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The Minotaur and the Labyrinth

Danae Bukarius posted this in Blackmoor for public perusal.  I have preserved a copy here.

The Labyrinth

I’m not going to detail everything that happened to us in the Labyrinth. Too much happened there that was too personal for me to relate. Parts of it are not my story to tell, as it were. What I will do is explain what we think we learned. That’s the important part any way. Squire John is in the unfortunate position of having flashes of memory concerning the Minotaur. If you want to know more about that, go to him. What this means is that the information I am about to share is partly from my own first hand experience, partly from his memories, and partly conjecture. I’ll try to emphasize the conjectured bits. Copies of this description are on the way to Balthasar and Verruchio for their libraries. So if you want to read up on this later, go to them.

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Ages and ages ago, before the society of Tulevar formed up, perhaps even before the island itself formed, there was a malevolent entity of great power that was imprisoned. Because its short and simple, I’m going to call this thing “IT”. IT was imprisoned by an equal and opposite force. Perhaps the island itself or something that became the island or the sentience behind the island. We don’t know.

What we do know is that IT is imprisoned under the mountain at the center of Tulevar. The mountain extends under the ground in a giant spear that impales IT. The spear doesn’t kill IT, just imprisons IT. IT constantly drips blood, a blackish ichor-like blood. This blood is the source of the ichor that creates keprie, the minotaur, etc. Over time it has evolved to do different things. Reddish-brown ichor creates keprie. Black ichor either creates minotaur like things or dissolves/consumes things. We don’t know why the black does alternate things. A being exposed to the ichor can only be transformed once. A keprie who steps in black ichor stays a keprie. However, a keprie who is killed and falls into the black ichor is revived, whereas if they die outside of it they are just dead. The amount of ichor touched by a being is irrelevant. Only a small amount is needed to affect the being. (There is an alternate theory that the difference between keprie and minotaur is based in the source being. A non-warrior or child becomes a keprie, warriors become minotaur. We aren’t sure the source of this theory, but it is useful to keep it in mind. We do know that keprie hunt for children to use to create more keprie.)

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Ages ago, but after the island existed and after IT was imprisoned, there was a hunter on the island. The hunter touched the black ichor. IT pulled him into the ichor and forced his transformation into the Minotaur. He was transformed in 12-20 hours. When John was exposed to the ichor it would have taken weeks to complete his transformation into a second Minotaur. When IT touched the hunter and transformed him into the Minotaur, IT caught a glimpse of mortality. IT became fascinated with mortals, with mortality itself, and IT was very curious. The Minotaur couldn’t teach IT any more about mortality due to the transformation, so IT created a Woman, possibly others. This Woman was the vessel for IT’s curiosity. We’ll get back to her in a moment.

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The Tulevar society formed up. The Labyrinth was built because something in the nature of the Minotaur kept him from being able to understand puzzles. Perhaps something in the nature of IT as all of the things created from the ichor would be unable to fathom puzzles. So the Labyrinth was created to trap the Minotaur away. The Labyrinth was built in haste and has flaws. It is slowly collapsing. When the Labyrinth was created, they also created keys that they placed throughout the Labyrinth so people who fell into it could find a way out. IT and the Minotaur were unaware of the keys. The Orlai are having us seek the keys so they can dismantle it safely rather than letting it collapse with unknown consequences.

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Moving forward in time again. A man of the island was a man of great skill with building. He built a marvelous house far away from the rest of the villages. It was very large and very beautiful. It was also built above a key point of the Labyrinth, though we do not know if this was intentional or accidental. This man vanished one day and left no trace. People who passed the house claimed it was haunted. They heard strange noises and saw strange things. And yet whenever someone official investigated it they found nothing there. The Oracles would not speak of the house and still do not. We do not know if it was from fear or if they were forbidden. Eventually it became a place where the island’s children went to play. Like most children they were drawn to the strangeness of the place. They told ghost stories and tried to summon spirits. It was their hideaway from the adults in their life and from their duties.

One of the children had a touch of sight, perhaps it would have become an Oracle in time. This child said that they needed to go to the basement to find the spirits and find the man who had disappeared. The other children were all too afraid to do this. There was one girl, named Jenny, who was not afraid. She went to the basement and did as the other child had said. She opened the Labyrinth.

A huge spider attacked the girl, but did not kill her, only poisoned her. The Minotaur crashed through and killed the spider. He killed several other spiders as well. We believe the spiders may have been sent to stop her from opening the Labyrinth, but they were too late. The Minotaur went up through the house to the attic. The house became part of the Labyrinth and the children could not leave.

Riddles became a part of the house. Perhaps a tool of the children. Children’s rhymes, children’s games to keep the Minotaur away from them. He could not solve riddles. We aren’t sure. Either way, soon the Woman created by IT followed the Minotaur. She experimented on the trapped children and on other children who found the house in time. She used them to create Kepri. Perhaps the first Keprie, we aren’t sure. She was searching for a key. She wanted to know how Jenny opened the Labyrinth. John believes children can move in and out of the Labyrinth freely. If she could find the key, she could leave. But she couldn’t find the key. We don’t know what that key was – innocence perhaps? Luck? We don’t know. She was looking for a physical key, but I don’t think Jenny had a physical key, just that she somehow opened it.

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What we do know is that we stumbled into that house. We weren’t back in time. The Woman didn’t think we were those first children, but she treated us as children. She treated us as she treats all the children who enter what is now her house. Perhaps that is the only way she knows to interact with someone. She had a body that she was searching through for a key. We found the key and took it out with us. It’s a key like any other found in the Labyrinth. Suffice it to say we were tortured. I don’t believe the specifics are important to the tale. Eventually we found the attic and in it was the Minotaur.

I did not strike the Minotaur, but I’ve been told that Pitney’s halbard had no effect, nor did Roland’s magical blade. Pitney’s fire lances did hurt it. The Minotaur swung very hard with every swing. He should have been frightening, but somehow wasn’t. He was strangely quite sad. Perhaps some shred of his mortality still looked out at me. I don’t know for sure.

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When we returned, we each had a talisman in our hand. These trinkets, we believe, are pieces of IT. Parts of a costume of some sort. Maybe pieces of IT’s power that it can’t control – that is purely conjecture on John’s part. We don’t know if they are weapons, clues, or reminders.

We do know that IT is now aware of keys. IT seems to have some control over the Labyrinth. I don’t know how much.

The Labyrinth is unstable. It reaches far beyond Tulevar and I don’t think it did that originally.

Spirits seem to be able to be trapped in the Labyrinth if they die there.

The Menanthe could be servants of IT. This theory stems from Eliska's vision, which is why I hope that gets put here as well.

Danae

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