Archive for August, 2008

An essay on…

HOW TO BE KIND

always try to be kind to each other and to everyone else.
1 Thessalonians 5:15b


To be kind is to be, first of all, loving. When you are loving you are doing what God said to do:

“Love your neighbour as yourself .
Luke 10:27
It is being kind when you encourage people. Encouraging a person can help that person in what they are doing. It is also uplifting.
Being patient with people is another way of showing kindness. When you are patient it means that you listen to what that person has to say and you respect what they tell you. It is easier to be kind when you have Patience.
Be kind and compassionate to one another, just as in Christ God forgave you.
Ephesians 4:32
Compassion is being merciful and forgiving; that is another way to be kind, having compassion.
If you have self-control then that will help you to be kinder and to not make fun of people.
When you pray and ask God to help you to do these things, He will help you to be a kinder and nicer person to be around.
Written by J13
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“The great pact of traitors”

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.
“Much?”
“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.

What’s a moat for anyway?

 

Nottingham Castle

 

“Gisborne, the peasants are gone, Marian and Edward have escaped and I have decided that you are going to fill the moat with a bucket!” the Sheriff fumed.  Gisborne, sensing this was not the time to protest, picked a bucket up and returned the Sheriff’s outbreak with a weak joke, “And am I to fill the bucket with a spoon?”
“I don’t care! Gisborne, I want the moat to be filled by the end of this month. Guards, go find the Lady Marian and her father, Sir Edward.”
The guard, who had answered the Sheriff’s general call, looked blankly at the Sheriff.

“Where do you suggest I look?” he asked.
“Right now all I will suggest is that you go and search until they are found,” the Sheriff answered tersely.
“Try the forest,” Gisborne suggested.
“The forest? But there are some very unsavory characters round that neck of the woods, sorry, I mean the forest.”
“Yes, I know that and I am suggesting you go and look there,” Gisborne answered, frustrated. The guard walked away quickly before Gisborne could suggest anything else.
“M’lord you weren’t serious about filling the moat with a bucket, were you?” Gisborne hoped that the Sheriff was over his joke.
“I couldn’t have been more serious, Gisborne. I don’t quite know why I’m asking you, but what’s a moat for anyway?”
“For protection, as you said earlier today.”
“Right, and exactly how is a dry moat going to offer protection?” the Sheriff questioned Gisborne.
“Ah…it won’t.” 
“So fill the moat for me.”
Gisborne resigned himself to spending the rest of his life transforming the dry and dusty moat with a bucket. So, nodding at the Sheriff, he went to the well and drew his first bucketful of water, then trudged dejectedly over to the moat. The Sheriff followed with his eyes as water poured down, hit the ground with a hiss, and all too quickly disappeared.
“You see, M’lord, it just soaks into the dirt. What should I do?”
“Finish the job!” And with that, the Sheriff stormed off. Gisborne started to think that maybe, just maybe, the Sheriff had gone crazy.

“Now I see why the peasants fled,” he thought.

Three hours later and all Gisborne had filled was a puddle. The Sheriff stood on the drawbridge watching as Gisborne lugged yet another bucket to the moat.
“Stop,” he called out, “You may stop. But next time you could do me a favour and tell me if my plan isn’t working.”
Gisborne felt an overwhelming urge to throw the next bucketful of water at Sheriff, but thought better of it.

They can’t have just disappeared!

Outskirts of Sherwood Forest

 

Hiding at the fringe of the forest, Robin told his band what to do as they watched the castle. “Allan you go to Nettlestone Village, Will can you take Locksley Manor? Little John you’d better go to Clun Village, and Much you can have Bonchurch. Djaq if you come with me, you’ll be able to help Edward, if he needs it, when we free him and Marian. Is that clear?”
“Yes. Clear as the water in the moat.”
“Once you have dropped the families at their villages, leave immediately and we’ll reassemble outside Knighton Hall.”

Robin glanced around at the outlaws, then nodded at Will and Allan. “You two go first, then Much and Little John.”
“Meet you at Knighton,” Will and Allan called out as they hurried out of the forest.
Very soon Much spotted Will and Allan clambering out of the moat with a crowd of peasants. Little John stood up and pulled Much to his feet. “Come on.”
As they returned and passed the final pair heading towards the moat, Much could be heard telling the peasants he had rescued that one day they would have a new master and that they would have to call him Lord Much.

