“Sir Guy’s Dilemma”, Ch. 14–Transitions, Travel, and Trouble, Oh My! 1/18/13 Gratiana Lovelace (Post #346)
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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.]
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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: A pleasant Friday midday dinner with betrothal couple confidences being shared–but not with their partner–and Seth winning a pony from Lord Havorford in a croquet match were delightful. But the aftermath of Lord Archer seeking Lady Saline out in the hedge garden, comforting her distress at her arranged marriage to Lord George, and them sharing their first kisses as forbidden would be lovers interrupted by her father Lord Talkington’s seething anger cast a pall over the rest of the day that the three of them tried valiantly to mask as anything but what it was–guilt tinged with shame by the two would be lovers, Lord Archer and Lady Saline.
“Sir Guy’s Dilemma”, Ch. 14– Transitions, Travel, and Trouble, Oh My!
After breaking their fast the next morning on Saturday–a working meal consisting of Sir Guy going over the Middleton estate accounts and land management issues with Lord George–Sir Guy, Lord George and Dawson tour the larger Middleton Estates that are Lord George’s property as Sir Guy hands over the reins of their control to Lord George. Lord Archer slept in–still brooding over the hostile chill emanating from Lady Saline’s father, Lord Talkington.
Sir Guy: After seeing how awkwardly Lord George mounted his horse for their ride–ultimately relying on the steps that ladies use, he asks considerately. “Are you sure that you will be comfortable riding your horse, George? Would you not be more comfortable in a carriage as we tour the estates?”
Lord George: “Thanks Guy. But I can’t abide carriages–much too bumpy.” He tilts his head at his left arm in a sling.”
Dawson: “Begging your pardon, Milords. Did you wish to see the Millers since we come upon those tenants first? Though, they are tenants of yours Sir Guy and not of Lord George. Or shall we go to the far end of the Middleton Estates property first as usual?”
Lord George: “Dawson, is it? Let’s just tour the tenant farms as we come upon them.” He tilts his head officiously, trying to take charge already.
Sir Guy: “With respect, Lord George. Our habit is to start at the farthest point of the estate and work our way back to the manor. In that way, we will not have far to go for our rest after a long day of touring. And you might especially appreciate that with your injured arm.” It is a logical and perfectly reasonable way to approach things to Sir Guy–and to anyone else for that matter.
Lord George: “I’m never one to worry about tiring myself out–probably because I am quite a bit younger than you, Guy.” He unintentionally insults his 15 years older brother-in-law. Lord George has that habit of giving offence rather breezily–and that will one day come back to bite him in his … well, what he rides upon. “But, as you say, I am injured. So, let us proceed with your plan, Guy.”
Noticing that Lord George did not afford him the same courtesy of addressing him formally as Sir Guy in front of their servant Dawson–as Sir Guy courteously did for Lord George–that Sir Guy nods his head stiffly with his lips so clenched in control that they almost disappear on his face. They take their horses at a leisurely trot for several miles, then rest them after an hour near a stream.
Lord George: Sitting against a tree lounging he remarks. “I say Guy, I didn’t realize the old place was so vast. Will we get to the farthest tenants before our midday meal? Ha!”
Sir Guy: “George.” What is good for the goose is good for the gander–in terms of the etiquette of proper address. And Dawson is busy tending the horses several yards away anyway. “It is only another hour to the Stone’s tenant farm. They are at our … rather at Middleton Estate’s Northern border. And it is the largest of the farms.”
Lord George: “Well then, we must be getting good rent from them. I never understood why Papa changed the way we run the farm to making them tenants rather than just keeping them as our vassels. It is my land, should I not keep all that is reaped from it?”
Sir Guy: “Perhaps your father realized–as I do–that when you have a place that is your own, you tend to work more diligently to see it flourish. So it is with the tenants. They work the land with dedication and they are able to keep some of their earnings back for themselves and their families–thereby improving their lot in life.” Sir Guy is not consciously speaking of himself, but the same is true for him. He has nurtured his and Lady Roseanna’s estates belonging to Middleton Manor as well as managing the larger Middleton Estates land from neglect to thriving–he is proud to have guided it so successfully. “George, I hope that you will continue some of the measures that I have put into place. Yes, they might have a benefit to the tenants, but they have a far greater benefit to the Middleton Estate as a whole.”
