When Ann Marie suggested interviewing the black knight himself, I was privately skeptical. What could she ask? Knowing his mercurial temperament, how would he react? After discussion over borrowing Angieklong’s Sloth Machine, which works like the Doctor’s TARDIS, except it doesn’t, and Ann Marie’s reassurances she’d traveled many times there where she was a lady of substance, I wished her well and hoped her shots and insurance were current. A few weeks later, I received a message from the Sloth Machine: “Mission Accomplished.” The following missive was attached.
Sir Guy of Gisborne ~ The Interview
~~By Lady Ann Marie of New Jersey
The Sheriff of Nottingham, Vasey, really does hate to lose a wager. He’s not a very good sport at all. However, a wager is a wager and like it or not I correctly guessed his favorite color…black. Not that it was difficult, I mean the man is swimming in black from head to toe! However, the ease of the wager enabled me to accomplish what I wanted to do from the moment I had set eyes on his Master at Arms, Sir Guy of Gisborne. I wanted to meet him, talk to him, to understand what it was that drew my attention to him the moment he walked into the room.We had not met. Vasey did not introduce us, choosing instead to keep the dark haired Knight close to him except when I was near then Sir Guy was ordered away on an errand or task. I am not sure if he was keeping Sir Guy away from me or me away from Sir Guy.
My terms for the wager, rankled Vasey terribly. I wanted time alone with Sir Guy, for as long as I wished. Well, Vasey would not agree to that last part, and truthfully I had not expected him to, allowing only for one afternoon and then only in the Great Hall. No matter…I eagerly sat in the Great Hall, awaiting Sir Guy. I worried that he would be offended when he discovered that he was a prize.
- “How may I be of service to you?”
The clang of spurs hitting stone signaled the arrival of Sir Guy of Gisborne. He entered the Great Hall and strode purposefully over to me. As I stood, he walked to me and taking my outstretched hand in his black-gloved one, raised it to his lips with a little bow, never taking his eyes from my face. His movements caused his scent to waft over me…. leather, horses, spice (what was that I wondered) and hard work. He kept my hand for a few extra moments allowing me to feel the strength of his hand through the soft, worn leather he wore.
He smiled and said, “My Lady, I am Sir Guy of Gisborne. Sheriff Vasey said that you wished to speak to me. How may I be of service to you?”
I smiled as he relinquished my hand and gestured to the seat at the head of the long table. I returned to my seat at his left hand. I called to the servant standing nearby and asked her to pour two goblets of wine. As I dismissed the servant Sir Guy called out to her, “Tell the Guard in the passageway to stand at the door. We are not to be disturbed.”
I offered him a goblet which he accepted with a smile. I was very…. I suppose the only word is…dazzled. By that smile. Fine white teeth, sensuous lips…I caught myself staring when I realized he was looking at me with an inquisitive look. I blinked…I am sure I blushed… and I lifted my own goblet to my lips and swallowed a healthy mouthful of the honeyed wine. The warmth of the liquid soothed me and gave me a moment to collect myself.
He took a sip of the wine and placed the goblet down and leaned back in the high-backed chair, resting his elbows on the arms and steepled his gloved fingers in front of him.“Now, my Lady, what is this about?”
I looked at him and made the decision to tell him the truth. “Sir Guy, what I am about to tell you may anger you but I pray it does not.” “I won this time with you in a wager with Sheriff Vasey.” I waited.
He lowered his eyes to focus on his fingers and though for a moment, his brow furrowing slightly. “My Lady, just so I understand, I am a prize?”
I sat in my chair, blushing to the roots of my hair, looking down at my hands in my lap. He raised his gaze and looked, intently, at my face, seeing my embarrassment, waiting for me to answer.
I took a breath and said, “No Sir Guy, time with you was my prize and I asked for it for two very good reasons.” I paused, uncertain should I continue.
“Please continue my Lady, I confess you have piqued my interest.”
“The first reason was because I thought it might annoy Vasey as he seemed determined that we would not be introduced.”
That comment elicited a deep chuckle and he picked up his goblet for another drink of the wine. “And the second?”
I looked him dead in the eye and said, “The second reason is that…you… interest me.”
That got him.
He raised his left eyebrow and sipped from his goblet. “The Sheriff has granted me the afternoon to spend with you,” I said.
Placing the goblet down he leaned forward in his seat, very close to me and with his voice impossibly deep and low, barely above a whisper said, “And how shall we spend this time?”
I smiled brightly and said, “I wish to talk to you.”
“Talk to me?”“Yes, talk to you.”
“Why?”“It is simple,” I said, “I find you interesting.”
“But my Lady, you do not know me.”
“Precisely!” I exclaimed.
- “He pinched the bridge of his nose.”
Sir Guy pinched the bridge of his nose with his right, gloved hand and sighed. “Very well.” “We will talk.”
He settled back in his chair once again and waited, his eyes on my face, again. Reading me. Measuring.
I wasted no time. As I looked at him I noticed that the black hair, the dark stubble on his face formed the perfect complement to the blue of his eyes. “Was it your mother or father who gave you eyes so blue?”
