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Nasir's tale (live gaming session)

book

  The Saracen paused as he entered the camp. Seeing the others around the fire, he drew a breath then moved to join them, still unsure how to tell them of the girl.

Will frowned as the Saracen came into sight. He had at least expected him to show some traces of guilt, anything to confirm his suspicion...

Robin heard John behind him and glanced over his shoulder, a smile given to his friend in passing. Will's comment wiped the smile away completely but he tried hard not to frown outright. This was all so new to everyone. It would take time. Nasir entered the ring of firelight and Robin took a slow breath. Calm. Glancing to Will, he forced a smile. "Here's Nasir now. From the look on his face, I'd say he has something to tell us. Right?" He looked to Nasir with a raised brow.

Nasir glanced between those seated as he withdrew the swords and stuck them into the ground next to a log that was serving as a seat, before he settled himself on it. Then in answer to Robin's comment he shook his head. He raised a hand and wiped it down his beard as he looked between those seated.

Robin's brow raised a fraction more but he merely shrugged and settled himself on the grass closer to the fire. Picking up a discarded stick, he poked at the fire. His face was a mask of concentration. This was going to be a bit more difficult than he thought it might be.

Will shook his head as he watched Nasir and the others. They all seemed to think his absence was normal. "You got nothing to tell? What took you so long then?"

Nasir bit his lip... then after another moment of thought raised two fingers to his eyes and then pointed to place he'd entered the camp. He then pointed to Marion... would they understand?

Where was Herne when he needed him? Then again, would it have made any difference? Will's comment made Robin's head turn towards him. "Will..." He began, but didn't finish. Yes, this was going to take some time. Catching Nasir's hand motion, he thought understood what he meant. "You saw someone else... when you entered the camp?" He tried not to seem confused. Looking to Marion, he blinked then looked back to Nasir. "Marion...?" He shook his head and snapped his fingers. "A woman?"

John left his position at the outer firering. Since Nasir's first language lesson in the forest he felt he could have been the one of them to understand best what was going on inside the Saracen's mind. He nodded at Robin's guess..

Nasir nodded as Robin confirmed his gestures.

"A woman?" Will snorted from behind.

Robin nodded faintly as John then Nasir confirmed his thoughts. Standing, he frowned. "Where, Nasir?" He looked to Will but didn't say anything. It was indeed an unusual thing to find a woman alone in the forest. Was she really alone?

The Saracen leaned forward slightly... brushing a smooth spot in the dirt before him then drawing first a point to indicate the camp... and then the road where they had encountered Gisburne and the villagers. He paused a moment, glancing back tot he trees then added the river he had passed and finally placed an X where he estimated the woman to have appeared. Never having been to Wickham, he could not have known how close his detour had brought him to the village.

Robin knelt as Nasir cleared a place in the dirt and his dark brown gaze was fixed on what the Saracen was drawing. He murmured quietly to himself as he watched. "This is our camp. The road..." He looked to Nasir then back to the drawing. "The river... and that's where you saw the woman?" He questioned, pointing to the X. Glancing up at John and Will, he frowned slightly.

John looked at the drawing in the dirt and pointed at the X. "That's close to Wickham."

Nasir nodded, his brow furrowing slightly. He also marked several smallers X's to show the number of soldiers who had passed on the road. He raised his gaze to John as he spoke. "Wick.. ham?" His voice was quiet as he spoke the unfamiliar name.

"Aye, Wickham. The name of the village." John replied.

Robin nodded at Will's comment. "Yes. Maybe she's from there." Nasir's continued markings brought a deeper frown to his face. "Who are these? Villagers?"

Nasir shook his head... frowning... then brought his hand down his head and across just below his nose to indicate the wearing of a helmet.

Nasir's gesture brought Robin to his feet again. "Soldiers!" His hand went automatically to Albion's hilt and gripped it tightly as he thought on this. Not a good sign.

"Oh great, you ran into Gisburne's men again?" Will couldn't keep his thoughts to himself.

Nasir nodded then raised his hands to indicate there were 8 of them riding towards it. At Will's comment he shook his head, no, he hadn't been seen by them. He pointed to the girl's mark, then shook his head yes.

"Hang on... you say the girl saw them?" John asked.

Robin frowned. "Will..." Looking to Nasir, he nodded. Eight men. At least it wasn't more. "They didn't see you, right? But, they saw the girl?"

