129 Gods and Mortals

‘Entrance to this holy ground depends not on fame or the ability to shape world events. To enter the Elysian Fields, all that is necessary is to have shown bravery born of a love for others. Here there are many delights for such heroes.’

John Stanley – 21st June 1355

John was on his way to the Elysian Fields to join other warriors such as Achilles, Odysseus and Heracles. For a long time he had ridden on clouds but now he was riding Helios. He swayed in the saddle but was supported by the Dioscuri, Castor and Pollux, one either side. At the entrance to the sacred grounds, other Gods awaited him.

To John, it seemed wrong, very wrong. ‘What right have I to join these great heroes? My deeds are insignificant when compared to theirs.’

One of the Gods moved forward. John recognized him. It was Amun. Or was it the Earl? His voice sounded like thunder in a narrow valley. ‘Entrance to this holy ground depends not on fame or the ability to shape world events. To enter the Elysian Fields, all that is necessary is to have shown bravery born of a love for others. Here there are many delights for such heroes.’

Zeus approached, accompanied by Aisa, who held John’s life in her hands.

Amunet then came forward. John could see the serpent wrapped around her body; he could still see the silver/blue scarves, the necklet and the snakes squirming around her head. Amunet addressed Zeus. Her voice was totally different; it was like the running water of a mountain stream. ‘It is not time for John to enter the Elysian Fields, there is still much work for him to do on earth.’

Zeus nodded. ‘I agree. His courage, honesty and virtue will assist in achieving the best possible result at a time of great difficulty. He must fulfil his destiny. He turned to Aisa. ‘I order you, do not cut short his life.’

Amunet mounted Helios behind John and guided him back to earth, but it was a dreadful, dangerous journey. Rocks fell from mountains, huge scaly bats with razor sharp claws dived at him from orange skies, and dragons breathed fire from their lairs. But for the attention of Amunet, who used her magic powers to protect him, he would never have completed the journey. Finally, the horrors faded away and Amunet lifted him from Helios’ back and laid him down to rest.

Amunet looked down at him, still protective. She was unimaginably beautiful but slowly she transformed; she no longer looked like Joan of Kent, she looked like Ximene. John called out her name. As the dream merged into reality he became briefly aware of the real Ximene, a somewhat dishevelled Ximene, anxiously looking down at him. He heard her voice and replied. ‘I will survive.’

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.’