Saturday, February 6, 2010

Tales of Mystri Island -- The Savannah Lords

A massive Savannah Lord on his Wooly Rhinoceros mount.

Entry of November 11, 1917: The most physically imposing of all the thinking beings of Mystri Island are the Savannah Lords, huge creatures that appear to be a mixture of human and crocodilian. They are so called by the human population of the island because they rule the savannah without question, riding across it mounted on the huge Wooly Rhinos they import from the south of the island, the only trainable creature that is strong, fast and aggressive enough for their taste. On the single instance when I observed them standing erect (for they seem forever to be riding atop their mounts), I noted that the Savannah Lords are clearly over seven feet tall. One such creature must easily weigh 28 stone.

Living in villages near the great Mystri River, which cuts through the savannah, these beings are exclusively carnivorous and conduct no farming of their own. They dwell in huts built very close to the river, with channels cut into it which run into the huts so that they may wallow in muddy water as they devour their prey and plan out their next hunt. Around the village are built sturdy pens for the rhinos, where those creatures graze, clearly unhappy to be in such a warm clime. The health of the rhinos does not seem to be affected by the heat, but they do not breed on the savannah, requiring that the Lords purchase the rhinos from the barbarians to the south, which I presume happens by means of intermediaries.

The Savannah Lords are the senior members of the alliance which the people of the island call the Herpetile Confederation -- this includes the Reptilian Hunters, and the mysterious beings that live in the swampiest parts of the Island called the Salamen. Like the armies of old England, these Herpetile forces are composed of knights, foot soldiers and archers, the Savannah Lords supplying their mounted shock force, the Reptilian Hunters the combat infantry, and the Salamen the archers, as well, apparently, as fleet mounted forces; Miss Prishwalken and I have yet to encounter these last creatures so I do not know their method of archery (except that poisons are employed) or the beasts on which some few apparently ride. Stalks-at-Dawn, the Reptilian befriended by Miss P., tells her that the Salamen are smaller even than the Reptilians, but this, as I have learned, is no indication of the danger Mystrian creatures pose.

We are reassured by Stalks-at-Dawn that the Savannah Lords see humans as nothing but prey, and the German agents on the island would find nothing but death to greet them here. As dissemblance is utterly alien to the Reptilian Hunters, I am enormously reassured and grateful to hear this from his mouth, as such gargantua, properly armed and trained in the methods of war, would make formidable foes indeed.

Four months after our arrival, we accompanied a battalion of the Parayan Dictator Lopez's forces as they attempted to make a short excursion across the savannah, in order to outflank a battle line of his foes the Argentians. Despite being armed with muskets, and being accompanied by a cannon (both of which however were, I should point out, exceedingly antique, being at least fifty years old), the dictator's loincloth-clad troops, generally the picture of bravery, were clearly nervous. Fortunately for us, as the march column was about to move out onto the savannah Stalks-at-Dawn appeared from the jungle and restrained Miss P. from leaving the cover of the trees, and as the Gurkhas and I were not about to go on without her, the battalion marched out without us.

What to our wondering eyes did appear from behind a stand of trees but over a hundred of these towering beasts, galloping across the savannah, lowered lances thick as saplings, moving at great speed in absolute silence but for the thunder of their mounts' feet. (It is clear that these creatures are cunning, for they waited for the humans to advance far enough onto the savannah so that escape would not be possible.) The Parayans began shouting and formed a line, then issued several volleys, but these seemed to bounce off the thick hide of the Savannah Lords, and only few of the mounts were struck. The cannon, deployed quickly and skillfully, got off one cannister of grapeshot, killing several attackers, before it, as well as the rest of the battalion, were struck by this tidal wave of scale, muscle and horn, and seemed to be driven into the very earth itself. Fascinated and horrified, we turned to thank our savior but he had disappeared. We watched as the triumphant beasts pounded the few survivors with enormous mallets, which easily weighed five stone, then gathered up as many of the corpses as they could drape over several now-riderless mounts and upon their own beasts, and rode slowly off, over the horizon of the vast grassland, presumably to feast upon this new bounty of human flesh. -- RS-G

(The 15mm Savannah Lords should be released this week. They are very large crocodilian knights riding charging wooly rhinos. They will be released in two packs, one with six riders (three different poses), six rhinos (in two poses) and six savannah lances, another with one commander, one rhino and a replacement totem for a lancer to be converted to a standard bearer. Despite their size, they have been sculpted to fit on bases with a depth of 30mm, in compliance with the basing requirements of most popular 15mm gaming systems.)

1 comment:

  1. These are excellent figs from what I can see. Looks like nice sculpting.

    Is there any chance of Savanah Lords on foot or possibly on some heavier support war beast?