No - Nasir shook his head - he pointed to the soldiers, then to the sky... back to the girl then a spot a short distance lower on the horizon. Would they see that time had passed between the two? He raised an eyebrow slightly as he looked between them expectantly.

Robin watched Nasir closely. A few moments passed as he considered the gestures, glancing at the sky then back to the drawing. His head tilted. The soldiers. The sky. The girl. The sky. What? Now, he was confused and sighed to himself.

John followed Nasir's motions as he pointed to the sky twice. "The sun... moved that much?"

Robin pondered it all, including what John had said. Slowly, he began to speak. "You saw the soldiers. Then, a little while later you saw the girl? Did she see you?"

Nasir nodded.

At this, Robin frowned at Nasir. Well, at least the soldiers hadn't seen him. "Which way did she go? Back to Wickham?"

Again Nasir nodded.

Robin looked to John then. "Who do you think it might've been?" Perhaps a silly question, but he had run out of ideas and his thoughts of the soldiers hung heavy in his mind. Gisburne didn't give up easily, unfortunately.

Will shook his head, once, twice... as he followed the odd interaction that took place between the Saracen, Robin and John. What was the problem? That Nasir stumbled on a peasant woman? Again?

"A girl from the village?" John suggested. "Why? Is that important?"

Nasir's gaze travelled from Robin to John as he listened to the question... then to Will as he realized the man had said almost nothing so far.

Robin frowned slightly, nodding. "Maybe. Perhaps Nasir merely frightened her. It's doubtful anyone in Wickham has seen a Saracen before." He pondered the implications and stared into the fire.

At John's question Nasir looked back to him. How could he say she had been frightened? He looked down to the ground, mentally kicking himself for the stubborness that had kept him from learning to speak their language while with de Belleme. He raised his gaze to Robin as he spoke... yes he had frightened her... but how to say there was fear in her face already?

Something stirred Robin from within and his head lifted, dark eyes fixing on Nasir. Without questioning the thought that came to him, he moved to lightly touch Nasir's shoulder. "It's okay, Nasir. We understand that this isn't easy for you. Perhaps I'm just being too cautious." He summoned a faint smile and glanced to John, as if wondering what his friend thought of all this. He'd noticed John and Nasir speaking to one another. Maybe John understood Nasir better than any of the rest of them did.

Nasir dropped his eyes at the touch then dipped his head a moment, before raising his eyes back to him.

John looked at Nasir, then spoke in Robin's direction. "There is no such thing as being too cautious, we all know what's at stake here... maybe Nasir was worried about being seen and that rumors will spread now of a stranger in the forest?"

Enough was enough. Will couldn't stand this endless discussion about girls and soldiers and the Saracen anymore. "What is it about that girl?!" he hissed as he got up and approached the rest of them.

Maybe he had been overreacting... Nasir hadn't known the village was there... she could have been in the forest for any reason...

Robin nodded to John. "True. I'm afraid the rumors will spread anyway. Nasir can't hide forever. He's a part of us now." His tone was matter-of-fact as he'd already accepted the man into their small group. He suddenly recalled their meeting and thought on that a moment but his thoughts were shattered by Will's outburst. Turning his head to eye Will, he frowned slightly. "Perhaps nothing. Perhaps everything, Will. She might know something important. She might've seen something we didn't. Or, she might've seen nothing but Nasir and was frightened by him. We just don't know."

Nasir smoothed the dirt in front of him erasing his drawing.

Will glared at Robin, his anger just below the surface. "And? What are you going to do about it?"

Nasir looked to the young man that was their leader, once again amazed that one so young could hold them to him... but his words rang true... he was part of them and the reaction of the villagers to that would not always be one of acceptance.

"Trouble." Will added determined. "I knew this would mean trouble when he joined us."

Robin's expression shifted but he firmly withheld his anger. "I'm going to do my best to find out more information. A wise man looks to all his options and considers them carefully before he acts." His words were quietly spoken, but his gaze was firm. "We are all outlaws, Will. We live in 'trouble' everyday of our lives." He said quietly. "Nasir joining us hasn't changed that."

At Robin's words Nasir nodded then reached for each sword in turn and slid them back into the harness... perhaps he would best serve them by returning to the place he had seen her. He stood and gestured first to himself, then to the forest, indicating he would go.

John picked up his staff. "I will join you, Nasir. Here's too much... trouble in the air."

Will held Robin's gaze. "You think that will work? Gisburne won't let you time to act wise if he finds us, because he- " his head pointed towards Nasir," was seen."

