[Minotaur stats as a base][Racial: Mage Hand but personal range/ up to 50 lbs][+2 racial bonus to History]Legend has it, in their humble beginnings and before they ever had true and written memory and history, the Phantus had traveled over all the lands. No footstep had fallen on any southern soil before the Phantus', and remnants of what they were and are are not uncommon on routes well-traveled or otherwise. As a result, the Phantus hadn't developed in a single location, but instead, in their travels. It could be said that the act of wandering is the true home of the Phantus.
Long before the Phantus found and settled around The Jewel, they had a spiritual calendar of congregations in varying locations. According to where the previous meet had been, the Phantus would congregate in a circular pattern from a location in the North, East, South, West, or a midpoint. The congregations were to foster interactions amongst tribes and to reinforce that the Phantus way of life is apart, but that Phantus thrive when together. At these congregations, shamans would hold divination rituals and speak of the day when "a place of stillness" would be found, and for thousands of years, the Phantus roamed in search of their place.
Some prophecies are fulfilled by will and force, while others are spoken and never actualized. Others still, are realized by chance and inexorable fate. The wise shaman Manniton and his son, Manithonn, were on their last day before they would have to turn their trek west to arrive at the year's congregation. Their wanderings had taken them far east, where the soil gave way to scorching sands, and parched shrubs grew defiant of the blistering heat and winds. At dusk, in serach of shelter to weather the desert's freezing night, Mannithon's young foot found poor purchase on the crest of a clay hill. The young Phantus tumbled down the slope, racing headlong to a dark gorge. Fear struck his heart, and at the precipice before the drop, Mannithon let out a furious trumpet, and seized a thorny shrub with his trunk. Blood ran from his aching trunk, and pain clenched his eyes shut, and still he did not let go. He heard his father's voice calling out to him, assuring him that rescue was on its way. When Mannithon finally opened his eyes, he could not believe what he saw. The young Phantus began to laugh and weep, and Manniton feared the worst for his son. Had he been addled by a blow to the head? Had the heat been too much for his son? But when Manniton slid down and reached out to rescue his son, Mannithon could do scarecely more than point and laugh with glee. Manniton followed his son's gesture, and tears welled in his eyes. Below them, a flowing river babbled and bounded over rocks and bends. The father and son safely navigated their way down and found the water to be cool and fresh, and teeming with fish and turtles and crabs. The vast and hollow expanse around them showed signs that, long ago, this once was a mighty and turbulent underground river that had carved its way through the earth. But now the force and wrath of the water had left, and in its place was left shade, growth, and stillness. Manniton and Mannithon supped that night on the river's bounty, and left in the morning for the congregation, to tell of the stillness they had found. As Manniton told his gathered people of the river, a great clamor went out among the crowd. Many a Phantus had seen an anomaly amongst the lands; a lake of pink waters with nothing swimming in it, a forest of corrupt trees amidst a clinging mist of death, an opaline palace atop a mountain with no ruler inside. The assembled Phantus asked what made Manniton's and Mannithon's find their place of stillness, and it was Mannithon who told his people why.
"What you have seen and found are places of great rarity and calm, but did they harbor life? It is rare for its stillness, and precious for its life. What we found is a jewel."
Manniton beamed with pride at his son's words, and the gathered Phantus took up a chant. "The Jewel! The Jewel!" they trumpeted, as for the first and only time, the whole of their race travelled together and travelled to a home.
Scant decades after the Phantus settled around The Jewel, their idyllic paradise came under attack. To the north, The Brood, a cult of the snake-like Yuan-Ti, had gained rumors that a young Phantus boy had suffered a terrible fall and landed on top of a powerful jewel, and it had healed all his wounds and made him king of his people. The Brood wanted this power, and quickly took siege of The Jewel. Unfortunately, The Phantus are a wandering folk, and only a skeleton crew of shamans and tradesmen remained within their settlement permanently. The Shamans used their magics to the best of their ability, and warded off The Brood with flame and wind. However, the Phantus were too few, and the Jewel poorly reinforced. The gates were on the brink of falling when they swung open to the surprise of The attacking Yuan-Ti. A single, tall Phantus stood, cloaked against the burning rays of the sun. Two thick tusks, gilded and ornately carved, jutted out from the shadows of the hood, and a trunk, sheathed in layered plate, slowly unfurled to grip the cloak at the figure's chest. With a bellowing trumpet and a flick of his trunk, Mannithon, a warrior-shaman grown, threw his cloak to the wind and dashed headlong into a sea of scales and poison. Mannithon brought with him the staff of his father, and he bludgeoned and cracked scale and skull with each mighty and twirling blow. But the Yuan-Ti were so many, his father's staff broke as he struck down a leaping attacker. When his father's staff failed him, Mannithon had brought with him his own spear; a shaft of rare blightwood tipped with obsidian, and he slashed and gouged body and limb with each powerful lunge. But the Yuan-Ti were relentless, and his spear broke while fending off the bite of a war-viper. When his own spear failed him, and fatigue and venom coursed through his burning veins, Manithonn thought back on the day he had tumbled to the discovery of The Jewel. He thought back on his words, and the chant of his people, and Mannithon thought back on his fear. Letting loose a dizzying roar, Mannithon opened his eyes to a wave of oncoming Brood, gripped his own tusks, swore that he would protect The Jewel unto death, and snapped off both of his tusks, gold and ivory cracking into the air. The ferocity and fearlessness of this act stunned the Yuan-Ti, having been shown what true fervor is, and many of The Brood fell in this moment of awe. Armed with clubs fashioned from his own tusks, Mannithon fought with racing heart, reeling mind, and thundering blows. The Yuan-Ti had never faced a foe so singularly tenacious, and were turned back. As the last snake-man slithered in retreat over the crest of a sand dune, Mannithon let out one last warcry in triumph, and collapsed.
Today, under the very precipice from whence Mannithon bled and hung, there is a shrine built to the honor of Mannithon Cracktusk, Hero of the Jewel. In this shrine of reverence, the now fortified settlement's guards, the Breakers, are trained. Before an altar, on which Mannithon's tusks have been restored, gilded and inlaid with obsidian, each new Breaker must ceremoniously snap off his own tusks in commitment to protecting the Jewel unto death.
The Phantus are primarily a race of nomadic scrubland wanderers. The larger tribes are chiefly matriarchal in which a few chosen sons of the troop matriarch will stay with the group and act as protectors. Bulls will wander in pairs or alone, hiring themselves out as mercenaries between ruts. When not selling their strength of arm, Phants will earn their keep with exotic tradings and shamanistic rituals of divination or healing.
If the Phantus can be considered to have a home, they call it The Flowing Jewel; a ritualistic burying ground and safe haven. A verdant oasis, the Jewel is located inside of a sheltered gorge that contains a waterfall pouring into an underground lake (this is specifically considered to be "The Jewel," not the surrounding city, however reference to one is seldom exclusive to the other). When possible, a Phantus’ bones will be brought back to this place for burial rights.
The Flowing Jewel is a small but fortified settlement nestled in the gorge discovered by Mannithon.