[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, Sam Troughton as Much, and Gordon Kennedy as Little John, 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: The return of Lady Rebecca Oxbridge Merton and her new husband Sir Roderick Merton involved a tense confrontation with Lady Rebecca’s first husband Lord John Oxbridge Earl of Leicester. And King John was quite put out about him not yet receiving the Staffordshire Ruby as payment for the Merton marriage–which Baron Guy reminded him and Sir Roderick would be payment for a permanent marriage, when all is settled legally. Lord John Oxbridge Earl of Leicester wonders about the legal maneuverings that will have to take place for him to be able to marry Lady Anne/Marian and to have her be his Countess of Leicester–when his first wife yet lives, but with Lady Rebecca now married to another. The marriages, plural, will be a delicate matter to finesse for all concerned. And perhaps the most important detail of these machinations for Lord John, is to have himself declared alive so that he may legally reclaim his family and his earldom.
And Lord John Oxbridge will find an unlikely ally in Baron Guy of Gisborne, who hopes to help facilitate Lord John’s new family vision –in order for Baron Guy to insure the future happiness of Lady Anne/Marian, as a measure of Baron Guy hoping to atone for what Lady Anne/Marian has endured these past seven years due to his fault. Until Lady Anne/Marian’s future happiness is secured, Baron Guy cannot focus upon his own life and family. But of course, Baron Guy’s family might have something to say about his singular focus.
“Sir Guy’s Atonement” (Book 3), Ch. 44 (PG-13): Resolution
A quarter hour after Lady Rebecca and her children had left her first husband Lord John Oxbridge alone to propose to Lady Anne/Marian Knighton–on Saturday July 11th, 1199–the couple soon joins the extended Gisborne-Oxbridge family in the small Drawing Room of Gisborne-Middleton Manor. By this time, King John’s caravan has arrived–with Father Bale in it who now converses off to the side with Br. Tuck. Everyone halts their conversations, or play in the case of the children, and turns toward the opening the small Drawing Room door to see a smiling Lady Anne/Marian [(2) right] with her arm coupled around her love and betrothed Lord John Oxbridge’s arm. Her wimple gone and her curling locks unfurl femininely about her shoulders.
The three year old little Lord Graham 0xbridge and his two year old sister Lady Rachel drop their Mama Lady Rebecca’s hands and rush over to their father Lord John to hear the news.
Lord Graham: “Are you getting married to Lady Anne, Papa?”
Lady Rachel: “Will there be a party?” She asks eagerly as she claps her little hands together. Little Lady Rachel likes parties with dancing and special treats. Though at two years old, none might call Lady Rachel’s movements dancing–more like hopping around, with her arms flailing about enthusiastically.
Lord John: “Ha ha ha ha ha! Graham, Rachel.” Lord John gently cups his children’s upturned angelic faces in his hands. “All in good time, children, all in good time.” He smiles joyously [(3) right] as he then gazes upon his betrothed, Lady Anne/Marian. This news satisfies the children only somewhat.
And the Oxbridge children are, as of yet, too young to understand the complications that yet must be faced and resolved before their father’s marriage to Lady Anne/Marian might take place. Then Lord John returns his arm to a shyly smiling Lady Anne/Marian and they both look at their extended family and friends.
Baron Guy is riveted to hear the news–hoping that it will finally bring Lady Anne/Marian happiness. Lady Roseanna senses the tension in her husband with his clenched fists and jaw and comments to him in a hushed whisper.
Lady Roseanna: “Guy, what is wrong? Is this not what you hoped for? That Lady Anne/Marian would find happiness in love and marriage?”
Baron Guy: “Yes, … and no.” He admits begrudgingly.
Baron Guy is happy for Lady Anne/Marian, yes. But there is also a small part of him that is not happy–perhaps a nagging remnant of feeling to be yet again dismissed as the object of Lady Anne/Marian’s heart. Though he knows that it is quite churlish of him to begrudge her love and happiness in marriage to another when he is so happily situated–and the father of five and soon to be six children with his beloved Lady Rose. And the still young and lovely Lady Roseanna [(4) right] perceives the source of her husband’s equivocal feelings as she gazes with tempered charity upon the beautifully Lady Anne/Marian. For Lady Rose knows that Lady Anne/Marian had toyed with her husband’s affections in the long ago past.
Lord John: “My Lords and Ladies, and Sire…” Lord John begins triumphantly smiling at everyone–and he bows to his sovereign and cousin King John. “It is with great joy that I share the news that Lady Anne and I are betrothed and hope to marry very soon.”
