“Sir Guy’s Dilemma”, Ch. 9 : Returning to health is welcomed, an uninvited visitor is not, 12/14/12 Gratiana Lovelace (Post #324rev)
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[From time to time, I will illustrate my story with my dream cast of: Richard Armitage as Sir Guy, Clive Standen as Lord Archer, Emma Watson as Lady Rose, etc.]
[Story Logo 1ab]
Author’s Mature Content Note: “Sir Guy’s Dilemma” is a story of romance and intrigue set amidst Medieval times. As such there will be some passages in this story involving heartfelt love scenes (R rated) and some passages involving highly dramatic moments. I will label the maturity rating of those chapters accordingly. Otherwise, the general rating for this story is PG or PG-13 due to some mature situations and topics. If you are unable or unwilling to attend a movie with the ratings that I provide, then please do not read the chapters with those labels. This is my disclaimer.
Author’s Recap from the previous installment: Sir Guy tells his Lady Rose about the Nottingham treasure Lord Archer buried in their stables–to her great consternation. But she and her husband end up giggling over the mess that his brother has caused and soon forget all about him as they spend a loving afternoon together. Seth receives steam breathing treatments for his measles. And it is determined that Lady Saline Talkington does not have the measles. But it is revealed that she becomes ill with fevers and malaise rather regularly for a young eighteen year old woman. Lord Archer prays for their recovery, promising to honor god if he will grant his request. This plea is overheard by Lady Roseanna and Lord Talkington.
“Sir Guy’s Dilemma”, Ch. 9: Returning to health is welcomed, an uninvited visitor is not
After Lady Roseanna and Lord Talkington over hear Lord Archer’s fervent prayer for his nephew Seth and the Lady Saline’s return to health, Lord Talkington bows and excuses himself to Lady Roseanna to see how his daughter is faring. Lady Roseanna walks toward the kneeling figure of her brother-in-law, which is an attitude she has rarely seen from him. As yet, he does not know of her presence in Middleton Manor’s chapel [(2) right].
Lady Roseanna: Joining Lord Archer abruptly in the front pew, she crosses herself as she kneels and remarks a bit peevishly. “Archer, I do not usually see you at prayers.”
Lord Archer: “Oh!” He jerks his head to his left to look at his sister-in-law, startled by her voice and her having crept up on him. He was so engrossed in his prayer for Seth and Lady Saline that he had quite blocked everything else out.
Lady Roseanna: “Now, Archer. It won’t do to be frightened in this holy place.” She clasps her hands in front of her and closes her eyes.
Lord Archer: Smiling sheepishly, he shrugs his shoulders as he gazes upon the her serene countenance. “Perhaps it is because I am so little acquainted with praying, that I fear I will not do it right. I do not know the words to say.”
Lady Roseanna: “Prayers of supplication need only your honest sincerity. Thoughts from your heart, Archer, are what matter more than if you speak pretty words.”
Lord Archer: “But will god hear me and answer my prayers?”
Lady Roseanna: “God hears all prayers. But he does not always answer us in the way that we would like.”
Lord Archer: “That is what I am afraid of, Milady Rose.” He shakes his head ruefully. “That god will wish to extract some promise of sacrifice from me to grant my request.”
Lady Roseanna: She opens her eyes and turns to look upon her fretful brother-in-law. “Archer, I have never heard you express such uncertainty before. What troubles you so?” She lays her hand upon his shoulder in concern.
Lord Archer: “I fear that your influence on all of the Gisborne men–including myself–has sparked something unknown to me before.”
Lady Roseanna: “And what, pray tell, is that?” She looks at him bemusedly.
Lord Archer: “I can scarcely believe it myself. But I think that I am developing a conscience with regard to my day to day interactions and my long term plans.” His eyes widen at the notion of him becoming a stodgy, reliable, and thoroughly predictable man.
Lady Roseanna: “Plans? Are you making plans? And if so, what might they be?” Her curiosity is piqued.
