Richard was not welcomed into the city like Philip. Philip and his men lodged inside the city of Messina, but Tancred refused to let Richard and his troops stay in the city, so Richard set up camp outside the city walls. Richard sent his demands to Tancred, but Tancred was reluctant to meet with Richard and put it off as long as possible. Naturally, to placate him, Tancred released Joanna, but not her dowry, nor her husband’s legacy.
Richard gathered with others outside his tent to meet his sister. He had a tent erected next to his to shelter her until other arrangements could be made. Joanna arrived accompanied by a royal escort, stopping her horse in front of Richard. Stepping forward, he helped his sister down from her horse.
Joanna was eight years younger than Richard. Slim with fiery red hair and deep brown eyes, she took after father in temperament. Richard’s sister and could prove useful. He could marry her to another man, using her to form a treaty or alliance.
Joanna did not smile at her brother. Instead, she frowned to show her displeasure. Richard tried to welcome her. “After all these years, it is so good to see you, dear sister.”
She looked him up and down. “It has been so many years, I hardly recognized you. I would not have been able to, if you did not look so much like our father.”
“Let me show you to your tent. I do apologize for the accommodations, but I assure you things will be sorted out with Tancred, and you will have a better place to lodge.”
Joanna put out her hand for Richard. “Tancred is a louse, Richard. I doubt he will negotiate. He lacks serious intelligence when it comes to diplomacy.” She let out a long sigh. “Alas, it is good that you are here, though. I feel much better knowing it is you that has come for me.”
“I know you have had a rough time, but your fortune will change.”
“Oh, Richard, he took everything from me, everything. Do you know that I couldn’t retain even one of my servants?” Joanna pouted.
“There are plenty here to serve you, Sister. In fact,” he motioned Anne forward, “may I present Lady Anne Baux, Viscountess of Marseilles. She served our mother for years, even spending some time with her when Henry locked her up, and Anne has resided at my court ever since. She is here to be your lady.”
Anne gave Joanna a proper curtsey. “Your Highness.”
Joanna pulled Richard aside and whispered to him, “Where have I heard her name before?”
“Her father was a very wealthy merchant in Marseilles,” Richard whispered back.
“No, that is not it. I… oh, I know. She is your… Richard! You brought your mistress to be my lady? Really Richard, you are more like our father than I would have guessed.”
“Joanna, she is the best, and as a queen, I thought you would appreciate the best.” Richard scolded her.
Joanna looked down her nose at Anne. “Alright. I will give it a try. I am sorry; I am just so upset about this whole situation. I lost my husband, imprisoned, and the usurper is sitting on the throne. It is enough to make anybody feel out of sorts.”
“I understand but keep in mind, I am here now.” Richard flashed her grin.
They entered Joanna’s tent and Anne followed.
Joanna kept a low profile, for the time being. She spent most of the day in her tent or Richard’s, where she tried to advise him on the important players in Tancred’s camp. Anne went about her new duties, sending Gustave to conduct the business affairs in Messina. Joanna treated Anne with dignity, but she lacked the cordiality of her mother and brother.
The tensions in the city existed not just between Richard and Philip. The English did not find a friendly haven at Messina. The local Greek shopkeepers and the Lombardi citizens of Messina did not impress the English crusaders. The feeling was mutual. Shopkeepers inflated their prices whenever an Englishman was seen. Daily arguments broke out in the streets. Richard knew he must seek a resolution with Tancred for the situation to improve at all. It was too late in the season to cross the sea to Acre, so the armies were to winter in Sicily. Something had to be done to make it a livable winter for all.
Richard met with Tancred’s representatives at his camp. For hours the negotiations went round and round with nothing accomplished, both sides frustrated and frayed tempers. Then Andrew rushed into Richard’s tent. “I beg your pardon for the interruption Sire, but a riot has broken out between the townspeople and your men.”
“Oh good hell!” Richard jumped out of his seat. “Excuse me, gentlemen. I must see to this.”
News of the riot reached Anne and Joanna as they sat in Joanna’s tent. Eventually, they heard noises from the riot, but remained where they were. About three hours after Richard left, a guard admitted Gustave into Joanna’s tent. “Your Highness, Lady Anne.”
“What is it, Gustave? Your eyes look positively wild!” Anne put down her sewing and rushed to him.
“Lady Anne, I just came from the city and thought you would like to hear the news. As you know, I was meeting with the Signor Maurolico. All of a sudden, we heard a disturbance in the street. Seeing a riot, I thought it best that I come straight back here.” He wiped his brow with his ever-present handkerchief.
“Yes, we heard the noise coming from town, but what is going on? What is happening?” Joanna pressed him for further information.
