Timeless

Adventuring through twisted time.

The wedding dress

-

“I do.” King Mark said

“I do.” Isolde said choking back tears as she stared blankly to the man in front of her that was wedding her to the King of Cornwall to unite Ireland and Cornwall as one. This was to be a joyous moment as she stood in front of the kingdom. She was marrying a good man after all. Yet in her mind she wanted Tristan's hand to appear and the pair run off together. She hadn’t seen him since that stormy night after he told her he couldn’t want her. It was wrong. 

She told herself nightly as she cried herself quietly in her bed that he was right they couldn’t be together. She was to be married to his uncle. Though the potion that linked them made it hard as she dreamed of him nightly. She always wondered if he dreamed of her as well. Isolde snapped back into the moment of her wedding as they turned to face the crowd of people. Isolde forced a painful smile as her eyes scanned for Tristan. 

Nowhere to be seen. Maybe he just didn’t want to see her. She thought to herself as the pair walked down and made their way to the ballroom of the castle where there was to be a huge party in their honor. She took a seat at their table and watched the room fill with music and people having a good time. Her eyes still searching for him till Mark leaned in calling her attention.

“My dear, I am so happy this day has come. You look beautiful. I cannot wait for later tonight when you grace my bed.” His voice was a gentle whisper in her ear then a gentle kiss placed on her ear. As King Mark pulled back Isolde pressed that force smile to her lips again. 

“If you excuse me I need to freshen up.” Isolde said as she stood from the table and moved out of the ballroom. She walked down the hall, her hands shaking as she pressed them to her corset. When she was sure no one was around she found the closest empty room and started to breath raggedly. She had forgotten all about the wedding night, it was something she wasn’t ready for… not with him.

She lowered herself to the ground, no longer able to stand as her hands came to her face, tears falling down her cheeks. All the tears she managed to hold in the whole time while the wedding was going on.

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Their footsteps seemed thunderous in the silent and drafty corridors that continued to wind through the castle unbeknownst to most everyone. It was hard to believe that hundreds of people who roamed this enormous home would never know all its secrets despite having been born and died here, living their whole lives to serve him and his family along with their generations prior and to come. Isolde's sudden halt brought him pause as he too stopped and looked back to her. He followed the queen's inquiry and noticed the small hallway as well; One in which was meant for supplies should there ever need to be a reason for the royal family to hide among the castle walls. 

Tristan's brow furrowed. The space had completely changed. A dimly lit room was now there when it shouldn't be, making him question his senses. "No, this can't..." but his thought was lost to him. He'd been through these corridors dozens of times and this was not possible. Of course saying something was not possible didn't carry much weight as the current world of magic had just freshly been introduced to him and he still didn't know anything about it. 

The knight followed into the small space and looked around. Nothing inside it was recognizable to him. The things there could not have belonged to any of the servants nor any of the nobles that resided in the castle. It was a simple room, but something about it felt unearthly. He lowered himself to look at the sandglass she was near and could see the grains inside unmoving as if frozen in time. There were no answers he could come up with. "Dreamlike," Tristan finished her words which trailed off into the quiet. His eyes surveyed the room one more time before standing again and taking her hand. "Come, we can't tarry on any longer if we're going to remain unseen." 

He led them through a few more turns before finally reaching the point where the stone of the walls turned to wood. Handing the candle to her, Tristan pushed on the dusty wall which was in fact the back of a large bookcase, mostly filled with the religious scrolls and other writings of the clergymen. The only ones who knew of its real intent was the bishop and a few of the priests who were sworn to its secrecy, not that they would ever have to be asked. Their loyalty would always be to the crown and ensuring the family's safety.

It was quiet as Tristan dared to take a few more steps forward. He stayed perfectly still to listen for any signs of movement, but there was none coming from the chapel. A quick signal indicated Isolde to come behind him and they walked into the empty space. It was smaller than the grand chapel the nobles used and was mostly visited by the workers of the castle, but Tristan preferred it over the other. Something about the quaint building made him feel less intimidated when he was supposedly in the presence of God. Not that he ever took the time he was supposed to as stated by the clergymen who insisted he do so more often.

The light rain could be heard falling on the roof and sunrise was no doubt calling to those who were still asleep as he peered out the window. The castle would come alive soon and he knew they couldn't be seen together like this. He could already see some of the women collecting fresh flowers from the gardens. They needed to part ways and Tristan wasn't thrilled to do it. He turned back to face her as they reached the wooden doors that would lead to the grounds. Looking to his queen, he leaned down to softly kiss Isolde for a long moment, being unsure of when or even if he would again. His lips lingered against hers until he finally pulled away. There was a noise above them and he could hear the clergymen beginning their descent down the stairs to begin their first prayers of the day. 

