41 The Time of Darkness

Bertrand du Guesclin-24 May 1355

Across the street from the Prince’s house in La Reole, Bertrand du Guesclin yawned noisily. He rolled over and surveyed his surroundings: the dirty bedroom and unmade bed of a tawdry inn. He glanced at the primitive sideboard complete with a pink earthenware jug and bowl, both chipped and matching the chamber pot under his bed.

He knew that the jug and bowl would not be used. Here, no one expected him to wash or comb his hair. He had spent much time over the last two days watching the Prince’s house. At first he assumed that the Prince would be there, but he had discovered from the local butcher that the only occupant was ‘une jolie fille’. Du Guesclin was not sure that at the age of twenty-seven, Joan still qualified as a ‘fille’.

He discovered that although the house was not fortified, it was well-guarded. But he would make no attempt to test out the security; for now, his interest lay in finding the Prince.

He recognised the Prince on his arrival, and marvelled that a man of his status should travel unaccompanied. Satisfied that he knew the Prince’s location, and contrary to the Prince and his mistress that night, he slept.


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