“Sir Guy’s Atonement” (Book 3), Ch. 20: Long Live the King, March 30, 2015 Gratiana Lovelace (Post #725)
[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, and Sir Derek Jacobi as Fr. Bale, 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 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: All Sir Guy Baron of Gisborne wants this morning after his investiture is to get home to Gisborne-Middleton Manor quickly–so that he may rest and relax with his family in peace and quiet. He will not get his wish.
“Sir Guy’s Atonement” (Book 3), Ch. 20: Long Live the King
The April 3rd, 1199 Wednesday morning after Sir Guy Baron of Gisborne’s investiture to that elevated rank, the family and guests at Gordon Castle are breaking their fast pleasantly with each other. And there is a dawning realization by the eleven year old Lady Caroline and her father Lord Havorford that the 10 and a half year old Seth Gisborne is now one of her many suitors for her hand in marriage–in several years time, of course. And Prince John also plots a dowry tax upon a potential match of the still married Rebecca Lady Leicester and Sir Roderick of Merton–in the future if her husband is determined and declared to be dead, of course. Then the extended Gisborne-Middleton-Locksley-Oxbridge family morning’s travel and other plans are changed–even as they all rise to begin their day–with them standing chatting to one another.
Then there is a commotion in the Great Banquet Hall as an unknown person in royal messenger attire briskly enters the Great Banquet Hall of Gordon Castle followed by his retinue of guards. The royal messenger looks slightly haggard and has obviously has had little sleep. All are intrigued by this newcomer to their midst. And they will find out soon enough. A dark cloud has come to England’s shores.
Bowing, the Royal Messenger then kneels down before the Prince Regent, Prince John still standing near head table chatting with the extended Gisborne-Middleton-Locksley-Oxbridge family adults and Sir Roderick before every will take their leave. The room is abuzz, wondering what this Royal Messenger is about.
Prince John: “Speak!” Prince John commands the Royal Messenger. Prince John is as much in the dark as anyone as to the message this person might convey. He probably thinks his brother, King Richard wants more money for his military campaign in France. He will not get it, thinks Prince John. England is bled dry from King Richard’s Crusades.
Messenger: “Sire, I bring news from Queen Eleanor.” [(2)]
Prince John: “Well rise and give it here, man!” Prince John impatiently stretches out his hand.
Messenger: “Apologies, My Prince. But I am commanded by her majesty to give this message directly to the Baroness Gisborne.”
Prince John: “Baroness Gisborne?” Prince John’s mind is still not quite awake at this ungodly early hour of 9 o’clock in the morning. Then he remembers. “Oh right! Carry on!” Prince John rolls his hand. Leave it to Prince John’s mother, Queen Eleanor to send a letter by Royal Messenger, and her failing to send it to him.
The Messenger looks at Lady Rebecca, Lady Saline, and Lady Roseanna standing near Prince John–him not knowing which is Lady Gisborne. Lady Mary is still confined to bed and Lord George and their children are breaking their fast in their guest suite with her and the new baby. Brothers Sir Guy Baron of Gisborne and Lord Archer Earl of Huntington exchange worried looks about the Royal Messenger–and what he could portend. The children’s eyes go wide, wondering at the excitement of a Royal Messenger.
Lady Roseanna Baroness of Gisborne: Lady Roseanna [(3) right] steps forward with a note of concern upon her face. “I am Lady Roseanna Baroness of Gisborne.”
The Messenger takes two strides to her, then he bows and kneels down before her, extending his arm with a rolled sealed parchment in a sealed leather tube. There was no manner in which anyone would breach the privacy of this communication without its recipient being made aware of the deed. Lady Roseanna Baroness of Gisborne takes the round leather tube and looks quizzically at her husband.
Lady Rebecca: Motioning to one of her footman, Rebecca Lady Leicester intones graciously. “Messenger. I am Lady Leicester. Please let my footman guide you to a room where you may refresh yourself and have some nourishment. Your guards will also be attended to.”
