Ximene is our Hero.
Both Ximene’s parents died young. Her uncle, Gaston de Foix becomes her guardian. Gaston offers her little guidance. He is more concerned with gaining political advantage from her position as the rightful heir to a large portion the Lands of Occitan.
Gaston asks Dona Eleanor Trencavel (nee Garcia da Pedilla), Ximene’s grandmother to act as Ximene’s Tutor. However Eleanor defines Ximene’s destiny as recovering her family lands and rekindling the Cathar faith without providing her with support or guidance to enable her to fulfill that destiny.
At the start of our story, Ximene is innocent enough to think it will inevitably happen. She cannot believe that the Good God would have given her this vision if it could not be fulfilled.
As she discovers how difficult it may be, she becomes disillusioned.
Her frustration leads to a desire for total independance. She believes that if she were to become free to make her own decisions then she would have a better chance of fulfilling her destiny.
The freedom she initially wants is the freedom to decide if she should marry and if she does decide in favour of marriage, freedom to choose her own partner. She seeks a partner who could share and support her destiny.
This latter issue is urgent as Gaston de Foix is offering her hand in marriage to a number of suitors. The favoured candidate is the Black Prince, heir to the throne of England