Linda Weaver Clarke

The Rebels of Cordovia


There was a time when life was easy, neighbors cared about one another, and charity reigned in the kingdom. Most everyone in the villages had integrity. A shake of the hand was as good as a signed document.

All of that changed when a controlling dictator took over and began to rule. He wasn't like the last ruler who allowed the people to express their grievances. He didn't treat his people with equality. Furthermore, his kingdom was getting into greater debt because of spending more than they had and borrowing from other kingdoms. To compensate for this, he began raising taxes to pay for his mistakes. Food prices were rising and wages were not. He had even outlawed muskets so he could have better control. This outraged the people to no end. They had no way of defending themselves against evil men.

Everyone murmured and they were no longer happy. Some began talking about the heroes of the past, heroes who fought for their rights. They talked about the legend of Robin Hood who had helped the people centuries ago in England. How they wished to have someone like that to defend their rights! Whether or not the legend was true, the people were stuck with a dictator who made laws that crippled the people's free agency and took away their rights.

The little country of Cordovia was in the hands of a tyrant who cared very little about the people. Those who tried fighting against the new laws were thrown in jail. Some were there for months and others for years. What could they do? Their hands were tied.

The youth were different, though. They felt the need to rebel, to fight for freedom of speech, freedom to worship as they pleased, and the right to choose their own leader. Equality among men was a new concept and they were willing to fight for it.

A group was formed called "Robin's Rebels." Though the people laughed about the similarities to the legend of Robin Hood, it was not named after the legend.

Robin was a young woman who had decided to fight for the rights of the people. She was not about to let another day go by without fighting against the tyranny of King Rupert and his men.

Chapter 1

An arrow flew through the air with great speed and precision. It struck a plump yellow pear hanging from a limb, snapping it from its stem, and pinning it to the trunk of a tree beyond.

Robin Marie grinned as she ran toward the arrow. She had been waiting for the pears to ripen and couldn't wait to sink her teeth into the succulent fruit. She yanked the arrow from the tree bark and slid off the juicy fruit.

"Mmmm!" she hummed as she bit into the delicious pear.

Robin was a dark haired beauty. Her rich wavy black hair softly lay upon her shoulders and back. Her long eyelashes accentuated her large chocolate brown eyes. She was a graceful woman but she wasn't helpless by any means.

She had learned archery and how to fight with a sword in her youth. Her father had secretly taught her to defend herself on a daily basis, telling her that one day she would use her talents to fight for the rights of others.

She never questioned her father how he knew so much about fighting. He had taught her to ride bareback and in archery her arrows always found their mark. She prided herself for not being a defenseless female but her father had warned her to not allow others to know their secret. When she had questioned him, he told her there would be a day when she would use her defenses to help others, but until then it should remain secret.

The day finally arrived that he had predicted. When her father found out what she was planning with her group of rugged men and few women, he warned her to keep her anonymity. She needed to blend into the crowd and be unnoticed. How could she and her rebels make a difference in the kingdom if she was in jail?

Robin smiled as she remembered the day her father had given her the little speech, just a few months before.

"Let everyone think the name Robin's Rebels is after the legendary Robin Hood," her father had said. "Besides, most everyone calls you by your middle name except your family." He smiled affectionately. "Remember, Robin Marie, you must hide your identity. Act like other women in public... you know what I mean... gentle and defenseless."

Robin nodded with a smile playing at the corners of her lips. She understood what he was saying.

He looked her up and down and rubbed his scruffy beard. Robin's shapely figure was one thing she had to hide. "Uh... you need to... Uhm..." He waved his hand down her figure.

Robin laughed and gave a nod. "I understand, Papa. I'll take care of it."

He smiled as he handed her a black mask that had two holes for her eyes and it came down to the top of her nose. "This will hide your identity. Your mother has sewn some clothes for you to wear. It will make fighting your opponents much easier."

With a smile she hugged her father.

When her mother handed her the clothes, Robin kissed her and said, "Don't worry about me. My little group of defenders will be just fine. This is something we must do."

