I apologise for not blogging last week due to being on holiday. My blog this week continues the escape of Phillipe de Saint Claire from Montségur and his arrival at the remove castle of le Bézu carrying the Secret Treasure of the Cathars on his back.
Extract from the fictional Journal of Phillipe de Saint-Claire – translated from the ancient Occitan language into modern English. After a journey through the mountains taking a day and a night Phillipe arrived at his destination.
I was cheered by seeing the sun rise over the mountains to herald in a splendid day and, when it was pointed out to me by my guide, to light up the southern walls of the great castle of le Bézu, perched like a row of eagles on the ridge above us. I was mightily impressed by its location. It did not have the sheer soaring cliffs of Montségur but relied more for defence on the complete absence of any means of mounting an attack on it from any direction, being obscurely located on rocky outcrops in the midst of deep forests.
Because of the precipitous nature of the path, it was another hour before I was standing before the great entrance gateway at the east end of the castle. We had seen no person on our walk except a cowherd in the distance. Having delivered me to my destination, my guide left me with a courteous word and a pat on the shoulder. So I mounted the last few steps to halloa at the gate.
A short time later I was ushered directly into the presence of none other than Pierre de Voisins himself by his sheriff. It seemed, by the great blessing of the Almighty, that I had arrived at this stronghold only one day before he would be leaving.
As soon as we were alone in his chamber I handed over my instructions from the convocation and explained the purpose of my visit.
My lord Pierre de Voisins received me with great politeness although I fancy he was cautious about showing me too much favour or giving me too much help in case others should get to hear of his actions and it might therefore reflect badly on him with his new French masters. He explained to me that he was setting out on the following day to travel by way of Béziers and Lyons to Paris to kneel before King Louis and that he had many preparations to make before he left. Therefore he was unable to be of personal assistance to me.
However he told me he would put me in the hands of one of his kinsmen who he would instruct to help me in any way that I wished. He assured me that this person, whom he named as Raymonde de Puyvert, was totally loyal to the Cause and that I could rely on him in all things. He said that he would also instruct the said Raymonde to look after me while he was away. I took the message from this that he did not wish to be made aware of what arrangements I intended to make for disposal of the secrets. In fact he handed my instructions from the convocation back to me and told me to deal only with the said Raymonde from then on.
I will tell you more about what remains of the castle at le Bézu (see photo) next week.