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Saii

The Destruction of the Centaurs

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K this does exactly what it says on the tin. It tells how the remnants of the Centaur came to be standing at the Tahraji pass and why they are no longer a major race in the game. The Satyr will probly be dealt with on another occasion.

 

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The Destruction of the Centaurs

 

During the Great War the Centaurs lost more than any other Aluwenist race bar the Satyr. They had been most numerous in the Second Continent, roaming in hundreds of small clans across the great open plains of that land, linked only loosely in a series on larger tribes. Sundered from their God and from each other, they were incoherent, rudderless.

 

As the war began Selain was ruthless to the children of Centaur. Mindful of what Mortos had done to their God and wary of their hatred, the Great Poisoner wasted no time in striking at them wherever he could, sending thousands of his wiley Orchans to hunt the tribes down one by one.

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At first the Centaur tribes remained unaware of their impending doom. They did not speak to their kin and could not conceive of the organised forces arrayed against them as a threat. Gradually however, as the wide, echoing plains grew tense and silent, the tribes began to sense something was wrong.

 

Refugees began to congregate and talk to each other, building up a picture of the horror that stalked them. They began as a trickle, and became a flood as survivors from each newly decimated clan joined their broken kin. Yet they became aware of the enormity of what had befallen them only when the great tribe of Hersal, most powerful of all and made up of over a dozen clans, was wiped out to the very mare and foal.

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What little tatters and remnants of the tribes remained crossed the plains to stand before a broken statue of their god and discuss what to do. While Selain sent his forces to eradicate those fragments, they finally formed one last Centaur tribe, the Janner (or Survived). These disparate peoples joined together under one flag to leave the Second Continent. The knowledge of their exodus has been saved through storyteller's tales of Stalium, head of the Celtis clan and Warlord of the Janner.

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Exodus

 

Stalium's surprisingly dainty hooves rested easily on the podium, seemingly free of the urge to fidget most Centaurs feel. Lit a dull red by the setting sun, he cast a long shadow over the ruins of Centaur's statue, which still, imbued by the magic of their long-lost God, constantly mutated into bizarre and unsettling shapes.

 

He was slight of stature, though he carried confidently the unexpected strength that sometimes comes with it, and a heavy brow overshadowed his sunken, violet eyes. Wrinkles peppered his face, particularly round his eyes where an easy smile had creased them for so many years. Long strands of hair, grown slightly wild from his efforts of the past few months, covered parts of his face, lying flat in the dank evening air.

 

His long beard, plaited in Green and Red, symbolised wisdom and leadership. Across his back was slung a light pack of food, a bow, arrows and an unfeasibly large double axe, which he seemed too small to carry let alone wield. Around his neck he wore a golden torque, orignially a symbol of his leadership in the Letigi tribe and now of his place as Warlord of the Janner.

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Before him stood over 2,000 Centaur, the largest gathering in living memory. Every survivor, from every clan who had survived the Orchan death-dealers stood here, in this sacred place, watching Stalium's every move. A rustle of anticipation and impatience could be felt as they waited for him to speak, and younger Centaurs expressed their annoyance with a rythmical clopping of their hooves on the tough ground.

 

Stalium cleared his throat loudly to grab their attention, and in a deep, dry voice began to speak to his inattentive audience in that startlingly unflowery way Centaurs have. "We're here to save our race. Enemies will arrive soon. We must leave." Even put so simply, his words were excessively eloquent to the minds of the young in his audience, who began to run about playing tag, but other adults thundered their agreement.

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Good so far. Keep going. I've only found two small errors:

 

over the ruins of Centaur's statue,

Centau's

 

Centaurs expressed their annoyance with a rythmical clopping of their hooves on the tough ground.

rhythmical

 

But as usual, Saii, you're forming the backbone of the storyline. :P Keep up the good work, and don't forget to check the other writers' stories as well.

 

-Lyn-

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Ta, they've been changed on the master copy :D.

 

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This was a war they would not be able to win. They had all heard reports of Gaia's failure on the Second Continent. Within the month the Aluwenists would have surrendered entirely, and the Centaurs would have no support or respite against the overwhelming numbers of Selain's Orchan. If they didn't find a way to escape they would be wiped out.

