Part 55 & 56 / Part 57 & 58 / Part 59 & 60
"William. You so readily believe that witch in the village when she gives you advice" Antoinette hissed pacing back and forth in their large bed chamber, "But when a young man that we have never seen before stands before us with a tangible story, and looks enough like you to be your brother you won't even listen to him"!
William sunk back with the mere mention of the Witch in Huntington. He had thought he had hid his many visits to Magdalana from his lovely wife. Now he could see he was wrong.
Face flushed he stammered "Darling, his story is so incredible".
"Magic happens every day, all around us! Why couldn't he be from future days. Consider him our guardian angel" she gently smiled at her husband and wrapping her arms around his neck placed a gentle kiss on his lips. "All I ask is that you at least hear him out when he has something he wants to share with us".
"For you my sweetness" he smiled back returning her kiss. He could refuse her nothing when she had that look in her eyes. Slowly he moved her towards the bed, fire burning in his eyes. When she realized his intent, she placed her small hand on his chest and gently pushed him back.
"As soon as I tell Robin we will cooperate
with him. I will be back momentarily" and she swept under his arm and out
"Robin! Run!" his father cried half pushing him from the saddle and riding forward to provide the necessary distraction until Robin was safely out of harms way.
"Father please"... but obeying his father he ran to the edge of the woods looking back just long enough to see Sir Hugo Longchamp's men run his father through with a broadsword. Robin watched in horror as his father slumped forward and his lifeless body fell from the saddle.
"Father" he cried out before he felt a gentle hand shake his shoulder.
"Robin wake up. Your dreaming" the soft voice called to him.
Robin bolted upright throwing the blanket back, his body covered in a sheen of sweat.
Moonlight bathed the room in a magical glow glistening off of his sweaty chest. In the moonlight Robin could see a woman, long auburn hair tumbling over her shoulder. "Marion"?
Then the beauty tipped her head up, her eyes catching the moons glow and in that second everything clicked back in and he realized he was staring into the pale eyes of Antoinette.
Gouging his eyes with his knuckles he mumbled "Dreaming".
"More like a nightmare. Robin, you were dreaming of your father weren’t you"?
"Its nothing Antoinette. A nightmare I have repeated frequently for the past 13 years" Robin sighed raking the wet hair from his face and slumping back against the pillows.
Gently she reached over and touched his chin turning his face towards her. She stared deeply into Robin's brown eyes. "You are in grave danger Robin. That is what your dream was trying to tell you" she said softly. Then, staring fixed into his eyes, she seemed to delve deeper and deeper making Robin light headed. "There is something else about you. Something you’re not telling us"
Robin forced his eyes away from her shaking his head to clear her spell, or whatever power she had over him but remained silent.
"What is it Robin. What are you not telling me".
"I'm not here to hurt you or William" he repeated to her, "I am here to help. But I cannot tell you any more right now" he sighed swinging his legs over the side of the bed. He walked to the window standing in the moonlight. Antoinette watched the beams play off his long sable hair, the light refracting off his large brown eyes. She walked up behind him and slipped her arms around his waist putting her cheek against his bare back.
"You are a strong man Robert of Locksley. We could be very good together" she whispered, her lips softly kissing his back.
Robin swung around in horror looking at the tiny face before him. He hadn’t noticed until now that Antoinette was dressed only in a very low cut satin night gown, her breath was coming more rapidly at the sight of Robins muscular chest.
"NO!" he hissed, "You are my great grandmother"!
"Not right now I'm not" she said tracing his chest with the tip of her index finger, "Maybe in your time...but your not in your time".
"No, your Williams wife in your time and I respect that" Robin walked to the door and opened it "I think you had better leave".
"Very well, for now Robin" she said touching his hand, but as her finger tips met with the back of his hand she could see images. Clear images of Robin, lying in the brush with an arrow protruding from his chest.
"NO"! she cried jumping back.
Even in the poorly lit room Robin could see she had grown pale and was trembling.