Lord Archer: “Ha ha ha! I know, I know. I am the worrisome brother who gets into scrapes all of the time, but …”
Lady Roseanna: But she interrupts him chidingly. “100,000 pounds in Nottingham treasure that you buried in our stables is more than a scrape, Archer.”
Lord Archer: “Oh. You know about that?” He wonders what Guy told her.
Lady Roseanna: “Yes, Archer, Guy felt that I should know the risk you are putting us all under.” She glares at him with her best sister-in-law stare. Rose is annoyed with Archer, but she is, perhaps, overplaying that just now to teach him a lesson.
Lord Archer: “I’m so sorry, Rose. I didn’t know what to do when we found it. All I could think was that we needed to keep Prince John from getting a hold of it.”
Lady Roseanna: “It is a risk that you have placed us under without consulting us or even giving thought to our children’s safety. How could you? You really must learn think of someone other than yourself, Archer. Or I fear there will be no one to think of you when you need it.” Lady Roseanna doesn’t quite hiss this last statement. But she gets her point across.
Lord Archer: “I’m trying, Rose. I’m asking god to heal Seth and Lady Saline. Isn’t that a good thing?” He pouts.
Lady Roseanna: “It is and we appreciate it. But are your motives wholly for their welfare? Or do you wish something in return? Especially with regard to Lady Saline, my brother Lord George’s betrothed.” She emphasizes.
Lord Archer: Perturbed at being reminded yet again of Lady Saline’s promise to another, Lord Archer’s voice rises a bit more stridently than it should in the quiet of the chapel. “I’m sorry Rose, but if your brother is so interested in having Lady Saline for his wife, then he should be here to do something about it!”
Lady Roseanna: Shaking her head, she shushes him. “Hush! Do not speak angry words in god’s house. It is disrespectful.” Then she softens. “I am sorry that you are fond of Lady Saline, but she is not free to be admired by you or any man but my brother, Lord George.”
Lord Archer: “But Rose, the Lady Saline is unlike any lady of my acquaintance–but for you.” He smiles at her fondly. “She is so sweet and giving and kind. But yet, she knows her own mind and doesn’t hesitate to show it. She is so like you in that regard.”
Lady Roseanna: “Attempting flattery while praying to god, Archer? I will not be swayed by your charm–nor will Lady Saline.”
Lord Archer: “You cannot give me even the smallest hope that I might succeed in winning Lady Saline’s heart and hand in marriage?”
Lady Roseanna: “Marriage?” She looks at him askance. “So you are serious in your admiration of her? This is not a mere dalliance on your part?”
Lord Archer: “Saline is my first thought upon waking and my last thought before slumber. I have never been in this situation before. I love her.” His heartfelt plea is matched by his earnest countenance.
Lady Roseanna: “Lady Saline is my lifelong friend and so I know her worth.” Then she continues delicately. “But you are new to the responsibilities of your elevated station, Archer. And I fear you do not yet truly understand the importance of acquiescing our own desires for the greater good.”
Lord Archer: “So am I not to love where my heart would lead me?” He asks forlornly.
Lady Roseanna: “I only suggest that if you need to ask that question, then you should already know the answer.” She looks at him compassionately.
Lord Archer: “I do. Lady Saline is a precious gift. Hhhhh! And you deem me unworthy of her.” He looks at her sadly.
Lady Roseanna: “Archer, Lady Saline is not yours to love. She belongs to my brother George. And when he returns, all will be resolved.”
Lord Archer: “Yes, Rose.” He agrees with her resignedly.
Lady Roseanna: She stands up. “I need to check on my children. So I will have to pray later.”
Lord Archer: Standing also out of courtesy. “I have kept you from your prayers–another strike against me.” He shakes his head ruefully.
Lady Roseanna: Lifting her hand up and caressing his cheek, she smiles at him and says. “I have been praying all the while, Archer. Praying for you and for your discernment.”
