“Sir Guy’s Atonement” (Book 3), Ch. 8 (PG-13): Reunion, February 20, 2015 Gratiana Lovelace (Post #706)
[An Original Fan Fiction adaptation of the characters from the BBC’s Robin Hood; & a Sequel to “Sir Guy’s Dilemma” (Book 2) by Gratiana Lovelace] (All Rights Reserved; No copyright infringement intended) [(1)story logo, top right]
[From time to time, I will illustrate my story with my dream cast of: Richard Armitage as Sir Guy of Gisborne, Clive Standen as Lord Archer of Locksley, Emma Watson as Lady Roseanna Gisborne, Tommy Bastow as the young Seth Gisborne, Lucy Griffiths as the spectre of Lady Marian, James McAvoy as Lord George Middleton, Toby Stephens as Prince John, Dakota Fanning as Lady Caroline Havorford, Chris Hemsworth as Sir Roderick Merton, Tamsin Egerton as Lady Rebecca, etc.]
Author’s Mature Content Note: “Sir Guy’s Atonement” 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 (S) and some passages involving highly dramatic moments (D). 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: Prince John wasted no time in advancing another betrothal at the Friday March 29th , 1199 celebratory feast for Sir Guy’s upcoming Barony–but between unknown and unwilling participants in Sir Roderick Merton and the eleven year old Lady Caroline Havorford. The extended Gisborne-Middleton-Locksley family were near apoplectic–especially Seth Gisborne, whose mind and heart are coming around to liking Lady Caroline very much. Sir Roderick also has a romantic past that makes him melancholy and reluctant to enter into another marriage–him being widowed eighteen months ago after a brief but fond union. And upon meeting the pouting three year old Lord Graham Oxbridge, son of Rebecca Lady Leicester, Sir Roderick eagerly resolves to find and bring the lady to comfort her son. Or, does Sir Roderick have another motive?
“Sir Guy’s Atonement” (Book 3), Ch. 8 (PG-13)–Reunion
As Sir Roderick makes his way out of Gordon Castle’s Great Banquet Hall to find and bring Lady Leicester to her son little Lord Graham–observed by the curious Sir Guy of Gisborne–Sir Roderick’s seemingly expectant urgency draws the attention of a courtier whom one should never cross–Sir Jasper, Prince John’s longtime sycophantic aide. And the sheen of gentility and grace by virtue of Sir Jasper’s fine clothes and courtly manners fool no one into thinking that he is harmless–for they know better. After telling his even more nefarious looking companions to meet him in the Gordon Castle gardens after the feast to discuss some important matters, Sir Jasper intercepts Sir Roderick just leaving the Great Banquet Hall–by holding out his sword to prevent Sir Roderick from passing.
Sir Jasper: “Well, well, well. You are in rather a hurry, Sir Roderick. Off to curry favor with our Prince?” He sneers.
Sir Roderick: “Ah! Sir Jasper.” Sir Roderick bows politely. “Prince John? No?” Sir Roderick looks at Sir Jasper quizzically. “I am doing the bidding of a child.” Sir Roderick explains without explaining.
Sir Jasper: “Ah! If you think that you can ingratiate yourself with the Middleton family to win the hand of that Havorford girl, you will only be disappointed. You had best graze in other pastures. That girl and her dowry are spoken for.”
Sir Roderick: His eyebrows rising in wariness, Sir Roderick asks cautiously, to draw Sir Jasper out. “And am I to know who stands in competition with me for the fair lady’s hand?” Though Sir Roderick has no intention of offering for the eleven year old Lady Caroline, he does feel protective toward her–like an elder brother might.
Sir Jasper: “That is not for you to contemplate. It is enough for you to know that she is off limits to you.”
Sir Jasper is well aware that a young girl might be tempted by the strong looking Sir Roderick. But that Sir Jasper’s own situation and connections to the royal house via Prince John are impeccable.
Having an inkling that Sir Jasper possesses the arrogance to think himself a suitable match for Lady Caroline, Sir Roderick now sneers.
