“Sir Guy’s Atonement” (Book 3), Ch. 24 (PG-13): First Loves, April 24, 2015 Gratiana Lovelace (Post #735)
[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 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 Merton, 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/sensuous 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: Rebecca Lady Leicester and Sir Roderick Merton were married in London due to King John’s eagerness to see the lovely lady wed–and to obtain the betrothal/marriage tax for tht marriage. King John’s prize is for Sir Roderick to given him the valuable Staffordshire Ruby that has been in Sir Roderick’s family for generations–a small price to pay for his love Lady Becca. Though hesitant to truly believe that her husband Lord John Oxbridge, Earl of Leicester, was fatally wounded in the Holy Land, Lady Rebecca consented to the marriage since King John was determined to marry her off to someone–and better her childhood love Roddy than anyone else. Theirs was a loving wedding night–to be followed by returning home to Leicester and then on to Staffordshire for Sir Roderick to attend to the management of his own estates. But as of yet, Lady Rebecca has not the heart to inform her children that their father is probably dead.
“Sir Guy’s Atonement” (Book 3), Ch. 24 (PG-13): First Loves
The two and a half day carriage ride from London to Leicester in mid May 1199 was made less tedious for Lady Rebecca’s children–little 3 year old Lord Graham Oxbridge and his 2year old sister little Lady Rachel Oxbridge–because Sir Roderick Merton has the gift of storytelling and he weaves fanciful tales for them. The children having already been around Sir Roderick as their and their mother’s protector assigned by King John, helped the children to smoothly acclimate to their new reality of him being their mother’s husband with nary a question. However, in truth, the young Oxbridge children cannot fully grasp what their mother remarrying means, they simply acknowledge that she has a husband and partner like most Mamas do–their never having known their own father mitigating any feelings of uncertainty for them.
Her children’s acceptance is something that Lady Rebecca and Sir Roderick Merton are now hoping to find in her and his extended families. After arriving near Leicester in early afternoon on the third day of their travels–because they left early enough that the children napped–Lady Roseanna and Baron Guy welcome the Merton-Oxbridge blended family to Gisborne-Middleton Manor, urging them to stay overnight so that the cousins may play together unfettered by royal protocol and copious noble guests about them as they were at Leicester Castle for Baron Guy’s investiture last month and during their brief time in London at Court. And Sir Roderick and his new wife Rebecca Lady Merton will find that they will not have to reveal their newly married status–because her children will unexpectedly take care of that announcement for them.
Lady Roseanna: “Welcome to our home!”
Lady Rebecca: “Thank you, Rose! We are glad to be almost home and wanted to stop to visit with you.”She says cryptically.
Lady Roseanna: “I hope you will stay the night and allow our children to play together. Besides, you must be so tired from your journey that you cannot go one mile more!” Lady Roseanna states caringly.
Lady Rebecca: “Travel is so tiring. Thank you.” She sighs gratefully to her cousin Lady Roseanna by her first marriage to John Oxbridge Lord Leicester.
Baron Guy: “By all means, you must stay the night–or even a day or two.” Baron Guy smiles [(2) right] cordially at the younger man.
Sir Roderick: “We thank you, Baron Guy. But I fear that we may only stay the night. There is much to attend to at Leicester–and also at my own estates in Staffordshire.” He says cryptically. Sir Roderick and his wife Lady Rebecca share a knowing glance.
Lady Roseanna: “Well, we have a tea party all prepared.” Lady Roseanna announces with glee to the little ones who are clearly hungry by virtue of their licking their lips in anticipation. Due to their tender ages of three and two years, little Lord Graham and little Lady Rachel may be excused for forgetting their manners.
Lady Roseanna directs Lady Rebecca and her children and Sir Roderick inside Gisborne-Middleton Manor, even as Sir Guy directs the butler who has the footman attend to their visitor’s traveling cases.
After the little ones are chamber potted, they all converge upon a midsized drawing room in the family bedchambers wing that possesses comfortable looking cushioned chairs, rugs strewn about the floor, as well as tables for eating at. It is the family’s private gathering place to relax together with their children. And there are a few toys and such strategically placed about the room, with a large enclosed cabinet serving to house the bulk of the Gisborne children toys treasure trove.
