Raven, Chapter 3-c

Speaking to Raven had taken less time than he had thought it would. He was back home before he knew it, but wasn’t yet ready for bed. Instead, he wanted to see Caidy, make sure she was safe and sleeping soundly. As his daughter grew older, he worried more about her. She would be out in the world on her own in a few years unless he married her off, but he wasn’t ready to lose his little girl like that just yet. He also hadn’t yet found a suitable husband for her.

He stood in the doorway to her bed chamber, watching as she slept with haunted eyes. Her hair was spread over her stark white pillows and she had the light green quilt pulled up to her chin. She was lying on her side, her mouth open, snoring softly. She looked like a little angel. An angel he wanted to protect.

More than anything, he wanted his family’s feud with the Almis to end, but there was too much pain. It had started when the Galtons had murdered his great-grandfather. They had claimed he had scorned their daughter’s hand in marriage and had him killed. In retaliation, the Galton daughter had been killed. Nyana and Kaida were the only two Galtons left now and, now that Nyana was married, Kaida had claimed the Galton home and name, but not the feud. The law was protecting her from the feud and had granted her the family’s name and ancestral home, but she had chosen to make her physical home in Mercaido City. If she married, her husband would have to take the Galton name.

Nyana had become relentless in her pursuit of the feud. He knew she had wanted to end it in her youth, when she had been young and idealistic, but her parents had passed it on to her. Forced was probably more like it. He didn’t know what had made her so zealous in wanting to destroy his family, but she was and there was nothing he could do to stop it. She was probably like him, feeling impelled to continue something that had defined their families and social interactions for generations. Without it, they would be like floundering fish washed up on the Traiden Shore.

And unless this feud ended soon, it would be up to Caidy to continue. But she was too sweet and loving. Just like her mother. He didn’t think she would stand a chance against the Almi children. He would have to somehow end the feud himself, but he feared losing the definition to his life that it provided. He had lived and breathed the feud for too long. It was too late to stop it, he realized. He couldn’t do it, not even for his child.

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