Isadora noticed during dinner that night- lamb and potatoes with herbs- that Jodra looked quite ill at ease. Her expression was one of worry as she sifted nervously through her food.
"Jodra...? Are you alright?" Isadora reached across the table for Jodra's hand, and was relieved that the girl took it without hesitation.
"Yes...yes I sure it is nothing. But all the same..." Jodra sniffed once, and looked down at her feet. "May I please be excused, Quin?", she asked with watery eyes. Quin nodded once, stiffly, not looking at his sister, who left hurriedly. Isadora smoothed out her napkin, which was resting on her trembling knees. She looked at Quin beside her, who was sitting rigidly and whose expression was tight. She began: "Quin? Is...is there something going on?"
"Isa...I'm afraid I have not told you everything about our family. In fact, if you think about it, I am sure that nor Jodra nor I has told you anything about our family. The fact of the matter is...although our father left us when I was but one year of age- before Jodra's birth- our mother left us only a few weeks before your arrival. She had become engaged to a wealthy man from the city who had doted upon her most lavishly. Our mother...having been deserted by our father, was overjoyed at being courted... and loved, I suppose. She agreed most rapidly to his proposal and left with him to the city for a short retreat to celebrate. They were supposed to return the day of your arrival. We have yet to see them, or at the very least hear from them."