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Robin Hood. Robin & the Sheriff 20

Word reached Robin of Marian’s imprisonment almost by accident. Robin and Wulfhere were engaged in some kind of exercise that Will Skarlett did not recognize. It was if they were dancing slowly with the wind, in unison. The exercise apparently required great concentration, although Will could not see why. Both men wore serious expressions upon their faces and seemed to be staring at absolutely nothing. He almost didn’t stop to gossip. But, as John was off hunting, and Will wanted some advice, he decided to be patient and wait for a chance to speak when the musicless dance was over. When they came to an end, they faced each other and gave a bow and a praying kind of salute to each other.
“Good Morning, Will!” said Robin. “How are you on this fine day?”
“Fine, fine, Robin. Hope you are as well. Listen, mate, I’ve a question I was hoping you could help me with.”
“I’ll give it a go.” Robin said with a sideways look at Wulfhere.
“Well. It’s about the reward that’s offered for outlaws in Sherwood…”
“Gonna turn yourself in, Lad?” ask Wulfhere.
“No, sir. No, that was not my intention. Though, it’s not a bad idea. What I was thinking was the Bower twins. Now they’re not part of the Village, and I know they’ve been pilfering our ale…” Will hemmed a bit. “So you see, it would really be doing us a favor, and then of course, I’d not keep all the 100 pound to myself.”
“No. No, of course you wouldn’t” said Robin with a smile.
“No. Of course not, so you see; I don’t really see the down side of the plan…”
“He doesn’t see the down side of the plan, Robin.” said Wulfhere.
“Well, there are a few minor down sides.” said Robin thoughtfully. “First of all; they would then tell the sheriff about us. Sort of return the favor you might say. And that wouldn’t do, would it? No it wouldn’t. Then of course, the sheriff will want to know how you know these to brothers, won’t he? Yes. Yes he will. Once he finds out you’re an outlaw, it will be as if you did turn yourself in; see? That’s the sheriff’s plan; to turn us on each other! He knows that someone here is the thief he’s been looking for. He must have found something the night he came into the forest. Only a madman would undertake such a night time raid! He is sure we are hiding here! It’s just a matter of time before someone gives in to temptation like you lad and then we will be in trouble! That will come soon enough; there’s no need to bring it upon ourselves!”
“Aye. You’re right. I see that now. It’s probably too late for the reward anyway seeing as how they already have a suspect in custody.” said Will.
“They do?” said Wulfhere. “Who might that be , Lad?”
“Haven’t you heard? Just this morning. They’ve taken the maid Marian in for questioning. As if she knows anything.”
“What!” Robin thought he must have miss heard.
“Yeah. Marian. Just this morning. Screaming for her life across the yard in front of the whole town, they took her. No one knows why.”
“That’s all you know?” said Robin. “You’re sure?”
“Yes. Yes, Robin, I’m sure.”
And just like that, Robin was gone.
“Where do you suppose he went?” said Will.
“To get himself in more trouble than he can handle, no doubt.” said Wulfhere.
Robin had no plan, but that did not stop him from acting. He knew one thing: Marian was in custody for something that Robin was himself responsible for. No matter how honorable his intentions, he was free and she was not. She had done nothing. Yet She was humiliated in front of the town and all of Nottingham.
Women had only their reputations in this world. Even a baseless accusation could ruin a woman and stay with her for the rest of her life. Robin had seen it happen. These were thoughts that ran through his head so that as he approached Nottingham, he had no memory of saddling his horse, arming himself, what route he had taken or anything else. He came galloping out of the woods at full speed and reigned in his horse in front of the sheriff’s. A crowd gathered around. It was not often a man came thundering into town this way.
“Sheriff William Brewer!” Robin shouted. Presently the sheriff appeared in his door. If he recognized Robin, he gave no sign. “Marian is innocent!” Robin bellowed for all to hear.
“And just how would you know that?” the sheriff said. Robin noticed that the sheriff’s men were positioning themselves to surround him. He wouldn’t have much time.
“Because I am the man you’re looking for!”
“How do I know you’re telling the truth?” said the sheriff.
Robin knew the sheriff was playing for time. His hand fell to his belt. To his surprise, he found a bag full of gold there. He held it up high. “Here! Here is the money you stole form the people under the guise of tax!”  The sheriff nearly lunged for the bag himself. “It belongs to the people! The taxes, and the money you stole from the orphanage on Shrove Tuesday!”
“You stole that money!?”
“NO! YOU stole that money! I merely took it back! For the people!” with that Robin open the sack and showered the crowd with its contents. The sheriff went pale with shock. You let Marian go and take me instead! If you can!”
“And who might you be?” yelled the sheriff.
“Why I’m Robin! Robin Hood of course!” and with that, Robin beat a retreat back the way he had come.
The sheriff’s men hadn’t been mounted. It had been too quick. They hadn’t know what to expect. Robin knew they wouldn’t be long. He made for the river to lose his scent and rode upstream so he wouldn’t leave tracks. Instead of going to Sherwood, he made for Derby. He meant to hideout in the old hermit’s cave. He didn’t want to lead the sheriff’s men to the Village, but they had to be told what had happened. He realized he was heading right for St Anne’s, so he decided he better stop and take Tuck with him.

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