The clock has struck NOON in Paris and we meet Prue Batten at Père Lachaise Cemetery.
Père Lachaise Cemetery is the largest cemetery in the city of Paris, France (44 hectares (110 acres)), though there are larger cemeteries in the city's suburbs.
Père Lachaise is in the 20th arrondissement, and is reputed to be the world's most visited cemetery, attracting hundreds of thousands of visitors annually to the graves of those who have enhanced French life over the past 200 years. It is also the site of three World War I memorials.
by Prue Batten
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My name is Ysabel, Lady of Moncrieff, and I am charged with welcoming you to this place whilst the Lady of the House is away. She tells me she goes to Paris and I think she is a lucky woman, for Paris has many stories to tell and many of those tales to do with love and life and eternity.
You see I am the daughter of Lady Alaïs de Cazenay, a cousin twice removed of the glorious Eleanor of Aquitaine who had her own love story with the English king called Henry. But my mother also had a story of love to tell for she married my father, Joffrey of Moncrieff, an English baron of greater ranking.
Through their great affection for each other, I was born.
And I? Oh, I have a love story to tell to rival that of the great Abelard and Heloise.
You know them of course. Everyone knows them. A meeting of great minds which led to a meeting of bodies, to a child, to marriage, to rank cruelty by the Church so that the poor lovers must leave each other and enter the Church separately; Heloise as a nun and Abelard as a eunuch priest.
But even the Church could not stop their affections; I urge you to learn of their strength in the face of adversity. It is the stuff of love like you have never seen.
Sometimes I wonder if my own love for Sir Guy of Gisborne will be as remarkable. Because I tell you, we have loved and lost and loved again, and he has turned from me … and turned back and may turn again and I wonder if it will be too late. Much of our time is spent apart until I find I must utter Heloise’s words: ‘While I am denied your presence, give me at least through your words … some sweet semblance of yourself … I beg you … think what you owe me…’
You see I bore a child too, like Heloise, and as I enter this new phase of my life I find the child is the link in the chain, or perhaps the straw that will break the camel’s back.
It is why I urge the Lady of this House to meet me at Abelard and Heloise’s tomb in Père Lachaise Cemetery, Rue de Repos, "Porte du Répos", Metro Philippe Auguste (Line 2) in the 20th Arrondisement in Paris.
I would impress upon her and you, her friends, of the depth of my own love so that you can see for yourselves how confused and angry I am…
It’s amazing to think that Heloise’s words were uttered in the twelfth century, a time when Ysabel herself was struggling to make sense of a life that tossed her ever closer to the Third Crusade.
If you would like to read more of Ysabel’s and Guy’s story, here is a small excerpt:
I gave him my hand and he led me from the chamber, up the stair and to my room. All the while my heart pattered as we walked close, our bodies side by side, his hand beneath mine. He pushed open the door and we passed through, he moving to a chair by the window, me taking a seat by the hearth. I pulled the folds of the gown from underneath my feet and fiddled with the hem.
‘What else have you to say? Why did you imply danger?’
He sat in the shadows by the window. I couldn’t see his expression, whereas I dare say he could see every mood flash across my own face.
‘De Courcey is a violent man, Ysabel. For some reason he wants you.’
‘The kind that as a young boy would probably have killed puppies. Ysabel, trust me. In this instance I do know best.’
He was just a dark voice in a corner of shadows.
‘Be specific, Gisborne. How violent?’
‘God damn you, Ysabel.’
‘No,’ I almost shouted as I stood up. ‘God damn you if you don’t tell me.’
He came toward me, a subtly clad figure whose face I would remember all the days of my life. ‘Ysabel…’
‘Tell me.’ This time I yelled.
He was so close and I let his arms slide around me as he pulled me toward his chest, buffering me from his next words. ‘He would rape you, Ysabel, if he wanted you. It is what he does. He would kill your father if he wanted to and then attend a banquet immediately after.’ I struggled against him but he held tight. ‘It - is - what - he - does.’
I sucked in my breath and a little sob followed but I had no tears as I reflected on how much my life had collapsed in a few weeks.
He eased me away from his chest. He was infinitely gentle, lifting my face so that I had to look at him, his hands either side of my jaw. The pain I felt as my ruined life rattled around me like a thunderstorm was stupendous, but he was there … as he had been every step of the way, and once again, I let him take the pain away. I lifted my right hand to his and covered it as it lay on my jaw.
There are times in life when one just wants to forget about concerns and cares. To ignore the shouted whisper of caution in the ear…
Gisborne: Book of Pawns is available at Amazon.com, Amazon.co.uk and all other Amazons, Kobo, B&N Nook, Smashwords and i-Book. It will also be available through major online and standard booksellers in print from June 2012.
If you’d like to see what kind of world Ysabel and other characters from my books inhabit, come to http://pinterest.com/pruebatten/
And if you want to see what I’m doing now and then, come to http://www.facebook.com/Prue.Batten.writer and ‘like’ my writer’s page. I’d love it if you did.
And there’s more!
I would welcome you at www.mesmered.wordpress.com. You never know, you might see Vvb32 there one day…
While visiting here at the kind invitation of Velvet, I am offering two Kindle copies of Gisborne: Book of Pawns. (details below)
Guest post created by Prue Batten of Gisborne: Book of Pawns
© 2012. All rights reserved.
by Prue Batten
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Book of Pawns
by Prue Batten
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