Gisborne . . .
This man had elevated me to a position of mild authority in a heartbeart. That he had no thought for anyone’s interests but his own was a surety. I knew of his lineage. Son of a Crusader and that father subsequently a leper. Son of a noble whose heritage was subsumed by greedier nobles and whose mother died when she should not have. A bitter man.
Tied to the apron strings of a Sheriff who had the ear of the Realm.
And for what? To elevate himself to the ranks to which he felt entitled? Word of his ‘tax-collecting’ had spread far and I had not realised I was in a village under his thrall. When I . . . left my former home, I pointed my nose west, doggedly walking from town to village to increase my distance. Rumours on the road are rife and this one stuck to my mantle like mud, because whilst the tax-collector wouldn’t remember, I had known him before, when he was on his upward path from youth and I was . . . doing likewise. I had not meant to find work near him, let alone for him. And yet, the Fates played other games.
I ordered his house that first day in my new position. I walked the interior, made notes of dirt, and dust, tapestries and carpets to be beaten, silver and pewter to be polished, linens to be washed and folded with fresh herbs, beds to be aired and prepared. I left the kitchen management to the bailiff, the ordering of food and wines and the like. Interesting that he should ask my advice on the feasts to be served and which he did with ill-grace. But I told him I agreed with his choices and made little change. I sensed an enemy to be made if I played the cards wrong. But I had no intention of staying long. I wanted coin to move on toward Wales and if a week or two being a housekeeper enabled me, then the chance must be taken.
The first day passed quickly and my list was long, but already the wood was being cut and stacked and the washing lines were full of bedding, fires being laid in chambers. Baskets of lavender were trimmed from the surprisingly well-stocked potager and I placed large bunches under bedding and hanging from the rafters in the one garde-robe that graced the manor. I saw nothing of the tax-collector which was fortuitous as I found myself discommoded by his presence. I wasn’t scared of what he had become, even though I knew what he had done over the years, but I was afraid of what he had been in his past. What he had been in mine.
Late in the evening, I entered the stable and spoke to the mare who knickered in welcome, nosing my hand as I offered her a windfall apple. I looked at the caparisons hanging from the rafters and moved to the thickest barding to pull it down for my bedding.
‘If you take it again, I would have to charge you with theft.’
I spoke without turning. ‘Then it would be your loss, Sir Guy.’
I heard a chuckle. ‘I believe it would be, Prudence. Already my household quails at your lists.’
‘Your manor will be the better for it. Now Sir Guy, I have a big day on the morrow. I would appreciate it if you left me alone with the mare so that I may sleep.’
‘Sleep you will, but not here. There is a small chamber on the first floor you may use.’
‘The first floor is for family . . .’
‘I have no family,’ he snapped ‘and I am the lord of the manor and can give sleeping quarters to whom I want, when I want. Don’t be churlish.’
Me churlish? I turned and dropped a curtsy. ‘My apologies, Sir Guy.’ I spoke to the floor.
‘Say it again.’
‘My apolo . . .’
‘Not that, my name.’
I looked up then and his dark blue eyes had frozen. A winter storm threatened. Even the mare had laid her ears back and snorted. Don’t remember.
‘Again,’ he said, threateningly soft.
I lifted my voice an octave. ‘Sir Guy.’ I couldn’t bear to look at him as the key might turn in the lock of his memory. He was deadly silent. And then he moved close, grasped my arm and pulled me behind.
I followed in his long strides. Four of mine at a trot to one of his. Strides that seemed impelled with anger. We met no one awake in the keep or the hall and he pulled me up the stair, caring little if I stumbled. Along the passage, past torcheres where flame jumped in our wake. He thrust a door open and pushed me through it and I stood and stared, sensing his body behind me, close to my back, my arm still throbbing where he had grasped it. I knew if I leaned back even half an inch, our bodies would touch. Instead I focussed on what the room contained. There was a cot, blankets, and a lamp lit so the tiny room glowed. Across the cot lay a gown – a kirtle of deepest sapphire and a cambric shift of ordinary quality but untorn and clean. A girdle of plain homespun embroidered with field flowers. I closed my eyes at the generosity, telling myself it suited him to have a housekeeper dressed to her station in his house.
But I turned to thank him anyway.
He had gone and with him the fear of my past. I locked the door.
Wow! Reading this in the library without making a sound was tough! Nice follow up!
Oh iz4blue, this is such fun! I LOVE writing it and now, Velvet of vvb32 has front paged it on her blog. I can’t believe it. It’s like the day my first ever book was published!
‘Again,’ he said, threateningly soft.
i’m really enjoying this latest creation of yours 😉
Front page on your blog, Velvet? Wow! I’m really blown away. And a live feed too! Thank you so much!
Like I said to iz4blue, I am loving writing this. As with all fan-fict there is a spontaneity that doesn’t exist when one is working on the magnum opus.
I have an idea where I want it to go, but it may mean departing from the actual Guy legend a little. I wonder if that matters?
Not in my opinion, it’s taking you somewhere nice already…not that my opinion matters.
Good, iz4blue. And any Guy/RA fan’s opinion matters greatly.
Have read the next instalment of Grant What I Wish and feel Kleindog handles the building emotion between Guy and Marion really really well , except for Guy’s brief foray into tears. It doesn’t sit with the character . . . a bit S.N.A.G and I reckon the emotional overflow could have been handled in another way. As Marion has become so strong, I felt it was unbalanced.
Nvertheless I love it and can’t wait for the next instalment although I have a sinking feeling . . .
I was stumped by that moment too, sad about the haircut, I know opinions are mixed about. (look for “The Righteous Hair” Damaris vid on RAfanvids under RHS3: hilarious spoof) My sister for one will be pleased and I love the Much and Meg pairing, he so deserves a girl.
The other author I mentioned; Khandy started posting her Guy (Dark knight something) and a Sparkhouse story on Wattpad. She’s a formidable writer and I am still deep in her Lucas North
story. I can’t wait to read her Guy. Although she wrote an additional character in the LN fic she keeps everyone in character, fleshes backstories out beautifully.
@vvb: I can hear HIM in my ear when you put it that way.
I think you have done an excellent job of capturing on the written page, how I “hear” Guy’s voice….seriously, please, more?
vvb, Annie and iz4blue . . . isn’t it strange that all this started by me washing my own kitchen floor?
It’s not hard to encapsulate a character who has already been ‘fleshed’ (aint that the truth) out so well by an actor. It’s probably plagiarism at its most basic. And characterisation is one of the hardest things to get right in writing a story. So I’m obviously grateful to RA beyond measure for this. But because it is fun and has grabbed my attention, I am finding it takes me away from my real writing . . . maybe I should put heart and soul to this and develop it as a REAL book!!!
Do you like it, Servetus? Is he the type of Guy you’d like to read more about?
Love your blog by the way!
Thanks — that’s very kind!
I love the synergy between the two characters particularly — if this is the kind of Guy you’re writing, this Prue is exactly what you need to set off the nuances in his personality. The electricity between them rises off the page. The suddenness of his absence when she turns to thank him is breathtaking.
That “Again” moment had me at the edge of my sit. It’s true what they say above. I can hear him so clearly, his voice speaking your words and that sudden leave at the end it’s so his.
I wonder what Prudence is hiding? What do they have in that common past?
That’s what I want. For you to be able to ‘hear’ the voice and ‘see’ the body language. As well, I want you to feel the plot progressing along a path that you want to follow.