Words cannot possibly describe how stoked I was to get this particular assignment. I mean, come on, how could I NOT be excited about this? It’s my jam. My wheelhouse. The school to which I am currently enrolled!
I had the basic gist of the plot shortly after we were done recording the draw, but…then found myself stifled a bit. Something so easy was surprisingly difficult to get started with, add to that the fact that it involved combat which I am no where near experienced at writing.
If I’m honest, I’m still not entirely satisfied with how this turned out, and given my druthers I would tweak it a bit further, but I’m pleased with it none-the-less.
(And I kind of want to write something up about where the other brothers are and what they’re up to, but that’ll have to wait until after I do the prequel/sequel to my Covert Cupid story from last spring.)
It was a damp and soggy day in Sherwood Forest. The kind of day where you’d rather be snuggled in a squashy chair reading a good book and drinking something warm, rather than say skulking through the forest dodging the Sheriff’s Men as often as raindrops. Unfortunately for Robin Hood that second kind of day was the only kind he’d seen for a what felt like far too long.
He knew in his head and in his heart that this sort of never-ending rain was as good for the forest as it was for the farmers, but try as they might they just couldn’t get his feet to see reason. That probably had more to do with how full of water his boots were.
Robin pulled his cloak tighter around his body in an effort to keep out the chill, but only really succeeded in squashing his ears and saturating his fur even further.
“I’ve been drier while swimming,” he said to himself just before peering around the trunk of a tree to check if the coast was clear. It was, and so he sprinted to the next tree, and the next, and the next after that.
“It shouldn’t be long now,” he told himself. “Six more trees, the boulder, the bridge, and once I’m across the river I’m home free.” Thoughts of the camp with the home-fires burning kept him moving in spite of the sloshing of his boots. Once there he’d be able to take them off, shake himself out, and settle by the kettle for a nice cup of tea. If he was really truly lucky, Little John might not yet have found the the squirreled away parcel of biscuits he’d recently received from Maid Marian
Maid Marian, now there was a good distraction against the cold and the rain. Biscuits and home fires were all well and good, but nothing could distract Robin’s mind like a stray thought of Maid Marian. Thinking about her was even better than thinking of new ways to annoy King John, and it was certainly easier to do than counting trees or the boulder as he sped past them. This was one of the reasons he was so surprised to find himself already at the bridge, the other had to do with the dark silhouette that was standing in such a manner as to block his path across.
The shape wasn’t much taller than he, but certainly belonged to someone much more broad than himself. Broad and dressed in the robes of a holy man, but standing more like a fighter than a man of God. One thing was for certain, this not the silhouette of his good friend Friar Tuck, and as far as Robin knew, Tuck was the only man of his order who dared to travel this far into Sherwood alone.
Robin thought about ducking back into the woods and trying for another bridge, but the only alternatives were several miles away in either direction and there’s no way he’d be lucky enough to avoid the Sheriff’s men a second time today.
Then, before he could craft another plan, the sound of others approaching from behind reached his ears. The figure on the bridge heard it as well, and reached for a staff that until now had been obscured by the shape of the bridge itself. The figure looked to Robin to be moving towards attention, and in that moment he knew the only way to not be caught was to go through this one guard, rather than face the countless others now approaching. He emerged from behind the boulder just enough to get a clear shot with his bow. He reached for his quiver, and with the speed and accuracy that he was know for, he nocked and let loose two arrows…
Donatello wasn’t sure how he got here, where his brothers were, or how they were all going to get home when they were eventually reunited. He only knew that it was raining, wet wool was itchy, and that his family held no internal concept of time. They’d woken up next to this bridge earlier in the day for reasons unknown, but likely having to do with angering a Time Lord or two. Each chose a direction to scout with the understanding that they return to this very spot one hour later. By Donnie’s calculation four hours had passed.
“We should never have split the party,” he grumbled through gritted teeth, his annoyance increasing with the weight of his sopping wet robes. He’d stuck to the shadows for most of his scout-time, until he’d come across laundry day at a local monastery. Figuring the robes would help keep him out of the rain, he borrowed a set. Never before had he been more wrong, and never had being so wrong been so uncomfortable. At this point the only reason he was standing out in the open at all was because he wanted his displeasure to be seen the moment his brothers found their way back to the bridge.
It was during this period of waiting when he heard something from the forest beyond that caught his attention. Something that didn’t sound the slightest bit like a ninja making his way through the underbrush, but rather a large group of angry elephants in search of something to stomp. Donnie reached out for his bo staff….and that’s when the attack he wasn’t expecting came, not from the side…but from the front, from the archer he didn’t even know was there, and from the arrows he wasn’t expecting.
The first lodged in his bo with a thock, the second he caught just above his right shoulder. It was a keen shot, clearly meant to catch a man by surprise and pin him helplessly to the bridge by means of his own cloak. A brilliant plan that would have worked too, if Donnie’s shell hadn’t gotten in the way.
Don dropped to a crouch, and pulling the arrow from his shell he scanned the treeline for the archer.
