Prelude: part 1

‘I hope you have found this house hospitable.’

The guest gazed on the verdant slopes of Monsalvat.

‘You admire the evening splendour of the forest. “Beautiful in elevation is the joy of all the earth”’.

She seemed absorbed entirely in the great expanse of green.

‘Gawain brings the strangest report of you. You drifted to the northern shore on a small frail boat, and but for the ministrations of your handmaid, you would have been dead when he found you. All his art you refused, and you would not tolerate him to touch you or to speak with you. The causes of your condition were beyond his power to discern. I am glad you have made it here, as much that you were willing as that you were able, but I am at a loss for what to do with you.’

‘Leave me’.

‘Of course, I will trouble you as little as I can, but I cannot help you further if I do not know you better’.

Parsifal followed her eyes to where doves flamed in the fading light.

‘The rite you performed earlier in the Temple. I did not understand it’.

He smiled. ‘Neither did I’.

The sun having set, she said ‘I am Isolde, Princess of Ireland, chosen consort to King Mark of Cornwall.’

Parsifal waited.

‘The engagement was broken off’.

‘Ah. And is that why -’

‘No.’

‘Well my Lady Isolde, it is an honour to host you here’.
‘What to me is Parsifal’s honour?’ For the first time she returned his glance. ‘What is it to you?’

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