Lord George: “How so? I really do not see how my paying for land repairs to particular farms is a benefit to me.” He states petulantly.
Sir Guy: Trying to maintain his temper, he reasons with his much younger brother-in-law. “These tenant farms are part of the larger whole–the Middleton Estate being a large farm and park comprised of several smaller farms. If we can insure adequate water drainage, water flow or wells to all parts of the lands, and proper rubbish containment by the tenants and us, then that will keep the land habitable and maximize our Estate crop yields for generations to come–thus insuring your income. And setting aside 10 percent of the tenant rents to do this is a small price to pay for securing the future of Middleton Estates for you and everyone.” It is a lofty speech that Sir Guy hopes that Lord George will take to heart.
Lord George: “If you say so. I trust Dawson is aware of how all this works and will help with it when you are gone.” He says a bit clumsily. In Medival terms, it is colloquially like saying, here is your armour, what is your hurry?
Sir Guy: Graciously. “You will find him able help, George. But you can not presume that he will lead the Estate management. You must do that.”
Lord George: “It all sounds so tedious–nothing like the thrill of soldiering.” He says in bored tone. “Guy, I wonder that you seemed to enjoy it so much after commanding the garrison at Nottingham. I should have thought that land management would be a step down for you?” Lord George has gone from clumsy to oafish in the blink of an eye.
Sir Guy: Seething inwardly, Sir Guy endeavors to complete his task of turning over the reins of the Middleton Estates to Lord George in the manner in which he has planned. “George, it was my honor to preserve the family’s birthright in your stead. I will gladly relinquish it to your thoughtful care now that you are returned.” Sir Guy bows his head to Lord George. But Sir Guy inwardly worries that all the good he has created in the larger Middleton Estate will flounder if Lord George does not seize leadership properly.
The rest of their day consists of meeting tenants–most of them are wary about the young Lord George’s ability to be as reasonable and guiding an Estate Manager as Sir Guy was. But then, reasonable was never a trait that had been even mildly associated with Sir Guy in the past. To his credit, Sir Guy gives due deference to Lord George in front of the tenants, in the hope that they will come to view Lord George’s leadership with respect. But respect must be earned. Sir Guy has done that–by his words and his actions following through. Lord George Middleton has a tough act to follow as a leader of the Middleton Estate in the footsteps of the now highly respected Sir Guy of Gisborne.
After a light supper Saturday evening that all enjoyed informally on the terrace, Sir Guy begs to be excused for an early night and returns to his bed chamber when the moon is full. There he finds his Lady Rose rocking their baby Lady Helen to sleep after nursing and burping her.
Lady Roseanna: Looking up to see her husband as she gently rocks their baby in her arms as she walks around the room, her eye brows raise. “It is very early to see you in our bed chamber my husband. Are you feeling unwell?” She asks with concern as she walks toward him?
Sir Guy: “I am well. But perhaps I am a little tired from our long tour of the estate today.” He caresses the top of baby Lady Helen’s forehead, then leans down and kisses it with a smile. Then he looks a little sadly into his wife’s eyes and softly kisses her on her lips.
Lady Roseanna: “How did George fare with meeting the tenants today? Will he be an eager pupil of yours?”
Sir Guy: Sir Guy grimaces at Lady Roseanna’s supposition that her brother will pay any mind to his estate management leadership. “My love, George is his own man. Middleton Estate is his to do with as he sees fit.”
Lady Roseanna: She lays the now sleeping baby Lady Helen in her cradle and returns to her husband. “But Guy, you have transformed the estate! It had been left to neglect and disorganization. But for you, we would not enjoy the prosperity that we do now.” She looks up at him in wonder and in awe–with clear respect for him shining in her eyes.
Sir Guy: “Thank you, my lady wife. I appreciate your assessment. However, if George is to assume control of his estate, then he does not need to be hindered in any way.” She looks up at him quizzically. “Rose, My Love, I mean to go with Archer to Nottingham for a two week stay–to see how the rebuilding there is going, and to give George the space he needs here to do as he wishes–without the tenants looking to me for advice should they disagree with him. And Archer has decided to leave earlier than planned–tomorrow morning before Sunday mass, rather than on Monday morning.”
