Thirty-ninth and Fortieth of Bloom
sixth and seventh days of the new moon (waxing crescent)
In the aftermath of the eldar attack, Inquisitor Korteau’s agents, the sisters of Serenity and the Argent Shroud, and the Dyrmosemen tended to their slain and wounded. Gol Traben survived his wounds, though his injuries were too grave for him to accompany Philippa Darry to Green Rivers as he had intended. The sergeant karbaron thanked Philippa for riding to his aid, and expressed his regret that he would be unable to escort her to her seat.
Connor Darry and Philippa had a reunion in which Philippa shared with Connor the many events of the prior week. Connor reiterated his determination to reach Green Rivers, but admitted that he was unsure whether to back or oppose Vikram al Gerez in his bid for rule of Nova. Either way, he admitted that it seemed likely he would have to take House Darry, if only to provide unified leadership in the face of the ork threat and the Imperial Guard. He was particularly aware of the fact that multiple sources have claimed that the Guard is unprepared to fight orks on the scale it is currently doing, and likely to lose without the assistance of House Darry.
The villagers of Ashlance eventually halted in the woods, and Olive Mollin and Aaron Loyalar ventured back to the village to see if the fighting was over. Upon discovering that it was, the villagers returned while Olive and Valon Sarqhardt waited in the jungle, with plans to rejoin them once they were underway for Green Rivers and well quit of the Inquisition. Korteau’s agents left with the Valkyrie, leaving the Dyrmosemen. The villagers organized parties to collect supplies for the journey from the outlying farms, with escorts of Dyrmose troopers organized by Gol Traben.
With nothing to do until the convoy left Ashlance and starving for food, Valon found shelter and Olive foraged in the jungle. She made a highly unusual discovery: at the foot of a tree was a heavy sword and a large gun spell, and suspended in the branches of the tree was a complete suit of armor in unusual colors, complete with arming clothes, boots, and pouches full of sundries – including a translucent blue waterskin and outlander ration bars. Olive emptied the pouches, finding a small silver aquila devotional icon and a smooth gray pebble amongst them, and dislodging the suit from the tree in the process. She brought the weapons and supplies back to Valon.
Though Olive found the ration bars as filling (if unappealingly bland) as ever, Valon was utterly incapable of eating them, violently retching each time he tried. In the end he gave up on them, and spent a hungry night in the jungle.
The following morning, the villagers continued to bring in food from the outlying farms. Valon went in search of other food, finding a bunch of bananas. He gorged himself on these, and on the way back discovered a naked giant of a man, bound hand and foot and dangling upside down from a tree over sixty feet from the jungle floor. The giant identified himself as Polynikes, an angel of the Emperor, and asked for Valon’s aid in cutting him down from the tree. He had, he said, been hunting eldar when the aliens ambushed him, took his clothes, and hung him naked from the tree. Valon brought Olive to help, despite her misgivings, and she made the climb to cut him down. Polynikes was bound with a thin metallic cord, almost like wire, which seemed harder than the steel of her belt knife. Polynikes asked whether Olive had perhaps found his knife nearby, and Olive began to climb down while Valon went to fetch the “knife.” Polynikes, meanwhile, bent at the waist and commenced attempting to chew through his bonds.
Olive slipped as she was climbing down the tree, and began to crash through the branches. Her fall was arrested, to her horror, by her boneless sixth fingers – which had burst through her gloves of their own accord, elongating and wrapping around a branch like a prehensile tail. She frantically climbed the rest of the way down and hid her hands before either Valon or Polynikes could notice, although it took her fingers some time to stop wriggling as if they wanted to touch each other. When Valon returned with the “knife,” Olive again made the climb up the tree and was able to cut through the eldar cord. Polynikes crashed through the tree, bending to land on his back, and hit the ground with a thud like many hundreds of pounds. Apparently none the worse for wear, he asked whether Olive and Valon had found his armor. When Olive said she had not, he suggested that they find shelter lest the eldar still be watching. With a surprising degree of stealth, he led them through the jungle to a sheltered hollow.