96 — Settlement

John felt personally responsible for Selene’s death. Initially he tried to avoid close contact with Ximene but in the end sought her out. ‘I am sorry, so sorry.’

He tried to take her in his arms, but she pulled away. ‘My grandmother was wrong, marrying the Prince will not make me safe. I was here, surrounded by several thousand of the Prince’s troops and was attacked. I survived but Danielle, was slain.’

‘Yes I know’

Ximene glowered.’We think there were a dozen attackers. We killed four of them and of that number, two were killed by me. We do not know how many were injured, but then despite being surrounded the remainder escaped and still managed to kill my beloved Selene.’

John chewed his lip. ‘You must know it was the Earl who put me in a position where I could be aware of what was happening and could come to your aid.’

‘Yes but look outside the tent now.’

She pulled Johnby the arm to the door of the tent. She turned to face him. ‘The whole perimeter is bristling with guards, almost shoulder to shoulder around the tent. It should have been like that last night’

‘The same number of guards were here.’

‘Yes but they were one hundred feet or more away; eating and singing, making enough noise to cover the sound of the attackers approaching. In the meantime thousands of soldiers guarding the baggage train, the treasure, totally ignored us and our attackers.’

John watched her carefully. This was a different Ximene. but not a Ximene he had ever seen before. She looked defiant, angry even, but she was totally in control, ice cool, almost frightening in her resolve.

‘When I decided to take part in your training programme I was right, I must be responsible for my own safety.’

‘But you will always need assistance.’

‘Yes indeed, I will, but from now on I will be in control of plans for my own safety. I will decide what assistance I need and how that assistance should be deployed. We will start with the rest of this trip to Bordeaux. Bring the Earl to me, I want to go over the arrangements in detail.’

John left to find the Earl, still feeling responsible for what had occurrred, still feeling he had exposed Ximene to danger.

Later on in the evening the Earl sought out John. He looked no happier than John felt.’What has she said to you?’

John shrugged. ‘Just that from now on decisions affecting her personal security will be made by her, not by anyone else.’

‘It goes much further than that. She will no longer rely on the Prince, or me to protect her. Negotiations for the disposal of the treasure should continue, but I get the impression she will now drive a harder bargain.’ She has told me point blank that considerations of her marriage to the Prince should be delayed indefinitely, until a time when she is totally satisfied with her own security arrangements.’

‘And what does the Prince say?’

‘He does not know about the attack…yet. He left for the Château Termes before the attack.’

‘Why would he have done that. Wasn’t it incredibly risky to travel alone?’

‘Joan is at the Château.’

‘Oh!’John found no further explanation necessary.

‘In the meantime John, all I can do is make you totally responsible for Ximene’s saftey. Piers will respond to you, choose six other lions and make sure she knows they have been assigned to her. Hmm, make sure they know they have been assigned to her and that they respond to you. ‘

Of course sitting comfortably in Bordeaux are  those who consider themselves to be her own personal guards, Henri de Vivar and his men. I will demand that they join us at Chateau termes. Talk it through with Ximene. I believe they should also respond to you. John I can only hope I have trained you well as from this point onwards you are commander of Ximene’s rearguard. she is a head of state so your position is equivalent to mine. I  believe we can wirk well together,

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.