Rudbeckia stood at at the foothills of the Hedge Mountains and looked out over what was left of Scythia. It had taken him nearly two growing seasons to make his way home. Two seasons to think about what the Fescue Army had done to his homeland.
It hadn’t been enough to prepare him for what he found.
Scythia was gone.
Cuttings and broken Saplings lay everywhere. The earth had reclaimed the places where the Crabgrass tanks and Dragonfly aircraft had come to the end of the lifespans. Mounds of displaced dirt were scattered everywhere. Even the Garden Forest hadn’t be left unscathed. What once had been a beautiful, well cultivated place was now in shambles.
As he walked through his former homeland he did see some hope. Small families had managed to stay together, or had come back together and began to put down new roots. He smiled to himself, knowing that some day Scythia would once again be a place to call home, even though it would never be anything like what it had once been.
And yet, through it all something had been bothering him. Something that he has seen out of the corner of his eye, glimpsed as he passed by a new hill or fallen Log.
Something about it nagged at him, a sense that he knew what it was but he just couldn’t connect thing together. The sight of everything had a deeper impact on him that he had first thought.
As he came upon the old Palace and laid his eyes on the rotting corpse of the wooden palace it hit him. The white flashes, the dead and dying, the various bits of upturned soil in seemly random places; the Mushrooms has come.
He heard a scraping sound behind him and turned to see a troop of Fungi coming up the trail he had just taken.
“Hello” said Rudbeckia as he approached the group, not knowing what to expect.
There was a slight pause as the lead fungi spoke, Rudbeckia remember that the mushrooms have a hive mind and that it took a second to process and respond to all the sensory information.
“Welcome. We are Agaricus.”
“Pleased to met you Agaricus, I… we are called Rudbeckia”, replied Rudbeckia as he remembered that because of the sharing of a mind the Fungi had no concept of personal pronouns.
“You are here. Why?”, again the pause.
“I am from here. This is my home. I just returned.”
Rudbeckia heard a small snap off to his left and turned to look. He saw, hidden among the debris and leave thin, stalk like Fungi. He recalled that they were called the Marasmius, often referred to by people as assassins. They were well know for their stealth, which meant he was meant to hear the snap. Which also meant that for every one he saw there were probably ten more he couldn’t. He decided he had to be very careful.
“Come. Calvatia would like to speak with you.”
“Who is Calvatia?”
“Our current overseer.”
Rudbeckia followed, knowing he had very little choice. By nature the Fungi tribes didn’t kill since they were typically foragers but would not hesitate if they felt he was a threat. His best hope now was to convince them he was peaceful and meant them no harm. If they knew he had been a commander in the Scythian military there was no telling what they would do.
He lowered his head and follow Agaricus, knowing the Marasmius were watching his every move.
He closed his eyes and made a fist, forcing himself to stay calm, “For Scythia” he whispered to himself.