Lady Roseanna: “Two weeks! That is so long. We have not been parted since ….” Her eyes tear up remembering. “since that awful time when Johnny took you from me last year and you almost died. You did die but for God’s benevolence that brought you back to me.” She clings to him around his waist. “I can not bear to think of you going to that awful place. What if something should happen to you again? Guy My Love, please don’t go.” She pleads with tears in her eyes.
Sir Guy: “I do not want to go, My Rose.” Now tears are threatening to fall from his eyes. “But I must–to aid Archer and to defer to George. It is the only way. I will be back soon enough, you will see. The time will fly by with your soon to be sisters Lady Saline and Lady Mary here with you. You will not miss me in the slightest.” He says knowing the exact opposite–because his own heart will break being apart from her.
Lady Roseanna: Bringing her arms around his neck, she strains upward and gently pulls him down for a kiss. “You are wrong my husband. I will not draw an easy breath until you are returned to me once more. You are taking half of my heart with you when you go. You must take care to return it to me intact.”
Sir Guy: “I could not do otherwise with so precious a gift as your love, My Rose.”
Then, Sir Guy and Lady Roseanna cleave unto each other in their adoring love for one another. If this night is to be their last night together for two weeks, then they will love each other passionately–as if their parting is forever. Despite the strain on his old wounded side, despite the fatigue of a long day traveling by horse, despite being forty years old to his young wife’s 22 years old, Sir Guy and Lady Roseanna love each other with such sensual abandon that they would surely have given each other a new baby were she not already pregnant with their next child. It is a loving night of memories of love that will have to sustain them while they are apart from each other.
As dawn threatens to break early Sunday morning, Sir Guy awakens and kisses his sleeping wife Lady Roseanna, then he slips out of bed not awakening her. Sir Guy goes over to the sleeping baby Lady Helen’s cradle and lifts her into his arms–kissing her and rocking her one last time before he leaves, then places her gently back in her cradle. After his morning routine and dressing, Sir Guy takes one last look at the sleeping countenances of the two women in his life for whom he would give his life, then he heads down the hallway. All is quiet this early morning hour. It is as if the manor itself is asleep. Sir Guy looks in on his son Seth’s bed chamber to find him sprawled alseep in his bed–with his dog Prince beside him. Shaking his head, Sir Guy leans down and kisses his son’s forehead. The dog lifts up his head. So Sir Guy motions to the dog to follow him and he walks it outside to Tanner at the stables–hoping to avert a dog mess in doors.
In Sir Guy’s and Lady Roseanna’s bed chamber, baby Lady Helen gurgles–wet and hungry. This awakens her Mama, Lady Roseanna. Seeing the empty pillow next to her in the bed–still warm from her husband laying there–Lady Roseanna begins to cry as she arises to tend to her baby–missing her husband already. Before sitting down to nurse her baby, Lady Roseanna looks out upon the estate and sees the horses and carriage being arranged for his imminent departure. She sees her husband and wills him to turn and look at her. Feeling sad at his leave taking, Sir Guy looks up at his bed chamber window before entering the carriage. He sees Lady Roseanna standing there holding baby Lady Helen. Sir Guy kisses his fingers and holds his palm out to her–she does the same in response. It is their same parting before he left for Nottingham over a year ago. But hopefully, the outcome to this journey will not be frought with so much death and destruction. Sir Guy takes one last look at his Lady Rose and then he enters the carriage–tears are falling down his face, so he is glad to have a moment to compose himself before Lord Archer arrives. Lady Roseanna leaves the window and sits in her bed while she nurses her baby–tears streaming down her face the whole time.
After assiduously avoiding Lady Saline all day Saturday–as demanded by her father Lord Talkington–Lord Archer is fed up with the lot of them. Who are they to dictate how he should live his life? So after seeing to the morning journey preparations, Archer enters the carriage only to find Sir Guy already there moonily gazing out the window.
Lord Archer: “Well! I didn’t expect to see you down here so promptly. I should have thought I would have to tear you away from my fair sister-in-law this morning.”
Sir Guy: Turning to face his brother, he dries the tears from his cheeks. “As you can see, you have torn me away from her.” He says forlornly as the carriage begins to roll forward.
Lord Archer: “Guy, if you truly do not wish to come with me to Nottingham, you do not have to. I can manage on my own.”
Sir Guy: “I am sure that you can. But apart from wanting to give George distance, I have some other matters to attend to.” He says cryptically.
