“WHAT!!”, the younger sisters exclaims in shock all traces of her hiccups gone.. “After all the hurdles you’ve both been through to be together, Why?”
In a low raspy voice Scarlet replies,“He told me after careful consideration, he felt that it was best for Sootscale Tribe if he ruled them as a kobold. He ranted on about needing to do this to be redeemed and finally made a flowery speech expressing his gratitude for all my efforts and my wisdom.”
She heaves a sigh of despair, “I can not forget the look on Nicholas’ face when he realized Tamara will not be duchess.”
“Well what did you tell him?” Abigail asks with a subtle tone of frustration..
The hoarseness in Scarlet’s voice becomes more pronounced as she responds defensively.
“Wh…What could I do! He already made his choice. Nothing I could say would dissuade him.”
A tear trickles down her cheek. She busies herself by stuffing all of Abigail clothing in the her backpack.
“I was devastated. “ She continues, “The only thing I could say was that if it pleases him. I hugged him and finally gathered the courage to tell him that I loved him. Before he could say anything, I ran off. I went home to pack my wine and rode here.”
Scarlet begins to whimpers. “And the worst part is most of the wine did not make it here…I sniff..I destroyed.a perfectly good bottle of Sanguine Fae by hurling it at my mirror.”
Abigail gasps.“Oh Scarlet I am so sorry.”
The priestess kneels on the ground covering her face with her hands and burst into tears.
“What is wrong with me?! Why am I undeserving of happiness? ”
Abigail rushes over to give her older sister a great big bear hug.
“Nothing is wrong with you, sis…. it’s this place – it’s cursed. I mean how could so much go wrong in one duchy. Maybe you’re right, leaving Tuskany will be good for our well-being.”
They hug a while longer before Abigail abruptly stands up.
“Oh my goodness why didn’t I see this before!”
“What?” Scarlet looks up at her sister with a puzzled expression.
“Turning down Deirdre …ending the marriage with Lulu. Nothing became of Lilith or Jaiy.- his first love. Changing his mind with you…refusing Beppo’s mother’s advances”
Abigail presses her fingers against her temples in attempt to contain her excitement. “Oh my goodness It’s so obvious.”
“What is it?!” Scarlet asks urging her sister to explain.
“Faisal fancies men!”
An imagery of a naked Faisal leap frogging over a naked MicMek appears in Scarlet’s mind.
She quickly dismisses that thought and finally says, “What! That is ludicrous! Why profess his love if he does not mean it? Why would he toy with my emotions? ”
Abigail shrugs. “Perhaps he is sexually confused or has commitment issues. But doesn’t it seem odd to you that he turned down all these women?”
She kneels beside her older sister and whispers into her ear. Her lips curl into a devilish smile. ”I mean did you ever wonder what he was doing all those times with Armando in private? Why Armando was always in pain afterwords. Rumors have been told Faisal likes it rough!”
The priestess face flushes red at the disturbing thought. She gasps in horror.
“Abby!! You are so wicked!! Shame on you for thinking so ill of Faisal! Those rumors are absolute rubbish!”
Scarlet adds, “Besides there were sound reasons why his former relationship did not work. In my case, he truly believed it was his divine calling to remain a kobold and to rule Tuskany. Perhaps this is the Goddess’ way of telling me it was not meant to be.“
After a brief pause, she quietly says to herself riddled with self doubt, “And Faisal does not fancy men … at least I do not believe so…”
Abigail blushes red with embarrassment. She pulls out another bottle of wine and pours her sister and herself a drink. She offers her sister a glass interrupting her sister’s reflection.
“I’m sorry, sis. I did not mean to disrespect Faisal. It’s just Dorian had really upset me and I can’t help being spiteful especially after what Faisal had put you through. How about we forget about the foolish men in our lives and drink to our future?”
“Agreed.”, Scarlet replies and raises her glass. “ To new beginnings. ”
The sisters clink their glasses and gulp down their drinks.
After a moment of silence, Abigail asks, “Do you think we will ever find our true loves on our travels?”
Scarlet replies, “We will never know unless we take a leap of faith. The Goddess works in mysterious ways.”
After the sisters finish their packing, they step outside the house one last time ready to embark on their journey.
Scarlet gazes up at the castle in the distance. A flood of painful memories overwhelms her as she reminiscences about her father’s betrayal, Deirdre’s hatred, Carson’s suicide, Talreth’s death, Valainistima’s cruelty and finally Faisal’s rejection. The desire to flee Tuskany has never felt so strong.
Tuskany was never my home
“Scarlet, Scarlet!” Abigail calls out disrupting the priestess’s reverie.
“Do you wish to say goodbye?” She asks giving her older sister a knowing look.
The dawnsister’s gaze never leaves the castle.
“No” she replies with a tinge of bitterness in her tone. She turns to her sister and sharply says ,”Let’s go.”
On that final note, the sisters ride off into the sunset.