Once the younger children are given biscuits and milk to drink as they sit upon the plush rug strewn floor with their building blocks and dollies–as well as an assortment of cats and dogs–including the now very much larger than when he was an English mastiff puppy Prince, Seth’s dog–the older children and adults break into conversation groups.
Three year old Little Lord Graham Oxbridge and the four year old Louis Gisborne are playing with some blocks. And the two year olds Lady Rachel Oxbridge and Lady Sarah Gisborne are playing with dollies. Baby Lady Diana Gisborne is nearby sleeping in her cradle. And the six year old Lady Helen Gisborne stands politely near her Mama Lady Roseanna and next to the eleven year old Lady Caroline Havorford chatting with Lady Rebecca Oxbridge–they still think of her thus, as Lady Leicester, since they do not know of her changed status yet.
Lady Caroline, still visiting with her sister Lady Mary Middleton and her new niece at Middleton Hall, has also joined them for tea today at Gisborne-Middleton Manor as a recently taller almost eleven year old Seth shyly gazes at her from the side of the room, leaning against the stone wall. He has had a growth spurt and his equilibrium feels a bit off balance due to it. Lady Caroline is trying very hard not to seem pushy to Seth, but her eager acceptance of Lady Roseanna’s invitation earlier for tea today betokens her continuing interest in Seth. Lady Roseanna and Lady Mary take every opportunity to throw the two young people into interaction with each other to see how they get along. And as of yet, the possible betrothal between the Seth and Lady Caroline is still only in the vague discussion stage between their parents–and the young adults Lady Caroline and Seth are not aware of it yet.
Lady Caroline: “How was Court, Lady Rebecca? Did anything interesting happen while you were there?” She asks innocently as she sneaks a glance at Seth across the room–and she also gazes at the very handsome Sir Roderick. Lady Caroline is still quite smitten with the tall and muscular knight–attributes which Seth does not as of yet possess, nor can he compete with.
Lady Rebecca: “Kkhhh!” She startles, because her marriage news is quite interesting–at least to she and Sir Roderick. But they have not discussed how to relate it to her extended family today. “It was passable.” Lady Rebecca Oxbridge Merton [(3) right] dissembles and lowers her eyes demurely.
Lady Roseanna: “Cousin Johnny was insufferable as Prince Regent. “ She rolls her eyes. “So I can only imagine that his ego his grown now that he is King–sad though it may be–more for the circumstances of his ascendency, our cousin King Richard’s death.”
Lady Helen: “Mama? What does insuffable mean?” Little children have big ears and Lady Roseanna’s eyes widen for her indiscreet slip in front of her more aware six year old daughter.
Lady Rose: “Well, um, it means, Helen Dear, …”
Lady Caroline: Helping Lady Roseanna out, Lady Caroline changes the subject. “Oh Helen, did you know that my sister Lady Mary says they have a new litter of kittens up at the Middleton Hall?”
Lady Helen: “Kittens!?!” Then Lady Helen turns swiftly to her Mama–all thoughts of vocabulary extension forgotten. “May I have a new kitten, please Mama? Cloud is so big now, and heavy to carry around.”
Lady Roseanna: Grateful for Lady Caroline’s intercession, but wary about adding more pets to their manor, Lady Roseanna replies carefully. “We will think upon it, Helen Dear.” Then she gazes at her husband, Baron Guy, thinking bemusedly that the poor man does not like cats–and now he will soon probably have another one to contend with.
Across the room, Sir Roderick and Baron Guy are conversing near the mesmerized Seth Gisborne gazing curiously at the six months older Lady Caroline. Seth will be eleven in August–the same age as Lady Caroline then–but only for two months, until she turns twelve in October.
Baron Guy: Snapping his fingers in front of his son’s face to get Seth’s attention, Baron Guy smiles knowingly. “Have you greeted Lady Caroline today, Seth?”
Seth: “Not yet, Papa. She usually has the children around her at Middleton Hall or here–or she is with the ladies, as she is now.” He pouts, thwarted at every turn.
Sir Roderick: “Well I suggest you speak up and indicate your interest in Lady Caroline–lest someone else come along and offer for her hand in marriage before you get the chance.” Sir Roderick smiles amiably [(4) right], but he does not realize how his words are being taken.
