"Whoa there! Where do you think you're going?" The burly, red-faced, man shouted at Marius. With each step he took towards Marius, the man's stench became stronger.
"I was told to bring the horses into the stables?"
Marius had just come home from the war, the Crusades to be exact, and upon his return was forced to work for Prince John. The last thing he wanted to do on his first day of work was to rub people the wrong way and find himself in the Sheriff of Nottingham's bad graces.
The man grumbled, "Never seen you here before," and eyed him suspiciously.
"I'm new. Just got home from the war." Marius tried his best to exude confidence and stand a little taller. He didn't want word to get around that he was a wimp.
The man grumbled again, "Alright, go on." Marius nodded and guided the horses further into the stables.
His father had told him a lot had changed in the past few years that he'd been away. With the King away fighting in the bloody war, Prince John had become increasingly powerful and corrupt. His father whispered this to him even though they were inside their own home, afraid people were listening. Spies everywhere, his father told him. "Prince John has an enforcer - the Sheriff of Nottingham. He's as mean-spirited as they come. Been taking and taking from everyone in all the surrounding villages. I've been doing okay, but these poor folk aren't going to have much more to give soon."
Marius asked his father if anything could be done. Surely, there must be someone who could stand up to them. "No," his father told him forlornly. "They're the prince and sheriff. Who has more power than them? There has been someone lately though. A bandit who has been causing them some trouble. I hear whispers of this young man, but no one's seen his face."
As he got the horses settled in their stalls, he overheard some men talking. "That Robin Hood got the better of the Sheriff again, you hear the latest?"
"I didn't hear what happened, but I saw the Sheriff looking huffy yesterday and heard him slamming doors. What happened?"
"What I heard is the Sheriff had sent some men to collect some more taxes from the village down by the river. They had some pushback because the villagers were saying they just gave the Prince gold last week. The soldiers forced them on pain of death to hand over more. On their way back to the castle, Robin Hood and his men ambushed them and stole the gold. No coin left in sight!"
"How did they overcome well-trained soldiers?" Marius interrupted, full of interest.
The men looked at him surprised both because they had never seen him before and that he didn't know the skills of the famed Robin Hood, who was quickly gaining notoriety.
"You ain't ever heard of Robin Hood?"
Again, Marius had to explain that he had just come home from years away. Luckily, these men were much more talkative than the man he encountered outside.
"Well, Robin Hood and his merry band of men have been interfering with Prince John and the Sheriff's operations. Been causing a lot of trouble and the Prince and Sheriff are none too happy. They're quick, smart, and word is that Robin Hood can shoot an arrow from clear across a field and get his target." All the men nodded along, eyes wide.
"That can't be true. Across an entire field?" Marius countered.
"I've seen him!" One man interjected. "I was walking to my sister's house last week and the Prince's men were carting a bunch of gold through the woods. Out of nowhere arrows started flying pinning the men to trees by their cloaks with such precision. I hid behind some bushes. The next thing I know, Robin Hood and his men took the carts and fled!"
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An Adventure of Robin Hood and her Merry BandAdventure
My entry in the Rewind the Classics contest. A twist on the classic Robin Hood stories. Robin Hood is a young woman working with her merry band to steal from the rich and give to the poor. In this adventure she gets the help from her old friend, M...