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CREATIVE WRITING: REFLECTIONS FROM SHERWOOD FOREST
I am a huge fan of Robin Hood and all the tales that surround him and his merry men. From Errol Flynn to Disney's fox to BBCs version with the best Guy of Gisborne (Richard Armitage) this side of Basil Rathbone, I love them all. Here is a little vignette that I wrote that helped spark my upcoming novel Gisborne. Enjoy!
Robert of Locksley, lately known as Robin Hood, sat on a fallen log and gazed down at the men surrounding the dinner fire. Night had fallen on Sherwood Forest, and he found himself in a reflective mood. He seemed to do that a lot lately, sit and reflect on the things that meant the most in his life.
Months ago, he never would have imagined that he would find solace in the deep darkness of the forest, the sounds of the night animals foraging for food, the birds crooning softly above. Or find solace in the simple men that now followed his lead. He was born a nobleman, but the motley crew of outlaws before him, men who had done nothing more than try and protect their families and homes from a corrupt Sheriff, were nobler than he. They stood for what was right against something that was so wrong. His time fighting with Richard in the Crusades had opened his eyes. These men had opened them wider.
He leaned back, tearing apart a green leaf in his hand as he listened to their laughter. Alan A-dale broke into song, the others joining him in an interesting and extremely off-key rendition. Robin's lips tilted. A few of his band of men were young, too young to be living this life of crime. Inwardly, he worried about young Will and Luke Scarlet. Part of him felt like an older brother to the youths, having made a silent vow the day he rescued them from hanging to return them to their father in one piece.
His piercing eyes swept over the group to fall on Little John. The pretense of hating one another was exactly that. A pretense. In truth, he rather liked the big man. He was gruff and harsh and everything a peasant could be, yet he was a loyal friend with a calculating mind and dangerous right hook. Robin could think of no better person to have at his back.
Except maybe Much, his faithful manservant. Robin looked down at his hands as they ripped apart another leaf. Much deserved so much more than this. He deserved the estate Robin had promised him and all the food he could eat, all the wine he could drink. He chuckled to himself at the thought of Much big and fat and comfortable with a comely woman for wife taking care of him.
A comely woman for wife. Robin lay back with a deep inhale and exhaled slowly as he gazed at the stars between the tree branches high above him. How he longed to ask that question to Marian. She had been one of the few bright stars in his time away from England, his mind every so often thinking of her in the dark of night as Saracen soldiers slipped through the camps and slaughtered Englishmen. He wondered if he would ever see her again while in the Holy Land. It was ironic that he wondered that now.
He knew he had to wait, bide his time, and protect the simple folk of his lands and manor from the Sheriff and his snake, Gisbourne. He had to protect them until Richard came home. Then…then he could help these men whom he had befriended. He could return to them their lands, their lives, their loves.
And maybe even claim Marian as a love of his own once and for all.
Copyright 2021, Beth A. Freely
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