Finishing the soup, Robin lay back down on the bed and waited for the boys to return. The soup he had eaten was good. It did its job, making him sleepy. Soon he was lost to a healing sleep. He dreamed of the day his father was killed. It had been a memory that was hard for him to forget. He would forever see the sword pierce his fathers heart. Then he always ran away, like a coward. It was a day that he would never forget. He felt he was a deserter, a coward for leaving his father in his greatest time of need. As Robin slept on, Ian walked over to check on him.
"You’ll be all right soldier," Ian whispered, as he felt Robin’s head for any fever. Convinced that the young man was all right. Ian wearily walked back to his stool, by the fireplace. He stared into the flames. He saw many things in the flames. It was three hours later when Nicholas burst through the door.
"Robin, Robin!" Nick frantically screamed. He ran to Robin, shaking him awake. He jerked up at Nick’s insistence. He pulled his legs over to the floor, rubbing his eyes as Nick cried out.
"You have to help us Robin. Some men took Eric." Robin carefully stood up. Ian jumped up, knocking the stool over. "What’s wrong soldier?" Ian grabbed Nick by his small shoulders. Shaking him as he spoke.
"Is someone captured?"
Confused and frightened, Nick started crying. He tried to go to his father for comfort, but Ian just brushed him off.
"At ease man!" Ian ordered the boy. He then went back to his stool, complaining about discipline in the ranks.
Nick stood alone. His bottom lip quivering. Robin called out to Nick. Opening his arms out to the boy, he ran in his arms. Robin warmly embraced him as the boy cried. He gently stroked the boy’s head, as he tried to console him.
Waiting for the boy to finish crying, Robin then asked him what happened to Eric. Standing back, Nick sniffled. "It was some of the Dukes men. They said we owed too much in back taxes, and they were taking Eric as payment. Then they said they was going to come and take the castle," Nick sniffled again. He took the back of his sleeve and wiped his nose on it. Robin kept his hand on Nick’s shoulder squeezing it gently, trying to ease the boy’s fears.
"Where are they taking him, Nick?" Robin asked.
"To a camp, not to far from here. They said they were going to send for more men to take the castle." Nick looked teary eyed at Robin. "What am I going to do? I can’t take care of the castle by myself."
Robin gazed back at Ian. He was ranting about not doing his duty. Ian wasn’t going to be any help. He slowly stood up, twisting his torso back and forth. The pain was not as bad with the tight dressing that Ian had put on him. Robin searched around for his tunic. Finding it, he pulled it on. Stooping down he picked up his weapons from the foot of the bed. He strapped on the quiver and sword. Ready, he nodded his head to Nick.
"Let’s go get your brother."
Nick sniffled again. Glancing at his father, he asked. "Are we going to take him?"
Robin just shook his head. "No Nick. He’ll just get in the way. If we do this carefully, I think we can get your brother back." Nick smiled in joy. His tears drying "And you want me to help?"
Robin patting him on the back, "I don’t think I’ll be able to do it without you. Come on let’s go. I need you to show me the way."
"Oh yeah, I’m important, aren’t I!" Nick proudly declared. Robin chuckled. "Yes you are Nick. Now let’s go get your brother."
"Okay, I just need to get something. To help us fight.’ Nick ran out of the room. Robin followed him. He slammed the door behind him. As the door closed, Ian searched around the room, trying to find where the sound came from.
In Ian’s eyes, he saw tents lined up along a hill. Clarence and Jack were sitting by the campfire. He walked up to them and squatted down by the fire. Warming himself by the flames, he said.
"A cold night," Clarence looked up at Ian
"Aren’t you going to help your boy?" he asked.
"Yes," Jack chimed in.
"What do you mean? My boy is back in England!"
Clarence laughed aloud. "Ian, you really kill me. I’ve told you a million times. You are home. But you just don’t listen to me. Like on the battlefield." Clarence shook his head. "You didn’t listen to me then, and you won’t listen to me now. What are we going to do with him Jack?"
Jack clicked his tongue. "I think we need to make him go. Captain Richard’s!" Jack ordered.
Ian stood at a crisp salute. "You’re to get ready for a reconnaissance. A man has been captured and we want you to recover him."
"Yes sir!" Ian said. He went to an old trunk and opened it up. In it were the clothes he wore in the crusades. Slowly he started to put them on.
As Robin left the room, he looked for Nick. He found himself in a large hallway. There was a large staircase, which led to the upper floors. As he searched around, he spied Nick running into a room off to the side. Robin ran after him. As he entered the room, he gasped out in wonder. The room was full of every imaginable weapon made. Nick was at a long wooden table. He seemed to be looking for something.
"It’s hear somewhere." Nick called out. Robin slowly walked around the room. Touching a large wicked looking lance lying on a table. On the walls hung many an ornate sword.
"I had heard your father collected weapons. But I didn’t think his collection was so extensive."
Nick smiled in pride, as he searched on. "Oh yes. Eric said we come from a long line of weapons makers. That’s why he’s so good at carving. When I grow up, I’m going to be making weapons too. Here it is!" Nick called out, as he found what he was looking for. He pulled out a large spear. It proved to be bigger than him. Stopping in front of Robin his grin threatened to leave his face. "This is my favorite. It has great carvings on it."
He showed it to Robin. Taking it, he rolled it around in his hand. The tip was wicked looking. With barbs to catch when an opponent was pierced. There were carvings all along the spear. It depicted Knights in battle.
"I imagine it to be quite deadly." Robin remarked. As he examined the spear closely, Nick picked up some arrows that lay on another table. He handed them to Robin, as he handed the spear back to him. The arrows were made of steel. They would travel far for Robin. The tips also had small barbs on them. Thanking the boy, Robin placed them in his quiver.
"If you’re ready, lets go Nick. We have to save your brother."
Nick ran to the door holding it for Robin. "And then protect the castle?" He asked. Robin patted the boy on his head. "If need be," he answered back. ‘"Oh boy!" Nick shouted in glee. " I’m going to fight with Robin Hood!"
Nick led Robin out of the castle. He still felt weak from his injury. The walking helped to strengthen him. It took an hour to walk to where Eric was held. Robin carefully surveyed the area. Squatting behind some bushes, he counted four men guarding the young man. Eric was tied up to a pole pounded into the ground, in the middle of the camp. His head hung down in dejection. Every once in a while, a soldier would come up and talk to the boy. Eric remained silent.
Robin gazed up at the sky. It was nearly dark. He had to think of a way to safely get the boy back.
"There were five," Nick whispered to Robin. "I guess the fifth one went back to get more men. When they grabbed Eric, I told them Robin Hood would get him back."
Robin’s head jerked around, as he heard Nick’s statement. Hissing through clenched teeth, he whispered. "You said - what?"
Nick innocently smiled, "Well you are here, aren’t you?" he looked up at Robin with those admiring eyes. In Nicks eyes Robin was his biggest hero. There was nothing that Robin couldn’t do. Robin let out a deep sigh. He hoped that he could live up to the boy’s expectations.
"We’ll wait until dark. Then we go get Eric."
Nick pointed to Robins Arrows. "Why not just shoot them? I’m sure you’ll be able to kill them all before they try to hurt Eric."
Sitting down on the ground, Robin tried to explain his actions to the boy. "Nick, I don’t kill men in cold blood. Those that I do kill, are done trying to defend myself, or those in danger. I try to avoid any bloodshed. These men are just following orders."
Nick was confused. "But they hurt the villagers, not the Duke. They have Eric. Don’t they deserve to die?" Nick looked to his hero for answers.
"No one deserves to die Nick. Not even Prince John."
Nick was now totally baffled. Robin Hood stood for justice. He helped the poor. He never thought that Robin was afraid to kill someone. He sat quietly with Robin as they waited for night to fall.
When the darkness came, the men set up sentries. The one on watch seemed to have a limp. He wore a long heavy cape. Keeping his head covered for warmth. He circled the camp as the others rested by the campfire.
"Yeah that’s right. You all sleep real peaceful like. Why am I always the one to ‘ave first watch?" he grumbled.
As the limping man came towards Robin, he leaped out of the bushes. Placing his hand over the mans mouth, he dragged him into the brush. Nick waited with rock in hand. He hit the man on the head as hard as he could. This only served to daze the man. Robin brought his fist back and landed a hard jab on his jaw. The man fell to the ground with a plop. Taking the cape off, Robin quickly put it on. Pulling the hood over his head, he headed towards the campfire.
"The limp!" Nick whispered out.
Spinning around, Robin hushed him. He then started walking with a limp. Robin walked up to the campfire, warming his hands on the flames.
""Ere now ‘orace. Wot you doin’ away from your watch?"
"Well I gots cold back there." Robin mumbled. "Came ‘ere to warm up a bit."
The man turned over and went back to sleep. Robin let out a relieved sigh. So far, so good. He began to inch his way to where Eric was kept. Still tied up, Eric was sleeping hanging from the pole. Robin pulled out his dagger. Standing behind Eric, he squatted down. Slowly, he began cutting away the bonds. Eric’s hands fell to the side. He woke up with a start. Robin placed his hand over his mouth to muffle any sound. Eric’s eyes went wide. He heard Robin whisper into his ear.
"Be quiet and follow me."
Taking his hand off Eric’s mouth, Robin carefully stood up. He kept an eye on the two men at the campfire. Then it hit him…TWO men!
Robin felt an arm snake across his neck. Another hand grabbed his hand that held the dagger. The unknown assailant squeezed on his hand. He forced him to drop the dagger. He then heard a deep voice rumble in his ear.
"Well, Well, we’ve been waiting for you Robin Hood. Glad you could make it."
End of Chapter Four
Chapter One / Chapter Two / Chapter
Three / Chapter Four / Chapter Five
Chapter Six / Chapter Seven / Chapter Eight / Chapter Nine / Chapter Ten
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