Maddy clung to the faces and bodies around her. Her family, whom she'd feared most to find dead, were all well enough. True, they still jumped at a sharp sound, but each one of them had relief thrown about their thin shoulders. It had been too long.
With tears in their eyes, the village took to quietly discussing with her the means by which she'd returned. She could not tell them that she'd brought men with her. Instead, she held her breath and carefully told them of the man who had been given to them. The Captain of the Guard, no doubt given some holy charms, was whispered, to help aid them. Had they gone to the priest before? No? Then perhaps it was that the city of Nymh had known and had begun to prepare for her arrival. Their hope and desire to believe that the aid had been something understandable hurt her head.
Was it so impossible one man could have driven them off? She touched curly heads, kissed cheeks, and promised there would be a feast because the village was free once more. Tinno was taken by the children to their small barn for they still had grain and hay left. The goblins had not been interested in that at all. Still, as Maddy stood with her mother's arms around her waist, she turned to find their rescuer and found him fully disappeared.
"He went that way," the weaver's daughter, newly into her womanly weaves, pointed toward a direction wherein there lay no path, no road. Maddy frowned and then at the girl.
"He was riding his horse," the girl reached for Maddy's hand. "Did he really chase them all away? Did he use magic?"
"Hush! Harriet, for shame!" the weaver, who stood nearby, grabbed for his daughter and drew her closer. Maddy looked at him and then at the others nearby. Not a one of them looked toward where their savior had gone. They feared the Evil Eye's glance and again, her heart beat faster in her chest. Was it magic then? Had it been holy relics? Or had he, as she'd come to suspect, some other powers, something given by the very land on which they lived.
"Make the feast. I'll go fetch him," she murmured. "He was exhausted. He may have gone to go and rest."
Not a one of those around her said a word against her. She bit her lip as she left them, feeling their fear like a heavy smoke in the air. The village folk were very aware of magic and felt freely enough with it, but the only magics were village magics in their oddest children; herself, her brother, the miller's son who had left a few years prior. Each of those were focused by the intent of the village and not a one of them was anything beyond a strange talent. No one in their right mind would have called them magic, true.
But to have defeated so many - what could allow a man to do so? She gathered her riding skirts in hand and quickly followed the direction if not any trail, in hopes of finding him.