John Stanley – 20th July 1355
At Château Mazerou, Estevan told John that he needed no more of the potion. Almost immediately the barrier around him began to dissolve. He began to experience more normal conversations with those around him. He climbed to the tower room every day. It just so happened that his first view out of the glazed window was early morning and on the edge of the woods, which covered the hill above the chateau he saw a herd of deer grazing.
He sighed with sheer delight.
Guillam announced that his job was complete. ‘I must return to Eleanor. I will go to her in Bordeaux, Don Fernandino will travel with me so that I can introduce him to the Prince and at the same time inform the Prince that you are both safe and well.
Don Fernandino will then return to organise your final escape. I share some of Don Fernando’s plans for the future but in the short term, Eleanor is desirous of retiring to Montcler. You will be welcome if you visit us there’.
John blinked, he had no idea what Guillam was talking about, but Guillam talked as if he should know. He shrugged his shoulders; it still did not seem to matter.
Guillam glanced around the claustrophobic cellar. ‘You will be safe here, however with caution you should make the attempt to get some fresh air.’
Don Fernandino concurred. ‘You should be able to walk or ride through these hills at will. I have deliberately done just that over the last few days and not only did I attract no attention, but I did not actually see anyone. Just be careful when or leaving the stables. If you do see anyone they will have no idea where you came from and so you will always be able to return here to hide if necessary.
At the moment there is little I can do here and there is so much which must be done elsewhere. I will return within a month. He nodded at John. ‘By which time you will be able to travel. We will then recommence our journey to Sicily.’
And so Don Fernandino and Guillam left John and Ximene to there own devices.
John was shocked to discover that when he first walked without crutches to visit Selene and Helios, he found this short walk very hard work.
At first, he thought this was some aspect of his injury, but he soon realized that loss of blood, infection and four weeks of inactivity had destroyed the fitness he had developed since Biscarrosse. Biscorrosse! suddenly he had clear memories and Ximene… She is not my sister, she is my lover, my long lost lover.
He determined to regain his fitness. He thought back to the training regimes he had developed with Lord James. He stopped short at the memory.
Was that only four months ago?