I’ve been writing away in pen on pad, as is my want and three days ago, I reached a confrontation between a Templar knight and my main character and his female companion. In the course of the confrontation, the Templar says: ‘Why not just travel as Madame de Guisborne? It is after all how you are known, is it not, Madame?’
And I thought ‘Exactly! Why didn’t you?’ That short confused response from me began to flash in bright neon, demanding attention! So I ran through the story in my head and figured that the whole alter-ego charade was just that and pointless to the plot.
Thus I will go back, remove the charade and see what happens. Seriously, these moments are the humps in the road, the things that slow one down greatly. But the point is that a story inevitably flows better, is more ‘real’ and less contrived and so I’m happy to do it. It’ll be interesting to see what my editor says.
I also reached a spot in the narrative where Henri and his companions have to find Soeur Marie who has gone to Mass. Originally I had her in a little monastery in a back alley of 12th century Lyon with which I wasn’t familiar.
Then I remembered the beautiful Monasterium Sancti Petri Puellarum which was familiar. It was situated on Presque L’ile – a Benedictine convent. As Soeur Cecile is a Benedictine, it is most likely she would go there to pray with her Sisters in Christ. So that was another hiccup to be addressed.
Anyway, as I have heard the wonderful Tom Ryan say numerous times: ‘Onward by all means…’
And I leave you with a smidge to be going on with.
Dronken, dronken, y-dronken
…dronken is Henri attë wyne…’
‘A good song from home, and in my tongue,’ laughed Adam clapping his hands as the verse and rhythm continued. ‘By Christ he can sing.’
Tobias pulled the audience in close, lyric by lyric, and they sat enthralled. Did they know that they sat in front of someone who had sung for the monarchs and nobles of Europe, who could speak four or five languages, who counted the infamous Blondel as a friend? And who could spy with élan and who had a nose for the very best that marketplaces had to offer?
None of it mattered though, as the Templar stared at Henri’s musical friend. There was nothing inscrutable there. His eyes were filled with fury. This night had obviously not been a good one for the soldier of God. Toby had belittled him, albeit only in front of a couple of untitled routiers, but for an individual who suffered no one’s importance but his own, it was a burning taper.
‘Henri, did you see his man sorting the bags on the cart?’ Adam murmured as Toby began to sing something to wind the company down, a soft and gentle song inducing pillows and sleep. ’Seems he was looking for something.’
‘Yes. But then he would never find anything, would he.’ A statement. They had worked hard to sequester the relic in the best way and it seemed to work, judging by the thunderous clouds that rolled across the knight’s face.
‘This is not an end to it though,’ Adam warned. ‘That man knows Ariella – I’m sure of it. I could see it in his face and with the way he taunted you. He will unwrap her identity in short order, I think. By Christ we’ll have ter be on our guard.’
‘The fires of Hell will burn brightly then, won’t they?’ said Henri. His face had warmed with the wine and a spicy poultry dish and it served to ease the perennial disquiet with which he lived and which the Templar had inflamed. He was tired and longed for his cot, needing time to pull his trailing thoughts together. He had no fears for Ariella, Toby, or even himself within this house, but beyond de Clochard’s walls it might be another thing…