Features of the Dust Walker include:
- Massive tusks for digging up trees and burrows.
- Huge frills to help regulate heat and also to be used as a threatening display over territorial disputes. Also used for balance.
- Two sets of strong flippers to help push the massive body over the ground.
- Long, curved spines along the bottom of the creature, lining its belly, it help anchor the creature to the ground when it’s resting so it doesn’t float off.
- A tail to help grab onto rocks and anchor itself so it doesn’t float off.
- Huge air sacs along the torso that suck in hot air and keep the creature floating.
In the world of Ambrion live colossal, omnivorous, floating creatures that migrate across the deserts and consume everything in their path. These are the Dust Walkers, so named that they seem to glide along the streams of sand and dust that blow over the sand dunes. To do this they inflate themselves with the hot desert air, like a balloon, and with their surprisingly light skeleton, manage to keep themselves afloat.
These ominous creatures are referenced in many legend as the was the world will end; that everything will be consumed by an oncoming tide of hungry giants.
To visualise these creatures, I went back to my original design:
The Dust Walkers were originally legged creatures with a large, battering ram head and sails along their back. They were basically giant, gold reptilian elephants. Though I was rather fond of this design, it was time for a rethink so I could envision these creatures as something creative looking and ferocious.
I turned to the animal kingdom to look for inspiration on design:
The Basilosaurus was my main inspiration for the base shape of the Dust Walker. As the early ancestor of the whale, the Basilosaurus retains its primal predatory features such as very sharp teeth. The prospect of having a whale-like shape was inspired by the fact that the Dust Walker would appear to swim along the sand dunes in its habitat.
Another inspiration for the body shape of a Dust Walker. The fleshy yet segmented appearance of the Tardigrade was interesting and unique, and almost alien.
Of course an elephant was going to be a huge influence on the design of the creature. The large head and the large ears that act as radiators were important features that I would replicate on the Dust Walker. As a creature that lives in a hot climate, the Dust Walker would need sails or ears like an elephant to help it regulate heat.
This floating space creature was interesting not only because of its strange appearance but because of the strange glowing “gills” on its back, that appear to be the method of propulsion for the creature.
This gigantic turtle creature interested me in its intriguing design and it’s many sets of flippers. It really did look like a mythical sea beast, and like the Basilosaurus, I was inspired by it’s steamlined yet bulky shape.