The Rich, the Poor, and Robin HoodReplies: 5 / 6 years 72 days 21 hours 43 minutes 3 seconds
- [Allowed] Hatsumomo
We've all heard the stories. Heroic and selfless Robin Hood devotes his life to defending the weak against the strong. To taking from the rich and giving to the poor. But if life were that simple, if he faced no troubles sticking to the cause, if he had no help along the way, there would be no Robin Hood. In fact, Robin Hood was only a man. A man kicked out of his home. A noble turned outlaw. But his friends. Now, his friends were something special. They helped form the great Robin Hood into what he became. And in turn, Robin would die for them if need be. Friends and enemies. These are what make a man...
Excuse the cheezeball intro.
A Simple Note
From the days when Robin Hood first became a story to modern day in the movies, Robin has changed both homes and back stories, gained friends and lost some. So I am merely making up my own Robin Hood, not basing him on any character before. Things may be entirely different from what you've seen before. Some will remain the same.
Considering there are many villages and castles and etc, I'm using this map someone made to go along with the BBC series of Robin Hood. I figured it was the easiest way to get us all on the same pages of important places and where they're located.
Required CharactersRobin of Locksley
Details: Robin was born in Locksley where he lived a relatively happy childhood up until his parent's deaths. He was extremely gifted with a bow from an early age and continued to persue the talent. Robin had been extremely close to Lady Marian since they were children. His friendship bloomed to love during their teens. Her's however, did not. He was sent away a few years later to fight in the cruisades for his king, Richard the Lionheart, whom he came to love dearly and knew he would follow him to whatever end. But upon his return, he came to find a Ser Guy of Gisborne using his estate in Locksley as his own. Robin was once a noble, but now he was an outlaw. A new sheriff was in town, bringing with him his right hand man, Guy, and he was sucking the people dry of money for Prince John. After seeing the horrible deeds the sheriff had done to his people, Robin proclaimed that he would stop him, no matter the cost.Maid Marian of Kighton
Details: It was hard enough to have watched her best friend Robin walk away to sail to the Holy Land, knowing well and good he may never return. But when the new Sheriff came into town, her poor father was not only ill, but poor now as well, despite his nobility. Marian spent most of her time caring for her father and trying to ward off the wondering eyes of the sheriff's puppet, Guy of Gisborne. He liked what he saw and he was going to take it one day. But fortunately, Robin had returned, and for some reason or another, that gave her some sense of security, even if he was outlawed for childish reasons. Everyone knew it was because he was loyal and fought for King Richard. She was glad to see him though, and in time, her own feeling began to grow for the man.
~Personality my character will have: Marian has grown up a bit since Robin left. For a while she genuinely believed him to be dead. She even went so far as to take a lover to pass the days as she kept after her ailing father. Rumors of Robin began circulating shortly before his return to the homeland and Marian waited to break things off with Herald, her current, to see if the rumors held true. She feels guilty about much of what is going on inside her head. Her father is on his death bed, and she is struggling with the idea of losing him as well as with the guilt she feels about being relieved to be free of the mundane life he has caused her. Additionally, with Robin's return everything changed. For the first time since he left, Marian feels alive again, but she fears that time has done too much to separate them.Much
Details: Much and Robin knew each other before they were sent to fight the war. But it wasn't until they were knee deep in blood that they bonded like brothers. They became best friends. They saw death, torture, and worse together, and they weren't going to forget it any time soon. Much stuck by Robin's side and when they returned home, he joined Robin as an outlaw.Little John
Details: Little John was, to say the least, not very little at all. He was a massive man that children shied away from, despite how handsome he was. John was outlawed long before Robin. He had killed a man to protect the woman he loved from rape. But the only thing it earned him was a cold shoulder. She had seen him murder and became frightened, and the villagers came to know of it. He knew it was only a matter of time before he would be bound for the gallows. So he fled to the forest where he had been living for several years before Robin's return home. John meets Robin and his gang in the woods and decides to join them and their cause.Will Scarlett
Details: Will Scarlett was the middle child between his older sister and younger brother. His parents were simple people, but lacked the money to make the sheriff happy. Sure they were going to starve, Will thought he could be swift enough to steal a bit of food: he was wrong. He had been caught and was headed for the gallows, since the sheriff was so brutal and wanted to make an example of him. But there was no example to be seen, because he was Robin's first rescue. An arrow cut his rope at the exact time the floor dropped. A small battle broke out, but he managed to escape with the outlaws.Alan-A-Dale
Details: Now Alan-A-Dale really was an outlaw for good reason. He stole things he didn't need just to make a bigger profit later. Women's treasured jewelry, baby's play things. The list went on an on. It seemed the only decent thing about him was that he hadn't killed a soul. Alan is rescued the same day that Will Scarlett was. Alan had been cought as well and was to be hanged. Robin saved him as well. Alan had seen his life flash before his eyes and wanted to serve Robin, since he owed him his life now. Robin seemed to think he could make good use of Alan's 'talents', or rather lock-picking and pick-pocketing.Guy of Gisborne
Rules and Footnotes
+ People have lives, and therefore we must be patient. If you like roleplays where you get to post every day, this may not be the one for you. There WILL be a posting order and we will figure out when the time comes.
