Past Ghosts

By Virginia Cavazos

Chapter Seven

Robin was grateful that Ian was able to keep his sanity. He would need his help in the upcoming battle. He spied Lord Dukesbury in the forest.

"Just where you said he would be," Robin complimented Ian.

"You will never find a Lord near a battle. They like to stay safely behind," Ian said.

Robin reached for the long bow. Taking an arrow, he started shooting them off into the forest. Unknown to the Dukes men, Ian had placed bags up in the trees, surrounding the castle.

Robin shot at the bags that hung in the forest trees. Their contents spilled out onto the forest, or for some, over soldiers standing underneath. Now taking special arrows with wads of rags tied at the tip, Robin used the torch and ignited them. Robin then let loose the flaming arrows. The bags were filled with lamp oil. When the flaming arrows touched them, the forest was immediately engulfed in flames.

The men ran in fear as some caught on fire. Lord Dukesbury called out to them.

"Come back here you cowards! I’ll triple the pay of any man who can get inside that castle and bring me Robin Hood."

Dukesbury was sitting on his horse. Dressed in his new, blue velvet, coat. He tried to calm his horse down, as he was spooked by the flames. Robin smiled to himself as he aimed an arrow at the pompous Lord.

Dukesbury looked up, as he heard the deep twang of a Long bow. The arrow flew above the Lords head. Hitting a bag that hung above him. The contents spilled out on Dukesburys head.

Holding his bow, Robin waited for it. He heard a horrified cry ring out of the forest. A satisfied grin cracked his lips. He had searched hard in the cold night to find what he was looking for. He was able to find the foulest smelling mud in the moat. He filled the bag that hung over the Duke with it.

Lord Dukesbury was steaming as he was covered in the most disgusting smelling mud. It clung to his new clothes.

"Wil-liam-son!" Dukesbury screamed.

"Yes your lordship?" Williamson cringed.

"I want the reward for Robin Hoods capture tripled again!"

The men stopped, as they heard that Lord Dukesbury now raised the original offer, to help him capture Robin Hood, by six times. For that much money, they were willing to die to get Robin Hood.

"They’re coming back," Ian pointed towards the outskirts of the forest. It looked as though they were going to leave. Something must have changed their minds.

"If they do come, we’re ready for them."

Robin placed the long bow down. Taking his own bow in hand, he left Ian alone to guard the front of the castle, while he checked on the side where the boys stood guard. As he approached them, he could see them searching for any attempts to breach the castle from their side.

"Anything yet?" Robin quietly asked the boys. He didn’t want to scare them.

"Nope, nothing yet Robin," Eric reported.
"I didn’t see anything either Robin," Nick Chorused.

"Keep up the good work," Robin praised the boys. They stared out into the forest. Robin was amazed how fearless they were. As he walked back to Ian, he spied some men attempting to crawl up the front of the castle. Ian, was just standing where Robin had left him. He ran to Ian, calling out a warning.

"Ian, look out below." Ian slowly turned his head towards Robin.

"Is that you Clarence? What’s for lunch today?" Ian truly could not see the men scaling the walls. For in his mad eyes, they were in the middle of a camp. Clarence and Jack were waiting by the fire, eating their lunch. Robin called back to Eric to come help him. As he reached the ramparts, a man had just made his way to the top. Pulling his leg over he jumped up to meet Robin.

Robin threw his bow on the ground. Reaching to his back, he pulled his sword from its scabbard. Ian remained between the two men, oblivious to what was happening around him. Robin grabbed Ian by the arm and swung him behind him. As he met the invader, Eric grabbed his father.

Robin tried to force his attacker back, so Eric could get his father safely back into the castle. In his condition, he would be of no help to them.

"Get him...back in...the room!" Robin gasped out, between each parry and thrust he used to defend himself. As he fought on, he spied at the corner of his eye, Eric walking down the stairs with Ian. He stepped up his attacks. There really was not much room for them to fight. The narrow path at the top of the wall was only wide enough for one man.

Robin had no recourse but to back up, he knew other men would follow the one he was battling. He backed up enough for the attackers scaling up the wall, to be behind the first marauder.

Robin ducked a thrust his opponent made. He squatted on the ground, kicking his leg out he hit the man in his calves, knocking him down. As he fell, another man quickly took his place. All were anxious to be the one to get Robin Hood, and that reward.

"Get him!" the man that fell on the floor screamed. "No capture, no reward!"

Seeing the hungry looks on the their faces, Robin tried to take advantage of it. "Tell me," Robin grunted as the second man made a thrust for his gut. He deftly blocked the thrust.

"How much is the Lord paying you for me?"

Robin jumped into the air as the opponent made a broad sweep with his sword. As he landed hard, he grimaced. His cracked ribs gave him a gentle reminder.

"A lot!" The man said. He lunged again. Robin brushed it aside. Grabbing the man by his sword hand, he pulled him toward him.

"I assure you. I’m worth every penny!" he laughed at the man. He brought his leg up and kicked the man away. The man fell over the other fallen guard, knocking down two more.

A total of four men were now on the ramparts. Robin ran backwards, keeping his sword in front of him. He reached down to grab his bow. Clutching at his back, he looked for an arrow from his quiver. He let out a low curse, as he found that there were none left! Suddenly he felt an arrow handed to him.
"Here you go Robin," Nick said. He ran back to the stack of arrows, that he had placed so carefully last night.

He quickly handed them to Robin, as he shot them off towards the invaders. The first two fell over the wall. Arrows imbedded in their chest. The other four, realizing that it was Robin Hood who was shooting at them, jumped over the side.

Robin leaned over yelling down, "Sorry you had to leave so soon."

Nick laughed at them. "Yeah, we hate to see you go." As Nick laughed harder, he looked up at Robin for approval. Instead, he gave him a very serious look.

"Well I thought it would sound funny," Nick sighed.

Robin chuckled. "It did Nick. It’s just that I realized that you and Eric should not be here. It’s to dangerous. I want you to leave the castle immediately."

"But the funs just getting started!" Nick whined.

"Nick, it may seem like fun to you, but I was nearly killed back there. If you hadn’t handed me the arrows; they would have been able to overtake me."

"But you’re Robin Hood!" Nick said with pride. "You can easily defeat them."

Robin didn’t want to argue with the boy. He called out to Eric, who was returning, after taking his father in.

Eric at first froze, as he saw two dead men near the steps. He jumped over them climbing up the stairs, to meet Robin stood.

"What’s wrong?" he asked.

"Eric, I want you and Nick to leave this castle. It’s getting to dangerous for the two of you."

Robin rushed over to the side of the castle. There was a cache of arrows left there. Grabbing them, he stuffed them in his quiver.

"Why?" Eric was shocked. He thought they were a big help to him.

Robin slowly walked back to Eric. Placing his hands on his shoulders, he tried to explain to him.

"If more men come, I won’t be able to protect the two of you and your father. If your father was lucid, the two of us could hold this castle for as long as it takes, but with you father the way he is…"

Eric began to debate Robin, he hushed him with a look. "No arguments, you have to go with your brother. Take him out of here. I want you to try and find my friends." Robin looked out into the forest.

As he heard a sound from below, he pulled out an arrow. Without looking to aim, his attention still on the boys, he blindly shot the arrow down the wall. A scream was heard, as it hit a man trying to scale the walls. He fell to the ground in seconds.

Robin turned his attention back to the boys.

"Eric, I’m depending on you and your brother to find my friends. You know the forests here. Please do this for me, find my friends. Only they will be able to help save your castle and your father."

Eric quietly nodded his head. Robin breathed out a sigh of relief.

"Good then, I want the two of you to go now. Your father told me of your little escape route. Use it to get out of the castle."

Robin patted Eric and Nick on the shoulders. "Now go. The faster you leave, the faster you can return." Eric turned and headed down the stairs. Nick hesitated.

"But I thought you needed me?" he sadly cried.

Robin squatted in front of the young boy. "Nick, I do need you."

He tried to hearten the boy. "I need you to find my friends. Your father is no help to me in the condition he’s in. I need you to find my friends." He gently nestled his finger under the boy’s chin. "Think you can do that for me?"

Nick sadly sung out, " I guess." Robin stood up smiling down at the boy.

"Then hurry. You have to catch up with your brother."

Wiping his tears dry, Nick ran down the stairs. Eric waited for him at the foot. The two ran towards the side of the castle. The wall on this side of the castle had been crumbling. Eric was able to loosen some stones, to make an exit, just incase they had to leave quickly. Eric took one last look at Robin before he left.

He was standing at the top of the ramparts. The wind blew at his face. His long hair flew behind him. His steely gaze looked out into the forest. Every sense was alive. He watched and waited for any other attacks on the castle to begin.

Eric hated to leave him like this. Seeing his younger brother looking at him, with hopeful eyes, they would go back, he pushed Nick into the hole. He soon followed after him.

As they left the castle courtyard, a man stepped out of the shadows. When Robin kicked MacGruder near the drawbridge, he didn’t notice him sneaking into the courtyard, while he kept Peters busy.

MacGruder remained hidden. Waiting for his chance to capture Robin Hood. He watched as the boy brought his father down. The man was mumbling something about King Richard being angry with him. He had heard the former Knight was a little touched in the head. He just didn’t know how much. As Eric and Nick left, MacGruder followed them. He looked up at Robin. His back was turned to him. He never saw the intruder leave the castle. MacGruder silently exited the castle. He found himself at the west side of the estate. Eric and Nick had just reached the outskirts of the forest surrounding the castle.

MacGruder rushed into the forest. He made his way to Lord Dukesbury the Lord would pay him handsomely for the information he had to give him.

End of Chapter Seven

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

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