“Stand, Faisal”, urges the young woman, smiling gently. “We are not in the Dawnspire today.”
The warrior rises slowly, still recovering from the surprise of seeing the Oracle in the dark warehouse. He swallows nervously and stares at the floor, unable to risk looking the woman in the eyes. She steps forward and places a slim hand on his broad chest, touching the gold beads on his prayer necklace.
“You have much to do to accomplish my task, Faisal.”
The young man struggles to slow his breathing and calm his racing heart. His mouth feels as dry as the desert wind as he barely manages to whisper, “Jaiyana.”
She shakes her head sadly, leaving her hand on his chest. “That name is no longer mine, Faisal. I am now The Oracle, just as you are feda-ghazi. Both servants of The Lady of Flame and Light. We are no longer who we once were.”
Faisal swallows hard and bows his head to hide his sadness. “As… As you proclaim, Oracle.”
The young woman touches his chin to lift his head, smiling sympathetically. “Do not despair, Faisal. In time there will be one to fill that place, but it cannot be The Voice of The Sarenrae. No, do not shake your head. I am Speaking as the Oracle in this matter, and it is so.
“But there are more pressing matters that you must attend to, not the least of which is your safety. You must not remain in Katheer, nor even Qadira. Returning with Waliyah has caused more of a disturbance in the ranks of the Brethren than you know. No, I will not explain that further. Dawnsister Rabiya is correct that it is not for a feda-ghazi to be privy to these secrets. But your status in the warrior order will not protect you from the consequences of the disruption, and you must leave now.”
Faisal draws himself to his full height. “I will not run from danger like a common…”
“You will do as I say, Faisal. No one knows better than I that you are courageous and true, but this is not a threat that will face you directly. It will strike from the shadows without mercy or honour, merely to ensure that you fail in your tasks.”
The warrior again bows his head, but his voice remains defiant. “As you proclaim, Oracle.”
The young woman sighs and steps back from Faisal, fixing him with a meaningful stare. “Your tasks are more important than your pride, Faisal”, she admonishes before her body assumes a more rigid stance. Her voice changes in tone as she speaks again.
“The first stones of Abu Al-Bazit must be laid before the moon is consumed by the shadows of Tuskany.”
“Await the hideous giant, for it shall stand fast and turn the horde at the feet of The City.”
The Oracle staggers slightly as the trance dissipates, but she waves off Faisal’s move to steady her.
“Now, you must go. And heed my words, Faisal. It is important that you succeed in your tasks, for the good of the Brethren, and for the Glory and Honour of The Eternal Light of Justice.”
The warrior hesitates for a moment before bowing deeply. “Until the shifting sands bring us together again, Oracle”, he says, turning to retrieve his blade and exit the warehouse.
“Farewell, dear Faisal”, the young woman whispers before raising her voice to speak to the shadows. “Majid, follow and keep him safe. He will not heed my warning until he experiences the threat firsthand.”
The crippled man shambles from the shadows, his head still covered in the dirty white cloak. “But we must ensure your safety, Lady. If they were to strike at you…”
The young woman shakes her head, “No, Majid. My fate has already crystallized. It is Faisal’s path that remains in flux, and it is there that you must act to steer events in the direction that serves Her interests.”