Episode XIV -- Robin, et al
Premiered 20 March 2009
Multiple Choice -- Episode XIV
Robin, et al
The locale was pretty much what you might have expected: a small medieval style village in an ancient English countryside. The elves, dwarfs, and fairies had already begun vacating the area in preparation for the forthcoming Industrial Revolution. The fact they were departing hundreds of years early was simply a matter of their longer term planning and the fact that property values drop so precipitously when everyone becomes aware of the imminent exodus of residents.
Men-Tor led David and Evyr into the middle of the village, where thatched roofs, dusty paths, wandering animals, and smoke from open fires predominated. Overlooking the village was a run-down, essentially defenseless castle, with considerable activity about the walls in the form of repair crews. The casual and laid back appearance of the medieval English countryside was challenged by the exceptionally high activity level at the castle. Small wonder the elves, et al were making tracks.
David and Evyr were dressed in upper class garb, setting them off from the drably dressed peasants. Those in the immediate vicinity were engaged in a Saturday-at-the-local-market activity. The locals took brief note of the strangers’ arrival, but then returned to their previous activities. Both David and Evyr had their swords at their sides, and for a moment seemed very much at ease. Men-Tor then turned and bowed.
“The village,” he announced with a distinctive, albeit low-key fanfare.
David surveyed the scene and asked, “Any questions about the plan?”
“Trust me,” Men-Tor assured him. “It is my destiny to serve you.” Tor decided not to add, ‘despite any misgivings I might have on that score.’
Evyr intuitively picked up the tenor of the unspoken words. “Where exactly,” she asked, “Will you be serving us… from?”
Men-Tor smiled. “Carefully observing from a safe distance. Where else?”
Evyr frowned, but almost smiled despite herself. David smiled and looked down at the ground as if contemplating the local dirt. Men-Tor bowed and backed away with several more bows. Evyr turned to look at David and ask with her eyes, ‘Just look what you’ve got us into!’
“Look at it this way,” David suggested. “We could be laser-toast if, instead of this, we were still battling aliens!”
“Maybe,” Evyr reluctantly conceded.
A slight commotion caught their attention and they turned to see a soldier leaning lustily toward a young maiden, a maiden, as they say, several times over. The maiden was nevertheless attempting to ward off the man’s advances. As he grabbed her roughly by the arm, she tried unsuccessfully to get away. Roughhousing apparently was not one of those kinky things that she was willing to tolerate.
David immediately straightened up and took on a chivalrous pose. Gesturing with his head to Evyr, he began to walk over to the soldier and maiden. Evyr, smiling, walked just behind him. The soldier looked up to see David and Evyr, and abruptly became much more businesslike.
“I’m afraid, Sir,” he began, “We have a bit of a thief here.”
“I’m not a thief,” the maiden countered.
David did his jury and judge thing. “I’m sure you’re not.”
The soldier decided that regardless of the truth the thief gambit was not going to work in this case. He retreated to the second line of defense.
“I should tell you, Sir, that I’m here on the Prince’s business!”
“Really? That’s too bad, as I tend to ignore such things.”
The soldier abruptly shoved the maiden toward David and Evyr and drew his sword. As David deflected the maiden in the direction of Evyr, he drew his sword as well. Only a little too late, as the soldier took a quick swing at David’s shoulder and connected with his left upper arm. This caused a decidedly ugly gash and an immediate reaction from David. His expression became one of shock, mixed with significant pain.
Momentarily, he stepped back from the fight. The soldier turned to Evyr, but she was quicker, moving the maiden out of the way, and defending herself against the first thrust. The soldier deflected her first swing, but did not see David, as our hero came roaring back with a strong swing to the back of the soldier’s head. The sword hit just above the neck where the man’s helmet was, and as a consequence did not kill him.
On the other hand, the “ringing of the man’s bell” was enough to force a blank expression on his face, before he went to his knees and then keeled over, landing with a resounding thump on his front side. Evyr looked at the downed man for a moment, while David, still panting with his sword still vibrating from the close encounter with the iron helmet, was set to counter the soldier’s next move. Evyr smiled appreciatively at David.
“You’ve been practicing.”
David smiled self consciously just as his sword hand went up to hold the bleeding arm and he winced in pain. The maiden took this moment to rush to his aid, tearing a part of her bodice in order to bind the wound. Her eyes were also flashing invitingly and with her body movements she was suggesting she might be exceptionally grateful to David for his intervention. David smiled at her attentions – you still got it, David! -- while Evyr simply watched the process with chagrin. David noticed Evyr’s expression and catching her eye, shrugged his shoulders, and tried for a game smile.
Suddenly, the maiden gasped. David and Evyr looked to see what caused the reaction from the maiden, who was now staring transfixed at David’s arm as it rapidly healed. Simultaneously, the maiden stepped back with mounting horror.
“Are thee a wizard?”
“No,” David answered, blissfully unaware of the fair maiden’s distress. “At least I don’t think so. I mean… I can still feel the pain. In fact… it hurts… a lot!”
The maiden was, however, already doing the medieval back petal.
“I’m indebted to thee, Sir. Really I am. But I have a family. A husband. Small children. A babe in arms.”
David’s grandeur was suddenly diminished. “Yes, of course. I understand. No matter.”
The former maiden did a very quick smile and curtsey, before turning and running very fast in the opposite direction. Evyr walked up to David, a broad smile on her face. David tried to ignore her grin as she approached.
"Oh, too bad! Now you won’t be able to collect the undying gratitude from such a lovely young thing. Must be the price of being so god-like.”
“I’ll have you know I had no such intentions.”
Evyr was suddenly serious. “Of course not.” Then she laughed.
David frowned appropriately, until suddenly his attention was distracted. Both turned to see four mean-looking soldiers approaching them -- all with their swords drawn and each walking with a distinct bravado. The early rendition of a sergeant smiled with an evil and mocking intent, apparently confident in his ability to intimidate. “Attacking the Prince’s soldier is a crime punishable by death. Prepare to be punished.”
Before David could react, Evyr took charge.
“Sir David is here on the King’s business. He must be immediately taken to the castle.”
David masked his surprise… even managed a stiff upper lip for the local consumption. Meanwhile, the sergeant’s bravado abruptly vanished.
"The King’s business?”
“We require an escort,” Evyr continued. “You will have to do.”
The soldiers looked at one another, momentarily perplexed.
“Now!” Evyr ordered.
The soldiers quickly fell into something resembling an escort detachment. Evyr and “Sir” David took their appropriate position and the group marched off toward the castle. David and Evyr exchanged looks, as the soldiers looked straight ahead. Only the Lead Soldier seemed to have any expression, and his was one of perplexed concern. The small group slowly made its way through the now subdued village happenings. As they passed, the villagers returned to their more overriding interests -- primarily that of haggling among themselves.
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