Adventuring through twisted time.
“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.
"No, I said I wanted triple the guards during the ceremony and nothing less. Find John and see that it's done," Tristan sighed in annoyance watching as one of his knights hurried through the mass amounts of castle staff that swarmed the space. He seemed to be the only one standing still just then in the chaos as everyone was preparing for the celebration of today. The day he had been dreading for months.
It was the sound of his mother's voice behind him which uprooted his boots from the spot. "Mother, I'm very busy right now."
"You're not dressed!" Her voice had risen an octave which meant this was the beginning of a long conversation he didn't have the time to entertain.
"As you can see, I am not naked, therefore I must be clothed." He felt his mother grasp at his sleeve which made him stop and turn to face her. She was in her full formal wear as expected and gave him a knowing look. "I'm sorry." Tristan sighed and pushed the growing unease and anger that boiled within him aside, knowing that he shouldn't be taking it out on his mother. "I'm staying with the knights outside of the hall to ensure everyone's safety. The wild men have grown increasingly violent and brazen and we can't keep our guard down, even on a day like today. It wouldn't be prudent." He knew she spoke of his chosen attire as it wasn't the kind that meant he would be joining the other nobles. He was dressed in mostly ceremonial armor and had no intention of stepping into the hall to watch his uncle and Isolde be wed. Whether he spoke the truth about why he wouldn't be in attendance was a different story. Tristan kissed his mother on the cheek and headed off into the crowd once again before she could protest. "I'll see you at the feast."
During the weeks leading up to the biggest celebration of the year, Tristan had explicitly avoided being anywhere where Isolde would be. The castle grounds were endless, but being the nephew of the king meant constantly being called upon. The few glimpses he'd gotten of the future queen had instantly made his stomach drop and he couldn't retreat fast enough whenever he had inadvertently seen her. He thought time and space would make the aching easier, but it hadn't. No amount of drinking or fighting filled the hole that continuously burned in his chest and when he finally resorted to possibly bedding a woman when he was out on a campaign in the hopes of forgetting if only for the night, Tristan left before anything begun.
And so the time had finally come. Tristan's mind was far away from the possible threats that he spoke of to his mother only a few hours ago and instead were in the haze of the final words coming from the old religious man marrying his uncle and now queen just beyond the doors down the hallway. He stared blankly ahead, gripping the hilt of his sword so tightly, he hadn't realized the pain that it would've normally caused if he cared to pay attention. When the doors to let the guests and newly married couple out of the hall opened, Tristan immediately removed himself to hurry outside to get fresh air and not be seen by others when he was so close to cracking.
Tristan's eyes averted to everywhere his uncle and Isolde weren't. The feast was well underway when he returned, having changed into something that didn't require armor and would appease his mother. The food, music, and dancing should've been more than enough to distract him, but there was nothing that could possibly make him forget the fact that despite promising to stay away from her, Isolde was now married to his uncle and the finality of it was crushing him with its weight.
As if that wasn't enough, his parents and the parents of his betrothed were waving him down to join them when he had tried to keep away with the excuse that duty was more important. Tristan moved his hues away quickly when a sudden pang in his chest made him gasp shortly. It was a familiar ache; one that he knew he should ignore because the source of it was the one thing he swore to stay away from. The pain only increased and he found himself quickly emptying the another chalice of wine in some attempts to drown out the sorrow. It wasn't enough.
The knight cursed under his breath and exited the hallway, passing the many guards stationed around the castle. He didn't know where he was going, but let the pull from the invisible thread that binded them lead him through the hallway and eventually to one of the many rooms of the castle. Tristan slowly opened the door and let his eyes adjust to the darkened and seemingly empty room, knowing she would be there. Seeing her there, distraught and in her wedding gown, holding each other's gaze for the first time in so long made his breath catch as he attempted to speak. "Iso.. My queen. You shouldn't be off on your own. It's too dangerous, even now."
The aching of her chest didn’t seem to want to ease as the panic had overtaken her tiny frame. She was desperate to gain composure. To be the queen that this country needed. After all she knew from a young age she was bred for a life like this. She wanted to blame her father for giving her such hopes that she could have freedom in her choices. Letting her play rough and act ungirly in her youth. Yet that blame waved away because she knew her father only wanted her to have a happy life because of what she was going to face down the line. The fact is like many royals she would be in a loveless marriage and do what she must do.
She had to let this out, the ache far to great part of her wondered if all this pain was hers, or if Tristan's pain was mixed in with hers. Maybe that is why she felt sick to her stomach being married, maybe it wasn’t her doubts. Yet she knew it was deep down. After all she never wanted to get on that boat that day to come to Cornwall. Her hands rubbed her eyes quickly as a way to try and stop the overwhelming wave of tears. She knew she needed to suck it up like the woman she was and accept her lot in life. It was just so hard knowing that there was someone she did love. Someone who was actively avoiding her. Someone who was marrying a woman who was more beautiful, ladylike, and put together then herself.
