From the Fort Joseph Watchtower, it is easy to see the remains of Xotai's Children slithering towards the farm at Carresto di pane. The distinct lack of a wave of vile native "angels" obviously backing them up is something of a relief, but the imposing figure of the sole remaining Gargantua, a massive snake monster the size of a small house, is not dong the morale of the troops much good as you march towards the action.
By the time you reach Old Homestead, the wemics who were working the fields have sensibly scattered and hidden themselves out of the way of the fighting. The Gargantua stands boldly at the edge of a dense pepperroot field, which twists and writhes with half-hidden giant snakes around a young green and red scaled ophidian with a shock of brown hair. She appears to be concentrating on a small object in her hands, a pistol maybe?
You pause, out of pistol range for now, to rally the troops. Veritas stands forwards in the centre of the formation, keeping a careful eye on the Gargantua, while Lady Prudence Dance inspects the ranks and gives an inspirational speech to the troops; how could they possibly think of being intimidated by these ragged, often entirely unclothed savages and beasts?
Before any of the troops can cry out and warn her, she notices out of the corner of her eye the flicker of beautiful, jewelled wings. Turning on one heel, she aims her pistol and fires in one fluid motion, the shot flying straight and true into the breast of the flying monster. Caught mid-breath, the deadly spitting lizard coughs a pathetic rain of acid onto itself as it falls out of the sky, helped along by the ten sharpshooters of the Second Division Standard Bearers.
Hearing a terrible bellow from one side, she swiftly removes herself from the front line as the furious Gargantua charges.
The brave men, women and wemics of the 10th Alexandrian Reserves set their halberds against the Gargantua's charge, Veritas leading them, standing directly in the creature's path as the pistoleers unload round after round into its glistening scales. With the power of the Smith behind him, Veritas gives the beast an almighty thwack with his staff, moments before the bulk of the gigantic snake monster rolls over his line.
It does check the Gargantua's forward progress for a moment, but it is not enough. The massive snake rolls over the entire line of the 10th Alexandrian Reserves, snapping bones and crushing bodies, and in its shelter the giant snake monsters creep forwards to finish off any who might get up again.
Veritas disappears under the full weight of the beast and does not re-emerge.
Desperately, Lady Prudence Dance and the pistoleers of the Second Division Standard Bearers unload repeatedly into the creature's enormous coils, but despite bleeding freely from its cracked scales along the whole length of its body, it seems to hardly notice the onslaught. Meanwhile, another threat has revealed itself; someone has found a vantage point in one of the nearby outbuildings and is shooting incredibly swift and deadly arrows into the ranks of pistoleers.
The 5th Alexandrian Medium Infantry heads around the flank of the Gargantua to relieve the remains of the 10th Alexandrian Reserves and see off the ophidian (now gleefully cracking skulls with a small obsidian club) and the giant snake monsters in the grass. Before they can engage with the low-lying creatures, however, one of them hauls itself upright and unfolds its scintillating hood; this is no ordinary giant snake monster, this is a Singing Cobra! The Medium Infantry hesitate as it begins to sway hypnotically, its rainbow eyes swirling in achingly beautiful patterns, and then they are lost to the trance, swaying gently in place in time to the gentle sibilance emanating from the deadly monster.
This takes a little pressure off the pistoleers, as the hidden archer begins to pick off the standing targets. It is not much of a relief.
The pistoleers start to retreat in good order, hoping to outpace the relentless Gargantua as it advances on their position. But all is not lost - the Winter Guard have a plan! These athletic Flembic soldiers boost each other onto their shoulders, and as the Gargantua hits their formation, they scramble up its flanks as a human ladder, propelling their strongest man and their Amun-Sa companion up towards the creature's face. Wemic claws and teeth might not be as useful as those on a Mokosh for fighting, but they certainly do a good job of tearing out the eyes of the enormous creature, even as the valourous Flembics who have reached the top deliberately enter the mouth of the beast to wreak more carnage in its soft interior.
The gigantic snake monster twists and turns in agony, attempting to shake off its unwelcome intruders, then leans drunkenly to one side and comes crashing down. Most of the Winter Guard lie broken on the ground, scattered around its dying bulk, but the great beast has finally been put down.
Morale seems to be broken in the enemy forces, as the young ophidian leaps astride one of the giant snake monsters and speedily removes herself from the field before the pistoleers can target her, now that her cover has gone. Instead, they make short work of the singing cobra, and the released swordsmen enthusiastically set about chopping down the remaining giant snake monsters. The archer has ceased firing; Veritas, having managed to return to the field, heads into the outbuilding to see if they are still lurking in the rafters, but a thorough search reveals no sign of them.
There are mixed feelings, as the troops return to the watchtower. The triumph over the Gargantua was truly glorious, and worthy of the fine Flembic military, but the swordsmen of the 5th Alexandrian Medium Infantry are hugely embarrassed by their entrancement, and there are so many dead. Seven of the Winter Guard, three of the Second Division Standard Bearers, five of the 5th Alexandrian Medium Infantry, and every member of the 10th Alexandrian Reserves - and those who were on the ground from the depredations of the Gargantua are generally mutilated beyond recognition, half-eaten by the giant snake monsters.
Many of the funerals are going to have to be closed-casket.
