Chapter 2: How We Kidnapped a Bard

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A rash covered Ciardhe by the time they reached the next town. The healer still hadn’t figured out what the “cricket repelling plant” was-Ailbhe told her she was probably having an allergic reaction.

“Don’t wipe you’re eyes or you’ll go blind,” the paladin warned. It was probably the first truthful thing she’d told Ciardhe.

Iain remained quiet, though he occasionally face palmed as the healer wondered yet again how this could have happened.

As they approached the stream that marked the edge of town Ailbhe turned in her saddle to look at the red, puffy faced healer. “Why don’t you stay here while Iain and I go find someone to help you with that rash.”

“No, no, I know exactly what to do, I just need you two to show me to an herb shop,” Ciardhe said.

Iain and Ailbhe looked at one another.

“No, you stay here. As amusing as it would be to see you try to cure yourself, I don’t want to have to pay for your hospital visit,” the berserker said.

“And I’m not paying for it,” the paladin added.


“No buts,” the ‘serk growled. “Now stay here. We’ll be back in a few minutes.”

They left the still gibbering (and madly scratching) healer and headed into the town. It wasn’t a large town, barely big enough to warrant its own priestess. There was a small stage set up nearby, little more than a cloth covered table, upon which a bard told a story. The paladin and the berserker ignored him and the small crowd he had in favor of finding the priestess. She found them.

“Sister paladin,” said a voice behind them. “I sense that you seek my help.”

They turned to see an woman in a rather unattractive white dress.

“Yeah, we were, actually,” Ailbhe said.

“You seek to have your companion shriven, do you not?”

The two party members looked at one another.

“What?” the paladin asked, baffled.

“The berserker beside you. Have you not come so that he can make right with the Throne? Go to paradise when he dies?” She gestured grandly at nothing.

“Uh, no,” Ailbhe said as her companion face palmed. “The ‘serk is fine. We’re here because our healer is covered in poison ivy and we’d rather she didn’t poison herself while trying to cure the rash.”

The priestess pressed her palms together and bowed her head. “I sense an ill soul,” she said. “There is much work to be done. Wait here whilst I pray and gather my materials.” With that she turned and entered the temple.

The two companions turned too look at one another.

“You’re not going to wait for her, are you?” the paladin asked.

“Hell no,” Ian said. “I’d rather rub myself down with poison ivy.”

Ailbhe turned to go. “Good. Let’s go find the town herbalist. We can do this ourselves.”

They had only taken a few steps when they heard the voice behind them. “Hey! Where do you think you’re going?”

They walked faster. Ailbhe grabbed Iain’s hand and dragging him into the small crowd.

“I know you heard me! Don’t ignore people, that’s rude.”

They stopped next to the stage. “I’m sorry, the position of healer to the healer has already been filled by uh,” the paladin looked around then grabbed the closest person-the bard on the stage. “By this guy.”

“Wha?” the man in question seemed confused.

“Did you just kidnap a bard?” Iain asked.

“Hold, foul villain!” the priestess cried. “I shall not let thee get away with assaulting and detaining an innocent man!” She lunged towards Ailbhe.

The paladin stopped her with a hand to her forehead, holding her back. “Woah. I haven’t kidnapped anyone. I’ve already talked this over with, uh…” She looked the bard up and down. “What was you name again?”

“Seamus?” he said.

“Right. I’ve talked this over with Seamus and he agreed to come help with the poison ivy rash. Didn’t you, Seamus?” she said turning to the bard. She glared at him, her eyes daring him to say differently.

“Well, I guess if it’s only poison ivy-”

“Preposterous!” the priestess said. “He is a bard, not a healer. What can he know of such holy work? I must insist you take me or another healer.”

“Our healer is more likely to poison someone than heal them,” Iain said. “He couldn’t do much worse.”

The priestess turned a funny color. “No, he can’t go. I won’t let him.” There was a petulant whine in her voice that hadn’t been there before.

“Maybe she could come too,” Seamus suggested.

“Not a chance,” Ailbhe said. Her grip on him tightened. “We already have one idiot in the group and we don’t need another.”

“No, I’m coming too,” the priestess whined, attaching herself firmly to Iain’s arm.

He looked at her, unable to hide his distaste.

“You wouldn’t last a day out there, hon,” Ailbhe said. “Hell, you probably wouldn’t be able to survive the crickets.”

“Crickets?” she squeaked.

“Yes. And I swear, if you come with us, you will wake up in the morning with one tied to every strand of hair on your head,” Ailbhe said.

The priestess shrank against Iain’s arm. “You wouldn’t.”

Ailbhe smiled. “Paladins don’t lie.”

The priestess raised a cloud of dust in her haste to get away.

When she was gone, the two men turned to her.

“Didn’t you lie when you told her you’d talked it over with me?” Seamus asked.

“There’s no way in hell you can keep getting away with this crap,” Iain said, folding his arms.

Ailbhe shrugged and smiled. “What can I say? My god loves me.”



  1. Every year, more than 10 million unlucky Americans suffer the itching, swelling and blistering that poison ivy leaves in its wake. This seemingly harmless plant’s oil can travel through the air, be transferred through clothing and can even attack days after you’ve been outside. It’s a tricky little plant that causes pain to nearly everyone in its path.”

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