The Group makes it to the outpost in a day with no other problems. The outpost sits near a forest with a high mountain range beyond it. It seems more guarded and feels more like a fort.
After their usual routine of selling the furs they have collected, John decides to ask about the dragon. John asks the trader “I have heard there may be a dragon around here.”
The trader says “Yeah there’s one that is said to be nearby. But you have to go through the Minotaurs’ land first.”
John says “Minotaurs?”
The trader says “Yeah a bunch of wild Holstaurs that live in the woods. They don’t take kindly to strangers. Then you have to get through the dragon’s ‘children. A bunch of crazed reptiles that worship the dam thing. So I heard.”
John says “So about how far? To the mountains?”
The Trader says “You’re crazy even if you wanted to try to get to it. No one goes near it because no can get near it, and live to tell about.”
John says “Well then where did you get your information from?” They traded looks stunned for a moment. John looks at Nasha then says to the traded “Thank you” and leaves.
The group can only find a stable for them to stay in. John tells Kenta what they learned “So we are near the dragon and we just have to get to the mountains.”
Kenta says “As long as she can find us a path for me to walk on” motioning to Nasha “then I will follow you.”
John says “Good, let’s rest up and be ready to set out as soon as possible.”
The group sets out before noon. Nasha can find a path, but the woods are thick and they can’t see the sun for the canopy. John wonders if they will get lost in here, but he has faith in Nasha’s skills.
They soon feel it getting dark. Nasha says “We might want to make camp soon.”
Kenta says “We may have other things to worry about.” She draws her sword as a large figure comes from out of nowhere wielding an ax. Kenta can block in time but just barely and forces her attacker back. Nasha grabs her bow as others come out from their hiding spots. The group finds themselves surrounded. Nasha and Kenta pull close to John to flank him. John sees that the figures are as big as Kenta and have a long cow-faced masks with horns on their heads. John feels that these are the Minotaurs that he was told about.
John is nervous to speak, but he does “Hel…lo?” The Minotaurs look at each other.
One says “Go away!”
John says “We are just passing through. We mean you no harm.”
The one says “You take where ever you go. This is home. Not leaving.” John trying to think of something to say when another says “They take first” motioning to Kenta.
John says to Kenta “Do you know what they are talking about.”
Kenta says “Not sure.”
A Minotaur shouts “You know!”
John says to the Minotaurs “Please explain. For I don’t know.”
The one Minotaur says “They came and take our land.”
John says “How! Did they take your land?”
The one Minotaur says “They drove us from our fields. Then the others build on it so we can’t have it back.”
John says to Kenta “ringing any bells?”
Kenta says “I have heard tales of my kind moving into new areas while traveling and fighting to set up on the land. They do speak of horned warriors that were our equals at times. But we beat them with our numbers and speed. Though those are very old tales.” John realizes that the Minotaurs first lived on the open plains and were forced out by the centaurs. Then the Goatfolk and Sheepfolk moved in later.
John says “I can promise you. We are not here to take. We are heading to the dragon.” Many of the Minotaurs flinch at the word ‘dragon’. John says “If you show us the way to the dragon. We will leave.”
The Minotaurs look at each other again then the one Minotaur John is speaking to lift his mask to reveal a more human face saying “You will leave.”
John says “Yes!”
The Minotaur says “We take you next day.” The Minotaurs start walking deep into the woods. The Minotaur says “Follow!”
John moves next to Nasha as they walk with the Minotaurs saying to her “Why didn’t you feel them? I mean you usually can sense an attack through your tail.”
Nasha says “I don’t know. But I think it was because the roots are thick here and Kenta doesn’t have the lightest of steps. Even now I can’t feel the ones more than a few feet away from my tail.”
The Minotaurs take the group to their camp. John feels a little small among the Minotaurs. Even the females are over six feet in height. John decides to try and talk to the Minotaurs just to learn more. He finds the one they talked to before sitting on the ground near a tent just watching the camp John approaches him and says “Thank you. I would like to know more about your kind.”
