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In Harmony's Hands

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Chapter 1: Harmony

Your name is Harmony, an almost 18 year old woman. Your hair is shoulder length and blonde, you have sun kissed skin, pierced ears and have a healthy figure and you love to smile. Your Father, Wade, is a well known bard who loves to travel with you and your Mother Meadow, who is a seamstress and a bit of a healer.

When you were ten years old, you and your family had pulled into a village of Minotaurs, who were all very tall, even the children your age dwarfed you. “Excuse me, chief Kalaj, may we stay in your village for the night, we will pay you of course?” your father assured him. Chief Kalaj was the tallest of the village. His skin and fur along his chest is a chestnut colour, the fur on his head was a darker nearly black colour, his horns stood tall and of a near onyx colour, his eyes were purple, a rare colour among his people, like all Minotaurs, his legs resembled a bull and his nose and mouth were that of a bull as well. His attire was a pair of tanned leather pants and a shoulder harness. Around his neck was a golden tusk, the size of a human thumb. “You are welcome to stay the night. All we ask of you to play a few songs as payment” he smiled warmly.

Your family was given a guest house. After pitching your family horse, Sally, in the stable and securing your wagon, your family headed to the tavern for food. After having a meal your father sang some songs, all requested songs from the crowd. Your mother was in a conversation with a local seamstress and you were bored. Looking out of the window, you spotted the chief looking almost irritated and shaking his head almost violently, you were curious and snuck out to see if you could help. “Healer Janier, isn’t there anything you can do?” Kalaj asked the village healer, who was walking up to him, “I am sorry, chief, but the knowledge was lost to us.” She sighed before gasping at the sight of you. Kalaj spun around, seeing you in the candle light of the tavern, he smiled and knelt down “hello little one, can you help me? My horns are very itchy and I cannot soothe the itch” he asked.

You approached him, smiling, but you were nervous. Slowly, you reached for his horns, they were so smooth, apart from a thin crack on one of them. By touching them you somehow knew exactly what to do, “I can help you, chief, I just need some ingredients” you spoke “then please follow me to my hut” the healer chuffed, almost in distrust. You were always told ‘never follow strangers’ but Minotaurs had strict rules with the safety of all children and knew you would be safe. Kalaj held out his hand and led you to the hut, which was filled with many herbs. “What do you need, little one?” she asked you suspiciously. She was expecting the standard healing herbs but instead you said, “Lavender stalks, black pepper flower, peppermint, nettles and water please”. Stunned to silence, she put the herbs on a table and placed you gently on the stool, they both watched you mix the herbs into a thick paste. Adding more water to make it into a slimy gel. Once it was done, you asked the chief if you could apply it to his horns, he nodded and sat on the floor so you could apply it easily.

It was an odd smell but not an unpleasant one. After you finished, the chief relaxed his shoulders sighing in relief, “ah thank you… wait what is happening?” he asked as you pulled his horn slightly. The healer almost screamed as the outer layer of his horn slid off his head, revealing another perfect horn underneath, “I can’t believe it! You shed his horn. We forgot this knowledge” the healer squealed in excitement, this made you laugh at the odd sound. The healer pulled the other horn off as gently as you did. The chief sighed and flumped back against the stool you were standing on, making you fall off, and still holding his huge horn. He spun around and helped you instantly, standing you up and taking his cracked horn from your hands, “What is your name?” he asked with a warm smile “my name is Harmony, sir” you replied.

“You have a very special gift, Harmony, thank you for giving it to us” Healer Janier smiled, writing down the recipe as fast as she could. “Come with me” he offered his hand and took you to the tavern. The music slowed as the chief approached, holding your hand. “Wade, your daughter has a remarkable gift” he began “this human child has restored lost knowledge to us. Behold my horns have shed!” he shouted happily, holding his old horns in his hand; the room erupted into wild cheering at the sight. “Your family is always welcome here” the chief told your family.

When you turned 15 you were given the responsibility to travel from your village to the Minotaur village alone with some supply to trade from your village. Your parents knew you would be safe and were old enough to make the journey. It was a three day journey, but you didn’t mind the alone time from your village. Your gift had only grown as you had aged. It was strongest with non humans, which was a sour point of your village; they would often call you names and tease you and accuse you of having relations with them. Truthfully, you and your family never thought that would be a problem, as many of your family and friends were in romantic relations with many different species, from Gnolls to Orcs.

You arrived at the village around noon on the third day, the first to see you was the hunting party, called Gili, your best friend. She was fierce but friendly with rust coloured fur and her horns were curled inward from her ears over her head. “Harmony, Welcome back” she called, waving frantically to you “Hello my friends” you called back. In the village the chief walked up to you once you were off your wagon. “Harmony as lovely as ever, great to see you again. It has been too long” he laughed “a month is too long?” you asked “most definitely” Janier replied hugging you tightly. Everyone in the Minotaur village liked you. Over the years, you had helped them recover more lost knowledge that they had shared with other Minotaur villages, “Harmony, how long can you stay?” the chief asked “a few days at least, quite a bit to trade” you replied walking with him.