I watch as my father puts on his best coat, cinches his braces, and straps his sword to his side as if it is only another common day, as if he hasn't seen my brother's face every day for the past sixteen years and is about to hang another common poacher, as if he is not about to hang his only son.
The old crones call me a seer, a walker of the old ways, but I have never asked for this curse, wherein my dreams I smell the ash of the burning Holy City and hear the groans of good English men, dying in the desert, and our King Richard holding the banner of Christendom aloft.
Little John smiles at me from across the wood fire, and jerks his head at the boys stretched out on the beach, their shirts rolled up under their heads for pillows, their knifes stuck in the sand at their sides. "They'll be as ravenous as wolves in the morning," Little John says. "It is well that you know you know how to cook then," I reply. Little John gives me a look for that, but we both know I burn more meat and bread than anyone else in Nottingham.
I grasp Will's arm through the bars as a brother would. "I will get you out," I whisper.
I bind the lady's feet even as she sobs and kicks at me. I bite my tongue holding back my apologies and drag the portly lord, still unconscious, to a tree while the lady screams for help. Much rushes forward and claps his hand over her mouth before I can utter a word. Much's face screws up with pain, the lady's good teeth breaking the skin of his palm as she bites him. He slaps her. "That's my bow hand you stupid woman!" I hold my tongue, but my blood boils.