 

Stalium banged his hoof loudly for attention and continued as the noise began to die away. "Gaia will leave on ships from the South. We must be on them. We shall go there together. Warriors stay behind, the rest of you get ready to leave. That is all." More thundering followed as the adults agreed, then the meeting broke up quickly, with around 700 warriors staying behind for further instructions.

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After reading over the story, adn looking at the timeline....they were wiped out INCREDIBLY fast. I like Centaurs (if what you mant by Saii's mistake in the Centaur's, Centau's then I spellt it wrong as well and am not going to change it).

 

Centaurs are commonly known for the great strength, their explicit war traditions, and their knowledge of war as well. Everything I have ever heard on Centaurs proclaims them great strategists, and even though they have short tempers, they think clearly most of the time. They are not easily frightened, and like most races when threatened and thye become scared they do not fight at their full potential. However, Centaurs being as braves and powerful as they are should in no way be wiped out in a period of under 50 years (I believe it was).

 

If your trying to be original then so be it, but your making them sound like pacifists who would rather die then pick up a sword to fight back. Their quick thinking would have automatically made atleast one of the tribes successful in their endeavor and warn the other tribes and eventually band together to make a last stand.

 

Also Orchans being evil and all, I see no reason for the Centaurs to have fought this battle alone.

 

Otherwise nice story ;)

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I'm sorry but that's a ludicrous thing to say. Centaurs are written up completely differently depending on which story you read. In some they're wise old sages, in others impetuous savages. I've read a great deal of fantasy and the only thing which remains the same throughout every story is their physical appearance.

 

I have made a point of saying the tribes were fractured and didn't talk to explain their lack of coherence, and if you read the Battle of Portland you'll note that they are portrayed there as heroes of the highest order so I don't know what all this pacifism stuff is about.

 

Centau is their creator in the histories, hence the correction.

 

I'm not going to designate Orchans as evil because a) They're playable characters and :P their blurb on the website says that they have a highly developed sense of honour and heroism.

 

Thanks for the input though.

 

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Among the warriors were three who Stalium truly respected, Geldit, Marum and Folis.

 

Geldit was a loyal warrior of the Celtis, Stalium's own clan. Coloured a rough brown and feared far and wide for his enormous strength, Geldit carried a gigantic hammer which he wielded like another would handle a flick-knife. Standing head and shoulders above every other, with a back broad enough to match, the big Centaur was scarred head to hoof from a hundred skirmish wounds. He wore the Black ribbon of a warrior.

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Whoa lol. Anyways, I have read a lot of stories as well, not just Fantasy novels. Quite a few Sci-Fi books have them in their stories as well.

 

Not saying that some stories do not portray them as other things, but hwat I am saying is that the "best authors" prray them all the same. Every best-selling author isnt neccessarily a "best author" so to speak.

 

What I mean by "best authors" is the ones who are of high note and have been writing for many years andhave written many great and wonderful books.

 

In my opinion the best writers of all time are #1) Robert Jordan, and #2) JRR Tolkien.

 

Nothing you can say will make me change my mind on their quick deaths. Whats the lifespan of a Centau that we are speaking?

 

Now as for you thing about Orchans being "not evil" is interesting to say the least. Of what I have read, they follow Mortos which I believe is evil correct? Also is you have read the Dragonlance Chronicles series the enemies in that are a) honorable, :P evil, c) very heroic, d) diciplined. Now if the Orchans are all the same whos to say that they are not evil? And besides, if you write a story on Orchans they would be the good guys and the people their fighting would be the evil ones riht? So the statement that they are not evil would be on how your point of view is.

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I've spoken to Roja about it before - she doesn't want the Orchans to be perceived as evil all the time. I think she wants them to be sort of like the "noble barbarian" type. But in this particular story, they've been controlled by Selain through drugs, anyway, so they're allowed to do certain evil things.

 

The lifespan of a Centaur (I guess...and this is only my private opinion) would be slightly longer than that of a human - say about 90-110 years.

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What I mean by "best authors"

 

Much as I respect you Arafin I'm not going to base the characters I write on your subjective opinions. Having said that, in the histories I assumed that they had quite short lives, because of Centau's need for constant change.

 

I'd also dispute that Mortos (or Orchans for that matter) needs to be written off as fundamentally 'evil', which is always a horribly lazy one dimensional base for any character. I saw him more as an angry loser terrified of change, who will do anything and everything to try and bring back the 'good old days' when EL didn't exist. Think of a particularly reactionary small-town gent and you'll get what I'm talking about, it's just in this case he's also a God and has had several millenia to stew about it, so he's vastly more vicious and threatening.

