“Sir Guy’s Dilemma”, Ch. 16: “Suffer the little children come unto me”, 2/01/13 Gratiana Lovelace (Post #354)
(All Rights Reserved; No copyright infringement intended)
[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: Despite Lord George making an effort, he and Lady Saline are becoming even more estranged as a betrothal couple. This is due in so small to Lord George’s developing feelings for Lord Archer’s betrothed Lady Mary Havorford. Lady Mary also realizes that she quite likes Lord George more than Lord Archer. And after Lord George helps to revive Lady Mary’s father after he was thrown from his horse, her embracing Lord George in thanks in front of their whole family is beginning to clue others in to a disconnect between the betrothal couples. Of course, Lord Archer is blissfully unawares of these goings on because he is in Nottingham with his brother, Sir Guy as they review the Nottingham Castle rebuilding project.
“Sir Guy’s Dilemma”, Ch. 16: “Suffer the little children come unto me”
Sir Guy and Lord Archer spend the rest of their first week back at Nottingham in relative calm–happily, there are no more revenge attempts on Sir Guy’s life. They tour the excavation and rebuilding of Nottingham Castle as well as the other public works projects that Sir Guy had suggested to Lord Archer months ago–clean water distribution, and waste and rubbish containment. They will have much to arrange with their workers and stewards before they return to Middleton Manor. For although Lord Archer is Sheriff of Nottingham County and the nobles pay him homage, Lord Archer values the wisdom of his brother Sir Guy and lets it be known that the public works improvements–that will also benefit the peasants–are Sir Guy’s ideas.
However, there is some grumbling and disbelief that Sir Guy would do anything that would be helpful to anyone but himself–despite his largesse of one third of his wealth to the populace last year after he was wounded. Sir Guy has been absent from Nottingham as he recuperated in Leicester at Middleton manor this past year–so his few acts of courage and bravery to save England with Robin Hood were almost forgotten compared to the years of tyranny they had under Sir Guy’s rule as the dead Sheriff Vasey’s Master at Arms. And Sir Guy’s sincere supplication on bended knee that he made to spare Kate’s life–despite her trying to kill him–has also been whispered about. So there is a general curiosity about the man they all feared once–wondering if this change in Sir Guy is false and meant to trick them, or if he has really learned his lesson and has become a good person.
As Sir Guy and Lord Archer have a leisurely trot on their stallions from Locksley Manor toward Nottingham village just outside the castle being rebuilt, Sir Guy looks to the church and its nearby cemetery in hallowed remembrance.
Sir Guy: “Whoa, Pegasus.”
Lord Archer: “Guy. Why are you stopping? We are nearly to Nottingham with the Saturday Market Day stalls to tour and the various local disputes that I must settle as magistrate. And I mean to commend you to the people for your deeds and vision.”
Sir Guy: “Thank you, Archer. But telling the villagers that I have changed will merely feed their suspicions that you and I have some ulterior motive for doing so. You had best distance yourself from me and lead Nottingham’s rebuilding on your own.” Sir Guy is backing away from his leadership role to give his brother Lord Archer a chance to lead, even as he did so for his brother-in-law Lord George.”
Lord Archer: “I will leave it for now. But after missing out on having a brother for over twenty eight years, I will not disavow you now, Guy.” Lord Archer fixes a determined stare at his brother. Then he grins.
Sir Guy: “As you wish.” He says gingerly dismounting his horse. His wounds from last year still pain him–perhaps more so for being in the place again where he almost died. “You go on and I will catch up to you. I have to do something privately, Archer.”
Lord Archer: Seeing children playing nearby as their watchful parents look on with distrustful eyes at he and his brother, Lord Archer looks upon his brother and his melancholy expression. “Are you alright, Guy? What if someone else tries to kill you while you are alone? Maybe I should stay with you.” He doesn’t really want to leave him alone.
Sir Guy: “I will be fine.” He says resolutely. “I will join you in the village for Market Day before the sun is at midday.” Once Sir Guy has made up his mind to do something, Lord Archer knows that he will not be able to persuade him otherwise.
Lord Archer: “I will be looking for you, brother.” The brothers nod at each other. Then Lord Archer rides away toward Nottingham village’s center.
Sir Guy walks his horse Pegasus over to the hitching post next to the church and tethers him securely. Then he reaches into his saddle bag and pulls out a small tree sapling and a small hand shovel.
Sir Guy: Brushing his horse’s mane, he says. “I have a solemn duty to perform, my friend. One that I wish I did not need to do.”
