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14 February 2014 @ 03:09 am
"To Be Worthy" (Guy/Marian- Historical Romance- PG-13/R): Chapter VIII  
SUMMARY: Betrayed by his latest master and mocked by the cruel hand of destiny, Sir Guy of Gisborne returns to Nottingham twenty years after his banishment determined to reclaim the life which should have been his.

AUTHOR: Lexie aka
lillianschild

RATING: PG-13/R

FANDOM: Robin Hood

PAIRING: Guy/Marian

GENRE: Romance

Disclaimer: Tiger Aspect Productions and the BBC are free to claim whatever they own of this piece, except Guy's thoughts and my words which are ours to keep. lol.

A/N: Set in an alternate Series 1 where Guy has never met Vasey before his arrival in Nottingham, this fic will explore what impact an earlier acquaintance with Marian might have had on Guy's life and ultimate fate.

A/N 2: Sorry for the very long delay in updating this fic but work and then a long-deserved holiday messed with my writing schedule. Now I'm off to deal with a new chapter of my Lucas fic "A Voice in the Dark". Enjoy!



READ THE BEGINNING HERE

READ THE PREVIOUS CHAPTER HERE


CHAPTER VIII

Lady Marian's unexpected entreaty shocked him and sent him into a spiral of confusion. No other woman had ever provoked in him such contradictory emotions in such a short span- joy and anguish, hope and despair.

“He's not someone you'd wish for an enemy. He's a powerful man with equally powerful allies. He'd not hesitate to destroy you or those close to you.”

“Has he threatened you... or your family, milady?”

Guy had met men like Winchester in the past and knew how they operated, just as he knew Lady Marian was the kind of woman who would stop at nothing, including marrying a man she loathed, to protect the ones she loved. He admired her because of it but wished she weren't that strong for him to be able to render her a service. He was in no position to offer her the protection she needed; he had no power or means at his disposal, only his skill as a warrior- largely diminished because of his injury- and... his life, which he'd willingly lay at her feet. And, despite his reduced circumstances, he was determined to let her know she had an ally in him.

“There's no need for you to explain,” he told her; her silence speaking louder than words.

“You’re a knight. You must understand duty….and sacrifice… very well,” she replied, knowing instinctually there was nobody better than him to empathise with her current predicament.

“I just want you to know you are not alone,” he said softly.“It's time for Lauds. Shall I accompany you back to the castle, milady?”

Marian wondered what kind of penance she'd get after confession today for the sinful thoughts and feelings that warm and deep voice kept on stirring in her didn't befit her maidenly purity.

“Will you join us, Sir Guy?” she asked him, even though his acquiescence would be nothing but a further complication in her already tumultuous state of mind.

*~ *~ *~ *~ *~ *~ *~ *~ *~ *~ *~ *~ *~ *


“Do you think it's time I got married?”

“Where does this sudden interest in matrimony... your matrimony... come from, Meg?”

“I know I used to say that if I had my way, all men would disappear in a puff of smoke and the world would be a happier place. But... now that I'm older I see things differently. Not all of them are insufferable... Take Uncle Edward... or...”

“Or?” Lady Marian prodded, curious and, at the same, fearsome of what her cousin's answer might be. “Allan, perhaps?”

“Allan?!” chuckled the red-haired, rolling her eyes.

“So... if it isn't Allan-A-Dale the man that has managed to change your mind about the male gender, who is it?”

Meg's usually rosy cheeks turned a deeper hue of red and a look of forlorn hope flashed in her eyes when her gaze alighted on the knight in black that was conversing with the Master-at-Arms in the courtyard.

“Oh, Meg, no!” Marian shook her head on seeing her worst fear realised.

“Why are you looking at me that way? I thought you’d approve. He’s an honourable man...”

“He's poor and...”

“Although he might be landless, I would take someone like him over any of the lecherous old men or conceited young knaves who believe a title and a rich coffer entitles them to decide our fortune or have us for a possession. Surely you can't object to his lineage; Allan's told me he knows for certain he's of noble blood just as we are. And he's been nothing but gallant and chivalrous in his treatment of us both.”

