Lore of DAoC: Labyrinth of the Minotaur
The Backstory of the Labyrinth
Long ago, the island now called Agramon was the home of the ancient race of called the Uruz. Their capital city was a marvel of architecture, a fair city above ground but an even larger and more mystical one beneath. The Uruz spread out from their home island to explore the world. In the neighboring lands of Midgard, Hibernia, and Albion they came in contact with the fledgling kingdoms of man. They left only vague impressions on the men they encountered, sparking tales of bull gods and horned men, but making no solid ties.
Though they preferred to live underground and limit contact with the surrounding areas, these outlying clans also began to lose touch with each other and with the central island. This worried the high Council. They proposed a great undertaking, a nexus that would unite the lands, not through conventional tunnels, but through dimensional magics.
The High Chief Maghras placed his three sons in charge of the construction, and made them each emissaries to one of the outlying lands. To Hibernia he sent his eldest son, Yashrig. To Migard he sent his second son, Deifrang. To Albion he sent his youngest son, Korazh.
The nexus project was an incredible triumph, and brought great glory to the sons of Maghras. Travel between the realms and the great city increased, and it seemed a golden age of Minotaur society had begun. Emboldened by the success of their first great magical undertaking, the Minotaur began to seek to test the limits of the powers that could be gained and manipulated through these magics.
The Uruz High Priests spoke of new, closer contact with their Gods, granting access to previously unknown mystical forces. They began working on a new undertaking, one even greater than the travel nexus. The capital began to produce Relics of great power, items that would increase the power of the Uruz race and carry their legacy through the ages. But these advances had a darker side. The underground city became more of a fortress as the Uruz feared to lose these new relics. The tunnels dug deeper, the twists and turns became more disorienting, and the traps more fiendish. The relics which were meant to bring unity and strength brought only greed, paranoia, and violence.
Dissatisfaction and chaos began to build in the great capital. Some of the priests of Vartigeth, God of Knowledge and Survival, began to speak against the relics. There was immense distrust between those who worked closely with the relics and those who stood apart. Maghras began to sense that things were going very wrong. His priests no longer listened to his orders, and the trouble was no longer confined to the priests. It seemed that everyone who had any contact with the relics at all was becoming slightly mad. As this corruption grew the High Chief gathered around him those in the city he could still trust, but found them precious few.
Maghras sent his sons to the lands they had visited before, to raise reinforcements. By the time they returned the Uruz nation had erupted in full scale civil war. While originally they fought united, during the course of the war the brothers grew apart. Each strove against the other for Maghras' approval, seeking credit for any victory and blaming the others for any defeat. After a while they began to conceal more and more from each other, and cooperate less and less.
This loss of cohesion spelled defeat for Maghras and his sons. Without all three bands working together, the corrupt forces won battle after battle. Realizing there was no way to achieve victory, the High Chief instead made a plan for survival. Maghras sent his sons into dimensional rifts with their remaining forces. To each son he issued one final command: if he failed, they must prevent the relics from doing any more harm. The sons could not disobey and departed, while the High Chief remained to sink the city and seal the ways behind them.
This was the last straw for Yashrig, Deifrang, and Korazh. Each blamed the other for the loss of their city and the death of their father. During their exile, these once loose war-parties have become real clans. With no true name to call themselves, they adopted the names of their founders. Through the generations the names have been passed down, inherited by each chief in succession.
The historians of Vartigeth have been diligent in preserving the history, though the version each possesses is colored by the individual memories of the clan's founding members. Each clan tells the tales of the betrayal of the other brothers; rumors and suspicion have turned into legacy. The Last Command has survived the ages, along with a hundred other instructions and tales, fragments of old spells and old languages. The history of the great island city is mingled with the histories of the other lands where Uruz once wandered.
During the civil war and the ensuing exodus, some of the Uruz were cut off from their clans and left behind. One such individual was Minos. During the war, a massive section of the Labyrinth he was attempting to secure collapsed, destroying the only obelisk that would reunite him with his people. Trapped with nothing but the creatures and vermin his people used to thwart invaders, Minos resigned himself to his fate to protect the single relic that had become trapped with him, the Ptoryx (later to be known as the Wings of Icarus).
Though physically untouched by the passage of time, Minos' isolation eventually cost him his sanity and all sense of self. In fact, when he realized that he was losing his identity, he wrote his name on the wall so that he would remember who he was. Over time, all that mattered to him was caring for and protecting the Ptoryx.
Eventually, humans found their way to Minos' Labyrinth. What they discovered was a massive, savage creature with the head of a bull and the body of a man. The humans who were not killed by his enraged onslaught caught glimpse of his name sprawled on the wall. The humans mistook his name for the name of the island beneath which the Labyrinth was located. From that point forward, the island was called Minos, and he became the Minotaur, the Bull of Minos. The story of Minos became a famous myth, though it changed with each generation who told it.
Educated on history and legends, the kings of Midgard, Hibernia, and Albion, their advisors, and scholars were all familiar with the current version of the Minotaur myth. When the Uruz approached each Realm, the bull-headed men were uniformly referred to as Minotaurs. Despite the Uruz attempts to correct the humans, the name Minotaur stuck.
Non-Minotaurs have never seen Minotaur females, and only the males journeyed to the human lands. Rumor and speculation have circulated among the humans and other races as to why this might be. Based on the indirect comments made by a few Minotaurs who had a little too much to drink, it is believed that the females are exceptionally beautiful and somehow look nothing like the males of the race.
A priestly caste named after one of their former leaders, Maulatous, the Maulers serve in the name of the Minotaur deity, Laresh. This fierce but benevolent deity governing the spheres of virility and physical prowess bestowed upon his followers the knowledge and ability to channel the elemental forces of the earth, such as gravity, magnetism, and auras. While grounded and in harmony with those forces, Maulers can channel them through their hands and fists, adding the power of the earth to their own. They can also manipulate the auras that surround everything in our world, auras that most people are unable to see or even detect. Maulers, greatly respected among all Minotaur, use their hands and feet in combat as effectively as any weapon of metal or wood.