"What"? he beseeched, "What is it"?
She backed away from him almost stumbling over a stool "I just had a vision.
A vision of your death".
"Antoinette. You don’t understand" he said in relief, "That’s not possible" a smile slowly appearing on his lips.
"Robin it is you that don’t understand. My visions are never wrong" her voice was shaky and it was very apparent that she was near tears.
"I assure you Antoinette, you will find this your first time then. Now go to bed and we can discuss this further tomorrow" Robin said quietly leading her out of the door.
"NO! I will not let him move in. I was making progress, William was weakening"
Count Demarco cast his crystal goblet into the fireplace watching it explode as it hit the stone. The remnants of alcohol snapped and crackled in the red/orange flame.
"Robin is a powerful man. You were right in fearing him. His life force is a strong one and his magic is unstoppable. " the voice reverberated around the room as the glow in one corner intensified.
"But he does ot have the powers of Aurora"
"Beware dear Count" the glowing began to subside, "His powers surpass your own".
The room fell into darkness and Count Demarco stood contemplating this news.
"More powerful than I"? He knew from the moment he stood next to Robin that he was different. Robin was not the only one who could "feel" the magical presence.
"Williams lands will be mine...as well as his pretty wife. And if that means
I have to eliminate the competition, then so be it" he began to laugh and his evil laughter echoed off of every stone wall and seemed to carry through out the valley, "This will be one interesting hunt Robin Hood".
Again Robin awoke with a start swearing he could hear voices and feeling that same deep dark feeling of impending doom. He leaned against his pillows wondering suddenly how much was positive in this time period. "Did my immortality follow me back through the years or did my Great Grandmothers dream show her the true future"? he whispered into the night.
End of Part 55
By Shelly Quinn
The morning of the hunt dawned bright and clear. Robin bathed in the copper tub of steaming water the Antoinette had provided for him. Then he dressed in the clothes she had picked out. Leather breeches and half boots, plus a dark green, long-sleeved tunic with a wide brown belt. He would blend into the forest well.
Antoinette entered the chamber as Robin was brushing his hair. She saw that he was attempting to pull it back into a pony tail and she glided across the floor and plucked the ribbon from his fingers. "Let me," Antoinette beseeched, claiming the hair brush as well. She pushed Robin down onto a nearby stool then combed her fingers through his dark locks. It felt like skeins of silk and was so thick that Antoinette was certain she could bury her hands in it up to her elbows. "You have beautiful hair, Robin," she commented, as she made to pull it back into a smooth ponytail. It made sense for him to keep it out of his eyes while hunting. Otherwise she would have preferred it loose, framing his angel's face.
"About last night," Robin began, igoring Antoinette's compliment. He was still concerned by her attempt to seduce him.
"What about last night?" she replied, wrapping the ribbon around Robin's thick ponytail and tying it tightly. Antoinette then patted his shoulders. "Done."
Robin stood up and turned to face her. "Then you," he said softly, then he locked eyes with Antoinette. "Do you love your husband?" he asked, his tone blunt.
Antoinette sighed. "I have learned to care for him," she allowed. "But it was an arranged marriage."
"William is a good man," Robin replied.
"That he is," Antoinette conceded, then she lifted one hand and pressed her palm to Robin's cheek. "And so are you."
Robin took a step back, away from her touch. "I won't betray him," he stated emphatically, dark eyes gleaming.
Antoinette sighed. She had guessed all along that Robin Hood was an honorable man. "I know you won't," she whispered, then her eyes darkened with shadows. "Don't think ill of me, Robin. You're a beautiful man, and a woman cannot be blamed for desiring you. Watch your back on the hunt. The Count is not to be trusted."
