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 avantage from her position as the rightful Heir to the Lands of Occitan.
Gaston asks Dona Eleanor Trencavel(nee Garcia da Pedilla), Ximene’s grandmother to give Ximene support and guidance. However Eleanor then creates instability for Ximene by defining Ximene’s destiny as recovering her family lands and to rekindling the Cathar faith. However Eleanor fails to give Ximene support to enable her to fulfill that destiny.
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 and at least internally has started to blame others.
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 could fulfil her destiny.
However the freedom she identifies 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 ambition.
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