81 — Where is She?

Estevan ‘s surgery had a window overlooking the valley. He watched with horror as Ximene was captured and carried away through St Ferriole and down the road towards Esperaza. He knew there would have been no chance of a successful intervention., so he waited impatiently until the last of the hunting party had left the village. He then mounted his horse and raced at breakneck speed down the hill to Mazarou. He found Phillipa reading. When he told her what had happened she ran to the stables and saddled Selene. He managed to persuade her that a discussion with Don Fernandino might be advisable.

They found Don Fernandino luxuriating in one of the bathtubs. Once he knew what had happened, he reacted quickly.

‘I was planning to move today or tomorrow to the hunting lodge on the banks of the Aude at Couisa. He shook his head. ‘ Now… we will move there immediately.’ He paused. but we need help! I have been waiting for a message from Le Moulin Blanche at Rouffiac d’Aude so that I can be informed of the movements of Black Prince’s army and decide whether any conflict caused by their passage will threaten us. He frowned. ‘ If they took the road towards Esperaza they may well be intending to take her to Campagne sur Aude, Couisa itself or more likely to Limoux, where the bishop for this area has his palace.  We will follow the same road they took and see if we can pick up any information on the way.  Estevan will you stay here for the next twenty-four hours to cover for the chance that Ximene escapes and finds her way back here?

Estavan nodded. ‘Of course, yes.’ 

If she does come back here, take  her immediately to the hunting lodge. 

Estevan walked down the tunnel and watched them depart. He felt isolated, lonely and threatened. He had been excluded from the action left with nothing to do but worry about Ximene’s fate.





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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.’