Disclaimer: I don't own Robin Hood. No money is being made off this story, it has been written purely for entertainment. I do, however, own Sylvia/Robyn, Myra, the other wolves in the pack, and the Mirrinth family.
Summary: Robin realized that a lot of things have changed since he left for the crusades, but he never imagined this change. Set between season 1:episode 5 and season 2:episode 5.
Robin of Locksley, now more commonly known as Robin Hood, was walking into a part of Sherwood Forest he had never been to before. Surprising as that may seem, no one, not even Robin Hood, knew all of Sherwood, for it was a big place. As he continued to go deeper into the wood, the sounds of birds and other forest creatures lessened, until all was quiet. Catching sight of something out of the corner of his eye, he stopped to take a closer look. Gouged into the bark of a large oak tree was a strange design. Thoughtfully, Robin ran his fingers over the mark. It seemed familiar, but he could not remember where he had seen the design before. He was so focused on it that he jumped slightly when a voice spoke from behind him.
"Turn around slowly. Do not make any sudden movements, or I will shoot."
Robin turned and had to keep a grin from springing onto his face. He was being held at arrowpoint by a girl who looked no older than ten. She was very thin, and her clothes, worn and tattered, hung limply on her small frame; but her eyes glittered from beneath a curtain of dark brown hair, and the hands that held the small recurve bow were steady. Her stance was that of someone who had a large amount of experience and skill with a bow. Robin thought that this girl must have been an archer most of her life – if his guess at her age was anywhere near the mark.
"Who are you and what are you doing so close to my den?"
Her arrow still trained on the man's chest, Sylvia took some time to study his features. His brown hair was short, as was his beard. His clothing was dark green and brown, he wore a quiver strapped to his back, and he carried a recurve bow like hers, although his was bigger, and, she could tell, had much more pull to it than her own. It was his eyes, however, that caught and held her attention. They were leaf green, bright, and glittering, just like her own.
"Your 'den'?" Her eyes narrowed at the slight amusement in his tone.
"Yes, my den. Who are you and what are you doing here?" Her voice was sharp, and held a strength that stemmed from her past and all the struggles she had been through.
Robin raised his eyebrows a bit, both at the girl's choice of words, and at the strength in her voice.
"I'm sorry. I mean you no harm. I am Robin Hood. As for why I'm so close to your 'den', I did not know that it was here."
She lowered her bow a little, still eyeing him suspiciously and keeping her hand on the string.
"And, if I may ask, who are you, and why would you choose to live in a place such as this?" He gestured at the close trees around where they stood. "It is very dark here, even in the daytime."
Sylvia gave a small half-smile at Robin Hood's observation. Slowly, she lowered her bow all the way and replaced the arrow in her quiver, deciding to go with her instincts and trust Robin.
"I'm Sylvia," she began. "But you can call me Syl. As for why I live 'in a place such as this', as you put it, well, come see for yourself." She turned and moved into a dense clump of trees, directly opposite the oak with the design on it, gesturing Robin to follow.
Robin squeezed through the trees after the girl who called herself 'Sylvia', and found her waiting by a small cave. The same design was carefully etched into the rock above the cave. "What is that symbol?" he asked curiously, pointing at the design on the rock.
"My mark." He caught a note in Sylvia's voice that he was not to ask further, and he obliged. "This is your 'den', I take it?" She nodded and motioned for him to sit down. He did so. "Umm…… What are we doing here?"
"Waiting. They'll be back soon." Sylvia sat down next to him.
"Who are they?" Robin asked, confused. Sylvia smirked at him. "They are my family – and they come because I call them," she said. Then, to his great surprise, she put her hands to her lips and howled. He gaped at her.
Sylvia smiled at the look of pure surprise on Robin's face as the answering howls grew closer to their position. Seven wolves padded out of the trees toward them. Sylvia gave a soft bark of greeting, which the wolves returned. Walking over to them, she introduced each to Robin by the names she knew as well as her own, laying her hand on each one's head as she said its name and rank within the pack.
"Selva, lead female." A black wolf with a silver star on her chest and silver paws.
"Roth, lead male." Black with a copper star and copper paws.
"Myra, second, and my closest packmate." Black with silver paws, tail tip, ear tips, and a silver mask-like stripe on her face.
"Tok, third, and Myra's mate." A copper-colored wolf with a black tail tip.
