The Lion in Red


Synopsis:

A Mysterious Noble Woman, the King in danger and Prince John and the Sheriff plotting for the Throne. Can Robin Hood save the day? Set after 'Lost in Translation'.

A/N:

Plot Bunny, not quite sure where this is going, but I hope you enjoy it! Please review!


Prologue:


The sounds of the armed party as they passed down the forest path were not great, the men were shushed and the horses moved at a good trot, but they were ready, the party came round a bend in the trail. In the lead were two mail clad horsemen in the colours of Prince John, behind them rode a figure hooded and cloaked in grey, with a gauzy veil to cover her face from the dust, and a large man, robed like a cleric, with a monks cowl but Robin recognised a knights bearing when he saw it, and behind them a small wagon and half a dozen more guards were following after.

Robin grinned, easy pickings – apart from the monk who was not a monk, but he thought he knew how to neutralise that threat. He motioned to Little John and Allan, who were concealed on the other side of the road. He waited, judging his moment as they moved into position, and then he stood, call "Ho!" as he did so.

Below the figures came to an immediate halt as two outlaws appeared in their path. Kate rose up across from Robin and Tuck and Little John blocked their retreat. The groups stood still, as Robin aimed his arrow at the white robed figure. The monk-who-was-not-a-monk made to shield her but she brushed him aside, laying a restraining hand upon his arm, and it was a she Robin saw, for her grey cloak shifted as she moved her horse forwards revealing the skirt of a port red gown.

"Who are you?" she called, a strong and yet sweet voice Robin noted with a slight smile.

"I? I am Robin Hood m'lady," he said with a slight bow of his head, never not having his arrow pointed at her heart, "I steal from the Rich and give to the poor; I take from those who need riches not, and give it over to the hungry, the sick and the destitute." He moved down the slope to the road as he spoke, keeping his eyes on the figure in the grey cloak.

"Ahh. Robin of Locksley, the outlaw who was the Kings most loyal guard. Such a long way you have fallen, my lord." There was a little laughter in her voice, mocking him.

"I serve the King now as loyally as I did then, against those who would take his kingdom and enslave his people." Robin replied, irritated by the woman's tone.

"And how does stealing from me help the king Earl of Huntingdon?" she asked, her voice dropping a little as he grew closer. Robin halted on the trail, a strange thought entering his mind. Few women in England wore a veil across their face to hide from dust, but in the Holy Land few did not.

"Your coin will feed the poor and the starving!" Little John shouted as Robin had made no move to reply.

"I have no coin, nor have I riches elsewhere that might tempt you to hold me ransom. I am of little import and less wealth. You will gain little in holding up me!" she replied, disparaging and angry.

"But you have jewels." Said Robin, his mind working hard, he had a feeling. A feeling he didn't like much, oe which was only confirmed after he managed to glance beneath the Monks cowl. She inclined her veiled and cowled head as he stepped forward, lowering his bow and gripping the reins of her mount below its neck. "Perhaps you wear a ring milady?" he inquired, noting the way the monk shifted in his saddle at the question.

After a glance around her, and a particular nod to the monk, she dropped her reins and lifted a gloved hand. She drew off the soft loose grey leather glove slowly, revealing a slim, pale hand, with a glittering ring and bracelet, both of which sparkled red and glittering white in the slim beams of sunlight that meandered through the trees. She lowered the hand, and looked down at him, through the gauzy grey veil he could make out strong brows, a wide full mouth and a strong jaw. He took her hand in his, and there it was, on her longest finger, a wide gold band, filigreed into the shape of a lion, with a winking ruby eye and a crown of diamonds. He grinned. He knew that ring, he knew the lady who wore and he knew who guarded her so closely.

With a gentle hand he tugged the ring from her finger. And with an impish look up at her, he kissed the hand that it had come from. He saw her eyebrows rise in shock, but she let his lips linger a moment but then she pulled her hand back from him, slapping it forwards to catch him on the cheek, he let his head fly back as though she had hit him far harder than she had and danced back a few steps, pulling his sword as he did so.

"Impudent knave!" Growled the man in monks robes as he came forwards, placing his horse between the lady and Robin. But Robin only grinned wider, flourishing the lady and her protector a bow.

"I thank you m'lady for this gift, on behalf of the people of Nottingham!" he called, motioning to the others the quickly beat a retreat from the road. Behind them the lady in the veil but her lip in an attempt to stop herself from smiling, even as she rubbed at the hand he had held.


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