Robin watched Nasir pick up his swords and place them in the harness at his back, then he gestured and Robin had no difficulty understanding his intent. He merely nodded and felt as though he'd failed somehow. John's words only confirmed this and he sighed, moving to kneel on one knee before the fire, his gaze intent on the flames. That soft whisper in his thoughts returned but it did little to eleviate his concerns. Then he returned Will's frown. "Gisburne is well known to act on impulse. That's one of the things that makes him a fool. Wisdom doesn't take an inordinate amount of time, Will. Just a moment's thought." Which he wished Will would do more often. These arguments only made the tension in the camp more difficult to endure.

Nasir held off moving away from the fire as he listened to the debate, his occassional glance to the trees the only sign of his impatience to go.

Was this was he had expected when he had followed Robin out of the dungeons? Certainly not. Will suddenly got tired of this game. He shrugged and said. "You're the leader and it's your decision."

Robin rubbed his eyes wearily and looked to Nasir and John. "Why don't you go watch for the girl again. Maybe you can find out why she was there." He looked to Will and met his gaze solemnly for a long few seconds. Yes, he was the leader... but when he'd been called by Herne, he hadn't realized that it would be so difficult. Was he really ready for this? It was too late now to think on that. He'd already been chosen. His destiny lay before him like a fog, uncertain to say the least. "There can be only one leader, Will." He finally answered quietly.

Nasir nodded at Robin's words and turned to head back to the treeline.

"We'll see." Will murmured and turned away.
 
     

Will is sulking

  Sulking Will headed for the forest, his temper barely held in check. As he reached the edge of the clearing, he sat down under a tree.

If they continued like this, arguing about every stranger in the forest, they wouldn't get far... a woman in the forest - so what? There were enough villages around Sherwood, and enough women too. Will couldn't help grinning broadly as he imagined the encounter between Nasir and the stranger... the dark Saracen surely gave the lady a fright she wouldn't forget for the rest of her life. Then he grew serious again and watched the group of people standing or sitting around the fire - Robin, Marion, Tuck and Much, none of them really belonged with the kind of people Will was used to deal with from his mercenary days... or was it him who didn't belong here? Realistically he didn't think they had the ability to hold out against the Sheriff for long. Much was too young, Tuck too fat, Marion but a woman and Robin hadn't even known how to use a sword when they'd met... so what actually kept him from leaving and seeking revenge for the death of his wife against those who had killed her? Was it the fire that he felt was burning bright in Robin, his strong belief in being chosen by Herne, the Hunter, the touch of supernatural powers at work in everything he did? Or was it the connection between Robin and his wife Elaina who both came from Loxley. Elaina... he had been different then. Not the hotheaded man he was now, but content working for their living, Will admitted to himself and the image of his wife came painful and clear to his mind. In a way Robin's speech in the forest about the "Spirit of England" before the young Wolfshead had set out to fight the powers of darkness at Castle de Belleme had touched him almost in the same way. Maybe that reason was as good as any to stay with them and protect all of them against who or whatever might cross their way. All of them? Well, he would have to keep an extra eye on the Saracen...

For now Will's anger was gone, and he slowly returned to the rest of their group to find out what they had been talking about. Maybe they had even reached a decision about what to do next?
 
     

Marion's request

  Marion took in the situation around her and wondered what this was all going to lead to. She watched Will leave the camp and shook her head. "Will, you are too hot headed...."

Marion turned to Robin, her face lacking all emotion. "Did Much tell you about Abbot Hugo's man in the wood? Sir Gisburne and the Abbot, quite a party they will have here." With her jaw clenched, Marion walked toward the fire. She stared into the fire for a few moments and a slightly wild look came into her eye. Marion covered her mouth and faced the woods with her shoulders shaking. A sound, something between a sob and a cry came out of her and Marion's knees gave way under her.

Marion sat facing the fire again with tears of laughter streaming down her face. She was laughing to hard to catch her breath. The thought of, 'They will think me mad.' went through her head, but she could not stop laughing. When she could finally breathe again, Marion wiped the tears from her eyes and looked at Robin from the ground.

"Robin," she breathed "I have come up with a wonderful idea. You must teach me how to swordfight, for the thought of Gisburne fleeing from me in terror is too amusing. Promise me that you will teach me to use a sword and perhaps some other weapons?" Marion smiled up at Robin as eager as a child wishing to learn a new trick. "I would like to start tonight.."

