Tristan Alister 2016

Tristan Alister could feel the adrenaline rush through his body as he picked up speed.  He leaned forward, urging his mare on.  Quickly he readied his crossbow, and, aiming carefully he braced himself for the shot, his finger tightening slightly on the trigger. But the boar jerked and fell to the ground with a piercing, final squeal. It shuddered violently and lay still. Disappointed, Tristan tugged on his reins, slowing his mare and circling the dead creature. A few seconds later the rest of the party joined him.

A lone rider leapt off his horse, and, placing a booted foot on the beast’s side, yanked the bolt out of the dead creature.

“Somebody fetch the servants!” he shouted.  “I’ve got another one!” The riders stopped circling, and one or two groaned at his remark.  Tristan unloaded his crossbow and stroked his mare’s neck.

“How many does that make Tristan?  I’ve lost count.” Dimitri said, sauntering up to Tristan’s side. Tristan rolled his eyes, glancing down at his cousin from his seat atop his horse.

“Alright, you win. I get it.” Tristan gestured at the other riders.  “Everybody gets it.”

“What’s that you said Tristan?  Oh, you’re right, I have made eight kills this week!  What’s your total again? I remember; three.”

“Shut up Dimitri.” Tristan turned away, pretending to adjust one of his saddlebags.

“What’s going on Tristan? Are the beasts giving you a hard time?”  Tristan suppressed another groan.

“I don’t expect them to hand themselves over on a silver platter Dimitri.” He replied irritably.

“Well of course not.  After all, they’re only pigs.” Tristan continued to fumble with his saddlebag, and after a moment, Dimitri gave up on waiting for an answer and left to gloat to one of his other cousins.

“Your Highness?” a timid voice found its way to Tristan’s ears.

“Yes?”  Tristan unfolded himself, and twisted toward the voice’s source.   A small girl, possibly of twelve or thirteen years; three or four years younger than Tristan himself stood a safe distance behind his horse.

“Would you like me to help you with your saddlebags?” the girl glanced at the ground often as if she were unable to look at him for more than a few seconds at a time.

“Excuse me?” the girl blushed for no reason Tristan could understand, and began playing with the corner of her dress.

“It’s just- it looked like you were having trouble with the latch.”

“No I’m fine.  I don’t need actually need anything from it.” The girl’s cheeks turned an even deeper shade of red, and the tips of her ears reddened as well.

“I apologize your Highness.  I hope I have not offended you.”

“No of course not.” Tristan said, realizing he must have looked like a fool. He looked around, unsure of what to say next, and the servant just stood there, peering up at him through wide brown eyes.

Many of the riders around Tristan vaulted themselves into their saddles and, chatting idly, began to head in the direction of the palace they all called home.

“I ought to go.” Tristan said to the lingering servant girl as he fidgeted in his seat. “You’re dismissed.”

“Yes of course.” The girl blushed again and hurried off to help her companions haul Dimitri’s hog.  Spurring his horse forward, Tristan joined the group of young nobles heading home.  Unfortunately, Dimitri joined as well.

“Did you make a friend Tristan?” Dimitri leaned over and pinched Tristan’s cheek.  “I’m so proud of you!”

“Stop that.”  Tristan said batting Dimitri’s hand away.

“Quite a long conversation you had there.”

“It’s not my fault, she just stood there.”  A cool spring breeze rustled the newly green leaves. Tristan breathed deep, finding solace in the peace linked to the forest around him

“Well, I think someone oughta put these servants in their place.  They’re all getting too bold.” Dimitri said, shattering the calm.  “Just look at them!  They’ll spoil the meat before we get it to the butcher!”  The servants were chatting with each other, but they weren’t harming anyone, let alone the dead boar. But Tristan said nothing, and instead rolled his eyes the moment Dimitri looked away.

After a few moments, the group broke through the trees and the city lay in from of them. Quickly, the leaves beneath the horses hooves turned to cobblestones and shops sprang up on either side of them.  People milled in the street but quickly leapt out of the way of the second prince’s horse.