Both Lady Anne/Marian and Baron Guy flinch at the very soon part. Others smile and offer up their congratulations to the happy couple. And King John rubs his hands together at the thought of another marriage tax tribute coming his way. However Seth standing with Lady Caroline and his Uncle Lord George and Aunt Lady Mary who have also arrived with their family, wonders aloud–him not guarding his thought before they became speech.
Seth: “But isn’t Lord John still married to Lady Rebecca?” Seth looks at his cousin Lord John and then his first wife Lady Rebecca standing next to her second husband and soon to be the father of her third child, Sir Roderick Merton.
Lord Graham: “No, my Mama is married to Papa Roddy.” Little Lord Graham states naively.
Lord John: “Hhhhhh! We hope that King John might help us resolve the situation amicably.” He smiles hopefully and pointedly at his cousin the King. And Lady Rebecca smiles up to her husband Sir Roderick.
King John: “Me? I am no lawyer nor ecclesiastical court judge.” King John recoils [(5) right] as he swishes his hands in front of himself as if to disavow his role in the tangled marriage situation between and among Lady Rebecca and Sir Roderick and Lord Johns.
Stepping forward, even while his wife Lady Roseanna hangs on his arm tugging him backward, Baron Guy charges King John.
Baron Guy: “Nay my King. You are the maker of the marital quagmire currently surrounding Lady Rebecca, Sir Roderick, and Lord John.” Baron Guy still feels that he owes a debt to Sir Roderick for saving his children’s lives. “Had you not forced Lady Rebecca to marry someone, she might yet be Lord John’s wife, and not remarried and soon to welcome a child with her new husband.” The lady in question blushes crimson, for technically, she is married to two men at the moment–though Lord John, her first husband his still legally dead. “You have caused this mess. And you must resolve it!” Baron Guy admonishes forcefully.
King John throws up his hands in confusion as to what to do. Fr. Bale and Br. Tuck exchange knowing glances, but make no suggestions at this point. Their role as clerics–and his role as officiant at the marriage of Sir Roderick and Lady Rebecca in the case of Fr. Bale–are consultative in nature.
Lord George: Lord George Middleton, Lady Roseanna’s elder brother, now steps forward. “If I may?”
Baron Guy: “Please.” He gestures to his brother-in-law giving him the floor.
Lord George: “There are two matters at hand–Lady Rebecca’s marriage to Sir Roderick while her first husband Lord John yet lives–though he was declared dead and she remarried in good faith thinking herself to be a widow; and the legal question of Lord John’s death status with regard to that marriage and to his own position as Earl of Leicester, which is held in trust by little Lord Graham in his father’s absence.”
Lord Graham: “Papa, you may be the Earl again if you like.” Little Lord Graham offers graciously.
Lord John: “Thank you, Graham.” He pats his son’s shoulders.
Sighing in frustration for the matter that is keeping him from a hot bath after their long journey, Baron Guy’s brother Lord Archer of Locksley speaks up.
Lord Archer: “Alright George, I will grant that you have succinctly articulated the aspects of the situation. But have you any solutions?” He chides,
Lord George: “As a matter of fact, yes.” Lord George smiles smugly.
King John: “Well tell us, Georgie!” King John petulantly urges his cousin. King John also wants a hot bath after his long journey.
Lord George portentously looks around the room at everyone. The Gisborne, Middleton, and Locksley children are mostly playing off to the side of the adults standing in a circle. However, the Oxbridge children are standing with their father and mother, respectively–with little Lady Rachel sleepily leaning in to her mamas skirts and having her mama rub her back caringly–and the almost eleven year old Seth and the now twelve year old Lady Caroline are also with the adults.
Lord George: “John, for the moment, you have to remain dead.” Lord George states impishly.
Lord John: “What?” He asks incredulous–an expression of half confusion and half amusement upon his face.
Baron Guy: “What is this solution you promise?” Baron Guy urges.
Lord George: “I am getting there, Guy. We must first deal with making Lady Rebecca’s marriage to Sir Roderick Merton a legal transaction in both civil and ecclesiastical courts.”
Sir Roderick: Eager to hear how he might remain his wife’s husband, Sir Roderick asserts. “My Lady Rebecca and I wed in good faith.”
King John: “And I have yet to see the Staffordshire Ruby I was promised.”
Lord Archer: “That is why you are here? For a bauble?” Lord Archer rolls his eyes at King John. In his days of thieving he might have been tempted by such a valuable object, but his beloved wife Lady Saline and their children are his treasures now.
Lord George: “That ruby was a marriage tax, cousin John. And if the marriage dissolves, you do not get it. So you had best aid in this enterprise.”