 

Djaq looked up at the guards, who paced up and down the battlements. “Thank goodness the Sheriff isn’t sending them to guard the moat until tomorrow. It is a good thing they haven’t looked down and noticed the peasants disappearing!”
“Right from under their noses.” Robin laughed when he thought about what the Sheriff would say to the guards.
Djaq and Robin clambered down into the moat, where the remaining peasants were waiting.
“The man that was just here, I think his name was Munch…”
“No, it was Chew remember,” another peasant interrupted.
The first continued “Munch, Chew or Eat, he said to wait for Robin Hood. Sorry, I never was good at remembering names.”
Robin laughed at Much’s new name. It suited him very well. “My name is Robin Hood and here is one of my friends, Djaq. Do you know the Sheriff’s plot?”
“Yes, we have heard.”
“That is why we are going to take you to Knighton Hall. You can live there in peace. Just follow us and you’ll be fine,” Djaq instructed.

The trip to Knighton Hall was uneventful; everything went according to plan.

Back at the castle the Sheriff was in a rage. Robin Hood had freed the Sheriff’s few prisoners, he had escaped unharmed and now he would undoubtedly be thinking of freeing Marian and Sir Edward. That would not do.

 

“Get me my horse and be quick,” the Sheriff yelled at a guard.
“Yes M’lord. You may not know, but I am just filling in for my brother, who is deaf; I’m not the deaf one.”

Having made his point, the guard brought the Sheriff’s horse to him, and dismounted. The Sheriff stood on the guard’s shoulders to enable him to mount his horse.
“Giddy up,” the Sheriff ordered and they clattered over the flagstones, out of the castle and over the moat. Glancing at the moat caused the Sheriff to think about the ill-fated soon-to-drown peasants, until he noticed there were no peasants. Quickly he looked around – no peasants. He yelled at the gate keeper to look for the peasants, before galloping off to Knighton Hall. Robin Hood would not get to rescue the captives, even if it meant that he, the Sheriff, had to keep watch himself every minute until Edward and Marian were released.

 

*****

Knighton Hall 

 

“Marian, Edward,” Djaq called out.
Marian looked around at the sound of a familiar voice.
“Who is it?” Edward asked.
“It is Robin Hood and this is a rescue.”
“Robin, how will we get these shackles off?” Djaq asked.
Robin thought for a moment, and pulling Marian’s hair pin out of his pocket, he grinned and said, “This should do the trick.”

Edward and Marian were freed from the stocks and were stretching their aching muscles when Djaq heard a whistle.
“That’s the signal. The others are ready,” Djaq explained to Edward and Marian.
“Thanks Robin and Djaq. I’m wishing I hadn’t mentioned the stocks to the Sheriff when we were discussing forms of punishment!” Edward said, rubbing his back.

 

Just as Robin Hood and the band disappeared into the forest, the Sheriff galloped up to the stocks, discovered them empty and moaned in frustration. “They can’t have just disappeared! I had them locked securely.”

The Sheriff contemplated what he would do if he ever caught Marian or her father again. Without question, they would die.

Exasperated at yet another failure, he turned his thoughts back to the castle.

The moat remained empty, but that was about to change. He’d get Gisborne to fill it with a bucket from the well. Cheered up by this prospect, the Sheriff rode back to the castle.

We need a plan,fast

 

Nottingham Castle

 

“Come on lads, meet me at the camp.” Robin raced out of the castle.
“Why is he in such a hurry?” Will asked Allan.
“I’m not being funny, but maybe we should ask him,” Allan replied.
“He’s gone, we’ll just have to follow,” Djaq said, running after Robin.
“As he said,” Little John observed.

 

Running through the forest, Much panted, “There’s something nice about the forest.”
Little John looked back at Much who, as usual, was at the back of the group and asked, “What ‘something’?”
Much shrugged. “In the forest you’re free. I think that the forest is better than a castle or estate.”
“Except maybe…Bonchurch Lodge?” Djaq teased.
“Oh now that you remind me…Bonchurch is different,” Much protested.
Everyone except Much laughed.

