You suddenly hear a loud sound. After you dodge another punch, you make a quick check and see a headless lizard-worm on top of the woman with your mudpike. You then see the wagon’s still close by, and Rivers is standing on the roof.
You’d yell at her to get back inside before Pubert tries something, but you’re busy at the moment. You grab your opponent’s arm and try to pull him down, but he puts up more resistance than you expect.
Then he goes for your arm with his free one. You try to distract him with a quick slap to the face, no time to throw a proper punch.
When you pull your arm back, you’ve gotten ahold of his mask.
You didn’t want to do that. In the swamp, going for the mask is a low blow. It’s barely acceptable in an emergency. And it’s not as if the desert is any less deadly.
But when you see his face, you realize that desert fever isn’t the main reason he wears the mask. He looks like a man-sized grebling.
Are these Wanderers… halfbreeds? You heard plenty of stories, sure, but you never met anyone who’d actually seen one. You thought they were a fairy tale.
You pull back quickly as you realize his fist is heading your way. He’s using your disgust and confusion to his advantage.
This time, you wind up pulling at his glove, and you’re even more surprised.
The hand underneath it is made entirely of metal.
Before you can think of what to say, Rivers hits him in the chest with her mudpike and he stumbles back.
“I took care of the last crossbow,” she says. “Rider’s got your pike, he said we should try to grab their mounts and catch up with the wagon.”
“Right, good idea,” you say. “What the hell are these people?”
There’s a small hole in his chest where Rivers struck him, and you can see some sparking wires. He’s moving slowly, clutching the hole with his exposed metal hand.
“Don’t know, don’t care,” Rivers says, pulling you away. “We can worry about that later. You got a plan for how we can grab a horse or two before any more run off?”
The plan to grab a horse: Just grab a god damn horse before they all spook. Something’s got them tossing their heads and shuffling like they could bolt any minute, though you can’t imagine why.