queenofmay: (The Sheriff's Prisoner)
[personal profile] queenofmay
Part I - Part II - Part III - Part IV - Part V

~*~


The guards at the foot of the stairs dropped the blocks before her once again, as each time before it, and it was all she could do to keep her frustration and desperation from coming out in another fashion. Calling out, even as she hated the plaintive note in her voice, which made it a plea more than an order to the man she could not even see from here. "Please, Jailer, Let me see my father."

"Can't be done." The cold voice called back from the darkened interior, twisted and turned around another corner, deeper into the dungeon. The footsteps of his movements, against his cool, annoyed, voice. "I've tol' you."

"Marian, I am well."

Her father's voice suddenly bounced off the walls, twisting her heart. He should not be here. He should be anywhere but here. Where she could see to him, make sure that he was being cared for properly. Especially now. She strove to keep her voice even, and calm, promising, forcedly hopeful. "I will speak to the Sheriff."

"Do not worry." Her father said, and even as she opened her mouth to answer, another voice joined them. "Speak away, my dear."

Marian turned startled, at Vaisey's voice behind her. Vaisey at the top of the stairs, face alight with bemused pleasure, and Gisborne as his shadow slinking right behind him. Watching them, her over the shoulder of his master. "Sheriff." There was nowhere to go but up now, and turned toward it, taking the stairs as quickly as she could. "This punishment hurts my father, not me."

"Oh, I don't know. I think it hurts you both." He snorted, smiling, even as he turned and continued walking down a further corridor. She looked back to the staircase, cursing this unplanned arrival, and followed after them both. Vaisey still talking once he realized she was still there. "It is efficient." He savored. "Makes you think before you undermine my authority again. Which--" He stopped, to turn toward her, leaning in. "Trust me, is in your best interests."

He walked on and Guy stood staring at her, a moment, the tightening desperation making it almost easier to look straight through him. He hadn't spoken up the first time. And she turned to follow Vaisey, unwilling to give up so easily, while she had him here. "Please. Please, Sheriff." She sprinted ahead of him, taking the open area of the courtyard landing, to stand in front of him. "There must be something I can do."

Adding, even as she hated it, glancing toward Gisborne towering right behind him. "Guy?"

"It’s no good making those big eyes at him." Vaisey chortled, leaning in toward her with a sneer, as Guy looked away to a completely different direction entirely from both of them. "He doesn’t want you anymore."

Guy looked back at pretty much the same moment she had nowhere to look away from Vaisey except at him. Frustration and desperation, for her Father, racing like twin hearts in her chest. She could not give up. She could not. Her feet bounced slightly. Looking away, even as Vaisey, suddenly thrust a rolled parchment at her.

"Tell you what," The Sheriff drawled, looking into the open courtyard rather than at her at all. "You read this announcement for me, and we’ll see if we can get Daddy some dinner."

As Vaisey walked down the steps with the parchment, Marian's breath caught her chest as though it had frozen, her words spilling from her in her shock. Enough to keep her from reacting when Guy walked within a foot of her. "You mean you haven’t fed him?"

There was no response, and she had time only to glance up bewildered, still trying to capture the concept of her father not having eaten in over half a day. Barely enough to register and understand the conflicted look of surprise -- and something else? Disagreement? -- whatever it was on Guy's face. Before he suddenly stepped away from her, turning quickly to follow Vaisey down the stairs.

Leaving her nothing, no choice but to follow after them, calling "Sheriff!" and no choice but to agree.




It didn't take that long, did it? To gather an entourage of guards. To sound the trumpets so that the entire market looked toward the gates of the castle. Toward her walking up onto the small rise constructed there, just finally beginning to unroll the parchment Vaisey had only been willing to hand her seconds before she stepped on to it.

Her voice trembled, looking out across them. "People of Nottingham--"
"Louder." Vaisey said, from just behind her right side, with the guards.

For her Father, she reminded herself. "People of Nottingham!"
"Good," he crooned, still soft, and once again, sing-songed.

"On behalf of the Sheriff," Marian swallowed, uneasy, with even this truce, with the words coming after. "I make the following announcement. The pestilence has come to Nottingham. Do not be afraid. It is confined to the houses in Pitt Street." She could not waver. "There will be a quarantine placed around the street."

And yet they stirred. Fear leaping from face to face before her, tearing at her heart even more. "No-one is to pass through without permission." She swore to herself, she would see her own words forsaken. All she had to do was speak them. "No-one is to pass food or medicine—"

"What? There are young ones suffering!" A man called out. Long white hair and anger splotched across his face, as he began to gather the attention of the square. Stepping out a group of rather familiar looking cloaked figures. "They can’t be cut off with nothing!

But stealing attention for the Sheriff was dangerous. Especially openly, here, with his guards. Marian tried to make her voice louder, to keep reading the lines and reach the bottom. "To do so risks spreading the infection and will be punished by death."

Except her last sentence fell out of her mouth as fast as she was reading. No food and no medicine, and the treason of death. Marian was galled enough she stopped, her own expression daring to question openly as she looked back at The Sheriff suddenly. He raised his eyebrows expectantly hard at her, jerking his chin back toward the people, a pleased gleam in his eyes as the cries grew louder among the throng.

She turned back, sick with herself and the necessity of this horrid act she was giving out to them. She swallowed, and started speaking loudly again, her hands clenching the paper sides tighter. "We will not be cowed by this infection. Business will continue as normal. All workers are to report to the castle for duty at their usual hour."

Disgusted Marian turned, abandoning the lift as quickly as she could. Trying to think of her father, and what she would do later to help this. Even as Vaisey's voice invaded even this. Loud, ringing across the courtyard. "Now, you may hear cries for help, pleas for mercy!" He mocked, pretending to be a sick person. "-- or medicine.“Help me, help me, help me!” A word of advice--"

He stuck his fingers in his ears.

Before cackling into, "Go forth, in peace, to love and serve your sheriff."

He'd only turned when the shouting that had started during her speech suddenly broke the stunned silence. "Sheriff this is not right!" The man with the long white hair and the open face again. Vaisey's shoulders had tightened, his voice dangerous still, as he turned back to the courtyard. "What?"

"I’ve just had a look at a young lass and it’s not t’ pestilence!" His shout of dissent was being joined by a confused murmur. He kept going, unable to hear what she and Guy, behind The Sheriff did. Muttering the guard Get that man to shut up even as the shouting continued toward them. "I’ve seen the pestilence before in Scarborough! These people must have food and water and medicine!"

"I said shut up!" The Sherriff snarled from the raise at the top of the Courtyard steps again.

"I’ve shut up for you once before, Sheriff!" The man rebuked, yelling louder enough that even though Marian had crossed into the castle to get away from what she'd just done, she could hear the shouting getting louder behind her. " It cost me my wife, my hand, and the respect of my son, so I’m not shutting up any more. Now why are you saying this is the pestilence—"



And then as the voice had been gaining in noise, it was just gone.

In its stead, not the earlier muttering, but suddenly a woman's terrified scream.


Punctuated by The Sheriff’s voice ringing out, as guards stepped in to block her way from heading back, the noise from the courtyard growing louder. "Hysteria... panic... in times of crisis, not very helpful. It will not be tolerated!"

More yelling was undercut by the stomping feet of guards, and something, distantly, she strained to hear, Guy shouting to them about setting up the barricades. Pit Street and all those people. Something had to be done.

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queenofmay

May 2014

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