A mycorizae scowled internally and knelt underneath Eleusis in his familiar haunt, hands placidly resting upon the foetid soil of his territory. Pained grunts escaped his emaciated visage as contaminated driblets plunged into his exposed flesh. He would never get used to the toll.
He did not particularly enjoy his charge despite his instilled, forced association with it and its membership, but it wasn’t as if he had much choice.
As his thoughts and hunger threatened to consume him, dirt from above sprinkled upon his living cloak, their grasp upon the roots disturbed by some ungodly racket. It wasn’t all that atypical as they can be rather loud when stirred into a frenzy, which seemed to happen more frequently with each passing day.
Almost losing himself to introspection, he was scarcely aware of a mountainous pile lurching towards his head as it tumbled from above. He moved with all the speed his meagre frame could muster, offering the heap of earth a quizzical stare. An alien face canted to the side as wooden eyes swivelled to survey the scene overhead.
The base of the totems plunging into the earth contracted and expanded in equal measure as something changed. Clay-coated vines pierced the earth and encased their wooden charges, obscuring them each from view one after the other.
More earth fell, a rhythmic pounding reminiscent of tribal drums drawn from the deepest depths of his memory. No, there was more.
Orderly footsteps sent reverberations throughout the network as the guards moved. They were leaving. Yes, he was sure of it, as the gatehouse lay in that direction.
A breathy, contented sigh rattled from Fthora’s crusty lips.
Blood and pus seeped as lips splintered and took on a foreign shape, a barely-perceptible fissure snaking down a diseased mask.
For the first time since a long-forgotten war and a bitter defeat, a mycorizae smiled.
Summary: Eleusis, having decided to forego the comforts of guards and runic totems, sent the former on leave into the Wilds and overgrew the latter to attune itself to Nature more completely.