Lord Archer: Touched that she should pray for him, he kisses her hand. “Thank you, Milady Rose. You are grace personified. My brother is a lucky man.”
Lady Roseanna: “As am I a lucky woman to be his wife. Will you join me?” She motions toward the door of the chapel.
Lord Archer: “No, I think I will stay a while. I have much to discuss with god–now that we are on speaking terms.” He smiles and winks at her.
Lady Roseanna: “Then I will leave you to it.”
They nod at each other and Lady Roseanna leaves the chapel. Lord Archer returns to kneeling in prayer, clasping his hands tightly together.
Lord Archer: “Oh god, help me to do what is right–for once in my life. And if it is your wish, please make me worthy of My Lady Saline.” Then he adds haltingly as a solitary tear falls from his eye. “Even if I may only be her friend, please let me have that much. Please.”
Lord Archer kneels quietly in the chapel for a few more minutes as he composes himself–also reminding god about his nephew Seth’s need to heal. Then Lord Archer rises, crosses himself, bows to the altar, turns and leaves the chapel to check on Seth and on Lady Saline. But first, he will take a ride to clear his head.
When Lady Roseanna left the chapel, she went straight to her son Seth’s bed chamber to see if his steam breathing treatments are easing his suffering. She finds Sir Guy standing in the doorway looking upon the scene and telling Seth a story to distract him.
Sir Guy: “Now the falcon soars high in the air, seeing everything below him. Nothing escapes his attention–not the rustling grass in the wind, not the bunny rabbits poking their heads out of their burrows, and not the fish swimming in the stream.” He spies Lady Roseanna who nestles into him and they put their arms around each other as they smile lovingly to each other.
Seth: “What happens next, Papa?” He peeks his head out of the towel over him as he leans over the steaming bucket of medicines.
Althea: “No talking, Seth, and stay under the towel. Breathe deeply while you listen to your Papa’s story.”
Seth: “Kkhh! Kkhh!” Seth coughs up some congestion in his lungs and spits it into a rag that Althea holds out to him. The sputum is dark yellow, but that is better than the dark green of yesterday.”
Althea: She shows Lady Roseanna the cloth with a smile of relief. “He is making progress.”
Lady Roseanna: She mouths the words “Thank you.” to Althea.
Sir Guy: He smiles. “Um, let me see. The falcon decides that the bunnies can be chased another day, but fish will make a right fine meal. So, the falcon dives downward ever faster as he lays his wings close to his body. Down, down, down, the falcon plummets. Then hurtling toward the fish laden stream, the falcon suddenly pulls up its head and extends its talons into the water, even as its wings spread and begin to flap him into upward flight again.” The urgency in Sir Guy’s voice conveys the precision hunting movements of the falcon.
Seth: “Did he get the fish?” Seth asks literally breathlessly.
Sir Guy: “Who is telling this story?” He asks whimsically. “Must I endure such interruptions?”
Lady Roseanna: “Oh Guy, do not tease him so. Finish your story.”
Seth: “Please, Papa. Kkkhhh! Kkkhhh!” He asks not looking up as he continues to breath in the medicines wafting up to his lungs in the steaming bucket of water.
Althea: “Yes, please do finish the story so Seth can concentrate on his breathing. Take deeper breaths, Seth.” She rubs his back. Seth nods his head under the towel.
Sir Guy: “The fish is utterly surprised to be plucked out of its watery home and carried skyward. Up and up and up the falcon flies clutching its prize. Even as the falcon soars through the air, it sees the perfect lofty perch on an outcropping of stone on the side of the cliff face. Such a secluded spot will be just right for eating his meal without others to interfere and try to take it from him. The falcon has to be ever watchful of his brethren birds, for they would much rather steal his meal than attempt to catch their own meal. As the falcon lands on the ledge, he lifts up the fish in one taloned claw and bites its head off.”
Lady Roseanna: “Ewww!” She frowns disgustedly and buries her face into her husband’s chest.
