The Taurukhs of the Ashen Wastes, physiology and speculation

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  • Sometimes even I am struck speechless by the generosity of my dwarven hosts. A few weeks ago I was offered the opportunity to examine the corpses of a band of marauders that had struck one of the trading caravans traveling from Hammerhold through te Ashen Wastes into the realms of the Ogres, to there trade fine dwarf-wrought steel for vast amounts of Auroch and Yak pelts and meat, raised by the Ogres in great number on the slopes of their great mountains.



    The creatures were apparently fast-moving slavers, striking quickly at a lightly defended part of the caravan before carrying away their victims, their mutated hindquarters enabling them to outpace any pursuers as none of them were mounted.
    The six bodies I were given to study had been felled by crossbow bolts and shotte as the dwarven escort counter-attacked. It is possible by the muttering of the caravan guards that i overheard that the creatures also had infantry support, but no bodies of such were provided to me and the dwarves were reluctant to discuss them with me.



    The bodies were badly decomposed when they arrived to Hammerhold but I have included several sketches based on the bodies, the equipment and witness-accounts from the caravan personnel to illustrate how imagine how they looked in life.


    The creatures were all large, the smallest of them twice the height of a dwarf, with the weight to match, the largest of them being the size of a Bögenhafven prize bull; a most imposing stature! I would hate the sight of such a grand creature bearing down on me, intent on my demise!


    Other than their bipedal form, they had few similarities. The two smallest of the herd were still twice the size of a dwarf, and lightly armoured, in the manner of the depraved men of the northern ice wastes, with tight-fitting helmets concealing their features. While the clime of the Ashen Wastes is very differnet form that in the north, such similarities could mean that these raiders either do war or perhaps even trade with the northmen.
    Given the position of their horns it is unlikely that the helmets can ever be removed and may indeed have been forged right on their heads! Such as act would surely mean that the creatures either possess some form of magical resistance to fire or simply and astonishing willpower and stamina to endure such pain. Surely such as act would tax even the enduring dwarves!


    Two of the other corpses were much larger, being the size of a smaller bull. They were very similar in both features and gear, possibly they were brothers, or at least part of the game grouping in whatever society these creatures live in?
    Weighting close to a thousand pounds even dead and unarmoured, they must have made exemplary linebreakers on the charge. I have a hard time imaging even a dwarven shieldwall standing up to such a creature.
    Their armour were more advanced than their smaller brethren being heavily armoured over their entire figure except for their massively muscled arms with great slabs of iron.
    Still, their protection was fairly primitive, being strapped on with leather straps instead of fitting them properly, making it clear that their gear was either looted or perhaps traded, clearly it was originally meant for someone else.

    Only the gauntlets and great, high helmets seemed to really fit them well.

    As for physical features I was much intrigued by the massive tusks sprouting from their lower jaws and contrasting with such brute features, their finely coiffed beards which even several weeks after death still smelled faintly of perfumed oil. It is clear then that despite their barbaric appearance, these were civilized creatures, not merely roving marauders.



    The next centaur-like creature also proved interesting. It was built closer to the ground that the others, with a somewhat smaller lower body and a grossly oversized, almost ogre-like upper body and unlike the previous specimens it had armour clearly made for it. Clad in a close-fitting breastplate, great black laquered pauldrons and both forelegs armoured in thick greaves and heavy bracers on both arms and wielding a great blade a fair bit longer than my own lanky form, it too must have been fearsome in life.


    The creature either fought helmetless or its helmet had been lost in battle but it too had similar tusks as the previous ones together with short, thick horns sprouting from heavy brows.

    Given the higher quality of its armour, most of which seems to have been custom-made for it, I feel that this creature must have been the leader of the band, or at the very least the second in command to the last creature.





    The least creature of the six was also the largest of them, the humanoid portion almost the size of a Ogre and the quadruped part as large as any prize bull I ever saw at a market!
    It too was only partly armoured, wearing a finely crafted gutplate with a ghoulish face molded into it, perhaps a image of one of the creature's foul deities? It also wore and elaborate helmet and well-crafted hip guards on all four of its hips made from finely crafted steel.

    It too has a large, finely coiffed beard with decorations in gold. This combined with the quality of gear and elaborate helmet leads me to imagine that the creature was the leader of the herd, or perhaps some sort of priest. Either way it was clearly a highly ranked creature.


    I wish I knew more about these magnificent creatures and their society outside of their raiding behaviour but the Ashen Wastes are too far away to visit and I have more than enough scholarly work to do here with my gracious hosts, to whom I am grateful for providing these fine specimens from distant lands.

    Of the Dwarves: Notes on politics, allies & foes, vol II, by Krugman Bartliefhafer, Imperial Scholar
    I haz a blog! the-ninth-age.com/blog/index.p…-the-moment-aslo-batreps/.

    Mostly KoE and ID stuff. Now also some Void

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