Her mother nodded and wiped a concerned tear from her cheek. "You're too beautiful to look like a boy, dear. You'll have to rub some dirt on your face."

Robin smiled. "I'll do that, Mama."

She took the clothes into her bedroom and tried them on. They fit perfectly. Robin had taken a piece of cloth and wrapped it around her bosom to hide her figure. It worked perfectly. She giggled as she looked at herself in the mirror. Her leggings were brown and her shirt was green with brown trim, which extended to her thigh. After a moment, she frowned. Her hair. She needed to do something with her long hair. She quickly secured it upon her head in a bun. Then she tied on her mask and put on a tight fitting hat to cover her hair. Looking in the mirror, she smiled at herself. What she saw was a young boy standing in front of her. Perfect!

Now it was time to meet with her group of defenders. They needed a plan. She had rounded these young men up from her own town of Charlottesville. It had been a slow procedure, but she was looking for those who had a strong conviction about their freedom. She wanted those who were willing to fight for it and who wanted to put an end to the tyranny of King Rupert.

After rounding up her group of two-dozen men and women, they talked about their grievances. They talked about a father or brother who had been imprisoned over ridiculous things such as speaking out against a new law. No one could say how he or she felt anymore. Another man was jailed for defending his daughter's honor from a lawman.

Polly, one of the women in Robin's group, was put in jail for assaulting one of the king's men. When she did not have enough money to pay her taxes, the tax collector gave her a lecherous grin and told her that he could accept another kind of payment. She had slapped his face when he touched her. Polly ended up with a weeklong sentence in prison, even after she paid her taxes.

That made Robin angry. She and her band of men and women were going to defend their community and fight for their rights. They would also replace the king with another leader. One thing for sure, they were not going to have another king. The people would choose their leader.

Robin pursed her lips as she looked at the half eaten pear in her hand and shook her head. A few months had passed since then. She hoped she and her band of rebels were making a difference in the community. By not allowing the tax collector to deliver the taxes to the king, Robin's Rebels were sending a message of rebellion to him.


Daniel folded his muscled arms across his chest as he leaned against the tree trunk. He watched his men practice their archery and sword techniques. He nodded in approval. They had come a long way since he had rounded up this group of men to fight against King Rupert. They were strong young men who were willing to fight for their family, their freedom, and their country. They called themselves the "Freemen" because they were going to free Cordovia from this oppression. He had recruited fifty men, but he needed more to fight against King Rupert.

There was one thing in his favor. The king had decided to dissemble his army because he couldn't pay their wages any longer. Since the other kingdoms were asking for the money he owed them, he needed to pay back his debts. So that was one of the areas the king thought he would cut back on. That was a grave mistake. Rebel groups were popping up in every town and village.

Daniel was an imposing figure, over six feet tall. He was twenty-six years of age with a square jaw and green eyes. He had broad shoulders, wavy auburn hair, and his arms were tanned from long hours in the sun. His white shirtsleeves were rolled up above his elbows, exposing muscles rippling along his arms. His shirt was unbuttoned at the top, revealing the top of his muscled chest. It was evident that his father had taught him the value of work.

Daniel's men had great respect for his leadership. They often joked around with him, saying how the ladies seemed to love a rogue, especially those who were fighting oppression. That comment often made him smile. Did women really love a rogue? Was it true?

He tucked his thumbs behind his belt as he stood watching his men. He had a slight smile on his face as he thought about the small group of men in Charlottesville called Robin's Rebels. They had been making a name for themselves lately and people were taking notice. Daniel had heard about the great deeds they had done in Charlottesville and he was impressed. He wanted to recruit them but, according to Miles, they were not interested in joining him.

Miles was his second hand man and only stood five feet tall. What he lacked in height, he made up for with stamina, perseverance, and enthusiasm. He had inquired of Robin's whereabouts and had finally gotten the group's attention. A meeting place was arranged. After making known his intentions to the group, they laughed in his face and said they were not interested. A woman had pointed to a young man with a mask over his eyes and told Miles that he was their leader and they did not need another.

