Inside the carriage were Sir Henri and another individual, dressed elegantly with jewels and velvet, and a crown upon his head. "Prince John, this is the place. This is where Robin Hood and his menacing band of outlaws robbed me! What do you plan to do about him? This has gone on too long!" The Prince was totally dumbfounded. (What else is new?) "I have a plan as we speak. It’s uh, being executed this evening."
"Oh really? What’s the plan Your Highness?" The Prince was again stumped, he fumbled around for words,
"It’s secret, very, very secret." He looked out the window, trying to find air, and saw Tuck picking the berries. "You there, Friar, do you know..." Tuck turned around and upon seeing Prince John turned a ghostly pale. The Prince, seeing Tuck formulated a plan. He chuckled and said to himself, "This is foolproof."
"Friar, do you know that this is the royal forest?"
"Yes Your Majesty. I do."
"So you know that it’s illegal to hunt and..."
"Yes Sire, but, um, these berries have a medicinal qualities, and..."
"I’ll let you go. I have to much to do." The Prince flashed a wicked smile and set off. They rode for a few minutes, until he was sure they were out of site, and called for a guard. "Find that tubby friar and bring him to the castle. Then send word out of Friar Tuck’s capture. That vile Robin Hood will hear of it and come to his aid. Heavily arm the castle guard and warn them of Robin. When they’ve captured him, send him to me."
"Yes Sire." The solider bowed and scurried off with two other men.
The Friar, not liking the look of things hid in the forest. He wheezed a bit as he breathed. The guards passed by and Tuck held his breath.
"Do you see him?"
"No sir, I don’t. Wait! His tracks..."
Again Tuck held his breath, "Dear God please let me get through this day."
"Here he is. Now Friar, I’m sure you’re going to make this easy on yourself."
"Oh," Tuck nervously chuckled, "of course."
One of the guards got into plain clothes, and rode in the direction of town. He went into the inn to spread the word. As you may or may not know, Robin has lots of connections, one of his friends, Sean happened to be in the inn at the moment the ‘plain clothed’ guard happened to stop in.
"Hey any of you know a Friar Tuck?" No one really answered him, but Sean became interested. Someone yelled out, "We know of him. He’s one of Robin Hood’s men." Sean called out, "What of him?"
"Well," the guard started, "he’s been kidnapped by Prince John. I’ve been trying to find Robin of one of his other men to tell them, but I’ve found no one." Another person in the inn said, "He’ll find out." Sean looked at the man standing in the doorway. When the murmur about the Friar died, he left. "Strange." Sean whispered. He got up gave a few coins to the barkeeper and left. He saw the guard leaving on horse back, the first thing he noticed was the Royal Guard uniform sticking out of the saddlebag. "A trap."
Sean ran as fast as he could to get to the camp. He ran through the town and the wood, zipping past trees and bushes. He got to the approximate location of the camp. This part was always hard for him. "Open it!" he harshly whispered. "Quickly, I have news of the Friar! He’s been kidnapped!" The gatekeeper had taken a bit of a nap. (A little too much ale the night before.) "Freddie, Fred, open the gate!" Sean, who was desperate and out of breath grabbed a few small rocks and pebbles. "Wake up Freddie!" He threw a rock with every word spoken. A rock landed flat on Freddie’s head.
"The gate, the gate, open it! Hurry!"
"Sean, that you?"
"Yes, open the damn thing, please!"
"Well, you don’t have to be pushy."
The gates, which are covered with pine branches, opened to reveal the camp; a complex establishment filled with tents and huts and people. Sean looked for Robin He was nowhere in sight. As he turned his head, he found a day-dreaming Marion sitting in the grass. Sean slowly inhaled, and then slowly exhaled, and walked over to Marion.
"Excuse me Marion, do you know where Robin is?" Marion gazed at him with a spacey smile on her face.
"Um Marion, you okay?"
"Wonder... err, Sean? What?"
"Robin, I need to find him."
