“Sir Guy’s Atonement” (Book 3), Ch. 26 (PG): Lady Anne Chats with Lord John, May 1, 2015 Gratiana Lovelace (Post #739)
[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, Sir Derek Jacobi as Fr. Bale, David Harewood as Brother Tuck, Judi Dench as Mother Superior, Lady Anne/Marian is Lucy Griffths, Kevin McKidd as Lord John 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: At the Our Lady of the Sacred Heart convent in the Holy Land, Brother Tuck has met the postulant Lady Anne–nee Lady Marian Knighton–who is to be the precious cargo that he will escort back to England for her Guardian, the late King Richard of England. Brother Tuck is shocked that Lady Marian is alive, but saddened that her injuries will prevent her from risking bearing a child–thus making her not a marriageable option for men who need heirs–and her loss of memory due to the trauma she suffered. But Lady Anne/Marian/s planned return to England–perhaps to remember who she was, unsettles her. She tells herself that the only reason she finally agrees to journey to England is to continue to nurse the recovering Crusades Knight, Lord John Oxbridge Earl of Leicester. But even then, she feels trepidation. For Lady Anne/Marian does not know if she will remember her past–nor even if she wants to. And if she does remember her past, what uncertain future will await her?
“Sir Guy’s Atonement” (Book 3), Ch. 26 (PG): Lady Anne Chats with Lord John
Reflecting upon what Mother Superior said about accepting God’s plan for her, the Postulant Lady Anne/Marian finds that she is uneasy and apprehensive about the six week journey to England that lies ahead of her–even if they go by ship for most of their journey, and it will be much faster. So after meeting Br. Tuck, Lady Anne does what she has come to regard as her means of solace and refuge–by visiting and tending to Lord John Oxbridge this evening.
Lady Anne/Marian knocks softly, then enters Lord Oxbridge’s bed chamber at the Our Lady of the Sacred Heart Convent. She does not find Lord Oxbridge in his bed nor sitting in his nearby chair where a half eaten tray of food sits forlornly on the side table. But the latticed terrace doors are open with the sheer drapes used to ward off dust and insects, blowing inward with a cooling breeze.
Surmising that Lord Oxbridge [(2) right] has over exerted himself by walking unassisted, Lady Anne/Marian goes out quickly to the terrace and finds him standing clutching the wrought iron balcony railing for support as he peers over it to the ground two stories below.
Lady Anne/Marian: Walking quietly to Lord Oxbridge’s side, Lady Anne peers carefully over the railing as well. “Plotting your escape from your female jailers.” She teases him as usual.
Lord Oxbridge: Closing his eyes, he smiles at having his nurse, confidante, and friend, Lady Anne, join him. “No. Ha ha ha!” He says softly with a small laugh. “You and the other sisters have been so kind to me, Lady Anne. It would be unforgivable of me to escape without so much as a by your leave.” His mouth curls up at the corners.
Lady Anne/Marian: “And yet, we are to leave the day after tomorrow without being asked if we wished to do so. Hhhhhh!” She expels air frustratingly as she looks out upon the rooftops of other stuccoed buildings nearby. “The dessert has become my home and I will miss it.” She states forlornly as she gazes upon the golden hued sky of not quite sunset as the day begins to wane–the sky’s colors bathing her in a reflected glow.
Lord John Oxbridge: “Are we to leave?” He turns to gaze upon Lady Anne’s profile, his damaged right eye covered with a black eye patch that is tied behind his thatch of unruly reddish curls at the back of his head. “I had not thought that I, that we …” He corrects himself. “… would be leaving so soon.” He looks at her longingly, though she does not look at him.
Lady Anne/Marian: She turns to face him. “Soon? But you have been in the Holy Land–away from your wife and child–for three years. Surely you wish to return to them, Lord Oxbridge.” Lady Anne [(3) right] says quietly knowingly and bows her head–for she believes that she will never be a mother of a family–a poignant ache that pulses painfully within her heart and soul.
At twenty-five years of age now, Lady Anne/Marian is perhaps ten years past the time when most girls and noble ladies of her era would have married. But as Lady Marian, she had waited for her childhood sweetheart Robin of Locksely to return from the Crusades–only to have him find being the outlaw champion of the people more intoxicating than she. That slight wounds a young lady’s pride. So that was partially why Lady Marian would flirt with the handsome but troublingly violent Sir Guy of Gisborne–to make Robin jealous. Though as Lady Anne, she remembers none of this.
