Chapter 15: Patay
The imagery of the mutilated children played on my mind. I had been a soldier in many of my past lives, use to bloody battlefield carnage but even that was no preparation for the horror and sadness that I had witnessed.
After the show Lilly and I walked back to our hotel linked arm in arm. The whole riverside was lit up electric blue punctuated periodically with white spotlights. The cathÃ©drale Ste. Croix looked particularly dramatic as it was illuminated in such a way that it dominated the city skyscape.
As we crossed the many arched stone bridge from Les Tourelles to the old city I paused midway to share my experience with Lilly. For upwards of an hour I poured out the details as I stared into the flowing waters of the Loire. Lilly listened in silent horror as the terrible imagery unfolded. At some point she put her arm around me and held me tight with her head on my shoulder, her beautiful long auburn hair falling forward to hide her tear stained eyes. It felt like the loving action of a mother comforting a traumatised infant who had experienced a nightmare. I found her soft feminine touch reassuring and healing. Emotions welled up in me and I was able to let what I had seen pass in a single cathartic act of confession. My tears dropped into the Loire and mingled with the flowing clear waters that would eventually take them to the sea.
We moved onto the Martroi and ritualistically touched Jehanneâ€™s statue. Lilly broke the silence and voiced my thoughts. â€œHow could such a pure spirit have mixed with such violent people?â€
I gazed into the face of the angel of Orleans and thought for several minutes. â€œThat is the true miracle, my Fleur dâ€™Lilly. She was a beacon of hope shining brightly amidst a sea of violence and madness; in a brutal vicious world she stepped up to the mark and made a difference. I continuously marvel at her courage and strength but even more so now after what I have just witnessed!â€
Lilly paused and reflected, then spoke in a contemplative voice. â€œThe English called it the Hundred Years War it was such a long, long time; the holocaust and World War 2 only lasted a relatively short six years by comparison. The dreadful imagery of the Nazi death camps forms the only point of reference that I can compare to what you have described.â€
Lilly cast her head down in deep thought and it was my turn to put my arm around her shoulders. â€œItâ€™s not over yet.â€ I said after a pause of several minutes.
â€œI know, Yann. Iâ€™ve been thinking of that ever since we left the cabaret.â€ Lilly pulled her pashmina tighter around her neck to gain some insulation against the early morning chill.
â€œWe must go out to Patay before we leave. Good or bad we must feel and experience what happened there.â€ I had now lost my initial enthusiasm of some days earlier but I was determined to see the experiment through to the end, despite my unexpected encounter with Gilles de Rais.
â€œYes, I agree. We must see the mission through in order to collect all the data, otherwise we might miss something important and regret it later.â€ Lilly tried to smile but she was painfully aware that it might not be a pleasant experience.
We agreed to spend the afternoon on the battlefield before departing on the early evening train for Paris. The best solution we finally decided was to take a taxi out to the site some 26 kilometres north west of the old city and to arrange for the driver to pick us up an hour before the train was due to leave. Several trains were available at that time of day so we had some flexibility built into the plan. The only reserved seats were for the Gare du Nord, Paris to Lille TGV at 19:00hrs. Having made our final arrangements we walked the final leg along the rue RÃ©publique to our hotel and bed.
Weary from mental, emotional and physical fatigue we said our goodnights and went into our individual rooms. Within minutes I was fast asleep in a dreamless world of oblivion.
I awoke mid morning disturbed only by the sound of Lillyâ€™s shower in the next room. The images of the night before haunted me and I had to make a conscious effort to exclude them from my thoughts. Action seemed the best remedy so I busied myself with shaving and then packed my bag. Reaching for my mobile, I text Lilly that I would see her in the foyer. Breakfast was no longer a hotel option so I sat waiting for Lilly and thought where we might go. When she arrived some 15 minutes later I quickly settled the bill and collected the receipt for my records.
