20 Security

Ximene Trencavel- 20th July 1355

Ximene could see that John was tiring. ‘Is that all?’ 

Don Fernandino shook his head. ‘Not quite. The assassin at Chateau Foix. Did Du Guesclin organise that or someone else? Is it possible Les Étoiles organised it?’

John twisted in his seat. ‘Oh! I see. You would regard it as particularly serious if they did. I think not… unless they have people running around armed with estoc swords, a sword intended for killing people, not for defending oneself. I think the assassin was a typical mercenary. To me, it would point to Du Guesclin.’

Ximene was impressed. More evidence of Johns recovery. She added ‘Don Fernandino, the assassin was apparently recruited by the Comte de Foix to help with clerical issues, in fact, my marriage contract. Where he came from, who introduced him to the Comte, I have no idea. Prior to the assassination attempt, the only person I know to have met him was Alyse.’

‘Alyse?’

‘Alyse Perez, My grandmother’s…Lady Eleanor’s companion and she also helped the Compte with clerical work. She might know how he was recruited.’

‘And where can I find her?

‘Alyse is in Bordeaux, where she is pretending to be me, hopefully, to put Du Guesclin off the scent.’

‘Then I must go to Bordeaux to meet her. One more question. How many people knew about your intention to escape during the hunt?’

‘I did. Guillam did. Lady Eleanor did.’

‘How many others?’

‘Much later, only when they arrived in Murat… The Prince did, The Earl did, John did and… because of the arrangements I assume, but do not know, that Pipa’s father, Payne de Roet did.

‘Pipa is Payne de Roet’s daughter?’

‘Yes but she lived with us at Foix.’

‘Anyone else?’

‘Don’t forget Thierry d’Arques. He knew but perhaps only retrospectively.

Anyone else?

‘Pipa herself and Alyse.’

John broke in. ‘Don Fernandino, there is something I omitted to tell you. I cannot believe it is relevant but I should tell you anyway. In between the visit to Monpazier and the night in Agen the Earl took us to the festival of the moon at Clermont-Dessous and whilst there, I met Pipa.’

Ximene turned on John. ‘Pipa would never betray me, she is my best friend.’

John lifted his eyebrows. ‘Perhaps not deliberately… but she is very…talkative.’

Don Fernandino’s voice became almost a whisper. ‘And at that point in time, she was in the same geographic area as Du Guesclin. Some of his men may well have been at Clermont-Dessous. ‘His voice hardened. ‘Someone else I must talk to… and where do I find Pipa?

‘In Bordeaux’

Don Fernandino sighed. ‘So then, two people in Bordeaux I must speak to, but I have no contacts in Bordeaux, I have never needed contacts in Bordeaux. Guillam has those contacts. John if you recover sufficiently to guard Ximene. I will ask Guillam to travel independently to Bordeaux to open some doors for me.’

Ximene’s heart leapt, she already knew Don Fernandino well enough to realize that if he made a statement, no matter how conditional, it meant he believed it to be possible. Therefore at least in Don Fernandino’s mind, John would recover sufficiently to again act as her bodyguard

The most dangerous woman in the world

The Treasure of Trencavel

List of Characters

Table Of Contents

References

characters

List of Places

Table of Contents

Reference

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.’