For once I would like him to use head instead of his heart or ..his…his ..SHAFT!”
Abigail giggles. “You can‘t blame Duke Faisal. You know as much as I that most males of any species share these same traits when it comes to the opposite sex.”
Suddenly, Scarlet’s mood begins to lift at her sister’s comment and she finds herself smiling in agreement.
“Another good argument Abby. Perhaps I expected too much from him when his only downfall is being a man.”
“Gracie!” Scarlet calls out to her servant, “Would you be a dear and fetch us some wine.”
“I hope it is not too early for you to drink Abby. This calls for a special occasion.”
“Scarlet you know very well we never need a special occasion to drink.”
“And that is why I love you my dear sister.“
Several glasses of wine later and the girls roll on the floor roaring with laughter as they share amusing tales of the men in their lives. The amount of ruckus caused by the sisters’ laughter stirs the entire castle from their sleep.
”…Armando just urinated on the protestors…”
“….Ildrim just squeezed my bosoms long after…
Abagail gasps. “What a dirty old elf!”
“A dirty uncle to me. Every family has at least one and my family is no exception.”
“I paid a sorcerer to compel Dorian to flap his arms and cluck like a chicken when ever someone else says ‘chicken’. And the best part is he has no memory of it afterwards. ”
“You are so wicked! What possessed you do such a thing?”
“I was mad at him for forgetting my birthday… also it was funny. Best birthday gift ever.”
As the giggles die down, Scarlet eyes remain transfixed on her glass of wine.
“I am no better than you”, she says solemnly after a long pause. “Do you recall when I told you Beppo turned Deirdre into a toad… well I guilted Faisal into kissing it.”
“You what! … You vindictive witch!”
“Well he deserved it! Although…I admit I was in the wrong but I was so furious at what he did. Though it was not the act of killing Deirdre that upset me the most. If you have known her as well as I, you would understand why anyone would do what he did. And after interrogating Deirdre, I learned what truly compelled him to drive his blade through her chest. It was not the murder of Brother Morric or my humiliation, but the murder of his beloved Jaiyana. Despite his wrong doing, I can empathize with him.”
Abigail gives her sister a puzzled look. “If you are not terrible upset at what he did then why are you really angry with him.”
Scarlet immediately quaffs her wine in one swallow.
”He did it to spite me!”
“What!”, Abigail exclaims. “That’s ridiculous! Why would you think that?”
Scarlet takes in a deep breath. “Where do I even begin? So perhaps he did not do it intentionally to cause me grief but it seems that every action he has done since I have known him I have been suffering the consequences. In addition to this grief, you are well aware of our ongoing quarrels over Deirdre, my love for wine and then there is Carson. Lately he has been having violent mood swings and taking it out on poor Armando. I do not fully understand his friendship with Armando but I dislike it. Before Deirdre’s time, it was the constant bickering over Sarenae teachings and lectures of Qadiran practices. But I will never forget, the time he insulted my aptitude as priestess – this comes as no surprise but it still pained me to hear it from the horse’s ass so to speak.”
Scarlet giggles to herself and resumes, “and it goes on and on. Speaking of horse’s ass, he reminds me of a fellow I despised, Glynraven Borst. Sometimes I wonder if Faisal was sent by the Goddess to punish me for what I … err…but I digress…”
Abigail interjects Scarlet’s ramble ignoring her last remark. “Oh don’t say that. Faisal has been good to you. He… he protects you and has been a wonderful asset to the duchy.”
“I know… I know… he is a good man and has gone great lengths to aid and protect me more so than anyone I have ever known….But I never asked for any of this! I had never seen a Paladin of the Eternal light until I met him. I most certainly would have declined his assistance earlier on had I learned that the price I pay for it is his company!”
She continues, “The point is he is a pompous ass! I wish he would leave and never come back!!”
Abigail gasps, “Surely you don’t mean this Scarlet?!!”
Scarlet folds her arms. “I do! I am tired of our friendship. I am tired of caring for him. I am tired of him period!”
After a silent awkward pause, Scarlet asks, “Any news from father yet?”
Abigail shakes her head.
Scarlet pours herself another drink. She finishes it in one single gulp and says with scorn, “Men!”
“Dorian, thank you for deciding to join us for our mid day meal. At least I’ll have someone here that respects a good wine, no offense meant Beppo.”
“Oh, don’t talk to me about wine”, Dorian slams his hand down on the table. Both Dorian’s and Ildrim’s goblets are knocked clear off the table but then the movement slows as they start to move slowly back and forth like a feather and are caught by Ildrim and Beppo who each nod at each other.
“My apologies, fellows. Its just that my wife went to visit her sister again early this morning and when she got back she was so tipsy she decided to take a nap. It seems its like that every time they get together. We need to get back to the homeland soon I think.”
“So have you decided what you’d like?”, the barmaid asks while putting down the new goblets.
“The Stew”, Dorian replies.
“Cutlets, but I’d like the hard biscuits instead of the noddles and with a nicely aged cheese. A small portion if you would, I need to leave room for dessert”, Beppo gives a little wink although really its hard to tell with only one eye but somehow he pulls it off.
“The roast chicken…”
Dorian immediately stands, flaps his arms and clucks like a chicken. He walks a few feet one way then a few the other, “Bwok, bwok”.
He then looks around a little puzzled sees Ildrim sitting at a table with a stunned look on his face staring at him, Beppo having fallen off his chair, rolling on the floor laughing. He sits, looks at his drink strangely, sniffs and finally takes a long drink from the goblet.
A few minutes later, Beppo finally regains his senses and retakes his seat.
“I hope the barmaid comes soon to ask what we’d like to eat, I’m absolutely starving its like I’ve been pecking away at nothing all day.”
“Umm, well, ah, Dorian, she did. You are having the stew. Look here she comes now with our plates”, Ildrim gestures in her direction.
“Stew, cutlets with biscuits and cheese and chicken”
Again Dorian immediately stands, flaps his arms and clucks like a chicken. Beppo and Ildrim both start casting and Dorian freezes moving with both arms out to the his sides and one foot well off the ground. He looks around puzzled notices he’s in a tavern and immediately stands with the posture of a well trained soldier. He marches the 2 steps back to his seat, salutes, inclines his head, “Gentlemen”.
After Dorian sits, the table remains silent for a few minutes while everyone keeps their attention on their food.
Beppo glances quickly at Dorian then turns to Ildrim and says, “So how is your chicken?”
Both Beppo and Ildrim glance quickly at Dorian who remains seated but who’s face is beet red.