Messenger: He stands and bows to Lady Leicester. “I thank you for your graciousness, My Lady. But my apologies, I am instructed to watch Baroness Gisborne read the message and then to wait for … a reply.” Curiously, he does not say wait for her reply. His countenance remains fixed with a solemn expression on it.
All eyes turn to Lady Roseanna Baroness of Gisborne–especially the eyes of her husband Sir Guy Baron of Gisborne. Their elevated rank is not yet 24 hours old and she is receiving royal messages addressed to her new title. Obviously, thinks, Sir Guy, Queen Eleanor knew of his Baronial investiture.
Lady Roseanna Baroness of Gisborne: She smiles and says lightly, masking her own concerns for what is contained within the leather tube. “Dear Aunt Queen Eleanor. Surely she wishes to convey her congratulations to my husband Sir Guy Baron of Gisborne.”
Prince John: “Of course. Well, if you will excuse me, I will go hawking this morning–since I must do something now that I am awake. Come everyone!”
As Prince John starts to walk away toward the doorway to the corridor, The Royal Messenger bows and holds out his hand, staying Prince John from leaving.
Royal Messenger: “My apologies again, My Prince. Queen Eleanor also instructs …” Chastened by the look of thunder upon Prince John’s face, he rephrases. “Queen Eleanor asks that you also be present to witness Baroness Gisborne read the message. And I am to answer any questions that you or Baroness Gisborne might have.” He states cryptically.
Prince John: “Hhhhhh!” Prince John sighs heavily in annoyance. “Well get to it, Rosie. I cannot wait all day to go hawking.”
Prince John taps his foot in annoyance, thus drawing his young cousin by marriage Seth Gisborne’s attention to his feet. Seth smiles and thinks, Prince John still has pretty shoes.
Lady Roseanna Baroness of Gisborne, breaks the seal on the leather tube by lifting the string under the wax seal of her Aunt Queen Eleanor, then unwrapping it from its figure 8 binding to finally open the lid. Tipping the leather container over, a sealed parchment slides out. Once again, she breaks the string and wax seal and unrolls the parchment to read it. The message from Queen Eleanor is in Latin, to prevent it being understood by the illiterate populace were it to be misdirected. And what Lady Roseanna Baroness of Gisborne reads silently to herself both saddens and worries her.
Queen Eleanor’s message in Latin [(4)]: Anno dominicae MCXCIX Martii XXVIII, Gallia
Domine mi Rose,
Quod dico vobis in luctus sempiterno dolore magna et filii mei iniuriam ab accidentali scorpionem 25 martii percusserit. Remotio solum nil derogare sagittam e vulnere. Non enim dedi ad auxilium Medici fati Deo. Vereor gnati permanentia. Ora pro eo, si unus pro omnibus ruit.
John Carus quoque obsecro ut paret se amittere frater – quod cum fit, quod officia ejus assumere. Contritum est cor meum, ubi ego mittam nuntium alius..
Regina Alienora Aquitaniae
And Queen Eleanor’s message in English: In the year of our Lord, 1199, March 28, FranceMy Dear Lady Rose,
It is with unending regret and great sorrow that I tell you of my son’s injury from an accidental crossbow strike on March 25th. The removal of the arrow only worsened his wound. The physicians cannot be of aid and have given his fate to God. I fear for my son’s continued life. Please pray for him, and for us all if he succumbs.
Please also tell Dear Johnny that he must prepare himself to lose his brother–and to assume his brother’s responsibilities when it comes to that. I will send another message when my heart is broken.
Queen Eleanor of Aquitaine
Naturally, the letter did not contain last names, nor even the most important name–again as a confidentiality measure. But Lady Roseanna Baroness of Gisborne needs no such clarification in understanding this missive as a harbinger of doom. King Richard has been fatally injured, and when he dies, Prince John will become King of England.
Prince John: “Well?” Prince John [(5) right] queries peevishly at his cousin Lady Rose impatiently about the contents of the message.
Without seeking permission, Lady Roseanna Baroness of Gisborne addresses those in the Great Hall. She smiles–albeit wanly–so as not to betray her churning thoughts and emotions.