We headed for Gare du Orleans on the tram and checked the times of the train back to Paris.
â€œIâ€™m getting hungry!â€ Lilly exclaimed. â€œFancy a croissant and a coffee?â€
â€œGood idea, then we can dump our bags and grab a taxi.â€
Some inner voice was spurring me on. I knew that time was short and something important lay waiting for us to discover. It was that deep inner knowing that lent urgency to the proceedings. Within minutes Lilly re-appeared clutching two large take away cups; a coffee for me and a hot chocolate for herself. From her back pack she took out two almond croissants that she had also purchased. We chose a seat and enjoyed our al fresco dining whilst admiring the elegance of the wavy roof structure.
â€œIf you look at it in strips it looks like reels of film.â€ I found myself fascinated by the clever play of light from the clear glass panels that interspersed the silver metal roof material.
â€œYes, it is beautiful, just like me; elegant, chic yet highly functional!â€ Lilly laughed and several crumbs spluttered from her mouth.
â€œModest too I suppose!â€ I took a sip of my hot coffee which went the wrong way causing me to splutter in unison as I digested Lillyâ€™s observation of herself.
â€œI see what you mean. Life is like a film when you look at it, a finite collection of scenes strung together. I suppose each scene must leave and energy imprint which is what we pick up on when we visit these historical places.â€
â€œYes, our consciousness acts as a projector; it can run fast or slow. I could stay in the same job for 40 years and it would seem like minutes as nothing much happened or I could have a mad passionate love affair in Paris for a weekend and it would seem like a lifetime! When I remember events, it is the dramatic emotion than imprints onto my memory.â€
â€œAbsolutely, thatâ€™s why poor people with highly emotional lives can remember more than rich people, because life is much more extreme.â€ Lilly clutched her hot chocolate to her cheek and smelt its delicious aroma, I watched as she slowly savoured every moment using her multiple senses.
I could see a basic truth emerging and was eager to share my thoughts so I continued to expand my premise. â€œIn that way my past life as a chevalier noir charged with high emotion was extremely memorable!â€ It was a moment of profound revelation as I grasped a universal principle. â€œTherefore, emotion is the language of the soul.â€ Suddenly in a single sentence I was able to elegantly surmise my insight.
â€œEmotion is the language of the soul. That is so profound and beautiful!â€ Lilly thought deeply, smiled and continued to gaze at the beautiful roof.
â€œRight its time to find a taxi my Fleur dâ€™Lilly!â€ We disposed of our cups and serviettes full of croissant crumbs in the waste bin; then headed back out of the main entrance.
Lilly hailed a cab. I attempted to explained to the driver that we wished to visit Patay to view the battlefield from 1429 and then to return to the station. He shrugged his shoulders in amazement and then qualified it by saying that there was very little to see. I reassured him that we didnâ€™t mind and told him we were presently engaged in writing a book and needed to check the evidence.
Happy with our explanation, he became more enthusiastic about his task. As we left Orleans Lilly relaxed in the back seat as I entered into conversation with the driver. The scenery was extremely flat but after 15 minutes we passed an airfield. Several large military transport planes could be seen lined up on the tarmac. The road deviated in a rough semi-circle around the end of the runway so I had a good view. I enquired of the driver as to the nature of the airbase. He replied that it was indeed a transport hub for the military and was used for shipping supplies and such. Apart from that there wasnâ€™t much more he could tell us as it was cloaked in military secrecy.
With that we continued on our way with nothing to view but the flat horizon and the wide skyscape. Some twenty minutes into the journey we branched off at a small roundabout in the village of Saint-PrÃ©vay-la-Colombe and headed northwest.
On the horizon I could see a small gathering of houses. â€œIs that Patay, Monsieur?â€ I enquired enthusiastically.
â€œNo Monsieur, that is Lignerolles; Patay is just beyond it.â€ The driver blankly replied.
