War Booty of Ancient Times
These miniatures are out now! Order your slave column here. Also on Warseer. They're priced at £10 / €13 + postage for one kit of four miniatures and two extras, or £26 + postage (£4 saving) / €34,5 + postage (€4,5 saving) for three kits of War Booty.
Bases are not included.
The resin casting, by Zealot Miniatures, carries detail well, but is afflicted by the usual mould lines and stray air bubbles found on many resin miniatures.
Tog the thrall heaved, strained and stumbled under the burdens laid upon his scarred frame. A basket of root lumps balanced precariously upon his bald, green head, weighing it down and aching his neck. He could not steady the basket, for his hands were both occupied with carrying a heavy amphora under which his back buckled. So heavy! Tog did not know what the big pot contained, except for a liquid of some sort. It sloshed inside the ceramic. Was it wine? Mayhaps olive oil? Or congealing blood? It might as well be swine piss for all he knew.
Tog the thrall, too lowly to even know the nature of his burdens. Once he had been Tog the Raker, a fierce spearman and raider who liked to think of himself as feared by other Goblins and weird folks alike. That was before one tribe of weird folk had trapped his warband, slain his chieftain and broken his will by whip and claw and blade and tusk, and had visited upon him never-ending hardship and thirst and hunger under a scorching sun, on a death march along with thousands upon thousands of other captives.
This weird folk was not the pointy-eared variety with their biting bows and evil horses, nor was it the manling kin either, with their seething multitudes and sheep flocks. No, this weird folk was the short but strong kind, the tough and hard-bitten, with big, blocky beards for armour and metal scales for even more protection under that. Conical helmets they wore, or towering hats, with spikes and horns and brutal images festooned about their wargear. At first, a know-nothing gruntling might think them funny, with their hats making the most silly of silhouettes in the sunlight, yet soon mirth turned to ashes on their tongues, and even the most hardened and grizzled of backstabbers and childslayers feared the blockbeards to the marrow of their bones. All Goblins knew that to be captured by those Dwarfs meant pain, toil and death.
Oh, how that fear was well-founded! Tog the thrall would have wished it otherwise, but no seven wishes would ever relieve him of the blockbeards' devil glare, nor would it save him from their capricious cruelties and punishments. Maimings, flayings, quarterings, impalings... He thought he had seen it all in the serive of chief Krakk Vileclaw, yet he had seen nothing before the yoke of the blockbeards was loaded onto his shoulders. He, and thousands more, had gnawed upon the famished remains of the Dwarfs' victims, though never the sacrificial ones. Those committed to the gods above and below would never see their flesh swallowed down slave throats. Any thrall desperate enough to steal offerings from the burning altars would find himself broken, flayed and compressed into a miniscule bronze cage, bent impossibly back up on himself in a solid package while awaiting the most forbidden of rites practised by the blockbeard priests.
And there was no escape from the misery! Foul outriders, green lackeys and spiteful to their dark hearts, ranged about the snaking column of slaves, pack animals and blockbeard slavers. Anyone they caught disappeared, likely eaten by the outriders themselves. Those who did manage to escape wouldn't last long in the wasteland heat anyway, as evident in the old, desiccated bones strewn about their blistered feet...
Tog the thrall glanced up, hoping against hope for an abysmal monster to emerge and gobble down his tormentors. Instead, he did see a monster and a tormentor, yet they were one and the same. Some captives ahead of him, a stolid blockbeard scribe stood by the stinking slave parade and scribbled on a tablet of wet clay, impressing mystical signs for the memory of eternities to follow. Writing, it was called, a dark and dangerous art. A mystery, for sure. But Tog knew all about writing. Sometimes, a blockbeard scribe would accompany a bunch of warriors in camp, taking the lead as he looked the slaves and pack animals up and down and in and out, inspecting their teeth, eyes and hands, pinching hard on their arms and legs and staring at thralls with eyes not caring one iota for their fates. The scribes would say a few words sometimes, in that harsh tongue of theirs, and the fate of slaves and beasts of burden alike would be decided with a quick doodle in clay.
Were they counting their war booty? Maybe deciding what the slaves and animals were good for? Or discarding the useless ones? Perhaps all at once, judging by the results. Some slaves would just be marked down, and nothing more would come of it. Others would switch places in the column, find themselves loaded with heavier burdens or pulling asses, camels, oxen and pack horses along. Some slaves would be cut down were they stood by the warriors, while the scribe wrote them off for good in his clay. Others would be dragged away to the cookpots or altars. Whatever they wrote, the scribes held powers of life and death over slaves. They could kill by marking their clay. One mark, and your life ended. The magic of it all made Tog's skin crawl at the back of his neck.
He had once been a plundering warrior. Now he was a piece of plunder, walking loot and nothing more. Tog the thrall looked again on the scribe. Didn't he know that smug face? Let's see... Yes. It was the bastard who had killed his chieftain Krakk with a single mark in clay. That kill had belonged to Tog for years! He had dreamt of doing his boss in, sneaking up in the dark of night or thrusting his spear out in the chaos of fighting, yet that dream had been robbed from him. Instead, Krakk had died like a dog at the hands of a scribbling blockbeard. Tog could still remember the awkward name of that scribe. Adad-Nirkartunabamer. That's it! That name had etched itself into his mind, and remained there a stark fire while every other part of him, his memories and his will wasted away in apathy, hardship and oppression.
He was nearing Adad-Nirkartunabamer now. The blockeard ticked off some foreign Dwarf wench, all bare and scarred and unflowered before the death march had even begun. She didn't have to carry anything but her shame and pain, with eyes downcast and voice silent as she stumbled on during day for yet another night of shrieks and violation at the hands of the victors. Then, the accursed scribe made another mark as a humpbacked pegleg of a Goblin struggled with a heavy sack in his arms, while an even heavier burlap bag crushed down on his skull. Finally, Tog the thrall passed by Adad-Nirkartunabamer, who marked him off just like that. This time, the writing didn't kill. Yet next time, the spell might work...
Tog the thrall brooded on his petty plan of hopeless revenge for long hours after he had left the blockbeard behind. He had become a beast of burden among others, and nothing more. And for long hours afterwards, downtrodden slaves and pack animals defiled past the scribe, each one a little wedge impression on a clay tablet, and nothing more. The writing would remain forgotten in an archive vault for long ages to come, witnessing dust and darkness and nothing more. Such was the legacy of the war booty of ancient times.
Gallery update, with War Booty of Ancient Times painted by Enjoysrandom: