“Err… Father, may I have a word with you – in private?” Scarlet interrupts with a false smile. Scarlet’s father obliging follows Scarlet and she leads him down a wide corridor to the Council Meeting room. She briefly turns around to give Faisal an appreciative smile as he carries her father’s luggage and leads the guests to their chambers.
“What are you doing here!”, she hisses after she pushes him into the Council room and slams the door shut.
“Well, lovely to you see you too, daughter. Is this how you treat all your guests?” He retorts.
“My apologies, that is NOT what I meant. From what I remember, we were not exactly on speaking terms. Also there is this item people use to communicate which you may have heard of … it is called a letter! Why did you not write to me beforehand to warn me of your visit? ”
He replies defensively, “Daughter, let me remind you that you were the one that initiated our communication when you wrote me a letter inquiring about your bloodline. I sent you a follow-up letter with a heartfelt apology and to meet with you but never heard back. I was deeply hurt. What kind of daughter doesn’t write back to her father? And to add insult to injury, news spread like wild fire when I learned that …that… despicable weasel Teasen’rretyn is your biological father! Oh the horror! I almost died that day if it wasn’t for Valainistima to lift my spirit.”
For some inexplicable reason, Scarlet can hardly picture Valainistima lifting his spirit or anyone’s for that matter.
“And Abigail was very distraught when her older sister didn’t come to her wedding so naturally, I began to worry that something awful happened to you. But when we learned that you were a Duchess of a distant land, I thought what a perfect opportunity for all of us to rejoice in your success … and for you to finally be acquainted with Valainistima, your stepmother. How exciting!”
“Besides, daughter”, he adds, “must there always be a reason for family to see you?”
“Of course not, Father.” she sneers.
“Had I received an invitation or known the date, I would of attended Abigail’s wedding.”
Scarlet’s father frowns. “Valainistima was tasked to send out the invitations. You mean… you never received one… Oh dear…”
He pauses to reflect for a moment. “Well she must of forgotten or assumed you weren’t coming since we haven’t heard from you. Oh well – nothing can be done now.”
Scarlet vaguely remembers her father’s letter and never did she recall reading his supposed ‘heartfelt’ apology. She remembers the end of the letter asking for help. Knowing him, she assumed financial assistance and dismissed his pleas. Her father, a heavy gambler lost more than he could afford at a game with Castruccio Irovetti while on a business trip selling fine art in Pitax. The King of Pitax spared her father’s life when her father offered Scarlet as down payment to him until he could be pay off his debt with interest. Upon learning this, Scarlet fled and eventually joined a monastery for sanctuary. Fortunately for her father, King of Pitax hasn’t claimed ‘his prize’ yet and with the guidance of Saranrae, Scarlet has slowly forgiven him. However their relationship remains strained as she works on trusting him.
Fury overwhelms Scarlet as she remembers Valainistima’s letter toppled with thought of Valainistima supposedly forgetting to send Scarlet an invitation to her baby sister’s wedding.
“Why in the Goddess Name did you marry that wretched woman!! ” Scarlet yells in outrage.
“Easy now,” He says soothing his hot-tempered daughter, “you mustn’t speak ill about your mother. I know she would be sincerely regretful if she learns of her error regarding the invitation.”
“Firstly”, Scarlet begins, ”She is NOT my mother and nothing like my mother. She is a horrible, vile woman who deliberately decided not to send me an invitation. I cannot believe how accepting you are about this situation. You must be either blind or foolish…or “
She halts and ponders quietly while her anger diffuses.
A moment later, she inquires, “Or desperate…what hold does she have over you?”
Sadrion swallows hard, and draws himself up to his full height. “Valainistima loves me, and I love her. There… is nothing else to it.”
He pauses, shrinking before the Duchess’ baleful and skeptical stare. “She… she may have helped my out with some minor difficulty… And used her own resources to pay off some of my more… insistent debtors.”
“Of course”, replies Scarlet, her voice dripping with contempt. “So instead of selling off another of your daughters, you sold off yourself. Well, at least that’s a small improvement.”
“That is unfair, and unkind! She helped me out of friendship and love, and she has been nothing but devoted to our family. She arranged Abigail’s betrothal to young Dorian, and look how happy they are. Perhaps she was right to withhold your invitation. We’re only here five minutes and already you’re insulting her, belittling me, and causing strife in our family!”
Her father’s hurtful words trigger the rage within her.
At that moment she wished she could eradicate all the elves from Tuskany. In her eyes, the elven race has attributed nothing but pain in misery to the world. She has yet to seek an elf that was kind, selfless, honest, humble and trustworthy without betrayals, hidden agendas or ulterior motives. Initially, being a half-elf she was fascinated with the elven world perceiving them to being a superior race than her own. But after her encounters with elves in Tuskany and learning her lineage, she has built up resentment towards them and is now embracing her humanity more so each day.
“Causing stife??! Causing Strife!” Scarlet says raising her voice.
“Let me remind you that you SOLD me, your own daughter who you thought was your own flesh and blood, to a ruthless tyrant. You should be grateful that I am even speaking to you and resisting the urge to throw you in the dungeon for treason at this moment! Valainistima BELITTLES me and deliberately withholds my invitation. So forgive me if I withhold my enthusiasm and hospitality for your visit.”
She lowers her voice and she remarks with disdain, “Well I can see why mother sought after the affections for another. You are just as miserable as Valainistima. Congratulations, you deserve each other.”
Scarlet opens the door and as she steps out, she turns to her father and says, “Oh forgive me if I do not attend dinner this evening. I must return to the shrine to pray for you. I will speak to Abigail and her husband beforehand and inform them that they are welcome to stay as long as they like. As for you and Valainistima, I will see to it that Ildrim teleports you both home tonight.”
“Oh, before I forget… I will attempt to negotiate with King Castruccio Irovetti to eliminate your debt on the condition that you and Valainistima never set foot in Tuskany ever again. You or Valainistima will not attempt to contact me by any means, as you are not my father and have no relation to me. ”
Before her father could speak, Scarlet marches down the hallway with rage coursing through her veins.