Centaur Ways

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Centaurs are gregarious and jovial, quick to laugh even in these grim days. Honorable to a fault, Centaurs are more tolerant and trusting than most peoples of the World, up until the point they think a stranger has wronged them. Centaurs are as earnest and forthright in war as there are in friendship, and have long memories when it comes to holding grudges. Elves are the only folk Centaurs will meet with hostility, for the memories of the bitter war the Horselords fought with the Deathless Empire two Ages ago have yet to fade. Masters of combat and battlefield tactics, Centaurs favor lances and greatswords in combat, charging into battle in organized units called Waves that are more destructive than a body of heavy Knights.

A proud people, Centaurs are prone to boasting, and are highly competitive. Foot races are considered a common form of greeting between old friends, and jumping contests, tests of strength, and all manner of physical sports and games are a mainstay of Centaur culture. Centaurs compete to keep themselves at the peak of skill, as well as to test the mettle of friends and acquaintances. Warriors and Hunters are the backbone of Centaur society, and many of their more militaristic games have had a profound impact on the culture of other races. The Human sport of jousting, for example, is clearly a crude imitation of the Centaur sport called Valtos, where Centaur warriors pluck metal hoops from the bodies of their opponent using a lace or spear. Two-legged visitors to a Centaur encampment are not expected to join in these games, but those who do earn respect from their hosts even in defeat. Centaurs are also great lovers of music, stories, and wine. Their celebrations tend to be loud, raucous affairs lasting days at a time.

While Centaurs are fierce in battle and earnest in celebration, Piety and Faith form the cornerstone of their culture. Centaurs learned their concepts of honor from Kenaryn himself, and have never wavered in their adoration of the Hunter and the All-Father. Centaurs see a wide line between their pride and the arrogance of the Elves, for even at their most boastful, Centaurs never forget from whom their strength comes. "Hunter give me speed, Father give me strength," is a common litany among Centaur Warriors. Centaur Priests and Prelates are often the most cherished members of their community. Centaurs pray before every battle, and often ride to combat invoking the name of Kenaryn their father. Centaurs bear an unwavering hatred for anything that defies the natural order, and every Centaur's highest duty is the ongoing crusade against such aberrations. The Twisted Legions of the Orcs, Drakes and all Dragonspawn, all other monsters born of chaos, and the Undead are all attacked on sight by Centaurs, and many young colts leave their cohorts behind to prove their valor on personal crusades that can last for years.

The basic unit of Centaur society is the Cohort, a small band of anywhere from twenty to sixty Centaurs who are bound by strict oaths and ties of honor into the service of a Liege Lord. Membership in a Cohort often is passed down through generations, and the bonds of friendship and loyalty between members of a Cohort cannot easily be measured. The most purebred and ablest Warrior in a Cohort serves as its leader, and is in turn advised by one or more Priests. While Cohorts often band together to build cities and fortresses, some of their members are constantly riding away to follow personal quests or as part of a crusade. According to ancient Centaur legends, Kenaryn commanded the first Centaur to catch the wind in order to teach him humility. Ages later, Centaurs are still trying; whenever a Centaur rides away from his home, he is said to have "gone to catch the breeze," a euphemism for the never-ending hunt against all that is evil. The heartlands of the Centaur kingdoms boast great strongholds where Cohorts and questers gather to trade, marry off their children, and above all compete with other Centaurs. Centaurs favor tall, massive architecture with ample interior spaces. Their equine bodies pose certain difficulties for Centaurs when traveling to the cities of other folk - they rarely fit inside small buildings, and typically shy away from tight, enclosed spaces.

Centaurs value honor above all things, and will knowingly lie only in the direst of emergencies. Of all the peoples of the World, they have befriended more of their fellow beings than any other. Centaurs have enjoyed a long friendship with the Sons of Men, and many Horse-men are drawn to the Church of the All-Father as Prelates or Crusaders. The Dwarves taught the Centaurs the secrets of iron work long ago, and the greatest Centaur princes still wear magnificent suits of Dwarf-forged plate mail that have been handed down through countless generations. The Centaurs have even managed to forge friendships with Giants in the past, and were the architects of the Great Alliance of Men, Elves, and Giants that banded together against the hordes of Chaos in the War of the Scourge. The Centaurs fought at the forefront of that war, and suffered more losses than any of the World's other children. In the days since the Turning, the Centaurs have been dismayed by the disappearance of the All-Father and Kenaryn their sire. The great Princes of the plain fear that some great new conflict is brewing, and the Centaurs are gathering their strength once again, watchful for the coming storm.

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