"I leave you here, my queen," Tristan whispered, cupping her face for a moment as he held her eyes. "It's only a few steps to one of the doors that will bring you near the kitchens." He could remember smelling the baked breads that would waft over the breeze and make him hungry as a boy when playing in the chapel. It was hard to take the steps backwards from Isolde, but he forced himself to do so. There wasn't a moment to spare as the footsteps became closer and he used every second of that to watch her leave before swiftly walking to the bookcase and disappearing back into the hidden corridors. 

As Isolde looked for titles along the spines of the books in this room that seemed so out of place. “This can’t be what?” she asked softly as she looked towards Tristan, her eyes moving along his bed clothed form, how she wanted to remember him this way. Not formal with her. Just themselves.  “I wonder if this room stays when we are not around.” She questioned softly as she touched one of the books feeling a magical surge through her body. She quickly pulled her hand back from the books. “Strange.” She muttered lightly before feeling his hand in hers. She wished to stay locked away here from the world with him but knew he was correct. If the queen wasn't in her room when the maids came the castle would be torn apart. “Of course, Tristan.”

As her fingers laced with his, they made their way free of the darken halls. She took the candle he passed her and held it as he pushed side the bookcase and made her way out once he signaled her to meet him. She was by his side once again. She hated not being there beside him and knowing this was the last few moments they were going to be together in a length of time neither of them knew.  The light rain covering their silent tracks as she wished in that moment she had worn a thicker nightdress. As he stopped her, and his lips found hers again the heat spread through her chest. Her hand moved to hold his face as they kissed, not wanting it to end once again.As he pulled away she let a whispered groan come from her lips, “Tristain, I…” She wanted to beg him to stay but knew she couldn’t.

She watched him back away for a long moment but knowing he wouldn’t leave till she did. She took the turn to find the door that was near the kitchen and tucked her way through hiding among the eyes that never looked up to take notice of her. Eventually she managed to make her way to her chamber door. Sir Gregorer was not outside of it which led her to believe he was passed out drunk somewhere. Which only made it easier for her to sneak inside of her chamber and close the door behind her.

Closing the door quietly behind her she moved to mess up her bed as if she had been sleeping there that night and paused as on the desk across the room something caught her attention. She paused as her fingers clutched the blanket. A scream left her lips as her heart pumped wildly in her chest. Before her on her desk was a bloody head, whose head she had no idea. As her room was filled with guards and she was ushered away. Her mind was in a blur. All she knew is someone had been in her room and if she hadn’t been with Tristan would it have been her head.

As she was taken to another room and properly dressed, she could hear the anger beyond the doors of guards trying to understand. She looked to one of her ladies in waiting, “Do they have any idea who’s head it was? How did it get there?” She asked knowing they had no answers and gave a groan in frustration as she paced the room. She moved to the doors and as the knights turned to face her she looked between them. “I want someone who knows what is happening to me at once or I will find them myselves. That is an order from your queen.” She said and when they didn’t move she went to take a step past them. They crossed their spears in front of her.

Ther irritation bubbling under her chest as she stood there glaring at the helmeted men in front of her. She took a step back into the room and turned to face the woman there for a moment. “I will not repeat myself.” She said to the guards behind her as the doors closed once again. She started looking around the room for a way to get out, and find someone with answers.

Tristan moved back through the corridors, but couldn't help and linger at the spot where the unfamiliar room had appeared from nowhere. He couldn't imagine it being a coincidence that he and Isolde's lives had been changed by that woman in the forest forever and now this place having taken shape in the castle not having to do with one another. He still had yet to learn more about that woman with all that was going on in the time of returning from Ireland. There never seemed to be a moment when he had time to himself, but Tristan would find her again and demand answers. Maybe this room held the key to her location. Though, it would have to wait. The sun was rising and so would the rest of the castle inhabitants.

He closed the bookcase behind him. It would be far easier for him to retreat to his room than it would be for the queen and he hoped she had made her way back to her chambers or that of his uncle without issue. Having a section of the castle devoted to one's family meant less people walking about in the halls. Reaching for the handle, Tristan heard the hastened footsteps and distinct noise of a knight in his armor passing the door. There was a few rapid knocks that he could tell was at his door, no doubt, making him sigh and close his eyes in a moment of frustration. Of course someone would be looking for him. He remained quiet as another series of knocks filled the quiet and his name being called. Tristan recognized the eager voice of one of the guards stationed at the other side of the castle where the king and queen resided. Regardless, he remained still and waited before pulling the door open slightly once the man had retreated without luck.

