Ximene Trencavel – 21st July 1355
Two days later Guillam and Don Fernandino left. Ximene knew that plans for the remainder of her journey would depend on what discoveries he made during his tour. He was intending to meet the Prince to let him know she was face but also perhaps to see support for the Shadow with out a name. From what she had heard she might again be expected to renew her relationship with the prince in one form or another. She shook her head, all that was for the future.
How long will they actually be gone? How long will I be left here with John? waht did they say, a month?
She shuddered with pleasure at the very thought.
I am not using him any more, I feel genuine affection,love, who knows what will happen when we are thrown together for a month or more?
A day later Maurice visited. ‘The Bishops are now in residence’ It is significantly cooler here than in Albi at this time of year. Although they have no knowledge about the cellar or its connection to the barn nevertheless we must be careful.’
He paused and signaled them to climb the stairs. ‘Come with me’
On the first landing of the stairwell, which functioned as an occasional lounge or library, Maurice pointed to a panel on the wall. It was an elaborate piece of marquetry representing a map of the surrounding area. It was unusual in that it was three-dimensional showing the relative heights of the surrounding hills. He tucked his nails under one edge of the panel and it swung open revealing a set of shelves and the inside of a set of double doors at the far side.
‘It is similar to the arrangement in the stable tackle room,’ he explained ‘Except that the shelves are not readily removable. At the other side of the doors lies the kitchen larder. There will always be an extensive provision of food and wine on these shelves.’
He shook his head. ‘To be honest I am not sure Don Fernandino would approve but in my eyes, when the bishops are in residence, it is far less risky than carrying food and wine through the barn. If you have any requirements leave a message in the blue jar on the top shelf. We will always do our best to oblige!’
Ximene realised that she…they would be totally isolated from the world. She turned her mind to thinking her relationship with John. We sleep together but he treats me like a sister, if istopped sleeping with him if we were now to take to separate beds. he would probably not make any advances. He has made his suite, I have given him my favour It is definitely up to me now to let him know what I want. But in any case it will make life here far more interesting, far more exciting if I can stir some passion. I want him to see me as a sexual partner not a sister!
Therefore at Ximene’s suggestion they set up a bed, their bed, their only bed, in the upper room! They spent some time setting the bed up against the wall opposite the window. Outlined on the wall was what Ximene took to be a pennant, the triangular shape was drawn in gold but there was also a gold five-pointed star close to the widest part of the pennant. What seemed to be the lance on which the pennan was mounted was drawn in black. The pennant seemed to be drawn on an area of the wall where there were a multitude of cracks radiating out from and through the pennant. It was almost as though the paint had in some way affected the fabric of the stone. John scratched the stone with his fingernails.
‘Despite all these cracks it isn’t soft. Strange! Black and gold, the same colours as your tabard, is that a Trencavel pennant?’
‘Hmm, I think not… you are correct about the colours…I just don’t recognize it… thought I suppose it could be; given the history of this place. It is a bit military for a bedroom don’t you think?’
On the first night, in the late evening, they left the stables and with great caution descended to the stream. There were purplish tones in the rapidly descending darkness and the air was fresh and clean but carried many pleasant scents. The stream burbled through ornamental gardens, full of many different varieties of cypress trees. The gardens were now overgrown and neglected; presumably ornamental gardens did not appeal to the bishops of Albi.
The mountain flowers that had invaded the formal beds bloomed profusely and smelled of lemon and cinnamon. At some time in the past the bed of the stream had been widened and a paved bath had been installed. The bath had been dammed on the downstream side so that it was possible to lie comfortably completely immersed in the mountain stream. The water was too cold to enter too easily. John removed his clothes but Ximene waded without removing her chemise.
John splashed her playfully and she responded, to the accompaniment of squeals of delight from both of them. John held his finger to his mouth to indicate the need for quiet but continued to splash Ximene until her white chemise was plastered to her brown body and almost transparent.
She then held him tight as they both sank into the icy water, which proved to be too cold to linger, but they were left feeling clean and invigorated.
As they dried themselves using the coarse towels they had been given, Ximene stroked the scar, which now disfigured John’s right leg. This simple action created a completely different reaction than any which had occurred over the last four weeks.
Oh! So he still can be aroused. I must not let this opportunity pass!
She buried her head in his chest and they slowly returned to their room, kissing each other every few steps. They had little sleep that night. Ximene made it very clear that she was not ready to allow him to enter her body. She also made it clear that she was keen to explore every other way of giving each other pleasure.
She spent the early part of the evening kneeling across his stomach. She alternated between lying forward so that he might caress her back and then kneeling upright so that her breasts were fully available to his hands. She then knelt alongside him and massaged his back gently.
John made a valiant attempt to kneel alongside her. He was still sore and did not have the required flexibility in his upper leg.
‘Don’t worry John, lie on your back. I will spend the rest of the night giving you pleasure. Don’t concern yourself with my needs, not for tonight anyway!’