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I don't think this has a title

For liadtbunny.

I guess I can count this for today's snowflake challenge. I know, I'm so magnanimous. :)

It was good to hold the position of abbot. There was some light work to be done, it was true. Caring for the spiritual wellbeing of the local nuns, making the occasional inspiring speech to the nobility. Nothing that he couldn't delegate to others, when the weather made it too much of an imposition to leave the castle. The rest of his time he could spend at his leisure, enjoying the benefits of his rank. His bed was draped with the finest linens, his plate forever laden with all the sweetmeats he could desire, his tankard always filled to brimming with ale or mead. He had an annoying younger brother to deal with of course – one who had the power to toss him out of his apartments should the mood arise – but then Hugo could always threaten him with excommunication if pushed too far. Their accord was at times precarious, but it worked. All in all, Hugo was perfectly glad that his father had gone against his wishes, and bought him a place in the Church.

"More mead, Your Grace?" asked the servant at his shoulder. Hugo sighed. It was a difficult decision. The mead was excellent, but any more and it might easily dampen his appetite for the upcoming banquet. His brother was entertaining again, and the castle staff had been working hard all day. In the end, somewhat regretfully, he shook his head.

"No. Better not. Later perhaps."

"As you wish." The servant leaned a little closer, and for the first time Hugo saw the dirt beneath the man's fingernails – just before the strong, tanned fingers that they belonged to curled tight around his mouth. He made a move to rise, but the sharp pressure that jabbed against his ribs held him still. The servant laughed.

"Maybe a sword point is more to your liking, my lord Abbot? Although there are plenty of other weapons to choose from, if you'd rather." The words played the part of a signal, and all at once Hugo was surrounded. From out of the shadows of his room they materialised – the whole, loutish, impudent lot of them. Scarlet, his malevolent glare threatening violence; the half-wit, lounging against the dresser; the giant, fingering the silver candlesticks in a manner that Hugo found thoroughly offensive. Even Tuck, that damned traitor, had dared to tag along, tutting at the careless arrangement of Holy books on a dusty shelf. Hugo tried to glower them all into submission, but not one of them was minded to quail.

"There now. Isn't it always better to have company when you drink?" The 'servant' was him of course – the Hooded Man, the most objectionable of all of them, daring to press that Pagan weapon of his into Hugo's side. Not that there was anything that could be done about it, not even when the giant and the half-wit began stuffing the candlesticks and the silver dishes into an old sack.

"Now wait just a—–" he began, but the sword point jabbed harder, and he had to fight to keep his voice from turning into a squeak. He clenched his teeth instead, and let his glare burn holes in the rug. Abbot Hugo was not a coward, but neither was he by any means a fool.

"How are things looking?" asked Loxley, speaking to somebody that Hugo could not see. It was no great surprise when the Lady Marion answered.

"The corridors are quiet, Robin. Everybody is too busy preparing for the banquet to come here. Somebody is sure to be along eventually, though."

"Eventually won't be good enough." Loxley gave the abbot a sudden shove, pushing him securely into his seat, then stepped back to allow a silent, dark-clad figure to take his place. In scarcely the time that it took for Hugo to identify the cursed Saracen, he was bound to his chair by a length of coarse rope. He struggled – he had his pride after all – but there was no escaping the knots. The Saracen smiled at him, and then was gone.

"The poor of Nottingham thank you for your donation, Abbot Hugo. In return we won't keep you long." There was mockery in Loxley's voice, and a measure of youthful glee to boot. Hugo imagined himself crushing it, crushing the man, crushing every contemptible, benighted one of them, until they begged for a mercy that he would never give. His anger was impotent. He could do nothing but sit in his chair, and await the indignity of his eventual discovery. Around him the outlaws were bundling up the fine linens from his bed; sampling his sweetmeats, and stuffing them away into their clothing; collecting up what remained of his portable treasures. Tuck, ever practical and wise, even thought to check behind the books for the money box he had thought so well hidden. Twenty gold coins, gone without hope of recovery.

"You'll pay for his," he growled through his teeth. "All of you. I'll turn over every stone in Sherwood. I'll burn down every peasant's hovel. I'll—–"

"You'll keep your mouth shut until we've gone." Robin was looming over him again, gagging him with a piece of filthy cloth. It smelt of the earth, of trees and vegetation, and all the untamed, unfathomable bolt holes of Sherwood Forest. Hugo's eyes spat fire, but he could do nothing else. Nothing but sit and watch as the gang melted away again into shadow, and left him to his thoughts. Everything was gone, all his luxuries seized. His brother would still be laughing come Michaelmas. Hugo glowered at the walls. He would have his revenge one day. He would see Loxley dead if it cost every soldier in the castle. The villain might have won this time, but Hugo, for all the knots and the gag and the shame, had one thing in his favour. He was an abbot, with all the perks and securities that such a position could bring. And an abbot, no matter he be good or bad, was always sure to outlive a wolfshead.


( 1 fierce growl — Growl fiercely )
Jan. 10th, 2013 12:05 pm (UTC)
"\o/" for the fic! Hugo's right of course:(
( 1 fierce growl — Growl fiercely )

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