The next morning the restless Scarlet approaches the weary Duke-Regent Faisal.
It had been a grueling evening and morning tending to the wounded, consoling the mourners and burying the dead.
“I have several announcements to make” Scarlet explains. “But will be brief. Firstly after careful thought and soul searching, I realized my congregation needs me more than ever. If am to rid our temple from evil and corruption, it is best that I should focus all my attention to the clergy. After speaking with Brother Jonas, he is elated about what I am proposing: I wish to abdicate the throne to you and resume my position as High Priestess once the new month begins.”
“As for the Oracle, I fear that she is under a powerful compulsion spell. Until we are able to break it and learn more about her involvement with your sister, it is in the best interest of the Holy City and for my safety that she is under constant observation…in the dungeon. Yes, it is not ideal but you have my word that Sigmar and I will give her the care and respect she most deserves.”
Scarlet bites down on her lower lip to refrain from smirking and continues,
“Fortunately Sigmar was able to find a lead lined chest where the Qadiran Blade is currently stored in. The chest is now in the bag of holding. Unfortunately the evil spell cast on the pommel of the sword is too powerful to disenchant with a Break Enchantment spell. Perhaps once Ildrim recovers he can assist me.”
“Speaking of Ildrim, he was the only ally I was not able to cure. Grok was raised from the dead and is protecting the Holy Temple. Beppo was at least fortunate to have a rolled up Heal scroll jabbed into his eye socket so I remove it and healed him. But sadly we do not have another Heal scroll to cure Ildrim.”
“That being said my father worries me. He had promised me he would return after escorting Valainistima to Kyonin but it has been several weeks. He may be a lot of terrible things but he is a man of his word. Therefore I am hoping Beppo can use my scroll to teleport Ildrim and I to GreenGold where I can purchase a Heal scroll for Ildrim and search for my father.”
Faisal stands at rigid attention throughout the announcements, his eyes focused on the inlaid stone decorating the wall behind Scarlet. As she finishes speaking, he gives a perfunctory bow and replies, his voice flat and clipped.
“As you proclaim, Dawnsister.”
The warrior turns on his heel and stalks out of the chamber, several acolytes jumping out of his way. Emerging into the less than fresh air of the courtyard, the young man regains control of his anger, his thoughts drawn back to the communion with the Goddess.
“Does the Oracle of Tuskany wish ill of Dawnsister Scarlet?”
“Does Dawnsister Scarlet wish ill for the Oracle of Tuskany?”
The young man shakes his head in frustration. He had seen the wild look of madness in the Oracle’s eyes as she charged across the courtyard, clearly intent on swinging Waliyah’s blade at the Dawnsister. An expression not dissimilar to that of his sister when she finally turned to face him during the battle. A look that evaporated from Deirdre’s contenance when the weapon was knocked from her hands. And yet Scarlet had struck down not only a defenseless woman, but The Voice of The Sarenrae!
Has the curse of my sister’s madness affected them all?
A soldier approaches and bows. “The funeral pyres are ready, your grace.”
“Very well”, replies the warrior. “Ensure that the poor fools who served this woman are given proper respect and rites. They do not deserve to carry their shame beyond this life. The undead monstrosities may be Cleansed in a mass pyre. The men should handle those who fell to their taint with respect. As for the demons, we will arrange to have the bodies dissolved in acid once Baron Ildrim has recovered.”
The officer gives a salute and stride back to the funeral pyres. Faisal looks down at Waliyah’s body, the twisted expression of hatred frozen on her once beautiful face. The warrior is surprised at the lack of emotion that he feels at the sight; neither sadness for her death, nor satisfaction at the revenge for her role in Jaiyana’s murder.
You will do no more damage in this world, sister. May The Eternal Light of Compassion and Justice show mercy for your transgressions.
Two laborers approach and begin to carry the fallen priestess’ body toward the wooden structures.
“No”, interrupts the young man. “She shall not receive the honor of the Cleansing flame. She shall be buried in the dirt, with the worms she was apparently so fond of.”
“A harsh fate for one of the Dawnbrethren. And member of your family.”
Faisal whirls at the words spoken in Keleshi, his blade clearing the scabbard as amulet plates begin to spread out across his body. Three figures stand nearby, looking very out-of-place amidst the bustle of the courtyard. The feda-sayyid inclines his head, holding his empty hands out as a gesture of peace. An isha-ghazi stands at the older man’s side, also bearing no weapons. Slightly behind them stands the Oracle’s crippled servant, his robes marred by the dark stains of dried blood.
The young warrior lowers his blade slightly, giving the trio a wary bow. “Leading an army of abominations and demons as part of a so-called Holy War? Attempting to murder the Voice of The Sarenrae? She warrants the title of Dawnsister no more, and deserves no rites or other considerations. And as was so fond of reminding me in the past: we sever blood ties upon entering the Orders. Perhaps you should be asking why who followed her should not share the same fate.”
The cripple steps forward, his rasping voice emerging from the hooded robe. “Faisal, if you would stop being a pompous fool for a moment and listen to what the feda-sayyid and the isha-ghazi have to say, you might learn the truth of the situation."
Faisal raises his sword again, taking a menacing step forward. “You dare to speak to me in that manner, fallah ?"
The cripple lowers his hood to reveal a scarred face. “I have always called you a fool when it was warranted, Faisal. And I’m not going to stop now, when you most need it.”
The feda-ghazi almost drops his blade in surprise. “Majid?!”
The cripple steps forward, gesturing for the others to follow. “Yes, you stubborn pile of camel dung. Now, let us find a quiet spot to speak. We have much to discuss about the truth of the Oracle of Tuskany, Jaiyana’s murder, and the crimes of your heretical Dawnsister.”