How had she fooled herself in those moments that he loved her as much as she loved him? Her fingers touched her lips as she remembered the kisses they had stolen from one another even when it was wrong. Her mind going to the drawing of him she kept hidden. She wondered if he had kept the drawing of her. If he had ever looked to it with longing for her. “Stupid girl why would he.” she muttered to herself as she sniffled and closed her eyes taking a few deep breaths trying to stop the ragged breathing that passed her lips.
That thread that seemed to tie them together felt as if it was getting shorter but she knew better. He wouldn’t come looking for her. Not when the woman he was to marry was there waiting to dance with him. It was so unfair that she couldn’t even dance with him. Her mind went to the ship and how they danced among the crew singing. How they were impossibly close. How she wanted to stay there with him, lost at sea. Would have been a better life. Another sniffle came betraying the strength she was trying to force upon herself when the sound of the door opened behind her. That thread yanking on what felt like her actual heart.
She turned her head to face who had come in, not that she needed to know. She held his gaze for a long moment, even in the darkened room she could still make the outline of his handsome face. Once he spoke though she moved her gaze to the floor. She felt shame that he came looking for her, he must be missing out on that dance with his future bride. “I’m sorry you were pulled away from the festivities this evening.” She gave a sniffle as she kept her gaze to the floor afraid that if she looked to him again she would lose all sense and break down in front of him. ‘My Queen’ that had passed his lips seemed to sting more than she cared to admit. It was clear he was trying to avoid saying her name.
“I know the dangers, I just needed to step away.” She said as she placed her shaking hands into fist against her corset of her wedding gown. The dress suddenly felt as if it was going to make her collapse there in front of him. “I needed to freshen up and prepare for…” she trailed off knowing she didn’t want to talk to him about it. She didn’t want to admit to him that she didn’t want to be with the king that night. She would prefer he got drunk to the point where she could avoid being claimed his. She wasn’t ready. The wave of panic and worry washed over her again as she attempted to clear her throat, wanting the lump that was forming to be swallowed. She straightened up the best she could and let her gaze hold his frame once again.
“You needn’t let me disturb your evening with your future bride.” The bitterness on her tongue was sure to make him turn from her, correct? If she was mean he would hate her, correct? That's what she had to do. Make him utterly hate her. Then she would be the only one in pain over the love in her heart. “I will be back in the hall shortly. I am well aware of the dangers, but I can take care of myself, Sir Wayland. I believe someone more important in your life will wish you by their side. So please.” Her voice broke at the please. “Leave.” she turned her back to him moving towards the window of the room to get the fresh air into her lungs to try and stop the ache.
It wasn't easy to stand there and watch as Isolde tried her best to compose herself when it was clear she was anything but. He kept himself rooted to the ground despite wanting to reach out and touch her. Tristan remained quiet as he let her speak, glancing to the window as she mentioned his future wife. The venom that was clearly on her tongue was hard to ignore when she spoke of Isabella as if he had the choice at all to not marry same as her. He of course was not going to really express what was on his mind in the way that he'd certainly like to; she was the queen and anything that was prior was a short-lived dream.
Tristan moved his eyes from the darkness outside to her as he addressed the only thing that mattered in the moment and it wasn't the words she spoke or the underlying words that weren't said. "My apologies, your Majesty, but I can't let you move about the castle without an escort." Tristan left his voice flat, glancing to a spot on the wall now that her back was to him after her demand that he leave. He was nothing more than another knight now meant to always protect his queen. "I will be outside when you're ready."
He bowed to Isolde even if she couldn't see as was proper behavior before turning to leave as she requested. Every step he took away from her only felt wrong, but he forced himself to the door and opened it, letting the light of the hallway spill inside the room for a moment before letting it close behind him. Tristan hung his head, his dark hair slipping forward, and closed his eyes momentarily before raising his gaze again to look down the corridor to see if anyone was nearby, though there was nothing but the far away sounds of the world continuing in their festivities while there were two who wanted nothing to do with it at all. Tristan lifted his chin and stood at attention, staring to another meaningless spot on the wall opposite him as he waited for his new queen to emerge.
The knight couldn't say how long he'd been standing guard. He was thoroughly lost within his own mind, falling victim to the times Isolde and him had secretly shared which were more than treasonous to say the least. It had taken the sounds of the door opening down the hall to bring his attention back into the current when he saw one of his men hurrying towards him.
"Sir, there's something you need to see."
"I can't at the moment." It was all Tristan was going to say and it wasn't as if the man would question him as to why.
"Sir, the wild men. They've left a.. message out on the grounds." Tristan looked at him in confusion until the sudden glow coming from behind brought his attention to the window.
