“Sir Guy’s Atonement” (Book 3), Ch. 12 (PG-13, D, L): The Plot Thickens, March 04, 2015 Gratiana Lovelace (Post #713)
[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 Oxbridge, Lee Ross as Sir Jasper, 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), or foul language (L). 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.
Nota Bene: And though I may refer to some historical timelines, events, and personages, I reconfigure them somewhat for this storyline–and they should not be taken as literal historical fact. The citation links are provided for you to find out what really happened historically.
Author’s Recap from the previous installment: After spending all too brief stolen moments of chaste togetherness with his childhood love Lady Rebecca Oxbridge–except for some quite passionate kissing and embracing–Sir Roderick is more determined than ever to find a way for them to be together, honorably, as husband and wife. But Sir Roderick will soon discover that navigating around the inconvenience of her possibly living husband will be the least of his worries.
“Sir Guy’s Atonement” (Book 3), Ch. 12 (PG-13, D, L): The Plot Thickens
Having just left his love Lady Rebecca after an all too brief but tender meeting this night, Sir Roderick stealthily walks through Gordon Castle and then strides outside to the cool midnight air in the extensive gardens. Sir Roderick takes a quick stroll about the darkened moonlit garden–more so to clear his head and to cool him down from his frustrated ardor before returning to the Gisborne’s guest suite in Gordon Castle to sleep for the night, than to bolster his alibi for where he has been.
Sir Roderick is tired and his nerves are on a knife’s edge. Today has been a whirlwind of expectation in coming to Gordon Castle where his long lost childhood love Becca, the now Lady Rebecca Oxbridge Lady Leicester, resides with her two children, him serendipitously saving the Gisborne children Lady Helen and Seth, and then reuniting with his love, Becca.
However for Sir Roderick [(2) right] , what he hopes will be a leisurely mind clearing stroll in the Gordon Castle gardens in the wee hours of Saturday morning will prove more worrisome than he could have ever imagined. Peace and contentment will elude him this night.
As Sir Roderick stands leaning against a tall and broad tree on the edge of the garden for a few moments with his eyes closed–relishing the cool night air and the sweet scent of early flowers this Spring–he is distressed to overhear two of Prince John’s many and faceless courtiers not ten feet in front of him plotting an unnamed person’s untimely demise during the investiture of Sir Guy of Gisborne to the Barony in two days hence. The night is dark in the thicket of trees where Sir Roderick and they stand but ten feet apart–and he cannot see who they are, but he can hear them.
Courtier 1: “This is a wretched business we are stuck into–having to kill a noble, or two. I came all this way from London with the promise of food and drink–and may hap a ride with a comely country wench. And what do I get for my troubles? Complications!” He throws up his hands in disgust.
Courtier 2: “Now now, Roland.” He pokes his comrade tipsily.
Sir Roderick is startled at this slip. He does not remember meeting a Roland. But then, it could be a family name not used with the man’s title.
Courtier 1: “No names! People could be listening!” He hisses and looks around in the dark warily, not seeing Sir Roderick in his brown cape, leaning secretively behind a brown tree just ten feet behind them.
Courtier 2: Gesturing widely to the seemingly empty garden well after midnight, he asks. “What people?” Then he becomes bolder and he calls out toward the center of the garden in a sing songy voice. “Anyone there?”
Sir Roderick flinches. But he does not move. Nor does he reveal himself.
Courtier 1: “You fool!” He clamps his hand over his accomplice’s mouth. “You have had too much drink this night! You will have us found out and then Prince John will put our heads on spikes!”
Courtier 2: Wresting his co-conspirator’s hand away from his mouth, he slurs drunkenly. “Prinz John tis the one to worry about his head on a spike.” Sir Roderick pales at what he over hears. He wonders if Prince John in danger of some kind? “If all goes as planned, my head will stay where tis–and I will have a nice lil laady with a faat dowry to keep me company in our country estate as my reward for ….”
Courtier 1: Dragging his friend from the garden before he reveals anything more. He exasperatedly orders him to be quiet. “Cease your loose chatter or I will personally see that your tongue is extracted from your mouth!”
