1. ROBIN HOOD AND MARION

1. ROBIN HOOD AND MARION

A Chapter by Peter Rogerson
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An introduction to some of the main characters from the old legend.

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Robin,” called Marion in the greenwood, “I need you.”

There was a rustling as branches and twigs high in the trees that bordered the clearing intertwined and scraped together, and then, suddenly, with a cry and a whoop, her Robin landed mere feet from her and stood there, legs apart and a daring glint in his eyes.

My lovely Marion,” he almost cooed, smiling. “What brings you into the heart of the forest on a bright and sunny day like this?”

I said I need you,” she emphasised. “The truth is I’ve got some news for you.”

You have? Say more, my sweet love,” he murmured, and stepped to stand so close to her that she knew he was invading her personal space, and she loved it.

The sheriff is coming this way,” she said, “I saw him not an hour ago, on his grey mare, and with sergeants by his side, bristling with spears and other weaponry. So I sneaked up to him, invisible to one as stupid as him even though you would have seen me clearly had you been there, and overheard his words as he instructed his men what to do and why they were there. And he said...”

I can guess, Marion,” laughed Robin Hood, “I can guess that he told them his prize would be Master Hood this very day! And I know that, for he has planned it before! It is his dream to see me swinging from the gibbet, and a dream I will deny him with every bone in my body!”

If he gets you he will imprison you, set you before a court that will be predisposed to find you guilty of whatever he says you’re guilty of, and then it will be the end of Robin Hood, for he will be despatched in short order.” reminded Marion.

But he will have to catch me first!” laughed Robin, and then he froze as a third voice, mocking and cruel, spoke out from the shadows of the forest.

That’s no difficult matter if a wise man has the wench in his sights, and follows her!” it grated. “You thought I didn’t know you were there, mistress Marion? You thought me a blind fool? But I was there and there’s nothing foolish about an appointed sheriff, you can take it from me!”

Then the sheriff and his company of sergeants at arms emerged into the light of the clearing where Maid Marion stood. He had, upon his thin-lipped hawkish face a look that was pure satisfaction. His company slowed down and the group faced Marion, so close that she could feel the hoar from the horse’s breath on her soft and gracious face, and smell its feverish stench.

Yes,” gloated the sheriff, I have followed you, and here you are, talking to an outlaw, a fact that in itself might well condemn you to the gallows despite your high birth and favoured family! But it is not you I’m particularly bothered with, nor do I want a quarrel with a family of a long lineage and with influence in high places! So you need not fear me, not today anyway, for I am here for Master Hood, and I will have him.”

Before Marion could reply an arrow shot with deadly accuracy and silent as the whisper of the death it brought with it plunged into the chest of one of the armed sergeants who, with desperately slow motion slid from his saddle and landed on the turves of the little clearing.

There’s your answer, master Sheriff,” said Marion boldly, “and if you would recall with accuracy the flight of the arrow that stilled the black heart of your man there, and follow it to its source using more mental skill than the lot of you combined possess, I don’t doubt you will find Robin Hood at the other end.”

The sheriff looked nonplussed. He was used to obedience and a proper order of things, with himself at the top and everyone else very subordinate and women nowhere near any kind of authority. That was his way in Nottingham, in the castle where he ruled with a sadistic flare, and he expected it in the Greenwood.

He was here! I know he was here!” he screeched. He looked around the clearing, peered into this and that thicket where a man would find hiding to be impossible but the sheriff irrationally thought it likely, even slashed away at sapling and bramble with his sword. But the more he fussed with anger the less likely it was that he would find even a trace of the outlaw, who had disappeared as though he had never been there.

I think you must have been seeing things, Master Sheriff,” murmured Marion, “for I am out here in a place devoid of outlaws but gathering blackberries for my mother’s cook to create a most delicious pie with the black fruit of the wild and some delicious sweet apples from our grounds.”

Someone shot my man!” raged the Sheriff. “See, he is there in a heap on the ground, and dead as … dead as half the men at the crusades!”

Then had not someone better return him to his wife if he has one,” suggested Marion, “for it is not seemly for a man to decay untended in the forest where he might become a fine meal for wolf or boar alike.”

The Sheriff glared at her, but was lost for words, so he ordered two of the other sergeants to pick up the dead man and lie him across his own horse’s back.

Then he turned to go, but first he issued what he saw as a warning. “You are not immune to the law, lady,” he said, “and if I find a connection 'twixt you and the outlaws that pepper this woodland with their foul flesh and criminal intent then, knighted family or not, I will see you hanged!”

And the king will see you in a gibbet also, for my father, as you know, has the king’s ear,” said Marion boldly. And it was true. From the expression on his face she read that the sheriff knew it was true also.

Ah, the king, you say, who must yet return safely from the crusades,” grated the officer from Nottingham. Then he tossed his head and slowly, trying to appear majestic, rode off.

When the sheriff and his depleted group had gone and Marion had checked they were not lurking waiting for Robin to reappear, the outlaw himself dropped from his invisible perch above and clapped his hands on her shoulders.

That was amusing,” he said, “but we must treat it as a warning, for the Sheriff can be a dangerous man and he is desperate to see me swinging from the gallows in the castle yard!”

You are like a magician, Robin,” sighed she they called Maid Marion. “Let us go to your ever-secret camp and feast on meat stolen from the King’s parlour, and celebrate your victory!”

Then I will hold your hand, my sweet,” said Robin, “and we will talk as we walk of life together when this country of ours is finally at peace with a King on his throne and good men tilling the land rather than forging weapons of war.”

And bed time and sleeping,” she sighed, “without the fear of rough awakenings and nasty old Sheriffs.”

Indeed,” he said. “My love, indeed.”

© Peter Rogerson 05.10.17




© 2017 Peter Rogerson



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I appreciate the tone you are setting, and aiming for.

A bit like Georgiette Heyer meets Boy's Own.

I think, given it's a dialogue heavy chapter, perhaps focus on the voices of your characters. The Sheriff is somewhat distinct, but Marion and Robin sounds a bit alike.

Keep at it though, nice to see someone going, just a tad, old school.

Posted 1 Month Ago


Peter Rogerson

1 Month Ago

Thanks for your comments. I intend to write a few more set in this time period, though not necessari.. read more

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Added on October 5, 2017
Last Updated on October 15, 2017
Tags: Robin Hood, Maid Marion, Sheriff of Nottingham, Sherwood Forest, Long Bow, arrowx


Author

Peter Rogerson
Peter Rogerson

Forest Town, Nottinghamshire, United Kingdom



About
I am 73 years old, but as a single dad with four children that I had sole responsibility for I found myself driving insanity away by writing. At first it was short stories (all lost now, unfortunately.. more..

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