Peering outside, the dancing flames rose high into the air and as he tried to make out what was being burned, he realized it was more of who. "Get the men out there and handle this before any of the wedding guests venture from the great hall." His words were quiet with the disbelief that his mind couldn't quite accept what those savages had done. He knew at least for now no one had likely seen what was happening except for the knights who were outside on the grounds and possibly some of the staff. For the intruders to get as close as they did to the castle without so much as a scream from any of the men seemed unfathomable. Realizing the knight was still beside him then, Tristan turned to face him. "Now! And find out how this could've happened!"
Tristan pulled on the door to the room Isolde was in and saw her still by the window, unmoving, as if a statue watching the horrid fire. He quickly crossed the room and stepped in front of her view. His arms came around her smaller frame and he turned them away from the terrible scene below where the bodies of the villagers burned in a warning against the kingdom. "You need to get back to the great hall," he said softly, still holding the queen against him. "If you are missing from the celebration any longer, others will come looking and will see what's happened."
Lashing out because she was jealous when she had no right to be was childish. Yet her heart couldn’t stop the ache it held. She was sure if she was mean enough it would stop the ache. All it had done at this moment was make her want to say she was sorry and hold on to him. She wanted to stay locked away in the room with him away from the event. She wanted to say so much that she couldn’t say. She wanted so much she couldn’t have. She wondered what was on his mind but knew that he wouldn’t express it. After all she had officially become the Queen, a title she dreaded earning from a young age.
Tristan was one to follow duty even if it caused an underline pain through them both. She didn’t fight his word anymore. She was so tired of being mean to push him away when she was aching just to see him. She heard the change in his tone that only made her frown deeply, thankfully her back was to him in that moment. She didn’t say anything because she didn’t feel she needed to. She wouldn’t be able to convince him to leave. After all it was his duty to keep her safe. She felt the tug that was always there grow once again, how wrong it felt with each step he took. She closed her eyes taking in a deep breath. It was refreshing, for a moment.
As she pulled herself together she brought her eyes opened to the sky at the beauty of the stars though that moment didn’t last as in the distant a fire was ablaze. Isolde started at it for a long moment, the smell of burning flesh rolled in and her eyes grew wide. The realization that someone was burning bodies hit her heavily. Her brain couldn’t process it, she heard screaming in the hall that sounded miles away. As she watched the fire frozen. Unable to move.
Before she knew it her gaze fixed on Tristan as he stepped in front of her, her eyes wide in fear. His arms sliding around her felt natural but it wasn’t for a reason she would have wanted. Even though her gaze wasn’t on the burning bodies the smell was still rolling in. She whimpered out against him as she couldn’t get the image out of her brain. She looked up at him, the fear still in her gaze as her hands tighten on his arms. “How could anyone do that to another?” she questioned her grip tight as if she let go she would succumb to the fire herself.
She couldn’t bring herself to move from him and his protective hold of her. She gave a gentle nod of her head hearing his words. “I don’t want to walk back alone.” she said softly knowing he would take her back, since he already planned too. “Please. Don’t go outside to the fires.” she asked him softly, the fear that he would get hurt overwhelming her as she leaned her head to his chest as she took in a few shallow breaths composing herself. She knew she needed to keep the air of a joyous evening while the knights took care of what was happening.
After she composed herself she pulled her head away from him, she moved beside him linking her arm with his because she wasn’t sure if she could keep herself on her feet at that moment. She let him lead her back to the great hall but before she dropped his arm and returned to the party she looked at him with her icey blue eyes and held his for a long moment. She reached up her free hand and rested it upon his cheek softly. There was so much she couldn’t say to him, so much she couldn’t do with him. She gave him a sad smile before forcing the fake one she needed to wear. Dropping her hand from his cheek, her arm sliding from his she looked to the door. “Come into the great hall when everything is taken care of, that way I can know when it is safe to let people leave the event.” She was quiet for a moment as it was the first demand she made to him as a knight. “Thank you Sir, Wayland for walking me back safely.” She said softly before moving through the door to the great hall.
The event was in full swing, the king himself tossing back drinks as he swung his goblet to the music. She moved back, taking the seat beside him. Picking up her goblet and downed the contents. So that is what she did for the next few hours, tossed back drinks to try and forget what she had seen. She had almost forgotten about the king until she felt his hand on hers again. Looking at him she gave him a smile because that was her duty now. To be the happy Irish Queen to the English King.
“Share a dance with me?” The king asked kindly. Isolde only nodded and moved standing with the king as he led her to the dance floor. As he pulled her closer it only felt wrong deep down but she forced the smile once again as they started to dance to whatever the band was playing. Her mind couldn’t even focus on the event, she was worried about what was going on outside. She was worried that Tristan was going to hurt himself. Yet if you were in the Grand hall you had no fear, they had no idea what was going on.