It was silent once more and Tristan looked up and down the corridor before moving to his room and quietly entering again. His gaze immediately went to the bed where the disheveled mess of bedding brought back the few hours before where he had been with Isolde and in a world their own. The guilt rose in him, churning slowly in his chest, but he pushed the annoyance away and looked to the balcony instead. The sun's light was trickling through the glass and pouring into the room and he would have to continue on as if everything was normal however far from that it really was. There was still no regret inside of him. It was the pain he would cause his family that worried him most; That and what would happen to Isolde.

Another round of rapping came at the door. This time it was more urgent and much louder. Tristan thought it might wake the rest of his family. Again his name was called, but this time the voice he recognized was that of Sir Gregory. He internally groaned as his hand went through the still water of his tub, splashing it on his face. Crossing the room was difficult because he wasn't in the mood to deal with the grump of a man. It was far too early to be looked down at by him. Still, Tristan sighed and pulled open the door where the older knight stood, donning his usual scowl. "There's been an incident. The king requests your appearance."

His stomach dropped instantly, but he didn't show it in his face. "Of course. Let me dress."

The walk to the other side of the castle seemed to take ages as the worried thoughts of his mind tried to imagine what his uncle would say to him. Had someone seen he and Isolde together despite how careful he thought they'd been? There were so many eyes. Did he really think it would be so easy? The level of noise that rose from the end of the hallway broke him from his thoughts. Knights were moving about as if searching for something and though he was relieved when it became clear this wasn't about he and the queen, Tristan's concern suddenly grew for Isolde's safety. "The queen?" he asked, turning his head to Gregory in question, but before he was given a response the king appeared.

The man's face was full of concern which only made Tristan worry more and normal formality seem frivolous just then. "Uncle, what's going on?"

The king gave his nephew a grave expression. The worry lines of his face creased. "My wife was threatened. There is a traitor among us all." How true that was despite the circumstances now. Tristan was then told of the head that was left in the queen's chambers. Clearly a warning, but of what? Were people still so against this marriage that something so risky like this would go on? It was a horrible game to play though this person would've known she would've been with the king on their wedding night. Or was supposed to be. His eyes moved to the ladies which milled around a room, making him guess it was where Isolde would be. Once his uncle was done, Tristan placed a hand on the man's shoulder for a moment before stepping away. The guards in front of the doors moved aside as he came closer and he opened it to walk inside, leaving them as they were, pushed fully open. Propriety as always. Her ladies moved into the room after him. They could never be alone. At least with anyone knowing.

"My queen," he announced, bowing slightly. "Are you alright?" Tristan did not expect that he would be seeing her so soon and somehow it felt different being around her now. How he wanted to hold her.. "Could you tell me what happened?" 

"Yes, my dear. Please explain to my nephew exactly what happened." King Mark entered at that moment and stood beside his wife, taking her hands in his. "I fear we will never be safe when our enemies are coming from all sides. To think that someone lurking around my halls would have the nerve to do this. It's unacceptable. I expect this to be solved, Tristan. First the poisoning, the attack on the grounds, and now this? I will not have my queen made to be afraid all the hours of the day."

Isolde was lost in her own sorrowed thoughts, wondering who had been in her room the night before. Would they be around the castle? Informing anyone that she wasn’t in the room like she was supposed to be. Learning that she wasn’t with the king. The rumors were bound to swirl. Causing her to have to answer for where she was. The danger for herself left her mind quickly because the thought that she would have cost Tristan his life grew in her mind. She was cursing herself up and down for putting them in this state of worry. She knew it was wrong that she wanted him and yet still in that moment she wanted him. She couldn’t bring herself to regret her actions. That tether between them was getting shorter which led her to believe he was going to be there with her soon. That made the worry in her chest less knowing she would be near him.

When the My Queen left Tristan’s lips she turned around to face the knight, her eyes lingering for a moment as her sad eyes stayed locked with his. Her heart beating rapidly at the thoughts of their night before. Wishing they could be wrapped up in it once again. Not dealing with this. Knowing that they wouldn’t be alone again anytime soon especially with the kingdom being thrown into high alert. She was lost in that thought when she heard her husband's voice.

