Author's Note: I don't have too much to mention about this chapter. It's sort of short, I know, bit of a filler really until I get to good stuff next. I tried to catch the pauses in his speech, so I hope that translated well... That's about it. Enjoy!
Disclaimer: Don't own Robin Hood: POT and no money is made from this.
Of course, the voice behind me could have been anyone; of all the forests in the world…
I turned around slowly on my heel. How had I not noticed a huge white horse standing there when I had been lying on the ground?
The horse's rider slid down from the saddle, approaching me calmly. I was the one whose heart was racing faster than a rabbit's. His smile, although pleasant, did not quite reach his dark eyes.
He held a gloved hand out to me, like some frightened animal he was trying to steady. I remained frozen in my spot, well aware that I was out of my area of expertise, probably out of my time period too.
His clothing, I knew wasn't modern, although rather familiar. I was thinking at least pre-14th century. His hair, although longer and shaggier than some men liked it, was not unflattering to his face and accompanying facial hair. It was as dark as a black bird and just as glossy.
"What is such a lovely young woman doing in my woods all… alone?" he asked me, taking my hand gently to his mouth. Oh Goddess what a charmer! His mustache tickled my skin, where his lips didn't touch. I resisted the urge to snatch my hand away; he was being chivalrous.
"I, uh, don't know." His gaze appraised me, from head to toe. I shivered, under the scrutiny. I hoped I was wearing clothing, with the way he was raking his eyes over every inch. A quick hand in my duster pocket told me I was.
"You are… lost, then?" he asked with mock surprise, raising an eyebrow.
"You could say that." Something flickered in his expression as his eyes came to rest on my neck. Irrationally I thought, 'Oh Goddess, don't bite me!" Instead, a gloved hand reached for something resting there. My pentacle must have slid from beneath my shirt. He examined it with interest that had nothing to do with my figure or sex.
"A lost little lamb," he whispered, taking a new appraisal of me. "I apologize…where did you say you were from?"
"I didn't, actually." He nodded, watching my face once again, waiting for me to elaborate. "I'm from far away," I told him. Really far away, I added in my head.
"Beyond Nottingham?" I nodded before it struck me exactly where I was. But how had it happened? A spell? I was dreaming. His hand felt real enough… "A woman that wears the clothing of a man…" his voice trailed off.
"Yes in my village, this is the required wear." Oh shit, I was wearing my modern day clothing still. Though, if I let him progress, I wouldn't have need for it. I didn't consider myself to be of any real beauty, and yet his eyes never left my frame. What a pervert!
"Then why are you…so far from home?" I had to think fast. Quick, something he would eat up.
"My family cast me out for being what I am," I told him sternly. He 'tsked' several times, all the while trying to lead me close to his horse. To be perfectly honest, the beasts scared me. I was just a wee bit afraid of heights.
His steady hands found my waist as he steered me to the left side of the animal. It paid little attention to me. He meant for me to get on the thing! I balked.
"Sir," I gasped suddenly, enough to get his attention. "I do not even know who my savior is!" I tried to tear away from him. He caught me by a wrist. I had a bad feeling.
"George, my lady. Sheriff of Nottingham." His mouth twitched. He was hoping for a docile creature, who would accept without question. Well not me. I had to stifle a chuckle though, as his name was simply George, when you had people like Robin of Locksley running around. It had always struck me as terribly funny. "And what name, pray tell, do you go by?"
"Deidra of London." As far as I knew, he wouldn't be able to figure out that I was actually Celtic, unless my accent grew heavy. If I remembered correctly, being Celtic in this period was to be barbaric. "But I'm afraid I will have to decline your ride," I told him. His hand gripped my wrist harder than I realized, nearly cracking the bone. It would really suck to injure myself now; there was nothing in the way of medical care. "I hardly know you."
I expected any other facial expression than the one he provided me with.
He smiled, like he knew something I didn't.
"Oh really?" he drawled, his thumb caressing the shivering flesh of my hand.
"Yes." I made the worst attempt to curtsy.
"I…think not." His mouth turned grave, frowning.
"And just why not?" Continue with the self confidence.
"Because you are… trespassing on my property. I am arresting you." Before I could struggle any further away, he grabbed me and threw me over the back of his horse, climbing up and pinning me to his lap.
His murky laughter rang through the trees, sending a shiver down my spine. I kicked and attempted to free myself. It would be better to fall to my doom off a speeding horse, than what he probably had in mind for me.
Five minutes in a new place and already I was knee deep in trouble.
If you've ridden a horse in this manner, then you know how perfectly uncomfortable it is. If you haven't though, my words will not come close to relating the experience. I felt like I was being pummeled with every movement, everything jostling around. The trees seemed to fly by, and the Sheriff would give me a good slap on the rump every now and again. It was humiliating.
I felt like some sort of common whore.
Never had I been treated this way. If this was going to be my lot in life, then life had another thing coming. I refused to be less than a man. In modern Wicca, men and women are on equal footing, feminism and all that. But in the 12th century, women had no rights or say in their daily lives.
I screamed, hoping someone was about and would hear my cries. Nothing. A well regulated slap to my backside, just enough to irritate me, but not enough to harm me or cause physical marking. I gave up for the time being, propping my head up by my palm as we galloped along.
The castle loomed, dark and foreboding in the distance. I wondered how many girls the Sheriff picked up. It wouldn't be the first time I would wonder that either. In the coming weeks, it would be something I would have to adjust to, at least at first.
If I were Alice, this would be a wonked version of Wonderland that I had somehow fallen into. Guards opened the gates with much respect as their master galloped into the yard, pulling hard on the horse's mouth to stop short.
I was almost tossed over the neck, grabbing my captor by pure instinct, even if he claims differently. He jumped down before I did; snatching my waist and holding me flush to him, so that I couldn't possibly escape.
His grip was hard and his voice merry as he called out for someone named Guy. Guy of Gisborne, of course. I always thought that was a funny name. Just like George. I tried not to laugh, though they were two peas in a weird, sexual little pod.
"Come and see my newest conquest!" he called, pushing me ahead of him. I knew, if I entered those walls, I wouldn't lead a normal life again. I dug my heels in the unforgiving dirt, despairing as it did me no good. He pulled me along anyway, as if I were but a feather.
I was so angry. I tried to spit, to curse as a lady shouldn't, but his hand clamped firmly over my mouth and the darkness swallowed me.
Author's End Note: Review?