Monday, November 21, 2011


What I liked:

How we added more characters and how the characters were relatable and how I hated half of them and loved the other half. I think it's good that not all f them are bland, like bland potato salad.

Also, the fact that there was so much to work with and so much more we CAN work about.

What I disliked/ What we can work on:

1. Evening things out, some things do not flow well.
2. What are we going to do with Taliss?
3. Yeah. Let's edit.

Heh..... - Just Ella.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Writing Challenges No. 1

I have a challenge I think you'll really like, Mars, but first I want to hear what you think of our first draft of Rudolph and Isadora. So my first challenge is to write a thoughts and responses post like the one I wrote on Saturday. When you publish that, you may start a new writing challenge, and both you and I will have 72 hours to complete it.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Draft One Thoughts and Responses (Pica)

Draft One of Rudolph and Isadora is finally done, after about eight months. Although both Mars (formerly The Politick) and I are ecstatic to have a finished draft, there's quite a but or revising that still must be done. We'll keep you updated on the changes we make, and hopefully will continue to post newly added or updated segments from the story. For now, both Mars and I will post our thoughts about the first draft. Starting on Monday, will will take turns issuing each other writing challenges while we do our preliminary edits. We'll do our best to keep The Bookbird and the Wordgirl running even though we've finished our story - although in a way, we've only just begun.

The Good Parts
  • I like our overall outline, although there are certainly parts that need fixing.
  • I like the characters we have - I'd love to develop them deeper.
  • Some parts are written really well, I want to keep and develop those.

The Less-Good Parts
  • Lots of inconsistency - we have to go through and make sure all of our facts are straight.
  • I kind of want to get rid of Taliss - other than the dragon, there is no other mention of magic. Unless, maybe we can make one of the characters magic users... I'm thinking Alisen, or maybe Lilia.
  • I'd like to fill in a lot of the plot gaps - there needs to be more development in all of the character relations, and Quin and Alisen don't really have stated backstories.
  • Um... Ros? That whole subplot doesn't make any sense to me.

What do you think of our first draft?

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Rudolph and Isadora, Part 100 – THE END

That night, the moon was full. Darkness settled on the palace like a gentle blanket. Fireflies flew through moonlit fields, and roses bloomed pale and full. A gentle breeze warmed the grounds, smelling like fresh grass and summertime.
     Isadora stepped out onto her balcony, letting the breeze play with the ends of her golden hair and the hem of her silver skirt. She knew Julien was inside, waiting for her. After that first awful night, he had changed completely. He now waited for her. He let her begin their tentative kisses. Her let her decide how far apart they slept in the enormous bed that stood in their room. She glanced back at him, sitting in a large armchair by the fire, reading a book. She liked him best at times like these, when he seemed ungaurded, relaxed, unprincely. He looked up, as if feeling her gaze, and smiled at her in that way of his, the one that had first loosened her heart when it was aching for Quin, the one that revealed his kindness, the one that seemed to say I'll still love you, no matter who you chose, all those months ago.
     "Julien?" she asked, stepping back into the bedroom. "Would you... would you like to go on a walk with me?"
     Standing up and gently taking her hand, he replied, "Of course. I'd love to, Isadora."
     They walked hand in hand through the long corridors out into the garden. Under the star-strewn sky, Isadora and Julien wandered through mazes of flowers, talking softly. Finally, Isadora stopped and faced her husband.
     "Julien, I just wanted to apologize. I'm... I'm so sorry."
     "What for?" he asked.
     "I've been awful to you in the past months. And so... I just wanted to apologize. And perhaps make it up to you somehow."
    "Oh Isadora - my Isadora -" Julien moved to embrace her, but before her could, she rose to her tiptoes and pressed her lips against his. As she pulled away, her cheeks colored, but she took Julien's hands in her own.
     "I love you, Julien."
     Julien opened his mouth as if to respond, but there was nothing more to say. Isadora put her arms around him and said, "I'll meet you inside in a moment, alright?"
     Julien nodded and walked back to the castle. Isadora stood for a moment in the garden, then turned and walked the other direction. She needed a moment to sort out her own feelings. A warm feeling in her chest rose to her throat, making her want to laugh and cry at the same time. She walked around the outskirts of the garden on her way back to the castle, gazing at the open fields surrounding her. She finally reached the main road again, and went to join Julien, but as she walked back, she saw a silhouette near the stables, dark against the full moon. A new stableboy, one whose silhouette made her think of the forest, homemade soup, and lost love.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Post 99

Two months later....

Isadora sat beside Julien at the dining table, her mother and father at the head, tucking into the feast. Julien did not attempt to converse with his wife, for in the last couple of weeks he had noticed her frigidity towards him. It had begun shortly after the wedding, he noticed. Or possibly she despised him all along. Either way, she had had to marry him, because it had been his prize for brining her home after her escape with the stableboy.
And so, Julien was very surprised when Isadora weaved her arm through his as the last course was being taken away by the servants, and the dessert was being carted in. It was a very casual gesture between a husband and wife, but between Julien and Isadora, it was most rare.
In truth, Isadora had begun to warm up to Julien. She had married him against her wishes, for she had loved another, but now that it had been five months since her return, and five months of not seeing Quin, she had decided to make the most of the situation, or in other words, try and be happy.
Isadora took her husband's arm in her own and tangled their fingers together. Julien looked at her with surprise, then his face grew gentle and he gave her hand a slight squeeze.

This isn't so bad, Isadora mused, he is handsome, and he is my husband. Mother and father would never allow me to separate from him, and my heart is no longer shrouded by my love for Quin. I do miss him, and I miss Rudolph as well. But I must learn to love Julien. I must be happy, or I'll... I'll run off again. i won't be able to stand it.

That night Isadora kissed Julien for the first time. In reality, it was the second time they kissed, for the first was at the wedding. But there, Isadora's heart had beat for another, and she had not meant the kiss. Now though, she put effort into it. Mental effort. She really tried to make herself believe she loved Julien.

Julien, sho had been spotted in the company of several young women in the past few months - since he received no love from his wife - returned the kiss with the same urgency, for he wanted to save his marriage. He had fell for Isadora the moment he had seen her, and though she had stayed a distance from him, he never gave up the feeling.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Post ZERO and 1/2

I can't right this next to last post. Not now. I need time. I don't know what to do with SOMEONE. Must tie up loose ends.

Enjoy this in meantime:
Things people have typed into google that led them to this blog.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011


Because there are only two posts left, I need time to think about this. My post will be for tomorrow.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Rudolph and Isadora, Part 98

The day of the wedding dawned, gray and wet, but no longer dripping rain from the heavy clouds that surrounded the castle. Isadora cracked open her eyelids, rose, and stretched. She had not been awoken by her lady-in-waiting pulling the curtains back from the grand windows that looked down upon the courtyard and from the glass door that led to her balcony, but although the room was still dim, she knew she could not fall back asleep. Today was the day. As her thoughts began to race, she felt the now-familiar butterflies that seemed to constantly rest in the pit of her stomach begin to wake. She tugged on the silk rope by her bed to call the ladies-in-waiting to her room. As she waited for them, she ran her finger down the beautiful white dress she was to wear that afternoon. It was lovelier than anything she had ever worn before, yet she hesitated to put it on. At the last moment, she pushed the dress away and took out a plain dress the color of a summer sky. The ladies-in-waiting entered and began to arrange her hair and set out the wedding dress, but she refused to let them prepare her for the afternoon. As she slipped into the blue dress instead, she looked out the window, determined to have one last morning to herself.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Part 97

Isadora shrugged out of her formal evening gown. The smooth silk pooled around her feet, and she had to smile, remembering the feeling of the rough burlap Julien had made her wear. Julien. She was to marry the man the next day. A man who had made her wear burlap, had made her leave her friends. 
She tired not to sob, distracting herself by sifting through her dresser for her night clothes. She dressed herself in a thin cotton nightgown before moving over to sit once again on the stone ledge by the window. It was still raining, and Isadora watched as her face, mirrored on the dark glass, began to cry. Her tears became one with the falling rain, and it was beautiful to her. She smiled again, but it was a sad smile. And she cried, scared that she would never smile again like she had with Quin, or with Rudolph so long ago. 

That evening she had dined with the entire royal family. It was necessary, for they would all be present the following day at the wedding, and they were all curious to see who the groom would be, for the royal family was a jealous one, always wanting to be next in line for the most power. Isadora, the only child of her parents, would be Queen someday. And Julien would be King. Isadora shivered then, and now, when she found out and realized Julien would have all that power. And they would have to have children. She dreaded the thought and pushed it from her mind as always.

Dinner had been steamed lamb with vegetables, whole pigs roasted on spits with sliced oranges, and for dessert there were pies the size of wagon wheels, and candied strawberries for the children. 

"Why is it, that after eating the most wonderful foods in the kingdom tonight, I crave Quin's homemade soup?"  Isadora asked her reflection. It stared back, tears staining the cheeks.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Rudolph and Isadora, Part 96

The king had accepted her bargain and she had docilely accepted her betrothal. She went about her daily life, but it was like putting thin gauze over a stab to the heart. She knew she had made the right decision - she couldn't have let Rudolph be locked away - yet she knew she would never be happy as Julien's wife.


Across the rain-soaked grounds of the palace, through the grand avenues of the capital, past the bustling city, Rudolph and Alisen lived on the outskirts of town. They were not yet married, nor really settled down, but they neighbors winked when they saw the girl their Rudolph had picked up on his travels, and the rumors said that Rudolph was going to ask the girl to marry him any day – if she didn't ask him first. Although he was prone to staring out the window on some days, he was happy with Alisen, and beginning to see the rest of his life fall into place. He was eighteen, he had a wonderful girl whom he was still in love with, and he was happy. It was time to let the princess go.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Part 95

Three Months Later...

