Saba and Emmi have finally reached Crosscreek, and boy, does it look the part. There's a fresh breeze blowing across a splatter of inviting streams carrying the smell of home cooking.
For a moment, Saba gets ticked that a place so idyllic was so close to them the whole time, but she relaxes while taking a quick nap in a shallow section of a stream.
Saba wakes up to a woman and "hairy dog" looking down on her (3.35). That's...atypical. This, obviously, is Mercy, and the dog's name is Tracker. Pleased to make y'all's acquaintance.
After some much needed grub, Saba explains the sitch to Mercy and asks for her to watch over Emmi. Mercy hesitantly agrees.
We learn that Ma, Pa, and Mercy used to live in a place called Hopetown before moving to the country, but Mercy and Pa had a big falling out after he got obsessed with the stars.
That night, after Emmi falls asleep, Saba gives Mercy a detailed account of the men who kidnapped Lugh. Mercy tells her that these guys sound like "the Tonton" (3.141).
And who are the Tonton, besides that Hoth creature from The Empire Strikes Back? 'Round these parts, the Tonton are a sort of paramilitary force from Hopetown.
Hopetown, despite its name, seems like a nasty place. There are all sorts of robbers and thieves there, and the Tonton retain their dominance by controlling the chaal trade.
After Saba explains the whole Procter John deal, Mercy says that someone else was present at their birth: a traveler named Trask. Maybe he told the Tonton. But that doesn't explain why.
Saba gets ready to leave at dawn. Before she goes, Mercy hands her a heartstone necklace that supposedly belonged to Ma. Apparently, heartstones grow warm whenever their wearer gets close to their "heart's desire" (3.211).