“Meg, you know I'm only trying to do right by you. I want to make sure you're provided for in case anything were to happen to Father or myself.”

“If I'm going to relinquish my independence, I don't want a cold loveless marriage of convenience.”

“Has Sir Guy... ? Has he shown in deed or words you're the keeper of his heart?” asked Marian, doing her best to keep the tremor out of her voice.

“No,” said softly a crestfallen Meg.

“Listen to me, love. I can understand the allure of a man like him, but you've got to be realistic. Even if your feelings were requited the fact that he's had a fallout with King Richard doesn't make him the most suitable of choices for a husband. Yesterday I gave my answer to Lord Winchester. He's going to make a formal announcement as soon as the date's decided. My marriage will broaden our circle of acquaintances so, if you're bent on getting married...”

“Let the matter rest for the time being, Marian,” she sighed, blinking away a couple of tears.” Now... I want to know all about your news. When did Winchester propose?”

“There's no time for that presently, but I promise I'll tell you everything after Lauds. Why don't you go to the chapel? I want to see how Father's faring and will join you soon.”

Although it was a coward's way out, Marian felt she needed a moment to restore her equilibrium before going to Mass. The realisation that both were in love with the same man had rattled her and the bout of jealousy which such an epiphany had sparked in her filled her with shame. It didn't matter Meg's chances of marrying Sir Guy were very slim, the fact that her younger cousin was free to love and hope while she was bound by duty to marry a man she knew to be a monster was enough to make her envious of the girl she loved like a sister.

If only her father, whom she loved dearly, were stronger. But it was useless to dwell on what ifs.

*~ *~ *~ *~ *~ *~ *~ *~ *~ *~ *~ *~ *~ *


Guy stood in the narthex, still feeling a penitent after his long bloody stint in the Holy Land, unworthy of kneeling in prayer near the pure-hearted woman who had stolen his heart. Through the screen, he observed the lady and her family partake in the religious office, while being stalked by the circling vulture of Winchester, and also witnessed Sir Edward’s crippling grief as the old man bowed in fervent prayer oblivious to his daughter’s own private hell.

It didn’t matter that the knight knew Lady Marian wasn’t meant for him, the mere thought of her binding her life for eternity to one such as Lord Winchester made Guy's blood boil and his tainted soul revolt.

Dominus vobiscum, Tuck's deep voice reverberated, signalling the moment had come for the final blessing.

Benedicat vos omnipotens Deus Pater, et Filius, et Spiritus Sanctus.

Guy tore his gaze reluctantly from Lady Marian and, making the sign of the cross, left the chapel ahead of the other parishioners.
*~ *~ *~ *~ *~ *~ *~ *~ *~ *~ *~ *~ *~ *


“Gisborne? Sir Guy of Gisborne?”

Halting in the middle of the courtyard on hearing his name, the brooding knight turned around to meet a short, bearded middle-aged man he'd never seen before but who, for some unfathomable reason, looked disconcertingly familiar.

“I'm afraid I don't have the pleasure,” replied the younger man with a puzzled frown.

“You're right. We haven't been properly introduced. I'm Lord Peter Vasey. My eldest brother fought for King Richard in the Holy Land; I believe you were acquainted with him.”

“I was privileged to call Lord Geoffrey my friend. It was an honour to serve by his side, milord.”

The late Lord Vasey had taken Guy under his wing and taught Gisborne everything he knew, turning the young promising knight into the best swordsman and one of the most accomplished horsemen to have served in King Richard's cavalry.

Guy had been a lanky and taciturn youth whose aloofness and dangerously mysterious aura kept people at bay. Lord Geoffrey had recognised his remoteness for what it was- an armour to protect the remnants of the sensitive and honourable inner core that the harsh blows of cruel fate had struggled so hard to destroy. Yes, Guy had to thank Lord Geoffrey for helping him tame his leashed ire and hurt which, if left to fester, would have doomed his soul and burn to ash everything around him.

