[An Original Historical Fiction Fan 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: Baron Guy is tired from his journey home from Nottingham. Riding a horse for hours on end bruises the back and the backside. Yet the pull of his loving family drove him onward. And reuniting with his wife in the late hours of Wednesday night into Thursday morning was joyful and loving. After their tenderly making love, Baron Guy encompasses his wife Lady Rose within the caring and protective cocoon of his loving arms as they slumber peacefully together. The morning will be here soon enough–and with the morn, it will bring changes to Baron Guy’s life that he could never have anticipated nor would he have dreamed would come about. This new day, Thursday July 10th, 1199 will be a turning point in his and in their lives. And nothing will ever be the same again.
“Sir Guy’s Atonement”, Ch. 32: Turning Point
After seeing to her own morning ablutions Thursday July 10th, 1199 as a guest at the Gisborne-Middleton Manor–the day after arriving there as their last stop before Leicester in a journey that started in the Holy Land–Lord Oxbridge’s nurse and friend Lady Anne/Marian dresses in her simple postulant nun gown and head draping wimple. The soft morning light illuminating her beauty as she gracefully descends the stairs to head down to the kitchen with a servant’s guidance around 7 o’clock in the morning. In finding the kitchen a bustle with activity, she requests tea and cake for herself and Lord Oxbridge–to tide them over until joining the family breaking their fast in the conservatory at 8 o’clock.
And after the cook vehemently insists that a footman must carry the breakfast tray to the second floor family and guest bedchambers when they are traversing the servant stairwell that brings them to the far end of the second floor bed chamber hallway, Lady Anne finally succeeds in wresting its control at the top of the stairs. Lady Anne glares a steely withering look at the footman who capitulates the tea tray to her care. Lady Anne thinks she must have acquired such presence in watching their Mother Superior Sister Ignatious quietly overwhelm all in her presence. Though she does not remember it–how she used to be–her own inner fortitude is still in the make up of her character.
Lady Anne/Marian then carries the tray of tea and cakes through the bed chamber hallway toward Lord Oxbridge’s guest bed chamber. The sounds of her movement alerts the almost eleven year old Seth and the four year old Louis Gisborne to the household being awake and they open their bed chamber door and go and investigate. Stopping near the top of the grand central staircase and seeing the Lady who was with Lord John and Br. Tuck last night–but who was not introduced to him–Seth asks forthrightly as he rubs his eyes while standing barefoot in his long night shirt.
Seth: “Who are you, My Lady?”
Lady Anne/Marian is slightly startled and she turns her head to the obviously young boy whom she finds to be surprisingly taller than she.
Seth is not so self conscious about his appearance in nightclothes to feel embarrassed to be seen in such a state of disarray by a guest in their home as a young man might–thus hinting at his still present but waning boyishness. However, for Seth’s four year old brother Louis, it is a wonder that the younger boy is clothed at all. His sleeping humors are vexingly changeable–ranging from him feeling overwarm–causing him to cast off all manner of blankets and clothing– to him feeling chilly and wanting more bed warming bricks. The scorch marks on his bed sheets unfortunately attest to the latter condition’s frequency.
Lady Anne/Marian: “I am Lady Anne, Lord Oxbridge’s … nurse.” She states simply as she tilts her head at his bed chamber door–for children need not be burdened with the complexity of adult relationships.
And even Lady Anne/Marian is confused as to what she and Lord Oxbridge are to each other–each of them assuming they are not free to love the other. Lord Oxbridge restrains his emotions around Lady Anne because he is married and he has nothing honorable to offer her. And Lady Anne does not give hope to her heart’s wishes because her grievous injury seven years ago has made her barren–or at least her health would be endangered by becoming with child–and also because he is married.
Seeing the cakes on her tray, little Louis’ mouth salivates and he licks his lips. He is hungry this morn.
Seth: Remembering his manners, Seth suggests. “My Lady, Pray let me open Lord Oxbridge’s bed chamber door for you.” He offers helpfully. She nods her thanks, points to the correct door, and he knocks, then he opens the door.
Lady Anne/Marian: She smiles at Seth, then looks down at Louis. “Lord John, It is I–and Seth and Louis Gisborne.”
Then Lady Anne/Marian looks up and sees Lord John standing before her frozen with embarrassment–with him wearing his drawers and nought else so surprised by her swift entry into his bed chamber that he had not the time to dress. Seth wearing only his nightshirt thinks nothing of seeing Lord John without his shirt on.