Courtier 2: Pushing the other fellow away, he pouts. “Get off me! Yewer juss pissed cause you have to kill that Gisborne boy to maintain the ruse that it is his father Sir Guy who is the target–and not …”
Courtier 1 quickly turns around and hits his companion hard in his jaw–knocking him senseless. Well, more senseless than he already was. Then he proceeds to drag his now unconscious partner in evil back into Gordon Castle, muttering under his breath to himself–eschewing his own admonishment for secrecy.
Courtier 1 : “Jasper better be right that the Brittany Boy is worth all this trouble.”
Sir Roderick freezes in catalyzed worry for the boy Seth Gisborne who he saved today. Or, Sir Roderick wonders, is it the younger Gisborne boy, four year old Louis that is the target? He wonders what is going on here? And who is the Brittany boy?
Sir Roderick waits a good long while in the Gordon Castle gardens before emerging to return inside to Gordon Castle. It is far past midnight and he is quite chilled to the bone, weary from the long day, and his healing dislocated shoulder is throbbing with pain. All he wants is to find rest in sleep. Sir Roderick can think of only one way to prevent these deaths from occurring. But first he must get a good night’s sleep if he is to be alert and on guard against these would be assassins. The morning will come in only a few hours and then he will apprise Lord Gisborne of this plot that he overheard so that the Gisborne family can protect themselves. For as certain as Sir Roderick is that he would move heaven and Earth for his own child had his baby son lived, so too he believes that Lord Gisborne cares and will be protective of his son and family.
And as Sir Roderick enters Gordon Castle, everyone is asleep–even the guard supposedly on watch at the garden entrance to the castle as Sir Roderick passes by the sleeping guard unnoticed. Sir Roderick thinks that he will have to apprise his love Lady Becca of her garrison’s need for greater discipline. But the guard’s failure of their duties is a blessing for Sir Roderick.
Sir Roderick is able to reach the Gisborne family’s guest suite without seeing a single guard awake. Sir Guy’s valet admits Sir Roderick to the suite as Sir Guy had requested earlier. Then the valet helps the still healing Sir Roderick undress–taking care with his injured shoulder in its sling– and Sir Roderick attends to his evening ablutions behind a privacy screen erected for him. Finally, the valet gestures quietly to the flagon of wine kindly left for Sir Roderick on his bed side table by Lady Roseanna. Sir Roderick takes several swigs of the warm mixture, hoping that it will dull his shoulder pain and help him sleep. But what Sir Roderick does not know is that Lady Roseanna had thoughtfully sprinkled some herbs known to enhance sleep into the wine to aid in Sir Roderick’s rest and healing this night. And the potion does its work as Sir Roderick drifts into a peaceful, recuperative, and very deep sleep.
Four hours later as the cock crows at dawn at 6 o’clock on Saturday morning, March 30th, 1199, Sir Guy awakens and freshens himself for the day before getting dressed in his leathers for traveling. Sir Guy and his son Seth will travel home to the Gisborne-Middleton Manor home to check that the status of the Nottingham Treasure is still undergrounds. Kissing his wife Lady Rose who stirs with the noise he unavoidably makes, Sir Guy urges her to return to sleep– saying that he and Seth will only be gone home for the morning, to collect Lady Sarah’s dolly and blanket, Sir Guy’s father’s ceremonial sword to wear for his baronial investiture, and to bring the healer woman Althea to Leicester at Lord George’s request for his wife Lady Mary’s comfort in the last stages of her third pregnancy. The extended Gisborne-Middleton-Locskley family will be housed at Gordon Castle for the following week and the very attentive Lord George wants to take no chances with his wife’s health. Lady Roseanna nods sleepily–he had kept her awake for quite some time last evening–so she gratefully returns to sleep for another hour or so.
Sir Guy quickly rouses his ten year old son Seth in the children’s room, while not disturbing the other children and their caretakers. After Seth makes his own morning ablutions, father and son each grab an apple from the bowl of fruit on the guest suite’s sitting room table to satisfy their hunger until they can reach home for a heartier meal. They notice that Sir Roderick is sleeping deeply–and snoring quite loudly–in a rather ungentlemanly way–and Sir Guy’s valet confirms that Sir Roderick drank the wine laced with a sleeping draught. So Sir Roderick will likely be asleep for several hours more. However, Sir Guy does not like leaving his family alone with their new acquaintance Sir Roderick–out of prudence rather than any firm suspicions on his part. Sir Guy is naturally cautious by his nature. So Sir Guy asks the valet to fetch Lord Archer to watch over his family until everyone is awake and they can be gathered together to break their fast.
