It’s time. After containing her rage and resentment for so long, Morgan puts her plot in motion to get revenge on Tristan and Isolde. Everything’s going according to plan. It’s brilliant. No one suspects a thing…Well, no one except for Gawain.
The Knights with No Lords
Chapter 19 – Sweet Revenge
By Rock Kitaro
Sir Anatola was a retired knight nearing the age of fifty-eight. For decades, he’d thrown himself in combat to defend Dumnonia’s borders from invaders. His courage and sense of duty was undeniable. Thus, when Anatola became a father at the age of fifty and tendered his resignation, the king honored him by giving him command of a strategic beacon near the relaxed seaside jurisdiction of Devonshire.
Sir Anatola was a devout husband, tending to the wheat fields with his son and daughter. Everyone in the village looked up to Anatola as the community leader. Whenever there was a domestic or civil dispute, the villagers of Torridge would sooner come to Anatola than seek out the sheriff. Whenever there was troublesome news pouring out of Tintagel, the villagers would seek out Anatola for his guidance and wise prognostications.
However…for the past two days, Anatola considered himself just as baffled as the huddled masses when they learned of King Mark’s betrothal to Princess Isolde. Anatola tapped into history lessons of how political marriages were used to stifle aggressions between conflicting nations. Yet when it came to the Hibernians, specifically Queen Iseult and the thousands of widows and orphans she’s created over the decades, Anatola found it hard to believe King Mark was so willing to forgive.
Anatola had lost all five of his brothers and his father to the forces under Morholt’s command. His nieces were captured and hauled into slavery, the same as Gawain, except the girls never returned. Sir Anatola had no idea if they were dead or alive. The grief and animosity was buried deep in his heart.
“Byron! Stay close,” Anatola called.
Seven-year-old Byron was helping his father and a handful of workers harvest the field. It was after noon and the winds were picking up, allowing for a hypnotic effect as the wheat swayed like ocean waves. The night rain had drenched the field. Every so often, Anatola had to stop and wipe his sickle of grime and residue. That being said, dark skies threatened to release another torrential downpour.
Just then, a streak of lightning stabbed the high trees of the neighboring forest. The sharp crackle and booming thunder frightened everyone. All eyes were on Anatola, hoping he’d call it a day. Anatola didn’t want to stop. A solider stays until the job is done.
“Father, look!” said Byron.
Out the corner of his eye, Anatola saw the glint of shiny steel. A single knight dressed in black and gold battle armor was riding across the hill. The horse was carrying a long sword, a shield, bow and arrows, and a lance. The rider held the reins with one hand while the other gripped the banner, the gold and black sigil of Tintagel.
“Rally to me!” Anatola called out.
At once, the workers took up their pitchforks and sickles and rallied around Anatola. Children were collected and brought indoors. Doors and windows were barred.
The knight galloped across the field before slowing down and lifting the visor of his helmet. It was Sir Tristan.
“Something’s wrong?” said Tristan.
“Forgive ‘em, milord. People are on edge following the news of what happened to Germatis’s boy.”
“What news is that?” Tristan asked.
Anatola scoffed with a hint of disappointment. “I see word still travels like molasses. Two nights past, Germantis’s son was chopped in half by a single blow. Happened south of the capital. Signs of a militia moving ashore not far from the squire’s body. Mean to tell me you didn’t hear any of this?”
Tristan used both hands to remove his helmet, letting his long locks flow and confusion show. He’s known Sir Anatola since he was a child. The old man even saved his life once and when Tristan was strong enough to best him in jousting, Tristan knew it was because age slowed Anatola down. Anatola wouldn’t go spreading rumors he didn’t believe. And the fact that the villagers reacted in such a reheased fashion suggested Anatola warned them that Tintagel had been compromised.
“This is truly disturbing, sir. I’ll make sure the king hears of it and see to full inquiries myself.”
“Tristan, my son,” Anatola said discreetly as he approached the horse. “Why are you armed for combat?”
Tristan’s cold eyes peered into Anatola’s. Thunder boomed causing the workers to flinch once more.
“It’s going to rain soon,” Tristan said in a grave tone. “You and your workers should take cover immediately. Seek shelter and don’t come out. No matter what you hear.”