They've Got Them Hoppy Little Legs And Twitchy Little Noses...
It isn’t long before the ground and terrain starts to look wrong. The dry grass waves in the wind with the sound of static, and a tree splits open and bleeds sap instead of oil.
Akeva suggests setting the place on fire to cleanse it. It probably wouldn’t do too much, but…
Lyim sets a flaming arrow into the grass, and gets something’s attention.
A tiny, cancerous lump of flesh leaps out at him, mouth stretched painfully wide to dig teeth into him, only to be swatted out of the air by Lion.
She’s able to identify the twisted, dying thing as having once been a rabbit. She puts it out of its mercy.
All around them, the cry is echoed.
Our heroes are swarmed by the little monsters. Individually, they aren’t too terribly dangerous—if one discounts the potential of Blight infection—but there are just so MANY.
Vista conjures an Oil elemental, who sprays down the rabbits…
Rabbits + Oil + Dry Grass + Fire = More fire!
Our heroes flee, seeking to outrace the flames, and make it to the ruins of Sparrow’s manse.
It isn’t long before they find safety from the flames; the ground becomes cool, smooth, rubbery and barren, split open with metal wounds.
under the ground, something pulses
In the distance, they can see the ruins, and a tower of swirling insectile machine gods.
More immediately, one of the remaining men from the Bull is wounded, and infected. He tries to hide it, and then to flee, but Akeva knocks him out, and Sparrow performs surgery. He should make it.
Note from the future: He won’t.
Finally, our heroes make it to the Manse, or what’s left of it. There’s only a bit of one wall left. The rest is a pit with no visible bottom from where they stand, full of rusted machinery, from out of which crawls more and more custodians.
The Exalted are ambushed by another bit of infected wildlife: a fox who apparently tried to eat one of the rabbits. Or maybe the rabbit wedged itself into her mouth. Regardless, the vixen postures aggressively, only to be slain by Lion, and dusted.
Its kits remain, for an instant longer, and whine before Lion kills them, too.
Their cries draw the attention of a couple of the machine gods, and battle in earnest is joined.