“Sir Guy’s Atonement” (Book 3), Ch. 15 (PG-13, D): Out Plotting the Plotters, March 13, 2015 Gratiana Lovelace (Post #718)
[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 Sir Guy and his extended family reveal the assassination plots to Prince John–both Prince John’s for Sir Guy, and Sir Jasper’s for Prince John, Sir Guy, and Seth Gisborne–all is out in the open. Well, not all–with more yet to be uncovered.
“Sir Guy’s Atonement” (Book 3), Ch. 15 (PG-13, D): Out Plotting the Plotters
Keep your friends and family close, and your enemies closer [(2)] had been Prince John’s father King Henry II of England’s best and only advice he had transferred to his youngest son Prince John. Never truer words were uttered as both the Gisborne-Middleton-Locksley-Oxbridge family and Prince John must enter into a King Solomon like alliance to prevent Sir Guy and Seth’s deaths as misdirection for their cousin Prince John’s assassination during Sir Guy’s investiture. They have only a few days to discover who the conspirators are beyond knowing that Sir Jasper and someone named Roland are involved. Roland being the name of someone whom Prince John had a flicker of recognition about that–he omitted to share with his extended family.
Putting on serene smiles–or his usual scowls in Sir Guy’s case–the extended Gisborne-Middleton-Locksley-Oxbridge family attends the weekend’s remaining dinners, church, and other daytime activities as they are expected to do. They do not want to raise suspicion that they have become aware of the plot. But an observant conspirator might have noticed that the families hardly let themselves out of each others’ sights. That is unusual because they all have their children with them–and children are not generally included at large festive gatherings. But perhaps because their hostess at Gordon Castle, Lady Leicester–their kinswoman Lady Rebecca Oxbridge–is also a mother with two young children that the presence of young ones is forgiven.
It had been decided Saturday at their family tea, that since Sir Roderick Merton was the mostly unknown entity amongst Prince John’s entourage–and now ingratiated with the Gisborne’s after saving their children–that he should seek to be a spy for them amongst the other courtiers. Sir Roderick hopes of giving the false impression that he is displeased with the Gisborne’s and the only reason that he is still a guest in their guest chamber is at Prince John’s request–otherwise, Sir Roderick would happily bunk in the Castle Armory’s temporary barracks with the rest of them. So Sir Roderick preys upon his fellow courtiers general state of envy and their love of juicy gossip.
Pretending to be in his cups with the other courtiers in the Gordon Castle armory’s temporary sleeping quarters of many of them as he takes another swig of his ale–but only sipping–a jovial Sir Roderick [(3) right] intentionally slurs his words.
Sir Roderick: “The bed the Gisborne’s allotted to me is fine, I will grant that–good for my healing shoulder. But since the bed’s location is nestled between the masters’ and children’s bed chambers, it does not allow me any privacy for sport with the comely serving wenches at the castle.”
Sir Mead: “And comely, they are. Why jus tother day, I found myself quite pleasured by a wench in an out of the way corner.”
Sir Mead smiles leeringly for the benefit of his fellow knights–rather exaggerating what took place since all he managed was to steal a kiss before the serving girl skittered a way. But such is the way of men in groups–boasting to the point of lying about their prowess on and off the field of battle.
Sir Roderick: “With the castle bursting to the battlements with guests, pray tell what quiet corner was that?”
The men howl with laughter and add a few choice words of their own–that were Sir Roderick not attempting to appear as one of them would make him bristle for their disrespect of women.
Sir Kendall: “Aye! Why Sir Roland and I have yet to find any willing wenches. We might have to start looking to the ladies.”
Sir Roderick only flinches briefly before smoothing his facial expressions and response not to give anything away. So he claps the knight’s back and says jovially.
Sir Roderick: “By the by, who is this Sir Roland? I do not believe that we have been introduced?” Sir Roderick furrows his brow quizzically as he pretends to weave his body back and forth as if he would fall over in his pretend drunken stupor.
Sir Kendall: “Of course you have!” Sir Kendall claps Sir Roderick on his back. Sir Robert Noland of Devon. Roland is just a family and close friends name for him.”
