The Adventures of Sagramore Fayremounte
In the year of our Lord 1215, in the shire of Nottingham, in the forest of Sherwood, in the Castle Cerridwyn, within the rafters of its southwest tower resigned a bat known as Edmund Fayremounte. He had lived happily for some years with his family near Wales, but Edmund was above all things a dreamer and his dreams craved action and adventure. So he had left them and come to this castle, seeking the things that his little heart so wanted to find.
Edmund was gentle in his ways, but like all bats of the realm ready to defend home and hearth when necessary. His dreaming made him curious, particularly when it came to the actions of his fellow-lodger, a human. Terwin Ermighty was a scholar and teacher, assigned by the Saxon lord of the castle, Sir Wexton, to teach his boys Sir Corrin and his younger brother Vincent. The boys jokingly nicknamed him “Terwin the Mighty”, to mock his slight build and gangly appearance. Edmund would keep a discreet distance during Terwin’s lessons, but reveled in the classes that dealt with training to be a knight. It was just the thing for him, but the best times were when Terwin would pull out an ancient book and read of the exploits of the Knights of the Round Table.
It was from these wondrous stories that Edmund decided to change his name, and thus he took the title of Sagramore. Knights were a needful thing at the moment. Prince John was making life as unpleasant as a bad ruler can. The country folk were oppressed, and the Saxons were already talking of revolt if Richard the Lion-Hearted did not return home soon from the Crusades.
Possibly the only person unconcerned about the rumblings of war around him was Terwin. The boys had already had their morning lessons, and Terwin was now free to spend his afternoon in his favorite way—going into the forest to perform his scientific experiments. The lively fellow carried a box full of supplies and hopes, Sagramore on his tail. When Terwin chanced to look up he saw the little bat-flying overhead and instantly greeted him, for he'd noticed the bat tended to stay near him for some reason.
“Hail, my little friend!” Terwin said, his voice a little deeper than his frame might indicate. “I see you have an interest in science this day. Well, perhaps you will have something to see worth your while!”
Terwin was a bundle of energy, and began assembling a very strange-looking collection of wood, iron and cloth. Sagramore found a nearby tree limb and sat down to watch. He could understand his friend perfectly well, but Terwin could not understand him. That frustrated Sagramore no end, even though he knew the reason for it. His thoughts were broken by Terwin shouting in delighted triumph.
“Hah! Now that's what I call a weapon!”
Sagramore watched with interest as Terwin with some effort hefted the contraption on his back. It was a small catapult, the wooden arm extending from the back of the armless armored top that Terwin wore, giving him the look of wearing a large metal vest. A large iron spring did the work, while a small rope in Terwin's hand was meant to release the latch that held the catapult in place. He was all smiles until he realized he'd forgotten to load his weapon, so he bent over to grab a particularly large rock he'd selected. The poor fellow didn't mean to keep hold of the rope, but his mind was elsewhere and the catapult arm came up from behind and delivered a solid blow to the back of his head
“Terwin!” Sagramore shouted. “Oh bodkins, he's knocked himself out again.”
Sagramore flew down to check on his friend, who, thanks to his resilient nature, recovered pretty soon. He was in as good a humor as ever, determined to let nothing stop him. He addressed himself to Sagramore, who had alighted in the grass next to him.
“I'm quite all right, quite all right! Don't worry my little friend, this time I'll get it right!” Terwin said with resolve. Sagramore shook his head. “If only you could.” Sagramore flew back to his observation branch as Terwin managed—in what surely had to be a painful backwards stretch—to get the head-sized rock into his catapult and again set the spring. At that moment, Maid Mary Anne rode into view of the hidden glen. The ward of good King Richard was a kind and intuitive girl, and tended to be liked by everyone. She had come upon Terwin once by accident in this very meadow and that one meeting was amusing enough to keep her coming back for more. Terwin waved enthusiastically to her.
“You're just in time! Watch, as I advance the science of weaponry a hundred years!”
Maid Mary Anne knew what that meant, and she rode up quickly, hoping to stop him. Terwin would not be daunted and he knelt down, ducked his head and pulled the rope. Neither Sagramore nor the young maid could either be blamed for laughing at what followed. The powerful force of the weapon threw Terwin into a roll, and off he went like a runaway barrel! The arm mercifully broke on the first roll, but that allowed him to roll all the way into Sherwood Pond. The young lady left her horse at the water's edge and honestly tried to stifle her laughter. Honestly!
“Terwin, are you okay?” the young maid asked, giggling. “Forsooth, you must be more careful!” Terwin stood up, soaked through and through. His mind really wasn't on what his friend had said, even if she was beautiful and a member of the royal house.
“Something about the design is flawed, but I'm not sure just what it is. I was so certain the portable catapult would work! Maybe if I used a smaller spring...” Terwin mused, taking the remains of the catapult off his back. Maid Mary Anne helped him, shaking her head. “Well, do we need more destructive weapons, Terwin?”
Terwin sat down on the grass, dripping. “According to Sir Wexton we do. He says that we Saxons need every advantage we can get, what with Prince John on the throne. I was hoping to provide a weapon that would make the fighting a little safer. Arrows are such nasty things.”
Sagramore instantly recognized Maid Mary Anne, and flew down near her. She was a progressive woman for her day, or so Sagramore thought, since she actually seemed to like bats. She pointed up at him as he flittered overhead. “Ah, I see your little friend has come to greet me. Hello, little bat, have you joined Terwin today to try to keep him out of trouble?”
“You know the odds of that happening, m'lady,” Sagramore replied.
Terwin gathered his broken weapon and his box, following Maid Mary Anne to Nottingham Castle—the home of the odious Prince John and the similarly-endowed Sheriff of Nottingham. Terwin stopped at the edge of the woods, for the penalty for a lowly Saxon like himself to be seen in the company of the fair maid would be imprisonment at least.
“Here I fear we must part company, Maid Mary Anne,” Terwin said, bowing. “I was fain to come this close, seeing as my bright clothes are a clear indicator of my presence.”
“I pray for the day when King Richard will return and then you may grant us a visit at the castle, Terwin. Your little friend is even welcome,” the maid said, waving to Sagramore. “Farewell, Terwin. Perhaps our paths will cross again soon and good bye, little winged friend.”
The two friends bid her farewell, and began the trek back to the Cerridwyn Castle. After a hearty supper, Terwin read to Sir Wexton’s sons of the exploits of Sir Lancelot of the Lake while Sagramore listened and sighed wistfully. When the teacher retired to his turret, he took up a small candleholder that held the only light he had to see by, save the moonlight. He looked to the rafters, and saw his friend hanging there.
