24 –5th August — Warning — Copy

Juan de Perez- 5th August 1355

‘Alyse, I honestly think Joan would kill you.’

Alyse smiled. ‘All I said was that I found him attractive.’

Juan pushed his lips tight together and shook his head. ‘Keep your voice down, she is only two rooms away, down the corridor, She could walk in anytime.’

He frowned. ‘You know I have been working with Joan on what has become my chronicle although it was her creation. Only two issues,  but they sold out and people are asking me about the next issue. It is all Joan’s doing; everything in the chronical is about the wonderful lady the Prince is going to marry and that she is a Gascon… well at least from the south. People do want to read about her.

Alyse smiled again. ‘And they follow that up by coming to see me. They believe I will, as a southerner, have sympathy for them and influence the Prince in their favour.’ ‘

‘i hope it is not all going to your head.’

‘I don’t think so, On the contrary, I find it a rather humbling experience. However,  I don’t particularly like living a lie.’ 

Juan reached out to hold his sister’s hand. ‘I know that the reason Joan is promoting you is to distract attention away from her.  She is absolutely committed to becoming the next Queen of England. That is why she has moved in here as your guest.  It means that the Prince can visit supposedly to see you but in fact, to see her and no one, especially King Edward is any wiser.

He paused and sighed ‘I think you saying that you find the Prince attractive would be enough to provoke her! Promise me… Please promise me you will not take it any further, or let him take it any further.’

Alyse chuckled. ‘ Relax, I will not do anything stupid.  I would not want to alienate Joan, She could be so useful to me; to both of us. Anyway, for the next few days, you will be able to be my chaperone.’

‘What?’   

‘ Well, the Prince has invited me on a trip to Royan. A pleasure cruise up the full length of the Gironde Estuary. It is just another example of him showing me off to gain support for his own cause.  Depending on winds,  the cruise will last about eight hours.  He wants you to come with us… Hmmm perhaps it is Joan who wants you to come with us. Anyway, you are coming.  In two days time. You will have to be up early, the Prince intends to leave Bordeau at 6.30.  

It was the first time Juan had been on the waterfront, though in Bordeaux it was not possible to totally ignore it.  At close quarters he was less than impressed.

The river suffered from highly variable tides and therefore architecturally the quayside was, in Juan’s opinion, a mess. Ramps of different widths descended at varying angles from the upper quay to the water to give access to ships at all states of the tide

In between the ramps, the riverbanks had been covered with rough stonework but with a wide range of finishes. Every colour of stone; every size, every thickness of stone had been used. Some had probably just been dropped from a boat, as they were too big to handle. Whatever the reason many stones, stuck up at an angle above their neighbouring stones, contributing to the overall impression of total disorder.

Adding to this there were a large number of river barges and fishing boats pulled up on to the paved area and  At this morning’s low tide they lay untidily on their sides, emphasising the unevenness of the stones beneath them. 

Juan had glanced over his shoulder at the row of impressive houses at the other side of the Quay. There could hardly have been a greater contrast.

The scene reinforced his internal discontent. He was by no means sure he wanted to remain in Bordeaux and yet he was the only person who could give his sister independent support and advice. She was surrounded by those who were unashamedly taking advantage of her.

However he found the birth of La Fierté du Medoc without any difficulty; he immediately felt better, even to his untrained eye, the ship was obviously new; long, low painted pale blue, with the bulwarks picked out in white with black detailing. The Sails appeared to be silver rather than white.

 The captain helped him climb aboard. ‘Welcome sir, I am sure you will enjoy the cruise and as the winds are favourable, we should leave immediately.’

Juan smiled. His stay in Bordeaux was not without some benefits. it was a long way from being the occasional, largely unappreciated, troubadour in a remote fortress to being welcomed as a person of substance. then again if he had not come to Bordeaux he would not have learned that but for the unfortunate timing of his birth, he would have been the rightful king of Castile.   

As the ship moved away from the jumbled Quayside Juan looked around the deck. ‘ The Prince? And my…’ he stopped himself hurriedly. “And the Lady Trencavel?’

‘Both still asleep in cabins under the stern deck. They came aboard last night but as soon as we are underway I have been ordered to wake the Prince.  

Juan blinked and then blinked again.  After everything he had said, after the warnings he had given her, Alyse had just spent the night with the Prince!

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.’