[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/King 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, Judi Dench as Mother Superior, David Harewood as Brother Tuck, Kevin McKidd as Lord John Oxbridge Earl of Leicester, and Lucy Griffiths as Lady Anne/Marian, 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: Brother Tuck met the Lady Anne (nee Lady Marian) before their journey from the Holy Land to England was to begin. Lady Anne does not want to leave the safe cocoon of the convent–for she thinks that the only future before her as a barren woman is to be a nun. But Mother Superior cautioned Lady Anne to view her journey home to England as a chance to possibly reclaim who she really is. Though no one will tell Lady Anne who she is, which frustrates her as she told her now good friend Lord John Oxbridge when she visited him before retiring for the night. She found him wistful and melancholy–feelings that she can understand. Lord John and Lady Anne each have feelings of more than friendship for each other. But they will not express it–for he is the married Earl of Leicester, kin to Lord George Middleton, and Lady Anne is to take her holy vows if she does not remember who she was.
So they will also be taking with them on their journey to England, an injured knight from the crusades–a Lord John Oxbridge, Earl of Leicester and cousin to Lady Roseanna Oxbridge Middleton Gisborne on her mother’s side. Br. Tuck hopes that the path to Lady Anne regaining her memories and her identity as the Lady Marian will not be frought with distress for her or for Baron Guy of Gisborne and his family with Lady Roseanna. But Br. Tuck guesses that there will be repercussions of the revelation that Lady Marian is alive, that not even he can think of. However, the news that Lord John Oxbridge Earl of Leicester is alive will bring almost as much initial shock.
“Sir Guy’s Atonement” (Book 3), Ch. 29: Departing and Arriving Near Leicester in Early July
The two month long journey from Jerusalem in the Holy Land to England mostly by ship–a journey of some 3,121 miles–was long, tedious, arduous, and exhausting for Lord John Oxbridge, Lady Anne/Marian, and Brother Tuck. They passed the time in conversation, some entertainment diversions involving a deck of cards that Br. Tuck scandalously produced from his nap sack, and napping. Though Lady Anne/Marian revealed some of her disturbing dreams to Br. Tuck–of a smiling boy good with a bow and arrow whom she disdains for some unknown reason; of a dark haired handsome man in black leather with no face whom she both fears and is drawn to; and of being caretaker to a sickly old man whom she thinks she loved as a daughter would–her discussions with Br. Tuck about them did not lead her to remembering who they were, nor who she was, who she is.
Their ship’s row boat takes them to an inlet bay near London where a waiting carriage will take them the last leg of their journey–another day’s journey to the Earl of Leicester’s estate home near Leicester so that he may continue to recuperate. Going by carriage is slower than by horse. But Lord John’s injuries to his back cannot tolerate riding on a horse.
And unbeknownst to the weary travelers, they had been noticed and word carried to Lord George Middleton who then related it to his family when he hurried home. Lord George told Lord John Oxbridge’s wife now married to another because King John deemed that her husband was dead and she must marry–to reap his blasted marriage tax to fill his coffers, or in this case, the Staffordshire Ruby from Sir Roderick Merton’s family.
And before heading directly home to Gordon Castle at Leicester, Lord John Oxbridge Earl of Leicester presciently insists that they make a short stop to visit his cousins, Lord George and Lady Roseanna Middleton at their estate near Leicester–but five miles from his home on the other side of Leicester. It is a fateful decision that will prove costly for many involved.
It is early evening of a Wednesday on July 9th, 1199–but two days after Lord George Middleton had relayed the news of her cousin on her late mother’s side Lord John Oxbridge’s possibly being alive to Lord John’s wife Lady Rebecca and to her new husband Sir Roderick Merton. And Lady Roseanna Baroness of Gisborne has just supped with her children in their nursery–their almost 11 year old son Seth, their 6 year old daughter Lady Helen Rose, their four year old son Louis, their 2 year old daughter Lady Sarah, and their now eight month old baby Lady Diana lies sleeping in a cradle nearby after being nursed by her Mama Lady Roseanna.
Since their Papa Baron Guy of Gisborne is still away on his most recent trip to to visit his younger brother Lord Archer for the Nottingham Castle rebuilding dedications, Lady Roseanna has been alone these past few days missing her husband greatly. She seeks his wise counsel about what to do about the mess of King John marrying the thought to be widowed Lady Rebecca Oxbridge to Sir Roderick Merton and now her finding that her first husband Lord John might be alive.
But Lady Roseanna’s responsibilities keep her busy while she awaits her husband Baron Guy’s return. Lady Roseanna also has under her care the toddler son and daughter of her cousin Lord John Oxbridge–the three and a half year old Lord Graham Oxbridge and his just past two year old sister, Lady Rachel Oxbridge. So Lady Roseanna has a nursery full. But with love in abundance from her kind heart, all of the children’s needs are met, save one–the absence of their fathers.