Daniel shook his head in amusement. Miles had told him that their leader was quite intelligent and his strategy in each attack against the king was impressive. But the build of the leader himself was not so impressive. He was a slender young man with no muscle whatsoever. Miles had said that he doubted the leader could defend himself in battle. He was the brains and his men were the brawn. This made Daniel laugh.

He figured that it would not take much to convince the small group to join with him. He needed more men and Robin's two-dozen rebels could do very little on their own. He was sure of it. Adding their group to his would make seventy-five men.

Daniel decided to send Miles out again and give them another invitation. If they refused again, then he would tell Miles to challenge them to a contest of archery and sword fighting. If they won, he would not bother them again and would help them when needed. If they lost, they would have to join Daniel's men. If Robin's small group of men really wanted to win this battle against King Rupert, they would accept his challenge.

Daniel had moved to this small country of Cordovia about five years ago. He was upset when he noticed that the rich were getting richer and the poor were getting... He hesitated, thinking for a moment. Is it possible to get poorer, he asked himself. The humble and poor people of the villages were in need of help. They needed medicine, more food, jobs, and fewer taxes. Would he be able to make a difference in this rebel's cause?

Daniel came from a wealthy family. His father was an influential man and was adamantly against the dictatorship of the king. He was none to happy about the king's actions and encouraged Daniel to join one of the rebel groups.

Each evening ended in a hot discussion over a new law that was crippling the people. That was when Daniel told his father that he was going to create his own group of rebels... that he was on a crusade to bring down King Rupert and replace him with a good and righteous leader.

He was not in favor of bloodshed, but they could no longer live without freedom. Freedom came with a price. Daniel knew that oppression was not easily conquered. He had earnestly searched for another way to avoid the calamities of war but there was none. He had even asked for a meeting with the king to discuss the needs of the people but was refused an audience. Putting together an army of rebels was the only way... and he hoped that God was on his side.

Daniel sighed as he watched his men practice. Most were men of humble means. He knew many were struggling, so he encouraged the men to make sure they helped their parents raise good crops and put meat on their tables. He did not want his men to neglect their families.

Miles walked toward him and laughed. "Well, Danny Boy, I was thinkin' about what you said... about havin' a competition between our two groups..." He grinned as he looked up at Daniel and motioned to his large biceps. "That young leader of Robin's Rebels isn't much to look at. A real scrawny thing! I figure if you challenge him to a duel... that might do it. You need to put down the leader in front of his men so they'll be convinced they can't go against the king without us. What do ya say?"

Daniel looked at Miles and asked, "Do you mean a competition separate from the rest of his men? One on one?"

"That's right," said Miles as he laughed at his ingenuity.

Daniel thought for a moment. What could he do to challenge the leader of Robin's Rebels that would impress them? A sword fight? Archery? Daniel smiled. He was the best at archery. But then, if the leader was really that scrawny, perhaps a duel with swords would be better.

"What is the leader's name?" asked Daniel.


"As in Robin Hood?" he said with amusement.

Miles nodded.

"All right," Daniel chuckled. "Robin it is. When you call on them tomorrow, let Robin know that I want to challenge him to a duel."

A look of enthusiasm spread over Miles' face as he said, "I think you should challenge him to archery."

"Do you think so?"

Miles grinned. "Of course. I've heard a few things about Robin. Even though he isn't much to look at, he's gotten a reputation for being the best archer in Charlottesville. It's all over town."

"Really?" asked Daniel with great interest.

"I know how you enjoy a challenge." Miles chuckled when he saw the interest in Daniel's eyes. "Besides, no one has ever beaten you. You've won every archery contest you have entered. You're sure to win. And that will impress Robin's men. Don't you think?"

Daniel nodded as he folded his arms across his chest. That was a fact. No one had ever beaten him before. This contest should be easy to win.