Pandora's Castle
By Virginia Cavazos
Chapter One

It was during his travels in the crusades that Sir Thomas of Glockshire heard tales told at campfires, of a dark and evil castle…a living place, called Pandora's Castle.Thousands of years old, many forms of evil that existed in the world, or throughout time, found themselves trapped within its ancient walls. He was told that many had died who entered the castle, searching for the great power hidden within. The castle was said to be haunted - it would appear miraculously in other lands. Its unending search was for a new evil; to add to its unwilling inhabitants. It was on a fateful day, that Thomas, Robin Hood, and his  companions came upon the castle. Never knowing, that they would be risking their lives, to save their homeland from the malignancy that existed within…

Pandora's Castle!

"Sorry you were caught up in this, Tom," Robin panted, as he rode his horse hard across a large meadow.

"Nonsense Robin, after spending time in the crusades, this is but a romp," Tom shouted to be heard above the pounding of the horses hooves on the ground. Tom glanced back, he could just make out Sir Guy and his men streaming out of the woods.

"They're catching up!" Marion shouted, as she urged her mount on.

"What are we going to do?" Little John's voice quivered, as he fought to remain seated on his galloping horse.

"We find a place to make a stand!" Robin said, as his eyes scanned ahead. "Tuck, do you know this area?"

"Sorry Robin!" Tuck sadly replied. "I've never seen it before."

When Tom first asked Robin if he could come with him to help check out a report, that someone was pretending to be Robin Hood. He didn't hesitate to allow him to come with. He felt his skills from being a knight in the crusades would come in handy. Little did he know; that Sir Guy was behind the scheme, and that he brought with him a squadron of twenty of his men.
The horses struggled to climb up a steep hill, coming to its peak, Robin let out a sigh of relief, as he spied a dark castle looming in the distance.

"Look familiar?" Robin asked, as he led them towards the castle.

"Not at all," Tom replied. "As my grandfather used to say, 'Any port in a storm.'"

"Let's hope this port is not a supporter of Prince John," Robin gasped, as he rode his horse hard, towards the dark, castle.
They galloped towards a dark drawbridge that was settled in a meadow of grass. Robin glanced back, only now was Sir Guy reaching the crest of the hill. Hopefully, they would have enough time to find out if the residents of the castle were allies or foes.
The horses hooves clopped on the wooden drawbridge, as they rode over it. They pulled their mounts to a stop, in the center of a huge courtyard.

"What ho, anyone here?" Robin shouted.

He was surprised to hear only silence in return. Robin took out an arrow. Cocking his bow, he turned in his saddle
searching for the rope that held the castle drawbridge down. He would use his arrow to sever the rope. He received his first fright of the day, when he spied a frayed rope dangling. How the gates remained open, Robin had no idea.

"My god!" Tom gasped. "This can't be it!"

"Be what?" Little John asked.

"Quickly Robin!" Tom shouted. "We must flee from here, it is not safe for us to remain in this courtyard."

"That is not a option for us Tom, Sir Guy can't be far behind. We need to enter the castle, and pray that we won't have two forces to battle," Robin said, as he jumped down from his mount.

"Robin, listen to me!" Tom pleaded with him, as he raced towards the doors that led to the castle. Grabbing a large ring that hung from the center, Robin began to pull the door open. Tom ran to Robins side, as he heard Sir Guy's men approaching.

"Robin, we can't go in there." Tom warned him. "We may meet our deaths in there."

"We will definitely meet it out here Tom, we have no choice," he grunted, as he pulled the doors open.

"I'll have your head, Robin Hood!" Robin heard Sir Guy shout, as his men poured over the drawbridge.

"The choice has been made Tom, we make a stand inside." Robin pulled the doors open, he rushed his companions though.
Glancing back, he spied Sir Guy entering the courtyard. Using his bow, he managed to hit four of Guys men, as they galloped towards him.

He spied a man dressed in a black cloak, ridding next to Guy, just before he pushed the doors to the castle shut. Spinning around, he searched the inside of the castle, hoping to find somewhere his people could defend themselves against Sir Guy and his men.

"We don't have to rush in!" Guy shouted. "Can't you see they're trapped." Just as the words, 'trapped' escaped his lips, the drawbridge to the castle suddenly sprang up. It closed with a resounding thud, effectively trapping Sir Guy and twenty of his men within the courtyard of the dark castle.

"Wot are we goin' to do now?" the cloaked man asked Guy.

"What did I tell you about speaking like that?" Guy hissed.

"Sorry, sometimes I forget," the hooded man growled, as he pulled the black hood down. Sir Guy now gazed at a man that was identical in every way to Robin Hood.

"I didn't spent all that time bringing you back from near death, and then training you on how to speak the kings English, only to have you forget it so soon, Jacobi!"

"I said I was sorry," Jacobi snarled. He looked up at the dark Castle that stood before him. "I don't like the looks of things. My instincts are telling me we should be getting out of 'ere as soon as possible."

"We had a deal Jacobi. I save your miserable life, and you run around Sherwood Forest, pretending to be Robin Hood. Stealing the taxes from the people and giving it to me."

"I was doing that, your lordship. Until one of the bloody villagers ratted to Robin about wot we were doing."

"We'll get that villager later. For now let's concentrate on finding Robin, and eliminating him."

"You got no arguments from me," Jacobi purred.

Dismounting, Sir Guy, and his men slowly moved towards the castle. "I've been in these parts before. I don't remember a castle being here," Jacobi said.

"I'm sure you're mistaken. It looks to be hundreds of years old," Sir Guy corrected him. "Now stop your whining, and do your job of ending Fitzsooth's life!"

"I thought you wanted me to kill Robin 'ood?" Jacobi scratched his head in confusion.

"He is Robin Hood!" Sir Guy shouted.

"Fine," Jacobi purred, as he rolled his knife across his knuckles. "It'll be me pleasure."

Opening the castle doors, Jacobi, Sir Guy and his men entered the dark castle. As the door slammed tightly behind them, laughter began to echo within the empty courtyard.

"Enter my parlor...," a voice softly echoed in the courtyard, the words lost to the wind.

End of Chapter One

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