Sir Guy makes his way to the side of the church where the beginnings of the hollowed ground for the cemetery boundaries lie. One can easily tell if the dead were high or low born because a large section of the cemetary is well kept and has carved stone markers–but with the nobility, they are often buried in the church (intramurally) versus in the church yard (extramurally) [(2)]–whereas a smaller section has weeds and merely wooden engraved crosses that will weather with time and soon forget who lies beneath. And countryside peasants do not usually have their dead buried in the church cemetery–but rather, find an obliging secluded spot. It is usually only the few villagers with funds who can afford a cemetery plot and a box to put their loved ones to rest in and pay the grave diggers to do their work.
But Sir Guy makes his way through the weedy part of the cemetery to the spot he was told that he would find the grave of the one whom he seeks. Sir Guy stares down at the little wooden cross for the small boy child, Martin, [(3)] who befriended him last year when Martin’s mother Althea the healer woman came to tend to Sir Guy after the fall of Nottingham. Only seven years old, Martin had died in the measles epidemic that had swept Nottingham a few months ago. The wooden marker says only Martin 7 years on it–with 1194 beneath that. No surname since peasants are not afforded surnames.
Sir Guy: First, Sir Guy kneels at Martin’s grave. Sir Guy says a silent prayer of eternal rest for Martin in Latin as Sir Guy’s Mother the Lady Ghislaine had long ago taught him to do when he was a child. “’Requiem Aeternam dona eis, Domine, et lux perpetuae luceat eis. Requiescant in pace. Amen’”–(which translates to “’Eternal rest, grant unto him, O Lord and let perpetual light shine upon him. May he rest in peace. Amen’” [(4)]. Sir Guy crosses himself. Then he says aloud in a hoarse whisper, choking back his tears for the little boy Martin who is no more. “Father in Heaven, watch over Martin. He was a good lad of strong heart, cheerful countenance, and abundant goodness–only 7 years when he quit this world too much before his time. You can not miss him. Martin will be the impish lad with bright red hair the color of blazing autumn leaves. Please guide him to his Father who is already with you. Amen.” Sir Guy crosses himself a third time.
Then Sir Guy sets about his task of planting the tree sapling one cubit behind Martin’s marker cross–as he promised Martin’s Mother Althea that he would. As the tree grows, it will shade Martin’s final resting place. It does not take long for Sir Guy to dig a deep enough hole and plant the sapling. The children who were playing nearby had stopped their running around and watched the big man dressed in fine clothes tending to their friend Martin’s grave.
A little girl of about 8 years is more curious than her playmates about what the tall man is doing in the cemetery–perhaps her own fiery red hair betokens her inner courage [(5) right]. So she wanders over and asks Sir Guy what he is doing. She is a merchant’s daughter and thus dressed in miniature adult dress of velvet with a pleasing purple hue to compliment her hair. Whereas peasants tend to wear drab brown and unornamented garments made out of coarser cloth [(6)].
Mary: Noticing the man’s fine clothes–she does not recognize him as Sir Guy–the wild man–she asks. “My Lord, what is it you be doing with Martin’s grave?”
Sir Guy: He looks up from his task and sees that he is joined by the young girl whom he dangled over the edge of the cliff last year–to get Robin Hood to lay down his weapons. “Oh!” He startles. This is the little girl he had hoped to find. But now that he has found her–or rather, she has found him–he does not quite know how to make amends to her to apologize for frightening her and endangering her life. So he answers her question in an even and non threatening a tone he can muster. “Martin’s Mother, the healer woman Althea, asked if I might plant a tree near his grave to provide shade for him.” Sir Guy smiles wanly at her.
Mary: “That is nice.” She nods her head. “I hope when I die, that I will have a tree, too.”
Sir Guy: Crossing himself in superstition–for her mentioning her own death–he says sincerely as he stands. “I pray to God that you live a long and happy life, little one.” He does not know her name.
Mary: “I be Mary. Who you be?”
His dirty face triggers a memory [(7) right] in the girl.
Mary: “I know you!” She recoils from him and steps back. “You be the demon man who tried to kill me before I turned eight last year.” Sir Guy holds out his open palm to her–attempting to calm her. But she takes it as him planning to hurt her again and she runs away screaming. “Ahhhhhhh!” She runs into her father’s arms.
Mary’s Papa: “Mary love, you are safe with me.” His protective instincts taking over Mary’s merchant father feels emboldened to say. “Sir Guy, please leave my daughter alone. You have caused her enough hurt.”
Mary: “Papa, take me away from him.” She cries, clinging to her father’s legs while cringing behind him.
Sir Guy: “I am sorry. I am not here to hurt her–nor you.” Sir Guy is at a loss as to how to begin to make amends to the little girl.
Mary’s Pap: “She had fearful dreams of falling for many months. She would waken screaming and none could comfort her. Even now, she will waken in the night in terror of you.” He says brazenly, knowing that a man of Sir Guy’s rank could see him flogged or even killed for his insolence. But he is a protective father, first and foremost.
