“Sir Guy’s Atonement” (Book 3), Ch. 25 (PG): A Royal Commission and A Mysterious Lady Emerges from the Shadows, April 27, 2015 Gratiana Lovelace (Post #737)
[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, 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, David Harewood as Brother Tuck, Judi Dench as Mother Superior, Lady Anne is Lucy Griffths, 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: Sir Guy and Lady Roseanna and their extended family had earlier held a solemn burial service for Lady Marian–with no body, but a sealed letter that Sir Guy wrote to Lady Marian and buried in her grave–conducted by Br. Tuck to commemorate and to honor the deceased Lady Marian Knighton. His later elevation to Baron Guy of Gisborne notwithstanding, he is still a man with a guilty conscience. Lady Roseanna hopes that in time, her husband Baron Guy’s guilt at killing Lady Marian will abate and that he can fully embrace their family life together–she and his children depend upon him so. It is Baron Guy’s hope to exorcise his demons as well. And Br. Tuck will discover that he will play an unexpected role in that exorcism.
And with the Gisbornes having recently hosted the newly married Sir Roderick Merton and his wife Lady Rebecca–the widow of Lord John Oxbridge Earl of Leicester–there are also extended family adjustments to be made. And Baron Guy and Lady Roseanna look forward to the growing fondness between Seth Gisborne and Lady Caroline Havorford–with a possible betrothal intention announcement imminent. But they are getting ahead of themselves, because just as families can be made–they can be undone. What Brother Tuck finds on his trip to the Holy Land will startle him and rock the foundation of the extended Gisborne and Oxbridge families.
“Sir Guy’s Atonement” (Book 3), Ch. 25 (PG): A Royal Commission and A Mysterious Lady Emerges from the Shadows
After stopping briefly at the Gisborne-Middleton Estate in Leicester and officiating at the burial service of Lady Marian in spirit in early May 1199, Brother Tuck once more travels by fast ship to the Holy Land–this time, at the special request of the late King Richard of England to undertake an unspecified secret mission–as conveyed to him by the late king’s mother, Queen Eleanor. Brother Tuck had often undertaken such secret missions for the late King Richard–often for messages between King Richard and his mother, Queen Eleanor, living in France. The Dowager Queen Eleanor is a fine and noble lady–even in her grief of losing her beloved son, King Richard–and she was determined that her son’s final wish be carried out. Even the new King John is not aware of what the cleric is up to. Brother Tuck is to be the courier for a precious cargo to be returned to English soil.
Once arriving in the Holy Land in early June 1199–the sea currents were swift and they made the journey over sea and land in four weeks–Brother Tuck speedily seeks an audience with the late King Richard’s representative. Upon receiving his still somewhat vague commission–Brother Tuck enters the Our Lady of the Sacred Heart Convent on the outskirts of Jerusalem. It is here that he will receive his precious cargo as described by the late King Richard’s missive. As of yet, Brother Tuck does not know what that cargo will be. But Brother Tuck will soon learn that this mission will be unlike anything that he has done before.
The serene, but formidable, Mother Superior in her ivory colored modified dessert wimple [(2) and right] and long flowing robes gives Brother Tuck an audience in her austere convent office of unornamented stucco walls–but for a crucifix. The sparsely furnished room contains a book shelf, a plain wooden desk which she sits behind, and two chairs in front of the desk, one of which Brother Tuck occupies.
Mother Superior: “Brother Tuck, I am still uncertain about this mission which the late King Richard wished you to undertake. We have done our best with our responsibility and we see no need to alter the arrangement and confer that responsibility to you.” She bristles.
Though nuns are thought to be subservient to men of the cloth, Mother Superiors are more than mere nuns–this one, especially. With her patrician features and a steely gaze, Mother Superior, Sister Ignatius, is formidable. And no man–of the cloth or anointed by god as King–can bend her to his will. And she is especially wary now that King John is upon the throne of England.
Brother Tuck: Lifting his hand in peace, Brother Tuck apologizes. “Nay, good Mother. It is because the late King Richard respected your caretaking that he feels the time is right for your parcel to be returned to its rightful place in England.”