+ I'm not going to say, "No quitting or I'll hate you forever, wahhh!" I do not
mind if you want to quit after we start. We never know exactly how a roleplay will go until we start it. One of us just might not be feeling it and that's perfectly okay.
We will just have your character go on their merry way for some reason, whether it be another life calling them or death.
+ Literacy, please. To me, this means simply: grammar, capitalization, punctuation, multiple paragraphs
. I'm asking for at least
b 2,000 characters
per post. My personal average in a busy roleplay is anywhere between 4,000- 10,000+ characters. I've been known to go below this or over this depending on the scene.
+ Mature writers please. This is no Disney version.
+ Pictures! You can have either an artistic photograph or a drawing, but PLEASE if you go with the latter, please choose a realistic art style to the point where they look human. No anime and nothing too stylized. I'll let you know if your picture is too much for me. Though I'm sure it will be fine.
+ Tell me what your favorite movie is in your request to join.
You don't have permission to post in this thread.
Robin looked up startled as the laughter came out of her. Then, as if she hadn't heard his continued to speak. She had a point too. He had been gone for ten years. But it was still his home. Surely they knew he would be coming back... The doubt weighed him down. They probably all thought him dead. He had tried writing letters to Marian once. But he wasn't good with getting what he wanted to say out on paper. And he assumed she wouldn't want to hear about his bloody troubles. But maybe that was just his way of feeling sorry for himself.
Marian went to it on her bed for a moment. He could see her reflecting on the situation. "Gisbourne will try and gut you if he finds you," she said softly, turning to meet his gaze. "Or he'll hang you to set an example to others who cross him. As for this false king, I don't involve myself with rumors or politics. They get me nowhere."
Robin was shocked. He was completely baffled. So much so that his jaw hung open as he stared at her. He watched her go to her wine on the table by the door. Finally, he gathered his thoughts.
"Richard is the rightful king, you know that," he said. "His brother has no place on the throne unless Richard dies! He can't take it sooner." Robin was obviously very passionate about this subject. "It's an act of greed and treachery. We used to speak about these things and now you say you have no mind for politics? Have you really conformed so much? Since when have you been such a simple-minded woman? Perhaps the years have quieted you, but I know better than anyone that your thoughts can't be tamed."
Perhaps he was speaking out of line for not seeing her for so long. But he remembered the Marian from before. The one that gambled with him, knowing how unladylike it was. The one that pleaded to learn how to hold a sword, even if she would never be able to fight. He didn't believe for a second that she had turned into every other woman. Something was tying her down. Perhaps she didn't trust him anymore. If not, it would make sense. But maybe it was something more. Perhaps she was in her own bit of trouble.
Robin crossed the room to where she stood and took the chalice from her hands gently. And perhaps it was because of how thirsty he was, or the fact that being near her again dried his mouth when he tried to form words, or maybe it was simply to prove that he still wanted to be close to her. Robin lifted it to his lips and took a swig.
Robin hadn't had real wine in years. And to taste it now, it almost seemed bitter. But he swallowed and handed it back, looking at her plainly. "As for Gisborne, he can try all he wants to kill me, no matter what method he chooses. I've gotten out of worse."
