Two red-haired children ran in green fields, laughing and chasing each other; the warm, spring sunshine warmed the air.
They tumbled in the field and laughed, rolling amongst the buttercups. They lay on the grass and looked at the blue sky, watching the clouds, imagining what shapes they were forming. The boy realized it would be the last time he would see his sister. He was going to leave tomorrow morning and would never return. His father thought he was smart and felt it was time for him to join the priesthood.
"Will," said his sister, a red-haired beauty with blue eyes. "Will I ever see you again?"
"I hope so," he said.
"Will you write every day?"
"I'm going to miss you."
"And I you."
She hugged her brother. He left the next day in the early morning and his father left him at the monastery to begin his studies.
William Tuck, now Friar Tuck remained in the monastery. He held onto the letters from his sister since their childhood. After that, they stopped soon. He missed his sister. He had nothing to remember her with except a lock of long, strawberry blond hair that she sent him when she had turned 8.
He wondered what she had been doing now while he was gone for so long.
Rosalie Tuck held a basket of flowers, singing. At sixteen, she was fresh as a rose in the morning dew with her strawberry blonde hair that cascaded down to her waist, tiny braids pulled back in a V shape behind her head; her skin was as white as a lily, and her eyes blue as the sky. She wore an ugly dress of gray. But tatters and filth couldn't hide her beauty, youth and innocence.
Her brother was gone, but not forgotten. She wished to see him again. He was her best friend. She would wander the streets, looking for any signs of her brother, selling flowers. She would know what he would look like: curly hair cut in a tonsure with a beard to match. He inherited his father's brown eyes.
Yet she never found him. Not once. But she wouldn't give up finding him.
She sang a ballad, strolling, admiring the flowers in her basket. Her voice was sweet as an angel's. It was hard for her family since the Sheriff had raised taxes. Her father sold most of their possessions in order to pay taxes. He would do anything to keep the farm from being taken away, anything to keep a roof over his daughter's head. Rosalie did what she could to make money to help save her father's farm: she would work hard on the farm to grow food and sell flowers.
However, the attention not only attracting a good crowd, but a bad one as well. Guy of Gisbourne, the Sheriff of Nottingham's cousin, was passing through the city square and heard the sweetest voice amongst the peasants. He stopped a moment and stared at this strawberry haired girl in a tattered dress, selling flowers. Yet, the way the sun shone on her red hair, her rosy cheeks and creamy skin made her look like a fresh dewy rose. He thought she would make such a fine present for his cousin. She would entertain him with her beautiful voice, perhaps in the bedroom. He grinned wickedly. He vowed to come every day and listen, study every move she made and hope to capture this singing nightingale.
She moved her hair away from her ear and he immediately felt a stirring in his loins, seeing the exposed white neck, those hands…filthy, but so lily white. So beautiful for a peasant girl. He would've taken her right there if there hadn't been a crowd.
He would come every day, watching the peasant girl sing and sell flowers. He followed her, watching from afar as she entered her peasant hut.
One evening as the sun was setting, Rosalie walked towards her farm after selling some flowers in the street. There were soldiers were burning her house and dragging her father out. She dropped her basket of flowers, running towards the soldiers and her father.
"Father!" she screamed.
Before she had a chance to reach her father, a man with a scar on his face grabbed her and threw her over his horse.
"ROSALIE!" her father's voice said.
She fought back, but her abductor was stronger and subdued her, tying her hands together and putting a sack over her head, riding towards Nottingham Castle. He carried the girl up the stairs over his shoulders and flung open the door. She felt her abductor bouncing as he climbed each step, terrified.
"Cousin," said a male voice that was deep and soft. "I trust you'll justify your intrusion with news of profound value."
"I brought you a gift," said her abductor. "May I present you a very rare, delicate flower?"
He dumped Rosalie on the floor onto her knees, pulling the sack off her head. Her vision was blurred from being inside that dark sack, her red hair askew. She blinked her eyes to clear her vision to find herself in an immense stone castle. She found herself kneeling at the feet of the Sheriff of Nottingham. She recognized him from church, since he attended every Sunday: clad in black from head to toe with a gold belt around his waist, his jet-black hair came to his shoulders with a matching short, neatly trimmed beard. His eyes were the most frightening: cold, black and without remorse.
The Sheriff stared at this girl, immediately was enchanted by her youth, her exquisite beauty, and her innocence. Though she was only sixteen, she had blossomed into a fine young woman. How fine of a slave she would make: scrubbing his floors in the day and perhaps keeping him company in his bed at night.
Rosalie didn't dare speak; she had seen the Sheriff do horrible things to peasants. All she could do was remain silent, to speak only when spoken to, though she was trembling.
"Leave us!" said the Sheriff to Guy of Gisbourne. "I do apologize for my cousin's brutality, my child. Tell me your name, girl."
"Rosalie Tuck," she whispered, still trembling.
"You're William Tuck's daughter, aren't you?"
"Yes, sir. He was arrested today. But I do not understand why."
"A foolish man he is: he did not pay his taxes. He will be imprisoned for as long as he shall live."
Rosalie had no family left: her dear mother in Heaven. Her brother was in the monastary and hadn't heard from him in years. Now, the Sheriff was taking her father
"Please, sir, release my father. He is old and ill. He will die in prison and I will be orphaned. Please do not take my father away from me. He's all I have left. I shall do anything for his freedom." She clasped her hands in prayer-like and tears began to flow from her sky blue eyes, trembling.
The Sheriff showed no empathy, but seemed persuaded. Perhaps it was her beauty, her youth, or her innocence that made him sway.
"You will do anything for your father's freedom?" he said softly, raising his eyebrows with interest.
"Yes, sir, anything."
"It is very endearing to see a child who will do anything to spare the life of her beloved parents. For you know, I am kind to the less fortunate. If you want your father's freedom, then I want something in return from you, for I ask for very little."
"What do you want?" she asked.
You in my bed, naked. He thought to himself.
"I want you to work in my castle, to be obedient: whatever I say, you will do without question or complaint. Should you resist, expect very severe punishment, for I'd hate to spoil such a delicate flower like yourself. Are we agreed?"
She nodded, though very afraid. "I agree."
"Very well. Your father will be released by sunrise. And he won't be taxed as long as you are in my possession."
"You must promise he will be safe."
"I must ask one last thing," she said. "I want to see my father just for one last time."
"Not today," he said. "Dusk has approached. I shall see to it that you see your father by sunrise."
He lied to her. He had no intention of letting her see her father nor letting her go.