Enter Ximene

Outside, as Lady Eleanor had predicted, a mist was rolling in and the light from the torches created the illusion of rays of light permeating the mist.

Suddenly there was a thunder of hooves and a dozen of the Comte de Foix’s soldiers arrived to take up their positions.

John raised his head as he heard the whinny of a protesting horse. Then, as if carefully planned, the horse appeared through the mist illuminated by the glimmering shafts of light from the torches.  The rider was wearing a full-length cloak and hood.

The horse reared and thrashed the air with its hooves, unhappy at being halted.  The rider settled the horse effortlessly and slipped from the saddle handing the reins to one of the guards.  The hood was pulled back revealing the rider to be female.  She strode purposefully towards the tent.  As she walked the light from one of the torches was immediately behind her, now it looked as if she was framed by light.  She had an extremely long purposeful stride.  She swung her hips as she walked so that each foot was placed immediately in front of the other.  The cloak responded by swaying from side to side as if in slow motion.  As the cloak moved there were glimpses of what lay beneath.

Boots and hose.  This lady dressed like a man.  Finally as she drew close to Lady Eleanor’s tent the flares around the tent illuminated her face.

Lady Eleanor’s smile grew broader.

‘Ah.’ she said ‘Ximene has arrived.’

The most dangerous woman in the world