The sky was becoming a dark grey colour very quickly and I saw one of my men begin to shift uncomfortably in his hiding spot.
He looked up and caught my warning look before quietening down again, crouched behind the large oak. This was a big job.
I tightened my grip on my bow ever so slightly, loving the feel of the smooth wood beneath my rough hands. The bow reminded me of my father and how he used to stand proudly, back straight, aim true....but no, now was not the time to be getting lost in memories. I heard a distant noise and stood up straight, suddenly alert. It was the sound of horses and a carriage. I knew that sound well. I'd robbed enough of them in my time.
I glanced around the tree and saw it in the distance, it was moving fast. Of course it would, carrying it's precious cargo straight to the castle.
I adjusted my grip slightly on the bow and prepared to take aim. This one was for my father, I was going to make this one count!
The second it reached us I swung out from behind the tree and let the arrow fly. Straight and true, it went through the shoulder of the driver and he fell to the side with a cry of pain.
The horses skidded to a halt in front of one of my men as he stood with arms outstretched. "Woah!" he shouted and they stamped nervously before he took hold of the reins and began to talk softly to them, quietening them down.
I swung up onto the carriage in one deft movement just as the doors opened and three men jumped out. My boys took care of them in seconds and I turned to the injured driver.
"Making a delivery are we?" I grinned at him. "Y...yes." he stammered, his eyes wide in fear as he watched me pull a knife from my boot and toss it from hand to hand. "Delivery to the castle, twelve sacks of grain and 3 chests." he never took his eyes off the knife.
"Chests of what?" I leaned in closer and he glanced up into my eyes fearfully. "G...gold." he whispered. "For some of the castle grain to go back to my master."
"Interesting." I murmured before I pushed him off the carriage completely and took the reins up in my hands.
"Ok men, unload the grain!" I shouted down to my men. "And you three," I pointed at three of my best fighters. "You boys can come with me. Make sure you've got no blood on your hands, we're going visiting royalty!"
I grinned again just as the driver staggered to his feet and looked up at me.
"Who are you?" he looked like he was about to cry and for a moment I almost felt pity for him, then I remembered who he worked for. "I'm the King." The men gave me the thumbs up and then the three I'd chosen piled into the carriage.
"King of the Forest Theives!" I cackled and pulled my cloak tightly around me before twitching the reigns and clicking the horses on towards the castle.
Time to see if we could pull off this stunt and exchange the gold for grain. I smiled to myself as I thought about some of the hungry children in the surrounding villages. If I had my way, they'd be eating well tonight!