12 Arrangements

Joan of Kent – 4th July 1355

Meanwhile, in Bordeaux, Joan was far from comfortable. She was surrounded by painters and carpenters; there was the smell of fresh paint and the endless noise of scraping and hammering. She managed a chuckle. ‘Well that impromptu tour of Occitan was really quite exciting, we should do it again sometime.’  

She hesitated. ‘But now here we are… back in society, subject to public scrutiny.’ She grabbed the Earl’s hand and dragged him through to another far smaller room, empty but unoccupied. She pushed the door shut and leaned against it. ‘We now must learn to deal with that scrutiny.’

The Earl squeezed both Joan’s hands within his own. It was a feeling she rather enjoyed. She really wanted him to take her into his arms, knowing that she would then have readily surrendered, but knew that she must not allow that to happen.

The Earl raised her hands to his lips and kissed them lingeringly; more than once. ‘I promised the Prince I would look after you… Keep you safe. The King made him promise not to see you again.’

Joan grimaced. ‘I know. I know. I know about the promise…’ She forced a smile. ‘And I know that you would keep me safe.’

She gazed up into William’s eyes, still smiling. ‘The King wants the Prince to be totally committed to the marriage to Ximene and until we find a way of telling the King that the Prince is not going to marry Ximene it is an illusion we must preserve.’

The Earl frowned. ‘But our situation is more complicated than that. You told me at the festival of the moon at Clermont that you have promised the Queen I would never see you again.’

Joan allowed the smile to collapse from her face. ‘Yes. On the face of it, that means that I will not be able to see either of you. We cannot allow that to happen.’

It did not take her long to recover. She broke away from the Earl, performed a pirouette and then held her hands above her head. ‘Hence all this, my new home.’

She saw that she had acquired the Earl’s total attention. ‘This was supposed to be new accommodation for the Seneschal of Aquitaine. intended to be his residence and administrative facility. 

The Earl narrowed his eyes, then smiled. ‘ What are you up to now Joan, and how? we have only been back in Bordeaux for five minutes.’

‘Since the Prince has now taken control of Aquitaine it will not be needed.’


‘It is just a matter of selling things in the right way. I cannot live in the Palace with the Prince; the King would certainly find out. This building was complete and only required minor finishes.’ She paused so that the hammering could be clearly heard. ‘So I will move in here. It is very conveniently situated only two hundred yards down the Quay from the Palais D’Aquitaine.’ She lowered her eyelashes. ‘ It will be easy for the Prince to visit me here and for you… to provide for my safety.’

The Earls’ eyes twinkled. ‘But everyone will know about these visits.’

‘I am coming to that. This building will become the Occitan Embassy and its occupant will be the Ximene Trencavel, Duchess of Occitan; or in truth by her double, Alyse Perez, who is currently impersonating Ximene. The Duchess will generously offer me accommodation, separated from her own accommodation by a secret corridor hidden at both ends behind a bookcase. As we speak, my apartment is being provided with its own totally separate entrance, through which I will enter and leave. I have borrowed Piers de Windsor to manage the alterations.


Yes, it was Piers who pointed out the opportunity. I had assumed the idea must have come from you… but perhaps not. Anyway whenever you, or the Prince, visit the Duchess, which you will do frequently, you may discreetly visit me without anyone being any the wiser.’

‘Oh! but won’t that put Alyse in possession of sensitive information?

‘It will, so we will have to make sure she feels she is committed to us. Part of a close-knit group.’ Joan’s eyes sparkled. ‘It will be up to you or to me or perhaps both of us to ensure that she feels that way.’

‘And the Prince?’

‘I will make absolutely sure he is never left alone with her.’

The most dangerous woman in the world

The Treasure of Trencavel

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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.