573 – Tristan’s Memories – Part I

10675 That was the day I became a page. 10676 I remember I was a little bit nervous, as it was my first trip alone. I was also anxious to please my new master. 10677 Because my master wasn’t just anyone. “Sir, your new page has arrived.” 10678 “My, he looks so young.” He was Baron Gilles de Rais, commander of the French Royal Army. 10679 And I was barely out of childhood, indeed. 10680 It was him who presented me to King Charles VII. 10681 They congratulated each other for the alliance with the House of de Lalaing. 10682 I remember I was embarrassed because they talked about me as if I wasn’t there. 10683 *************** 10684 There must have been someone in the stables at that moment. 10685 Because someone called from the outside, a distant, impatient voice. 10686 Then an answer came, much closer. “Yes, my lady!” 10687 I didn’t see her face. 10688 *************** “Have you been taught the art of reading and writing?” he asked me some day. I nodded. 10689 He seemed pleased with my reply. He said he could then teach me many things. 10690 “And maybe… you can assist me with my research. Later…” I had no idea what he meant, at the time. 10691 I admired him. 1069210693 I did my best and read all the books and scrolls he poured on me. 10694 “Education first, my boy. You are a man of brains, not of muscles.” 10695 I didn’t know it, but he had started to make plans for me. Not the kind of plans I had imagined. 10696 *************** There was that place I loved to go to at night… 10697 He had told me there was something out there. I thought I was part of some secret no one knew about. 10698 Then again, I was, albeit unconsciously. 10699 I met her that night. 10700 I remember she had jumped when I had turned around. 10701 I knew her by sight, she was part of Queen Mary of Burgundy’s entourage. I was quite upset to see her so far from the castle. 10702 “I used to come here before you did! I know this place much better than you do!” she sulked. 10703 I was surprised and about to mumble an apology, but she went off at a tangent: “Will you participate to the archery tournament next week?” 10704 When I gave a positive answer, she had that coy smile of hers and simply said: “I hope you’ll win.” 10705 *************** Looking back, she must have had a wretched existence, the poor thing. 10705a *************** The day of the tournament. 10706 10708 She was there, standing next to the queen’s throne, looking beautifully bored. 1070710710 I don’t know why… 10709 …but that infuriated me. 10711 Now that I think of it, my lord must have noticed it, omniscient as he was. 10712 Anyway, I won. 10713 “Will you claim your prize?” my lord asked. Until then, I hadn’t given a thought about the prize. I had no idea what it was. 10714 The prize was a kiss from the fair Agnès. 10715 I hadn’t expected that. 10716 When I heard her name, I realized who she was. 10717 The King’s mistress. 107181071910720 *************** More than anything, I felt like she had made a fool of myself. In front of my lord, too. 10721 When she hunted me down up to my favorite hiding place, I lost my temper. 1072210723 I blamed her as if I had lost face. Secretly, I blamed her for distressing me. 10724 I stopped when tears came streaming down her face. 1072610725 She turned around and… 107271072810729 If I hadn’t fallen for her before, that did it. 1073010731

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