"I'll be careful," Robin promised, breathing
a sigh of relief. He felt certain that he and Antoinette had reached an
understanding that both could live with. Reaching for the bow and quiver
of arrows that rested against the wall, Robin looped them over his shoulder
then bowed to Antoinette. "Later, my lady," he said softly, and then he
As they rode side by side, Count DeMarco studied Robin. He was envious of the young man. His youth and his beauty shimmered almost blindingly bright. Add to that the aura of Robin's powers. Strong magic...white magic. It made the Count tingle. Robin could ruin all his plans and that must not be allowed to happen.
Feeling the Count's eyes upon him, Robin offered a deliberately bland smile. "Do you enjoy hunting, my lord?" he queried.
"That depends upon my prey," Count DeMarco replied, a cold glint winking in his eyes. "I do so love a challenge," he confessed.
"So do I," Robin countered, repressing a shiver as the Count's cold gaze swept over him once more. "Perhaps a wager between us might interest you," Robin queried.
Count DeMarco was intrigued. "What kind of a wager?" he prompted, reining his horse to a stop.
Robin followed suit then locked eyes with the other man. "To see who catches the first deer," he replied.
"And what does the winner receive?" asked the Count.
"You chose," Robin offered, graciously. He was interested in what DeMarco might ask for.
The Count rubbed his chin as he pondered his choices. "If I win...you agree to serve me for one year," he stated.
Robin was stunned and he let his confusion show. "Serve you in what manner?" he beseeched.
"I can feel you power, Robin," DeMarco replied, a cold smile curving his thin lips. "The light shines bright within you. If I win the wager you will vow allegiance to me."
"And if I win, you will leave here," Robin countered, eyes glowing with dark fire. "You will leave England and return to your home."
The Count licked his lips then held out one, gloved, hand. "Agreed," he whispered.
Swallowing back a lump that had formed in his throat, Robin shook hands with DeMarco. A voice in his head screamed that he had made a terrible mistake. But Robin could see no other way to protect William, and his own legacy. "Shall we begin?" Robin entreated.
"We shall," The count replied, wheeling his horse around and galloping off to the east.
Alone now, Robin headed his mount north. Thanks
to Little John's training, he had noticed signs of broken foliage and faint
tracks in the dirt. A deer was close by. Robin soon came across it's droppings.
He dismounted and placed an arrow in his bow as he followed the tracks.
A smile curved his lips as he spotted his prey. A large buck. Robin raised
his bow, sighted down the arrow and prepared to let it fly. But in that
moment he cried out. A heartbeat later he was on his back, staring up at
the blue sky, fingers clutching the arrow that protruded from his chest.
"ROBIN!" the cry erupted from Antoinette's
lips as she dropped the rose she had just clipped from a nearby bush. She
saw a flash of image. Robin lying on the ground, an arrow buried in his
chest. Just like her vision from last night. But the image was sharper
now, for she was seeing it as it occurred. Antoinette gasped as she watched
Robin yank the arrow from his chest then rise to his feet. It was not possible
for him to do so. By rights he should have been dead. And yet he was standing
strong, the arrow still clutched in his hand as he gathered his bow and
fallen arrow then mounted his stallion. The image faded as he rode off
and with a soft sigh Antoinette swooned, falling into darkness.
Robin put the arrow he had pulled out of his chest in his quiver. His thoughts were muddled. At first he had been certain that Count DeMarco had been the one to shoot him, but then Robin remembered something. All of the Count's arrow had been tipped with black feathers. The arrow fired at him had gold feathers. Robin didn't remember any of the hunters having gold tipped arrows. But he put that thought out of his head as he neared the rest of the hunting party. The other six men, all Lords of one station or another, were gathered around DeMarco. And lying on the ground was a large stag. Robin felt all the color drain from his face as he realized what that meant. The Count had won the bet.
Upon reaching the hunters, Robin slipped off his horse and moved to stand before DeMarco. Falling to one knee, he whispered, "I swear allegiance to you...my lord." And as he closed his eyes, Robin heard the echo of cold laughter in the air.
End of part 56
Part 55 & 56 / Part 57 & 58 / Part 59 & 60
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