Chapter 16: When We Gave the Healer a Pink Slip

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“There is no way in hell I am going to get our worthless healer from someone with a dragon fetish,” the paladin said. “She can damn well stay with him.”

“I thought there was some reason before we couldn’t just leave her,” Seamus said from the floor.

“Map,” the berserker mumbled into his pillow.

“Ah shit,” Ailbhe said. “Fine, we’ll get her, but I’m waiting until tomorrow.” She rolled over. And snuggled under the covers. “I’ll just slide the address under your door,” the wizard said as he made a strategic retreat.

When the party woke again it was late morning. Thankfully Iain had recovered enough from his small berserkgang the previous day to order breakfast on his own. After searching for Fandango, Ailbhe gave her order to Seamus and left by herself in search of the town’s blacksmith. What she found did not impress her.

Obviously a mom and pop kind of place, it only offered armor for men. She was forced to take a chainmail shirt. It was a men’s version. The female version was less shirt and more strategically placed bits of leather and metal.

“It’s quite popular with the ladies!” the blacksmith insisted as she glared at him.

“Yeah, I’m sure that’s exactly who it’s popular with. No thanks, I like my internal organs to stay internal,” she said. “Give me the shirt already.”

Breakfast was over when she finally made it back to the inn. Outside Iain and Seamus were loading the carriage that was miraculously still in the stables with all of their stuff.

“Chainmail dress?” The berserker asked with a raised eyebrow.

The shirt was a little long on her. “It was better than the alternative, and I don’t want to talk about that,” she said.

He shrugged. “Riding in or out?”

“Out,” she said. “But you drive. I need to split the skirt on this thing.”

And so it was that they headed out with a badly drawn map, a paladin cutting a hole her chainmail dress, and a berserker driving. They didn’t get as many stares as Iain thought they might, though. That was probably partially due to the fact that it was harder to identify Ailbhe as a paladin without her armor. Thankfully she was done by the time they got to the next town.

The place was a mess. Debris covered the ground, hung up on corners and poles. There were posters plastered to every still standing wall declaring the missing and the dead. Townspeople stood together in shell shocked clumps as the carriage rolled through. “Damn,” Iain muttered.

“If Fandango were here, I’d make him repair every single one of these buildings,” Ailbhe said.

Iain grunted. “Well he’s not and there’s no way we can, so let’s just grab Ciardhe and get the hell out of here.”

Somehow they managed to navigate the maze of streets with their almost indecipherable map. It was more through sheer luck that they didn’t have to knock on every door looking for her. Luck and a phallic object that had fallen out of a second story window. “The only person I know that would have a sparkly purple one of those is Ciardhe,” the ‘serk said as he reined in the horses.

“I very much did not want to know she had one,” the paladin replied. “Good gods that’s nasty. And kind of disturbing.”

“And that’s our healer,” he said. “Better not let Seamus see that or we’ll have to fix his brain again.”

“I promise I won’t use enchanted tea of questionable origin on him again,” she said as she hopped down. “Not that we have any other type.”

“Or we could, you know, not use enchanted tea on him,” he said, jumping down as well.

Ailbhe banged on the side on the side of the carriage. “Seamus, we’re going to go get Ciardhe. You wait here and guard the carriage.”

“Guard the carriage? He’s about as useful a guard as Ciardhe is a virgin sacrifice,” Iain said as they walked up to the house.

“It’s better than saying ‘Stay here so your brain doesn’t break’,” she said as she knocked on the front door.

“True.”

“Besides, I hear some gods Like their sacrifices to have some experience,” she said.

Before Iain could respond, the door opened and an older woman glared out at them. “Can I help you?”

Ailbhe cleared her throat. “I beg your pardon for the intrusion, but I believe you have given shelter to our poor healer who was swept away by the flood.”

“That thing belongs to you?” the woman asked, making a face. “Who the hell are you people?”

“I am the Paladin Ailbhe, and this is my boon companion, the Berserker Iain.”

Her ‘boon companion’ looked like he wanted to throw up.

“Whatever,” the woman said. “Just as long as you aren’t going to freeload off us too.”

“We’re here to take her away,” Iain said.

With a sniff, the woman turned and led them inside. There were clear signs of the healer’s presence in the house. If there had been signs of water damage, Ailbhe would have thought someone funneled all the debris brought by the flood into the house. The woman walked past the mess without pausing and led them up the stairs.

“Treabhar, get your lazy ass out here!” the woman yelled. “And bring that freeloader with you.”

There was some scuffling from inside the room before Ciardhe and the greasiest man Ailbhe’d ever seen came out. The healer stared balefully at the party members.

“How’d you find me?” she asked.

“A wizard and something sparkly and purple you left lying in the street,” the berserker said.

The paladin glared at her. “It’s time to go, Ciardhe. Say goodbye to your little boy toy.”

“But I love him!” the healer wailed. “You can’t separate the two of us, you just can’t!”

“Ciardhe, we are not bringing someone with no skills into the party,” Ailbhe said.

The healer grinned. “Oh, he’s got skills.”

“Willingness to have kinky sex does NOT count as a life skill,” Iain said.

“But I don’t want to leave my boyfriend!”

Ailbhe turn on her heal. “Fine, stay with him. Get married if you care that much. Been nice knowing you.” She and Iain walked out the house as Ciardhe watched them go, open mouthed.

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