Act I Exposition

The information from the bare bones plan will now be reorganised to compare it with the 18 step Hero’s Journey And the Five Act Structure. This is complementary to the Bare Bones Plan,and is by no means a duplicate of it. Much additional information and significant plot points are flushed out by this exercise.

In the five act, structure Act I covers the exposition and thus introduces the main characters.

Start of Ximene’s Journey

Ordinary World

  • Ximene Trencavel is a “Noble”.
  • She has a sexual relationship with her friend Phillipa (Pippa) de Roet
  • She is about to be sold into marriage by her guardian.
  • She is virtually a Prisoner in Château Foix. 

Call to Adventure

  • Ximene decides she must escape from the influence of her Guardian Gaston de Foix.

Refusing the Call

  • Ximene escapes from Château Foix, but meekly returns.

Gatekeepers and Mentors

  •  Ximene’s grandmother Lady Eleanor de Pedilla, acts as gatekeeper, inhibiting Ximene’s plans to escape. 
  • Lady Eleanor’s lover, Guillam de Clermont provides support.

Crossing the Threshold

  • Ximene takes total responsibility for her future.
  • She commences a process of obtaining a better understanding of herself and the world in which she lives.

Start of John’s Journey

Ordinary World

  • John Stanley is a shepherd. 
  • His future is altered at the merest whim of the Black Prince after helping the Prince during a hunt.

Call to Adventure

  • John is appointed as squire to his relative “Lord” James Audley. 
  • Because of this appointment he becomes part of the expeditionary force to Aquitaine

Refusing the Call

  • John is bullied by his fellow squires and contemplates running away.

Gatekeepers and Mentors

  • Lord James proves to be the catalyst for the first stage of John’s progression.
  • His martial arts instructor and the mate of the ship during the journey to Aquitaine also provide support and guidance at a critical time.

Crossing the Threshold

  • John accepts he has leadership potential and defeats his tormentors.

Threats and Tensions

Ordinary World

  • It is a brutal world. Both Bertrand du Guesclin and The Holy Inquisition show themselves capable of unspeakable cruelty.
  • The inquisition has terrorised Occitan for nearly one hundred years in an attempt to eradicate the Cathar religion.
  • Du Guesclin has designs  to kidnap and rape Joan of Kent. 
  • He has been beaten off in the past by William Montacute, Earl of Salisbury who at one time was Joan’s husband and still acts as her champion.

Gatekeepers and Mentors

  • When he is asked by the King of the Franks to kill Ximene if she does not marry his own son he sees the opportunity to attack both the prince and more importantly Montacute who is commander of the King’s bodyguard.
  • In the meantime, the Pope who for his own reasons is supportive of the Marriage between the Prince and Ximene orders the Inquisition to execute Ximene if she does not Marry the Prince.

Crossing the Threshold

  • Du Guesclin discovers the Prince’s plan is to marry Ximene and then to tolerate the Cathar religion in Occitan. He reveals this to the Inquisition and they make joint plans to kill Ximene.

Start of the Prince’s Journey

Ordinary World

  • In what Lady Eleanor describes as that “Most noble of menage a trois”,the Black Prince shares the affections of Joan of Kent – the Fair Maid, with his best friend William Montacute – The Earl of Salisbury.
  • The states of England and Aquitaine are bankrupt and Aquitaine is under continual attack by the Franks

Call to Adventure

  • The Prince’s Father King Edward, orders the Prince to break off his relationship with Joan and use a marriage with Ximene to stabilise Aquitaine.

Refusing the Call

  • The Prince is ordered to meet Ximene to agree a marriage contract. The Prince decides to see Joan, one last time.

Gatekeepers and Mentors

  • Joan has her own plans – to become the next Queen of England and sets about using her relationship with Salisbury to influence the Prince to marry her, not Ximene.
  • She also plans to introduce Ximene to one of her many lovers, Thierry d’Arques, who in her opinion has the most beautiful body she has ever seen.

Crossing the Threshold

  • Though there are plans to take an army to Aquitaine later in the year the Prince decides to make a totally separate, secret, journey to meet Ximene. 
  • This means that Joan has an opportunity to thwart his mission and divert Ximene.

The Chapters

Because of the self imposed constraints on Point of View this chapter listing was developed in conjunction with my editor Rebekah Jennings so that there was a document which told her what I was trying to do.