“I don’t see what’s so funny,” exclaimed Much indignantly. “When I own Bonchurch Lodge you will have to call me Lord Much.”
Allan groaned.
Will tried to reason with Much. “Robin wasn’t called Lord Robin when he owned land.”
“No, he just had the larger title, Robin of Locksley, Earl of Huntingdon.” Much would not give up.

The conversation only ended when the outlaw arrived at their camp. Robin was sat at a small table that Will had made. The rest of the outlaws gathered round the table and waited for Robin to speak.
“We need a plan, fast. The Sheriff is going to drown all the peasants by filling the moat,” Robin told his band.
“How will he fill the moat?” asked Djaq, interested at the Sheriff’s latest act of madness.
“He is going to make the peasants from every village work to channel the river into the moat. There will be guards surrounding the moat as of tomorrow so that the peasants can’t escape. Hence the need for speed.”
“Do you have a plan?” Little John asked.
“I have a plan, well, half a plan,” Robin replied, simultaneously forming one in his head.
As they waited for Robin to think through his plan, Will mindlessly arranged piles of pennies on the table.
 “Right, I have it,” announced Robin. “These coins here are the castle and these coins around it are Nettlestone Village, Locksley Manor, Clun Village, Knighton Hall and Bonchurch Lodge. If we move four families to each village, then that would be everyone out of the moat and into safety.”
 “Master, I have one request. The peasants who go to Bonchurch should call me Lord Much when I own the lands.”
“Very sophisticated!” Robin grinned at Much’s request.
“Hadn’t we better get going?” Djaq questioned.
“Come and we’ll decide who goes to which village
while we walk back to the castle.” Robin picked up his bow and arrows and left the camp
with the band.

Operation Shah Mat; the fourth faze

Nottingham Castle

 

Sir Walter re-entered the castle with five guards. Because it was not customary to talk with your guards, especially in public, Sir Walter walked in silence.
Arriving in the middle of the castle Sir Walter stopped. Telling his guards to wait for him, he knocked on a door.
“Who goes there?” A muffled voice answered the knock.
“Sir Walter of Surrey.”
“You may enter.” The door opened and Sir Walter walked inside the dimly lit room.

The room did not have any name, partly because of the treason that was planned there. The room was circular and in the middle a magnificent round table, which had a three dimensional map of the conquered world on it, was set with torches at regular intervals around the edge. Set into the walls were large chairs. Into one of these Sir Walter eased himself. Slowly the chairs were filled and the doors banged shut. Up, out of one of the chairs, stood the Sheriff. There he was, arms raised, in a single shaft of light. Then he launched into a well rehearsed speech.

“Good news! King Richard has been forced back…” Here he stopped and brought his arms across his chest.

“This may mean that King Richard will return to England…as a defeated Crusader. Because Nottingham Castle is the centre of activity at present the broken King Richard will most likely lay siege to the castle. We, therefore, need to build up our defenses so that the throne will most certainly go to Prince John. And so, to come to my point, I have devised a way to get rid of the poorest citizens and build our defenses at the same time. We will fill the moat.” 

When the meeting was over the Sheriff sat back down in his chair. Someone knocked on the door and demanded, “I need to speak to the Sheriff.”

Recognizing that the voice belonged to the guard he had told to take care of the delivery of grain, the Sheriff said to the Black Knights, “You may all leave.” Turning to the guard, who had entered the room the Sheriff asked, “What now?”
“Sir, the cart, there is no grain, anywhere.”
“Well? What have you done with the cart?”
“Why, I left it where it was. The owner will undoubtedly come back; he owns a fine team of horses.”
“Confiscate them!”


“This is a rescue”

Nottingham Castle
 

 

The Sheriff nodded at Sir Walter and disappeared down the corridor.

“Psst.” Will caught the attention of Robin, who turned to face him.

 “Right then, the Sheriff says that as you are my guards you are to accompany me around the castle.”

“Yes M’lord,” murmured the outlaws.

 

Sir Walter inspected the castle from the turrets to the dungeons, taking particular notice of possible entrances and exits. When he got down to the dungeons, Sir Walter was no more. In his place was Robin Hood.
Robin crept up behind the jailer and then threw his hood over the jailer’s head. Before the jailer could cry out, Robin had him bound and gagged. Robin snatched the metal ring of keys and then proceeded to lock the jailer in the closest cell.
“When you are asked, tell the Sheriff and his men that Robin Hood visited,” Robin said grimly.
“Robin! Over here, free us,” Allan pleaded.
Robin walked over to the cell where Allan waited with six peasants.