Then in complete contrast from the back seat Lilly suddenly shouted, â€œStop the car, stop the car!â€
The driver did not immediately understand the urgency of her instructions and therefore continued someway before he slowed and eventually stopped the car by the side of the desolate road.
â€œYou OK, Lilly?â€ I turned in my seat to see what had transpired.
â€œYes, fine I just had a strange vision thatâ€™s all.â€ I could see from the expression on her face that Lilly was desperately trying to make sense of what she had seen. â€œI saw a golden eagle standard and lots of soldiers carrying oblong shields crossing the road. They were definitely Romans and not napoleonic troops or medieval knights. I know my history.â€
â€œOK, weâ€™ll go and investigate; it might lead to something?â€ I thanked the driver for stopping and asked if he could let us out here and then return to pick us up at 16:00hrs. I paid him up front with a â‚¬50 Euro note and the promise of more when he returned at which point he suddenly became most helpful!
He assured us that he would be back here at that precise time and that we could expect him to be punctual. With that he swung the car around and sped off into the distance back to Orleans and civilization.
The transition was abrupt and final, as we suddenly found ourselves in the middle of nowhere. We stood alone under the hot midday sun with only our intuition to guide us.
â€œI know the battlefield is here. I can sense it.â€ Lilly sounded positive. â€œLetâ€™s walk back to where I saw the Romans.
Within 5 minutes we had reached the spot where Lilly had seen her vision. To the right of the road was a rough patch of ground containing many large stones and to the left in the distance was a lone small wood with a pylon that seemed to line up with the rough stony ground. In front of us stood some more pylons with power cables that crossed the road and connected with the wood to the east, in the distance we could just see 3 farms and the military airbase; we knew that Orleans lay over the horizon beyond that. Due to the flat nature of the terrain it was hard to make out any other distinctive features except for the fields of ripening wheat that swirled all around us.
We wandered off of the road onto the rough ground, Lilly knelt down and touched one of the stones and shut her eyes. â€œItâ€™s a Roman road! Thatâ€™s why I saw Roman soldiers carrying an eagle; they were marching along it!â€
â€œWell done, Lilly. You are amazing! In 1429 the English army were retreating from Meung to Janville when the heavy cavalry of the vanguard under La Hire and Xaintrailles surprised them; they were probably following the old Roman road?â€
â€œThat makes sense.â€ Lilly nodded her agreement.
I was picturing events in my head and looking northeast towards the small wood. â€œThe English archers were concealed just in front of a dip when our cavalry scouts flushed a stag out which bounded through their position. That caused them to raise a shout which gave away their position.â€
Lilly continued the description as she started to see the events in her mind. â€œYes, the vanguard then knew where they were and attacked before they had time to deploy their stakes and draw their longbows. They hit them front, centre and on both flanks; literally riding over them. The main battle under AlenÃ§on and Dunois followed up and engaged the men-at-arms on the ridge to complete the victory. By the time Jehanne and Richemont arrived with the rearguard it was all but over. Talbot and Scales were capture over there and Falstolf made off in disgrace. Then the pursuit hunted the remainder down.â€
â€œResult; the English lost 2000 men and we only lost 5! An amazing victory indeed, it was the first time the English had been defeated in an open battle for a long, long time. It sealed the relief of Orleans campaign and sent shock waves through medieval Europe.â€
We both stood gazing into the distance trying to piece together in our heads what had happened that 18th day of June, 1429. Eerily Lilly suddenly broke the silence with an intuitive statement from her deep subconscious. â€œWe were both there!â€
Goose bumps immediately spread all over my arms as the truth of her insight hit home.