Sir Guy hangs his head in shame [(8) right] and brings his hand to his forehead. He has damaged this child. And the pain of Mary’s father is also Sir Guy’s fault. As a parent himself, now, Sir Guy understands all too well the needs of little ones to feel safe and protected from demons.
Sir Guy: “I am sorry.” He can not look at them.
Mary’s Papa: He looks at Sir Guy for a moment. Then he says. “Do not tell me, tell her.”
Sir Guy: He nods. “I will. Mary, may I speak with you?”
Mary: “No! Papa take me away so he can’t scare me again.” She pleads with tears in her eyes as she clings to her Papa with her face buried in her chest.
Sir Guy crumples to the ground in despair and sits back on his knees. This little girl above all others was one whom he wished to make amends. Now he realizes, that his efforts must not be for his own immortal soul, but to give her some peace.
Sir Guy: “I am sorry, Mary–so very sorry. I was wrong to frighten you so.” He looks at the little girl through his own tears of shame.
Mary: Her crying lessening a bit, she peeks a look at Sir Guy from the corner of her eye and sees him kneeling. “Papa?”
Mary’s Papa: “Look at him, Mary. He is not so fearful now.” Mary turns her head to look at Sir Guy.
Sir Guy: Resolutely determined to ease this little girl’s fears, Sir Guy raises his remorseful eyes to her. “I am so very sorry, Mary. I was wrong to do what I did to you. I am wracked with guilt over it. I have my own children now and I know how your Papa feels about wanting you to feel safe again and free from bad dreams. I will accept any punishment you wish to impose upon me.” He says contritely.
But Sir Guy is taking a very great risk–because children often go to the extremes of emotions and behaviors. But then, Sir Guy when he threatened to fling Mary over the cliff as a bluff to Robin Hood last year was demonstrating extremes of behavior. However Sir Guy still kneels before her impassively waiting to accept her judgment.
Mary’s Papa: “Go on, Mary. Give him his punishment.” He nods at Sir Guy and Sir Guy nods back to him.
Mary: Mary takes a few steps toward Sir Guy. “Close your eyes.” Sir Guy closes his eyes, not knowing what the child will do. She bends down and reaches to pick up a fist sized rock to hit him with.
Mary’s Papa: “Kkkhhh!” He coughs to get her attention. Then he shakes his head no.
Mary pulls her hand back from the rock and she stands up. Then she takes one step, then two quick steps and Mary is standing a few inches in front of Sir Guy. He still has his eyes closed. His arms are hanging loose at his sides. He can hear her breathing. For that matter, she can hear him breathing. It occurs to him that she might decide to kick him in his groin and he grimaces at the thought–but he keeps his eyes closed and he does not speak.
Mary: “When I have been naughty, my Mama slaps the back of my hands.” Mary watches Sir Guy for a reaction, he does not move. “Give me your hands.”
Sir Guy lifts his hands up to her with his palms facing downward, bending his arms at his elbows. Mary looks at the gold ring on his left hand indicating that he is married. And he mentioned that he has children now. So Mary is too good a girl to want to really hurt someone else’s papa and husband. But she must mete out his punishment Mary begins to slap at the tops of his hands, counting up to ten–being a merchant’s daughter, she has been taught her numbers since she often helps in her father’s shop.
Mary: “One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten!” As she counts, she becomes bolder and she hits him harder. Sir Guy winces with the stinging of her slaps, but he does not move, nor open his eyes. Surveying her handiwork of his reddened hands, she pronounces. “I am done. You can open your eyes and look at me now.” She orders Sir Guy.
Sir Guy: He opens his eyes and bows his head in deference to her. “Mistress Mary.”
Mary: But she wants a further commitment from him. “Do you promise not to hold other children over a cliff?’’
Sir Guy: “I do.”
Mary: “Do you swear?”
Sir Guy: “On the lives of my own children.” He promises resolutely.
Mary: She looks at the powerful strong looking man still kneeling before her. She regards him through shrewd eight year old eyes. “You do not seem so very mean now. Why have you changed?”
Sir Guy: Taken aback by her line of questioning, Sir Guy falters. How can a little girl understand his torment last year at killing Lady Marian–twould scare her all the more, he fears. “My Lady wife, My Rose and our children Seth and baby Lady Helen make me want to be a better man–and a man who doesn’t scare children.”
Mary: “Hmm!” She lays her hands on his shoulders. This closeness startles him–not to mention startling Mary’s father. “My Mama always makes me give up having a sweet for a day, too.” Her father watches in amusement.
Sir Guy: Trying not to smile, he nods. “Your Mama is wise. I accept your terms.”
Mary: “It is Market Day when there are lots of yummy foods.” She narrows her eyes. Then Mary takes Sir Guy’s hand in hers. “I will go with you and make sure you don’t cheat!”
