The first time I met Teryk, I was terrified. But he turned out to be quite pleased with me. He took me under his wing and finished my training himself. I quickly became the best little thief in his following.
-the writing on the cell wall
Caidy came out of a deep sleep slowly, clenching her eyes closed, as she always did to block out the incoming sunlight. Her back was killing her and she wasn’t sure why. She turned over onto her side, wondering why her bed felt so weird. There were lumps and dips, so unlike her smooth, soft mattress. And the light was all wrong. It should be falling onto her eyes, but her face was still in shadows.
She blinked her eyes open and looked around her father’s sitting room, perplexed. Slowly, she pushed herself into a sitting position, the blanket covering her falling to pool around her waist. She yawned and looked towards the doors to her father’s bedroom. It was still closed.
Almost in a rush, the previous night rushed back to her. She remembered why she had decided to sleep in her father’s chambers. She’d had a bad feeling that something was going to happen.
A streak of fear shot down her spine. She flung the blanket off of her legs and jumped up to run towards her father’s bedroom. She knocked on the door and didn’t wait for a reply. She had to make sure her father was all right!
Sarlik was rubbing his eyes and yawning in the darkness of his bedroom, the curtains still drawn across all the windows. His daughter was rushing towards him with a terrified expression on her face. That had him instantly awake and holding his arms out to catch her, just as he used to when she had been a little girl waking in the middle of the night from a bad dream.
Caidy flung her arms around her father’s neck and held on to him tightly. “Papa,” she whispered. “You’re all right.”
“Of course I am, child,” he said, his voice laced with humor. “Why wouldn’t I be?”
“I was so scared, Papa. I thought something bad was going to happen.”
“There now, Caidy. Everything is fine. Come now, child, remove your arms from my neck so I can get up.”
Caidy slowly withdrew from her father and settled down on the side of his bed. Sarlik stretched his arms over his head and yawned.
“How are you feeling this morning?” he asked.
Caidy cocked her head to one side and thought for a moment, her eyes shifting back and forth as she examined herself and how she was feeling. Sarlik waited patiently, combing his fingers through his bed tousled hair. He was hoping his daughter was feeling better so they didn’t have more nights and mornings like this. It was undignified for a father and his grown daughter to sleep in the same chambers.
“I’m feeling much better today, Papa. Can we go out for tea today?”
“I thought you were spending the day with some school friends,” he reminded her.
“Yes, of course I am. But we can still have tea together.”
He reached out and ruffled her hair, a smile on his lips. “Perhaps tomorrow, my dear. I have some business to attend to in the Market District today. You and your friends will have the run of the house today if you wish.”
“Thank you, Papa, but I think we’re going to go shopping and to Arel Gardens.”
With that, Caidy was back to herself and bounded out of her father’s bedroom to ready herself for her day with a school friend. Of course, she had never told her father about her best friend, Tyala Almi. And Tyala had never told her parents about her friendship with Caidy. As daughters of feuding parents, it just wouldn’t be right, but neither girl wanted to be a part of the feud. They had been secret friends for years and nothing was going to stop them from avoiding the feud, or ending it permanently.