The grogs and specialists are increasingly disconcerted as the trusted superiors disappear into four-legged-ness. Neither Finn nor Betula have shown any sign of assuming responsibility and much less command. With no better option, they glance to Ruedi for guidance, but they don't really know him, I think.
The bear has more of a natural way with the forest than horses and men. Breaking down branches to make way for the others is not quite the natural way, and Mordred watches with an air of disapproval, but he does not speak up against the bear.
In spite of the faciliations, it is still a slow and arduous journey for the more mundane members of the party. It is easier, but not actually easy. After a little more than two hours, you may notice that the forest changes and feels more alive; not an unusual feature to those who have roamed magical auras before.
«We are almost there,» says Malhad. «Stick together. There will be guards out, and they may be a little nervous, as I am sure you understand. And please, tread with a little more care and try not to break any branches here in the heart of the forest.»
Malhad and Mordred seem to have found a winding path, and take more care to lead you along. You move slowly, and it feels like moving in circles, but after a quarter of an hour or so, the first guard shouts their warning. Malhad answers and identifies himself, and the guard appears.
«You bring strangers to the camp!?»
«They saved my life and they too are hunted be Eadric.»
Malhad and the guard discuss a little in quite voices, and the guard seems satisfied.
«Did you get what you needed in town?»
«Well. The men-at-arms took it all when I was arrested. Sorry.»
The guard looks worried when he lets you pass. You are all tired from the journey, it has been a long day, and most of it on the move, at least one long-term fatigue level down. Those who have walked unaided by magic, are utterly exhausted, at least three levels down, and almost staggering.
After the guard, it only takes five or ten minutes before you are in a camp. You see no sign of it until you stand between the tents and bivouacs, mostly hidden under trees and branches. In the middle there is only a small camp fire, hardly lighting up the camp site. Malhad and Mordred are greeted warmly by the two persons who tended the fire.
«Betula,» says Malhad, «this is Fridswed and Gareth,» and turning back to his two friends, «Betula here speaks our language. The others are strangers. Betula, maybe you will introduce them? Cath'rinne, Obstetrix, and Benedict are shapechangers.»
He points at the shapechangers that he can see.