Lord Archer narrows his eyes, wondering what his brother might be referring to. But he does not ask. He knows that his brother will reveal it to him in his own good time. So Guy and Archer travel this Sunday to Nottingham for a fortnight’s visit to cool their heads and assess how Nottingham rebuilding is going.
That Sunday at Middleton Manor is not without its upheavals. Once Lady Roseanna reveals Sir Guy’s and Lord Archer’s early leave taking after Sunday mass when their absence was noted–the responses range from hurt feelings by Lady Saline and relief by her father Lord Talkington to curiosity by Lady Mary Havorford and bemusement by Lord George Middleton.
Lady Saline: “Rose! What is it with men? They up and leave us without so much as a fare thee well.” Lady Saline throws up her hands in frustration–trying to hide the emptiness she feels with Lord Archer having left and not even telling her goodbye.
Lady Roseanna: “Now now, Saline. Guy informed me last night.”
Lady Saline: “A mere 8 hours before he left you.” She looks at Lady Rose wide eyed.
Lady Roseanna: “Well! I think Guy felt that Archer would appreciate his assistance with the Nottingham rebuilding project.” She says pointedly so her brother Lord George would hear.
Lord George: “Quite right! Guy is a marvel of organization and vision.” He nods his head vigorously.
Lady Roseanna: Turning to her brother Lord George–forgetting all decorum and tact since they are in company–Lady Roseanna lashes out at her brother. “And you couldn’t have indicated your appreciation to Guy for all he has done in saving the estates when you had the chance? You disgust me!” She puts her nose in the air. “Come ladies, we will break our fast in my private salon. The men can fend for themselves.”
And with that, the Ladies Talkington and Havorford, Lady Saline, Lady Mary, and Lady Roseanna cradling baby Lady Helen walk out of the chapel.
Seth: “But what about me, Mama?” Seth toddles after her.
Lady Roseanna: Holding out her hand to him, she says. “Seth Dear, you come with us.” Seth smiles and gleefully takes her hand and follows her. He knows that the ladies will coddle him and play all manner of games to delight him since he will be the sole male in their harem. Lady Roseanna turns herback on her brother and leads the ladies to her salon. The servants are nearby scurrying to do her bidding and move most of the food to the salon.
Lord George turns to the only people left in the room–Lord Havorford and Lord Talkington, who are at least 30 years older than he is. He blanches. Well, if he wanted to remain with his nearer contemporaries–Sir Guy and Lord Archer–then he shouldn’t have offended them.
Lord George: “Ha ha ha ha ha!” He laughs nervously to be in company with who he feels are stodgy old men.
Then Lord George graciously leads them to the dining hall which is now far less laden with food–since most of it went to the ladies in the salon. They fill their trenchers with fruit and bread and meat, then sit at the table on one end. They are a trifecta of dispossessed males.
Lord George: “When I was in the Holy Land with King Richard,” He name drops. “I didn’t miss having my family around me.”
Lord Talkington: “And now? Have you learned the value of family, young man?” He queries of his daughter Lady Saline’s betrothed.
Lord George: “Oh yes! The ladies and children are so delightful … even if they are quite vexing at times.” He shrugs his shoulders sheepishly.
Lord T and Lord H: Both Lord Talkington and Lord Havorford burst in to laughter. “Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!”
Lord Havorford: “My boy, you have hit upon the one universal truth of the married state and our ladies.”
Lord George: Eager to learn, he asks. “What is that?”
Lord Havorford: “We can’t live with them, and we can’t live without them. Ha ha ha!”
Lord Talkington: “Ha ha ha! So true. My Lady Eliza is a treasure beyond my fondest hopes. But I do wish that she would ….” His voice trails off–not wanting to disparage his daughter Lady Saline by intimating her mother does not give her proper guidance nor control. “But perhaps, some things are private.”
Lord Havorford: “My Lady Isabel is sweetness personified–and she has raised three fine daughters. A man could not hope for more–except, perhaps, a son.” He says ruefully.
Lord George: “I hope to have sons and daughters a plenty–enough to secure the future of these estates and titles.” He bobs his head in the sure and certain future that he will have sons–even though his is speaking to fathers of daughters.
Lord Talkington: “I will be very proud the day that our Lady Saline joins in marriage with you Lord George. It has been the fondest wish of her mother and I and your parents for lo these past ten years.”
