The Centaurs

   "Helk, she awakens,"

A voice. A voice. Smooth and deep, the voice of a young man.

   "Finally," This voice was harder, gruffer, the speaker loomed over me, "Little girl, can you open your eyes?"

I could.

I launched upwards, off of the bed i was laying on. I registered the room around me, five.

Five big men. Dressed like savages, leather rags, sharp weapons strapped to holsters and huge blades on their backs... backs which were like no back I had ever seen before. The spine curved at the base and thickened as it grew outwards, forming a long, thick second body that looked like the body of a horse.

The skin on the lower body was covered in thick, matted brown hair, which grew down the four powerful but elegant legs.

I knew exactly what they were the moment I saw the body shapes, which I recognised from the Downland history books that the Venturers saved from the Burnings which were common as the higher up's in the City tried to hide the past to keep the citizens in ignorant bliss.

They were Centaurs, the children of men and the Goddess Umér, who was a beautiful creature born to watch over the new races millions of years ago. She broke one of the Birth Laws, which were set when the world was created. She interfered and tricked a young tribal human into giving her a child.

The child, born as Cen, was a queer mix of human and Umér's features. The torso and head of a human and the legs and body of a horse.

Umér was cast out of the Circle of Gods with her child, and as the rest of the Prime Races evolved, so did Cen's children, who became the Centauri. They shied away from society, preferring to live in close knit tribes in different corners of the world.

I stood on the rock slab they had lain me on, I held my legs at shoulder width apart with my raised fists together.

"Little one, calm down, we mean you no harm," The gruff voice I had heard before had come from the largest Centaur. He wore leather shoulder guards which were linked with a thick piece of woven rope which went across his chest. 3 golden rings were hung across them, showing obvious superiority over the rest of the room, "We saved you from the desert, you have been unconscious for almost a week,"

A wave of panic swept over me.

"Where's Nul?!" I exclaimed, not lowering my stance.

"Your sibling is safe," It was the smooth deep voice I had heard first. A young Centaur stepped forward. He was handsome, thick black hair matted with sand that spread over his shoulder, my eyes met with his body, and I was surprised to see he had only one pair of legs. They may have been covered in hair and ended in hooves, but he looked the most human of the group, "He is with the Clan Mother and the Younglings, I am Mur'Kui, I am one of the hunters that found you, please, come down and have some water,"

I took a deep breath, and realised I trusted him. Maybe it was something to do with his face, or maybe it was because I knew that they had no cause to hurt me. The Centaurs had a weak standing on the Imperial Council as it was, they wouldn't want to attract any attention to themselves by murdering a member of another species, especially a Prime.

As I took his hand I saw my wrist, and while it took a second to register what I was seeing, my jaw dropped the second I did.

The Band was gone.

The End

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