3 days later, Jenny was cleaning out the stables when she heard a commotion out in the village square. She could hear several of the men of the village, as well as some deeper voices she did not recognise. Leaning out of a window, she saw the source of the commotion. 3 armoured norn were arguing with a group of some 8 village-men who themselves were in work-clothes.
The norn only resembled the traders the village usually saw by their height. Their skin was pale, almost blue, and their armour had swirling blue serpent-like designs. Their voices had a strange quality, like a man shaking in the cold, and they carried their weapons openly.
From this distance, Jenny could not hear what was being said, but neither group seemed pleased about what had transpired so far. The village-men were gesturing towards the open gate the norn must have come through. Jenny was too curious to just ignore this. Leaning the broom against a wall, Jenny ran out of the stable and hid behind a corner so she could hear more clearly.
‘ – this again. Shaman Kolvirr says that the aurora-woman is in your village,’ the biggest of the 3 norn boomed. ‘If you will not hand her over, we will take her by force.’
One of the village-men crossed his arms. ‘And I’ll repeat myself. We still don’t know who you’re talking about. We don’t have any ‘aurora-people’ in our village. Just humans. Though you wouldn’t think it if you looked at Benny over there.’ While the jest caused much laughter among the men of the village, the trio of norn did not follow the humour. Nodding to each other, they began reaching for their weapons when a whistling object sped across the square, embedding itself as an ice dart in the left shoulder of the norn who had spoken. With a grunt, he took a step back and removed his hand from the axe-handle.
‘Draw that axe, and the next one will be further to the right.’
The strange woman was standing opposite the group, leaning on her turquoise staff. Dagger-sized ice shards floated around the head of the staff, glinting menacingly in the midday sun.
‘Return the staff, human. Refuse, and this village will not live to see the next full moon.’ the norn boomed, seemingly unaffected by the ice shard embedded in his shoulder.
‘Shout and bluster all you want,’ the woman shouted back, ‘I am not handing anything over to your Grenth-damned shaman.’
The norn and the woman stared at each other across the square, each silently daring the other to back down first. The norn backed down first. Saying nothing, he reached up and ripped the ice shard from his shoulder, throwing it at the woman’s feet. He then turned around and walked west out of the village, with his 2 cronies in tow. The entire square breathed a sigh of relief as the 3 armoured shapes disappeared over the snow-covered hill. Now actually looking at the group of men, she spotted her father talking to some of the others, so she darted back into the stable again.