Through the Winter, Byron stayed as a “guest” of Lockhaven, and after consultation with the Matriarch agreed to submit to the laws of the territories. As a consequence, his starving city was now under the protection of Lockhaven, which agreed to open its stores for Walnutpeck’s emergency relief. Based on their close involvement with the events of the city, most of the fifth patrol volunteered to escort this shipment, along with the new “mayor of Walnutpeck.”
The patrol was on their best form, and successfully navigated the hardships of the winter weather. Misfortune struck, however, in the form of an encounter with the wild mouse Gamilion and his band, which saw the patrol as intruding on their scarce shelter. Their cooperation was unhappily forced by the spotting of a nearby wolverine, which seemed to have caught their scent.
The patrol dug down as far into the snow as they could, huddled together with the wild mice, and dared not to make a sound. Byron discovered that one of the wild mice was Midnight—leader of the Midnight Rebellion and the First Axe—who had apparently survived beyond the scent border by falling in with Gamilion’s band. Neither side dared act on this though, for fear of rousing the wolverine.
Unfortunately, the wolverine attacked anyways, forcing the mice to evacuate. Garrow ran out alone to draw the creature’s attention, while the wild mice and the rest of the patrol ran their separate ways. Garrow successfully stalled the creature to let the rest of his patrol reach safety, incapacitating the wolverine at the cost of his own horrific mangling—the loss of his left arm, and mortal wounding. Finn successfully saved Garrow’s life, and Walnutpeck’s suffering was lifted by the successful delivery.