King John: “What enterprise? You have yet to state it.” King John stamps his tooled leather clad foot in frustration. And Seth thinks that King John still has pretty shoes.
Baron Guy: “George! You are trying all of our collective patience. Please just lay out your plan.” And Baron Guy’s patience is the least flexible among the gathered adults present.
Lord George: “Very well. I have studied the legal matter. And to insure that the Merton marriage is true in the eyes of God and the law of man, Lady Rebecca must have an annulment from her first marriage to Lord John issued by the church and dated for before she wed Sir Roderick.”
Fr. Bale: “But we do not have such a document. Nor are we like to obtain one from Rome.”
Lord George: “Yet, Fr. Bale, it is through your marrying Lady Rebecca to Sir Roderick that they are in this mess. So you are culpable, too.”
Fr. Bale: “I? Culpable? They wed with the presumption–that we now know is false–that Lord John had succumbed to his injuries and died. So she remarried in good faith as a widow.”
Lady Rebecca nods her head up and down. Not only is her marriage to Sir Roderick at stake, but her reputation and the fate of the child that she carries.
Lord George: “Yes, in good faith. And so it behooves you King John and you Father Bale to rectify the situation by formalizing an annulment of the Oxbridge marriage–dated before Lady Rebecca wed Sir Roderick. The children Lord Graham and Lady Rachel remain Lord John’s heirs as his legitimate children from the marriage. Once the annullment is accomplished, the Merton marriage is secure. And then we may set about returning Lord John to living legal status so that he may resume his earldom and marry Lady Anne.”
Baron Guy: “That sounds reasonable.” He nods his head. For once, his much younger brother-in-law is talking sense.
Lord John: “It does. But will you do it?” Lord John looks at the balking faces of King John and Father Bale.”
Baron Guy: “Come now gentleman.” Baron Guy addresses the recalcitrant cleric and his cousin-in-law King John. “The basics of your believing the Oxbridge marriage to be null and void before the Merton marriage took place is not in question. Am I right?”
Fr. Bale and King John hesitantly nod in agreement with Baron Guy’s assertion.
Br. Tuck: “And I am willing to affix my signature to such a document as well–since two members of the clergy must sign the annulment document.” He rubs his hands together. Br. Tuck is never more glad to be a man of the cloth than when he can actually do some good for his flock–as in this case, for the Oxbridge’s and the Mertons.
Lord George: “Excellent! Well?” He gazes upon King John and Fr. Bale.
King John: “Well, if it is the only way.” He pouts. For all his machinations for self gain when he was a Prince, King John seems to have developed a few scruples now that he is King of England. However, he still wants that ruby for his new crown.
Fr. Bale: “But what grounds exist for the annulment?” He asks portentously.
Lord George: Lord George thinks for a moment. “John and Lady Rebecca were not cousins when they wed, so that cannot be the reason.” King John perks up at that notion, tucking away that little detail–of cousins marrying being able to annull their marriage–for possible future use. “And there was no cruelty by Lord John to Lady Rebecca.” The two almost former spouses shake their heads no in agreement.
Baron Guy: “Abandonment!” Baron Guy raises his hand in triumph.
Lord John: “I did not abandon my Lady wife Rebecca.” Lord John counters loudly. He is shaking with rage and Lady Anne/Marian leans over and whispers soothing words to him.
Lady Anne/Marian: “Of course not, Lord John. This is just a legal maneuver so that you and I may wed.”
Lady Saline: Quiet up til now, not her strong suit, Lord Archer’s wife Lady Saline sneers. “And what might Lady Rebecca say to that, Lord John? You marry her without her willing participation, get her pregnant and have a son and heir, then you dash off to the Holy Land leaving her alone, pregnant with your second child that you are not even aware of, and for her to have the burden of managing Gordon Castle and the earldom in your absence? Oh yes, you abandoned her–and took advantage of her being a women who did not get to choose whom she could marry.” Lady Saline ends with a flourish. She has always been forthright in her manner and in her speech.
Lord John: “You speak generally of private matters of which you do not know.” Lord John hisses tersely, for she has succinctly described the matter.
Lady Rebecca: Silent up to now as well, Lady Rebecca finds her voice and states calmly with no rancor. “Yet My Lord, the Lady Saline has described the circumstances accurately.” Lord John pouts.
Sir Roderick: “Come, man. Does it matter what the reason for the annulment is as long as we obtain our goals of being married to the women we love?”
Baron Guy: “So Lord John, will you agree to the annulment based upon grounds that you abandoned your wife and family? And then you may look forward to the future with Lady … Anne?” Her new name still feels foreign to Baron Guy’s lips. But Lady Anne/Marian has elected to remain Lady Anne, since she still cannot remember her past as Lady Marian Knighton.
