The Maiden in the Mist - Book two in the Sherwood Series (unedited)

Long ago, deep in the heart of Sherwood Forest there lived an unknown legend who was hidden in her father’s shadow. Forgotten by all but a few. But now her life shall be revealed to you; as long as you can keep it a secret.
Six months have passed since that day when Guinevere learnt the truth of her heritage. She has lived a fairly quiet life, plundering caravans and nursing the sick and injured; but she has enjoyed it, at last she has a family.
However, this is soon about to change. Her uncle, King Richard, has summoned her and her father to the Holy Lands in order to help with a dangerous situation. But is that all that will happen?


3. Homes and Celebrations

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Staring at the fire, I watched it dance in its wooden prison. The flame licked at the sun dried wood, leaving it crispy and black. The flame, itself, was a mixture of dancing reds, oranges, yellows and white, with a faint blue aura surrounding it.

I was so transfixed by the flame, which I completely missed the whole of the large speech made by Robin. I only realised this as all around me were clapping and cheering his name. Quickly, I followed along with this. When it had finally calmed down, the feast began. Venison, beef and fish were handed around on clay platters with vegetables surrounding them. I was sat, twiddling my thumbs, longing to eat but I forcefully had to restrict myself to continue with my duties.

“Alan!” I called, beckoning him over.

Slowly, he limped over to me a mug of ale in his hand; the frothy liquid spilling about.


“I need to stitch up your wound!”

He quietly gulped in a breath as he watched me fish out a blunt needle. I fiddled with some pale cotton and began to judge how long the string should be.

“Be warned,” I said, “this needle blunt and thick. It will hurt!”

Alan slowly nodded his head and winced as the needle was plunged into the area surrounding his wounded flesh. I took my time to stitch the skin back together. It took about ten minutes, but finally I was finished.

“If it begins to infect, tell me straight away!” I said as Allan limped off, nodding.

                With a sigh, I placed my hands in the crook of my lap and I bowed my head as exhaustion flew through me. A yawn escaped my mouth and I just sat like that listening to the crackling fire and the people continuously stuffing their faces. During my time like that, I don’t know how long I was actually like that for, but during that time I heard the sounds of some feet banging the ground. Two boots appeared in my restricted line of sight. Slowly, I lifted my gaze and I caught sight of a bright red scarf. A smile grew on my face and I looked over at the person.

“Oh Will, it is only you. Thank goodness, I doubt I could deal with anyone else at this present time. Not even my own Father!” I admitted.

A violent path of wind burst through the camp and I shivered as it slammed into me. Will rapped a blanket over my shoulders and whispered, “I doubt that. And anyway, Rob and I have a surprise for you!”

I hid my smile as I tried to put my medical things back into the satchel, “Oh and what surprise would that be?”

“A surprise wouldn’t be a surprise if the victim knows the surprise!” Will stated.

I rolled my eyes at his confusing comment, trying my best to hide the laugh that was threatening to spill from lips.

                Suddenly, Will snatched the satchel from my hands.

“Will!” I screamed in shock.

His wicked laugh ran through the air as he jumped up and held the satchel high above his head.

“Will! Give it back!” I demanded as I attempted to jump up and grab it, yet he continued to hold it up high out of my reach.

He laughed as he charged off away from the gathered crowds that were now watching us with curious gazes. Gathering up my skirts in my hands, a grin appeared on my face and I raced after him.

                He ran through the constant throngs of people, dodging all who were in his eye line, and I followed. I followed all the way, and I realised that he was leading us to the Major oak. Will had finally stopped running and the satchel was dangling by its strap from his left hand. He had a very smug look on his face.

“Will! What was that all about!” I demanded.

He shrugged his shoulders in that nonchalant way of his and I felt anger roll through me, I opened my mouth to begin a very long and rage filled rant, until I saw Robin emerging from the oak’s shadows.

“R-ro ….” I began, but I was cut off by him holding up his hand to silence me. Then he clicked his finger’s ad a rope ladder fell down, as did a long log attached to some rope.

Robin pointed towards the ladder and then the rope. Instantly, I understood and stepped towards the rope; not wanting to climb due to my current attire. Will stepped past me and climbed on to the log first. Then, once he was carefully balanced, he held out his hand. Gratefully I took it and we too were soon stood on the log. With a slit wobble the log was slowly hoisted into the air. Will placed a protective hand on my waist and drew me in slightly so that my chest was only a few inches from his chest. Caustically Will and I looked over at Robin, fearful at what his thoughts of our actions would be. Yet, he had not noticed for he was too busy climbing the rope ladder. Slowly, I placed my head on Will’s shoulder and sighed as I looked down at the busy world bellow us as we crept closer and closer to the platform above our heads. Silently I prayed that the unknown person who was pulling us up was Little John (or someone of a similar build at least) yet I knew I had no such look for I could see that Little John was sat beside Alan and he slurped another gallon of ale. However, I soon realised that I had no reason to fear for we were soon coming to level with the platform. I removed my head from Will’s shoulder when I saw that Robin was already stood waiting for us. When he saw the way that we were stood, he raised an eyebrow to us and I felt a blush forming on my cheeks. Thankfully, he did not pry. Instead, he smirked at me whilst he held out his hand.

Both of the men, made sure that I safely stepped onto the sturdy platform. My blush was soon replaced with a smile when I saw the beautiful sights that being this high up brought. Leaning against the wooden railing, I looked down and saw that the campfire looked so small and far away from this great height. In my heart, I knew that I should have been  terrified at the danger that I was putting myself in. For if one of the wooden boards were to become lose beneath my feet … or if the railing were to suddenly collapse …. Yet I felt none of these fears; only delight. The sky was just visible over the through the trees and it was smeared with red as the sun began its descent behind the distant hills.

