9 — Dedication

Guillam de Clermont-Dessou – 24 June 1355

Château Mazerou was a square building with a central courtyard.

There was an arched gate, which gave access to the courtyard and it was from the here that access to the four wings was possible. Originally there had been no direct entry to the ground floor, the only access being through three narrow doors and up spiral staircases to the first floor.

Recently, the bishops had improved access by opening up a huge double door in the western wall. The ground floor of the western wing now served as a reception area.

There was a tower at each corner of the palace. For three of the towers, entry was through a single door on the third floor. The forth tower could not be accessed from the chateau but only from the cellar.The towers had arrow slits facing into the courtyard as well as outwards. Despite being a Palace rather than a fortress, this feature would have made it eminently defensible.

Each of the towers had, on the fourth floor a room with a large window looking out over the surrounding countryside.

This tower which could only be accessed from the cellar was also unique in that it had been fitted with a glass window facing east so that the room had abundant light, wonderful views and early morning warmth provided by the glass enclosure. It was in this room that Don Fernandino had been convalescing.

On the first night at Mazerou, John was only awake for a very short period of time but long enough for Ximene, supporting his head against her arm, to make sure he drank the portion.

As it approached midnight she turned to Guillam. ‘He survived that first dreadful night and without my body heat, he might have died.’ She cocked her head to one side and after a moment’s hesitation continued. ‘My body heat might still be useful to him.’

Over the next two days, John passed in and out of consciousness many times. Guilliam thought back over previous occasions where he had watched a colleague recovering from a grievous injury. He found it impossible to decide whether, in John’s case, the periods of unconsciousness were because of his injuries or because of Estevan’s potion.

Ximene did not appear to worry about such things. She took to sleeping with him every night.

Guillam watched Ximene with unreserved admiration.

If she had been a nun, running a ward of a nursing hospital her demeanour would have been no different. She was totally dedicated to John’s welfare. Except perhaps… a nun would never have taken to sleeping with her patient.

Guillam also slept in the cellar but soon he felt like an intruder. He went to see Don Fernandino. ‘ Is there somewhere else I might sleep. She sleeps with him, and I don’t want to separate them, I see clear signs of improvement in him. Perhaps it is that improvement, but whatever the reason,I would like to sleep elsewhere.

‘You could join Maurice upstairs in the Chateau. I don’t think the bishops have arrived yet and if you were settled in when they do, it could be quite useful. You would be just another servant working for Maurice. You might hear something of interest.’
‘Why not?’

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