The Timely Adventures of Rachel Evans: Maid Marian Enters the Robin Hood Legend
June 13, 2013
"Oh my god." Leigh appeared from around the side of the abbey. "RACHEL.” There were times for hugging. This was one of them.
"Ah, so you do know this wench, Marian," Tuck observed.
"Hah, wench," Rachel was almost too happy to be annoyed, then, "Wait, Marian?"
"Thank you for all your help," Leigh offered her hand.
"Any time, gracious lady." Tuck took her hand and kissed it. Rachel raised her eyebrows, and Leigh gave her a look that said ‘Don’t ask.’
"Come back with us." Will invited. "Once they know we’ve found Leigh…Marian," he looked confused, "Robin will want to celebrate."
Tuck spread his hands. "How can I refuse?"
Rachel let Will and Tuck move ahead a few paces so she could talk to Leigh uninterrupted.
"That’s the problem." Rachel sighed. "He’s stuck in Nottingham."
"What do you mean stuck?"
"Stuck, arrested, captured. Take your pick."
"Are you kidding me?"
"Well, at least I’ve got the PD." Leigh patted her pocket.
"You’re the best." That was one less thing to worry about at least. "So what happened yesterday?"
"I landed in some trees and just spent hours walking around in this damn forest, until I finally came to the abbey." Leigh shook her head. "So any theories on what made the PD do that?"
"No idea." Rachel kept her voice down. "What’s up with the Marian thing?"
"I told Tuck I was Maid Marian." Leigh brushed at her sleeves. "Thought that might be a good cover story, but he didn’t seem to know who she was."
"You can’t tell people you’re Maid Marian!" Rachel moaned.
"Why not? Will she get angry?"
"Not so much, she’s not real.”" Not yet anyway.
"What?" Leigh stared at her.
"She wasn’t added to the legends until later. Originally, she was part of the May Day traditions and celebrations. Eventually, things just got merged together."
"How do you know that? Any of that?"
"Ah," Leigh nodded understandingly.
Everyone has an Aubrey. That annoying friend who shares their obsession with you so that you end up knowing way more about rocks or Star Trek or Jane Austen than you ever needed to know in your entire life.
In Rachel’s case, that friend was Aubrey.
Aubrey had been obsessed with Robin Hood since she was born. From the animated version with the fox and on to the beloved Robin of Sherwood and Errol Flynn’s outing in tights, as well as a brief, irate association with Prince of Thieves (mainly tolerated for the presence of Alan Rickman) and then more happily, Russell Crowe’s turn as the outlaw.
Due to Aubrey, Rachel could tell anyone who was interested and anyone who wasn’t, for that matter, that Robin Hood probably existed in the 12th century if he existed at all, but it was more likely that he was a combination of several popular outlaws at the time. She could tell you about how longbows weren’t even used that much in England until later during the 1300s, so the whole idea of Robin Hood utilizing one was unlikely. Rachel also knew, thanks to Aubrey, that most Robin Hood fans don’t care about that last part and are likely to kick you in the shins if you asked them why he didn’t just use a crossbow instead.
Rachel knew all the lyrics to the songs from the Disney film and the Clannad Robin of Sherwood soundtrack. For that matter, she also knew every verse to ‘(Everything I Do) I Do It For You,’ but that was her own fault for making Aubrey reenact the ridiculous music video with her.
She could tell you that King Richard’s endearing legend as the best king ever was largely romanticized, considering he didn’t even really speak English, and as soon as he was ransomed from Duke Leopold of Austria, he went straight back to fighting the Crusades. But that was the point of creating legends and stories from history, you kept the bits you liked and tossed out the rest. At least you could do that if you were the one telling the story.
Rachel hadn’t seen Aubrey recently, (last she heard Audrey was working as a park ranger at Isle Royal National Park) but Rachel knew that if she did tell Aubrey about this, her friend would probably murder her for not taking her along.
It would have been useful to have Audrey along, but c’est le vie. Now it was up to Rachel and Leigh to rescue Hunter so that they didn’t have to stay here and live in a hut with no Internet for the rest of history until they died at the age of thirty.
Now Leigh looked annoyed. "This is why I can’t go into the field unprepared! Things get messed up!"
"The field?" Rachel raised her eyebrows.
"Never mind." Leigh sighed. "The point is, I thought it was a good alias, and it’s not."
I can’t die here in nine years, Rachel thought. I haven’t even been to Europe yet. Not properly, with backpacking and pubs and guys with attractive foreign accents. Although Will Scarlett wasn’t bad.
Will chose then to look over his shoulder and smile at her.
Leigh whispered. "Pretty sure he’s trying to flirt with you."
Rachel pulled her hood up over her head in denial. "I refuse to deal with this. We’re going to find Hunter and then we are going home where I’m going to drink all the coffee."
"I agree with this plan." Leigh nodded. "How are we going to ditch the outlaws?"
"We go back to their camp, say goodbye, and get directions to Nottingham." That would work, right?
* * *
Alan was waiting at the north beech. He was pleased to make Leigh’s acquaintance, although Tuck was still calling her Marian. Rachel decided to let it go for now.
"Should we wait for the others?" She asked.
"They’ll follow." Alan clapped Tuck on the shoulder. "Come."
When they returned to the camp, Robin was sitting under the oak, head bowed. There was a swath of blood across his left cheek.
He looked up, focusing on Leigh. "You found her then. Good."
“What happened?” Will ran forward.
"They have John."
To be continued...