Seth and his father Baron Guy smile politely. However they know that the then Prince and the now King John had initially proposed a match between Lady Caroline and Sir Roderick. And they wonder if Sir Roderick is referring to himself? They could not be more wrong. Sir Roderick is thinking of his Lady Becca, and how he spoke up for her when King John wanted to marry her off again and Sir Roderick is now married to her.
Then little Louis Gisborne and little Lord Graham toddle over to the tall gentleman and middling height Seth.
Louis: “Papa?” Four year old Louis raises his arms up to be held and Baron Guy obliges his youngest son.
Seeing that Louis gets to be held up higher, little three year old Lord Graham raises his arms to Sir Roderick–and Sir Roderick obliges him. Seth looks on in amusement as Sir Roderick rather awkwardly holds the young Oxbridge heir–shifting the lad’s position until he finds a comfortable way to hold him–while his own Papa Guy expertly holds his son Louis on his arm, with Louis leaning his head on his Papa’s shoulder. And Baron Guy kisses his son Louis’ forehead.
Baron Guy: “Yes, Louis. What is it you request?” Baron Guy strokes his youngest son’s back.
Louis: “May we go fishing tomorrow morning, Papa?” Louis asks of his Papa. Then turns to look at Sir Roderick holding little Lord Graham. “And may Graham come fishing with us? He says he has never fished before.” Louis requests nicely.
Baron Guy: “That is fine with me. Sir Roderick? Might you and Lady Rebecca stay through luncheon tomorrow to allow the children their fishing and other play time together? We will make a picnic luncheon outing of it for all of the children.” Baron Guy suggests graciously.
Sir Roderick: “I will ask Lady Rebecca what her wishes are in that regard.” Sir Roderick smiles politely at Baron Guy. Then he asks the little boy in his arms. “Lord Graham? Would you like to go fishing and have a picnic?”
Lord Graham: Leaning into Sir Roderick’s shoulder as he sees Louis do with his Papa, little Lord Graham replies. “Yes, I do want to go fishing. Thank you, Papa Roderick.”
Sir Roderick’s eyes go wide in surprise at little Lord Graham addressing him by the title they had agreed the children use to distinguish him from their absent father Lord John Oxbridge Earl of Leicester–whom they have not been told has died. But Sir Roderick’s surprise does not equal the open mouthed shock registered on Baron Guy’s and Seth’s faces.
Seth: “Papa Roderick?” Seth asks curiously without thinking about decorum. Seth has yet to hone the fine art of disinterest for something that is very interesting.
Lord Graham: “Yes!” Chirps the young boy. “I have a Mama and a Papa now. We were married before we journeyed home.” Little Lord Graham tightly curls his arm around Sir Roderick’s large neck.
Sir Roderick grins sheepishly, his embarrassment is a crimson hue flushing over his face and neck.
Sir Roderick: “Ah! Yes! Um. Well, um. Perhaps it would be best if we let Lady Rebecca explain.” Sir Roderick gestures in the direction of the ladies, while shifting little Lord Graham in his arms.
Baron Guy: “By all means, Sir Roderick. Let us clarify the matter.”
Though Baron Guy speaks brusquely–as is his nature when caught off guard–he is by no means ill disposed to Sir Roderick. Both as the savior of his children Seth and Lady Helen from falling from the Leicester Gordon Castle Keep Tower, and even more so if Sir Roderick is no longer a competitor of Seth’s for Lady Caroline’s hand in marriage.
Baron Guy carrying his son Louis, Seth, and Sir Roderick carrying little Lord Graham all walk swiftly across the room to the ladies. Then little Lord Graham speaks up again, by asking his Mama Lady Rebecca.
Lord Graham: “Mama? Papa Roderick says we must ask you if we may go fishing with Louis and the boys tomorrow. Louis’ Papa says we can all have a picnic lunch, too.” Little Lord Graham smiles hopefully. He does not know what fishing is, but he is eager t o find out.
Lady Roseanna’s and Lady Caroline’s eyes widen in surprise–Lady Helen merely looks interested, her not understanding the import of the words Papa Roderick. Lady Rebecca still holding her daughter little Lady Rachel smiles shyly, a delicate pinkening blush fluttering over her face.
