Past Ghosts

By Virginia Cavazos

Chapter Six

Eric woke up to find himself alone. Rising he changed the clothes he slept in. Running out of the room, he found Robin and his father near the door that led out to the courtyard. Nick was standing in the doorway. He had a large, happy grin on his face.

"This was my idea!" Nick proudly declared.

Robin and Ian were laying a thin wire across the doorway. They made sure it was just above Nick’s height.

"If some of them get through, I’ll have them follow me. Then..." Nick made a slit across his throat. Robin laughed, "I’ll just have to remember its here other wise its..." Robin made a slit across his throat. "...for me."

Eric ducked under the wire. Walking into the courtyard, he tried to spy what else Robin and his father had worked on in the night. Squinting into the morning sun, he looked up at the ramparts. He could make out a Long Bow leaning on the wall, just over the drawbridge. A torch was burning near the bow.

"Your father gave me the idea," Robin said, as he walked out into the courtyard. "It’s something special for Dukesbury."

Eric walked out to the drawbridge. He searched out into the forest.

Turning he called back. "When do you think they will come?"

"Sometime this morning would be my guess," Robin said, as he walked over to stand by Eric. "Are you scared?" Eric asked Robin.

Robin warmly laughed. "I would be a fool if I wasn’t." Eric gave Robin a puzzled look. He tried to explain to the young man.

"It’s all right to be afraid Eric. I’m afraid all the time."

Robin looked out into the forest. Spying something moving, he headed back into the courtyard. He continued his explanation to Eric. "I fear for my friends. I fear for the people that Prince John has suppressed. And I fear that I will not have enough time to stop him." Robin tried to catch Ian’s eye. As Ian locked eyes with him, he gave Ian a slight nod. Ian quickly ran up the stairs.

Robin then turned to face Eric’s questioning face. "You mean even the Great Robin Hood is afraid?" he said in wonder.

Robin humbly smiled. "I’m just a man Eric. I can get hurt." Robin pointed at his ribs as an example. "And I can die. But before that happens I am going to try my best to help the people of England battle Prince John and any Lord who feels he’s obliged to take land that is not his."

Eric smiled knowingly at Robin. "That is why you are a legend."

"I’ve never thought of myself as a legend. Just a man who fights for what he believes in." Robin started walking back towards the gate. Ian was already in place. He prayed that Ian would remain sane long enough to handle Dukesburys men. As Eric turned to continue his talk with Robin, he saw a movement in the trees outside of the forest.

"Robin!" Eric shouted out, as he pointed to the forest. "I saw something moving."

Robin turned, grinning widely at the boy, he gently said, "I know, go with your brother. Lord Dukesbury is here."

Eric searched up the ramparts, to see his father with a bow in hand. An arrow was already cocked. Nick was standing next to his father. His small bow was cocked with an arrow. Eric ran up the stairs. As he came to the top, he could see Dukesburys men were just starting to surround the castle.

Robin calmly walked out past the gate to stand at the edge of the drawbridge.

"I want to speak to Lord Dukesbury," Robin shouted.

A man on a white horse slowly came out of the brush. He rode up to stop near the drawbridge. From the way he was dressed, Robin guessed him to be the Lords captain of the guard. He held his breath as the horse nervously came close to the bridges edge. If the captain brought the horse on the bridge now, then the little trap Robin set for Dukesburys men would be set off to soon.

Robin casually walked on the side of the drawbridge. He stopped in the center. The man on the horse backed it up.

"Are you Lord Dukesbury?" Robin demanded.

"I am Captain Williamson, I am here to represent Lord Dukesbury," the man coldly sniffed at him. "I suppose that you are Robin Hood."

Clutching behind him, Robin pulled his sword from its scabbard. Leaping in the air, he landed near the horse. Leaning on the sword’s tip, he gave him a wink, and a dimpled grin.

"You suppose right!"

The Captain seemed unimpressed. "Lord Dukesbury asks for your surrender and the surrender of Ian Richard’s for the death of a soldier under Lord Dukesburys protection."

Robin chuckled at the pompous man.

"Tell Lord Dukesbury that Robin Hood will talk to no one but him."

He then slapped the horse on the rump with the swords blade. The horse ran away, Captain Williamson was clutching at the reins trying to control the panicked steed.

Walking backwards, Robin crossed over the drawbridge. Being sure to keep a watchful eye for any sudden attacks from the Lords men. As he made it safely across the bridge, he stopped just under the portcullis. Leaning against the wall, he waited for Dukesbury to make the next move. He didn’t have long to wait.

Hearing a warning shout from Ian, Robin braced himself as ten of the Lords men ran out of the brush. They quickly advanced toward him. Holding shields before them, to protect them from arrow fire. Robin waited near the gate. He had to act as bait for Dukesbury men. Ian was told to hold off on using the arrows, until the drawbridge trap was set.

Robin calmly waited near the gate. He made his stand just under the portcullis. Holding his sword in one hand, he patted the blade in his palm.

Yelling and screaming, the men ran towards Robin. They were told it would be a simple raid. The only one they really had to worry about was Robin Hood. They were told that the castle was occupied by a crazy old man and his two boys. It was to be an easy raid.

Robin stood his ground as the men came closer. As they neared the drawbridge, Robin calmly waited. The men were now on the drawbridge. Robin slowly backed up as the drawbridge was holding!

There were now ten men on the drawbridge, and still it held. Robin began to back up, until a crack was heard. Eight of the ten men fell into the moat. Screams were heard as they fell on the spears Robin had set in the moat earlier. Two of the ten managed to make it across. They dropped their shields but held onto their swords.

Robin met them with sword in hand. He slashed at one, while kicking out at the other. Instantly he knew that the man on his right was good with a sword.

The man Robin kicked at fell to the ground. He turned to concentrate on the swordsman. A large grin parted the mans lips, as he was becoming the aggressor.

He found that Robin was backing up. Feeling his opponent drawing back, he pressed into the attack. Just when he thought he had the better of the outlaw. Robin back flipped out of his way, as he landed, he winked at the man and pointed behind him. "Goodbye," Robin said, with a wave. Spinning around, the man saw an arrow coming his way.

Without his knowing, Robin had backed the man up into the courtyard. Ian let go of his arrow, shooting the man in the chest as he turned to face him. Robin quickly grabbed his bow at his back. Pulling an arrow from his quiver, he carefully aimed at the rope that held the portcullis. The arrow flew true to slice the rope that held the Portcullis up. The gate fell down with a crash and plume of dust!

Robin ran up the stairs to survey how many men Lord Dukesbury had brought with him. He let out a low whistle, as he could make out over 40 men before them. He could make out some of the men slowly making their way to the sides of the castle.

Grabbing an arrow wrapped with a wad of rag on the end, Robin lit it on the flaming torch. Running to the side of the castle, he let the arrow go. It landed in the middle of the pitch he poured last night. The pitch immediately went up in flames. The fires followed the trail Robin left. It ran down the side of the castle to the back. He quickly ran back to the front of the castle. Eric and Nick took their places on the other side of the castle.

Ian nodded his head in respect, "Very good soldier, good strategic maneuver. Eliminate fifty percent of the battlefield." Robin smiled back at Ian. "The fire has a dual purpose. " Robin looked out past the forest. "I have friends out there. If they see the fire they’ll come to help us."

Ian searched past the Lords men.

"Then I hope they see it soon. We cannot hold our forces here long."

Robin softly said aloud. "I hope they do too."

End of Chapter Six

Chapter One / Chapter Two / Chapter Three / Chapter Four / Chapter Five
Chapter Six / Chapter Seven / Chapter Eight / Chapter Nine / Chapter Ten

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