Author's Note: this story follows from the story laid out in the Theatrical Version of the movie, rather than the Director's Cut. (Having just seen the Director's Cut, I noticed that there are some scenes in it that contradict a few of the plot points I put in the story, which was written before the DVD was released.)
They arrived in the wood just as the sun was falling. It had taken nearly all the afternoon to pack up the household items, Marion's clothes, and some food, and then load it onto the horses. The news would come quick and they didn't have time to waste.
The hour before dark is always an eerie one in the life of a forest. The shadows grew longer and deeper, as the light filtered weakly through the canopy. Few birds could be heard. Only the sounds of leaves and twigs snapping under their horses' hooves broke through the quiet.
Marion could swear she heard the faint sound of laughing in the distance. As she looked up and down the trail, though, she saw nothing.
He must have glimpsed some fear in her eyes, for he clutched her reins and brought both their horses to a stop. Alan, Will, John, and the friar, travelling some distance behind them, stopped as well, conferring privately.
"We don't have to do this, Marion. We can go north. John has kin in the Lowlands."
"There's no need." She sighed. "No one will venture into Sherwood. Not even the Sheriff would be so foolish."
"Perhaps I should just go."
"I'm the outlaw, the one they're after. There's no reason for you to do…" – he waved at the forest surrounding them – "…this."
"I made my choice. I want to stand with you. If that means a little dirt and privation, so be it."
"I just…" His eyes softened. "I would never want you to suffer for what I've done."
"What you've done?" She smiled, looking up at him teasingly. "If we're going to list your offenses, let's begin with your exploits of carrying off a damsel – a respectable widow, no less – into your fugitive's lair. What will your chroniclers make of it?"
"Be serious for a moment."
"I am. What you have done, I have done also. I helped you pretend to be Robert, if you remember. And I plan to shelter you, outlaw though you may be. I am just as guilty as you, so it's only fitting that we share the punishment, which, in our case, happens to be this forest."
She spurred her horse on, leaving him behind.
It was getting darker and colder, and she pulled her cloak tighter. As she scanned into the depths of the forest, its shadows seemed to multiply. It would be easy to lose one's way in a place such as this, she thought.
A glint out of the darkness hurtled towards her. A pair of wide, startled eyes, belonging to a doe, rushed headlong across the path, brushing by her horse and causing it to spook. As it jolted along the path, she held tight, trying to keep her balance.
She looked suddenly back behind her, her heart in her throat. With one quick, liquid motion, he had pulled an arrow from the pouch on his back, notched it, drew back the bowstring, and let the arrow soar straight into the beast's chest. It lurched, uncertain of where to move next, until it realized it no longer could, and collapsed suddenly onto the leaves.
As she gained control of her horse, she turned to where the doe lay, its lifeblood seeping into the ground.
"Killing the king's deer? You're definitely an outlaw now."