Ancient Stegadons are amongst the largest and most ferocious of their entire race.
The eldest Stegadons have grown yet thicker hides, larger horns and tower above even their own pack. Over the ages, some of their fiery temper has cooled and, as they often outlive their Skink crews, they gradually become more accepting of new handlers. Each new team honours their beast and the elder Stegadons are widely venerated. Many crews will hammer bronze or gold plates covered with glyphs into their gnarled hide, more to mark a beast’s status than to provide additional protection. Likewise, on the eldest of beasts, reinforced masks are set over the creature’s headcrest, and ornamental bracelets or sharp metal tips are commonly seen to cover the creatures impressive array of horns.[1a]
Ancient Stegadons frequently carry fearsome blowpipes in their fighting howdahs. Each fires a cluster of darts that separates in flight to create a hail of poisoned death. It is for good reason that the Skinks name these fearsome weapons ‘Sotek’s Sting’. The most revered of Ancient Stegadons are judged to have sufficient strength and the right temperament to carry the archaic artefacts known as the Engines of the Gods. If the Lizardmen ever had the knowledge of how these ancient wonders worked, they lost it long ago. However, they do know how to activate them — when the glyphs are touched in the right order, the device thrums with arcane energies.[1a]
The Engine of the Gods has mysterious powers that can protect nearby Lizardmen or send rays to smite their foes. Even the Winds of Magic can be better siphoned to aid the casting of spells in the presence of such a potent apparatus. Only a handful of the Engines exist, and they are hidden away in temple vaults and only rarely brought forth. They often serve as war mounts for Skink Priests of great importance, and are used to anchor a battle line. The first to utilise the Engines of the Gods was Tehenhauin, the Prophet of Sotek. At the height of the Siege of Quetza, Tehenhauin led his disciples into the surrounding jungle. They returned three days later, the entire group riding upon Ancient Stegadons that bore Engines of the Gods, and used them to destroy the Skaven. Since that time, the Engines of the Gods have been brought forth only when they are needed most, for each is an instrument of the Old Ones’ power, and the loss of a single one might irredeemably jeopardise the Great Plan of the Lizardmen’s long-gone creator gods.[1a]