“Well, if not today perhaps tomorrow, eh my friend?”
Terwin blew out the candle and once Sagramore knew he was asleep, he flew out into the night. This was his time to pursue his own wishes, and the first one was to fly across to the northwest turret. There resided his friend Iris, a female bat he'd befriended on coming to the castle. She was always glad to see him come, and Sagramore was grateful to have someone to speak with. She flew out to meet him, and they hovered there in the night air.
“Iris, you really should try flying during the daytime!” Sagramore said, his natural enthusiasm taking over. “Terwin's latest effort was one of his most unique. I just know he'll succeed soon!” Iris’ eyes flashed a look of disbelief. “You are certainly a strange sort, Sagramore, keeping company with a human and flying during the day.”
“Oh, but it's so exciting, Iris! One day, I'll get to be a knight as well, and defeat ogres and dragons and save fair maidens from danger!” Sagramore swiped his wings through the air as if he was holding a sword. “Think of it, Iris! Sir Sagramore Fayremounte. Not bad, what?”
“Silly bat,” Iris chided, though with a tone of caring. “There are no such things as dragons and ogres! Humans are bad enough as it is. We certainly don't need anything else to bother us.”
“Well, maybe there aren't any anymore, but there's still enemies to fight!” Sagramore countered. “Someday Iris, I'm going to get my chance to prove myself. Until then, would milady accompany me on a quest for some food?” Iris giggled. “I would be honored to join such a distinguished knight on his quest...for food.”
So the night passed, with the two bats in each other's company. Sagramore slept from dawn to afternoon, when he knew yet another experiment would be underway. However, when he flew down to find his friend he didn't see Terwin at the outer gate as usual. Sagramore flew to the sundial, and checked the time. He wasn't late, but the sun's shadow moved on a half hour longer without any sign of his friend.
Sagramore flew into the main castle, a place he usually tried to avoid. Bats were seen by many as unclean creatures at the time, and such was the case for the Saxon knight Sir Wexton and his sons. He was careful to keep to the shadows, and used his echolocation to hunt for trouble. When he heard voices in one particular room, Sagramore flew in. Terwin was here, along with the regular residents of the castle, and also several strangers who appeared to be in a meeting of some sort.
“And I tell you, we must attack Prince John!” one man shouted, dressed in knightly armor. Sir Wexton, a rather husky fellow, stood up. “Attack Nottingham Castle? Gadzooks, Sir Bevill, you'd need an army!”
“Or a miracle,” Vincent, Sir Wexton’s younger son, added.
Terwin cleared his throat and spoke up. “Pardon the intrusion, but perhaps science could aid us in finding a way. Now, if we could just…”
“Oh, balderdash!” Sir Wexton said, a rebuke he usually reserved for Terwin. “Keep your ideas to yourself, Terwin. This is a job for warriors, not teachers!”
“But sir, if I might...” Terwin began.
Corrin, Sir Wexton’s other son, elbowed his younger brother. “Terwin, the only men you could lead are merry ones! Haw, haw, haw!” Terwin rose and bowed to Sir Wexton and the others, then left. Sagramore listened for a while more, but knew his friend was depressed and frustrated, so he left in time to meet Terwin.
Terwin returned to his tower, where he pulled out a piece of parchment. He was glad to see his winged friend was there for him when he looked. “At least you don't laugh at me. I know they mean no harm by it, of course. They just don't understand that there are things science can do that a man cannot by brute force. If only I had a way of showing them!”
The learned scholar began writing some notes, but soon the heat of the day made him drowsy and he nodded off. Sagramore realized he had an opportunity. Terwin usually never left his quill pens out, and through diligent following of his reading, the intrepid bat had learned to read. Now, he crept up and took the pen. Once he'd stowed it away safely, he acquired a piece of parchment for himself and dipped the pen in the small inkwell Terwin used.
It was slow going at first, for quill pens aren't made for bats to use. Still, he worked the writing utensil in his wings until he found a way to control it. Then it was simply a matter of forming the letters he remembered. The scrawl was terrible at first, but after an afternoon's practice he began to improve. That night, he was all excitement when he flew to meet Iris.
“Guess what? I can write now!” Sagramore said, flying fast circles around his confused friend. “I've got my own pen and everything! Now, I'll be able to write messages to my friend Terwin and he can understand me. Isn't that marvelous?”
Iris was not a trusting soul. “Do you not think it might be dangerous to reveal that to him? Humans would surely react strangely if they knew we could communicate with them.”
“Well, Terwin's not an ordinary human,” Sagramore said. “He's quite clever, and I think he could handle that. Still, I don't think I'd reveal it to him right away. I could write him a message or two and see how he reacts. I just wish I had something worth telling him about.” Sagramore flew down to a nearby oak, and lay on the branch, putting his wings under his chin in frustration.
Iris flew down and alighted in front of him. “I found some old human rubbish in a cave a few miles from here last year. Maybe he would be interested in that, if he is so interested in strange things.”
Sagramore instantly perked up. “Take me there! It sounds like the chance for a quest!” Iris rolled her eyes. She was used to Sagramore’s bursts of idealism, but they weighed on her at times. “I'll show you, but it's just some old moldering parchments.”
Together, they flew through the moonlight. The cave was well-hidden, just the kind a bat would choose. The inside was dry and well-kept, as if the last person to be there had taken great care with it. The parchments turned out to be old scrolls made of vellum. Gingerly, Sagramore opened one of them. It cracked some on the sides, but the writing on the skin remained.
“It's hard to read. I'd better take it outside and use the moonlight.” Sagramore did so, and read:
Concoction for dragon's bane
1 part lizard skins
1 part yellow earth
1 part burned wood
1 part saltpeter
1 part swamp moss
Mix fully. Catches fire instantly.
Sagramore looked over at Iris smugly. “See, someone knew there were dragons!” Iris crossed her wings and pursed her lips. “Well, so there might have been once, but not anymore. Just remember, we fly and dragons fly and there’s no telling what they eat.”
“They were supposed to be huge creatures, so I'd doubt a bat or two would satisfy them. Let's look at the other scrolls,” Sagramore said, continuing into the small cave. Most of them were concoctions of various sorts, but none of them as interesting as the first—that is until he came upon one half-hidden behind a stone that had given way over time. Sagramore pulled it free, excited that he might learn the location of some hidden treasure. He pushed the vellum open and read:
Since the days of the ancients, man and animal have not spoken. However, divine providence has made the ability available to a select few of us who guard the secret. Know now that there exists a type of snake coloured white in the caves under this hillock. Consuming the smallest portion of one of these snakes will give the eater the ability to communicate with animals. Woe be to him who uses this secret unwisely or foolishly! It has made many a man powerful, but has led to many more men's ruin. Think long before acting, because once it is done, it is done.
