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    Even Rocky had a Montage AlphaMouse's Avatar
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    Default Robin Hob

    This fic is me trying to put the ancient story of Robin Hood into historical context. A lot of the history surrounding it is true, although, due to lack of evidence, I have had to substitute names often.

    1066-William the Conquerer is crowned the first King of England in Westminster Abbbey on Christmas Day

    1068-Edwin and Morcar, two Anglo-Saxon Earls, rebel against William, and are defeated.

    1069- The Saxon Earls rebel again, and William retaliates, starting the Harrying of the North, where the North of England is wasted.

    Prologue

    Cerdic, Lord of the North, the true Earl of Northumbria, watched as York burned. His small warband, sheltering a few women and children including his own, three-year old son, had been decimated. How had it all gone wrong? They had marched South, a glorious force of men, but had been defeated. Now the Normans were back, burning the city, ravaging the houses that innocent people had lived in. More of the soldiers, clad in mail, burst from one of the houses, locking their shields to face Cerdic's own warband. They outnumbered him, his men were tired. But they were not yet trapped. In the front line was his son, Robert, only fifteen, prepared to fight the Normans and die for nothing. He couldn't let him do that. He left the shelter of his men, standing boldly in front of the fifty or so Normans.

    "I challenge one man here to fight in single combat against me!" he shouted, defying the whole unit. There was rustling in the ranks, the Norman's hadn't come to fight, but to pillage.

    "Under what conditions?" one man shouted from the mailed ranks.

    "I demand the safety of my warband and the people that it shelters," he replied. The man that had spoken stepped from the crowd, throwing aside his shield and raising his sword. Cerdic dropped his own shield and advanced, sword in hand. When the Norman was in arms reached he slashed at him, with enough power to disembowl an oxen. The Norman lept lightly back and lunged forward, striking Cerdic in the belly. His legs turned to mead as he fell to his knees. He heard cries from the warband behind him and felt the Norman circling him.

    "Go!" he croaked as blood started to fill his lungs. The last thing that he felt was the Norman's blade, slashing into his neck

  2. #2
    Even Rocky had a Montage AlphaMouse's Avatar
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    Default Re: Robin Hob

    Historical Note: After the Harrying of the North many people fled to the South or to the continent. The furthest North City is Nottingham. After a few years in power William the Conqueror introduced the Forest laws, which greatly increased the size of the English Forests and banned hunting in them by all but the king and his attendants. William the Conqueror died in July of 1087.

    Seventeen Years later.

    I woke up on a bed of dirt, covered by a small blanket. I was hungry, but then, I always woke up hungry. It had been seventeen years after we had fled for our lives after the failed rebellion, and we would always be on the run. We had spent the years fleeing from village to village, occasionally being hounded by Normans. A few of us had been killed, but we had managed. Next to me my brother, Robert, our leader, lay on a tree root. Today we would reach Sherwood forest, where we would be able to live in peace for a while. The forests were abandonned due to laws passed by the Norman King, disallowing hunting there. It would be the perfect hiding place, as no-one would venture itno there.

    Men started to stir from their rests, rustling the leafy ground. I slid off my small blanket and stuffed it in my tiny bag. I picked up my shield and my spear which had been lying next to me. I had trained while we were on the march with the rest of the warband. There were twenty one men now in the group. However, they were becoming old and they would not be able to fight for more than five more years. I was part of a smaller band that contained the eight "newllings", warriors that had been trained over the years by the veterans. It would be us who would be the vanguard and lead the way into Sherwood Forest. Any man caught hunting in the forest was liable to death by decapitation. A few knights patrolled the border, but there was little chance of encountering anyone.

    By the end of the hour we were assembled, ready to go into the forest. This marked the end of the nothern wasteland, and the start of the South, where the Normans provided law and order. We were close to York, where the whole journey had begun. I remembered that night, when my father had died for us. I felt his spirit almost tugging at me. The vanguard assembled. We would start to march ahead an hour before the rearguard caught up with us, with the women and children. We were going to advance in straight file, as it was faster than advancing in a shield wall, and we had five miles to cover. We wrapped our brown cloaks around us and put mud on our face, hoping to disguise some of the natural shine of our skin. We left the group, saying farewell. Robert approached us before we departed. I had never known him as a brother, for after our father's death he had been all-consumed with our survival.
    "Keep safe, all of you," he said, giving me a quick embrace. "After this, we can be true brothers again." I looked him in the face and saw the recognition of the lack of brotherhood between us. I stepped back, picking up my shield and spear. I turned, giving a final farewell as I left the clearing.

    The miles leading up to Sherwood forest were deserted. The whole area had been ravaged and burnt by the Normans. Apparently they had had little resistance once coming into this country, besides one great battle which had decided its fate. Apparently my father had fought there, and one of the men in my brother's warband, Old Aelfred, had fought there alongside him. Apparently the Saxons had only lost because of Norman trickerie, and Old Aelfred's stories had often been told at the fireside at night. We marched on, still finding no-one. I wondered how our ancestors must have felt at our current state, subdued by a foreign power.

    Finally we saw the forest in front of us. It was huge, stretching across the whole of Northumbria. We were at the northenmost point, close to York. With me came the only two men who had seen the forest in seventeen years, Much and Aethelred, who had scouted the forest the day before. Apparently Norman knights scouted the perimeter of the forest every so often, but they were barely a threat. We crept down onto the the flat plain that approached the forest, breaking into a run as we entered within a field's length. There were no knights in sight and we made it into the forest, crouching down in the foliage. The rearguard would arrive in about an hour, all we had to do now was wait.

    An hour passed and finally I caught the glint of a spearhead as my brother's warband descended the hill. With him were a group of fifteen women and a handful of children. The men filed down the steep precipice that led onto the plain, helping down their wives, when a sudden noise interrupted them. A hunting horn bellowed out through the plain. They had been spotted. I looked out to see a group of a eight or ten Norman knights, clad in mail, charging towards the warband.

    "Run!" I bellowed and broke out of the forest, sprinting across the field. My brother was organising a thin shield wall and helping the others to escape, scrambling back up the precipice. My men followed me and I knew that there was not time to construct a wall, especially with such few men. The last child had reached safety when the knights collided with the small block of men. I knew from Old Aelfred's stories that no horse would ever run into a good shield wall, but the knights were barely outnumbered my my brother's warband, and their horses wouldn't be too afraid of the small, hastily constructed shield wall.

    A gave a war cry and raced into battle. I lifted my shield to block a Norman sword stroke and thrust my spear into the man's horse. The creature gave a cry and reared up, throwing its rider before charging away. I managed to rip my spear out of the beast's flank before it left and now stabbed down at the man on the floor. His chain mail stopped the blow from drawing blood, but nonetheless I winded him, leaving him defenceless as one of my men slit his throat. It seemed that we were winning the flight, and a group of three Normans broke away from the group, followed by the remaining pair. Three dead knights lay on the ground, along with two horses, but at what cost?

    I ran over to where my brother's warband was gathered. As Old Aelfred saw me he beckoned to the others. They parted, revealling what they were gathered around. My brother's body lay on the field, decapitated. Edwin, my brother's deputy, turned to me.

    "We lost two men. Your brother fought well," he said. A few tears entered my eyes but I shook them off. I knew what this meant, I was the leader of the warband now, and I had to show no emotion. "This is yours now." Edwin held up my brother's sword, which before him had belonged to my father. I took it.

    "Lord, what do we do now?" one of the men asked.

    "We go to Sherwood, as my brother wanted." And so we entered the forest, at such a dreadful price.

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