The older man found in the young knight the son God had denied him and Guy the father King Henry had deprived him of. And it was this filial love and the humanity Geoffrey had seen behind Guy's cynical mask that had precipitated Gisborne's fallout with King Richard.

In truth, everything started the day Guy saved a sheik's daughter from being raped by a drunken knight. As a reward, Gisborne got his faithful Saracen stallion- Stormbringer- and earned the resentment of the girl's assailant, the youngest son of a powerful lord in King Richard's court who happened to be a close friend of Guy's life-long nemesis, Robin of Locksley.

There was no love lost between the Earl of Huntingdon and Sir Roger's first-born, and Lady Marian's former fiancé had let the bad blood that existed between them blind him in favour of the defiler. Robin seemed to relish Gisborne's final fall from the pedestal which had been only his before the swordman's arrival. It was thus that the long-standing feud, which had lain dormant during the years of Guy's banishment, sprang back to life with renewed force and ended up with Huntingdon lying in the infirmary with a serious sword wound in his flank and with Gisborne behind bars.

Had it not been for the late Lord Vasey's persuasive mediation, Guy's pale back would now be criss-crossed by double the lashes he'd receive the day he dared to defy the King and forfeit everything he'd struggled for by sneaking a Saracen healer into the camp in a desperate attempt to save Sir Geoffrey from the clutches of leprosy.

Looking back, Guy knew that even if he hadn't been found out by the very same knight who had assaulted the sheik's daughter, Lord Vasey's disease had been in too advanced a stage to make any difference. And still, Guy couldn't bear the thought of standing idly by while the same disease that had killed his father made of him an orphan again. Accepting the sheik's offer of aid in the form of his best physician and calling King Richard an inhuman self-serving monster for denying one of his most faithful lords the comforts befitting his station had cost Guy dearly. And yet, it was a decision he'd never regret.

“I heard you were seriously wounded at the tournament,” said Peter Vasey, observing Guy's arm in a sling,” but it appears you're well on the road to recovery.”

“Yes. Fortunately, it's nothing that won't mend with a few weeks of rest.”

“I'm glad. I wouldn't have forgiven myself if any harm had come to you now that you're back in England.”

“Milord?” replied Guy dumbfounded.

“You're a very special young man, judging by the request Geoffrey made of me in his last epistle. And a promise made to a dying man, especially one whose blood one shares, should always be honoured. You can consider me family now, Gisborne; it'll be my pleasure to help you regain what was taken from you. I'm a very good judge of character, and I can tell you and I will get along famously. “

“I... I don't know what to say, milord.”

“Well, you can start by saying goodbye to those flea-infested pallets you've been sleeping on. I´ll send my man ahead of me to prepare your quarters in the castle. I'm leaving for Sussex in five days' time.”

“I don't want to seem ungrateful. Yours is certainly a generous offer but...”

“But?”

“Before I take it up I'd like to know the particulars. In what capacity would I join you in Sussex? I've never been a man of leisure and...”

“Of course, of course, Sir Guy. All in due time,” chuckled Vasey. “Tell me,” he continued, turning towards a secluded corner of the courtyard where they could converse without being overheard,” is it true what they say about the Crusades, that the king will stop at nothing to attain his glory in the Kingdom of Heaven, including sucking his own Realm dry?”

Although Guy knew the statement to be nothing but the truth, he couldn't say so openly. Lord Peter Vasey might be Geoffrey's brother but he was a stranger. Guy would not jeopardise his one chance to get his birthright back, no matter how slim, by granting his trust blindly to a man who might end up stabbing him in the back.

“I am a loyal subject of my rightful king.”

“Despite what he has done to your sister?”

“My sister?”

“I'm sorry; I thought you knew. King Richard married her off to an unsavoury character, Thornton I think his name is.”

“Married? You must be mistaken. My sister lives at Wilton Abbey in Wiltshire.”