Lord John: “I do wish to see my family.” He states succinctly, but hesitantly. He has a wife and a child whom he barely knows–a wife whom he is honor bound to and a son and heir whom he must shepherd to manhood. Then gently placing his finger under Lady Anne’s chin and raising it up for her to look up at him in his eye, Lord John entreats. “I had hoped that we were past formalities at this point, Lady Anne. Are we not friends? Please address me as John.” He smiles at her hopefully.
Lady Anne/Marian: She smiles shyly. “And yet, John, you still address me as Lady Anne.”
Lord John: “I … I think that it is best … given the circumstances.” He clasps her small hand in his and raises it to his lips for a kiss–out of respect, but also out of love. If this were another time and place–and circumstances were different–he might take her into his arms to cherish her as she is meant to be cherished, for all of her days.
Lady Anne/Marian: “Yes. You are married and I am to pledge myself to God for all my days.” She states resolutely–the facts of the barriers between them cannot be disputed.
Lord John: “Lady Anne …” She looks at him with a small bemused glance. “… Anne, if I could but convince you to consider that the cloistered life of a nun is not your only option–that you might yet marry.” He looks at her pleadingly, not wanting her to give up on having a family one day.
Lady Anne/Marian: “John, my injury seven years ago means that I will not be able to bear children–that I should not risk becoming with child–and I will not be able to give a man sons. For any man who would take me for a wife, I would fail him even before we were wed. That is hardly a good beginning for a marriage.” She smiles sadly.
Lord John: He falters in knowing how to console her. “But marriage … is not solely about the getting of children. You could fall in love. Some people marry for love.” He hints encouragingly.
Lady Anne/Marian: “Oh? My Lord? As Earl of Leicester, were you allowed to marry for love?” She teases him gently, knowing his answer–him having discussed his situation with her previously. “You needed a son to carry on your family title and lineage.” She states stoically, but her impassive face and resigned voice belie her true feelings about her lonely fate.
Lord John: “It was … a different time.” He sighs. “I was soon to leave England in the late King Richard’s service for the Crusades. I had a duty to my family to marry and produce an heir before I left–in case I did not return to them. My son Graham was barely four months old when I said good bye to he and Lady Leicester three years ago.”
Lady Anne/Marian: “Still so formal, John? Your wife’s name is Rebecca.” She slightly raises her delicately arched left eyebrow.
Lord John: He squeezes her hand. “As you know, Rebecca and I were an arranged marriage–an alliance of two families.” Then he realizes that he might seem to be disparaging his wife and he restates it. “My Lady Rebecca honoured me with her hand in marriage.” Then a realization occurs to him. “Anne? I think I only spoke my wife’s name once to you. You have a good memory.”
Lady Anne/Marian: “Hhhhh!” She sighs in exasperation. “Except where my own life is concerned.” She rolls her eyes impishly. Then she becomes more solemn. “If I were the late King Richard’s and he knew who I was before my injury, then why did he not simply tell me? He visited our convent often enough.” She asks in frustration to the point of tears.
Lord John: Clasping Lady Anne’s hands in his, he tries to comfort her with his warm friendship even as the breezes of sunset begin to cool them. “Perhaps your past is burdened with regrets or unpleasantness–and King Richard did not wish you to feel that pain again.”
For Lord John had heard snippets about Lady Anne’s past before his own injury–the Crusades having down times of inactivity when conversations turn towards thoughts of home and England–regarding Lady Anne’s injuries being caused by a spurned suitor, but not knowing more than that.
Lady Anne/Marian: “I have already suffered the pain of my injuries, my long recovery, and the realization that I will never be able to hold a child of my body in my arms. What more could have King Richard have told me that would be worse than that?” She asks plaintively as her tears begin to fall freely and she weeps.
Lord John: Lord John pulls Lady Anne close to him and embraces her soothingly. “Anne, my Anne, if I could make you well and give you children, I would.” But his bold statement reveals too much of his own feelings toward Lady Anne, and Lord John retreats rhetorically from his declaration. “You have been so kind to me … I consider you to be a good friend to me. And I hope that you will think of me as your friend.” Though she means so much more to him than just as a friend. Yet his sense of honor will not allow him to impose himself upon her in her vulnerable state. “My dearest wish is to see you find happiness.” He chastely kisses her forehead–as if he were her brother, or so he tells himself. She sniffles into his chest and he rocks her gently in his arms. But he has been standing too long and must rest his back. “Hhhh! My Lady, might we sit for a while? I fear that I still have a weakness about me.” He closes his eyes in mortification–for he was once a vigorous man, a fighting man for King Richard and for God and for England. And now he is reduced to a mere shadow of a man who cannot even stand for more than five minutes at a time.