Lord George: He smiles wanly, then replies politely as required. “Thank you. It is my wish, too.” Then wanting to change the subject away from him, he asks Lord Havorford. “And what of Lady Mary and Lord Archer? Did you not think him a trifle old for her?” He asks boldly in his usual almost discourteous way.
Lord Havorford: Sputtering, he says. “My Lady Mary will be honored to become Countess of Huntington upon marrying Lord Archer.” His pride shows through.
Lord George: “But is that Lady Mary’s wish?” He asks frankly, ignoring that he is being impolite.
Lord Talkington: “I wonder why you concern yourself so with Lady Mary when it is Lady Saline whom you would be well to court?”
Lord George: “Yes, Lady Saline and I have not gotten back to the friendly relationship we had as children.”
Lord Talkington: “Oh? Were you friendly then? I hadn’t noticed.” Lady Saline’s father is pointing out quite indirectly that her betrothal to Lord George is not a love match, but an arranged marriage.
Lord Havorford: “You must woo her, my boy. No woman can resist being courted.”
Lord George: “But how? I have barely had a civil word from Lady Saline? Let alone, have I had a chance to even sit next to her at table and converse pleasantly as I do with your daughter Lady Mary, Lord Havorford.”
Lord Talkington: “Yes.” He looks at Lord George skeptically–astutely worried that Lord George’s attentions are elsewhere.
The remainder of the meal and morning consists of the men–Lord Havorford and Lord Talkington–giving Lord George romantic courtship advice, much to his chagrin. Lord George is not sure that pretty words in poems, wreaths of flowers, and such is any decent way to win a lady’s affection. Blast it, Lord George thinks. If Lady Saline doesn’t like me by now, she never will. Truer thoughts were never pondered.
It is a day long ride from the Middleton Manor estate near Leicester to Nottingham to the Northeast–made easier for Sir Guy by traveling via carriage. Though both his and Lord Archer’s horses are tethered behind the carriage. Lord Archer has a small garrison for Nottingham and housed at Locksley. Sir Guy is impressed with the garrison’s attentiveness as they enter the Locksley village compound. Lord Archer’s tales of how their mere presence seems to be ablt to keep his tenants and the town folk in line impresses Sir Guy with Lord Archer’s leadership skills.
Then as they arrive at Locksley Manor, Sunday evening they are greeted by Thornton, the Steward.
Thornton: “My Lords! It is a pleasure to see you both. Would you like a bath first or meals?” He knows Lord Archer and Sir Guy well. And one of the garrison guards had been sent ahead to warn him about their imminent arrival.
Lord Archer: “Your call, Sir Guy.” He turns to Sir Guy.
Sir Guy: “Bath, meal, then bed. But first I must meet with Brother Tuck. Is he about?”
Thornton: “Yes Milord. He is housed in the stables until the church and rectory can be rebuilt from the fire Sheriff Vaisey had set last year.”
Sir Guy nods knowingly. It was a fire Sir Guy had not wanted–having to watch while Vaisey’s guards set the flames. At least, Sir Guy and others were able to keep everyone safe and no other buildings or homes were destroyed. But he could not save the church from burning to the ground after Vaisey and the garrison left. The church is one reason why Sir Guy came to Nottingham with Lord Archer.
Sir Guy: “Brother, I will be back in a few moments.” Lord Archer nods and heads upstairs to await his bath. “Thornton, do you have those items you were keeping for me last year after the fire?”
Thornton: Startled, he says. “I do Milord.”
Sir Guy: “Good, please fetch them for me.” Thornton bows, leaves for a few minutes.
Thornton: Then Thornton returns with a somewhat heavy bag of odd shaped items. Handing the bag to Sir Guy, he sees him grimace in pain. “Do you wish me to carry the items for you, Milord?”
Sir Guy: “No no. Thank you. I will carry them. The stables are but a few paces walk from here. I can manage.” But Sir Guy’s brow furrowed in pain makes Thornton wonder at that statement.
Sir Guy walks across the empty expanse of ground between Locksley Manor and its stables. Walking into the stables and seeing no one around, he sets the bag down.
Sir Guy: “Brother Tuck, I have returned!” He shouts loudly, not knowing from which corner high or low that Brother Tuck might be housed.
Brother Tuck: “The devil you say!” He walks out of a stall that is his home for the moment. He walks over to Sir Guy and they clasp hands. “It is good to see you!”