Sir Guy: He kisses her forehead and whispers to her. “Now, now Milady Rose. You are not so very different from the falcon. You eat fish without its head on. But you have the cook remove the evidence of your conquest before it reaches our table.” He smiles impishly at her.
Lady Roseanna: “Oh, finish your story.” She pouts cutely as she gently pokes his non injured right side.
Sir Guy: “The falcon savors every morsel of the fish it eats. The fish will provide sustenance and energy for the falcon to fly to hunt for the next day’s meal. As the falcon spreads its wings to take flight to find a warm perch for the night, he notices a furry large eared creature down below on the ground. And the falcon resolves to hunt some rabbit for tomorrow’s meal. The end.”
Seth: “That was a good one Papa, Sur Guy!” He says rather sleepily. Althea had mixed some sleeping draughts in at the end of Seth’s steam treatment.
Althea: “You did very well Seth.” She admonishes him. “Now let me help you back to bed.” When she removes the towel from Seth’s head, Sir Guy and Lady Roseanna can see the moisture from the steam dripping off Seth’s face as Althea mops it up.
Lady Roseanna: “Kisses, Seth” She blows him a kiss.
Seth: “Kisses, Mama.” Seth blows her a kiss. “Kisses Papa.” He blows his papa a kiss before he lays his head down on his pillow and falls asleep.
Sir Guy: Blowing his now sleeping son a kiss, he says. “Kisses, Seth. Thank you Althea.” He smiles warmly at her. Seth is Sir Guy’s only son–at the moment–and his first born child, therefore, very special to him.
Althea: “I gave him a sleeping draught–it will last for several hours. You two go on and attend to your guests. I will stay with Seth.
Lady Roseanna: “Thank you, Althea!” She says most sincerely.
Althea nods at them. Then Lady Rose and Sir Guy turn and head back down stairs.
At the base of the stairs, Sir Guy asks a footman.
Sir Guy: “Is my brother, Lord Archer, in the manor? I would speak to him.”
Footman: “He went out riding a while ago, My Lord.”
Sir Guy: “Please let me know when he returns.” The footman nods and leaves.
Sir Guy and Lady Roseanna turn to go out to the terrace to watch the sun setting before dinner that evening. On the terrace, they find Lord and Lady Talkington. The couples–one long married and one in the first year of their marriage–sit across from each other on opposing sette’s. It is a beautiful twilight [(3) right] that is giving way to a crystal clear night. They chat amiably while they await Archer’s return.
Lady Roseanna: “How is Lady Saline? I have not had a chance to look in on her since earlier this afternoon.”
Lady Talkington: I just left her and her fever has broken.”
Sir Guy: “That’s a relief!”
Lord Talkington: “It is. Though I would like to take Lady Saline home as soon as possible …” He shoots a look at Lady Roseanna since they had overheard Lord Archer earlier praying for Lady Saline. “… but I fear that we must wait a few more days until she is returned to full health before we undertake the journey.”
Sir Guy: “Of course.”
Lady Talkington: “And little Seth? How is he doing?”
Lady Roseanna: “He seems to be expelling the ill humors with the healer woman’s steaming breathing treatments. He is sleeping comfortably at the moment and she is with him.”
Lord Talkington: “You must be greatly relieved, Sir Guy.” The older man smiles at the younger man warmly.
Sir Guy: “I am. Though we wish that Seth had not taken ill, we are glad that he is on the mend.”
Lord Talkington: “Yes, it was unfortunate that the Nottingham disease was brought here.” He narrows his eyes.
Lady Talkington: Asking benignly, she queries. “And where is Lord Archer? Has he left afterall?”
Lady Roseanna: “No Eliza. He went out riding after he visited the chapel for prayers.”
Sir Guy: Sir Guy raises his eyebrow incredulous. “Prayers?”
Lady Roseanna: “Yes, Guy.” She says a bit defensively–about his brother.
