“Sir Guy’s Atonement” (Book 3), Ch. 23 (PG-13, S): Wed in London, April 17, 2015 Gratiana Lovelace (Post #732)
[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)
[From time to time, I will illustrate my story with my dream cast of: Richard Armitage as Baron Guy of Gisborne, Clive Standen as Lord Archer of Locksley, Emma Watson as Lady Roseanna Gisborne, Lucy Griffiths as Lady Marian in flashback, James McAvoy as Lord George Middleton, Toby Stephens as Prince John, Chris Hemsworth as Sir Roderick Merton, and Tamsin Edgerton as Lady Rebecca Oxbridge, 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: Baron Guy of Gisborne having confessed his remorse over killing Lady Marian to the Madonna statue bearing Lady Marian’s likeness in St. Matthews Church in Locksley–and having the penultimate nightmare about that fateful day in the Holy Land, which precipitates his wife Lady Roseanna to suggest they hold a memorial service at which Baron Guy buries and secret letter he wrote to the deceased Lady Marian seeking her forgiveness–Baron Guy vows to live in the moment and to value his family. He is blessed with family–as are their extended family in the Middleton’s and Locksley’s. However their cousin’s the Oxbridge’s family–with the Earl Lord John still away for many years in the Holy Land and now suffering with possible life threatening injuries–feel the void of not having their husband and father with them. And Rebecca Lady Leicester will soon find herself at a crossroads of happiness or despair.
“Sir Guy’s Atonement” (Book 3), Ch. 23 (PG-13, S): Wed in London
It is a week later still in May 1199 that as King John entertains the nobles of the land visiting him–along with emissaries from foreign countries–that he learns through intermediaries at court in London and in Paris, that Lord John Oxbridge, Earl of Leicester was fatally wounded in the Holy Land and had succumbed to his injuries. King John had sent that message to the Earl’s widow, Rebecca Lady Leicester last week with his condolences for her loss. And the lady in question has gone into deep mourning [(2) right] and has yet to find a way to tell her children that the father they have never met has died. But of course, the now widowed young and lovely Lady Rebecca is now a much sought after marital prize on King John’s nobles marriage market.
So Prince John summons the Earl’s wife, Lady Rebecca, to Court to match her with another noble–under the guise of providing protection to her, while really planning to reward one of his nobles and take a hefty betrothal tax from the lucky bridegroom. Lady Rebecca’s dowry was long since settled on Lord Leicester–and that now falls to his three year old son, Lord Graham, the new Earl of Leicester. But the prospective noble bride grooms are ripe for the fleecing in order to expand King John’s coffers.
And as the widowed Rebecca Lady Leicester and her small children are presented at court–to give their oath of fealty to the New King John, Lady Rebecca draws the interest of several nobles with hefty purses. That is the way of noble marriages of this era–not necessarily made for love, nor with the women’s consent being vaguely considered, let alone, deemed necessary. Women are pawns, none more so than ladies of good breeding.
However, Sir Roderick as crown appointed protector of Rebecca, Lady Leicester–and the childhood sweetheart of her as his love Lady Becca–he will see no one but he become her husband, no matter what lands or coin he has to give to King John.
King John surveys that evening’s banquet in the great hall of one of his many London Palaces. As cousins by marriage, Rebecca Lady Leicester and her children sit with King John at the head table. Of course having children at a banquet is unheard of. But Lady Rebecca would not leave her children behind in their guest suite with their nurses–or she would stay there with them if they were not permitted to join her at the banquet. So King John relented. He has been approached already by two nobles seeking Lady Rebecca’s hand. And a pretty purse they do offer for her.
Leaning to his left, over his paramour of the moment Lady Canmoore’s head, King John asks cagily of Roderick.
Sir Roderick: “Sire. Lady Leicester is naturally upset and sorrowful–made more so because her children will now never know their father.” Sir Roderick narrows his eyes suspiciously [(3) right] at the King’s question, before returning to stab at the meat upon his plate.
King John: “Oh Yes, most appropriate.” King John waves his hand dismissively. “But their children should have a father. And several nobles–even a Duke–would be willing to do the deed.” And pay him a hefty betrothal tax, thinks King John.
Sir Roderick’s head lifts from his food and jerks to his right to stare incredulously at their king.
Sir Roderick: “Lady Rebecca is grief stricken.” He emphasizes. “No man should feign to tread upon her widow’s wound so quickly. It is base to suggest it.”
King John: “Your admonishment is uncalled for! I am only thinking of Lady Rebecca needing a permanent protector. You must return to your own lands soon.” That is not really King John’s reason, but it will suffice for now.
Then Sir Roderick realizing that he just chastised his King–with King John’s own eyes narrowing–Sir Roderick rephrases.
Sir Roderick: “Sire, I did not wish to imply that you hold that uncaring view. I only wish to state that Lady Rebecca is not likely to be receptive to entertaining marital prospects at this time.”
