Well, here's my second story so far: Robyn. It's a retelling of the classic Robyn Hood tales, but most of the genders are switched (including Robyn, who is a girl in this story.) Told from Robyn's POV.
James ran frantically through the dark woods, tripping over the occasional branch that was in the way. He'd get back up and continue running, sometimes he'd only stumble a few steps, slowing him down.
He looked behind him, hearing the sound of the horses' footsteps. They were behind him…or beside him…or maybe in front of him?
While still looking behind him, one of those darned branches was in the way, causing him to trip and stumble to the ground, even causing him to slide a few inches. Before he could stand up back on his feet, the horses reached him and halted. The men on the horses – knights – held out their spears aimed towards him.
"James Miller, you are under arrest for the murder of Queen Opal of Tar," one of the knights yelled.
Another one dismounted his horse and violently yanked James's hands behind his back.
I waited patiently inside the bushes. The large stag stood there, completely oblivious to what was about to happen. Call me crazy for having remorse, but a small part of me didn't want to kill it. But another part – my stomach – told me that it was either the deer or me. With that said, I quietly pulled back my bow, making sure not to make the bushes rattle in any way.
I quickly released the arrow when the deer was in clear-shot range, sending it plummeting into him, right where the lung was, causing him to flee off into the woods.
An hour and a half later I was back at our campsite dragging the animal behind me.
I noticed the others were hooting and hollering like a bunch of men watching the sports. I was exhausted so I dropped the rope that was hauling the deer and walked up to the others to see what they were excitedly shouting over.
In the middle of a large opening they were watching our two youngest – Scarlett and Marlene – duke it out.
Scarlett grabbed Marlene by the neck, and putting her in a tight headlock. Despite who looked like the most obvious to win, I was a strong supporter of the underdogs, and began to root for Marlene.
But as Scarlett tightened the headlock further, Marlene began to suffocate from the lack of air, desperately gasping for air – making her chances of winning look even slimmer.
Now while Marlene was absolutely tiny and Scarlett easily had her beat in height and weight, Marlene was very bright and she learned very quickly how to be able to get herself out of almost any situation.
She reached up and grabbed Scarlett's face, finding her eyes and jamming her thumbs into the sockets, causing Scarlett to let her go and place her hand over her eyes in reaction to the sudden pain.
Marlene swept out a concealed in her boot and placed it to Scarlett's neck. Scarlett instantly froze, forgetting the pain, and raised her hands out in front of her, showing her surrender, meaning Marlene won.
Everyone clapped at the sight of the young girl winning over her older and larger opponent.
"Alright, Marlene," I said. "Since you're obviously big and bad enough to take down my little sister, you're definitely big and bad enough to prepare dinner tonight."
The 12-year old groaned and walked over to the deer that was lying in the thicket. One of our other three women that were watching the brawl, Elena, walked over voluntarily to help her while congratulating the girl on her victory.
"Scar, walk it off," I called to my sister, who was still moaning from the pain in her eyes.
"That fight was unfair," Scarlett said. "The rules said no weapons."
"We're a group of outlawed women," my lieutenant, Johanna said, "Since when do we follow the rules?"
"We're trained to fight dirty, and Marlene was only demonstrating the rule to never underestimate your opponent, even if it's a little blonde-headed girl," I added, giving my 19-year old younger sister a firm pat on the back.
She was fine a few hours later when we were eating and as we crawled into our tents that night, alternating shifts as to who will keep watch while the rest slept.
The next morning we began to pack up camp and prepare to move elsewhere while Elena and Marlene fetched some water at the nearby pond. I closed the tents down and packed them into our saddlebags. We were a group of outlawed nomads, moving place to place to ensure we didn't get caught by the ones who were hunting us: the queen and her army, led by Sir Ferdinand, a knight who was absurdly infatuated with me.
There were only six of us – all women: Faye, Elena, Marlene, Johanna, Scarlett and me. All of us were outlaws, either wanted for treason, murder, or thievery. We've definitely created bigger felonies since we first joined together, giving us the title of the most notorious thieves and criminals in all of the land: the Wolf-heads or occasionally, the "Robyn and the Merry Women".
We were feared by the rich, and loved by the poor, stealing whatever treasures the wealthy had and giving it to those that really needed it.
There once was a time when we held our loyalties to Queen Opal, but once she was violently murdered and her sister Garnet took over, the bounty above our heads began to steadily rise.
