Chapter 1

The first set of alarms began ringing about an hour ago, right before dusk, but they had already been on high alert for a day and a half. If it had not been for Marian’s early warning, after hearing about the bounty, and knowing that posters were being hung between London and Yorkshire to hire mercenaries, at court, they would have been doomed.

Instead, they had time to secure the caves, have Tuck take the extra horses and give the perishables to the Abbey, bring down camp, pack, and clear away the evidence that would make it appear certain that Robin Hood and his men had been comfortably living under the great oak for quite some time.

Marian is in her tent looking at papers, rolling up the ones to keep and stuffing them into her satchel. She’s dressed in her riding habit, her hair pulled back low against her neck, has not changed since arriving. She really could use a dip in the pond, but there’s no time.

Her bedroll still lays flat on her cot with a few personal items on top; her brush, a four-leaf clover gold broach, her fork and spoon, her short blade in its sheath.  Alongside lays her sword. She looks worried, unsure, as she quickly skims one paper to the next, placing the unwanted ones into a small fire burning in a large ceramic pot.

She can hear the men shouting in the camp as they rush around, horses neighing in terror, dogs are barking angrily.

And the alarms are getting louder.

Then suddenly, someone is at her entrance. She can barely hear her.

“Maid Marian?”

“Yes, Gretchen, come in.”

Gretchen, her faithful handmaiden, steps in slowly. She’s also dressed in her riding habit, her hair pulled up and pinned in a bun, but she’s in her brown cape with the big thick hood.

Despite everything that is going on, she stands gazing upon her mistress with her lips turned up slightly in the corners and her eyes bright.

“Marian, the men say we must go.”

Marian doesn’t look up from the parchment in her hand.

“Is Robin here?”

Gretchen doesn’t say anything. She looks down, and away.

Marian throws the parchment in the fire and goes to the next document.

“We don’t leave without Robin.”

To Be Continued