AN: Sorry it has taken so long to get this next chapter up. My computer crashed and the document was lost but now I'm back and I hope you enjoy this second chapter.
Thanks to my beta Han for putting up with me no matter what. All of my stories I owe to you. You always let me bounce ideas off of you and you don't care how many times I send my drafts back to you. Love ya sweetie!
Disclaimer: I don't own Tristan + Isolde; the legend or the movie rights.
Tristan, son of Lord Aragon and Lady Serafine, had grown up in his father's house. It was situated in a small town called Exeter, Isca Dumnoniorum in the Latin tongue. Their village overlooked a river where the locals would fish to make their living. Ruins of a Roman wall lay close to the their home and Tristan would climb them everyday, watching for riders on the road. One day, when Tristan was nine years old, Lord Marke of Cornwall and his wife Lady Barbara had come to their small village manor to urge Tristan's father to join his cause; to bring the separated tribes of Briton together against King Donnchadh of Ireland and the leader of his army, Morholt. Thinking they were safe from the Irish that cold, rainy night they held a secret meeting in the great hall with all the leaders sitting round the tables enjoying their mead and the crackling of the fire. Their wives sat on the other side of the hall around the warmth of the second hearth as they gossiped and congratulated Lady Marke on the news of her newborn baby son. He had been left at home in Cornwall. The cold weather wasn't appropriate to bring him out in, he might catch cold and they couldn't have Marke's new heir dying before he ever had a chance to live.
Tristan had been listening intently to his father and the other men as they argued about whether or not joining Lord Marke was a good idea. Tristan's father, Lord Aragon, thought joining together would make Briton stronger but Tristan figured maybe some of the other leaders just weren't as wise as him. One, Lord Wictred especially grated on his nerves but Tristan always treated him politely seeing as that was how his mother had taught him.
Just as everyone had started to quiet down and the parchment for the pact had been brought out, cries of alarm rose from the sentries on duty could be heard. Loud gasps could be heard as the women looked to their husbands for instructions and reassurance. Being only nine years old Tristan was thrust into hiding with his mother, along with the other women and children, despite his protestation that he could fight too. Feeling helpless he grabbed his mother's hand as he tried to comfort her through her tears.
A loud crash could be heard through the trap door in the floor where they all hid. Crouching down on the dirt floor Tristan held his mother as yells of outrage and screams of pain could be heard mingled with the sobs and whimpers of the women and children. After many tense moments the door to the cellar was thrown open and a torch was poked through the cavernous hole. A blood-covered Irishman climbed down the ladder along with two other men and grabbed up all the boys and hauled them through the trap door.
Tristan didn't like this one bit. He kicked and fought the whole way until he was deposited on the rush covered floor by one of the burly men. Forced to stand up the boys faced the men who had survived the battle. Tristan was glad to see his father and Lord Marke alive though they were not intact.
The boys were each handed a sword and were instructed to deal a killing blow to the man in front of him. Tristan, horrified at the though of killing his own father, swung his sword at his and his father's captor instead, severing the man's sword hand. Seeing the bravery of their friend, the other boys hastily attacked the rest of the Irishmen as Tristan cut loose the Britons. After he had freed them all, he handed off his sword to his stunned father and ran toward the cellar to check on the women and the younger children while the Britons fought and killed the remaining men.
From that day forward Tristan was known as a great warrior gaining accolades from all the men whose lives he had helped save. Lord Marke was so impressed with his bravery and strength that he promised Lord Aragon that he would train Tristan up as a knight, if he agreed. Although that meant leaving his home and moving to live with Lord Marke's family in Cornwall. Tristan was scared to leave the only life he had known but he knew that he could endure the hardships as long as the end reward was his knighthood.
Saying goodbye to his mother and father he left his home and traveled to Cornwall where he was trained for a full ten years alongside Marke's nephew of the same age, Melot. Spending all those years away from home helped Tristan to become a strong man. He forged many lasting relationships with the other men around him, including Lord Marke who he owed his allegiance to.
Having ended the Irish raid and what would have been the slaughter of many Briton lords at such a young age, Tristan was very famous among men and women alike but he didn't care for it. When he wasn't practicing his fighting skills or lending advice to Lord Marke, he liked to spend his time alone, but he had a little follower, Wynn, Lord Marke's third son. The ten year old followed him everywhere always pestering him to teach him to fight and offering his childish opinion on everything that Tristan did. He was forever asking Tristan when he could become his sword bearer. It embarrassed Tristan to be constantly trailed and the other knights always teased him about his shadow. Maybe that was Tristan's problem with women, his "shadow" always dissuaded them from coming around but in reality Tristan just wasn't interested in any of the local women. Plenty of women would give anything to be with Cornwall's unofficial leading warrior but none of them appealed to him.
It didn't really matter to him anyway. He wouldn't have his freedom much longer because his parents had been arranging his marriage to an Irish princess since the end of his years as a squire. At 21 he was now a knight and according to his parents, ready for marriage. Tristan knew he should put some serious thought into the significance of this major change in his life but it was very hard to think about when his future bride was so far away. Isolde the Fair, as she was known in her country, was said to be very beautiful but he was still wary of a marriage to a stranger, and an Irish one at that!
Still, there was never any interest between him and any of the young women in Cornwall. He was always too focused on perfecting his skills with the longbow, broadsword and dagger, along with his hunting and riding abilities. A knight's first and most important priority was to look after and protect any and all women, especially those of noble birth so he wouldn't dare neglect the woman that was to become his wife. He just hoped that the responsibility wouldn't be hindered by an unfortunate face or temperament. Tristan sincerely wished that his wife would be his equal and wouldn't shy away from him. Hopefully she wouldn't be too clingy and expect his attention more often that was needed. He was not going to be a servant at her beck and call. He had other duties that he had to accomplish.
Having a wife to care for would be a new experience. So far he had only had to care for himself, and a horse or two, since leaving his home and his parents all those years ago. Maybe one day he would have a son that he could take on hunting trips with him. He could congratulate him and a job well done and then carry him home on his shoulders like his father had done when he was a boy. Especially if it brought rewards like he thought it had for his father.
One way or another he would find out after he competed in the tournament which would be fought between him and the strongest of Lord Donnchadh's men. Apparently, he wasn't officially engaged to the Princess Isolde until he had bested them in a fight. Hand to hand combat would decide his and the princess's fate.
Review if you please! I'd like to know everyone's thoughts. How I'm doing so far? What I can improve on? Anything. :)