Lustria - Rumble In the Jungle
The Myahghan of the Bloodskull Heights
"If you're not part of the victory, you're part of the menu."
General: Tyrant Gongoro the Corpulent, Ogre Tyrant w/ Heavy Armor, Tenderizer, Greedy Fist, Wyrdstone Necklace, 2 Sword-Gnoblars & 1 Luck-Gnoblar
Guyuk the Butcher, Ogre Butcher w/ 2 Dispel Scrolls, 2 Tooth-Gnoblars & 1 Luck-Gnoblar
Subutai the Hunter, Ogre Hunter w/ Greatskull & 2 Sabrecats (Boke & Yeke)
The Kurultai, 3 Ogre Ironguts w/ Heavy Armor & Great Weapons, Gutlord (Mongo), Bellower, Standard Bearer w/ War Banner
Arbat Negan, 3 Ogre Bulls w/ Ironfists & Ogre Clubs, & Light Armor, Crusher (Temur)
Arbat Qoyor, 4 Ogre Bulls w/ Ironfists, Ogre Clubs, & Light Armor, Standard Bearer, Crusher (Batu)
Arbat Gurban, 4 Ogre Bulls w/ Ironfists, Ogre Clubs, & Light Armor, Standard Bearer, Crusher (Chinua)
Arbat Dorben, 4 Leadbelchers w/ Thunderfist (Bat)
“Ma” Oghul & the Boys, 3 Maneaters: 1 w/ Ogre Club, 1 w/ Cathayan Longsword, 1 w/ Heavy Weapon; Heavy Armor
The story of the Myaghan of the Bloodskull Heights begins with their former tyrant, Tsagadai. Tsagadai was a mighty and imposing ogre, but also something of a lazy one. He would meet challenges to his rule with remarkable ferocity but had no ambition to expand his holdings or improve the lot of the ogres that languished under his iron boots. Tsagadai might have been undone on more than one occasion by more cunning ogres but the secret of Tsagadai’s longevity lay in his bride – the infamous Maneater, “Ma” Oghul. She had plundered much of the Eastern Steppes and had returned home to find that the only bull she’d ever given a second glance to had become Tyrant, if somewhat shiftless.
Tsagadai and Oghul’s marriage was, putting it mildly, stormy. It was made no less so when Oghul had the poor judgment to give birth to twins. Tsagadai had been determined that a strong young boy would have made a fantastic dessert following a mighty feast, but two was more than he was ready to eat just then. Accusing his formidable bride of attempting to make his belly burst, he hurled both children off the side of the mountain. One of them tumbled into a cave, falling into the dark caverns where the gorgers made their putrescent homes. One of them rolled all the way to the base of the mountain. Oghul cracked her husband’s skull and nearly challenged him to a guts-out challenge for the position of Tyrant. It was Jubei, Oghul’s shadowy lieutenant, who convinced her to take her fellow Maneaters and return to the world of men. To this day, no one knows why Jubei gave such counsel (popular opinion is that Tsagadai bribed him to do so) or why Oghul accepted (popular, but terribly quiet, opinion is that she and the Ogre ninja were lovers), but Oghul departed and Tsagadai, once again, ruled the Bloodskull Heights uncontested.
At the base of the mountain, the ogre infant wailed with such a noise that it shook the small valley where he had landed. It also brought the hunters of the Kuj tribe of the Hung. The khahan of the tribe was a slight and cunning horselord, called Khabul. Khabul’s wife picked up the ogre newborn, currently the size of a human toddler, and asked her husband to allow her to care for the child. It was a decision that would bring both weal and woe to the Kuj.
The Kuj had encountered ogres only sporadically and having one in the camp began as a nightmare. The young ogre was forever hungry and looking at anything and everything as a potential meal. Khabul eventually named the child Burilgi, meaning “destroyer” in the tongue of the Hung. Burilgi grew rapidly and his growth and hunger were quickly transforming him into an ever more accurate representation of his name. At his wit’s end, Khabul decided to see what the boy, now a spry eight years old and nine feet tall, could do in a raid.