“Well, it was most difficult to get out of town. Everywhere was pandemonium. I did see King Richard, though. He rode into the middle of the fray on his horse, and shouted for everyone to remain calm. At first no one seemed to pay him any attention, but the crowd did start to quiet down, yet only for a moment.”
“Were Andrew and Baldwin with him?” Anne interrupted Gustave.
“Yes, they were there too.”
“Never mind Andrew and Baldwin, what did Richard do?” Joanna questioned.
“The crowd quieted slightly, mainly the king’s troops, but the townspeople, they shouted at the king. They called him an English dog, a pig, a villiain, and a coward. They used all sorts of abusive language towards him. Someone even threw rotten fruit at him.”
“They didn’t!” Joanna jumped to her feet.
“I am afraid they did, My Lady.” Gustave furrowed his brow. “The king did not stand by for such insults and he called for his armor.”
“You mean he went in unarmed!” Anne sank down in a chair and put her head in her hands.
“Yes, but he is armed now.”
Anne looked up at Gustave. “Just tell me, is he alright or no?”
“The last time I saw him, he was leading his troops. They burned down the city gate and poured inside.” Anne’s face looked pale with worry. “Lady Anne, I am sure he will return soon.” He tried to comfort her.
“Thank you, Gustave. I appreciate your report.” Anne stood back up.
“With your permission, Your Majesty, I will take my leave and return to my business.”
Joanna gave a curt nod and giving them a polite bow, he left the tent.
Evening came and went, and night fell. The city glowed from the fire at the gate and other small blazes. The sounds of battle could still be heard as far away as the camp. In Joanna’s tent, Anne clumsily performed her duties, driven to distraction with concern for Richard. Joanna sent for Blondel, and he entertained the ladies. As Blondel prepared to play, Joanna seated herself in a large chair filled with cushions. At first, Anne sat down on a smaller chair, but the instant she sat, she returned to her feet. “Lady Anne, you are making me anxious,” Joanna spoke through gritted teeth.
“I apologize, My Lady.” Anne plopped back down in the chair.
Blondel started to play a song that Joanna requested while Anne resisted the urge to fidget. She studied the intricate design in the carpet that lay below her feet, concentrating on the golden hue that surrounded large scarlet flowers. Despite her efforts, her thoughts strayed to Richard, and her stomach ached. When Blondel finished his song, Anne was lost deep in thought. The sound of Joanna’s applauding brought her around again. She gave Blondel a gracious smile. “Lady Anne, he will be alright. He always is.” Blondel tried to make Anne feel better.
Outside the sounds of battle swelled, and the distinct sound of a wounded animal met their ears. Anne rushed to the door of the tent. She strained to see more clearly in the distance, but in vain. All she could see were the rows of tents before her and the bronze gleam on the horizon that met the purple twilight above. Before she even realized it, she was pacing back and forth in front of the tent.
Inside the tent, Joanna turned to Blondel. “Pray tell, is she always like this?”
Blondel nodded his head. “I am afraid she is always like this when he is at battle, My Lady. She becomes quite agitated.”
“Then this will be a rather long crusade.” Joanna let out a loud sigh.
Hours later, Joanna lay in bed in her tent, looking at the ceiling and watching the lights of the fires throughout camp dance and form strange shadows. Anne remained outside but finally relented to Blondel and sat in a chair.
After becoming tired of tossing and turning trying to find a comfortable position, Joanna sat up and called out for Anne. Anne appeared in the tent door, looking exhausted and pale. “Anne, you really must try to relax. You will worry yourself sick and make me go half mad in the process.”
Anne opened her mouth to apologize, but Joanna did not let her. “I know, I know, you are sorry.” Joanna motioned for Anne to sit down.
“This is the part I hate the worst. It is the waiting and not knowing.” Anne stretched her arms above her head. She looked Joanna in the eye. “I worry not just that he might not return but…” her voice choked, “but what if he is hurt or in great pain and here am I, helpless to do anything.”
Joanna scrutinized her again. Anne’s concern was about Richard’s safety and not what would happen to her station, if he were not to return from battle. “Do you really love my brother, or is it the benefits that his attention affords?”
“My Lady?” Anne sputtered.
Before Joanna could speak again, a trumpet sounded in the distance, announcing the king’s return. Anne did not hesitate, but was up and out of the tent in a flash.
Outside, men poured into the camp cheering for the king. She could not see Richard; for that matter, she could not see much as the crowd pressed in around her. At last she caught a glimpse of Baldwin’s blonde hair. She could tell he was next to Richard because she could see the top of his head, with Andrew on the other side of him. All three were on a path toward Richard’s tent, but the crowd pressed in around them, cheering and celebrating. At first she felt relief but then she noticed Andrew’s clenched jaw. Then he shouted something at the people gathered before him. When they got closer, she could hear, “Make way! Fetch the surgeon! Make way, I tell you! The king is wounded!”