Sir Guy: He blinks. “Have I found the right Brother Tuck? Perhaps I should question you.” He asks with amusement.
Brother Tuck: “Nay nay. Ha! When I save a man’s life or soul, he stays saved.” He questioningly raises his eye brow.
Sir Guy: Smiling and returning the warm handshake. “Yes, I am still good. Though I am sure that all of Nottingham would be shocked to have that confirmed. But I still owe many debts–some that can never be repaid.” He says woefully, his mind wandering to Lady Marian.
Brother Tuck: “Your living a right life is your payment, my son.”
Sir Guy: “So you have told me. But, I feel that I must to something more. My conscience weighs heavily on me. I am blessed with my new life, while others will never live again.” His brow creases in regret.
Brother Tuck: Brother Tuck [(2) right] notices Sir Guy’s unease. “You are burdened, my son. Let us sit and talk.” Brother Tuck sits on a bench.
Sir Guy: “No offense, Brother Tuck. But I have just spent the day sitting while traveling here. I would rather stand.”
Brother Tuck: “As you wish.” Brother Tuck stands up and looks closely into Sir Guy’s eyes. “How may I help you?”
Sir Guy: “I would like you to hear my confession–and then help me make amends, secretly.” Sir Guy pleads–with confession [(3)] being one step toward him attaining forgiveness of his sins.
Brother Tuck: “Of course, my son. Since we do not have the confessional screen between us for privacy, let us stand back to back as you speak.”
Sir Guy: “Alright.” They stand back to back, with Sir Guy being much taller than Brother Tuck. There is a moment’s silence, then Sir Guy crosses himself. “In the name of the Father, of the Son, and o f the Holy Spirit. I had injured people in body and spirit when I was Vaisey’s Second in command at the castle–without regret or remorse. I took what was not mine. I took pleasure in intimidating others. I killed people at the sheriff’s bidding, or if I felt like it. And I have done murder.”
Brother Tuck wonders at the distinction Sir Guy makes between merely killing people and doing murder.
Brother Tuck: He pauses to see if Sir Guy will continue, then he responds without letting him off the hook. “Yes my son. Your sins are well known. You were a plague upon these people.” He states without rancor because it is a well known fact.
Sir Guy: “I fear that to many who have lost loved ones at my hand or at my bidding, I am still a plague.” He says mournfully. “How am I to raise my children to a right and honorable life when their father is shamed by his own dishonor?”
Brother Tuck: “That is a problem for which no easy solution may be sought. Have you returned to your evil ways since I saw you last?”
Sir Guy: “No.” He sighs.
Brother Tuck: “Do you intend to return to them?”
Sir Guy: “No! Never!” He says forcefully.
Brother Tuck: “My son, God will forgive you, but there is no forgetting. You will have to make peace with your past and the people in it, somehow.” Sir Guy nods dejectedly. “You must do penance. And it must needs fit your crimes.”
Sir Guy: Standing up straighter, almost recoiling from what Brother Tuck might require of him, Sir Guy says stoically. “Bid me to do as you will and I will endeavor to try to accomplish it.”
Brother Tuck: “My son, as I have told you before. Do not try, do! Now turn and face me.” They look at each other.
Sir Guy: “Yes, I am ready.”
Brother Tuck: “For your penance, you must beg forgiveness of each person you have harmed–sincerely seeking their pardon. They will not necessarily forgive you. But you must debase yourself before them all the same. Only then, might your new life and family have unburdened joy for you.”
Sir Guy: Taken aback by what Br. Tuck suggests–Sir Guy’s innate sense of pride getting in his way–he remarks. “You ask much. When I had thought to …” He hesitates, now realizing how small and insignificant his planned gesture of penance was.
Brother Tuck: “You had thought to what, my son?”
Sir Guy: “Brother Tuck, Let my initial planned penance be my start.” Sir Guy lifts up the sack at his feet. “Inside this sack, you will find the gold and silver adornments, crosses, and vessels of Locksley Church that I stole long ago. They would have been lost in the fire were they not pilfered earlier by me.” Brother Tuck raises his eyebrow. “But that is no excuse. I return these items to you for the new church you will build and ornament–along with this purse of 1000 pounds to achieve that end.”
Brother Tuck: “My son!” He looks at him in astonishment. “These are very great gifts!”
