Orb's Year 941
Maybe Irving was right. Maybe she'd wind up just like her mother - bitter and alone.
Just thinking about Irving made her angry, though. She couldn't believe he'd lied to her - telling her that Henry hated her for turning down his promise ring.
Although, maybe that wasn't a lie...
Maybe Henry did hate her...
"Thank you for coming, Henry," she said softly, catching his attention.
Henry whirled around, nervously rubbing his hands together. "Fatima!" For a moment he seemed as eager to drink in the sight of her as she had been, but then slowly his eyes shuttered. "Of course I came. Your letter said you needed to speak with me."
Henry huffed. "Fine. Spit it out already!"
"Irving lied!" Fatima blurted. At Henry's confused look, she added, "He said that he'd told you that we were together, but we weren't! He told me that you didn't want to see me again because I... because I couldn't marry you...
Henry didn't need to be reminded of that day!
She continued, "But I just thought we were friends... at least until he tried to kiss me." Fatima made a face at the memory.
Fatima helplessly shrugged. "I don't know, Henry. I'm so sorry!" She reached out to touch his shoulder, but he pulled back.
Henry wasn't ready to be consoled right now. He was violently angry. A hardened look came into his eye. "Just like he lied to the Royale Guard about me being the Thief. The lying no-good..."
Abbess Farrah blanched. "Not forever. I just need to check in on my sister and her family. I received an unreadable letter from my niece Amber. I'm worried..."
Abbess Belinda frowned. "It's never been done before, though! Once you come to the Abbey and choose the Path of Enlightenment, you are not supposed to walk away!"
In the end, Abbess Belinda was not able to sway her abbess to good sense and the young woman hurried to the Carpenter's shack.
Orb's Year 942
As much as it pained her to make her decision, she knew that she could not allow Abbess Farrah to return to the Abbey.
Faelyn made a sound of distress, "That's a shame Haydin! Think of all the lives that could be saved!"
Haydin shook his head wearily, "I know. But, I find that there are only so many hours to devote to my studies and Head Abbess Belinda is very strict regarding our daily devotionals. Especially since Abbess Farrah left..."
As Haydin headed inside, he couldn't help but wish he had a work-station set up much like he'd had at home! Perhaps Abbess Belinda would allow him to dabble in the science in his free time...
Orb's Year 943
"I'm surprised you still have Abbess Farrah's portrait hanging," Haydin said curiously. "Didn't you make the decision that she would not be allowed to return?"
Belinda looked at the portrait hanging on the wall, seemingly mocking the Abbey's perfect record. "Yes, well. She was an Abbess for however short a time period..."
Everyone took their seats.
Belinda looked confused, "To what end?" she asked.
"No! Dear boy! Some things are beyond the realm of science and logic! The Celestial Orb transcends the physical plane!"
But Belinda shook her head firmly. "No. And that is the end of the matter. It is better to apply your focus to your daily devotionals and practice your Elements."
Haydin nodded his acceptance of her decision.
"And now, for other news! We have two new recruits we will be training!"
Brock nodded his agreement nervously. They'd been waiting in the room for twenty minutes and the Head Abbess had not yet made an appearance.
"Oh my!" Faith said, startled.
"Now, you shall read through this manual left by the Head Abbess Abigail. It should explain everything you need to understand about walking the Path of Enlightenment. You will have to be familiar with all of her devotionals before you become a future abbess or abbot!"
Orb's Year 944
At the sound of the metal ringing against the stone floor, all the cats nervously fled.
Cautiously, the two apprentices came forward as they were instructed.
And there was only one thing left to be done.
Abbess Belinda pulled the young woman into her arms and tried to console her as best she could. "Now tell me everything..." she said gently.