“So,” began Meliadus, as the trio sat down in the cramped quarters of their private room, “we’ve been approached to guard the great goat herd of the Small Abbey of Secret Wisdom on the road to Tremisona.”
“Pretty much,” said Faileuba. “Though I don’t know if I’d call the great goat herd…”
“Well, it is the biggest one right?” said Meliadus. “That it makes it the ‘great’ one. Plus alliteration helps mnemonics.”
Faileuba blinked. “Say what now?”
“Something they had us practice back in the Disciples,” replied Meliadus. “Techniques to strengthen the memory.” He coughed. “Anyway--I don’t know if we should take it.”
“What?” said Faileuba. “But this is perfect for us.”
“I never thought I’d be agreeing with Faileuba…,” began Gwydd.
“Oh, low blow Palepole,” she said.
“But this job is exactly what we need,” finished the Goblin.
“Which is one of the reasons I’m suspicious of it,” said Holdfast. He raised a hand as his partners gave him a skeptical glance. “Hear me out. We’ve tangled with some very dangerous customers. People with long reaches, and even longer memories. This might just be the bait to get us into a trap. The exact job that we need, offered when we’re at our most desperate.”
“So how exactly did they know we were at our most desperate?” asked Gwydd.
“And why would they even care?” added Faileuba. “I mean--we’re not exactly going to be topping the enemy list of anybody that big. They’ll have… more important matters to deal with.”
Gwydd nodded. “And to continue with my original line of inquiry, how did they know we needed to get to Tremisona?”
Holdfast seemed to ignore all this. “The second reason is I don’t like taking jobs for the Faith,” said Meliadus. “Things tend to never be as they seem.”
“This is your upbringing talking, isn’t it?” said Faileuba.
“In part, yes,” agreed Meliadus. “Being raised by people who’d managed to convince themselves that murder for hire is a sacred duty did sour me on religious types. But there are other issues. I’ve worked with abbeys and temples and convents before. They tend to be run by ambitious men and women who believe the Lady is backing them, and who are very good at convincing themselves that what they want is what She wants. That sort makes dangerous bosses.”
“And so… what, you think escorting a goat herd is going to turn into the Night of Bloody Vespers?” asked Gwydd.
“Ehh, let it be, Palepole,” said Faileuba. “I’m sure Holdfast has another scheme to get us to Tremisona.” She smiled broadly. “Like more dancing! I like that one!”
Meliadus glared at her for a long moment. “You are evil and cruel,” he announced at length.
“Only when I have to be Holdfast,” said Faileuba. “Only when I have to be.”