Isadora stood in her room. The walls were covered in intricate tapestries and the floor was a cold white marble. A single dark wood bed stood in the center of the room, gentle curves of white fabric swaddling the bed-poles. There were two rooms like this to the door on her left, filled with clothes and books instead of a bed. But isadora remained in this room, unmoving.
Finally she moved over to the sole window in the room, a tall peaked window that was common along the castle walls. She sat on the stone ledge beside the window and looked out into the rain.
Three months had passed since she had kissed Quin.
Three months had passed since she had been taken from him.
In one day she would be the bride to a man she did not love.

"Darling! You worried us!" Was what Isadora's mother, Queen Isabella, said upon Isadora's return by Julien. Isadora was impressed that her mother had been able to fake happiness. Of course, when Julien had left, Queen Isabella had turned on her daughter with such a rage, Isadora had to step back serveral feet. She caught a few words such as, "...laughing-stock!" and "How could you!" and "You're lucky your father is visiting in the North!".
Isadora did agree on the last point, for her father's temper surpassed that of her mothers. But it wasn't so much the anger of her father that scared her, but his ways of getting back at people.
And so, when he arrived back to the palace three days after her return, and was did speak once to her, Isadora knew something was going to happen.
Sure enough, a month ago, King Ji said to her, "You are to be married in a fortnight. Go to the seamstress and be fitted for a gown." Isadora had been shocked out of her mind. Although the shock lessened and turned to annoyance when she discovered it was Lord Julien who wished for her hand, and had asked for it instead of the great amount of wealth that was to be his reward for her 'capture'.

So now, Isadora watched the rain and dreaded the next day, when she would be tied to a man who she had know for a day, a man she did not love.  She loved Quin. She knew she loved Quin. And that day, that day three months ago was when she found that he loved her as well.
Ah well, she thought, trying to console herself, at least I found out before...I left. At least Rudolph gets to be happy. Of course mother and father did not want him back at the castle, and of course they would have kept him in the dungeon, thrown all the blame on him. But... they didn't because of me. 

Isadora pictured her father again, telling her about the proposal she was to accept.
"Now, Isadora. You will marry him. he is a lord, he is respected, and he did bring you back. He has every right to you." Isadora had felt furious when he had said this.
"No one has a right to me except those whom I choose." She had retorted, icily. It made her father heat up.
"Ah, right. Of course. Of course, how could I forget how you let that filthy stable-boy put his hands all over you. Yes, yes. You have very high standards when it comes to men. No matter, he will be locked away soon forever."
"No, father! Do not punish him! It wasn't his fault!"
"You say he wasn't to blame?"
"No. He was not to blame. It as all me. Please, let him go, back to the woods."
"I don't bargain, daughter."
"But it is a good bargain. You set him free and I will marry Lord Julien, without any complaint."

Thursday, October 20, 2011


Pica, I have plans for EPIC post, will write it 2moro. Hang in there, skipper.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Rudolph and Isadora, Part 94

Isadora sunk her head onto Quin's shoulder and let herself be held in his firm arms, blissfully drowning out the world in her own happiness. She was with Quin again, and he was alright, and Rudolph was alive - although she tried not to think much of Rudolph - and Quin loved her, and Quin had kissed her and she was in love with him, in love with the world.
     But then she was ripped from her bliss by a rough hand that tore her from Quin's arms and threw her onto a horse. Jumping up behind her, the royal guard spurred the horse on, toward the cold and forbidding palace where all emotion was drained and restrained to subtle glances and tilts of a fan, away from Quin, away from love.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Part 93

And then she was crying. Tears falling like mad, coating her face. She couldn't stop. She didn't know if she  was too happy, or sad. She didn't understand anything about her emotions at that point. She just stood and cried.
And then she was smothered by someone. Someone was holding her. Hugging her. She didn't know who it was but she held on with all her strength.
Finally, and what seemed like hours later, Isadora opened her eyes, sticky with salt, and looked straight into Quin's face.
She couldn't help it. She smiled, and then kissed him. She was conscious that Rudolph was somewhere near, and her heart twisted painfully with the thought of his reaction. But she really felt like she couldn't help what she did. She pressed her mouth against Quin's and they became one.
There was a commotion, the woman who had run out in front of the horses had been caught up with by the group running behind her, and she was pinned down. Quin glanced over at one point, worried. But then he turned back to Isadora and wrapped his arms around her so tight, as if he really were trying to make them into one being.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Rudolph and Isadora, Part 92

Isadora gasped as she saw the large group round the corner. If she'd had time to register what was happening she would have been confused, but as it was, she felt only terror. The driver had reacted quickly enough to stop the horses from running over the madwoman in the middle of the road, but she was still running forward. Isadora threw open the door to the carriage and jumped out, realizing that although the woman was in the middle of the road, it was safe for her than in the carriage, as the horses were startled and quickly becoming frenzied by the large group running toward them.
     She got safely out of the way of both the carriage and the horses, and looked up. Immediately, she felt as if a large weight had been placed on her chest. Quin and Rudolph were both in front of her, running side by side at the head of the group. Rudolph was white with shock, and Quin was bleeding from the shoulder. They appeared not to notice her, trying to catch the woman still running down the road, cackling madly.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Part 91

While Isadora floated in a hazy cloud of remembrance of the great big impersonal castle she grew up in, Quin, Arin, Daril, Rudolph, and Lilia spewed worry from their very pores as they gazed down at Ros, who remained huddled on the floor. She said nothing, not even bastard.
Then, all of a sudden, just as Allisen began making her way downstairs due to the curiosity she had at the commotion, Ros took off, sprinting, out of the house. The five worried people downstairs took off after her, shouting after her. Allisen followed as well, for she did not like the idea of being left out of anything, and also, because she didn't want to be without Rudolph.
The six, seven with Ros included, leading the way, hurried down the dirt path towards the city. There were all panting, all out of shape.
It was then that the carriage appeared, turning at a bend in the road. Isadora noticed the group a moment before the driver. He pulled the reins and the horses neighed and threw their front hooves into the air.

Rudolph and Isadora, Part 90

The door was roughly opened by one of the guards and Isadora was led from the room, eyes downcast and blurring. The guards grip was firm without being harsh, but Isadora shuttered as Julien walked behind her. She did not speak, but Julien filled the silence himself.
     "Didn't wanna do this, y'know? Turning you in... nah, it's not... not right. But we can't have a missing princess, right?" He chuckled a bit, and continued. "An' I felt kind of bad telling the royals I found you, but then, y'know, it got easier after a few glasses." Julien rambled on, and Isadora eventually tuned him out, focusing intead on the sound of the guards boots, Julien's dress shoes, and her own small feet, first on the marble of the hallways, then down the gravel path to the waiting carriage.
     "In you get," one of the guards said, but Isadora did not move.
     "If my host -" she glared at him "- finds it permissible, I will ride, thank you."
     "Ride... yes, you can ride. Get in," Isadora stared at him, unsure of his meaning, until he pointed at the other guard. "The princess is going to ride. Get in the carriage."
     "Your lordship, I do not think that is advisable," the guard ventured.
     "Yes, yes. 'Kay, then. Princess, in the carriage for you." He stumbled, then said, "You know, I think I'll stay here for now. I seem a bit hazy. Why don't I catch up with you all tomorrow?" He bowed to Isadora, then to the guards, and said, "Princess, perhaps a goodbye kiss before your departure?" He stepped forward but Isadora spun on her heel, and, relieved not to be sharing a carriage with the lord, sat down and closed the door firmly. She rapped on the carriage roof, signaling to begin driving. As the wheels started to turn, she was at once apprehensive and resigned. She was going home.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Part 89

Arin watched as Ros came up sprinting from the front of the house and barged through the front door. She was a mess, hair like cobwebs, mad gleam in her eyes. She cackled, showing pointed teeth. 
Arin had called out to Lilia when he saw her approaching, he had recognized her from a distance: her familiar shape coming towards the house. Now though, he was terrified out of his mind and he howled for his sister. 
Lilia, paused midway on the staircase, turned slowly to look at her aunt. She was white, ghostly white as she came down slowly and stood beside Arin, who had collapsed onto the floor.
By this time, Rudolph and Quin were racing into the house, for they had heard shouting. Rudolph froze in the threshold, clutching it with a death grip, sagging slightly against it.
Ros was quite a sight, with her wild face, wild hair, and torn clothes. She spooked everyone. Everyone that is except Quin. Quin, who at long last laid eyes on his mother. 
He rushed to her, held her in his arms, laughed, cried. He sang with happiness.  But when she bit him hard on the shoulder, he retreated, and the veil that had lowered over his eyes upon seeing his mother once again was snatched away and he stood in speechless pain, clutching his shoulder, over the feral woman. 
"What has happened to you, mother?" He asked quietly. So quietly. Her eyes snapped to attention towards his and she drank him in. Her son. She did not recognize him. 
"Bastard. Bastard." She moaned. 
Quin was in agony, wanting to help her, but fearing what she might to do him next. He settled on squatting beside her.
Lilia, Arin, and Rudolph remained frozen. That's when Daril entered, basket in his strong hands, basket holding crockery jars full of food, jars that were smashed to slivers when he saw the love of his life in the house.
"Ros?" He whimpered. He moved closer to her, wrapped his arms around him
"Ros, oh Ros, sweetheart. I thought I had lost you. I...I was so scared I had lost you..." He sobbed into her ripped clothes.
Quin was a bit peeved, jealous that his long lost mother let Daril hug her and not her own son. And so, when Ros bit Daril on the hand, drawing blood, Quin couldn't help but feel a bit better.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Rudolph and Isadora, Part 88

From the kitchen window, Lilia watched the the two young men stare at each other. She felt bad for her little cousin, who was so obviously in love with the girl Isadora. She had met him only when he had been very young, at some family gathering or another, but her aunt Ros had stayed with her and Arin often. She caught Alisen's eye and waved her in, leaving the boys to settle their differences outside. There was nothing she could do to help them. Alisen, on the other had, could use a little cheering up.
     "Hello, Alisen," she said with a slight smile. "Would you like to help me--" She broke off as she saw Alisen's stormy look. "Alisen?"
     "Hello, Lilia." Alisen grumbled. "Care to see the fireworks?" She guestured toward the window. "Is that pathetic princess all they care about? Honestly." She threw herself into a chair, and stood up almost immediately. "I can't stand this," she said, and walked out of the kitchen toward the rest of the house. Lilia was left, stunned. She took one last glance at the boys, decided they'd be fine without her interference, and left to follow Alisen. When she reached the other side of the small house, she turned to go up the stairs when she heard Arin's shout.
     "Lilia! Lilia! It's Aunt Ros!"

