The lumberjack counts on his fingers, as though he has rehearsed the information in his head and doesn't want to miss anything.
First--Zarzanna saved our lives. She didn't travel with us, mind you, but she gave us some healing tonics that kept us going. I count her as a friend to me, my family, and the Drear itself. If you want my advice, if she comes callin', and I don't think she's the type to do so, but if she does, I'd welcome her in. She can help these folk.
Merl nods. "A'right, young Braun. I'll make sure o'that. It's not like we can be choosy in our friends now."
Marcus gently draws Beula and extends the handle to Merl, smiling.
Beula did you proud, Hetmon. We cut through all those bastards and she was no small help.
Merl rests the axe across his lap. "Glad to hear it. I'd a been disappointed if she didn't live up to her namesake." He chuckles and coughs, clearly delighted. "Named her for my first wife... nearly kilt me more'n a few times." His grin says it all... but it doesn't last long after he hears what else Marcus has to say.
the big man hesistates, then: There was one, used to be a gnoll before it's life was snuffed out. He broke Ezekiel's neck, dropped him stone dead. I saw it with my own eyes. But there was a fountain, the others said some kind of holy water in it, and when we put him in, his neck fixed itself. He stood up and was whole again. I wanted to thank you for letting me use her, but I don't think I need Beula anymore. You see, when I put my own wood-cutting axe in the fountain, it changed too.
At this admission, Marcus draws his axe and shows off the new "craftsmanship" to Merl.
The old man runs a practiced thumb across the axe, frowning at Marcus' words. "She looks every bit as good as Beula. Fine blade. But I've got a worry about the dead coming back to life. Doc seeming like hisself?"
It's supposed to be the weapon I use to fight these things, or so the prophecy says. And it hasn't been wrong yet. I saw the power in that water, and if it can bring life to a man, it should bring death to the undead, right? So I'm gonna stick to this. Anyway, I think that's everything. I'm off to see my family.
Merl nods and chews his pipe, deep in thought. "A'right. Get some rest and see your family. They're one of the few that've gone back to their homestead."