experienced in the manners of combat. He works well with a one- or two-handed sword, axes, hammers, and shields of all sorts. He is especially versed in hand-to-hand combat, using both his horns and his claws to devastating effect on whatever fool was hapless enough to earn his anger.
It is important to remember that the minotaur has been fighting and training with many other warriors, animals and monsters that are smaller, larger, stronger and/or faster than him, and some that are even like himself. The fact that he lives and has been triumphant should explain that he is no fool in combat. In addition to tearing mercilessly into his enemies, Tarnogh is also highly skilled in blocking, parrying and dodging attacks, and usually knows which one of these is appropriate for the moment. When Tarnogh parries an opponent’s attack, he might also attempt a riposte, with which he is not especially skilled but can still be devastating for that opponent.
Like most minotaurs, Tarnogh is especially versed in the art and act of goring an opponent on his horns, usually inflicting terrible damage on them. This skill is augmented by his height, strength and weight, and also by a few different anger skills, some of which Tarnogh knows. Being impaled on a minotaur’s horn is a frightening prospect, especially since it is often followed up with being tossed bodily through the air, away from the monster.
Tarnogh is an expert in the way of tracking prey across many kinds of terrain by finding and following their tracks left behind, by the knowing the mannerisms of many creatures, and by knowing their individual scents.
Trained in the methods of destruction taught by the priests of Necrucian, Tarnogh has learned how to strike hard and well for the weak points of weapons and armor, damaging and even destroying them in a remarkably small number of attacks.
Although possessed of a sense of honor, the Colossus has no qualms about knocking out his opponent for a short time or bashing them to the ground in the middle of a fight, so they might no longer be able to defend themselves properly. Over the years, he’s learned this trick well, and has been seen to stun even especially large game (compared to him!) with a single swipe from his armor-clad fist.
Warrior Spirit Skills
The minotaurs have a force of spirit that most other races simply cannot comprehend. For them, a fellow’s spirit and vigor are not only physical things, but nearly corporeal things about a person. Not surprisingly, then, they have learned to hone and shape their warrior spirit into a variety of useful abilities, most often imbuing a mundane action with spirit to give it an effect that most humans would describe as primal and elemental. Despite their sheer vim, most minotaurs, such as Tarnogh, cannot use more than two warrior spirit skills at the same time. The following are the warrior spirit skills that Tarnogh has learned over the course of his life:
The minotaur unleashes a mighty roar infused with warrior spirit from the bottom of his lungs in a bellow that can be heard for hundreds of feet in all directions, even over the din of battle. Anyone too close to the minotaur – say, within forty feet or so – is touched briefly in the soul with the force of spirit and some of the primal sorts of ire that only minotaurs and a few other beastly monsters are capable of truly feeling. Many fighters boast of being fearless or being unaffected by their fear, and this trait is said to be true of absolutely everyone until they face something truly terrifying… the spirit roar of a minotaur is truly terrifying.
By building up and allowing their great spirit to flow freely through their body through a special sort of moving meditation, a minotaur can use his warrior spirit to help him recover from his wounds at a greatly accelerated rate. This recuperation cannot solve a loss of limbs, but mere scratches are healed within moments, and larger wounds begin to close within just minutes. If a warrior were to focus on recuperation, he might be able to recover from a near-death set of injuries and even poisons in just the span of four or five hours.
Perhaps the simplest of all uses for the warrior spirit, this technique is taught to nearly all minotaurs in their youth, and one cannot become a tribe warrior without mastering it. By focusing and upwelling his vigor, and then releasing threads of the excess created it into his body, a minotaur can quickly recover from and stave off fatigue and exhaustion.
Pushing the force of their spirit onto another person in an abrupt surge, the minotaur throws his opponent off guard and stuns them temporarily. During the time that an opponent is recovering, the minotaur redirects the flow of his warrior spirit into a burst of speed, to attack his enemy with a flurry of bloody slashes and thrusts from his sword. For some reason, the minotaur can feel when the effect has worn off of his opponent, and therefore does not usually leave his guard down by continuing the storm of attacks after his foe has recovered.
Using it as a titanic rush of physical force, the minotaur uses his warrior spirit to enhance a single swing of his weapon with incredible strength. The force created by this effort is so great that it seems unstoppable, tearing through flesh, wood, stone, earth and metal with equal ease.
This skill is difficult and taxing for a warrior to use. It requires an effort of all of the warrior's spirit, ending any of his ongoing warrior spirit skill effects, and preventing him from using any others for several seconds, as the spirit entirely leaves the minotaur's body to push and augment his weapon.