The moments tick by as the adults look questioningly at each other. Lord John’s face begins to relax as he acknowledges the sense of what they propose.
Br. Tuck: “In addition to King John’s signature,mine, and that of Fr. Bale, we will need the signatures of two nobles not related by blood to the respondents, Lady Rebecca and Lord John.”
Lord Archer: “I guess that would be me.” Lord Archer Earl of Huntington waves cheerfully.
Baron Guy: “And me!” Baron Guy smiles broadly. But then his hopes of truly facilitating Lady Anne/Marian’s happiness are dashed.
Lord George: “Unfortunately Baron Guy, your marriage to my sister Lady Roseanna makes you a cousin-in-law to Lord John, not related by blood, but we do not want any challenges to arise.” Then he turns to his sister-in-law. “Lady Caroline, do you think that your father Lord Havorford would entertain signing the document as the second noble? He is resting at my home at Middleton Hall.” He explains to those assembled.
Lady Caroline: “Papa? I do not see why he would refuse so reasonable a request.” She smiles sweetly.
Seth: Patting her hand on his arm, Seth whispers in jest to Lady Caroline. “At least he does not have to relinquish a pony this time. Ha ha ha!”
Lady Caroline: She swats playfully at Seth. “Oh you! Ha ha ha!”
Baron Guy gives a stern look to his son and his son’s hoped for betrothed Lady Caroline, admonishing them to behave properly–no jesting should take place when such a serious matter is being discussed. Seth nods, feeling duly chastened.
With all parties agreeing, the matter is resolved the following day after four copies of the annulment document are prepared–one copy for each former spouses, one copy for the church, and one copy for the state. And then the next day after that–to insure a separate date apart from the annulment document so that no one might question the order of the documents–a second set of documents are signed that formalize the not dead and very much alive status of Lord John Oxbridge Earl of Leicester.
A few weeks later, Lord John Oxbridge Earl of Leicester and Lady Anne/Marian wed with an abundance of dancing and sweet treats for a very fun party as little Lady Rachel pronounces it. The extended family all stay at Gordon Castle in Leicester for the wedding fete and the following days’ after parties–Lord John feeling that he has been away from his duties for too long to take a wedding trip just now with his new bride Lady Anne/Marian.
And Lord John has brokered an amicable arrangement with his former wife Lady Rebecca such that she will retain physical custody of their daughter Lady Rachel and that he would have his son and heir Lord Graham live with him–but that there would be liberal visits back and forth so that the children Lord Graham and Lady Rachel may remain as true siblings and so that their parents may also maintain a strong relationship with the child who does not live with them permanently. The children’s agreement is also obtained so that this new living arrangement is not thrust upon them in surprise, and to prevent them from thinking that the parent whom they do not live with most of the time does not love them.
Lying in their guest bed chambers the night of the Oxbridge wedding, Baron Guy stares aimlessly at the canopy of his bed with his beloved wife Lady Rose. Baron Guy’s piercing blue eyes are the window to his still conflicted soul. Sensing her husband’s contemplative mood, she asks.
Lady Rose: “A shilling?”
Baron Guy: “What?” He turns his head on the pillow to gaze at his beloved wife Lady Rose.
Lady Rose: “You are positively distracted, My Love. What is the matter?”
Baron Guy still wrestles with an inner turmoil with regard to Lady Anne/Marian, who was wed this day to Lord John Oxbridge–and who is in her wedding marriage chamber with her new husband at this very moment. Baron Guy still feels a bit of jealously in that regard–whether or not he will admit that to himself.
Baron Guy: “It is nothing.” He dissembles. But his wife knows him too well, and she gets right to the heart of the matter.
Lady Rose: “Do you wish it were you bedding Lady Anne at this moment?”
Baron Guy: “No!” He says forcefully, but tinged with regret and with embarrassment.
Lady Roseanna: “Guy, I have lived with the ghost of Lady Marian in our lives for seven years–as you struggled with your guilt for thinking that you had killed her. Can we not lay her to rest now that we know that she lives–and be glad that she has found love and happiness with my cousin Lord John?” She asks pleadingly.
Baron Guy: “I am sorry, My Love. I do not begin to understand why I feel this way. And I do feel glad that she will finally know happiness.”
Lady Roseanna: “And yet, a tiny part of you wishes that she had been able to find love and happiness with you all those years ago?”
