Isadora and Quin reached the town the next day. It was raining lightly and the fog was so thick Isadora was unable to see past her hand when she held it in front of her. Quin led her into a small tavern where they snacked on salted tree-nuts and drank foaming cups of steaming chocolate.
Isadora was feeing very good about being in the town, Rydon, as it was called, because the tavern was warm and there was laughter all around. She smiled at Quin, who is return gave her a tight-lipped smile. She knew that he was in pain. He had barely talked the whole way to the town. Isadora understood that he was dreadfully worried about his mother and while the town was satisfying to her, Quin would be smiling easily when they were on their way back to Jodra with his mother in tow.
It was very late when they left the tavern. The stars, although not visible with the heavy layer of fog, were out an d surrounding a big round moon. Quin had a cousin in Rydon, and of whom Isadora knew nothing about.
Isadora and Quin arrived at the door wet and tired. Isadora in fact, was so tired that she wanted nothing more than to collapse onto something soft. She was rushed into full alertness however the moment Quin's cousin opened the door. She had a slim, strong figure and long wavy hair that seemed to hug her hips. Her skin was the color of tree-sap and her eyes her an impossibly rich green. A green that Isadora had only seen captured by the valleys encircling the castle. It was not a green that was possessed by irises, but this woman's eyes had that beauty. She was more girl than woman, seeming to be about the age of Isadora, who herself was close to seventeen years.
The girl introduced herself as Lilia and it became very clear to Isadora as Quin introduced himself that they had never met and in fact, they were very distant cousins. Distant enough that marriage would be possible. Isadora, although she despised herself for it, began to feel the heavy hand of jealousy clutch at her heart.
"Come in, please." Lilia smiled.