They met at the Angelic Church, their cloaks covering them from head to toe. It was late afternoon and there were people milling around in the Town Square. Most wore their cloaks, but few had the hood up. They feared they looked suspicious, but, for the most part, everyone ignored them.
Caidy and Tyala had requested a private meeting with the Bishop. The old woman had agreed, and the girls were close to being late to their meeting. It had been harder than Caidy had thought to get out of the house.
Last night, someone had attempted to murder her father. She didn’t know who it might have been or why they were driven to kill him, but the attempt had occurred. Her father had stepped up the security around the manor. The City Guard took attempted murders quite seriously, apparently.
Caidy had been concerned about her father, but suspected it had occurred because of the feud. Tyala had agreed, and they were still in firm agreement that the feud had to end.
Tyala waited while Caidy paid her respects to her mother. Tyala, herself, said a silent prayer to the late Lady Sarlik. She remembered Caidy’s mother. She had only known the woman from a distance, but knew her friend’s mother to be a good woman with a golden heart. She had married into the feud and had disagreed with it, but her husband was master of the house, so she had followed him. She had, though, imparted her beliefs to Caidy, and now the two girls were working hard to end the feud.
“Ready?” Caidy whispered as she rejoined her friend.
Tyala nodded and they hurried down a narrow hallway towards the Bishop’s meeting room. Their footsteps echoed as they hurried along, but they didn’t really care. The further they went, the further away they came from the sanctum. There was no one here to see them and wonder at them.
They were a little out of breath by the time they burst into the meeting room. But the Bishop only smiled in welcome at their rude entrance and bid them enter and approach her.
The meeting room was a rather small chamber with a single window to light the room. There was a small table amid a cluster of chairs. Dainty cookies and a tea tray sat upon the table and the Bishop served each girl as they took a seat before her.
“What ails you, my children?” the Bishop asked softly.
“You know about our families’ feud,” Caidy began, being the braver of the two.
The Bishop nodded. “Yes. I am well aware of it from what I hear and what you both have told me. Have you made up your minds?”
Tyala and Caidy exchanged looks before Caidy said, “We’re going to run away. Tyala’s aunt lives in another city. She wants nothing to do with the feud, too. I think we would be safe there.”
The Bishop folded her hands on her lap and looked from girl to girl. “In time, this feud will end. I fear it will be in a very unexpected way, but the important thing is that you have made a decision.”
“But is it the right one?” Tyala asked nervously, scrunching up her cloak in her hands and wringing it with her sweaty hands.
“I can’t tell you that. You know what is right and wrong. You know what is best for you. It could mean running away or it could mean staying and standing your ground. I can’t make your choice for you. I can only help you come to a choice.”
Caidy and Tyala traded looks again. They had hoped the Bishop would tell them their plan was the right one. Instead, they were being asked to determine for themselves what was the right course of action.
“What do you think?” Caidy asked her friend, her voice quiet, but not so quiet the Bishop couldn’t hear.
“I still say we leave,” Tyala said, dropping her eyes to her nervous, shaking hands. “My aunt wouldn’t send us back here. She would take care of us. Besides, shouldn’t we be allowed to choose for ourselves whether or not we want to be involved in a feud?”
Caidy nodded in agreement. “I would think so. My father makes me think I don’t have a choice, but I know I do. This feud is getting out of hand. My father was almost killed last night because of this feud. I don’t want my life to be similarly endangered. I’m with you, Tyala. We have to leave.”
Both girls swung their gazes to the Bishop, but she appeared to be smiling in her sleep.
Tyala leaned over to her friend, her eyes wide. “She hasn’t died, has she?” she whispered.
Caidy shrugged, her face turning ashen.
Abruptly, the Bishop gave a small laugh. “You have made your choice, girls. Now go carry it out and live with whatever consequences and rewards that choice brings to you.”
Thoroughly spooked, the girls had never left the Angelic Church faster.