Lady Roseanna Baroness of Gisborne: “This is, indeed, a family communication. Pray everyone attend to your morning tasks and entertainments as our extended family chat privately. Please stay Royal Messenger.” He nods, and it is his directive from Queen Eleanor for himto stay until after Prince John is told–so that he may answer any questions for Baroness Gisborne and Prince John. Then she turns to Sir Roderick and says to the savior of her children–and perhaps Rebecca Lady Leicester’s future husband. “Please stay, Sir Roderick. We may have need of you. “And of you, Lord Havorford.” Lord Havorford nods.
Sir Roderick: “As you wish, My Lady.” Sir Roderick nods and stands tall at Rebecca Lady Leicester’s side–she lifting her two year old daughter Lady Rachel into her arms. And little three year old Lord Graham tucks his little hand into Sir Roderick’s very large hand–causing Sir Roderick to look down and smile kindly upon the small boy as he gently squeezes the boy’s hand.
The other non family guests file out–as do the servants–and the Great Banquet Hall is sealed closed for privacy and confidentiality. Prince John looks at his cousin Rose with concern.
Prince John: “Is Mama Queen Eleanor well?” He asks hesitantly. For all their disputes, she is still his Mama.
Lady Roseanna Baroness of Gisborne: She turns to face her cousin Prince John with unwavering poise. Then she responds softly. “Yes, Johnny. But I fear that your brother, King Richard is not.”
The adults eyes widen and they turn to look at each other. Then as the extended family gathers around the two of them, Lady Rebecca Baroness of Gisborne proceeds to read the missive–in Latin in order to shield the younger children’s ears and prevent them from worrying. Of course, the older children Seth Gisborne and Lady Caroline have been schooled in Latin, and they understand what is being said–and what this news means. Lady Roseanna Baroness of Gisborne then hands the parchment to Prince John so that he can ascertain the verity of what she has told them all. He peruses it carefully, noting that it is his mother’s signature.
After a pause of silence that no one breaches, Prince John is the first to speak as befits his rank as future King and as the de facto head of their extended family. His face is a mask, not betraying his emotions. Is he sad at the prospect of his brother’s death? Is he gleeful to finally become king in his own right? None can tell. Yet Prince John seems to become taller as he says with quiet authority.
Prince John: “Thank you, Lady Rose. Nobles and family, my brother was felled by an arrow eight days ago. We will not know for perhaps a week after if he succumbs due to the time it takes to travel from France.” Prince Johns looks at the Royal Messenger directly.
Royal Messenger: “Our journey required four days of constant travel–only stopping when on land to change horses and take brief refreshment.”
Prince John: Absentmindedly, Prince John says in a hushed voice. “My brother could be dead by now, and we simply have not received word.” Then remembering who he is and who he will become, Prince John seems to rally as he stands up straighter again. “We must prepare to meet this news and change in leadership such that England remains strong so our enemies do not try to exploit the situation–assuming, wrongly, that we are vulnerable to attack.” Prince John looks at each man present, and they each nod.
Lord Archer: “What is it you ask of us, … Sire?” Lord Archer [(6) right] tries that distasteful new title for Prince John on his lips. And he tells himself, better the devil you know.
The other men look to Prince John to learn their fates. Will Prince John as England’s heir apparent punish them for his past difficulties with them?
Prince John: Prince John takes a deep breath and exhales. “Hhhh!” He needs allies at this point. And who better, than his family–even if they are distant relations? “Go home. Tend to your estates and families. Ready yourselves and garrisons as if for war, because we must be ever vigilant. When I learn the sad news of my brother King Richard’s death, I will send for you and other noble Lords to come to London to join me in meeting with representatives of other countries who will come to assess the situation. We must not show any dissension to them. England’s survival depends upon us working together for England. My brother was an absent monarch, but I will not be so. And I will not see England tumble during my reign.” He states a bit presumptuously, but the lords are relieved to hear him thinking about England first.