Iris snorted. “What nonsense! Eating a snake is supposed to make humans intelligent enough to communicate with we animals? Everyone knows all you have to do is...”
“Yes, I know, but it is understandable they’d think that. It’s probably the only way they would accept that it could be done. Still, I think humans may be more intelligent than we animals in some ways. It would be fun to find out if it worked. I'd love to talk with Terwin. Yes, why not!”
Sagramore put the vellum back where he found it, and made sure no one was looking before he left the small cave. Iris was right behind him, flabbergasted at his suggestion. “What are you going to do? Catch a snake?”
“No, I'm going to help my friend. Terwin needs a way into Nottingham Castle, and maybe the white snake and dragon's bane can help.”
“Well, I don't like humans. But if he's your friend, I guess I'll help.”
“Thanks, Iris,” Sagramore said. “First, we've got to get him to the cave and I can only think of one way.”
Sagramore and Iris flew back to Cerridwyn Castle and entered the rafters of Terwin's abode. He was still asleep, so they worked quietly. Sagramore painstakingly wrote a letter and once the ink was dry he flew down and placed it on Terwin's chest. In the morning, Terwin awoke and found to his surprise that someone had left him a note.
Proceed half a league north of the castle to a hillock covered with wildflowers and hemlock. Near the top, you will discover a small cave. Crawl in, and there you will discover a possible answer to entering Nottingham Castle. Act quickly, or the knowledge may fall into the hands of another.
An ally to the Saxons
Terwin looked out his window, hoping for a glimpse of the person who had left him this strange note. Once the boys' morning training was over, he unfolded the cryptic letter and read it again in privacy—that is save for Sagramore and Iris who had watched his every move.
“I hope this works,” Iris said. “But why are you getting involved in human affairs?” Sagramore kept his eyes on Terwin. “I've always been fascinated by humans, and besides Terwin's stories are the things that stirred me to change my name. I think we'd make a great team!”
Terwin heard some rustling in the tree above him, and saw the two bats. “Well my friend, I see you have a companion this day! That is good, for no one should remain alone forever. Now, what to do about this note? If it is true, I should get me thence immediately. If a trap, I should be caught and perhaps hanged or worse.”
“Maybe we should help him out, he's having second thoughts,” Iris suggested. Sagramore flew down and flitted around his head, then started north. “Ah, you think I should go?” Terwin asked. “Well then, I shall! But I had best be wary, lest the sheriff's men suspect me of mischief.”
The three of them traveled back to the hill, and it was not long before Terwin found the promised cave and the scrolls of vellum. He had immediately seen the possibilities in the dragon's bane, and was fascinated by the mention of the white snake. “A white snake that gives one the power of interlocution with animals? Truly, if Merlin wrote this, it would explain his legendary title of magician to the court of King Arthur! Perhaps there is something to this tale, but I saw no caves upon ascending this hillock. Perhaps the entrance is on the other side.”
Terwin walked over the hillock and down the other side, Sagramore and Iris following. There seemed to be nothing but tall grass at first, then Terwin took a few steps and it was as if the ground swallowed him up.
“Terwin!” Sagramore shouted as the bats flew over to where the teacher had fallen, and found a moss-lined hole that led into the ground.
“We must see if he is well!” Iris said, and Sagramore nodded worriedly, flying inside. They followed him down, and after numerous twists and turns the hole opened up into a subterranean cave system. There was enough light coming through cracks in the rocks above to give Terwin the ability to see, but just barely. He groped his way along until he heard a splash and his foot stepped in something wet.
“An underground stream!”
Terwin strained his eyes to see in the gloomy light, and noticed a sudden flashing in the water. Then there were two. Then three. Terwin blinked, amazed. “The white snake, eels! Of course, they are albinos. They must be indigenous only to this underground cave. At least that much of the story rings true. Now for the rest.”
Terwin was agile, and soon managed to catch one of the slippery eels in his hands. He held it by its neck and proceeded on. Sagramore and Iris were flying near to him, using their echolocation, and saw the exit long before Terwin did. It was a giant boulder, rolled up in front of the cave's opening. However, Terwin found he could climb over the boulder and fit between it and the lip of the cave's mouth. The bats followed him out, and Terwin found he was in a secluded thicket in Sherwood Forest.
“Bodkins!” Terwin exclaimed. “This would make a grand hiding place if ever I needed one. Now, for the snake.” Terwin built a small fire right there, careful to conceal its presence. He prepared the eel and cooked it over the open flame. When it was ready, Terwin cut off a slice.
“We shall see...”
Terwin ate the slice, and then saw Sagramore flying above him. “My friend, can you understand me?” Sagramore hesitated, so Iris prodded him. “Go on, Sagramore! Say something to him and see if he hears you.”
Terwin blinked, and turned toward Iris. “Gadzooks, I believe I heard you! Say something more!” Iris looked at Sagramore, then back at Terwin. “Hello Terwin, I'm Iris. Can you understand me? Say something to your friend, Sagramore! You're the one who brought him here and showed him how to talk to us.”
Terwin blinked again, then fainted.
“Something tells me he could, Iris,” Sagramore said. “The white snake worked!” The bats waited until Terwin roused again, then flew down to him. “Terwin, are you all right?”
Terwin rubbed his head where it had hit the ground. “I believe so, I thought...wait, did you speak?” Sagramore nodded. “Yes, I did. I was the one that wrote you the letter.”
Terwin could scarcely believe what he was hearing. “You can write? Do all animals have the abilities you and your friend Iris do? And what's your name again?”
“It's Sagramore, and yes all animals can understand people. I found the scrolls and decided to help you, because you're my friend.”
Terwin smiled at this. “Thank you, Sagramore. I’ve always sensed you were my ally. We will have to keep this ability you have helped me gain a secret, as Merlin warned us. I could just imagine what the superstitious people would make of my abilities. They'd likely boil me in oil!”
“Doubtless they would, my friend,” Sagramore said. “We know of the Saxons' need to gain entry to the castle and rid the land of the scourge of John. We will aid you in your quest, Terwin. The Saxons need a leader, and you could be that leader!”
Terwin stared at them, incredulous. “Me! I'm not a leader of men! Farm animals condescend to me.” Iris spread her wings in emphasis. “Well, of course! Farm animals are always snooty, thinking they're so important. But you don't look much like a leader.”
Sagramore studied the scrawny teacher for a minute. “No, he doesn't. That's got to be our first task. Terwin, we've got to make you look like a leader! And we've especially got to be sure no one would recognize you who's seen you before. You'll need different garments, and a new name.”
