Sherwood Forest – Outlaws’ Camp
Night was closing in as the outlaws returned to their camp, this time with Edward and Marian.
“Robin, what do we do about the leak in the roof? We have to fix it, we can’t just leave it,” worried Much.
“Don’t worry. It is too dark to do anything now, and anyway I don’t think it’s going to rain tonight. If it does, I’ll eat my hat, well, my hood!”
Little John was throwing blankets out to anyone and everyone. After a place had been made for Edward and Marian to sleep, Robin lay down on the floor saying, “First in first served.”
Quickly everyone claimed a spot and soon quiet fell over the camp as one by one they dropped off to sleep.
Drip, drip, drip. Much woke up. Robin had said it wouldn’t rain, and that if it did he would eat his hood.
“But I bet he won’t!,” he thought to himself. Much stood up and made his way over to where Robin was sleeping. He shook Robin and said, “Wake up, Master, wake up.” Much pulled Robin under the leak. Now Robin was really awake.
“Don’t panic Much.”
“I am not panicking” Much answered with slight annoyance.
“I don’t think I’m much of a weather forecaster!” stated Robin.
“I know you’re not,” said Much with knowledge borne from experience.
By this time everyone was awake and watching with amusement.
“Much, catch this,” said Will, as he threw Much a bucket. “Put it under the leak.”
Much did as he was told, then went to lie back down. Looking at the bucket he asked, “And where am I to sleep now?”
The King – Robin had to save the king. There were Turkish soldiers all around. Robin grabbed his bow and quiver full of arrows and ran out of his tent into the thick of it all. He strung his bow and let fly, a Turkish soldier fell to the ground, dead. Robin grimaced; it was hard to kill, even an enemy. But it had to be done. About fifty other Englishmen were right in the middle of the fray, as was he. That was how it was when you were in the King’s own guard; you had to put the King’s life before your own. It took spirit to gain such a high grade. In the feudal system the King’s own guard was up near the top.
A scream broke through the noise of swords clanging against each other, moans from the wounded and dying, the thud of falling men. Robin knew that scream had to have come from the mouth of Much.
“A wounded man should not scream,” thought Robin. He glanced over at Much. That quick glance showed Much dancing around a pot on the fire, banging his wooden cooking spoon onto the heads of the Turkish soldiers, who were trying to eat the contents. Outwardly Robin frowned, but in his heart, he grinned. Only Much would forget that when in the King’s own guard and the enemy was attacking, you must neglect everything, even if it meant King Richard’s dinner was taken.
Now most of the Turks had been driven back and security was relaxed. Robin dropped his bow on the ground and started to walk over to Much. But he was stopped by a turban-wearing, sword-brandishing Turk, who chased Robin. Robin knew he didn’t have time to pick up his bow, so he ran. Even though the Turk was dressed in what looked like a bed sheet, he could run, and fast at that.
Right in front of Robin was a river, a deep fast-flowing river infested with crocodiles; anyone who fell into it was as good as dead. Robin stopped and turned to face the Turk. The Turk stopped and removing his turban, the face of Sir Guy of Gisborne was revealed.
“I’ve got you now, Locksley,” Gisborne said, an unpleasant look covering his face, “You are like a mouse in a trap. After you are gone I will go back to England and marry Marian!”
“You can’t,” Robin said calmly “She doesn’t love you.”
Gisborne was furious; he advanced and then pushed Robin into the river. Quickly the current carried Robin to the middle of the river, despite his efforts to swim to the bank. Grabbing at a log drifting past, Robin tried to keep afloat, the task becoming increasingly difficult. To the Englishman’s horror, the log thrashed around and he realized he was clinging to a crocodile! The crocodile aggressively flicked the startled Robin with his tail into the air and he fell into the wide-open mouth. The jaws snapped shut.
Robin woke up shaking, another nightmare. Since he had returned from the war in the Holy Land he had occasionally had nightmares. He sat up and realized he was soaking wet. As he sat there contemplating the reason for this, Much walked up to him with a look on his face that was suspiciously innocent.