Vahrgh, Anger Skills
Tarnogh’s tribe places a great deal of importance on one's ability in combat, and minotaurs have always been prone to fits of anger. Instead of learning to keep their anger under control, though, they learned how to focus their anger into a variety of seventeen specific, empowering forms. Most anger skills stack with one another, others replace certain active skills, and a few of them cannot be stacked with other anger skills. Nearly all of the anger skills remain in effect until a fight has finished, plus another a short time thereafter. It is also important to know that many of the types of anger an minotaur experiences through the use of these skills would inhibit a human’s accuracy and focus, but this is not the case for these beasts; anger is a part of their souls. Tarnogh currently knows four of these skills. They and their effects are as follows:
One of the simplest forms of anger, this skill fills its user with a thirst for violence. While under its effects, the minotaur’s already impressive strength is greatly increased – less than doubled, but more than one and a half its usual measure, in addition, the effects of an enraged minotaur’s warrior spirit skills are all increased in effectiveness by a like amount. An enraged minotaur can also ignore the effects of all forms of pain, whether these are natural, magical or otherwise in nature.
Personality shift: The user loses their sense of self-preservation until the rage expires. This doesn’t mean that an enraged minotaur won’t abandon a fight, but that risk of death or injury will simply not be a good enough reason to do it.
A sudden fit of unrestrained and unrefined anger, this skill allows its user to lash out at everything around them, striking in multiple directions at the same time without suffering in the in the strength or accuracy of those attacks. Additionally, a berserking minotaur can bear the burden of more injury than normal until the berserk wears off.
Personality shift: A berserked minotaur has difficulty telling friend from foe, and is like to attack anyone that gets too close to them. Bystanders far enough away from the minotaur aren’t in any danger from this shift, but anyone in arm’s reach is probably in harm’s way.
Using this intense, passionate and vehement anger skill, the minotaur gains increased speed and a jump in the rate of his attacks in measures about equal to the strength gain from rage. Furthermore, the passion instilled by the skill causes the minotaur to reach deeper into each successful attack, working out even more damage than his normal strikes would, without hindering the speed of those attacks.
Personality shift: The user gains a primal urge to hunt down and kill anything moving both fast and away from the minotaur. Often times, a minotaur will abandon a current quarry to attack something running away from him, instead, killing it before turning back to the original prey.
One of the most specific forms of anger, bloodlust is a desire for bloodshed. However, the minotaur’s bloodlust is a type of anger beyond the human ability to experience, and likewise has a more dramatic effect on the minotaur feeling it. The minotaur’s strength is increased by the use of this skill, becoming a measure of about one and one third their normal strength, although this increase also stacks with the enhanced strength gained from the rage skill. Also, the minotaur’s horns and claws extend by a few inches each, allowing them to achieve more significantly more damage with each use of the minotaur’s impaling skill or rending with his claws.
Personality shift: A minotaur in bloodlust becomes more cruel for the duration of the skill. He takes a greater pleasure in seeing others injured and suffering, and may even prolong an opponent’s suffering before killing them.
Holy Relics of Necrucian:
Waters of the Rivers
One of the gifts that Necrucian has bestowed on Tarnogh for his service is a collection of six adamantite bottles, each of which holds two pints of water from one of the six rivers that wander the infernal planes. Each of the different waters has a different effect, but if one ever runs out of water, Tarnogh will need to travel to the bank of that river to refill it, which could be a dangerous task. The rivers are Styx, Acheron, Cocytus, Eridanos, Phlegethon and Lethe.
The waters of the river Styx are strong indeed, having more than a single power. First, any being may swear an oath on the waters of the river by holding the bottle and proclaiming their oath. An oath sworn in this way cannot be willingly broken, and if it is failed, than the oath-giver is robbed of their voice for the duration of a single season. Second, if the waters are drank from the bottle, they will restore that person’s health and well-being. A single dose restores a person from injury, disease and poison; two doses can cause a regrowth of one’s limbs; three doses can restore a person’s mind and memories and; drinking the entire bottle can bring them back even from death. A single dose is half a pint of the river’s water.
Where countless souls have traversed the river Acheron into their final resting places among the underworlds, the river has drawn out dregs of their passing selves, seeding itself with the substance of spirit. The water of this river can either be drunk or poured over things, each having a slightly different effect. When the water is drunk, it emboldens the spirit of the drinker, filling them with it until they brim. For Tarnogh, this is especially useful for his warrior spirit skills, increasing the effectiveness of all of them. For anyone who is not a minotaur, or does not have any abilities linked to the strength of their spirit, it is uplifting and their spirit sheds outside the body to protect them from harm like a near-tangible aura. When the water is poured over weapons or armor, it bathes them in the ‘steam’ of souls. This allows weapons to strike true upon and cause lasting harm to spirits, vampires and many other “immortal” beings. Armor becomes able to resist their attacks, resisting them as if they were mere mortals. The bottle can hold enough for three doses.