Seth’s papa is often informally attired when the family are gathered in private–such as bedtime stories or swimming in the pond–and even on the practice field. His father Baron Guy’s manly physique is what Seth aspires to attain–and then maintain–when Seth reaches his own maturity a few years from now. And Baron Guy might be a fortyfive year old man–and a noble one at that–but he is in peak physical condition. And Baron Guy has found a renewed zest for life with his wife and children that finds him being quite more mellow than was his own noble family etiquette driven upbringing.
Then with both of Lord John and Lady Anne blushing, but not saying anything as they gaze at one another. Little Louis looks back and forth between the two adults–still hoping for some cake, and not guessing what their stillness is about. So he decides to make his request known.
Louis: “May I please have some of your cake, Lord Oxbridge?” He asks directly and politely, because Louis has learned that adults work better with simple, straightforward requests. Of course, the adults do not have so easy a response from Louis when they make simple straightforward requests of him.
Seth: “Louis! Those are Lord John’s cakes.” Seth admonishes his younger brother. But truth be told, Seth is hungry, too.
Lord John: “What?” Lord John recovers from his stupor and he quickly grabs for his trousers and hastily puts them on, and then his blousy under shirt, and finally his tunic. All the while, Lady Anne/Marian averts her eyes to give Lord John his privacy.
Louis: “Cake, please?” Louis does not say anything about Lord John being not dressed yet–for Louis is still only in his nightshirt–no trousers or drawers present–and Louis’ knees are showing given that at four years old he is also having a growth spurt–much like his eleven year old brother Seth had recently–and he needs a bigger and longer nightshirt.
Lady Anne/Marian: “Oh! Of course.” She smiles benignly as she sets the tray down on a low table and she sits on a nearby sette.
Then Lady Anne/Marian offers the cake plate to Louis and Seth and they each select one cake and take a bite as they all sit on the chairs and sette in Lord John’s guest bed chamber as if they were having an impromptu picnic. After tea is poured for the adults and they partake of their own cakes, Louis starts on a second cake with crumbs from the first cake still trailing down his nightshirt. Seth rolls his eyes at his little brother’s poor manners. Then Seth looks back and forth between the two adults sharing cakes in companionable silence with small glances between each other, and he wonders if there is something more between them than nurse and patient.
Also curious about this man who has come to visit, little four year old Louis walks up to Lord John and examines his chiseled, weather beaten, battle scarred, and stubbled face. Lord John [(2) right] smiles benignly at the lad. Then Louis gently touches the strap of Lord John’s eye patch. Lord John holds still and does not flinch.
Louis: “Does it hurt?” Louis wonders.
Lord John: “No, little one.” Lord John shakes his head with a small smile. But that is not entirely the truth. “Well, at least not so much as when I was first injured in battle.”
Lady Anne/Marian studies Louis’ reaction, noting the confused expression upon the little boy’s face.
Seth: “Battle? Like in the jousting tournaments? Our Papa usually wins, and he is never hurt.” Seth states pridefully.
Lord John: “Something like that.” Lord John dissembles so as not to distress the young children by laying bare the realities of war–even a Holy War–people die and are injured, grievously as in his case.
Wanting to change the subject, Lady Anne/Marian redirects Seth’s and Louis’ attentions.
Lady Anne/Marian: “Seth, I do not see your dog Prince with you. I heard tale from Br. Tuck on our journey here that he is never far from your side.”
Seth: Now looking at Lady Anne more fully, Seth replies distractedly. “A servant is walking him so that he does not make a mess in the manor. Mama does not like messes.” Seth stares at Lady Anne’s blue-green eyes.
Lady Anne/Marian blushes to be under such scrutiny. And Lord John is intrigued by Seth’s intense gaze. Of course Lord John thinks Lady Anne is beautiful.
Lord John: “Seth?”
Seth: “Uh huh?” Seth replies without taking his eyes off of Lady Anne’s face.
Lord John: “Seth? What intrigues you so about the lovely Lady Anne?” She blushes at his compliment of her being lovely.
Seth: Seth points at Lady Anne and looks at Lord John. “She has blue-green eyes.” Seth sighs.
