9 — 24th June — Dedication — Copy

Fifth chapter of Thread A — John’s Recovery

Ximene becomes John’s nurse and takes to sleeping with him to help him withstand the cold nights. Several days pass with minimal improvement. As he feels like an intruder Guillam moves upstairs to the Chateau from where he is able to carry out surveillance of the surrounding valley

Guillam de Clermont-Dessous – 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, however, 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 he 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 dont want to separate them, I see clear signs of improvement in him.’

‘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?’

The most dangerous woman in the world

The Treasure of Trencavel

List of Characters

Table Of Contents



List of Places

Table of Contents


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.’