"Perhaps he does not understand us, huh?" said once of his captors in his native tongue. The turban wrapped around his head was slowly falling.
"He understands perfectly fine," said his partner. "Don't you?" he asked, getting up into Robin's face. His breath smelled horrible. The knife dug in deeper into his side, but Robin did not call out. He wanted to whimper, but he would not let a pair of Saladin's men hear his pain. He clenched his jaw, tightly, teeth barred, at the knife was removed from the wound. He could feel the blood dripping down his side, soaking what was left of his tunic. He had already endured the whip. Now it was the blade. Soon would come the stretching.
"Oh give me the knife!" said the first one with the turban. They exchanged places, and Robin met his eyes. He managed to glare and spit. That did it. The knife came rushing down through the air, creating a gash from his shoulder to his hip in one swift motion. He finally groaned. "He'll give in sooner or later."
And with that the two men walked away, leaving Robin there to bleed. He looked up to his wrists hanging from chains from the ceiling. Then down to the gash in his chest. Soon enough the healer would come through. They didn't want him dying in the middle of the night due to blood loss. They knew the king trusted him. They weren't going to spoil him...
Robin was brought back to the present day by a knock at the door. It was so sudden he almost jumped, swearing that another knife was headed his way. But it was only her servant Augustus.
"My lady, Guy of Gisborne is here to see you."
Robin looked to Marian. What relations did she have with the man who had just recently tried to kill him? Who was in league with the sheriff? Obviously Gisborne's manners were not all accounted for, because soon enough they heard him heading up the stairs, the boards creaking as he came. Robin stared into Marian's gaze probably longer than he should have. A silent goodbye. For now.
Then he turned to the window lowered himself outside. And perhaps he needed to check on his own manners, because he stayed there, suspended on the side of the house, to listen to what this visit was about.
Call the guards… She all but bit her tongue. The words crept out of her larynx and never made it past her gritted teeth and pursed lips. "I should call the authorities. You stole my trust, you robbed me of my first love, and you could have me in the stocks for a week." Something stopped her. She cocked an eyebrow for the briefest moment before listening to him continue.
As he quothed, she scoffed. "We all thought you were dead! A dead man cannot own land!" She squeaked, her eyes wide as she protected her town. She felt unusually defensive. He seemed to be existing in his own dream world, or perhaps a memory. Marian bit the inside of her bottom lip at the mention of Guy of Gisbourne and she felt a recipe of fear, guilt, and anger. Her brows creased closer together and her stomach protested. Then the compliments came. She was instantly taken aback. Her shoulders rolled back and her back arched defensively. She held her head higher. His timing was distasteful. Shameful.
For a moment she let the chemicals in her brain take over and she took him in. His voice had a low rasp around it that it hadn't had in their younger years, like he'd shouted too many commands in battle. Or on a ship. Or whatever it was he'd been off doing all these years. She could only imagine. He placed a hand on a hip and glanced away from her for a moment. The expression struck her as defeated. She resurfaced from her thoughts to a world of concern. This was not the boy who left her, but a man hardened by time and struggle. One who had faced something dark before coming out on top. As he placed his face to his hand, she let out a small laugh. But the laughter threatened to erupt from inside her. She managed to keep her laugh to a rasp. In a moment she was composed again. Her laughter seemed to have cause some of her anger to seep out of its tidy container. She swallowed and fought to keep her head above this tidal pool of emotions.
"Well." She was tongue tied again. She'd had a million things to say only a moment ago. "I suppose you reap what you sow what with the house and all. It's been a decade." Another pause. She crossed her arms. She sucked on her top lip as she scratched the side of her skull. "I don't know what even to say Robin." She turned and took a step away and let her arms fall to her side before deciding to go sit on the end of her bed. How many nights had she spent lying awake, wondering if she would ever see his smile again, or hear his voice? She shook her head and stared at the floor for a moment collecting her thoughts.
"Gisbourne will try and gut you if he finds you." She finally met his gaze. Her hands had clenched around the quilt below her. "Or he'll hang you to set an example to others who cross him. As for this false king, I don't involve myself with rumors or politics. They get me nowhere."
