“Are we going anywhere in particular, Siobhan?” They had been walking in silence for over three hours. At one point Toot-Toot pointed out a warg to her and she just shrugged and kept on walking. She told him that it had no rider, that it would not attack. He did not know where she got her information from, but he knew for a fact that wargs attacked with …or without…riders. Yet…for reasons that he did not understand, it let them be and after a few minutes, disappeared into the forest. Now, they had been walking through the peripheral areas of Avondale for about an hour. They were now on cobblestone paved roads. Not good cobblestone paved roads, but paved nevertheless. It made walking easier…no sinking in wet dirt…and more difficult…out of kilter cobblestones were definitely a threat to careless toes. He noticed how Siobhan altered her gait…from a somewhat casual stride to a modified high step. It reminded him of a horse prancing. He debated joking with her about that. Siobhan had a good sense of humor about herself…until she did not. And it was hard to tell which Siobhan one would get at any moment in time. He decided maybe this wasn’t that time and that an innocent question about their destination might be more in order.
“Are we headed anywhere in particular?”
“I think Tim’s.”
“Do we need more monkey clothes for Bowerstone? We can pull out what we have and wear it back in.”
Siobhan chuckled, leaned into him, shoulder bumping him as they walked, “no, silly.” She smiled up at him. He liked it when she smiled at him. “Though, you know, if I didn’t need to run, I could get used to monkey clothes.”
She chuckled again, “yeah…they are. They do tend to make the Well of Áine sweat.”
She looked up at him, smirking and biting her bottom lip…and grabbed her crotch.
“Oh.” They walked a few more steps. “What the hell did you call it? The well of what-what?”
“The Well of Áine.”
“So… Áine is Keltic for…vagina?”
She laughed again. Possibly at him, but in a light hearted way. If it had been somebody else, it might have annoyed him. But it wasn’t somebody else. “It’s an expression. Áine is our goddess of love…and fertility…and summer…and wealth… and the nobility. The Well of Áine is where pleasure flows from, or can be found…depending on your point of view. It means the same thing as ‘Between the Pillars of Aphrodite,’ or ‘The Gates to Ishtar’s Garden’. But…you can use vagina if you prefer.”
“Um…those are very…” he cleared his throat, “poetic.”
“It’s nicer in polite company than ‘cunt’.”
“Uhhh…well…yeah. But, um…am I ‘polite company’?”
She seemed to think about it for a moment…”Okay, then. Monkey clothes make my cunt sweat. Is that better?” She smiled up at him playfully, and shoulder bumped him again.
She probably could not see it…he was pretty dark complected…but he blushed. A little. “Well, maybe. No. I don’t know. Now you made me think about it too much.”
“Tim. The Tailor.”
“Well…he is well enough connected to the folks around Avondale who are not under the influence of whatever is going on in Avondale.”
“We need recruiters. I am hoping he will be one. Or…that he will bring his skills to New Warrendale. Or…maybe both.”
“You think that will work?”
“Maybe is not a ‘yes.'”
“No. No it is not. But…it’s not a ‘no’ either. So…it’s better than a ‘no’ at least.
“Oh…and we are not swimming in resources…and I suspect they will board us a few days.”
“In return for what? What do we have to offer if not silver and gold.”
“I can be very entertaining.”
He gave her a skeptical look.
“Toot-Toot! I have been trained by one of the best bardic colleges!”
“I never seen you play a lute.”
Siobhan harrumphed. “I forget that you guys use Keltic words out of context. The bard, at its core, is a lore keeper, lawyer, judge, composer, poet, minstrel, story teller, diplomat, scribe, historian and keeper of genealogies. We, more so than even the druids, are keepers of the Keltic memory. The fili are our reality benders that you call bards. I don’t have that talent. And…not all fili have the talent to be bards. And…sadly, neither do I…I came up short on several categories of bardic training. You will get a laugh out of this…I didn’t have the self control to be a bard! So I was assigned to the diplomatic core. I had a talent for covering long distances on foot in a short period of time…and I could remember the details of a message without having to have it written down. In ways, that made me more valuable than my peers that would later become bards. So I,” she gestured grandly to herself, “because of my feet…and my memory…and my good looks…and not much else…I am a bardic diplomat!”