Chapter 47

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“Yes,” said Pepe, “I know of the Inquisition.”

“Yes, of course,” said Cameron, his thigh still sore from the skewers, “go on.”

Nicole continued, “By that time, except for very few strongholds, all of the towns and forts supporting the Cathar had fallen.  The greatest of these was the fort at Montségur, atop the mountain, high above the valleys.  Ten thousand crusaders held siege on the fortress for almost a year.  The attackers persisted because they believed that those who held Montségur, held with them the legendary Treasure of the Cathar.  Down to less than 400 defenders, the Cathar at Montségur finally conceded to surrender.  A two-week truce stopped all fighting, and it looked like there would be a peaceful outcome.  However, when the two weeks passed more than 200 Cathar, Parfait and Credentes, were brutally forced down the mountain and burned alive.”

“200 people?” asked Cameron.

“Yes, they were put into a wooden, I don’t know the word, palissade maybe,” Nicole looked at Pepe.

“Prison, they put them into a wooden prison.  A stockade,” said Pepe.

“Oui, a stockade.  They force all 200 people into the stockade to burn to death.”

Cameron anxiously asked Nicole, “And what about the other 200?  You said there were 400 Cathar in the fort.”

“Those left in the fort watched this burning.  They were the supporters of the Cathar.  The attackers believed they had taken all of the Cathar and destroyed them.  Four Parfaits stayed hidden in the fort at his time.  Then the next night, with the help of those left in the fort these Parfaits secretly escaped by climbing ropes down the flat mountainside.  The foolish operatives of Rex Mundi believed that the wealth of the Cathar and Templars had been secretly coming out of the fort over the time of the siege.  When they learned of the great escape they decided that the greatest treasure had gone with them down those ropes in the dark.”

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