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Ghosts of Nottingham

Medieval Nottingham

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a part of Ghosts of Nottingham, by Jadeling Hawkins.

Nottingham Shire, where lives king, briggands, outlaws and all those caught in between.

Jadeling Hawkins holds sovereignty over Medieval Nottingham, giving them the ability to make limited changes.

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Setting

The location of the majority of the action within the game.
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Medieval Nottingham

Nottingham Shire, where lives king, briggands, outlaws and all those caught in between.

Minimap

Medieval Nottingham is a part of Ghosts of Nottingham.

3 Places in Medieval Nottingham:

2 Characters Here

Cadfeal Hanham [0] Yeoman and Robyn's right hand man
Quinn Balfour [0] A Knight Templar destined to wander the land, following the lords direction.

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Sir Quinn Balfour, sat astride his chocolate colored charger, the white and red caparison fluttered with the wind. The knights battered chain armor under the cream colored tunic, trimmed with red, reflected the suns glorious light. The long spear held lightly as the blue-silver eyes, hidden beneath the great helm gazed over the vast landscape that lay spread below the knight. The sloping hill rising up as a rocky crag, reaching for the heavens, the dull brown-gray rocks struggled mightily against the greens and oranges of plant life that crept along the hill, as if an eternal war was being fought between the contrasting colors.

The shadow falling from the hills that rose opposite the one which Quinn was upon, draped itself across the incredibly clear water that reflected the hills and their colors. A smile crossed the lips of the knight, a soft sigh escaped him as from the brush rose a hawk, searching for prey.

The subtle breeze that swirled and carried along the hills washed over the knight and steed, billowing up the caparison and ruffling the tunic. The simple moment of absolute silence, as if the otherworld and this merged for an instant, a timeless instant that would haunt the dreams of the knight the rest of his days. The majesty of the land that is Briton is eternal, and Quinn whispered a prayer to the Christian God and the Celtic Danu that he had been blessed to witness it.

Urging the charger forward, Quinn began his slow descent into the valley; he was a landless knight, a Templar he gave his lands to the order. Coming from his ancestral home in the Scottish Highlands, Quinn had observed the construction of a Templar Manor, a small one. However it was well hidden and would remain thus, as a bulwark and safe house for the brothers and their further expeditions. Crossing the border between Scotland and England he was headed towards the forest of Sherwood. Prince John had asked that the order send a brother to assist in the capture of a rogue and scoundrel who dared to foment rebellion in the lands belong to King Richard. Ahead of him lay several days ride, yet it would be a ride where Quinn would gather what information he could of this “Hood” who laid claim on the wooded lands of Nottingham. Perhaps he could glean a seed of knowledge as to what was actually occurring.

Slowly he made his way down the hill, the glinting light of the sun shimmering and dancing upon the magnificent lake. The subtle breeze washing over his form, a stark contrast to harsh, hot lands where Jerusalem lay, so far away from this isle; a smile crossed his lips as his thoughts drifted towards the sounds and the smells of the holy city, the swarthy, dark skinned men and women. The harsh beauty, the wonderful food and amazing peace he felt at the temple mount. A white stag darted from his place on the shore of the lake, startling Quinn from his thoughts. His eyes followed the great beast a moment, it surely was an omen. It was headed south, urging his horse forward he began following the stag’s trail.


It had been a long week’s travel but Quinn had finally made it to Nottingham Shire. Pausing a moment he sat silently astride his great horse, he was unsure as to what to do. Prince John had asked for the help of the Templars, yet this man was uncouth and from the tales he gathered along the way a vain and cruel man who sought power for powers sake. Narrowing his eyes a moment, the thought had occurred to him more than once that the “Hood” mayhaps be in the right. Casting his eyes towards the massive forest, Quinn pursed his lips, and then started slowly towards the town. He would have to meet this man before he made his mind up on the situation.

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“Aye, though if luck holds we’ll not be there long.” Martin replied simply to the old man’s inquiry. He only needed to present himself to the new king to dispel the rumors of his death, and be sure his estate had not been seized from his mother. With his goodly father long dead, Martin had been the sole male heir, and English men had a habit of seizing land when no Knight was there to claim it. Once the situation was cleared up with the king, he planned to take his charge, and apparently Lillian as it appeared she was frustratingly stubborn on repaying a debt he did not feel needed repaying.