"Lianth, Nikita, and Niro, cubs. They have no rank yet." The three cubs scrambled over to Robin and climbed on top of him before he could stop them. Sylvia began to laugh. "They like you."
"I can see that." Robin was surprised that these cubs were climbing all over him. "They trust you because I've decided to trust you," Sylvia told him with an enigmatic smile.
"You live with a pack of wolves?" The question burst from him before he realized he had said it. "Where is your family?"
Sylvia's eyes narrowed. "This is my family," she snarled. "My human family was killed years ago. I am all that's left of the Mirrinth family." Robin heard the pride in her voice, as well as the pain and loss.
The name made Robin start. "Mirrinth? As in the Fletcher? And Bowyer? That was your family? But they did not have a daughter named Sylvia; their only daughter was... wait… no, no way." His voice became incredulous. "Little Robyn? This is you?"
"Yes." Sylvia's voice cracked slightly, but she refused to let tears fall. "And no. The truth is that Robyn Mirrinth died with her family. I am Sylvia now."
"You've grown a lot since last I saw you," said Robin, reaching out and brushing her face with his fingers.
"Time has passed. And many things have happened. My father made this for me. And taught me to shoot it." She held up the recurve bow and let Robin examine it. Her face was unreadable. "I have been an archer since I was strong enough to draw it."
Robin raised his eyebrows again at that. "It's a good bow." He gave it back to her. "Come back to my camp."
He watched as her eyes narrowed again. "What?" Suspicion was audible in her voice.
Sylvia barked and the cubs scrambled back into the den. 'Go on,' she told Tok, Roth, and Selva, though all Robin would hear was a growl. Reluctantly, they padded into the den after the cubs. Myra lay down by Sylvia's feet and looked at Robin calculatingly.
"Come to my camp," Robin repeated.
There was silence for several minutes as Sylvia thought about what Robin was asking of her.
'Why is he asking me this? And why the suddeness of it?' she thought suspiciously.
'Does it really matter?' The 'child' in her asked. 'He is the Rightful Lord. We can trust him.'
The other part of her mind - the part that had developed in her years with the wolf pack - clashed with that thought. 'Things have changed. We can trust NO ONE. No one but the Pack,' it said ruthlessly.
'At least give it a try,' the 'child' pleaded.
Robin watched as Sylvia seemed to be fighting with herself. "Myra can come too."
"Alright," Sylvia said slowly. "We'll come. I'm not sure why you want us, but we'll come nonetheless. However, I will be coming to check on my Pack often. You will not stop me, nor have anyone follow me." Her voice was firm and all too much adult for her small form. "Should anyone attempt to harm any of my wolves, I will not hesitate to shoot them, no matter who they are."
"Very well. You need not worry about harm coming you or your wolves." Robin smiled complacently, held out a hand, and pulled the child to her feet. He could see that Sylvia was nervous, and he could bet that he knew why. A growl that ended in a whine came from the cave as Roth stepped out, Selva behind him.
Sylvia turned back toward the cave and gave a soft bark. The two wolves backed into the den and Sylvia followed Robin out of sight of the small cave.
Much was the only one in camp when Robin returned, Sylvia in tow, about two hours later. He looked up as Robin entered the camp.
"Supper won't be ready for half an hour at least, Robi-" Much stopped and stared at the small brown-haired girl and the black and silver wolf in Robin's wake. "Who is that? And why is she here?"
"This is Sylvia, Much, and she's going to be staying with us for a while," Robin said, putting his arm around Sylvia's shoulders and pulling her into the circle of firelight. She stumbled slightly and glared up at Robin, who simply smiled down at her.
"Hello Sylvia," Much said, looking a little confused, but not wanting to argue with Robin.
"Hi," Sylvia said softly. She placed her hand on Myra's head and looked around warily.
"We don't have a bed for you, I'm afraid," said Robin. "But you can sleep over here, on this." He shook out a deerskin blanket and laid it out in one corner of the camp. Sylvia walked to the corner, Myra on her heels, pulled off her cloak, put her quiver and bow next to the blanket, and sat down. The two of them curled up under Sylvia's cloak to wait for whatever Much was cooking to be done.
"Much, where are the others?" Robin asked.
"They'll be back soon. Little John went to get more firewood, as our supply stock is low, Djaq and Will are gathering herbs for Djaq's medicine supply, and I'm not sure where Allan is." Much rattled off the locations of the rest of the gang.