Sir Guy: “I have two requests, no three. First, that the church be renamed St. Matthew’s–after Kate’s brother whom I killed. Second, that the statue of the Madonna might in some way favor the countenance of Lady Marian–for her goodness and mercy to the people certainly emulated the Holy Mother Mary.”
Brother Tuck: “And third?”
Sir Guy: “That these gifts are never ever connected to me–for I fear that the people would not accept them.” He says quietly, humbly, sorrowfully and shamefully.
Sir Guy: “To a little girl.” He says cryptically, thinking of the girl he dangled over the sheer cliff [(4) right] before tossing Robin over it.
Sir Guy returns to Locksley Manor, bathes, and joins Lord Archer in an evening supper meal before sliding gratefully into bed. It will be the first night in almost a year that he has not had his Lady Rose by his side, and sleep comes to him late and then only fitfully.
Being back here, in Locksley Manor, Sir Guy’s dreams conjure up all manor of the evil that he has done and must atone for. He writhes in his sleep [(5) right] at the maimings and the killings he was party to–or did himself. He remembers how despised he was then, and how he despised himself then. Sir Guy tosses and turns in his bed. It is well past midnight, the moon is shining through his window upon his tortured sleep.
Then sometime later while briefly slumbering, Sir Guy feels a light weight across his chest. And he dreams that it is his Lady Rose as he tenderly clasps her head in his hands and he brings her face to his lips.
Kate: With a dagger at Sir Guy’s neck, she yells. “Not so fast, Gisborne! You disgust me! Prepare to die!”
Sir Guy instantly awakens and lets her go. Kate leans back from him–her dagger still poised to strike at his neck.
Sir Guy: “Mistress Kate. My apologies, I thought you were my wife Lady Roseanna.” He says contritely.
Kate: “Keep your fancy words! So, you have a wife and children now! What does my bruhtha have? He was not yet fifteen when you killed him for your sport–sliced him open you did.” She knicks the underside of his chin and draws blood. “You are the devil’s spawn no matter that people say you have turned good now.”
Sir Guy does not dare move nor breathe. Should he but turn his head, her dagger would slice the jugular vein in his neck and his life blood would drain out of him. Then appearing breathless at his bed chamber door, Archer is shocked at what he sees.
Lord Archer: “Guy! What are you doing woman!?! Let my brother go!” He rushes in but stops as Kate’s blade pushes against Sir Guy’s neck.
The whole household wakens and gathers at the bed chamber door in alarm. And Thornton sends someone to fetch Brother Tuck.
Kate: “He would not let my bruhtha go. He killed him.” When her head is turned toward Lord Archer, Sir Guy could have overpowered her and freed himself. But he does not.
Sir Guy: “She is right, Archer.” He admits forlornly.
Kate: “You deserve to die, Guy of Gisborne!” She is crazed with intent upon her murderous task.
Sir Guy resignedly and closes his eyes–waiting for his judgment. Kate further presses the side of the blade into Sir Guy’s neck.
Brother Tuck: Dashing into the room, the cleric makes an appeal. “Wait! Do not do this, Kate!”
Kate: She pulls back the blade, but still leaves it lying against Sir Guy’s neck. “Why Tuck? Who will miss him? None of us.” She says spitefully. Again, Sir Guy could break free, but he does not. His fate is in God’s hands.
Lord Archer: “Then think of Sir Guy’s five year old son Seth, his baby daughter Lady Helen, and their new baby they have coming at Christmas tide. If you care nothing for my brother, think of his children. They need their father and his love.” He begs.
Kate: “Who would wish to have their father be Guy of Gisborne? He is the devil and they are born of the devil! They will be better off without him!” Her blade begins to break through the skin of his neck, but still Sir Guy does not struggle.
Sir Guy: “You are right.” A tear falls from each of his eyes. “Archer, tell my Rose and my children that I love them.” He opens his eyes at stares into Kate’s eyes. “Do it!”
Br. Tuck: “No Kate! Your immortal soul will forever be in hell if you commit this murder.” But she presses further. “And you will be no better than Sir Guy if you kill him–damned to hell with him forever.”
This last statement reaches her fevered brain and she hesitates. Lord Archer lunges and pulls Kate away from his brother–getting cut slightly himself as he takes the blade away from her in their struggle.
Kate: “No! I mean to kill Gisborne to avenge my bruhtha!”
