Welcome Agnes. I am really sorry you have found it so difficult to contact the Prince. The couriers have been busy. It took longer for him to get back from Carcassonne than we expected. He ended up short of time to get a ship to England for Christmas.
Anyway rather than leave you feeling ignored in Bordeaux, the Prince suggested you come here to this Château we have borrowed from the Comte d’Armagnac and spend some time with me. I really enjoy being here.
‘So, can you tell me, what can the Prince do for you. You never know I might be able to help. Gaston was here not long ago and the Prince thought we might bring him back here to join you. However I have done nothing about that. I though you might be pleased to have some time to yourself.
‘You made the correct decision Joan.” Agnes told Joan about the dowry and the task she had been given by Gaston.
Joan reached out and touched her hand. ‘So did you see your brother in Pamplona?’
‘No I didn’t he is in Normandy. I have sent a message to Gascon informing him, but if he was here then the message might have missed him. I am more than happy to spend some time here.
Joan moved her grip on Agnes’ hand and squeezed it tightly. ‘Tell me Agnes, are you happy with Gaston.’
‘I think you know that I am not. It is just such hard work. When I was at Foix I thought just for a moment there was a chance, but I was fooling myself.’
He gets obsessed with other things. He just can’t relax long enough to enjoy my company.
‘I have heard from her grandmother that one of his obsessions might have been Ximene Trencavel.’
‘Quite possibly. Is she intereted? If you get the chance, warn her off. It would be no different with her than it has been with me.’
‘Tell me more.’
‘In many ways he is brilliant. Great vision, an almost endless stream of ideas, but almost all compromised by the fact that he is totally self centred.’
‘And you are not compromised in this judgement by your own self interests?’
‘No. When I was at Foix, I can remember giving Ximene a lecture that both love and to a certain extent sexual activity is actually just a special, inspired form of giving. Giving love strengthens your body and pleases the spirit in that body.and that arranged marriages give a special opportunity to practice that giving.’
‘So what made you change your mind?’
‘I am trapped between two men. My brother Charles is almost the same; brilliant but obsessive, selfish, inconsiderate.’
‘And they are now working together to carve up the Frankish kingdom?’
‘Joan, where did you get that idea from? Yes it is possible but whether they can accomodate each others ambitions is another issue. Why are you asking these questions?’
‘Because I have a surprise for you.’
Joan guided Agnes down a series of corridors which led to a small lounge heated by a huge fireplace. There were two luxurious couches situated one either side of the fire and on the couch facing the door to the lounge was seated Guillame de Marchaut.
Agnes ran from the door and threw herself on top of Guillame. She rained kisses on him before turning to look at Joan. ‘ What? How? Why?’
Well I may be accused of being too optimistic but I have decided that Guillame would be the ideal person to write the music for my marriage to the Prince. I wanted a mixture of spiritual and martial music which he does so well. He was supposed to meet me in Bordeaux but I left a message instructing him to come here.
‘Did you know I had a relationship with him?’
‘Doesn’t everone? I needed some company and I knew you would enjoy some time together.’
Joan watched as they melted into each others arms. ‘Seems I was right’