Our heroine is a child of the universe. We tell the story of the life she lived seven hundred years ago but there are hints that she lived other lives before the time of our story and that she has lived again since. She has come striding, a stunningly beautiful libertine, from the mists of time. The present day authors are as much her disciples as they are the presenters of her story.
Brian and Helen Lilley were at one time married but were driven by the fates to the opposite ends of the globe. They always stayed in touch, but suddenly developments in the world of technology permitted longer and more frequent conversations.
Brian is most comfortable with facts, a keen amateur historian and therefore a student of what drives men to war and of their military skills. Helen is far more interested in people, and their emotions. She is concerned with how people cope with pleasure and pain and in the use of language to express these issues. Because of the difference in time zones all the conversations involved one or the other getting up early or going to bed late to make the story weaving possible.
Brian told Helen that one of his supposed ancestors was of doubtful parentage. The mother assigned to the ancestor by many genealogies was only four when he was born. Thus there was suddenly a need to identify a mystery woman who was actually this mother!
Helen told Brian of an article about Catherine de Roet, mistress and ultimately wife of John of Gaunt and how the article dismissed the political influence she undoubtedly wielded.
She discussed the role of literature and poetry in enhancing the appreciation of what life had to offer. There was a discussion of Jongleurs, Troubadours and the courts of love and why this totally alternative society had ceased to exist.
Suddenly there was a realisation that the conversations overlapped and overlaid continually like waves on a beach. They were being returned time and time again to the same point in history and the same geographical location, the mid 1300’s and Occitan or what is known today as Languedoc. The mystery woman began to intrude.
Ximene and her adventures became real. Her story only emerged as Brian and Helen were talking to each other. Helen became Ximene, Brian became John Stanley. There was no story development until they spoke again. It was as if the nuances of her character and details of her adventures came directly from her input. It was as if Ximene still existed in the dark unfathomable void which lies between the physical entities used in communication.