12 Turning the Tables 17th September

The architecture of the great hall was dominated by two balconies  accessed by two  identical ornate  curving wooden staircases.

Ximene frowned.  She thought it strange that there was no cross balcony.  It appeared that the only way to get from one balcony to the other was by returning to the hall.

At the completion of the meal,  Ximene was guided by a footman to her bedroom. They climbed  up the right hand staircase.

Looking down  Ximene saw that Joan had returned to the table and was  in an animated conversation  with Queen Phillipa.  Then, as Ximene waited for her bedroom to be opened, out of the corner of her eye she saw Joan being guided up the left hand staircase.  To  a bedroom on the other side of the hall. Because of the unusual layout they had effectively been separated!

Ximene entered the bedroom and frowned. It was impeccably furnished but implacably dull.  There was however a side door.  Believing it might lead to an outside balcony she tried to open it but it was  locked,

The clock struck ten, Ximene frowned again. it was relatively early. She really wanted company, but resignedly began to disrobe. There was an urgent knock on the inside door. ‘Yes? Who is it?’

‘It is me, Joan. Unlock the door. There is a key in the desk drawer.’ What? well I never, so there is.’

Joan burst into the room.

‘I thought that went really well!’


‘ The conversation with the Queen. She knows now you are no fool, that you will negotiate determinedly for what you want, that there is no certainty that you will marry the Prince. That last part is for me the most important. She has promised me that if there any difficulties in arranging your marriage to the prince then she will shift her stance and support the idea of me marrying the Prince.

There is a long way to go Joan. I will not tell her i will not marry the Prince until the negotiations are complete and I have got what I want.’ Xmiene paused. ‘It is what we agreed before we left Bordeaux.’

“Yes I suppose so. Can I help? Give me a list of the properties you want and how much you want to pay for them?

Again a long way to go, but you can help. I have stolen an idea from the Prince. I want to set up a trading company bringing goods across the mediterranean through the Val du Midi, down the Garrone, up the Atlantic coast to European Ports. Can you find out what land is available around Poole, Bristol and Chester and along the waterfront in all three places.

She stopped and smiled. ‘Oh yes and I am the Countess of Shaftesbury. i would like to possess land here in Gillingham.

Oh! Well I will see what I can do. Why Gillingham?

The Queen is bringing weavers from Flanders. Cathars, all Cathars are required to perform work. The favoured trade is tailoring and weaving. I am myself a more than competant seamstress.


‘It is true”

Oh! Well I will see what I can do.

Thank you Joan, now tell me the side door. Ho w did you get here?

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.