Sir Roderick: “I believe, Sir Jasper, that any man attempting to win the hand of Lady Caroline will have to prove his worthiness to ensure her future happiness. And only Lady Caroline can make that determination–with the supportive guidance of her family. I fear that neither myself–nor even such an august personage as you–will hold any sway in that marital decision.”
Sir Jasper: Narrowing his already beady eyes, Sir Jasper glowers in annoyance. “We shall see. And do not think that Sir Guy of Gisborne will hold any sway for you with Lord Havorford regarding his daughter. Gisborne’s influence is not a continuing factor to be concerned with.” Sir Jasper says rather ambiguously–given his well defined plans for Sir Guy of Gisborne.
Sir Roderick: Sir Roderick eyes Sir Jasper questioningly about his last remark. But he chooses not to pursue it at the moment. “Now if you will excuse me, Sir Jasper–please lower your sword–I will attend to my commission.” Sir Roderick says flippantly.
Sir Jasper: “Very well.” Sir Jasper lowers his sword.
Then as Sir Roderick steps past, Sir Jasper purposely grabs Sir Roderick’s injured shoulder and Sir Roderick cries out in pain.
Sir Roderick: “Aargghh!” Sir Jasper releases his hold on Sir Roderick’s shoulder and stares at Sir Roderick who is trying to catch his breath as the pain subsides as he adjusts his arm in the sling. “Hhhh! Hhhh! Hhhh!”
Sir Jasper: “Just remember Sir Roderick, courtiers like you come and go within Prince John’s circle. But I always remain by Prince John’s side. I am his eyes and ears–and his agent.” There is a not so veiled threat being made. “Understood.” Sir Jasper glowers.
Sir Roderick: “Understood, Sir Jasper.” Sir Roderick replies warily, wondering what Sir Jasper is about. Sir Roderick has only just returned to court and is not familiar with all of its machinations.
Sir Roderick backs away, keeping his eyes on Sir Jasper until he heads back into the banquet hall. Then Sir Roderick goes in search of their hostess, Rebecca Stafford Oxbridge, Lady Leicester as his commission for her son, little Lord Graham.
Whilst everyone else is mingling before the feast is to begin, the youthful twenty one year old and attractive Rebecca Lady Leicester steals away to an out of the way quiet corner bench window seat of Gordon Castle and she looks out upon her lovely moonlit gardens shining with an almost iridescent glow. She bows her head wistfully [(2) right], her thinking that she is surrounded by such natural beauty, but she has no such beauty of love in her personal life–but for the love she shares with her two wonderful children. And she laments that she was given in marriage to a man who did not love her–the father of her children Lord John Oxbridge, the Earl of Leicester–long gone away from her at the Crusades with King Richard now three years ago. A tear escapes her watery eyes and she brushes it away–knowing the foolishness of wanting what she cannot have.
Lady Rebecca has been musing for several mintues when she hears booted footsteps as someone approaches from behind her. She lifts her head up, seeing a young, virile, and handsome knight before her. And she is stunned to see him–her childhood love, Sir Roderick Merton. But she notices that he looks so different now from when she last saw him five years ago–all of his former boyishness now banished with his maturity. He is much larger as a man of strength and agility, and his hair is long but neatly tied behind him. Yet, he seems to be injured with his left arm in a sling under his dark grey cape covering his similarly colored velvet tunic underneath. Seeing his powerful frame encased in such elegant finery makes Lady Rebecca see Sir Roderick as more of a gentleman, rather than the fierce warrior that he is.
Sir Roderick: “My Lady Rebecca, you are a vision of loveliness that I had not dared hope to see ever again. Hhhhh!” with her softly curled golden hair, her almond shaped brown eyes, and her rosebud lips, he cannot help but sigh in wonder at his precious lost love before him–belying his otherwise tightly controlled emotions. All thoughts of seeking Lady Rebecca for her son Lord Graham’s needs have temporarily evaporated from his mind.