Scrawny orphaned street urchins stared at the boar longingly, but most everyone else went back to their business, occasionally glancing warily at the king’s son out of the corner of their eyes.

Without warning Dimitri reined in his horse, stopping in front of a shop Tristan had never been into before.

“What are you doing?” Tristan asked, stopping as well.  “If we wait too long the meat will spoil, and the blame will be on you.”

“Use your eyes idiot.” Dimitri slid off his horse, and many of the nobles in the party exchanged glances.  Nobody really understood why Dimitri was allowed to talk to the prince the way he did.  It may have had something to do with the fact that Dimitri talked to everybody that way.

Tristan slid off his horse as well and followed Dimitri into the shop, the servants close behind him.  The moment he stepped through the door, the air noticeably chilled and goosebumps pebbled Tristan’s arms.

“This is a butcher’s shop.” Tristan stated, looking at the meat hanging around him.

Ignoring Tristan’s question, Dimitri rapped his knuckles on the counter.

“We have a butcher at the palace. You know that.”

“I do know that.” Dimitri replied nonchalantly. He glanced at the door behind the counter as if it irritated him. Soon enough though, the door opened and a short plump man materialized on the threshold.

“What can I do ya for?” he asked cheerfully, wiping fat pink hand on his bloodstained apron.

Dimitri snapped his fingers, and the servants stepped forward, the boar swinging by it’s legs between two. The rest of the servants clustered behind them.

“Do what you will with this; and have it done by tomorrow.” Dimitri didn’t even look at the man.

“Yes sir.” said the butcher. Turning toward the servants he continued. “Take it on back and leave it on the table.” To Tristan, this man seemed awfully cheerful for someone who slaughtered and skinned small animals for a living.

“I’ll send someone to pick it up at noon. What do I owe you?” Dimitri said, reaching into his pocket.

“Fifteen gold pieces.” Tristan gawked. Fifteen gold pieces! That boar wasn’t worth ten gold pieces! Certainly not fifteen. Tristan stared at Dimitri incredulously, but his expression didn’t change.

“Just let me find my purse now.” Dimitri said, searching his pockets. Soon though, his brow furrowed and his expression fell into one of confusion.

“Well. May a dragon devour me,” he said patting his pockets. “I must have left it in my chambers. Tristan,” Dimitri turned toward him. “Would you mind getting this one for me?” Tristan continued to stare.

“Ah good man you are Tristan.” Dimitri said clapping Tristan on the shoulder. “I’ll be outside if there’s any problem.” Tristan glared at Dimitri’s retreating back as he strode out the door.

“Fifteen you said?” Tristan turned back to the butcher, untying his purse. He quickly counted out the coins and slid them across the counter.

“I’ll have that done for ya by noon tomorrow.” The butcher said, dumping the coins in his apron pocket.

“Wonderful.” Tristan grumbled, silently cursing Dimitri. Pushing through the door, he paused, eyes closed, soaking in the warmth of the day.

“Filthy rat.” Dimitri’s unpleasant snarl rang out across the street, once again destroying the peace Tristan had found. He sighed wearily and opened his eyes to find Dimitri already astride his horse, snapping at a baseborn girl around Tristan’s age. Dimitri gripped the front of the girl’s tunic in his right fist, his eyes blazing with unchecked fury. Though her feet dangled above the ground, the streetrat glared directly into his eyes defiantly.

“Dimitri, what’s going on?” Tristan asked, taking in the scene. Dimitri glanced at him, annoyance flashing across his face. But the moment passed as quickly as it began, and Dimitri reverted back to his usual condescending self.

“This putrescene guttersnipe tried to make off with my purse.” he said cooly, dumping the girl on the ground.

“Did she?” Tristan raised an eyebrow skeptically.

“I say we throw her into gaol; that’s where criminals ought-”

“You mean the purse you; and I quote, “left in your chambers”? Dimitri blinked at him, momentarily confused.

“Yes that purse.” he said dumbfounded. “What other purse could I possibly be talking about?”

