My second night in Normur is not as comfortable. The bedroom I am allocated has gaps in the planking and allows the cold night air in, and this time the city lights are not as distant. Now I see fires everywhere, used for light, warmth and cooking, and I am horrified. One spark, and the lower city will be ablaze.
The bed is lumpy and the bedding mildewed. Shuddering disgust, I lay my cloak upon it, but I cannot sleep anyway. Staring out into a night filled with desperation, I understand how the way life works here needs to change if people are to survive with dignity.
Damin tells me to lock my door, saying he needs to go out and cannot watch over me. I wonder what he is doing and I give thought too to why he is reticent about it. Somehow I must break the shield he has placed around his emotions.
There is nothing to eat and my stomach cramps in hunger. This too reveals to me how easy it will be to stoke folk to revolution.
Yet, there is something far more dangerous on approach. I thought to save the folk of Grenmassin, but everyone will become slaves to desperation. Perhaps this is why Damin stays, having realised it. Perhaps change needs to start here in Normur, where many voices are able to shout loud enough.
Maybe I should listen to him before judging his continued absence.
As dawn begins to lighten the heavens, I lie on my cloak and curl up cold and hungry. In a state of slumber I hear a commotion and someone bangs on my door. Damin demands entrance. Up in an instant, I unlock to him.
He stumbles through, covered in blood. “Lock it!” he gasps, falling to his knees.