 

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Marum hailed from the Eliti clan, old rivals of the Celtis, and was a wiley old fox who had often outmanouvered Stalium both on and off the battlefield. Though they were both of the same generation, Marum now seemed a little too old to be truly able in leading the Janner, or he would have taken the torque above Stalium. The old Centaur was still a fearsome fighter, but his stamina was not what it once was and he held an advisory role rather than a leading one. He still wore the Green ribbon of wisdom, but had carefully unwound the Red.

 

Folis was Marum's son, a young, self-possessed warrior with a natural gift for fighting, tactics and cunning which surpassed even his father's. Tall, powerful and athletic, he was hampered only by his youth, through which he lacked wisdom. For all his tender age though, Stalium regarded Folis as the only one to have survived who had the capability to become a great chieftan in the vein of the wild old princes of the past. Folis wore the black, but also the rarely gained orange of a blessed one, carried those who seemed touched by the divine.

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I like the coloured ribbons - very nice touch there. One day, we'll have to compile something about Centaur culture and put that in.

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ta I was quite pleased when I came up with it :wink: 8)

 

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Each of them stood slightly forward from the main mass of the tribe's fighters, waiting for instructions. Discipline was better now that the non-combatants were gone, but Stalium kept his sentences short all the same. "100 of you to the front of the caravan, picked by Marum. 200 to the back, led by Geldit, the other 400 taking flank led by Foils and I. Scouts from each group to run ahead and around looking for signs of the enemy."

 

Within the hour they were organised and moving.

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Travel

 

The slow caravan of the Janner stretched across the plain in small groups of families, clans and tribe remnants. As always it was impossible to keep an eye on them all as individuals lost concentration, wandered and broke into nervous gallops, before remembering their purpose and returning to the march.

 

Stalium trotted onwards with Folis at his side, snapping at those who seemed to be forgetting themselves. Up and down the line warriors, with their tough disciplining in long-term concentration, were doing the same. Nevertheless it was hard, and his mind started to wander as they crossed the dark, sweet-smelling evening plains.

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Beneath his feet he could feel the waving of the long grass, tickling his legs and reminding him of his itch... To run... To change... To begin anew in a different place... He could see the horizon stretching forever in front of him... Just waiting to be caught and released as a child would a firefly.

 

He trotted a few paces towards that ever-present promise, then with an effort of will turned around to check where everyone was. They continued to trek Westward, perhaps half a mile away from where he stood. This was ever the curse of the Centaur, inherited from their mad old God

 

Even as he watched a dozen mares and their foals broke from the caravan, galloping as though they were trying to escape. Behind them ran a black-ribboned warrior, calling them back fruitlessly. Stalium shook his head in sorrow. They weren't running through fear, but because they couldn't quite overcome their instincts any more. They wouldn't be the last to run.

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In front of him Folis was having a little more success, cuffing the less aware of his charges before they began to wander. Far to the East, Geldit bellowed loudly, but his mere presence was enough to keep stragglers in line. Stalium had chosen him specifically because of this invaluable trait.

 

Marum was having a great deal more trouble at the front of the caravan, as the most rowdy and undisciplined types always seemed to congregate there, but was just about keeping order with his soft, calming language, backed up by vicious reprisals to anyone who stepped out of line.

 

Stalium began to trot back to his charges, but noticed a single Centaur who had broken from the group and was charging past a little way from him. He sighed and ran in pursuit after the retreating figure.

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Narus

 

The Centaur was quick, very quick. Stalium gasped as his aging lungs hauled in barely enough air to feed his limbs. He was no longer able to shout, and instead concentrated on keeping up. They ran for hours, through the evening and into a dark and cloudy night. The long grass began to whip at Stalium's sweat-drenched haunches, and he lost sight of his target altogether, finding his way by the smell they left in the air.

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He should have given up early on in the chase, let the idiot run on into the great unknown and returned to his post. But Stalium was, as much as his charge, running. The torque weighed heavily on his neck. He had responsiblity for the entire tribe resting on him, a task and a binding chain on his life that no Centaur should feel.

