“From the stage that brought you Will & Allyn’s Interactive Theatre,” Allyn-a-Dale proclaims before the curtain, “here’s Ever On Word’s original talk show, Will Scarlet’s Kiss & Tell.”
The curtain rises, the studio audience applauds, and Will Scarlet himself walks smiling and waving onto the bright, cozy set.
“Hullo, everyone! Let’s jump right into it, shall we?” Leading by example, he hops into his armchair. “Allyn, who is our guest character today?”
As the guest enters from the other side of the stage, Allyn says, “Wikipedia describes him thus:
Robin Hood is a heroic outlaw in English folklore who, according to legend, was a highly skilled archer and swordsman. Traditionally depicted as being dressed in Lincoln green, he is often portrayed as “robbing from the rich and giving to the poor” alongside his band of Merry Men. Robin Hood became a popular folk figure in the late-medieval period, and continues to be widely represented in literature, films and television.
“Welcome, Robin!” Will greets the man now seated in the chair across from his own. “So glad you could join me. First things first – how totally proud are you of your little cousin for getting his own talk show?”
Robin’s face – markedly like the host’s, particularly in the sparkling blue of his eyes – takes on a smile of good-natured irony. “Oh, I always knew you were destined for great things, Will. You’re just that sort.”
“Ha. Must be something in the genes. You, after all, are only one of THE biggest names in… pretty much ever.”
Well-developed shoulders shrug. “Maybe trailing behind King Arthur. But I’d never grudge a personal friend his extra dollop of fame.”
“Robin Hood and the Once and Future King, immortal BFFs. One doesn’t come across that trope very often.”
“Perhaps not,” Robin concedes. “But there is a longstanding precedent for the combination of my legend and Arthuriana. Look up the old tales of Sir Kay, some time.”
“Have you a personal favorite retelling of your tale?” Will inquires. “Or one that you consider truer to your character than the others?”
“A favorite,” Robin muses, calloused fingers drumming idly on a green-hosed knee as he contemplates the ceiling. “I don’t know that I could single out just one interpretation, but I would say I’ve got a type. Your Errol Flynns and such, the ones that embrace the romance and derring-do of it all, perhaps never minding any pretense of historical accuracy.
“There’s more of a trend these days to go all ‘grimdark’ and ‘gritty’ with everything, turning heroes into antiheroes and, I don’t know, adult-ing everything to the nth power. And that’s all very well, in its place. The world can get ugly, and that takes facing like a grownup. But when I see a little boy prancing through the Renaissance Faire with bow in hand and a pointed green cap on his head, or a little girl rallying her merry band to her side in the name of King Richard, or hear of someone on the Outside committing some act of civil disobedience in order to help the people that the law they’re circumventing can’t or won’t…” His eyes sparkle the brighter. “Those are the best Robin Hood stories I’ll ever know.”
“Pulling away from the legend,” says Will, “let’s talk a bit about the man. What is it you’d want readers and viewers and whatnot to know about you personally?”
“Just that,” says Robin, pointing. “That I am a man first, a legend second. I never aspired to this level of fame. I couldn’t have predicted it. Not saying that I regret or resent it, either. I don’t; usually. It just… all got so much bigger than me.” He spreads his hands, mouth crooked ruefully. “I was just a regular (albeit noble) medieval Englishman, trying to do the right thing, one action at a time. Next thing I know, I’ve got a wizard reviving me from a mortal wound and telling me on I’m TV.”
“Don’t it always seem to go?” Will says cheerily. “Speaking of the inevitable, it’s time for the final question. Tell me, what is our author Danielle E. Shipley’s biggest, deepest, darkest, most mortifying and/or hilarious secret?” One eyebrow bows upward. “Or would you rather kiss me?”
“Hmm.” Robin rubs his chin in over-solemn thought. “Seems it would be against the Robin Hood code to betray a lady’s secrets.” A sigh. “Nothing for it, then, but to knock your socks off with the best kiss you’ve had since… well, the last time you found a reason to kiss me.”
With an exultant laugh, Will throws himself into Robin’s lap. “And this, sweet cousin, is why I’d follow you to the edge of eternity and back.” One mouth-to-mouth smooch later: “Allyn, how ‘bout a word from our sponsor?”
“Today’s Kiss & Tell segment,” says Allyn, “and a number of enticing prizes for those who care to try for them, was brought to you by the Launch Week+ celebration of ‘The Ballad of Allyn-a-Dale’ (The Outlaws of Avalon, Book One) by Danielle E. Shipley – available now!
Welcome to Avalon, a Renaissance Faire where heroes of legend never die. Where the Robin Hood walking the streets is truly the noble outlaw himself. Where the knightly and wizardly players of King Arthur’s court are in fact who they profess to be. Where the sense of enchantment in the air is not mere feeling, but the Fey magic of a paradise hidden in plain sight.
Enter Allyn-a-Dale. The grief of his father’s death still fresh and the doom of his own world looming, swirling realities leave the young minstrel marooned in an immortal Sherwood Forest, where he is recruited as a member of Robin Hood’s infamous outlaw band. But Allyn’s new life may reach its end before it’s scarcely begun. Their existence under threat, the Merry Men are called upon to embark on a journey to the dangerous world Outside – ours – on a quest which must be achieved without delay, or eternity in Avalon will not amount to very long at all.
“Thank you, Allyn,” Will says. “Thanks to you, too, jolly Robin! And thank you, my beautiful audience. Remember, authors – if your characters would like to appear on the show, simply follow the guidelines provided here, and we’ll get them on the schedule. ‘Til next time, lovelies: Scarlet out!”