I walked. It was the only thing to do really. It gave me time to think. About water for one; but more about the things I've done. I was a criminal. My name is Andriana, and I am not just a criminal I am and excellent criminal, but a criminal none the less.
I stole. I lied. I cheated men out of their money. I lived in the woods and hunted for my own food. I was fine on my own. One day I snuck into the castle and tried to take money from the sheriff. Not much, nothing he wouldn't miss from his mass amount of wealth. To make a long story short I was caught. I escaped, thank God. After that I thought I'd try my hand in another country and that is where my story begins.
"Hello? can you hear me? Much, get her some water please. I think she's waking up." A masculine voice asked.
"Yes master." another said. I peeked my eye open and saw one leave. I sprang up drawing my dagger and pointing it at the man in front of me.
"Who are you? Where am I? Whats going on?"
"Calm down you're safe. My name is Robin of Loxley. we found you lying in the desert while making camp and brought you in here." He explained extending his hands. "can you put the dagger down please?"
"Master her- Master she has a dagger!" Much yelled.
"Stay where you are Much. The dagger please." Robin asked again.
"I think not, I'll keep my dagger if you please. I'm sorry to scare you." I said addressing Much. "I thought I had been captured by Saracens . Again." Saying the last part under my breath. I looked at Robin and much. They had broth grown. Robin was more handsome than ever and Much was much Much-ier. Much gave me the flask of water and I drank it greedily. When it was half full I stopped wiping my mouth.
"What is your name if I may ask?" robin asked taking a less defensive stance.
"My name? Wolf. My name is Wolf." I said going by the name the men at the taverns gave me when I would swindle them out of cash. They called me a wolf in girls clothing.
"Your name is Wolf?" Much asked. " That's a silly name for a girl why did your parents give you that name."
"Because I haven't got them." I said pointedly. Still annoying as ever aren't you Much?
"How did you get here?" Robin asked.
"I chartered a ship that took me to France and from there I just kept walking."
"But how did you end up here? We are thousands of miles from England and you're a girl how did you make it here?" Much asked confused.
"I chartered a ship that took me to France and from there I just kept walking and being a girl I made it here all on my own." I said pointedly.
"Robin, the King wishes to know if our guest is awake." A soldier said upon entering the tent.
"I am." I said in response for Robin.
"He wishes to speak with you m'lady." oh God here we go.
"I am not properly dressed for an audience with the King." I said embarrassed.
"It's alright, we're in a war. even the King is a mess." Robin stated. "shall we?" He said leading the way. Meeting the King was not on today's list of things I wanted. I wanted to run all the way back to England and hide. Robin opened the flap to the Kings tent and motioned for me to enter. When I did i was kind, yet worn, brown eyes. I bowed in respect.
"Ah. I see our weary traveler has awoken." he said offering me a seat which I declined. "What is your name?
"They call me Wolf m'lord."
"Tell me Wolf, how did you come to be here?" The King asked.
"I chartered a ship that took me to France and from there I just kept walking until i found my self here." I answered.
"Seems strange that a young girl made it all this was alone. you must be tired." He said.
"With all respect m'lord, I am no average girl and I would like to be treated as such." I said in the least offensive way possible. I looked at the King to see if I had offended him. I gave no sign of anything. I looked at Robin and Much who had a horrified expression on his face. All the sudden he barked a laugh and smiled.
"As you wish m'lady. Please, I would be delighted for you to dine with me. It's been to long that I have seen a pretty face." He said gesturing towards Robin and Much. "I've had to put up with these ugly mugs."
"Not lookin' to sharp yourself m'lord." Robin said in mock offence. The king laughed in response.
I smiled "I would me honored your grace."
"Well then. We should get you into some clean clothes. I think we'll find we are a little short on dresses."
"Britches will work just fine m'lord. I've never liked them anyway." I said laughing. He nodded and sent me away with Robin and Much.
"So what is your real name?" Much asked.
"Andriana." Robin and Much stopped and looked at me.
"You ran away after Marian's father found a home for you and your brother. What have you been doing all this time?" Robin asked.
