Even though this story is being told with Ember as the narrator, she is still completely omniscient and tells things in third person.
The story is kind of a throw back to the Canterbury Tales. Each chapter progresses a story arch, while retelling stories of Robin Hood lore.
Ember smiled and strummed her guitar again, her audience captivated completely.
The yarn of Little Jack I shall now spin
For Robin Sam, he is like kin
Though bigger than a mountain and still a crook
He's gentler than any babbling brook
And while I was told of Little Jack
We journeyed to get mine and Sam's loves back
Gather round friends, and listen well
A most intriguing story I'm about to tell…
"By my estimations," Jazz Scarlet said the next morning, "we're about fifty miles from Nottingham."
Robin Sam nearly gasped, nearly. How had they really gotten that far? No wonder she'd been missing Danny so badly. She hated to be away from him. Her Merry Men were, of course, exaggerating by calling him Maid Danny. He wasn't all that girly, but she supposed, to a bunch of uneducated men's men who were all very rough and rugged, the rather scrawny scholar of Nottingham would seem a bit effeminate. Sam herself was educated as well and liked to debate with Danny a lot. She sighed, throwing her head to the sky. She'd promised to come get him a long time ago, the moment Jazz had wandered into her camp, she'd wanted to rush back to Nottingham and rescue him, but… it just wasn't meant to happen then. But now… now that Ember was here: it was a sign. She was supposed to go back to the city now.
The horse Ember was riding came up slowly next to Sam's black and white stallion, the Phantom of Sherwood, or Phantom for short. "So… the large man… Jack?"
"Little Jack," Sam corrected, suddenly snapped from her reverie. "And his wife, Maddie."
"Right," Ember said, "how did you ever come to meet him?"
Little Jack walked up beside them, keeping up with the easy pace of the horses. "It's quite an amusing story, actually."
Robin Sam grinned impishly. "Aye, that it is," she agreed. "Jazz Scarlet!"
"Pass the ale," Robin Sam grinned. Jazz grinned back and handed her leader the jug.
"Little girl, don't you think you should at least wait until dinner?" Little Jack asked with a grin, trying to take the ale from Robin Sam.
Ember watched in amusement as the violet eyed girl teased the large man by holding the jug above her head.
"Not a chance, Little Jack!" She took a huge swallow and handed the bottle back to Jazz.
"So… how did you two meet?" Ember inquired again. She had indeed been running low on ballads lately and was very piqued at the prospect of new material. Surely everyone would love to hear songs about the infamous Robin Sam, who stole from the rich and gave to the poor, who was in love with a nobleman from Nottingham, who was the bane of the evil sheriff, Vlad Masters.
Sam smiled at Ember. "Well, it really is quite funny, because you see, I needed to cross a bridge…
A fourteen year old black haired girl staggered through Sherwood forest. She was tired and beaten, holding herself up by quarter staff, which seemed a little large for her use. A dagger hung loosely at her side and she was wearing pants and a tunic, not a dress. Her name was Samantha of Loxley and she was a runaway.
She was trying to make her way out of Sherwood and the only way to get out was by crossing a single bridge at the river. When it was finally in sight, she breathed a sigh of relief. But her reprieve was short lived, for sitting on the rather thin log was the largest man Samantha had ever seen in her entire life. He was holding a fishing pole in the water and looked quite content with himself. The only problem was that he was taking up the entire log. There would be no way for Sam to get around him.
But Samantha of Loxley was no chicken, so she walked right up to him. "Excuse me, sir?" She said importantly.
He only grunted, his slightly graying black hair shifting in the breeze.
"I was wondering if maybe you could move for a minute or so? I need to cross the bridge."
"Excuse me," Sam asked again politely.
At this point, Little Jack felt it necessary to barge in. "What? You were anything but polite, you scrawny little tomboy!"
Sam glared at him and took another swig of ale. "Who's telling this story!" She demanded.
"Well, if you're gonna do it, do it right," the hulking man countered.
Ember giggled as Jazz Scarlet chortled mirthfully.
"Excuse me!" Samantha demanded. "I need to cross this bridge!"
"Stop your shrieking, ya banshee! You're scaring away my dinner!" He growled, then ever so rudely returned to his fishing.
Samantha brandished her staff. "I'm prepared to fight you!" She threatened, more bravely than she felt.
The man stood to his full height which was roughly the size of a barn, or a barge, or maybe a small mountain and loomed over her almost menacingly. "Oh yeah? You gonna fight me with a little twig, girl?"