“Not that many prisoners,” thought Robin, “That makes my job all the easier!”

“Who goes there?”

“Only me, the jailer,” Robin answered in what he hoped was the jailer’s voice.
“Sheriff wants to see you,” summoned one of the three guards, who clattered down the stairs into the dungeons.
“Never kill unless necessary,” Much reminded the band.

The guards stopped short when they saw Robin and the prisoners standing outside the cell. They also noticed four more guards.

“And who-?” The guards were clearly puzzled.

“I am the rightful lord of Locksley.”

“Robin of Locksley?” questioned the quickest of the three, understanding slowly dawning on his face.

“Would you like my autograph?” Robin offered as he walked towards them.
“Not likely.” Leading the other guards down the last few stairs, he unsheathed his sword. The other two followed his example.

 

Robin was not just master of the bow; he knew how to use a sword as well. His experience in the Holy Land had taught him all the techniques needed to overcome his opponents. While fighting the Saracens, Robin had observed their ways, so now his fighting techniques were part English and part Saracen.

With this knowledge Robin went forward confidently, as did his men.

The fight didn’t last long, but while it did the clang of metal against metal echoed off the stone walls.

Robin was always reluctant to kill unnecessarily, so the guards were merely knocked out and locked in separate cells.

As Robin hurried along the passageway something sparkling on the ground caught his eye. He bent down to take a closer look. A hair-pin! Robin picked it up and was relieved to see gems, such as only a noble woman would wear. Specifically, a noble woman called Marian. He was glad that it was this kind of hair pin she had been wearing when she was arrested and not her dagger hair pin. The Nightwatchman’s identity remained secret. Robin put the hair pin in his pocket and closed the dungeon door, then locked it securely.

“Is everyone alright?” asked Djaq, concerned about the wellbeing of others.
“No, actually, I’m not,” Much groaned. Djaq rushed over to Much and looked questioningly at him.
“I say, when you’re kicked in the stomach…and it’s empty….”

All grinned at this and one of the prisoners enquired, “You like your food?”

“Oh yes.”

“And you’re hungry?”

“Yes.”

“So are we.” The prisoner gestured at his fellow inmates and went on, “The last time we had anything to eat was…four days ago.”

Much looked appalled, then hastily reviewed his position, “I-I-I’m fine. I’m not so hungry now.”

Searching for more information, Little John looked to Allan.
“Robin these people are from Clun Village and what they say is not true; they haven’t eaten for six days.” This time Allan was not lying.

Djaq foresaw that the prisoners would need food before travelling back to Clun and told the band that she was going to go and gather food for them.
“We’re not in the forest at the moment, we don’t gather food. We buy it to help support the peasants that live in the castle. Do you mind if I come with you?” Will asked.
“Of course I don’t.” Smiling at her mistake, Djaq ran up the stairs lightly with Will following.
“We had better get out to the courtyard and wait for Djaq and Will there,” decided Robin.
The remaining outlaws helped the peasants up the long flight of stairs. Pausing at the top, the group stood in the shadows. Much peered out and shrank back as a pair of guards walked by. Another two figures were positioned at the far end of the corridor, so Much led everyone in the opposite direction, keeping their distance behind the guards, who had just passed.
Rounding a corner, they drew to a sudden halt in response to the command issued at them, “You there, guards!” Little John and Robin, who were walking behind the group, turned to face the Sheriff and Sir Guy of Gisborne. The guards waited expectantly.
“Aren’t those the prisoners?” the Sheriff asked.
“Yes, your honour, they are to hang,” Robin stated.
The prisoners gasped.
“You should learn not to tell a person that you are going to hang him. You may go.” The Sheriff dismissed the guards, unaware of their true identity.
“Gisborne, go fetch the jailer. I called for him some time ago,” instructed the Sheriff.   
Sir Guy of Gisborne was only gone a short time.

