No, they didn’t. A week or so later, Tristram got into a whole new set of troubles. He was out in the woods practicing his venery, when, tired, he decided to lie down and take a nap next to a picturesque creek. And then some random dude walked by and shot him with an arrow! Malory claims that Tristram had killed his brother or something? He doesn’t waste time explaining. Tristram woke up and killed the archer, but by then he already had the arrow in him.

Simultaneous with Tristram’s random arrowing, some nondescript agent of King Mark’s got around to checking Tristram’s cabin. He found out the lovely Isoud shacked up there, and that net us Mark leading another lynch mob. When Mark and the mob arrived at Tristram’s cabin the lovely Isoud was the only one there, so Mark took her forcibly back to Castle Tintagil, where he kept her under heavy guard.

Tristram went home with his infected arrow wound, where he found his lady gone and his house ransacked! It was such a bummer of a scene that he sat down and cried.

The next morning he still sat there at the cabin, in the exact same place he’d collapsed the night before. His wounded shoulder had swelled up to the size of a grapefruit, and it was all red and hurty; somehow Sir Tristram has managed to get his wound infected, which never happens in Le Morte D’Arthur. Tristram hadn’t cleaned up his cabin at all, either.

Fortunately, the lovely Isoud’s henchwoman Dame Bragwaine appeared to help him. “Tristram!” she cried. “My lady Isoud sent me. She’s under guard too heavy for you to free her, given your wound, and she has instructed me to send you to a physician!”

Tristram was understandably confused. “Bragwaine? What? Where is the lovely Isoud? How does she know about this arrow wound?”

“My lady is the prisoner of her dastardly husband your uncle. How she knows about the arrow wound is a continuity error. But that isn’t important now! What’s important is that you need treatment.”

“I recall that Isoud is a skilled surgeon. It was a plot point back when we first met,” said Tristram.

“Yes, but again, heavy guard, dastardly husband. She can’t help you.”

“Then woe!”

“No! There’s another who can help you — Isoud the White!”

The White Hand?”

“The same!”

And so, at Bragwaine’s urging, Tristram sailed to Brittany. There he met his stepmother’s brother (and King Arthur’s first cousin) King Howel, as well as Howel’s daughter Isoud the White Hand. Isoud the White heals his shoulder right up.

Okay, let me try to explain. Apparently there was some kind of Isoud Council, of which the lovely Isoud is not the most senior member? Isoud the White, known as the White Hand, could help Sir Tristram, from her tower Orthanc, in Isengard. And by “Orthanc, in Isengard,” I mean “the castle of her father, King Howel of Brittany.” Isoud the White was the younger sister of Hestia, Tristram’s stepmother. Malory calls her Isoud la Blanche Mains to distinguish her from the lovely Isoud. This is our third Isoud, after the lovely Isoud and her mother Queen Isoud.


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In which Tristram gets into an awfully contrived situation — No Comments

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