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Part 87

Isadora stood, not understanding. She forced her mouth to open, to speak.
Julien stepped through the threshold, swaying a bit from his heavy drinking. He nodded.
"Yeah. G-g-g-oing home..palace..p-p-rincess in p-palace." He tried to take hold of her arm, but she side-stepped him. She didn't meet to anger him, but she did not feel comfortable being touched by a drunkard. Nonetheless, he was obviously offended, for he shouted behind him for the maids to get Isadora ready. They scurried in, timid with heads ducked. They pulled from the closet thick riding clothes and laid them out on the bed. Then they stood beside the bed and waited for the men to leave so they could dress Isadora.
Julien caught on a few moments later, after some sauntering about. He swayed out, followed by the guards.

Isadora stood rigid as the maids stripped her and replaced the soft sleeping clothes with the clothes that felt like burlap, clothes she felt she could not breathe in. They buckled on her boots and pulled her hair back into a tight bun. Her eyes teared from the sting of her hair being pulled. That was all it took. She began crying, really crying. And her tears embarrassed the maids, who had finished dressing her and making the bed. The bed they had just pulled the covers back for her on.
They hurried out, not even glancing back at her shaking form.

Isadora collapsed onto the bed, feeling only a momentary flicker of guilt for rumpling up the bed-sheets again. She didn't want to leave. Going back home meant she would not be able to return to the woods, to the small house, to Quin. And to Rudolph, she hastily reminded herself.

But, now that she was at the end of her journey, her escape; now that they was no more that she felt she could possibly do to get out of returning home, she could let herself really understand her emotions, her feelings for the two boys. Now she let herself accept that her love for Rudolph was whole, but different from that of Quin. She felt an attachment to Quin, so much so that she knew as soon as she was once again reunited with her cold large bedroom back in the palace and her cold hard parents, she would break.

There was a loud bang on the door and Isadora sat up, head spinning. She could hear Julien's voice calling out, "P-p-princess... time to go home.. t-time to leave."

Monday, October 10, 2011

Rudolph and Isadora, Part 86

     "So," Julien said, with a twinkle in his sapphire eyes, "why don't you tell me about your friends in Tennur? Your mind is on them already, and I'd love to hear about your adventures of late."
     No longer restricted to talking about the pleasant weather and nodding as Julien told her of all the events she had missed while she had been absent from court, Isadora gladly began to tell her host of Quin and Jodra. She told of evenings together in the small house and days exploring the surrounding forest with her kind, dark-eyed friend at her side. She was careful not to mention how she had come to meet Quin in the first place, focusing only on the good times she'd had in his company. She even told about the day in the city, and Lilia's house. She stopped just short of telling Julien about Quin's words to her the night before he left. I love... you, he had said. Isadora clutched those words to her heart as she recounted her days with the boy who loved her.
     Meanwhile, the food came and went, and Isadrora picked lightly; the wine was refilled again and again, and Julien drank heavily. Finally, when the windows outside had been to dark to see through for some time, Julien rose, and swaying only slightly, led her to her room.
     Isadora undressed without the help of the maids from earlier in the afternoon, and changed into a nightdress, preparing for bed. As she lifted the luxurious covers from the large bed, there was a knock at the door. Puzzled but not concerned, she wrapped a dressing gown around her nightgown-clad frame and opened the door. On the other side stood two heavyset guards in royal uniform. Julien stood behind them.
     "Evening, Majesty," one of the guards said. "We're here to escort you home."

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Part 85

Quin trampled roots and undergrowth as he made his way back to the house. He dreaded talking to Rudolph about his life with Isadora, so he took his time. Alisen, on the other hand, was someone he was excited to talk with. Although he shared his heart with Isadora, there was a small warm place there for Alisen. Ever since he had first seen her, together with Rudolph, the warm place had persisted.
It was her eyes, it must have been. There were lovely, like a cat's. There were a bit narrowed, and brilliantly blue, with a small lining of tiger-orange. Altogether they shimmered and together with her long black lashes and tan face framed with shoulder-length dark hair, she was beautiful.
Isadora was pretty also. Not the kind of beautiful Alisen was, more resigned, delicate. And it was her voice, like a song, that was so attractive about her. When she spoke, everything else fell away in silence, peeled off the earth.

Quin, caught up in his remembrance, suddenly found himself standing before the house, where Rudolph and Alisen could be seen huddled together on the porch. Seeing him standing there, they quickly rose, but did not separate.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Rudolph and Isadora, Part 84

That evening, Isadora dined with Julien in the grand dining room at the Bellon estate. They sat facing each other on either side of a polished wooden table that stretched from one side of the room to the other. She was wearing a borrowed gown, not nearly as fine as those she'd worn in the palace, but worlds nicer than her clothing of late. As she and Julien chatted across the table, servants brought course after course to the table. She had instinctively returned to her castle manners, and acted as she had as a princess rather than a wandering girl in the forest. Daintily lifting a piece of beef stew to her lips, she suddenly thought of Quin, of how she might have had a nearly identical dish curled up next to him in front of the fire in his cozy home in the woods near Tennur. Jodra would join them for a time, and when she left, Quin and she would talk for hours, and she would gaze into the chocolate depths of his eyes, willing him to lean over and--
     She shook her head and returned to the conversation at hand. Julien was looking at her, having just asked a question that he obviously expected an answer to. After a moment he said, "Your majesty seems a little bit distracted tonight. Are you thinking about your friend from Tennur?"
     "Yes." She smiled softly. "Well - no. A different friend from Tennur." She laughed a little, and said, "I hope he's okay. But it is nice to be here. I must thank you for your kindness."
     Julien, smiling back at her, said, "It is no trouble at all," and lifted his glass to her before draining his wine.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Part 83

Quin had walked a long ways into the woods before he realized he had to turn around and go back to the house. He had been running on his adrenaline and now, as the sun peaked the sky, he was conscious of his thirst, his hunger, and the uncomfortable feeling of his heavy cloak of his warm back.
He didn't know what he had been thinking, just leaving like that. Now only he must have worried everyone, he had acted like a total idiot. He had left with no food, no water...nothing.

He sighed, switched his cloak from his back to over his shoulder, and headed back.
He would need to talk to Rudolph, and to Alisen. It would clear his head, he knew. He needed to get the full story of Isadora out of Rudolph, so that he could try to find her. And from Alisen, he needed to know how much the kiss he had witnessed really meant. So that when he did go out to find Isadora, he would know his search, if he succeed, would not have been in vain.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Rudolph and Isadora, Part 82

The princess stepped onto the brightly tiled and waxed floor of Julien's estate, finally feeling completely at ease. It was a feeling, she realized, that she had been searching for for many weeks.
     Julien gestured to the servant taking his coat and said, "Show her Highness to her room. Make sure she is properly cared for." He then turned to Isadora, gave a deep and flourished bow, and said with a sparkle in his eyes, "until dinner, your Majesty."
     After turning through the maze of corridors for some time, the servant led Isadora through a large, carved, wooden door. He turned to Isadora and said in a small, reedy voice, "Several maids will be here shortly to assist you, Majesty." He bowed and walked out of the room, leaving Isadora to gratefully rush to the bed and collapse upon it, unmoving, until the ladies-in-waiting came to draw her bath.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Part 81

Quin was madder than ever as he pounded up the staires to his room, ignoring the shouts that asked what he was doing. He grabbed his cloak from the peg in his room and exited through the back of the house.
Tramping through morning grass he felt his anger soften a bit into annoyance. He was annoyed at Rudolph, but he didn't really understans why. Afterall, now there would be no problem in having Isadora for his own.
But this thought plauged him, made him feel miserable, and he understood his anger and his annoyance in that moment: he did not want Isadora to be hurt, and although he would have sworn at that moment that she had feelings for him, he also knew she felt love towards Rudolph. And when she found out that he was wih another girl, she would be sad no doubt... devastated even.
And so, as Quin strode on, he decided that no matter what happened, be would be there for her always in any way she needed him.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Rudolph and Isadora, Part 80

