Art by, MaggotsBoy
Danger Level: High
Commonly Infects: Highly dependant on which stage or subtype. A normal minotaur will attack, and subsequently infect anyone within their territory, however certans prefer to pick off lone individuals.
Attack Method: The minotaur's most common form of attack is their own brute strength, ramming into people head first to impale them on their horns.
Summary: Minotaurs are a nightmarish clockwork that takes anywhere from several months to years to fully evolve into its final state. While most are caught in the earlier stages of development, minotaurs that are allowed to finish their transformation are incredibly dangerous, territorial beings that wander in a maze of their own design.
Original Creator: MaggotsBoy
The process of a full manifestation of the minotaur strain is a long and arduous one. Most infections are caught early enough so that the full extent of a minotaur may never be reached, however cases of a minotaur infection taking full bloom have been recorded, setting a stage for a gruesome and devastating scene. However, when encountering a minotaur, many are more likely to catch it in its iconic midpoint stage, before it could ever reach its full potential.
The first stage of a minotaur starts with the infected individual. No matter the events that led up to someone left alive but infected, the results will always be the same. It begins with the tumor, often located within the abdomen of the victim, however it may "miss" and grow in other places of the body. This is often referred to as the "gestation stage", where the clockwork begins development. If the minotaur tumor is removed from the body, the host will not stop at anything to attempt reintroducing it back into their body, by any means necessary. If this is unsuccessful, the host will simply produce another tumor as a replacement, starting from scratch.
As development progresses, the tumor grows larger in size, and spreads its roots into the surrounding flesh. Tendrils reach out to the host's organs, and slowly begin to replace them with its own flesh and blood. Progression into the mid stage point of a minotaur will begin at the point where two horns begin to sprout from where the victim's eyes were. If the species infect lacks eyes, it will roughly assume the place where eyes could of, or should of been. Mid stage, or more widely known as the 'Bullhorn stage', is completed once everything underneath the host's skin has been fully replaced by what was once a tumor. It sheds the victim's skin, all except for the head that is stuck on by its two prong horns.
As aforementioned, most who fall victim to the minotaur strain will never make it to its final incarnation. Should a minotaur be left to its own devices long enough, it enters the "labyrinth stage." It is what follows when a minotaur is particularly successful in its environment, and given a sufficient amount of dead bodies to work with. As the minotaur piles on the body count of those who have wandered too close into its territory, the dead become infected as well, and instead of becoming another instance of minotaur will become the Daedalus subtype. Flesh molded together to create a refuge for the minotaur, and a deadly maze for those who stray too far into the trap. At which point it has created this extension of its self, a minotaur becomes increasingly difficult to manage destroy, as the walls build upon the bodies of others are highly resistant to flames, unlike the minotaur itself.
The behavior of a minotaur infection highly varies, depending on the stage and progression of the infected.
In the gestation stage, erratic behavior isn't immediately recognizable at first. Infected individuals will seem to be just fine in the very beginning, if not highly irritable and unwilling to engage in physical contact. While non-violent, victims will shy away from being touched, fearing harm from something as little as a hug or tap on the shoulder, and become increasingly more volatile the more they are subjected to such activities. With the tumor growing inside of them, they become convinced that, even if their species does not reproduce in such a manner or is a part of a sex group unable to reproduce, that the tumor is in fact, their own offspring. In roughly 70% of all cases, a host will choose to remain silent about their predicament unless consulted on the matter, while the remaining 30% will find that the only thing they wish to speak about is their unborn child. Those who attempt to convince them otherwise are left ignored, or in worst case scenarios may be attacked if they are pressed enough on the issue.
Prior to the bullhorn stage is when behavior entirely deteriorates. Even when a victim is a member of a species that lacks eyes or may function without eyes, they will suddenly lose all sense of direction they once had. Their eyes may even still be intact, however they still appear to be perpetually lost and confused, and worse yet, unfathomably angry at all things. When the infected is not wandering away aimlessly, it is lashing out at those who come too close to them. They will continue their march, often drawn towards moderately populated areas, tucking itself away into seclusion so it may transition into its midway stage completely.
From then on, not a shred of the original host's personality remains, and the minotaur takes over entirely. Rather than lashing out towards those who come near, the clockwork now actively hunts and kills victims, staking out its territory by murdering all of those in the general vicinity. Minotaurs will often choose not to incorporate those that it kills into its own body, as its intentions are to use said bodies to build a home, however cases of minotaurs assimilating the dead is not unheard of. These cases recall minotaurs that have grown massive with the collection of flesh it has absorbed, appearing all too heavy for its legs to support and limbs that drag behind it, breaking off pieces of itself that are left to be forgotten and fester.
Minotaurs are highly aggressive to all and any life forms that it may come across. Blind by its own design, but retaining a highly acute sense of smell and hearing, any being that enters the territory of a minotaur is immediately challenged by it. This includes members of its own strain. With the exception of the Daedalus subtype, a minotaur will fiercely protect its homestead from a rival of the same strain, attempting to gore one another on their horns. Oddly enough, they are far more forgiving towards the certan subtype, while appearing aggressive towards them they decidedly do not actively harm them, and instead will opt to merely spook them away from their territory.