It was then that I noticed a strange shadow laying in the crop of green wheat just to the right of the small wood in the distance some 200 metres from the road. â€œHey Lilly whatâ€™s that? Letâ€™s walk along the field boundary to those trees over there. I think I can see something in the crop!â€
Lilly looked towards where I was pointing. The sun was a brilliant yellow orb overhead surrounded by a deep blue sky so she shaded her eyes with her hand. â€œYou are right I can see something too, letâ€™s investigate.â€
The scene looked very similar to the van Gogh painting crows in a cornfield. It immediately conjured up in my mind that powerful image of the black harbingers of death flying in that he depicted so graphically in the picture. I had visited the van Gogh museum in Amsterdam long ago when young, the picture had transfixed me for several minutes at the time and now my memory banks dredged it to the surface of my consciousness. I remembered it was his suicide note; life had closed in on his tortured soul. He could see no way out, so he shot himself in a field exactly like this. I then thought of the doomed English that died on this field ridden down by the heavy cavalry of France. The image of the crows turned into ravens that bore white crosses on their wings, then the vision subsided as Lilly tugged at my sleeve.
I stepped onto the ploughed field and immediately felt like an extraterrestrial as we left the safety of the tarmac. We started to walk along its rough edge towards the trees. It was a strange sensation as I had never done this as an adult before being only used to the familiar paved surfaces of cities. Deep within my childhood memory there lurked a certain familiarity with the feel of walking on rough earth. I felt instantly reconnected to my childhood, a sense of discovery and the land.
â€œWhat are all these lines in the field, Yann?â€ Lilly was brushing the wheat with her hands as she walked in front of me. The tactile sensation seemed to reinforce the experience for her. It reminded me of the opening memory scene from the film Gladiator as Maximus is about to go into battle against the German tribes.
â€œI think they are where the tractor tyres leave an imprint in the soil when sowing the seed.â€
â€œThey remind me of tramlines. It gives such a beautiful structure to the landscape, like staves on a page of music.â€ Lilly stopped and took several photographs. Nearing the small wood, we could see that some of the crop to our right had been flattened. It was a sense of curiosity that led me to deviate into the field to investigate further. I used the tractor tramlines so as not to destroy the delicate plants and cause unnecessary damage. Lilly followed close behind on the line parallel to mine and continued to click away with her camera. Several times she paused and flipped it to video to record our journey and audible thoughts.
Suddenly I stood at the edge of the immaculately flattened crop that spread in an arc; both directions from my position. I was totally astounded. I had never seen anything like this before! The crop was undamaged, just laying there as though somebody had carefully thrown a bucket of water over it. I could see no mud or mechanical damage at all. It was a miracle.
â€œWow! What on earth is it?â€ Lilly had caught up with me and now stood at the edge of the circle too.
â€œI have no idea!â€ I gazed in awe at the perfection of the circular rim I was observing. Beyond I could see another smaller circle at the centre of the strange construction.
â€œIt feels like a church!â€ Lilly whispered in a reverent manner out of the side of her mouth.
â€œI know what you mean. Itâ€™s that same feeling I get when I walk into a sacred building.â€ I found myself talking in an equally quiet tone not wishing to disturb the magic.
â€œWhat do we do now? Shall we enter?â€ Lilly was finding it hard to refrain from plunging into the heart of this new mystery. â€œI feel like Alice in Wonderland again!â€ She unconsciously extended her hand towards me and I felt it touch mine with a burst of electricity. I gently extended my fingers and gripped it. Then together we took a pace forward and stepped into the circle. It seemed a sacred act, there was no dramatic transition as we had experienced with our timeslips but there was a sense of energy that seemed to be flowing and spinning in the direction of the lay of the crop.
Lillyâ€™s knees buckled slightly as the energy impacted on her muscles and other physiological systems. â€œIt feels like we are standing in running water!â€ Lilly held my hand tighter as if to steady herself in a current.
â€œI know I feel it too! Letâ€™s split up and walk around the ring, it looks pretty big to me. Then we can go into the centre circle.â€ I felt a sense of ritual was needed in order to respect the sacred feeling of the temporary structure.
