49– Brenac — Copy

John Stanley- 24th September 1355

‘What do you find so difficult, John.’

John groaned. I am reasonably sure that the point of the triangle is the village on the Brézihou…Brenac? ‘ He pointed to the map.’ Here.’

Also, …the  information  Maurice  has given us has enabled us to pinpoint the points of the pentacle quite remarkably on  these  five high points. but there I am stuck.  I can’t even start the process of drawing the whole pentacle. How do I do that? I need the whole pentacle to be able to plot the additional lines which bisected the pentacle and then intersected the north-south Paris Meridien… the devils line. And That is another issue, How on earth can I find out its exact path of the devil’s line through this area?

Ximene made a quick response. ‘I think we should talk to Estavan, the physician who looked after you when you were so ill. He suggested that when you had recovered he would like to see you again. We should do that anyway. However the important point is that whilst you were ill, we talked at length and he told me about his studies at Montpellier which included not just medicine but also the mathematics of the Romans, Greeks and Egyptians and some science .

They were up early the next day. John, for the first time since the battle of Monsegur, carried his weapons. Ximene attached the small crossbow to her saddle and put all the ten remaining arrows in her saddle bag.

They took the precaution of walking the horses along the stream until they were well clear of the Château before they rode up the hill  to St Ferriol and called on Estavan. Ximene explained that they were investigating aspects of her inheritance and that they needed hid help to interpret a map.

Estavan smiled broadly. ‘That is just what I am looking for, a chance to do something a little different. Give me a little time to organize my affairs and I will join you at the Chateau,

When Estevan saw the map he could hardly contain his excitement

He stroked his hand over the contours, again and again in every direction. “And you say this is an accurate model of the surrounding countryside?”

Ximene nodded.

Esteval bent down to look across the model with his eye level with the highest points. ‘ Yes , yes , I can see it is. now what is it you want me to do?”

John pointed at the marks he had made to indicate the points of the penfacle the first thing I want to do is draw the complete pentacle. he pointed at the wall. we wany to reproduce that digram on this map.







It was late in the year but on this day, by lunchtime, it was very warm. Despite the warning Maurice had given them there was not a soul to be seen.

 but then they mounted and rode at a steady canter down the valley in the opposite direction from the training ground and back into the wider world. John once again had the feeling he was about to be engaged in a great adventure, and rejoiced that Ximene would be at his side. They crossed the Aude River a short distance up-steam from Campagne Sur Aude, one of the points on the second  pentacle, to avoid the curious eyes of the citizenry. They then set out up the valley which they knew led to Brenac, another point on the second pentacle and the point from which the North and South sides of the triangle diverged.

Brenac proved to be a delightful spot, with a few houses scattered either side of a little church. It was situated on the hillside alongside a waterfall. It was close to the head of the valley and therefore commanded imposing views to the north east. Because of the steep sides of the valley it was not however a fully panoramic view.

John had brought some sketches with him and pointed down the middle of the valley, which was where he expected the north side of the triangle to lie. He was surprised and more than a little disappointed that they could not see Campagne sur Aude, as he knew that the north side of the triangle passed close by the little town. The only way to pinpoint the path of the sides of the triangle would be ride to the ridge on the side of the valley which was hiding Campagne sur Aude. Hopefully from there they would be able to see both Brenac and Campagne sur Aude and plant a marker visible from both. With this as a guide they would have a much better idea of the line they were looking for.

It was surprisingly hard work. There were two ridges which prevented the two points on the pentacle being seen from each other. John had to climb a tree on both ridges and tie a streamer to its upper branches to fix the alignment. To his disappointment his first attempt did not line up and he had to repeat the whole process with two nearby trees. Finally they were able to retire to Brenac and see the line to Camagne Sur Aude. If the side of the triangle ran slightly north of this line then John now had a good idea which group of mountains was the location of the northern target. It was impossible to be specific however, it was just too far away.

John could not hide his disappointment. ‘It will take weeks if not months to mark the path.’ he told Ximene.