When Lillian was address, she gave a snort, half amused half appalled, at the idea of catching the king’s fancy. “Ye wouldn’t be thinkin’ I fancy any such soft bellied noble rotters now would ye?” Lillian replied with a somewhat cheeky grin. Martin raised an eyebrow, unaware of the new kings rather damning reputation, but did not comment.

“Lillian of Flanders, but don’t be thinkin that makes me French. Me mum’s from much father North up there.” Lillian assured. “And Loyal servant to Sir Martin of Essex.” She proclaimed with a defined sense of pride. Martin grunted grumpily, but did not contradict her. He grew wary of trying to change such a stubborn woman’s mind, and to argue with her now would only confuse an old blind man on his way to see a friend.

“Rumors of my death in the Holy Lands have been greatly exaggerated. I got simply to settle my affairs. I find I am not fond of court.” Martin replied without further explanation, his more reserved nature shining through, as he welcomed Lillian talking over the conversation.

“Beg pardon Robert, but is it true a goodly bandit hold residence in these woods?” Lillian asked with a kind of fascination in her eyes. Martin’s interest perked as well, having not been enlightened on that little spin of the bandit story.

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Martin had not been to Nottingham often, only a handful of times on short visits to be honest, but it seemed a far different place than he remembered. Under King Richard, though he was more often off on campaign than at home, the people here had seemed happy, prosperous even, but now it was as if gloom and poverty clung to the very air they breathed. There were no gossipy wives giggling on Market Street, no children about playing and causing their mothers to fuss, and there were soldiers everywhere. It was like a city, held under occupation by a hostile ruler. Could these rumors, over exaggerated complains he’d thought, actually be true?

Lillian was oddly silent as they made their way through the town, while Martin observed with an unreadable sort of look as he processed what he was seeing. It was not until the reached the castle, and Martin helped Zahra down from his horse, that Martin snapped out of his contemplation at the sight of someone he knew.

“Why Lord Reggie, I do believe you’ve never smelt more like horse dung, how do you manage such a feat?” Martin asked in a joking manner to a larger man (almost a full head taller and much broader) in front of him with his back turned, and placed his hand on his shoulder. The man turned around with surprising speed, appearing spooked. When his eyes fell on Martin it was of momentary disbelief, before letting out a great roar of excitement, and enveloping Martin in a great bear hug, even lifting him off the ground.

“God Martin, I thought you were dead! They told us you’d been trampled to death and carried off by the Arabs!” The larger man said in awe.

“Odd how they never bother to check if I was still breathing before they stole my horse eh?” Martin replied dryly. “The bit about the Arabs is true enough, though they did a better job of patching me up than I suspect the monks would have.”

“Then how did you survive, they let you go?” The man asked.

“You know me cousin, uncanny luck in near death situation.” Martin replied.

“Devil’s own.” Martin’s cousin muttered and his eyes lost their humor as he become more serious. “A lot has changed since you left cousin.” Martin’s brow rose, encouraging him to go on. “Well to begin, I’m now Lord Reginald, Baron of Essex.” Martin looked slightly uncomfortable at his cousin’s pained look. While he had always been close to his cousin, his uncle had been a horrid man who had tormented him since youth. Norman prejudice and Saxon blood had a habit of not mixing well. “I’m sorry.” Martin muttered back, out of respect to his cousin. “What of my mother?”

“Your goodly mother, my Lady aunt, passed on not two summers past, and your sister Anne has married.” Now it was Reginald who looked uncomfortable. “Who?” Martin asked, a bit wary at his cousin’s look.

“The Baron of Hastings’ son.” Reginald replied quietly.

“What?! That sniveling cowardly whelp?!” Martin cried in angry disbelief. Reginald looked miserable, and almost bitter. “His war mongering father’s the one behind it. Practically forced her hand; trying to take a stab at me. I was in France at the time, and rushed the whole foul affair.”

“We’ll see just how foul when I challenge the bloody bastard to a duel!” Martin hissed with a deadly kind of look, livid to hear his sister had been so violated and used.

“You can’t!” Reginald said quickly, grabbing hold of Martin’s shoulders. “It’s what he was looking for in the first place, an excuse for war. He’s land hungry, trying to coerce other Barons into battle, and battle we can not afford right now, not with these bloody taxes.” Reginald finished in almost a whisper. “Don’t worry about Anne, she’s a strong girl. Last I heard she was making the whole lot right miserable.” He said grinning weakly. Martin did not look appeased, but swallowed his cry for blood.

