John Stanley – 4th July 1355
John blamed it all on the potion Estevan had prescribed and which he was still taking. It was supposed to help the healing process but it also made him compliant, obedient.
He had always welcomed an environment where the rules were set and all he had to do was follow them, but this was different. It was as if he was encased in a bubble which separated him from the world around him. He was aware of Don Fernindino, Guilliam and Ximene but felt unable to communicate with them. In fact he had no real desire to communicate with them. He had no idea who Don Fernandino was and no-one had introduced them. Guillam he recognised, but he struggled to pin down the relationship.
Then there was Ximene, always close to the bubble but never penetrating it. He had fond memories of Ximene, but the memories were far from precise. He dreamed of her when they were asleep in the same bed, but the bubble was still between them. She was a mysterious, distant princess.
During waking hours she was the source of his pain, always pushing him to do things he was not able to do comfortably, which caused him distress. As he excercised, John reflected on his relationship with Ximene. She is my big sister. This is what big sisters do!
He frowned. There was something badly wrong. Deep inside he wanted to hold her tight and kiss her passionately, but the bubble got in the way and in any case he was not sure it would be appropriate. His kisses had become chased tokens of affection. Despite the pain she inflicted on him, he loved her but found it difficult to determine what kind of love it was.