Sir Guy’s Dilemma”, Ch. 12–Too many Lords at the estate, 1/04/13 Gratiana Lovelace (Post #339)
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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: Lord George Middleton returns from the Holy Land to recuperate from his injuries, to reclaim his lands and betrothed, and to rest.
Sir Guy’s Dilemma”, Ch. 12–Too many Lords spoil the estate
Sir Guy is determined to act with honor and probity with regard to his much younger brother-in law Lord George reclaiming control of managing the Middleton Estates–despite Sir Guy’s feelings of being dispossessed by Lord George shunting him aside as the Middleton Estates Land Agent. And Lord Archer is feeling quite territorial about Lady Saline Talkington–Lord George’s betrothed–even though his own betrothed Lady Mary and her father Lord Havorford are still guests of Lady Roseanna and Sir Guy.
The intentions by the various parties are complex–and the hoped for outcomes are not altogether clear and focused. So at Lady Roseanna’s urging, the next day Sir Guy, Lord Archer, and Lord George have a man to man chat over luncheon–to settle the air between them. Lord George was too busy being tended to by the healer woman Althea in the morning to join them in breaking their fast. And in truth, Lord George is not necessarily the better for it.
The men with have their luncheon in Sir Guy’s private study in his and Lady Roseanna’s Middleton Manor home. Sir Guy’s very knightly Study is filled with floor to ceiling dark wood but only shelves sparsely containing books and other artifacts of Sir Guy’s peripatetic existence before he met and married his Lady Rose–the wreckage of his life, including the metal guards for one of his hands from an ill fated suit of armor, a bejeweled dagger for cutting fruit that had belonged to Sir Guy’s mother as a child (a gift from his French relations), and ledgers of varying sizes having to do with the management and running of Sir Guy and Lady Roseanna’s estate surrounding Middleton Manor and also pertaining to the much larger estates of Lord George.
In the center of the impressive room–and around which the seating and tables are arranged–is a large stone hearth that is almost big enough for a man to walk into without ducking his head. Though it is certainly not as high as to accommodate the over six foot tall Sir Guy. Over the imposing stone mantel is the Gisborne coat of arms [(2) and right] in the party per fess shield format displaying the French fleur de lis and the horse heads indicating some Saxon heritage. The diamond center with chevron and three dots refer to the trinity. Finally, the motto below the shield is honor meus, mea vita–my honor, my life. It is the coat of arms of an honorable knight–a knight Sir Guy continues to strive to become.
Sir Guy is not trying to impress Lord George and Lord Archer with his study–nor give himself the advantage of being in his own domain–but he ends up doing both. Across from the hearth is a large multi paned bay window into which a small dining table rests with their midday repast. And the men take their seats, say a prayer for their meal, then begin to eat and discuss the matters at hand.
Sir Guy: Being the elder in age by twelve years and fifteen years of his brother and his brother-in-law, Sir Guy opens the conversation. “George.” Sir Guy says haltingly, still becoming accustomed to addressing his brother-in-law so informally–as he does his brother Lord Archer. “How did you fare with the healer woman’s treatment this morning?” Sir Guy bites into his meat–if only to stifle a small smile threatening to burst from his lips at what George might have been subjected to.
Lord George: Gulping down the wine, splattering it on his tunic, he blanches. “The infernal woman insisted I drink her concoction of foul smelling and worse tasting putridity.” He wrinkles up his face in disgust.
Sir Guy: “Ah! Well then you are sure to get well under her careful administration. Last year she plied me with all manner of such drinks–bringing me back from death’s door. Your arm wound should heal in no time.” Sir Guy looks over the top of his own wine goblet at his brother, Lord Archer. “Isn’t that so, Archer.”
Lord Archer has been uncharacteristically silent–when he usually chats away like a magpie. So Sir Guy is trying to draw him out.
Lord Archer: “Indeed. But your injuries are surely not as severe as Guy’s were. So I wonder why you still use a sling.”
Lord George: “No, the wounds were not deep, nor did they bleed excessively. But the blade found its mark and my arm has a continuing weakness that no amount of rest, nor medicine seems to be able to aide.” George takes his arm out of its sling and his arm hangs limply at his side. Then he raises it half way while grimacing in difficulty–there still being quite a bit of pain yet to abate in the healing process. “That’s as far as it will go, I’m afraid.” He pouts, knowing that his battle days are over. A soldier who cannot lift his sword or shield to defend himself–let alone to vanquish his foe–has no place on the battle field.
Sir Guy: “I did not realize the extent of your injury, George.” Now he says his brother-in-laws name in a familial tone. “You must have cut a tendon.” Sir Guy [(3) right] tilts his head knowingly and sympathetically.
Lord George: “That is what the healer woman said.” Lord George frowns, feeling quite despondent.
As an experienced soldier, Sir Guy learned to wound his foe in this way–but not to kill, leaving his opponent alive. But now he wonders if there is honor in maiming a man so grievously. Would not the swift kill have been more kind?
Sir Guy: Trying to lift his spirits, Sir Guy jests in a deadpan voice. “And then the healer woman made you drink her foul elixir.”
Lord George: “Dammit man, if she didn’t. Ha ha ha ha ha!”
Lord Archer and Sir Guy: “Ha ha ha ha ha ha!” The brothers laugh, too.
Sir Guy: “I remember the disgusting putrefaction that she made me drink last year. I almost preferred death.”
All three men: “Ha ha ha ha ha!”
It is a male bonding moment–over hurts to the body and the pride that only men can understand.
Or so men think. As if women do not feel hurts and disappointments? Were Lady Roseanna present to describe in detail the progress and pain of childbirth, one might doubt if even the most stout hearted of men could bear the pain and suffering that women must endure to give life.