Mother Superior: “Parcel?” Mother Superior quizzically looks at the cleric before her. Then it dawns upon her. “You do not know about that which you are to transport to England.”
Brother Tuck: “No.” He admits sheepishly. “But I feel certain that I am capable of guarding it sufficiently, since the late King Richard had entrusted it to my care.”
Mother Superior: “It is not an it. It is a woman, or more precisely, a lady of our order.” She glowers.
Brother Tuck: “Oh!” He exclaims in astonishment. “Am I to return one of the Sisters to England then?”
Brother Tuck: “Then why is she returning to England? Will she not remain in your order for her final vows?” He asks quizzically [(4) right]. He wonders why the late King Richard should be concerned with the transport of a nun to England.
Mother Superior: “Lady Anne cannot take her final vows committing herself to God, until she knows fully about herself. And the life threatening injury she sustained seven years ago has left her without her memory of her prior life.”
Brother Tuck: “That is very sad. Did the late King Richard think that returning this Postulant to England will help her regain her memories?”
Mother Superior: “He did. Though, I fear that her memories returning to her will cause her distress and pain. Her injury was violence done against her and she almost died. But since she was the late King Richard’s ward, we must acquiesce to his wishes.” She bows her head stiffly–unaccustomed to making concessions, not even for a King–and it was only after repeated entreaties from Mother Superior’s sovereign that she finally gave in.
Brother Tuck: “The late King’s Richard ward?” Brother Tuck draws out the words in dread, and yet also in hope. “Pray tell me, good Mother, who is this Lady Anne of whom you speak? What is her family name?” He asks with a growing suspicion.
Mother Superior: “Hhhhh.” She sighs slowly with the telling of this very great secret. “It was Knighton.” Brother Tuck startles in complete shock. “Though Lady Anne does not remember who she is, she was the Lady Marian Knighton–felled by Sir Guy of Gisborne and left for dead by her comrades and her betrothed, Robin Hood.”
Brother Tuck: Brother Tuck jumps to his feet, shocked by this startling revelation. “I cannot believe it! Lady Marian is alive? That is impossible!” He staggers backward as if hit by a blunt force.
Mother Superior: “Brother Tuck, have you not heard the bible story of Lazerus rising from the dead, my son?”
Brother Tuck nods wryly in remembrance of him asking Little John the very same question when they found Sir Guy alive in the collapsed escape tunnel of Nottingham Castle seven years ago.
Brother Tuck: “Aye. But how did she survive such a grievous wound? As I heard the tale, Lady Marian was run through by a broad sword. Robin Hood told me himself that she was buried in the sand.” He does not say that he is now well acquainted with the man–Baron Guy of Gisborne–who felled Lady Marian.
Mother Superior: But she knows the details of Lady Anne’s/Marian’s injury. “By Sir Guy’s broad sword she was wounded.” She raises her eyebrow. “However, God’s providence intervened and before King Richard’s soldiers could cover and bury Lady Marian’s body with sand after Robin Hood and the others left, they noticed signs of life in her and brought her to us. Lady Anne nearly died several times in her first months with us because her wounds were so grievous and an infection took hold. But her will to live was strong and she survived. Though her wounds were of such a nature and location that she will likely never be able to bear children–or if she were to become which child, it would likely kill her with her womb rupturing again. We sewed her internal wounds closed as best we could. But the price to our postulant of her life being spared, seems to be the loss of her memories of her previous life. We gave her the name Lady Anne after we misheard her feverish replies to our request for her name when we first cared for her. It was only the following year when the late King Richard visited us that he realized that our Lady Anne was his ward Lady Marian–and with the urging of a physician the King bade us to let Lady Marian recover her memories in her own time. But her remembering her past life has never happened. However, the late King Richard felt that Lady Anne, Lady Marian, might be able to return to a full life if she returns to English soil and confronts the people and places that are familiar to her.”
Brother Tuck: Riveted to the Mother Superior’s telling of Lady Anne’s/Marian’s amnesia, Brother Tuck is startled by her closing words. “Confront!?! Deus meus!” (My god!) You mean for her to confront Baron Guy!”
