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That man was William of Paris, a Dominican priest, papal inquisitor, and Philip’s own confessor. Éliane knew him by another name, a play of words on the name of his order. To her, he was known as Domini canis, the hound of the Lord. She had no doubt it was William’s doggedness that convinced Philip to campaign anew against the Order.

All of these thoughts kept Éliane awake, but she was also waiting. For weeks she made these plans with Beau, and now those plans were in jeopardy. The King was likely to make his move now, if at all. When that happened, the garrison of La Rochelle would waste no time taking the Templers into custody and killing those who refused to go peacefully. She needed to be ready at a moment's notice to deliver her son to the ships. The timing had to be just right so the commander would have no choice but to take him as a page. So, she awaited word of the Grand Master’s arrest.

He allowed himself to be lulled into remaining at the Paris Temple despite certain peril, or so Beau complained to her when last they met. He remained to serve as pallbearer at the funeral of Philip’s sister-in-law. It was not unbelievable to imagine Philip only wanted him there so he would be close at hand. The brothers suspected it, Jacques himself suspected it, but still he stayed. The invitation was an honor that could not be simply refused.

In the event the King chose to be brash, the Order made ready. Hundreds of brothers were in La Rochelle from all over France. It was of course because La Rochelle harbored the Order’s fleet. They came not by any prior plan, but because it was good sense that any man who wished to remain a Templer might have to do so outside of France. The fleet was the surest way out. Beau and many others were probably in the port even now, preparing the fleet to sail. Only the wealth and knowledge kept by the La Rochelle commandery remained to be loaded. That would be done, or not, upon the arrival of a messenger bird.

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The End

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