King John: “Well, life is for the living. And Lady Rebecca has a role and a duty to play in our noble family alliances.” A miffed King John states petulantly.
Sir Roderick: “All I ask you to consider is Lady Rebecca’s own feelings. Let her decide if she will be married and to whom she will be married.” Lady Rebecca is not aware of marital machinations being exerted on her behalf.
Lady Rebecca: “Sire? I must put my children to bed and beg to be excused.”
King John was so lost in thoughts of what price Lady Rebecca might fetch, he had completely forgotten that she was sitting next to him.
King John: “Oh! Oh, of course. But I should like to see you for a private audience before you go to sleep, my Dear.” King John asks nicely for a change–not as a command.
Lady Rebecca: “Very well, Sire.” She acquiesces with a small nod. What else can she do?
After Lady Rebecca leaves with her children to go to their guest bed chambers suite–with Sir Roderick as their escort–the Duke of Rotham and Baron Marsh independently step up to the dais to converse with King John about their hoped for betrothal to the lovely Lady Rebecca. King John hears each of their proposals in turn. They are handsome offers–both would fill King John’s personal treasury. But King John elects to wait to see if other proposals might be tendered.
After seeing Lady Leicester and her children situated in their guest suite, Sir Roderick returns to the banquet hall. It is tearing Sir Roderick up to know that his own meager title is no match for a Duke’s, or even for a Baron. And Sir Roderick loves his Lady Becca–as he believes she loves him. But love is not a commodity that Kings worry about. So Sir Roderick must find a way to make his suit of Lady Rebecca the most favored by King John.
And to his favor, Sir Roderick’s Staffordshire lands at the Northern edge of the middle west regions of England might prove a strategic stronghold against any Wales uprising should they decide to refocus their military strength last exercised throwing the Norman invaders out of Wales in 1066 [(4)].
Seeing Sir Roderick approach him–striding like a wildebeast–King John stiffens.
King John: “What say you Merton? Not tired afterall? Hmmm?” King John raises one querying eye brow.
Sir Roderick: “Nay, Sire. I merely wished to safely escort Lady Leicester and her children to their chambers. That duty discharged, I would speak to you on a most urgent matter. And my reason in returning to speak with you is two fold.” Sir Roderick pauses, waiting to hear if his sovereign will entertain his motions.
King John: “Well, out with it man! I do wish to sleep at some point–and I must yet speak with Lady Leicester this night before I may find my own rest.”
Sir Roderick: “First, I want to assure you that my well trained Staffordshire garrisons have repelled all Welsh attempts at raids.”
King John: “Good! If Wales were not such a strategic buffer between us and Ireland, I might wish we could chop Wales off of England and let it float away as an independent island.” King John grins cheekily [(5) right]. Then he burst into laughter as if he made a jest. “Ha ha ha ha ha!” Of course, then everyone else laughs. Them thinking that it is best to laugh with their heads connected to their necks
Sir Roderick: “I wish to wed Lady Rebecca, myself.”
King John: “What? I did not know that you became a priest or monk?” Prince John teases. He knows of what Sir Roderick asks.
Sir Roderick: “Name your price and I will strive to meet it. You can ask nothing of me and I will not give it, to be Lady Rebecca’s husband.”
King John: “Anything?”King John’s eyes fill with mirth.
Sir Roderick: “Anything.” Sir Roderick nods his head with a sense of finality–he means it.
King John: “I want the Staffordshire Ruby for my crown that I am commissioning.”
The moments tick by. The Staffordshire Ruby is an egg shaped ruby that has been in the Merton family for decades–given to them by the present King’s late father, King Henry. Sir Roderick sighs.
Sir Roderick: “Hhhh!” He had contemplated many possible requests from King John. However, the Staffordshire Ruby was not among them. The oval shaped ruby stone is priceless and one of a kind. But then, so is Lady Rebecca. “Done!”
King John and Sir Roderick shake hands and then they both visit Lady Leicester to tell her the good news.
To say that Lady Leicester did not take the engagement proposal well, is an understatement. Though she loves her Roddy, Sir Roderick. She has reservations.
Lady Rebecca: “Sire, though I mourn my husband’s passing, I am not altogether certain that he has done so.”
King: “Nay Lady Rebecca. Lay your concerns to rest. I have declared Lord John Oxbridge Earl of Leicester dead. You will marry with no impediments.”
Lady Rebecca: “But …”
Sir Roderick: “Lady Leicester, I will understand if you prefer another than myself to be a husband to you. The duke and baron are both very fine men.
Lady Rebecca: “Nay Sir Roderick.” They both remain formal in the presence of others. “But I must away to the Leicester estates on the morrow. There is little time to think about betrothals.”
King John: “That is the spirit! Marry without delay. We will bless your and Sir Roderick’s union at mid day chapel before the luncheon feast.”