When the dance came to an end she smiled at him, as he leaned in to kiss her, she returned the kiss but no passion or love behind it. He pulled back, placing his hand to her cheek softly. “I have a feeling this event will be going on for a long time, do you think they would miss us if we leave early?”
Knowing what was going on upon the doors, Isolde reached her hand to his. “My dear King, your people would miss us greatly, besides we still need to eat to have our energy for this evening's activities.” she gave him a wink while leading him back to the table they were sitting at. Her eyes scanned for Tristan to know everything was safe. To know he was safe.
Tristan's teeth grinded in anger from what he was witnessing outside of the window while holding the queen against him still. The fact that these men had done the unthinkable by killing farmers, merchants, seamstresses; All people that had never had to pick up a sword in defense. There was no honor in this, though he couldn't expect to find virtues in the savages that made up the wild men. There was no way to keep this hidden forever, but causing panic among the wedding guests wasn't going to help the situation either.
The knight came away from his thoughts at the sound of her voice muffled against his chest, questioning how anyone could slaughter the innocent. He sighed heavily, knowing there was no answer he could give that would make sense of the murder. "I will escort you back, your Majesty. Don't worry." The distant sounds of his men drifted through the window on the tails of the burning flesh that accompanied them and he knew he needed to be out there with his fellow knights. "I must," he replied simply to her pleading. His arms moved more around Isolde in the embrace to provide some type of comfort to her and himself. He wished it was under different circumstances and feeling her move away in the next moment to stand beside him only solidified their need to do so or he would've stayed there.
Tristan opened the door and looked the length of the corridor to ensure they were in fact alone and it was safe to move. He quickly led her back to the great hall where the music and laughter drifted towards them as they stopped and faced each other. Feeling Isolde's hand suddenly reaching up to touch his cheek made him lean into it slightly in silent heartache he didn't show. He could only remain stoic as his gaze looked down into Isolde's eyes and he replied in habit to her request. "Yes, your Majesty." Tristan gave a short bow while he watched her walk away from him as she always would in some way and the doors closing with a finality behind her.
His eyes finally moved to the knights standing guard nearby. "No one leaves until I've returned." Tristan quickly turned on his heels and hurried through the hallway and towards the main doors, nodding to the men who were holding the entrance safe to let him pass. His fingers wrapped around the familiar hilt of his sword as he walked through the grounds, pulling the weapon from its home to be prepared should any of their enemy come to meet a fate that ended in death. Instead, he was met with the smell of thick smoke which still lingered with that of the dead. There his men stood while holding a prisoner that was indeed one of the invaders of their land. Tristan stepped in front of the man who was dirty and wore the skins of dead animals along with the smearing of blood painted across his face as the wild men did. As he inspected him further, Tristan suddenly noticed the black lines under his skin that seemed to spider up his arms and over his chest, reaching just at the base of his neck. His gaze continued further along the man until seeing that his eyes were completely black.
"It's black magic, Tristan." One of his men said, making him look to the man for a moment before turning back to their prisoner and stepping away slightly. "They all had black, lifeless eyes, and chanted strange words when we came at them. They ran off into the forest and when we passed into the tree line, it was like they vanished. This one here was injured and limping. We caught him before he could make it into the woods."
Tristan kept his eyes on the wild man who seemed to be far away, as if he was still under some type of spellwork. He didn't want to show any sign of more worry than what he was feeling, but he also couldn't help the many theories that were forming in his head about what this could mean for the kingdom, its people, and the king and queen. "Put him in the dungeon. Alone. Two guards on him at all times."
Some time later and he was back inside of the castle. Pushing open the doors to the great hall, the music was still playing and the celebration seemed to be continuing. Tristan wasn't going to bring any alarm as to what was happening to his uncle just yet. He could at least enjoy his wedding day for a few minutes longer. He was quick to grab a goblet of wine again and felt his father's presence immediately at his side. "What's happened?"
Tristan looked to him before lowering his head slightly. His long absence was of course noticed by his parents and betrothed as his eyes moved to the women who had curious expressions while watching them. "Later, father." The knight crossed the room with him and looked over the large space to the queen as she sat at the table with his uncle. He nodded once to her shortly. As what always seemed to be the case, the world moved around him, but all his focus was on Isolde until he felt Isabella lightly wrap an arm around his while slipping their fingers together. Tristan looked down to her as she looked to the queen.
"Lovely, isn't she?" The question seemed to hold some weight, but Tristan ignored the implications of it.
"Yes. My uncle and Isolde will make a great match for the country." The knight downed more of the contents in his cup, giving his betrothed a quick smile while turning his back to the monarchs and ignoring the invisible pull that was always there to remind him.