Terwin hung his head, his voice lowering. “I don't know. Even if I'm in disguise, people will still treat me with the same indifference that they always treat me with. It's not as if the clothes make the man.”
Sagramore flew down to Terwin's eye level. “Odd bodkins, man! Now is no time for timidity! Everyone has the ability to be more than he is. Already, you have learned that you could speak with animals. Not everyone has that. You are intelligent for a human. You have creativity and resourcefulness. Now all you need do is be confident, and men will follow you!”
Terwin gave out a laugh. “Where will I find men foolish enough join me and merrily wage a war on those Norman dogs?” Sagramore pointed back in the direction of the castle. “I heard the Saxon knights speaking in Sir Wexton's castle after you left the room. The siege is already planned, but they are ill-organized and need someone they can trust and believe in. They need you, Terwin! And more important, Maid Mary Anne needs you.”
Terwin’s look was pure frustration. “But she's a high born lady of quality and I'll be just an outlaw...” Sagramore knew he was just making excuses. “So she's got class? So what? I have seen the way she gazes on you when you were not looking. She likes you, Terwin. She may even love you. Love levels all ranks, you know.”
Terwin stared up at him. Maid Mary Anne, love him? That was too much, even to hope for. “This is all to much for me—talking bats, storming the castle. I'm a teacher, not Julius Caesar!”
“Julius who?” Iris asked.
Sagramore wasn't going to give up. He pointed over the hill in the opposite direction, where the turrets of Nottingham Castle lay in the distance. “Terwin, they need a man who knows the things you know. They need a teacher, to organize and discipline them. They are good men, but they need a disciplined mind leading them. Without you, I fear their lives may well be forfeit and with them any chance for this country. Please, my friend!”
Terwin got a far-off look in his eyes. “To live the life of a mighty man of valor...to be looked up and admired by the people. Well, maybe...”
“And don't forget Maid Mary Anne!” Iris interjected. “I bet she'd be really grateful to you for beating up on that knave of a human!” Sagramore smiled at his human companion. “It's what you've always dreamed of. What we've both always dreamed of. Now's your chance!”
Terwin looked over in the direction of Nottingham Castle again. “ If I win the favor of King Richard, I could get knighted. Having a title would make me of sufficient status to wed a lady of Maid Mary Anne's rank.”
“Once he gets back, that is,” Sagramore said. “First, you've got to get into that castle, and that's the tough part. You'd need a battering ram to even dent it!”
Terwin nodded. “And all the while the enemy will be raining death and destruction down upon our heads. We'll need a way in. If only there were a way to attack from a distance, but with enough force to open the door—like a giant crossbow to break the door down. But there is no weapon yet of such power. We'd need to find a way to sneak in and open the gates from within. We need a Trojan horse.”
Sagramore thought on it a moment. “Perhaps you could disguise yourself as something or somebody that could go into the castle. Like a monk, perhaps.”
“But I am known at the castle,” Terwin argued. “Even a monk’s robes may not hide me well. Perhaps I could appeal to the woodland creatures to help. Those villains would never suspect an animal of such things.”
“Perhaps, but even they could not keep it open long. No, we need a way to open the gates and keep them open.” Sagramore remembered the other vellum. “Terwin, what about the dragon's bane? I should think that Merlin would not have taken the time to write that down if it were not a powerful concoction. Are those ingredients difficult to find?”
Terwin re-read the list. “The only problem is finding lizard skin. Did he mean dragon skin or just the skin of any reptile? There are few such creatures in all of England.”
“The list does not seem to specify,” Sagramore said. “We will help you find some lizards. We bats are good at hunting, particularly at night when the lizards would be out. Sundown is already nearing. Start collecting the other items, and we will locate the lizards for you.”
Terwin wasn’t optimistic. “It will be dangerous, for only by trial and error will we know of what volume of each substance to use, and to make enough to force our way into a castle will be quite substantial.” Sagramore flew back up into the air. “Then it is fortunate we have someone like you to run the tests! Once we know the proportions, we can rally the woodland animals to help us. That is, if this dragon's bane proves useful.”
“It had better,” Terwin said. “Who knows what carnage will befall me if I make a mistake? Go, my friends. Soon history will be written and only time will tell in whose hand it will be written, mine or Prince John's.”
Iris rose up to join Sagramore. “Does he always talk so dramatic?”
“Yes, but he is my friend. Now, on with the task!”
As night fell, the two bats were in their element. Echolocation allowed them to track the movements of everything that moved along the ground, and after some searching they found what they were after. Terwin meanwhile had managed to find the other ingredients and had them ready at his meadow, where he had lit a large torch and stuck it into the ground. Night was as good a time as any to run this experiment, for any curiosity would likely be overcome by the simplistic fear of the peasantry.
Terwin brightened when he saw the bats coming. They each had several lizards by their tails, and Terwin eagerly accepted them. “There,” Sagramore said, “You'd better try a small amount of each first, in case the effects are harmful.”
Terwin began mixing tiny amounts of the substance. When he had a mixture formed in a pestle, he took a blade of dry grass and lit it from the torch and then touched the burning blade to the powder. A small fireball erupted from the container.
“Merlin was a genius!” Terwin shouted, his face full of joy and wonder. Even Iris was impressed. “It's beautiful!” Sagramore smiled and nodded. “Amazing. Who would ever have thought that such substances would burn that way? I wonder what a larger amount of them would do? Perhaps you should make a small hole this time and put the items in there, in case there's a big fire.”
Terwin was eager to explore the possibilities of this new substance and quickly set to work making a greater amount. “You had better go farther back. This will be even bigger.” Sagramore and Iris flew up into the air and away from the immediate area. Terwin decided to use a blade of tallgrass this time, so as to give himself time to get away. He took a short blade of grass and lit it from the torch, then touched it to the long fuse. Terwin ran, stumbled, then got up and looked back as the fuse found its target. In a thundering explosion, the dragon's bane erupted in a large ball of flame. Terwin stood there, transfixed. There was now a crater where the hole had been.
“We now have our secret weapon that will send those Norman vermin running for their lives! All of Saxony will be in your debt, Sagramore!” Terwin said.
“And yours, Terwin. I'll get word to the animals to round up more of the items once you show me what they all are and where they can be found. Now, we must come up with a new name and disguise for you. You should strike fear into evildoers and stand as a symbol for good in the eyes of the oppressed.”
Terwin thought about it. “I suppose we could raid the castle sewing room and perhaps make an outfit. I have a little skill with tailoring, so we shall see what we can do.”