"Hmm..." Robin stroked his chin thoughtfully, casting his gaze around the camp. It rested on the two newest additions for a few moments, before moving on. Sylvia seemed to notice him looking at her, as she raised her head to meet his eyes. She held his gaze for a few seconds before lowering her own eyes to the ground.
Will, Djaq, John, and Allan walked into the camp just as the sun was setting, Allan and John carrying armfuls of wood, and Will and Djaq carrying bundles of various herbs. Each set down their burden in its proper place, before getting bowls, plates and other eating utensils out and moving toward Much and the pot on the fire. Much rolled his eyes and began to ladle out the stew that he had made.
Nobody seemed to notice the new arrivals until Robin knelt and handed Sylvia a bowl of stew. "Thank you," Sylvia said softly, still avoiding Robin's eyes. He took her chin and forced her, gently, to look into his face. She still would not meet his eyes.
"Why won't you look at me?" he asked her. She blinked in surprise. "You're a pack leader," she said, as if that would explain everything. "It's disrespectful," she added at his bemused look. He smiled slightly at that and released her. "Eat," he instructed. "You need food, as you are growing."
Sylvia nodded and ate half her bowl of stew at an almost alarming rate. Then, to Robin's surprise and amusement, she put the bowl in front of Myra and scooted back a bit. Myra ate the rest of the stew and licked the bowl clean almost as fast as Sylvia had eaten the first half. The rest of the gang watched in confusion.
"Umm... Sorry, but who are you and what are you doing here?" Allan's question rang through the slightly stunned silence.
"Be nice, Allan," Robin admonished good-naturedly. "Lads, this is Sylvia. She'll be staying with us for a while. Sylvia, this is the rest of the gang: Allan-a-Dale, Djaq, Will Scarlett, and Little John."
"Hi," Sylvia said softly, her eyes flickering over each of the new people. She shivered almost imperceptibly when her gaze passed over Allan, but no one seemed to notice.
"Not being funny, but is that a wolf you have there?" Allan asked, a little nervously.
"Yes," Sylvia's tone became slightly colder at that. "Myra is my friend. Leave her alone."
"Sorry," Allan said quickly. "I didn't mean anything." The silence became a bit awkward after that, until John yawned, loudly and obviously. "Time for bed, I think," said Robin. "We'll need to be up early tomorrow. But, before everyone stops paying attention, there's a new rule to be followed." The gang started at the firm tone of Robin's voice. "The wolves in the forest and the surrounding areas are to be left alone. They will not be hunted." Before anyone could protest, Robin started the cleanup routine.
The gang nodded - some reluctently, and as Much gathered the dishes to be cleaned the following morning, everyone else climbed into their bunks and prepared to go to sleep. Nervously, Sylvia curled up with Myra and drifted into an uneasy slumber.
As they had for many nights past, nightmares plagued her dreams. She whimpered, tossing and turning on the deerskin blanket.
"Robyn, run!" Her father shoos her out of the house into the yard. "Go on, go! Into the forest, you'll be safe there!"
"But-" Robyn can't understand what's going on. "What's happening?" Her father shoves a leather packet into her hands. "Fletching supplies?"
"Don't forget, relax your wrists and aim right above your target. You always forget that." Robyn's father and mother hug her and give her a push toward the back gate. Her brother waves goodbye. She runs into the forest. The screams of her family ring in her ears. The forest is dark, and branches tug at her clothes. She collapses in a clearing as wolves surround her, growling and snarling. "No…"
Humans in black leather, their faces hidden in shadow, appear behind her, the wolves melt away, and she turns in fear. They draw swords and advance on her even as she backs away. "No…" She stumbles and falls back. One of the figures raises his sword and swings it at Robyn's neck. "NOOO!!"
Sylvia woke with a soft cry. She sat up, staring around, trying to discern where she was. "Wha-? Where am I? Oh... I'm in Robin Hood's camp…" Sylvia's breathing slowed as she slowly relaxed. "Not again. Nightmares." She sighed and got up. "Well, I'm not gonna get any more sleep tonight." She walked over to a large tree that grew right at the corner of the camp, Myra at her heels. "Hmph!" Stretching, she climbed the tree and sat on one of the branches near the top to wait for the others to wake and the sun to rise. "I hope I'll be able to sleep here," she said to herself. "It took me a while to be able to sleep at the cave, and now I'm in unfamiliar surroundings once more. Lovely."