"Living on my own. It wasn't easy at first but I got by."
"After I saw how much of a burden I was on Arthur and Lily I couldn't stay. Feeding James alone was hard enough. I didn't want them to suffer just because I was hungry." I said exasperatedly.
"But they loved you."
"And that would have blinded them. There was no need for them to love me. James was a baby he would have forgotten he even had a sister. He is theirs in a way that I never could be. I remember my parents; He doesn't."
"So that means that you can break their hearts like they mean nothing?"
"What I did was save them. They would have starved." I said with a tone a finality ans I walked into the tent They had put me in.
"I'll have Much bring you some clothes." Robin said from outside. I sat on the bed and sighed.
Much came in after a few minutes passed and set some clothes next to me.
"Ya know he missed you after you ran away. We all did, even Marian." He said chuckling.
"Marian and I never could agree could we? I missed you all too; it was just, Arthur and Lily they where much better off. I couldn't be the daughter they wanted. James, he doesn't even remember me."
"I'm sure he does." Much said reassuringly.
"No he doesn't. Trust me. I went back to Loxley just before I left and gave him some money. He asked why I was giving money to a stranger."
"What did you tell him?"
"What did you think? I can't shatter the poor boys reality and tell him I left him. I told him that I didn't need it."
"The King is having dinner soon. You should change."
"Thank you Much." I said smiling at him.
"Your welcome." He said then left. I changed into a cotton shirt and leather vest and a pair of britches. a minute after I was finished one of the soldiers came to escort me to the Kings tent.
"Hello again." the King said standing from his seat and pulling mine out for me. "It's not much, I honestly don't think it's food but my men and I eat the same."
"And here I had expected you to be eating like a king not a soldier." I said impressed that he would eat like his men. "M'lord I was wondering." I said after a few minutes of eating. "What am I to do? I have been wandering for some time now. I don't even know what month it is. What will become of me when you leave here?" I asked.
"Something tells me you have a suggestion. Lets here it then."
"I'd like to stay." I said knowing the answer.
"And why is it that you wish to stay in the wars?"
"I am a criminal back in England. I was caught stealing a large amount of money from the sheriff of Northshire. It's why I left England. I'd like to redeem myself. I wish to help end the wars so you and your men can come home to England." I confessed and finished my meal.
"How did you come into this life of crime?" He said after a pregnant pause.
"I ran away from my home after my parents where killed. I did what I needed to feed myself, nothing more."
"And you needed to rob the sheriff of Nottingham to feed yourself?" the King questioned.
"More or less. the rest of the money was going to go to the family that I ran away from."
"Can you use a sword? A bow?" I nodded. Then you can be in my personal guard just don't cause the commander to much trouble. Tomorrow at dawn you can go to our armory and get yourself something to fight with." He said as my face lit up.
"Thank you m'lord. It is an honor. Thank you so much." After our meal was over with an I thanked him some more he dismissed me. I went back to my tent and saw Robin waiting for me.
"What are you so smiley about?" He asked walking in after me.
"I'm to be in the Kings personal guard!" I gushed.
"What? Why? How?" He asked.
"I asked the king to let me do this to redeem myself for all the things I've done and he said yes."
"Well I say no. I'll not let you do this. you need to go back to England where you belong."
"No. I have to do this Robin. I would gladly lay down my life if it means getting you and Much and King Richard back to England safe. It is an honor to serve the king and this is how I want to do it." He made several frustrated noises than headed for the exit. "Where are you going Robin?"
"I need to speak with the King." He said storming off.
Seven Months Later
After much pissing and moaning Robin finally got over me being in the guard. He worked me double than what his men did but I did it, without all the complaining the men did. When in battle he rarely let me leave his side, only on the few times the King's life was in danger was it acceptable. After being scared for my life and for the many friends I had made here I had the same look as all the other men in camp. Much and I grew closer as friends. He told me every story he knew, multiple times, and ever time it changed a little growing more outlandish with each telling. Despite all the killing and blood and fighting for King and Country, I was getting along just fine.
