Tuesday, 11 July 2017

The Beasts Below

“Get up; you’re on in five minutes!”

T’rok groaned as the beastcrafter pulled the rope on his nose ring.

“I said get up!”

The wizard pulled harder, forcing the minotaur to his feet. The creature could easily have swatted the old man into the cell wall, but that was not how things worked in the breeding pits. He was the beast’s master – his creator.

T’rok groggily shook his head whilst waving his acquiescence, causing the beastcrafter to ease up on the rope. The minotaur allowed himself to be led into the armoury, instinctively reaching for his favourite axe.

“Gonna be a good one today,” cackled the wizard as he handed T’rok his punch dagger. “Lot of money on this one.”

As the minotaur was ushered into the empty arena, the first thing he noticed was the silence. He frowned – it’d be difficult to work himself up into a fighting frenzy without the roar of the crowd. A flickering light up in the stalls caught his attention – a large glowing eye, glaring down at him.

A wizard’s eye, from which he could catch the occasional sound: a murmured conversation, the clink of glasses - so this was to be a private viewing. He hated private ones – no atmosphere, no appreciation, just some upper-class wizards in some comfortable tower watching the fight and usually losing interest when the canapes were being served, long before the coup de grace.

Still, a fight was a fight. He braced himself as the large portcullis opposite him began to rattle open. There was a screech, then another and another, as several large reptilian heads snaked out of the darkness. Behind them waddled a huge scaly bulk with a long whipping tail. A hydra!

T’rok tensed. Fighting hydras was difficult, but if he could get a decent charge in first he would be in amongst the snapping jaws before they could lash out, forcing the beast to look inwards on itself. He lowered his head and began to scrape the floor with his hoof, but then paused.

The hydra seemed strangely disinclined to attack. It stood there, heads waving around as if trying to catch the scent of something else. It was mewling, whimpering, as if something much more fearful was on the approach. He looked up at the eye, the light from which was oscillating wildly as the spectators on the other side of it screamed.

Then there was silence. Suddenly T’rok was aware of an intense cold. Bewlidered, he turned to the hydra, which had ceased thrashing and was now calmly sniffing the ground. One of it’s heads casually looked up at the minotaur and grunted. Then the creature swiftly turned around and was gone through the portcullis. T’rok stood there, shivering. He no longer felt the presence of his creator bearing down on his will. For the first time in his violent life, he was free.

A couple of great Reaper Bones models to fill the gaps in the Breeding Pits bestiary: a minotaur and a hydra. The hydra was a bit of a pain to put together as I had to soak it in boiling water and glue it whilst the model was still hot and pliable, but the joins aren't immediately noticeable. All told, I'm pretty happy with the paintjob on these.

I’ve also knocked up a quick wizard’s eye, as I suddenly realised my illusionist carries a wizard eye scroll and I was going to field her in my last game. I didn’t get to use it in the end, but it’ll still come in handy one day. This model is simply a painted round base glued to a bit of plastic sprue, on a rectangular base.