As she finally lays down in her own bed later this night, Lady Roseanna looks forward expectantly to Baron Guy’s return upon the morrow. But visitors tonight, she does not expect. Lady Roseanna hears a carriage pull up to Gisborne-Middleton Manor and she jumps out of bed and races down the central staircase in naught but her silk night gown and wrapper–in the hope that Baron Guy has come back to her early. Baron Guy surprises his Lady Roseanna regularly with his eagerness to return to her and their family. When she steps off the stairs and onto the larger foyer’s slate floor, Lady Roseanna slows her gait to a ladylike bustling forward even as her butler and footman carry torches to the front of Gisborne-Middleton Manor to see who has come upon them at so late an hour at half past ten in the evening. The stable groom guards are also coming forth to the manor front portico to serve as protection from harm, if need be.
Lady Roseanna does not recognize the carriage and realizes that it is probably not her husband, Baron Guy–and she pouts. But who can it be? Not King John, whose splendid carriages outshine the sun. Then she has a wonderful surprise as Br. Tuck [(2) right] emerges from the carriage. So the royal gossips are at least partially correct–about a feisty cleric returning from the Holy Land.
Lady Roseanna: Lady Roseanna greets him warmly. “Br. Tuck! We thought you still in the Holy Land! You could not have spent much time there.” They clasp hands in friendship.
Br. Tuck: “My Lady, I was not even there four days before the late King Richard’s mission bid me to return to England for him. But where is Baron Guy? I would speak with him directly about a delicate matter.” Br. Tuck whispers mysteriously.
Lady Roseanna: “Oh? My Lord husband is again at Nottingham with his brother Lord Archer for the Nottingham Castle rebuilding dedication this past Sunday–and some brotherly bonding.” She rolls her eyes. “We expect him to return upon the morrow.” She tilts her head sheepishly. “I had hoped that you might be him returned to me early. But you are welcome just the same. Hhhhh.” She sighs.
Br. Tuck: “Thank you, My Lady.” He nods, smiling with trepidation. For when Lady Anne is revealed as Lady Marian to Baron Guy, Brother Tuck is uncertain as to how either of them will react. And will Lady Anne’s memories, long dormant, resurface and she can reclaim her life as Lady Marian? These thoughts weigh heavily upon him.
Deciding not to wait in the carriage any longer, Lord John Oxbridge Earl of Leicester [(3) right] emerges from the carriage, with his eye patch firmly covering his flaming cinder damaged right eye and a cane in his hand to steady himself. One of the footman assists him to the ground.
Lord John: Assessing his now quite grown up cousin Lady Roseanna, Lord John teases. “Is this my tomboy cousin Rose grown up into a beautiful lady? Or is my one good eye deceiving me? Ha ha ha ha ha!”
Lady Roseanna: “John! You are alive!” The shock is evident upon her face and in her voice. But she is glad to see him and flings herself into his arms. They hug and he lifts her off the ground and twirls her around like he did when they were children–or rather, when she was a little child and he was a teenager 14 years her senior. “I did not think we would see you so soon. We only heard from my brother Lord George but two days ago that you were rumored to be alive and returned to England–with a feisty cleric.” She looks cheekily at Brother Tuck and he smiles sheepishly. Then Lady Roseanna’s thoughts turn to the outcome of that revelation and her face becomes more somber.
Lord John: “I see that court gossip is ever swift. But we avoided visiting King John’s court in the hope of reaching home quickly. But we are bone tired and cannot go farther. So I hope that we may spend the night and you can catch me up with your family news at breakfast on the morrow before I return to my family.” Of course, Lord John assumed that his cousin would let them stay overnight–such is the close communion of their two families.
Lady Roseanna: “Oh John.” She sighs as tears well up in her eyes. “The news I bear is not of my family, but of yours.” She caresses his face. “You must prepare yourself for the sorrow that I wish you were not burdened with.”
Lord John: Gripping Lady Roseanna’s arms, he pleads. “Rose, tell me that my son Graham lives! Any other sadness I can bear, but not his death.” Children often perished from childhood illness in their time. So his fears are grounded in sad reality.
Lady Roseanna: “Be at ease, John. Little Lord Graham lives and thrives.” Lady Roseanna pauses before she shares Lord John’s surprise. “… as does your daughter–Lady Rachel is also well.”
Lord John: “A daughter! Ha ha h! I did not know that we had been so blessed. My lady wife did not write to tell me of this news.” He smiles broadly.
Lady Roseanna: Lady Roseanna furrows her brow wincingly. “Perhaps the letter went astray, because I know that Lady Rebecca had intended to inform you. She said so herself.” Of course news of Lady Rebecca is what Lady Roseanna must relate to her cousin Lord Johns.
Lord John: “When I was busy with the Crusades, I was not a faithful correspondent.” He grins sheepishly. “And then my back and eye injuries happened six months ago.” He gestures to his eye patch. “I have been healing from them under the care of the good sisters in Jerusalem’s Our Lady of the Sacred Heart Convent.”
Br. Tuck: Interjecting, Brother Tuck adds. “In fact, My Lady Rose, the Postulant Nurse who attended Lord John made the journey with us. I will fetch her.” Br. Tuck assists Lady Anne out of the carriage and they both stand off to the side as they await Lady Roseanna’s invitation and welcome into the manor. Br. Tuck knows that introducing Lady Anne to Lady Roseanna will be a delicate business–since Lady Anne [(4) right] is really Lady Marian, Baron Guy’s first love, though Lady Anne does not remember this or who she was. “Lady Roseanna, this is Lady Anne. Lady Anne, this is Lady Roseanna Baroness of Gisborne.” Brother Tuck looks for any flash of recognition in Lady Anne’s eyes for the name Gisborne, but there is none.
Both ladies curtsy politely to each other. Lady Roseanna, as of yet, knows not who this lady is, nor how she might be connected to her family. But she wonders about the beautiful lady before her.
Lady Roseanna: “You are welcome, too, Lady Anne.” Lady Roseanna smiles cordially at Lady Anne. Then Lady Roseanna turns her attention back to her cousin with a solemn expression on her countenance. “But John, you have not asked me what sorrow you are burdened with?”
Lord John: “Rose, if I delay in speaking of it with you, then my heart can still hope. But tell me.” He closes his good eye.
Lady Roseanna: “It was your wife, Lady Rebecca.”
Lord John: “Was?” He looks at Lady Roseanna through dull, spiritless eyes.
Lady Roseanna: “She is gone, John–two days, now.”
Lord John closes his eyes again as he covers his mouth with his hand in shock. To think that he missed seeing her one more time by only two days is torturous to him.
Lord John: “How did it happen?” He sighs, thinking that his wife was too young to die. “She was in good health when I left her three years ago.”
Lady Roseanna: Realizing that he has mistaken her meaning, Lady Roseanna clarifies. “It is not what you think, John. Lady Rebecca lives.” Lord John looks at Lady Roseanna questioningly. “She had brought the children to us for a visit this past week. Our children get along so well together and we enjoy their frequent visits. But she was in … distress.” Lady Roseanna dissembles, not knowing how to tell her cousin that his wife remarried.
Lord John: “Distress?” He repeats tonelessly. He and his wife were not a love match, but she gave him his son and now his daughter–his children–and he would have honored her all of his days.
Lady Roseanna: She leans in closer to her cousin so that Br. Tuck and Lady Anne will not hear. “Lady Rebecca is with child by her new husband. When George told us two days ago that it was believed you lived and had returned to England, she was bereft. Her husband insisted they leave the next day to insure her safety, leaving a note wishing that her children with you not be shamed by her actions in marrying her second husband while her first husband yet lived, and now with her bearing that man’s child.”
Lord John: Fury rising up in his throat, Lord John thunders. “And who was the blackguard who soiled my wife!” He speaks so loudly that even Br. Tuck and Lady Anne can hear.
Lady Roseanna: “John, she was not soiled. She remarried in good faith. King John had declared you dead and wanted to marry Lady Rebecca off to anyone who would take her for his blasted marriage tax.” Lady Roseanna does not use vulgarities that she learned posing as the stable boy Oxbridge often, but she feels that they are warranted now. “But a childhood friend to the Northwest stepped forward to claim her as his bride–he is someone she knew long before you, Sir Roderick Merton from Staffordshire.
Lord John: “I will have him killed!” He pounds his fist into the palm of his other hand.
Br. Tuck and Lady Anne exchange startled glances. The vehemence of Lord John’s anger at his wife betraying him with another man seems to Lady Anne to be akin to jealousy on his part. And she does not know how she feels about him feeling jealous about his wife. Lady Anne can see Lord John’s agitation is causing him to breathe more rapidly and his face is red and blotchy. She is concerned that his distress will cause harm to his already frail health.
Lady Roseanna: “Are you not listening to me, John?” Lady Roseanna [(5) right] looks at her cousin sternly–but sorrowfully as well–as she shakes his arm. “Lady Rebecca did no wrong. You had been gone for three years, known to be injured grievously, and were declared dead–by King John. And Lady Rebecca and Sir Roderick’s relationship was one of long standing–from childhood. She said that she was forced to give him up when her parents arranged her betrothal and marriage to you. She had tried to make her marriage with you work, but you left–abandoning her, my word not hers. And she has been very lonely with you away–even with the children as her comfort.” For Lady Roseanna knows that even a few nights away from Sir Guy is torture for her. So she cannot imagine having one’s husband gone for three years–Lord John missed out on raising his son and the birth of their daughter. “And it was only this past Spring at my husband Baron Guy’s investiture in Leicester–after Sir Roderick had saved our Seth’s and Lady Helen’s lives–that Sir Roderick and Lady Rebecca renewed their acquaintance and their relationship deepened and they wed. Lady Rebecca admitted that your arranged first marriage was not a love match, for either of you–and that her only happiness was the blessing of your children that you gave her.”
