It comes as white,
the bright beyond lightning,
absorbing as only
inner spirit can endure.
Chapter Seventeen
Jehanne la Pucelle
[Adjust type to preference     Ctrl + for larger     Ctrl - for smaller  ]
A
nnabell trying to get to the coffin has collapsed.
Dr.  Ambertow physician from Biddiford, friend of the Squire, rushes to Annabell to place an ear against her mouth to check for normal breathing.
“Take the coffin off the bier,” he orders, beckoning to Jimmy Briggs and Tom Hopkins.  “Lay her upon it.”
Help now everywhere, the casket set inside the chancel Annabell is wheeled outside.  With more checking by the Squire’s physician, Annabell opens her eyes squinting at the brightness of the streaming morning sun.
Placing her hand over her eyes, “What happened,” she asks.  Then she see Constance placing her fan over her for shade.  “Aunt Constance, where is Uncle Ronald?”
“Uncle is inside the chancel,” responds Edward kissing the top of her head.
“Who was that woman?”
Reverend Stanley steps forward: “Hope Tempest.  She has left the church, Miss Samson.  She will do no more harm.  Your uncle is safe.  The choir are around him. They are quietly singing a hymn I have given them.”
“Can someone bring a chair?”  calls out Dr.  Ambertow.
Helped off the bier, Annabell is seated, the old mender again checking her wrist.  Stepping back he nods.
“Shall we continue with the internment, my love?”  Tears are falling from Constance’s eyes.  “We have to see this through.”
Annabell clutching a small silk handkerchief from her pocket, reaches to dab at Constance’s tears.  “Yes, we must.”
“If everyone will return to the church,” calls Reverend Stanley.
Once seated and all is quiet, the Vicar makes a quick prayer, states that the service has ended and the casket will now be carried to the family vault for its final resting place.
The coffin still upon the chancel floor, the bearers bow to the altar, raise the casket to their shoulders.  With the Bexfield heraldic sword held high, the casket, followed by the family in solemn procession, is carried through the small vestibule of the church.
People lined along the village road watch silently as the procession of the sword bearer, the casket, the vicar and the family, turn down the narrow path that leads to the Bexfield vault.
The vault door open, waiting, the casket is taken inside, holy water thrown as a prayer is read.  Then a second prayer in which Constance and George, Annabell and Edward are asked to participate.  A last aching touch of the coffin by Constance before all step outside.  Reverend Stanley locks the vault door.  Holy water is thrown. Again a blessing made.  All the family return to the manor.
In the repast that follows at Weatherby, ham pies, steak pies, eggs, cakes and sweets are relished by the hungry, both inside the marquees and outside in the hot sun. Cider and ale liberally dispensed is consumed with the food.  At the Dog and Gun, whiskey from Ireland, and from north of the border is the favoured drink requested by the dignitaries who have cards that allow exclusive entrance to the Dog’s interior and its garden.
Toasts both inside the pub and on the stage are made to the Squire, telegraph messages and letters of condolence read. Basking in the early summer sunshine, the feelings of those upon the green becomes as having a picnic. Alongside chairs brought for the service, blankets are rolled out, shirt buttons loosened.
Glass bowls placed on ornamental mounts become filled with hand written cards.
Hope Tempest is not seen.  Her action however does get spoken about.  In the hushed, spreading tale of that which has taken place inside the church, it is said Hope Tempest has returned to her parents.
As the day passes conversation of this matter is taken further afield, to those in Biddiford, to Exeter. Throughout the following week conversation passes to the surrounding counties, to the west, to London.  Quietly spoken, and sometimes not so quietly, Hope’s words are digested; it is all very curious, very strange.
At the manor in the days ahead memorial letters and cards arrive, these added to the condolence cards that had been placed inside the bowls.
Photographs of the body of Ronald in the casket in the funeral home and the manor study, taken by a photographer employed by the funeral service, are delivered.  One image has Ronald reposing, seen almost smiling, this encased in an albumen silver print.  These photographic cabinet cards first given to Mr. Bexfield are sent on to Lady Middleton’s apartment suite.
Two days after, images having a brown sepia colouring with a somewhat green background arrive.  Views of the closed casket inside the vault.  Three packages accompany, each package holding a gold locket ordered by Mr. Moffit from the jewellers.  These lockets contain clippings taken at the funeral establishment of the Squire’s hair.  Addressed to Mr. Bexfield, to Lady Middleton, to Miss Samson, no engraving is on the outside of the lockets.  On the inside, on the opened plate in very small letters, are words:
The bell doth toll for him and it intermit ao’ain though he is united to God

The Game - The Enslavement Dream. TheWE.cc
George and Meg keep to the drawing room.  George has crumbled. The deaths, the funeral, after all that has happened George cannot be with people, and he cannot face himself alone.
. . .
Jehanne has sat praying in the trees, by that special tree that the children come to dance with the fairies.