“Come, we’ll go in together. I imagine you’re here about your land?” Reginald guessed, giving his younger cousin an encouraging clasp on the shoulder. Martin gave a curt nod, beckoning for Lillian and Zahra to follow as they made their way into the castle, waiting to be announced and introduced to the king.

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The king's eyes narrowed a fraction. He was proud, and he was arrogant, but he was not foolish. He could sense dissidence among his subjects, even when it was carefully hidden. Even when it was the most frequent emotion he was greeted with, when he should have been greeted with awe.

Even months ago, the king would have brushed the returning whelp off without a second thought. But now, even today as he had pondered the security of his fortress, he decided to dispense a bit of tact. He smiled; a feature lacking in any warmth, and made a welcoming gesture to Martin.

"Well then we are much pleased to return to you your family lands, Sir Martin of Essex, and welcome you back to Nottingham. We do hope that you shall be our honored guest, if only so long as it takes for our friend Sir Ansley to abandon your lands. We would be most pleased to offer you rooms enough for yourself and your companions."

These lines were delivered smoothly, and followed immediately after with a brief, intense look towards the man's cousin. It lasted only a second, but spoke volumes: if the Baron wished for his fortunes to remain the same, he would play his part as a loyal citizen to the crown, and inspire the same behavior in his kinsman.

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“You are most Generous Sire.” Reginald said courteously. Unlike his cousin, the Baron was well practised in court nuances. Martin highly doubted this new change of attitude had much to do with him, more than it did his cousin was a Baron of high position. Still, there was little reason to provoke a man if he wasn’t antagonizing you. Still, he had no intention of staying here any longer than he had to.

“Yes, I thank you for your generosity Sire. I can not however, take advantage of your surely renowned hospitality. We have already arranged for loggings, so I must decline your gracious offer. No doubt another will require the room in your regal hall more than I.” Martin declined with polite and courtly grace. Lillian, who'd looked a bit pale at the King’s offered lodgings in the castle, had a look of poorly hid relief at Martin’s polite evasion. She did not like it here at all, and would be happy when they could leave.

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Martin and Reginald both gave a short bow to the king as their party left, escorted by the guard. Reginald did not know who the next audience was for, but who ever it was had kept his cousin from a very dangerous situation. Had the guard not been there, as well as his mindful ears, Reginald would have gone at his cousin then and there. As it was, he waited until they made it into the Spotted Calf, and had shooed away the guard (now knowing where Martin was staying), before dragging him into a quieter corner and digging in.

“Martin, I swear at times I think you are the biggest fool in all of Christendom!” Reginald whispered harshly, towering over his younger cousin. “These are not times to be making enemies of a king, even if you don’t like him don’t make it so bloody obvious! This man didn’t blink at seizing lands from an Abby, don’t think he won’t do the same to yours, or even hang you if you displease him!”

“So there is no longer law left in England eh? You would grovel for scraps from his table? Did you not see the people of the town Reginald, have you not heard the stories? I thought at first they were mere rumours but now I’m not so sure!” Martin retorted back in the same fierce whisper.

“Of course I’ve seen it Martin; they’re not rumours, but there’s nothing we can do. For once in your life Martin, don’t be a bloody noble fool and keep your head down!” His cousin shot back. Martin was silent for a moment, before replying in a much lower tone.

“I’ve heard other rumours as well, of those fighting in the forest-”

“Oh the bloody Ghosts! Outlaws Martin, renegades who attack carriages and play the thorn in his side well, but they haven’t got the resources to stop him. Martin, there is nothing you can do, keep your head down until your lands are free, and then get out of Nottingham! You’ve insulted him, however subtlety once, he’ll not suffer it again, and there’s nothing I can do for you next time if you do! I thought you’d died once cousin, don’t make me have to watch you die again.” Reginald said with a pained look before storming out of the Tavern. Martin watched him go, sighing deeply before walking up the bar. “Two rooms and a tankard of ale.” Martin requested of the woman at the bar.

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The king's posture grew more rigid as Quinn went on. He did his best to feign disinterest in this retelling of the modern legends; he had heard them all whispered in the corridors of his castle, after all. More outlandish and insulting with each addition.

"Yes, yes, and some even say it is the very spirit of charity, giving aid to those poor souls who cannot afford the taxes which have been raised for their own protection! You see, Sir Balfour, these lies are the very poison which infects my subjects. No doubt you noticed, during your travel inward-" The king felt his lip curl; at least now he knew why the Templar had taken so long to arrive! He had busied himself listening to the sniveling peasants! "-the unrest. 'Tis a dangerous world that this rebel--this ghost--has roused up."