Mother Superior: “Baron Guy?” Mother Superior looks at Brother Tuck with some incredulity that the murderer of Lady Marian should be elevated in rank to a Barony–and that the cleric is on such familiar terms with him as to refer to him as an intimate would, as Baron Guy. But she quickly schools her expression. “Just so.” She nods. “Sir Guy of Gisborne killed the Lady Marian and only the shell of Lady Anne remains. So it must be he that brings her back to full life.”
Brother Tuck: “But Baron Guy is married now and with several children. He has a life apart from his past love of Lady Marian. Though he still mourns her deeply. He is a changed man, a good man.” Brother Tuck thinks, remembering the solemn burial service and carved wooden marker erected to honor her memory.
Mother Superior: “Not every sin can be washed away, Brother Tuck. Baron Gisborne has his life, but Lady Anne–Lady Marian–does not. If he is truly to atone for the damage that he did to her, then he must help her remember her life. Only then may Lady Anne finally decide if the religious austerity of becoming a nun is the right path for her. Will you undertake this commission by the late King Richard to return Lady Anne to England? Or will you back away from its charge, now that you know its full measure?”
Brother Tuck: “Good Mother, I will escort your postulant Lady Anne to England. I will not shirk my duty–to my late King Richard, nor to my friend Baron Guy of Gisborne.” In calling Baron Guy of Gisborne friend, Brother Tuck realizes that it is so. If that miracle can occur, what other miracles might the Almighty bring about?
Mother Superior: “And what of Lady Marian, our Lady Anne? Will you befriend her as well?”
Br. Tuck: “I will help her as best as I can.” He nods resolutely.
Mother Superior: “Good! I will summon her to us.”
Then Mother Superior beckons to a nun sitting in a far corner of the room, converses briefly with her, and the nun leaves to seek out Lady Anne and bring her to the Mother Superior’s office.
As Brother Tuck awaits the arrival of Lady Anne/Marian to the Mother Superior’s office at the Our Lady of the Sacred Heart Convent in Jerusalem in the Holy Land, all manner of troubled thoughts enter his head. Though he had never met Lady Marian, Brother Tuck obviously feels compassion for Lady Anne–her having lost everyone and everything she as Lady Marian held dear in her father and with Robin Hood’s death, and even losing herself.
And Brother Tuck worries about the cost of bringing Baron Guy of Gisborne’s former love back from the dead— not only to Baron Guy, but to his wife Lady Roseanna Baroness of Gisborne and to their family. And though Brother Tuck’s dark and heavy English style clerical robes are not usually comfortable in the hot and arid desert climate, today, he feels a chill pass over him–as if he is at the apex of changing fates. But, he wonders, the changing fates for whom?
The Mother Superior speaks, and distracts Brother Tuck from his ruminations.
Mother Superior: “Brother Tuck, when Lady Anne arrives, I will introduce you. And she must remain Lady Anne to you and everyone she meets until such time that she, herself, remembers who she is.” The Mother Superior intones sharply. The physician who attended her deemed it to be the best course of treatment.”
Brother Tuck: “Understood.” He nods his head solemnly.
Then Lady Anne/Marian is brought before Mother Superior and Brother Tuck. She is wearing a simple lightweight pale teal colored wimple veil [(5) right] and robes of a Postulant Sister who has yet to take her final vows. The dark highly polished teak wood wall behind her cast a warmth upon her delicate features. Lady Anne’s demeanor is calm and demure, befitting a Postulant–as of yet, she does not know that her leave taking has been definitively decided.
Brother Tuck is struck at once by Lady Anne’s ethereal beauty–with her kind blue-green eyes–and he can fully understand why Sir Guy loved her. As a monk, Brother Tuck took vows of chastity, but beauty and grace in the person of Lady Anne/Marian cannot be denied. And he feels that the resemblance of the Locksley St. Matthew’s Church marble Madonna bust carved in Lady Marian’s image is startlingly accurate. He would know Lady Marian instantly from it.