The results were spectacular. Burilgi shattered the feeble fences of the other tribes and, with a club in hand, shattered skulls with a swing of his massive arm. This kept the young ogre fed for another five years and raised the Kuj to the point that they verged on a mass uniting of the tribes as had been once or twice before in history. Khabul taught Burilgi to read and write and the fundamentals of warfare. Though the growing beast could not ride the small steppe ponies, his long legs and tireless muscles could keep up with a horse army on the march. It was a rough sort of living but one that was well-suited to the growing eating machine. Unfortunately, subject-tribes were able to complain about the ravenous ogre in ways that enemies could not and Khabul had to weigh his growing political power against the might of his adopted son. Political reality won out and, after Burilgi devoured the quite marriageable daughter of a neighboring khahan, Khabul banished the young ogre, horsemen whipping him towards Cathay. It would prove to be an ill-fated decision as the other tribes, realizing that Khabul’s monster was gone, fell upon the Kuj and slew every last male of the tribe.
The Cathayans have a long memory and recalled when the ogres used to roam the steppes and devour their own children; as a result, Burilgi was hounded everywhere he tried to stop in the lands of the Celestial Emperor. Even the rough-hewn, frontier version of civility began to fall away from Burilgi and he inched closer and closer to the monster of legend. If it were not for a chance encounter with a monk a very long way from home, he might have degenerated to the level of Chaos Ogres, living only for slaughter.
Kashima Shinsai was a Nipponese monk, spending some time in study with the Imperial Astronomers of the Celestial Court. When he heard that a “monster” was assailing the countryside, he went to investigate. The potent force of Shinsai’s inner peace had an odd effect on the nearly feral young ogre and, for the first time in months, he addressed a creature he had encountered with something other than bellows and attacks. Shinsai and Burilgi spoke long into the night and, by morning; the ogre had pledged himself to the protection of the monk and to rediscovering his sentient soul.
Shinsai realized that he could not keep an ogre as a companion in Grand Cathay – the old fears were just too strong, so he and Burilgi sailed back to Nippon. The land of the samurai entranced the fierce young ogre, who learned to read the strange calligraphy of the land and studied the way of the warrior. Shinsai was a popular monk at court and the ogre was forced to learn to restrain and direct his most ferocious urges. The memory of his exile from the Kuj burned brightly in his memory and he went to his mentor for guidance. At Shinsai’s urging, Burilgi joined the army of a popular daimyo, adding the same devastating combat power as he had to the Kuj, but he now tempered himself to only devour his enemies. The prospect of being eaten alive by a ferocious oni (The Nippon warriors were quite convinced that the daimyo had tamed a demon) made peace break out like a plague.
Burilgi came to understand the political infighting of the Nipponese clans, but it grated on him terribly – the bloody truths of the Great Maw spoke to him, though he had never heard the words: the strong take from the weak and there are no consequences save victory for the strong and a bloody end for the weak. He found himself salivating as he walked through the cramped capital city and knew that he would not be able to control his hunger forever. Another exile was averted by, of all things, the theater.
Burilgi enjoyed the kabuki plays of the Nipponese, especially since many times they were held out of doors beneath a palatial tent that Burilgi could enter without squeezing or walking doubled over. As Burilgi watched the tale of a young, superhuman hero called Kamakura Gongoro Kagemasa. The hero showed the cretinous villains his wisdom by virtue of his prowess and might. He defended the weak but slaughtered them as well. He was a force unto himself and Burilgi knew he had found the way out. He commissioned a vessel to carry him back to the mainland and went to Shinsai one last time. The monks were masters of tattooing and body modification. Burilgi would never leave Nippon. Gongoro would return to the lands that had spawned him.
Back in the Bloodskull Heights, Tsagadai’s reign had gone from bad to horrid. The ogres fought almost constantly among each other, in many cases because the only food to be had was one’s neighbor. Tsagadai ruled by dint of cunning and his massive tenderizer: a huge club forged from a caravan wagon axle and the metal from a Reiksguard Knight. He had run off the tribe’s main hunter, Subutai, and he kept hearing rumors that his estranged wife was wandering the hills around the Heights, collecting the many ogres he had banished. The stress had rendered Tsagadai into an incredibly paranoid tyrant, but no less deadly for all that. His last night in the Old World came the night of Cometfall.
