Rene Bonfils – 21 June 1355
Only ten minutes made the difference between escape and capture. They had only turned the first bend in the road when du Guesclin cautiously approached the village. He was still in a black rage and searched for his prey.
du Guesclin growled his displeasure. His small band had been observed moving quietly round the outskirts of the village looking in barns and outhouses, including the one which had housed Ximene for most of the previous day.
Suddenly they found themselves surrounded by a dozen soldiers.
‘ Good morning gentlemen and to what may we owe the pleasure of your company?’
The soldiers were armed with pikes and crossbows. Du Guesclin realized immediately that resistance would be futile.
‘ We are searching for two young people, a boy and a girl, who are heretics. I am acting for the Bishop of Palmiers’
Sabastien spoke lazily but came straight to the point. ‘That may be true but you may also be Routiers, making an assessment of what we have of value and planning a full scale raid later.’ He smiled but it was not a humorous smile. ‘I will tell you what I will do. We will hold you here and send for a member of the bishops staff who might verify the tale you tell.’
He paused. ‘The nearest point at which we could find such a representative would be Foix. It will take at least a day possibly longer’
Du Guesclin’s eyes bulged. ‘If the heretics get away as a result of your interference it will not bode well for you’
‘ I do not intend to interfere, so I will make a concession. I will allow you to put a man on the road either side of the village to ensure that no-one leaves. But you Monsieur and the will remain under my care until you credentials are verified. So you see I am not obstructing you activities.’
Du Guesclin accepted and asked Robert to man the road to the east and Justin the road to the west. He found a moment to whisper in Robert’s ear.
‘Do not wait on the outskirts of the village, ride along the road and check everything and everyone. I think they will have gone east and there may be something which will give them away.’