60 — Responsibility

Ximene Trencavel – 21 June 1355

When they awoke the following morning  she smiled and kissed John.

Even the slight movement she made to achieve this made her sqirm with delight. John you must help me remove my chains there are things we must talk about and I dont want to be continually distracted.

She started the discussion before the chains were packed away in the box.

‘The treasure. I do want to retain control of this magnificent find but it has massive implications for us.’

‘I know’

‘Probably the only person who can help us move the treasure is the Prince. The only person who can negotiate with the Prince on my behalf is you! This means you must rejoin the Prince immediately and sound out the possibilities.’

‘ And do you expect the Prince to invade Occitan and give it’s inhabitants freedom of worship.’

‘ Yes, I think that would be ideal and the wealth from the treasure should make that possible.’

‘Ports? Navies? Fortresses? Mercenary armies?’

She winced. ‘I don’t know John but you must ask! I believe that if you are successful and the Prince is willing to help it could mean that I must marry him. I know that you set great store on loyalty to those you have sworn fealty. I realize that my marriage to the Prince will put a real barrier between us.’

John bowed his head. ‘How soon must I go.’

‘Immediately’

‘Oh! No! was last night just some kind of parting gift. Something to remember you by? What’s so urgent? He is probably going to come to us, or at least close to us.’

‘We have got to give him time for due consideration, you must go immediately.’

‘But who will guard you whilst I am away?’

‘Thierry.’

‘What, a guard that you lock away every night?’

‘No. We should now give some freedom. I have watched him carefully. He has made no sign of trying to get away, and during the trip back here after finding the treasure he could have done so if he wished. We could hardly have pursued him into a village let alone a town and we passed close by several of them.’

‘It’s an unacceptable risk.’

‘No I think I can trust him.’

‘How do you know you can?’

Ximene stamped her foot ‘All right then I will come with you.’

‘That would also be dangerous and anyway it would put you entirely under the Princes control. The reason we are here is because you wanted to avoid that.’

‘True… so what do think I should do.’

‘Delay my trip until Don Fernandino returns.’

‘We have no idea what has happened to Don Fernandino, Thierry may be right he may never return!’

‘Give him one more week.’

‘No. It could be too late for the Prince to redirect his army. John I have a great reponsibility to use the treasure for the benefit of my people.’

‘Well! You make the decision then.’

‘Then I chose Thierry! We will give him two days complete freedom and if he leaves us in that period then we will have to make a run for it.’

She closed her eyes and lowered her head. She the raised her head and made a point of establishing strong eye contact. ‘Before you leave will you swear fealty to me as Princess of Occitan, which people seem to think I should be. I am after all putting all my hopes for my future into you hands.’

‘Of course I will Ximene, you know that I will always be devoted to you. However, as you have just said, you want me to start the negotiation on your behalf. It will not be easy for me. The prince has released me from my oath of fealty to him but it will not be easy.’

‘Well, be assured that there need be no conflict. If necessary I will marry the Prince and I will be your sovereign.’

Internally Ximene groaned. It was not what she wanted. So much for her independence So much for giving the Prince his freedom to marry Joan.

She paused.

‘John will you leave me for a while. I need time to think about my responsibilities and the way I want to lead my life’

\

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.’