The river Cocytus has a special meaning to the dead, and its pull is powerful, indeed. Souls who cannot afford to pay the Charon, the boatman of the infernal rivers, the fee to reach their destinations must wander along its shores for hundreds of years until they find the money to pay him with. This water has no effect on the living, but when splashed upon the waking dead – whether they are an incorporeal spirit, a zombie, a vampire, or of a completely unique classification – that creature is banished the shores of Cocytus.
Any creature banished in this way that does not arrive with an obolus to pay the ferryman with wanders along the river’s shores, wailing in grief and mourning for themselves until they come to their senses. Depending on the power of the undead, this visit could last anywhere from a few minutes (at the very least) to upwards of a month. For lesser undead, such as anything mindless, they might never return from the shores of the infernal river. The bottle can hold enough water for three banishings of this manner.
The amber-colored waters of the Eridanos river are a blight to wielders of magic, acting as a very special form of poison. The bottle the water is stored in has a special brush on its stopper, which is used to apply the water to edges of blades and to other weapons. If a magic-wielder, or other person who uses supernatural powers, is struck with a weapon adorned with the water of the Eridanos, he or she will lose the use of those abilities in any capacity for the next hour. The water of this river can also suppress magical items and dispel enchantments or other magics by brushing or pouring this water onto them.
The waters of the Phlegethon river are not water at all. Instead, this bottle contains liquid fire that has the power to burn even souls. This substance is extremely destructive to the touch, but its fire does not spread to things it burns. Tarnogh uses the Phlegethon’s waters only rarely, but one should be wary of its ability, it is a truly devastating liquid. It cannot be doused or extinguished, it must be allowed to burn itself out.
The water of the river Lethe is a potent draft. Anyone who imbibes the water will forget all of the events of the last day. These memories might be recovered, as though they had been lost to trauma, but are otherwise nearly impossible to dredge up. Worse is if a person is doused in the water of the bottle, as the entire container could take away months or possibly even years of a person’s life. Tarnogh is protected from the effects of this water by the will of his god, but can choose to forgo this protection or take it up again as he wishes.
Bag of Oboli
Tarnogh dislikes the water, particularly because he cannot swim and never floats. If he ever has an absolute need to travel somewhere, though, he may stand upon the shore of any body of water for an hour with an obolus from this bag in his mouth. After that hour, a thick and heavy fog rises up from the water, and Charon shall emerge from fog, pushing a ferry large enough to comfortably accommodate Tarnogh and anyone who is with him and also holding an obolus in their mouth. By boarding the ferry but refusing to give Charon the coin until they’ve arrived at his destination, Tarnogh can use this method to go wherever there is water.
Savage. That was probably the best way to describe everything about this place. From the weather to the people and their basic ways of life, everything there was in this … tribe, could be called savage. Savage and impressive; but that made sense, for this was a village of minotaurs.
Je, the bard, nearly had to jog to keep up with their great strides, and being half-elven, he was horribly out of place among the hundreds of brutes that milled about in their daily lives. The bard did thank his luck, though, for being half-elven, he felt as if he might have been eaten by now, if these beasts had not placed the idea of importance on a matter of size – the larger it is, the more important it is. The only other determining factors of respect here were prowess and the amount of gold on a minotaur’s body. The only exceptions to these facts seemed to be the chieftain, who had attained his position by proving his might and wisdom long ago, and the tribal shamans, who were favored by the gods. Also, these great beasts had a profound sense of brotherhood and honor – both personal and tribal.
The most remarkable thing that the bard may have seen, though, was the grand monster beside him, who brought him to this place. That colossal minotaur, who stood more than a time and a half the size of his peers around him, and who weighed more than twice as much, and who was bedecked with rich and heavy gold on his horns and teeth, and glittering black iron on his hooves. He strode through this tribal village as if owned it all, – and indeed, he might have owned most of it – his name was Tarnogh.
All of these things considered – his epic size, his great prowess as a warrior, the wealth of gold on his body and his titanic spirit – Tarnogh had the fewest of tribal brothers to whom he owed deference. This worked well for the bard and the beast, as not a single minotaur got in their way when they made their way to a high grassy knoll which overlooked the village.