Lord John: Looking closer at Lady Anne for effect, but already well acquainted with her blue-green eyes–Lord John replies bemusedly. “And so she does. Is that significant?
Seth: “They are pretty.” Seth smiles at the pretty lady.
Lady Anne/Marian: Slightly blushing with first Lord John’s and now Seth’s compliments, she replies sincerely. “Thank you, Seth.” Lady Anne/Marian caresses Seth’s cheek and bestows upon him a caring smile.
Seth: “You are the only lady with blue-green eyes that I know–except for my Papa’s lady friend who we prayed for at her funeral in our graveyard several months ago.”
Lady Anne/Marian stills and a chill passes over her heart that she cannot account for. And Lord John’s suspicions are aroused.
Lord John: “Your Papa’s Lady friend?” Seth nods. “Will you take us there before breakfast, Seth?”
Seth: “I am not supposed to go alone.” Seth relates sheepishly. He is one month shy of his eleventh birthday–almost a man–and Seth feels that he should be allowed to roam further afield on their estate without minders watching him at every turn. His younger brothers and sisters need such supervision, but he bristles. However Seth’s parents have other ideas–and he must watch over his younger siblings like little Louis.
Lord John: “And you will not be alone. We will be with you.” Lord John gently clasps Lady Anne’s hand in his hand.
Lady Anne: “Lord John, I will stay behind. You take the boy.” Lady Anne feels uncharacteristically unsettled, as if she is teetering upon the edge of a cliff.
Lord John: “But are you not curious, Lady Anne?” She slowly shakes her head no. “Well then! It looks like it will be just you and I, Seth. A short walk in the fresh air before we break our fast will do me good. Away from the heat and dust of the desert, I feel more invigorated here.”
Separately, Baron Guy has risen to have a ride with Lady Roseanna before breakfast–as they did when they were courting and first married. Baron Guy maneuvers his horse Pegasus to maintain his place behind his wife ahead of him so as to enjoy the view. Her hair flying in the wind from its loosened braid as her horse, now Seth’s horse, Wildfire swiftly and gently gallops–the horse sensing intuitively that his mistress is with child and cannot withstand the jostling of a true gallop.
Quickly coming to a stop near a stream, the beauty of the forest setting with soft morning light filtering through the branches of the tall trees serving as a canopy over their heads. Sir Guy and Lady Roseanna rest awhile as they lie cuddled together on a soft cushion of tall grasses bent for their comfort. They talk of this baby they will welcome and of the future.
Lady Roseanna: “I am well, Guy. As you see.” Her smile dimples her cheeks and Lady Roseanna [(3) right] leans in and sweetly kisses him.
Baron Guy: “May hap we should set up camp here and await the child’s birth.” He fixes her with a cheeky grin.
Lady Roseanna: “Oh? And how should we fare in the wild? I am not an out of doors, lady. I prefer my comforts. Would you have the servants join us here, too, to tend to us?”
Baron Guy: “Nay. It was an impractical suggestion.” He smiles and gently caresses her slightly swelling belly. “Oh Rose, I wish for many things for our new son or daughter. But most of all, I wish the love and contentment that you have given me and that you bring to our family. I do not know how, my fortunes changed to be honored with the gift of your love.” He gazes at his beloved wife in loving sincerity.
Lady Roseanna: “So my dowry played no part in your interest in my, My Lord Husband–even if Cousin Johnny wanted to take half of it?” Of course, her cousin, is now the King, King John.
Baron Guy frowns slightly at the question. He knows that she does not doubt him as surely as he knows the sun will rise each day. She has given him this sense of calm and hope in his life.
Baron Guy: “Nay, My Rose. Wealth, position, and prestige are fleeting–not to be aspired to. Only love with you and our children is what I seek. All else is illusory. You have taught me that–about love everlasting.”
Lady Roseanna: “Husband, is that a hopeful thought I hear you expressing?” She asks minxishly. Her eyes gleaming with triumph.
Baron Guy: “Perhaps.” He draws out slowly to tease her.
Lady Roseanna; “No no, Guy. You cannot rescind what you have spoken. You are content, I know it!” She smugly squeals and then she kisses his lips adoringly.