She watched him waiting for an answer. Marion knew now that what she wanted to do was to fight equally at Robin's side. She cared for him more than anything in the world and she did not want to be used as bait to trap him or her new friends. Marion had really come to care about her little family alone in the woods, which she would protect against anything that would harm them. She knew that Robin would do everything in his power to protect her from harm as well. Robin's answer to swordfighting could have been, no, but if it was, Marion was positive that she could change his mind later.
 
     

Friar Tuck: Back in the habit...
(first part of the scene takes place during "Nasir's tale",
second part after Nasir and Little John left the camp)

  During Nasir's return, and the subsequent questioning of the swashbuckling Saracen, Tuck had been sitting on a log by the fire, his hands loosely holding his walking stick upright. He stayed quiet for the most part, listening as the others, some more patiently than others, coaxed what had happened from Nasir, whose mouth was used to a different tongue. An idea came to Tuck as Will stormed away, and Nasir was left to himself on his log. The good friar rose, leaning his staff against his own makeshift seat, and walked around the fire to Nasir.  He stood by where Nasir had planted his two blades and leaned a bit closer to the man.

"We have not spoken much, this I know. And it is probably quite clear what and who I am...," Tuck produced a set of rosary beads from the folds of his robes and smiled gently. "However, the good lord has put us together here. May I help you learn English... the tongue of this land?" Tuck rather belatedly realized that Nasir might not have understood this, ironically. So he proceeded to repeat it in Latin, and then he tried making hand gestures, hoping to get his message across.

Nasir looked up as the Friar approached... then motioned him to sit... sliding over on the log as he did. He still wasn't sure about the man... he'd seen what others of his kind could do... but this one seemed different. As he spoke he listened intently... raising an eyebrow slightly as he slid to a totally unfamiliar tongue then finally to hand gestures to get his point across. When he had finished the Saracen nodded and quietly spoke his new word..."Thank you." Then added the word they called the man,his brow furrowing as he sounded it out. "Tu...uck." He then turned his atention back to Robin as the discussion over the girl and the soldiers continued...

Tuck turned suddenly at Marion's cry, and sighed with relief as he realized she was alright. That is, until he heard her request from Robin.....
 
     

Much and the deer

  Much already started to feel better as he saw that all of them had returned to the camp in one piece.

He followed the conversation between Nasir and the others at the campfire. This kind of guessing game was really amusing. But he didn't understand why they all were debating for such a long time.

He reached for his staff and glanced at the deer which was still lying on the ground. He was getting hungry. It had been a long time since he had the last meal and it seemed to get colder.

He rose slowly and moved a few steps away from the lively assemble around the fire. Roving round the camp Much was waiting and watching what would further happen.
 
     

The return of the Enchantress

  The sound of running water finally aroused the woman from her exhausted sleep. She moved her head cautiously in it's direction. Recognition flooded her mind, and for a moment she was frozen with horror at the memories crowding into her head. She tried to stop the images that were forming before her terrified eyes.

'No!' The cry was forced out of her, her once beautiful voice sounding harsh and cracked, like an old woman's. She shook her head, attempting to clear her mind, but the images still rose up, unbidden from her memory.

That final terrible scene, the streak of silver light hurting her eyes, and the sound of that infernal scream, suddenly cut short as the silver light found it's mark. She had been watching in the shadows, and for a moment, the man's eyes had locked with hers. He had seen her despite his agony, or was it because of it? She shuddered, remembering that instant....the eyes burning into hers, probing  her very soul. Then his face had changed, she had seen the terror in his eyes, as he realised what was happening. His whole body had convulsed, as skewered by the silver shaft, he finally felt what he had inflicted on others so many times.

Her lip curled, how she had hated and feared him! How she had been fascinated and repelled by him and his power. Now he was dead, but she still thought she could hear his voice calling to her, faintly, brought to her on the wind, as it whispered in the forest.

She felt old, sick, and tired. She WAS old, sick, and tired. She saw that in the reflections in her pool, and in the way her body felt heavy and full of pain.

She sighed, and looked at the remains of the sacrifice left in the cold ashes of her fire. She knew that she hadn't much time left, to become young and strong again, before her powers finally left her.

Lilith, the Enchantress of the Forest, rose, and bathed her face. Tomorrow she would gather the herbs needed to help her regain her strenght, and her powers would re-awaken.Then she would deal with that Wolf's Head who had destroyed the Baron De Belleme.
 
     
 

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