Mother Superior: “Lady Anne, this is Brother Tuck. He is commissioned by the late King Richard to travel with you to England for your protection.”
Lady Anne/Marian: Furrowing her brow, Lady Anne whines a bit. “Mother Superior, I still do not see why I must leave. It is peaceful here. I wish to stay and take my final vows to become a Sister of our order.” She states simply but firmly. Though Lady Anne/Marian might appear docile, she is anything but.
Mother Superior: “Do you not wish to attend to Lord John, and see to his well being as he also returns to England with you and Brother Tuck?” Mother Superior knows that Lady Anne feels very compassionately for Lord John.
Lady Anne/Marian blushes, for she has been nursing the wounded Lord John Oxbridge lo these past many months and they have struck up an easy friendship. Though with her intention of taking holy vows and his being married, friends is all that they can ever be.
Brother Tuck: “Who is this Lord John?” Brother Tuck curiously wonders aloud.
Mother Superior: “He is Lord John Oxbridge Earl of Leicester, cousin to Lord George Middleton who had also fought in our late King Richard’s crusades and was sent home years ago due to his own injuries.”
Brother Tuck: “Mon dieu! I know Lord George and his family well. We had learned of Lord Oxbridge’s injuries but last month at …. at a royal assembly.” Brother Tuck dissembles portentously–obliquely referring to Lord George’s sister Lady Roseanna Middleton Gisborne and her husband the now Baron Guy of Gisborne.
Lady Anne/Marian: “Mother Superior, I do not know if Lord John could tolerate a sea voyage, let alone journeying longer by land. He is still very weak.” She says with great concern.
Brother Tuck: “May I ask what is the nature of his injury?” Brother Tuck had only heard a vague account from the then Prince John’s court.
Mother Superior: “He was hit in his back by a boulder encased in a flaming wood frame that had been catapulted over the fortress walls. His suit of armour shielded him well–or he would be dead now. But the injury weakened his constitution and ability to walk for any distance. And sadly, an ember from the burning wood entered a small viewing slit in his armour’s helmet visor, and his right eye was burned and damaged before he could remove his helmet. So he is blind in that eye.”
Brother Tuck: The cleric recoils. “Poor fellow.” Brother Tuck crosses himself. “His wife and family will eagerly welcome him home.” Lady Anne lowers her eyes with the mention of Lord John Oxbridge’s wife. And due to Brother Tuck’s early departure from England, it preceded the royally decreed, but welcome, marriage of Lord John’s wife Lady Rebecca to her childhood sweetheart Sir Roderick Merton, and Brother Tuck knows not of the marriage.
Mother Superior: “Indeed. And now Lord Oxbridge is being sent home to continue to recover from his injuries as best he can. So Lady Anne, you will continue to nurse Lord Oxbridge during the journey to his home near Leicester and longer if your assistance is required.”
Though Mother Superior is not blind to the friendly relationship of Lord Oxbridge and Lady Anne, she also believes that their honour will prevent the married Lord and the chaste Postulant from developing anything more. Mother Superior not only holds both in high esteem, she is also disacquainted with the ways of the heart.
Lady Anne/Marian: “But Mother Superior, when may I return to the convent here? This is my home now. You and the sisters are my family.” Then she pleads plaintively. “You are all that I have.” Lady Anne covers her face with her hands as she begins to weep at being separated from her friends, the sisters.
Brother Tuck winces at Lady Anne’s lonely and bereft statement and her obvious distress. She has lost much–not only of her past as Lady Marian Knighton, but what her future should have been as a wife and mother of the nobility. He sadly wonders what man would want a barren woman as his wife, when the getting of children–especially sons–is what all noble men want and require for legal heirs for family legacies.
Mother Superior: Softening, Mother Superior caresses Lady Anne’s cheek. “My dear, if you wish to return to us after you see Lord Oxbridge home and well again, we will welcome you back with open arms.” Then she hesitates, but continues. “However, your being home in England, might trigger in you memories of your past–and you might regain some of your knowledge of who you were. So you might wish to remain there.” Mother Superior hints charitably, so as to help Lady Anne see that making a choice other than that of being a nun will not lessen her devotion to God. “Already your dreams seem to give you glimpses of your past life.”