Her hands wrapped around his as she took a gentle breath in as she tried to calm the emotions that swarmed her. Her eyes moved back to Tristian as she was told to explain. “I woke from my slumber, and when I did there was a head on my drawing table. I have no idea who the head may have belonged to. I did not get a clear view as I screamed out. The room was filled with knights after that and I whisked into this room.” She pulled her hands free from the king for a moment. 

“As for if I am alright.” She felt the frown on her lips form in that moment. “It is clear someone is trying to tell me something. What it is I am not sure. We need answers.” she stressed the we as she stared into Tristin eyes with her light hues. The only thing she could be sure of is it was not linked to the witch that had bound the pair together. After all she had healed the queen twice, why would she wish to murder her. Unless this was all a cruel game. Folding her hands together she moved over to Tristan. “You worry for my safety,” She said softly more towards Tristan then the king but looked over her shoulder to the king.  “My king. Maybe Sir Gregory isn’t enough.” she said in that quiet moment. 

A knight entered the room and moved over to the king and pulled him aside. “Majesty the head has been identified as the queen’s mother.” He tried to say as quietly but that news vibrated through his helmet loud enough for Isolde's head to snap towards him where he stood with the king.

“What?” She said she felt all the power and anger from the event that was holding her body up leave her. “What?!” She screamed as she felt her knees go weak and start to shake. “M-My.” She started to crumble to the floor at the news as her mind was thrown into a panic. Her hands pressing to the corset that was on her frame as she tried to take deep breaths but none would come.

His mouth parted in shock when the careless knight announced whose head had been found in the empty chambers. As soon as Isolde began to sway, Tristan moved to support her as she fell in her sudden grief. His eyes moved up towards the knight who entered the room with a mix of anger towards him and himself for not finding out who was so intent on destroying their kingdom. "Go to the ports and speak with the guard there. Make sure they keep an eye out for any of the Irish ships. Speak with the merchants and inn owners. Inquire about any new faces that aren't from the area that might be of interest to us. Go!" The king moved beside his queen as both men lifted her from the floor. "Ladies!" Tristan and his uncle guided Isolde to the chaise and sat her down as her ladies in waiting came rushing into the room at his calling to be my the side of their queen. 

The knight pulled his uncle aside and spoke lowly to him. "How could the Irish queen go missing and no word of this has reached us?" He breathed out, closing his eyes for a moment and looking to the ceiling, afraid of what this could all mean. "The wildmen are too erratic for something so planned as this. There's no way they could get near the queen to be able to kidnap her so freely without a single person knowing and in Ireland, no less. They don't have the means for travel so far. I cannot see the link between this all yet, uncle. They've never been able to rally like this unless it is the person who may be leading them." Tristan glanced over to Isolde as she sat with the women around her, trying to give her some form of comfort in her grief. "The treaty between our lands will fall apart. The Irish will not so willingly believe that our kingdom had nothing to do with this. They will suspect us, regardless of how absurd it would be to cause war. You now have an Irish queen and her father could see this as a power play to make for his throne next in their turmoil once they learn of his wife's death."

Keeping the Irish queen's demise quiet for the time being was a risk, even if it was to bide them more time to find answers. There was no chance of keeping it a secret, especially when he couldn't even trust the ones of his own house. There were no doubts that someone was able to move about the castle without detection and to him that meant it was someone familiar to them all. Someone who blended in with the rest and wouldn't raise suspicion. A cook? A scullion? Even a knight? His eyes moved to Isolde as she sat in her sorrow. It was killing him to not be able to comfort her then, but he had to stick to his duties. "Stay with her, uncle. I will find out more of what's happening, I give you my word." King Mark gave him a stern nod and pat on the face with his blessing before he finally pulled his gaze away from Isolde to leave the room, the thread between them being a burning ache as he moved further away from where he wanted to be. 

The queen's safety was more important now than anything. This also meant it was likely he wouldn't be able to see her alone again for who knew how long. Stepping into the hall, he turned to the knights who were milling about and waiting for instruction. "The three of you are now to be by her side. Always. No exceptions." Tristan looked to them each in turn, wondering if any of them could be the one who was betraying them all. "You remain at the door of wherever the queen goes. The only ones allowed into a room with her are her ladies and the king. No one else. Understood?"  

Tristan turned and briskly moved through all the people in the corridors chaotically moving about to the dire events unfolding upon them. He only had one place in mind to head to now and that was to the dungeons where they'd caught one of the wildmen from the previous night. It was time to find some answers and the knight planned on doing whatever was necessary to get them.

