42 — Premonitions

Ximene Trencavel – 17th September 1355

Ximene knew it was a crisis. And in the same instant, she experienced a crisis of her own. She realised John could not see what she could see.

For her plans John’s ambitions were too modest, his vision too limited.

She did not feel let down, not anger, not pity. Nevertheless, she realised her vision for the future would have to be amended. She would have to allow time for John to grow. He had the potential but he did not realise he had the potential. She had a vision but it was too early to share that vision.

She took his head in her arms.‘  John please try, you are capable of almost anything if you try.’

John responded well. The days passed full of hard work and satisfaction. There was no sense of the passage of time, it was if they were in eternity.. As they transferred skills and knowledge from one to the other their attachment grew. The crisis seemed to have past. It became one of those happy circumstances in which both partners in a relationship find everything they ever expected in their partner. Ximene slowly regained confidence that John could become part of her vision.

When John was studying Ximene would stroke his shoulders , enough for him to feel her support but not enough to distract him. She took to sitting on his lap, simply to be as close as she could. She helped John document his training regimes and record the relationship between weight, repetition and improvements in strength and stamina. With attachment came increasing dependency, and from dependency came the slow regrowth of more conventional love.

However, perhaps inevitably, with love came fears. Slowly, ever so slowly, Ximene felt tensions develop. She thought more and more often about the future. She felt fear of separation and a desire for each moment to last forever.

She senses from John’s demeanour that he was having similar feelings.

Ximene decided the time had come to share her vision, or at least part of it, come what may. ‘I told you at Monsegur I probably would not marry the Prince. Don Fernandino is still advising me that it is what I should do, but I am going to reject his advice. However, I want to find a way to refuse the Prince in such a way that it will actually help him to marry Joan.’

John’s face lit up.‘Is that what you want, is that what he wants?’

‘Yes, I believe the answer to both those questions is yes.’

‘So you have no intention of becoming my queen?’

Ximene took a deep breath.  ‘I will not be Queen of England,  but there are other options.’

John gazed into her eyes. ‘How would they effect me?.’

‘I will always need someone with your courage and contacts to support me and of course, there might just be… another senior position available.’

John’s eyes rolled but he smiled broadly. Ximene saw a weight lift from his shoulders.

That night he took the initiative in the seduction process. He told her to lie with her hands stretched out above he head as he caressed her body. When she moved her hands as the pleasure became too intense he scolded her.

“Do as you are told or would you rather me tie you to the bed?

Ximene was not sure that was what she wanted but she giggled delightedly.

At last, he feels himself to be my equal. It was seeing me as his future queen, which inhibited him. Now he is free of that! But he still does not understand the way we must live our lives and he is not yet ready to share the total concept.

Quite deliberately she dropped her hands and pretended to cover herself. It took nearly ten minutes of playful fighting, but eventually, she was firmly tied to the bed. She rather enjoyed the experience.


On a beautiful Autumn day, filled with sunshine, blue skies, the smell of wildflowers and the sounds of birds singing, they strolled through their valley. The premonitions suddenly returned

Where was Don Fernandino? Two months had elapsed.  What on earth was happening in Bordeaux?

The most dangerous woman in the world

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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.’