Quin woke a short time later to the sound of a scuffle outside. He groggily made his way downstairs to join the others for breakfast. She and Arin were talking quietly in a corner of the kitchen, but they each tensed and stopped talking as he entered.
     "Morning," he greeted them as he plopped into a wooden chair by the breakfast table. As he grabbed a piece of bread, he noticed his cousins glancing out the window repeatedly. Eventually they came to sit by him, but Lilia kept looking back at it.
     "What are your plans for today?" Arin asked in an attempt at light conversation. Quin shrugged.
     "All my plans have come to nothing," he said. "I suppose I'll move on this afternoon, perhaps ask around at some other towns. Why do you ask?" Arin, distracted, seemed not to notice the question. "Have either of you heard about Isadora?" Quin asked after a moment. He wasn't able to stop her from invading his thoughts. Although he'd resolved not to look for her, he had to ask.
     "No. There's been no news," Lilia said lightly, resting a hand on his. "No one knows where she went." Quin stood up, frustrated, and strode to the window himself - just in time to see Rudolph lean over Alisen and brush his lips against hers. And to see Alisen return the kiss.
     That's it, Quin thought, turning away from the window. That boy is not going to win over my Isadora. I am.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Part 79

Rudolph yanked himself away, but Alisen held on. They almost wrestled, then, for a short time. Rudolph found himself shoving at her, and she wrapped her arms tightly around his middle so that he could not be rid of her. Then he tripped on the clumsy-laid fire-log pile, and they both went down, Rudolph landing hard on his back, Alisen cushioned by his chest.
Although there was anger in the air still, she unlaced her arms and gingerly touched his cheek.
"Are you alright?" She whispered, urgently.
Rudolph did not move. He did not open his eyes. Alisen was appalled, and moved away from him, onto the grass, making to get help from the house.
Suddenly, Rudolph was upon her, clutching wrists and forcing them down onto the grass. He sat on her stomach-- and he wasn't light -- so that she was completely pinned down. She spat grass and cursed him for deceiving her. She had been so worried.
"Now then...What was it you wanted to talk to me about?" Rudolph smirked.
Alisen stared up at him with eyes of white-heat and spoke very slowly:
"I was going to apologize to you. Seems like you don't care about me though." She hadn't meant to say that last part. It just seemed like she should speak her mind, since she felt she had nothing left to lose with the boy. She was surprised when Rudolph's face changed from annoyed to wide-eyed with concern.
"Do you really think I don't care about you?" He asked. Alisen thought of a counter, while his weight on her stomach squeezed more air from her lungs.
"I'll answer...just...please...get off of me...can't breathe..." She whimpered.
Immediately, Rudolph leapt to his feet. Alisen clutched her middle and took deep breathes.
"What...have you been doing the past few days...besides eating." She teased with a smile.
Rudolph laughed, and plopped down next to her.
"But really" He said to her, "You feel I do not care for you?"
"Well. You haven't exactly been speaking to me. So..."
"You said something that hurt me. I needed time."
"So you disliked me."
"No! be perfectly honest with you... yes. But only for that day and the next. Then. I was still thinking about you. But...not with hatred in my heart. Something else."
Alisen's heart went haywire, and it felt like it really had jumped form her chest. And her stomach filled with the sensation of butterflies. She tried to keep still when she spoke next. "Is that bad?"
Rudolph tilted his head back, and Alisen saw the leaves sticking out of his hair. She reached over to pull them out. He caught her wrist, softly twisting his fingers with hers. He put his other arm around her, pulling her close, until the bridges of their noses touched and he could hear her pounding heartbeat, and she could feel his, beating her same wild rhythm.
"Not exactly." Rudolph whispered. And as his lips formed the words the brushed against Alisen's. And then they kissed, and Alisen tried not to cry, for she was so relieved he was not angry, and so relieved that he loved her, and happy that she was kissing the boy who she herself loved.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Rudolph and Isadora, Part 78

     Rudolph did not turn around when he heard light footsteps on the stairs behind him. He ate his bread and butter in silence, letting Arin chatter away. He had thought he'd be talking until his lips turned blue when he'd first gotten out of the cave and back into the world, but he did not want to share his thoughts of the present with Arin, nor stories of his past.
     A hand touched his shoulder and a voice said, "Good morning, Rudolph." It was Alisen, as he'd expected. He's known her for a few months now, and he could easily recognize the sound of her walk. He bit into his bread, hard, without responding to his friend. "Rudolph." Alisen grabbed his arm, frustrated with his lack of response. He could tell she was trying not to lose her temper. "Come on," she said. "We need to talk."
     He jerked his arm away and nearly shouted, far louder than he'd meant, "No, Alisen! We do not need to talk." Everyone fell silent. Rudolph blushed, but did not back down. Alisen recoiled at his violent tone, and stepped backward.
     "I don't know what's wrong with you, Rudolph, but I am going to find out. I won't let you just dismiss me like that." She turned on her heel and strode out of the room.
     Rudolph threw his bit of bread back on the table. "Great," he muttered. "Just wonderful." He thanked Arin for breakfast, pushed back his chair, and followed Alisen out.
     The door had scarcely closed behind him when a hand reached out a grabbed his shirtfront. He yelped, then relaxed when he realized it was just Alisen. She dragged him around the corner, and said in a fierce whisper, "Rudolph, you are going to tell me what is going on, and you are going to tell me right now."

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Part 77

(8 day break in story due to my being on a backpacking trip in mammoth, rawr)

Isadora was uncomfortable as the carriage neared the large estate. It was not the estate itself that bothered her, in fact it was embarrassingly comforting for her to be once again in luxury. No, it was Julien who caused the discomfort. He would not stop looking at her.
Isadora tried to keep her eyes on the gravel road to the house, but every so often she glanced his way, hoping in vain that he had turned his own eyes to the trees passing outside. But every time he was looking at her just the same.
Isadora panicked a bit after glancing his way a couple times. She fretted that he thought she was interested in him, since she looked over so often. For she was caught on the realization that she only knew he was looking at her because she herself was looking at him.
From what Isadora had gathered, Julien was nice-looking. For a man. She didn't know his age, but assumed it to be around twenty. She herself being sixteen, was vaguely repulsed by the age difference. Four years happened to be the difference in age she shared with her cousin Breta, a tall blonde Duchess with a personality like horse manure.
Isadora's thoughts traveled to Quin, then. The handsome boy of seventeen for whom her heart fluttered. And then thoughts of Rudolph, thoughts of confusion overlapped with guilt and worry. Had he ever escaped the dragon?

She jumped when Julien leaned close and tapped her shoulder.
"We are here, princess." His voice was elegant. Again, Isadora looked him over, taking in the short wavy brown hair, strong shoulders, alabaster tunic and dark eyes. He was extraordinarily handsome and she did not know why she had not noticed before.
Stepping out of the carriage, assisted by an elderly footman, she gasped at the grandeur of the estate. It was almost the size of the palace, with cream trim frosted over low hanging balconies painted light shades of rose, and a large marble fountain with an even stream of water pouring from the wing-tips of a masterfully carved swan.
Everything was beautiful, mesmerizing. And with a sharp intake of breath, Isadora understood why all this beauty had invaded her mind so suddenly.
She was homesick and only now, with the cleanliness and perfection of man and house around her could she grasp the idea.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Rudolph and Isadora, Part 76

"Well, the friend I need to find... I'm here because of him. He got captured by a dragon, you see - I know it sounds a little bit strange - and I had to go find him. My family... doesn't know I'm here. I'm staying in Tennur, just for a few days."
     Julien nodded, and Isadora rushed on.
     "And my name... I just don't want to be taken home before I find him. So I'm Carolina for now."
     "I see. Lady Carolina of Tennur, perhaps I could escort you to the carriage, where we might make some arrangements for traveling to Tennur. Under the condition that I accompany you, of course. One as naive as you should not be traveling alone. And when we find this friend of yours, I shall take you back to the Capital." Julien shook his head. "I'd heard the stories about you, but I'd never quite believed you were as headstrong as people said. You always seemed so delicate between the guards always by your side." He took her arm as if they were in the grandeur of the Capital rather than on a side road in this tiny town. When the reached the carriage, around the back of The Drinking Bear, he helped her in, gestured to the footman, and clambered in himself.
     "Your Majesty," he said as they began to clatter down the road, "how would to like to stop off for a bite to eat and a wash first?"
     When Isadora did not reply, he said, "Lovely," and rapped on the roof twice. Isadora felt the carriage turn down the road, away from Tennur, and looked out the window to find a tree-lined avenue leading to a distant manor. Julien's estate.
     "Welcome, Your Majesty."

Monday, September 19, 2011

Part 75

Julien abruptly turned back to face Isadora. He leaned in close. Recognition widened his eyes and sent tremors of fear to whizz down Isadora's back.
"Hello your majesty." Julien bowed, and when his face was back in view he wore a tight frown.
"Carolina? Why did you say Carolina? Isadora is so much prettier. Unique. And for lie about living in the woods? Why aren't you at home? Or is your family having a vacation here?"
Isadora was stunned and elated with Julien. He had been traveling! He had to have been to not notice that she was missing. This meant he could not turn her in. She felt safe once more in his cloak.
Looking over at Julien's face and seeing a confused expression, she remembered she had not answered his questions.
"Well..." She began.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Rudolph and Isadora, Part 74

     "Okay," said Julien softly. "Where do you need to go? I'll take you there."
     "My friend is staying in the town of Tennur. I have to reach him as quickly as possible." Well, no going back now, she thought. I will find Quin and figure out what to do from there. She shook out her golden curls and stood up. Do you have a horse?
     "Better," he replied. "I have a carriage. It's waiting in town." He took her hand and gently led her back toward the center of town. "Will you at least tell me your name?"
     "Carolina," she said, looking up at him.
     "Such a pretty name. I feel like I recognize your voice. Where are you from?"
     "I... um... The woods around Tennur. I live there with... my sister. Jodra." She blushed at her answer. She had not thought to prepare for the question, although she realized she should have.
     "How nice. I'm not quite as familiar with Tennur. Is it nice there?" At this point, Isadora could tell, he was just chatting rather than being truly interested.
     "Oh yes. It's very nice. How about yourself?"
     "I live outside of town a bit. My name is Julien Bellon."
     Isadora bit back a gasp. "Would that be... Lord Julien Bellon?" No wonder he had recognized her!
     "Why, yes. But I just go by Julien. Ah, look! We're almost there."