Then Sir Guy and Seth slip out of the Gisborne Family’s guest suite, down to the stables, and mount their horses, turning toward home at Gisborne-Middleton Manor five miles away. They will be back in the early afternoon–their only possible delay occurring with how long it will take Althea the healer woman to gather her children and pack for joining them at Gordon Castle in Leicester.
Therefore it is some two hours later around eight o’clock in the morning that the remaining Gisbornes and Sir Roderick begin to rise. Lord Archer has temporarily slipped out of the Gisborne suite–after standing guard over Sir Roderick’s sleeping form–to check on his own family again before returning to the Gisborne guest suites. Sir Roderick feels quite groggy this morning–the after effects of the sleeping potion laced wine that Lady Roseanna had left him. After freshening up and dressing with the aid of Sir Guy’s Valet behind the privacy screen in the back of the sitting room, Sir Roderick sits in a large chair waiting for his host Sir Guy to awaken so that he may consult with him about what he overheard in the garden last night. Sir Roderick watches as the guest suite begins to come to life as servants rush about tending to their masters and their charges in the persons of the Gisborne children.
Finally, Lady Roseanna rises for the day after nursing baby Lady Diana and putting her baby back down to sleep in her crib. Lady Roseanna dresses with the aid of her ladies maid and then goes to see to her children and their nannies. Of course, she has to pass through the sitting room and Sir Roderick to do that. Sir Roderick stands up politely when he sees Lady Roseanna enter the room.
Lady Roseanna: Lady Roseanna nods and smiles cordially [(3) right] at their guest and her children’s savior. “Good morrow, Sir Roderick. I trust that you slept well?” She queries interestedly, wondering if the wine aided his sleep.
Sir Roderick: “I did, thank you, My Lady.” Sir Roderick furrows is brow as he looks behind Lady Roseanna and he does not see Sir Guy coming out of their bed chamber.
Lady Roseanna: Noticing Sir Roderick seeming to search for something or someone, she asks. “Is there something you require, Sir Roderick. We will all soon go downstairs to the Great Hall where we may break our fast together.”
Sir Roderick: “Nay, My Lady. I request an audience with Lord Gisborne this morning.” He does not want to alarm her with what he overheard. Dressed in pink as she is, makes Lady Roseanna look more youthful and fresh to Sir Roderick than her twenty seven years. And hence, he is reluctant to distress her.
Lady Roseanna: “Ah! Well, I daresay you and my husband Guy will find a quiet moment to converse after he returns to Gordon Castle this afternoon.” She smiles graciously.
Sir Roderick: “Returns?” Sir Roderick’s eyes widen in disbelief and shock. “He is not here?” He looks around the sitting room worriedly.
Lady Roseanna: “Nooo.” Lady Roseanna’s says slowly as her eyes narrow and she looks at Sir Roderick quizzically, wondering if her sleeping draught has made him forget himself. “My husband and our son Seth have ridden home for the morning to tend to some important matters–including bringing little Lady Sarah her favorite blanket and dolly.” She smiles sheepishly. “She is quite bereft that we inadvertently left it behind.”
Lady Roseanna also knows that her husband and son go to check on the security of the portion of the Nottingham Treasure that resides hidden deep under their stables. But she is not going to divulge this fact to Sir Roderick that–they do not know him, nor his intentions, well enough yet.
Sir Roderick hits his forehead with his good right hand–thinking that he is a dunderhead for not speaking up sooner.
Sir Roderick: “Aggghh! I should not have waited to speak to Lord Gisborne– and instead, spoken to him last night before I retired to bed! I hope that I am not too late!” He says this mostly to himself. Then seeing Lady Roseanna’s questioning expression, he elaborates. “I have … come across … some information… that I believe that Lord Gisborne will find most urgent.”
Lady Roseanna: “Very well. I am here. You shall tell me in his place.” She looks at him placidly, waiting for the information. It will not be forthcoming.
Sir Roderick: Sir Roderick blanches. “Forgive me, My Lady. But what I have to say may be too distressing for your tender ears.”
Lady Roseanna: Lady Roseanna fumes instantly at the unintended slight. “Sir Roderick! My ears are neither tender nor unaccustomed to hearing distressing things. And I am my entrusted to be my husband’s agent when he is not at home. So I will act in that capacity now.” She stares him down.
