28 — Accord

Joan of Kent — 21 June 1355

Joan felt the boat shudder as it left the quay.

She gazed around the cabin, which was too new to be comfortable. She shuddered. there was no other word for it. It was sterile. She much preferred the cabins on Elle or Belle Fille , which she had often used in the past to travel between England and Aquitaine. Then again, when on board the Elle there had always been the comfort of falling into the arms of Thierry d’ Arques, captain courageous; always comforting, considerate and attentive. The only man she had ever met who gave everything and took nothing.

She had woken early, perturbed by these thoughts.

She had insisted on joining the Prince on this cruise because she did not want to leave him alone with Alyse. However, shortly after midnight, she had left the Prince’s cabin, telling him that she wanted to make sure that Alyse was comfortable. What she actually wanted to do was work out how best to work with Alyse. She sighed with pleasure; she had no regrets but it had gone much further than that.

Now fully awake, she ran her hand slowly, gently up and down Alyse’s spine until she awoke, initially spluttering protests but eventually swivelling round to thrust one leg between Joan’s legs and enveloping Joan in a determined embrace.

Joan used what was now her only free hand to continue stroking Alyse’s back. ‘Good, I am glad you still feel affection, It is what I wanted to achieve.’

‘Affection? Achieve? In the name of the Good God Joan, Not for the first time in my life, I hope it is a bit more than that.’

Joan bit her lip. ‘Yes it is, I think we have just established a relationship which will last a long time and be beneficial for both of us.’

‘There you go again, beneficial? I really don’t care about the benefits. I just want the relationship.’

Joan intensified her caresses and extended them to the back of Alyse’s thighs.

Alyse Perez? Beautiful imposter? Suddenly it became much clearer. Their relationship would not be entirely Joan’s terms. Despite what Alyse was saying, now after a night of lovemaking, she was searching for something more. She is a mirror image of myself. Well, I also want something more so we will have to work it out. I will start by emphasizing how much we enjoyed each other.

‘Alyse, you do not know this, but over twelve months ago I enjoyed a night with Ximene. I have enjoyed my night with you to the same extent, but there is a puzzle. I know that your appearance is almost identical to Ximene but when making love, you are almost indistinguishable, it is amazing. Amazing but wonderful.’

‘Hmmm, I am not sure I should tell you this but when we first decided there might be an advantage to me pretending to be Ximene, we spent many nights… And a few days, making love to each other with the objective of developing the same preferences, so that no man or woman would be able to tell us apart.’

‘Well you succeeded, and it tells me a lot about you, about both of you. Be assured that our relationship is totally independent of any benefits we might gain by working together. But let us gently explore those benefits. First is that I will be the next Queen of England and you will be my closest friend. You will never want for anything. Is that a good start?’

‘ You really mean that?’

‘Yes, I do. Remember I told you I will always regard you as a princess of Castille. Perhaps you might help me… on behalf of the Prince, of course, to gain some influence there.’

Joan’s eyes glittered. ‘You seem to enjoy the life you have found here but perhaps you might like to return to Castile, with a guaranteed marriage to a prominent member of their aristocracy?’

Alyse sniffed ‘No thanks. I don’t see myself as the junior member of a relationship which does not mean much anyway.’

‘So?’

‘I would like to go to England and be in a position to study the English legal system. It is supposed to be good, I would like to be able to study it first hand.’

Joan’s eyes widened. This was something she was not prepared for. Decorative and intellectual? ‘You are interested in the law?’

‘Yes and the politics which inevitably surrounds the law. It all started at Foix. Ximene and I studied and discussed Aristotle’s works, PolitikaAffairs of State and Ethika, Behavior of People. Taken together they provide a view of how a state should ideally be organised.’

Joan tried hard to keep a note of incredulity from her voice. ‘That’s what you want?’

‘Yes please, princess.’

‘Well, the truth is I am not a princess… just yet. However now I know about that ambition, I am suddenly quite excited. I would like to be close friends…’ Joan fluttered her eyelashes.’ With someone who understands the complexities of the law.

She sighed. ‘However, if that is what you want, it is no use me trying to convince the Prince to give you assistance. He is simply not interested in politics or the law. However, would you like to meet the King of England?. I think he would like you.’

‘ Like me? In what way?’

Joan fluttered her eyelashes.’ In every way.’

The most dangerous woman in the world

The Treasure of Trencavel

List of Characters

Table Of Contents

References

characters

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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.’