He set his goblet down so firmly that it nearly upended the ornate table the food had been laid out on. Wine sloshed onto the cloth; he ignored it. "There is a rebellion. And it has a leader. But no creature of legend or lore is this! Tell me, Sir Balfour, does the Holy See believe that the land itself could grow jealous enough of our success to swallow up entire carriages holding vast wealths, never to be seen again? Could the risen spirit of some damned soul hold a bow?"

The king scoffed, and retreated to his throne. From behind the finely crafted seat he pulled a velvet bag, wrapped many times around itself. From this he withdrew the broken off head of an arrow, a bit of the wooded shaft still attached. He strode towards the Templar and thrust it out towards him, a dark look passing over his eyes. "This was pulled from the corpse of one of my guards. The forest pest is a traitor to the crown, nothing else matters. I would have you do whatever is in your power to see that hooded fool's neck where it belongs: at the gallows."

In his anger, John had let slip his royal 'we.' But years of fighting smoke, after all of the effort he had put into reaching the throne to begin with! It was too much, and now he was having to plead his case with a simple knight.

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As the friendly barmaid came to Martin’s aid, he managed an easy, if not a tad reserved smile to answer her quite intensely warm one. At her suggestion of food, he realized just how hungry he really was, and looking at his two companions, he imagined they were as well. “Stew sounds heavenly, with some ale if you please.” He replied, deciding they could all do with a bit of food in their stomachs first, before leading them to an empty table after the tavern lass had taken their order. “Lacks a bit of variety though.” Lillian commented on their menu after sitting down. “If ye please milord, I can acquire some fruits from the market for our meal as well.” Lillian offered.

Martin hesitated, glancing at Zahra for a moment. He was not entirely comfortable with the situation he was honor bond to see through, but he knew his ward, however difficult and at times just plain spiteful, was having a worse go than he. Fruit, however unexotic compared to those of her own lands, would likely be something she enjoyed, and could be a comfort however small. He was even less comfortable with Lillian waiting on him, and did not wish to encourage any such behavior, but he would not leave Zahra alone and unprotected. In the end, he decided since Lillian had offered to go, and it would bring about something that might please his bitter ward, he’d let her go.

“If it please you.” He replied impassively, trying to not give the impression he wanted this to continue, and gave her a few shillings from her purse. Lillian left the tavern rather cheerfully, seeing this as a sign Martin had given in (as he’d feared she would) and went about the market place looking for the fruit in season.

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Zahra started as she heard someone approach her from the end of the alleyway. Expecting it to be one of the men from the tavern, she looked up in tearful anger but was instead greeted by the sight of Lillian walking cautiously towards her.

In truth, Zahra did not want Lillian to see her like this, was not in the mood for the other woman's sweet naivety. Lillian, unlike herself, had accepted Martin's guardianship with open arms and felt it to be her duty to run after him like she was in his pay. Zahra, who had never much heeded an order in her life (not even from her father) could never bring herself to act in the same way that Lillian did and often, inwardly and outwardly, mocked her for it. But, as proud as she was, she could not help but be a little envious of her sweet disposition and the fondness that the knight obviously had for her.

And so, she attempted to inject a little graciousness into her tempestuous mind and hastily wiped away the streaked kohl from her eyes before accepting the fruit.

"Thank you, Lillian," she said, looking down at the berries the other woman had placed into her hands. They were like nothing she'd seen before- small, red and finely spotted with tiny yellow hairs.

When she bit into one of them, the sweetest came flooding into her mouth and she was suddenly reminded of those pomegranates she'd eaten in the shade of the cedar back home. She put the leafy cap of the fruit down onto the wooden barrel beside her and looked at the ground.

"It was a year ago today. When my father was killed, I mean," she said.

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Lillian waited patiently for Zahra to compose herself, discretely looking away and taking a sudden interest in the dirt floor below them. When she had accomplished this, and took the strawberries, Lillian was glad to see she seemed to be enjoying the fruit, but even more so, she was surprised by Zahra’s sudden willingness to open up to her. Lillian had always had the impression that the Arab noblewoman had greatly disliked her, and yet here she was, talking about something that was most assuredly painful to her.

“I never knew my own father, so perhaps I cannot fully understand yer grief.” Lillian said quietly before she could stop herself. “But I do understand what it’s like to feel a stranger in land no one feels ye have business being in, more than I think ye know. I’m a bastard ye see, and people are rarely kind to a landless, lordless, peasant woman with a bastard child, especially when they’re not from yer province, and barely speak yer language.” Lillian confided.

