Marian stopped in her tracks at the sight of Edward of Knighton’s lifeless body. All she could think about was that her father was dead and she would never see him again alive, would never apologize for the cruel words she had spoken in the prison earlier. She was filled with an unbearable sensation of pain and loss which were unexpected and devastating.
Her father was dead! Edward of Knighton was no longer part of the world! Marian had been the only comfort and love for the old man who had raised his daughter and instilled in her the values of honesty, honor, compassion, and duty. And what did Marian do to him? She had mistreated and insulted her own father by almost calling him a coward! Edward’s death also seemed to be the end of old happy days in her life. Now all seemed to be lost, and Marian savagely bit her lower lip to stem the tide of misery and guilt that swept over her.
A small sob escaped from Marian as she rushed towards Edward’s body and knelt at his side. “Father?” she called him desperately. Shaking his shoulders as if in an attempt to wake him, she cried out, “Father?” But there was no answer, and Marian sobbed out, “Father, wake up. Wake up, please wa–“ The words died in her throat, and she paused.
She felt ashamed of her own behavior and guilty of not being able to save her father today. She should have been there to protect Edward from the Canon of Birkley and Guy’s guards. No, first and foremost, she shouldn’t have lashed out at her father when she had come to visit him in his cell. She shouldn’t have told him that she had supposedly been ashamed of him, for she never felt that way. Marian loved her dear father and was proud of his staunch loyalty to England and King Richard. She should have said to Edward how she really felt!
Edward wasn’t responding while Marian longed to find herself in her father's hearty embrace. She would always miss and love him, and it would be his sweet tranquillity and his support of her and her rebellious way of life she would miss more than anything else, she admitted sadly. Thinking of her beloved father, Marian felt a lump rise in her throat, and she swallowed heavily, her eyes focused on her father’s face. It must not have been like that -- her father killed in the street by a traitor, and yet it had happened, and Marian had failed to protect him.
She muttered in an anguished voice, “Father, Father... What happened?!” Finally, she became aware of the fact that Gisborne stood nearby, watching her helplessly. Then she rose to her feet and grabbed Gisborne’s arms. She asked, “What happened?! Tell me what happened!”
“There were no witnesses!” Gisborne answered.
Marian demanded in a harder voice, “Tell me!”
Gisborne grabbed Marian’s arms as she tried to push him away. There were many things he could put forth to explain Edward’s murder, but none of them could please him more than the mention of Robin’s complicity in the crime. He would not lie because Robin Hood had been seen in the same street by the guards while the outlaw and his band had been escaping. “Marian, the sheriff thinks that he was helping Hood–“
“NO!” she interrupted him, roaring. She viciously shoved him back. “No! He wasn’t!”
“—steal an important document,” he finished.
Marian knelt at Edward’s side once more. She groaned, “No, no.” She sobbed leaning over him, touching his face. “I’m sorry. I’m sorry.”
She didn’t hear Gisborne’s unusually soft voice that spoke to her. “Marian.”
“I’m so sorry. Father, I’m sorry.” She sobbed as she put her head on Edward’s chest.
“Marian,” Gisborne’s voice intruded into her thoughts.
A sense of hot anger boiled up within Marian. She didn’t want Gisborne to be next to her father’s body, he disgusted her more than ever before. Gisborne served Vaisey dutifully, diligently, and totally – he served the demon from hell who was tormenting everyone in the town and who had destroyed her and her father’s calm life when Prince John appointed him Sheriff of Nottingham. Vaisey and Guy both personified all that was harmful and evil, and even though neither of them had pushed the knife into Edward’s chest, they were clearly circumstantially guilty of this tragedy. Even though Guy seemed sympathetic at this moment, Marian didn’t have a shred of doubt that Gisborne pursued his own personal self-interest -- he wanted to marry her and enslave her to him emotionally and to control her life.
“Can you just leave me alone?” she huffed as she kissed Edward’s chin.
Gisborne didn’t know what she was thinking about. He bent down and put his hands on Marian’s shoulders. He said gently, “Marian, come away.”
His soft voice did nothing to lessen her rising anger at the situation and at him. Tearing her gaze from him, she shoved Gisborne back. “Don’t you touch me! Don’t touch me!”
In the winking of an eye, Marian was already running towards the castle, but Gisborne followed her. The hatred Marian felt for him at this moment was a tangible thing. Gisborne was her enemy, and it would be the greatest dishonor imaginable for her and for her father’s good memory to treat him with anything less than contempt. Gisborne was following her, and she braced herself for a verbal argument with him. Marian didn’t want to interact with Vaisey’s henchman in any way, but he didn’t wish to understand that. Marian’s kind and a bit naïve heart was convinced that demons were things to be purged, and she genuinely wanted to save Gisborne’s soul and deliver him from his misery, but right now -- perhaps only right now -- the sheriff’s master-at-arms was just a monster she had to run away from.