Prince John stood on the battlements of Nottingham Castle and watched as the Crusading army’s rearguard disappeared into the sunset.
A bearded attendant stepped out of the shadows and stood alongside the king’s brother.
“Kings have died on Crusades,” Prince John murmured. “The Prince in the line of succession needs trustworthy men about him. How say you?”
“My lord,” replied the rather sullen faced De Lacy. “I am yours as the blade of my sword is to the hilt.”
“Good, You shall be my new Sheriff of Nottingham,” promised John as the two men stood together.
“As Sheriff,” the Prince went on, “you shall enforce the trespass laws in Sherwood Forest, not with Richard’s lenient hand, but to the very letter of those laws. For such a task we’ll need a larger force.”
“We’ll need an army,” the new sheriff amended quickly.
“Aye an army!” The Prince agreed, “an army of hard shooters, who can feather their arrows at nine score yards, should their prince so much as whisper his command.”
But De Lacy looked worried.
“Can your estates support so large a force?”
“There will be new taxes,” the Prince replied.
“My lord,” De Lacy said, “You have a kingly mind.”
Prince John smiled.
“Bestir yourself, I shall expect to see the finest bowman in the Kingdom wearing the sheriff’s livery.
“Give me but a fortnight Sir and I’ll have such men as you wish enlisted.”
“Good,” replied the Prince. “You shall show me what they can do at Nottingham Fair.