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.

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