Scarlet stares wide-eyed at Ildrim completely dumbfounded by his sudden proposal and the unexpected, personal advice he was bestowing upon her. She takes a seat at her desk and pours herself wine into a replacement goblet and swirls it contemplating her response.
”Dear Ildrim, I appreciate your concerns for the duchy and my well-being. Though you must not worry about Carson for he will cease to pursue me after I refused his proposal. That is the reaction I would expect from any sane man. Besides Armando is married and I am sure his wife will not be thrilled if he accompanied me to the weddings. The poor man has suffered enough – long story. Regardless, I can deal with Carson without any assistance.“
She smiles shyly. “I must admit I am a little surprised by your knowledge of my personal affair. Quinn must be doing an exceptional job. Though your information about Faisal is incorrect. If you must know, Faisal is in love with Deidre and I am sure he will be marrying her in Qadira once she completes the tazkiah there– I can only hope, of course after the child is rescued. I wish I could accompany you on this mission but I am extremely occupied with my duties.”
“And have no desire to go Qadira and deal with those people. Tolerating Faisal and Deidre on a daily basis is exhausting and I am soooo looking forward to some tranquility.” Scarlet mutters to herself.
“However should you require additional assistance in Qadira, I would gladly go but some of our best men are on it so I do not foresee any problems that would jeopardize the rescue mission.” She continues.
The thought of Deidre not returning home comforts Scarlet and she smiles.
“So in the event that Deidre and Faisal decide to get married here, expect a third weddi…” Scarlet pauses immediately realizing Ildrim’s implication.
“Oh I see what you mean…” Scarlet frowns. “Well congratulations. Soletha will be most pleased.” She says with a half-smile.
“Indeed”, Ildrim says in agreement.
“And so will Sibrari.”
“Oh yes most definitely”
“Nothing pleases me more to be finally united and married to my one true love.” Ildrim says with contrived enthusiasm.
Scarlet gulps down the entire goblet and awkwardly replies, “That is wonderful to hear. And you must not fret about her condition, I will find a cure for her bitchiness…err… insanity.”
“That is excellent news, your grace. Though there is that matter regarding your leadership… you seem a little overwhelmed. Perhaps you should…”
Scarlet cuts him off while pouring herself another drink. “Pshh…nonsense.”
And she continues, “Yes, lately I grow weary of Deidre and her tireless efforts to wreck havoc in my dawn temple and in my personal life in order to disgrace me. Faisal past life in Qadira comes to haunt us: recently the assassination attempt on myself, and now the abduction of the child. I am still unclear why they took the child but it always seem that the signs point to Faisal. I also feel the pressures of freeing Fort Drelev from the tyranny of a mad baron who is backed by Gorum barbarian worshippers. Not to mention that half of our party including you just died during our exploration of Armag’s tomb. Oh and we must not forget we unleashed a demon in our castle killing many in his wake including our council members, Oleg and Keston, leading Sir Tragon and his knights to occupy Tuskany while impeding our trade and questioning our citizens’ loyalty.”
She pauses to gulp her wine and resumes, “But that is all in day’s work and I am very certain my days will improve.”
Suddenly, a realization struck Scarlet.
“Speaking of Keston and Oleg, their corpses are currently decomposing at the temple. If you will excuse me, Jonas was off today so I must attend to them. I plan on resurrecting them when my training is complete.”
Ildrim gives her a puzzled look. “Entering the temple at this hour? Very well I should take leave. Perhaps we should discuss your wedding date when I return from Qadira.”
Scarlet replies, “Oh, that will not be necessary. I will be attending the weddings alone.” She flashes him a fake smile and departs her chambers.
As she dashes down the hallway she ponders, “Awkward. Is he truly a fool? Why in the name of the Goddess would he marry an insane woman! What kind of relationship could they possibly have? I can accept for love but even then their relationship is quite odd. ”
A list of question rolls through Scarlet’s mind including why didn’t they get married before, how long were they estranged, why Ildrim wait so long to free her and why was it Scarlet that decided to free her instead of him.
But most importantly, “Why the sudden interest in my personal life and why did he propose to me if he planned on marrying her? Strange, he never showed the slightest interest in me. I do fancy him and would consider marrying him but definitely not under these circumstances. Perhaps he proposed out of sheer pity. Well I do not want his pity. Does he want to be ruler? Fine, he can be ruler and if he were even half the ruler as Talreth, he would be a great ruler… better than me. And I am certain the council will be delighted to have a crazy woman become Duchess. Well – Fine by me. I can return to High Priestess … Jonas will be relieved. ”
She shakes head. “Damn elves and their convoluted problems. I have my own problems to handle to even have the slightest concern for theirs.”