Author's Note: This is just a small episode which evolved from my belief that the knights must have been a bit bemused when, right before the final battle, Tristan apparently shoots a tree.
Dedication: For Mc, the only person with enough patience not to wallop me when I paused the film for ten minutes, just to count how many chairs there were around teh Round Table.
Disclaimer and Promise: I own nothing but the words I write, and I, as the author, promise that I will not a) hold my story for ransom, because nobody reviews it or b) start a flame war with anyone who doesn't like it.
That being said, reviews and con-crit are very, very welcome, but having at least one person read and enjoy any of the stuff I post here is enough for me.
The faint hiss of the arrow's passage through the smoke filled air was, for a moment, the only sound audible from the knights' elevated position, as they sat there on their horses, overlooking the rolling hillside which would soon become a battlefield. Lancelot and Galahad, though hindered slightly by their helmets, managed to exchange expressive looks and Bors made a small, choking noise in the back of his throat.
No one was keen to disturb Arthur, who was staring at the Saxon lines with a concentration that was worrying to behold, something evidently on his mind, but still, it was an event far too strange to pass by without comment.
Gawain racked his brains, trying to remember if, in the whole of the fifteen years that they had known each other, he had ever seen Tristan miss anything. From what he could see of Lancelot (and it was becoming more and more apparent to him that that this helm had been made specifically to impede one's vision as much as possible) he was also frowning, clearly trying to recall the same thing.
It was unheard of, and, until half a minute ago, unthinkable.
For a quarter century, the knights had believed that Tristan's aim would always be impeccable; the one thing that they could rely on to be consistent in a fight. This ability had, as far as Gawain could remember, never let the man down, even when he was drunk (a circumstance that could take the accuracy out of even Lancelot's fighting).
After a moment or two of stunned silence, Galahad spoke, voicing the shared opinion of the companions.
"A tree," he said,dully "There must be a hundred Saxons out there-"
"At least five hundred," Lancelot corrected, having spent the previous five minutes grimly counting the enemy, and weighing the estimated total against their already doubtful chances of survival 'But most likely a lot more."
"Right, at least five hundred, and you hit a tree."
The knights instinctively looked at Tristan for his response but he was staring closely at something near the foot of the tree in question.
"It was a good shot for such a distance," Gawain said, quickly and with as much tact as he possessed "But, it may not exactly help us defeat the Saxons."
"Unless, of course, we are missing something," Lancelot added, looking at Tristan appraisingly.
Whether or not they were indeed missing something was a question which would have to wait, because Arthur, having apparently been quite oblivious to the small conversation going on behind him, turned and began to guide his horse down the hill side, and the others followed his lead, leaving their standards fluttering against the cloudy sky .
Four out of six of the knights were lost in their thoughts as they rode, though none of these thoughts were centered around the coming battle.
Both Galahad and Gawin were thinking of the various pleasures in life which a spear thrust or an arrow could very quickly steal away, though none of these pleasures seemed to mean quite as much as they had before. Indeed, their many dreams of returning home were strangely blurred and difficult to hold on to.
Arthur's thoughts rapidly alternated in context from Guinevere to Lancelot, from his conversation in the cemetery with the former to his argument the night before with the latter. If he had any other thoughts about either of them, it is impossible to say, and if he did, he never told anyone about them.
Bors' mind was full of the crack of ice accompanied by the blur of an axe blade, falling again and again, and the memory of Vanora's face, creased with worry and fear.
Lancelot, who had refused to allow himself to fall into any serious contemplation of what might shortly ensue, urged his horse forward to draw level with Tristan.
"Did you truly miss?" he asked, lowering his voice a little so as not to disturb the others.
Tristan only raised his eyebrows and smiled, and by the time that any of the companions had the opportunity to discover what exactly he'd shot, it was too late for the news to be of any importance to Lancelot, or for the archer to receive any praise for his remarkable skill.
Well, I hope you liked it. The knights may be a little confused, but we, the audience know better.
Oh, ye of little faith.