Baron Guy: Looking away from his wife in shame and embarrassment, he nods and admits in a hushed voice. “Yes.” Lady Roseanna says nothing and he turns back to look at her quizzically. “Are you not going to admonish me for my foolishness, when I have found such love and happiness with you–more joy in my life than I could have ever dreamed of or hoped for?”
Lady Roseanna: “No, My Husband.” She replies softly with great resolution. “We all have feelings that we wish we didn’t have, or we have regrets about the past.” She is thinking of her stubborn instance to go and be presented at court when she was sixteen, during a disease outbreak–and then she fell ill and was nursed back to health by her parents, only to have them fall ill and die from the disease.
Baron Guy: “You are thinking about your parents?”
Lady Roseanna: “Yes.” She replies solemnly. “But whatever is in the past has made me the woman I am today–and brought me to this place of love and happiness with you and our children, My Love. I would not wish it altered.”
Baron Guy: “Nor would I wish my life altered. I am truly blessed to have you and the children fill my life with love and joy. You are wise for one so young, My Rose.” He kisses her tenderly. “I will get past my past, in time. It was just that with Lady Marian being found to be alive and that I didn’t kill her–and now with her as a part of our extended family with her marriage to our cousin Lord John Oxbridge this day–it has brought up so much that I had tried to forget.” Baron Guy closes his eyes in remorse as a single tear escapes his left eye.
Lady Roseanna: “I know, My love, I know.”
Lady Roseanna lays her head onto her husband Baron Guy’s shoulder–embracing him and he embracing her for a long while [(6) right]. Their holding each other, with little soft kisses of comfort now and again, serve as a balm to Baron Guy’s wounded pride.
Then finally, Baron Guy lets out a long sigh, which Lady Roseanna knows is a sign of her husband’s easing tensions.
Baron Guy: “Hhhhhh!”
So Lady Roseanna changes the subject to give her husband something else to focus upon.
Lady Roseanna: “So! With the wedding festivities today, I had not had the chance to ask you if Lord Havorford has consented to the formal betrothal of his daughter Lady Caroline to our son Seth?” She asks eagerly.
A small smile curls up at the corner of one side of Baron Guy’s mouth–giving his face its characteristic smirk that she loves so well.
Baron Guy: “He has, My Love. Lady Caroline will come to the marriage with a 5,000 pound dowry–not a huge sum, but not a small one since Seth is my heir and need not buy a manor since our manor will become his upon my death.”
Lady Roseanna: She crosses herself then she swats at him. “You! Do not speak of your death. You are healthy and stubborn and will outlive us all. Ha ha ha!”
Baron Guy: “Ha ha ha! I hope that you are right, My Love. For I could not bear an existence without you.”
Lady Roseanna: “So? What are the particulars? When will they be wed?”
Baron Guy: “In about five years time, after Seth turns sixteen as we have hoped. Seth will not have finished his knighthood training then, but he will be well on his way. And we will grant them living space in our home at Gisborne-Middleton Manor, or build a small cottage for them on the grounds for them to begin their life as a married couple.”
Lady Roseanna: “Oh Guy! Seth and Lady Caroline will be so happy!” She hugs and kisses her husband joyously. And then Baron Guy and his Lady Rose enjoy a very happy wedding night of love and tenderness as well.
On the morrow, Baron Guy and Lady Roseanna will share the news with Seth about his formal betrothal to the lady he has chosen, Lady Caroline Havorford. And their family will move forward unfettered, released from the past, and with the promise of a bright future
To be continued with Chapter 45
“Sir Guy’s Atonement” (Book 3), Ch. 44 References, July 03,2015 Gratiana Lovelace (Post #778)
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) The image of Lady Anne/Marian is that of Lucy Griffiths who portrayed Lady Marian in the BBC series Robin Hood from2006-2009 and was found at http://images2.fanpop.com/images/polls/197000/197196_1236105246163_full.jpg
3) 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
4) Lady Roseanna Oxbridge Middleton Gisborne is that of actress Emma Watson (cropped) and was found at http://www.realbollywood.com/up_images/emma-watson96867.jpg
5) Prince John frowning image (crop) is Toby Stephens in the BBC’s Robinhood (2009) season 3, epi 6, pix 95 that was found at http://www.richardarmitagenet.com/images/gallery/RobinHood/album/seasonthree/Episodesix/slides/ep6_0095.jpg
6) Baron Guy embracing his wife Lady Roseanna is Richard Armitage in The Golden Hour epi4-26_Jun0715ranet-sized-drkn found at http://www.richardarmitagenet.com/images/gallery/TGH/album/TGH4/slides/TGH4-26.html
“Sir Guy’s Atonement” (Book 3), Previous Ch. 43 Blog Link with embedded illustrations (Post #776)