74 — Breakthrough

Bertrand du Guesclin 21 October 1355

Du Guesclin was visiting Lambert of Limoux when news came of the Prince’s army. During the visit to Lambert, Du Guesclin had been given a guided tour of all Lambert’s properties under the pretext of offering Lambert defensive advice. He now knew every point of weakness and where to find the items of highest value.

Lambert had even followed advice to gather together all of his most valuable possessions and hide them in the cellar of his primary residence!

Gerade was now to be left, nominally to assist defend against the Black Prince but in practice to steal everything of value as soon as the Black Prince came near enough to be blamed for the attack.

After Thomas Bewsley had failed to return from the Chateau de Foix , Gerade had taken Thomas’ place as Du Guesclin’s deputy. He was the only one of the original group of Routiers who Du Guesclin kept close to him. Gerade had continually shown his ability to learn from Du Guesclin and his capability to be every bit as merciless.

A group of Routiers were placed in Limoux itself. It would be they who carried out the attack when Gerade gave the signal.

Lambert had no idea what “Sir Bertrand” intended to do and tried his best to be sociable. Whilst bidding Du Guesclin farewell he suddenly remembered something he had always intended to raise during the visit. ‘It was good of you to come, Sir Bertrand, I feel I must do something in return. You asked me a question when we were in Rennes les Bains about the traitors who might be seeking medical treatment. I replied that I had not seen anyone who fitted that description. I observed that you asked all the medical staff the same question. It has since occurred to me that you probably missed one doctor in your enquiries.’

‘Oh!’ Said du Guesclin interested but concerned not to appear too interested. ‘Who?’

‘On a couple of occasions when someone had really bad athritic pain, they brought in a doctor from outside. I met him. He was called Estavan. He had very dark skin, was probably Moorish. He apparently lived in St Ferriole.’

Du Guesclin was careful to show no reaction. ‘And St Ferriole is where exactly?’

‘About three hours south of here, on the hill above the Château Mazerou, the summer palace of the Bishops of Albi.’

Du Guesclins eyes gleamed. ‘I knew… I just knew.’ He put his arm around Lambert’s shoulder. ‘ I must leave now, but I need your help, the people I am looking for are not just enemies of the King but also heretics. Could you introduce Gerade to the local clergy here in Limoux. I believe it would be better if this involved the church, possibly the Inquisition. Gerade will give them the background.’

‘Of course, of course.’

Du Guesclin pulled Gerade to one side. ‘ There is probably just enough time. If the doctor is Moorish you should be able to find him. Torture him, to death if necessary, to see what he knows. If you find the girl we will return to the original plan. Get the clergy to bring her back to Limoux but then at the time we rob Lambert we will steal her away and put her up for ransom. If anything goes wrong , however, kill her. We will be handsomely paid for her death.’
He left immediately to activate what he had told everyone were his defensive plans.

The most dangerous woman in the world

The Treasure of Trencavel

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