As the king and Isolde settled back to their table, She picked up a piece of bread and found comfort in chewing on it. She watched her king take in many more drinks over the time she sat there. Her mind went to the worst thought, yet the invisible string that tied the pair together still hummed alive. So she took faith in the Magi work who had bound them to know he was alive. Everything felt and sounded as if it was miles away.
Yet the pull of that string got shorter and shorter as her eyes rested on Tristan. Her heart felt as if it leapt into her throat. He was safe, and they had taken care of what needed to be taken care of. She let out the breath she had been holding and smiled at him before seeing Isabella pull his attention away. The sting of jealousy radiated deep in her chest and she pulled her gaze away and looked to the king with a gentle smile.
He was clearly drunk past any point prior she had ever seen him, but he was laughing and having a good time. That did make Isolde smile, at least one of them was happy for the marriage and properly celebrating it. She took a sip from her wine before looking back up to where Tristan and Isabella where, his back to her now. She felt a single tear escape, before quickling wiping it away with the back of her hand. She turned to the king who let up a loud hiccup and she stood up.
“Are you ready my dear?” King Mark asked as he took hold of Isolde's hand. Everything in her screamed no but she just nodded knowing this was her duty. Leaving the party with the king’s guard, Isolde looked back one more time at where Tristian stood. That longing would never fade. She knew it, yet she had to be strong enough to let him be happy. If Isabella made him happy, then he had to let him go. The very thought made her heart ache with a deep sadness.
The doors closing on the party she turned her gaze to the hall they walked down. This would be the first time she was to visit the kings room. Thankful that she got to keep her own room in the castle, it meant she could have a place to read. Though she was expected to sleep at night in the king's bed. The king opened the door then led her inside of the room. She took in just how grand it was, it was clear it belonged to the king. “It’s a beautiful room.” She said to him as she felt his arms come around her waist.
“I had a few of the ladies help me fill it with things I hoped you would like.” The king slurred the words into her ear as he gave it a quick kiss. She swallowed as she closed her eyes and hoped she could just get lost in the thought that it was Tristian kissing her. Something, anything to make the night easier. As she felt the back of her dress undone and her hand taken as she was led over to the bed she opened her eyes again. “You’re not ready?” The king asked as his hand came to her face as he sat on the bed.
“No.” she replied honestly as she moved her hand to his arm resting it there. “But this is my duty.” she swallowed hard, then leaned closer and kissed him. He tasted of alcohol, something she probably should have drank more of. The king kissed her back softly before pulling back and rubbing her check.
“I want your first time to be memorable, my dear Isolde. I don’t want it to be a time you will hate. Since we are to be married for a long time.” He smiled as he leaned back in and kissed her softly. “We will just sleep next to each other tonight, Everyone can assume what they wished of tonight. Until you are ready to have me, I will not force you.” His hand trailed down her neck softly. “You really are beautiful Isolde.” he said with a drunken smile. “I got lucky.” he laughed out, “Luck of the Irish.” With that the king disrobed himself and crawled into the bed, patting the space next to him.
Isolde changed into what was provided for her in the room to sleep in, and moved laying next to him. “Thank you for being so understanding.” she said to him but all she heard was snoring coming from the drunken king. She moved to sit up and let out a sigh as she watched him sleep for a moment. There was little chance he would wake up anytime soon. She needed to get some air, something.
So she moved to the door and looked down the hall sure there would be knights outside the door but no one was there. Probably returned to the party. She assumed and then made her way out of the kings room and moved down the hall. She knew where she was going, she had snuck into once before. She pushed open the door to Tristan's room knowing he wasn’t in it, since that string between them suggested he was still at the party. She walked in the room and closed the door behind her.
She moved around the room and touched the books he had around with a gentle smile. She always loved books, it was something they shared clearly. She closed her eyes and breath deeply as the room smelled of him, it was comforting. She had wished to share a dance with him but it was clear that outsiders wouldn’t have let that happen. Now here she was in his room, without him just dreaming of the dance they would have had.
He was tired; Tired of constantly pretending and putting on a brave face because it was always expected of him. Not that he was ever the type to truly share his frustrations when it came to all the things he was dealing with, but ever since Isolde had come into his life, everything had changed. The woman he was meant to marry was a match no man could ask better of, but he wanted no part of the arrangement. He was the king's nephew, a hero to the court and England, but still, none of that really mattered to him anymore even as he was bred from the beginning to be grateful and honorable to the things expected of him. All he wanted to do was shut himself away from the world and away from all his duties. This was not the man he was used to seeing in the mirror.
