Robin Hood 10
"I tell yea a story…
A famous story known throughout time…..
About a young lad named Robin Hood….
He and his merry men stole from the rich and gave to the poor as the story is told….
But this story is a little different….
For Sherwood Forest is no ordinary forest….
Gallops that sounded like thunder could be heard from the hooves of the king's horses. Soldier were yelling at each other as they rode their horses across the lush green meadow. They were on the hunt but this was no fox they were chasing. They were after a very special prize. They were chasing a young boy who could be no older than a teenager.
The boy looked to be around the age of fifteen with a green tunic, brown pants and boots. He had a bow and a quiver full of arrows on his back. His dark green hood covered his face as he rode on the back of a majestic white horse. The stallion was swift as no man or animal could catch him. King of all horses the stallion was for he only allowed a worthy champion to ride him.
The soldiers pushed their horses to go faster, for their eagerness to capture the boy made the soldiers more determine. But they were no match. For it seemed the boy had more control of the situation. It was as if he were trying to distract the solders.
All the sudden, the boy took out his bow and launched an arrow into the air. It delivered a loud whistle like sound. It sounded like an alarm to alert others that the boy was in danger.
Thus, the soldiers quickly looked around for any sign of rescue party. When they saw nothing did a smirk appear on their faces. They were happy with glee for no one had come to the boy's aid. Their faces darkened with an evil grin for they knew that the chase would end very soon. No war horse can keep this pace. Looks like the boy's luck will soon run out.
Not far off from the chase, there was another prize to be had in Sherwood Forest. A lone peddler was whistling to himself as he rode his cart on by. He tried to stay calm as his eyes darted from side to side. He flapped the reins to make the horse go faster, for these were no ordinary woods.
These woods belonged to the tyrant Prince John. They were off limits to anyone who wasn't of royal blood. That mean, no one shall kill, steal, or even enter these woods without the Prince's permission. It was horrible do to the fact that the best game, the king's deer, lived in these forest. Just by killing one doe will feed a family of four for at least a year. And since the country was still in poverty, meat had become something of a prize desert that only the wealthy could obtain.
It was not always like this. Back when King Richard the Lionhart, Prince John's older brother, was running the country. England was prosperous and everyone from wealthy lord to weary peasant was happy and in glee. That is, until King Richard was called away to join in the crusades. To fight in the Holy Land and bring wealth and glory to England. But it left nothing but poverty, for the money supposedly going to the King's army, and orphans wondering the street.
Thus, when King Richard left Prince John was placed on the throne. The Prince was supposed to look after the kingdom and make sure it was flourishing. That was not the case when Prince John came to power. Money and power is what the tyrant craved. He forced his subject into poverty to feed his chest with hard earn coins. He would even send his dog, the Sheriff to terrorize the people who did not fallow the Prince's order. Oh, how everyone wished King Richard would return soon. At least King Richard the Lionhart knew how to rule, unlike his runt brother.
"Long live the king and we pray for his safe return." The peddler in a hushed voice for fear that some or something would hear him.
Again, Sherwood Forest was not like the other forest in England, for not only did it have animals and trees living in it, but rumors of demons have made a home here as well. Nomads say they steal and rob the travelers of their treasure and foods. The demons favorite targets are peddlers, merchants, or nobles with a cart or two of wonderful treasures. The pitiful rich people, thought they be safe from thieves by taking short cuts through the woods. Since it belonged to the royal family, they thought no one would dare attack them. They were wrong.
That's when a loud whistle like sound began to echo through the tree. It made the peddler jump five feet into the air in fright. The frantic man looked all around for the source. Relief washed over him when he saw nothing. It was not until his horse halt that the merchant became fearful again.
It felt as if the temperature had dropped as his breath became quick. He shakenly looked around the horse to see a demon-like creature standing in the middle of the road. He looked to be the size of a small adult with clothes the matched to the colors of the forest and an angry demonic bear mask that adorned his face. He had a long, thick, wooden staff behind his head with both its arms draped over and hanging like a scarecrow.
The demon stared at the peddler before giving a cry, "Pay the toll to cross or else."
The slight high pitch voice sounded more like a child than hell's spawn. This meant that the merchant was scared for nothing.
The angry peddler sat up straight from his hunched position. He glared at the boy as he gave an evil grin, "Or else what?"
Behind the bear mask did a grin appeared on the boy's face. Inside he was hoping the man would put up a fight. He lifted his staff and slammed it into the ground. The forest gave a rustle sound as twenty more demons with different masks, sizes, and weapons appeared all around the cart..