The Game - The Enslavement Dream. TheWE.cc
Butterflies are here, squirrels scampering, yet Earth in all its beauty had never been
this.

The Game - The Enslavement Dream. TheWE.cc
It is heaven itself she is convinced that is taking her as she sits.

The Game - The Enslavement Dream. TheWE.cc
It comes as white, the bright beyond lightning, absorbing as only inner spirit can endure.

The Game - The Enslavement Dream. TheWE.cc
Clothed in the glory of his light, the angel speaks.

The Game - The Enslavement Dream. TheWE.cc
France?

Yes, France!

You wish me?  How can I, a girl?

The Game - The Enslavement Dream. TheWE.cc
Annabell remains in her apartment attended by Emily. As the day progresses also attended by Edward when he has finished with the most imperative estate business.
Meg brings tea and meals from the kitchen, sits with George.
For some good part of the day Constance takes refuge in the solarium.  Mostly she falls asleep.  If she is lucky into some blissful forgetfulness, if she is not becoming fretful, disturbed.  She will murmur constantly his name.
It is only pain being awake.  She wishes she would not wake.  How she dreads the moment when the sense returns of being back in this world.  That instance she knows:  he is not here.
In the solarium she will touch the plants, the exotic flowers and leaves that droop over her.  The awareness they have in their silence, somehow it allows her to continue. She has thought of returning to Percy’s house. But all she has of Ronald is here.  She cannot leave.  The Manor is him.
Gliding her hand through the large green leaves, the incessant thoughts will not go away:
‘If only I had not spoken.  Why did I mention George had a son.  I should have waited.  My darling, then you would still be with me.’
Long moments she will weave her head back and forth, touching a leaf.  ‘Would you have gone tearing off, Knobs, if I did not mention George had a son?’
Moments come where she believes she herself has no longer any life.  Not in this world.  She has died and this that surrounds her is a set-aside ghostly waiting.  Some strange life illusion.
But he does not come to her.  Why if she is dead does he not come!
She looks up.  Arthur stands silently, waiting for her attention.  Is he real she wonders?
“I am sorry.”
The words she cannot connect of any meaning, “You are sorry?”
“Please forgive me.  I should have taken care of him.”
“Ah!”  Tears come to her eyes.
Getting up, walking to the large outer windows, she feels the glass. Willie Entwistle doing something in the garden looks up, touches his cap.
“I am losing myself, Arthur.”
Arthur absorbs, tries to answer.
She waves to the gardener but he no longer is watching. Returning to the chair, wafting her face into overhanging drooping leaves, “Where is Henrietta?”
“I do not know.”
“But you say you have spoken to her?”
“I believe she has come to me!”
“How do you know?”
“I do not know!  It could be my fancy, my creation!  I do not think it is my creation.”
“Have you spoken with Ronald?
“No.”
“Is he anywhere?”
“I believe so.  I believe we are all somewhere!”
“Where?”
“I do not know.  Ronny has not spoken to me.”  Arthur rubs the growing stubble of his unshaven beard.  He should have shaved. He should not have allowed himself...
“He has not spoken to me, Arthur.  Each day I wait.  He has not come.”
“I have no answer, Conny!”
“Henrietta?”
“She tells me he is not with her.”
. . .
Jehanne said seven years will pass and the English will lose much more than even now.

The Game - The Enslavement Dream. TheWE.cc
God will give his people great victories the voices have told her.

The Game - The Enslavement Dream. TheWE.cc
Within twenty years, banished these foreign soldiers will be from France.