Brother Tuck startles at that statement, but says nothing about Baron Guy–not wanting to upset Lady Anne’s/Marian’s seemingly fragile emotional condition.
Lady Anne/Marian: “But Mother Superior, my dreams are all jumbled. I see flashes of people and events and I do not understand them.”
Mother Superior: “Perhaps during your journey, you and Br. Tuck could talk about your dream memories and he might be able to help you sort them out.”
Brother Tuck: “If it is my power to aid you, Lady Anne, I will do my best.” He nods.
Lady Anne/Marian: She looks at Brother Tuck with widened eyes? “Do you know me, Brother Tuck? Do you know who I am?”
Brother Tuck: Again, not wanting to overwhelm Lady Anne/Marian with regard to his association with some of her former friends such as Little John, etc., Brother Tuck dissembles once again. “No Milady, we have never met.” Nor does Brother Tuck want to reveal that Robin Hood is dead until such time that Lady Anne/Marian remembers him.
Lady Anne/Marian: Discerning that Brother Tuck knows more than what he is saying, she asks. “But? You know of me?”
Brother Tuck: “A little.” He smiles benignly. “But Lady Anne, if your memories do not return when you are around people and places that you were familiar with in the past, then you will need to accept that your old life is lost to you and you will need to embrace your new life.”
Lady Anne/Marian: “Embracing my future is what I hope to do–by taking my final vows to become a nun. That is my only possible path since my injuries robbed me of being able to bear children. No man will want me for his wife.” She sighs with disappointment and bitterness.
Mother Superior: “You cannot know your future, Lady Anne. If God has a different path for you than to become a nun, you must accept that. There are many ways to serve God.” Mother Superior smiles compassionately at Lady Anne/Marian.
Lady Anne/Marian: “Thank you, Mother Superior. I will try to accept what God wishes for me.” But in the back of her mind, Lady Anne/Marian feels very uncertain about what God’s wishes are for her–and she worries about the future, about her future. She has prayed and prayed for discernment on the matter and received no answers. Or perhaps, her answers lies elsewhere.
Brother Tuck: Brother Tuck clasps his hands together and then rubs them back and forth. “Well then, I will make the final arrangements for our journey–now to be three with Lord Oxbridge and we will leave the day after tomorrow.” For Brother Tuck and his companions will make haste to return to England without delay–with it still taking them at least 4 weeks for their long journey.
Mother Superior and Lady Anne/Marian nod before saying their farewells to Brother Tuck, for now.
To be continued with Chapter 26
“Sir Guy’s Atonement” (Book 3), Ch. 25 References, April 27, 2015 Gratiana Lovelace (Post #737)
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) Mother Superior Sister Ignatius image is Judi Dench in the film Pitch Black 2: The Chronicles of Riddick (2004) found at http://www.aveleyman.com/ActorCredit.aspx?ActorID=4524 ; for more information about the wimple she wears, please visit http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wimple
3) Lady Anne as a postulant is a person who has not yet taken her final vows to become a nun. For more information, please visit: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Postulant
4) Cropped image of Brother Tuck (as portrayed by David Harewood) in the BBC’s production of Robin Hood series 3, episode 12 (pix 60) was found at http://www.richardarmitagenet.com/images/gallery/RobinHood/album/seasonthree/Episodethirteen/slides/13_060.html
5) The image of Lady Anne/Marian is a composite image: that of Lucy Griffiths who portrayed Lady Marian in the BBC series Robin Hood from2006-2009 and was found at
at Hamilton Hodell Talent Management at http://www.hamiltonhodell.co.uk/cv/client_lucy-griffiths_id_100044.htm;;
and of the modified wimple was masked from http://www.aveleyman.com/ActorCredit.aspx?ActorID=4524; for more about wimples, vist http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wimple; and a Photoshop Elements teakwood background
“Sir Guy’s Atonement” (Book 3), Previous Ch. 26 Blog Link with embedded illustrations (Post #735)