 

The old princes perhaps would have handled it with more equanimity, with composure and discipline, but Stalium was frightened. He was used to command, to ruling a tribe of loose-fitting clans stretched across the plains, with minimal allegiance or dependance on him. But what he ruled over now was all that was left, and they needed discipline - a leader who could take on that burden without hesitation or fear.

 

So he ran, supposedly in pursuit, but equally, in denial of his responsibilities.

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Ahead of him, in the near dark rose an enormous dark shape, crowned with yellow, flickering lights. The lights outlined a wooded hill, sloping gently into the sky. He could smell the earthy, salty odour of Orchans all around, and stopped for a moment to bind his feet with cloth, to deaden the sound of his hooves on the loose earth. He was worried for his quarry, whose own smell was now just a few dozen yards ahead. He had not seen the ribbon of a warrior or the purple of a master hunter as they passed him, so they would have little expertise in staying quiet now they were in the thick of it.

 

He thanked Centau for the poor smell of half-humans, some of whom stood mere feet away as he passed with the bare rustle of a mouse. The centaur he pursued however was not so lucky. Ahead of him he heard raised, gruff voices and the muffled tones of a Centaur talking back. He crept nearer, but couldn't see what was going on.

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The voices grew clearer. "...take you to see Seiro." The name clicked in Stalium's mind. Seiro was a name that had trickled down between the Centaur refugees. He was a particularly powerful Orchan lieutenant in Selain's army, and had taken apart the powerful Hersal tribe with a combination of brilliant tactics and superior intelligence gathering.

 

While Seiro himself wasn't known for being particularly vicious, his troops were renowned for their brutality. They wouldn't be kind to the runaway Centaur, and would certainly extract the whereabouts of the caravan. Stalium couldn't allow that, they wouldn't be close enough to the docks yet to escape. He came to a decision... He would have to kill the Centaur, possibly at the cost of his own life, if the others were to make it to the ships.

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He followed quietly in the direction of the now fading voices, willing himself to be even more silent and slinking close to the ground, to the shadows, as the guard pickets drew close. Stalium grew tense as his every step seemed to crash like thunder, his fur snagged on twigs which snapped with the crack of lightning.

 

Around him the sounds and smell of the Orchans carrying the Centaur slowed, and there were more voices before finally their footsteps began to reverberate on open ground - the centre of the camp. Stalium crept as far forward as he dared, mere feet in the pitch-black shadows from an alert and (from the smell) extremely large guard.

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He could if he strained just make out what was happening. At the centre of the clearing ahead stood the Centaur, held by two Orchans in a vice-like grip. Around the figure was a collection of huge, muscled Orchan leaders lounging carelessly around various smokey fires, chatting quietly among themselves and throwing interested looks towards what was going on. Just a little way off, a fat Orchan who could only be Seiro sat with two of the biggest guards Stalium had ever seen. He was smiling slightly.

 

Seiro hauled himself to his feet, the chubby contours of his body swaying slightly with the effort as Stalium watched. His face was wrinkled and torn from hard work and barfights - it was well known that the chief was a mine-worker made good. His arms bulged with muscle, and his balding head jutted forward, hanging over his eyes and accentuating his (to Stalium) loutish appearance.

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The fat Orchan spoke with an aura of total confidence, honed in his rise from worker to chieftan. "Ah what do we have here? A Centaur prisoner I presume?"

 

The two guards made to speak, but were interrupted by their charge. Standing tall, the Centaur haughtily answered for them. "I am no captive Seiro, I am Narus. I am sure you've heard of me."

 

Stalium certinly had. Narus was a name he'd heard whispered with revulsion and fear by the dying warlord Kydil, leader of Hersal tribe, as the old Centaur had lain dying after his tribe's destruction. No-one had ever worked out who Narus was, as the loose connections of the clans meant they constantly moved about with no way of tracking traitors.

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Now he he stood, bare feet away from the single most effective weapon Selain had used in the campaign. Stalium unslung his bow silently, and drew his string slowly onto the short-range waepon. He was careful to make sure it was straight and balanced, he would only get one shot. He listened to Narus talking as he worked, marvelling at the self-possession and single-minded manner of the young buck as even Siero was reduced to a respectful silence.

 

"You don't have much time, they are already ahead of you and move further away, to the Western docks in support of the Aluwenists. They will cross out of your reach if you wait. They have exceptional leaders and their warriors are faster than yours, but they have children with them who they will be anxious to protect. You will be able to surround them once you've caught them."

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