The Game - The Enslavement Dream. TheWE.cc
Arthur has a book about ‘The Maid’.  A book that deals not so much with the virtue or merit of Jehanne, but has curiosity as to the voices, who they are, what was their purpose with this young woman?  Constance from the past he knows has a curiosity about Joan D’Ark.  He believes he will engage her in discussion.  The interest will distract them both.  It is not accident that he came across this book he would say he is sure.  If reasoning holds...
Seated together in the solarium he hands her the book. “I picked this from a shelf in the library.”   Constance wafts through the pages, looks across at him to continue.
“The war they say, the hundred years of war, brought France to its knees.  It’s believed every man in France has experiences of killing another human, of soldiering, of their having to fight the British, the Burgundians.  Of always being at war.  French peasants returning to their lands to grow crops will then in months be forced back to the army.
“Father to son, mother to daughter experiences their land being attacked.  Then it is grandsons, great-grandsons, granddaughters, great-granddaughters, who have turmoil.
It is more than a hundred years, more three hundred if you reckon from Henry II’s betrothal to Eleanor of Aquitaine. Edward III, the Battle of Crécy, the Battle of Poitiers. Henry V, Agincourt and beyond to Jehanne’s time.
“French soldiers, a bedraggled lot caught by famine, by plague, knew how to retreat.  It is no wonder that past Agincourt, to the French the English seem invincible.
“Paris has nightly ransacking of homes and buildings. Mutilated bodies of those killed in a desperate attempt to obtain food left to rot and decay.
“The village of Domremy, where Jehanne the Maid is born, considered a haven, as being outside of France, as Jehanne was brought up to know France, that is attacked by Burgundians in league with the English crown.”
“It is such a senseless war,” says Constance.  “I never could understand need of our kingdom to take France.  A king through marriage has title?  It is nonsense.  It is like a boy who has been given power playing a game with other boys and men, only these boys and men have no choice.”
“They are all useless wars.”  Arthur is pleased.  His plan is working.  “The Plantagenets had their ‘God-given right’ stirred. But who stirred them that has to be answered. Who wanted all of Europe united.”
“You think it was the families?”
Arthur smiles, “You consider Jehanne a witch?”
“She was burnt as one.”
“But you do not believe she was a witch?”
“I think she was a most courageous young woman.  I could never had done what she did.”
“If you heard voices, had the visions?”
“What is your opinion?”
“It is the voices, the visions that interest me, Conny. Talking to Saint Michael, Saint Catherine, Saint Margaret. One has to wonder why they would be interested in saving France.  Was their royalty better than those on the English throne?  Worse than the Plantagenets many would say.”
“Is not Saint Michael a warrior?”
“So it is said.  The essence to me is how does this benefit the ordinary people.  Shouldn’t that be the concern of these saints, this Archangel?”
“The French didn’t want the English overlords.”
“No!  But Calais was under English control long after the rest of France was returned to Paris royalty.  Did the people of Calais feel deprived all of that time they were separated from allegiance to the House of Valois?  Why is Michael so interested in having Jehanne restore the throne of France?”
“Jehanne’s entry into the affairs of France and England, it changed the future.  France would have been England’s, and so the whole of Christendom would likely have followed. Henrietta, if you remember said power always wants more power.  Do you think with a united Europe the families could rule from one central command, one King!  Then they could attack Russia.  Then China. Command over much of the civilised world is their aim, is it not?”
Arthur smiles.  “There are documents that speak of it.”
“So Michael is proclaiming the message of God, is that what you are saying, Arthur?  Is Michael the messenger of God?”
“That depends.”
“Depends upon what?”
“Your idea of God!  This creation of a mighty kingdom that God has charge.  Is there such a thing?  If there is, then Michael might be a messenger.”
“If there isn’t?”
“Then we have to ask, ‘What is the role of Michael?’”
“Oh!”
“Many ways to view the situation, Conny.  Jehanne did Michael’s bidding.  Has history proved that stopped war? Has it proved this stopped war and misery for the French? What came afterwards. Burning of witches did not cease. Jehanne was burnt as a witch.  Huguenot forced into death ovens.
“The ‘Reign of Terror’ Bonaparte!  Napoleon III.  Then Bismarck, the Prussian siege.  With attempts at free societies, or as recent history books tell us, the anarchism or ‘radicalisation of the workers,’ comes the Paris Commune. Communes in Lyon, Marseille and other French cities all have to be destroyed in bloody killings by young French boys paid to be soldiers from tax charged to workers, paid to kill workers?  Does any of it make sense?”
They come for her the incorporeal beings at the place where she is staying in the house
near the castle of Chinon.

