This is a story about Arthur's scout and his love for one woman: Isolde.
Since I am no native speaker, I would very much appreciate it, if you could tell me about my spelling or grammar mistakes.
This is a revised version of the prologue, and I intend to revise all of the earlier chapters. No big changes in the content, just some improvements here and there.
Please be kind and don't look too closely at the mistakes or at the chapters which haven't been revised yet. This is the first story I wrote in English, years ago. Mostly, I was experimenting, seeing that I am no native speaker. I hope, however, that my English has gotten better over the years^^. So now: enjoy! (=
Disclaimer : The movie King Arthur is owned by Jerry Bruckheimer. No copyright infringement intended.
The harsh November winds hurled twigs and leaves against the proud Hadrian's wall, a monument built by the Romans for the defence of their gigantic Empire.
Little, warped houses clung desperately to the wall in little gatherings, like infants to their mother's bosom, their inhabitants deeming the wall as a protection against the ferocious Woads, the native inhabitants of the isle, who did everything to break the Roman grip on it, in the process killing not only the Romans themselves, but also those, who followed them.
A winding, small path, that started somewhere at a windy part of the British Coast, crawled along this wall for hundreds of miles, eventually ending in front of a Roman fort, the last outpost of the Roman military.
It was the year 463 AD and Rome was slowly losing power, struggling like an aged giant, who was slowly being sapped of his strength by both external force and internal deterioration, while still clinging desperately to vestiges of its former glory.
Effects of this struggle were already visible on the windy island, too, but not in this fort.
This fort was the post of fearsome warriors, dark, fierce figures whose home was thousands of miles away, on the grassy, rolling plains of a land called Sarmatia.
These Sarmatian warriors, known to all of the island's people as Arthur's knights, were both the fear and envy of Rome's legionnaires stationed in Britain, they were legends, whispered about at campfires and feared among their enemies.
But their loyalty belonged only to one man. Artorius Castus, a man both of British and Roman descent, a Roman commander, who had earned the respect, trust and most importantly friendship of the Sarmatian Riders, who did not give these easily, especially to one, who represented the very Empire, which had taken their freedom away and bound them to it for a service of fifteen brutal and long years. But to Arthur, they were loyal.
He was a man of great honour and discipline, even the Woads respected him as a fair and worthy opponent and his knights would have given their lives for him.
But nothing is ever constant, and the number of the Sarmatians dwindled over the years.
Fourty young boys had been wrenched from their mothers' arms and had been brought to this island. After eleven served years, sixteen remained, the others had been taken from them by either sickness or death, the latter often at the hands of the Woads, so it was no wonder, that the hatred of the Sarmatians for these blue warriors ran deep in their veins.
They didn't despise them for their cause, because they could understand the longing for freedom, but they hated them for taking away more and more pieces of their home, as more and more knights fell.
The remaining knights were all unique in their character, often equipped with very distinctive character traits. Their favourite place, if there was a favourite place for them on this island, was the tavern, run by a fiery, red-headed woman with eyes the colour of Britain's mossy plains, as she was a native of the country herself. Her lover, however, was one of the aforementioned knights, a loud, boisterous man called Bors, whose best friend was the gentle Dagonet, a giant man with a kind heart.
Then of course, there was Lancelot, Arthur's loyal second. A complex character, who was renowned for his skill with his twin swords and his ability to charm all women both.
He often clashed with the clumsy Kay. Kay, a short, roundish man infuriated the fiery knight with his slow wit and his uncanny ability to stumble across him to the most inconvenient times, namely when Lancelot had company of the female sort.
The one who had to calm the waters after one of Lancelot's violent outbursts was almost always Percival. The fair-haired Percival was a bard and also renowned for being always honest. This often led to teasing, that he had clearly chosen the wrong profession, but he silenced the taunters always with one of his serene smiles.
Gawain, whose long, tangled golden hair was the secret envy of many women, was a calmer fellow too, but as fierce in battle as any of them.
Young Galahad, whom he had taken under his wing, was the most rebellious of them , constantly questioning everything, which made even Arthur lose his temper sometimes.
Then, there was Bedivere, Percival's cousin and the knight's complete opposite in actions and words, the callous Iwain, who was brutal to the point of madness; the cheerful Geraint, who had always known what to say whenever one of them fell into a gloomy mood; Gareth and Gaheris who were Gawain's brothers; the perpetually depressed Melan, the handsome Erec who held much sadness in his heart, and the quiet Hermann.
But there was another one. One, who probably knew his brothers in arms better than they knew themselves.
His name was Tristan, but among the Romans he was mostly referred to as Arthur's scout, not that he minded this, in fact, he didn't care.
Especially Galahad had taken a dislike to Tristan, because he couldn't understand him.
But understanding Tristan was an impossible task for any of the knights, even after so many years of knowing him. He was a loner, often days and weeks alone in the forests of Britain, scouting for Arthur, which was a task that he performed with accurateness and excellence.
But it was not as if he would have tried to break his self-imposed loneliness, in fact, he seemed to be content with it.
No one knew the island like Tristan did, no one knew the Woads like this man.
His bearing on the battlefield was merciless and Galahad swore, that there was a glint of pleasure in his eyes whenever he stroke an opponent down. Tristan never objected.
But he wasn't regarded with contempt, like Iwain, who sometimes resembled an animal in his bloodlust. He was an enigma, yes, but they held him in high regard and tolerated his quiet ways with the affection, that only brothers can have for each other.
Tristan's calm was only broken sometimes, but when it was, the outbursts were more violent than those of all knights combined and they dreaded his black temper.
Currently, the Sarmatian scout was standing on the walltop, tending to his hawk, a proud, free untamed creature, what might as well have been a description of Tristan himself. Tristan was a man with many layers, and he only allowed the others to see as much of him as he wanted. But Tristan was no island either and neither did he have everything under control. Some things just happen.
And it was Tristan on that stormy November day, who saw the exhausted rider coming up the small path first, Tristan, who brought him to Arthur and Tristan, who wasn't surprised in the least, when Arthur summoned a quick meeting, stating in hurried form, that the rider brought news of Roman settlements along the coast, which were being attacked by small groups of Saxon raiders, foes, who spared no one.
These Roman settlements asked for help. Their help.