The Five Untameables

In orcish literature and symbolism, the lion is the enemy.

The lion represents nature at its most dangerous; attractively majestic, but savage, vicious and uncontrollable. They prey on livestock and unwary orcs alike, and their extermination has been a long-savoured goal of the orcs; they are nearly extinct in the Padishar Empire, with only a few subspecies such as the mountain lion and spotted forest-cat lingering in the hinterlands. But in the early days of the Empire, the legend goes, the shar Darxis believed he would be the one to bring lions to heel, to break them and tame them as wolves had been tamed to dogs and orox to cattle. With the authority of his crown and the sacred goad of office, he had lions captured and caged and brought to his imperial menagerie in Bulsharippur, where he began the brutal process of domestication.

The legends say he succeeded, and soon had a whole pride of pet lions that would eat from his hand, lick his shoes and let him rub their bellies. They performed in festivals and at his banquests, amazing commoners and nobles alike, and it was said that Darxis was Tularoq Horse-Breaker come again. Not satisfied with this acclaim and his train of golden-maned followers, though Darxis employed the finest bloodline-sorcerers in the world and began a program of breeding to shape his pets more to his liking. using magic and obscene forced mating, the menagerie was soon host to monsterous crossbreeds and abominations the like of which Zenth had never seen. Some say the human gods whispered in his ear; some say it was simply his arrogance and ambition.

Eventually, Darxis went the way of all shars - poisoned by an impatient son in his case. Upon the moment of his death, it is said that every lion in the menagerie went feral and furious all at once, and had to be put down. The unnatural creatures his breeding pits spawned were not so easy to destroy, and burst out of their cages, unleashing an orgy of bloodshed on the city until they escaped, and fled into the wild places beyond the Empire's borders. History prefers to remember Darxis for his feat of taming lions for the first and only time, rather than the ghastly events following his death, however, and in iconography he is usually depicted riding a great lion as if it were a horse.

The progeny of Darxis' monsters still exist, and are known to orcs as the Five Untameables, five leonine species which still cause untold carnage and spawn many myths and heroes to fight them.

  • Gryphon: With the head, taloned forelimbs and wings of a great bird of prey or carrion and hindquarters of a lion, the gryphon is a fearsome apex predator. They wing above the Daaland Mountains and Great Basin plains, picking out prey with their keen eyes, and line their nests with the bones and treasure of their victims.
  • Tarrasq: A six-legged lion-like beast with a massive armoured shell, the tarrasq is a lumbering, but voracious, relentless and almost invulnerable beast that dwells in the lowlands of places like the Great Basin, Medraphayrus Valley and Clashlands.
  • Mantiqor: Resembling a lion with the mouth of a shark and a scorpion's tail, the mantiqor dwells preferentially in hot and arid regions like Ramze-Ka, the Desolate Margins and the Northern Desert.
  • Lammasu: With the head of an orc, the body of a lion but the proportions of a hyena and feathered wings, the lammasu dwells in the Shaange Mountains. Though, like the other Untameables, it is no more intelligent than a clever beast, the lammasu has the ability to mimic voices, which it uses to lure prey to it or into deadly falls.
  • Chimera: The largest and most hideous of the creatures, the chimera has the head and mane of a lion, the shoulders and front hooves of a monsterous goat, and the sinuous tail of a dragon. These rampant abominations can spew venom, but are thankfully rare. They are found all across Zenth from the Northern Desert to Calerath, but seem to be slightly concentrated in the Chalnfens and Black Coast.