Sir Roderick’s eyes widen imperceptibly. He does know who this Sir Roland is. Then his face return to a placid glazed over smile.
Sir Roderick: “Of course! Sir Robert! Well then, Sir Kendall, perhaps you and I and Sir Roland will find some ladies at this evening’s dinner.”
Sir Roderick raises his eyebrows up and down several times with a broad smile to indicate his eagerness. Of course, they believe him–louts and reprobates that they are. Sir Roderick privately disdains his fellow knights’ lack of honour. But while he attempts to ingratiate himself with them to gain their trust and find out the exact details of the planned assassinations, Sir Roderick behaves as if he is their very best friend.
Meanwhile, Prince John has a word or two with his overly confident sycophant Sir Jasper in a private audience in Prince John’s family guest suite’s sitting room. Prince John feels certain that Sir Jasper would not try to kill him, himself–because there are too many witnesses to his entering the royal guest suite. Perhaps, he should rethink that logic.
Prince John: “There you are, Jasper!” Prince John [(4) right] sounds and looks purposely annoyed–as he usually does–so as not to alert Jasper that they are on to him.
Sir Jasper: “My apologies, Sire. But the business of the realm …” Sir Jasper intone self-importantly. “… does not stop because we are in Leicester waiting for a soon to be abbreviated certain baronial ceremony. Ha ha ha!” He smirks evilly.
Prince John: “Ha ha ha! Guy of Gisborne will be more manageable if he feels he needs to tend to his own lands and not expand his influence to the new Nottingham Castle fortifications that are almost completed.”
Though Prince John might have guessed, given the negative memories Sir Guy has of his actions in Nottingham as Sherriff Vasey’s Lieutenant, that Sir Guy spends as little time there as possible. So Prince John’s worries are baseless. Sir Guy has no need for power grabbing and has most reluctantly agreed to accept King Richard’s bestowal of a barony–because of what it will mean in elevating his children–especially Seth who will inherit the title.
Sir Jasper: “Sir Guy’s visionary design of the rebuilt and expanded fortifications will make Nottingham Castle our strong hold of the North. And Lord Archer has made himself a champion of the people doing good works, giving them clean water and promoting trade and such.” Sir Jasper sneers. “And with Nottingham Castle about to be outfitted with a full garrison again, those Gisborne brothers will have too much power unless Lord Archer is removed from office, shall we say?”
For though Sir Guy thinks that he and Seth are the indirect targets, Lord Archer also has several arrows pointed at him.
Prince John: “Yes, yes. They are a thorn in my side. Though they are family by marriage through lady Roseanna, it is a tenuous connection at best.” Prince John flicks his thumb and middle finger as he is wont to do when he is annoyed. “Have all the arrangements been settled then? How is it to be accomplished?”
Sir Jasper: “Yes, Sire. We will invite Lord Archer to join the processional, leading Sir Guy toward you before the altar. That consolidates our targets by having them all standing up front together.” Sir Jasper smiles–thinking aloud that. “Then with all four of them facing forward as the investiture begins, they will be easy targets for an expert bowmen to kill.”
Prince John: “Hhhh! Nooooo, Jasper! I do not think that killing them is necessary.” Prince John shakes his head and rolls his eyes. “And certainly not in Leicester Cathedral.” Prince John crosses himself haphazardly. “I swear, Jasper, you would take a mallet to squash an ant. A lighter touch is required. I merely want you to wound Sir Guy and Lord Archer–so that they have to convalesce and stay out of my way for several months. And leave my little cousin Seth unharmed completely. Is that understood?” Sir Jasper nods to humor Prince John. “Seth’s adopted mother and Sir Guy’s wife–my cousin Lady Rose–will be difficult enough with her husband injured. We need not unleash her full fury by harming the boy, too.” Then Prince John smiles quite sheepishly. “Besides, Seth named his dog after me, and I have quite a soft spot for the boy.” Tis true, Prince John does think kindly about Seth.
Sir Jasper: “Of course, Sire. It will be as you command.” Not–thinks Sir Jasper.
