|Will Stutely (sly_stutely) wrote in nevermore_logs,|
@ 2021-01-21 10:31:00
|Sometimes, Will still feels like he’s disappearing.|
He’s not. He knows he’s not.
He is Will Stutely. He is Sherwood’s sly dog fox, whose cunning and caution Robin heeds. He is the lieutenant Robin trusts to lead and to keep the men in line. He is Will the Bowman, Little John’s equal with a longbow, whose arrows always fly true. He is the faithful young tumbler and the weathered old man-at-arms and the serf and the yeoman and the forester and above all, he is a Merry Man.
He is the man who is caught by the Sheriff of Nottingham, again and again, but he is also the man who escapes, every time, because his friends never give up on him.
He remembers this, all of it.
He eats dinner with Tuck and shifts building debris with Robin and exchanges tight, sympathetic nods with Much, and even through the tension and the dread uncertainty, they are anchors.
Clio reads him some fresh bit of research she’s uncovered, an old version of his ballad or some snippet about the May Games, and it sparks at a memory, and her pen scratches excited notes as he speaks, and it all feels real and true.
But when you lose everything once, it’s all too easy to picture it happening again. All too easy to look at the aged brick walls of your reality and wonder just how many strikes of the sledgehammer it can take.
He is Sherwood’s sly dog fox, but none of his cunning was a match for the Sheriff’s cruelty.
He is Robin’s lieutenant, but he couldn’t lead them through this. Couldn’t even keep his own self in line.
He is Will the Bowman, and right now his pathetic wasted arms couldn’t string a longbow, let alone fire true.
He was caught, fifteen years ago, like he’s been so many times before and since, and his friends…
He was caught, and that time, he didn’t escape. And sometimes, in the quiet of his mind, he still finds himself pacing the length of that six-by-nine-foot prison cell.
The room in the Sly Fox is unrecognisable, both from the restroom it used to be and the dungeon it became. The bricks have all been hauled out, along with the shattered remains of the loo and the sink. Daylight streams through the high windows, exposed once more, touching on newly plastered walls glistening with a still-wet base coat of paint.
By the time Marian returns, it’ll be as if there never was a dungeon here.
As if she never had to dirty her hands. Never had to harden her heart, brick by awful brick, to the idea of becoming a villain to save them all from one. Never had to carry that awful, soul-destroying secret or bear the brunt of the others’ horror and disgust when it was revealed. Never had to live with a loaded gun on the mantle.
Will had thought that was what she would want.
He’d thought that was what he wanted.
But he stands in that room that is no longer a dungeon, where the sunlight streams and the fresh oak floorboards will soon glow with varnish and the pristine walls will soon become Elaine’s canvas, and all he feels are the white walls of a prison cell, pressing in on him.