The peddler looked around frantically. Unastonished and frighten that he had walked right into a trap. He let out a pathetic chuckle as he held up his hands in surrender. He really wished he had been given a choice to take a different route. Now he was caught in a demon's snare.
"Go check the cargo, Will," the boy with the bear masked, who was the largest and looked to be the muscle of the group, told the boy with the eagle mask.
Will walked over to the cart and pulled back the cape that draped over the back of the cart. Once the tarp was fully back did it reveal to be full of gold and jewelry. They were each placed inside many of the bags and chests that filled the cart to the brim.
"Blimey, another tax cart!" complained one of the boys. It had a Scottish accent and face was hidden behind a wolf mask. He came up next to Will as he placed his hand on the coins. Raising a fist full in his hands, he let them slip back into the pile in the chest.
"Keep your trousers on, Scoty." The bear masked boy walked over to the cart and pulled the cape back over. He could not let any passerby that happen to cross them see that they have taken the loot.
"Looks like the Prince thinks he can trick us with a simple peddler. Ey, Little John," Will smirked before he let out a sigh at Little John. "Doesn't he realize that no matter how much you dress a man, you can always tell when the noble."
"Well, his Highness is going to be in for a big surprise." Little John let out a huff as he turned to the group, "Newbies, take the cart back to the village. We'll sort it out there. You men, tie this pompous ass up and put him at the edge of the forest where someone can…..pick him up."
The man's eyes widened in fear when they said that. The man pleaded for the demon children to, "Please kill me. For if the King finds out what I have done I will be surely be executed. Especially for letting his gold get away."
The boys ignored the man and dragged him away. The peddler kept screaming for help, but none came. It soon became quieter as the merchant's voiced died down.
Looking back at the loot, the cart was pulled away. Little John and Will took of their mask as they watched it leave. They knew their leader was not going to be happy with the news that the got another tax cart.
Little John turned to see Much, who was taking off his fox mask. His short brown fuzzy hair came down to his mid neck and he had a freckled face that could be no older than fourteen. A sleigh smile adorn his face similar to a fox. He was the mischievous boy out of the four, Will, Little John, and Scoty, who remained.
"We'll tell Robin we got another dud and find out what he wants us to do with it." Without his mask, Little John had a face that looked to be the age of a fourteen year old with short brown hair and a wide nose. He is actually sixteen and is one of the oldest boy, but because his height and face did not match people tend to judge him. Thus, the name Little John was born.
"Then let's tell him, now." Much Ran past the boys as he jumped into the thick bushes. He darted through the trees as he made his way where is his leader was.
The boys watched in awe before one after the other, Scoty, Will, and Little John followed the fox.
"Robin's not going to like this," Will moaned at the thought of his leader's annoyance. Little John and he followed after suit Much and Scoty as they headed into the wood.
Leaving the road clear of any evidence that a robbery had accrued. That is just how unordinary Sherwood Forest can be.
Much was the first one to exit out of the trees. In front of him, were a group of boys and girls who were already on top of the stony cliffs. They were all watching the leader, Robin, being chased by the soldiers on the back of his faithful stead. They all turned their heads, to the woods behind them to see Little John, Will, and Scoty coming out as well. They all let out a sigh in relief that it wasn't soldiers but their friends.
"How'd it going?" Jack, the leader of the small group of watchers, asked. He was no older than the age of sixteen, same age a Little John. He quite curious to know if they had gotten any food or medicine from their prey. He was met with despair instead.
"Dud, tax cart." Much shrugged his shoulders in pretend misery. He reached in one of his pouches as he took out his spy glass and laid down on his stomach. He looked through the glass to watch the chase. "How's Robin?"
"Been chased for hours." Another boy, who looked to be the same age as Much, chimed in annoyance. He was new and still did not everything Robin Hood could do. He reverted his eyes to the ravine that the chase was coming to. "He's done for."
The ravine ahead of Robin meant that the chase would end. No one could get across its large gape. Thus, the sad truth that Robin Hood will be caught.
That's not what Robin's faithful followers and friends think.
"Oh my dear Brian." Much tut tutted him. "What did I always say about Robin Hood?"
"Never misses," Brian huffed as he listed all the things that Much has drilled into him since day one. "Always outsmart, and…"
"And?" Much smirked at Brian.
"Never gets caught."
