Slaves

Chapter 5

This Is An Ambush,

She then stretched herself out on the tattered mattress, and covered herself with the blanket she was provided with. Guy remained where he was for a few moments longer as he took one last look at the moon, before he too stretched out with his back to Djaq, pulling the blanket just under his shoulders. He had made another friend, and to him that was an achievement, as the only the other friend he had was Lambert, because he thought himself closer than a friend to Marian.

The next day came soon enough and Guy wasn't the least bit happy to welcome it, not even the slaves that spoke only Saracen were happy to greet it. When they woke the door swung open, and in came a hard looking man, carrying a basket under his arm that probably had their breakfast in it.

His beard stubble was in an untidy state of small wisps, as if he couldn't make up his mind to grow a beard or have it shaven off. And the expression of disgust that he carried with him, clearly displayed the pure hate he had for the very men he had come to see.

He soon walked over to the picnic like table and placed the basket in the center, and then he left without even uttering a word. Gradually the drowsy men rose from their sleeping position to investigate whatever was just brought for them, but Djaq however was still asleep.

Guy then removed his blanket and knelt on his knees so he could rouse Djaq by gently shaking her shoulder, which caused her to turn over on her back and gaze directly into his hazel eyes. She was barely awake until she smelt whatever was hidden under a covered basket on the table.

"Hey it's time to get up breakfast is here." Guy greeted,

He himself had woken about thirty minutes ago when the sun had shone its warm glowing rays on his sleeping form, because he had slept with his face to the window. Guy rose to his feet first and offered Djaq a hand up, she gladly accepted it as she was still half asleep, but was cautious of her blisters.

The size difference between Djaq and Guy was extensive, as she only came up to his chest, and as they walked side by side to the table it was clearly noticeable. When they were halfway there the cover was removed revealing, six quarts of bread and one water bottle that had to be shared between them. Charles hadn't lied he really didn't care.

Everyone soon snatched up their share of food including Gisborne and Djaq incase anyone else decided they wanted more to eat. And like last night everyone found a spot around the table, but Guy once again walked away to be by himself, so he returned to where he had slept.

After a few minutes Djaq saw that Gisborne was not among the occupants at the table, so she turned to see him eating in the corner of the room where he had slept. She still didn't understand why he strayed from the group, but she was guessing it was partly because he had things to sort out with himself.

No sooner had everyone finished eating, did several men burst into the room these included the men who had knocked Gisborne down the other day. They started grabbing at the slaves, and the two men thought it absolutely necessary to grab Guy by the arms and drag him out with them.

He put up little fight as he saw that everyone was being marched out, they were soon erected in a line facing Charles who stood with his legs spread, his hands on his hips, and the evil looking whip accompanying him.

"Every morning you will be brought out here so I can count you, and if one of you goes missing I'll see to it that I find out who it was that devised the plan of escape." Charles said, caressing his whip to make sure everyone got the picture,

"As for you easterner you can work underground today, don't think for one minute that I actually care where you work, but I need to hit the mother load soon." He continued, "Right Malvir get them out of here." He ordered, with a wave of his hand, and then everyone was dragged towards the mine,

Even though nobody made an attempt to get away, the men who held them saw it necessary to keep a vice like grip around their arms. When they had reached the entrance to the mine they were forced down the ladder one by one, until only one Saracen man remained above ground.

"Not you boss wants you to work above ground today so you can carry the dirt to the sieve's before it's carried out of here." Malvir said, as he grabbed the man's arm before he could climb down the ladder,

Guy gave one look up into the sky, which was almost the only form of light that was seen on the tunnel, because only a few candle lamps hung from the weak supports. It reminded him a lot of the mines that he had gone to see with the sheriff, because they were also unfit to be worked in.

It just seemed so much different now that he was being forced to work in one that was potentially life threatening. Djaq broke him from his thoughts as she tapped him on his shoulder to offer him a pick-axe; he then grabbed it and followed her towards the place where they were to dig.

"Hey what about you're hands?" Guy asked kindly,

"They are fine I put something on them last night, and this morning they were a lot better." Djaq replied,

"Well don't overdo it if you don't have to." Guy reasoned,

"If I do not work hard then Charles will surely find out." Djaq explained,

"You just leave it to me." Guy said, as he swung the axe behind his head, before he briskly brought it down on the side of the wall,

Bits of rock and dirt shot at his legs, staining his clothes further, but he didn't seem to notice, and when his pick had collided with the dirt, it began a harmonic tune as the other slaves joined in. Baskets were loaded with the dirt that had been chipped away and was soon brought to the surface to be sieved incase it had traces of gold in it.

