Leotaur descriptions

The race known as the Leotaurs in Taurian invasion differ quite a bit in physical form from that mythical Centaur. Centaurs with lion bodies are actually the older legend, dating back to the Babylonians and are found their in art and literature. In fact, the Zodiac are also originally Babylonian, and Sagittarius was originally a Leotaur.

For a picture similar to what they look like see: http://beyondheroes2.altervista.org/wemic.htm or http://www.furry.org.au/chakat/Images/Turnaround.gif

The first thought of most people who see a Leotaur up close is “Dang these guys are huge.” The males of the largest clans can top nine feet in height and smallest still average a little over six feet and even their lower backs are often three to five feet high. Their torsos are squat compared to a human and are ribbed all the way down which means the technically have no stomach in the front. Their body length is about three-quarters their height from chest to haunch with a heavy tail of about the same length. Their tails are semi-prehensile and can wrap around large objects with surprising strength (young Leotaurs have been known to hang by their tails.) The average Leotaur male weighs 4-700 pounds with females weighing proportionately less varying by clan and their profession’s physical requirements. Females are about ten to twenty percent smaller over all, but it is often difficult to tell Leotaur stags (males) from Leotaur does (female) at a glance. A 10 foot running vertical leap or a 20 foot horizontal leap is relatively easy for a Leotaur with leaps of up to 50 feet being recorded. Leotaurs are most at home on open plains and are unmatched in running in both speed and distance among known intelligent peoples.

Their faces have a mix of feline and humanoid traits. Their ears are on the top of their heads and can be either triangular or rounded and are mobile like those of a cat. Their noses are broad and flat and although they have a good sense of smell, it is not all that much better or more useful than that of a human. Their eyes are a bit larger in relation to their heads than humans and are set a bit farther apart. Their pupils are round and have a semi reflective retina that allows them to see better in the dark than we do but not as well most nocturnal animals. Their eyes range in color from black to golden to brown, with blue and green being extremely rare. Their mouths are quite similar to human’s in shape and being omnivores they have similar teeth except they have two sets of canines and one less set of molars.

The hair on their heads is long like a human’s, but this long hair also grows down their neck and down their spine. Different sub-races and clans have different mane lengths, with some stopping at mid back and others going all the way to the tips of their tails, which does not differ in males or females. Their hair color is usually black, brown or blond, with red and white being unusual but not unheard of. They do not grow facial hair but a few clans have sideburns (on both sexes.) They have short fur all over their bodies which varies widely in color. Black, brown, tawny, and white are all common colors depending on the clan, but the colors tend to be subdued rather than bright. Mixed colors are rare and tend to be splotchy like a pinto pony. Natural stripes and spots are unknown, but certain clans have traditions of dying patterns into their fur.

The Leotaurs, of course, have six limbs. Their arms and shoulders are similar to human’s anatomically, except their nails are more rounded and grow into points. They can be trimmed back for better dexterity and this is commonly considered a sign of being civilized. (Their palms and finger pads are not furred but the backs of their hands and knuckles are.) Their legs are powerfully muscled and their feet are very similar to those of a feline, with retractable claws except they have five toes instead of a dewclaw. They have two forms of sitting. Sitting up means that their hind legs are down while their front legs are still standing. Sitting down means that all legs are folded and their torso is upright. They are capable of laying with their spine straight to rest ( and there is nothing like the sight of twelve feet of stretched out Leotaur.) Leotaur spines are very flexible and a Leotaur can easily turn to see their tail.

Leotaurs are mammals and have four mammaries which are not very prominent except in nursing females and the extremely obese. Leotaur pregnancies have a twenty percent rate of twins which means that roughly one third of Leotaurs have a twin. (Although their rate of identical twins is similar to humans.) Larger birth groups are uncommon but still more common than humans. Leotaur pregnancies typically last 42 weeks. Leotaur females have a 42 day menstrual cycle and have noticable periods. They are also known for becoming more aggressive during their fertile periods but do not actually go into heat.

Leotaurs tend to form monogamous pairs in their mid to late teens. Marriage customs vary by clan and social class. Affairs are looked down upon but if they result in a pregnancy they usually result in a polyamorous marriage rather than divorce. While divorce is unusual but not unheard of. On the other hand, deliberate polygamy or polyandry is unusual and is usually considered an excess of the rich and powerful.

Leotaur society is divided into clans. Clans are usually defined by the descendants of your great-grand-parents. This means that nearly everyone is part of four clans and and different generations are technically not part of the same clan. It all seems very complicated, but ask any Leotaur about it and expect to 2-4 hour discussion on genealogy  and clan relations. Mix in marriages, fostering and clan adoptions and it’s enough to make a human genealogist change jobs but the Leotaurs seem to see it as the equivalent of a national sport.

A set of interrelated clans that form the cities and villages of a given region is considered a nation. This can range from a few dozen clans to thousands. Most nations are run by councils. How these councils are formed varies greatly by region and tradition. Most disputes are settled by council decision or duels by champions. Actual wars between nations was unusual, although raids between nations were fairly common.

Slavery and indentured servitude are common, although inter-generational slavery (being born a slave) is almost unheard of. There are three main ways to become a slave: commit a crime, go into debt or be captured in a raid. Slaves are considered the lowest rung of mainstream society, getting the worst treatment and jobs, but earning or working your way out of slavery is commonplace. Slaves who have been enslaved for more than a decade are considered lazy and morally degenerate.

But even slaves are considered better than beggars and wanderers. A slave is guaranteed food, clothing and shelter by their master. A person in a bad situation can usually go to a well-to-do clan member and indenture themselves for a time until things get better. Beggars are those whom no one will take in even as a slave. Most beggars are crippled, maimed, deformed or insane. They subsist on handouts and odd jobs and are often homeless and may be driven from place to place. Wanders are those who have never settled down and found a calling. they are considered degenerates and nearly universally despised (more on them later.)

Leotaur religion is monotheistic with their God variously known as: The One Voice, The True Singer, He Who Speaks, and He who Sings. (Yes, there have been any number of bloody conflicts and feuds over this distinction.) The priests/prophets of this are known as Listeners. You cannot become a Listener unless you are contacted by (choose name above) directly. The main teachings of this are a set of oral rules and guidelines on how any given individual should walk the path set before them. Different groups disagree over whether there is one path, five paths, eight paths, ten paths, one hundred paths, one thousand paths or “many” paths. (Yes, there have been any number of bloody conflicts and feuds over this distinction too.)

In this religion there are three things that are absolutely forbidden: Worshiping the Tempter (Devil worship, making deals with demons, or witchcraft), being a false Listener (pretending to have heard the One Voice for power or profit,) or refusing to choose a path. The first two are a death penalty if anyone catches you doing it. The last is considered the ultimate moral failure. Homeless wanderers are often demonized and blamed for everything from disease to bad luck.

A lot of the social and political structures were heavily disrupted by the War of Seven Peoples and Leotaur invasions that happened afterward, but more about that in a possible later rant.

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All comments and corrections are greatly appreciated. Feel free to introduce yourself in the comments. I love finding out about and connecting with my readers.


3 thoughts on “Leotaur descriptions

  1. I like this. Your Taurians remind me of the Ishtar from Poul Anderson’s Fire Time. Lots of art available on them, including a great image in the ol’ Barlowe’s Guide to Extraterrestrials.


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