The night that the comet, heralding the rise of the Great Maw, fell to the planet and forever changed the lives of ogres everywhere is as close as the ogre kingdoms get to a national holy day (No one actually knows when that day is but the ogres generally agree it would’ve happened at a time convenient for a feast). Tsagadai sat at his meager feasting table when he heard fighting approaching his stronghold. Taking hold of his tenderizer he walked to the cave entrance to see a line of ogres working their way to the door. He saw his hunter and his wife. He also saw his son, though he did not immediately recognize him.
The massive ogre’s skin had been bleached as white as the snow that caps the Yhetees’ peaks. Wild streaks of red and black crosses his face like shadowed blood. He led a handful of ogres but he smashed bulls and ironguts alike aside with mighty sweeps of his club. When Gongoro stepped into the door of his former home, Tsagadai had backed up to near the maw pit, placing a number of bulls between himself and his son with the demon’s face. Gongoro sneered, his voice rumbling like thunder, though it seemed almost subdued.
“Hello, Father. I’ve come to end you.” Gongoro stripped off his gutplate and hurled it like a discus at the bulls acting as a fleshy shield for their Tyrant. Two of them lost their heads for their trouble and the rest decided their Tyrant probably deserved what was coming and got out of the way. Father and Son strode into the Maw-pit, the gore of the feast welling up around their boots. Blood splashed high and bones crunched as they collided with the force of a volcanic eruption. Tsagadai was full of old cunning but Gongoro had learned treachery from doing battle with the perfidious hobgoblins of the Eastern Steppes. Tsagadai tried to taunt his son, but Shinsai’s lessons had turned Gongoro’s rage into a leashed sabrecat, flying forth only when the young ogre willed it. Desperate, Tsagadai attempted to overpower his son, but he was an old and weak tyrant and Gongoro felt the might of heroes surge through his thews (heroes, it should be noted, who had no problem with devouring young women, but we are discussing ogres). Gongoro lifted his massive father into the air and brought him down across his knee, the older Tyrant’s spine shattering with a terrible cracking that recalled a tree splitting from rot.
When Gongoro did not immediately kill his father, the other ogres were aghast – to not kill your victim was a violation of ogre custom. Mongo, Gutlord of the Kurultai, the Tyrant’s “advisory council,” declared that, if Gongoro did not take his rightful place, Mongo would lead an insurrection then and there. “Ma” Oghul hefted her club/rolling pin with a snarl that indicated how that might go for Mongo. Before more bloodshed could break out, Gongoro raised his hand, still stark white, but now stained with red gore.
“This foolish failure of a Tyrant shall not live. But it is time for this clan to leave this place – it has left you weak and soft. I am here to tell you that there are lands who cannot hope to resist the thunder of the ogres. You hide up here and murder each other – that way leads to the strongest ruling but they rule alone. I will lead you into the lands of men and none will stand against us. The Hung have a word – Myaghan¬ – it refers to an army of 10,000 men. I tell you that you are as mighty as any 10,000 men and we will take our might from this place and grow fat and rich.” With that, Gongoro lifted his broken father into the air again and stood over a cave that led to the lair of the gorgers.
“Give my regards to my brother, Father.” The old ogre’s screams became quite high pitched as they echoed through the mountainous caverns. Eventually, they were drowned out by animalistic howls and the sounds of feasting.
The Myaghan of the Bloodskull Heights traveled through the Dark Lands and through the Old World, killing, plundering, and feasting their way through the lands of dwarfs and men. In Tilea, Gongoro heard tales of the gold to be had in distant Lustria. It took some convincing to get his cousin Yhetees to get on a ship and even more convincing to get the ship captain to let them on. The vessel sailed with a crew of twenty and arrived with a terrified pilot as the last human alive on-board. He was the celebratory feast when they made landfall.
Gongoro’s tribe set into the jungle and established a stronghold for themselves around a new sacred maw-pit. “Ma” Oghul and several of the ogres still wander the lands, collecting loot and fighting for themselves but “Ma” has promised that, should the boy prove himself, she will rejoin the clan in time. For now, Gongoro leads his terrible forces in search of treasure. Sometimes he is the hero and sometimes he is the villain but, whatever role he is playing, the force of Gongoro Deathcheater and his terrible horde gives pause to any who can hear the thunder.