“To begin with, I must introduce myself,” said the man. “I am Abbé Rondel, of the Abbey of Secret Wisdom.”
Faileuba gave a skeptical smirk. “The Abbé
of the Secret Wisdom Monastery is Ulfius. A very fat, very short man. And that Abbey is located in the Alts.”
Rondel’s face took on a bitter look. “That is the Great Abbey of Secret Wisdom. We are the Small Abbey of Secret Wisdom.” His fingers tapped idly on the table before him. “In truth, we’re the older monastery, and thus have a greater claim to the name--but the other has enjoyed the patronage of the Maganzas for centuries. And so we both are the Abbeys of Secret Wisdom, but they are the Great Abbey.”
“So, they’re bigger?” asked Gwydd.
“Oh, yes,” snapped Rondel. “With donations from the Ebony Throne and the Merchants’ Emporium, and all that fine land in the Shadow Wood, how could they not be?” He sighed. “I’d like to think we’re the truer to what the Darksome Lady asks from those who would take up the spiritual life, but that’s probably envy on my part.”
“Ehhh, I wouldn’t be so sure,” said Faileuba. “Somehow I doubt She wanted Her monks walking around wearing solid gold crowns.”
Rondel smiled. “Why thank you…”
“Not saying that She’d approve of that thing you’re wearing, mind you?” she added.
“It’s symbolic,” stated Rondel. “Represents my will reaching to Mother Night in the heavens.”
“Yeah, and I’ve no doubt the other guys have an explanation for the solid gold crowns,” said Faileuba. “Still is awful silly headwear, as I reckon it.”
Gwydd glared at her. “Just give us the job, sir. Your Holiness.” He looked at the Abbé
. “It is ‘Your Holiness’, right?”
“No, actually, it’s ‘Your Reverence’,” said Rondel. “ ‘Your Holiness’ is for Hierophants. But it’s the thought that counts.” He coughed. “As for the job-it is nothing grand. The Small Abbey keeps herds of goats on its lands, for food, and fur, and sale. Right now, our largest herd is ready for sale in Tremisona, but getting there is proving problematic.”
“Yeah, well, we’re not goatherds,” said Gwydd.
“Oh, you wouldn’t be herding them,” answered the Abbé
. “You’d be guarding them. Our problem is goat thieves.”
Faileuba stared at him for a moment. “So… some of the locals are really hurting for dates, eh?”
Rondel groaned. “You know I keep hearing that sad attempt at wit…”
“Something tells me I’m going to keep hearing it,” muttered Gwydd.
“Oh, no,” said Faileuba. “I’ll come up with constant variations on the whole bestiality thing, because damn it, opportunities like this don’t come around every day.” Meliadus limped back to their seat. “So how’d it go?”
“I think I paid for breakfast,” said Meliadus, resting his head on the table. He glanced at the Abbé
, “What’s he doing here?”
“Has some nervous livestock he wants us to protect from some scary men,” she declared, then pounded her fist on the table. “Ha! See! What did I tell you?”