Lady Roseanna: “Papa Roderick?” The ever forthright Lady Roseanna [(5) right] asks the question situated in each of the various Gisborne and Havorford minds.
Lady Rebecca: “Yes, Sir Roderick and I were married three days ago in London–at King John’s command.”
Sir Roderick: Rushing to explain himself, Sir Roderick adds. “King John was determined to marry Lady Rebecca to someone to reap a marriage tax. I could not let her be forced into a marriage again.”
Baron Guy: “Again?” He asks incredulously.
Lady Rebecca: “Yes, Baron Guy. Roddy and I were childhood sweethearts–informally pledged to wed five years ago until my parents contracted me to wed Lord John Oxbridge Earl of Leicester and become his Countess.”
Sir Roderick: “And my parents packed me off to the North in a hastily arranged marriage to a fine lady–whom I gradually became fond of and we looked forward to welcoming a child together. But my wife died in childbirth 18 months ago.”
Lady Roseanna: “I am so sorry.” Lady Roseanna lays her free hand on Sir Roderick’s arm.
Sir Roderick: “And our new born son did not live through the night. So they were buried together.” The mournful tone in Sir Roderick’s voice conveys to everyone the sorrow that he has had to bear.
Baron Guy: “You have my condolences.” Baron Guy says sincerely, thinking of Lady Marian’s death–by his hand. Then he asks. “And what tribute tax did you promise to King John to bring this marriage about?”
Sir Roderick: “The Staffordshire Ruby. It has been in my family for generations–its value cannot be measured it is so rare and valuable. Except, that my Lady Becca means more to me than that cold stone gem. I give it willingly to King John, without reservations. I have gained something more precious–marriage to my first love.” Sir Roderick gazes lovingly and Lady Rebecca, and she smiles adoringly back at him.
Seth: Realizing the ramifications of a married Sir Roderick, Seth bows and states cordially. “My congratulations Sir Roderick, and my felicitations Lady Merton.” Seth’s parents Baron Guy and Lady Roseanna smile at his courtly manners.
Sir Roderick and Lady Rebecca: “Thank you.” They say unintentionally in unison. Then they laugh. “Ha ha ha!” As do the others.
Everyone else: “Ha ha ha!”
Lady Roseanna: “So! With this development, I will ask our housekeeper to consolidate Sir Roderick’s traveling cases into Lady Rebecca’s guest bed chamber suite with her children staying in the other room.” Lady Roseanna says with aplomb.
And the newlyweds nod in grateful relief for her and their extended family’s understanding about their wedded state.
And as the revelatory discussion occurred, and continues with logistics for where the Mertons will live and such–spending time in both Leicester and in Staffordshire–the almost eleven year old Seth Gisborne finds himself standing next to the almost eleven year old Lady Caroline Havorford. Somehow in their distraction with the wedding news, they had moved toward each other. And they slightly touch elbows.
Lady Caroline: “Oh! Seth! Pardon me.”
Lady Caroline takes a step back and prettily flutters her eyelashes at Seth with a beaming smile [(6) right], before casting her eyes demurely downward. It is taking all of Lady Caroline’s self control not to bemoan Sir Roderick being taken, nor her delight in seeing Seth seemingly interested in her. She is trying not to be pushy, as he thought she was as a lovesick 6 year old five years ago when her sister Lady Mary wed Lord George Middleton.
Seth: “Tis nothing, My Lady.” Seth stands up straight, standing taller than Lady Caroline–by a nose. This height difference–though slight–gives Seth a feeling of having some enticing quality to him, since his yet to be eleven youthfulness has not seen him grow into the muscular and handsome young man he wants to be for her.
Lady Caroline: “Will you go fishing with the boys tomorrow?” She asks politely–fishing for information.
Seth: “I will. Louis is too little at four years old not to get himself into trouble. And little Lord Graham and three years old might be more so inclined.” Seth deepens is voice sound older.
Lady Caroline: “Seth? Are you feeling alright? Your voice sounded different just now? Do you have a sore throat?” She asks caringly, her not realizing that Seth hoped she would think he sounded older, not sick.
