“You can lead us to High Horns and the Forest Beings, Hatch?” Hoopy asked.
“Yes, I will fly ahead to get a bearing once we are out of the canyons. The canyons are very confusing. Can someone get us out into the rolling hills again?” Hatch peeped.
Bar-Thur’s face was set in a worry.
“How are we to find Far Mitrophan?” Flur-Ella whined. “We are early.”
They climbed back up the forested hill and down its other side. A small breeze ruffled Pata-Pikki’s ears and he turned toward the North. In a short while they came across the path that led to the Homes. As they walked, they began to plan.
“Do we have enough food?” gruffed Bar-Thur.
“Let’s stop and see what is here.” Flur-Ella snuffled. She opened the large bag and began to distribute food to each of them. There were some long orange colored roots, some brown roots that she sniffed at and seemed to like the smell. “Each of you take two of these. Here are some white roots, they smell good, and lots of dried fruit.” Dividing it all between them they stashed it into their packs and slung them on their backs ready to find their way to the Rolling Hills.
Soon they came to the Homes. It was late afternoon by now and they wondered if Jahan might come for them. Should they wait or make their way to the Hall of the One.
Pata-Pikki asked the One. “What should we do now? We need to make haste, but we cannot leave such hospitality without expressing our gratitude. We must ask the priest if we can return here with the Forest Beings.”
“My sense is we need to go to the Hall of the One and wait outside until someone comes.” Pata-Pikki gruffled.
They all agreed with this and so proceeded along the path through the Homes and in the direction of the Hall. They could see its domes and spires in the distance, and it was easy to find paths that went towards it. As they drew closer, they were awed by the height and size of the Hall. Decorative designs were painted on the exterior with paintings of Wildings with glowings around their heads on the exterior walls. They saw that this was indeed a splendid place and could only be the Hall of One. They felt a great blessing and awe in simply standing in its presence. They heard sounds of singing from inside and wonderful spicy smells came through the cracks in the doorways. Soon Jahan came through the door and was very surprised to see them.
“You are here! I was just about to fetch you for the celebration.”
Pata-Pikki bowed low to him and told him of their problems. Hatch also explained, but she was hard to follow as she became emotional and many of her words were lost in chirps. They made their request to return here with the Forest Beings for safety, adding that they would need help finding their way out.
“I am sorrowed that your friends are in danger from the Narflbots. I will go back inside and talk to the Far Mitrophan and tell him your story. I’ll return shortly.” Jahan opened the large double door, as scented smoke floated from the opening into the air. He disappeared inside.
Far Mitrophan raised his hand in blessing and said, “Certainly! By the One, there is room here for all. You will be in our prayers as you travel. May the One lead you through this difficulty and return you to us in good health. Jahan will lead you to the cave and from there you will find your way. While there is enough daylight, Jahan quickly, leave now and make haste to get to the cave before nightfall. Nonna, get some Phora for them to carry.”
Pata-Pikki became curious for the One was ever on his mind, “May I ask you a question Far Mitrophan?” Pata-Pikki asked.
“Certainly, what is it Pata-Pikki?”
“Is the One in your Hall?”
“He is, but He is other places as well. We don’t see him like we see each other but we hear His direction for us.”
Pata-Pikki understood, for that is the way he knew the One.
Nonna came back through the doors of the Hall with a bag full of small pieces of Phora and gave it to Bar-Thur. Bowing low for the hospitality shown them, the Forest Beings thanked their hosts and with Jahan, who had hastily gathered his pack. They turned toward the tunnel that would lead them to the Deep Road.