Legends Of Robin Hood
I was born in a small town near Doncaster in the West Riding of Yorkshire. In those days this was a mining area with collieries scattered all around and chimneys belching filth. RAF Finningley was close by with its Vulcan Bombers, great camouflaged darts streaking the skies above. I remember the Vulcans as a kid; they were formidable, in shape, flight and the awesome racket they made.
But back in the Middle Ages, this region formed the northern fringes of Sherwood Forest, (pictured above) which encased half of Nottinghamshire to the south. A large deep dark wood, and therefore naturally a lurking point and shelter for medieval ner-do-wells, villains, and outlaws. And maybe a bloke called Robin Hood too. Twang!!!
Of course, Robin Hood has worn many faces: Richard Greene, Russell Crowe, Kevin Costner, Patrick Bergin, Errol Flynn, a cartoon fox, and oh yes, Michael Praed too. And Douglas Fairbanks and so on…etc etc. But who was the real Robin Hood and why did he capture the imagination of so many including Hollywood? Click this link to read what Wikipedea says about him.
|We’ll never really know who the real Robin Hood was or whether he existed at all. And if he did I doubt he reimbursed the poor with the gold he pilfered from that evil sheriff. That said, the forests in Europe would have been full of outlaws and wolfs-heads — a refuge for those hiding from the hangman. I’m sure some were innocent ill-fated fellows, and some not. I doubt any were nice like dear old Robin. Nice didn’t happen in the Middle Ages — you were either nasty or dead. Except dear Robin below; he was always top hat.
Robin Hood and his Merry Men are lodged in our psyche as charming rogues who defend the small folk against tyranny and despotism. Jolly good fellows, and Marion, just a dream in all that velvet green. Whether they existed or not doesn’t matter, it’s the concept. Every age needs heroes, so Robin Hood will never really die. ‘And now for something completely different…’
The Weekly Fantasy Series
Episode 10: A Walk Through Woods
Hagan better have a fire going, Corin thought bitterly as he trudged through the thicket, Clouter and harness gripped in hands. It was tough going until he stumbled across some track leading north towards the coast. Five miles following that and Corin would reach the allotted place. And he better be there!
Hagan’s fault this. Instead of meeting in a warm comfy inn in nearby Vangaris, his former friend’s choice of rendezvous had been this dreary owl wood miles from civilized inhabitation. All because the tosser had got himself outlawed from the city, and indeed his country, Morwella.
If the Duke’s militia apprehended Hagan he would swing, and if Corin were with him he’d swing too. Not an option really. Hence Silon and Hagan’s choice of venue being this solitary place, often frequented by smugglers in the past. But judging by that jetty, nobody lately.
Evening fell just as the first flakes dampened soil. The track steepened, and Corin trudged on, hungry and in a rare foul mood. He could have been shagging Nalissa in the sunshine. Instead, he was on some reckless venture which needed the assistance of his old ally. A two man job, so Silon had hinted. And likely to prove a difficult one at that.
Corin reached a high ridge overlooking trees. Here he stopped for a minute and gazed down on the Falahine glittering far below, and the smudge of pale ocean streaking beyond it.
Ahead leaned a tall stone; an ancient monolith of some earlier time. The marker! Ominous, its bulk cast gray shadow across the path. Two crows watched on from a nearby tree. But Corin heeded them not. His eyes were on the slim, smiling figure leaning idle against the stone, and more importantly, the crossbow held cranked and ready in his hands.
Corin dived low just as a bolt thudded into a stump behind him. So Hagan still bore that grudge? No sense of humor these Morwellans. Another bolt whacked into dirt inches from Corin’s left hand. He rolled, somehow found his feet, and using Clouter as a crutch, heaved himself up amid groans. A third bolt buzzed by his head. Beyond tedious. Hagan, it seemed, was of a mind to operate alone.
Time to move! Corin yelled expletives and ran heroic three yards, before tripping over a root, sprawling and plunging into the knot of bramble and briar waiting for him. Corin strained to free himself but was held fast by the burrs. Evidently, this was not going to be his day.
Someone laughed, and Corin looked up just in time to see the hairy-helmed axeman looming over him, a grin cracking through the tangle of his beard. “Oh, it’s you, Borgil.” Corin wasn’t overly delighted to see Hagan’s psychotic lieutenant still living. “That explains the smell.” The axeman’s smile broadened as he leveled his weapon. Borgil lacked many qualities, but he was good with that ax. Corin closed his eyes.
“Make your peace with the gods, Corin an Fol,” Borgil said and then swung down hard…
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