‘And then there is the question of the other line to the southern target. He nodded towards the steep hill on the far side of the valley. ‘Straight over the top of that!’

They scrambled down to a grassy patch by the steam below the waterfall, performed some exercises and had lunch. The whole time he was exercising John was turning over what they had seen.

He frowned. ‘That is probably enough for today. Perhaps tomorrow we should ride directly to one of the targets and see if we can make more sense of it from that end! There is however the small problem that the marquetry model does not show roads or paths, there may be considerable time taken up with trial and errror. ‘

Ximene nodded. ‘John , before we go can I have a look inside the Church? It is very old and perhaps a little unusual in shape. It does not have the side chapels which turn many Roman churches into the shape of a cross. I wonder if it could have been a Cathar meeting house before it became a Roman Church?’

The church inside was painted predominantly white. As they walked through the door it felt cool and peaceful. The use of blue and gold detailing only enhanced that effect. Although they walked sofly down the central isle the sound of their steps echoed and echoed again into every corner of the church.  It was several minutes before they looked up and observed the most amazing array of paintings around the ceiling. Many of the paintings displayed a picture of rays, presumably of light, descending from either a ball or a triangle.

Ximene called John’s attention to a particular picture painted on the roof. ‘Look at this John, a dove, which is, in itself is a Cathar symbol, bleeding profusely over a sacrificial altar on top of the symbol of a scull and crossed bones. The latter is again a Cathar symbol, adopted at the height of the Albigensian crusade to show a lack of concern for suffering or death.

She then looked around. There were many other intriguing paintings. ‘What do you make of this one, John?”

She pointed to a painting which appeared to show angels sitting on a chest, once again under rays descending from a triangle. John studied it for a very short period.

‘The only chest I know which may fit in with this image is the Ark of the Covenant but to be honest I have no idea where I gained any knowledge about that.’

‘I really do not know.’

‘This church may be the very point of the smaller pentacle and therfore a key point on the triangle. This opens the possibility that the treasure at the target points may or may not be material wealth. From the look of these paintings, it is possible it may be the alternative wealth of discovering and understanding the source of our relationship with the Gods.’

She paused.

‘Do you think that this Church is in fact the point on both the triangele and the pentacle from which the target lines disseminate?’

‘Yes I think it is more than likely.’ replied John. ‘Of course that means it was built here quite specifically as a marker. I am not absolutely sure but I think the long side of church points in the direction of the northern side of the triangle. or alternatively along the leg of the pentacle which leads to Campagne sur Aude, wait here.’ John dashed outside. He took only a minute. ‘It is aligned with the pentacle , I could easily line it up with my markers.’

He then pointed to larger paintings on either side of the altar. ‘These images are very strange.’

Ximene chuckled. ‘And the other pictures arn’t strange?’

‘Sorry wrong word these paintings are bizarre.’

The images both showed a bird holding a book on its back. The birds were facing away from the altar towards the congregation. They sat on some form of ornate trelliswork and from a jar below emerged stone tablets.

The tablets were being displayed by two strange animals, which liooked like horses emerging from a flower. However the tablets on the two pictures were themselves quite different.

On the north side of the altar the first tablet had some indecipherable writing. On this painting the second tablet showed the roman numerals IV, XVI and VV

They then walked across to look at the near identical picture on the south side of the altar. On this painting the tablets had quite different inscriptions. The first tablet had at the top a tiny triangle which one of the animals appeared to be indicating. Below that were the Roman numerals V, VI and V. The second tablet had a Roman numeral I at the top which the strange creature appeared to be trying to hide. Below were the Roman numerals II and III.

John sat down at the foot of the altar and shook his head ‘There seems to be a message here but perhaps it has no relationship to our mission. It is beyond me to understand it! If it is important, we need some help.’


The most dangerous woman in the world

The Treasure of Trencavel

List of Characters

Table Of Contents



List of Places

Table of Contents

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.