"Saracens! Saracens! Saracens in the camp!" I heard a man scream. I bolted out of bed and grabbed my bow and sword and some arrows and ran outside. I thrust my bolts into the sand and shot the first Saracen I saw. I grabbed my arrows and ran further into battle. I cut down three more when I saw three heading into the Kings tent.
"Robin! The King's in danger!" I yelled to him as I ran. I entered the tent and stabbed one of the Saracens in the back and another one tacked me to the ground. the other one grew closer to the King as Robin entered and fought him. I killed the Saracen that tacked me and got up in time to see Robin being stabbed. Robin managed to cut him on the arm before the coward fled. I ran to Robin screaming for Much.
"Wolf! Wolf! Oh God what happened?"
"bastard stabbed him Much. What do I do Much? What do I do?" I screamed. He told me to get his legs and help him into the medical tent. They told Much and I to wait out side. "What if he dies? Oh god he can't die. He can't."
"My master is not going to die! Not in this sandy wasteland." He said determinedly.
"HE WILL NOT DIE!" He yelled. After an hour or so they told us he was awake.
"You're a sorry sight you are mate." I said remnants of tears still in my eyes.
"I look as bad as I feel I suppose." Robin said weakly.
"No master you don't." Much said.
"You're right... He looks worse." I said earning a small smile from him.
"Didn't King Richard tell you not to give me to much trouble?" Robin asked.
"No. I don't recall that." I lied looking away feigning innocence. We chatted for a while longer and then Much and I went to my tent. "I hope he gets better soon. I don't want to have to be under William's command any longer than necessary." I told Much.
"You don't think about what he did to me last time. I smelled like horse shit for two weeks."
"You smelled worse than horse shit. I didn't think it was possible." I said laying on my bed.
After a few days I went to see Robin in his tent and I found him unconscious with a very high fever. I canned for Much and we took care of him. Meanwhile King Richard was preparing to move camp. Without us. King Richard came into Robins tent just after nightfall.
"Robin, how is he doing?" He asked.
"Not well m'lord. His fever wont break. I don't know what else to do." I confessed.
"We leave camp in two days; if it hasn't broken by morning... we'll have to leave without you three."
"I believe you have redeemed yourself. You saved my life and many of your comrades more than once. By the power vested in me by God, you are pardoned of all your crimes." he said handing me a scroll. "Go home, meet a nice man, have a family. Be good." he said taking his leave. I sat on the chair next to Robins bed.
Pardoned. Go home? I have a family it's here.
I was out of sorts until Much shook me. I looked outside and was that it was just after
"I asked how Robin was doing? Have you been paying any attention to him at all?"
"He pardoned me."
"King Richard pardoned me. I'm not a criminal anymore." I said getting more excited as I told Much.
"That's great!" He said hugging me. I laughed. "So hows Robin been doing?" I told him that there was no change and if it didn't change by morning King Richard was moving camp without us.
"Good thing I'm awake then." Robin said weakly.
"Robin! how do you feel?" I asked.
"Master are you okay?" Much asked at the same time as me.
"I feel as bad as you two smell; how long have you been here?"
"A while. I'll go get the King. Tell him your awake." Much said running out. I grabbed the cloth that Much and I had been using to dab the sweat off of Robins brow and dipped it in some cool water. I layed it over his forehead and sat next to him.
"How long have I been out?" He asked after several minutes of silence.
"A few days. Five at the most. I thought you had died when i came in." I told him. "King Richard gave me pardon. He told me to go home. Start a family."
"You? Start a family? Is he talking about the same girl?" I asked.
"I know. it's ridiculous. What man would be able to handle me?" I said laughing.
"I've yet to meet one. You are to much of a handful. Going off and picking fights with Saracens. Protecting the King. Fighting for King and Country. The man you decide to marry is one I must meet."
"Robin. How are you feeling?" King Richard asked, stepping into the tent.
"Terrible." replied Robin. "I feel like I was run over by a carriage."
"Well, feel better lad. You'll be in Loxley by the end of the month. You and your man servant are going home."