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Part 73

"You look familiar", Julien murmured as he led Isadora towards a low boulder with a deep indentation that appeared bench-like. They sat, and Isadora absorbed his comment, wondering how she should answer. She looked down at her hands and was surprised to see that Julien and her right hand were still locked. She withdrew quickly, causing Julien to cough and force an awkward smile onto his face.
"Sorry." He said offhand.
"No it's alright. I must thank you, though. For...wanting to help." Isadora hugged her knees to her chest and looked at Julien. He was very pale, so that the soft light that shone through the canopy of thick leaves made his face glow. And his bright blue eyes contrasted well. Altogether, he was extremely handsome in Isadora's opinion.
"Again" Julien began, "You look very familiar. Have I seen you before?"
Isadora guessed that the way she looked now was very good camouflage for her true identity. And she was glad of it for the first time since she had looked in that mirror in the Drinking Bear. For she did not yet know if this man could be trusted, for all she knew he would be very interested in her identity if she were to reveal it, as to receive the heavy reward the crown was offering.
She buried her face deeper into the borrowed clock and shook her head.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Rudolph and Isadora, Part 72

     Julien sat down next to Isadora on the grass, dewey from the early morning. He wrapped his velvet cloak around her shivering shoulders, and saw her draw the fabric closely around her. The rich cloak seemed to change her bearing. She drew her shoulders back, composed her face, and looked up at him for the first time.
     He smiled at her. His wavy golden hair shone in the sunlight, and his face was that of one who had never felt hardship. But his smile was what drew Isadora in. "Are you alright?" he asked.
     Isadora nodded. She couldn't speak. Her throat was tight with tears.
     Julien cocked an eyebrow.
     She shook her head. "No, I'm -- I'm not alright."
     "Would you like to tell me about it?" She shook her head again. "It's okay. I won't hurt you, I promise." He stood, brushed his damp hands off on his power-blue jacket, and offered a hand to her.
    She hesitated.
    "Honestly, I only want to help you," he said, lips twitching upward into his dazzling smile once more.
    "There is... something you can do for me," she said slowly. "I need to find a friend."
     She took his hand in hers.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Part 71

Quin stood with the silver hairbrush in his trembling hands as he was overcome by a sudden and forceful wave of emotion. He sank onto Alisen's bed and soon her quilt was studded with his tears. He did not understand why he had come into her room to talk to her, nor why he had suddenly gotten the peculiar urge to brush her hair. It was a habit of his around his sister, for she often ran around with her friends in the woods until his mother called her inside for supper. At home Quin did not have many chores under his mother, save helping to prepare and clean up the meals. And so, when Ros gave him the duty of tackling his sister's tangle of hair after each playful day out with her friends, he was happy to oblige. He would sit beside her on her bed and begin by patiently pulling all the crackling orange leaves from the fall seasons from her hair, or the tender green ones, as she babbled on about her day to him. He would nod and make small little noises of agreement at her words, as he reached for their mother's hand-made wooden brush and began to pull it through the windswept hair before him. He would work gingerly, using his fingers to ease out the most stubborn knots. It became almost a sort of therapy for him, those nights spent in his sister's room with the wooden hairbrush and the even stream of his sister's voice.
Quin sat on Alisen's bed now, face-down, remembering. He had reached for the brush on auto-pilot, his body trying to get him to relax, sensing the exhaustion of his mind.
Quin certainly felt exhausted. He shifted his head so that only his cheek was pressed to the wet quilt. His eyes focused on the blue walls of the bedroom, then unfocused. Closed. Sleep came easily.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Rudolph and Isadora, Part 70

Morning found Alisen curled under a thin sheet, having tossed and turned until all other blankets had ended  strewn about the room. She awoke with tears gluing her eyes together. As she struggled to raise herself onto one arm, she recalled the events of the previous night. She collapsed again onto the floor, reluctant to get up and face the others. How awful she'd been! Everything was a mess now. She put her hands over her head, willing herself to block out all the thoughts swirling around her head and poking their way into her consciousness.
     "Having a little trouble?" Alisen jumped at the voice behind her. Quin.
     "How long have you been there?" she managed to croak out.
     "Not long. I thought I woke you, but apparently I was mistaken." He was sitting on Lilia's bed, fiddling with the lacy curtains that framed the small window. "Are you okay?"
     "Yeah. I'm fine," Alisen muttered. She pulled herself upright. "What did you want?"
     Quin moved off the bed and started pacing around the room. He picked up a silver hairbrush from Lilia's dresser, not seeming to know what to do with his hands. "I- I just wanted to let you know I talked things over with Rudolph. And I didn't want you to blame yourself for... anything. It was the right thing to tell us." He moved behind Alisen and started brushing her ebony hair with the brush.
     "Whose fault is it then?" Alisen demanded, snatching the brush. "That Isadora?"
     "No... not Isa. I–"
     "This is ridiculous. Sorry, Quin. Thanks for coming up to see me." She shoved the silver brush back into his hands and stormed out of the room to talk to Rudolph. She needed to find out what was going on. And she was going to get the truth this time.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Part 69

Isadora washed and scrambled down to the main salon of the inn. She was desperate to get out of the Drinking Bear and get back to the house where Quin was so that she could tell him the truth about her. The truth about everything, including her love for Rudolph. This last part she was the most hesitant about, and she bit her lip as she slipped out into the chill morning air before the innkeepers could detain her.
She felt like she had a choice at this point. She could go back to the house and tell Quin everything, so that the immense feeling of guilt that had been pressing down on her could finally be lifted, or she could get passage straight to the palace.
If I tell Quin, then he may not want me anymore. I mean, to confess my love for Rudolph would be to tell Quin I had no love for him. But this is not true. I love both very much. Although the more time goes by the more I feel that my love for Quin is becoming great and stronger than my love for Rudolph ever was. Does this mean I should omit the part of my loving Rudolph? I could tell him about me being royalty, but convince him of my love for him... and then... what? Stay in the house in the woods and never return to my mother and father?
I could go to them. Right now, I could go home and get cleaned up and be well-fed and then I would look so regal again, so pretty in my silken dresses riding my white horses. Horses. WHo would be the new stable-boy?
Crushed by the weight of her decision between her heart and her craving for comfort and familiarity, Isadora sat on a rock by the stream that ran from the inn all the way to a small pond near the house.
And that is where Julien found her, curled up and sobbing.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Rudolph and Isadora, Part 68

A middle-aged woman walked into the Drinking Bear and collapsed into a rickety wooden chair placed near a blazing fireplace, kept going through the night to keep late diners and weary travelers protected from the night's chill. She closed her eyes briefly, welcoming the rest to her eyes and the warmth of the fire behind her. Her face, once well-rounded and jolly, was thin and worn. Her hands, once only lightly callused from the everyday tasks of living outside a city with her children, were scratched and dirty. Her entire body sagged with weariness.
     This was Ros.
     "Is there anything you need, Madam? A warm meal, perhaps?" She jumped at the voice of George, the innkeeper.
     "No, thank you. I'm afraid I can't pay for it."
     "Get her something to drink, Georgie," a young man shouted from several tables away. "She looks like she could use something to warm her up."
    "And you're paying for it I expect, Julien?" George asked the man. As much as I'd like to, I can't be giving food and drink to every poor traveler who comes in a little short of coin. The missus is bad enough."
    "Ah, George. You know I will. What'll you have, madam?"
    "I -- tea, please," stuttered Ros.
    "Tea it is, then. Put it on my tab, George." Without a second glance, the young man went back to his conversation.
     "You can afford it, that's for sure," muttered George. "I'll have your tea in just a moment."
     "Who is that man?" asked Ros. "It's rare one meets a person so free with their generosity."
     "That's Julien. Everyone in town knows him. Nicest person for miles, I'd say. He's got an estate outside the city, but he likes to come in and mingle with us commoners. He's a nobleman, you see. Heir to a fortune. You're very lucky to have come in when he was here." George trailed off, then mumbled, "Off you get your tea, then," and shuffled away.
     Julien and his companion rose from their table, and made to leave. He dropped a handful of coins into George's hand as he walked to the door. Ros saw the glint of sliver before George quickly pocketed them.
     "Thank you, sir!" Ros shouted after them. And she added more quietly, "Thank you. I was desperate for that bit of kindness."

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Part 67

Rudolph remembered Isadora all night. He remembered the kiss, played it back in his mind so many times that he swore he could feel a faint pressure on his lips. He ached to hold her in his arms, and now he had made it a little too late. He knew though, that he could get her back.
I could find her, of course. But now that Quin and her...well. I owe it to her to find her, after leaving her for so long. I'll find her. Bring her back. And then...
Rudolph swore and bit his fist till he tasted blood. He was incredibly frustrated. Heartsick. Confused. Sad. Angry, too. Not at her. He could never be angry at Isadora. He didn't feel his anger stemmed from Quin either, for who could resist Isadora?
Then it had to be Alisen he was loathing. She who had brought this upon him.  She who had reminded him of his feelings for a girl he had been too long without.
The worst part is... I think I would have fallen for Alisen in another week or so. I think I already have fallen for me. I don't like her right now. She wasn't right in what she did. But all the same I feel sort of...happy when I think of her and how she likes me. I fell a sort of lightheadedness when she's near to me and I can feel her warmth...
Woah woah woah... Must concentrate on finding Isadora. Although...Quin can do that, I'm sure. I'm positive he is worried sick about her and wishes nothing more then to be reunited with her.
STOP! Stop being like this! I love Isadora! I have to remember this...
Oh, my head hurts, this is all so maddening.
Rudolph slept fitfully that night, becoming tangled in his sheets as his mind became more and more ensnared in his thoughts. The last one he had, one that rang out clear and sharp in his mind before he drifted off in a cocoon of weariness was:
If I have to remember to love someone...then do I truly love them...?