Realizing that King John will have his way, Lady Rebecca nods her assent. She is still wary, but she is powerless to stop her being married off. And if she must be married again, it will only be to her Roddy, Sir Roderick.
With the wedding that morning being a quick affair–barely time for vows as conducted by Fr. Bale–the midday repast and then evening dinner were delicious. They had been teased and good naturedly taunted about this being their wedding night. When little Lord Graham asked what all of the fuss was about, his Mama Lady Rebecca replied cryptically for a three year old,
However now it is time for bed. And both Sir Roderick and his new wife Lady Rebecca are nervous as Sir Roderick steps into their now shared bed guest chamber at the palace and seeing the vision of the lovely Lady Rebecca in her nightdress [(6) right] standing on the balcony, gazing at the garden below.
Hearing approaching footsteps, Lady Merton turns to face her new husband.
Lady Rebecca: “Hhhh. I’m glad that it is you, Roddy. I could not take another leering audience with King John.”
Sir Roderick: Smiling broadly, Sir Roderick replies. “The gift of you as my wife that King John facilitated today puts me forever in his debt.” He walks up to her and envelopes her in his arms. “You shall never know my absence from this day forward, Becca. And I will cherish you all the days of my lie.”
Sir Roderick tenderly kisses his Becca. His hands and arms eagerly pull her toward him and she goes willingly. After several minutes of their kisses and caresses deepening, Sir Roderick pulls away from Lady Rebecca and removes his robe, leaving him in just his thin drawers that do not disguise his loving ardor. Lady Rebecca demurely turns her head and she shyly looks away from him. Then he gently pushes her robe off of her shoulders and lets it puddle at her feet.
Sir Roderick: “You are so beautiful, my Becca.” His lips trail kisses down her neck as she squeezes his powerful shoulders.
Lady Rebecca: “And you are so handsome!” She gazes at him longingly.
Then Sir Roderick lifts her into his arms and places her lying in their bed, before joining her there. Lady Rebecca holds her arms in front of herself, in front of her thin fabric covered breasts. She is shy about the intimacy they will share as husband and wife. Sensing her shyness, Sir Roderick draws her to him and rocks her gently in his arms as he strokes her back and kisses her forehead.
Sir Roderick: “I have thought so often of this moment–having you in my arms. I almost cannot believe it. It is like a dream.” He smiles sweetly.
Lady Rebecca: “A dream that we might awaken from.” She looks at him questioningly.
Sir Roderick: “Nay, Becca. Our lives are finally ours to claim. And I claim you.”
Lady Rebecca: “I claim you.”
And then they tenderly embrace each other fully as their tongues entangle sensuously with each other, matching their arms and legs interlocking together. Sir Roderick kisses and caresses his lovely Becca, cherishing her as she has never been cherished before. And Rebecca gives herself fully and completely to her love Roddy, delighting in their mutual bliss. Theirs is a long and loving wedding night as they desirously acquaint themselves with each other as lovers and their marriage truly begins–as it should have done over four years ago when their parents separated them to wed each of them to others, who have now passed on.
But even as Sir Roderick Merton and his new wife Lady Rebecca return to her children’s home at Gordon Castle in Leicester the next day before visiting his lands in Staffordshire, two others will also be returning in the future as well–impacting everyone’s lives beyond imagining. But first, these others, must be sought and cajoled to return to England.
To be continued with Chapter 24
“Sir Guy’s Atonement” (Book 3), Ch. 23 References, April 17, 2015 Gratiana Lovelace (Post #732)
1) My story cover for “Sir Guy’s Atonement” is a composite image 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 from 2006-2009 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 http://www.pathe.nl/gfx_content/allocine/medias/nmedia/18/79/21/tamsin-egerton_121324.jpg
3) Sir Roderick Merton is Chris Hemsworth in a still from Thor the Dark World(manip with left arm sling hidden under capte) that was found at http://cdn.collider.com/wp-content/uploads/thor-the-dark-world-chris-hemsworth6.jpg ; for more information, visit http://collider.com/thor-2-dark-world-images/
4) For a brief history of Medieval Wales, please visit http://www.wales.com/en/content/cms/English/About_Wales/History_ancestry/History_of_Wales/History_of_Wales.aspx
5) Prince John smirking image (crop) is Toby Stephens in the BBC’s Robinhood (2009) season 3, epi 6, pix 94 that was found at http://www.richardarmitagenet.com/images/gallery/RobinHood/album/seasonthree/Episodesix/slides/ep6_0094.JPG
6) Image representing Lady Rebecca Stafford Oxbridge, Lady Leicester (on balcony in her night gown) is that of Tamsin Egerton portraying Guinevere in Camelot and was found at filmweb.pl at http://1.fwcdn.pl/ph/52/25/575225/259028.1.jpg
“Sir Guy’s Atonement” (Book 3), Previous Ch. 22 Blog Link with embedded illustrations (Post#729)