Tarnogh sat down on the hill and patted the ground beside him, indicating for me to do the same. As I took my seat, the great creature pointed at me and demanded in an ominous tone, “Scribe.” I felt no need to die that day, so I took out my parchments and quill, and wrote down everything Tarnogh told me. After some brief dialogue on translation, here is the story I gathered:
‘My clan name is Tarnogh. This is my home, Renohk. I was raised here by my brothers, my fathers and every mother in the village. When I was born, Grand Shaman Visoh said I had Kanoh’s gold eyes. That means I have the spirit of Kanoh, the greatest warrior of Renohk ever born. I will be great. Grand Shaman Visoh also says my guiding spirit is the auroch. The auroch is large, powerful, and has strong horns. Grand Shaman Visoh says Great Lord Necrucian blessed my birth. These will make me the strongest warrior born since Kanoh.
‘I think Great Lord Necrucian gave me a special blessing when I was born. I did not start big. I was very small, much smaller than even all females born under my moon. This means I was never important when growing up. Everything gets to Tarnogh last, but Grand Chief Dennec and all shamans in Renohk had faith in Grand Shaman Visoh. Grand Chief Dennec decided that I would start hunter training at four springs, and all time not spent hunting, I would train with Renohk’s strongest warriors, and all time not spent hunting or training, all Renohk shamans would teach me their wisdom. When not working of these things, I would have eight hours to sleep. I remember much training.
‘At seven springs, I was still small, but I was strong and fast and smart. When I wanted something first, I could fight for it. I was faster and more balanced than my larger brothers, and victory was mine much more than failure. At seven springs, bulls talked of my prowess. At eleven springs my teeth were all new, so I decided to leave Renohk for five days to find gold. I found a train of merchants, and killed every human who could fight. When I returned to Renohk, I took two hundredweights of gold with me. I gave a hundredweight to Grand Chieftain Dennec, half one to Grand Shaman Visoh and kept half a hundredweight for me. I took ten weights to Brother Gurrik, who makes fire and metal,’ – Tarnogh was very particular about the phrase “fire and metal”, but I think this means that Gurrik was a metal smith, – ‘and Gurrik takes half for payment and makes eight teeth of gold for me.’ At this point, the minotaur opened his mouth for me and showed me that his four canines and four rearmost molars had been sheathed in pure gold.
The minotaur continued, ‘For nine springs, life was hard, but every mother was good to me, and I hunted many things for food. I grew very large and when I was sixteen springs, I was already larger than all of my brothers of my moon, and five moons after. I did not stop growing. Grand Chieftain Dennec said that my honored mothers could not feed me again until I was done growing. If I wanted food, I hunted it myself, always. I stopped becoming tall at eighteen springs, and I trained and hunted harder than every warrior in Renohk and still I did not stop growing until I was of nineteen springs and my horns were one hand short of five feet. Then, on nineteen springs, I left Renohk again and did not return for one moon.
‘I remembered merchants and their gold, and went to hunt man for three weeks. Each week, I found a road and each week I found a caravan of merchants. At the end of three weeks, I counted eight kills of ten and four.’ – This number means 84, I calculate. – ‘I carried three hundred weights and one half back to Renohk for one week. And for the half-hundredweight, Gurrik gilds my horns heavy twice. I did not use coins for my horns. I used gold that comes from where the sky turns bright,’ – I think this means East – ‘that is pure and rich. When I gave a hundredweight to Grand Chieftain Dennec and Grand Shaman Visoh, I was blessed and made an adult.
‘Two springs later, when I was full-grown, Grand Chieftain Dennec and Grand Shaman Visoh came to my home. Grand Shaman Visoh said, “The auroch says it is time for you to leave Renohk. You are the Colossus, Tarnogh. Your spirit is strong and your honor is good. You are seventeen springs a warrior, and own two hundredweights of gold. You are larger than all warriors born since Kanoh. Your horns are grand and golden and Great Lord Necrucian blesses your birth. The auroch says you will leave Renohk for another home, and come back Kanoh. Brother Tarnogh, in the name of Great Lord Necrucian, I bless your journey.” I left Renohk the next night, and gave a pound of gold to every honored mother and every brother of my moon, in Renohk.’
His entire life having been explained to me, he drew a pipe out of the bag at his waist and smoked for a while. When he was done, he offered me the pipe, but I turned him down and gathered my parchments.
Tarnogh said, “Your guiding spirit must be the duck.”
“What makes you say that?” I replied.
“You are very strange.” He took a deep breath and turned back to me with a more serious expression. “Go tell my story to every small one who will listen. Make a book, go.”