The Game - The Enslavement Dream. TheWE.cc
St Michael is the leader, Michael the Archangel with his legions of ethereal angels
flowing with him.

The Game - The Enslavement Dream. TheWE.cc
St Catherine is to his side, St. Margaret also, though Jehanne does not know, she thinks the voices tell her later.

The Game - The Enslavement Dream. TheWE.cc
They have come to accompany her: to the King uncrowned, to the Dauphin, as Jehanne
understands.

The Game - The Enslavement Dream. TheWE.cc
Knock!  Knock!  The heavy door bangs.

“Here is your crown,” the Maid utters as silence
pervades the court.

The Game - The Enslavement Dream. TheWE.cc
The King he does see something, faint in outline, but shining with light.

The Game - The Enslavement Dream. TheWE.cc
Michael holds the gift, colours of jewels never the Dauphin will swear has he seen before.

The Game - The Enslavement Dream. TheWE.cc
‘This is yours when you dare to claim it,’ words form in the young man’s mind.

The Game - The Enslavement Dream. TheWE.cc
His most sacred inner questioning revealed by The Maid, now this sight, this marvel.

The Game - The Enslavement Dream. TheWE.cc
He knows the little courage he has, how placed he in this mock authority.  He has no
army.

The Game - The Enslavement Dream. TheWE.cc
In all of that which has been France, these Chinon guards, these flatterers in their
frippery, is his.

The Game - The Enslavement Dream. TheWE.cc
Could the Barons yet bring him victory?

The Game - The Enslavement Dream. TheWE.cc
Michael, this being of light, moves the crown as if to bear the ethereal jewels towards his person.

The Game - The Enslavement Dream. TheWE.cc
The uncrowned King stares wondering.