She looked away towards her wine and paced to her bedside table to pick it up. She gulped down two swigs. Marian was conflicted. She wanted to hash out what happened all those years ago. She wanted to know if he had regretted leaving her. How many women had he bedded since leaving? He would detest her if he ever found out about Gisbourne. He would never understand. She couldn't fight for herself like a man. Women who got into brawls were the lowest of low. She couldn't have embarrassed her family like that and then be expected to remain respected. She took another sip of wine. On the other hand, she had an insistent gut feeling to protect him. She decided to make him squirm more before offering him a place to stay. In the barn of course in case one of Guy's men came by.
He watched Marian, the love of his life, turn to the door. For a moment he though she was just going to leave again, to not hive him a moments thought. But she only called down the stairs.
"I'd like some privacy Augustus. I'm not feeling well." She said, leaning on the door frame.
"Do you need me to catch the doctor, Madame?" replied a voice.
"Thank you dear, but I should be just fine in a little while. I think I drank the wine too quickly. It's my red time. No worries." Knowing that would do the trick, she shut the door and locked it, but she didn't turn back to him just yet. She just leaned on the door.
What was he thinking? Coming back here like this? With no warning, he was probably doing her more harm than good. He could have at least sent a raven. But the second he thought it he knew it would be too dangerous. They would be monitoring any birds, and if they knew he was going to visit her, they would have caught him. And he knew that he may not be so lucky as he was last time with Guy of Gisborne. Then he cursed at himself silently. He was endangering Marian just for being there. If they had any notion that she was still friends with him, she would be branded an outlaw as well.
"I should call the authorities on you. You're worth quite a few shillings," she finally said. He only then noticed that the child in her voice was completely gone. And neither was there a joke between the lines. She was truly angry with him. But that didn't prevent her from slowly stepping up to him. He looked down, meeting her eyes. For a second, he assumed she hadn't grown taller in all the time he was away. But then he remembered it was only because he must have grown as well. "After all this time..." she seemed to whisper.
Finally, Robin seemed to find his voice. "I suppose you could call the guards," he said quietly, his voice low and strong, but not deep. "I heard if you get my head on a spike you'd be able to buy a whole new house. I'd hand in my own head if I could just to get my own house back. A house I already own." He scoffed at the irony. He looked to his right and rested the fingertips of his right hand on the small wooden table by the window. This is where he had taught her how to gamble like a any man. He sighed softly before looking back up to her. "Can you believe what they're saying about me? Supposedly I'm wanted because I attacked a man. Say I tried to kill him. I've killed hundreds in the Holy Land, but when I'm attacked here and I try to defend myself, they call it treason. Seems backward. But that's not even it. Guy of Gisborne holed up in my own home says I've been loyal to the wrong king. The sheriff and his dog are traitors." He spoke very calmly. He let his eyes wander around her room. He didn't remember the quilts on her bed. The curtains were new too. How new, he couldn't say. "Have you also heard what they've been calling me?" He smirked. "'Robin Hood'. Say I came up with it myself." He let out a sarcastic bark. "I wish I had."
He knew Marian wasn't going to call the guards. So he knew he had plenty of time to speak with her. Looking at her again, he almost forgot why on earth it was he had come here. So to bide him time to organize his thoughts, he simply stated the first thing that came to his mind. "You... you look beautiful." God! He wanted to slap himself if she did not do him the honor. He hadn't seen her in ten years and all his dumb mouth could say was that she was beautiful? Marian wasn't the kind of woman to be flattered by simple-minded words. "I only mean- I mean, more beautiful than before. No! I mean you were beautiful then, but I mean, you're like a woman now. Gods, of course you're a woman," he stumbled over his words, not quite being able to get them out right. He finally just decided to give up and mumbled, "Oh just spear me with an arrow," as he covered his face and shook his head, resting his other hand on his hip. It was the stance of a hopeless man, and Robin was indeed feeling very, very hopeless in the presence of Marian. She had this new way about her that gave him more of an adrenaline rush than if he were fighting Salah al-Din himself.
Her breathing was light and shallow. As consciousness came over her, guilt began to hog the air in her lungs. She wanted to bury her head in shame. She was not an immodest girl, but her father's time of passing was drawing near and she was not going to rely on rumors and decade-year-old relationships to save him from damnation. Guy lay beside her snoring like a pig. A fat one. Though he wasn't fat. Her thoughts drifted to Harold. She had not seen him in two days. He was the concerned type and had certainly begun to worry by now that he had lost her loyalty, even after sharing bodies with him for a two years and a half.