The shock, the horror of those words caused her to fall into the closest arms unaware they were even Tristan. At that moment all she could feel was the tears staining her face and her body trembled like a leaf. There was always this risk with the travel, she had wanted her mother there since she knew her brother and father would not come. She wanted someone who was family, and now she was dead. It was all her fault. Her selfish wants had cost the life of her own mother. She felt her head hung even as she was lifted off the floor by both her husband and her lover. Sitting upon she felt the lady in waiting she had grown close to taking hold of her shoulder before her eyes watched Tristan and Mark place space between. 

Not that she could hear what they were saying in those moments, it was like bells were ringing in her ear, unable to let her find a moment of peace. She turned her gaze to Tristan’s for a moment as he looked at her before taking his leave. As the king drew closer towards her, she forced her gaze to him away from lingering upon the door. That burning ache of pain was ripping through the thread as he placed space between them. She wanted to lean into him for comfort but knew she couldn’t so her face found it buried into the King’s chest as she openly wept over the loss of her mother. 

-

Clarice had returned to the fold in time that she was staying in, in the secret tunnels after doing everything she could to make sure the queen wasn’t caught. Looking at her notes she gave a slow smile seeing the names appear on the list as the family tree spread out between Tristian and Isolde. “Now to make them strong.” She muttered before moving out of the secret room. She walked along the corridors unnoticed as always. Yet it was clear something had happened among the royals as panic was thick in the air. She paused her stride to watch just as Tristan demanded that the knights always be by her side. The queen? What on earth had happened. She was there a few steps behind Tristan as he made his way to the dungeon.

Clarice knew that Isolde was safe after all her name was still on the magic family tree. She would show that she was pregnant before they knew it and yet Tristan was not looking like the man who had just slept with the love of his life. He looked scared and angry. As they made their way into the dungeon together, Clarice still didn’t show herself as she slipped into the room with him.

Her eyes stared at the man who was clearly from the wilds themselves. He looked like a feral animal. Her eyes drifted between the two as she leaned back against the wall watching him. Clearly whatever was happening in the castle had to do with the wildmen. Whom she had not calculated for, yet they were an anomaly as of late she had noticed. She wondered secretly if someone had been growing an army under her nose.  Something she couldn’t risk with bigger wars coming in the future.

Tristan hurried through the hallways as his mind went leagues a second. The rising chaos around him seemed to mute as his thoughts ran about in his head. He couldn't help but wonder how all of this was connected. The woman who had bound he and Isolde together seemed the likely culprit, but the knight still couldn't figure out her goal in this all. Where was she hiding? If he had to take a guess, that room that he and Isolde had discovered which was out of place would yield more clues, but he wasn't sure how to even begin understanding what he may find. This magic that was put onto them seemed a curse that clung to not only themselves, but now to each of their kingdoms.

As he went down the stairs to the dungeons below, the air immediately grew cold and he couldn't help but feel a darkness as well. A heaviness weighed on him the lower he descended and when reaching the bottom, the eeriness only thickened. The long hall of cells was mostly hushed as he passed. His eyes moved to one of the few prisoners they kept who had backed completely into the corner and was facing the wall, murmuring incoherently to himself. The next cell Tristan peered into was that of a murderer who had killed his entire family and two of a town's guards. He was a tree of a man and now he sat on the floor, rocking back and forth, trying to appear as small as possible, his hands clawing at the sides of his head. 

Tristan continued on until he finally came to the back of the cages where two of the knights stood. They were obviously shaken and seemed to be slightly relieved at his presence. "How long have they been like this?"

"Since bringing in the wildman, sir. He's done something to them. It's not natural." These knights had been on battlefields before, seeing the worst of death, yet whatever was happening here was clearly unnerving to them both.

He nodded for him to unlock the door which led to the final cell. Tristan walked up to the bars and couldn't make out the prisoner at first as it was fully darkened inside. The heaviness he was feeling felt crushing now that he was in front of what seemed to be the source of it all. Tristan neared closer to look between the bars until the man reached out of the shadows and grabbed him. His gnarled hands clutched at Tristan's clothing with such strength it seemed impossible. He tried to pull himself free, but it took both he and the other knights to finally be released. 

The black spidering had covered the man's body completely now from what it was the previous night. It seemed to reach every part of his skin and even into the white's of his eyes which looked like an endless black pit. "Who's your master?" The man did not reply and only stared at Tristan, unmoving. 