The Game - The Enslavement Dream. TheWE.cc
“She is hearing and seeing,” says Arthur.  “Profound to a young person.  Would it not be profound to anyone who experiences such?  In many ways Jehanne has discernment, some would say far beyond her years.  The voices no doubt helping her.
“But if the voices bring knowledge, who is to question the voices? The questioning has to extend beyond them, to God itself?  She would have to question God?  Not obey as she has been taught all her life.  Jehanne was a juvenile, youthful in all aspects we consider the advantage of youth. Sagaciousness is not one of those aspects.  One can not expect a young person to question all the values they have been taught through childhood.  How many adults do that? Very few!”
“Isn’t there something about Paris University declaring these are three demons masquerading?”
“True, Conny.  Captured by the British in 1420, Paris and Paris University are under Plantagenet rule.  Wise adults know if they are to have bread, and butter also, to follow the order.  John of Lancaster, senior regent of the realm for the infant son of a dead Henry the fifth, has been appointed to oversee Paris with the specific mandate to place all of France under British yoke.  Has a ‘body’ of supposed learned men ever spoken against those who rule? Politics, universities understand.”
Constance laughs: “And as you say, those who fund the supplies!”
“In this instance one has to ask could they have come up with a more incredulous tale: Behemoth, found in Job, in Enoch, is that which is appearing to Jehanne.  This is their learned opinion on the subject.  Ferocious, cruel, Behemoth, brutal, not anything that Jehanne has ever described in her visions.  Some say the learned men submitted Behemoth as a foil.  That I am not gracious enough to accept.  Jehanne’s voices being Behemoth is singular accomplishment for the British at Jehanne’s trial. They needed Paris University. They needed these professors.”
Constance: “So Jehanne follows the guidance of Michael, Catherine of Alexandria, Margaret of Antioch, with one should say a simple heart.  Brought into Roman teaching, as her parents, taught by Père Fronte, she is a simple child.”
“Aren’t we all.”
“Are the three spiritual beings, Michael, Catherine and Margaret, playing inside The Game, Arthur?”
“I believe they are inside.”
“Playing on the right side?”
“Yes!  The ‘Holy’ side!”
“And the families,” says Constance.
“And the dragon creatures, if you wish to extend the families,” responds Arthur.  “All inside The Game.  It is written in manuscripts of that time that she is warned by her voices that she will be captured.  This would be ‘Game’ rules, that she be warned. Some time after a Saints day, I cannot remember the day, is the period the voices give her for her capture.
“In this she is given a choice.  She need not continue her fight. Very likely she could return to her village.  She wishes, she states, to return to the peace of Domremy. These warnings came after Paris, after the Dauphin releases most of his army back to their farms.”
“She would not be the figure we look to today had she returned to Domremy,” says Constance.  “Burgundians are still fighting.  The British hold Paris.”
“Ah well, Paris.  Georges du Trémoille,” answers Arthur. “Why does she continue?  She does not realise, I believe, that the now crowned king Charles VII is fully under the influence of Trémoille. She should if she has any perception of courts and politics.  But she hasn’t.  She is a village girl. A girl who is visited and encouraged by great beings, until suddenly she is told by them that she will be captured.
“Her mission as the voices have always told her, is to have the Dauphin crowned, to take land from the British. All this accomplished!  Paris is not taken, why?  Charles withdraws his troops under the command of Jehanne from the outskirts of Paris. He dismisses all his army convinced by Trémoille the French forces cannot take Paris.  That a political settlement will succeed with the Burgundians and the British.  Trémoille they say has a velvet tongue.”
“I do not believe she accepts that she will be captured,” says Constance.  “Through her trial she states that the voices remain with her.  They do not leave her.”
“I do not think she believes she will be burnt when captured,” responds Arthur.  “The custom at the time is for noblemen, those who lead armies, if caught, to have ransom paid.  That is the problem for me.  One has to believe that these voices, these ethereal beings, Michael the Archangel, Catherine of Alexandria, Margaret of Antioch, would know all that the British are planning. That the British would never allow her to be ransomed.
“That they consider her a far too powerful a person, with the French people, and the French army, to be allowed to live.  A trial and her burning is the only outcome for the British.  The voices would have known this but they allow her to be caught, they allow her to be imprisoned, they allow her to be burnt.  So we have to ask, where does the play of The Game come into this.  The play of The Game leaves it to the individual.  That is The Game, to see how ‘we’ as one or many will respond, will take action.”
“I would not want to know my end,” says Constance. “Especially if I were fated to be burnt.”
“But was Jehanne fated to be burnt?”  asks Arthur.  “Did she make this decision she would allow herself to be burnt when she decided to keep fighting?  I do not believe she believes the voices will allow her to be burnt.”
“Joan recants.”
“Ah!  She recants.  She is shown the faggots and she recants.  She is taken back from the place set for her to be burnt, placed back in a prison room inside iron bars.  And well, there is deception here. The British do not want her to recant.  She must be burnt.  Cauchon her prosecutor is told she must be burnt.
