The Lady of the Hood - First Book in the Sherwood Series

For Guinevere life as the ward of King Richard the Lion heart is not easy. She was orphaned at a young age by a father who never returned from war and a mother who died from the pestilence; but now her guardian is fighting in the Holy Lands. So she is left in the care of his brother, Prince John.
But when John takes her to Nottingham things start to take a turn for the worst. Her guardian can not return for her sixteenth birthday and she over hears a shocking conversation that could change everything. When she goes off for a ride with Sir Guy of Gisbourne the worst truly does happen. The fearsome outlaw, Robin Hood, attacks Gisbourne and Guinevere finds herself fleeing for her life from a viscous hunting dog that is stalking her.
But when she is under the protection of Hood, after she has been badly wounded by the beast, a memory steers.
Can Guinevere find the truth of her heritage or will John get his way?


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17. After - part one

Prince John, the Sheriff and Guy were all sat in front of a dark patch of the room in the Sheriff’s chamber. Each man could just make out the large chair and they could just see the outline of the figure that was sat in it. No one spoke; no one dared to. Instead, they all looked at their hands in their laps as they tried to ignore the fact that their planning had failed; planning for the scheme that they had spent the past ten years crafting.

It was the figure in the chair that broke the silence.

“Can someone please explain to me how a group of grown men were bested by an Outlaw, his daughter and a carpenter!” The voice snapped.

No one spoke.

“ANSWER ME!” The voice yelled.

Prince John timidly raised his head and said, “It did not go the way we expected it to. How were we to know that the outlaws would kidnap her and treat her kindly. That they would plan and concoct a scheme of their own. We could not have known that that was going to happen.

Nobody could know that!”

“Ahh,” The figure said, “But that is where you are wrong. I knew that it would happen. I told you as we were being carted up to this blasted place. Yet you did not listen. Do you know why you did not listen to me?”

The question hung in the air; nobody dared to breathe as they waited for the voice to continue.

“No?”

Still no one answer.

“It is because you are all FOOLS. INCOMPETEAINT FOOLS WHO THINK THAT SINCE THEY ARE THE MEN THEN THEY KNOW EVERY THING AND THAT WHAT EVER THEY DO WILL ALWAYS BE CORRECT. Well, you were wrong. Drastically wrong and no you will all pay for it.

John do you not want to be King?

Do you not want to rule this miserable country?

Well, the only way that you are going to be able to do that is if that brat of a child is with you and her no good father is dead in some ditch somewhere. Your brother will only hand over the crown if he thinks he is saving the girl, do you not understand that?!”

The figure sighed and listened to the crackling fire for a moment; then she continued to speak.

“And what of you brother dear. Do you think that when the king returns he will let you stay as Sheriff of this no good town? No of course he will not. You have been in charge for far too Long Vasely and the people know this.

Once the King returns, and believe me he will, then the people will complain to him and you will be thrown out of this castle like no one’s business; with not a single scrap of gold for your name! Do you want that?”

The voice paused for a moment and then looked at the cowering, slumped figure of Sir Guy of Gisbourne.

“And what of you Gisbourne. I know that you want revenge on Hood more than anyone. I have seen your past, he stole the life of your mother; the love of your life and then the child who you have also tried to romance. Do you not wish for him to hang? Do you not wish to take the land that is known as Locksley’s and turn it into the Land of the Gisbourne’s?

If so then why did you not kill him when you had the chance? Twice you have been in battle with him and twice he has slipped through your fingers. You are a worthless man who should think of a carrier as the town idiot instead of the Sheriff’s private captain of the guard.

Find them and we shall be victorious. If not then we are doomed to failure!”

The figure took a step out of the shadow and framed in the light. She was a hag; an ugly hag. Her face was twisted and charred from some fire of long ago and her back was hunched forward as she struggled to stay up right. Her hair was a mass of grey with thin locks that were missing in most places.

Her dress was basically pieces of old rags randomly stitched together. And her skin was pure white. Her feet were bare and black as if she had been wandering threw a field of soot.

Her eyes were pure white, like two giant moons embedded into the shrunken sockets of some old woman, they stared endlessly at the men and then she turned to the Prince and said,

“She will be the death of us all unless she is among us. Destroy her spirit and this land will be yours! You are to be king. I have seen it in the stairs, in the bones of your ancestors and in the very blood that you have split from your veins.

All you have to do is kill Robin Hood and eventually, his daughter!”        

  

 

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