Disclaimer: I DO NOT OWN ROBIN HOOD!
Author's Note: This is not the sequel to 'What If'. I haven't forgotten about the 'What If' sequel. I'm working on it. It's been a while since I posted anything. Don't worry, I'm not dead or anything. I've just been really busy. It's funny, You'd think I'd have more time to write in the summer but I have less time.
This is a story I wrote for school a few months ago. We had to do something creative about the trail of tears. So I did this. It's set in the USA around the 1800s. Djaq is going by the name of Saffiya the entire story. She is a Native American. Will is a US citizen.
William Daniel Scarlett of Locksley, Virginia picked up the newspaper and began to skim the news. One article caught his eye:
'Indian Removal act signed into law'
'Yesterday, May 26, the Indian Removal Act was signed into law by President Andrew Jackson. This act will move the Indian tribes west and open land for expansion. It will also allow the Indians to preserve their culture and prevent unnecessary warfare.'
Underneath the article was an advertisement:
'Able-bodied men age 18 – 30 wanted to escort Indians to their new territory.
Pay: $30/month plus rations, weapons, and uniform. See Geoffrey Gisborne or Robin Huntington.'
Will eyed the ad. Though he was 20 years old he had never been out of the state, and an adventure like this seemed too good to pass up. And $30 a month was a lot more than he made here as a carpenter. His mind was made up. Tomorrow he would go talk to Robin, a close family friend.
Ten days later the expedition was assembled. Geoffrey (or Guy as he was often called) Gisborne was the leader. Robin Huntington was second in command. Other volunteers like Will made up the rest of the group. Allan A Dale, John Little, Much Bonchurch, Roy White, Carter Crusader, and Tuck Friar were also from Locksley. Will knew all of them. The other ten men were clearly Guy's followers. Will was surprised that Guy and Robin were on the same expedition. Those two hated each other. They were both in love with feisty Marian Knighton and wanted to marry her. At the moment, Marian was engaged to Guy but only by her father's orders. Practically everyone in Locksley knew that she favored Robin. It was only a matter of time before she found a way to break the engagement. Will imagined that she would be relieved to be rid of both her suitors for a few months.
"The white men are coming!" The news spread like wildfire through the camp. Saffiya ran to her father's tent. He would need her when the white men arrived, as she was the only person in the tribe that spoke the language of the foreigners.
A group of about 20 soldiers marched into the camp, completely disregarding the fact that they were trampling food, weaving, and clothing. Saffiya was so furious she nearly shouted at them, but she managed to sound relatively civil as she said, "I am Saffiya, daughter of Chief Bassam. Greetings."
"Greetings, I am Captain Robin Huntington, and this is Lieutenant Guy Gisborne."
"That's Lt. Gisborne to you, Savage," the leather-clad Lt. informed her.
"What do they want?" her father asked.
Saffiya turned to the kinder Capt. and translated.
"Chief Bassam wishes to know your purpose for coming." It was Lt. Gisborne who replied.
"By order of President Vasey Sherriff, your tribe is to be escorted west to new land. It would be wise not to resist."
Her father's face turned red with fury, and he shouted angrily at the American soldiers. Saffiya only translated the basic gist of his words.
"Chief Bassam will not let your government force our tribe from our home."
Lt. Gisborne glared at her as her father called his warriors to action. As the Native Americans began to attack, Lt. Gisborne ordered his soldiers to open fire. Saffiya dropped to the ground as bullets whizzed above her.
When the shooting stopped and the smoke began to clear, she saw that nearly a third of the tribe had been injured or killed. But one fallen warrior caught her eye. Swift as the wind, she ran to her brother's side. Desperately, she searched for a sign that he was breathing, but to no avail. Djaq was dead. Tears filled her eyes and blurred her vision. She heard her father giving in to the Americans, but it seemed a million miles away. The only thing that registered in her mind was a single thought: Djaq was dead.
An American soldier tapped her shoulder.
"We are leaving now. Get anything you need to take."
How dare this white man tell her what to do when seconds ago he had been killing her kin!
"Get away from me!" she shrieked. When he didn't move, she attacked him. Caught off guard, he didn't even try to fight back. As Saffiya pulled her fist back to deliver a punch that would most likely leave him unconscious, another soldier grabbed her arm and pulled her away. She struggled, but he was surprisingly strong.
