Chapter 88 Fate

John Stanley-21 June 1355

John emerged onto the meadow just before midday, to see still more members of the Bishop’s forces prowling the battlefield and scavenging from the dead.

He charged towards them, intending to scare them away. They scattered instantly.

He had just decided to ride on when immediately in front of him a prone figure rolled over and lifted his pike in the air. The action may have been out of fear or the opportunity to gain a greater prize than that left on the battlefield.

Whatever the motive, John found himself on a fearless horse charging at the point of a pike aimed at the horse’s chest. Without thinking, John pulled Helios to one side and swung his axe at the pike man’s head. The blow never landed. Helios stumbled over a dead body.

The pike missed Helios’s chest. Indeed, it missed Helios altogether but struck John’s just above the knee. Because of his position on the shortened stirrups, the pike penetrated the whole of John’s thigh, only stopping when it hit his pelvic bone. John was lifted out of the saddle by the impact as the shaft of the pike shattered. Helios followed through with his charge and the pike man was trampled beneath his rear hooves. John managed to cling on to Helios’s neck, though the pain was intolerable. He rode to the point where he could see the roofs of Montsegur village, when a mist came across his eyes.

The most dangerous woman in the world