She went and sat by her companions, joining Erroix and Deormund at a table close to the bar. As usual, it was currently tended by the young Noah. Dah’Marra was nowhere to be seen. A tankard had been placed at the empty seat. She hoped it was just water, as now was neither the time nor the place for alcohol.
“Where’s our ranger friend?” She picked up the tankard. Milk. She hadn’t considered that possibility.
“Dah’Marra said she wanted to scout the coast again,” Deormund took a sip from his own tankard, “So she’s probably taking a nap somewhere. Who were the villagers?”
“Caroline’s family. They offered us a place to stay, but couldn’t tell us anything about the lighthouse.” Nora replied, only then noticing the newcomer.
Ailred stood at the table-edge closest to the entrance. “That’s because Bunther told them to keep quiet,” Erroix and Deormund almost jumped from their as the older woman sat down heavily in the last remaining seat, “And they think Berkholt enforces it.”
Erroix cleared his throat. “If the town mayor has said not to talk about the lighthouse, then why are you willing to talk about it, miss Ailred?” He had lowered his voice, though Nora suspected it was not needed; Bodvar and Berkholt were being quite loud.
Ailreds eyes were like daggers as she looked about the table. “Because I don’t let some dolt behind a table tell me what and what not to do.”
“Even if those orders are backed up by a seeq enforcer?”
“Berkholt might be a loyal lardhead, but he’s not a daft lardhead. He knows to leave me be.” Ailred replied in a scoffing tone.
Deormund sat his tankard back down, leaning forward in his seat. “Then, miss Ailred, I believe we had an agreement. We would search the Zedlei and you would tell us what you know about this mysterious lighthouse.”
“I would say any agreement fell off when the spirit attacked our village.” Ailred replied in the same scoffing tone as before.
“You must believe us, miss Ailred, we were not the cause of the spirits attack.” Nora replied. If Ailred did not help them as they had agreed, they wouldn’t be able to save the village a second time, and possibly more importantly, would be clueless as to Volkmarr’s goal.
The older woman glared at her. “So the forest spirit just happened to attack us the evening of you 5 entering the Zedlei?”
“Miss Bergen speaks the truth. When we found the winter-spirit inside the Zedlei, he was already injured. Some other spirit tore through the forest around the same time our quarry passed through,” Deormund put his tankard on the table, managing to put a considerable amount of menace into the simple act, “And I would appreciate if you did not regard the words of a knight and a white mage as lies.”