Lady Roseanna is quite annoyed with Sir Roderick for underestimating her as being merely female. Lady Roseanna is an Oxbridge Middleton Gisborne–a bloodline of storied history of stalwart souls.
Sir Roderick: Squirming at the thought of female histrionics his news would elicit, he hints encouragingly. “Perhaps Lord George and Lord Archer should also be present?”
The last thing Sir Roderick wants to have on his hands is an hysterical woman. However, it is clear that Sir Roderick does not yet know the tempestuous nature that simmers within Lady Roseanna’s breast. Afterall, she did keep her cousin Johnny’s marriage market machinations at bay until she was able to marry the man she wanted and loved–Sir Guy of Gisborne.
So Lady Roseanna informs Sir Roderick that since Lord George and Lord Archer are probably breaking their fast with their families downstairs, that they should do likewise. Then after the meal, they may converse privately in the Oxbridge family parlor in the family bed chambers wing. He agrees, but only because he sees no other way to get the four of them alone.
Then Lord Archer knocks and Sir Guy’s valet admits him to the Gisborne guest suite sitting room in Gordon Castle.
Lord Archer: “My Lady Rose! I see that you are up already this morning.” He smiles broadly, steps forward, bows, then kisses his sister-in-law’s hand. For his wife Lady Saline was still abed before he roused her with a kiss just now.
Lady Roseanna: “Lord Archer! What do you here so early? I supposed you to be readying to break your fast with your family downstairs at table.” She looks at him warily.
However, Sir Roderick is clearly pleased to see him.
Sir Roderick: He bows. “Lord Archer. I have need of your and Lord George’s immediate counsel in private.”
Lady Roseanna: “And my counsel!” She avers with her jaw firmly set. Sir Roderick thinks that Sir Guy has a spitfire for a wife–and he is absolutely right.
Lord Archer: “Come Lady Rose and Sir Roderick. Let us collect Lord George and speak now, before the meal, in the Oxbridge family sitting room across the corridor where we will not be disturbed. Then we may all take our families downstairs to break our fast. My little ones are hungry imps who are devils until they are fed.” He smiles bemusedly for he loves his children dearly.
So the three of them quickly collect Lord George from his family’s guest suite in the family wing and they sit in the spacious and elegant Oxbridge family.
Lady Roseanna: “Well, Sir Roderick? Speak of what you feel my husband will find so urgent?”
Sir Roderick looks at each one of them in turn.
Sir Roderick: Hesitating, he falters. “You understand, that if you reveal to others what I am about to tell you, we could all be targeted for death.”
Lord George and Lord Archer exchange glances in dread of what they are about to hear.
Lord George and Lord Archer: Both men speak unintentionally in unison. “Tell us!”
Then without further ceremony or delay, Sir Roderick lays out succinctly what he knows.
Sir Roderick: “While in the garden after midnight last night to take respite in the cool night air, I overheard two of Prince John’s courtiers talking about their being tasked with upsetting Lord Gisborne’s investiture ceremony by … by …” Sir Roderick looks worriedly at Lady Roseanna, the he continues. “…by pretending to shoot an arrow at Lord Gisborne, but also killing his son carrying his sword walking behind him in the processional. And then with another arrow killing the true intended target of Prince John.”
Lady Roseanna: “No!” Lady Roseanna wails as she covers her mouth in distress.
Knowing of the plot to thwart his brother Sir Guy’s investiture, but not knowing that his nephew would be targeted. Lord Archer demands.
Lord Archer: “How do we know what you say is true? What if you are the man sent to kill my brother and nephew?”
Lady Roseanna: As if in a daze, she repeats the phrase she had told Sir Guy once. “To woo us by false trust.”
Sir Roderick: “I swear to you on my honor, that I am telling the truth!” He appeals to them.
Lord George: “How can we trust you?”
Sir Roderick: “I will be killed if you reveal what I told you.”
Lord Archer: “Maybe.” He looks at the injured knight cagily–sizing him up.
Sir Roderick: “Very well. If you need a way to trust me, then I will have to trust you. Lady Leicester will vouch for me.”
Lady Roseanna: “Why would she do that?” As of yet, apart from seeing Sir Roderick escort Lady Rebecca into the feast last night, they know nothing of their prior history.
