I didn't know where I was running; I was just well…running. Away from Nottingham, from the place where the sentence of death by the hangman's noose would soon be placed upon my head. All I had done was stolen two loaves of bread to feed my parents and siblings. But the Sheriff had found out and was to send Gisbourne after me. I had got wind of the arrest from my good friend Toby who worked in the gaol and I had left my home before the first light of day. I was to make for the forest where I knew the people there were a law unto themselves. I stopped. Panting, out of breath. My muscles burned. I looked back. Far away in the distance I could see the faint outline of horses. I swore. Gisbourne! I delved further into the woods. I jumped over hedgerows, brambles. I looked behind me again. They were approaching at speed. My reddy-golden hair was falling in front of my eyes. I took a sharp turn and just ahead, I could see a camp with a group of men sitting around the fire. I looked behind me again. Gisbourne was still approaching. I stopped.
I didn't want to get these men into trouble. I sprinted back to the right away from the men. Seeing a thick fir tree, I swung myself up into it. I sat there my heart pounding in my chest. I gulped for air and closed my eyes. Down below I saw Gisbourne. He had stopped. Not knowing which way I had gone.
"Did anyone see which way the wench went?" There was a murmur and shaking of heads from his soldiers. Gisbourne sighed. "Alright back to Nottingham. We'll catch up with her sooner or later." My shoulders relaxed. My side had a stitch m muscles burned, my face was red and sweaty, but I had thrown Gisbourne of my trail. For the moment anyhow. I sat there for a while re-cooperating. When I was a little rested. I slipped down from my hiding place. I needed water. I think there was a river over to the right somewhere-
There was the cold metal of a sword against my neck. From the depths of my hood, I could see the group of men from around the camp. The one who had his sword at my neck, I could assume was the leader.
"Why was Gisbourne chasing you and who are you?" He had released the sword slightly from my neck giving me the small leeway of ducking away. I made a break for it. But strong arms from some of the other men pinned me back.
"I said. Who are you and what have you to do with Gisbourne?" the man repeated.
"I could ask you the same question." I replied coolly.
"But I asked you first." I weighed this up in my mind. I still had my hood up. Do I say I was a man or a woman?
"You were running pretty fast. What happened to your horse?" He asked again.
"Don't have one. Can I go now please?"
The man laughed shortly. "Let a complete stranger go? You could be in league with the Sheriff."
I felt cold air suddenly on my head and the men who were holding me dropped me like a hot poker. I glared at the questioning man.
"I am not in league with the Sheriff." In case you hadn't realized I was running for my life from his right-hand man!"
"So why were you running from him?" said the man unperturbed by the fact that my gender had come to light. The rest of his group looked uneasy. The man smiled.
"I'm Robin Hood." I relaxed. I knew of him. A tyrant was what the Sheriff called him, therefore Robin Hood was no enemy of mine.
"Lucy Bredon." I replied.
"So, Lucy Bredon, why were you running away from the Sheriff?"
I looked at the ground. "I stole loaves of bread to feed my family. The sentence is-" I broke off. I had been staring at the prints left by their horses. "Are they your horses?" I asked urgently.
"You didn't happen to steal them from Gisbourne by any chance?"
"They're marked you fools! Gisbourne can follow as easily as if you were leading him their yourselves! Run you idiots run!"
"Gisbourne could be on his way." One of the men began.
"Or maybe he's already here." Said a cold voice. We all turned. Gisbourne's soldiers started towards us. I slung an arrow into my bow and shot one of the soldiers down. There was soon a mini battle going on. I had been using a sword since the age of 7. I was 18 now. I swung at them. Gisbourne just watched. While they were fighting, the men were taking food etc. off the marked horses and loading onto their own. The men were beginning to gallop away. Someone reached down and swung me onto their horse.
"Hold on tight!" he called. I turned around. Gisbourne was not happy.
We reached a small clearing which would obviously be our new camp the men were cheering over their victory against Gisbourne. I slid off Robin's horse and stood to one side. Not quite knowing what to do. Then the whole group were looking at me.
"What do we think men? Do we let her join? She can fight, we know that."
Hang on? What was going on? 'It would be sensible, I suppose. How was I supposed to last on my own?'
While I had been daydreaming, the men had been discussing whether I should be allowed to join their group.
"Right. We've decided. How would you like to join our select band?" He spread his arms open wide smiling.
"I'll join, as long as I'm not a maid. I am not doing all the cooking and all the cleaning. I hate them both." The men nodded. "Alright. I'll join." This was met with cheers and I found myself being patted on the back several times and being introduced to everyone.
"Will Scarlet, pleasure to meet your acquaintance."
"Little John." Said the biggest man I'd ever seen.
"Much. I fought with the master in the Crusades." Much said proudly.
"Allen a Dale."
A few more names followed.
"And this is our esteemed leader- Robin Hood." He gave a mock bow. I smiled. "I'm Lucy Bredon."
"Well Lucy, it's a pleasure to meet your acquaintance. Now then," He turned. "What are we suppose to do about Gisbourne?" I shuddered. Maybe I hadn't told the whole story about why I was running away from Gisbourne. But that could wait for another day.
"We need more horses. Does anyone know where we can get them from?"
"We could get them from Nottingham. Perhaps the Sheriff's?"
"You can't." I spoke up suddenly. "his horses are marked as well with an 'S' or will be after he founds out how easily Gisbourne tracked us."
"Good thinking." Said Robin. "Well, it's getting dark. I suggest we camp down for the night and send off a hunting party to see what we can find."
"Will, Little John, Roy, Allen and Much" try and find rabbit or deer or something. They all left leaving just me and Robin.
"So, Lucy. Are you going to tell me your whole story or just half of it which you told the others." He said sitting next to me and flashing me a smile.
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