The three of them set about it, returning to Castle Cerridwyn. The sewing room was unoccupied, so they decided to remain there and try different combinations. Sagramore and Iris both advised, and soon they had their first costume—a top and bottom of dark purple with a matching silk cape and large-brimmed hat. Terwin cut a purple mask that covered his eyes and slipped it on with the purple outfit.
Terwin pulled the cape up to his face with a dramatic flourish. “I am the terror that strikes in the night! I am the Saxon who vexes the Normans! What do you think?”
Iris frowned. “Methinks you look more like a bandit than a leader. Perhaps something more bold and fear-provoking.”
More work produced a costume of gray with a bat symbol on the chest and a blue cape and cowl. Sagramore smiled admiringly at the suit. “The bat sure helps. Hey, you're a bat-man!” Terwin pondered the costume for a while. “No. No one will be intimidated by a hero dressed as a bat. We'll need to try something different. Perhaps something that could more boldly represent the Saxon cause.”
More experimenting and sewing brought forth a suit that was powder blue with red boots and cape, with a large "S" affixed on the chest. Iris managed to hide most of her laughter. “Well, the Saxons are sure to notice that!” Terwin looked in the mirror, and particularly at his uncovered head. “But there’s nothing to cover the face! They'll know who I am. Perhaps if I wore a pair of spectacles they wouldn't recognize me.”
“I can’t say I’ve ever heard of spectacles, but that sounds to be too mild-mannered an appearance,” Sagramore said. We will try again.” This time, they came up with a costume of lincoln green with a hat to match. “I like that,” Iris said. “You would blend in easily to the greenwood.”
“And the costume makes you look different itself. Look in yon mirror,” Sagramore suggested. Terwin frowned at the effect. “This isn't a good costume. I simply look like a robbing hood rather than a great hero.” Sagramore studied his friend for another few moments then smiled. “It's perfect! And you have just provided the perfect name as well—Robin Hood. Just because you look like a robber doesn't mean you have to act like one.”
“Right,” Iris added. “You can rob from those who have a lot and give it to everyone else who doesn't have anything. Then you'd be seen as a good guy fighting for the peasants.”
Terwin looked back at the mirror, and the look was skeptical. “I don't know. The redistribution of wealth to the peasants could have negative long term effects to the feudal order of the world.” Sagramore flew up and perched on his shoulder. “Call it positive image-making then. Besides, Prince John's taxing the heart and soul out of the humans. It should be their money anyway, so robbing from the rich to feed the poor's not so bad a policy.”
The green-clad teacher shrugged. “Okay. I mean, what's the worst that could happen? It's not like the peasants would ever demand the right to own the land they work on or anything like that.”
With his name and costume in place, Terwin returned to the meadow before dawn with a horse and cart that was holding a large empty wine cask to put the dragon's bane in. There, the bats assembled all the animals of Sherwood Forest they could round up. Once Terwin showed them what to get and where to find it, they readily agreed and worked till past sunup. Terwin carefully measured out the amounts, but then things hit a snag. There simply weren't enough lizard skins to go around.
Terwin was crestfallen, and felt that their grandiose plans would fail. In his frustration he kicked the torch and it fell over into the latest batch of dragon's bane without the lizard skins. It flamed up heartily, and Terwin's spirits rose with the flames as he quickly isolated the small fire from the other materials around him.
“Egad! It still works!” Terwin shouted. Sagramore stroked his chin with his wingtip, thinking out loud. “Merlin must have added the skins in without knowing they weren't needed. I'm sure all the lizards in the forest are breathing easier now. Come Terwin, we must get these materials loaded in the cart and soon! If what we heard was right, the siege will happen this very night!”
Terwin would have to work hard to put together more of these substances and the daunting task was taxing his confidence. “Maybe we should just leave warfare for the professionals.”
At that moment, the sound of men laughing and singing more than slightly off-key came from over yon hill. A group of Saxon yeomen appeared, who apparently had toasted their success in the coming siege a bit too often at the local grog house. When they saw Terwin in his lincoln green outfit, the wine cask and the animals, they all stopped and stared. One of them raised a hand in greeting.
“Hail there, colorful one! What sort of enterprise be this? And have you wine in that fair cask for loyal men of King Richard?”
Sagramore flew down next to Terwin's ear. “Terwin, these men are loyal to the king! If you stand up and explain what you're doing, they'll help you. Just remember, sound like a leader. And remember, you're Robin Hood now!
Terwin cleared his throat and tried to talk deeper than usual. “Uh, no, stout yeoman. Soon this cask will contain a source of victory for our people over those Norman dogs! I have a secret weapon that will give us victory, but I alone cannot bring success. I need the help of some brave men to give us victory. Are you with me?”
The yeomen looked at each other, and shrugged and laughed. However, they came over if only to get a better look at this green-bedecked fellow. The one who had waved and spoken with Terwin came over, wearing mostly red. “How now, green one? A secret weapon? Faith, a yeoman like William Scarlet only helps a man who proves his boastings! Show me the power of this weapon, and if sound I follow. So say you all?”
The men with him nodded, and turned their eyes to Terwin. Fortunately, Terwin was able to put together enough dragon's bane from the remnants in the containers he had mixed them together with. After setting his concoction far away from the others, he set it off and waited for the reaction.
The grass blade fuse laced with powder hissed on its way to the target, then the mixture exploded in a huge glowing fireball and again left a generous crater. The men were no longer tipsy, so say the least. “Shades of thunder!” William said. “Forsooth, you are a mighty wizard. We follow you, and willingly! Tell us then, who do we follow?”
“Uh,” Terwin stammered, then looked to Sagramore who made a motion of pulling a hood over his head. “Oh. Robin Hood!” William motioned to the others, and they all knelt around him. “Ah, a grand title. We drank to our success this day, but we feared defeat. Now, with you to aid us against Prince John, we can prevail! We are Robin Hood's men, then!”
Quickly, William introduced Terwin to the others—John Little, Allan-A-Dale, March the miller's son, and four others. They were all stouthearted men, and ready for the battle to come.
“What are your orders, Robin?” Scarlet asked. Terwin pointed to the bowls, holding the remainders of his dragon’s bane. “Brave William, we need to gather the ingredients we need for this mighty powder and we've not much time. Then we need to get it to the castle without being destroyed by the Normans.”
Terwin showed the list of ingredients to William and told him likely places to find each one—save the lizard skins, of course. William pursed his lips. “It will take time, but we will fill that cask full by sundown or perish trying!”
John Little walked up. “Clerics are allowed inside the castle. The Friar of Fountain's Abbey is friendly to the King. I will fetch him and bring him hence. Perchance he can supply us with a few more robes. With your permission, Robin?”
Terwin looked around for a few moments and then remembered that he was Robin. “Yes, good idea. We can perhaps sneak the cask in right under their noses, or perhaps we could float it in the moat, right up to the edge of the castle.”
“Verily, a grand plan!” John Little said. “Your magic powder should be able to gain us quick entry. But you will also need weapons, will you not? I shall bring a sword and a bow and quiver for you!” Terwin was about to hesitate at this, but Sagramore stopped him and whispered into his ear. “Accept them, or they'll think you're not willing to fight at their side. Tell him, ‘I would be honored, and I will lead us in our brave fight, Little John’.”
Terwin put his fists on his hips, remembering to keep his voice deep and strong. “I would be honored, and I will lead us in our brave fight, Little John…uh, I mean John Little.” John Little was about to turn and go, when his brain registered Terwin’s mistake of copying Sagramore's slip of the tongue.
“Little John...faith, it has a fine sound when you say it. Little John it is then!” William grinned at his friend. “Little is it? If little you are, I would hate to see your big brother!” The men laughed at this, and already a camaraderie was developing among them.
“Aye, and we the merry men will take them both!” Allan-a-Dale said. William gestured at the men with his hand. “Aye! Robin Hood's merry men are we! So let us merrily be off and do what must be done this day!”
Terwin joined in the laughter, then turned to William. “Since names are changing, could I call you Will? I don’t really like William.” William considered it. “Faith, Will is a boy’s name, but content would I be to be named Will Scarlet if it means following the mighty Robin Hood into victory!” Terwin nodded. “Very well, Will Scarlet it is then.”
The men split up, laughing still. Terwin went with Will Scarlet and they gathered up the saltpeter—that is, once they had “appropriated” a couple of barrels to put it in. When they returned, they found the other men bringing the rest of the ingredients, also in appropriated containers. Terwin began measuring out the amounts, and sent the men out for more while he directed the filling of the barrels. It was a constant process of digging and hauling, but with all of them they got it done. The sun was just going below the horizon when Little John returned with the friar.
“Bless my soul, what is all this?” the friar asked. “A group of yeomen and a green-clad stranger are to storm the castle? Surely, you will need these disguises.” The friar and Little John had brought robes for them all, and now they put them on save for Terwin. This was at Sagramore's request.
“It's time to go, Terwin,” Sagramore said. “The Saxons will soon be surrounding Nottingham Castle, and you'll need their cooperation. If they can divert the Norman arrowmen on the turrets once you near the drawbridge, they will have no way to stop you once the deception is found out.”
Terwin turned to the Friar of Fountain’s Abbey, who was known as Tuck. “Friar Tuck, it would be good to know that we have the blessing of a man of the church. Perhaps you could ask for a blessing on our little adventure?” The Friar nodded, and all the men knelt. “Oh gracious omnipresent God, we beseech Thee to give success to our night's venture. Thou knowest that Prince John favors the Normans, and has not paid his indulgences to the Church as any good son of the Church would. Therefore let him be struck from the throne and let our good and noble King Richard return to once again rule with wisdom and charity. En nom de Patrie, et Filos, et Spiritum Sanctum. Amen.”
With the cart in tow and the cask on it full of dragon's bane, the bold warriors proceeded onward to Nottingham Castle. The siege had already begun. Sir Wexton's men stormed the walls with ladders, trying to scale the dizzying heights. The Norman soldiers threw stones at them or tipped their ladders so that they fell into the cold waters of the moat. The Saxon arrowmen tried to provide them cover, but they were chiefly peasants and knew nothing of the proper ways of taking a castle. The Saxons were thrown back, and in disgust they retreated to the nearby woods.
Sir Wexton sat against a yew tree, dejected. “We stand no chance against John's men as we are! We have no unity or skill as the Normans do. I fear it is hopeless.”
That was the moment Terwin had been waiting for. With an explosion and fireball that froze the hearts of all the Saxons, he appeared, followed by his men. In the dark, only the firelight illuminated Terwin and it gave him a commanding appearance in his costume. Sir Wexton and the others stood.
“Who are you, who come among us so mysteriously?” Sir Wexton asked. “Do you come to join us or mock at our failure?” Terwin looked the crestfallen knight in the eyes. “I am Robin Hood, a friend to all Saxons! I have come to force Prince John from the throne. I am here to provide a way into the castle, for you and your men.”
Sir Wexton approached him, uncertain. “I pray you do not jest, for if you bring the miracle we have so besought God for, we will follow you to perdition! What is this way?” William stepped forward, fealty to Terwin driving him. “Our leader is a mighty wizard! The fire he made is small compared to the fire that awaits the Normans. We have brought his magic earth that will thunder and flame and tear a breach in the castle for us to enter. We have all seen it, and we know it can be done!”
Sir Wexton and the other Saxon knights conferenced for a minute. “Very well. We will fight with you, for our only other choice is to leave in dishonor. What must we do?”
While the humans spoke together, Sagramore and Iris had been reconnoitering the castle, making sure of the layout and where Prince John and Maid Mary Anne were. Sagramore looked over at his companion. “Iris, I've always dreamed of a moment like this. Isn't it exciting?”
“I have to admit, animals don't have anything like this, but maybe that's a good thing,” Iris said. “All this death and destruction. But I suppose that our helping will save lives by ending the conflict.”
“It's more than that!” Sagramore said, the excitement evident in his voice. “It's fighting for honor and justice—all that a knight could ask for!” Sagramore flew away from the castle and then stopped. “Iris, I want you to stay here. Once I advise Terwin, I'm going to do what I can to distract the arrowmen.”
Iris was hesitant to leave him. “Perhaps if we got the whole colony to join in we could bother them so much they couldn't shoot straight!” Sagramore considered it. “Yes…yes! Go and get them while I go to Terwin. But Iris, I don't want you to attack with them...” Iris stared at him, incredulous. “How can you talk of honor and then ask me to sit out the battle! If the others in the colony will be willing to risk their lives, how could I stand by and do nothing?”
Sagramore looked into her sweet face, which was now indignant. He'd been wanting to tell her for some time, but he'd hoped to wait until he could muster up the courage and maybe not feel the sting of rejection so badly if she spurned him. Still, he didn't want her fighting. “Iris, I do not have time for long explanations. I care for you deeply, and I have ever since I've known you. If something were to happen to you...it would break my heart.”
Iris blinked a few times, absorbing what he’d said, then a smile broke out on her face. “I have... similar feelings for you as well. I would be heartbroken if harm were to come to you. Perhaps we should stay together for this fight.” Sagramore's heart sang, and he hugged her quickly. “Very well, Iris. Come with me, and we'll warn Terwin together then rally the colony!”
