The Taur Isles are an archipelago off the west coast of the Elennian Peninsula. Centaur Island is west of Fargunia and Zarthmoor; the Defiles Channel separates them. Minotaur Island is west of Aisildur; the Kings Channel separates them. Bridge Island is between both of them, and Liontaur Island is almost out of sight, far to the west-southwest, beyond the Shipwreck Shoals. The Iff Channel, also known as the Safety Channel, separates Centaur Island from Minotaur Island.
This island is mostly lightly wooded rolling hills, with lots of open spaces and meadowlands. Great stands of Whistal Trees can be found here, tended by the druids and used as villages. There are two forts and two cities here; the largest is Fort Stag. Collectively, the island is loosely governed by The Corral. There is an outpost of the WLA in Fort Stag.
This island is wooded where it is not cultivated or too mountainous. There are three forts and four towns here; the largest is Fort Beast. The island is united under the rule of the caste of nobles, priests, and warriors known as the Soul of Imod. There is an outpost of the WLA in Fort Beast.
This smaller island, also known as Wemic Island, is mostly plains and rolling hills. The entire island was once ruled by a queen wielding the evil Black Sword of Gargul, but she was deposed centuries ago, and few now remember her. Now the island has no central authority. There is just one town on the island, named Chessford, or Velawia in the wemic tongue. Chessford is on a small bay on the eastern shore, and about 5,000 liontaurs live there.
The houses in Chessford are organized by clan. In some cases, more than one house is within a certain area when one house becomes too small for the clan. Each house has inner areas with lots of glassless windows. The windows close like barn doors when it rains. In good weather, liontaurs recline on perches inside each window. The clan houses tend to get poorer and less prestigious as you get farther from the center of the township. The most prosperous clans, in the center of town, belong to the great merchant families. There is an Annual Hellhound Festival and Hunt in Chessford. The Wanderers' Roost, an inn on the west side of Velawia.
Outside Chessford, liontaurs organize into small family groups, called prides, within each clan. These liontaurs are hunters and herders. They tend to resolve disagreements with contests, either in battle or in riddle or in song. They braid beads and feathers into their manes, and those who are familiar with them can tell clan, pride, profession, and accomplishments by reading the pattern of beads and feathers worn. These wemics tend to speak common with a strong accent, if they speak common at all (most don't).
This little island has a single usable bay and is otherwise hedged by small beaches at the base of cliffs. The bay has a fishing village and a tiny castle -- Hearthold Keep -- overlooking it. The village is home to a unique community of all three Taur races, as well as a few others, trying to live in harmony, united in their belief that the three gods of the Taurs are all aspects of Domi. Some say the Keep is the resting place of the Healed Heart of Domi, an artifact.
Legend of the Taurs By Lady Orianna
To the west of Elenna there are two islands. One of the islands is inhabited by an enlightened group of Centaurs and the other by an equally enlightened group of Minotaurs. They are at war. They have been for as long as either race can remember. During the recent Giant Ship Invasion, I was honored to tend the wounds of a Minotaur Warrior designated K’Talkt. While I tended to him, he regaled me with this legend. It goes something like this:
Once long ago, Taur Island was one and inhabited by a two clans of Taurs: The Cen and The Mino. Both lived in a type of peace, trading and coexisting with one another and sharing the resources of Taur Island until that fateful day when a trader crashed upon the island. He needed help in repairing his boat, so he traded both groups some purple wine for supplies and help for repairing his ship. It is written that as he sailed away, he spoke to the Spirits of the Wind saying, "Drink of this for the best of life, pray to become more than you are and you will be blessed."
Some uncouth youths like to claim that he really said, "This drink is the best you have had in your life! Pray that you get more than you have, if you do you will be really lucky, blessed I'd say."
After the Savior, which is the Taurian name for the trader, left, the leaders of both clans came foreword and took a glass of the Purple Wine. They prayed to become more than they were and did.
The Minotaurs kept their strength and stamina but also gained intelligence and increased constitution. The Centaurs grew stronger and faster, gained increased wisdom and obtained a more charismatic appeal. That night both races were visited by Domi who named himself the God of War. He gave them a symbol of his power: an artifact introduced as the Heart Of The Taur. This heart was the heart of Tarsus and contained his spirit. He was the original sire of both races. The next day both leaders circulated among their people giving to them of the wine and telling their clans to pray. All became enlightened.
That night as each leader stood before the other, they tried to share their individual joy at the enlightenment of finding their god. However, they became frustrated at the others refusal to acknowledge the truth of what the other had learned. One had learned the honor of dying for the clan. The other had learned the honor of living to fight another day. An argument developed. One tried to take the Heart of Taur from the pedestal where Domi placed it. The other fought to prevent it. They both pulled on the artifact. The artifact loosed it power in defense, but because The Spirit of Tarsus broke with grief over his people and the heart broke into two pieces. Both leaders were killed, their essences infecting their half of the Heart. Tarsus’ spirit went to be with the Gods. Both clans blamed the other, saying that the clan's god had demanded that this happen. It was a Jihad, a holy war.
The Minotaur's heart became known as the Heart of The Beast. The Centaur's heart became known as the Heart of The Stag. The Centaurs continued to worship Domi while the Minotaurs, refusing to worship the same god as the Centaurs, called their god Imod. (Who Imod is one of the great secrets of The Wold.) That night while both groups slept, their was a great ripping sound and The Wold shook. In the morning, where the two leaders had been laid to rest there was only water. The island had been ripped in half. The Minotaurs were on the Southern half, which became known as Minotaur Island. The Centaurs found themselves on the northern half, which was named Centaur Island.
Since that time long ago, Jihad has raged between the Noble Taur Races.