"Why what’s wrong?" She became very worried, "Sean what?"
"Tuck has been kidnapped."
"What do you mean? He went out not much more than an hour ago, to see Mrs. Smyth."
"Well, a solider dressed as a commoner told the whole inn about it."
"A trap!" they said in unison.
"He went hunting with Little John."
"Well, let’s go!"
"Great shot Robin! That deer is huge, that’ll feed us for weeks!"
"That’s the plan Little John. I think we’re done, we should go before we’re found. Do you mind?" Robin said gesturing at the deer. Little John nodded and handed Robin his staff. Robin picked up a bag of smaller animals. "Hey Robin, did you hear something?"
"No, it’s probably the wind John."
"No, wait, listen." Robin stooped moving and listened. There was a faint sound.
"It sounds like someone’s calling your name."
"How can you tell John? It’s so light, it sounds like it’s just the wind, can we..."
*** *** ***
"ROBIN WHERE ARE YOU?!"
"You here that? You are being paged, Sir Robin."
"Marion?! That you?!"
"Robin!" Marion and Sean found Robin and Little John. (I think you figured that out.) The two of them, out of breath, tried to tell Robin what happened.
"I... was in the inn...." Sean gasped, "A solider... in plain clothes..."
Marion continued, "He told every... one that Tuck was... kidnapped by..."
"Prince John." Sean splurged out.
"A trap." All four said in unison.
"Sean, Marion, John, you up for a rescue?"
"Always." John said. Our heroes went back to camp. A plan is always a good thing to have on a rescue, and it’s best to think when one has a full stomach. They also had to bring the meat back.
"Robin will save me. You know that I know that!" Tuck shouted, when the guard looked at them Tuck shied away and sweetly said, "So why don’t ya let me go, eh?" The guard growled and Tuck sat down on a pile of hay in the corner of his small cell. The wooden door was too heavy to knock down, and forget about getting the window. It was too high up, and even if Tuck did get up there, he’d never fit through the bars. "Doomed." He mumbled. Someone came toward the door. It was Barkley, (The only Englishman with a Brooklyn accent! ~ Disregard that statement ~) The Prince’s aid.
"You can open the door. I’m here to speak with the prisoner." The guard growled and got the key from his pocket. The key clunked and clanked in the keyhole, and the door swung open. The guard put the key back in his left pocket before closing the cell door. "How are you Friar?" Barkley said with a smile.
"How do you think? I’ve been stuck in here for hours, no food, not much sunlight, it’s damp and the seating arrangements are rather uncomfortable!" Tuck argued while pointing to the pile of hay.
"Well, The Prince asked me to tell you why you’re here."
"It’s not because I was picking berries?" The Friar was a bit confused.
"No, no, no, no. Your going to be bait, for Robin Hood!" Barkley said with enthusiasm.
"Why does it seem that I’m * always * the bait?"
"Hmmm, I don’t know." Barkley pulled out a piece of paper and a quill. "You can write, right?"
"Yes, if I had ink."
"Oh, yeah, I knew that. I-- I’ll be right back." Barkley opened the door and looked at the guard, who growled again, and shuttered. "I hope I don’t end up here."
Tuck sat thinking. He knew that there had to be some way out...
"He’ll be in one of the underground cells, they have windows, Little John, you think that you could pull the bars out?"
"I could try Robin, but I don’t think the Friar could fit."
"We’ll need something else." Marion thought out loud.
Sean’s face lit up, "We could paint grease on the bars, have Tuck tie a rope around him, we could pull him out and be done with it."
"Yes," Robin reflected. "But the guards will be crawling around. If we make too much noise, they’re bound to hear something. We can’t have too many men. That is the best idea yet though."
"Should we go with it?" Little John asked. They looked at each other and nodded.
"Why not. Okay, Sean, after we find Tuck, and get through the guards, you and John work on the bars. John you pull them apart, and lower the rope, and Sean you grease them. Marion and I will watch for guards."
Marion got a bit bothered, "Robin, they’re looking for you, They’ll have pack of soldiers and guards."
"You and me can take care of them." Robin said flashing a smile. "If you really feel uneasy, I’ll go to Olwyn, he could help."
"There is no such.."
"...thing as magic, yes, there is."
"No, nothing, can’t be, isn’t. Magic doesn’t exist. Science exist, magic doesn’t."
"Well, I’ll go anyway."
Off Robin went into the night to find Olwyn. He knew he was near when his horse started jerking around. (Animals don’t just have a 6th sense for weather. They also have a 7th for magic!)
"Olwyn... you around? I need you help. Olwyn, show yourself to me." Robin felt a cool breeze blow against his face. He got off his horse and walked against the wind. He closed his eyes and took a deep breath.
Robin walked straight and true. When he felt it in his heart, he opened his eyes unto a familiar setting, the cold looking cave that leads to Olwyn’s home. Another familiar site was the dragon. "Well hello girl, long time no see."
Robin said with a grin as he walked through the illusion.
"Wait!" was what Robin was greeted with, Robin stopped in his tracks as Olwyn shouted.
"Wipe your feet, I just cleaned!"
Robin chuckled, "What, no magic trick?"
"Robin, life isn’t all illusion. Reality is a constant. What you see as surreal is only a dream."
"So magic, is a dream?"
"No, I didn’t say that. That isn’t your lesson anyway, remember, reality is a constant, the surreal is a dream. Come here." Robin followed the man into the room. Olwyn handed Robin a cloak, black and heavy.
Olwyn was perturbed at the question. He knew Robin knew. "Robin, your friend is in trouble, is he not?"
"Yes, Prince John kidnapped Tuck." Olwyn was silent. He wanted Robin to make the connection.
"Ahh. Well, what will a cloak do to help me get Tuck?"
"Light falls upon and object, darkening the land around it. This," Olwyn gestured toward the cloak, "Makes you a shadow without light."
"Oooh, nice. Thank you Olwyn."
"Don’t thank me yet. The magic doesn’t last long, a few minutes, half hour a best. Use it only when you have to." Robin nodded, and smiled.
"Be careful Robin. The Prince has many tricks up his sleeves."
"Even more than you Olwyn?" He smiled his good-bye, and headed out. He rode back to camp, and gathered Marion, Little John, and Sean to go to the castle.
Tuck scanned the walls that surrounded him. He felt like the walls were closing in on him, his head was dizzy, and tired. He needed to get out. Tuck took off his pouch, maybe he could get some ideas.
He went through all the green spices and flowers until he came upon a bizarre looking sprig of something. "Ahh, willaberry." Footsteps approached and the door clanked open again. Barkley appeared with a smile across his face. "Here you are, ink!"
"You never told me what I was supposed to do with it."
"Do with it, uh, do with it. Gee, I forgot."
"So why don’t you go and find out, hmm."
"Oh, okay, I remember, you have to write a note telling Robin that your here, your fine but you need help getting out of here. Tell him that he should go over the west wall, and toward the left near the ground is a small barred window. That’s where you’ll be."
"All right, but, uh, I can’t write while people are watching. So you go wait outside."
"Whatever." As Barkley turned around, Tuck, with all his might struck Barkley in the back of the head. Barkley fell to the floor with a thump. "Wow, I did that?" Tuck grabbed his pouch and pulled out the willaberries. With the inkbottle, he crushed them on the paper and Tuck gently put some of the fine powder on the quill. He walked carefully to the door, "Hey, guard?" The guard grunted and turned to face the Friar.
"Good night." Tuck blew the willaberry powder into the guards face. The guard looked confused, and sneezed. "One, two, three... bye-bye." Tuck went back into the cell and put his pouch back on and sprinkled the remaining powder in Barkley’s nose.
He sneezed and was sleeping like a baby. Tuck ran for the door but stopped short. He turned to look into the cell and gave a little chuckle.
End of Chapter Two
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