Certan: The certan is where most minotaur infects first start, and how they most effectively spread. When first discovered, it was thought to be the result of infected fauna but is now known to be simply a by product of the clockwork strain. Once a minotaur has reached its midpoint stage, some instances of the strain will "reproduce" by part of its body budding, which it will harden and fall off on its own. From here it will form a certan that will wander away from the cite of the original infected, seeking to be as far away from its origin as possible.
When fully developed, the certan will take the form of a particularly alluring, shining animal. It may attempt to mimic the local fauna, but can never quite replicate the exact features. However some traits across all certans remain the same, as whatever hide or coat it bares will be a pure snowy white, being pearlescent in the light. Like the infection that mothered it, the certan grows two large horns on its head, however unlike the normal minotaur these horns are sleek and appear polished. If it were to mimic something with the appropriate skull shape, these horns will grow directly out from where its eyes should of been placed. Otherwise, the certan will lack eyes regardless of horn placement.
Like the usual minotaur infection, these creatures lack direction, relying on its horns to act as crude sensory organs to guide it towards light, and take in sound. From there the certan's motives are made clear, as it will attempt to find populated areas further from where it started to spread its infection. The certan is so drastically unlike the minotaur itself as it is entirely docile in nature, those unfamiliar with what its true nature is may even refer to it as friendly and playful. These creatures will stick to just outside the line of densely populated areas, moving in and out of forests just on the edge of towns and cities. The glittering hide is what draws in those uneducated on this particular strain of clockwork, inviting those captivated in to pet or play with them. Infection is then made simple, as the sheen of their coats is made by a thick layer of infectious slime that covers their bodies. While certans have never been accounted as aggressive, they will affectionately rub themselves up against strangers that approach them, as well as lick and nibble at them in attempts to rub off as much slime as they can, which if not washed off immediately can infect individuals just with contact alone.
Once they have done their job, the certan will then opt to finding other pastures to spread its disease to if not stopped. Certans prefer to pick off anywhere between 1 to 5 different victims before moving along to a new area. Even when attacked, or set ablaze, a certan will never show malice towards those who harm it, and instead will still attempt to beg for attention and pats while its body burns to a crisp.
Daedalus: The daedalus is an essential part of what makes the minotaur, in full effect, so deadly. Daedalus are the infected bodies of those killed by a minotaur in its post bullhorn stage. By using their horns to slay others, the subtype strain is implanted in them, and will not "activate" until they have dead for over a 24 hour period. Minotaurs deliberately pile these bodies up into clumps, where the infection will begin to break down the flesh, melding together and branching out. Over time, and with the addition of more bodies to the pile, a daedalus become what is better known as a 'horrid wall of flesh', a living hedge of bodies that act together as one. The walls will form distinct patterns, unique to their minotaur, stretching and growing to cover the entirety of their owner's territory. It can take as little as a few months, and as long as several years for daedalus to fully form and complete the minotaur's final stage of development, depending on how far the minotaur's territory reaches.
Daedalus, when fully intact and finished molding together into one solid wall, may not appear as flesh as it does while it's forming. Most instances will make an attempt at replicating the materials that surround it, and could become a vague assertion of rock, brick, dirt, even foliage if there is enough surround it. It isn't quite so perfect in it's mimicry, however just on point enough to fool those unaware to accidentally step into the lair of the minotaur. Daedalus do not play fair, and are entirely in favor of their owner. The walls of flesh shift and move, while not making an attempt to absorb the victim or victims themselves, they will try to steer them towards where the minotaur wanders deep inside its walls, or make pathways for the clockwork to find them instead. In addition to this, they are highly resistant to fire based weapons due to its rough, often rock-like exterior.
When a minotaur is removed, or destroyed within the flesh maze, daedalus withers and crumbles. In time, the walls dry out completely, leaving behind a non-infectious, hollow shell. A skeleton of a once deadly clockwork, and the memories of those who fell victim to it.
• The largest known Daedalus was discovered on a desolate planet, already crumbling away with presumably no minotaur to speak of. The circumstances surrounding the structure are scarcely known, as the maze had stretched across entire continents with no population to speak of the horrors of what occurred inside its walls. While excavating the massive corpse, plenty of journals, graffiti, and newspapers were found in the remnants of homes and cities converted into flesh and blood, but with no one left to translate the texts they continue to remain a mystery.
The remains of the minotaur(s) that had once called this structure home have yet to be found.
• Minotaurs are not only aggressive towards sapient beings, but seem to be enraged by nearly all forms of external stimuli. As such, minotaurs will engage in combat with other clockwork strains with little regard for their own safety. Minotaurs have only been observed to be at peace when within the depths of its own maze, either stumbling around aimlessly or sitting completely motionless.
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