Seth: “Kkhhh! No. I thank you for your concern, Lady Caroline. It is perhaps the stuffiness of the room affecting my throat. Perhaps a walk outside in the garden would do me some good.” He waits seeing if she likes that idea–walking in the garden.
Lady Caroline: “That is a fine idea.” Lady Caroline nods with a small smile, but says no more. She would dearly like to ask him if she may walk with him. But she is trying to not be pushy.
Seth: Seth holds out his hand [(7) right], his long tapered fingers betokening the full grown man he will become one day. “Might you favor me with your company, Lady Caroline?” Seth smiles shyly, waiting for her answer as his breathing stills.
Lady Caroline: Her eyes dancing with delight, Lady Caroline still is mindful of the proprieties. “You are very kind, Seth.” Lady Caroline smiles. Seth exhales. Then she looks over at Lady Roseanna to gauge what she should do.
Lady Roseanna: Smiling contentedly, Lady Roseanna suggests a chaperone in the form of her six year old daughter. “Walking is a fine idea. Perhaps Lady Helen might join you and discuss the kittens you mentioned.”
Seth’s face falls. He most decidedly does not want to take a walk with Lady Caroline interrupted by his little sister Lady Helen and her incessant love of kittens. Seth takes after his father in that regard–them both favoring dogs.
Seth: “That will be perfect, Helen!” Seth grins inwardly [(8) right] at being granted a reprieve to chat with Lady Caroline alone for a short while–to perhaps, woo her–as much as an almost eleven year old boy knows of wooing.
And as it comes to pass, Seth Gisborne and Lady Caroline Havorford do enjoy a lovely stroll hand in hand in the Gisborne-Middleton Manor gardens that late afternoon–as well as the picnic the next day. These two young people are on the cusp of developing a specialness of feeling for each other that, in time, might grow to become a lasting bond leading to marriage. Baron Guy and Lady Roseanna are pleased with these developments because they wish for their son’s future happiness. And they admire the feisty and sweet Lady Caroline as their son Seth’s potential betrothed.
Seth and Lady Caroline will spend the next few months over the Summer getting better acquainted. And Lady Rebecca and Sir Roderick will establish their happy home with her children. However they are missing one of their regular party who is on a trip to a far away land. What he finds there will startle him and rock the foundation of the Gisborne and Oxbridge families.
To be continued with Chapter 25
Sir Guy’s Atonement” (Book 3), Ch. 24 References, April 24, 2015 Gratiana Lovelace (Post #735)
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) Sir Guy smiling is Richard Armitage in Robin Hood series 3, epi 5 pix 88 found at http://www.richardarmitagenet.com/images/gallery/RobinHood/album/seasonthree/Episodefive/slides/5_088.jpg
3) 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
4) Sir Roderick Merton is Chris Hemsworth in a still from Thor the Dark World that was found at http://a.abcnews.com/images/Entertainment/REX_chris_hemsworth_thor_kab_140107_16x9_992.jpg ; for more information, visit http://abcnews.go.com/Entertainment/chris-hemsworth-explains-brother-liam-cast-thor/story?id=21449134
5) Lady Roseanna Oxbridge Middleton Gisborne is that of actress Emma Watson and was found at http://www.hollybollyhub.com/emma-watson-hot-image.jpg
6) Lady Caroline Haverford age 11 image is that of Dakota Fanning and was found at http://images.moviefanatic.com/iu/t_full/v1364991191/fantastic-fanning.jpg
7) Seth’s hand offered to Lady Caroline is Guys hand-is Richard Armitage in the BBC Drama Robin Hood -vlcsnap-2013-01-30-23h22m02s211_Gratiana Lovelace Cap crop
8) Seth at 10 years image is a manip of:
a) actor Tommy Bastow’s head, the young actor who later portrayed the young Sir Guy in the BBC’s Robinhood, series 3, “Bad Blood” (2009) was found at http://www.listal.com/viewimage/2338634; for more about this actor, visit http://www.imdb.com/name/nm2921012/?ref_=fn_al_nm_1; and
b) A daytime tunic found at http://pixgood.com/medieval-fashion-men.html
“Sir Guy’s Atonement” (Book 3), Previous Ch. 23 Blog Link with embedded illustrations (Post #732)