Robin looked back at the soldiers. He saw them pushing their horsed to go faster and get close to grab him. A smirk appeared on his face before he leaned towards his horse's ear to tell him to go faster. "That's is Arion, faster."
Arion quickened the past as his stride become longer and moved through the field like lightning. The soldier's horses were kicked to go faster for they were losing the boy.
Robin noticed a blinking light and looked from the corner of his eye to the source. The green tunic wearing boy looked up towards the cliff and knew who was upon them. With his excellent vison, Robin was able to see his merry friends all watching him will glee and fear. They were all there, even Little John, Will, Scoty, and Much. Which meant his part was done and it was time to wrap this up. "It's time."
"We got him now boys! We got him!" yelled the captain of the guards. He and his men knew that the chase was coming to an end. Glee filled them for they would have their Bounty. Won't Prince John be over the moon after this.
"Yeah, there's a ravine up ahead and no one can jump that!"
Oh how the poor guards knew so little. Robin Hood let a smirk creep on his face as he looked from the corner of his eye again at his merry men on top of the cliff. A smile appeared on his face for he was going to give the boys and girls a real show that they would never forget.
The ravine was coming up quickly and the soldiers halted their horses for fear of going over. The let out a sigh in their horses coming to a stop. But when they looked at their prey did they notice that Robin's horse did not slow down at all. The white stallion pushed off and jumped over the valley in a giant leap. Its front hooves touched the dirt in a large thud as it went back into a full gallop.
The soldiers stared in astonishment while their captain yelled in anger for their prize had gotten away. "ROBIN HOOOODDDDD!"
Everyone on the cliff watch in amazement at what had transpired. Only a few knew this would happen. But still, it was a sight to be seen.
"Told yeah." Much let out a 'wa ho' right after.
The rest of the boys looked at the sight in claps and cheer. Little John was smiling at his leaders accomplishment. Will gave a sigh in relief for even he had doubts about Robin making it out alive. Brian stared in disbelief at what Robin did. It was like something out a King Aurthor.
Much clapped his hand on Brian's back. "Never doubt Robin. Hood"
Much exited to the forest as he tried to make it to camp to meet up with his leader and friend.
The boy's and girl's cheers died down, but were still astonished by the fact that their leader's horse was able to jump it. No King's warhorse would be able to do that. It made them wonder if Robin was a wizard like Merlin himself.
"Robin and his horse are not ordinary." Will watched the boys and girl turn to look at him with curiosity. "You will soon learn that everything in Sherwood Forest is not normal." Will followed after Much along with Little John
The rest of the group followed behind as they hurried home to see their leader. They were excited to see the prize they have required. Hoping, maybe that Robin will let them keep some of it.
Robin strolled through the camp, which was more like a village, on the back of Arion. He nodded his head to anyone who said, 'welcome back' or waved to him. The archer made his way to the square, to see his hunters, tailors, carpenters, and blacksmiths gathered around the cart. A treasure trove and mighty bounty they have caught. But in Robin's eyes they were nothing more than wasteful trinkets.
"Anything we can use?" Robin asked, but he narrowed his eyes when his men turned around with jewelry and coins in their hands. "And now what are you going to do with that? Walk into town and buy stuff? You sure that's wise?" Sarcasm dripped from Robin's mouth. It was not harsh but sounded playfully mean.
The boys and girls let out a sigh as they knew what Robin was saying was true. They were outlaws and thieves. A common bandit who stole from the rich. If they were to walk into town with these fine trophies. They would surely end up in prison or worse… hanged. The Prince hated outlaws and wanted them dead. Selling his gold would just add oil to the flame.
Each one of the Merry People gave a groan as they forced themselves to put it all back. It would have been nice to have something shiny, but then again what could they use it for. It not like they can go out and show it off to the others. They would probably want to steal it. And if the Sheriff found them holding just gems they would be arrested in minutes.
Thus, only the blacksmith was left to see if they could melt anything down to use as parts for weapons, housing, or even just cooking wear.
But, one boy, about the age of fourteen, held onto a rusty, embroidered, copper bracelet. It must have belonged to meager noble or peasant. It was worthless now, but that didn't stop the guards from taking it for tax purposes. The boy had is grasp in his shaken hands as if his life depend on having this one piece of jewelry.
"Lover?" Robin got down off Arion and put his hands on his hips. He looked at the boy with a raise eye-brow.
The boy silently nodded. Hope in his eye's that he can present it as a gift.
"Go." Robin sighed as he nudged his head to the side.