It was then possible as a separate discussion to establish whether I had succeeded in my intent.

A convenient cut point for Act I remains the completion of the exposition conveniently defined as the completion of the introduction of the major characters.

Some of these chapters have now being eliminated and others added but this list has been left as it was at the time of the discussion with Rebeckah.

1 The Ambassador

Introduces the main antagonist Du Guesclin and shows what a despicable man he is. Also introduces the legend of Ximene.

POV 3rd person personal (Frankish ambassador Georges d’Orlones) Flash forward.  Georges is a minor character (he does not appear again but he is the only person available to look at Du Guesclin therefore the point of view is justified.

2 The Inquisition

The start of the Linear story. Introduces the secondary antagonist albeit an organisation not a person (the Holy Inquisition) and makes it graphically clear how far from “Holy” their activities are.

POV 3rd person personal (Cardinal Amaud Littorale) plus some third person ommniscient.

3 The Prisoner

Introduces Ximene The main protagonist,and Lady Eleanor.  Ximene is virtually a prisoner in the Château de Foix. This chapter sets  the “Story Question” “What is freedom?” and introduces the background theme of the Cathar culture.

POV Commences with contempory omniscient one switch to 3rd person personal (Ximene)

4 The Rebel

Introduces the tertiary antagonist Gaston, Compte de Foix and shows him to be misguided rather than wicked. Starts the Main story thread which is “The quest for feedom” and also the Ximene story thread. Gaston has arranged for Ximene to meet King Edwards of England’s son, Edward of Aquitaine, the Black Prince during his annual summer hunt.

POV Commences with contempory omniscient one switch to 3rd person personal (Ximene)but then finishes with contemporary omniscient.

5 The Heiress

Uses Jean de Froissart to introduce King Edward III of England. King Edward is a minor antagonist (gatekeeper) but is one of the primary initiators of the inciting incident. He decides his son should marry Ximene.

POV Commences with contempory omniscient one switch to 3rd person personal (Jean de Froissart)but then finishes with contemport omniscient- one line

6 The Goddess

Introduces the second dramatic situation for Ximene (Ximenes sexuality)

POV Third Person personal (Lady Eleanor)

7 The Forester

Introduces John Stanley the secondary protaganist. Starts John Stanley story thread. Also introduces The Black Prince , who we discover is fond of hunting. Note this is not john’s inciting incident it is an accident of fate.

POV Commences with contempory omniscient switches to Multiple Third person objective(Lord James then James Stanley) then mid point contempory omniscient  before returning to Third person personal (John Stanley) and the closing with Contempory omniscient This is considered too short to sub divided into chapters.

8 King Edward

Exposes one of the driving forces influencing the King’s decision making – a lack of finances.

POV Third Party personal(Queen Phillipa, ( Edward’s Wife)

9 The Black Prince

Sets up two addition conflicts-The conflict with the Franks and the Prince’s relationship with Joan of Kent. King Edward orders his son to marry Ximene and to separate from Joan of Kent

POV Third Party personal (The Prince)

10 The Commitment

The Inciting Moment for Ximene.It occurs however when Lady Eleanor decides to confront the issues instead of avoiding them.The forthcoming summer hunt is chosen as the time for Ximene’s escape

POV 3rd person personal (Ximene) brief switch to 3rd Person Objective (Lady Eleanor) and then back to Ximene to conclude

11 Lord James

The inciting moment for John when he accepts he has leadership potential. Introduces minor antagonist (Ewan Fitzrobert) who bullys John.

POV 3rd person personal (John)

12 The Mass

The inquisition makes threats. If Ximene does not marry the Prince she will be killed.

POV 3rd person personal (Ximene)

13 The Secret journey

Introduces a major character the Earl of Salisbury who will become John’s Mentor. To meet Ximene’s demands for her involvement in the marriage contract, the Prince must travel to see Ximene in advance of his main army. He conspires to keep the journey a secret.

POV 3rd person personal (Earl of Salisbury)

14 Joan of Kent

Introduces the final two major characters.  Joan of Kent and Du Guesclin. We already know Du Guesclin is horrible and this merely confirms that, but makes it very personal.Now we meet Joan face to face an learn her side of the story of her relationship with the Royal Family. It is by no means clear whether Joan will be an ally or an opponent

POV First half is contempory omniscient but switches to 3rd person personal (Joan of Kent) at the mid point of the chapter.


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