Lady Rebecca stares at Sir Roderick in shock and awe, her thoughts unbidden remembering his kisses upon her lips so long ago–how his mouth covered her own, pressing his passionate kisses to her willing surrender. She had given him her first kiss and her heart. To be enfolded in his loving arms then was sheer joy–albeit chaste joy. But their love and hope to marry was thwarted by her parents and her duty to them and by his parents and his duty to them.
Lady Rebecca: “Roderick! You are here! How?” She is thunderstruck to see him. So consumed with supervising the final preparations for the feast this night, Lady Rebecca had not heard the full details of the Gisborne children’s rescue–nor whom their rescuer was.
Sir Roderick: “I am here.” He gazes at her soulfully. “I could not stay away when my Prince summoned me to join him here.”
Realizing that Sir Roderick’s visit to her is not entirely his own doing–which she feels slights her pride–Lady Rebecca regains her practiced poise, and asks him diffidently.
Lady Rebecca: “And is Lady Merton with you?” She looks away, not wanting to see the face of her love as a husband to another.
Lady Merton is the wife Sir Roderick was beholden to take five years ago for her parents to impress upon Lady Rebecca that she could never be his–nor he hers. And so Lady Rebecca’s arranged married the Earl of Leicester, the absent Lord John Oxbridge, proceeded.
Sir Roderick: “No.” He says chokingly and turns away from looking at her–his sorrow sweeping over him once more.
With both Sir Roderick and Lady Rebecca looking away from each other, they can not see the mutual anguish that they both feel. But their desire for each other is too great and they once again engage with each other.
Lady Rebecca: Now facing Sir Roderick, but studying her hands, Lady Rebecca asks. “Did she not feel the roads were sufficiently dry to make the journey from the North?” Lady Rebecca says this a bit more disdainfully than she should. She wonders how she can be jealous of him when she, herself, is also married to another?
Sir Roderick’s eyes glistening with tears rise to meet Lady Rebecca’s eyes. Then he speaks haltingly, in a choking whisper.
Sir Roderick: “Becca. Some eighteen months ago, my Lady Wife Gwen … died in childbirth.”
Lady Rebecca: Lady Rebecca’s head jerks up to look at him. “No!” She hopes to stave off him telling her more of his tale of woe so that her heart does not soften again to him now.
But Sir Roderick has come this far in relating his deep pain, and he will not be stopped.
Sir Roderick: “Our son Harold came too soon, and he did not survive beyond a few hours after his birth. He was buried with his mother two days later.”
Sir Roderick relates sorrowfully as his grief filled tears fall upon his cheeks. For all the lack of love that Sir Roderick had for his wife in the beginning of their arranged marriage, when they knew they were to welcome a child, he grew ever fond of her. They began to share a fond closeness with each other. And when she died, he truly mourned her passing.
Lady Rebecca: Lady Rebecca instantly regrets her frosty tone and her heart melts in sympathy toward him. “Oh Roddy. I did not know. I am truly sorry for your loss–both mother and child, so sad.” Lady Rebecca apologizes softly as she covers her mouth in shock and tears of empathy fall from her eyes.
Lady Rebecca would caringly embrace Sir Roderick to comfort him–as they did when young, before their love was torn asunder. But the rigid societal rules she must now follow as Lady Leicester do not allow her to show her compassion to him, not even as a fellow human being. For if they were discovered together unchaperoned–however chastely they might be acting–it would lead to her disgrace. And her disgrace would forever taint her children–and that, she could never live with.
Sir Roderick: “It is not widely known.” He explains in a hushed voice. “I have not been in society much these past eighteen months as I sought my solace in distraction–through holding fast our Northern boundaries from Celt and Viking raiders. My only recently returning to court in the past few weeks is at Prince John’s behest, now that the Northern raids have ceased.”
Lady Rebecca: She falters, hardly knowing how to delicately ask her next question. “And did you and Lady Merton have … well, are there other children?” For she knows that he was married a little over five years ago, before her marriage to Lord Oxbridge. So there might have been other children from their union.