Kate twists in Lord Archer’s arms, but her strength is waning against his powerful hold on her. Two guards step into Sir Guy’s bedchamber and Lord Archer gives her over to them to hold her fast between them. She hangs limply, being solely held up by the guards.
Guard: “What is your wish, Lord Sheriff?”
Lord Archer: His orders are swift and sure. “Shackle her to the post in the village square! We’ll see if the cold night air might bring her to her senses–or relieve her of them entirely.” He glowers. Kate whimpers at her fate.
Sir Guy: Standing up from the bed still bleeding slightly down his neck and upon his chest, he counters. “Nay brother. Because of me, her mother lost one child. I cannot see her mother’s only remaining child lost to her as well. Let Kate go.”
Lord Archer: “Let her go? Are you daft, brother? She will simply come back here and try to kill you again.”
Br. Tuck: “No she won’t! I will see to her.” He stands resolutely.
Sir Guy: “Lord Archer, let Br. Tuck take Kate away. Her grief has made her act beyond her reason. Her madness is my doing. We can not punish her for that.”
Lord Archer: Lord Archer frowns. “No! She is a danger to you and to others. It is best to deal with her swiftly.” He motions to his guards to do his bidding. The guards begin to roughly lead Kate away.
Sir Guy: Then Sir Guy kneels at his brother the Sheriff’s feet debasing himself [(6) right]. “Please Lord Archer, let Kate live, for me. You will have my undying thanks and gratitude.” Then Sir Guy clasps his brother’s hand in his and kisses his signet ring deferentially- -staying on his knees, he holds his brother’s hand as he looks up at his brother searchingly.
Lord Archer is struck mute. The room is silent. The great and powerful Sir Guy of Gisborne is on his knees pleading for the life of the woman who would see him dead–the woman who tried to accomplish that end not five minutes ago. It is a scene that no one would have ever expected to witness–least of all, Kate. Sir Guy’s oblation is made even more stirring for though Sir Guy is the older brother, Lord Archer outranks him as a titled Earl and with his position as Sheriff of Nottingham. And this is the first time that Sir Guy has humbled himself before his little brother. The minutes tick by, tempers fade, reason returns to all.
Lord Archer: “As you wish, brother.” He says solemnly. “Rise Sir Guy of Gisborne.” He helps his brother stand up. Then Lord Archer turns to his guards holding Kate. “Let her go. Give her to Br. Tuck’s custody. He will tend to her.”
Br. Tuck: “The saints be praised for your compassion! Bless you, Lord Archer! Bless you, Sir Guy!” He says sincerely.
Sir Guy: “Thank you my brother. I am forever in your debt.”
Lord Archer: “Nay brother. You saved my life in York and now I saved your life. We are even.”
Brother Tuck leads the distraught Kate away. Lord Archer shoos everyone else from Sir Guy’s bed chamber.
Lord Archer: “Guy!” He sighs. “To think what might have happened.” Lord Archer knows the value of family. And his brother, Sir Guy, is Lord Archer’s closest bond.
Sir Guy: Fatigue of the heart and body showing clearly on his face, he clasps his brother’s shoulder. “Archer! Thank you! But we should get some sleep. We have much to do tomorrow and in the coming days.”
Archer nods and returns to his bed chamber. Sir Guy washes his neck and torso in the basin of water on the table–removing the remnants of his blood from the cuts he sustained. Then he lies down in bed and falls fast asleep.
To be continued with Chapter 15
(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 of Tr. Tuck is portraye by David Harewod and found at http://www.richardarmitagenet.com/images/gallery/RobinHood/album/seasonthree/Episodeone/slides/1_093.jpg
4) Image of Sir Guy of Gisborne is portrayed by Richard Armitage and found at http://www.richardarmitagenet.com/images/gallery/RobinHood/album/seasonthree/Episodeone/slides/1_030.jpg
5) Image of Sir Guy of Gisborne is portrayed by Richard Armitage and found at http://www.richardarmitagenet.com/images/gallery/RobinHood/album/seasonthree/Episodesix/slides/ep6_0003.JPG
6) Image of Sir Guy of Gisborne is portrayed by Richard Armitage and found at http://www.richardarmitagenet.com/images/gallery/RobinHood/album/seasonthree/Episodesix/slides/ep6_0033.JPG
Previous chapter installments, Ch 13: