13 Statues

Early in the afternoon. John and Ximene visited the port of Marghera, where Helios was in stables and Ximene’s ship was being prepared to sail. Helios was pleased to see them, and after some socialising was moved to a stable close to Ximene’s ship.

They then explored the possibility of hiring another ship to transport the guards. Nothing was instantly available.

They accepted the hospitality of the shipping agent who had made the offer and sat in the sunshine on the quay drinking two glasses of very acceptable white wine.

John put down his glass and cupped his head in his hands. ’ Ximene, oh! Aquila, what on earth have you told Yvette about me? From what she said it appears you have depicted me as the worlds greatest lover.’

‘Well you know a lot more than she does.’

‘But is that enough to take the responsibility of guiding someone through to sensual fulfilment. Your grandmother told me that to become a good lover I should have dozens… I think she might have actually said hundreds of lovers.’

“ It is true that in the Cathar world you would be considered inexperienced, but today, in the world of the Roman Church,with no formal instruction in how to give or receive pleasure, you could be considered to be knowledgeable. Most important you understand that pleasure can be obtained from a whole range of intimacies and can be totally independent from any risk of conceiving children.’

She grimaced ‘ John, I have talked to Yvette, she literally knows nothing. She has listened to other women in the harem who consider it their duty to make love when they are summonsed and can be punished quite severely for refusing the husband or masters demands. She does not yet comprehend the idea of making herself attractive to men and yet retaining control of everything which happens. We have talked about it but she needs some real experience. At the same time we must not rush her. Probably some sexy games would be a good place to start.’

She raised one eyebrow. ‘Pipa was always good at games. ‘ Do you remember any of them.’
“ No not really, you were the one who was good at games. – Oh! And Joan, she was so inventive.’
‘What our Joan? Princess Joan?’
“Yes, I spent a night, or was it two nights? with her once… Oh look don’t take that the wrong way we slept in different beds, but we did play games. She told me to look on her as a sexy aunt.’
‘Oh! I bet she did, I had no idea.’

‘And Alyse? I was pleased to see her but what is her role?

Alyse initially was supposed to be travelling to Seville with Lancaster… on another of my ships but her prescence would have been difficult to explain. There was time for her to come here to Venice. It will give her.. and us much better cover. She will act as my wife… and do you know it is conceivable there will be some intimacy… but you need not worry about that.’

In the afternoon, when they had returned from Marghera they started to prepare for the evening.
John and Ximene winked their agreement, stripped off, and started to used sponges to wash themselves down. With much laughter they helped each other sponge each other’s backs.
Yvette sat on the bed clothed in a voluminous dress.
Ximene went over and pulled Yvette to her feet.’Yvette, what is wrong? You look most unhappy.’
‘You are naked . That is very strange for me. Even in the harem we are supposed to be modest, but you two display no modesty This makes me feel very strange.’
Ximene put her hands on her hips and cocked her head ‘But you were virtually naked when you danced for John.’
‘Very different. I was performing a role. This is so intimate, different from anything I have ever seen. You are real people. My problem is knowing how to relate to you in these circumstances.’
‘You must remember we have known each other a very long time and find casual intimacy very pleasant’
‘You seem to enjoy it, I wonder if I ever will be able to”
‘Will you trust us?’
Yvette nodded.
‘We will try a little game called statues. Right. first things first, John sit on the bed.’
John wrapped a towel around him, bulked up the pillows at the head of the bed until he was sitting, relaxed but nearly upright.
He watched as Ximene slowly lifted Yvette’s gown over her head and the pulled her pantaloons downwards until she was naked.
‘Now lift your arms above your head and spread your legs.’
Yvette looked questioningly and Ximene nodded encouragement.
Hesitantly she obeyed. she caught John’s gaze and immediately dropped her hands and looked away.
‘Do you trust us Yvette?’
Again she nodded.
‘Then look John squarely in the eye and resume the pose’
She obeyed.
Ximene then used a wet sponge to explore every inch of her body. Several times Yvette shivered, lowered her hands or attempted to cross her legs.
On each occasion she was encourage to revert to the original pose. She clearly found it difficult.
Ximene took a different approach.
‘John, I must show her show her’
Ximene took the same stance.
‘Yvette, your turn.’
Yvette looked lost.
‘John you must help her’
John jumped from the bed and guided Yvette’s hands to dip the sponge in the bowl and then to begin to sponge Ximene’s body.
Eventually Yvette gained confidence and plunged the sponge again and again into the bowl
Ximene was still not satisfied ‘Every nook and cranny Yvette’
Yvette obeyed. Ximene giggled,wriggled and shivered but did not give up the stance.

‘Now you John.’
John lifted his arms above his head and took the same stance, slowly but deliberately moving his legs apart.
Yvette looked at Ximene questioningly “Me?”
‘Yes, you’
Yvette set about sponging John’s body, hesitantly to begin with but steadily with more enthusiasm. Ximene watched her carefully and when she was satisfied, started to reapply the sponge to Yvettes Body. Unexpectedly Yvette squealed, and started to laugh uncontrollably. She turned away from John and directed her attention to Ximene. John took the opportunity to grab a sponge and leaning over Yvette’s shoulders sponged her breasts. She swivelled round and still laughing, plunged her sponge between John’s legs.
Before long they were all laughing uncontrollably and finally they collapsed into a heap on the sloppy floor in a tangle of arms and legs.
Slowly Ximene climbed to her feet and started to dry herself.
‘There now that wasn’t so bad was it Yvette?’
Yvette was still laughing. ‘Bad?’ ‘No, it was wonderful. I want more.’
Ximene cleared her throat. ‘Yvette you told John this morning that you wanted him to teach you everything he knows.’
‘And you meant it’
‘Yes, of course’
‘I am pleased, it is essential to my plan. I have thrown you together, quite deliberately. I do want you to have a real sexual relationship. When we arrive in Al Andaluz , John will spend more time in Grenada than I will. You will be with him. There must be a sexual relationship. You will meet other women and from my own very limited experience harem women are very good at picking when things are not as they seem.’
Yvette nodded ‘They do talk continually, it is true. Their rights to an equal share of a man’s time, affection and wealth are embedded in Islam. If I meet other women in Grenada they will probably ask the most intimate questions about our relationship.’
‘And you must be able to join in those conversations. However this must all be done properly. I am a committed Cathar and so is John.

You already know the principles but let me emphasise Before you do allow John to make love to you you must pass through a progression, where you will learn about Cathar Culture and a transition where you will be taught about how to give and receive pleasure. I still have ambitions to organise both these events before we leave Venice but we are very short of time.
Yvette looked curious. she stared at Ximene. ‘It all sounds very controlled. I did not know Aquila, are you some sort of female Iman of your faith.?’
No, No nothing of the sort.It is just the way things should be done.’
Ximene threw towels to both Yvette and John, indicating that they should dry themselves.
‘I think now we should get couple of hours sleep’
‘All in the same bed?’ asked Yvette.
‘Yes, big bed, plenty of room, but… John, for Yvette’s sake there should be no sexual activity. Yvette must feel comfortable that casual intimacy does not inevitably lead to the real thing.
Yvette jumped into bed, lay down and then jumped into a sitting position.’Do you realise that what we have just done, enjoyable as I have found it, would be judged as promiscuity in Islam. I could be sentenced to death’
‘It does not matter, you have left Islam behind, it was just a game called statues.’
‘But we are going to Grenada which is an Islamic state, if you are pretending to be Islamic, you also could be sentenced to death for this kind of activity.’
Ximene’s face became grim. “Then we must make absolutely sure no one ever knows what goes on between us.’

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.