Friday, September 2, 2011

Map of the Capital, Draft 1

My backstory post for today is a little late, so I thought I'd post a map of the capital I sketched out for reference when working with the backstory posts. This is a quick sketch likely to change as more information comes up and the Politick and I work together on it. I colored in important places in Photoshop. The red/pink is the marketplace mentioned in Backstory part 2, and the blue is where Rudolph grew up. Also, to the right of the main road, the nobles live closer to the castle, and the wealthy non-nobles live farther away. On the other side of the main road, the farther left on the map, the less wealthy the people who live there. I tried to make the streets reflect that as well.

By the way, the Politick and I are planning on getting back to the main story soon. She'll post part 67 sometime this weekend or maybe Monday.  For a refresher, click here for Part 66.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Rudolph and Isadora Backstory, Part 2

At fourteen, Isadora decided she wanted to have an adventure. It was summer, and she was tired of being cooped up in the castle while the fields outside seemed so inviting and the Capital seemed like so much fun. She had been to the Capital before, many times, but it had always been on specially panned visits, and she had never been able to explore, and she had always been accompanied. She knew no one would ever let her out by herself, so she decided that her adventure would be to sneak into town for a day and see what it was like to live as an ordinary person.
     So she borrowed a plain dress from her lady-in-waiting, Cara, and began making plans to slip out of the palace. A few days later, after dinner, she excused herself from the company of her cousin Lotti, retired to her room, and slipped on Cara's brown dress. It was a little bit long, which surprised Isadora, as her clothes were always tailored exactly to her size, but she wore it nevertheless. Cara had also provided a cloth the tie her hair back in the style of a palace servant and a pair of boots she'd borrowed from a palace hand. Isadora tied back her hair, put on the boots, and quickly left her rooms holding a handful of coins left over from her last trip to the Capital, when she'd wheedled them out of her tutor for an embroidered scarlet ribbon she'd seen at one of the stalls along the street.
     Knowing she'd never get past the guards in front of the palace, she made her way to the back. She stopped outside one of the palace's many parlors, near the back of the palace on the first floor. Putting her ear to the thick door, she made sure there was no one inside the parlor, and quickly entered, shutting the door behind her. She heard a noise behind her and whipped around, but relaxed when she realized it was only the crackling of the fire. She opened one of the parlor's large windows overlooking a garden and a gravel path, and climbed out.
     She made her way along the path toward the stables, breathing quickly with excitement and keeping an eye out for anyone else who could catch sight of her. She kept reminding herself that she was in a servant's garb, that no one would be able to tell she was the princess in the half-light of the evening. Finally reaching the stables, Isadora crouched behind a bale of hay as the stablehands left for the night. The moon rose slowly, and when she was satisfied that everyone had left, Isadora rose as well. She brushed herself off, and then cautiously left the stable and headed out to the village.
     From the stables to the outskirts of the village was a little less than a mile. Isadora had ridden up to the boundary on her horse many times, but never crossed it. She was determined to cross it now. She made plans in her head as she walked. She'd use a few of her coins to buy a room for the night, and spend all of tomorrow exploring the Capital. She'd seen  the parts closest to the castle grounds, and she'd been in the wealthier parts of the Capital many times, visiting various nobles and whatnot, but as this was her adventure, she planned on seeing the rest of the Capital, the part her tutors and chaperones tried to keep her from.
     Finally, she reached the outskirts of town. It had always seemed much closer when she was riding, but she had reached it nevertheless. Most of her coins bought her a room in an small inn just outside the wealthier part of town. The owner had obviously tried to create a place where people who came to visit the nobles but didn't want to pay for the high prices of lodging closer to the castle could stay. Although Isadora was full of energy, excited at the prospect of her adventure, she tried to sleep, wanting to be fully awake the next day.
     In the morning, she set off. She had a quick breakfast and began to wander the town. As she walked, the houses became less grand and the people were less wealthy. She eventually found herself in a marketplace, and gasped with delight. This is what she'd come looking for.
     The square was bustling with people rushing around buying goods. The air was thick with shouts from vendors and buyers both. Women chatted with their friends as they walked. Children ran in all directions. She strolled slowly through the square, taking in as much as she could.
     "Looking for something?" A boy stood in front of her. He looked to be about her age, with long, wavy black hair, and a smile that stretched across his face.
     "Oh. Um.... no. I'm just looking around." She smiled back at him. "I'm Isadora."
     "Josen. I haven't seen you around before. You here to see someone?"
     "No. I'm just visiting." She was a little flustered, but Josen didn't seem to notice.
     "Would you like to meet the rest of us? Your parents wouldn't mind you sneaking off for a few minutes, right?"
     Isadora laughed. "My parents would be furious. But they don't even know I'm here.
     "Ha! Now, that's the way to do it. I'd watch out for them when I got back though. Come on, I'll introduce you to everyone else." He took her hand in his own and pulled her through the crowd. At the outskirts of the market stood a group of others.
     "Who's that, Josen?" asked a girl with short brown braids, leaning against a tree.
     "This here's Isadora. She's just visiting town," Josen said, cracking a grin. "Isadora, this is Eva."
     "Nice to meet you," Isadora said to Eva. She was about to say more, but Josen continued.
     "And this is Rudolph," he said, gesturing to a sandy-haired boy. The boy smiled shyly, and Isadora couldn't help but grin back. She nearly curtsied, but stopped herself just in time, reminding herself that court manners had no place there. She pulled the cloth from her hair and turned back to Josen, waiting for the next introduction, but Eva interrupted before Josen had a chance to continue.
     "I know that ribbon!" she exclaimed, pointing at the scarlet cloth in Isadora's golden curls. "I made it myself. I remember it because Ana - my older sister - said she sold it to..." Her eyes widened. "You're–"
     "Princess Isadora!" Isadora spun to see a royal guard on horseback making his way through to market toward her. The others who she'd been talking to scattered.
     "Princess, you have no place here. You must come with me." The guard swept her up onto the horse and turned to leave the market. She looked back as she was leaving to see the sandy-haired boy – Rudolph – looking at her from behind a tree. His eyes were wide with disbelief.
     I'll never be the same as them, she thought. She turned away, eyes blurring, and let the guard take her home.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Rudolph and Isadora Backstory, Part 1

Well, summer break is nearly over and everyone is back from various vacations and summer programs, so The Bookbird and the Wordgirl will be starting back up again. The Politick just got into town today, so I wanted to give her a couple of days rest if she wishes before we dive back into Rudolph and Isadora (I'd say up to about week). Until that time, I thought I'd share some backstory posts that have been swirling around my brain. And who knows? Maybe they'll make into the main storyline someday.

At eight years old, Rudolph saw his first horse. He had seen other horses at a distance, but this was the first he had come close to. It was old, gray, and slow, but it enchanted Rudolph nevertheless. It had come to town as part of a traveling fair in town for several days that held many more attractions, but Rudolph never strayed far from the ring where a small man with a large voice offered rides around the ring for a silver coin apiece*. Jared had begged him out of half his meager pocket money in order to treat some girl to the fair's attractions earlier that morning, so Rudolph did not have enough money to ride, but he sat on the fence and watched the man lead the horse for the people riding it. Rather, the people holding on for dear life as the horse plodded around the small ring twice. These weren't the upper class children riding, as they had their own horses in private stables in the capital, but they seemed to be far wealthier than Rudolph and his friends.
     Through ride after ride, Rudolph did not move from the fence, but one can only watch so much of a horse walking slowly in circles before one's attention begins to wander. The sun beat down onto the fair, and dust rose lazily into the air, carried by a soft breeze that played with the hems of ladies' dresses. Slowly it came to his attention that Zandra, a friend of his and Jared's since childhood, was making her way toward him at a leisurely pace, taking in the sights around her. He caught her eye and smiled. She smiled back and moved to join him on the fence.
     "Amazing, isn't it?" Rudolph asked, gesturing toward the horse.
     "Nice, I suppose. I wouldn't call it amazing, but it would be fun to take a ride, don't you think?"
     Rudolph sighed. "I suppose."
     "Josen and Eva and I were going to get some candy and go down to the creek. Want to come?"
     "I..." Rudolph hesitated, looking back at the horse. Zandra hopped down from the fence and playfully tugged at his arm.
     "Come on, Rudolph. The horse will be here tomorrow."
     "Fine, then. Let's go." Rudolph let Zandra pull him off the fence, eliciting a giggle from her as she turned and half-ran through the crowd toward the booth selling hard candies. He and Zandra each bought a handful, and mulled around for a minute looking for Josen and Eva. When the four finally found each other, they left the fair together and walked down the the creek.
     The creek was a lovely place to sit and chat, candies in hand, and full of adventures from the morning at the fair to laugh over, but Rudolph couldn't enjoy it has much as he liked. His mind kept going back to that old gray horse at the fair. After two hours or so, when the candies were long gone and the day was beginning to cool, all four friends dusted themselves off and headed back home. Rudolph, however, told the others to go ahead without him on the excuse that he'd promised to buy something for his little sister, and doubled back to the fair. With his last bit of pocket money, he bought a ribbon for his younger sister so that he had something to show his friends when he returned, as they were sure to ask, and headed toward the ring offering rides on the gray horse.
     The small man was still there, and the horse was tied up at the far end of the ring. Both looked worn out, and Rudolph could see that the man was in no mood to deal with an eight-year-old, but he couldn't back out now.
     "Excuse me, sir," Rudolph ventured.
     "The fair's closed, boy. You'll have to come back tomorrow." The man turned away.
     "Excuse me, sir," Rudolph repeated. "I - I'm not here for a ride." Nervously, he continued, speaking the first thing that came into his head. "I can see you're tired, sir. I was wondering if you'd like a hand preparing that wonderful horse for the evening. I'm strong for my age and I learn fast. Please, sir?"
     The man eyed Rudolph suspiciously. "I can't pay you for it," he said finally.
     "If I do it, may I have a ride tomorrow, sir?"
     "Yes, I suppose that would be fair. Alright, boy. Come with me. You help me tonight, and you'll get your ride tomorrow."
     "Thank you, sir! Thank you so much!"
     Several hours later, Rudolph walked home. He was hungry, tired and hot, but he hadn't been as happy in weeks.