“Yes, Master,” Much answered merrily.
Immediately Robin suspected that Much had some part to play in his getting wet.
“Would you happen to know why I am as wet as a drowned…rat?”
“Well, it rained last night and you had another nightmare didn’t you Robin.”
“Yes I did.”
“And you know you sweat when you have those nightmares.”
“Yes, I do sweat but not that much and remember, the leak was over you!”
“Much, where is the bucket of water that you put under the leak last night?” asked Djaq, winking at Robin.
“Why do you want it?” Much enquired nervously.
“So I can have drink now instead of going all the way down to the stream,” Djaq replied.
“Well,” Much looked flustered.
“Much?!” said Little John and Will in unison.
“Not being funny, but you didn’t pour the whole lot on top of Robin did you?”
Much turned red. As he said, he couldn’t keep secrets.
“Oh Much!” Robin jumped out of bed and gave Much a stern look.
“Master, I’m sorry, very sorry. Forgive me,” he begged repentantly.
“Of course I do!” Robin clapped Much on the back. “Today, Much, today we will mend the roof.”
“About time too.” Much sighed in contentment.
“Right then, let’s get to work.”
Edward got up from where he had been watching the outlaws with respect. “Before we fix the roof, I would like to give you something.”
The outlaws and Marian all looked at Edward with anticipation. Edward reached behind the hood that Robin had given to him and pulled out a roll of parchment. He passed it to Robin and stood smiling at him.
“Ho, ho,” Robin chuckled to himself.
“What is it, father?” Marian asked.
“The Great Pact of Nottingham!” answered Edward.
“Better still, The Great Pact of Traitors!” replied Djaq.
“Thank you Edward. I am sure you know how much this means for me, and England. When King Richard sees this, the Sheriff and Gisborne won’t stand a chance! Just think.” Robin was ecstatic; the Great Pact of Nottingham was in his hands.
“Well, now that we have written proof of all the traitors in this part of England, we should give this document to the King,” Allan suggested.
“Sorry Allan, but the roof needs waterproofing! And I am NOT going to sleep under that drip EVER again!” Much was very good at telling everyone what he thought.
“Much, we will mend the hole today. But I think that we should send a message to King Richard, letting him know that we will be coming!” decided Robin.
“We could just send the pact with a trusted messenger,” Much tried.
Marian spoke up, “King Richard…he will need us.”
Robin shook his head questioningly. “Yes, but, why?”
“Because if we are to get the pact to King Richard, who is in the Holy Land, that means that we need to give it to him ourselves. You can’t trust anyone in these times, it’s too dangerous!” Will explained.
Marian looked at Will and said, “Almost. King Richard needs us, because I don’t think he knows about ‘Operation Shah Mat’.”
“Oh, he knows about the Sheriff’s plot,” stated Robin. “We sent a messenger,”
“Then why, surely, if he knows about the Sheriff’s plot, why hasn’t he sent word back acknowledging that he received our message?” Marian thought aloud.
“She’s right, Robin. Why?” Will backed up Marian.
“Robin, there is only one way to make sure that King Richard knows about the Sheriff’s plot, and that is to send another message. King Richard is winning the war at the moment; he won’t need you…us.” Djaq looked sadly at a squirrel as she thought about her country’s Ruler; Sultan Saladin. If King Richard was winning, that meant that Saladin was losing. It was hard for Djaq, because she was fighting with the outlaws for King Richard, who was fighting against Saladin. Will looked at Djaq and guessed what was going through her mind.
“Don’t worry,” Will reassured, “Saladin hasn’t been captured. And, if you’re lucky, he won’t get captured.”
“Will, we want the Sultan to be captured…and killed, he is…” Much stopped as Robin shot him a look full of reproof. He coughed rather violently, then went away saying, “Well, I’m sure that, ah, that you will all need some, ah, some food, squirrel or…chicken might be better!”
“No, if he is captured, there will be peace. King Richard will come home and he will see the war going on in England!” Djaq looked around at the band and continued, “I fight with you for England.”
“For England!” cried the band.