Part 19 & 20 / Part 21 & 22 / Part 23 & 24
Zusa cackled with laughter as she watched Robin Hood pull at the shackles that bound him to the wall. "You cannot escape," she hissed at him. "I have waited centuries for the chance to seek revenge upon Olwyn. And now the day has come."
Robin glared at the witch. "I will not help you harm Olwyn!" he snarled. And that was a vow he intended to keep. Somehow, someway. But fear shimmered in Robin's eyes as Zusa stepped towards him. She placed her left hand over his heart, then whispered softly. An incantation of some sort, Robin realized. He felt warmth flood his body, only to turn to prickly heat, then it became pain, white-hot and stabbing. Robin pressed his lips together to hold back a moan, even as he felt his soul begin to leave him. But then he remembered something Olywn had taught him. That his soul could be given to another, but never taken. That Robin had the power to resist, if he believed in himself. And he did believe. Closing his eyes, Robin fought back against the pain, pushing against the threads of power that threatened to suffocate his soul.
Zusa was surprised by Robin's strength. He was fighting back, and he was winning. Her hold on him was being shattered. Hissing with fury, Zusa knew she would have to change her plans. She could not take Robin Hood's lifeforce....his soul. But she could give him hers. With that intent in mind, Zusa whispered another incantation. A moment later she cried out as the essance of her being...her darkness and evil powers...were sucked out of her.
"No..." Robin breathed, as he felt a force slam into his chest. He felt the light within him absorbing darkness, mingling with it till could not seperate himself from it. And in the moment before he lost control, Robin knew what had happened. That Zusa's lifeforce. now resided within him and her darkness was the evil that lurked in all men's soul.
Once the transference was complete, Zusa collapsed. But only her clothes remained on the floor. Her body was in another place. A realm that mortals did not have access too.
Robin had slumped against the wall, only the chains holding him upright. But as he adjusted to his new powers, he felt a hum of energy spread throughout his body. A smile curved his lips as he straightened, then flexed his muscles. He had never felt stronger. But the physical strength was nothing. Robin closed his eyes and a moment later the shackles about his wrists glowed, then snapped open. Robin was free. He rubbed his raw skin and laughed. "This power thing isn't half bad," Robin whispered. He searched the cave for useful weapons, then laughed at himself. He could make his own. Closing his eyes again, Robin concentrated. Light shimmered before him then vanished. But in it's place lay a bow and a quiver of arrows, along with a broadsword, a dagger, and a belt. "Just one more thing," Robin said with delight. He waved a hand in front of himself and found himself dressed in familiar clothing. A sleeveless, blue tunic and his comfortable brown, suede pants. "That's more like it," Robin crowed. Then he scooped up his belongings and ran from the cave.
Lord Drake found Johanna collapsed on the floor of Robin's tower room. He shook her awake and listened in horror to her tale. He knew about Zusa and had warned Johanna to stay away from the witch. Zusa was pure evil, and now she had Robin. After putting Johanna to bed, Lord Drake mounted a horse and rode off, he knew what needed to be done.
Little John was the first one to spot the lone rider. "It's Lord Drake!" he cried.
By the time the others had gathered, the Earl was in their midsts. Marion was in no mood for games. As Lord Drake dismounted, she held the tip of her sword to his throat. "Where's Robin?" she demanded.
"Gone," Lord Drake replied. He did not know that his eyes were wild. "He's been taken by a witch and we must hurry and save him."
"A witch?" Tucked echoed.
Lord Drake explained as best he could, and he apologized as well. But there would be time to atone for kidnapping Robin later. After they had rescued him.
Marion sheathed her sword. "Do you know where we can find this witch?" she asked, even as she ran to her horse and mounted.
"I think so," Lord Drake replied. He and Robin's friends were so back on the road. Unaware that they were heading opposite of Robin Hood. Where they were going he had already been. And now was heading home.
Robin entered Sherwood upon his stallion. He knew that he could have used his powers to return home, and had, to an extent, by forming a magic funnel. Riding into the time rift had brought him home to Sherwood in a matter of seconds, as opposed to the day's ride he would have otherwise faced.
"Where's Marion?" he asked, as Sean came to tend to his horse.
"She and the others went to find you, Robin," Sean replied. "They thought you were in danger."
Robin laughed. "Do I look like I'm in danger?" he countered, a cocky smile curving his lips.
Sean shook his head. "Nope. You look fine to me." Yet even as he said the words, Sean felt a chill creep over his flesh. But he shrugged it away. It was the time of the full moon, so he was certain that his feeling was just superstition. "I'll tend to your horse," Sean announced, as he led the stallion away.
"Thanks," Robin called after him. He watched Sean go, then headed for the bridge. Robin had places to go and someone in particular to see. He disappeared into the woods and once he was out of sight, Robin closed his eyes. He was enveloped by a golden shimmer and a moment later he disappeared.
Olwyn was a bit startled when Robin came striding into his chambers. He had been concentrating on a spell from one of the Ancient texts and could seem to get it to work right.
"Hello, young man," Olwyn said, as he turned away from his experiment.
Robin grinned, arms crossed over his chest as he studied his mentor. "Hello yourelf, