Scarlet is unaware that the connection with Faisal has been severed and leaves her arms dangling in the air as the force of the wind lifts them higher and higher along with her chiffon dress.
The young man can feel his face flush at the shocking sight. Quickly looking away, Faisal struggles to remember what he was supposed to be doing. Unable to stop himself from looking back, he is both relieved and disappointed to discover that the translucent fabric has fallen back into place.
The holy warrior adjusts his robe to conceal his response to the situation and again takes the young priestess’ hand. Trying to focus his mind on the ritual and the questions he might ask The Sarenrae, Faisal closes his eyes so tightly that he can feel the muscles of his brow begin to ache.
As the wind completely dies down, the rose petals drift to the ground and align in place shaping a circle on the floor. Suddenly all the candles’ flames in the room die out leaving Scarlet and Faisal in utter darkness.
Several seconds later, a white bright aura engulfs the circle. At that moment, the Dawnsister ends her meditation to speak,
“Our goddess, Sarenrae we beseech you once again to draw on your infinite wisdom to seek knowledge and guidance dealing with a member of our order.”
Scarlet pauses and asks, “Did Deirdre, the Oracle of Tuskany, kill the Oracle of Katheer?”
Faisal feels an aura of warmth surging from their touch and coursing through his body. Instinctively, he understands the response of the goddess.
Scarlet begins to ask another question, as planned with Sigmar, but upon realizing the Goddess’ response, she halts and her eyes flew open to see Faisal’s expression reflecting her emotion.
No? How can this be?!
She closes her eyes and resumes, “Did Deirdre, the Oracle of Tuskany, kill Brother Morric of Restov?”
Confused, Scarlet begins to doubt herself.
Could I be wrong about Deirdre, this whole time. Perhaps I was too harsh on her. Yet something is not right – the divination, the last commune, the Carson incident…
Remembering the Carson incident, she decides to ask a question for which the answer has already been confirmed.
“Was Deirdre behind Carson drugging me into loving him?”
Faisal’s eyes widen with alarm upon hearing this for the first time.
Scarlet frowns. She shakes her head and begins to wonder if she’s even speaking to the Goddess or her apostles or perhaps the responses are always no.
“Is Deirdre the Oracle of Sarenrae?”
Faisal sighs in relief, pleased with the responses. However, Scarlet is confused more than ever and begins to ask random questions hoping to find inconsistencies or flaws in the responses.
“Does Brother Shen enjoy wearing ladies undergarments and clothing?”
Perplexed, Faisal narrows his eyebrows at the Dawnsister unable to see the relevance of her question.
Scarlet shrugs realizing she can’t refute the goddess answer but then ask another absurd question.
“Is Faisal the greatest man who ever lived?”
The sound of bells go off in her mind and her eyes perk up in response to the goddess answer. Barely containing her anxiety much longer, she glances at the paladin who is peacefully meditating with a small smile on his face, seemingly content with the Goddess’ answers. Scarlet nudges him to begin his inquiry.
Faisal gives a start as the Dawnsister nudges him back to awareness. The young man glances at the beautiful young woman, blushing and quickly lowering his eyes as he misinterprets the look of worry on her face.
I have overstepped my place and offended the Dawnsister. I must find a way to make amends.
Struggling within himself, Faisal raises his head, careful to look Scarlet in the eyes.
“Is there a way that I may atone for my transgression and restore the Dawnsister’s trust?”
Faisal frowns in confusion as the priestess repeats his question.
“Is there a means by which Faisal may atone for his transgression and restore my trust?”
Understanding and horror knot the young man’s stomach as he realizes that she has asked the question of The Eternal Light of Justice and Compassion. He again stares at the floor, an overwhelming feeling of solitude pressing down upon him like the weight of a camel.
Fighting back tears of so many losses, the feda-ghazi focuses on his duty and purpose; To protect the Dawnbrethren and carry out their will.
“Does the Oracle of Tuskany wish ill of Dawnsister Scarlet?”
He waits anxiously for question to be repeated and answered.
Nodding in satisfaction, he asks his final question.
“Does Dawnsister Scarlet wish ill for the Oracle of Tuskany?”
Scarlet winces in response to the Goddess and she looks him in the eyes with shock. The white aura vanishes leaving the Dawnsister and Dawnwarrior in darkness. Within seconds, the candles ignite simultaneously illuminating the room. Scarlet eyes never leave the paladin. This time, her green eyes flash with anger.
Faisal quickly looks away from the young woman’s angry glare, overwhelmed by conflicting emotions. Embarrassment at being aroused by her attire, anger at her false accusations toward the Oracle, and confusion over her motives and strange questions – all battle for dominance.
Why would she seek to harm the Oracle? And if she wanted to turn me against her, why undermine herself with this ritual? Why does she dress this way, yet protest no other motive? Why would she care what Brother Shin enjoys wearing beneath his robes?
Something is wrong here. The Lady of Eternal Justice would never name me ‘the greatest man who ever lived’. I can think of at least a dozen more suitable candidates, including my father. This must be some sort of trick…
Although still unable to meet the Dawnsister’s gaze, Faisal opens his mouth to voice his concerns, but at that moment, Scarlet’s anger boils over…