They all nod and begin to disperse. Lady Roseanna Baroness of Gisborne lays her hand upon her cousin’s shoulder and almost whispers in her distress as tears brim at her eyes at the impending death of her dear cousin King Richard.
Lady Roseanna Baroness of Gisborne: “Oh Johnny! Not Richard! He is so young!” For King Richard is only 42 years old, three years younger than her beloved husband Sir Guy Baron of Gisborne.
Prince John: Patting her hand on his arm awkwardly caringly, he replies. “I know Rosie. But we must each play our parts now.”
Lady Roseanna Baroness of Gisborne: “Yes. You will be King.” She gracefully removes her hand from his arm. Then she curtsies to him–in a low bow–something she has never done before.
Prince John: Touched by this gesture by his cousin, Prince John reaches forward and gently taps her shoulders. “Rise Baroness Gisborne.” Lady Roseanna rises and looks at her cousin with uncertain eyes. She has often told him off and angered and annoyed him. Now he will be King–a position of supreme power. “So, my Lady cousin! Might I presume that your threat to put spiders in my bed when I do wrong, will now be rescinded when I am king?” He teases her like her cousin, not as her sovereign.
Lady Roseanna Baroness of Gisborne: Looking up at Prince John, she says with a steely gaze. “No, Sire.”
Then they both burst out laughing–the tension of the dire news of King Richard’s imminent death needing to be broken by the opposite emotion of mirth.
Prince John and Lady Rose: “Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!”
Of course, Sir Guy Baron of Gisborne thinks that both his future king and his wife are quite daft–considering it is his Lady Rose who often refers to her cousin Prince John as a weasel. Noticing his cousin-in-law’s perplexed look, Prince John smiles broadly at him.
Prince John: “Cheer up, Gisborne. Now that I am soon to be King, I will need men of your cunning and expertise with me.”
Sir Guy Baron of Gisborne: “With you, Sire? Our home is here.” He dreads being summoned to court for an unspecified length of time. And Sir Guy Baron of Gisborne in no way wants his children to be exposed to court.
Lady Roseanna Baroness of Gisborne: “Johnny please, our children are so little. They cannot be without their father. And we cannot travel to court. It is too far.”
Prince John: “Why can you not travel to court, Rosie?”
Lady Roseanna Baroness of Gisborne: “Because, because …” She looks over at her husband. She would have rather told her husband this news in private. They exchange an understanding gaze between husband and wife as she raises her eyebrow, smiles, and gently places her hands upon her tummy.
Sir Guy Baron of Gisborne: “Rose! My Love!” Forgetting all court etiquette, Sir Guy Baron of Gisborne swoops his wife up into his arms, twirls her around, and kisses her adoringly.
Prince John: Sneering, Prince John jests as he flicks his hand as if he were shooing away an annoying flea. “Find an antechamber for that somewhere, will you?”
Sir Guy Baron of Gisborne: “Ha ha ha! My apologies. But when my wife tells me that she will gift us with another child, my joy cannot be contained.” Husband and wife are beaming with joy.
Sir Guy Baron of Gisborne: “Six!” Sir Guy Baron of Gisborne [(7) right] states pridefully as he smiles at his cousin-in-law Prince John.
Prince John: “Good god, man! You are a better stud than my prize stallion in the Royal Stables. But of course, you came with Seth. And this will be Rosie’s fifth baby. Are you well, Dear cousin?” He looks at her solicitously.
Shocked at his seemingly genuine concern for her welfare, she smiles at her cousin.
Lady Roseanna Baroness of Gisborne: “I am, but two months along.” She nods firmly. “And I will not let my husband go away from me.” Lay Roseanna clings to her husband’s arm.
Prince John: “Rosie.” He pouts. “I want Gisborne to review our London fortifications for weaknesses–and then propose improvements for the safety and security of the realm. Locksley has been singing your praises about Nottingham, and I concur. So let us see what you may do with London.”
Sir Guy Baron of Gisborne: “I thank you for your faith in my abilities. But we are at an impasse, Sire.” He also tries out that new title for Prince John on his tongue.
