The Taoties are a reptilian race from an unknown world that invaded Ancient China.
Concept art of a Taotie soldier
The Taotie are green-skinned, carnivorous quadrupeds, similar in appearance to canids and similar carnivore mammals. They possess membranous head frills which resonate, allowing them to communicate with each other over long distances. These beasts possess elaborate motifs on the crests of their skulls, which gave the inspiration of the taotie motif to the cultures of Ancient China, and their leathery hides have an iridescent, jade-like quality. Their blood is a dark green in color. There appear to be three main castes of the Taotie:
The Taotie Queen and her guards
- Soldiers: The most commonly seen type and numbering in the millions, these Taotie are about the size of a lion and somewhat hyena-like in appearance, with long slender limbs and a short tail. Their yellow eyes are located on their shoulders rather then the head, and their head possesses sockets on the front of its snout giving it a skull-like appearance. They have four-fingered forepaws with sharp claws and opposable thumbs. It has multiple rows of sharp teeth, snake-like wide-opening jaws, a bristly black mane running down its back, and a gill-like opening on its nape that it uses to stridulate like a cricket and communicate over long distances.
- Queen's Guards: These Taotie are fewer in number (about twenty or thirty overall), are about the size of an elephant, and are rather ape-like in appearance, with eyes located on their faces and possess retractable frills on their shoulders. They lack tails, have human-like hands strong enough to pick up a small soldier Taotie, and have small, flat-faced heads. Bulkier and more armored, these Taotie defend the Queen, and are able to unfold their heavily armored frills to act as shields against bombardment. These armored frills are capable of withstanding catapults and sharp projectiles. They are always seen forming a protective ring around the Queen.
- Queen: About twice as big as the Taotie soldiers (but smaller than her royal guards), this creature commands and controls the Taotie hordes. She resembles a lizard or dinosaur of some sort, with an elongated, squat body, overlapping plates on her back, a long whiplike tail and her eyes located on her face. Her head is rounded with a bulging forehead, and her lips curve upwards giving her a permanent snarling expression. Her most distinguishing physical feature is the two-pronged sail on her head which vibrates to signal to her troops. She appears to be rather intelligent, being able to come up with strategies and countermeasures. Her primary task is to breed, which she can only in proportion to the amount of food given to her by the workers, which they consume en masse and regurgitate back to her.
The Taotie swarm with the Queen and her guards in the center
The Taotie are ravenous monsters whose sole purpose is to consume anything in their path. They are eusocial creatures like ants, dedicated to serving their queen. They are carnivores, and will devour any source of flesh be it animal or human, dead or living, and even retrieve the corpses of the other slain Taotie presumably to scavenge (and prevent the Order from studying them).
The Taotie are able to run very fast and are moderately strong individually, but often rely on swarm tactics to overwhelm their enemies. Much of the food they devour is regurgitated back to feed the Queen, and large amounts of food allow her to breed more soldiers and expand their colony.
The Taotie are pacified by magnets, as being in the vicinity of one seemingly blocks their connection with the hive mind, causing them to fall still and silent without instruction.
While the Taotie are physically sturdy, able to shrug off a hail of arrows, jabs from lances or even being set on fire, a direct hit in the eye kills them instantly. While this is the easiest way to kill them, other methods such as making them swallow explosives or slicing them into pieces also seem effective.
The Queen is the most vital aspect of the colony, as she both serves as the reproductive element of the colony as well as the mental initiator of the hive mind. Killing her causes the whole colony to collapse, with the entire army dropping dead in their tracks.
During 1000 BC in Ancient China a meteor crash-landed onto Gouwu Mountain, which began to glow green. With it came forth the Taotie that proceeded to lay waste to China. The appearance of the creatures coincided with the rule of a despotic emperor, making the Chinese believe that the Taotie were sent from the gods to punish the emperor of the time for his abuse of authority. Since then they attacked northern China once every sixty years. The Nameless Order was formed to combat the Taotie and the Great Wall was erected to safeguard the land.