                I hadn’t realised, but whilst I had been marvelling at the pleasant scenery, Will had made a dramatic leap of faith and had joined me on the platform. For a few minutes he stood beside me patiently, a smile on his lips as he watched me. But soon he became bored. Impatience reigned supreme and he poked me in the shoulder. Guiltily, I turned away from the sight and followed behind them like a young pup. I was led to one of the large wooden buildings, and curiosity flew through me for never had I been allowed in one of these buildings save the day that I had first arrived.

Robin opened the large oak door and acted like a true gentleman as he held it open for me. Glancing at him with the curiosity written clear across my face, he just smiled at me and nodded towards the building. Knowing that I unless I did as I was asked I would not know what was going on, I walked into the darkness.

                I could make out some slight shapes of furniture in the dim light, but the door was quickly shut behind me meaning that I caught see nought.

“Close your eyes!” Will whispered somewhere close by.

I did as I was instructed and I stood perfectly still; listening. Strange but in the past six months I had become good at that, something that through my life I had never quite managed to grasp; always my spirit had wanted to roam free. And that is what I had been granted when I started to live as an outlaw, freedom, yet it came with a price. I had to listen to what Robin or John told me to do for it could result in either a death or a capture (which would eventually lead to a death). I could not afford to be reckless. So I just stood there listening as I waited patiently. I heard the sound of someone striking to rocks together and them cursing when a spark would not form. Eventually I heard the distinctive sound of a spark flying onto some kindling. After a few minutes, I heard the sudden roar and I realised that the fire had been stoked into life; the flame consuming the wood around it.

For a while, I could hear little other than the crackling and hissing of the fire and the occasional ringing sound as some ones feet slammed against the wooden floor below. Then a pair of footsteps approached me and I felt some one lay their hand on arm and the other on my waist. Then, I was carefully led somewhere. A mischievous thought popped into my head and I suddenly wanted to open my eyes. As if he knew what I was going to do, the person who was leading me clamped their hands over my eyes, and a voice whispered in my ear,

“Not yet!”

I could feel Will’s rough palm’s against my skin his warm breath which left unexplainable Goosebumps on more arms. A chuckle slipped from someone on the other side of the room at the sight of us, and I knew that it was Robin for as far as I knew there was no other person in the room save us three.

“Open your eyes!” Will whispered into my ear.

I did just that but I still could not see for his hand was still in front of my eyes. A pout formed on my face as I playfully tried to fight off his grip.

Will was soon softly chuckling into my ear and I could feel my cheeks growing red from the fact that we were suddenly so close.

“Just let her see Will, there is no points in making the girl suffer for any longer!”

Robin’s voice said from across the room.

With a chuckle, Will let his hand slip from my face and I gasped at the sight of a beautiful room. It was a just like my room in London. Everything was made from wood, with the most intricate designs carved into each piece. There was a lovely four poster bed, a chest of draws and a large, triple breathed wardrobe; as well as a table with several fitted fixed around the room. A huge open fireplace had a wall to itself, and a staircase was on the middle of the room, leading up through a sky light. 

“I-it ….. I-it is … It is …..” I began, but no words would come out.

Robin stepped towards me, a smile spilling onto his face, “Shall I take that as a hint that you like it then?”

All I could do was nod.

“You have been with us for six moons now; you have stayed loyal and now, I am very glad to announce, this fact. You are now officially a member of the gang! But, myself, Alan, Much, Tuck, Little John and Will have all come to a very bold decision which we decided instantly, for we know it is the one place which you truly belong. Guinevere of Locksley, you are now a member of the inner circle!”

My eyes widened with disbelief as he spoke and I had to pinch myself in order to see whether or not I was dreaming.

“Ro ….. Fa ….. Thank you, but I still do not know what it is you wish me to call you!” I admitted.  

“You are my Daughter, and I call you such, so surely you should call me your Father!” Robin replied.

“Yes, I suppose you are right, Ro … Father!”

It was then that I remembered that I was not alone with Robin; instead Will was in the room with us. My face flushed as I saw him still standing very close, shifting from foot to foot whilst he witnessed our emotionally event.

“Will built all this!” Robin added.

“Really!” I said in disbelief.

He nodded shyly and turned as red as his scarf.

“Show her upstairs!” Robin suggested, breaking the embarrassing silence.

Will nodded his head and looked at me with his cheeky smile. I gathered my skirts up slightly and then we walked up into the night.

                When I reached the top of the staircase, the cool night breeze kissed my cheeks and I smelt the lingering smells of the distant feast bellow. Up there I was one with nature. I could see through the trees and above them to the very, smeared, canvas of the sky.

“This is wonderful!” I whispered breathlessly as I spun around for a few minutes.

When I eventually stopped spinning, I both of my hands on either side of my head, by my temples, and gently rocked from side to side; a mighty smile spread from ear to ear. The world around me was still a spinning blur.

Grinning at Robin and Will I cried, “Thank you!”

Robin returned my grin and then with a nod he descended the stairs once more. I listened to his footsteps as they slapped the floor and after a few minutes I could no longer hear him. It was then that I realised that he had left myself and Will alone.

“Thank you, Will. This is wonderful!” I told him with a smile.

“It’s okay,” He replied in a mutter, obviously embarrassed.

 He stared at the floor and then gave me a swift bow, before he quickly followed after Robin. Shocked, I scurried down the wooden staircase jumping down several steps at a time in a very unladylike way. I hung out the door, as I watched him walk away; wanting to call after him, to get him to come back so that we could continue to talk. Alas, no words came to mind and soon he was gone, descending the rope ladder to the feast bellow; allowing the chilling night to consume me.   

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