Robin Hood – Let the Games Commence

Oh good, Guy’s back and he’s stopped moping around and is back to being extremely nasty, which is just the way we like him. It seems that he’s persuaded Prince John that all the bad stuff is the Sheriff’s fault and that Guy is the guy to get things done. So John’s provided him with a load of elite troops[1], tents and a weapon that will sort out Robin Hood once and for all, which is just as well, because that’s what John wants him to do, and John’s the kind of chap who’s likely to get upset if he doesn’t get what he wants.

While Guy’s getting his plans together, Robin’s busy rescuing a young woman called Isabella, who claims not to be the aristocratic type she appears, but a decoy. Apparently she her mistress has run away from her unpleasant husband, who’s sent the usual bunch of ineffective guards to bring her back.

Guy’s new soldiers manage to herd Robin and his friends through the forest to where Guy is waiting with his weapon, which turns out to be a singularly mangy and oddly limping, if hungry, lion[2]. Isabella comes in handy, as she has some bags of mustard, which make handy chemical weapons. The lion, Guy and his troops are all half-blinded by the mustard, and everyone gets away, at which point they notice that Little John isn’t with them. How they’d managed to notice the absence of such a big man for so long is one of those questions that will probably never be answered.

The reason John isn’t with them is that while they were all being chased through the forest, John met up with Bertha and her gladiators. Bertha’s a distinctly dodgy woman accompanied by a bunch of kids she’s “rescued” and some big blokes who perform staged fights which Bertha takes bets on. Due to a slight misunderstanding, John damages one of her fighters, and agrees to help her…

Bertha and her entourage reach Nottingham, where we learn that she’s an old acquaintance of the Sheriff, who doesn’t seem at all pleased to see her, though he does see her as an opportunity to raise some of the money Prince John still wants. He demands 200 Crowns from her takings. Pointing out that she won’t make that much, she offers 100 instead, plus one dead outlaw – she’ll fix a fight and ensure John ends up dead. Nice lady.

Robin goes to Guy’s camp, where comedy ensues involving the soldiers being trapped in the enclosure with the lion, Isabella revealing that she’s Guy’s sister, and that she really doesn’t want to go back to the husband he sent her to when she was thirteen. Assuming that this was an honest mistake on his part, she’s a wee bit upset when he makes it quite clear that he didn’t really care what happened to her, because he got a good price for her.

John’s fight to the death goes a bit wrong when one of Bertha’s adopted kids, whose life John saved earlier manages to warn him that he’s going to be killed, which makes him a wee bit annoyed. Lots of fighting follows, the Sheriff reveals that Bertha is in the habit of not only fixing fights but also selling kids into slavery, and Guy comes back to Nottingham in a suitable state of dejection.

It’s all complete nonsense, but still a lot of fun. Things should look up next week, when Prince John comes to Nottingham…

[1] Black armour, a nice line in shield wall tricks and black masks. Or maybe it’s black face paint across the eyes.
[2] Guy seems to be sharing the Sheriff’s Bond Villain habit. Anyone vaguely sane would just have shot the gang with crossbows or some such, but Guy has to go for the dramatic bit….