Compassion had been hard to come by since the new sheriff had changed the rules of the village. A place where people could modestly share their opinions had become a place of prosecution and trepidation. No one knew who was in charge any longer, the locals or the king. Most chose Gisbourne's side out of fear. Some were bribed. And who could be loyal to a king that was never present? When was the last time the holy king sent protectors or food rations? Had it been two years already? Perhaps longer. It was impossible to expect anyone to remain loyal to a man who cowered from this local government and refused to send representatives or show his face. Marian wondered from time to time if the 'Holy King'' were even still alive or merely alive in myth.
The last time she had seen the king had been the last time she had seen the only boy who had ever understood her. Rumors had alternated between his return and his death and she had long ago given up hope of his return. What had it been now, a decade? Was that all? Her memories of her childhood were sweet, but they seemed fictitious now. A relationship that so many thought would result in marriage. A best friend who had disappeared on a whim. She never should have trusted him with her emotions. Love aside, she had believed in him as her protector. They had spent so man nights playing cards, finger taps, pawn, and other games in spite of her once healthy father.
She drew a sharp inhale. That's why she was here after all. He couldn't have more than a month left. He had fallen ill twelve years ago. After he survived the first year, it seemed feasible he would just live with an ailment for the rest of his years. But three years after Robin left, [had it truly been so long?] Gerard had become incapacitated. His clock had begun ticking down his final hours long ago. He was lucky to have lived so long, especially while the village received such trivial aid from the king.
She turned her head to her right. Guy was a necessary evil. He was the only person in town who could guarantee her father his rightful spot on the family plot. At least under the king's rule these things were a given and not a privilege. She shouldn't have to betray her own morals and bribe a fiend with her body to give her father his rightful resting place. The idea of him made her skin crawl like cicadas had taken to nest beneath. Another rapid breath brought her t senses. She needed to get out of this horrid den and undetected.
On her feet and clothed in a minute, her robes were lazily done, but it was of little matter. The morning was young and few people, other than the farmers tending the fields, would be stirring. She would not use the front door. She simply wouldn't be caught. If there was one lesson she clung to from her childhood it was how to be sneaky. And that family was all you had. Friends were worthless. They would betray you as soon as the next best thing came along. She was out Gisbourne's open window and halfway down the ivy on the west side of the house when she decided to let go and take the fall. Ten feet down she landed on all fours and brushed herself off. The ground below was dry and gravely. It had not rained in a week and the soil on her dress brushed off easily. Thank Heavens. Drawing attention to herself for being improper was not on her todo list for the day or the week. She stayed around the outskirts of town and was soon on her family's property. After slinking around back and hoisting herself up the recently mended scaffolding she was in her room and out of her clothes. They would be burned. She cared little about how expensive they were. The revolting memories they would evoke were not worth it. She bathed and reclothed, ready to go by her usual hour.
Downstairs her father was being spoon-fed by two servants who seemed to have already changed his regularly soiled undergarments.
"Morning Papa. Toulane, Augustus." she nodded towards the servants.
"Can I fix you something to eat, Madame?"
"That won't be necessary, but thank you Toulane. I will be back be late afternoon." she said as she glanced through their barren cupboard. She finished the last of their porraige stock and headed out, excusing herself with a courtesy and a kiss on her father's cheek.
Once in town with a full coinpurse she ran her usual end-of-week errands. She collected salted meat, wheat, flour, yeast, vegetables and the other usual staples. She exchanged pleasantries with others in town as she went, not wasting her wit on most, who would likely report her for it. She was one of the few women of her class who did their shopping without a servant trailing to carry her shopping collection, but she refused to waste money in such a frivolous way. She would need the money for her father's last days, and even more she needed the extra money to protect herself. She was in her late twenties and got nothing but grief about becoming an old maid. She had passed what was considered to be her physical prime, already hair-like wrinkles had begun to form at the corners of her eyes. Without a man she would need the money to keep herself. Many women gossiped that she was barren and that was why she and Harold had not finalized things. Thank God no one knew it was because she was afraid of childbirth. That's how she lost her mother after all.
