Recurring dreams invade Ximene’s sleep. The dreams are generally more optimistic than her torments, but not entirely reassuring. When Ximene dreams, of the joyful fulfilment of her most basic desires but she cannot totally dismiss the threats and challenges.   In most of the dreams she manages to fulfil her destiny but in a world in which her safety and pleasure are effortlessly achieved.

Influenced by stories of the Cathar Secret organisation ” Les Etoiles de Mer”–”Stars of the Sea”  told to her by her grandmother’s lover, Guillam de Clermont, many of Ximene’s dreams are dominated by boats floating on water or in the sky, which in the dreams act as hiding places. She is protected from the world but is able to observe and influence what is happening. She can fulfil her destiny at minimal risk.

Ximene knows that the “Stars of the sea” was named after Isis, Mother God of Egypt, personified by Cleopatra. Images of Cleopatra intrude into Ximene’s dreams. One of the most frequent is of Cleopatra of bathing in ass’s milk, perfumed with strawberries and roses.  Ximene joins Cleopatra in the bath but then Cleopatra vanishes. Ximene is Cleopatra.

She meets Caesar, master of the World, but Caesar is not the master of Cleopatra. When he meets Cleopatra, he falls immediately under her spell.

In other dream sequences  it is a much larger vessel which carries her, swiftly and smoothly, to safety beyond the high seas.  The ship sails too fast for either the agents of rome or the fearsome pirates to catch her .

At her destination she immerses herself in a blanket of warm water in lagoons bordered by golden sand a perfect temperature for swimming.

In the nearby desert she sees Helios and Selene, the horses given to her grandmother by the Emir of Grenada. She sees them when they were very young being trained  to serve her. She helps in the training process and learns the secrets  of the Arab Masters of Horse.

In a search for safety and security she seeks the protection of an Eastern potentate, out of the reach of the Roman Church and it’s Inquisition. She allows herself to enter  the Emir’s harem, where she will be further isolated from those who would do her harm. The Emir is always a kind master, but she is now his slave.  She accepts the inevitability of her subjection to her masters will. It is so different from  the world where she must fulfil her destiny, where women are always in control and she seems to be responsible for everything and everyone.

Always she is rescued from the harem by a christian knight, he carries her back to to face her destiny. She is far from sure that she wants to leave the harem, but she is given no choice.

To realise her destiny she beomes a queen. To Ximene this is far more threatening than being the Emir’s slave. She walks through the rooms of the Palace finding no comfort in the grandeur. It is a cold and lonely place where there are no rewards only endless duty. She tries to imagine a place of warmth where she can retreat, but what is the point of retreat when she is always alone? The nearest she comes to a rewarding relationship is when she chooses those who will support her search for justice and freedom of worship. Even these closest supporters however separate themselves, seeing her love for them as unattainable and their love for her treasonable. In many dreams she must take her destiny in her own hands. She becomes a warrior, but the more competent she becomes in the use of arms the more enemies she seems to face.

In the worst of times, solace is always available from her best friend Phillipa who regardless of the circumstances always seems alluring, sensual and  happy. Ximene would love to emulate Phillipa but whatever she chooses to wear she always seems to project an image which is aloof , cold and unapproachable. Even clothes which on Phillipa would be attractive and fun do not give the result which Ximene is searching for. Ximene knows that in London and Paris, the fashion at court is for ladies to leave their breasts uncovered. Even in the dream Ximene is both tantalised and scandalised by the thought, but driven by a desire to project a different, warmer more vulnerable image, she imagines attending a dinner in such a dress. The dream returns over and over again to the point at which she enters the door and dozens of people turn round to gaze at her exposure.

Images and perceptions ebbb and flow through her mind, weaving themselves together until a nightmare is produced in which she finds herself fighting virtually naked against a succession of ever more powerful opponents. At this point she usually jerks back in to consciousness, a sweat covering the whole of her body.

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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.