“I'm afraid things changed while you were away. The king sent an emissary on your behalf to tell Isabella that her brother had second thoughts about the dowry he'd granted the sisters to take her in- a dowry he'd sweat blood and tears to secure, fighting in tournaments on the continent and killing infidels in the Holy Land. It appears he'd paid too much to put a roof over her head and had met a squire called Thornton who would be able to take Isabella off his hands for a much cheaper price. Richard can be really vindictive when he's cross, can't he?”

Bella. His little sister, whom he hadn't seen in years. The only surviving link to his dead parents and a painful past he'd striven to leave behind.

Salisbury. He had to ride to Salisbury and talk to the Mother Superior to find out if what Lord Vasey had said was true.

“If you excuse me, milord, I need to see Friar Tuck to get some salve for my shoulder.”

“Of course, go ahead. We can continue our little chat later. I hope your injury heals soon.”
*~ *~ *~ *~ *~ *~ *~ *~ *~ *~ *~ *~ *~ *


Richard had threatened to charge him with treason punishable with execution if he ever saw his face again, but Guy was determined to see into the matter and find a solution. Isabella was his flesh and blood and he refused to lose her too. Oh, how she must hate him!

He'd resort to the king’s justiciar and demand…request…that something be done. He would move heaven and earth to have the marriage annulled... Vasey had called Thornton unsavoury and Guy trembled to think what indignities his only sister was being put through.

Alarming as the news was, it was the timely excuse Guy needed to leave Nottingham before his feelings for Lady Marian deepened and he allowed his lonely heart to see hope where there was none.

GO TO CHAPTER IX
 
 
 
melusine6619 on February 14th, 2014 08:18 pm (UTC)
Oh, this is heartbreaking. Just a wonderfully done chapter!
lillianschild: guymarian approachlillianschild on February 22nd, 2014 03:19 am (UTC)
Thank you. Glad you're still hooked.
kylathelurker: A grown love Marian/Guykylathelurker on February 15th, 2014 03:47 am (UTC)
I really love the backstory behind Guy's 'fall from grace' a little reminder of no good dead goes unpunished huh? I like too how there is that love triangle forming between Meg, Marian and Guy should be interesting to see where this leads.

I love too how it Vaisey's elder brother not the sheriff himself whose left his mark on Guy. How this too will enable him to see things for what they are not how he perceives them. Its so sad he's met the same end as Guys father. How he's hadt o live with the loss of not one father but two =/

Oh geez poor Isabella i love her story too how different and yet the same it is to canon. I could see her believing this was Guy's fault as well. I love how he immediately wants to verify the truth and is looking to save her <3

Poor guy stuck between a rock and a hard place =/ Can't wait for more!

lillianschild: woobie guylillianschild on February 22nd, 2014 03:22 am (UTC)
Thank you for your lovely feedback. I'm pleased to know you approve of the spin I've put on whatever's canon.

I'm currently working on a new instalment of my Lucas fic "A Voice in the Dark" so it's going to take me some time to update this one.
rjforap: RArjforap on February 17th, 2014 05:55 am (UTC)
Makes me sad to see how close Marian and Guy are and yet miles apart because of the obligations of their positions in life. I still can not wait to read more. :)
lillianschild: guyxmarian comfortlillianschild on February 22nd, 2014 03:24 am (UTC)
Lots of things conspire against them. It's going to be a bumpy road to happiness for sure.
scoraig on March 18th, 2014 01:37 am (UTC)
Gorgeous Guy!
"All good things come to those who wait," so the old saying goes, so I'm happy to wait for however long it takes for you to write the next chapter of Guy's story as I know it will be as good as this one and the chapters before!! As I'm also a huge fan of "A Voice in the Dark" I'm longing to read the next chapter of that too! :) Keep 'em coming! I love your writing.
lillianschild: hurtinglillianschild on March 20th, 2014 10:55 pm (UTC)
Re: Gorgeous Guy!
Thanks for your infinite patience.

My teaching/tutoring is gathering up speed and my days have been filled with staff meetings and mandatory training courses so I'm left with very little time to devote to my writing.

Hopefully I'll be able to do something about it this long weekend.