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Robin Hood: Trouble comes knocking 30

Marian was right about one thing: Robin did love disguises. While Marian was taking a short nap before her dinner with Father Cedric, Robin was meeting Tuck at the Lying Hart tavern. The name was a play on the name of King Richard the Lion Heart, King John’s deceased brother and predecessor. It was also a pun as a “hart” is a male deer, as well as a homonym for the internal organ considered the house of human courage. Nearby Sherwood Forest was famous for its plentiful venison, which was the private property of King John. Robin was dressed as a traveling monk, wearing a black monk’s robe with the hood up to hide his infamous features. Tuck (who, as you will recall was actually a monk) was dressed in his disguise as a bearded merchant. He was posing as his own estranged brother who had come to visit only to find his brother, Brother Tuck, on the lam and took up his position. He told everyone to call him James. He had also lost weight while away from the regular meals and desk work of St. Anne’s. Everyone he met said that they could see the resemblance.
When Robin heard of Marian’s dinner date, he became agitated. He wanted to intervene, but could see no way of doing so with giving themselves away. Though he couldn’t storm the rectory, Robin felt he would be remiss in his part as a traveling monk not to pay a visit to St. Mary’s to pray to the statue of the Virgin for guidance. This way, he would be close at hand if anything were to go awry and he could spring to Marian’s aid. Of course he would have to be doubly careful not to be found out, or he would be putting Marian in more jeopardy just by being there.
Robin made his way to St Mary’s at dusk. The sun had just set, and the sky began to take on a rich, luminous, deep blue towards the East and fades to an almost colorless white on the opposite horizon. The old Norman structure of the church dominating the skyline with a stark silhouette. A cool breeze played across Robin’s face as he looked up at the facade of the church he had known since his childhood. How much longer would he have to be a fugitive in his hometown? It was with genuine humility Robin entered the church through the Narthex. He chose a pew at the back of the nave and knelt to pray. The church was empty except for Robin himself. He felt the silence as a physical presence. It filled his ears with an otherworldly sense of calling. He remembered his dream of Mary in the hermit’s cave. The dream had metamorphosed from being Mary to Marian; the name itself a derivation of Mary. The Virgin Mary was now the Maid Marian. Had that been the case all along? It was impossible. He had not even met Marian when he’d had the dream. What had been the rest of it? He had been chased by the sheriff. The crowd had simultaneously tried to help him even as it held him back. Why did the sheriff relentlessly try to destroy the orphanage and even the people of the shire? Robin had thought it was just bald greed. He had thought the sheriff was the embodiment of evil, but then there had been that encounter with the Earl of Lincoln. He had seemed more the devil than any man Robin had ever met: amiable yet exuding a malice which he seemed to relish. That the sheriff had chosen to side with Robin over the Earl was a mystery that Robin could not fathom. Were they rivals?
What was Robin to do? He was not content to spend the rest of his life in the forest. The people were rallying to Robin, but how could he utilize them? He couldn’t just declare war on the sheriff and march on Nottingham. He needed a plan, some way to bring the fight to the sheriff before the sheriff brought an army to burn him out of Sherwood.
The old vicarage of St. Mary’s was located behind a small grove of oak trees that stood between it and the back of the church. Cedric had the monks to keep the place clean and in good repair and could call on them to act as servants whenever there were guests, though when he ate alone he usually prepared his own meals, and cleaned up after himself on a day to day basis. This afternoon, he had had a goose prepared and gone quite out of his way to see that a sumptuous feast consisting of a salad with fresh greens, boiled quail eggs,  and steamed vegetables, followed by eel and fish soup, sausages with fennel and rosemary, then the goose, with a dessert of blackberry pie and clotted cream. Cedric only served visiting officials from Rome or Canterbury meals like this. Though he never dined this way himself, he wanted to give his guest the impression that he could provide any luxury. The monks had given him odd looks, but knew better than to question the expense. Cedric had always demanded to obeyed in his orders, but had grown especially self important since the sheriff had deputized him. Evensong had barely finished (Cedric had given the task of officiating to yet another monk as he wanted to oversee the preparations) When there was a knock on the door. Cedric, dressed in his finest frock, answered the door himself and was quite surprised to see Sir Guy of Gisborne, Mayor of Nottingham and his wife, Greta.
“Are we late?” Greta said ridiculously, as the bells of evensong had only just finished peeling. “Where is this new teacher everyone is talking about?” Sir Guy handed Cedric his coat as if Cedric were a common servant and the two strode in and held out their hands until one of the monks placed goblets of wine in them. Cedric was about to demand who on Earth had invited the Gisbornes, but he never got the chance to, because there came a knocking on the door again. Having no doubt that this time it had to be Hilde. He opened the door with a big smile which was returned by Richard Whitehand and his wife Margaret. The Whitehands were part of the gentry of Nottingham and traveled in the company of the Gisbornes and the sheriff. They traipsed in, adding their coats to the growing stack in Cedric’s arms, and joined the Gisbornes, picking up a conversation that had been ongoing. Quite angry now, Cedric said to no one in particullar, “What in the devil is the meaning of this?” His guests looked at him, and then at each other, and then back at him. Richard’s face brightened and he said, “Ah, the sheriff! Sorry old chap, I’m afraid the sheriff couldn’t come tonight, he is in the midst of planning something quite important and rather large scale, I must say. He sends his regards though; says carry on without him and all that.” Cedric did not like being called “old chap” as he felt it was some kind of slang for “chaplain”. There was another knock at the door, and completely at his wit’s end, and barely able to open the door for all the coats he was holding, he swung the door open, screaming as he did so; “What is it now for God’s sake?” only to find that it was, of course Hilde, looking a bit flushed and taken aback for being yelled at. “Hilde!” Cedric cried, dropping the coats summarily on the floor to the side of the door so he could greet Hilde with open arms. “Come in! Come in! Welcome! I am so glad you could make it!”
“Ja, well you said you wouldn’t take no for the answer.” she said, wishing she had said no.

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