“Always deception when those who hold power are about to be foiled in their wishes.  Jehanne agrees to wear woman’s clothing. Part of her recantation.  She does wear them.  Morning she is found in men’s clothes.  She is in a cage.  Why are her male clothing left in the cage?  Why have her female clothes been removed?”
“She admonishes Pierre Cauchon, the Bishop who has been her condemner.  At this point she understands. From this moment never before she dies does she allow the French Bishop who has acted as servant of the English all through the proceeding of the trial to not know that she condemns him, for his deceit, his malfeasance, as cause of her death.
“But does she admonish Michael, Catherine, Margaret? Does she even recognise any deception in them? Certainly they warned her, but they did not tell her she would be burnt.  Is this not deception?  Has it not been the plan all along, the play to have Jehanne perform in this final act of burning?
“Does her burning have a deeper meaning in The Game? At the last she decides she will be burnt.  She will not recant.  She will not be a traitor to her voices. Is her sacrifice, her burning accepted upon an inner level of The Game as a play such that the British have to accept their ultimate defeat, retreat from French land? All of this one can conjecture is within the drama of The Game.”
. . .
After Ronald’s death, Enid Coulter endures a period of private hysteria.  Not even Edward knows her torment. His interest upon Annabell, she feels completely alone. She has no one.  No one she can rely upon.  No one she can talk to. No one she can be with.
But then...she does not know how it happens.  She has slept late. She has reached the abysmal state where she no longer wishes to get up.
There is a knock on her door.  Then nothing.  She gets up, places her gown around her, goes to see who it is. The young footman Seth is standing there.  She sees the letter in his hand.  Why she doesn’t take it she doesn’t know. She tells him to come in, walks back to her bed, lies down upon it.
Seth walks across to her, holds out the large size letter. ‘URGENT’ it has written upon it.
She takes the letter, reads it.  Estate business, from the estate’s solicitors.  Nothing she can do.  Edward will have to attend to the matter.
“How are you liking it here, Seth,” Edith makes believe she still is examining the letter.
“Very well, Mrs. Coulter.”
The boy always has that cocky expression behind those freckles. There’s something that pours from him.
Stepping out of the coach, his helping her, his hand touching hers, she has more than once brushed her cheek against his.
“Is everyone treating you well, Seth?”
“Excellent, Mrs. Coulter, thank you!  Couldn’t be better!”
Placing the notice back into the envelope, she does not let it go.  “An answer should be given by telephone.  They can wait.  Have the butler inform Mr. Edward an urgent dispatch is in his work study.”
Dressed in her night clothes, now propped up on pillows, she notices the boy is somewhat perplexed.
“Mr.  Watton had to rest due to headache, Mrs. Coulter.
Hæmma has the day off today.  I am taking his place.”   It is this unfortunate moment that she has to glance at his trousers.  For the life of her that is a large bulge.
“Take the letter to Mr. Edward’s study.  Mr. Edward will not likely be back until late.  Inform Hæmma first thing tomorrow.  He will speak to Mr. Edward.”
“Yes!  Mrs. Coulter.”   The boy leans over the bed to retrieve the envelope from her hand, a hand that Edith makes no attempt to extend.
From that moment all is, let us say elevated.
The hand that doesn’t hold the envelope accidentally presses against the trousers.
“Seth!”
“Yes, Mrs. Coulter?”
“I wonder if you would do me a service, Seth.  I have a slight pain.”
The boy looks at her, smiles.  “I am good with my hands, Ruby says.”
“I am sure you are.  A twinge.”  She points to the back of her neck. “Would you be a dear boy.”
To do the thing proper, he has to kneel upon the bed, pressing his legs around her as his hands make pressing strokes, first at the back then at the side.
Seth suprisingly experienced starts tapping his fingers along her neck.  “Is this enough pressure.”
“Mmmmmmm!”  The bulge he has, so prominent it presses into her stomach.
“Can you feel that?”
“Oh!  Oh!  Yes!  You are very good.”
Slowly her hand raises itself.
Her hand has rested upon the bedclothes, but now, as if with its very own intention, it moves towards his so very firm, very fine leg, moves slowly upwards to where the bulge is so exquisitely placed.
He doesn’t jump.  He doesn’t do anything.  He just keeps gently kneading and tapping delicate points around her neck.
“You are sixteen, Seth, is that right.”
His voice is somewhat husky as he replies.  “Yes, Mrs. Coulter.”
“I am an old woman,” she begins, but she never finishes the sentence.
The boy stops with his massaging, leans his body into her breasts, bends his delightful young face, kisses her.
His hands are now undoing her dressing garment and... there the story would seem, if not to begin, certainly to continue.
As he is leaving: “Seth!”
“Yes, Mrs. Coulter?”
“Would you care to do this again!”
Again the huskiness in his young voice.  “Come to your room?”
“If you wish.”
“If you wish, I would like to come to your room, again.”
His freckles all seem to be on fire now.
“I do wish!”   At the door, the boyish smile, that cocky expression.
Just a hint of shyness.
. . .
Asked whether Jehanne did reverence to St. Michael and the angels when they visited, the
maid answered that she kissed the ground where they had stood after they had gone.