Sir Roderick: “Because she and I were childhood sweethearts–torn apart by our parents and forced to marry others. I was with Becca last night.” Seeing their shock, Sir Roderick assures them. “It was but for a few moments, to give her son Graham a toy that I had brought for him. And … and to profess my undying love for her. She is my only love.”
Lord George: “Would not your wife disagree with that, Sir Roderick?” He accuses pointedly.
Sir Roderick: “Sadly, my late wife Gwen died in childbirth eighteen months ago. Our infant son Harold did not live the night and was buried with her. I have spent the intervening years defending our Northern borders, praying that a skirmish would take me as well. But now, seeing Lady Rebecca again, my love for her is rekindled and my life has hope in it again. And I am free now to love her.”
Lady Roseanna: “But Lady Rebecca is not free to love you. Her husband Lord John Oxbridge, Lord Leicester is my kinsman, my cousin. He will come home eventually–injured or not. And I cannot condone you cuckolding him!” She says vehemently.
Sir Roderick: “Be at ease, My Lady. My love for Lady Rebecca is honorable–and prevents me from tarnishing her reputation. But we have lost track of my initial point. Lord Gisborne, his son, and Prince John are all targeted for death in a few days time.”
Lord Archer: “But why? I see no motive in all of this. Who will benefit?”
Sir Roderick: He shakes his head. “I do not know.”
Lord George: “Did they say anything else? What clues do we have to go on?”
Sir Roderick: “One of the men slipped and called the other Roland. I have not met a Roland at Prince John’s court–but it could be a family name. But his loose tongue was soon silenced when his partner knocked him out. However, this Roland did mutter under his breath about Jasper better be right, and wondering if the Brittany boy is worth it? I do not know what they said means–beyond implicating Sir Jasper.”
Lady Roseanna: Lady Roseanna’s blood runs cold, her face pales. “Gentlemen, it is a political coup in the making. My former guardian, England’s King Richard, had long ago designated his late brother Prince Geoffrey’s son Arthur as his heir.” [(4)]
Lord George: “Of course.” He sighs. “When Prince Geoffrey died prematurely three years ago, his young son Arthur inherited his father’s title.”
Sir Roderick: Sir Roderick shakes his head. “I still do not understand.”
Lady Roseanna: “Our now twelve year old cousin Arthur–the late Prince Geoffrey’s son and Prince John’s nephew–is now the Duke of Brittany in France. And were Prince John to be killed, Arthur would become Prince Regent until King Richard returns. But Arthur is too young and would need a protector. Obviously, Sir Jasper has himself in mind for that post.” Lady Roseanna has voiced the horrible conclusion they all are now coming to realize [(4)].
They all stare at each other in shock. Could the Gisbornes be caught within a web of political intrigue so sinister that it requires the deaths of three people–with one of them being a child? They resolve to say nothing to their family at present–and especially not to the delicately pregnant Lady Mary. When Sir Guy returns this afternoon from visiting Gisborne-Middleton Manor, then they will discuss with him what to do. In the meantime, they will be on their guard. And they will seek to verify Sir Roderick’s character with Lady Rebecca.
But much can transpire in a few hours while Sir Guy and his son Seth are away from Gordon Castle–especially, between a father and a son.
To be continued with Chapter 13
“Sir Guy’s Atonement” (Book 3), Ch. 12 References, Mar. 04, 2015 Gratiana Lovelace (Post #713)
1) Story Logo for Sir Guy’s Atonement” is a composite of:
a) Sir Guy 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) Sir Roderick Merton is Chris Hemsworth in a still from Thor the Dark World(manip (with a manip of his left arm sling hidden under cape) that was found at http://cdn.collider.com/wp-content/uploads/thor-the-dark-world-chris-hemsworth6.jpg
3) Image representing Lady Roseanna is a composite of: British actress Emma Watson head found at
http://www.hollybollyhub.com/emma-watson-hot-image.jpg and a dress found at http://www.buzzle.com/img/articleImages/3442-13.jpg
4) With Prince Geoffrey Duke of Brittany’s untimely death at the age of 27 in 1196 in France [(a)] , his son Arthur I born 1187 is the current Duke of Brittany [(b)] and named heir to King Richard of England:
Sir Guy’s Atonement” (Book 3), Previous Ch. 11 Blog Link