Lord Talkington: “I happened upon the scene as well. He asked god to make Lady Saline well.”
Lady Talkington: “”He did?” She thinks that he can’t be all that bad if he prays.
Sir Guy: “Really?”
Lady Roseanna: “Yes, really.” Then she notices a rider in the distance and says. “Look, Guy! Maybe Archer is coming now.”
Sir Guy: Narrowing his eyes to see better, he shakes his head. “I don’t think it is Archer. There is a flag flapping in the breeze.” Then Sir Guy’s blood runs cold. “Oh no!”
Lady Roseanna: Instantly noticing the change in her husband’s demeanor, she asks with knowing trepidation. “What is it, Guy?.
Lord Talkington: “Ah!” Is all he says–knowing what the rider bearing the royal flag standard means.
Lady Talkington: Looking back and forth between her husband and Sir Guy, she asks impatiently. “What is it?”
Sir Guy: Talking his Lady Rose’s hands in his and holding them against his heart, he says softly. “The rider carries Prince John’s flag standard. He must be near.”
Lady Roseanna: Her eyes widen in fear. “No!”
Noticing their hosts’ distressed state, the Talkingtons give each other sidelong looks.
Lord Talkington: “Milady Rose, I was under the impression that you and your cousin were estranged.”
Sir Guy: “”They are. We are. I cannot think why he has come here.”
Lady Rosanna: “Can you not, my husband?” Of course he can, but not when they are in company as they are now.
The rider approaches closer, slows his steed to a trot when he arrives at the base of the terrace stairs. Then he dismounts, walks forward to Sir Guy, bows, and hands him a sealed letter.
Herald Rider: “My Lord, Sir Guy. Prince John begs me to tell you that he is but a half day away at Derry and will see you on the morrow at Mid Day.
Lady Roseanna: Summoning all of her courage as a member of the Royal family, she says. “Thank you Herald.” for riders announcing the coming of Prince John [(4) right] are heralding his arrival. “You have discharged your duty. Are you to stay the night with us or return to Prince John?”
Herald Rider: “I am released from further service until my prince arrives on the morrow. I will gladly be of assistance in any way I can to help you prepare.”
Sir Guy: “Thank you. And does Prince John travel alone? Or are others with him?” Sir Guys hesitantly.
Herald Rider: “Yes My Lord. Lord Haverford and his eldest daughter Lady Mary are with Prince John as well. Forgive me, but we were in search of Lord Archer at Nottingham. And upon learning of his removal to Leicester, Prince John said he would travel here to find him.”
Sir Guy turns to Lady Roseanna. She turns to look at him. Then they say in unison.
Sir Guy and Lady Roseanna: “Archer!”
To be continued with Chapter 10
(1) “Guy’s Dilemma” logo is a composite of three images:
a) Sir Guy (portrayed by Richard Armitage) in the BBC’s Robin Hood, Series 3, episode 13 (pix 64).and is found at http://www.richardarmitagenet.com/images/gallery/RobinHood/album/seasonthree/Episodethirteen/slides/13_064.html;
b) Image of Lord Archer (portrayed by Clive Standen) http://www.richardarmitagenet.com/images/gallery/RobinHood/album/seasonthree/episodetwelve/slides/12_093.html;
c) a sword hilt from MS Office Clip Art was found at http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/images/results.aspx?qu=sword&ex=1#ai:MP900432917|
(2) Image representing the Middleton Manor Chapel in Leicester is a photo manipulation of the image from Robin Hood Series 3, episode 6 (pix 138) was found at http://www.richardarmitagenet.com/images/gallery/RobinHood/album/seasonthree/Episodesix/slides/ep6_0138.html
(3) Image of Middleton Manor’s extensive grounds is that of Thorpe Park and was found at http://www.cityofdeephaven.org/images/Thorpe%20Park.JPG
(4) Prince John image is a tapestry found at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:King_John_from_De_Rege_Johanne.jpg
Previous chapter installments, Ch. 8: