Part 7 & 8 / Part 9 & 10 / Part 11& 12
Robin spent a glorious day with his father and his sister. The trio went on a picnic by the lake and the sun was bright and warm, the sky clear, the world at peace. After eating there fill of mouth watering chicken, soft bread and juicy strawberries, Robin and Johanna went for a walk by the lake, while Lord Drake napped beneath a shady Oak tree.
Johanna studied Matthew's profile as they walked, hand in hand. She liked the fact that he swung their hands between them like school children would, for she sensed that Matthew was a child at heart. He seemed to take such pleasure in the simple things life had to offer. Such as the beauty of a summer day, or a pretty bird song. Girard had no time for such petty things, as he put it. "What are you thinking?" Johanna queried, as she watched a smile curve Matthew's sensual lips.
"I was...remembering...wash day," Robin replied. It wasn't a true memory but a flash of an image. Pretty girls in a stream, splashing water on each other. Robin remembered startling one girl and she had fallen in, becoming soaked from head to toe, but laughing as he had pulled her out. Robin tried to concentrate on seeing her face clearly, but it was just a blur. He sighed as he stared out at the silver-blue water of the lake.
"Wash day?" Johanna repeated, not understanding his reference. Of course, she had never had to wash a single article of clothing in her entire life.
Robin nodded. "It's supposed to be boring," he said with a laugh. "But any chore can be fun, if you want it to be." In that moment he remembered something else, a flash of darkness. Himself dressed in a black, leather tunic, madness glinting in his eyes. He had a dagger in one hand and his arm lifted. Then a voice screamed out a name. JACOBI! "No!" Robin cried out, clapping his fingers over his ears, but the sound was in his head and he couldn't drown it out.
Johanna gripped Matthew's shoulders as she saw him grow pale. Then he sank to his knees and she went with him. "What's wrong?" she beseeched. "Matthew!" Johanna was frightened for him.
"Not Matthew!" Robin snarled, pulling away from Johanna. He stood up and put distance between them for he was suddenly afraid. Terrified that he might harm her. "I know who I am," he whispered.
"You remember?" Johanna beseeched.
Robin nodded. "Yes. God yes!" He covered his face for a moment as anguish washed over him. "I'm a killer!" he hissed. "And my name is Jacobi."
Angus sat on a fallen tree trunk, a suede tunic clutched in his hands. It was part of the clothing that Matthew had worn when Lord Drake had found him. Angus was able to see things more clearly when he could touch something that belonged to an individual. Girard had stolen the tunic from Matthew's room.
Pacing before the old man, Girard grew impatient. "What do you see, fool?" he prompted.
"Hush!" Angus shot back, waving one hand at Girard. "Give me a minute." He closed his eyes and let the images come to him. He saw a beautiful young man with sable hair flowing to his shoulders, riding a silver-gray stallion. "Is that him?" Angus queried, after describing who he saw. At Girard's nod he closed his eyes again. This time the image was even clearer. He saw the young man holding a bow, a smile on his face as he spoke with a richly dressed Lord. Matthew was wearing peasant clothes, and at his shoulder was a blond-haired giant. Behind the lord was a beautiful young woman holding a sword, and a fat man dressed in the robes of a friar. Angus was startled when he saw the Lord toss the young man a bag of gold, then the young man bowed and proclaimed, "The people of Sherwood thank you, My lord."
The Lord shook his fist and screamed, "You shall pay for this....Robin Hood."
"Blimey..." Angus drawled, his eyes snapping open. He smoothed the tunic, sighed, then looked up at Girard. "Pay me fifty gold pieces and I'll tell you what you want to know."
"Fifty?" Girard shouted. "Are you out of your mind?"
Angus shrugged. "What I know is worth every pence, my lord. Trust me."
Girard glared at the old man, but dug into his waistcoat and handed over a small pouch. "Now...tell me. Who is Matthew?"
"His real name is....Robin Hood."
"The outlaw of Sherwood forest?" Girard challenged.
Angus grinned. "The one and the same," he replied. He stood up, hefting the weight of the coins. "You've got a winner, guvnor," he drawled, then he held out the tunic. "Robin Hood. Imagine that." Cackling with laughter, Angus headed south down the path, towards the nearest pub.
Girard sat down on the tree trunk, too stunned by what he had learned to remain standing. A slow smile crossed his face. "Well...well.." he drawled. "Won't Johanna be surprised to learn that her...beloved...new brother is a criminal." Jumping to his feet, Girard mounted his horse and rode off.