Tristan slowly walked down the corridors with his sleeping sister in his arms after escorting Isabella and her parents to their carriage with the echoes of their mothers arranging a luncheon to talk about the wedding. The knight had hardly paid attention at all as he stood there in a fog and let the fate of his life be decided by others around him. It was his father that had nudged him gently to bring him back around as he was sure he must've looked completely oblivious to what was happening right in front of him. A forced hint of a smile donned his features as he nodded to his future extended family though he could feel his father's questioning gaze once the carriage was long down the path. "I'm tired," Tristan had replied, hoping it would be enough to stall all questions. After all, it had been an eventful night in many ways.
Once he had placed his sister in bed and removed the dagger she always carried with her from her waist, much to the dismay of their mother, Tristan continued down the hallways in hopes of retiring to his room without any further interruptions. The sounds of people still having a good time lingered down some of the passageways which only made his level of annoyance rise selfishly. His hand moved over his face, rubbing his tired eyes before the familiar pull of the queen ached within him.
Tristan had stopped mid stride, glancing to his door which was some several feet away. He had completely shut himself off from paying mind to the thread that binded them. Knowing where she was tonight was not something he dared to give a moment's thought to and he'd hoped to drink more of the wine that was bottled in his room in order to pass out in his bed and rid himself of the torture. However, Isolde was not where Tristan thought she should've been as he knew she was nearby.
He pushed open the heavy wooden door and stepped into the dimly lit chambers. It was hard for him to believe Isolde was standing there, seemingly interested in his books. Tristan's mouth parted slightly in surprise before realizing that he was being informal when she turned at his arrival. "Your Majesty." He bowed lowly for a long moment, attempting to try and understand her reason for being here tonight of all nights. When he stood again, Tristan noticed she was obviously no longer in her wedding dress, but in night robes and a dressing gown. His heartbeat naturally quickened at her presence as it always did and his voice was low and barely above a whisper. All manner of formality suddenly melted away then. "What are you doing here?"
She was lost in looking at the book in her hands when she didn’t hear the door open behind her, she jumped slightly, her hand coming to her chest, her heart beating rapidly, turning to look at him. Thankful that it was him and not someone that would gossip about her in his room. Isolde eyes looked from him to the book, then the gown she was dressed in before looking back at him. “I…” her voice trailed off before she set the book down once again. “I couldn’t bed with the king.” She said honestly as she moved to sit on his bed watching the door close quietly.
“He said that he will wait for the time I am ready, which is more than a virgin like myself could ask for. I heard the horror stories from others of how their husbands forced themselves upon them.” She spoke quietly letting her blue eyes trail his floor, that tie there between them felt so heavy in that moment. “I know it's wrong of me, to want what I can’t have.” She said and then looked at him with sad eyes before she stood up and moved closer to him. “But why be capable of feelings if we’re not to have them? Why long for things if they are not meant to be ours? The world truly can’t be that cruel.”
Letting the quiet hang there as she stood in front of him for a moment, before her hand reached up to touch his cheek. “I know it's not fair of me to ask this…” she felt her heart beat quicken for a new reason. There was a reason she was here, it wasn’t a book. “Bed me, I want my first time to be with someone… no with you.” She said gently and wasn’t sure how to play the part of seduction. She got on her tippy toes and pressed her lips to his jaw softly, “Please.” she asked, softer.
She took a step back from him and reached to pull the off the night rope letting it fall to the ground. Her night gown was sheer in the candle light she reached for his hand and placed it to her cheek softly. “I can’t keep pretending we don’t mean something to each other. I feel like I can’t breathe or think when I am not around you. And I know we promised to not do this. That I am married to your uncle. I don’t care, Tristan, I want you and only you.” Her eyes searched for a response for an understanding for anything. “Bed me, show me you feel the same.”
She wondered if he would be as weak as she was in that moment. She wondered if he would give into her begging. She knew this could lead to other rejection. She grazed her teeth along her bottom lip slowly. Her fingers reached to help him slide the coat off and drop it to the floor her body pressed to his.
Tristan listened to his queen speak, shifting uneasily when she brought up his uncle. His gaze went to the floor with a sigh and he closed his eyes not wanting to delve back into the hole that they always seemed to find themselves in when he had been doing everything he could to keep from her. His will had become stronger with each passing day, but Tristan knew it was on the verge of shattering now that she was here in his room. The thought of turning around and walking back out was beckoning to him in his mind; It was what he should've immediately done. Then why couldn't he get his feet to follow suit?
His volition became weaker and weaker with each silent step Isolde took towards him and as her hands reached up to remove his coat, he finally gave into every desire he'd always dream about. Leaning down, he kissed her softly, wondering if the world would implode in that very moment for their treachery towards the man he considered his second father and country he'd die for without question. Surely the door would open and they'd be taken away by an ocean of the guards, his friends, to be put to death for their crime. Yet, when it didn't happen, Tristan buried his hand into her fiery hair and deepened the kiss with a feverish passion that ached to be released.
Whatever fears and hesitations the knight had quickly went to the recesses of his mind. His fingers fumbled on his belt before it fell to the ground with a heavy clatter from his sword while he continued kissing Isolde, leading her backwards to the bed. The rest of his clothing was soon discarded to the floor as he laid the queen onto the bed. It was difficult to remind himself to slow down when he had wanted to be with her in all ways the moment he saw her back in her home in Ireland. Tristan lifted the thin material that covered her and let his hands wander the queen's delicate, nude form. His lips parted over hers as he kissed her again and trailed down to her neck, moving his body between her legs and finally giving into their forbidden feelings.
Some time later, as he held the queen in his arms and stared up at the ceiling, Tristan expected the guilt of what they'd done to come crashing down on him. However, it was the complete opposite. It almost felt like a weight had been lifted from his chest and he wondered if it would last very long if not for the bubble they currently were in where no one would bother them and they could be together as they wanted. "I wish we could stay like this," he said quietly, looking to his fingers as they glided down her arm which draped over his chest. The fire in the hearth seemed to make her hair appear more like fire as its light cast shadows over her body.
Tristan turned his head to look at her, brushing his thumb over her cheek before letting his hand rest there. He moved to kiss Isolde softly and leaned his head against hers, closing his eyes. What now? Were they always going to be finding themselves slipping off unseen and lying to others just so they could spend time together? He didn't know and right now he didn't care. Being selfish for a change meant some chance at happiness for however long they could make this work somehow. Every odd was against them and it seemed their enemies were closing in from all angles, including the woman from the woods who had bound them for some purpose that remained unseen. For now, Tristan instead focused on his queen and how everything felt like it would be okay with her pressed against him.
As Tristan’s lips touched hers she felt her eyes drift close as the want, and desire of everything they had been holding on for one another breaking through. She knew this was wrong, and that she very well would be beheaded if they were caught. She couldn’t stop the ocean of feelings she had for him, nor did she really want to. The hesitation in the kiss melted away once his hand buried itself in her red hair causing a gentle moan to leave her lips into his as their kisses became rough. Her hand moved under his shirt after getting his coat off touching his strong core. Making her want to melt into his touch.
The heavy clatter of his sword on the ground with his belt made her jump slightly pressing closely till she relaxed knowing it was just his sword. Her lips didn’t leave his as they made their way back to his bed. Once he was naked, her fingers moved along his chest slowly touching the major scars he had. Every inch of him was beautiful, as she felt the thin material rolled up and off of her. She felt a blush on her cheeks wondering if he found her as beautiful as she found him. She was thankful for his mouth on hers as she moaned into his kiss as he touched her slowly. Taking every touch, movement, kiss, slow and careful until her vision was full of fireworks.
She was more than convinced no one could have made her first time as special as he did. As they lay there her eyes watched the fire flicker away in the hearth. Trying to remember every inch of him, every second of her body pressed to his, each gentle touch he placed upon her body. She wanted to remember it all so if it was the only time it could carry her through her loveless marriage. She shifted her face back to look at him as he whispered to her. “I wish we could stay like this also.” She said back lightly, watching the flames dance along his face in the dark of the night. She rubbed her thumb along the bite mark she placed upon his shoulder to keep quiet. “Looks like it will bruise.” She said softly as she let her eyes move down his body again.
She leaned into the kiss he placed to her lips leaving her head pressed to his as her fingers ran along his side softly. This was going to bring up a whole new set of problems for them. There was no way to go back to avoiding one another. Not that she ever wanted to be avoiding him. She moved to sit on him after the quiet moment. Her fingers tracing around his abs gently until her hand rested on his cheek gently. Staring at him for a long moment before giving a gentle smile. “I need to get back to my room, though unseen may be harder than I thought.” She gave a heavy sigh before she went to slide off of him. Really wanting to stay there in his arms, in his bed. His till the end of time.
She rubbed her shoulder softly as she picked up her nightgown to pull it over her head. Braiding her head locks to help calm the mess it had become under him. “Is there a secret way to my room from here?” She asked looking over her shoulder towards him. Yet each time she looked at him, she just wanted to crawl back into bed with him and stay there. Even with the sun on the verge of rising.
As the queen rose from his arms, the reality of the situation sat heavily in his chest. Having to watch her always pull away was something he wasn't sure he'd fully get used to. It didn't help that this magical thread that bound them was ever present as a reminder of the true distance that would always be between them in one form or another. Something in Tristan also didn't want the thread to break. That tie, no matter how much he wanted answers from the sorceress, would always let him know where Isolde was and in that at least she was there with him somehow.