She pulls him along, then they reach Sir Guy’s horse. Her eyes go wide–which Sir Guy notices.
Sir Guy: “Mistress Mary, I propose a further penance you might have me do–it would be for me to walk along side my horse, while you ride him in to town.” He suggests enticingly.
Mary: “Ooooh!” She smiles over at her Papa. “Papa, may I ride the demon man’s horse?”
Mary’s Father: “Kkkhh!” Hi laughs into a cough. “Mary Dear, perhaps you should address his lordship merely as Sir Guy, rather than the demon man.”
Sir Guy tilts his head at Mary and smiles a little, hopefully.
Mary: “Alright!” She sighs. You don’t seem like a demon now anyway.” She smiles from ear to ear. “Lift me up, lift me up!” She orders excitedly and Sir Guy lifts her onto the saddle on his horse Pegasus.
Sir Guy: Leaning over to Pegasus, he whispers. “Walk gently, for you carry one who is precious to me.” Then he turns to Mary’s Papa. “Shall we, Sir?” Both men nod and they walk toward the Nottingham Village Market Day booths several hundred yards away.
Of course, the sight of Sir Guy walking before his horse and leading it slowly with the little girl sitting on it is a curious sight for the villagers as well. Fr. Tuck stands smiling to the side and nods his head at Sir Guy, who nods back as he passes him. They walk by all manner of food stuffed stalls. And though Mary’s Papa buy’s her some treats, Sir Guy is not allowed any treats–per his punishment from Mary. Finally, they reach the Lord Sheriff, Sir Guy’s brother Lord Archer and Sir Guy tethers Pegasus to the post and he lifts Mary down to the ground.
Mary: She holds out a cookie to Sir Guy. “You have done well, Sir Guy. So you should have a little reward. My Mama always gives me a reward for being good.” She smiles sweetly.
Sir Guy: He kneels down to her again. “Thank you Mary. And I hope that you don’t have any more scary dreams.”
Mary: “I don’t think I will. You are not scary anymore.”
Then Mary leans in and hugs Sir Guy around his shoulders and he hugs her back.
Sir Guy: “Thank you!” He sighs and kisses her cheek.
Mary: She points to him and smiles. “Now be good.”
Sir Guy: “I will.” He smiles and nods his head as he stands up.
Mary’s Papa: Holding out his hand to Sir Guy, he says. “Thank you, Sir Guy. I think she will be alright now.”
Sir Guy: Clasping Mary’s father’s hand in his, he smiles at the father and then at her with tears in his eyes. “I’m glad. Thank you!”
Then Mary and her father join hands to look at the rest of the market. As they walk away from Sir Guy, Mary looks over her shoulder, smiles, and gives a little wave to Sir Guy. And Sir Guy, waves back to her [(9) right]. Then he eats his cookie.
To be continued with Chapter 17
Ch. 16 References, (Featured images in Wattpad are 3, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9) 2/01/13 — post #354
(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)Medieval funerary customs information was found at http://www.museumoflondon.org.uk/Collections-Research/LAARC/Centre-for-Human-Bioarchaeology/Database/PeriodSummaries/Medieval.htm
3) Martin Image (cropped, sharpened) is that of actor James Buckley portraying Walt in the BBC One’s Robin Hood Series 3 (2009), Episode 5 “Let the Games Commence”, vlcsnap-23h27m37s188, screen cap by Gratiana Lovelace, 1/30/13.
5) Nottingham child Mary Image (cropped, sharpened) is portrayed by actress Ellie Darcey-Alden in the BBC One’s Robin Hood Series 3 (2009), Episode 1 “Total Eclipse”, vlcsnap-21h43m26s168, screen cap by Gratiana Lovelace, 1/30/13.
(7) Sir Guy of Gisborne Image is of Richard Armitage and Nottingham child Mary Image (cropped, sharpened) is portrayed by actress Ellie Darcey-Alden in the BBC One’s Robin Hood Series 3 (2009), Episode 1 “Total Eclipse”, vlcsnap-21h44m35s68, screen cap by Gratiana Lovelace, 1/30/13. (image cropped)
(8) Sir Guy of Gisborne Image (cropped, sharpened) is of Richard Armitage in the BBC One’s Robin Hood Series 3 (2009), Episode 5 “Let the Games Commence”, vlcsnap-23h28m44s143, screen cap by Gratiana Lovelace, 1/30/13.
(9) Sir Guy of Gisborne image (cropped, sharpened) is of Richard Armitage in the BBC One’s Robin Hood Series 3 (2009), Episode 6 “Do you love me” and was found at http://www.richardarmitagenet.com/images/gallery/RobinHood/album/seasonthree/Episodesix/slides/ep6_0129.JPG
Previous chapter installments, Ch 15: