"You should have seen him! Tristan fought like a demon from hell! He whirled that blade around as though it was part of his arm! What a fight he put up for Wictred! Haha!" a burlesque archer thundered, clapping Tristan on the back. The archer greatly enjoyed retelling the tournament and Tristan's great feat in it. Many had gathered around him in the market place to listen to his story while Tristan stood silently by, his mood darkening with the recollection of the tournament that always haunted him. Usually, Tristan enjoyed taking part in bragging about his victories, but this victory was a poison in his veins.
Tristan looked around the marketplace. His breath caught in his throat. There was Isolde. With Marc, as always. They were standing in front of a fruit stand; Marc held out something for her to taste, and they laughed together. Tristan couldn't watch anymore. Disgusted, he turned and walked away from the archer and his entranced listeners. Tristan heard him pause, shocked, and he heard someone call his name. But he continued to walk away, and soon the archer continued his oration.
Tristan felt enraged and jealous. He should be the one holding Isolde's hand, making her smile, making her laugh. Marc should not be there beside her. He should be. Why didn't she tell me her real name? Why did she lie to me about her name on Ireland? He was so angry. If he had known, he would not have won her for Marc. At the tournament, he had thought that by winning the Irish Princess for Marc, peace would reign between the two countries, freeing him to marry Isolde. But Isolde was the Irish princess. Why had she deceived him? Did she really love him? He knew the answer, though. Every look she cast his way told him that her heart truly belonged to him. But he could never have her heart, for she would never be his wife. She would always be Marc's wife. What a fool I have been.
Tristan hated the looks that others gave him. Ever since he had returned from Ireland, they had looked at him with great pity, thinking he had been tortured beyond compare or perhaps even worse. They have no idea, thought Tristan. And truly, they didn't. Tristan knew that he moped and kept to himself, which he knew gave them all the more reason to pity and gossip, but he could not be around them. His heart was broken and he wanted to be alone. No, he wanted to be with her. And she was always there, always at the dinners and parties. It killed him every time he saw her with Marc. Yet she always looked longingly at him, wishing that she was with him and not with Marc. Tristan wanted to make her happy. He wanted to protect her and fulfill all her dreams, but he couldn't. Fate had played a cruel joke on them.
Yet, though he was jealous and hated seeing her with him, he did not hate Marc. Next to Isolde, Marc was the person he cared about most. Had he not reach out his hand that day of the Irish raid and lost it, Tristan would be dead. Perhaps being dead would be better than this, he thought, but he regretted it the moment he thought it, for he had enjoyed and cherished the time that he and Isolde had spent together. But he felt hopeless and alone. Love was just a romantic illusion to him before he met Isolde. He never thought that a woman could capture his heart, but Isolde did.
He heard someone behind him calling his name, interrupting his thoughts. He turned to see who it was. His blood ran cold. It was Isolde, standing right next to him.