Liogons are large winged lion-like creatures associated with Nikina. They are approximately twice as large as a male adult lion -- almost two meters (6 feet) high at the shoulder -- and share their appearance, with the addition of two large bronze-coloured feathered wings and a pair of antlers and hoofed forelegs. Given that they can fly and despite their size, they are much lighter than a lion, and can have a wingspan of up to seven meters (23 feet). They are known to nest in highlands, hunting other large animals. Liogons generally raise only one or two cubs at once.
Liogons appeared the same time Vesdorians first came to Benevis around 700BD. They raised them and rode them as scouts. Liogons appeared in the wild over the next few centuries. When the Vesdorians were defeated during the Burning Sea Wars, liogons vanished with the last of them. Then around 400AL, when the Vastins began to explore thoroughly, they found small families of liogons high in the Golen Peaks. Over the next century, liogons were captured, bred, and tamed, and now today they are used much in the way of horses -- to ride into battle, and to travel quickly.
Liogon knights are called leoknights. They were first established in the lordland of Leotyne, in the Kingdom of Vastin, and have since spread in popularity, seeing use in small numbers throughout the largest Benevis Kingdoms in Umbener, as the Great Ranges, Leren Ranges, and Golen Peaks are the best environment to raise liogons. The Grand Duchy of Yaele breed their own liogons which are tougher than others but cannot travel as far. Leoknights traditionally wear minimal plate armour which is as light as possible, and only sometimes dress their flying steeds in barding, emphasising protection of the underbelly. Given that leoknights can travel swiftly, they are still very large targets in battle, and thus are usually used as a force for chasing down fleeing opponents, scouting, liaison, unleashing volleys from above, transportation of generals, or to pincer foes who are already occupied. Sometimes the largest liogons are trained to carry two leoknights at once. Leoknights have not been successful in other countries; liogons have proved very difficult to introduce to other parts of the world.
There are several choice weapons of leoknights:
- War darts; the most common weapon of leoknights.
- Small crossbows; the rider can ascend to reload.
- Shortbows; sometimes used as a cheaper alternative to war darts or crossbows.
- Mages; if the liogon is trained to be desensitised to the magic.
- Single-use lances; if the rider has an opportunity to make a melee strike.
- Various sidearms; if the rider is removed from his mount and survives.
- Bombs; to drop on enemies.