A smile crept on the boy's face as he ran off towards the kitchen area. Happiness in his steps as he made his way to one girl in particular.
"I think her name was Ariele." Much came up next to Robbin as he wrapped an arm around the leader's neck and pulled him closer to him. The fourteen year old scratched his chin as he pondered. "That French girl who came in about three days ago. May have an attitude but she's a fabulous cook."
"She only has an attitude when you're around, you arse," Mocked Scoty.
"Ohhh, you wound me Scoty." Slightly placed his hands over his heart and slouched.
Everyone let out a laugh at Much. The boy was a real jokester. If he were not such a fine bandit, he probably be the court jester.
Robin tried to stop chuckling as he brought everyone to attention. "Alright, alright. First things first. Divide all this into piles that we can melt or use and another pile to give to the neighboring villages." He then looked at the Head Blacksmith, who was still looking through it. "What do you say, O'Brian. Anything we can use?"
"There are some fine metal here, but there is too much coin and jewels for my blacksmiths to make any real tools." O'Brian let out tired sigh as he looked at the warriors. "Couldn't you have brought in a cart full of metal?"
"Let me check my calendar O'Brain. Oh wait, I can't predict when a cart full of metal is coming through." Much tried not to yell at the Blacksmith. Everyone thought it was easy being a bandit but no it was tough work. It not like he had a crystal ball to see into each cart to know which ones are worth stealing from.
O'Brain and Much almost started to fist fight when Little John stood between them.
"That's enough you two. We need to get this done before soldiers come here looking for taxes." Will tried to reason with the Much and O'Brain.
They both let out a groan before O'Brain went back to the cart. He ordered some of the merry boys and girls to separate the piles in useable and none. They worked at it until they were done and two piles began to form.
The usable one was taken to the blacksmith, while the other pile was divided into bags. Some of the children were dressed as common villagers as they headed out. What they did with all that gold and silver was give it to some of villagers nearby. Since Prince John kept taxing people, villages were becomes scares and that was especially back for the orphans of Sherwood Forest. The villages provided cover and help for getting rid of unwanted items.
That's why as long as the village and forest orphans never got in each other's way, both were content. The villagers were grateful for the orphans to give the money for tax. They were internally grateful for it but fear did sneak into their hearts if they took too much of it. They were afraid that the Prince would find out that village and bandits were in cahoots. That means the royal's wrath would be on them. Thus, they kept their mouths shut and tried to play dumb. But no one knew the consequence that would follow.
Robin watched the boys and girls head out. The archer felt someone tugging on his tunic. He looked down to see little Barbara. In her hands was a small flower necklace. He bent down to the five year old and held out his hand. The little girl placed the necklace on his wrist and ran off giggling.
"Awe, Robin's got an admirer." Much mockingly gushed as he, Scoty, and Little John smirked.
Robin ignored the trio. He got up and walked towards the darker part woods that was off limits to most.
No one knew why but it just felt wrong to travel deeper into Sherwood Forest. There are stories that some formidable monster lives in the heart of the woods. And only Robin is allowed entry. But that's a story brought up by people who are not close to Robin. For his real friends knew the truth about those woods.
Will let out a sigh as he went after their leader. "I'll catch up with you guys later."
"Nice, Much." Little John whacked his friend in the head as he let out a huff. He was annoyed that he might have been part the reason Robin ran off.
"Eh, Will will get him." Much rubbed the back of his head as he looked towards the woods. It was dark at night and sort of creepy looking that made even royal soldiers cower away from it. Shivering, Much said. "I wouldn't go in there,"
Thy decided to head to the dining table for a nice hot meal. Not at all worried that Robin might not even come back tonight.
The woods became darker as night approached Sherwood Forest. Owls hooted and the forest moaned for who dares enter it on this moonlit.
Robin looked behind him to see Will running after him. He slowed his pace and the young boy came up beside him, out of breath.
"You know they were only joking." Will tried to ease his friend's worry. He knew Robin did not take things to heart, but still, the archer didn't need to run off.
"I know." Robin kept a straight face. He wasn't really bothered by what Much said. He just needed to head into the woods.
"Well how are we supposed to know that if you don't tell us!" Will was getting agitated.
For Will and Robin had these conversations a lot. The once noble son knew archer for three years now and like everyone else, could not understand how their young leader thought. Will has tried to understand what the boy thought about but it just frustrated him on how many occasions the warrior would shut everyone out from time to time.
