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."