John of Gaunt-2nd July 1363

Pipa de Roet- 2nd of July 1363

They were in Pipa’s bedroom at Kings Court, Gillingham.

Pipa gave Ximene a hug and a warm kiss. ‘Ximene I am so pleased to see you again.’

‘And I you.’

Ximene laughed. walked to fire and poked it until it blazed fiercely. ‘Don’t you think that is a bit formal for two old friends? Come here and help me get out of this dress.’

Pipa crossed the room and spent rather longer than she needed in removing Ximene’s clothes. As more and more bare flesh was revealed she caressed Ximene gently, thoroughly, insistantly.

Ximene made no attemp to resist. but turned around, bent over and turned back the bed. Pipa continued to stroke her body until Ximene suddenly, abruptly, lifted the covers and jumped between them .

She pulled the covers up to her chin and grinned, ‘Now it is your turn. I am really looking forward to this. You have always been really good at removing your clothes attractively.’

‘Sorry Ximene perhaps later. It just won’t work with formal dresses.’

Pipa ran to the far side of the bed and joined Ximene under the clothes. ‘Now you help me. oohh! thats wonderful, more, more.’

Two hours later Pipa struggled out of Ximenes arms, sat up and shivered.  The fire had died away to embers.  She pulled the bed clothes around her shoulders, disturbing Ximene as she did so.

‘Pipa! Stop it’. Ximene made no attempt to sit up. Pipa smiled, leaned across and ajusted the bedclothes until Ximene was totally covered.

‘Did you know that John of Gaunt has now been made  Duke of Lancaster. He is now considered to be the richest person in England..’

Ximene frowned and tried to snuggle in. ‘Yes ,vaguely what has brought that on.’

Pippa ignored her response. ‘His wealth is almost totally derived from his marriage to Blanche of Lancaster, whom I think you know Ximene. You lived at the Savoy palace when you first came to England didn’t you, whilst i was in Paris?’

‘ Yes I do, and yes I did.’

Ximene stuggled to sit up, ending up with her head on Pipa’s shoulder. ‘Very quiet, pretty in her own way but virtually no prescence… of any kind. Can I ask again what has brought this on?’

Well, Blanche married Gaunt in 1359.  Since then she has  had two children, one girl one boy.

Ximene groaned . ‘ Yes I think I knew that too… ‘

‘Two months ago I visited the Savoy Palace with the Queen and was introduced to Gaunt, or as he is now Lancaster.’

‘Oh! I think I see where this may be leading.’

Ximene sat bolt upright. Pipa turned to face her. ‘He is certainly an attractive man and quite entertaining in company, but he made no attempt to praise me or wait for my favour.

He manouvered me into a private room and told me straight out that Blanche has no understanding or sympathy for his sexual needs. According to him Blanche seems to believe that the only purpose of sexual relations is to create children. Once she is pregnant she will allow no other sexual contact until after the baby is born and then only to procreate another child.

Then seconds later his hands were all over me. I found it totally unacceptable, even repulsive. He seemed to believe that because he is a prince and also very rich, he had the right to possess me’

Ximeme shrugged. ‘As he would. So you don’t want to see him again.’

‘Well it is very strange, but he has become something of a challenge to me. I want to get him to make his suit properly.’.

Oh! and if he did. would you would give him your favour?

Pipa smily coyly and tilted her head. ‘Perhaps, it would depend oin how well he made his suit and perhaps some  other details.’

‘Other Details?’

Well the truth is I am getting bored with my role  as the eyes and ears of Princess Joan and the Earl of Salisbury. After removing me from Paris, I was sent to keep watch on  Prince Lionel. the Duke of Clarence  in Ireland  but when his wife died a few months ago I came brought his daughter back to England  to the Kings Court.

Now Joan and the Earl are keen for me to pursue a relationship with  Lancaster in the hope I will keep them informed as to what he is up to.

Up to? what can two princes of the realm be “up to”.

Joan believes that King Edward wants to split his empire into three. Clarence in ireland,  the Black Prince in Aquitaine and Lancaster here in England.

‘And would Clarence and Lancaster support such a scheme.’

Not sure that Clarence would,  he did not enjoy his relationships with the Irish, but Lancaster? Lancaster certainly would. He would be King of England not of one of what he regards as one of the “Provinces” .

However Joan would hate it. It would spoil her chances of becoming Queen of the whole of Western Europe which you might think is a remote chance?

‘No.No, I know how it could happen.’

‘What she would prefer is for the Black Prince to become king of the whole empire with Dukes to rule  the constituent components.’

‘And the components to be? ‘

‘Don’t rule out your becoming Duchess of Occitan.’

‘I sense that you have really been working for Joan and not for the Earl?’

‘Yes, and I think she now sees it as part of my role to convince Lancaster that splitting up the empire would not be the best solution, for anybody.’

‘Put that way.  Even I would be pleased fo you be close to Lancaster. for you  to influence him.’

‘And I probably could, I quite like him, and he obviosly likes or at least wants me. However emphatically I will not give him my favour unless he makes his suite properly. Even then I would make him wait a while. I would want him to find somewhere, preferably near here, for me to live. I don’t see myself living in an appartment at court for the rest of my life.

‘Ximene I want someone to explain to him  how Cathar relationships work. Perhaps show him, as you  and I did  with John Stanley, how to give a woman pleasure and how to recieve pleasure.

Well it will not be me. I am due to leave tomorrow night from Poole harbour, perhaps Alyse might help. Oh! I will visit bordeaux and then spend a few days at La Reole.’  I will get Joan involved, she can perform the role my grandmother played in Foix.

Oh!and I believe it should involve Blanche, she is at the very least entiled to know what is happening. Try to find out how she feels about her relationsip. It is just possible that Lancaster is so desparate to create a male heir that it is him not Blanche who is driving her pregnancies.

However, you may discover, that she does not want to know. That the concept of discussing sexual issues disgusts her. I will talk to Joan and see what she thinks.

The most dangerous woman in the world

The Treasure of Trencavel

List of Characters

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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.