Everything was packed up, and we were waiting on Elena and Marlene, when we saw Marlene running towards us, eyes wide, sweaty face, and a bloody side. Faye and I ran to her quickly as she firmly pressed her hand to her side.
"What happened?" I asked, looking up in the distance for a sign of Elena.
"We were ambushed at the lake," she said, breathing hard and tripping over her words. "There were too many of them, it was like a whole army. We were gathering the water and they came atop of horses and tried to snatch us, but we fought back, killing a few, and injuring a few others, but as I said before, there were just too many of them. Elena told me to run."
"Where's Elena?" Johanna demanded, making us aware that everyone was standing around us now.
"I ran off in the wrong direction just in case someone tried to follow me, after I was sure no one followed, I ran this way. Elena stayed back and tried to fight them off. But I know she's not coming back here."
"They could've killed her!" Scarlett said in a panicked voice.
But Marlene shook her head. "No, I don't think so. They had the opportunity to kill the both of us, but they didn't."
"Maybe not then, but they certainly could have killed her now," Faye said, causing Marlene to grow quiet.
Johanna let out a string of angry curses loudly. One might've thought she was cursing at Marlene, but we all knew she wasn't angry at her per se, but towards the men that took her. We had no idea where she was, what her condition was, and who took her, and everyone was showing signs of panic while I could see Marlene was somehow feeling guilty in the midst of all of it.
"Everyone calm down," I said gently but firm, causing everyone to quiet for a second. "Faye, Scarlett – take Marlene and get her bandaged up before she goes into shock; she's lost a lot of blood."
Both of them nodded and carried Marlene off towards the saddle bags where the bandages and other first-aid items were packed away.
Johanna walked over to me and spoke in a lowered tone. "I can see in your eyes you have a plan."
"Not a very solid one, but it may help us a little. We all have our people to contact if something were to happen to us…" I trailed off.
"Yes, and?" she said.
"Well, Elena was very cheerful most of the time, but we all know she kept her secrets hidden and wouldn't speak them openly."
Johanna pondered a moment. "We usually tell each other our deepest secrets in case something was to happen of this sort. Marlene would be the closest to her, with Faye being the second. There is a very slim chance that Marlene would know. She was with her and she didn't know who the people were. She was injured in the side, and has lost a lot of blood, she might not even be able to focus long enough to listen to the question."
"I did say it wasn't a solid idea, but it's all we have – unless of course you have a better suggestion." When she didn't say anything we walked over to Marlene, who's wound was being washed with the little water we had left.
"Marlene," I started, "you were undoubtedly the closest person to Elena. Would you happen to know of anyone that may have taken her?"
She didn't even have to think long before she answered with a shake of her head. "She was the one I told my secrets and problems to, but it wasn't mutual. She rarely ever told me what was on her mind."
"Figured as much," Johanna said gruffly. "Told you it wouldn't do us any good, and now we're back at square one."
"But," Marlene interjected raising her voice just a notch louder. "I do know of her cousin who used to do detective work with the sheriff. She often writes to him, and she did tell me that she tells him everything."
"Who is this cousin of hers?" I asked, slightly recalling of her speaking of a cousin a few times.
"His name is James Miller of Dukeshire," the twelve-year old answered, making Johanna and I glance at each other, and for Scarlett and Faye to stop bandaging.
"The one that was arrested for the murder of Queen Opal?" asked Faye.
"Elena doesn't believe he was guilty of it, and that he was framed."
I began to think for a moment, causing Johanna to glance at me sharply.
"Robyn, you can't possibly be considering this," she said incredulously. "A criminal?"
"An accused criminal," Marlene corrected, causing her to be the target of another one of Johanna's sharp looks.
"I absolutely love how you object to my thoughts, Johanna, but can never seem to give me a better idea. I would be more than happy to hear what your better plan is," I challenged. "Otherwise, I believe it's our only option."
"He's being kept at the Beauford Prison just outside the kingdom; that's practically suicide," Faye said.
I had to scoff at that one. "We've done far more dangerous things for far less of a reward. I refuse to allow Elena to die because I lead a group of cowards. This will be far too easy for us; there might not even be enough for each of us to do. Tonight we will make a plan to get James Miller out of the prison and make him help us save his cousin. And tomorrow we will bring him out, possibly without the use of violent forces. But for now, we will travel to a distant area to ensure we don't get ambushed again, and set up camping grounds there."