We wandered in opposite directions. Lilly went clockwise with the lay and followed the flow of the energy intuitively. I decided to go anticlockwise and found myself looking for mechanical damage to the stalks but I could find none. It became an obsession as I wanted an answer to this conundrum. Dropping to one knee I periodically checked the crop at its base, some of the nodes seemed to have grown longer on one side which accounted for the flattening effect of the wheat. Occasionally I found some that had exploded from within. In disbelief I collected some to show Lilly. The most amazing thing was the total lack of mud, footprints and mechanical damage; even the white patina on the surface of the leaves was undisturbed, yet on touching it I could see my finger prints had left an impression.
Joining back up with Lilly I recorded my observations on video as I related my findings to her. Lilly interjected with her own observations as to the nature of the energy that she could feel and said that her camera had malfunctioned several times as she explored.
Then together we made our way into the smaller centre circle of the formation. There was something about the harmonic proportion of the pattern that resonated with my soul. It seemed more than just two simple circles, there seemed to be an underlying geometric structure that was distinctly present yet somehow invisible. I noted my feelings on camera to which Lilly added that she could see stars in her head when she shut her eyes?
Reaching the centre point we found a delicately woven twirl of crop with a single stem of wheat protruding upright from its midst. I marvelled at the sensitive delicacy of its weave. I was sure that pervious generations would have said it was the work of the elves and fairies had they witnessed this miracle.
â€œWow! It looks just like a delicate birds nest.â€ Lilly was on her knees examining the fine structure through the lens of her digital camera.
I found myself lying flat on the ground beside the nest. I looked up at her; the sun tinted her hair with a fiery red as it shone through the individual strands of her auburn locks. â€œIâ€™ve died and gone to heaven! You look just like a Goddess!â€ I sighed as Lillyâ€™s beauty struck my soul.
She grinned and poked her tongue out mischievously and said in a coy fashion, â€œIâ€™m only me!â€
â€œWell you â€“ is pretty good my dragon princess!â€ I deliberately skewed my grammar to emphasise the playful nature of my observation.
Lilly laughed and lay down in the circle. We both looked up at the clear azure blue sky and discovered within ourselves a great sense of love, healing and peace. It seemed to emanate from the formation itself and the energy that had created it.
I drifted off to somewhere in time and returned minutes later only to find that two hours had past! â€œHey look at the time!â€ I said as I sat bolt upright checking my watch. â€œItâ€™s nearly 3 oâ€™clock. Weâ€™ve only got another hour.â€
Lilly woke from her alternate state of deep meditation and shook the cobwebs from her mind. She slowly started to focus with one hand shielding her eyes from the bright sunlight. â€œIâ€™ve just had the most wonderful healing dream.â€ She spoke with a wistful fairy voice and stretched as she lay on the ground.
We both stood up. I could clearly see that the sun had moved substantially in the sky and I noticed that Lilly had slightly red suntanned face as we had forgotten to use sun block.
â€œWe should measure the diameters of the circles.â€ Lilly said returning to her logical conscious self. She looked into her back pack which lay to one side and pulled out a ball of string. â€œThis will do, grab one end and walk across to the edge of the circle on that side.â€ I did as she asked. Lilly walked to the opposite side of the circle from me and touched the standing wheat with her end of the string. She bade me do the same and told me to pull the string tight. She then looked along the line of the string towards me and asked me to adjust my position until the white cotton cord touched the centre stalk. â€œPull it tight!â€ She shouted and then taking out a knife she cut the string precisely. â€œLet go!â€ I did as she requested and she wound the piece of string up. â€œRight letâ€™s do the same with the big ring, inside diameter and outside diameter, same procedure.â€ Within ten minutes Lilly had collected 3 neatly wound balls of string which she tucked carefully into the backpack along with what was left of the original ball.