The Game - The Enslavement Dream. TheWE.cc
Asked whether Jehanne did reverence to St. Michael and the angels when they visited, the
maid answered that she kissed the ground where they had stood after they had gone.

The Game - The Enslavement Dream. TheWE.cc
Asked where she was situated when the angels visited, the maid replied that St. Michael and the saints came often when she was with her friends, but they were not seen.

The Game - The Enslavement Dream. TheWE.cc
Asked where she was situated when the angels visited, the maid replied that St. Michael and the saints came often when she was with her friends, but they were not seen.

The Game - The Enslavement Dream. TheWE.cc
“Georges du Trémoille would seem to have become an essential agent of the families,” Arthur is saying.  “It is likely at the same time he became an agent for the British throne.  In our branch of the service we see that often.”
“La Trémoille when he first arrives at the French court is an assistant to the young Duke of Burgundy.  The young duke has been ordered to Paris to declare his fealty.  La Trémoille does not return to Burgundy.  Remaining at the Paris court, he becomes Grand Chambellan.  1415 he is at Agincourt.
“He is captured by the British.  It is at Agincourt that I believe la Trémoille is turned.”
“Turned, Arthur.”
“A term we use in the service for those who for reasons of money or blackmail work against their former employers. Henrietta and I use it for those who are ‘turned’ towards fealty to the families.
“La Trémoille is unexpectedly released by the English, something one would expect if he is working for them. He is placed in a position where the old and rich Jeanne II de Boulogne, Countess of Auvergne becomes enamoured with him.  Such events are markers to us that a person has likely come under the families’ influence and guidance.
“Charles VI dies.  The Countess dies.  The Dauphine, the uncrowned Charles VII, who Jehanne’s voices tell her she will accompany to Rheims to be crowned, appoints La Trémoille as his chief counsellor.  Persuasive and strong, La Trémoille is more than capable of guiding the passive Charles VII.
“The young man is not sure God wishes him to be king. He has control of nothing but a portion of the Loire valley. He knows himself not to be a warrior.  His southern lands are under control of the nobles, some who may cede loyalty to the English crown if compelled.
“Paris, captured by English soldiers, the one-year-old Plantagenet Henry VI is given title as ruler of France.  The one-year-old however has not been crowned at Rheims, a necessary act for a French monarch.
“A side story to la Trémoille has that in 1427 a favoured minister of the Dauphin, Pierre de Giac, is found drowned inside a leather bag thrown into a river.  La Trémoille is having an affair with Giac’s widow.  The Dauphin informed of the death does nothing. The rich widow is taken by la Trémoille for his second marriage.
“Sire du Trémoille, as he becomes known, is the agent we believe that supplies money to keep the uncrowned king in his castle by the Loire.  Why would the families through their bankers, and their agent, la Trémoille, support the Dauphine when their intention is to have the Plantagenets rule France?  Because Chinon by the Loire, is exactly where they wish to have the effete young man.
“Orléans is under siege and once Orléans is taken the heir to the House of Valois will be told by la Trémoille to flee with what money and jewels he has, to some protection outside of France the families will have arranged.
“It is here that Jehanne, as one might say, enters the greater stage. La Trémoille must have heard of the young girl on her journey through British-Burgundian territory from Vaucouleurs to Chinon, where already in Vaucouleurs she has become a person of renown, for his paid agents attempt an attack just before she arrives in Chinon.
“The attack is repulsed by soldiers supplied by Robert de Baudricourt.  Soldiers who travel with Jehanne from Vaucouleurs, a band that, due to the charm and innocence of the Maid, has become fiercely loyal.
“Jehanne arriving in Chinon, argument persists by la Trémoille that the Maid is merely a mind-dreamer.  But this countered with that which she tells the Dauphin of fears of himself that he has never spoken.  It is said the ethereal crown is shown to him by Michael.  Jehanne is tested as to her spirituality by esteemed religious and found worthy.  Then there is Orléans under siege by the English. Hampered by the Dauphin’s generals, yet encouraged by the new French army grown upon Jehanne’s name alone, the tactics the Maid employs at Orléans lifts the siege.  The British army flee.
“Jehanne returning to Chinon, her reputation beyond castigation, Frenchmen arrive daily to swell an army into vast legions.  It is an epic story: the Loire campaign, the battle of Patay, the march to Reims where the Dauphin becomes crowned as Charles VII.
“Only at the attempt to take Paris do we see again of the work of la Trémoille.  Charles ‘the gentle,’ never one for boldness, doubts that Paris can be taken.
“Le Sire recommends negotiation, Charles pays off his army with coinage the families’ bankers provide him for the purpose.
