Universal Heroes

The Tradition

All universal heroes battle for justice against evil. In the course of their struggle they are careful not to hurt any innocent party, indeed they often put themselves at risk in order to protect the innocent.They have the qualities the majority of the population wishes they had themselves. They behave in the way the majority of the population believes heroes should perform. That is why they are so loved and their stories are told over and over again.

Ximene is cast in that mould. She fights for justice and against oppression in the best traditions of King Arthur, Robin Hood, William Tell and d’Artagnan. She is the new Universal Hero.

King Arthur

arthur123/universal hero/iarthur/1644 Arthur -preventing a descent into darknessSome see Arthur as a historical figure, a Roman Commander fighting to save the Roman way of life, but not necessarily the Roman Empire. More usually he is seen as shrouded in magic and myth, a product of the oral tradition of the celtic bards.

In all the different versions of Athur’s story there is one common factor. He is fighting to preserve a world he loved against the threat of chaos. For a while he is successful and recreates a haven for those who seek refuge. He brings about a return to a golden age of culture, civilisation and chivalry.

He is brought down by his human frailty and that of those who surround him. Perhaps it is that frailty rather than the dreamland of Camelot which guarantees him immortality.

Robin Hood

123/universal hero/Robin Hood/1647 Robin Hood -Robs from the rich to give to the poorDispossessed through no fault of his own, returning to his home after fighting in support of his King,  Robin Hood sees clearly the cruelty and injustice of an oppressive regime. He uses his own skill to organise and lead an opposition to protect the rights of ordinary citizens.

The symbol of his success is that his childhood sweetheart, Marion leaves her own comfortable life to join him in his fight. Robin was never physically clearly beaten and yet he never won either,as he was not leading a revolution, only a fight for justice.

His enemies were always able to regroup, there was always a new challenge. His struggle was ended by the ultimate human frailty, the process of ageing and death. The story of his death and how he chose his gravesite by the flight of an arrow is one of the best loved stories about him.

William Tell

123/universal hero/William tell/1648 William Tell- freedom and rebellionWilliam Tell also experiences the oppression of an imposed regime.

His initial act of rebellion is to refuse to bow to the hat of the Burgundian (or Austrian depending on the version) governor of Switzerland which had been placed on a pole in the centre of the town of Altdorf. Knowing of his reputation as an excellent shot the governor arrested William and forced him to shoot at an apple on his son’s head.

He subsequently escapes by jumping from a ship in a storm (the Tellensprung) and almost single handedly he created a sense of nationhood. By his own determination and his ability to motivate others the oppressors are driven out.

It is his ability to move under the noses of those who would dearly like to exterminate him which makes him so memorable. We would all like to be invisible for a day, so that we could right wrongs without fear of retribution.


123/universal heo/d'Artagnan/1649 d'Artagnan-the fight against institutionalised corruptionAs a youth, D’Artagnan travels to Paris to follow in his father’s footsteps as a Kings Musketeer. He rapidly discovers that the state is dominated by the Church of Rome, who have their own army, which is in continual conflict with the musketeers.

Though full of youthful exuberance, he accepts guidance and support from the more experienced musketeers. Their rallying cry “all for one and one for all” symbolises the essence of their fight for justice.

Despite his better judgement he falls in love with Milady de Winter. However, when he discovers she is at the very heart of state and church corruption he executes her, judging her to be beyond redemption.

In an attempt to deflect his attention away from his fight against corruption, He is offered the most senior military post in the French army. He is killed in battle before there is any chance of his standards being compromised. His death can be seen as his final escape.

And now Ximene

thor-lady-sif When only a baby Ximene (Sheamaine) Trencavel is called by the Pope “the most dangerous woman in the world” In the latter half of the 14th Century,  she fulfils that title. She becomes a feted member of the courts of England and France, but also, operating through an intricate set of aliases, a Female Warrior and Merchant Adventurer. There are many with power and influence who plot against her, for like the other Universal Heroes she fights against injustice and is the champion of the people.

