CHIMERAE –Warhammer Fantasy Chaos

Monday, December 15, 2014

I walked across the plain of bone beneath the brazen sky. All about were the skulls of the slain, and among them grew black flowers, each twisted bloom a soul in thrall. Crimson-flecked flies sucked at the red nectar in that field and the air tasted bloody in my mouth. The black flowers nodded their heads as I passed and whispered in the bitter-scented breeze. A distant Daemons shriek reached my ears and the sound of tormented laughter drifted by and was swallowed by silence.
And then I came to the Tree of Damned Shades.

Living souls had hung upon its branches and living souls had fed its roots in ages past. Twisted with the pain of their misguided loyalty, the shades had made their pact and now had their reward. Those same shades moaned their regret and agony, pleading for pity from every branch and twig, save one whose deviant eye I met. I paused in the glare of that eye. The Tree of Damned Shades spoke in a splintering voice, crying out as if a thousand axes were tearing at its heartwood.
"By my broken faith and darkened promises, a mortal walks in the garden of blood. Once my roots taste of his mortal body, he is mine and I am he. A man... a man... I will be free in flesh and bone. I will slay you for my master. Blood beyond measure I will spill upon the battlefields of the world. Oh... freedom from this wooden frame that I could once again march to the beat of my heart!”
The tree withered and shook its dark branches and I fled, for my fate lay not with those trapped and hideous souls...'

-Liber Malefic, Marius Hollseher

The three-headed Chimera is one of the most fearsome of all children of Chaos, a beast whose progenitors were so warped that it is now impossible to say what manner of creatures they might once have been. Like all monsters that dwell in or near to the Realm of Chaos, the Chimerae take many bizarre shapes. However, Chimerae are more susceptible than most monsters to the twisting power of Chaos. The heads of some Chimerae breathe fire in the manner of Dragons, whilst other heads sprout razor-sharp fangs or jaws that drip with a poisonous slime. Most Chimerae possess a fiendish tail that ends in a snapping maw possessed of an intelligence and hunger of its own. There are even some Chimerae, like those that dwell among the spires of the Bloodshriek Citadel that are said to have bathed in the coruscating Winds of Magic at the summit of the world. The skin of these Bloodshriek Chimerae is an ever-shifting pattern of bright colours and hues, turning translucent one moment before running like molten wax to cover and heal the rips and gashes in its tainted flesh the next. Regardless of their exact form, all Chimerae share a savage and unpredictable nature, and wherever their tri-throated roars are heard, death and carnage are surely not far behind.

A particularly powerful Chaos Lord, or an insanely brave Sorcerer, may sometimes try to bind a Chimera to his service, for the sheer carnage they can wreak upon the battlefield is a spectacle bound to attract the attention of the Dark Gods. It is said that only those truly favoured by Chaos will have any hope of binding such a creature to their will, and a champion may spend a lifetime searching for a Chimera, and never succeed, or else find his prize and be torn apart by it moments later. However, those few who succeed in their quest have at their disposal a monstrous creature of unbridled destructive potential.

Scientists seek to solve mystery of Stegosaurus plates

Monday, December 8, 2014

Although nowhere near the largest of the Jurassic dinosaurs, Stegosaurus were still about the size of a bus. Distinctive and heavily built, they were herbivores with short forelimbs and would have walked with their small head close to the ground and the four-spiked tail held high. The double row of plates running along the back helped control body temperature and were probably used in display or possibly in defence against carnivorous Allosaurs. Most fossils for the three known species, including some complete skeletons, have come from the USA, although a recent discovery in Portugal suggests a wider distribution.

By Pallab Ghosh Science correspondent, BBC News

Researchers hope to learn how much it weighed, how it moved and what it used its iconic back plates for.

A UK team has scanned each of its 360 bones into a computer and has digitally reconstructed the dinosaur.

The specimen, nicknamed "Sophie", has been acquired by the Natural History Museum in London.
Although Stegosauruses are one of the most well known dinosaurs, they are among those that scientists know the least about. There are only six partial skeletons of the creature, which lived around 150 million years ago.

It could grow to the size of a minibus and the gigantic plates which ran along its back were its most distinctive feature.

Stegosaurus: the outstanding questions

    How did it use its back plates and tail spikes?
    How effective were its muscles?
    How did such a small skull manage to chew enough food for such a large body?
    How much did it weigh?

Surprisingly, it was 100 years ago that the dinosaur's skeleton was properly assessed and scientifically described. Now, using medical imaging techniques and 3D modelling, researchers at the Natural History Museum hope to learn much more about this iconic creature.

Prof Paul Barrett, who is leading the research, said that they were particularly interested in finding out what stegosauruses used their plates for.

"We want to find out whether they were used for defence or whether they were used as a radiator to help the animal pick up or lose heat," he told BBC News.

Sophie is 80% complete and is thought to be the most complete specimen in the world. Dr Charlotte Brassey, who is working with Prof Barrett, helped to scan in its 360 bones and digitally recreate it on her computer as a detailed 3D model.

"I reconstructed the skeleton to see what it might have looked like and then began to reconstruct the muscles and how they connected with the skeleton. From that we can begin to say how effective its muscles were and eventually in the future we would like to reconstruct how it moved," she told BBC News.

Among the mysteries the researchers would like to solve is how the species was able to walk with such small front legs and such large back legs.