Home Is Where The Friends Are,
It was about noon when they were finally in the heart of Sherwood Forest, and most of Robin's men let out deep breaths after inhaling the woody smell of their home. But Guy on the other hand was slinking lower and lower into his saddle, never had he imagined that one tiny knock to the head could cause him so much discomfort, he had a new light now shining on the matter.
He was now forming an elongated tail to the snake of riders before him, because the more he drifted in and out of unconsciousness, the more the horse slowed to allow his rider to stay in the saddle. Marian had left him to join Robin at the head of the convoy, as they were discussing ideas and plans, he wasn't sure if they were talking about him or England.
But a few moments later and it didn't matter what was being said, because he once again drifted into unconsciousness, only this time he stayed there, and finally slipped from his horse, to land in a soft bed of leaves. Further down the track Marian looked back to see how Guy was faring but when she did he was nowhere to be found, so she instantly slapped a hand on Robin's forearm in panic.
"Guy he's not behind us anymore." Marian exclaimed,
"What?" Was all Robin could offer again,
"What you mean he left us, just like that?" Allen demanded,
"I don't think he left willingly." Much said, as he shot Allen a warning look,
"Much is right he could have fallen off his horse for some reason." Robin agreed, while Allen whined inside of his head,
"What are you going to do if he has fallen off his horse?" Marian asked,
"We'll have to take him to our camp...until he get better" Robin replied,
"What?" John protested, "This is Gisborne we're talking about remember."
"Yes the same Gisborne who has decided to aid us in our fight against Prince John and the sheriff." Robin explained,
"We don't know that for sure." John continued,
"Enough John this is my final word, we take him to the camp...if he has fallen off his horse and can't continue, for all we know he could just be taking his time" Robin said as a final, "Everyone turn your horses and follow me." He ordered,
As they retraced the direction in which they had come it wasn't long until they found Gisborne's horse without him, then further down the track, they found him lying sideways almost on his face, in a bed of leaves. Robin, Djaq, and Marian jumped from their saddles and to the ground, quickly surrounding Gisborne; Robin turned his limp body over to find that he was no longer in the land of the living.
"The lump on his head must be worse than I thought to cause him this much trouble, he needs to rest." Djaq explained,
"All right it's decided we take him to the camp so he can rest, before you take him back to Nottingham." Robin said, as he gestured towards Marian identifying the 'you' he intended,
So grabbing him under the shoulders and knees, Robin handed him up to a reluctant little John who then sat behind the saddle so he could place Guy in the saddle making the job of keeping him upright easier. The trip to camp was cautious, but they finally arrived and everyone was happy to be back, John then handed Gisborne back to Robin who then placed Guy in his own bed.
After that Djaq turned him over so that she could now dress the slowly healing whip marks on his back, thankfully they hadn't started bleeding when he fell from the horse, so she lathered them in an antiseptic, which would also help with the pain. Hours had passed and Robin along with his gang Djaq, and Marian, were sitting down to a meal that Much had just prepared, and it wasn't long until the aroma floated over to where Guy was resting. Much had crouched next to Guy, who was at least a good ten foot away from where the others ate, as they did not want to disturb him, his dreams had yet again taken a turn for the worst, and Much watched him as he flinched and twitched from what Robin had said was haunting him. Only this time his dream was cut short before the Saracen's could place him on the table, his fear broke him from his sleep and he quickly jolted awake, in panic.
He briefly stared up at the tarp roof that was above him before he noticed that someone was nearby, he turned his head fearfully to see that Much was crouching just mere feet from where he was lying. For a while Guy merely stared at Much still tormented by his latest replaying of the sad tale that took place just over ten years ago from this day.
"Acre?" Much asked,
"What?" Guy asked groggily,
"Acre." Much replied innocently,
"What about it?" Guy asked, claiming ignorance,
"It's all right Robin told me and I understand." Much assured,
In an instant Gisborne was up from his bedding and on top of Much, grabbing him by the collar before he pulled him out of view from the others, even though Much could see how much pain Guy's actions were causing him, he also saw fear.
"If you tell a single man or woman of what Robin has told you I swear I will kill you despite the agreement we have come to…do you understand?" Guy demanded, as he grimaced painfully his grip on Much's collar unwavering despite that fact,
"I understand." Much assured,
Guy then threw him down and moved away from him finally he placed a hand to his waist cursing his injuries under his breath; Much rose to his feet and straightened himself looking down at Guy who was clearly in pain.
"Ah…the gang are having their midday meal, you're, ah…welcome to join us if you like." Much offered, Guy's warning still ringing in his ears,
After a short while of silence passed, Much then offered Gisborne his hand though fearful to help him up, Guy grabbed him by the forearm and slowly rose to his feet, still holding Much tightly he moved within a few inches of his face.
"You have nothing to fear…as long as you stay away from my bad side." Guy said, a sarcastic smile coming to rest on his lips in a half cock,
"Right." Much agreed, as they separated,
He allowed Gisborne to lead the way to the main tent, quite happy with his position now that he knew Gisborne was still to be feared even though he was wounded. Robin and the rest of the group bar the slaves turned to look at him approaching gingerly with Much tailing in the rear, once the two arrived Much wandered into the kitchen and fixed Guy a plate of what the others ate.