â€œAh, I see, you are going to measure them later when we get back to Lille.â€ The penny finally dropped as I understood what she was doing, â€œmost ingenious!â€
â€œThen we will know the exact dimensions of this miracle.â€ Lilly smiled, â€œI have a hunch that itâ€™s maybe important and when we analyse the data we might find something interesting?â€
As I stepped out of the circle I had an intuitive urge to visit the small wood immediately to our front right before returning to the road. I felt that I couldnâ€™t leave this place without investigating the anomalous clump of trees; it too seemed sacred. Carefully we made our way along the tramlines without damaging the standing crop back to the edge of the field. Then we continued along the boundary towards the wooded area.
After several minutes we stood on the threshold of the trees and gathered our thoughts. The energy of the circle had completely blown away our previous medieval thought patterns and I was therefore caught totally unaware. For as we stepped into the wood the timeslip vortex appeared. Multicoloured lights danced in the air and we plunged into the din and clamour of a full on battle.
The electrifying jolt had all the hallmarks of a car crash! I was mounted on a strong bay chestnut coloured horse with a black mane. My crossbow was held to my eye and I squeezed the trigger. I saw the English man-at-arms fall to the ground as the deadly bolt struck home with tremendous force in the middle of his chest. I was shocked as I realised that I had just killed him stone dead. He had had no chance.
My thoughts were rudely interrupted by a longbow arrow that thwacked against the visor of my sallet and luckily glanced off at an oblique angle. I spied the perpetrator, slung my crossbow, drew my sword and spurred my horse to the gallop. Within seconds I was on him, he ducked but my scything sword found its mark and blood spurted from his head as his helmet came off. The gaping wound in his neck continued to spray blood over my horse and black grieves as he went down under the trampling hooves.
All around the hue and cry to, â€œhunt down the English Godons,â€ roared from French throats. Nine months of siege with its deprivations and terror had hardened the hearts of the French mounted men-at-arms. Many in their throng had lost blood relations at Crecy, Poitier and Agincourt, now it was pay back time.
Finally the aristocratic mounted chivalry of France had caught the crooked stick wielding archers of England out in the open and totally unprepared; it was total carnage, with only the English men-at-arms putting up any sort of worthwhile resistance.
Everywhere I looked; I saw blood and body parts. Battle madness reigned supreme and I was part of it.
As the mounted knights charged on followed by their loyal men-at-arms, I reloaded my crossbow. The weapon was light in comparison to the heavy siege crossbows that employed complex mechanisms to span them. I could use either the hook on my belt in conjunction with my leg muscles and the crossbowâ€™s stirrup or a simple hinged lever designed for use on horseback; being mounted I decided to use the latter and reached for an armour piercing quarrel with leather flights from my quiver. Regaining the reins I swung my horse around using my knees and continued the chase. Firing from point blank range I despatched another archer with a bolt to the face; his paltry short sword being no match for my hunting crossbow.
An impressively caparisoned knight galloped up with a retinue of men-at-arms. I twisted in my saddle and raised my crossbow intuitively to defend my head.
â€œRelax!â€ A loud voice boomed out in French, â€œGood shooting, Iâ€™m glad you are on our side yet I see you do not wear the white cross of France but that of a Knight Hospitalier. Who are you, Sir?â€
I looked at the 3 royal fleur dâ€™Lys that his azure shield bore surrounded by a red border with eight white roundels, more properly described in heraldic terms, Azure three fleurs-de-lis Or, a bordure Gules bezanty Argent. I knew straight away that it was the gallant Jean de Valois, Duc dâ€™AlenÃ§on, Commander in Chief of the Royal Army. Behind him to the left I saw a shield bearing, Azure three fleurs-de-lis Or a label Argent, a sinister bendlet Sable overall, I knew instantly that it was Jean Bastard of Orleans the commander of the siege these past 9 months. He looked anxious to continue the pursuit and engage the English men-at-arms on the ridge ahead so I decided to make it short and sweet.
â€œMy name is Robert des Armoises, sieur dâ€™Tichemont from the RÃ©publique of Metz my Lord.â€ I did my best to bow my head whilst in the saddle and added a flourish with my free right arm.
