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Robin Hood: Cedric & Hilde 28

All of Sherwood Village was glad to see Martha return safely home. She arrived with her mother to a celebration filled with joy and feasting. Everyone had to hug her and tell her how glad she was safe. Robin’s reputation grew as the story of his lone venture into the Manor house, the rescue of the girl and his near capture was told and retold. None among them saw that Robin himself kept a reserved humour to himself. Robin knew the early relatively care free days of Sherwood village were over. The sheriff had seen what he was up against and would act quickly and decisively. There was a chance that the Earl would also seek revenge to assuage his wounded pride.
As the sun set on the forest revelers, their song carried on the evening breeze, and was taken up by the birds of Spring as they whirled among the treetops. The scent of roast mutton and venison wafted into the forest as well. The shadows stretched out to greet the coming night and a single man walked carefully and silently to where he had tied his horse, well away from the outlaws, lest it be found. He mounted heedless of his own hunger. He was a vagrant huntsman who had been arrested two night ago in Nottingham for drunk in public and failing to pay his considerable bar tab. The sheriff had shown uncharacteristic leniency toward the itinerant huntsman. The sheriff had even offered the man a job. Now, having followed the girl and her mother to their destination, he had found and monitored his quarry, and thus returned to Nottingham to deliver his findings.

The daily task of running the orphanage and seeing to the children in its care had suffered since Marian had been arrested and Tuck had taken it on the lam. Despite the danger, the two felt the needs of the children were more important than hiding in the woods. Robin could not argue with bravery, so in typical Sherwoodian fashion, he helped them devise disguises. The women of the greenwood helped Marian bleach her hair and cut and fashion it to look more like a Dane. They also lent her Danish clothes. Marian’s dark hair worn either down and loose or up and under a wimple was now blonde and braided into the famous Valkyrie style under a white linen scarf.
Tuck had grown a beard and his tonsure had also grown in. Though he didn’t look drastically different, just putting on layman’s clothes was enough to throw anyone who didn’t know Tuck well, off the scent. They were snuck back into St. Anne’s in the middle of the night, and in the morning, everyone was so glad to see them, especially the children, that a celebration broke out.
It seemed that in their absence, Father Cedric had come snooping around and been cajoled by the nuns into helping out around Saint Anne’s. He was currently teaching a class about the politics of the Church. It was a subject to which he warmed. Never mind that the class had previously been a math class taught by Marian. Marian had chosen the name of Hilde as her Valkyrie disguise name. She was a great admirer of Saint  Hildegard of Germany, who had been a great herbalist, doctor, poet, composer, artist and seer who had lived during Marian’s parent’s lifetime.
Marian returned to her classroom expecting to see the children learning math from one of the nuns, and was caught completely off guard to find Father Cedric teaching her class. Since the priest was responsible for getting her arrested, she had fostered a deep and growing hated of the man, whom she  viewed as a toady and a coward. Father Cedric was also surprised to see Marian, though he failed to recognise the woman he had callously had imprisoned; so convincing was her disguise.
“Oh!” she exclaimed, and then, remembering to add a thick Scandinavian accent, she added; “My pardon, Vader, Ich had nein idea dat you vere teaching dis class!”
“Your apology is unnecessary, my young, blonde beauty!” Cedric said, lighting up in a way that Marian had never seen in a priest and certainly not in Vader, uh Father Cedric before. “Come in, come in!” he said. “My name is Father Cedric, and I am just selflessly filling in since the poor children’s previous teacher has become a most base outlaw and a fugitive. It is for those of us working for the greater good of these pitiful urchins to give of ourselves, when wayward souls shirk their duties to become wanton criminals.”
“Ach, well, pity you had not seen fit to give of yourself until your hand was forced by da fates, ja?” she managed to say in a flirtatious voice despite the stinging content of her words.
“Yes, well, my duties are many and varied as I oversee St Mary’s and have lately become a deputy of the sheriff. I hardly have time for these young scalawags, yet I am ever answering the good Lord’s call for more it seems.” Cedric seemed to be trying to impress the lovely young blonde lady before him with his important offices and tireless good deeds, but his self importance and disdain for the children is what shone through. “And who might you be?”
“Ja, I am Hilde the math teacher. I am from, uh, Derby. Ja Derby is vere I am from, und I have come to be a substitution teacher for the children.” Cedric mistook Marian’s blushing for shyness. She wished she were better at dissembling.

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