Aradus are giant, aggressive, territorial insects native to the eastern reaches of the Skorne Empire. Aradus can grow to be several times as long as a man is tall. The skorne have used aradus as warbeasts for centuries, taking advantage of their naturally violent nature.
Aradus are covered in a thick exoskeleton hard enough to deflect cannon fire. The two front limbs bear hooked claws capable of scything through a karax in a single swipe, while the head is host to a mass of grasping, gnashing mandibles.
Aradus exhibit a number of different forms depending on their role within the colony, but all are extremely dangerous.
The most common type of aradus is the soldier. They have elongated and barbed claws to drag prey into their powerful mandibles. When not hunting or protecting the hive, aradus soldiers labour constantly to expand the tunnels. Sentinels are a specialised strain of aradus that emerge from the nest to confront significant threats, such as an attack from a rival colony. These living artillery can rapidly constrict the heavy venom sacs in their long tails to fire globs of viscous necrotoxin at enemies of the hive. This spray is strong enough to slough the flesh off any creature caught in its path.
Immense networks of aradus tunnels hewn into the bedrock wind endlessly beneath Tor-Sorikaan. Each is home to a single colony that views everything that treads above or below as either a threat or prey. A brutal war of all-out extermination and expansion will quickly break out if two colonies’ territories begin to overlap. Even the splinter colonies formed when a colony grows too large are considered threats and attacked relentlessly, forcing them to move far before establishing their own hive.
The close links between members of the same hive allow aradus to coordinate their actions with great tactical awareness. These connections facilitate simple manoeuvres as the creatures work together almost seamlessly to best take advantage of the various castes’ strengths. When cooperation is not necessary nor available, aradus fall back on their natural inclination toward unthinking, unremitting, suicidal aggression.
The skorne prize aradus as warbeasts and place great value on their resilience and natural inclination toward violence, but taming an adult aradus is nearly impossible for even the most talented beast handlers. Instead, aradus must be raised on the lash from the moment they hatch, which necessitates dangerous expeditions to plunder eggs from wild aradus colonies in the Trembling Waste. Many slaves die gathering eggs from the aradus tunnels, and the painstaking process of conditioning begins the moment the eggs hatch. Once they are mature, the skorne go to great lengths to train them for battle. Their minds are primitive and slow to respond to traditional training, so skorne chymists have developed special agents to increase the aradus' responsiveness to pain hooks and the lash.
The skorne are all too willing to indulge destructive tendencies in their enslaved aradus, something they normally have to instil in other beasts through tedious conditioning and prolonged agony.