A few members of his group return and find him half-frozen to the ice, his limbs flexing in delirium as he calls for Yriks. As they free him, a ship lifts in the distance, shimmering into stealth, and is gone. They are stranded.
"Why did you come back?" Namrask groans. "Imbeciles. You should have stayed with the others…escaped…"
"I had to give your loom back," the Vandal says. She drops it on his wounded chest. He bellows.
As days pass, the radio shrieks with distant transmissions. Encrypted tactical data between Servitors. Eramis's sermons. The song of the red world overhead. And occasionally, the bray of Human tongues, as a Guardian brags of a new conquest, or curses some obscene glory-trial amusement.
Phylaks is dead; Praksis too.
The Priestess Kridis is dead—Sniksis and Piksis with her—and the Prime Servitor is destroyed.
Eramis is dead, consumed by her own power. One of the old Riis-born. Never will there be another.
Namrask knew it would end this way. He has seen this every time. His fallen people have learned defeat so well that now they defeat themselves. He rages and claws at the ice.
For his band of stranded survivors, he fashions shelters of watercloth: synthetic skin with thick bladders pumped full of ice to block some of the radiation. When his wound pains him, he numbs it on the ice. Turrha sees him but says nothing. He is grateful.
"We must find a transmitter," he says. "We must call for Misraaks to return."
But survivors are still on Europa. They seek out Namrask, bringing their hatchlings but not much Ether.
And if they can find Namrask, so can those who hunt them.
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