â€œAh yes, I know you and your black ravens, you are forever guarding the angel. Where are they?â€
I scanned the horizon 360 degrees and located la pucelleâ€™s banner rearward some distance by the old Roman road. I could just make out four black figures that sat motionless on their horses behind her entourage.
â€œThere my Lord are four of the Black Brethren watching over Jehanne and her banner.â€ I pointed with my crossbow, â€œOthers of our number are yet in the field despatching the English Godons to Hell.â€
â€œFrance and my sovereign liege the Dauphin are most grateful Sir Robert. You have our thanks.â€
â€œOur pleasure my Lord we but do our duty and the bidding of our Lady Luxembourg.â€
â€œInteresting, thatâ€™s more than her son does! You must explain something of these intricacies another time when we are not so busy. I have been waiting for this day for a long time!â€ With that he raised his sword hilt to his lips in salute, clapped his visor shut and then signalled his men forward at the charge.
As he disappeared into the fray, I headed my trusty steed rearward to rejoin my sacred band of Brethren. As my horse gained ground I saw Yvette remove her hood and wave. I glanced at la pucelle; she met my gaze and smiled, then raised her banner high. Our eyes locked momentarily and our souls connected; I felt warmth spread through my body. I was truly alive at this very moment it time. She raised her sword and touched the hilt to the place near her neck where the arrow had pierced. I raised my crossbow to indicate that I understood her message of thanks. With that I spurred my horse onward. She did the same and her entourage and men-at-arms followed her. As she passed, her gaze was firmly fixed forward but I could see the fire of the Holy Spirit burning brightly in her eyes which were set intently once more on her sacred mission.
As I urged my horse forward with my knees to rejoin Yvette it somehow stumbled on a corpse and was thrown forward. Multicoloured lights appeared in a circle and I found myself on the floor in the middle of the small wood. Lilly stood over me and held out her hand to help me up.
â€œThat was careless, you do all that fighting and then your horse trips as you trot over to see me!â€ She laughed to see my embarrassment as I brushed the leaf mould from my clothes.
â€œHey, donâ€™t tell me you saw the whole thing?â€ I said suddenly realising that she must have witnessed what I had experienced.
â€œYes, I saw the whole thing. I just sat here guarding our precious angel with Ulrich, Tomas and Thibault whilst Johannes, Ruprecht and Guillaume played hunt the English with you!â€
I dusted myself off and stood up smiling like a small boy that had been caught out doing something naughty.
â€œYou do realise what we are stood on donâ€™t you?â€ Lilly looked me straight in the eye and was suddenly serious.
â€œWell, I can feel the negative energy but I guess you are going to tell me anyway.â€
Lilly smiled and then looked serious again, â€œItâ€™s the grave pit! It contains the bones of some 2000 English soldiers that died here on the 18th day of June in the year of our Lord one thousand four hundred and twenty nine.â€
â€œMmmm a sobering thought but it was their choice. We had best get back to the road. The taxi will be here in 15 minutes and we have a train to catch.â€
Quietly we made our way out of the wood and along the edge of the field back to the road. Lilly paused to take a couple of last photographs, one of the wood and one of the mysterious circle with the airbase in the distance.
Within minutes of reaching the road the taxi arrived exactly on time and did a three point turn to face in the direction of Orleans. The driver smiled at me when he saw that I was covered in mud, twigs and leaf litter. By the expression on his face I could see that his mind was working overtime trying to guess what we had been up to!
Some thirty minutes later we found ourselves back at Gare du Orleans with our train for Paris due at 17:00hrs. We collected our luggage from the driver. I thanked him and then paid him in full with another â‚¬50 Euro note.
â€œJust time to grab a quick coffee and a bottle of water, my treat,â€ Lilly looked tired now and I could see it would be a quiet ride home back to Lille.