The two bats headed for Terwin, who was already discussing the tactics with Sir Wexton and his own men. Sagramore perched on a limb of the tree above Terwin. “Don't look up, Terwin, but Iris and I are here. There are two castle guards behind the main drawbridge and the arrowmen are all on alert. We're going to help distract the guards, but the Saxon arrowmen need to attack as one. Get them to all fire as one, and make it harder for the Normans to reply.”
“And Maid Mary Anne's in her room in the north turret,” Iris said. “Prince John's in the throne room.”
Terwin relayed the information, saying his “spy network” has given him eyes on the inside of the castle. “Soon, we shall free our land from the Normans and King Richard will again be our true king. Long live the king!”
“Long live the king!” Sir Wexton echoed, raising his sword.
All the men echoed the exclamation, swords raised. Soon, three hundred Saxons readied their bows, surrounding the castle's sides excepting the one where the drawbridge was. The gate was of course closed, and the Normans were on high alert. When they saw the cart approaching, an arrowman raised his hand on the parapet.
“Hail! Advance and be recognized!”
Ten men in monk's robes advanced, with two driving a cart holding a wine cask. Friar Tuck stood from his seat next to Terwin and spoke. “It is I, Friar Tuck of the Fountain’s Abbey. My order brings a gift for the noble Prince John, a cask of fine wine so that he and his brave knights may add many toasts of victory to their sup this night!”
The arrowman saw the size of the cask, and fortunately for the Saxon cause they had chosen this man’s weakness. The idea of a taste of that good aged wine appealed to him, and the drawbridge came down. The cart proceeded slowly, the monks in no hurry. The portcullis closed behind them, and the arrowman and his comrades came down. “Now, methinks we will exact a toll from that cask ere we allow it to pass by...”
Terwin and the others removed their robes, save for Friar Tuck, and drew their swords. Little John shouted, “Nay, the toll we shall exact from you! Now, Robin!” Terwin stood at the rear of the cask where the makeshift fuse lay, a torch in his hand. “Long live King Richard!”
Terwin lit the fuse and ran. Sword fights had already broken out, but at a word from Terwin they ran as well. The confused soldiers stood there, then they saw the fuse heading for the cask and figured perhaps there could be some danger and started backing away. With a deafening explosion, the cask of dragon's bane had its desired effect. The portcullis was destroyed, and the drawbridge was singed but otherwise okay. The guards had been blown about fifty feet back by the blast, and were unconscious—as were several of the merry men.
Their leader was not, though. Terwin had known to take cover, and now he emerged and rallied his remaining conscious men. “Yeomen, hold while I call the others!” The yeomen cheered and waited as Terwin ran down the drawbridge. A few arrows tried to stop him, but then the bats came. The leather-winged warriors got in the faces of the arrowmen, while the Saxons fired as one and the Normans were pushed back.
Sagramore rallied his troops. “Hold them while the humans get inside! Attack, my brothers!” Sagramore bit an ear of one of the arrowmen, throwing off his aim, while Iris blinded his eyes. “It's working, Sagramore!” Iris said. “Here come the knights!”
The Saxon knights appeared on their horses, shields and armor ready. Terwin stood at the head of the drawbridge, urging them on. “Come, on to victory!” The knights stormed forward, Terwin with them. Some of the court guards from inside were fighting the yeomen, but now they retreated at the sight of the charging knights. As one, the Saxons fought forward to the throne room. Prince John's knights came forward and the fight was on in earnest. Terwin followed them, and saw Maid Mary Anne enter the room, drawn by the noise
“Get back, quickly!” Terwin shouted. He had seen the battle coming her way, and not being able to reach her in time he grabbed his bow and drew an arrow. He was a fair shot, but now he had to be better than fair. He nocked his arrow and let it fly, hitting an advancing Norman in the leg. Terwin ran and pulled her behind some large furniture.
Maid Mary Anne was in shock at first, but now she got a look at the man who had saved her. “Terwin?” she asked, amazed. Terwin kept his eyes on the fighting. “No time to explain right now! Stay down, and pray we succeed!”
Terwin knew his men needed him, so he returned to the fray. The Saxon knights were winning, and Prince John knew it. He left the throne and started to exit when suddenly the crown left his head. An arrow had struck it from his head and now it hung on the wall. John reached for it, and an arrow pinned his arm to the wall. He looked for source, and saw a man clothed in lincoln green, with an arrow ready to fly.
“Hold!” Prince John shouted. “Hold all, I yield! This archer has the eyes of a falcon!” With Prince John's surrender, all fighting immediately ceased. The Saxons cheered as one, and Prince John's head hung in defeat. Sagramore and Iris had flown inside with the others, and now Terwin's friend rested on his shoulder.
“That was amazing, Terwin!” Sagramore said. “I had no idea you were such a fine shot!” Terwin smiled slightly and whispered, “Not really, Sagramore. I was aiming for his shoulder and his cape.” The yeomen picked him up and tossed him in the air. “Hail, Robin Hood! Hail, Robin Hood!”
The Saxon knights turned to thank Terwin as well when a few more men entered the castle. They turned to battle, but instead they all knelt. It was King Richard, the Lion-Hearted!
“Rise, loyal men,” the king said. “My ransom to the king of Austria was paid two weeks hence, and now I stand with you again. And who is the one we heard being hailed as we approached?” Sir Wexton approached quickly. “Sire, this nobleman and great warrior known to us as Robin Hood has turned defeat into victory this night, and forced your brother from the throne! Behold, he shot the crown from his traitorous head!”
Richard saw the arrow on the wall holding his crown, and went over and reclaimed it. “A fine shot indeed! Robin Hood, approach.” The crowd parted, that there was only a straight line lined by the Saxons between Terwin and Richard. Terwin had managed to keep his head throughout the fighting, but now that it was over he was suddenly struck that everyone was looking at him and his king was beckoning him forward.
His feet tried to move, but they wouldn't obey. Sagramore flew up to his ear. “For pity's sake, move! Go and kneel before Richard. He wants to thank you for what you did!” Terwin quickly made his way to the king and knelt before him. “I am your humble servant, my king.”
Richard withdrew his sword from its scabbard as he addressed the crowd. “A realm is a place fraught with danger and those who would usurp its good graces for their own ends. But there are also men of valiance and honor who place their own lives aside for the good of their people. Today, one such man kneels in my presence, but it is I who should kneel to him! However, I am king so the best I can do is to honor him in this way.”
Richard touched the sword's flat blade to Terwin's shoulder. “I dub thee Sir Robin, and I make you Earl of Sherwood and Nottingham and further Baron of Locksley. From this day forth, you are Sir Robin of Locksley and a trusted friend to the crown.”
