When Isadora awoke, the sky was still dark. She silently crept around the small house, collecting what she'd need to continue on her journey. She wore a dress Jodra had lent her to replace the one that had been ruined in the forest and took another that had been set out for the next day. She bundled up a loaf of bread and a bit of meat left over from dinner. She filled a jug with water and a bit of flint for starting fires. She glanced around to make sure she hadn't forgotten anything.
She felt bad for stealing from Quin and Jodra, but it couldn't be helped. She would pay them back for everything someday. But she needed to leave now, before she could convince herself that another few days wouldn't hurt. As she enjoyed herself staying at Quin's house, Rudolph was in danger. He could be dying!
She would walk as far as she could tonight, and then find her way to the nearest town, where she would ask if any of the townspeople knew of a dragon nearby. She thought of herslef singlehandedly slaying the monster and bringing Rudolph back to safety, where he would fall in love with her and they'd live happily ever after.
Do I really want that? A thought popped, unbidden, into her head.
Of course I do, she told herself. Everyone wants a happily ever after.
Wouldn't you rather--
Shut up. Now is not the time for doubts. She shook the thoughts from her head, but was not able to get rid of a nagging doubt that perhaps Rudolph had already been killed by Taliss and that she should just take what she had - Quin.
No, she thought firmly. It's time to leave. Come on, Isadora.
She walked out the door and started toward the forest when a voice came from behind her.
"Where do you think you're going in the dead of night?" Isadora whirled around. It was Quin.