Stella stood next to Maisie. She was about to say something when there was movement from behind the group of men.
One of the young girls who had been helping Stella with the children pushed past the four men to join Stella and Maisie at the foot of the stairs.
None of the men noticed the other figure who had appeared in the front doorway. Not until he spoke in a quiet but slightly threatening way.
"You'll make 'what' quick exactly?"
Surprised, the men turned to be face to face with one of Hope's newly formed constables.
Sensing victory evaporating, Hank pointed up the stairs to Magrat.
"She a damn raider!"
The constable leaned sideways to see past the three women blocking the foot of the stairs.
"Looks like a nurse to me."
Hank noticed that his three cohorts were now putting an increasing amount of space between him and themselves. He looked at their bowed heads in disgust.
His head snapped around to Magrat, the disgust turning to vitriol.
"You'll get yours. You'll see." Then he looked at the wall of women, ready to turn his anger on them. But a movement on the stairs caught his eye.
Unseen, Amy Pond had crept down the stairs. Hank just caught the little girl quietly slipping her hand into Magrat's. That was enough for Hank.
He pushed past the constable and out into the street. Rather more shamefaced, the other three men slid through the doorway after him.
Soon after, in the Town Hall, the staff could hear the sound of a pen tapping on the desk-pad coming from Hyle's office.
There was hush in the outer office. All listened to the tapping, Dansk muttering, footfalls.
Finally, none were surprised to hear the scraping of a chair which preluded Hyle's office door opening and all watched the purposeful stride of their boss as she headed for her car.
Less than a minute later, Stella McFarlen watched the car pull up outside of the men's hostel. The occupant sat for a full minute; hands still clenched on the steering wheel.
Eventually, Hyle felt as if she had put a sufficient lock on her anger to go inside.
A place where men gathered together and lived together has its own atmosphere quite distinct from that of the women's refuge across the street.
Ostensibly the same, groups gathered here and there, older men, the older of the boys, the younger boys were still under the care of their mothers across the way of course.
But men gathered together and talked, some smoked, some drank beer, but the room rumbled with male conversation. Until the door opened of course, then hush descended.
Hyle smiled at the turned heads. "God Morgen! How is everybody?"
She boldly stepped forward into the room to a mixed sound of welcomes varying from good natured hellos to respectful nods, and wary glances from one particular table in the corner. Hyle noticed.
She approached the group closest to her and exchanged a few words, nodding and listening to their concerns, making a few notes here and there.
As she moved through the room, Hyle still kept one eye on that particular table in the corner, especially the gruff man with the burned face.
So, she noticed immediately when that group stood up and looked as if they were heading for the door.
"Unskyld." Hyle gave her apologies to the group she was talking to when the men got to their feet. She made beeline to intercept them before they went out.
"Mr Godsen?" Hyle called towards, the man with the facial burns. It had the effect. He halted as Hyle crossed the room to him.
Hyle stepped past and over the men between herself and Godsen, leaving muttering in her wake.
"Good I saw you," she smiled. "How have you settled in?" Hyle nodded towards the entrance door indicating she preferred to talk with him outside.
Godsen complied and they both stepped out into the daylight. Godsen following her past the side of the building. Some ten metres past that Hyle stopped and turned to face him.
Godsen wondered why he had actually followed her, but he had.
"How are your injuries, Getting better?" Hyle, still smiling, asked as he got closer.
"Still hurts like a bastard, Miss Troy, er... Mayor."
"But the medics are doing good work, hmm?"
"Good," Hyle's good natured smile had lessened somewhat and her face took on a more serious look.
"Because that's what we are here for," There still was the hint of a smile in the corner of her mouth. "The road here is dangerous as hell, as you and I both know. Which is why I set up ....
All this." Hyle waved at the two hostel building with her right arm.
Godsen nodded again, still sullen. Hyle went on.
"Everyone you see, and a good number more in the town suffered at the hands of bandits. Of course, you know that only too well though, hmm?"
Godsen growled. "Murderin' scum... If I get a chance...."
"You would go back and kill every last one of them?" Hyle supplied the words. Godsen found himself nodding, involuntarily, then he stopped himself, realising he had shown too much of his hand.
Precisely what Hyle was expecting.
Although he was a good 30cm taller than Hyle, although he probably weighed as much as two Hyle's, Godsen felt un-nerved as Hyle's icy blue stare came back to him.
"Then what?" She asked simply, curtly.
Hyle stood silent. Giving Godsen ample opportunity to fill the silence. He could only growl.
"Hmm?" She shoved her hands into her jacket pockets, tilted her head.
Still nothing, except a sullen, unrepentant glare.
"So you begin your crusade with a skinny fifteen year old girl." Hyle's tone became more accusative.
"Then what? Then fight off a hundred or so Devils Own? Because they will want exactly what you want. Vengeance!"
Godsen found himself eyes locked with Hyle. Anger and frustration building.
"Which makes you no better than them." Hyle added coldly. "And why? Because it's right? Because you take an eye for an eye?"
"Because that's right ain't it?" Godsen still stared down at Hyle defiantly.
"No, because that's not how it works. How it works is it becomes a head for an eye, a body for a head and so on.
We think it's fine to kill an innocent young girl because it is righteous?" Hyle's eyes burned cold. "Tell me, Mr Godsen. Where exactly does it stop.
Where do we stop the race to the bottom, morally?"
"I'll tell you where it stops. Mr. Godsen. It stops right here and right now!" Hyle's eyes narrowed as her voice rose. She pointed at the ground. "Hope used to be full of hate like yours.
We could stack the bodies shoulder high.
So, if you want that again, you go right ahead, and you can help put the fires out and bury our children afterwards because that is YOUR future if you carry on like you are.
It is NOT my future, or this town's. Do I make myself clear?!"
Godsen shuffled on his feet, cleared his throat. He watched as Hyle turned toward her car.
After a few steps, Hyle turned and looked at him coldly. "Oh yes, if anything should happen to the girl Magrat, or anyone else connected to this morning's incident.... You can be sure Mr.
Shadwell and his constables will be in touch with you. Damned soon!"