32 A Person of no Consequence

‘You have never paid court to her properly, yet you see her as belonging to you. That is very much a concept of the Roman Church and is abhorrent to Ximene.’

Philippa de Roet-25th March 1355

Suddenly, in the Ariège valley, it was spring. Clear blue skies gazed down over the valley and with the dawn came a chorus of birdsong; those with an eye for such things watched as the swallows and swifts busily reclaimed their homes in various parts of Château Foix.


Pipa had to gasp for breath after the laborious climb to the very top of the northerly tower to reach Dominic’s new quarters. As she forced her way through the doorway, she nearly collided with Dominic, who was simultaneously trying to leave.

‘So this is where you live.’

Dominic blinked several times. ‘Yes, though it is not much, and at night it is unbearably cold. Why are you here?’

‘You left some clothes behind. Lady Eleanor asked me to bring them up to you.’ Pipa smiled as she handed over the clothing.

Dominic’s frown slackened for an instant. ‘Thank you.’ he replied. The frown thickened again as he gazed at her. ‘Do you think there is a chance that Ximene will accept my favour?’

Pipa gazed back, and after a moment’s awkward silence she shook her head and stared at the ground. She decided there was only one way to say it. ‘There is no chance.’

‘Because she is in love with you?’

Pipa shook her head. ‘She does love me and I love her, but that is not the reason. You have never paid court to her properly, yet you see her as belonging to you. That is very much a concept of the Roman Church and is abhorrent to Ximene.’

‘Oh? She did raise that with me.’ He looked away and when he turned back there was a realisation in his eyes. ‘Do you think it as simple as that?’ He didn’t wait for her answer. ‘I will learn some poems and tell her how much I love her at the next dinner.’

‘I fear you have left it too late, Dominic. There are only five of us left, and Ximene will be leaving soon.’

‘Leaving soon? What do you mean?’

‘There is a hunt organised at Murat at the end of May.’

‘I know that, the Comte is taking me with him.’

‘Ximene will be allowed to attend. She is so unhappy Dominic, she… she is going to run away to Sicily. Once she is safe, I will go to join her.’

‘Rubbish, the Comte will not let her go.’

Pipa could not help herself. ‘It’s not rubbish. Don Fernandino is going to arrange her escape.’

‘Don Fernandino? Oh!’

‘Sorry, Dominic, I must leave or I will be late for Mass.’

She scurried out of the room and down the stairs. As she went she consoled herself that she had not told Dominic anything important and in any case, it was only Dominic, who had no friends and no influence with anyone!

The most dangerous woman in the world

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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.’