And Prince John has another thought to aid his protection from any errant arrows fueled by Sir Jasper’s eagerness to put another on the throne and become Regent..
Prince John: “And given that you are so indispensable to me as my appointed Advisor, Sir Jasper, I should like you to stand beside me as a measure of my regard for you. Perhaps there will be more than one Baron made new at the ceremony.”
Prince John hints–just enough to set Sir Jasper’s mind turning in other, less lethal, directions. For even if Sir Guy’s baronial investiture ceremony is not interrupted by mayhem, at least Prince John will not have his cousin Lady Rose to contend with. They have been adversaries since their childhood–playing and fighting through them growing up and being around each other regularly. Had they not been cousins–even by marriage–Prince John supposes that someone might have suggested that they become betrothed. He shudders at the thought. Prince John likes his women docile–and that description in no way represents his cousin Lady Roseanna Oxbridge Middleton Gisborne.
Having received a report from Sir Roderick about who Sir Roland is–Sir Robert Noland of Devon–Sir Guy and Lord Archer [(5) right] converse privately on the Keep Tower’s observation deck late Sunday evening, the scene of his children’s accident and salvation but two days ago. The darkness aiding their hoped for secrecy. Lord George is absent due to attending his very pregnant wife Lady Mary–who is feeling much discomfort due to her condition .
Lord Archer: “So Guy! You are not wary to be up here so soon after the accident that Helen and Seth had on Friday?
Sir Guy: “No Archer! Not if it means we can strategize in peace and privacy.”
Lord Archer: “And without My Lady Rose, I would surmise?” Lord Archer flashes his brother Sir Guy a smirking smile.
Sir Guy: “You know me too well, brother. And Rose is the last person who should know what we plan to do.”
Lord Archer: “Do you believe that she would object?”
Sir Guy: “I do. Rose has never had to make tough choices–as you and I have. In her sheltered life, she has mostly known justice prevailing. And she believes that situations can be resolved through discussion and negotiation. You and I know better, Archer.”
Sir Guy and his brother Lord Archer share a look of resignation. Their pasts of infamy that they long thought they had to put to rest, must resurface if they are to save their families’ lives. They have each done in the past what they needed to survive–including murder. And though they had vowed to themselves and to their spouses never to seek violent solutions–in their mind, there is no other choice with their present predicament of two assassination plots brewing against them. Either Sir Jasper, the other conspirators’ and their expert bowmen must die–or Sir Guy, Lord Archer, and maybe Seth will die. And neither Sir Guy nor Lord Archer will let any danger befall their children. If their saving their families lives through murder be a sin, then so be it, thinks Sir Guy. He can live with that–he hopes.
And so the Gisborne brothers’ day of manly pursuits of hunting and such planned for tomorrow on Monday, April 1st will see more than boar and deer being hunted. And though life and death will hang in the balance scales, would be assassins will not be the only ones at risk.
To be continued with Chapter 16
Sir Guy’s Atonement” (Book 3), Ch. 15 References, Mar. 13, 2015 Gratiana Lovelace (Post #718)
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) “Keep your friends close, and your enemies closer quote attribution was found at http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/The_Godfather_Part_II
3) Sir Roderick Merton (crop) is Chris Hemsworth in a still (with Natalie Portman cropped out) from Thor the Dark World that was found at http://mrpopat.in/admin/upload/wallpaper/201310301383113308920383985.jpg
4) Prince John frowning image (crop) is Toby Stephens in the BBC’s Robin Hood (2009) season 3, epi 6, pix 95 that was found at http://www.richardarmitagenet.com/images/gallery/RobinHood/album/seasonthree/Episodesix/slides/ep6_0095.jpg
5) Sir Guy is Richard Armitage and Lord Archer is Clive Standen in Robin Hood (2009) Series 3, epi11, pix 109 found at http://www.richardarmitagenet.com/images/gallery/RobinHood/album/seasonthree/Episodeeleven/slides/RH3episode11_109.JPG
Sir Guy’s Atonement” (Book 3), Previous Ch. 14 Blog Link