Nora estimated it must have been passing midnight when they arrived at the crowded town hall. Having run away from their houses and hovels they had all decided to take refuge in the largest building in the village. Nora reckoned she would have done the same under similar circumstances, but looking back at how she had spent the last year on the road with 4 people she had barely known a month before that, maybe she wouldn’t have.
They received a mixed welcome; some thanked them for saving their house or a person, while others simply glared at them with a sullen expression. Ailred seemed nowhere to be found.
The small infirmary where they had been given lodging thankfully only had a few more occupied beds than the previous morning; the young woman that Nora had helped from the house and an older man with bandages across most of his left side. Both were sleeping soundly despite the muffled discussions audible through the doorway into the main room.
Bodvar lowered his pack to the ground, followed by his axe. “We should tell the villagers that it’s safe to go home. The spirit’s gone now, after all.”
“Assuming a good portion of the townsfolk share miss Ailred’s opinion, I think it would be advisable to have a known face deliver those news,” Erroix replied, his voice muffled from lying down on his bed, “They might not want to trust us on that.”
The door into the main hall was swiftly opened, admitting Berkholts large frame. The seeq guard closed the door behind him, shutting off the cacophony of the noisy town hall. “So here ye are. Noah said ye’d come in, but nay where ye went.”
Berkholt declined the offer of a chair and simply sat on the floor. The large seeq was still nearly as tall as Nora. “I’ll give it to ya straight. Some o’ the townsfolk want to run ya outta town, on account of believin’ you made that owl attack us.”
“And what do you believe, mister Berkholt?” Nora asked while glancing over at the 2 injured townspeople.
The seeq scratched at the stubble on his large chin for a moment before replying. “I reckon the village was attacked and that you and yours gave us a hand,” He motioned towards the 2 occupied sickbeds, “And so only Caroline and ol’ Lars got hurt,” Berkholt nodded while speaking, looking at each of them in turn, “So you’re good in my books.”
Deormund nodded in return. “Good to hear, mister Berkholt. You might like to know that the villagers should be safe to return to their homes. Nora managed to convince the spirit to return home.”
The seeq gave Nora a questioning look. “And what’s ta keep it from just coming back?”
“Klahuu, the spirit, has important business of its own to attend in the forest, after which it will return to the slumber it should be under during spring. It will not return before winter.” Nora replied. ‘Unless another Totema somehow wanders through the Zedlei‘ She mentally added.
“Fair enough. I did just say I trust ya lot, would be daft to call you liars in the same breath.” Berkholt replied before getting back on his feet, “I’ll tell the folk that they can go back home. There’s still a day tomorrow.” With that, the large seeq left, leaving the group to their thoughts.