The Hunahpa have set giant monsters loose in the very heartlands of Flambard! Carresto di pane is assaulted by hundreds of giant snakes that survived the great battle at Jamestown, nearly overwhelming the few brave defenders that Lord Drane Haversham has set in the tower of Fort Joseph to watch over the region. But Flembic spirit and Flembic steel prevail! The Lady Prudence Dance shows the true colours of Flembic nobility with her exceptional pistoleering and the gods themselves are with us in the form of their eidolon Veritas! The foul beasts are driven from the land and destroyed utterly, in an unparalleled display of Flembic tenacity, ingenuity, and glorious victory!
Fresh from the gratifying retreat of those fools at Jamestown, Xotai's Children are eager to begin laying waste to the heartlands of the Colony of New Terino when you join them on the way to Carresto di pane. Whilst rather reduced from their height, the towering, house-sized figure of the last remaining Gargantua still makes an impressive bulwark in the centre of your formation, with the last of the sinuous and charming Deathscale politely keeping its deadly rainbow gaze averted from you and the last agile Jaculi using the Gargantua as a gliding platform to catch the warm summer breezes.
Not to mention the five giant snake monsters that are still with them; maybe not quite so giant as the Gargantua, but still a force to be reckoned with.
The wemics working the fields at Old Homestead scatter as you approach. Whilst you don't get a very good look at them, you'd wager that none of them are Tritoni, by the way they run. Most of them look like Free Islander types, with maybe a couple of Amun-Sa and a small disciplined cluster you might guess were once Gerosans.
You don't have too much time to contemplate the slaves, however, as the Jaculi returns and pipes an urgent warning. You've been seen by a nearby patrol, and they're wasting no time in coming to engage.
Over from the direction of Fort Joseph, the Flembic line unfolds. They are nothing compared to the great force at Jamestown, but without the backing of the hundreds of angry spirits, neither are you. Rachida curses the flat, open terrain which heavily favours the swordsmen and halberdiers they have brought to the party, not to mention the imposing figure of Veritas right in the middle; there's nothing more pitiful than a Gargantua that has fallen over. Then she heads into the cluster of farm outbuildings to find a decent vantage point.
Udeyuli stays on the ground in the midst of the giant snake monsters, who are hiding themselves amongst the crops, and carefully loads her pistol.
As is traditional, the Flembic army line up dramatically, brightly coloured uniforms practically glowing in the warm summer sun. Lady Prudence Dance strides up and down, giving them one last inspirational speech. You quietly watch the Jaculi unfold itself from the rear of the Gargantua, and circle around the fields to gain height. The ten swordsmen of the 5th Alexandrian Medium Infantry, the ten pistoleers of the Second Division Standard Bearers with their mokosh flag-bearer, the ten Flembic and Amun-Sa halberdiers of the 10th Alexandrian Reserves, and the ten sturdy-looking Winter Guard stand to attention.
The Jaculi lines up for a perfect spit on Lady Prudence Dance as she organises the troops, glides in for the kill... and the Lady pivots on one heel and shoots the creature dead centre in the chest, knocking it straight out of the sky.
A few more rounds from the Second Division Standard Bearers ensure it isn't getting up again.
Enraged, the Gargantua charges.
The air fills with darkpowder smoke as the Standard Bearers fire again and again into the unstoppable bulk of the Gargantua. Veritas and the 10th Alexandrian Reserves attempt to set their halberds against the charge, and the creature just rolls straight over them like so many bowling pins, scattering them into the long grass and crushing many under its gigantic bulk, rolling with Veritas' blow. The giant snake monsters slither forwards to ensure that the 10th Alexandrian Reserves will not be getting back up again, accompanied by Udeyuli gleefully smashing human skulls with her obsidian club.
The Deathscale advances in the cover of the Gargantua's body, and deploys itself facing the 5th Alexandrian Medium Infantry, the experienced swordsmen who are picking their way around the Gargantua to engage the giant snake monsters. Opening its hood and beginning to sway in its hypnotic dance, it mesmerises the unit entirely. Rachida leaves the pistoleers alone for a moment to pick off many of the entranced swordsmen, their stupefied state making them massively easier targets.
Despite bleeding freely from the chest, it does not look like the Gargantua is going to pause; the pistoleers begin to retreat in moderately good order, leaving the Winter Guard between them and the crushing coils of the monsterous snake. Rather than attempting to beat futilely on the flanks of the creature as it rolls over them, however, the impressively athletic Winter Guard stand on each other's shoulders and construct a human ladder up the side of the Gargantua! Scaling the mighty beast, the ones that reach its face proceed to punch it in the eyes and nostrils until the entire scaled monstrosity leans drunkenly and crashes to the ground.
With the Gargantua down, Udeyuli sees the tide of battle turning, and attempts to call back the giant snakes; most of them cannot be restrained from feeding on the downed Winter Guard struggling to escape from the dying bulk of the house-sized creature they have felled, but she corrals one by the simple expedient of leaping on its back and having it half-carry her off the field.
Meanwhile the pistoleers turn their attention to the Deathscale; once they have ripped the hood and destroyed one of the swirling rainbow eyes, the remaining swordsmen begin to snap out of their trance and make short work of the creature.
Quietly, Rachida slips out of the back of the farm buildings and lopes away across the plains.
It looks like you're not going to have any luck with this farm, but maybe the next one will be worse guarded, especially as this patrol are now seriously licking their wounds; every member of the 10th Alexandrian Reserves crushed or eaten, seven of the Winter Guard broken by the Gargantua's fall and finished off by the giant snake monsters, half the 5th Alexandrian Medium Infantry neatly skewered by Rachida's deadly arrows, and three of those Second Division Standard Bearers similarly killed. Although their mokosh still lives, much to Rachida's disappointment.