That surprised him.“Neither. It was my Mother’s mother and my Father’s mother who were blue-eyed as my mother used to tell me.”
I smiled at him. He could not help but smile back at me. And I watched him visibly relax.
He leaned forward and as he reached to take an apple slice from the tray on the table, I asked, “Why do you wear such gloves?”
He paused in mid -reach, just for a moment. He took the apple slice and popped it into his mouth and settled back. As he chewed he looked at his gloved hands while he did so.
He swallowed, raised his gaze to mine and said, “No one has ever asked me that question.”
“Will you tell me truthfully?” “I will not share what you tell me with anyone.”
A small smile crept to his lips as his gaze shifted from me. He said, “You have met the Sheriff, you have some sense of what he is like, how he conducts his business.”
“Yes, I have heard of the things the Sheriff has done…. and that you have done in his name.” “I will not lie to you, Sir Guy, so many of those things attributed to you are reprehensible.”
“Yes, they are,” he agreed.“If you agree, why do you do them?” I asked.
He paused. “It is my job,” he said quietly. “A debt I must repay.”
I pondered that for a bit. It seemed a dangerous area to explore and I was unwilling to jeopardize his openness by pushing too far. Instead I leaned forward and asked him, my voice just above a whisper, “So, Sir Guy, why do you wear the gloves?”
He looked at me, a cloud passed over the blue of his eyes, and said softly, “It keeps it from being real. I do not allow it, the horror, to touch me. Ever.”
I saw his eyes glisten with moisture and then close. He sat there for awhile which gave me time to reflect on his answer.
I was surprised to find that I was relieved to know that he understood the horror of some of the things he has done. I was at a loss as to what to say to this tragic man. So I did the only thing I could, I rose and went to his seat and knelt beside it and took his gloved hands in my own.
Guy spoke to me, “I have never told anyone that before. I didn’t think I could speak of it.”
I rubbed my thumbs over the wolf’s head clasps on the backs of his gloves. Then, I started to pull the fingers of his left glove, causing his eyes to fly open. Guy gently tried to pull his hand from my grasp but I held it firmly, “No.”
I pulled the entire glove off and started on the right hand. I pulled that off too. I held both of his hands in mine and looked into his eyes. His hands were warm, large with slender fingers. They were beautiful, really.
“Sir Guy, you must remember to remove the gloves on occasion and feel.” “I have watched you for several days and have never seen you express the slightest hint of happiness.”
He smiled, not a genuinely happy smile, though it dazzled. He nodded, “There is very little that truly makes me happy.”
I released his hands and returned to my seat. I was about to ask him what did bring him pleasure when a young woman entered from the far end of the hall. She had dark auburn hair and was wearing a light blue gown with white silk around the décolletage. She spied my presence and came toward me unable to see the figure sitting in the chair because the chair’s back faced her.
“Oh, Lady Ann Marie, I did not know you were here,” she said pleasantly as she walked toward me.
I smiled at her but my eyes were on Guy. At the sound of her voice his face had lightened and opened, something, was it joy….hope?…lit his face.
As Marian came around the side of the chair, Guy rose and turned to face her. Marian stopped dead. She looked up into his face and I watched her forget to breathe…and I watch Guy do the same.
- “So that’s the way of it, I thought.”
So that is the way of it, I thought.
From instinct and breeding, Marian lifted her hand to Sir Guy who grasped it in his bare hand. To this day I will swear that I saw an actual spark when they touched.
“Lady Marian, Sir Guy and I have been sitting here talking.” “Would you like to join us?” The young woman gathered her senses and turned toward me.
“Alas, I cannot, my father is ill and I was on my way to see the alchemist for a tonic for his pain.”
Neither realized that he still held her hand in his.
Marian continued, “I had hoped that Sir Guy would be free to accompany me so we could discuss a healing garden for the village of Locksley and the necessary plants….”
Guy said regretfully, “Marian, the Sheriff has assigned my time to Lady Ann Marie for the afternoon, I am not free.”
Marian lowered her gaze to their joined hands. Seeing her regret, an idea bloomed.
“Sir Guy, the Sheriff said I could have as long as I wanted this afternoon. I have accomplished what I set out to do. So I gift Lady Marian with the time that remains this afternoon to spend with you.”
I smiled at both of them. “I wanted to get to know Sir Guy better as I find him to be something of an enigma. That would take much longer than a single afternoon. I also wanted to know what brought him pleasure and, my dear, I have a very clear idea of what that answer is.”
“Sir Guy, if you leave by the same entrance that Lady Marian arrived, you should have no trouble leaving unnoticed. I will be happy to sit in the Great Hall for a spell with your guard outside the door.”
They both smiled. Guy finally relinquished Marian’s hand and stepped forward to bow and step forward to kiss my cheek. He said, “I look forward to talking with you again Lady.” His face held joy as he turned to Marian who lifted her hand to him as he took her fingers in his she smiled at me, mouthing the words , “Thank you.”
As they departed through the far entrance of the Hall I turned back to the table. And there they were.
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