The mine itself wasn't every big, apart from the fact that it was ten feet underground there really wasn't much to it. It didn't even go on for very long either, but it managed a turn and 5 feet after it and from what Gisborne could piece together Charles wanted it to be a lot longer.

He had never really seen a gold mine at all, he had only heard about them, because the only mines he knew about that were close to Nottingham were iron ore mines. And even then they didn't really prove to be very prosperous, and he had a couple of dozen men working it.

If there were only 5 people working this mine it would certainly take a lot longer to get anywhere, but he figured it all depended on what the soil was like, and if it was rich than it might prove prosperous. The mine he worked in had about four support beams and even then they didn't look very strong, and he wasn't to happy about staking his life on their security.

And as he chipped away the wall of the mine he began to realize that the dirt was getting to be like clay, and he wasn't very skilled in the art of gold mining. But if he knew anything at all he would bet that they were close to a river, because the further they got the wetter the dirt got.

It was nothing to be concerned about but it was like someone had poured a cup of water on the dirt and had allowed it to dry for about an hour. He wasn't too worried about the state of the dirt because the wetter it got the easier it was to hack at, and that meant that he could work more efficiently.

If it wasn't for the fact that he was working for men he really didn't like and that he wanted to see dead, he would actually make an effort to work harder. But because of Djaq he was now on the opposing side and wanted to see the sheriff brought down just as much as Robin. But even though they now wanted the same thing he still didn't like Robin very much.

It could have been because he was competition, in the efforts to win Marian, and even though he had told Djaq that he would give her a choice on who she wanted to choose, he wasn't very confident in her choice of men. Because he had lost interest in working the mine he decided that he had to set up something to make him want to hack at the rock, stone and dirt.

He soon found that the job was made more appealing when he imagined what he could do to the sheriff, the German's that landed him here, or the men who had irritated him here. He realized that when they had run into him, they were heading in the direction of Nottingham, so chances were that they were in the town center by now, hanging out at the tavern, spending the money he had been trusted with.

And he was right because as he was working to keep himself alive, Fritz, and Otto, were indeed hanging out at the tavern. Only Otto was reasonable, and when a barmaid decided to come over and tempt him, he merely pushed her a way or did something that she detested.

He couldn't really blame them for what they were doing because it was just a part of their job even though it was quite an unappealing one. The whole time he had been waiting for his brother to return to the table he had previously occupied since he came back from his walk, Otto knew what he was up to.

And it wasn't until he saw Fritz walking down the stairs, doing up his shirt button did he really know what he had been doing. And when he flopped back into the seat that he had been sitting at before, Otto noticed something had fallen out of his pocket, so he walked around to his brother and retrieved it.

It was a small velvet bag with gold drawstrings; he held it out in his hand for his drunken brother to see.

"What is this and where did you get it?" He demanded,

"That what's that?" Fritz asked,

"That is what fell out of your pocket now where did you get it?" Otto demanded again,

"That…right I got that off of our friend." He replied,

"What's in it?" Otto continued,

"I don't know I never had a chance to open it." Fritz defended, so his brother opened it and shook the contents into his hand,

To his horrification it was a ring, a silver engagement ring that didn't look cheap at all; it was a small silver ring, crafted in the shape of a flower and vine. Small green emeralds were set in small leaf shaped grooves, and small purple stones were set in petal shaped grooves, while a single ruby sat in the center to make the ring complete.

He was heartbroken, he had probably just sent a man who was in love to his death, and it was because of his greed, and his desire for money that it had happened. He slammed the hand that held the bag and the ring onto the table in front of his heartless brother.

"This man had a woman whom he was in love with; he was going to ask her for her hand in marriage." Otto nearly screamed,

"Yeah so?" Fritz demanded,

"So…we have just condemned a man to death, what will his woman think?" Otto retorted,

"Why should we care we don't even know them, she probably would have said no anyway, and so we saved him a broken heart." Fritz reasoned coldly,

"How can you be so hard and hollow…don't you care about your fellow man?"

