22 Changed Relationships

John Stanley – 18th July 1355

The barrier around John simply ceased to exist. There were no more delusions. He engaged in normal discussions with those around him, about his health and about plans for the future. Estevan pronounced his task to be complete. ” It is entirely up to you, now John. The harder you work the more total will be your recovery. You cannot do yourself much damage, but be sensible. If at the end of a day you are very sore then do not work as hard the following day. However the day after that work as hard as previously. A good exercise is climbing stairs something you will have to master if you are to return to normal life. Try to climb to the tower room but never go further than you feel comfortable with. Always have someone with you. The last thing we want at this stage is for you to have a disastrous fall. 

John found climbing the stairs easier than he had anticipated it would be. It took him only three days before he was able to climb all the way up to the tower room. It just so happened that his first view out of the glazed window was early morning and on the edge of the woods, which covered the hill above the castle he saw a herd of deer grazing.

He sighed with sheer delight.

Guillam came to say farewell. ‘I must return to Eleanor. I will go to her in Bordeaux, Don Fernandino will visit Pamiers and then join me in Bordeaux so that I can introduce him to the Prince and at the same time inform the Prince that you are both safe and well.

Don Fernandino will then return to organise your final escape.   Eleanor and I will, later in the year, retire to Montcler. You will both be welcome if you visit us there’.

Guillam glanced around the claustrophobic cellar. ‘You will be safe here, however, with caution, I recommend you should make the attempt to get some fresh air. Almost every day I have left the chateau on self-imposed non-existant tasks to survey the surroundings. Not only did I attract no attention, but I did not actually see anyone. You should be able to walk or ride through these hills at will. Just be careful when leaving or returning to the stables. If you do see anyone they will have no idea where you came from and so you will always be able to return here to hide if necessary.’

Don Fernandino came forward to stand alongside Guillam.

‘At the moment there is little I can do here and there is so much which must be done elsewhere. A tour for the Shadow has been organised. I will go to Foix, Pamiers and Muret spending over a week in each place. I will then go to Bordeaux.  I will be away for about two months. He nodded at John. ‘By which time you will be able to travel. If I judge it to be safe we will then recommence our journey to Sicily.’

And so Don Fernandino and Guillam left John and Ximene to their own devices.

John was shocked to discover that when he first walked without crutches to visit Selene and Helios, he found this short walk very hard work.

At first, he thought this was some aspect of his injury, but he soon realized that loss of blood, infection and four weeks of inactivity had destroyed the fitness he had developed since Biscarrosse. Biscorrosse! Suddenly he had clear memories 

He determined to regain his fitness. He thought back to the training regimes he had developed with Lord James. He stopped short at the memory.

And then there was Ximene… The most dangerous woman in the world. The mystery woman he had first heard about by the lake at Biscarrosse. No longer a mystery and not my sister, she is my lover.

Was Biscarrosse only three months ago? 

The most dangerous woman in the world

The Treasure of Trencavel

List of Characters

Table Of Contents



List of Places

Table of Contents

Pseudo History


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.’

The Prisoner of FoixVol 1 of the series—The Treasure of Trencavel

Aquitaine, an English possession, is in crisis. It is under threat from neighbouring nations and internal dissension.

The Black Prince, King Edward III’s eldest son has been given the task of taking command in Aquitaine.

Suddenly there is an opportunity. Ximene Trencavel is the heiress to the lands of Occitan, to the east of Aquitaine: lands controlled by the Franks. Ximene wants independence, both for herself and for Occitan.

A union between Aquitaine and Occitan would be mutually beneficial. The Black Prince undertakes a secret journey to meet Ximene to negotiate a marriage contract. It is, however, a marriage neither of them really wants.

Meanwhile, the  Franks plot to murder Ximene to prevent ,not just the marriage, but any kind of union between England and Occitan.

The Eagle Of CarcassonneVol II of the series—The Treasure of Trencavel

The loose alliance between Ximene Trencavel and the Black Prince is under threat.

The Prince invades Occitan, to show his support for Ximene but it becomes an invasion which creates more problems than it solves.

The Prince has fallen hopelessly in love with Joan of Kent and Joan is now determined to marry him and become the next Queen of England.

Joan is therefore  determined to convince Ximene that she should not marry the Prince.

Part of her strategy is to encourage Ximene’s relationship with John Stanley—one of the Princes bodyguards—not an easy task as both John and Ximene have doubts about their compatibility.

However, John is grievously injured in a battle and Ximene commits herself to nurse him back to health.