Even as Sylvia was climbing her tree, Robin was dreaming. It was the time he and Sylvia had met for the first time. Well the first time that she had met him. He had seen her right after she had been born, having been at her naming ceremony, but that did not really count. He had been both surprised and pleased that the local bowyer and his wife had chosen to name their daughter after him. He had only been Lord of Locksley for four years, after all, and one of the younger Lords at that.
Robin stands on the top of the hill near Locksley manor, looking out over the forest and thinking. Something hits him lightly in the small of the back and he turns and looks down. A toy arrow is lying on the grass. Robin kneels and picks it up. The point is just sharp enough to look believable, but not sharp enough to hurt anyone. A soft gasp interrupts Robin's contemplation of the little arrow. He stands and looks up to see a small girl duck back behind the nearest haystack. He smiles.
"Come out," he calls softly. "I'm not going to hurt you."
A child with dark brown hair and glittering green eyes walks out from behind the haystack with her head down, and a tiny bow in her hands. Robin kneels to look the girl in the eye. "Is this yours?" he asks, holding up the arrow. "Y-yes." The child's voice stutters with fear. "I-I'm r-r-really s-sorry, s-sir," she murmurs. "I d-didn't mean to h-hit you with my a-arrow. D-don't tell my p-parents, p-please. They'll t-take my b-bow away."
Robin smiles at the girl again. "What's your name, child?" he asks her gently.
"R-Robyn," the child answers, still stuttering, but curiosity is slowly taking the place of fear. "R-Robyn Mirrinth. Why?"
"And how old are you, Robyn?"
"Five this winter, why?" The girl's eyebrows rise.
"Well, Robyn, here's what's going to happen. I'm going to take you home and then, we're going to go to the range and practice. I'm going to teach you how to aim properly."
Robin stands up and takes the girl's hand in his own. The two of them walk down the hill, towards the village.
Robin opened his eyes. He sat up and looked around the camp. The deerskin blanket was slightly rumpled, but empty. Casting his gaze around, he caught sight of Myra. She was sitting next to the tall tree that was in the corner of the camp, and staring upwards. Robin got up, walked over to the tree, and followed Myra's gaze. Sylvia was sitting on one of the higher branches.
'Who would do this to such a young girl? Who would want to destroy such a hopeful life?' Robin clenched his fists. 'The Sheriff, who else?' He shook his head. 'The Sheriff will pay for this. I'll make sure of it.'
Robin looked back at the others. No one else was awake yet. Stretching, he grabbed a branch above his head, and proceeded to climb up the tree to join Sylvia at the top.
Sylvia felt the branch shake slightly as Robin settled next to her.
"Good morning," she said, not shifting her gaze from the forest.
"Good morning," Robin replied. "What time is it?"
"About two hours past dawn."
"Why are you up here?" Robin was curious.
"Couldn't sleep." Sylvia was reluctant to discuss her dreams.
"Nightmare?" Robin prompted. Sylvia nodded. "Want to talk about it?" Sylvia shook her head. "Alright then. I'm here to listen if you need it."
Sylvia looked over at him, her eyes wide with surprise. "Thanks."
Much woke up and began the usual process of making breakfast. He looked around and noticed that Robin's bunk was empty. Barely managing not to panic, he stared around in alarm. He sighed when he saw both Robin and Sylvia climbing down the tree that grew in the corner.
"Have some breakfast."
"Thanks Much," the two replied.
"Alright!" Robin called. "Everyone up! We've got work to do!"
Grumbling good-naturedly, the rest of the gang roused themselves. After eating a hasty breakfast, they set off towards the North Road, where the travelers would be coming on their way to and from Nottingham. As she followed the group, Sylvia smiled, her suspicion easing a bit; it seemed she had finally found a place to belong and to use her skills, both to help others, and to spite the ones responsible for the destruction of her family.
The End...for now...
A/N: Hope you like it. Please review. Constructive criticism is welcome; flames will be used to roast marshmallows. This is the pilot story in somewhat of a series that will feature Sylvia along with the rest of the Robin Hood gang. Unfortunately, I've got a lot of things to do, so this series is going to move forward rather slowly. It WILL move forward, however, it just might take a while. Also, a special thanks to my mom for being my betareader.