"We should kill him and be done with it." Tristan turned his head slightly at the knight's muttered words as the sound of a sword coming from its sheath was unmistakable. 

Tristan put his arm out to stop the knight who was foaming at the mouth to do what he'd just suggested. "Leave us. Wait back out by the door." His head turned to the other knight as well to include them both and he watched as they followed orders, closing the door behind them. He let his focus go back on the wildman then, taking a step closer to the cell. "I have the mind to do as he says, but at least I will make it quick, unlike him. Tell me who your master is."

Still the prisoner remained quiet, but then his face contorted in a way that no face should do as a deep voice came from the man's cracked lips which seemed to layer that of his actual voice. "I smell magic on you, boy." Tristan was taken aback by this, but did not falter. It felt like another presence had completely taken over the wildman. "Seems someone favors you." A crooked smirk oddly formed until his head snapped to the side and looked beyond Tristan's shoulder as if looking to someone else. "I know you're theeeere," he said in a sing-song tone.

Tristan turned around, but saw nothing behind him. "What are you talking about?"

"Seems you have a shadow following you, knight." The man's blackened eyes moved to look beyond Tristan again, but didn't seem to focus fully. "Come show yourself. I'd like to know my enemies upfront. Especially one with magic."

Clarice watched as Tristan moved from the other knights only to watch the man who was corrupted by something dark. It gave Clarice pause, she hadn’t seen something like this before. The crushing pressure made her thankful she was unseen in that moment. For she wasn’t sure she could control the twitch of fear that radiated through her being. She watched the unwavering Tristan even though he was filled with just as much fear as the Sorceri, move towards the man.  

As he was yanked closer Clarice felt the surge of protective nature course through her yet she knew she couldn’t step in and reveal herself. She was sure that Tristan would try to end her though his efforts would be cut short.  As the other knights wanted to end the man's life she mulled that over. She could rip him apart and learn what magic has been shot into this man. Maybe she would be able to figure out who created the magic also if it was unique enough.

She had to give it to Tristan. He knew his station well, he knew words that would get information out of the man, if he was sane enough. Yet this wildman was a lost cause.  What she did not expect was for the Prisoner to call him out on the fact he had magic. She watched the face twist making her mouth drop in horror. She had yet to witness something like this in her lifetime. Tristan was doing far better at holding himself together then the High Sorceri herself was.

When the wildmans head snapped to her she shut her gaping mouth, her face becoming a stoney bitch expression as she made herself appear after a moment. “Well this is bothersome.” She said as she moved a step closer towards the cell. “I don’t like when there is more than one magic user among my intrigues.” Her light eyes locked on the man in the cell. “Try not to behead me at this moment, Tristan my dear. I may be able to help find answers.”

Her guard was up, she had a bubble around her to help protect her, so if the knight dared to take a strike it would reflect back on him. She tilted her head to the side as her eyes started to glow orange as she took him in. “Who do I have the pleasure of calling my new found enemy?” She questioned as she stepped closer to the bars.

Tristan looked to the man in complete confusion still, ready to disregard his rantings and keep pressure on the answers he was looking for. “Ah, there you are.” He followed the wildman’s gaze behind his shoulder again and saw the new figure there. “Sneaking around the castle better than I, it seems. It certainly isn’t as easy as being invisible to the senses while I have to go from person to unsuspecting person.”

Before the wildman could even finish his sentence, Tristan had already stepped backwards and pulled his sword. He pointed the weapon at the sorceress who was not there a moment ago as he tried to make sense of what was happening. His eyes moved back and forth between the two, feeling completely lost and vulnerable, but not allowing himself to be an easy to roll over victim either. Had she been following and watching them all this time? Standing in the shadows as he and Isolde continued their forbidden tryst?

The knight’s initial reaction was to back her into a corner and bring his sword to her throat. He wanted answers and he wanted them now. Tristan couldn’t believe it would take this possessed wildman to be the one to bring him face to face with the witch who’d cursed them to this unnatural life. His sword hand which was normally unwavering and steady, shook now for the first time in years. Though the anger was clear in his face as he stared at her, Tristan swallowed his pride and didn’t act on his emotions, however kept his sword raised. He was not one to take orders from anyone but his uncle on any day, but only looked to the prisoner as the woman asked him to hold off on the clear action he wanted to take against her. The enemy of my enemy is my friend.. for now.

