23 Sir Bertrand?

‘I have made it possible for you to bestow a knighthood and if he becomes an embarrassment, you are young enough to be, in time, forgiven.’

Charles de Valois-13th March 1355

The Dauphin, Charles de Valois, the eldest son of King Jean of the Franks, turned to his father, arms widespread in supplication. ‘It should be you who awards the knighthood.’

King Jean replied instantly. ‘I won’t. I have always thought the award of a knighthood carried with it some measure of a man’s worth.’


The Dauphin grimaced. ‘The reason we must knight him is to give him some worth, to enable him to deal with those in our service and in the service of the Holy Church who will simply not deal with the common people.’

‘And does giving him a knighthood make him anything but a common person?’

’In the true meaning of the word, Bertrand du Guesclin is certainly not a common person, he is calculating, perhaps even clever, unforgiving, ruthless and above all cruel.’

‘None of these things are the normal criteria for knighthood. What about the virtues of valour and chivalry?’

The Dauphin pulled a face. ‘He would not… have the faintest idea what they are.’

‘So we are knighting him because…’

‘Because we need him. It is the Languedoc issue. Your own preference was to get the Trencavel girl married to my brother Louis. They were supposed to be meeting in Pamplona last year. Now it would appear that she is going to marry the Black Prince, We simply cannot allow that to happen.

‘Hmm, I must admit I thought marriage to Louis was a certainty. My stepmother Blanche d’Evreux is the sister of Agnes of Navarre and Agnes is the wife of Gaston de Foix, Ximene Trencavel’s guardian. Both these ladies are sisters of Charles, King of Navarre. who was to host the meeting. It was because of the importance of that meeting that I avoided arresting Charles after he murdered our constable, Charles La Cerda.’

The Dauphin frowned. ‘I have never liked Navarre, he tends to talk down to me. But murder? Most people think that it was a tavern brawl which went badly wrong.’

‘No, it was premeditated murder and more than that it was a deliberate affront to me. Eventually, he will be brought to account.’

‘Eventually?’

’It is still my intention to marry Ximene to Louis and we may need Charles de Navarre to achieve that… or at least the co-operation of his sister Agnes. I will get Blanche to talk to Agnes and see what can be done.’

‘Well, we still need du Gueslin. We cannot allow the Trencavel girl to marry the Black Prince. If she shows the slightest sign of doing so she must be eliminated.’

The King winced. ’Knowing this man’s reputation, I think that means she will be eliminated, regardless.’ He sighed. ‘If that is what you want, knight him yourself. I have made it possible for you to bestow a knighthood and if he becomes an embarrassment, you are young enough to be, in time, forgiven.’

‘Who will give him his orders? To whom will he report?’

‘Certainly not you, we must keep our distance. Let him report to Jacques.’

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Extract from The Prisoner of Foix--Chapter 43 -The EntranceNo need to buy a Kindle. Read it on your computer or tablet

John Stanley-26th April 1355

 

'Looks like we are going to see a bit of excitement, John. The Captain tried to get an agreement from the Prince that if there is surf running across the channel to Arcachon we will turn back to Bordeaux, but the Prince would hear none of it. Instead, he has offered to provide insurance for all three ships. If they are damaged or sunk, the owners will be compensated and every sailor who makes the passage will be given a bounty payment. What none of this seems to take into account is that if we sink in rough, fast-flowing waters we might all drown.'

John raised his eyebrows. 'But that is what we are going to do?'

'Yes, despite the fact that surf running accross the entrance is not uncommon and the deep water channel moves continually. In the end, the Prince attacked their captains on their weakest point, their professional pride! He threw down the gauntlet. He offered to take the Sally first through the channel, and to take control during the passage.' He raised his brow. 'We are going into the Bay of Arcachon, come what may! '

Extract from The Eagle of Carcassone -- Chapter 24-- A Real GoddessNo need to buy a Kindle. Read it on your computer or tablet

John Stanley - 22 July 1355

An hour later John walked with Ximene close to the river along the valley below St Feriole. It was the very essence of a summer’s day. The sun was fierce but in the shadow of the trees, it was cool and fragrant. The trees and shrubs along the riverbank hid their progress, from the Château, from St Feriole.

Eventually they reached a point where John thought it was safe to emerge from cover. To his satisfaction the stream extended into a pool with a sandy beach, shaded by trees. Where the stream entered the pool there was a flat grassy area, almost circular. Behind this, the bulk of two mountain ridges provided a splendid backdrop. He looked around once more ‘Not just a good training ground but a great training ground. If the Greek heroes knew about this they might be tempted to join me, to train with me’

Ximene laughed out loud. He turned to look at her. She had removed her outer clothes and was wearing a white chemise, cut short so that it barely reached her knees. Around her waist, she wore a plaited leather belt, obviously fashioned from the multitude of leather straps to be found in the tackle room.

She ran her hands down over her breasts. ‘When you were unconscious I heard you muttering about gods and goddesses, so  I have decided that from now on, for you, I will be the goddess.’

The Prisoner of FoixVol 1 of the series—The Treasure of Trencavel

Aquitaine, an English possession, is in crisis. It is under threat from neighbouring nations and internal dissension.

The Black Prince, King Edward III’s eldest son has been given the task of taking command in Aquitaine.

Suddenly there is an opportunity. Ximene Trencavel is the heiress to the lands of Occitan, to the east of Aquitaine: lands controlled by the Franks. Ximene wants independence, both for herself and for Occitan.

A union between Aquitaine and Occitan would be mutually beneficial. The Black Prince undertakes a secret journey to meet Ximene to negotiate a marriage contract. It is, however, a marriage neither of them really wants.

Meanwhile, the  Franks plot to murder Ximene to prevent ,not just the marriage, but any kind of union between England and Occitan.

The Eagle Of CarcassonneVol II of the series—The Treasure of Trencavel

The loose alliance between Ximene Trencavel and the Black Prince is under threat.

The Prince invades Occitan, to show his support for Ximene but it becomes an invasion which creates more problems than it solves.

The Prince has fallen hopelessly in love with Joan of Kent and Joan is now determined to marry him and become the next Queen of England.

Joan is therefore  determined to convince Ximene that she should not marry the Prince.

Part of her strategy is to encourage Ximene’s relationship with John Stanley—one of the Princes bodyguards—not an easy task as both John and Ximene have doubts about their compatibility.

However, John is grievously injured in a battle and Ximene commits herself to nurse him back to health.