Lord John: Lord John blanches at the truth of his cousin’s statement about his marriage. “Still! I have not forgotten her, nor broken my marriage vows.” He throws up his hands in astonishment.
Lady Anne’s eyes shutter at her friendship with Lord John being so easily dismissed by his statement.
Lady Roseanna: “John, be reasonable! You were dead–or so we were told. What were we to think after three years and no word from you? So your wife remarried. And Lady Rebecca and Sir Roderick are in love and very happy. It was like the sun came out and shone upon her when she found out they were to welcome a child together.” Lord John winces at thinking someone else made his wife happy–and gave her a child. “But their happiness was short lived–they have been married but two months–when we learned two days ago of your possibly being alive.” Then she hastens to add. “However, we were gladdened to learn that you were, you are alive. But then we were saddened for Lady Rebecca’s circumstances. Lady Rebecca instantly reproached herself, saying that her loneliness in agreeing to remarry was no excuse for her not remaining your widow. And that God would surely punish her for being married to two husbands at the same time. And she did not want her children by you to be shamed by her predicament. John, can you not see? Lady Rebecca is also an injured party in this matter.”
Lord John staggers back from his cousin Lady Roseanna, reeling from this shocking news. And he has been standing too long, and he is on the verge of physical collapse. Brother Tuck rushes forward seeing Lord John about to fall.
Br. Tuck: “We must get Lord John into bed. His still healing injuries have weakened him considerably.”
Lady Anne steps forward, feeling more confident in her role as Lord John’s nurse–even if she is no longer his confidante and friend.
Lady Anne: “I have a medicine powder to soothe him and help him sleep. Might someone take us to his bed chamber and provide water so that I may administer it?”
Lady Roseanna: “Of course.” She motions to the footmen to come forward to assist them.
Lord John: Having the presence of mind to ask, Lord John looks up at Lady Roseanna, his voice strained with worry and anguish. “And my children? Where are they? Did my wife and her husband flee with them?” He says the word husband awkwardly, for he is also her husband.
Lady Roseanna: Laying her hand upon her cousin’s shoulder, she smiles. “Nay John, they are here–little Lord Graham and Lady Rachel are upstairs sleeping in the nursery with my own children. When you have rested over night, you will see them on the morrow.”
Lord John nods. Then Brother Tuck and a footman take either side of Lord John and assist him into Gisborne-Middleton Manor and up the great central staircase–with Lady Roseanna and Lady Anne trailing behind. At the top of the stairs, Lord John stops–winded from his exertions.
Lady Roseanna: Directing her footmen, she says. “Let us put Lord John in the nearest guest bed chamber here–so that he does not have to walk much farther. And Lady Anne, his nurse, may have the bed chamber next to him so that she may care for him.” Lady Roseanna motions to two adjacent guest bed chambers near the top of the stairs.
Lord John: “Thank you, Lady Rose. But I must see my children before I rest. It has been three long years, since I saw Graham as a baby. And I did not know that my wife was with child again before I left and I have never laid eyes upon my daughter Rachel” He huffs breathily.
Brother Tuck nods at Lady Roseanna with a compassionate gaze. Then Lady Roseanna looks questioningly at Lord John’s nurse Lady Anne who gives her one curt nod in acquiescing to Lord John’s appeals as a father to see his children.
Lady Roseanna: Gently laying her hand on Lord John’s forearm, Lady Roseanna sighs compassionately with the understanding of being a parent herself. “Of course, John. Let me take you to your children.”
To be continued with Chapter 30
“Sir Guy’s Atonement” (Book 3), Ch. 29 References, May 11, 2015 Gratiana Lovelace (Post #744)
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) 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
3) 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
4) The image of Lady Marian’s countenance as the Madonna figure of St. Matthew’s Church in Locksley manip is a composite image of:
a) 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;
b) and of a modified wimple that was masked from http://www.aveleyman.com/ActorCredit.aspx?ActorID=4524; for more about wimples, visit http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wimple
5) Lady Roseanna Gisborne is Emma Watson in the film Noah found at http://images.dailyexpress.co.uk.s3.amazonaws.com/img/dynamic/79/590x/secondary/98020.jpg
“Sir Guy’s Atonement” (Book 3), Previous Ch. 28 Blog Link with embedded illustrations (Post #742)