The Taotie swarm attacking the Wall
During the Song Dynasty the Taotie attempted another invasion into the interior of China, but were once again repelled by the Nameless Order. The Order had been alerted by two captured Western mercenaries, which had killed a Taotie scout and tipped off the Order that the siege was nine days early. Emerging in a massive swarm from the mountain, the Taotie piled themselves onto the wall by the millions as the soldiers used archers, flaming catapults, and spear-women to keep them at bay. The Queen and her guard were the last to emerge from the mountain, and she was targeted by the catapults but her escorts managed to deflect the fireballs with their frills. Enraged, she commanded her troops to form a ladder from their own bodies to climb up the wall, and three managed to reach the top but were quickly killed by the captured mercenaries. With massive casualties mounting, the Queen recalled her troops, and they gathered the dead Taotie and retreated.
Later it was discovered that the Taotie were pacifiied and immobilized using magnetic rocks, and there was a plan to use them to destroy the Taotie through the Queen. However it was discovered that the Queen had been laying siege to the Wall as a diversion, while the rest of the army was digging under the Great Wall, circumventing it and the Order and leading her hordes to the capital. A Taotie soldier, captured earlier to test the magnet theory, was locked up inside the palace, but after an experiment went wrong and the magnet was taken too far away, it awoke and signaled to the Queen, leading the swarm straight toward the emperor's palace.
Close-up of the Taotie Queen
The capital was nearly overrun but a small contingent of the Order mananged to hold them off with the help of the palace's military. There the Taotie had made a new nest in the middle of the capital, and the Order managed to exploit the swarm's unwillingness to attack while the Queen was being fed by sneaking into the sewers. While there, they strapped explosives to the captured Taotie soldier and gave it food to bring to the Queen. The Queen's guards were initially reluctant to let the bomb-laden Taotie in but ultimately (and foolishly) allowed it to enter.
With the explosives now within the Guards protective ring, the Order's general and one of the mercenaries climbed up a tower and fired an explosive arrow at the bombed soldier, but the Queens guards managed to deflect the arrow, whose explosion alerted the Queen to their presence and caused her to summon her soldiers to attack the tower. A second attempt failed as well, but in the third try they dropped the magnet in the midst of the guards, stopping them from unfurling their frills and leaving the Queen exposed. The bombed Taotie was successfully struck by the arrow and the Queen frantically tried to extinguish the explosives by chewing on them, but this merely triggered the explosion, blowing her and her guards to pieces. With the Queen destroyed, the rest of the army froze in their tracks, dropping dead all over the palace and signaling the end of the Taotie for good.
A Taotie soldier baited with explosives
Taotie soldiers recieving the Queen's command
http://kaiju.wdfiles.com/local--files/wiki:tao_tei/tao_tei_defender_2016_01.jpg The Queen's Guards, compared to a standard soldier
The Queen summons her army
Head detail of the Queen
Taotie soldier roaring
- In ancient Chinese mythology, the Taotie was a monster which represented greed and gluttony, and was said to devour its own body in fits of hunger. It was commonly depicted as a dog-like creature with a human-like head and eyes located in the armpit.
- The Taotie, with their eusocial caste system and the consumption of humans as a source of sustenance to further reproduction, are similar to the Xenomorphs from the Alien franchise.
- [concept art] originally features a far more slender Queen, who would have engaged the Order's warriors in close combat.
- The soldier Taotie can only be killed if they are shot in the eyes. They seem to be unaffected even as their bodies are struck everywhere with arrows, but a well-aimed arrow directly in the eye kills them instantly.
- Given the Queen is only somewhat larger than the soldiers and no young Taotie are ever seen, it is unclear how she manages to birth such a huge army in a short span of time.
- The Queen's guards, strangely, have their eyes on their heads instead of their shoulders, and are thus exposed and vulnerable when the guards open their frills to shield the Queen.
- The way the Taotie encircle the Queen as she feeds bears a noticeable resemblance to the pilgrimage to Mecca by Muslims.
- The foreheads of the Taotie have ridged symbols that resemble the actual taotie artistic motif in ancient Chinese art and heraldry.
- The soldier Taotie bear some resemblance to the Mutant Dogs from the Fallout games.
- The Taotie Queen's royal guards greatly resemble the kaiju Leatherback from Pacific Rim, also produced by Legendary Pictures.
- The crooning sound the Queen makes to command her soldiers is similar to how the Alpha dragons from the How to Train Your Dragon series control smaller dragons.
- The Taotie Queen has distinctly slanted eyes, similar to stereotypical depictions of Asians.
- The Great Wall (2017)