*Politick, can we come up with a currency system? I'm pretty sure we haven't specified anything yet. Or if we have, we can always go back and change it. Thanks.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Rudolph and Isadora, Part 66

In the Drinking Bear, Isadora awoke with a start. The posters had made her situation even more precarious. She was beginning to think that she had no choice but to go back to her old life, but she knew that if she did, Rudolph would be punished far more severely than she, if he was ever found. And if she went back with Quin.... she didn't even want to think of what the punishment would be for either of them.
     She got out of bed, but stopped herself before she had washed up too much. This is what she had been reduced to - from a princess to no more than a beggar, living off of other people, not even able to wash the dirt off her face. This wasn't what she had wanted when she left the palace. She had imagined running off with Rudolph, buying some pretty little house in a far-off land, and... no. She couldn't even think the words "living happily ever after." This is shy she had clung to Rudolph. Yes, she had loved him, but what she had really wanted was the ideas that fell from his lips of a life where the two of them could live together. But then Rudolph had been carried off by that awful dragon, and she had been alone again. She hadn't known what to do - her dreams had been snatched away just as Rudolph had.
    And then she had met Quin, and saw that her dream could still be realized; she had wanted to live in the forest house with Quin, who admired... or maybe even loved her? She had dropped Rudolph like a broken toy, and now she hated herself for it. What a selfish, naive person she was, expecting the world to submit to her every whim as the servants had in the palace. She knew now that if she wanted that kind of power, she would have to give up her freedom for it.
     Thinking back, she hadn't had that hard a time. She had nearly always been accompanied by Rudolph or Quin, except for the week in the forest before she reached Quin's house, and the day and night since she left Lilia's. Still, compared to her life of palace comforts, Isadora did not realize how well-off she really was.
     The princess looked at herself in the grimy, spotted mirror. She hardly recognized herself. She had gone from a beautiful prize, to be envied and coveted, to... some awful creature of the gutters of the city. Other than her hands and face, she was filthy, and her blond hair had turned to brown. Once perfectly styled at every occasion, it hung limp in its tie down her back. She was thin, thinner than any corset could have made her seem a month ago. The only part of her that she took comfort in were were her bright green eyes. Although they looked older and sadder, she could still stare her mirror-self down with the gaze of royalty.
     And in that gaze, she saw what she had to do. And she made up her mind to do it.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Part 65

The horse galloped steadily towards the woods. Isadora was bending low over the horse, and Rudolph held her waist tightly, terrified of falling off.
They entered the trees and now Rudolph understood Isadora's hunched stance. She was low enough to avoid the scratching branches, the ones that now smacked Rudolph repeatedly in the face.
There approached a low hanging thick brach from a heavy-set tree.
Rudolph was knocked off the horse, and lay there on the ground, unconscious.
Isadora reined in the horse abruptly. His hands were gone from her waist and he was gone from the horse. She turned, and upon seeing him lying crumpled over roots, she scrambled over to him, after tying Dandelion, her horse, to the nearest tree.
"Rudolph!" He did not open his eyes. She panicked. She licked her finger and placed it in front of his nose to see if he was breathing. There was barely any air tickling her finger. So she pressed her mouth to his and blew air into his lungs for him. That was the first time they kissed.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Rudolph and Isadora, Part 64

Rudolph watched the princess mount. It doesn't look too hard, he thought. I suppose I could learn to ride. "I'll just get another horse ready, then. Be right back." As if I could get a horse ready by myself. Oh well, I suppose it's worth a try. I could always ask another stablehand if I need. 
     "No need," said Isadora. "You can ride behind me." Rudolph blinked. He didn't move. Ride with the princess? "Come on," she urged. "Just hop up." She led the horse to a group of steps where Rudolph could easily mount and looked at him expectantly.
     Rudolph stepped forward cautiously.
     "Rudolph, I didn't think you'd be the type to shy away from a new adventure. Get on the horse."
     "Okay, I.... I'm coming." Slowly, Rudolph made his way to the large animal and stepped up. He made his way up the steps and realized that from the top step, he was near enough to the top of the horse's back that he would not have to throw himself over like Isadora had done. Relived, he let out a breath that he hadn't known he was holding. Mounting, he looked for a place to hold on. There was none.
     "We might be going a bit faster than you're expecting. You'll just have to hang on to me," Isadora called over her shoulder.
     Rudolph cautiously placed his hands around her waist.
     "You ready, then? Let's go!" The horse took off across the stableyard and into the fields surrounding the palace, with Rudolph holding on to Isadora for dear life.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Part 63

Rudolph sat nervously. The bench was short and narrow, and so his hand, placed near his thighs, were very close to those of Isadora. He was conscious of how close they were, and he tried not to look at her. He couldn't resist though, and took a sideways glance in her direction. She was looking right at him.
"You have really pretty hair."
Isadora laughed and stood up to walk over to her horse.
"Come ride with me," she said.
"Yes. Alright." Rudolph was red with embarrassment from his random comment. Of course he would ride with her though. he wanted to. And after-all, she had commanded her to...and she was the princess.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Rudolph and Isadora, Part 62

The next morning, Isadora went out early for her daily ride. At the stable, she found Rudolph, looking slightly worn out, but with a grin that could have stretched around the castle. He noticed her and waved, before stopping halfway through, realizing he should be bowing instead. He blushed, bowed, and walked up to her.
     "Good morning, Rudolph. Are you enjoying your new job?"
     "Yes, thank you, Your Majesty."
     "Isadora." She noticed her lack of interest in proper court etiquette made the edges of his mouth turn up in amusement. "My name is Isadora."
     "Yes... Isadora. Would you like me to prepare your horse for you?" Rudolph was determined not to let his ignorance show in front of the royal he admired so much.
     "In... In a minute. I think I'd like to talk a bit first. Do you mind?"
     "No- no, not at all. What would you like to talk about, Your- Isadora?"
     Isadora sat on a wooden bench outside the stable and shook her hair back over her shoulders. "Oh, anything really. It's so refreshing to talk to someone not from the castle. Come, sit by me."

Part 61

(This is for yesterday, so there will be another post later today I gander *cluck* from Pica....We shall see)

Isadora closed her door firmly. She crossed the huge room, settling down onto her soft and tall bed. She had shown Rudolph to the stable-master and now he was settled in the long wooden servants house.
Now she lay there on her bed and thought furiously.
I have no friends here. None that I can really talk to, anyways. Lotti and Geri are alright, I guess. But they are royals. And actually enjoy being royals. I want a real friend.
Rudolph, to Isadora, seemed to be a nice boy who was capable of talking about things other than clothes and handsome lords. However, this was due to the poor boy's background. For all she knew he could end up filling their meetings with long drawn-out stories about chickens and what they eat.
Meetings. I do think I will have meetings with him. He seems nice. And I really do need a friend. Perhaps he will be my friend. 
And now I have to go meet Geri for her fitting. I have to hold her hand and tell her she looks marvelous. She looks like a frog!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Rudolph and Isadora, Part 60

Rudolph gaped at the girl. She looked back from her horse and smiled at him. "Follow me," she said.
     Rudolph did follow her, and when the odd pair of peasant-turned-stableboy and dainty princess reached the stables, he realized he probably would have been willing to follow her off of a cliff had she asked. She dismounted with the grace of a bird lowering itself to earth.
     "Why did you let me in, your Highness?" Rudolph stuttered with an awkward bow. 
     Isadora shrugged and laughed gently. "I don't know. I was curious. Why would a young man like you come running at me from the fields? You don't seem like you'd hurt me, and I needed a new stableboy anyway. Do you need a job?"
     "Yes, your Highness."
     "Good." She handed him the reins of her horse, and Rudolph realized he was nearly as happy to be next to the animal as the princess. What luck to get this job! "Come on," she continued, "I'll introduce you to the stablemaster. Have you had any experience with horses?"
     Rudolph shook his head.
     "No? Oh well, I'm sure you'll learn quickly. No matter." She took him by the wrist and made for the stable door. Rudolph looked at her in shock, but she didn't seem to notice. Surely there was some rule against touching peasants. With a smile, Rudolph realized that Isadora didn't seem to care much for such rules in any case. Had she been a rule-follower, she would have never let him in the gate. 
     When they had almost reached the door, Isadora seemed to realize Rudolph still had a hold of the horse. She waved at another stablehand and said, "You-- stableboy. Will you please take my horse from...."
     "Rudolph," said Rudolph quickly.
     "from Rudolph, and take care of him? Thank you." The boy darted forward, and Rudolph reluctantly let go of the reins. "Now, come on," said the princess, and led him through the door to meet the stablemaster.