“Stay low and let me pass, and you won’t be harmed,” said Robin from somewhere in the trees. “You have my word.”
“Your word!? You shot me with an arrow!” Don called back. “Two, actually!”
“I missed on purpose, I could always choose not to the next time.,” the voice reasoned.
“You could certainly try.” Don punctuated his response with the snap of the arrow he just pulled free from his bo.
A third arrow was let loose, this one more in line with Don’s head…
“No, Daddy. Robin wouldn’t do that,” Danielle Cage said to her father, interrupting her bedtime story. “Robin Hood doesn’t kill people. Not even Ninjas.”
Luke raised an eyebrow at his daughter. “How do you know Robin was trying to kill him?”
“He was aiming for his head. That’s not nice and it’s not fair.”
“Yeah, but don’t forget: Ninjas are wiley, and…” Luke reached out and pressed on the head of the action figure his daughter always kept clutched in her hand during Story Time. The doll’s head retracted into its torso.
“Oh he’s a turtle!” she says once she understood. “Okay, you can keep going, so long as Donatello ducks.”
“I promise, Donatello ducks.”
It wasn’t until Don extended his head from his shell that he realized the arrow he was sure was coming for his eye, was actually intended for the crown of his cloak…which was now pinned to the bridge.
“…oh you’ve got to be kidding me,” he grumbled as he looked up to assess the situation in which he now found himself. Wet. Grumpy. Under attack. And now to add insult to injury, pinned to a bridge by an arrow from an unseen opponent. Oh yeah, his brothers were going to have a field day with this.
“This couldn’t get any worse,” he muttered just as the sight of the Robin emerging from the forest caught his attention from his periphery. Who ever this guy was, he was fast…fast and heading straight for him.
Don tried fruitlessly to free himself, but he was stuck in an awkward position and weighted down by too much wool. Robin was literally upon him now, Don felt him on his back Robin used it to leap over him like a springboard
“Oh no you don’t,” Don said as he swung his bo and literally swept the Robin’s feet right out from under him causing him to land face-down on the bridge with an oof. Don knew from experience that his opponent wouldn’t be down for long, and so worked double time to free himself from the robes, just managing to do so right as Robin was just getting to his feet. They stood there, sizing each other up.
The first things that Don noticed was that Robin was both a fox and armed. Not only did he have a bow slung across his body, but he also carried a quarterstaff of his own. The next thing he noticed was that the fox seemed confused, either because there was now a giant turtle standing before him, or because hitting the bridge had rattled his brain. Either way, Don wasn’t going to look this particular gift horse in the mouth, and chose this moment to attack.
“You’re a…tortoise,” Robin stammered, as he only just barely blocked Don’s advance..
“A turtle, actually,” Don replied with practiced ease. He continued to advance on Robin, though each attack was deftly blocked
“But…the Sheriff has no tortoises among his men.” This was all very perplexing to Robin, who lost more and more ground to Don’s calculated advances.
“I’m not with any Sheriff.”
“Well then, why are you attacking me?!”
“Why am I….You shot at me…THREE TIMES,” Don all but yelled. His frustration with the entire situation finally overwhelming him.
“You were blocking my path!” It was here that Robin saw his opening and began to advance on Don, even though this brought him further away from the side of the bridge he had been trying to get to in the first place.
“And not once did it occur to you to maybe, oh I don’t know…ask me to move?!”
“There wasn’t the time. The Sheriff’s men were right on my heels. Had you just stayed down like I asked, all of this could have been avoided.”
“Oh so this is My Fault?!”
“You’re bloody well right it is!” Robin hollered right back!
The fighting continued in spite. In spite of the rain, in spite of the fact that neither had any real grievance with the other aside from some bruised pride. It even continued in spite of the arrival of the Sheriff’s men, who watched with amusement from the clearing just before the bridge. It was likely have continued long into night if it weren’t for the arrival of the most fierce bounty hunter in all of England: Captain Jessica Jones.
“Well, well well,” she said brandishing her trusty spoon. “What have we here?”
“Mommy!” Danielle squealed with delight at her mother, who was now leaning against the doorframe of the bedroom.
“Hello Ladybug. Sounds like a really good story your daddy’s been telling you…for the last half hour past your actual bedtime,” she gave her husband a rather pointed look.
“Mommy, Daddy said I could have anybody fight anybody and he’d tell me a story about it and I chose Robin Hood and Donatello and…” Danielle trailed off into a thoughtful pause. “Wait, why does Captain Jessica have a spoon?”
“Because a spoon is dull…” Jessica began, before being quickly interrupted by Luke.
“And your mother is a nerd.” As if to prove his point, Jessica stuck her tongue out at her husband.
“Sweetie, your mother is right. It’s way past your bedtime. We can finish the story up tomorrow.” Luke leaned over his daughter and pressed a kiss to her forehead and tucked her back into bed.
“But who’s going to win?” Danielle asked around a yawn.
“The ninja. Ninjas always win,” Jessica said easily.
“Please,” said Luke as he followed Jessica from the room. “Ninjas do not always win.”