by Sharon Ledwith
Legends. We love them. We can’t get enough of them. In fact we NEED them. Legends connect humanity in ways we can’t fathom. A legend, by definition is a story handed down for generations among a people and popularly believed to have a historical basis, although not verifiable. In book one of my time travel series, The Last Timekeepers and the Arch of Atlantis, Amanda Sault, her four classmates, and two tag-along adults are whisked through an arch they find buried in an overgrown garden, and transported to the mythical continent of Atlantis. They’ve been summoned to become Timekeepers—legendary time travelers sworn to keep history safe from an evil force known only as Belial. Oh, BTW—they’re not just any Timekeepers—they’re the Last Timekeepers. No pressure, right? Well, maybe a smidgen.
The Timekeepers first mission involves going back to 1214 England, actually Nottingham to be precise. There, Amanda and her time traveling cohorts meet an adolescent Robin Hood, although he is known as Robyn Hodekin to the people of Nottingham. So here’s the rub—in The Last Timekeepers and the Arch of Atlantis, what’s myth and what’s made-up? That’s when it’s up to the reader to seek the truth and dispel the lies.
Here’s a little help:
Robin Hood—if he did exist—was known by many names. Robyn Hode, Robert Earl of Huntingdon, Robert Fitz Ooth, and Robert fitz Odo to name a few. The first written references to our hero are brief. The earliest comes in the poem Piers Plowman, written in 1377 by the London cleric William Langland. One of his characters, an idle priest, says in passing, “I know the rhymes of Robin Hood,” but that is all. The oldest surviving substantial account of Robin Hood in his wider setting was printed in 1510, and is called A Geste of Robin Hood, the word Geste probably meaning a tale of heroic exploits. BTW—“Robin Hood in Sherwood stood” was one verse found preserved in a scrap of manuscript from Lincoln Cathedral, and was dated around 1410.
Mortimer’s Hole—The Mortimer and his hole in my story is fictional. The real Mortimer’s Hole is a 98 metre long man-made tunnel that takes you from the foot of castle rock up to the Upper Bailey in the castle grounds. It is named after Roger Mortimer. On the night of 19th October 1330 one of the most dramatic events in the history of the castle took place when the supporters of 15 year old King Edward III entered the castle through a secret passage —now named Mortimer's Hole. They captured Queen Isabella and her lover, Roger Mortimer, who had usurped the young King and were ruling England in his place. Mortimer was taken to London where he was executed. Mortimer's Hole was probably used as a food chute in medieval times.
Knights Templar— The Knights Templar trace their origin back to shortly after the First Crusade. Around 1119, a French nobleman, Hughes de Payens, collected eight of his knight relatives, and began the Order, their stated mission to protect pilgrims on their journey to visit the Holy Places. Knights of the Order wore white mantles, assigned to the Templars in 1129 at the Council of Troyes and surcoats quartered by a red cross, a symbol of martyrdom, probably added at the start of the Second Crusade in 1147, and were heavily armored knights from the aristocracy with war horses. Knights had to wear their white mantles as all times, even when eating and drinking.
The Rockyard Inn—The name is fictional. Much of the history of the Inn is very poorly recorded. An archaeological dig in 1974 proved conclusively that the location of the original Brewhouse could only be that of the caves of Ye Olde Trip To Jerusalem, the Inn that exists there presently. This established that the Castle Brewhouse existed prior to 1189AD but the first dated reference is to be found is in the records of the City Council for the year 1618. The parochial rights to the area now known as the Brewhouse Yard did not in fact belong to the Castle but passed backwards and forward over time between the Priory of Lenton, The Knights Templar and the Knights of Saint John of Jerusalem.
Here’s an excerpt from The Last Timekeepers and the Arch of Atlantis:
Amanda Sault silently studied the words she just scrawled: May 1st, 1214—Games and songs and revelry, act as the cloak of devilry. So that an English legend may give to the poor, we must travel to Nottingham to even the score.
She frowned. She was the Scribe. Amanda knew that meant she was supposed to understand what this riddle meant. But she didn’t have a clue. All she knew was that she, her four annoying classmates, and two offbeat adults were standing in what was left of the lost continent of Atlantis and they were supposed to be the Timekeepers, the legendary time travelers handpicked by destiny to keep Earth’s history safe from evil. But no one had told them how they were supposed to do it.
Their problem: no matter what happened—good or bad—they weren’t supposed to mess with the past. Period. Dot. End of story. Amanda felt hot liquid build in her throat. Her thumb traced the words of the arcane riddle. Their first Timekeeper mission. Amanda knew this wasn’t the end of the story.
This was just the beginning.
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