The wildman seemed to be enjoying this a great deal as an inhuman smile spread further than normally capable over his face. Once the sorceress had asked for an introduction, he licked his dirty lips slowly as he looked over her. “I’ve had many names, woman. Some in tongues you wouldn’t be able to pronounce. I walked the Earth when it was nothing but the beginnings of oceans and mountains and you mistakes were an afterthought once the world had been built in its initial beauty.” More and more the layered voices seemed to be shifting to only the mystical one controlling the prisoner. The man who was being inhabited seemed to be vanishing to nothing. “What do they call you, sorceri? It has been a long time since I’ve felt someone as powerful as you.” His eyes moved over to Tristan then, still holding the eerie grin. “What do you want with the little knight? I do like games. Especially ones where people lose their heads.”

Tristan glared at the creature behind the bars with a deadly purpose. "You killed the Irish queen, didn't you? Why? Why do you want war between our countries?" The crushing feeling was more than he could stand much longer. His chest seemed to be getting tighter and tighter. The air felt toxic to breathe, but he didn't waver to show the weakness.

Somehow he didn't think the internal struggle went unnoticed by the possessed man. "Because it's fun. Because I've slept for too long. Because I will gain power over both kingdoms and kill any who oppose me." His gaze turned to the sorceress then as the black spidering on his skin seemed to cover every part of his body. "It would be fun to have you on my side though." 

Clarice felt the sinking feeling in her chest taking in how he spoke on how he snuck around. This force was one that made Clarice's hair rise on the back of her neck. Though forcing the aura of confidence to the surface. Holding the slight smug look she learned from Kyan long ago she raised a brow towards him. “Oh so you are just a nasty little virus? Well I am sure fire will ruin everything that is you. Maybe I should light ablaze all of your victims. Eradicate you.”  She slipped from her lips as she heard the sword being drawn and being pressed to her throat. 

Allowing her eyes that were burning orange in the presence of a threat that scared even her. She felt his hand trembling, and the anger in his soul. Watching him process and indeed not kill her caused the slightest of smiles and she dare not let Tristan see it. “Well it seems we can reach an understanding when there is a common threat then.” She spoke softly before her orange gaze moved back towards the wildman. She knew long ago choosing Tristan for the bloodline she needed was the right choice. They may never see eye to eye and never in fact be the best of friends but they will find a common ground.

Clarice rolled her eyes slowly as the wildman began to speak of how he was part of the earth since the time it was oceans and mountains. Listening to the voice grew more inhuman as it spoke, picking up the foreign languages that seem to be added to add a deeper vibration. Was he trying to strike fear into their hearts? She cocked her head to the side as she listened to him as he inquired about her. “Oh so you aren’t all knowing as you try to present yourself?” She smirked to the man as her orange eyes burned. Though when Tristian spoke of the Irish Queen being killed. Her head snapped towards him. “Aoife?” She questioned but knowing it wasn’t Isolde. She felt somber take over her features as her gazed held onto Tristian she took in his struggling when she realized.

Throwing her hand up she pushed a bubble out and around the wildman. Her gaze moved back to him as she watched the air grow thick around him. “Clever. Whatever you are. Keep your targets distracted enough until your smog takes over and drives them mad? Poison them? Doesn’t matter in the end.” She said as she sent a wave of purifying energy through the bubble. “I am someone who will only ever be on the side of one arrogant asshole. And frankly my dear inkling, he is far more attractive than you are. Ever thought about bathing in the water that was once here long before us mistakes?” She questioned sending another wave of purifying energy.

“Tristian, if we can get him to my room in the secret tunnels I can remove him from this realm. Though if he is a hive mind as he seems to be. It would be better to try and extract him or I should say and find its weakness. Which I am guessing at this moment is either purification or fire, which lets be real is just another kind of purification.” She didn’t look away from the being she held in the bubble. “Are you able to breathe any better? Does Isolde know about her mother?” Her mind circled with ways to fix the issue but raising the dead came at a deep cost and it was one she wasn’t sure she could pay for Aoife's life. Not with the pawns and moves already in place for the future.

Tristan's head was swimming. It was hard to focus as everything began to blur in a haze. He wavered slightly, his sword arm growing increasingly heavy as he tried to force himself to stay awake. The sickness that built inside of him was coming to a head and the air so thin he was sure to pass out. He stumbled back a couple of steps until his back hit the cool stone wall in some attempt to stay standing as he heard the two others in the room going back and forth with one another. Their words were hardly recognizable any longer as his brain completely fogged. Whatever this magic was seemed to only be affecting him so greatly. He had to assume it was because this sorceress was not human as he.