After passing through the apothecary and collecting remedies to help her father breathe better, and to help his organs process without causing him pain, she arrived at the church. She paid her regular respects before heading into the confessional.
"Twice in one week? The Holy King must be dead.
She knew the deacon was holding back a smile. "...what has happened my child?"
"I have gone against my own moral code and the Lord's. I continue to fear that I will accidentally conceive, I know not how long my father has left, and I hear stirring."
"Stirring." his voice went up at the end of the word in question.
"In town today their was talk of an old friend's return. I know, you don't have to remind me. I have heard this all before. But each time I hear these rumors it evokes hope inside a dark place in me. It makes me feel lit from within."
The deacon was the only person in town she spoke to about her childhood friend, the outlaw. He was the only one who took his oath to the Lord seriously. Even Guy couldn't bribe this man. The deacon would sooner die than lose the trust of the people he led in prayer.
He sighed. "I wish you would not lead your heart into temptation. I worry the strain will weaken it. Somehow I know there is more on your mind. Tell me."
She waited a long moment. "Please know that I have listened to your guidance and that I have acted out of fear... I know that only servants of God and God himself can grant my father a place in the holy land, but I feared he would linger on earth without being able to lay with his loved ones for his eternal resting place. ...I bribed a man of power to garuntee my father a place on what was once my family's plot. I beg forgiveness. She purposely skipped over the most gruesome part.
" My child... You must know this wasn't necessary, even while your intentions were good. Bribery of any kind is a sin. You are forgiven. Twelve prayers of the mother and cleanse yourself in blessed water." A pause.
"Thank you Father. I will come by next week."
As she was excused from the confessional, the hefty oak doors of the small church burst open.
"An outlaw is among us." A knight of Gisbourne announced in a booming, frightful voice. "Fifty shillings for the first man to capture him. He goes by the name Robin Hood. A picture in his likeness can be found at the gallows." He and a second knight were mounted on their horses and off to the next public gathering place in an instant. And Marian's blood ran cold. She didn't look back but she heard the deacon leave his post to follow after her. She was walking at a leisurely pace towards the door, showing no alarm. She needed to raise no eyebrows. She added a hint of fear to her expression so she might appear afraid, like the other townsfolk... Like those who didn't know or remember him. A warm hand fell on her left shoulder and a low voice trailed into her ear.
"You musn't look for him. And if he finds you, you need to turn him in. What will come of your father if you are caught?"
She wouldn't be caught. Her friend was dead...he was supposed to be dead. She was never supposed to see him again. She tried to surface, but she felt like a child swept under a rough coastal wave, unable to fight for air or find which way was up or down. She nodded as an answer and kept waking.
She reached home and locked the front doors of the estate after speaking to the guards out front. She had to look concerned. Besides, if it were really him being sneaky wouldn't be an issue. She dismissed Toulane, claiming that she didn't want a woman walking home in the dark with riffraff drifting through town. After unpacking she headed up the stairs and into her room. She needed to clear her head or at least get a grip on the cyclone of thoughts and emotions. It simply couldn't be him. And what if it was? He'd be dead on sight by Gisburne's guard.
She tried to lay down. She tried pacing. Then she headed to the kitchen and fetched a goblet of wine. She was heading up the stairs when she heard a thump like a bird hitting her window. Then another louder thump. Her pace quickened. She heard her name as she stepped through the door frame and onto her carpet.
The man that stood before her eyes was a specimen. A specimen of war, of courage, but with a rugged, weathered face and kind eyes. She still knew those eyes. She couldn't decide if her blood were going to boil or freeze inside of her, but she felt like the old men described who lived through being struck by lighting. She moved her lips to speak but only an 'mm' sound came out as the sound caught in her throat.
She wanted to finish the wine in her hand, or maybe rub her eyes. She held her free right arm up and blocked her eyes and rubbed her face in the nook of her arm. When she looked up a man still stood there. She spun away from him and called downstairs.
"I'd like some privacy Augustus. I'm not feeling well." She leaned on her door frame.
"Do you need me to catch the doctor, Madame?"
