Overcoming the shock of Faisal’s out pour, she was relieved it was not followed by waterworks for as tough and strong Faisal was on the exterior deep down he was a delicate flower with a fragile psyche.
She nervously shift her attention to the onlookers, Bepo, Brother Shin who appeared green in the face and Nicholas clearly standing a yard away in plain sight. They gawk at Faisal in astonishment after eavesdropping on his confession. The dawnsister blushes red in embarrassment before gathering the nerves to shoo them away.
With a wave of her hand she threatens, “Please! For the love of the Goddess, give us some privacy will you! Otherwise there will be no treasure upon your return!”
“OH NO! We left Ildrim with all the loot”, Nichlas announces to the other two. The three immediately scurries back to Nyrissa’s lair to squabble over the remaining loot.
Once they are out of sight, she gulps in dismay as she glances down at the paladin bowing humbly before her wishing she had packed more wine.
Drawing on strength, dawnsister leans over and gently offers him a hand.
“Lets go for a stroll, shall we?”
He looks up in astonishment to her beaming smile and nods. Without a moment’s hesitation he takes her hand and she helps him rise to his feet. As they stray further away from the party, Faisal notices Scarlet’a hands securely fastened around his scaly arm yet welcomes the gesture. A huge weight had been lifted from his shoulders. For once in a very long time, he felt at peace and was not bothered by the awkward silence while he saunters along the trail with his companion..
Meanwhile Scarlet feeling feeble in the knees clings onto Faisal for support as she rack her brain for something meaningful to say.
Several paces later, she musters the courage to speak.
“Tis the first time you call me by my actually name”, she muses but quickly adds,
“It takes great courage to speak from the heart. Others like myself would rather poke their eyes out with the blade than to undergo this self torment”, attempting to make light out of the intense situation.
“Some may consider dying a less severe punishment than what you have done. I truly admire your bravery.”
She smiles warmly at the enlarged kobold. Her smile quickly fades as she continues to speak.
“I must admit I was not cognizant of the extent of your misery. Instead of coming to your aid like a good friend or brethren would, I dismissed your sulking and deemed you as a pessimist, overdramatic perfectionist, and an arrogant ass. When you asked for my assistance for your redemption, I turned my back on you. When I watched Deirdre and Lilith lead you astray from the path of light, I failed to intervene in time. For that I am profoundly sorry. You have expected as much as one would expect from a decent friend or brethren of the Eternal Light would but I have failed you nevertheless.
After your heroic sacrifice and transformation, I wanted to make it up to you for my past transgressions to prove to you I am not a delinquent friend and to earn your respect as member of the clergy. Alas I have failed you once more with the marriage to Lulu. You have put your faith in me and I let you down, again. Initially I did oppose the marriage but once I saw how blissful Lulu made you, I was truly happy for you. I did not accept your gift because I was undeserving of your kindness. Not only have you done so much for me, I refused to inform you that your marriage was a sham in fear of loosing your respect. My ploy to make you Duke was backed by my selfish motivation for I could not bare your sulking in the Cathedral any longer.”
As her emotional barrier strengthens, she releases her grip from Faisal’s arm and tells him, ”And I do not believe the source of your turmoil is you are in love with me. Your expectations are reasonable and your reaction to disappointment is understandable. How you react to them is part of your nature. I like everyone you are close with, you regard in high-esteem. However unlike everyone else, I continue to let you down repeatably. My point is the reason for your turmoil is I am a terrible person and an incompetent spiritual leader yet you remain close and supportive to me out of loyalty or an inexplicable sense of obligation. For after all you are a paladin and it is in your nature.”
Before Faisal could speak, Scarlet turns around and heads back to the party. The kobold follows her movement.
She resumes,”But if you truly wish to terminate your marriage and return to human form, I will wholeheartedly support you and do everything in my powers to make it happen to repay you for my past failures. It will be the very last thing I do before I leave Tuskany… However I would like you to consider the consequences of these actions. How they will impact Tuskany particularly the Kobold community. Perhaps we could save this discussion for another day…”