90 — Desolation


At the hunting Lodge whilst waiting for Estevan John took Ximene down to the river to bathe. Ximene protested.
“Are you trying to kill me John? This river is icy at this time of year. He insisted that it would help the healing process. John stripped off and plunged into the icy water. Ximene waded in to join him and he slowly and carefully removed her clothes. He enveloped her in his arms .
“Slowly, John, Slowly.” Ximene said. ‘I will take some time to recover.”
John nodded but allowed his hands to caress her back as he had learned to do at Foix. She flinched and moved away from him.
“It has been traumatic for me too”

John waited until Ximene turned to face him
‘How do you feel’
‘Sore, very sore, I hurt everywhere’
‘I could hardly bear it when you were being dragged towards Carcassonne’
‘Neither could I!’ She laughed and John joined in. It was a nervous laugh but soon became infectious.
Ximene struggled to stop laughing. ‘I only kept going because I knew you would come!’
‘ You are safe now’
She now had stopped laughing. ‘ Perhaps, but we have a huge problem, John, I have survived but inside I am dead. It will take a long time for me to recover fron that ordeal.  My life is a faiure. we are now returning to Bordeaux where I never wanted to go. probably to marry a man I never wanted to marry and who now doesent seem to want to talk to me.  And my relationship with you is it also over? first knight and ambassador for the non existant state of Occitan.

I wish it wasnt so but I now think I am incapable of love.

Estevan arrived within two hours, weighed down with salves and potions to attend to Ximene’s injuries. One of the servants at the hunting lodge found clean clothes for Ximene and John changed into a completely new “Lions” uniform, which the Prince had sent for him.

Whilst Estevan was attending to Ximene, John took the opportunity to visit a local inn with the other Lions. They split several bottles of local wine. John enjoyed the socialising. They were all of equivalent rank and John found himself totally accepted. The jealousy he had felt earlier had not transferred itself to these young men. All they wanted to talk about was John’s great victory during the Chevauchee and the escape from Carcassonne. He was also asked many questions about who Ximene actually was. By the end of two hours they had built a great rapport. John was delighted.
He had  not re-established his relationship with Ximene but amongst the Guards he no longer felt like an outsider .


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.