"I don't care about the people we don't know, as far as I am concerned it's him or us, that's all life is one big choice, it's you or the other guy." Fritz explained,

"…I've had enough if you want to continue in your little game than so be it, but you've lost the right to call me your brother don't ever let me see you again." Otto ordered, as he snatched the money bag and the ring before he left,

And while all this was going on Marian was expecting a visit from Robin, she waited patiently in her room at Knighton hall. And as she had expected Robin soon swung up to the bedroom window.

"So what is it you want to see me about Marian?" Robin asked, a childish grin spread across his lips,

"I have some news from the castle, Guy has been missing for three days now, so I went to see the sheriff, and he told me that Gisborne has travelled long distances for some reason." Marian explained,

"And do you know why?" Robin asked,

"No when I asked where Gisborne went the sheriff told me that it was none of my business." She replied,

"So when did he leave?" Hood asked,

"Well four days ago, he was running around Nottingham attending to errands that the sheriff assigned him too…but the next day I went to Loxley manor to see him, only he wasn't there, so that's when I went to the castle and found out that he was gone." She answered,

"So you have absolutely no idea where he has gone but he has been gone for three days now." Robin said, mainly to himself trying to piece the puzzle together,

"Exactly." Marian said,

"Robin you don't suppose it has anything to do with the King do you?" Marian asked, almost afraid that she was right,

"I don't know, but I wish I did…hang around the castle for a while maybe you can find out what's going on." Robin reasoned,

"I'll try, but the sheriff isn't very open, and without Guy I might have a hard time finding out what he's up to." Marian explained,

"Right I'll be back later, I've received word that a man with a large purse might be travelling through the forest today." Robin said,

Before he acrobatically swung down from Marian's window and, blew an air kiss her way before he quickly ran into the forest.

A few minutes later found Robin and his gang hiding by the rode that lead through the forest waiting for their man to appear. But Allen was getting restless.

"Robin are you sure your little birdie has been telling you how it is?" He asked,

"Relax Allen Matilda always comes through for me, even though she wants a cut." Robin replied,

"Relax…I'm so relaxed that my legs have gone to sleep." Much protested,

"Yeah well I don't think a barmaid is the best source of information." John reasoned,

"I have to agree do any of you know what they do for a living?" Will asked,

Robin was about to voice a well thought out choice come back but he was interrupted, when he heard hoof beats coming slowly down the road. Robin gave a signal to his gang and they soon sprang into the path of the rider with their bows and swords drawn.

"This is an ambush." Robin started,

"This is how it goes." Much continued,

"There's poor people going hungry." Will added,

"You tell us what you've got." Allen contributed,

"Be honest with us." Robin added again,

"And we take one tenth." Much contributed,

"So the poor can eat." Will continued,

"Lie." John said,

"Or resist." Much added yet again,

"And we take it all." Robin finished, "So what's it going to be?" He asked in a shout,

"I don't care if you take one tenth or all of it its blood money that I got from my brother." Otto replied,

So he threw the money to the ground, along with the ring, his fluent German easily detectable causing him to sound foreign. Will retrieved the bags but was surprised when he saw the insignia on one of them.

"Robin haven't we seen this insignia before?" He asked, as he held out the money bag, while firmly grasping the ring in the other hand,

Robin walked over and took the bag, "This is Gisborne's insignia…Will what's in the other bag?" He asked, so Will fumbled with the strings,

"It's a ring not very cheap either." He replied,

"He was going to see Marian, this is an engagement ring." Robin said,

"Where did you get this money?" He demanded now turning his attention to the German rider,

"I took this from my brother." Otto replied because he was now afraid of what was going to happen to him,

"I want to know who you got this money from." Robin demanded, "There's less than 500 crowns here."

Otto then began to grow nervous, so after a moment of silence, Robin signaled for his men to close in on the man, this caused him to act so he suddenly reared his horse, causing nearly everyone to step back or fall over. When he had a clear path he then spurred his horse down the road, and away from Robin leaving him in a tangle of 'What on earth was going on'.

"Robin should we go after him? Allen asked,

"No leave him…we have to get to the bottom of this mess, his brother was paid off by Gisborne with blood money." Robin replied, trying to work out in his head if that man's brother was in a treasonous plot to kill the King,

"Do you think it could be a plot against the King?" Much asked, as if he had read his masters mind,

"I don't know but I'm going back to Marian, to wait for her after she returns from the castle…everyone return to the camp." He ordered, as he left with the bag of money and the ring


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