He watched as the woman cast something across the room that engulfed the wildman then. The creature growled like a beast which was something no human could produce. Tristan gasped as the air suddenly began to clear and he breathed in deeply. His body felt completely drained as if he'd been fighting on a battlefield for hours. The sword he held fell downward as his arm was too heavy to continue holding it up before he leaned over and retched up a mix off blood and black. The poison he'd breathed in was apparently trying to get out of his body which only made him feel even weaker. The knight leaned back against the wall for support and closed his eyes to take more deep breaths in to try and collect himself. He wasn't about to run now.

Soon the room began to come into focus again. His eyes moved to the woman as he realized she was addressing him, though he only caught the end of what she was saying. "Isolde knows," he strained, wrapping his fingers more tightly again on the hilt of his sword as he tried to force himself to gather his wits. "She knows." 

"Did you really think it would be so easy to take me?" the wildman spoke. His teeth gritted together in a fury and the black Tristan had vomited seemed to bubble out of the creature's mouth in waves. The man's eyes moved to Tristan which were a hollow pit of darkness. "I will take this kingdom, along with the others, and one by one until this world is mine." His gaze then moved to the sorceress as he clutched onto the iron bars of the cage to keep himself from falling over. He writhed in pain from the magic holding him inside the bubble while the body he inhabited was decaying before them. "And not even you can stop it. You should've joined me, but you can die along with the rest of the humans." The wildman's body began to convulse violently then until it collapsed to the floor unmoving and clearly dead.

Tristan forced himself from the wall and went over to the cell, bending down to get a closer look. The stench caused him to turn away for fear of retching again as his body was still recovering from whatever magic he'd just had to endure. Turning, his dark eyes landed on the sorceress. "You've been watching us this whole time, haven't you? Why? What do you want with our families? Why are you in the castle?!" Rage suddenly took over him as he shouted the last question and stood once more. Even if he did fail, Tristan wanted to raise his sword and at least have the satisfaction of possibly hurting her. His gaze moved over to the pile of what was a man moments ago before looking back to the sorceress with nothing but hatred. "Why can't you devils leave us alone?"

Clarice felt the heavy ache in her chest and frowned deeply at the man she was holding in the bubble of his own poison that he was spewing out over and over.  “Then raising her from the dead wouldn’t help sooth her concerns then. She knows, and she is most likely heart broken for the death of her mother.” She swallowed hard as she wished she could just erase this incident from all of their minds. Yet that wasn’t something she could nor would she do especially with Tristan he needed to know what was going on. That there were bigger threats than her in the world.

Her eyes stayed on the man that was decaying in front of them, she gritted her teeth before giving the dying creature a menacing smile. “You will fear me, Wildman.” She said as she watched him become unmoving and sighed before slowly letting the bubble go so that the goo he was wrapped in wouldn’t touch the pair who had witnessed the scene. She was quick to get a vial of the goo up before casting a purification spell over it, so it didn’t take them out again. Yet still the smell made her stomach turn violently. Giving a quick gag she moved away from the cell. “I don’t envy who will have to clean that out.” She muttered under her breath before feeling the knight's eyes boring into her.

That fight returned quicker than she thought, her finger moved to touch the tip of the sword as she felt the cut her finger tip slightly before sighed heavily. “I have my reasons, reasons I am not sure you are ready to hear yet.” She simply stated before she moved away from him. “You may consider me the devil but in the end would you rather deal with me, the person that bound you to the person you love. Or would you rather deal with that devil?” She nodded to the sludge on the ground as she kept backing away from him.

“Let me help Tristan, let me help you fight those devils. I will tell you my reasons once I am sure you aren’t going to run a sword through me.” She said simply before waving her hand in the air to place a wall of energy between them. “You have to learn which things to trust. Not everything is how it seems.” She said as her body faded from view and Clarice took off from where she stood as the energy wall would fall after a few seconds. She needed to get to her secret room and study what being could have come from the goo. What a day, Clarice thought to herself with a heaviness in her chest wanting to check on Isolde but couldn’t bring herself to move that direction. 

Isolde had been locked in the room that Tristan had left her with her ladies in waiting as she paced, tears streaming. This was going to end up with Ireland wanting the head of whoever did this. Was she going to be caught not being in her room? Would their lies crumble that day? Her mind was filled with doubt and fear all in one.

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