Vastaur

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The vastaur are a race of centaur-like lion hybrids who live in southern Tuaram. Once intermixed with human cultures, vastaurs were almost wiped out by the encroaching Xilou Hoqomer.

History

The vastaur once roamed much of southern Had, wandering as far west from The Toe as the Raonares Plains, and as far north as the Diamond Hills. It is said that some of the local tribes lived in harmony with them at times, acting as guardians of the land, though they did at times go to war with one another and with human tribes. But when people from the Xilou Hoqomer started to expand southward from around 400BD onward, they tried to enslave the vastaur to tame and domesticate them for their own use. The vastaur fought back against these attempts, and the hybrids were soon branded as a menace and threat to civilisation. Vastaur initially proved to be very difficult to combat, but once it was discovered that they have a great fear of magic, this was used to drive their population down, leaving only a number of them on The Toe.

When the Xilou Hoqomer lost its hold on southern Tuaram, the vastaur tried to move back into their old lands but were driven back by humans who were smarter, more varied, and wielded magic and stronger weapons, so the vastaur stayed on The Toe, where they remain to this day. The vastaur is commonly used as an architectural motif in the Efisi States and the Hade Empire, and statues of them are common near places of authority and religious significance.

Appearance

Vastaur are giant feline-human hybrids, with the four-legged body supporting the upper torso of a person and bearing a lion-like head. They are often large and strong enough to pick up and throw a grown man with one arm. Although they are large and powerful, they lack the intelligence and technology to expand into lands occupied by humans. They have a very primitive language and will not don clothing, but they will adorn themselves with paint and loops of bones, wooden beads, shells, feathers, and other small natural objects. They commonly wield spears in combat, though they are also capable of fighting like a lion does, with sharp claws and teeth. There are some clans of vastaur that will hunt down humans and wear their bones, and it is believed that these clans also have a taste for human flesh. Some say the Takifesi people still worship vastaur, and offer their own in rituals in order to prevent the vastaur from coming and eating them all, as these people are not as advanced as the Efisi States or Hade Empire.

Culture

Vastaur live in territorial clans centered around marker which is usually a wooden or stone totem or monument, carved over generations. They are extremely protective of this monument and often build groves around them where they mostly live. Though vastaur do not live in buildings, they shape the trees in the groves to form canopies to provide shade, and they dig shallow pits in which they store things. Each clan is led by a pair of vastaur who seem to be in a relationship akin to marriage and normally act as guides, protectors, and spiritual leaders. They are usually noticeable due to their bone helmets and long braids in their manes. It is also believed they navigate long distances by following paths they wear into the savanna grass by constantly walking along it, and they know where to turn at intersections by memory.