Chapter Fourteen: The End
Outlaws' Camp –Sherwood Forest – Present Day
It was a few days after the great Nottingham escape "Was there anything else this Tool Tax happen while I was away?" asked Robin looking at Will who face was a rainbow of bruises and cuts. But Will didn't seem to mind to much - he knew he was lucky to get away with the injuries that he did.
"They has never been anything else like the Tool Tax," said Will at once. "Lots of taxes and things like that – but nothing like the Tool Tax."
Robin nodded his head "Good," he said, that was something at least. The Sheriff really didn't want children in the castle and the fear that spend at that time had kept most of the people in line.
They was a shout as Little John called out Robin's name. Robin picked up his sword as John come over and in his tight grasp he had James. Everyone raised their weapons at once. No one had seen James since he lend Will into the trap. No one had even mention him. James saw Will and looked of relive filled his face "I need to explain," said James holding his hands up, "Please – I have to explain…..I have my reason for what I did…"
"Another accident?" asked Luke bitterly.
James shook his head "You have to understand – this was my only choice,"
Robin step forward with his bow and arrow raised, "Everything we do is a choice," he said - he had made his choice - one that could of gotten himself and Will killed.
James looked at Robin for a moment, then at Will and Luke, "Gisborne find out where Lily lives – they were watching her… If I didn't… If I didn't…. If I didn't bring you or Robin Hood into a trap…then Lily….I didn't want to choose – but I had too…"
"Who's Lily and how do we know she is a real person?" asked Much
"Lily his sister," said Will at once.
James looked at Will, "You know what it is like to protect your younger sibling. Look out for them as much as you can. Look out for them when they do not realised it….You do not want to see them hurt. You have to understand why I did what I did…I would do anything to protect her, like you would do anything to protect Luke." James had tears in his eyes as he spoke. "I didn't know about what happen to Solomon, or Michel or Mary….. I didn't know about that… all I knew was they wanted Robin Hood...I didn't have a choice."
"You could have told us the truth from the start," said Robin. He did understand the fear of a love one getting hurt. That was a great fear and a way of getting people to do what they wanted. The Tool Tax was about control using fear. Roy try to kill Robin because of fear for his mother. Fear was a powerful weapon. But if only James had told them from the start...it would of made life a lot easier.
James looked up with tears were running down his face, "It is easy for you to say that," he said "Easy for you to judge….I was in the middle of something and I couldn't see a way out… I am sorry, I am truly sorry." Robin looked at John and nodded his head and John released James. "I am sorry - I am truly sorry..."
"How did Gisborne know you and Will were friends in the first place?" asked Allan at once "I'm not being funny but he doesn't even remember who we are half the time…."
"The records" said Luke everyone turn to him, "They was a mistake that was crossed out – but you could still read it. "They mistaken you two as cousin then next to it – it said friends.. It was a mistake…how could a mistake do some much….."
Robin paused for a long moment. Mistakes could have bit costs, If the person who made the mistake just cross it out and left it at that - done of this would of happen.
"Well," said Robin thinking back at what Will and Luke had said the tool tax. "It could have been worst," It wasn't saying what happen wasn't bad, or being dismissive about what had happen. It was an acknowledgement that things could have gone a lot worst. An acknowledgement that worst things had happen for less.
James walked up to Will and Luke "I know I ask asking too much from both of you," said James "But… can you forgive me….one last time."
Will and Luke looked at each other. Then Will looked back at James, "I think so," he said after a while.
James took this with a nod, Luke still looked unsure, "I am still angry," he said "But if Will dose…I do too. But I don't want to see you again."
James nodded at this, "You won't," he said "I going to get my sister – and we are going to Cornwall. A new start and away from this damned place away from the reach of the Sheriff..." James looked at Will. "I was meant to watch out for you..."
"You did when we were at the castle," said Will
"Doesn't make up for up for everything that happen after," said James
"No it dose not," said Will "But..." he thought back to when his father died and what did try to do and everything he had done to look after his family. "But I understand."
Robin come back to camp to find John watching the Scarlett brother who were a little bit away. John had taken upon himself to kept them both at camp, While there hadn't been no more murders linked to the Tool Tax that was still a risk and a risk that could be another trap. It wasn't that hard - Will's rib were still painful so he had little choice but to stay at camp.
"What they up to?" asked Robin
John shrugged a little "I think Luke has questions about their time at the castle." Luke had read the records more than once - Will on the other hand had no interest in reading it. John thought that Will even remember it pretty well or didn't want to remember it. Luke wanted to know what had happen. He was young when it happen and Will had try to protected him as much as he could - now Luke was older he wanted to know more...know everything and the records seem to make Luke have more questions than anything else.
"You know what happen back then?" asked Robin "What they had to do?"
"Only what Luke has told me," said John - thinking back to a few days ago. He didn't want to imagine children working in the castle and being held as a prisoner. it made him think about his son and he could of just imagine what the Scarlett brothers parents must of gone thought during that time.
Robin look back at the two brothers. He wonder how they had coped over the years - they had been thought hell back because of the Sheriff and Gisborne. They were unjustly arrested and used as slave labour because of the Tool Tax, they had watch their mother stave, they had watched their father lose his hand. They both were almost hanged and not even a month ago lost their father. That was a lot to go though in a short space of time.
As Robin ponder - Will and Luke talked in low voices. "What was the worst bit?" asked Luke, He and Will had never really talked about tool tax before. Life got hard fast and soon other things become more important.
"Truthfully," said Will "It was the day they send me up the chimneys." Will paused for an moment - he remembered it all. "I thought they could light a fire under me and I wouldn't be able to stop it...I didn't like being used like that...didn't like the idea that I did what they told me to do...I didn't like the power they had over me..."
"Were you scared?" asked Luke, Will nodded his head. "You never said - I thought nothing there scared you - not even the guards..."
"Guess I got good a hiding it," said Will "Or I just got more angry then scared."
"You told me the chimneys weren't that bad," said Luke
Will gave his brother a playful grin "What do you expect?" he asked "For all I knew you might of got sent up them the next day...couldn't tell you all that..."
Luke nodded his head - he knew Will had tried to look after him back then. He loved his brother for it. "Thank you," he said - he didn't know how things would of been if Will hadn't been there. He would of found it harder to cope. "I don't think I have what it takes to be one of Robin Hood men," said Luke "I want to go back to Scarborough," he said "I missed the sea."
"Still want company?" asked Will. Luke nodded his head - he would like company and he knew this may be the last chance he had to spend time with him.
A few days later. Will and Luke were going to make their way to Scarborough. While his ribs were still painful at times. Sometime away from Nottingham seemed like a good idea – the Sheriff was still looking for his document and for the outlaws. By the time Will got back to Sherwood – the Sheriff would hopefully would have moved on to something else and would have forgotten about him again.
Much handed Will and Luke some food, "That should be enough for the journey," he said.
"Thanks," said Luke taking the food.
Robin passed Will a purse of coins, "For you aunt," he said, Will nodded his thanks. "Safe journey."
"I know," said Will.
Djaq come forward, "You be careful with those," she said pointing towards his ribs "And I will see you when you get back…"
"I'll be back," said Will at once.
"And if I know you have damage them in any way..." said Djaq "You have me to answer too" Will nodded his head
Luke watch this exchange. He turn to Much, "I feel like I am missing something on something," he said.
Much looked at where Will and Djaq were talking "You see it too?" he asked, "So, it not just me then…" Much watched Will and Djaq "It not just me – I'm not imagining it."