Baron Guy: Affecting a disdainful air with pouty lips–quite similar to their four year old son Louis when he does not get his way–as if Baron Guy’s former grumpy self has returned. “God’s Teeth, woman! Do not think I am soft in my dotage. I am simply grateful for the boon of you and our family. It is right to thank the almighty for such providence. Happiness is a destiny that I did not think would ever be mine.” Baron Guy is not teasing now, he speaks in earnest.
Lady Roseanna: “Guy, this new baby–be he a son or a daughter …”
Baron Guy: “He?” He asks wryly with a twinkling smile.
Lady Roseanna: She swats his shoulder and smiles mirthfully. “Do you not admit that you long for a third son to match the legacies of my brother George and your brother Archer?”
Baron Guy: He shakes his head ruefully. “It is foolish of me to want more blessings than God has already granted me. We have two stout sons and three adorable daughters. This babe will only enhance our perfect family.”
Lady Roseanna: “But ….” She smiles impishly at her husband, her knowing his thoughts even before they reach fruition in his mind.
Baron Guy: “But a son does not require a dowry.” He makes a face at her and laughs. “Ha ha ha ha ha ha!”
Lady Roseanna: “Ha ha ha! Oh Guy! Only you would think of frugality with regard to the fruit of your loins.”
Baron Guy: “Well. It is difficult enough to navigate the negotiations with Lord Havorford for Seth’s potential betrothal to Lady Caroline. I cannot imagine how to assure the sincerity of suitors for Helen’s, Sarah’s, and Diana’s hands in marriage when I must entertain such negotiations in the future.”
Lady Roseanna: “May hap the girls will choose for themselves–as I have done.” Lady Roseanna gazes adoringly up at her strong and commanding husband.
Baron Guy: “Then heaven help the men who come pleading for our girls. For if they have half the spirit of their Mama, they will set their betrothed’s and their husbands on a merry chase.”
Lady Roseanna: “You do not seem imposed upon.” She states cheekily.
Baron Guy: “Nay! I am the most fortunate of men.”
Baron Guy and Lady Roseanna kiss and cuddle some more. They do not make love–no time since their guests will soon arise and must be met for breaking their fast. In due time, the happy couple mounts their horses and take a leisurely and winding canter back to Gisborne-Middleton Manor.
After everyone was dressed this morning–and Lord John had greeted his children Lord Graham and Lady Rachel again in the nursery and promising to see them at table this morn after their nurses bathe and ready them for the day–Lord John Oxbridge follows Seth Gisborne to the Gisborne-Middleton family cemetery and crypt. And being cajoled to go along, Lady Anne/Marian [(4) right] accompanies them.
For Lord John’s benefit, they walk slowly the few hundred yards to the park like cemetery. And Lord John asks some questions of Seth.
Lord John: “Did you know you Papa’s lady friend whom you honored?” It is unusual for a married man like Baron Guy to openly mention a lady friend, let alone, to honor her in his family cemetery. Lord John believes that Lady Roseanna must be most understanding.
Seth: “No.” And since Lord John is family, Seth does not think it unwise to share what he knows–what his Papa gold him about Layd Marian–though he has yet to name her. “Papa said that she was a good and kind lady who helped people, but that she died too young.
Lady Anne/Marian: “Oh, that is sad–not to live long enough to enjoy life.” She bows her head and crosses herself. Yet, her self imposed devotion to God is choice that will not give her enjoyment, per se, but she hopes to find peace.
Lord John: “Yes, it is. I knew many young knights struck down. My cousin, your Uncle George Lord Middleton was also grievously injured in the Holy Land as I was.”
Seth: “Yes.” Seth nods. “Uncle George’s arm is lame.” Then Seth stops as they come to a small but intricately carved gravestone that has vines growing over it that Seth kneels down to pull away. “But at least he lived and returned home from the Holy Land. Lady Marian died and was buried there. Our funeral mass for her was to honor her memory, even if she lies buried thousands of miles away.” Seth finishes clearing the gravemarker and kneels back.
Lady Anne/Marian looks upon the beautifully carved gravestone–glossing over the name it bears, Lady Marian Knighton, beloved daughter and friend–she is transfixed.
Lord John: Noting his love’s quietened mood, Lord John asks. “Are you alright, Lady Anne? Is the sun too warm? Did you perhaps wish to sit in the shade of the tree over there?” He motions to a nearby bench, not six feet away and he takes her there and sits with her.
Lady Anne/Marian: “Yes, thank you, Lord John.” She replies tonelessly. It is as if she is lost deep in thought. She does not know why the story of this lady affects her so. But it does.