She has a love life which is equally tumultuous. Ximene is the last Cathar and Cathars believe that there is no sin in sexual pleasure, no matter how that pleasure is obtained. Sexual Pleasure is simply a gift to show us what union with the Good God can be like.

There is no simple solution which will deliver her objectives. She is endlessly tempted to compromise her standards but rejects every temptation.

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The most dangerous woman in the world

The Treasure of Trencavel

List of Characters

Table Of Contents



List of Places

Table of Contents

Pseudo History


Extract from The Prisoner of Foix--Chapter 43 -The EntranceNo need to buy a Kindle. Read it on your computer or tablet

John Stanley-26th April 1355


'Looks like we are going to see a bit of excitement, John. The Captain tried to get an agreement from the Prince that if there is surf running across the channel to Arcachon we will turn back to Bordeaux, but the Prince would hear none of it. Instead, he has offered to provide insurance for all three ships. If they are damaged or sunk, the owners will be compensated and every sailor who makes the passage will be given a bounty payment. What none of this seems to take into account is that if we sink in rough, fast-flowing waters we might all drown.'

John raised his eyebrows. 'But that is what we are going to do?'

'Yes, despite the fact that surf running accross the entrance is not uncommon and the deep water channel moves continually. In the end, the Prince attacked their captains on their weakest point, their professional pride! He threw down the gauntlet. He offered to take the Sally first through the channel, and to take control during the passage.' He raised his brow. 'We are going into the Bay of Arcachon, come what may! '

Extract from The Eagle of Carcassone -- Chapter 24-- A Real GoddessNo need to buy a Kindle. Read it on your computer or tablet

John Stanley - 22 July 1355

An hour later John walked with Ximene close to the river along the valley below St Feriole. It was the very essence of a summer’s day. The sun was fierce but in the shadow of the trees, it was cool and fragrant. The trees and shrubs along the riverbank hid their progress, from the Château, from St Feriole.

Eventually they reached a point where John thought it was safe to emerge from cover. To his satisfaction the stream extended into a pool with a sandy beach, shaded by trees. Where the stream entered the pool there was a flat grassy area, almost circular. Behind this, the bulk of two mountain ridges provided a splendid backdrop. He looked around once more ‘Not just a good training ground but a great training ground. If the Greek heroes knew about this they might be tempted to join me, to train with me’

Ximene laughed out loud. He turned to look at her. She had removed her outer clothes and was wearing a white chemise, cut short so that it barely reached her knees. Around her waist, she wore a plaited leather belt, obviously fashioned from the multitude of leather straps to be found in the tackle room.

She ran her hands down over her breasts. ‘When you were unconscious I heard you muttering about gods and goddesses, so  I have decided that from now on, for you, I will be the goddess.’

The Prisoner of FoixVol 1 of the series—The Treasure of Trencavel

Aquitaine, an English possession, is in crisis. It is under threat from neighbouring nations and internal dissension.

The Black Prince, King Edward III’s eldest son has been given the task of taking command in Aquitaine.

Suddenly there is an opportunity. Ximene Trencavel is the heiress to the lands of Occitan, to the east of Aquitaine: lands controlled by the Franks. Ximene wants independence, both for herself and for Occitan.

A union between Aquitaine and Occitan would be mutually beneficial. The Black Prince undertakes a secret journey to meet Ximene to negotiate a marriage contract. It is, however, a marriage neither of them really wants.

Meanwhile, the  Franks plot to murder Ximene to prevent ,not just the marriage, but any kind of union between England and Occitan.

The Eagle Of CarcassonneVol II of the series—The Treasure of Trencavel

The loose alliance between Ximene Trencavel and the Black Prince is under threat.

The Prince invades Occitan, to show his support for Ximene but it becomes an invasion which creates more problems than it solves.

The Prince has fallen hopelessly in love with Joan of Kent and Joan is now determined to marry him and become the next Queen of England.

Joan is therefore  determined to convince Ximene that she should not marry the Prince.

Part of her strategy is to encourage Ximene’s relationship with John Stanley—one of the Princes bodyguards—not an easy task as both John and Ximene have doubts about their compatibility.

However, John is grievously injured in a battle and Ximene commits herself to nurse him back to health.