“Dimitri, if your purse is in your chambers, this girl couldn’t possibly steal it.” Dimitri rolled his eyes, and made a small sound of annoyance.

“Tristan,” he said, mimicking his tone. “I understand that. What you don’t understand is that you are helping to prove my point.”

“And what exactly would your point be?” the girl snarled, pushing herself to her feet.

“That filth like you are no better than disgusting animals.” he sneered back.

“What’s disgusting is the thought of you sitting on your ass all day, treating people like swine.” Dimitri’s expression darkened again and his hand hovered above the hilt of the hunting knife at his belt.

“You’re not worthy of being called swine.”

“Dimitri!” Tristan said, exasperated. “Do you or do you not have your purse on you?”

“I do not.” he answered through clenched teeth.

“I’m going to say this one more time. How could this girl steal your purse if you don’t even have it on you?”

“Oh gods.” Dimitri muttered, looking up at the sky which usually meant he was fighting the urge to punch Tristan. “I said she tried to steal it, not that I had it.”

“I didn’t try to steal anything!” the girl exclaimed angrily.

“Then what exactly were you doing?” Tristan said, still trying to make sense of the situation.

The girl whirled on Tristan, and for the first time, he was able to see more than just her profile. He blinked.

“Who do you think you are?” She demanded, advancing on him. Tristan blinked again. She was completely ordinary. She had a plain face, nondescript blond hair tied back by a dirty handkerchief at the nape of her neck. She was shorter than Tristan, though her rage made her seem larger. But her eyes. Her eyes blazed vivid sapphire purple. That was not an ordinary color.

“I-” Tristan began, confused.

“I suggest you stay out of this, and worry about your petty little problems later.”

“You’re not going to let this vagrant push you around are you Tristan?” Dimitri growled from his seat on his horse.

“As this girl doesn’t have your purse, I think we should be on our way.” he said, mounting his horse in reply. Eager to escape the awkward situation, Tristan spurred his horse forward, knowing the consequences of his actions would accompany him back to the castle, and most definitely stick with him for the next week or so.

– •◊• –

Dimitri was silent the rest of the way to the castle. It was a very loud silence, occupied mainly by glowering and scowls aimed at Tristan. The rest of the party, however, was not so silent. Riding in clumps – and blocking as much of the road as possible – they held muted conversations. Though he couldn’t hear them, Tristan had a pretty good idea about the topic of their discussions. He kept his discomfort to himself. It’s not like they held any respect for him in the first place.

 As they neared the castle gates, not for the first time, Tristan thought the foreboding stone wall made the castle it protected seem small and weak. Soon, the gates loomed high above them, and upon seeing Dimitri’s thunderous expression, scrambled to raise the portcullis. The party glided though, and were met by servants waiting to return their horses to the stables.

The metallic clang of metal on metal assaulted Tristan’s ears, drifting over form the training arena. He glanced over in time to see golden sand spray into the air as Eloy forced a full armored guard to the ground.

Tristan wandered over to the viewing area, hoping to escape the gossip lords and ladies were undoubtedly already spreading. As he leaned against the railing to watch, Eloy glanced up. A smile spread across his face, and he waved cheerfully across the arena. Tristan lifted a hand in reply, and Eloy turned back to his sparring partner, disarming him with a flick of his wrist. The guard surrendered, and Eloy jogged over to Tristan. Tristan handed him a towel, ad he dabbed at the sweat on his brow before letting it rest across his broad shoulders.

“Who died?” he joked, laughing at Tristan’s glum expression. Tristan turned his back, and leaned on the railing again, placing his chin in his hands.

“Only the scraps of dignity I had left.” he mumbled miserably.


  1. Thanks for reading! I will try to post more as soon as I can!

    • C’est vrai que tu avais réussi à chopper The Way of all Flesh ! Je l’ai vu traîner récemment sur la Fnac mais assez cher, genre 35€. J’ai failli craquer mais c’est psqieologcyuemhnt trop pour moi. Possible que Listenable récupère les droits pour presser les premier, je serais curieux d’entendre un The Link en vinyle !

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