Tristan and Isolde I

(The Potion)


Gabriela Viseur

Tristan and Isolde - Part 1
Tristan and Isolde - Part 2
Tristan and Isolde - Part 3

Xena and Gabrielle are characters belonging to Universal and/or Renaissance Pictures. This is not intended to infringe any copyright law.

The story was inspired by the classical Arthurian legend of Tristan and Isolde, and adapted by the author.


SEX: No.

Once upon a time, in the ancient kingdom of Ireland , lived a Princess called Isolde. She was graceful, with gentle manners and everybody admired her beautiful golden hair and green eyes.

Beauty was not her only gift, for she was clever and a good pupil, always eager to learn; besides, she had a sensitive nature and a great heart: she always helped the widows and orphans and often went to the hospitals to visit the ill and bring them medicines.

In short, Isolde was everything a Princess must be, so the King and the Queen were very proud of their daughter and everybody in the kingdom adored their Princess: poets sang her beauty, knigths fought for her and the poor praised her generosity.

It´s no wonder then, if many powerful Kings and Princes sought Isolde´s hand. Finally, the King and the Queen decided to marry their daughter to King Mark of Cornwall : a fair, wise man with a noble soul, much respected by his people... a perfect match for Isolde except for a detail: he was already old.


Brangaine, Isolde´s handmaiden, was sewing. Princess Isolde was sitting at a desk with books in front of her, but she was not reading. She was looking at the sky through the window.

The teacher called her: "Milady...? Princess Isolde!"

She shocked, as if she was waking up from a dream: "Yes, teacher?"

"Please, Milady, pay attention to your lesson and go on reading your book".

Isolde´s cheeks blushed: "Oh, yes, certainly! I´m really sorry!"

There were knocks at the door. Brangaine stood up and went to open. She bowed, surprised: "Oh...Your Majesty!"

Isolde stood up too and went to meet the King: "Father! That´s indeed a surprise!"

The King said: "I came to see how things are going".

"Oh, everything´s in order, father!" Isolde said.

The King replied: "Well, that´s for your teacher to say".

"Oh, Milord, I can assure you that Princess Isolde is a very good pupil... Though I must say that today she´s not been as attentive as she usually is."

The King asked, trying to sound severe: "What´s this? What do I hear? You are beeing unnatentive, my daughter?"

Isolde answered, ashamed: "I´m afraid the teacher says the truth, father." Then she added, enthusiastically: "But it has been raining so much, and today´s so bright and sunny, and the sky is so blue, the grass is so green... I really would like to have a ride in the countryside and pick some flowers... May I, father? Please, do let me go!"

The King smiled: "Sure! Of course you may! But... only after your lesson is finished!"

Isolde smiled happily: "All right, father! Thank you so much!" Then she embraced him and kissed his cheek.

"Oh, you´re most welcome! But I didn´t come here only to speak about your lessons. There´s something very important I´ve got to tell you."

"And what is it, father?"

"Well, your mother and I have chosen a husband for you... King Mark of Cornwall ."

Isolde was shocked: "What?"

"Oh, don´t worry, my child! He´s a very good man. He will be a good husband for you."

Isolde replied: "But... We have never met!... We don´t know each other! What if he doesn´t like me? What if I don´t like him ?"

"Oh, my dear girl! I´m sure he will love you as soon as he sees you. And as for you.. I think you´ll get to like him."

Isolde insisted: "And go to Cornwall ? ...Leave Ireland ? ...Leave you and Mom?"

"You are a Princess, Isolde! I´m sorry, but you can´t choose for yourself! You must follow your duty and do as you´re told."

She looked to the floor, and answered, taken aback: "All right, father."

The King said: "Oh, come on, cheer up! You´re going to your wedding, not to your funeral!"

"I´m sorry, father, but I still think you could have asked my opinion first."

"But it´s all settled now... There´s nothing we can do. You will obey, won´t you?

She sighed: "Yes, father"

"Well, there´s someone I want you to meet."

"Who is it?"

The King called: "Sir Tristan! Pray come in, please!"

A young, tall and really handsome man came in. He had black hair and intensely blue eyes. He wore a red beret with a long pheasant feather, a long blue cloak, a white silk shirt under a black leather waistcoat and black stockings and boots.

The king said: "This is Sir Tristan, King Mark´s nephew. Sir Tristan, this is my daughter, Princess Isolde."

The knight bowed and said, in a perfect courtly manner: "I´m honoured to meet you, Princess."

Isolde answered."And for me it´s also a honour to meet you, sir Tristan. I have heard about you... You´re one one of the most brave and famous of the Round Table Knights."

He bowed again: "Milady is very kind to say so."

The King added: "Sir Tristan has been sent here to escort you to Cornwall ."

Isolde asked, surprised: "Oh! And when shall we leave?"

Tristan answered: "In ten days, when the moon is full again. Then we shall have good tide to set sails."

The King said: "But for the moment, we must honour our guest. Isolde, tonight we have a party to welcome Sir Tristan and announce your engagement to King Mark, so I want you to be very elegant and well dressed."

"Oh! Of course, father!"

Tristan said: "I´m afraid we must not interrupt the Princess and her teacher any longer."

The King nodded "Yes, you´re right. See you later, my child."

Tristan bowed: "Until tonight, milady. I will see you again at the party."



Sir Tristan came into his room. He took off the cloak and the beret and gave them to Kurwenal, his loyal and faithful squire, who hang them carefully.

"Did you already meet the Princess, Milord?", he asked.

"Yes, Kurwenal, we have just been introduced."

"And may I ask you how does she look?"

"Oh, my friend, there´s no human language to describe her! I think my uncle is really a fortunate man to marry her."

"Is she as beautiful as everybody says?"

"Fame does not her any justice! She´s so nice, and charming... Her blonde hair... Those green eyes, that sweet smile.."He thought for a moment and said: "That´s strange!"

"What´s strange sir?", Kurwenal asked.

"Oh, nothing, nothing... It´s just that I had the idea I already know her."

Kurwenal asked, surprised: "Could that be possible?"

Tristan smiled: "Maybe in my dreams."



A couple of hours later, Brangaine was brushing Isolde´s hair. The Princess said: "Ah, Brangaine! I hope King Mark is as good looking as his nephew"

The maiden answered, with a concerned look: "Well, milady, I´m afraid he must be somewhat older than Sir Tristan."

"Oh! I wish he was like that, so tall and handsome and..." She interrupted herself, puzzled

"And?" Brangaine asked.

"I´ve got the feeling I know him!"

Brangaine was surprised, too: "But where from?"

"Oh! I don´t know. But I´ve certainly seen those blue eyes..."



The great room of the castle was full. Everybody was there for the party. Isolde was very beautiful, wearing a teal silk dress. All the lords and knights looked at her admiringly, their hearts beating fast while women looked at her, too, but with envy...

The usher announced: "Sir Tristan of Lyoness, ambassador of His Majesty King Mark of Cornwall !"

All the people, specially the women, turned round to look at the door. The young, tall, good-looking guest came in and all the young ladies sighed unanimously, completely charmed by his masculine elegance, wishing he would invite them to dance.

But after the dinner, the young knight asked the King´s permission and then bowed before Isolde, who accepted the invitation.

The couple began to dance elegant and gracefully and even the most envious of the ladies had to admit that they look really good together.

The Queen was worried: ("Isolde seems to be fond of sir Tristan...too much fond, I would say-..Not that I blame her-Heaven knows I would also be sighing for him if I were twenty years younger- but I have to stop this before it goes too far.")



Isolde was talking with the jeweller, looking for a wedding ring. She complained: "Oh! This is indeed a difficult task! They are all so beautiful that I can´t decide!"

Meanwhile, the Queen came into the room and whispered to the handmaiden "Brangaine! Come with me, please! I must talk to you!"

"Oh, yes... Of course, Your Majesty!"

They went to the Queen´s room and then Isolde´s mother said: "Brangaine, you know that I care much about my daughter and I only want her happiness."

"Oh, that´s natural, Your Grace!"

"Well, if you are loyal to her, if you love her and want her happiness, too, you will do what I want you to do."

Brangaine was puzzled:"And what is it, Your Grace?"

The Queen showed Brangaine a small bottle: "This is a powerful love filter. Anyone who drinks it will love with the first person he or she sees... You must pour it into Isolde´s glass, so she will fall in love with King Mark. Then I can be sure she will live happily with him."

Brangaine received the bottle and asked: "Must I pour some into King Mark´s glass, too?"

The Queen smiled:"Oh! I don´t think he will need any magic to love Isolde!"

Brangaine smiled, too: "Yes, Your Majesty is right!"

But the Queen was serious again and commanded strongly: "You must be careful! Make no mistake! Keep the bottle safe and make sure the Princess will drink the potion when she´s alone with King Mark!"

"Oh, yes...Certainly...Of course, your Majesty!"

"No need to say that this is a secret. My daughter must not know about this!"

"Sure... Don´t worry, Your Majesty, no one will ever know it:"



It was a beatiful day. The sun was shining bright and there weren´t any clouds in the sky. The sea breeze was blowing gently, but strong enough to fill the sails and make the ship move fast. The splendid weather made sir Tristan happy, so he started to sing with a beautiful, powerful voice.

Isolde heard him and liked it very much. She called Tristan, because she wanted to ask him to sing another song for her. The knight obeyed and went to Isoldes´s cabin.

"Oh, Sir Tristan! So glad you´ve come!"

He bowed. "I´m at your command, Your Highness."

"I heard you singing some moments ago. I didn´t know you could sing so well and that you had such a nice voice!"

"Oh, thank, you Your Higness. I´m glad you liked it."

"Well, I hope it won´t bother you too much if I ask you to sing for me."

"Yes, certainly... If your Highness could but wait a moment first and allow me to drink something, for I´m thirsty... and that´s not good for the voice."

Isolde answered, confused "Oh, yes, of course! How unconsiderate I´ve been! I should have offered you a drink first! Just wait for a moment, please, and I´ll bring it to you. "

Tristan was curious "But isn´t your maiden here, Your Highness?"

Isolde explained "Oh, poor Brangaine is in bed... She´s got a terrible sea-sickness."

"Oh! I´m sorry to hear that."

"Well, there´s nothing we can do... The only good thing is that she´ll be all right as soon as we reach land again."


"Sorry! I won´t make you wait longer.. I´ll be back in a moment."

Isolde went to Brangaine´s cabin to get some wine... but only found a small bottle. She returned to her own cabin and showed it to Tristan: "Look at this! Watch this golden colour! This is a good Irish white wine!"

He answered "Hmm! It must certainly taste delicious!"

She poured a glass and gave it to Tristan.

"Thank you so much, Your Highness!" he said.

Isolde poured another glass for herself and replied, quite upset: "Your Highness, Your Highness...! My goodness, Sir Tristan, you´re not a servant! You are also a Prince!" She smiled and added "Besides, it always seems quite odd to me that someone calls me Your Highness... As you see, I´m not tall. I´m rather short, in fact."

He said "Well, then, if you agree, I will call you... Your Grace."

She thought for a moment "Oh.. well... I think it suits me better."

Tristan sugested "And now, let´s make a toast...To friendship!"

She also raised her glass and answered "To friendship!"

They both drank to the bottom.They felt a terrible pain in their head and saw visions.

Tristan found himself turned into a woman. She was in the middle of a misty forest, in front of a fire wall. Behind the flames she saw another woman sleeping... a young, beautiful woman that looked like ... ISOLDE? An extraordinary force attracted her to that woman so she went through the flames. There certainly was something magic, because the fire did not harm her. She stood besides the couch, she looked for a moment at the sleeping beauty and then, obbeying to a strong instinct ... she kissed her lips passionately.

The woman woke up, smiled and said, "Xena!"

Then all memories came back to her and she answered: "Gabrielle..!"

Meanwhile, Isolde had a terrible experience. She saw herself lying half naked on a cross. She felt wet an cold, for it was snowing. Soldiers were holding her arms and were about ...Oh nail her hands! Horrified, he looked at one side and saw another women who was lying on a cross, too. She was tall, black-haired, and very beautiful. In fact, she looked very much like...TRISTAN? Certainly, she had a more rounded, feminine face, but she could very well be Tristan´s sister. The woman was also looking at her with her splendid, amazingly blue eyes and said: "Gabrielle, you are the best thing in my life."

Isolde, not knowing how or why, felt that the other woman meant everything for her and answered, passionately: "I love you, Xena!" Then Isolde remembered everything.

They both shivered when they recovered themselves.

Isolde looked at Tristan."Xena?"

The young warrior looked at the Princess: "Gabrielle?" he asked.

Isolde repeated "Xena...!"

Tristan smiled with immense joy and opened his arms wide to embrace her: "Gabrielle!"

But the Princess made two steps back: "Wait! We can´t!"

The warrior looked at her, dissapointed: "We can´t?!"

"Well... we can, but we musn´t!"

"Oh, Gabrielle, come on! What do you mean?" He asked, hesitating, "You .. don´t love me anymore?"

"Oh, of course I love you, you fool! I´m Gabrielle... Your Gabrielle. I´ve loved you, I love you and will always love you for the eternity. But now... I´m called Isolde, I´m a Princess and... have to marry King Mark."

The knight looked at the floor and shaked his head with dispair: "Ah, why? Why it must be him ? If any other man would put his eyes upon you... I´d kill him!"

Isolde said, horrified,"Oh, no, Xena!"

But the warrior went on speaking fiercely: "Yes, I´d fight and kill anyone! There´s nothing I fear, nothing I would not do for you and you know it very well!" He calmed down and added: "But you see, Mark is my uncle, the man who cared for me as a father and brought me up... I could never kill him."

"And I´m glad you won´t! Ah, I hate the mere thought of you killing for my sake!"

Tristan asked anxiously: "And what shall we do, then...? Oh, I know! You will say no , of course! You will do it... won´t you?"

Isolde sighed and answered with a sad look: "I wish I could, my Warrior Prince! But if I refuse to marry, there will be a war between Ireland and Cornwall . I... I don´t want to be responsible for that. And I suppose you don´t, either."

"Then we shall escape together!"

"But they will look for us! Where could we go? Where could we hide? We can´t live fleeing forever! Besides, that would also mean trouble and war."

Tristan...well, Xena ... started to walk furiosly from one side to another of the cabin as he said frantically: "Ah, this is ironical! I´ve loved you with all my heart, all my soul, all my strength. Thousand years... Thousand years without you!" He made a short pause and continued: "And now that I found you to give you my love again and cry it out to the whole world..." He stopped walking and hit his chest with the fist "...Now I must hide all the passion burning here in my heart!"

Isolde... Gabrielle... sank in a chair sobbing and crying: "Oh, why? Why aren´t we free to love each other? Is it a curse cast upon us? Or maybe our love is so great that it is too good to be lived in this earth?



And so, through the magic of the potion, Tristan and Isolde came to know who they really were and what they have been in their past lives. That was the start... no, the continuation of one of the greatest and most wonderful love stories in the world.

Isolde did marry King Mark, for she had no choice; Tristan was banned of the kingdom by his jealous uncle. However, nothing would keep the lovers appart and finally they met secretly to satisfy their mutual love ...



(To be continued in Part II)


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