A retelling of the Tristan and Isolde story. It's not a tragedy just a romantic adventure that will be dramatic at some point.
Disclaimer: I do not own Tristan and Isolde the movie or the legend.
AN: Thanks to my beta Han for all her hardwork. She puts up with all my tense mistakes and doesn't mind helping me at any time. Thanks sweetie!
Princess Isolde, daughter of King Donnchadh of Ireland and Queen Isolde the Elder, had grown up without her mother by her side. From birth she had been raised by her faithful maid, Bragnae. Being the first and only child of her father did not give her the right to his love, if she had been a son she would have been revered and accepted inexplicably, but since she was just a lowly daughter she didn't give much meaning to her father's life. He had his duty to keep her pure and to provide for her a dowry so that one day he could make the best match for her, but in reality he hadn't loved her mother either so Isolde couldn't expect much from him.
It was her duty as a obedient daughter to do as every other woman in her time had done; be a good daughter, wife, and mother. Isolde did everything in her power to please her father, no matter the amount of indifference he showed her.
She politely sat at his side every morning while he broke his fast, her hands properly placed in her lap and her back erect. She listened intently, and sometimes in disgust to the conversations that he would have with his menservants and aides, trying to gain any information she could on the ways of politics. She was forbidden to read anything that may help her to become smarter than any "woman" should be. All the while she pretended to be servile, on the inside she was bursting with a love for knowledge and her ideas of freedom.
Every afternoon she sat in the lady's quarters, her faithful maid by her side, as she carded wool with the other lords's wives and daughters. Carding the wool was necessary to the process of cloth making so that the women could then spin it in to yarn. Every spring season the women would receive the wool shorn from the village sheep so that they could make acceptable winter clothing for all the servants of the house and serfs of the fields. Her father might not care for the serfs but he would not have them dying throughout the winter because they weren't clothed well. A dead serf was just as worthless as a live one, but at least a living one would continue to work and bring money into his coffers.
Whenever she wasn't occupied with her other household duties, Isolde would travel out into the surrounding countryside to collect herbs and berries for household and medicinal purposes. This special time in Isolde's day would probably be tiresome for the other girls, many would rather have their servants do it while they stayed inside the keep but Isolde loved the outdoors. The freshness of the air always helped to make her feel better. The rushes strewn on the floor in the front hall and in her bedroom were scented with dried lavender, but that wasn't the same as holding the fresh sprig to your nose after you had just picked it. If Isolde could survive the winter outside she would. Then she wouldn't feel confined. Like a prisoner in her own home.
She always felt closer to her mother, who had also dealt in herbs, when she was outside with the sun warming her cheeks while the cool spring breeze whipped her hair, flowing behind her like a banner into battle.
If Isolde's mother was the sun then her father was the wind, harsh and unfeeling, bringing damage with it's stormy bluster. But the sun always shone brightly, only the clouds sometimes got in the way, blown by the wind to keep the affectionate sunshine from reaching her. The clouds made Isolde think about the things in life that kept her down; sickness, starvation and the wars that were bountiful.
She hated living in Ireland when there was talk about battles and raids fought against the weaker Briton tribes. She thought it was a better idea to think about peace and prosperity instead of which kingdom could do the most damage against the other. But this was man's battle-torn world so she kept her rebellious thoughts to herself. Her father would not approve of these thoughts, she would be severely punished if she ever were to think of speaking such treasonous things.
Isolde wasn't naive enough to think that she may someday be given to a man that did not uphold her father's ideals about women being seen and not heard. She could still dream though, couldn't she? Her future husband might care about her enough to value her opinion. At least when she was married she would have her dreams to keep her sane as she went about her wifely duties. Hopefully, in her new home she wouldn't feel as trapped as she did in Ireland. Then she wouldn't worry about becoming depressed like her mother had been before she died.
Bragnae had thought her old enough on her last birthday to tell her the real truth about her mother's last days on this earth. Isolde's mother had suffered from depression before she conceived but upon giving birth to a daughter she had felt a failure for not giving her husband and king a heir to carry on the line. Isolde's birth had been her mother's breaking point. Although Isolde mourned for her mother, now knowing what she went through, she did not hold any hate in her heart for her mother even though she had given up on living and had not survived to raise her child.
Isolde hoped that she had more of her father's obstinacy and stubbornness, praying that she wouldn't give up on life so easily if her future marriage and motherhood didn't end up being all that she hoped it would be.
According to her father, Isolde's betrothed was a great warrior who had killed many men in his day. He was well known for his prowess in battle and was as well known in her native Ireland as he was in his homeland of Cornwall. Her betrothed was not a man of Irish descent, but a Briton. Surprisingly, her father thought he was worthy of her hand and she was worthy enough to bear this warrior's children. Apparently her Irish blood was thicker than that of the weaker Briton blood. Her father apparently had no fear of his descendants being weaklings. Her hope was for Ireland's throne because her son would one day rule the kingdom, and he had to be strong in heart as well as in body to accomplish the task.
Tomorrow would bring the tournament that Isolde's betrothed would fight in to prove his worth. He didn't even know her name or what she looked like. But it didn't matter, she hardly knew if she was pleasing to the eye herself; her father did not allow her the pleasure of a mirror of beaten silver to look into, claiming it would just make her vain. She would give in to her feminine insipidness so well known among her peers. She would be veiled so her betrothed would not know her before their engagement week, when she was to travel to his country in the hands of her betrothed's men.
Funny how she didn't even know his name, yet she was anxious to meet and study the man who would become her husband. She just hoped he was not as old as she believed him to be. A man of her father's age or older would not be so appealing or as intriguing as one closer to her age. Isolde didn't want her marital bed to be seen as a duty to beget children as it had been for her mother. She believed she deserved some happiness in life that was not dictated by her father. He couldn't be in the room to tell her what to do. Isolde wanted to feel something and not just become a cold fish that would send her husband to the first comely woman he set his eyes on. A woman who would give him what he wanted for a meager price with no attachments.
She knew she should feel ashamed for wanting to know about the act of making love, but in truth she did not feel guilty for thinking on it. It was a natural part of life and she would soon know it for what it was, a joining of man and wife.
Isolde retired earlier than usual the night before the tournament. As Bragnae said, No bride to be should be likened to a hag on the first sighting by her future husband. How would that make her father and the kingdom look? Irish brides are always as fair as the morning sunrise and just as dewy.