The Minotaur says without looking at John “You talk too much.”
John is taken back and tries to think of something to say “May I at least know your name?”
The Minotaur looks at John and says “Brigg”
John says “So your name is Brigg.” Brigg just looks at John. John says “My name is John.” Brigg returns to look at the camp. John decides to join him. John watches and sees that Minotaurs don’t talk much even when interacting with each other, many just sit next to each other. They seem to put more emphasis on their actions, help when need it and then just leaving afterward. John realizes that they only say what is needed to be said and nothing more. John says to Brigg “Have you tried talking to the others who took your land?” Brigg looks at John out of the corner of his eyes. John says “Did you think that maybe you didn’t say enough to them?” That gets Brigg to turn his head to John. John says “Sometimes being few in words and to the point can be seen as rude. Saying just a little bit more might help you get some of your lands back.” Brigg starts to turn his body to John. John says “I have seen your kind in the towns. They are accepted by the others. I think they learned to talk more to help them be accepted.” Brigg looks away for a moment. John can see Brigg is in thought. John says “I will be leaving now.” John starts to leave but turns and says “Saying ‘thank you to someone who is trying to help better understand you are a good action to show that you have listened to them and appreciate what they said.”
Brigg looks at John then says “Thank…you.” John nods and walks away.
John returns to the tent they were given. It is large enough for both Nasha and Kenta to fit inside. Kenta says to John when he enters “Well did you learn anything from these dumb beasts?”
John says “Well…They aren’t that dumb. They just don’t talk much. I don’t think they believe in small talk.” Kenta pulls back a little. John says to her “Tell me Kenta, do all Centaurs have a strong sense of pride.”
Kenta says “Y…Yes?”
John says “So if they were to encounter people who don’t talk much and may sound rude when they talk so shortly. Would a fight break out easily?”
Kenta says “Yes!” John can see that it then hits Kenta. That the anger that the Minotaurs have towards the Centaurs may have been started because of a misunderstanding between them.
John says “I don’t think there is anything we can do right now. Not when we are this close to the dragon. Let’s get some sleep.” John looks over at Nasha who is constantly looking around her. John says to her “Are you alright Nasha?”
Nasha says “I can feel vibrations all around me. But I don’t hear the Minotaurs moving around.” John stops and thinks about it. He then remembers that a lot of the Minotaurs were sitting on the ground.
John says to her “I wonder if the Minotaurs are talking to each other through the ground.”
Kenta’s ears perk up and she says “That may be why they were able to get so close to us before I could hear them. Usually, I can hear someone talking right before they attack.”
John says to Nasha “Can you sleep with the vibrations?” He looks at Papi, who is laying almost flat on the ground, sleeping.
Nasha says “I think so.” They all try to get some sleep.
The group is awakened by Brigg yelling “GET UP! We leave soon!” and he walks away.
John stumbles out of the tent saying “NOW THAT’S RUDE!” Brigg stops dead in his tracks and turns around to face John. All the other Minotaurs stop what they are doing and look at John too. John says “Aren’t you aware we can’t hear the vibrations you use to talk to each other? I mean one in my can feel it, but she can’t understand it.” Brigg looks at the other Minotaurs, John quickly looks down at Brigg’s feet and sees one is making subtle shifts. John then looks to Nasha. Nasha looks at the ground then nods to John.
Brigg turns to face John again and says “S…Sorry.”
John says “That may be another reason why you are having a hard time getting back your land. You have a special way of speaking to your kind that others can’t understand.”
Brigg looks to be in thought again then says to John “You…might be right.”
John says “We will be ready shortly” and goes back into the tent.
The group is being led by Brigg and few other Minotaurs as they walk through the forest. The Minotaurs try talking to the group as they walk. Brigg suddenly stops after a few hours and so do the other Minotaurs. Brigg says “We…go no further.” He then points towards the mountain and says “That…way to the dragon.”
John walks up to Brigg and says “Thank you.” John then motions Nasha and Kenta to follow.