"This is your camp?" Guy asked in disbelief, as Much handed him a plate full of some kind of meat stew, with a quart of bread that looked all to familiar,
"Yeah, why?" Robin asked,
"I just thought that skilled outlaws like you would have come up with a better camp by now." Guy mocked playfully,
"Well what did you expect Gisborne the Taj Mahal…we've only been out here for several months?" Robin demanded, offended by Gisborne's criticism,
"Do you know if there are suitable fish to catch around here Loxley?" Guy asked,
"What?" Robin demanded, now screwing up his face in a 'what the heck' look,
"Because I caught a real good one at the moment." Gisborne said, refusing to hold in his glee for a moment longer, but he withdrew from bursting out in laughter, at the sight of Robin's face,
"Very funny Gisborne." Robin said dryly, now that he understood he's intentions,
"I'm still a little shocked by the state of your camp though…I expected that with Will around you would have come up with something far better than this." He admitted, as he sat on a long bench like the one at the mine, beside Robin,
"You're quite welcome to try and make a suitable camp out here yourself and show us what we did wrong if you want to." Robin offered,
"I would but the woods have never really been my thing, Nottingham is wild enough for me with one big ogre already, and besides I'm not in the mood with my condition." Guy dismissed, as he began to dig into the meal Much handed him with a sense of dignity,
"What's this Gisborne…Playing on your condition are we?" Robin taunted,
"My offer is still open Loxley." Guy said without looking at Robin, as he savored the taste of the dish which to his amazement was actually quite delicious,
"I'll take a rain check." Robin responded, as he knew to what offer Gisborne was referring to,
"So where is it?" Guy asked after pausing looking up from his plate,
"Where's what?" Robin asked,
"Where's your stash…don't lie about it because everyone knows you can't just steal all the food you give to the poor." Guy explained,
"Why do you want to see it?" Robin asked curiously,
"Now Loxley the first thing about a friendship is that you shouldn't keep secrets from each other, I didn't from you and it appears you didn't keep mine from Much so fairs fair." Guy said with a slightly irritable expression when he mentioned Much,
"All right it's right behind you." Robin said, Guy looked behind him and saw a simple chest that no doubt had been stolen,
"You keep it in there?" Guy asked, looking at Robin again,
"Never mind you all trust each other don't you forget I asked." Guy dismissed, even though he never really knew what true loyalty was, because he only had Vaisey for a reference and that wasn't the loyalty he wanted anymore,
The rest of the meal was eaten in silence, and after that Much cleared the table as Robin and the others walked out of the tent like shelter, Guy pulled Robin away from the others so he could talk privately.
"Would it be too much trouble if I left the slaves with you?" He asked sincerely,
"Why?" Robin asked,
"Well it's bad enough Marian insists on accompanying me back to Nottingham, but if I had a trail of shabby looking foreigners following me as well the sheriff would defiantly take them into custody to work in another mine." Guy explained, his voice wasn't like anything Robin would have expected coming from Guy but it was a good change and he relished it,
"All right what did you promise them?" Robin asked,
"I told them that I would provide them money and a safe trip to Quirkleys, and after that they were free to do whatever they wanted as long as they didn't show themselves in Nottingham." Gisborne answered,
"You did this on purpose didn't you?" Robin asked,
"Became my friend so that when you owed someone you could get me to pay your debt." Robin replied,
"You say you help the poor, well are they any better than the poor in my opinion they couldn't be worse off, they're in a foreign land where they don't speak the language, apart from Djaq and Mohammed. And all there family is about…what three months away?" Guy pointed out, now joining in on the help the poor scheme,
"Since when have you cared about others Gisborne?" Robin asked skeptically,
"Since the moment I saw Vaisey for what he is…even though he took me in and sheltered me under his wing when I returned from the war, I can't see him the same way I did when I first met him Robin he…he knows." Guy managed,
"He knows what happened to you in the Holy Land?" Robin asked shocked that Gisborne would reveal something like that unless he once trusted Vaisey,
"Robin there is something that I haven't told you yet." Guy said, he was instantly saddned by going over the covered grave again,
"What's that?" Robin asked, his voice now sincere as he saw Guy's mood change,
"After the first few weeks that I served under him I noticed that he had changed, at first my jobs were simple but soon they became important and played a major role in how the villager's lives would be affected. I was asked to attend the first council of nobles and like you I was horrified, and so I spoke up to the sheriff, and made it known how unjust his ideas on taxes were and how they changed from basic to unjust." Guy explained,
"Then what?" Robin urged,
"After the council all the nobles were proud of what I had done, and they told me so, because I single handedly made Vaisey leave the tax amounts remain where they were. He had stormed out of the great hall long before any of the nobles or I did, but when I did leave to find him I searched his quarters, where I found him not in a very good mood." He continued,