“M’lord,” Gisborne called as he came running up the stairs, “Three guards and the jailer are locked in separate cells. The guards told me when they went down into the dungeons Robin Hood and some other guards knocked them out and took the keys.”
The Sheriff ran down the stairs into the dungeons with Gisborne close behind him.
“Do you have your key?” Gisborne enquired.
“No, I’m going to say ‘Open sesame’.”
Gisborne suppressed a smile and looked questioningly at the Sheriff.
“What do you think?” the Sheriff asked reproachfully, “Of course I have my key.” The Sheriff reached into his pocket and stammered, “The key, the key, it was just here.”
“M’lord do you want me to-,” Gisborne was cut off by the Sheriff.
“What I want is the key. Get me a locksmith and make sure you get the best Gisborne,” he barked.
“M’lord, as you know only one man was commissioned to make the locks and keys; Dan Scarlet, and you ordered him to be killed. So what do I…?”
“Oh no!” the Sheriff groaned.
“The other man capable of making duplicate keys is his son; Will Scarlet.”
“And I outlawed him,” groaning even louder this time. “Why can’t people just love me and obey me and why can’t I have absolute power?”
Gisborne knew why the people didn’t love or obey the Sheriff and also why he couldn’t have full power, but he thought it prudent to keep his ideas to himself.  
“M’lord, if you were to let me free Marian, then I could talk her into going to the forest to find Will Scarlet and he could make us a key.”
“Ask an outlaw for help? A clue: no!”      

“No, M’lord, Marian would do the asking.”
“Clever thinking my boy! But supposing Marian doesn’t find Will and she escapes. What then?”
“Oh I doubt she would run away. She cares for her father too much to leave him sitting in the stocks.”
As the Sheriff was standing considering Gisborne’s suggestion, he shouted so suddenly that the guards who were waiting with them jumped, not to mention Gisborne.
“Gisborne, after them.” The Sheriff liked it when he could give orders to someone taller than himself.
“After who?”
“Robin Hood and the prisoners.”
Gisborne ran up the stairs and, taking the quickest route to the East Gate, managed to catch a glimpse of Robin Hood as he, his men and the peasants ran under the descending portcullis. Yelling at the gate keeper to raise the portcullis, Gisborne waited impatiently.

*****

 

“I think that we should go and buy the food on Pit Street,” Djaq was saying.
“But today is market day. There is bound to be plenty of food at the market,” Will mused.
“And plenty of guards,” Djaq countered with a laugh.

“Alright we go to Pit Street.”
“Also the peasants that sell the food on Pit Street don’t get taxed as high as when they go and sell their food at market,” Djaq reasoned.
“Why not?” Will was amused because Djaq was from the Holy Land and he lived in England and yet she knew more than he did.
“Because the people that sell the food here,” Djaq said as they entered Pit Street, “sell it secretly,” she finished with a whisper.
“Oh, I see. That looks like Robin and the peasants,” Will whispered back “See there.”
“And Gisborne is following them,” Djaq observed.

 

*****

 

“Master, Gisborne is following us.” Much was panting.
“Down here,” Robin hissed, pulling two peasants down into the moat with him. The moat was not filled with water and hadn’t been for two-hundred years. The poorest and lowest peasants lived there. Only having castle scraps to eat meant that these peasants would rob whenever the opportunity arose.

It was for peasants such as these that Robin and his band fought. This class hadn’t existed in England when King Richard had left for the crusades. It was a part of England that didn’t have to be.

Robin pulled two of the peasants from Clun into a crude shelter that somebody called ‘home’.
Quicker than the portcullis could be raised, outlaws and peasants were hidden.  

As they lay catching their breath they heard Gisborne ordering guards to search for them. Suddenly the thud of horses’ hooves was heard on the draw bridge as Gisborne and his guards rode off. After some time the outlaws and peasants dared to venture out of hiding and gathered under the draw bridge.
Allan spotted Will and Djaq walking slowly towards the moat with a basket overflowing with food. Word had spread that Robin and his band were giving out food, so when Will and Djaq reached the moat thirty-two people (six Clun peasants, the outlaws and one person from each family that lived in the moat) were crouched under the draw bridge waiting expectantly. The food was distributed accordingly.

 

*****

“Do you know the way to Clun village from here?” Robin asked the peasants.
“Yes,” they replied.
“Then go, my friends,” he urged.
“Safe journey,” Much called out, then turning to Djaq he asked, “Is there any more bread?