Sir Roderick: Solemnly, Sir Roderick answers her query. “No. Becca, I was not the best husband to Lady Gwen in the beginning of our marriage. I own that I did not love her as I should. I only loved you. And I blamed her in error for our arranged marriage, when she was as much a victim of it as I was.”
Lady Rebecca: “You a victim? I never thought of it that way–that the husband could also be a victim of an arranged marriage.” And she wonders about her long absent husband Lord John–if he had another love whom he was forced to give up in order to marry her?
Sir Roderick: “It was only … It was only after I learned that you had given birth to Lord Oxbridge’s son, your little Lord Graham, that I felt that you were lost to me forever. And I stopped punishing my wife for not being you. She had born my insolence and neglect without complaint the first two years of our marriage–bearing herself with dignity and poise. She was a good and true wife to me, I did not deserve her. She believed herself to be in love with me and always hoped that I would return her feelings one day. And in time, I did. And when we finally developed a fondness for each other and truly began our marriage, our joy was fleeting–snatched away with her and our son’s death.” Tears fall upon his cheeks in remembrance and regret. There is so much that he would have done differently–not just with his love Becca, but with his wife Gwen.
Lady Rebecca: “And now you are back at court–by Prince John’s request?” She dreads what he might tell her.
Sir Roderick: “Yes.” He sighs heavily. “Though I did not know this was his purpose, Prince John wishes to contract a marriage for me with Lady Caroline Havorford–Lord George Middleton’s young sister-in-law. I have only briefly met her just now in the Banquet Hall.”
Lady Rebecca: She looks at him uncomprehendingly, wondering if he would once again contract himself in marriage where he does not love. “Roddy, at twenty five you are four years older than I am. I believe that Lady Caroline is but eleven. You would marry a child fourteen years your junior?” Lady Rebecca stares at him accusingly.
Sir Roderick: “Nay! I will not be a party to making that young girl marry me against her wishes–as was done to you. If I ever marry again, it will only be with the woman I love–with you as my wife!”
Lady Rebecca: “How I wish it could be so. … But we can never be. My husband Lord John though far away in the Holy Land, will eventually return one day now that King Richard’s Crusades are over and he busies himself with reclaiming French territories.” In truth, she cannot understand why her husband has not returned yet. “And I am his wife. I am trapped! Roddy, we must not torture ourselves with hoping for the impossible.”
Sir Roderick: Taking a step closer to her, now standing closer than he ought, he sighs. “We are both trapped. I love only you, Becca. I want only you. If losing my Gwen and our son Harold taught me anything, it is that life is fleeting–we should not waste it with regret and lost chances.”
Sir Roderick reaches for Lady Rebecca with his good right arm and he pulls her into his embrace and she does not resist. Risking a further intimacy, Sir Roderick places his forehead against her forehead. Lady Rebecca closes her eyes, her breathing shallow–fearful yet hopeful for what might happen next. Then he tilts his head down and he gently kisses her cheek and then her lips in soft tentative entreaty. But the sweet tenderness in the communion of their lips soon ignites their mutual passions as he kisses her adoringly, pouring out his love for her in tenderness and adoration. And she cleaves herself unto him, drinking in the passion of his kisses–wanting so much more. And yet after several minutes pass, Lady Rebecca comes to her senses as she pulls away from him and whispers.
Lady Rebecca: “We cannot become lovers! It is forbidden by God’s law!” She gazes at him forlornly. She shakes her head with the absurdity of society and etiquette thrust upon her with this feast. For if she and her Roddy were alone, she might make a very different choice.
Sir Roderick: “May we talk more? May I come to you tonight?” He asks shyly, hopefully. “I am the guest of the Gisborne’s after my having saved their children from falling from the keep tower. So I must return there at first. But I will slip away, somehow.”
Lady Rebecca: “It was you who saved Lady Helen and Seth?”
Sir Roderick smiles, not in bragging, but in relief that the children did not plummet to their deaths and perish.
Sir Roderick: “Yes, so the Guy and his wife Lady Roseanna have kindly and graciously installed me in a full size bed in their sitting room–since my cramped cot in the armory would have greatly hindered my shoulder healing from being dislocated. My absence from the Gisbornes’ hospitality for too long this night would be an insult to them–and rouse suspicions as to where I am. But I must see you in private again.”
