Whistle-Wailers

We are the dragons that scream, we are the horns that announce war, we are heralds of your doom!  
— Whistle-Wailers chant
  The Whistle-Wailers are a specialized military unit from the city-state of Tshoggan who use large, elaborate war-horns to break their enemies. With the echo of the cave, the blast of a Wailer Horn can disorient an enemy - a battery of them can rattle the bones in their bodies. Stories tell of Wailers even bringing down an avalanche of stone on their enemies or stopping a charge dead in their tracks. But just as many are of the Wailers suffering from their own weapons.      

Heralds of Doom

If you can hear us, it is too late.  
— Whistle-Wailers motto
  Wailer Horns are large, elaborately decorated warhorns with a long shaft ending in a widening maw on the head. The end of the Wailer Horns are usually made to resemble some great and terrible beast, such as a Ashikumo or figures from Tshoggan mythology. Due to the muggy, humid environment of Khasanganay, most are made from bone or chitin, though ceremonial, or ritual Wailer Horns are sometimes made from precious metals.  
Some Wailer Horns are so large that they require two users; one to hold and aim the front end, and one to blow the horn. Holding the front is a fate typically reserved for apprentices or conscripts.
 
Whistle-Wailer-2
by EMAProject European Music Archeology
The sound of a Wailer Horn deafening, loud enough to disorient and even stun beasts and warriors alike. In the tunnels of Araea, a single blasting wail can echo for miles, assaulting its victim again and again. It makes for an effective, if indiscriminate, weapon, more than capable of causing physical harm through ruptured ear-drums and splitting headaches.   When Wailers assemble in great numbers, it is said the noise alone could turn away both gods and demons.
Wailers excel in siege warfare - a stationary target with which they can bombard, day and night, allowing the defenders no peace to sleep or recover.
  This devastation is hard to predict and control once loosed, and as a result, the Wailers often operate away from other friendly units. They are commonly placed at the front of a conflict when both sides are maneuvering, and the exact position of the enemy isn't known. Wailers will flood the tunnels where any foe might be expected to be with noise, with the echo obscuring their own position. Foes suffering from a constant barrage of wails are worn down and nerves frayed, creating an opening for other warriors to strike... Or for the Wailers to gather and give them a bone-shattering combined wail.    

Structure

We do not need the strongest, the fastest, or the most clever - only the bravest.  
— Whistler-Wailers motto
  Wailers work in Atha - Hand of War - formations with half working as trumpeters and the rest to support them. Smaller horns are used to signal other Wailers where they are and what their status is; a low droning tone to keep in contact, a short high-pitched tone to indicate they are under attack, and so on. They are lead by a champion, supported by a second-in-command and a signaller to coordinate the trumpeters. Due to the Wailer's tendency to lose their hearing, they communicate through hand signals and touch.  
Such is the force of a thunderous blast of Wailers that foes sometimes find their torches extinguished and Ahi Bugs crushed in their lanterns.
  Beyond the Wailer Horns, each warrior brings their own weapons - usually an assortment of clubs, daggers, and short pole-arms. Trumpeteers always travel lighter and generally with nothing more than perhaps a dagger or short club. The glories won by Wailers have earned every Wailer Champions the right to carry one of Tshoggan's famed Xhar Blades. These swords have a hilt almost as long as the blade, allowing their wielders to alternate between sweeping cuts and quick thrusts, depending on what the space around them permits.  

XharBlade1

by Earth Temple Exchange

Tshoggan   The Whistling-Wailers fight out of the city-state of Tshoggan, the largest settlement in the Khasanganay region. Their home is one of tradition and superstition, always threatened by the wild-life among Khasanganay's murky pools.   Read More About Tshoggan
Whistle-Wailer-1
by EMAProject European Music Archeology
 

War Wounds

Many Whistlers suffer serious loss of hearing throughout their career, whether through some mishap with their weapons or the constant noise of heavy fighting. Such fates are almost inevitable for any who fight for (or even alongside) the Whistle-Wailers for any extended period of time.  
Many Wailers become completely deaf with time, and those already deaf are often press-ganged to help the Wailers in times of crisis.
 

Ceremony

In times of peace, the Whistle-Wailers lend their weapons to herald ritual and tradition, albeit at a lower volume. Outside the battlefield, the Wailers are skilled musicians, capable of creating soaring, triumphant music - and they maintain their skill even as their hearing deteriorates.    
ZaveruIce_1
by Thomas Arfert
 

Secrets of Sound

Some claim that the screams produced by the Wailer Horns are made through no mortal artifice, but some dark secret or sordid pact. Only the master artisans of Tshoggan know the truth behind their construction, and Wailers will go to great lengths to prevent their tools from falling into enemy hands.  
The most infamous Wailer Horn is the Dying Scream - made from bone and fitted with Zaveru Ice, it is said to be equal to ten horns by itself. Others whisper that the scream is that of those who hear it, now cursed to an early grave by the terrible weapon.

Moments of Glory

The Whistle-Wailers are deeply rooted in Tshoggan's culture and history. They started as a tool to help warriors deal with the overwhelming numbers of wild creatures that would surge towards the city-state during the Wasper's nomadic expansion. From there, they become a natural part of the Cull, leading the hunt with their roaring cacophonies. Even among the Wailer's many glories, some stand out and have established them as a vaunted part of Tshoggan's military tradition.  

Battle of the Bone Hill

Plagued by pirates, bandits, and traitors in the wake of a disastrous civil war, the Wailers were called to break the resistance to Tshoggan rule once and for all. The traitors had fortified themselves well within a closed cavern with hidden paths out, allowing them to forage and raid with impunity. Every assault on their gates had ended with bloody casualties and lead no closer to victory. After one such attack, the pirates stole away the bodies of the slain and hang their desecrated corpsed from the cavern ceiling. When they heard, the Wailers of the Demon's Roar swore vengeance.   They gathered every deaf member of their troop and from allied Wailers, then set about blasting the pirates' castle day and night for weeks on end. Robbed of sleep, constantly disturbed, the pirates wore down under the pressure - when they attacked, it was their turn to run into stiff resistance and murderous casualties. It is said the arch-traitor ended his own life rather than withstand the roar any longer. Even so, the Wailers were good on their oath, and those who surrendered were put to the blade.  

H6bYelM.png

by AdmiraltyMiniatures

 
There are whispers that the Wailers have, much like their leaders, become complacent in this time of peace. More and more time stretches between every Cull, and less effort is put into each one that happens. The last one ventured no further than the city's domain, then turned back, proclaiming the caves empty and safe.   Some among them do not trust this silence. Together with others and lead by Sodai, the famous Kaia, they are venturing out into the caverns of Khasanganay.  
A Time of Tides
Plot | Dec 10, 2020

When complacency strikes at the worst possible time, combined with corruption and greed, disaster always follows.

 



Cover image: by Hideki Miyashita

Comments

Author's Notes

Describe a military unit in your world that is famous for its unique ranged weapon.


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10 Dec, 2020 13:55

Using sound as a weapon is such a brilliant idea. This article so detailed I almost forgot it wasn't real for a moment. Really good work here.

You should check out the The 5 Shudake, if you want of course.
Sage eccbooks
E. Christopher Clark
10 Dec, 2020 20:55

Same! I completely forgot it wasn't real by the end.

10 Dec, 2020 14:00

Love the idea! I read this article with two dogs snoring in the background, which was a fun mood setter xD. I loved the inclusion of a battle in the article, a very nice touch!

sending good vibes <3 - Author of Interarcanum and Shakiraverse
11 Dec, 2020 08:54

Ah yes, the infamous Snoring Dogs warriors. ;D   Thank you <3

25 Dec, 2020 05:46

I really enjoyed everything about this. The fine details are quite inspiring. I look forward to reading more from you.

Have an Imaginative Day
25 Dec, 2020 07:10

Oh, thank you! I'm glad! I look forward to seeing what you think of the rest   Combined, all my worlds has something like 5-600k words written for them, and Araea alone is about half of that :D There's plenty to dig into!