Prince John: “How so? As Prince Regent, I rule temporarily–and as King, I will rule permanently.” Prince John pouts petulantly.
Sir Guy Baron of Gisborne: “You rule England, Sire. But My Lady Wife rules my heart and our happy home.” He embraces his wife from behind and kisses her temple as she nestles contentedly into his arms.
Lady Rose smiles smugly in her husband Sir Guy’s loving arms. She has long ago given up being worried about exceeding the number of children that a well bred woman should have. She is a much loved wife and their children are living proof of their love.
There was nothing for Prince John to do but relent about Sir Guy Baron of Gisborne journeying back to London with him. Instead, Prince John will have the maps and existing fortifications plans sent to Gisborne to review and make suggestions upon. For Sir Guy will go no further afield then Nottingham–and then, only when required.
The other nobles were advised to secure their lands and protect the borders. For when a change in the monarchy occurs, there could an upheaval in England.
Sadly, at the end of the following week, word reaches England from France– including the Prince Regent, Prince John– that King Richard had succumbed to his injuries on April 6th, 1199. and is buried in three places in France [(8)]. And when the news King Richard’s death reached England four days later, the Prince Regent Prince John was named King [(9)] on Wednesday, April 10th, 1199.
With King Richard being felled by an arrow in France–and dying of the infection that follows–Sir Guy can’t help but recall his attempt to kill King Richard in the holy land five years ago with an arrow, and then finish him off with his sword. What transpired after still haunts Sir Guy–that he killed Lady Marian. Sir Guy’s now perfect life will be turned upside down when an old spectre from his past misdeeds returns to haunt him–and has the potential to put his and his family’s future happiness in jeopardy.
English noble lords meet in London and confer about this change sovereign leadership–as King John’s and their thoughts now turn toward a permanent government for England. And Sir Guy Baron of Gisbone grudgingly travels briefly to court in London with his brother Lord Archer to give their oath of fealty to their new king, King John–Long Live the King–as all nobles must. His wife Lady Roseanna only relenting because he traveled with his brother and promised to come back to her quickly.
And upon Baron Gisborne’s return trip home, he will first detour to Nottingham with Lord Archer–to pay a necessary visit to the rebuilt Locksley village church, now named St. Matthew’s, after Kate’s brother Matthew whom he killed. It is a penance he must do, and it will not be an easy one.
To be continued with Chapter 21
“Sir Guy’s Atonement” (Book 3), Ch. 20 References, March 30, 2015 Gratiana Lovelace (Post #725)
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) Queen Eleanor of Aquitaine was married to King Henry II of England who was succeeded on his thrown by two of his sons—King Richard and then King John; more information about her may be found at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eleanor_of_Aquitaine
3) Lady Roseanna image is that of British actress Emma Watson and was found at https://nyoobserver.files.wordpress.com/2013/05/emma.jpg
4) Queen Eleanor’s message was translated into Latin via GoogleTranslate at https://translate.google.com/
5) Prince John frowning image (crop) is Toby Stephens in the BBC’s Robinhood (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
6) Image of Lord Archer of Locksley (portrayed by Clive Standen) in the BBC’s Robin Hood, Series 3, is a composite image of Mr. Standen’s head (cropped) found at http://www.richardarmitagenet.com/images/gallery/RobinHood/album/seasonthree/episodetwelve/slides/12_093.jpg ; and a Medieval type man’s formal attire found at http://www.medievalcollectables.com/images/Category/medium/158.png
7) Prince John is Toby Stephens and Sir Guy is Richard Armitage in Robin Hood series 3, epi7 pix 177 found at http://www.richardarmitagenet.com/images/gallery/RobinHood/album/seasonthree/episodeseven/slides/7_177.jpg
8) For information about the life, reign and death of King Richard I of England, visit http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_I_of_England
9) For information about the life, reign and death of King John of England http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John,_King_of_England
“Sir Guy’s Atonement” (Book 3), Previous Ch. 19 Blog Link with embedded illustrations (Post#724)