Characters: Isolde, Tristan, Bragnae, OCs.
Summary: Tristan survived the ending of the battle at Castle D'or but things aren't back to normal. And when they recieve some conflicting news, things might not stay well for very long.
This is not meant to be offensive to anyone.
Ch. 2 The Calm Before The Storm
Tristan watched Isolde sleep fitfully for several hours. Holding her hand and comforting her with a soothing tone did nothing for her so after she fell back into a deeper sleep Tristan left for a walk. He had to clear his mind, he was going insane.
Slipping into the town he crossed over the bridge and ducked underneath. Kneeling by the stream he watched his dim reflection for a while before picking out a few stones and skipping them.
“You always were better at that then I was. But you were always better than I in most respects,” Marke noted walking up behind him startling Tristan.
“No,” He murmured. “You’re a better man than I could ever hope to be.”
The moon shone brightly on the water reflecting their positions. Both men looked weary and worn down and neither looked like they were enjoying what life they had been given.
Marke chuckled dryly, “Time has made me old I’m afraid.”
“You look the same as you did nine years ago.”
“No I’ve seen too much.”
“As have I.”
Silence fell upon them once more. The water made small popping sounds and rippled off the rocks and for a moment Tristan wished he could join it. To be so free and untamed, unbound to duty.
“How are you?” Marke asked sitting down and gesturing Tristan to do the same. Sitting down next to him Tristan nodded.
“I’m alright. But I’m worried,” He confessed. Tristan had debated with himself over whether or not he should talk to Lord Marke but in the end he decided to. It was after all a mutual problem that affected both men.
“Isolde, Bragnae thinks she’s with child,” Tristan whispered. Even as he said it he couldn’t believe it, torn between joy and elation, guilt and uncertainty.
Marke concealed his hurt but not before Tristan heard his intake of breath and the quiet way he spoke, “That’s wonderful news.”
“I don’t know if it’s mine.”
Marke looked at him quickly to see if everything he had heard was true and he wasn’t mistaken. “You mean…?”
“It could be yours or mine.”
Isolde woke at dawn the next morning feeling better and very tired of the bed ridden existence she’d been kept in for only a day. Throwing back the sheets the first thing she noticed was that Tristan wasn’t there. It didn’t surprise her, they’d all been feeling guilty since Marke had discovered everything, well they’d really been feeling guilty since the first moment they’d betrayed him but now Isolde felt sick every time she saw the Lord. He was never rude or discourteous which made everything harder.
Slipping into a warmer dress she tip toed past Bragnae and out into the chilly morning. It was seldom to see the square quiet but this morning it was with only five or six people milling about getting ready to start the market for the day. Assuming someone would be in the castle she headed inside greeting the door men: Hansel and Fitz.
The smell of potatoes and wine greeted her. Breakfast was being prepared by the servants in the kitchen. Slipping inside she waved politely at the assorted men and woman hard at work. They welcomed her and gave Isolde an apron and a knife with apples to slice. Normally it was unheard of for the queen (even though she wasn’t with Marke anymore, she was still in all forms of legality the queen.) to cook and spend time with the servants but Isolde fancied them friends and they took to her and in return of her generosity and kindness they taught her to cook and showed her more secret passages through the town that few were privy to, by now Isolde knew almost as much about the village than Tristan did.
“Any news?” Isolde asked Gwen one of the girls that worked in the quarters as well as the kitchen and was often the most knowledgeable about the gossip.
“Yes Mistress,” She replied with a grin. “You’re Tristan and the king have been in deep conversation since last night.”
“Is it true? Are you with child?” Gwen asked excitedly.
Isolde almost dropped the knife in alarm. She had guessed as much but to know that Tristan was discussing it with Lord Marke made everything nerve wracking. “I believe so. Have you any idea what they are discussing.”
“Are they there now?” Isolde asked.
“Thank you Gwen,” She said and handing the girl her knife she headed out of the kitchen and up to Marke’s quarters. Climbing the stairs quickly Isolde soon found herself outside of the door and able to hear the low murmur of the two men she knew very well.
“I understand that Tristan but it doesn’t change our current predicament,” Marke was saying.
“What do you wish me to do?” Tristan asked clearly agitated.
“I don’t know, but at the moment this could either help our country or bring it down again.”
“How could my child bring it down?”
There was a sound like a chair falling, “That’s just the problem Tristan. We don’t know if it is your son. It could be mine. Until we know we have a huge problem. The Irish are still seeking a way to bring us to our knees. If they find one weakness, just one, then we have a problem. They already know I have two weaknesses, add another and we won’t survive another attack.”
“Do not ask me to choose between my country and king, and Isolde.”
Marke was silent for a moment, “No I would never do that. For I still love Isolde as much as I ever did. We just have to find a way to insure none of us or my country suffer.”
Tristan too was silent for a moment, “You have no idea how sorry I am for this. I would have and will do anything for you. Just ask and I will still.”
“I know,” Marke answered. “No matter what happens in the up coming months you are still my second and most trusted. You are still—in my eyes—my son, nothing has changed that. Common let’s eat some breakfast and you should check up on Isolde.”
The sound of footsteps approached the door and opened it just as Isolde rounded the corner. They heard someone leaving and the swish of a cloak but by the time Tristan went to see who it was Isolde had vanished. Marke beckoned to him, “Come, I doubt it was anyone besides Gwen.”
Tristan nodded still unsure and followed his friend down to the Keep. To his surprise Isolde was sitting at the table talking with Galahad. The young man looked tired but his eyes sparkled as he talked to Isolde. Tristan couldn’t fight the sudden possessive and jealous flash that ricochet through his body. Walking over to Isolde he gave her a quick kiss and sat down next to her and Marke who also looked disgruntled at the boy.
“How are you feeling?” Tristan asked.
“Better,” She said and gave Marke a smile of greeting. “I think I’m going to go for a walk today. See the coastline. I haven’t gone in a while.”
Tristan exchanged a worried look with Marke before answering, “I’ll go with you.”
“Alright,” She smiled. “It’ll be fun.”
For the remainder of the meal no one said much but Isolde wasn’t blind to the looks of worry and apprehension exchanged between the leaders. She wondered if Tristan’s offer was purely for the joy of a walk or if he really was worried about her and what could happen to the child. One thing she was certain about, the quiet calm that had settled over D’or for the weeks succeeding the battle weren’t going to hold for long. Hunger for power was always a strong motive and if their enemies found one weakness, just one, they would do anything in their power to use it against them.
And for Marke and Tristan, that weakness was Isolde.