- "The Lizardmen, particularly Skinks outside the temple-cities, worship the great god Itzl - the three-homed ruler of coldblooded beasts. The remaining temples of Itzl are always distant structures deep in the jungles of Lustria. Many feature great gongs, instruments rung only when sacrifices have been tied to attract Itzl’s creatures out of the impenetrable forests to feed. "
- —Accounts of the Lizardmen God Itzl, the Three-Horned Ruler of the Cold Ones.[1a]
Cold One Riders or Cold One Cavalry are a specialised spawning of Saurus Warriors that were ingrained with the ability to ride the untamable Cold One into combat. Saurus warriors are formidable fighters, but when mounted atop a Cold One they become a shock force capable of delivering an absolute mauling. Those foes who can muster the courage to stand before the sight of oncoming Cold One Riders find themselves beset by a whirlwind of biting jaws, slashing talons and jabbing spear thrusts.[1a]
Saurus Warriors blessed by Itzl have an innate aptitude for mounted warfare. They exude a musk not dissimilar to the rank odour produced by the Cold Ones themselves, allowing them to form bonds with the otherwise hostile creatures. The Saurus have claws that are perfect for gripping the thick-scaled hides of their reptilian steed, leaving them free to carry both spears and shields. All such, spawnings produce a Pack Leader who instinctively leads the group — knowing where to find the Cold Ones and how best to break them into mounts.[1a]
The Cold Ones are foul-tempered and dim-witted reptilian creatures. They emerge from subterranean lairs to prowl in packs throughout Lustria. They are hunched bipedal beasts with muscular legs, but when Cold Ones move at speed, they often use their forelimbs for balance and to achieve a more rapid pace. These shortened arms come into their own, however, at the conclusion of a hunt. When assaulting, Cold Ones lead with their scythe-like claws, attempting first to disembowel their quarry. If it spots an undefended limb or underbelly, Cold Ones dart out their elongated necks in a snake-like strike. With a horrific snapping of powerful jaws, a Cold One will clamp down and savage its prey, shaking and twisting until it tears free a chunk of flesh. Always ravenous, Cold One packs can eventually bring down much larger creatures, ripping them apart and devouring them in a savage flurry that splatters a glistening trail across the jungle.[1a]
Too ferocious to be domesticated for any useful labour, for many ages the Lizardmen left the swarming Cold One packs alone, with scores of Skinks learning the hard way that the beasts cannot be tamed. The Cold Ones were just another one of the predators that beset any who travelled Lustria. However, that was before the blessing of the Old Ones was visited upon certain Saurus spawnings. It is said that the Old Ones anticipated the future, foreseeing the eventual needs of the Lizardmen and bestowing their gifts according to this. When a spawning of Saurus emerged that proved able to ride upon Cold Ones, the Skink Priests claimed this as no less than the divine will of Itzl, the great god of beasts.[1a]
To direct the bloodlust of a Cold One takes a dominant will — and even the Saurus sometimes find themselves struggling to control their mounts. On occasion, the Cold Ones, their reptilian brains overloaded, become confused. In such cases, the predators resort to their base instincts — roaring to the heavens, clawing the ground in a display of fury, or snapping mindlessly about them in a fit of deadly pique. During these impulsive moments, the riders can do little but hang on, keeping their limbs away from the riot of snapping jaws. When their beasts can be commanded, however, the Cold One cavalry are a formidable adversary with their savagery squared — a deadly reptilian warrior mounted atop a fearsome cold-blooded hunter. Their attacks leave behind little to identify what manner of creature their foes once were.[1a]