"Thank you dear, but I should be just fine in a little while. I think I drank the wine too quickly." And for good measure she added, "it's my red time. No worries." and with that she closed and barred her door.
She kept her hands on the door to steady herself.
"I should call the authorities on you. You're worth quite a few shillings."
She gave a long pause. She needed to know how much he had changed. Would he try to kill her if she claimed she would turn him in? She turned to face him and set the wine on her bedside table. She took one step towards him. Then another. Soon she stood a meter away from him. He could remove her head in one swift motion if he saw fit.
"After all this time..." was all she could muster. Her brows were furrowed and her eyes drank him in. He was taller than when he left. He was a man now. She tried to reconcile the image she had in her mind with of him what stood before her. She did not speak, But her mind raced. Robin, how..... How are you here? How do I know it's you? Show me it's you. The one who betrayed me and left me behind all those years ago. Suddenly she wanted to cry, Is it really you?
A king paced in his tent, his golden crown resting perfectly upon his head. “Robin,” the man said, turning to the owner of the name. His red hair grazed his shoulders as he did so. “I know you have served as one of my guard for- well, let’s see now- going on five, six years now?”
“Six, my king,” the man replied, standing straight, but comfortable in his ruler’s presence.
“And how long did you say you served me in total?”
“Nine years, eight months.”
“I wish I could have seen you when you first arrived,” the king said with a laugh, gesturing to the table and chairs next to him where they sat. A servant poured wine.
“I doubt it; I wasn’t much of anything when I first joined.”
“How old were you?”
“As I thought,” Richard the Lionheart said thoughtfully. “You’ve grown up here in my army. You became a man with them.”
“I don’t regret it, sir,” Robin said.
“No, but you might,” the king practically sighed. “I know you are an orphan, but is there anyone else special waiting for your return?”
Robin shook his head, but it slowed. He could see her face, clear as day. “Well, there was a girl,” he said with a smile.
“Tell me about her,” Richard prompted, taking a drink of his wine.
“She’s beautiful. And charming. And ever since I knew what love was I loved her. But I suppose she’s probably married to someone now.”
“Is that why you have no trouble serving me longer whenever I ask it of you?”
Robin shrugged. “Maybe. But I would follow you anywhere.”
“If I told you it was time to stop following, would you object?”
Robin raised an eyebrow. “I don’t understand.”
The king stood, and Robin did so along with him. “I’ve gotten word that your hometown has a new sheriff who is working for my brother John. There’s not much we can do, because I’m sure if anything happened to this sheriff, it would start a war between my brother and I. I’m at a loss for what to do.” The king did indeed sound lost. And exhausted. “You’re a clever man and I trust you with my life. And that is why you must go back home and serve me from afar. You must write to me about everything that is happening. You must be my eyes for where I cannot see. Can you do that for your king?”
This was a lot for Robin to take in. For years the king has asked him to stay by his side. And now he’s telling him to serve him from home. He would be going home. That thought alone was enough to stump Robin. Half of him had always expected to die in the Holy Land.
His ten year marker serving under the king had come and gone on the journey home. The ship ride was the worst of it. And when he stepped off of the boat and onto solid ground he could almost feel the difference between his homeland and that of the Holy Land. The better part of the trip was venturing back to his hometown. Mostly due to the fact that his good friend, Much, was allowed to come with him as an apprentice of sorts. Much was Robin’s most trusted friend. They would die for each other if it ever came to that. And after growing up in the war, seeing death and destruction, that bond would never give way.
The moment they found themselves in familiar territory, they took off at a gallop. Robin was never really able to feel just how homesick he was until it was in view. The dirt from the road kicked up behind them as they sped, racing each other, laughing even. Robin felt like he was young again. But as he slowed and made his way into his village he came to realize that those days, somehow, were over. People looked anxious and hopeless. Was the sheriff truly that bad? What war had been raging on here while he was overseas fighting the only one he knew to exist?
Nobody seemed to recognize him, either. Ten years was a long time. And he could feel that. Things had changed. Not only the people, but the town itself. Some buildings he knew still stood, but there were new houses, new structures. And what looked to be the newest of them all stood in the middle of the town square where the markets were empty and beggars looked to him for some kind of help. A tall wooden structure, perfectly carved. A gallows. His town had never had one before. Robin looked to Much in both horror and question, but all Much could do was shake his head and shrug.