The tiny (by comparison) girl glared and replied bravely, "Yeah!" Then some how managed to knock him soundly on his head.
He picked up the end of the staff she was brandishing at him, easily lifting her up as she clung to it, squealing momentarily in shock as she was lifted into the air and held over the river.
"Put me down!" Samantha demanded. "I just wanna cross the damn bridge!"
"And I wanted to catch a fish for dinner!" Jack growled. "I guess neither of us gets what we want, huh?" He began shaking the pole with a grim but determined look on his face. Samantha fell into the water screaming in rage then gasping in shock as she splashed down into the icy brook.
Fortunately, the water was calm and only knee deep, but she was soaking wet. "Argh! Who do you think you are!"
"The name's Jack," he answered cordially as he extended his hand in a friendly gesture.
She giggled and shook his hand, "Little Jack," she instantly dubbed him with the blatantly ironic nickname.
He smiled heartily at her. "Sure am," he stood with the intention of helping her out of the water and across the brook, now feeling sorry for the drenched girl, who was young enough to possibly be his daughter.
Samantha, catching him off guard, yanked him into the water as well. "Now we're even," she laughed as he fell down with a loud splash.
He sputtered a moment, then stared at her before laughing. "What's your name, girl?"
"Sam," she said. "Robin Sam."
Jack smiled. "And then of course, I took her home with me."
"Where I met her," Maddie interjected. "She stole my beer," the red haired woman laughed. "But you didn't stay very long, did you Sam?"
"Nope, I went off and started my band of Merry Men."
Ember smiled. "So what happened then? Why are you two with her now?"
"The army came and took over our land in the name of Prince John, because we couldn't pay our taxes," Maddie answered. "We got kicked out of our home. Then Sam found us and made us part of her band."
Robin Sam smiled. "They took me in and I took them in," she said merrily. "But that is another story entirely. Jazz Scarlet!" Sam called.
"Pass the ale!"
Jazz handed over the alcohol, but smirked deviously at Robin Sam. "I'm going to tell Maid Danny on you. You know he doesn't like you to drink so much."
Robin Sam scoffed and took a very long swig. "That boy's mad if he thinks he can control me."
Jazz pouted her eyes twinkling with glee. "Awww… You're gonna break my little brother's heart… and then I'm gonna have to kill you."
Robin Sam laughed and threw the ale back to Jazz.
Ember was intrigued yet again. "Who is Maid Danny?"
Robin Sam made a face. "He's no maid. They just call him that because he's not a dumb, lumbering nitwit like the REST OF YOU LOT!" She coughed a little and smiled at Ember. It was very easy to see that both young women shared the profound connection of knowing what it was like to be very much in love. There was something in Ember's posture that seemed so strong, yet so entirely vulnerable. It was the same thing that made Sam's violet eyes sparking with such bittersweet happiness.
"He's my little brother," Jazz interrupted. "And Sam's lover," she cooed mockingly.
Robin Sam blushed.
"So… where is he?"
The jovial mood between the three girls quickly disappeared. Jazz and Sam remained completely silent.
Tucker rode up next to them, he'd been trailing slightly behind the whole way. "He's being held hostage," he explained to Ember.
"That lousy bastard sheriff," Robin Sam grumbled. "I swear, when I get my hands on Masters, I'll…"
Jack laid a hand on Sam's shoulder. "Easy there, girl. It's okay."
"Why's the sheriff holding him hostage?"
Tucker sighed heavily and continued. "He knows that if he holds Danny in Nottingham, Sam will eventually come to rescue him. At which point, we are certain, he plans to trade Danny's life for hers."
Ember nodded in understanding. "I see…"
"You underestimate her," Danny glared at Vlad. "She's not stupid enough to fall for this trap."
"My dear boy, you underestimate the stupidity of a woman in love. She will come for you because she loves you. At which point, I will see to it that she is arrested."
"And then what? You'll hang her? The Merry Men will carry on without her, you know."
"They cannot. And I don't plan on hanging her," Vlad got right up into Danny's face. "No… such a remarkable young woman rightfully belongs to me. And I shall have her…"
Danny let out a low, feral growl. "If you lay one hand on her, I swear, I will have your head."
Vlad merely laughed and left the room where he was holding Danny prisoner.
Yay! Danny and Vlad make their first appearence! And the plot thickens... Please review!