Volume II of the series about Ximene Trencavel and John Stanley.
Ximene nurses John back to health after his close to death experience on the battle field and as he recovers, at Ximene’s request he helps her learn to use weapons.
The header graphic is of course “The Accolade” by Edmund Blair Leyton.
A key part of the second story about Ximene and John is that she sees herself head of a state independent of the lands governed by the Black Prince or those covered by the king of the Franks.
For John Stanley this creates a challenge to his concepts of chivalry.
This can only be resolved within the feudal system by a formal transfer of loyalty. Thus he finds it necessary to swear allegiance to Ximene and in return she creates him as ” First Knight of Occitan”
It is a turning point in the story, but one which creates as many problems as it solves.