He watched her dress for a moment before stepping out of the bed. Standing behind Isolde, he moved her newly formed braid to her shoulder, leaning down to brush his lips to her exposed neck. He lightly kissed along her shoulder and took in the smell of her skin with the hope that he would have these fond memories to think of while dealing with the awful things he would continue to see as a knight to the kingdom. Turning her around, Tristan moved a strand of her loose hair behind her ear and sighed softly before resigning to the fact that he would have to watch her leave. "There are many secret ways around the castle," he finally answered. He could remember finding one of them on accident when he was a child playing games with some of the other noble children; Something that he was intended to learn when he was older and a proper knight.
"Like the one I brought you to before in the library. Most are hidden behind tapestries and a few false walls for my family to use should the need ever arise." It was strange to say that when Isolde was in fact his family now. Not only his family, but his queen. He didn't particularly like the idea of her using those dark and dusty corridors to move around the castle, then again he imagined Isolde was not the kind to be worried about such things. "There is one in the drawing room two doors down at the bookcase. It leads to the smaller chapel by the gardens. I'll show you."
After redressing in some of the clothing he'd worn which littered the ground, Tristan picked up one of the simple iron candle holders on a table and lit the wick from the dying embers of the fireplace. He opened the door to the empty hallway. The only people who they would encounter now would be the staff which would be waking in order to prepare for the day, but even then they wouldn't be in this section of the castle which was set aside for him and his family.
He reached for Isolde's hand and guided her from the safety of his chambers which seemed so far away with every sinful step they took. The room he had spoken of was as expected to be; empty of anyone. Most of the time he found his mother in here when she was looking for some alone time or using it as a place of discipline for him when he was his sister's age. Now it was Alice who used that passageway more than anyone else when she would sneak out of the punishment which she always deemed unjust.
Tristan pushed on one of the bookcases that covered the wall and then pulled it towards him. A slight chilled breeze hit him as it slowly swung open a few feet, giving just enough room for a person to fit through. It was dark inside and though it was the same stone that made up the entire castle, something about it felt cold when it was unfurnished and void of human contact most days. He truly wondered how his sister was so brave at times. The knight stepped inside and lifted the candle into the darkness before offering his free hand again to the queen. "Let us hope the clergy are not in talks with God just yet."
All Isolde wanted to do was to stay there buried into his chest, his arms holding her in a strong safe embrace. She didn’t want to return to the world that was expected of her. She wanted this, she wanted to be his all the time. The fact she had to sneak back to her room made her heart ache. Though when her mind drifted off the night they shared, bringing a smile to her lips knowing that she would never regret it. Even if it cost her head one day. Her mind was lost in the thought she didn’t hear him get out of the bed. Yet the magical thread tugged them closer to each other.
As his lips touched her neck, her eyes drifted close for a moment. How she wanted to turn around and push him to the bed again. Not wanting to leave his room. As he turned her around she gave him a gentle smile as he tucked her hair back. Her hand moving to rest upon his cheek just staying locked with each other in a quiet way. Knowing that the moment they part she will long to be near him once again. “I believe you will have to show me these secret ways sometime. So I can move about without my bodyguard.” She gave a gentle sigh on how she wished she had freedom to move about the castle but knew that would never be the case. She leaned up to brush her lips to his jaw for a quiet moment.
“I will follow you anywhere.” She said softly as he pulled away to get dressed. She watched dhim, her eyes taking in his form knowing it would serve for her memories when she was alone and longing to see him. Frowning more as his clothes began to cover him because she longed to return to their embrace of one another. Yet she pushed aside the thought as she moved closer to him once the hall was cleared. Her fingers laced with his as they left what she would see as her safe haven. Her fingers laced through his as he guided her towards the secret entrance to find her way back to her room undetected hopefully.
As he opened the bookcase her body shivered fully at the breeze and she pressed closer to him. Knowing that he would be the only warmth she gained in such a space. As the pair made their way into the dark inside and the door was closed. The only light coming from the candle she looked to him with a smile. This is probably the most privacy they would gain with one another. “Let us hope, but if they are I wouldn’t mind being locked away in here with you. As long as you would be willing to help warm me.” She teased before moving in his footsteps behind them.
As they walked quietly, Isolde eventually came to a pause as something caught her attention out of the corner of her eyes. “Sir Tristan, what is this place?” She asked as she pointed down a short hallway that led to a small room. Almost as if it was a tucked away library in the secret passageway. Yet there was a bed as well. It looked untouched and clean all the same. She moved to take a step closer into the room. It felt as if time stopped there as she drew closer to the bed. “This place feels…” She couldn’t quite place her finger on it as she touched the sandglass that seemed to be frozen in time. She looked to Tristan for answers. She felt a wave of safety here though in that moment.
Little did either of them know, this is where Clarice often stayed when she needed to be in the castle, she created the pocket dimension for herself. Which would normally be undetected but since the spell she used to bind them had her blood, they would both be able to see it and enter it easily. A process she had yet to think through.