Note to readers (and The Politick):
This is not insta-love, so please don't read it that way. I realized a few days ago that so many things I disliked reading about in other stories I was incorporating into this one (insta-love, romance driven plot, characters who just make the strangest decisions, love triangle, pointless drama) so I'm making a conscious effort to change that, and I want to get it out of the beginning of the story as much as possible when we start rewrites (or when I start rewrites; I know the Politick doesn't like editing, but I love it, so I'll do it for both of us if she wants). Thank you.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Part 59

So I' m at a writing camp: CSSSA. That is such a lame excuse, but I am exhausted and have sooo much to do. So i have to make this short O_O. Then I will sleep.

Rudolph followed Isadora  up to the gates that firmly guarded the palace. Guards were lined up, and when Rudolph tried to slip past the gate as it opened for Isadora's horse, he was stopped by hands pressed onto his chest. The princess turned, and looked at Rudolph curiously.
"Let him in", she called to the guards. "He has the new position as my stableboy. Let him pass."

Monday, July 11, 2011

Rudolph and Isadora, Part 58

He had grown up in the Capital, not among the mansions of the wealthy, but in a small brick house on the outskirts of town, one in a row of small brick houses practically indistinguishable from one another to those unfamiliar with the neighborhood. He had many friends, but unlike his classmates, he was not very good at any one skill. He was hopeless at crafts, and not particularly talented in school. He had resigned himself to a job as a servant to one of the wealthy people in the center of town, with their stuck-up manners and fancy clothes, when a chance encounter changed his life.
     He had been on a picnic with some friends; the day was warm and sunny, a wonderful change from the proceeding weeks, which had been overcast, damp, and generally miserable, with tempers running short and all eyes weary. When the weather finally changed, Rudolph's best friend Jared had gathered up a small group of their friends and decided that they would have a picnic on that very day.
     The six of them had walked through town cheerfully, chatting and laughing, and in what seemed no time at all, they had reached the edge of the city and the beginning of the palace lands. Rudolph and Jared had begun searching for a place to spread out the picnic blanket, but Josen, another of the group, had taken one of the picnic baskets and run out further into the fields, shouting, "Come on! No one uses this land anyway, it's just a way for the royals to separate themselves from us common folk."
     The girls quickly followed him further and further into the royal land. Rudolph had felt vaguely uneasy, but followed them, simply happy for the nice day and the chance to be with his friends. They set up on the top of a grassy hill, and began to eat the lunches they had packed. They ended up sitting in a circle of sorts, so when the horse appeared, Rudolph was the first to see it. The horse was chestnut-colored, with long legs that seemed to barely touch the ground. And then it got closer and Rudolph cold see the girl riding it.
     Her hair was the color of bottled sunlight from the first moments of dawn. Her dress, flowing behind her as the horse galloped, was the color of a fresh, creamy piece of paper. Her cloak was all the hues of a twilight sky. Rudolph, in the middle of a story about his mother and an annoyingly persistent chipmunk, stopped dead to look at both the horse and rider, entranced by the sight.
     Everyone else in the party turned to look. Jared whispered, "I wonder who she is."
     "That's obvious, isn't it? Who else could it be? That's the princess Isadora," replied Josen. "The question really is, what is she going to do about us?"
     "Do you think she'll mind that we're on her land?"
     "No," said Rudolph eyes still following the beautiful girl. "She couldn't possibly." Not even thinking, he stood up, oblivious to the protests of his companions. "I'll be right back," he said, and took off running toward the horse, and the princess Isadora.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Part 57

Rudolph cried, he couldn't help it. The tears soaked his pillow and his cheeks. He turned so he could see the slit between the curtains, where morning light was glinting through. He sadly recalled how Quin had referred to Isadora as his own. He had done that. back when he had worked his meager job as stableboy.
What pained Rudolph the most, was that he had continued to nurse his love for me, even as Alisen lived beside him. Alisen, who Rudolph felt so good around, so happy and confident.
And now he had found out that she had been with this Quin boy for weeks. Exactly how close were they?
To distract himself from the girls and from negative thoughts about Quin, Rudolph thought back to when he had first gotten his job as stableboy at the palace.
He had not started out at the palace tending to the horses. In fact, that was his second job. Now Rudolph brought back to life all the details that had led him work at the palace..

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Rudolph and Isadora, Part 56

    "Oh, didn't you know?" Alisen hated herself for how cruel she knew she was being in that instant. "Your Isadora is the lost princess. Didn't she tell you?"
     "You must be joking. Isadora, the princess?"
     "Oh, yes. She seems to be stealing hearts all across the kingdom, starting with yours and Rudolph's. He's looking for her as well."
     "This is just too ridiculous. There's no way Isa is the lost princess. Why would she leave the Capital unless to be with her precious stablehand? She wouldn't be spending weeks with the likes of me." Quin, in his denial, began to laugh.
     "It's true, you know. You must have guessed it. Apparently she acts like the perfect princess all the time."
     Quin quieted, but didn't respond. Rudolph came out onto the landing.
     "What's going on, Alisen? What are you two laughing about?" Bleary-eyed with sleep, he stood next to Alisen. Alisen wanted him to leave; she was ashamed of how she was acting, but she couldn't seem to stop.
     "Alisen here was telling me that my Isa is the lost princess. It was just so absurd. Sorry for waking you."
     "What is this? You know Isadora?" Rudolph was instantly alert. Quin was about to respond, but Alisen cut him off, not even sure why. At this point, she was no longer thinking through her actions, letting her sleep-deprived brain take over.
     "It's nothing, Rudolph. Go back to sleep. We can discuss this in the morning."
     "Wait a second, Alisen." Rudolph was in no mood to go back to sleep. "What is this, Quin?"
     "According to this girl, my Isa is Princess Isadora. But it doesn't make any sense for Isa to be the princess. I wouldn't worry about it, Rudolph."
     "Why doesn't it make sense? When did you meet her?"
     "I found her in the forest a few weeks ago, and she's been living with my sister and I since that time. We've become.... quite close."
     "It must be Isadora! Where is she?"
     "She's gone missing. She disappeared yesterday, when I was out looking for my mother and found you two."
     "Seems like you have a talent for losing people," Alisen remarked drily.
     "It really isn't my fault," Quin protested. "When I came back, she was gone."
     "I don't blame you for losing her," Rudolph reliplied, "but I can't believe she would.... How close is 'quite close,' anyway? No, don't tell me. I don't even want to know. I just wouldn't trust her Quin. I thought I could, but I've just been proven so wrong, I can't even think what to do."
     "Come get some rest," said Alisen, taking his arm and leading him to the door. "It'll be better in the morning. You too, Quin. And don't kill each other while I'm gone, okay?"
     With that, she turned, walked into Lilia's room, and closed the door in their dumbfounded faces. the boys glanced at each other, then walked into Quin's room and crawled into their beds, knowing neither of them would get any sleep with Isadora racing around their brains.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Part 55

Alisen stayed downstairs for a very long time after Rudolph had left. The dark sky was beginning to fade, a light pink smearing across the clouds.
I know I am nothing to Rudolph. Isadora is all there is for him, all that he sees. I...I know I am something to him though. That is the problem. I know that he cares so much about is just that he doesn't care about me in...that way. Oh, how I miss Willem. If Willem were here beside me, I would lean my head upon his shoulder and he would put his arm around me and I would feel so safe. 
Alisen wiped a stray tear from her cheek with her index finger, before stretching hugely and tiptoeing upstairs to Lilia's room. Passing by the room Rudolph was sharing with Quin, she hear a faint noise, and her breath caught. It had been very quiet in the house and this sudden noise, although it was very quiet, was enough to startle Alisen to bits. With her heart thudding, she pushed lightly on the door to the boys' room. It was dark in the room, as the shades were drawn tightly over the single window, and Alisen was barely able to make out the sleeping figure of Rudolph. He was in the bed nearest to her and she could see his blonde hair glimmering in the faint light. There was another sound, and Alisen feared her heart would skip right out of her chest. She turned towards the far bed, and saw Quin sitting on its edge, head in his hands, weeping.
Alisen moved closer to Quin, hands shaking. She barely knew this boy, who had rescued her and Rudolph from a plight of hunger and extreme discomfort in the forest. She timidly lay a hand on his shoulder, and he whipped backwards, striking her with the back of his hand. Alisen pulled her own hand to her face in shock, and could feel her cheek was wet from not her own, but Quin's tears.
Neither of them spoke, and for this Rudolph continued in his slumber. Quin stared at his hands, and at Alisen. His chest rose and fell quickly, and Alisen saw that he had been frightened by her sudden interruption. He had struck out in surprise, not anger.
She kept her right hand on her burning cheek, and with her left, she beckoned Quin out of the room. With great surprise to Alisen, Quin followed her out onto the landing, and then down the staries and out the front door onto the chilly porch.
"Quin. Isn't it?" Alisen regretted that her voice sounded scratchy from the long sleepless night, and slightly choked from the surprising encounter.
"Yes. And you are Alisen." Quin's voice was strangled, as he swept away the remaining tears from his face that was red with shame from the slap.
"Please, talk to me. Please tell me why you are upset. Is this all about Isadora? Seems everything is about her these days..."
"Yes. And like her?"
"Yeah. Yeah, I really do like her."
"Impressive. You and Rudolph in love with the royal." Alisen didn't even try to keep the scorn from poisoning her words. However, she noticed that her words had registered as confusion on Quin's face.
"What? Why do you refer to her as 'royal'?" Quin looked at Alisen sideways, and she understood that he did not know about Isadora's origins. Do I tell him? Is it my place to tell him? I do not owe her anything...She has taken the heart of Rudolph, and it seems she has also enchanted Quin. Alisen felt bitter. She felt hatred towards this girl who had what she wanted. And what did she do? She ran away. Ungrateful brat. Alisen made up her mind. She opened her mouth to speak.