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Kings or Pawns of Men

By Genevieve Kelly

Adventure / Action

Chapter 1

The Sheriff of Nottingham was finally defeated, the white witch who had birthed him from her own body was dead as well, and the people of Nottingham and surrounding villages celebrated all the days since, cheering the name of Robin Hood throughout the towns and forest. Robin's merry men joined with them in celebration, not only because the sheriff was dead, but because all of the people praised Robin and his men for bringing him down after all the years the villain had tormented them. Therefore, pardon or no pardon, until the king returned to England, Robin and the others were finally free.

The prince of thieves welcomed the praise given to him, though not as he once had back in the days when he was the spoiled little rich kid as his newfound brother had recently called him. Before, Robin had believed he was entitled to the praise because he was the son of a nobleman, even if he never had done anything to deserve it, but now, thanks to the men and women in his charge, he welcomed the praise because he had fought for honor and against tyranny.

It was late on the eve of his wedding to Lady Marian, that Robin suddenly realized there was a talk he needed to have with the one person he barely knew, but longed to know more than any of the rest of his men, the one person who had barely made much of an appearance ever since the battle against the sheriff and other tyrants had been won.

Despite the large celebration going on, Robin rode his horse deeper into Sherwood Forest until he came upon the clearing that once was their home, then slowly walked around until he found his brother, who was sitting in a tree while staring off into the sky. Though the younger man didn't even flinch at his approach, Robin got the sense Will knew he was there below him nonetheless.

Robin was the first to speak up as he said, "Azeem thought I might be able to find you somewhere around here. He said he had seen you run off not too long after the celebration began."

Still without looking away from the sky, Will asked softly, "Is that why you're here? Because Azeem said you should come to talk with me about what's troubling me? Well, you don't have to. I'm fine. I'm just not much in the partying mood."

"I'm not here because of Azeem," Robin answered as he moved around the tree in order to face his brother. "I'm here on my own accord. I know that something is bothering you, I can see it in your face. Talk to me, please."

"What does it matter?" Will asked with a little more force than with what he meant. "You've gone and married the woman you've been yearning for since who knows when and you're the big hero everyone's been praising ever since we've met. Everything's changing so quickly. First, you arrived and turned our lives upside down and now things are going to change all over again."

Thinking that he understood what Will was really feeling, Robin spoke again responding, "You mean, you think that you and I won't have a chance to get to know one another now that we're past the hate that stood between us all this time?"

Will finally looked down at him as he replied, "I never thought that you and I would have any kind of relationship Robin, even if you know now that I'm your brother. I may have started to let go of my hate I've held for you for so long, but it's going to take time to…"

"Time to get used to being brothers," Robin spoke up when Will cut himself off.

"Just days ago I tried to kill you Robin," Will said angrily as he jumped down from the tree and stood before him. "Did you already forget about that? You didn't know I was your brother, but I knew it and it didn't matter. I still wanted you dead. At that moment, I wanted you dead more than I've ever wanted anyone dead, even the sheriff. I've lived my whole life on my own, fighting to survive and will go on doing just that, despite my freedom. You've now got a wife and the rest of the people to take care of; people who need you to help them start over. I don't belong here anymore. I never really have, which is why I'll be leaving in the morning."

Will started to walk away until Robin stopped him by putting his hand down on his shoulder and answered, "I don't believe you really wanted to kill me, Will. Not anymore. If you did, you would have moved faster, or would have tried again later when I was alone. I want you in my life, Will. Despite everything, you are my brother. I don't blame you for your hate. You were right to hate me. I did ruin your life, but I wish more than anything to make up for it, for all of it."

Will shook his head sadly as he responded, "I can't. You didn't kill me the day that day when you had every right to and you saved my life when the hangman nearly chopped off my head during the battle, so I owe you everything. But I can't stay, Robin. I don't belong here. Compared to you I'm just a pawn; the bastard son of a nobleman and nothing more."

"Will!" Robin cried out as the younger man ran off, but didn't have it in him to chase after him, as he didn't have the right words to say, seeing as he had failed to deliver them yet.

"It seems as though it will take much more than words to help young Christian, Christian," Azeem spoke softly as he walked slowly into the clearing after overhearing most of the conversation between Robin and his brother.

Robin looked over at his friend as he had moved to stand beside him and then asked, "What more can I say?"

The Moor replied, "Perhaps words are not what are needed. Perhaps actions are needed for him to see that he is your brother. When you spared his life the day he attempted to throw his knife at you, you spared him because you knew that he only was doing so out of anger, as others were angry as well, and when you saved him from being beheaded, he believed you did so because you saved all the others too. You must show him, Christian."

"You're right," Robin said in agreement. "I just hope I get the chance."

"You will," Azeem stated fearfully. "I'm afraid that sooner or later, you will."

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