Lady Rebecca thinks that she knows what Sir Roderick is asking–to come to her bed. And though she has just now resolved not to take him as her lover, she will not be able to resist him for long. Though he, himself, has said that he cannot stay long. So she doubts that they will make love tonight. And she knows the risks to her are great if she is found out. Yet, she cannot refuse her love for him any longer.
Lady Rebecca: “Come to me then, after the last of the guests have left the banquet hall for their rooms. You will find my bed chamber at the end of the family bed chamber corridor where the Gisborne’s suite is located. Bring something with you–as if it were a gift for my son Graham, in case you are discovered. My door is at the very end of the corridor. It has a rose carving motif on the stone door frame. You should be able to see the carving from the candle sconces nearby.”
Sir Roderick: “I will be with you this night, my love!” He also knows that they dare not risk her reputation. But he must be with her, if only for a little while this night.
Lady Rebecca: “Be careful and insure that no one sees you walking to my bed chamber! I cannot risk the ruin of my children through my actions. But I can no longer deny what is in my heart.”
Sir Roderick, gently kisses Lady Rebecca’s hand and they gaze lovingly into each other’s eyes.
Sir Roderick: “Nor can I, Becca My Love.”
Lady Rebecca: Feeling cautious, she tries to slip her hand from his grasp–but his hold is too firm.“I must return to my guests.” She looks at him pleadingly.
Sir Roderick: “Of course. But since it was at little Lord Graham’s request that I came in search of you, let me escort you to the banquet.” She looks at him quizzically. “Lord Graham was being carefully watched over by Seth Gisborne and Lady Caroline Havorford as you requested, but at three years old, Lord Graham still felt overwhelmed by the large gathering in the banquet hall.” Sir Roderick winces. “He is a fine boy, Becca.”
Lady Rebecca: “Thank you. Graham and his sister Lady Rachel have been my only joy. But if we are to return to the Banquet looking as if we were disinterested acquaintances, we must cease this sharing of intimacies.” Lady Rebecca admonishes him–and herself.
Sir Roderick: “My Lady, I will do as you bid me.” He bows his head in acquiescing to her request.
Then Lord Roderick straightens up to his full height, and adopts a placid expression upon his face–befitting a noble knight. Rebecca Lady Leicester also masks her emotions. And Lady Rebecca places her arm upon Sir Roderick’s outstretched right arm and they begin to walk to the Great Banquet Hall to rejoin her son and her guests–chief among them the Prince Regent, Prince John, and the Guest of Honor, Sir Guy of Gisborne.
To be continued with Chapter 9
“Sir Guy’s Atonement” (Book 3), Ch. 8 References, Feb. 20, 2015 Gratiana Lovelace (Post #706)
1) Story Logo for Sir Guy’s Atonement” is a composite of:
a) Sir Guy of Gisborne portrayed by Richard Armitage found at richardarmitagenet.com/images/gallery/RobinHood/album/seasonthree/Episodefive/slides/5_086.jpg (crop-hair-manip-hi-res); and
b) The spectre image of Lady Marian is that of Lucy Griffiths who portrayed Lady Marian in the BBC series Robin Hood from2006-2009 and was found at Hamilton Hodell Talent Management at http://www.hamiltonhodell.co.uk/cv/client_lucy-griffiths_id_100044.htm; image found at
2) Image representing Lady Rebecca Stafford Oxbridge, Lady Leicester is that of Tamsin Egerton portraying Guinevere in Camelot and was found at https://img.charahub.com/c116529_dd684dc156ff28b65cfce17e4acddf77.jpg
3) Sir Roderick Merton is Chris Hemsworth in a still from Thor the Dark World that was found at abcnews.com/images/Entertainment/REX_chris_hemsworth_thor_kab_140107_16x9_992
Sir Guy’s Atonement” (Book 3), Previous Ch. 7 Blog Link