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?


7. Chapter Six

           Suddenly, my eyes snapped open and I instantly knew that something was amiss. My vision, for one, was blurry, and I could only make out a mass of coloured shapes and blobs. I could smell something, a strange smell, a mixture of burning wood, roasting meat and something else that I could not lay a finger upon. Birds were not singing so loudly that I could have sworn that one could have been perched right beside me; and in the background an instrument was being played.

The strangest thing of all was the hard bed that was beneath me, that was stiff and scratchy like straw.

Where am I?

            I started to sit up, but a sheering pain spread through my right leg. It was so powerful that I fell backwards.

“Be careful miss!” A  man’s voice said nearby.

I turned my head sharply to where I heard the voice.

“Where am I? Why have I lost my sight? Who are you?” I demanded.

“Calm down,” The man said, “Me name is Much. Ya hit ya head and ya’ve lost ya sight for a while!”

“And where am I?” I asked again.

Then it came to me. The birds, the smells, the whistling wind.

“I … I am in the forest!” I gasped.

“Righ’ ya are ‘here miss!”

            I gulped in some air but my breath came into me in panic filled rushes. A wave of nausea washed over me, and I could feel bile slowly crawling its way up my throat. Viciously, I tried to fight it back; resulting in an overwhelming amount of exhaustion.

My head slammed against the pillow, causing the aching feeling to increase from what I had just learnt. My heart began to pound in my chest, and I opened my mouth to say something; but it came back as only a whimper of exhaustion for I was asleep before I was finished. I had muttered,


* * *

            As soon as he was sure that the girl was asleep once more, Much charged from the tent. He looked frantically from side to side, searching for someone.

“Where is ‘e? Where is ‘e?”

He looked in the different tents and up in some of the tree houses; yet he could not find who it was.

“Will!” He called, running to the youngest member of the inner circle.

The boy was hacking away at a large log of wood, he slowly put his axe on beside the log and flexed his fingers.

“What is it Much?” He sighed, slowly he picked the axe back up and took another hit at the log.

“Have ya seen me master?”

Will rolled his eyes, and said as if it were the most obvious thing in the world, “Have you checked the cave!”

“The cave!” Much exclaimed as he scurried off, “Of course. How did I no’ ‘hink of ‘he it!”

 He charged through the throngs of people who were in between him and the cave, muttering his apologies as he bumped and shoved different people. When he finally reached the cave, he jumped down the stairs in front of him with an endless amount of energy.

“Master,” He called into the darkness.

            A shadowed figure stepped into the light and walked towards him, shading his eyes from the bright light as he went.

“Much, what is wrong?” Hood asked with a sigh.

Funny, Much thought, That’s what most people say to me.

“She’s woke up!”

A smile formed on Hood’s face, “Did she say anything?”

“No, just panicked.”

Hood nodded his head then moved as if he was about to leave, but changed his mind half way. He said, “Prepare her something to eat!”

Much nodded his head enthusiastically, “Will do!”

“Go on then!” Hood groaned impatiently.

 Much nodded his head again and then slumped off in the other direction.

* * *

            The next time that I awoke, it took me sometime to remember where I was and when I did it came quickly; a cough attacked me at the same time. That was when I heard some feet padding towards me in a hurry.

A gruff voice said, “’ere, ‘ave a drink!”

I spluttered a thank you as a cold clay cup was forced into my hand, I wriggled myself into a sort off seated position and took a long drink of the refreshing liquid. It trickled down my throat and soothed my sand paper throat.


“Yes, thank you!”

            The owner of the voice took back the drink. I attempted to focus on the figure, but all I could do was make out a fairly thin man with a hat upon his head.

“Would you like something to eat?”

I nodded my head encouragingly, and I was replied with a deep chuckle. A smile filled my face when my nostrils located a delicious smell. Meat and vegetables that were swimming in rich herbs and spices hung in the air, a smell that made my mouth water.  I shuffled slightly so that I was sat up properly; as a result of this a horrific pain shot through my right leg. I bit down hard on my lips, not letting out a sign; and I could feel the bitter-sweet sting of tears swelling up in my eyes. With a quick breath of air, I calmed my emotions.

A bowl of steaming liquid was placed in my lap and a spoon in my hand.

“Thank you!” I said with a smile.

I was about to dip the spoon into the liquid, when I changed my mind. Instead, I lifted the bowl and slurped the whole lot in one gulp. It trickled down my throat and I felt the overwhelming taste of lamb and some dull tasting vegetables. Once I had greedily swollen every last drop of the delicious soup, I set the bowl down in satisfaction.

“Thank you, it was lovely!”

I could hear Much shuffling from foot to foot with pride. He scurried forward and took the bowl and spoon from my grasp.


“Ya miss?”

“Where exactly am I?”

“I ‘ought you knew miss!”

“Well … I have my suspicions, but I cannot be correct; for that would be ridiculous… I mean …”My voice trailed off for it clicked. The bloodthirsty battle between Guy and … and …

“Hood!” I whispered in alarm.


But I was not listening. Instead I was struck with cold fear that clung at my heart. I was in the home of the biggest enemy of the state. I was a prisoner; a hostage ; every second that I spent here put my life in danger!

“Are ya alrigh’ miss? Ya’ve gone very ‘ale!”

“Hood!” I whispered again.

For several minutes silence floated between us as my heart began to pound wilder and wilder in my chest. It was so loud, that I could have sworn that Much could hear it as well.

“Well,” Much eventually said, “There is no point lyin’ to ya!”

The breath snagged in my throat, eventually I managed to say, “Then why am I still alive!”

“Rob don’t believe in senseless killin’ … and any way, you’re a girl. We don’t ‘arm girls!” Much explained.

            I felt a twang of gratitude beat at my fearful heart and a silent pray was sent to the holy father above; thanking him that his good favour had shone upon me.”

Once again, a wave of tiredness crashed against me and I slowly sunk down, under the covers; a wave of darkness washed over me instantly.







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