Raven, Chapter 10-c

Night was approaching and Lord Sarlik was most paranoid at night. Especially since the night he had caught that man prowling on his property. It probably wasn’t the best idea to have killed him, but it had angered him to catch a thief in his own gardens.

He remembered he had heard creaking from his roof. He had initially written them off as the roof settling and the manor being generations old. But then they had started to sound more like very soft foot falls. That had alarmed him and he had gotten out of bed. The nearest weapon he had at hand had been the knife, so he had taken it into the gardens to hunt down the intruder.

He hadn’t meant to kill him, but he had become enraged at the man’s audacity. His actions that night had cost him his daughter’s regard and respect. It hurt to think about, to remember, but he would protect his daughter and she would come to respect him again one day. One day she would see that his actions had been correct.

He was also painfully aware that it would also cost him his relationship with Raven. After all, it had been her adviser he had killed. He hadn’t known at first that it was the adviser, but the cold morning light had harshly shown him that. He would never be able to return to Raven for her excellent services. And Caidy would never be able to use her services, either.

That evening he sat in his study with three City Guards. They stood before him, feet apart and hands clasped behind their backs. They were three very solid men, men who were at his command until he felt safe in his home once again. He hadn’t intended on asking for guards, but after discovering that the man had broken into his little girl’s bedchamber while she slept in that very room had upset him. He was doing this to protect his daughter, not himself or the manor. He also couldn’t be sure that Raven wasn’t going to retaliate. She could be a vicious woman.

“You know your posts?” Lord Sarlik asked.

The middle man, his blond hair cut very short and his green eyes vivid and sharp, gave a curt nod. “We do. One of us will be posted outside of your daughter’s chambers while the other two roam the grounds.”

Sarlik nodded. “The orders remain the same tonight.”

“Very good, sir.”

With that, the three men marched from the study, leaving Lord Sarlik to his thoughts.

Caidy was safely ensconced in her rooms. She had spent much of the day out in the city, alone. He didn’t blame her for not wanting to be around him. After all, he had blood on his hands. He’d literally had blood on his hands when he had told her what had happened. As a matter of fact, after dealing with the City Guard, he had gone straight to his daughter’s rooms and had waited for her to awaken, letting the red blood dry and stain his hands. He didn’t think he would ever really be able to scrub it off his hands.

He did worry about her when she went out into the city alone, but it was daylight and there were people bustling around everywhere. He hoped she would be safe enough in the crowds. No one would try anything in broad daylight. Besides, the Thief Lords operated at night. At least, Raven always did.

Sarlik hadn’t told his daughter he had known the man he had killed. He recognized the man. He was always standing at Raven’s side, but he didn’t know the man’s name. Neither he nor Raven had ever offered it.

And the only reason why the man could have been in the gardens in the middle of the night would be because the Almis had hired Raven. The Thief Lord was working both sides of the feud. It was just a job to her, but it angered him. He and the Almis were using the same Thief Lord to get at each other. The thought didn’t sit well with him.

Now, not only did he respect Raven for what she did, he also feared her for what she did and what she could do to him and Caidy.

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