Robin was sometimes like a trickster. Smart and cunning, no one could catch him. He was a great leader to the Merry People. He had lots of friends and followers. And was great to have around. That is until he would go off on his own. Always to the same place, at least the outcast blue blood thought he knew. Will had tried to follow the archer once but Robin would somehow lose him. Or the sudden dread of not continuing further into the woods. He had no idea why, until... one day…
"How am I supposed to know how to act, if I don't even know who I am?" It was cruel for Robin had lost his memories when he was a child. He had no idea who he was or where he came from. To everyone, including himself, he was a complete mystery.
Will let out a sigh as he tried to calm down and explain rationally. "You don't need to know who you are to act like yourself, Robin. Just be you. That's all I ask." Will turned and left Robin to his own thoughts. He was a little angry at Robin now and didn't need to make the situation worse.
Robin watched Will go. He smiled to himself as he knew what his friend meant.
The sound of wind rushed through the tree could be heard as Robin looked up into the sky. He started to climb the nearest tree and he almost to the top when he stopped on a large thick branch. He looked out over Sherwood Forest. The trees, meadows, and mountains came together in the most beautiful way.
The wind blew as Robin sat down. He listened to the sounds of the forest. It sounded like music to the archer's ears. He took out a pipe, shaped like a wooden flute, as he played to the sound he heard throughout the forest.
It sounded like a lullaby to put people to sleep. Everyone could hear its beautiful sound. Even creatures unknown to man.
Far off from Sherwood Forest the music dies as a giant stone castle gives a sort of dread feeling. Inside resides the tyrant Prince John. He was angry at what had happened today for his beautiful bounty had been taken away by those God awful bandits.
"You lost it all again!" The grail was slammed onto the arm of the throne as Prince John, who sat in the large chair, fumed with anger. He black curly hair flared over his eighteen year old face. The golden crown that adorn his head titled slightly for it was much too big for his head.
The soldier shivered in fear. They kneeled to the Prince. "My Lord, we did everything we could. We even payed one of the merchants to take the cart through the woods like you asked."
"Silence!" The Prince sulked into his throne. "I know what I said and I was counting on you to see it done. You didn't even capture Robin Hood!" The Prince spat out the name.
"My Lord, he must be favored by God to be able to jump that gorge." The guards clapped his hand over his mouth at what he said. It was taboo t say such things in front of the Prince.
"God does not favor scum. I am God for I am Royal!" Prince John shouted for them to be executed and watched the men beg for mercy. A sinister smile grazed his lips as they were dragged out.
"My Prince. You shouldn't kill my men or else I will have none left." A man came out of the shadows. Mid 20's and slightly built do to training. Unlike the Prince he was much more fully developed with his tall stature and beard.
The Prince glared at him in hate for interrupting his moment of joy. "I don't need to be reminded, Sheriff." The Prince scuffed in annoyance before he slouched back into the throne like a three year old child throwing a tantrum. "How come these things keep happening?"
"Well simple, my Lordship. The beasts live within Sherwood Forest and since you don't want us taking so long to bring you your gold back, we have no choice but to take a short cut through Sherwood Forest."
"Grrrrr." The Prince growled in annoyance of his own impatience. "What do you think of this Robin Hood?" the Prince asked, wanting to know the man's thoughts.
"An outlaw, M'lord." The sheriff scratched his black beard in thought. "I heard he is great mercenary. A marvelous leader. And a dangerous enemy. I thought he'd be a ferocious man, but only recently I've just heard he was a lad. He probably stopped using a wet nurse only moments ago."
"A CHILD!" His men were beaten by a mere child, the Prince thought. Anger once again filled the Royal's eyes.
"A teen, my lord, apparently a skilled one at that." The Sheriff thought to himself for a moment before coming up with a plan. "But fear not, my Lord. I will take care of this."
"Please share your idea with me, Sheriff. I would like to know." Prince John looked at the man, eager to know the idea to destroy his enemy. "And it better be good or else there will be a new Sheriff."
The Sheriff did not believe that. The Prince liked the Sheriff too much to allow him to be replaced with an ignorant soldier. It would cost too much to train into a perfect mold the Sheriff was.
The Sheriff begins to tell the Prince his plan. "We know the bandits are not only after your tax carts. But noble or military carts as well. But it seems they care less for jewels and coins, but what they truly desire is food. To them, it's more than a King's ransom."
Both Prince and Sheriff smiled in glee as they got to work. For tomorrow those Bandits will feel more than just a tummy ache from filling their bellies to much.