The day for Robin had turned cloudy even though the sun was still shining brightly. After the realization of who he was his eyes filled with tears and he kept backing away from Johanna until he could not bare to look into her eyes again and spun around and ran into the woods. "Matthew...no"! Johanna cried after him, "I'm sure you are wrong" He never turned to look back at her, he just kept running until his legs could take him no further. He stood in the center of the forest hearing the name echo and echo through his head "Jacobi, The name is Jacobi. And don’t you forget it"
He clamped his hands over his ears again, his head throbbing. He leaned against a tree, the sunlight working its way through the leaves blinding him so all he could see was a haze ahead of him. As he stared into the haze it was as if he could see certain parts of his life being played out as if on a stage.
"I want the world to know my name JACK-O-BI" he could hear his own voice so hard and cold. Then he heard a gentler voice "Bit of an ego problem eh"? Robin closed his eyes as the scene fine tuned itself more. The person speaking that line was his identical twin! But they were fighting as if they intended to kill each other. A knife was drawn and with a look of horror... Robin shook his head as if he could look no further.
"Lord, I have a twin brother. What did I do to him? Oh my God...what kind of monster am I"? he asked putting his face in his hands. As he finished his thoughts he heard a sound behind him and swung around to see Lord Drake and Johanna. Johanna stood still face streaked with tears, hands stretched out to him but not saying anything.
"Please...both of you...stay back" Matthews sorrow was so intense .
"Matthew, you are my son" Lord Drake said walking forward slowly, "You would have died to protect me. You cannot be a murderer".
"But I am Father, I remember killing my own brother" he finished. Then he heard a crashing sound and through the haze he could see men in red and yellow uniforms. Next he could see himself with a sword drawn and held to a young woman’s throat.
"I suggest....Sheriff, that you and your men get out before I get nervous. We'll give you our demands at dawn" The voices were so loud and echoed and echoed in Robins head. He looked away from Johanna and Lord Drake clamping his hands over his ears again shouting
Lord Drake and his daughter stood helpless watching Robin shake and shake growing more and more pale until he finally collapsed to the forest floor.
"Johanna, go for the horses" Lord Drake said running to Robin.
Without waiting to answer, Johanna retraced her steps across the field to the lake and retrieved the horses. Lord Drake turned Robin on his back brushing the brown locks from his eyes noting how white he was. "We'll find out the answer to this Matthew...you are no murderer" he said gently to his now peaceful son.
Girard rode as if the Devil himself was in pursuit back to Lord Drakes castle. He smiled an evil smile as he rode thinking of his discovery. "Robin Hood", he thought with a laugh, "The most wanted man in all of England. What more could I ask for"!
As he crossed the draw bridge he noticed a commotion by the front door. Two servants were lifting Robin and carrying him through the door with Johanna sobbing running behind him and Lord Drake barking orders to fetch his doctor.
"What has happened"? Girard inquired approaching Lord Drake.
"My son thinks he has remembered who he is" Lord Drake said quietly.
"Oh...really? And who might that be?" Girard asked with a sneer.
"He is confused. He believes himself to be a murderer named Jacobi," replied Lord Drake.
Girard paused for a moment and quickly decided to keep his discovery to himself. If Lord Drake and Johanna accept eventually that "Matthew" is a murderer, they will cast him out and that will leave him free for Girard to take to Prince John and collect the reward money! Everything was becoming far to easy and this pleased Girard more than he could have thought possible. Girard turned and hurried up the stairs informing Lord Drake that he was going to comfort his Johanna.
"Good.....Good" Lord Drake replied.
By the time he got to "Matthews" room he found that the servants had him undressed and into bed with Johanna seated by his side holding his hand sobbing.
"He'll be fine my sweet" Girard said entering the room.
"Girard...he is so confused" She said tears streaming down his cheeks.
"How are we to know that what he is remembering isn’t accurate" Girard said casually.
Johanna looked up in horror. "How could you think such a thing of my brother"!
"Johanna...he's NOT your brother"
At this Johanna suddenly realized that he WASN’T her brother. That the emotions she felt for him were not of a sisterly nature but that of a woman, in love with a man! She leaned down and slowly placed a kiss on Robins hand then turned towards Girard.
"You are right Girard. He is not really my brother. And you are not really going to marry me. I think it is time for you to go now" She said calmly walking past him and opening the door. Girard sat stunned trying to let all she said sink in.
"Johanna, how could you say such a thing" he exclaimed jumping to his feet and turning to look into blood shot eyes.
"Because I don’t love you Girard. You know something...I don’t think I ever really did" She said now beginning to smile.
She cut him off and gestured towards the door. "Please leave Matthew and myself alone now"
She watched as his face flushed red. He went to say something again but didn’t try. He stomped past her and out the door listening to her close it behind him. "Dead or Alive...that’s what Prince John said. Believe me Robin Hood, when I turn you in it will be DEAD"! he said with an evil laugh as he descended the stairs and out the front door "Dead!!".
The End of Part 8
Part 7 & 8 / Part 9 & 10 / Part 11& 12
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