“Charles marches with his few bodyguard soldiers back to the Loire valley.  Quite extraordinary this capitulation. Jehanne is powerless.  As she states at her trial, the voices do not tell her to attack Paris.  She has great reverence for her sovereign.  She cannot disobey him.
“Jehanne is allowed to continue her battle against the Burgundians and the British.  Raising money herself from the boroughs, the towns she passes through, to pay her troops, to provide food and weaponry, she continues her fight with the Burgundians, with the English.
“Those at higher levels of The Game, Charles adhering to his weakness, reformulate their play. For Jehanne it will soon be the last moments of her Earthly existence. For the Enslavement Dream, The Game most here upon Earth are engaged upon, nothing has changed.”
. . .
Lawrence is not sure he is dead.  At times he sees a little boy run through the bushes.  It confuses him.  He must be dead for he has seen his body on the ground.  So this is what it is like being dead?
He is wearing clothing.  A button he touches on his jacket he can feel the roundness.  Who is the boy that keeps playing peek-a-boo with him?  Is he also dead?
Sometimes he thinks this is a dream.  He is asleep next to Bella. They are both in London?  A spasm of mental anguish follows.
He feels his stomach.  His flaccid member is where it should be. There is no sense of ‘The Other’ nor the demon. When he wakes he will tell Bella he loves her.
Then the other dream comes.  He visits her.  Thinking of Bella he at the manor.  She will look up at times.  Afraid she will see him watching he stands behind a plant.
The quality of her room is quite spacious.  She has three large plants as tall as he.
Neither he nor the boy have spoken.  Sometimes he will catch a drift of the boy’s thoughts.  The boy will look at him when he does.
Angulse Sherod he has visited more than once.  His uncle looks, senses.  He then flees back to the water.
The no-time where Lawrence has his presence is inside a dream. Moments of the past are with him always inside this dream. Things he has done.  Things he would like to have done.  Words he has spoken.  Words he wishes he would have spoken.  Especially with Bella.
He wants to return to Hartlepool.  He will do it when he has the courage.  He wants the high priest to be present.
He gazes around.
The dream is so much around him that he thinks he might have to spend much more time going through the things he wishes he had done.
Thoughts come of the wizened man: “I see you dying! I see your ghost!”  The old man from America.
So he is dead.
Something more the old man said.  He has to remember. “You will remain here.  You will protect your son.”
Yes!  He is going to have a son!
His uncle, he will visit with him in Hartlepool.  Lawrence laughs. He will take the carriage.
The coven priest, something is there, something is there he wishes to know!
In the warm, pleasant sun, as he lies upon the grass the boy comes out from behind a growth of leatherleaf.
Lawrence in his mind says welcome.
On the young boys face, a smile.
. . .
“Gladys tells me the ghosts of Patay still haunt the fields.”
Arthur looks up from his reading.  “I believe they do, Constance. Ghosts haunt all battle fields.  Do you believe in ghosts?”
“I don’t know.  Are they part of life?”
“Strange answer.  Are ghosts part of life?  What do you think?”
“I think they are!  Where something is unresolved.  We stay to clear it up!”
“Patay is a long time ago, centuries!”
“Perhaps things keep going around and around if we are afraid!”
“Afraid of what?”
“Of moving on!  I hope Ronald is not afraid!  I want him...”
“I think most of us want things to continue as before. Small changes we seek with joy.  Most change is forced upon us.”
“Death is a large event!”
“Yes!”
“Ronald!”  the word is very soft, almost inaudible.
“Henrietta says an aperture opens, Conny.  A light is seen, or it can be that we are in the countryside and a whole part, like a wall, seems to open.  All we need to do then is step across where loved ones on the other side wait. Ronald’s mother, his father.”
“Into their world?”
“Yes!”
“Where is their world, Arthur?”
“Ah!  I asked Henrietta that.  Where will such a soldier go?  Where will someone who works upon new motorised vehicles go?”
“‘All I know,’ she said, ‘all that I have been told is that different heavens exist.’ ”
“Is there no social class, I ask?”
Arthur breathes softly, quietly. “I believe this thing we are calling The Game it continues after death, Conny.”
Constance puts her hands to her face.  Arthur stops, waits.
“I want so much to see him, Arthur!”
It takes some time until Constance brings her hands together, rests them upon her lap.  “Where do you think Joan has gone after her burning?”
Some puzzlement for him.  He himself asked the same question. “Henrietta believes the moment when Jehanne prays to Jesus to save her, when the faggot flames devour the lower half of her body and she cries out in pain, as she reaches for the image of Jesus being held to her on a pole, Jehanne moves into a different structure of The Game. ”
“A different structure?”
The Game plays in strange ways, Constance.  Someone like Jehanne with her courage can jump many stages into a vastness of that which we know nothing.”
© Kewe   All rights reserved.