They set off again, up the hill toward Locksley manner, Robin’s home, only to find someone else’s steed tied up outside. Robin dismounted and made his way to the door, opening it cautiously.
“Who are you?” he heard instantly after placing one foot inside. The voice was low and gruff and angry.
Robin looked over to the familiar table- his table- to find a man sitting there. His feet had been resting on it as he chewed an apple, but he lowered them when the door opened.
“The owner of this house!” Robin replied, looking about confused. Much followed him inside.
“Robin of Locksley returns, then,” said the man. He was dressed in black from head to toe, clean shaven, and his boots shone as if they had just been polished. It contradicted so much with Robin’s travel-worn attire, dusty boots, and unshaven face. The man in black stood, placing a hand on the hilt of his sword. Robin’s own hand twitched toward his own. He knew when a man was itching to kill. But he stayed his weapon.
“Do I know you?” he asked instead.
“No, but you will. I’m Guy of Gisborne. But I’m also your death sentence.”
“Robin!” Much shouted, but Robin was one step ahead. He pulled his sword from its sheath before this Guy of Gisborne could land a hit. Their swords clanged together. Then quite suddenly, a dozen men seemed to come out of the woodwork. Black armor and black helmets.
“Ever since the sheriff got word of your supposed return, he’s had you on his naughty list. He doesn’t even care to have a proper execution!” Guy swung his sword again, and Robin parried.
“I’ve done nothing!”
“You’ve served a false king faithfully, and that is enough for Prince John.”
“A false king!” Much shouted, looking for his sword, only to realize that he left it with all his other equipment on his mare. “Are you hearing this treason?”
Guy swung again, and again, and Robin matched each swing with his own. He slowly made his way backward to the door. “You won’t capture me,” Robin said, sure of himself, despite the number of guards. “I will pay this sheriff of yours a little visit. He’s probably holes up in Nottingham right now! Stuffing his mouth with my people’s food as they starve!”
Guy approached, but Robin was out the door. He mounted his horse the fastest he could before riding hard away from his own home. The guards poured out like ants from their anthill. But Robin didn’t look back to see. Instead he rode with Much into the forest.
“How did this happen?” Much asked.
“I don’t know,” robin answered, pacing beside a large oak.
“How could we have gone from two happy-go-lucky men riding home into the sunset to- to- this!?”
“I don’t know, Much.”
“We’re outlaws now! Do you realize this? How did this happen?”
“I DON’T KNOW,” Robin finally shouted. Though his friend didn’t take it personal. “I fear this is much worse than the king even realized. I know the person who can tell me, though,” he said.
Robin stuck his head out from behind a house, checking for any sign of the guards in black. His face would be known now and they would be looking for him. There were four that he could see, which meant he wasn’t just going to be able to walk up to the front door and knock. So he slunk around to the back of the house and looked up to the all too familiar window. And just like he used to do when he was seventeen and it was too late at night to be knocking on the door, he climbed up the scaffolding behind the house.
When he was younger, he was sure her father would have murdered him if he found out about his late night visits to see his daughter. But it wasn’t like anything happened. Most of the time he would just teach her unladylike card games until the early hours of the morning. Oh, how he wished that were the reason he was coming to visit. But neither was it midnight and he had absolutely no idea if she was home or not.
He made it up to her window and pushed the wooden frame open. He stuck his head in and whispered, “Marian?” There was no answer. He slowly pulled himself inside, falling to the floor with a thud. He spoke louder. “Marian?” And in she came, looking scared out of her senses at the possibility of a stranger walking into her house. And he wondered if that’s what he looked like, because she sure as hell didn’t look like she used to.
Marian had always been beautiful. But her radiance only glowed brighter in his eyes. She was merely seventeen when he left for the war. Only a child. But now… He couldn’t help but notice her womanly shape. Her face was thinner, her breasts larger, and her dress no longer hung awkwardly on her growing body. He was stunned. His mouth hung open in awe, not only at her beauty but at the fact that she was actually there. It felt like an eternity since he’d seen her and he only just now realized such. He tried to speak, but all that came out was her name once more.
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