Now Sir Guy understands more fully why Lord George has come home to England to reclaim control over his estates–that he will be unable to return to the Holy Land as a soldier in service to King Richard. Though Sir Guy wonders if Lord George has fully admitted his changed future to himself. So setting aside his own wishes again, Sir Guy renews his offer to aid Lord George in transitioning to becoming master of the estates.
Sir Guy: “George, give yourself a day or two of further healing.” Lord George startles worried that he will have to drink more muck. “And I will speak to the healer woman about alternate forms of treatment for you.”
Lord George: “Thank you, Guy.” He sighs.
Sir Guy: “In a few days, I will go over the estate records and plans I have kept.” He motions to a two foot tall stack of ledgers and rolled maps. on one shelf. “Then Dawson and I will take you on a tour of the state and reintroduce you to the tenants. I encourage you to keep him on as your right hand man. You will find his knowledge invaluable.”
Lord Archer: “But what will you do, Guy?” He looks aghast at his industrious brother who is not accustomed to being idle. Though Lord George still doesn’t pick up on the fact that it is Sir Guy who is the invaluable asset to the Middleton Estates thriving.
Sir Guy: “I will content myself with our 500 acres and our growing family. I have spent the first forty years of my life working for other people and having no family life. I am looking forward to changing that and relishing in my lady wife and our children.” A great rationalization on Sir Guy’s part–and a really good reason for Sir Guy to accept Lord George taking control of his lands, were he to convince himself that that is how he truly feels.
Lord George: Seeing only sincerity in Sir Guy’s words, he remarks. “You are a lucky man, Guy. You know what you want and you have what you want.”
That isn’t entirely accurate, because Sir Guy still also retains the ambition of a man who has had to fight for his position and power all of his life. Sir Guy has just learned from experience to know when he is beaten and he needs to move on–however difficult it is for him to do that.
Later that same afternoon, Lord George [(4) right] decides to absent himself from his bed chamber–in the hope of forgoing having to drink any more medicines. So, he goes to his little’s niece’s daytime sleeping room–at night, she sleeps in her parents’ room–only to find the sweet Lady Mary cradling baby Lady Helen and singing her to sleep.
Lady Mary: Singing softly. “Lullay thou little tiny child, bye bye lully lullay. Lullay thou little tiny child, bye bye lully lullay.”
Lord George: Leaning against the open doorway, he whispers. “My Lady Mary, you have the voice of an angel.”
Lady Mary: She looks up startled, seeing the young Lord she met at last night’s dinner. “My Lord.” She nods her head and quickly lowers her eyes. He is only three years younger than Lord Archer. But somehow, Lord George seems even younger to Lady Mary. Perhaps it is his boyish smile or the fact that he is injured that draws her interest.
Lord George: “I came to visit my little niece. Is she asleep yet?” He takes two steps tentatively into the baby’s bed chamber.
Lady Mary: “Almost. I have had a time trying to soothe her. She would not burp right away after her Mama’s feeding her and she had a tummy ache.” She rubs the baby’s tummy gently as she looks up at him.
Lord George: “You seem very good with her. Do you look forward to being a mother yourself someday?” He asks interestedly as he sits in a nearby chair.
Lady Mary: Her face pinkens with an adorable blush at such an intimate question. But she responds gamely. “I do. My little sister was my baby dolly when I was little. So I got to practice on her.” She smiles as she shifts the baby to her other arm.
Lord George: Peering over to Lady Mary holding baby Helen, he says absentmindedly. “I was schooled from my own infancy that my main job is to produce an heir so that our line and our lineage can continue. But seeing Baby Helen’s sweet face makes me want something more.”
Lady Mary: “I know what you mean. I adore her. And she will be my niece when Lord Archer and I wed in the new year after I turn sixteen.” She smiles wanly.
Lord George: “Jesu! Aren’t you a bit young to go on the marriage market?” He asks brazenly. But Lady Mary’s shy sweetness compels him to pose the question.
Lady Mary: “My Mama was fifteen when she wed my Papa. So I will not be that young.” She says a bit defiantly.
Lord George: “I didn’t mean to offend, Milady. I would just wish to give you time to adjust to the idea of marriage.”
Lady Mary: “It is what my Mama and Papa want. And it will please them.” The she hastens to add. “And it will please me, as well.
Lord George: “Marriage is forever, you know. So you will hopefully also please yourself.
Lady Mary: “I am sure that I will.” She says with simple conviction. She lays baby Helen in her cradle. Then standing up from leaning over the cradle, Lady Mary finds Lord George at her side. “Oh!” She flinches–never having been so close to a man before.
Lord George: “I am sorry to have startled you.” He looks upon her sweet face, her ripe lips, and he forgets for a moment that he is already betrothed, himself. Then he takes a step back from her, lifts her hand to his lips and kisses it, and departs.
Lady Mary stares [(5) right] open mouthed at Lord George’s retreating form, wondering what just happened between them? Of course, her father Lord Havorford would be astonished at the ease with which his very shy daughter conversed with Lord George. In fact, she is also astonished.
To be continued with Chapter 13
(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|
3) Image of Sir Guy is portrayed by Richard Armitage and found at RANet at Spooks series 8, episode 7 (pix 148)
4) Lord George image (cropped) is that of James McAvoy portraying Tom Lefroy in “Becoming Jane” and was found at http://fc01.deviantart.net/fs70/f/2011/156/8/2/james_mcavoy_by_forgottenanime-d3i3b74.jpg
5) Lady Mary image (cropped) is that of Arthur Hughes’ “Ophelia” circa mid 1800’s found at http://preraphaelitesisterhood.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/06/hughes-again.jpg
Previous chapter installments, Ch 11: