Before daybreak, I walked swiftly to the kitchen and stood watching for Marie the cook to turn and see me as I placed a bowl of salve for her calloused feet on the table. As long as she received the remedy, her tongue would not wag about Isolde, and in turn the other servants would not gossip for the moment. Cecily the scullery maid glowered at me as Marie accepted the bowl, placing it in a safe spot. She would have to come up with a slight against Isolde of her own. Most rumors did not bother Isolde, but I kept an eye on the rumblings. When I returned to Isolde’s chamber I reported how Cecily had looked at me when she saw that she would not get any juicy morsels from the cook to spread. Isolde smiled. I helped her dress and coiffed her hair while we reminisced about past adventures, like when her younger cousin Flann used to chase us in the fields so he could propose to Isolde, until her mother found out and admonished him.

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