Coming into view of the church and surrounding cemetery, Baron Guy and Lady Roseanna spy Seth kneeling at Lady Marian’s grave–seemingly alone. And he is worried for his son’s safety since marauding bandits could kidnap him and hold him for a pretty ransom.
Baron Guy: “What is Seth doing there alone? I told him always to be with someone.”
Lady Roseanna: “Now Guy. Seth is but 100 yards from the Manor. Go easy on him. Please?” She pleads.
Baron Guy’s horse canters to within six feet of his son Seth and stops. Baron Guy swings his leg over the pommel of his saddle and slides to the ground in one fluid motion. Seth jumps up with a start.
Seth: “Papa! You are home!” Seth smiles joyfully and runs to his father, embracing him.
Lady Roseanna raises a mirthful eyebrow at her husband. Baron Guy nods and softens.
Baron Guy: “I am. I found I was done with Nottingham’s rebuilding and quit the place as soon as I could. But what are you doing here alone And at Lady Marian’s grave?” A worried look crosses Baron Guy’s face as he now kneels down at the gravestone marker and touches it reverently.
Seth: “But I am not alone, Papa. Good Morrow, Mama.”
Lady Roseanna: “Good Morrow, Seth.” She smiles sweetly at him as she holds out her arms and Seth helps her alight from the horse.
Lord John stands up from the bench under the shade tree and makes himself known as he walks toward Baron Guy and his family.
Lord John: “My apologies Lord Gisborne, I am Lord John Oxbridge Earl of Leicester, come home from the Holy Land and stopping briefly to visit my cousin Rose.”
Baron Guy stands and nods respectfully–as does Lord John–then Baron Guy turns to look inquisitively at his wife, Lady Roseanna.
Lady Roseanna: “Yes, Guy. You remember. I told you last night.”
Baron Guy: “I confess that I did not listen properly, My Love. I was tired from traveling–and my mind was occupied with other matters.”He intones deeply suggestively regarding their lovemaking when he returned home. Lady Roseanna’s face pinkens into a becoming blush.
Lady Roseanna: “And this is Lord John’s Nurse and friend, the Lady Anne.” Lady Roseanna gestures and Lady Anne stands and walks the several yards forward toward them, now joining the conversation and waiting to be introduced to the tall gentleman with Lady Roseanna. As of yet, she can only see his back.
Baron Guy turns his head and looks behind him with shocked amazement upon the face of the lady presented to him, Lady Anne/Marian. Seeing the vision of Lady Marian before him, a pale faced Baron Guy drops to his knees at her feet in abject guilt and grief as he gazes up at her in supplication [(5) right].
Baron Guy: His voice cracking with guilt and remorse, Baron Guy pleads. “Oh My Lady! Mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa.” Then Baron Guy falls forward and lies prostrate upon the ground in front of Lady Anne/Marian. “I submit myself to your judgement. Do with me as you wish. God’s will be done.”
Everyone is startled by a thunderstruck Baron Guy humbling himself before Lady Anne/Marian–Lady Anne/Marian most of all. She is too stunned to move or speak.
And with these two people–Baron Guy and Lady Anne/Marian–meeting after so long being separated, it is a turning point in each of their lives.
To be continued with Chapter 33
Sir Guy’s Atonement” (Book 3), Ch. 32 References, May 22, 2015 Gratiana Lovelace (Post #751)
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 image is a composite of two Kevin McKidd images :
a) body and background found at http://www.kevinmckiddonline.com/uploads/2/0/2/4/202457/76376.jpg;
b) head found at http://i2.dailyrecord.co.uk/incoming/article925860.ece/BINARY/kevin-mckidd-image-6-748739633.jpg
3) Lady Roseanna Oxbridge Middleton Gisborne is that of actress Emma Watson and was found at http://www.hollybollyhub.com/emma-watson-hot-image.jpg
4) 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
5) Sir Guy of Gisborne (as portrayed by Richard Armitage) in the BBC’s Robin Hood series 3, episode 13 (pix 23) http://www.richardarmitagenet.com/images/gallery/RobinHood/album/seasonthree/Episodethirteen/slides/13_023.html
“Sir Guy’s Atonement” (Book 3), Previous Ch. 31 Blog Link with embedded illustrations (Post #749)