"Let me go!" she demanded. He flashed her an apologetic but cocky grin.
"Sorry, Princess, but I can't let you beat up Will. He's too nice to fight back."
"Nice?" she scoffed.
"Let her be, Allan," the one called Will said as he stood up. "I'm fine."
Sensing that she was calmer now, Allan released her. As she was about to turn away, he stopped her.
"Nice necklace, Princess," Allan muttered, fingering the wolf-shaped pendant around her neck. She stood still as a statue, fear showing clearly on her face, "much too nice for a savage like yourself." That said, he gave a sharp tug, snapping the leather cord. He examined the necklace for a few moments, and then tossed it on the ground.
"Go!" he ordered. Saffiya didn't need to be told twice. She ran.
Had she looked back, she would have seen Will bending to retrieve the turquoise pendant.
That night Will sat by the fire, lost in thought. Had he been wrong in undertaking this journey? The image of the Indian girl moments before she attacked him, mad with grief, haunted him. He had kept an eye on her throughout the day, but after the initial outburst she hadn't even cried. That girl had a strong spirit. She would make it. Will sighed and wondered if he would.
Huddled under a thin blanket much farther from the fire, Saffiya finally allowed her tears to fall. They ran down her cheeks like twin rivers. Twins, like she and Djaq. She closed her eyes and she saw him, chasing her across the fields in their twelfth summer, laughing for no reason at all, flirting with a girl from another village, and finally lying dead on the ground with a bullet through his heart. She buried her head in the blanket which still held his scent: a mix of maize under the harvest moon, mud, and deerskin. She imagined she felt his arms around her as he lifted her to the lowest branch of the sycamore tree, which she couldn't reach, before he climbed up himself. She could taste the blueberries they often picked together, eating more berries than they put in the basket. And she could hear his voice calling her name: Saffiya, Saffiya, Saffiya… Her dreams that night were dark and bloody.
The days became a blur, a living nightmare. Each morning they woke at dawn. They would march until it was too dark too see. Then the soldiers would start a fire and cook dinner. Sometimes they fed the Native Americans, sometimes they didn't. The days turned into weeks and winter soon arrived.
Saffiya woke one morning to a world of white.
"Snow" she whispered reverently. She had always loved the snow. It turned the normal everyday world into a magical wonderland. The stillness surprised her and made her realize that she was the only person awake in the camp. The sun was only just up but the reflection from the snow made it seem so much brighter. Out of the corner of her eye she thought she saw a wolf, but when she looked there was nothing. She scolded herself for imagining things and thought no more of it. Sanjay watched the snow fall until Lt. Gisborne woke. Within minutes they were marching again.
That day Saffiya began to hate the snow. None of the Native Americans had warm enough clothes and walking through the snow proved to be treacherous. Two of the elders succumbed to the cold and were left behind to die. Several more people, even a few of the soldiers, had frost bite. It seemed like forever before they stopped for the night. The soldiers 'forgot' to feed them and everyone fell asleep quickly, except Saffiya. She sat awake in the middle of the silent camp staring at the snow-covered hill overlooking where they were sleeping. As she watched, the wolf she had seen earlier appeared from the mist, and then disappeared. She sat bolt upright, any thoughts of sleep abandoned. Carefully, she crept around her sleeping kin and up the hill. At the top she saw that she was not the only one awake. Will, the soldier she had once attacked, was sitting on the far side of the hill. She turned to go but he had seen her.
"You don't have to leave" he told her, "I won't hurt you." For some reason she believed him. She sat down in the snow near him, far enough to run if he tried anything but close enough that she didn't seem rude. She followed his gaze to the sky.
"What do you see in the stars?" Will asked. The question took her by surprise. Why did he care? But she found herself wanting to talk to him so she answered.
"According to the legends of my people the stars hold the spirits of great men and women who have died. I like to think that Djaq is among them."
"My twin, the one you Americans murdered. If he was still alive, next summer would be his would be his eighteenth. He would be a full warrior." Her voice was bitter but not accusing. She did not blame Will for all the crimes of his people.
"Where I come from we see pictures in the stars." Will told her. She laughed.
"Really? Show me." He did.
"See those three bright stars there? That's Orion's belt…" Sanjay fell asleep to the sound of Will's quiet voice. She did not feel him carry her back to camp later that night.
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