Terwin's men shouted with joy, and shouts of "Sir Robin" went forth through the crowd. Terwin, now Sir Robin in title, had not noticed in his nervousness that someone else had joined the king on his platform. Now he looked over and saw Maid Mary Anne smiling at him. It didn't escape the king either.
“Rise, Sir Robin,” Richard said, turning to Maid Mary Anne. “Do you hold feelings for this hero of the realm?” The maid nodded, his eyes not leaving him. “Yes, sire. I have loved him ever since I first saw him in a meadow, long ago.”
Terwin was totally shocked by this, more than anything. Further to his shock, his answer was immediate. “And I have loved her from afar for so long. But I was unworthy to profess those feelings...until now.” Richard took the hand of the maid and walked her down to the man she loved. “Then my command is that you take her hand in marriage, my Lord Earl. You will be swift to obey this order, I trust?”
“As your majesty commands,” Terwin said, smiling. “We'll be married as soon as possible, if Maid Mary Anne doesn't object.” Maid Mary Anne didn't object. In fact, she turned his face to her and smooched him then and there. The crowd shouted its approval.
“Very good,” Richard said. “The ceremony will be arranged as soon as is proper to attend to it well. My thanks again to you, Sir Robin, for your timely rescue. You will be a legend in this country as long as men have memory!” Terwin suddenly felt bad about being dishonest to his king. “Your majesty, if I may impose upon you for a moment in private?”
Richard eyed him curiously. “Of course. Excuse us good knights, Maid Mary Anne.” Richard and Terwin went into the king's private chambers. “You appear troubled, Sir Robin. What can this king do for the man who has restored his throne to him?”
Terwin took off his hat. “I am in truth not named Robin Hood. I am Terwin Ermighty, a humble teacher. I am not a man of fame or nobility that would deserve the honors you have bestowed on me or the hand of maid Mary Anne.”
Richard looked at the man a few moments, then smiled and put his hand on his shoulder. “What you just did proves you are worthy, Terwin. You could have kept your own counsel on this and said nothing, and perhaps no one would have been the wiser. An honest man is a rare commodity in any kingdom. Still, as I hear it, you were the one who made it possible to breach the castle gates. You were the one who rallied the arrowmen to fire as one. And you led your men to victory! Perhaps you were a humble educator before this day, but you are more than what you realize. So are we all, if we but stand against injustice. You are Sir Robin of Locksley, and there is no other.”
Terwin withdrew a scroll and handed it to the king. “Your highness, on this parchment is the formula for the weapon that gave us victory. It is a mighty weapon and one that should only be used wisely.” Richard accepted the scroll, and read it. “Indeed, if Merlin is behind this it must be powerful indeed. Then it will be placed where it is secure, and used only when needed. Come, Sir Robin. Your lady and the kingdom await us both.”
They returned to the throne room, where all fell silent to hear King Richard. “Our good Sir Robin has given me another assurance that our kingdom will be safe. I have decided to make him my ambassador, and he will also oversee the system of education in our kingdom. He is a wise and learned man, and all my subjects deserve to profit from such a valiant and brave servant of the realm!”
The crowd cheered again, and Richard indicated it was time for Terwin to leave with Maid Mary Anne. The king waved farewell, as he, escorted by his loyal men, exited and headed for the Castle of Locksley, which was now his. Overhead, Sagramore was all smiles as he spoke to Iris. “It's more than I could have dreamed it would be like! A great battle, Terwin an earl, baron and knight, with the hand of the Lady Mary Anne besides! And we bats aided the cause of justice with courage and might. It's been a glorious day, has it not?”
Iris smiled at him. “Indeed it is, Sagramore. I would not have dreamed that so ugly a conflict could have had so happy an ending. I can't see any way it could have ended better, except for one.” Sagramore blushed slightly. “I can think of one. Darling Iris, would you be mine, to fly at my side and live as my wife?” Iris giggled in the most adorable way and smiled at him. “I was hoping you'd pick up on my not-so-subtle hint.
Of course I will accept, Sagramore.”
They landed on a nearby oak tree and embraced each other, lost for some time in their mutual love. When Sagramore looked around again, he saw that everyone was gone. “We'd better be heading for Locksley Castle. I'm sure Terwin will be looking for us, and I have a feeling he'll need advice in the days to come. He's capable, but it never hurts to have friends to remind him of that.”
Iris flew beside Sagramore, thinking, “It's too bad that human history won't record our part in these events. So no one will ever know the whole story.” Sagramore nodded. “Perhaps it is best that way. My thinking is that humans for the most part were not meant to know they could speak with us. Some day, perhaps in the far future, it will be different. For now, the secret must remain a secret.”
Sagramore flew off with his bride-to-be at his side. They were married along with Terwin and Maid Mary Anne at a grand ceremony hosted by the king and officiated by the Archbishop of Canterbury. Both couples had large families, many of whom would distinguish themselves in battle and in name. The exploit of Sir Robin of Locksley was hailed and sung and told and retold throughout the realm until as King Richard said he became a legend. The legend grew with the years, but neither Terwin nor Mary Anne or the king denied them. Legends are made by people to inspire people, and so it was that the tales of Robin Hood and his merrie men grew and expanded year after year.
Additional personal note of Sagramore, written late in his life:
While human and animal did the deed, I never harbored any animosity for my anonymity. Terwin more than made up for that. My wife and children were well cared-for. Terwin and I spent many happy years together, and now at the twilight of my time he has said that when I pass on that the best part of himself will pass with me. I believe it, for no human and animal could be closer than we two.
Terwin has never revealed the secret to anyone save Maid Mary Anne, and indeed he waited ten years before telling her. She is a friend and ally to animal-kind, and has promised to teach her children to always respect our presence in the castle.
There is much I could tell you of our times together, but suffice it to say they were as honorable as that memorable day at Nottingham Castle. This record I leave to my posterity, that they may know that the name Fayremounte holds the honor they should expect. My son Uldred carries on the tradition begun by me of naming ourselves after the famed Knights of the Round Table, and he says he also intends to ask his betrothed to accept the floral name of Violet in honor of Iris. I hope he will, for traditions such as those will remind the family of its own history and the role of honor I would ask every Fayremounte to uphold. I bid the reader Godspeed and long life.
Sagramore Fayremounte, 3-10-1280
Sagramore Fayremounte and Iris are original creations of Indy. Terwin Ermighty, Sir Wexton, Sir Corrin, and Vincent are original creations of Chris Silva and Indy. Maid Mary Anne is of course an offshoot of Maid Marian, and Robin Hood's one cool dude, along with his merry men.
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