Lady Anne/Marian: “Of course! I am so sorry. You should rest, John.” She dries her tears and nods at him.
They walk back into Lord John’s bed chamber and he sits on the small cushioned sette that is off to one side of his bed chamber. They hear the small tower bell ring for vespers services [(4)]. Lady Anne smiles and nods at Lord Oxbridge. Then she turns to go. Reaching out for Lady Anne, Lord Oxbridge clasps her hand in his and he pleads.
Lord John: “Anne. Will you not stay with me a while longer–until it is time to sleep? I enjoy our conversations. … And I am so lonely when you are not with me.” He admits.
Lady Anne/Marian: Lady Anne turns back to look at him. “John, would you make me miss our sunset evening prayers and have to do penance?” She teases with a smile.
Lord John: “Oh! I am sorry, I forgot.” He nods resignedly and releases her hand from his hand. “I will bid you good night then, Anne.” He manages a civil response and meager but sincere smile. Lord John is ever respectful of Lady Anne and considerate to Lady Anne.
Yet sensing Lord John has a melancholy about him that Lady Anne wants to lift, she decides to stay with him for a bit longer. Lady Anne sits down next to him on the couch.
Lady Anne/Marian: “John, my penance would be more prayer, which is not a burden at all.” She smiles. Then she caresses his cheek. “And why are you so sad? For we will be in each others’ company for at least one month or more as we journey to England and Leicester by ship and then by land. I will surely exhaust your inestimable patience and you will wish for another nurse companion by then, I fear.” Lady Anne smiles warmly at her friend, Lord John.
Lord John: Lord John takes her hand in his again and squeezes it. “Never would I wish you from my presence, Anne. Never!”
Lord John looks at Lady Anne soulfully–but that is all he does. As a knight, he is bound by a chivalric code to protect all women. And as the married Earl of Leicester, he is not free to marry her–he has nothing honorable to offer her. And, he will be an invalid with his weakened condition–not something he feels that a young and vibrant lady such as she should be burdened with. He feels that she should have a vigorous man–as he once was–to give her all the joys of love, even if children can never be.
Lady Anne/Marian: “Nor would I ever wish you from my presence, John.” She admits softly–his presence having been a balm to her soul these past six months. “But when we return to England, there will come a time when you are well and reunited with your family–and then we must part. And when that time comes, I hope that we will part as friends.” She smiles wanly.
Lady Anne/Marian’s feelings for Lord John are complicated. She admires him greatly and values their friendship–perhaps more. But she will not let her heart give in to foolish romantic wishes that circumstances were otherwise–that they were both free to choose their own lives. They have no future together, other than as friends. So friends they must remain.
Lord John: “But until then, for the four weeks or more as we journey home, we can talk as we are now. At least, we will have that.” He pleads as he takes her hand in his again. If holding her hand is all he is allowed, then at least he has that some comfort of intimacy with her.
Lady Anne/Marian: She hesitates. “Yes.” Then her countenance brightens. “Oh! And we will have Brother Tuck sent by the late King Richard to accompany us on our journey.” She tells him of their traveling companion. “So, we will hopefully make a new friend in him as well.” And Lady Anne hopes that Brother Tuck will be able to help her remember something.
Lord John nods. He knows that his and Lady Anne’s close communion will have only several more weeks of friendly solicitude before they reach England–when their paths will probably diverge. And he is dreading their inevitable parting–as is she. Lady Anne worries if in remembering, that she lose what she holds most dear–Lord John’s friendship. She wonders if remembering is worth that? Or if the cost is too dear, when she has lost much already?
To be continued with Chapter 27
“Sir Guy’s Atonement” (Book 3), Ch. 26 References, May 01, 2015 Gratiana Lovelace (Post #739)
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) Lord John Oxbridge Earl of Leicester’s image is of Kevin McKidd as Vorenus in the 2005 film Kingdom of Heaven found at http://www.sinemablog.com/wp-content/uploads/2006/10/lucius-vorenus-played-by-kevin-mckidd.kucukresim.jpg
3) 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, visit http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wimple;
and a Photoshop Elements teakwood background
4) Vespers are a sunset or evening worship service. For more information, please visit http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vespers
“Sir Guy’s Atonement” (Book 3), Previous Ch. 25 Blog Link with embedded illustrations (Post #737)