“The way I see it milady, ye can spend yer time bemoaning yer loss, or direct ye focus to yer future. Yer smarter than most milady, if ye wish to avoid a future not of yer own making, uses yer witts, and work to change it.” Lillian advised kindly.

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"Are you advising me to throw off Sir Martin's guardianship?" said Zahra, in a tone that was not entirely joking.

Standing up, she fixed her veil across her face and dusted off her tunic, turning kohl-rimmed eyes towards the end of the alleyway. Though her pride was loathe to let her admit it, Lillian had made a point; a point that were Zahra better able to objectively judge her own situation she would not have hesitated to have made herself. Her father had placed her under Martin's supervision. But her father was a year dead- perhaps it was time Zahra wrote her own future.

"I will not declare myself a freewoman yet; I have neither means nor money. But one liberty at a time. I shall go for a walk around the city walls. Please tell Sir Martin I will return before dusk," she said, determined. Back in her father's estate, she'd often wandered the sun-bleached hills with the script her iman had set her to read. Somehow the physical freedom had been conducive to release of mental constraint. She would do the same here and by the time she returned to the tavern, she would have some idea of her path to independence and a means to support herself.

"Thank you for the fruit, Lillian. And tell Martin I will be safe; the walls are guarded, I will be in plain sight of the militia," she said, before she turned to leave. Zahra made it half way down the alley before she paused. "And might not your own advice, as good as it is, also be applied to yourself?"

With that, she went out into the weak sunlight and turned right, weaving her way through the bustling market crowds, ignoring the whispers and stares and making for the relative solitude of the city walls.

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"Are you advising me to throw off Sir Martin's guardianship?" said Zahra, in a tone that was not entirely joking.

That was not even remotely what Lillian had been saying, and now she was feeling a bit uncomfortable at what could be perceived as planting seeds of danger in her head. She had been advising Zahra to stop moping, and focus her energies on the future. Lillian had only known Martin for a short time, but he seemed a kind and just enough soul. He would not sent her to a future fate that would ensure a life of misery. She hesitated to use the word manipulate, but it was true the men, and indeed anyone in general, were much more willing to help you when shown a kind or polite demeanour, versus a cold, rude, or disdainful one.

"Thank you for the fruit, Lillian. And tell Martin I will be safe; the walls are guarded, I will be in plain sight of the militia," she said, before she turned to leave. Zahra made it half way down the alley before she paused. "And might not your own advice, as good as it is, also be applied to yourself?"

“Ye are more likely to see him than I milady. I doubt he’ll have stayed in that tavern long after ye left, mother hen that he is.” Lillian said quietly as Zahra looked to wish to take a walk. “All the same milady, try to be careful. There are those in these walls, guarded they may be, who might wish ye harm for but yer appearance. If any a scoundrel tries and pesters ye, don’t be prideful, and use Martin’s name…or better yet his cousin’s.

Zahra’s last statement left Lillian with conflicting feelings of confusion and melancholy. The kind of rules for a woman to better her position in this world she had suggested did not apply to women of her class. Zahra was a noble woman, under another noble’s protection. She was protected, no man could make a move again her or act upon lust for her without retribution, men must treat her with chivalry (even if she was from the Holy Lands), and she would likely marry into a comfortable life of wealth. Lillian however, had no such rights; she had had that lesson pounded into her from childhood. Her mother had never told her the story, but being a banished serf as well has raising a bastard child, it was not hard to piece together a story. Her father had probably been a soldier of some sort on that estate, and as many guards did, had his way with her mother, one of the young peasant girl who lived there. Few lords cared if their serfs were used like this, she’d hear tale many did so themselves. It was the circumstances of her mother’s banishment that Lillian never quite understood, but that was in the past, and Lillian had always been one to look forward, not back.

And so Lillian headed back towards the tavern, and once inside, as predicted, Martin was not there. Sighing gently, she moved towards the back of the tavern. Lillian had not been as effected by her rape as some women were. She was not skittish around men in general, nor did she feel unbearably self conscious around them, but she still felt nervous when groups of men would stare at her, especially when they were drunk.

“Oh me back”

Lillian heard the groan come from nearby, and looked to her right to see what looked like an old man with and eye patch and wrappings all over. Was he in serious pain? Lillian approached him slowly, taking a seat on the bench next to him.

“Are ye alright?” She asked with a bit of uncertain concern.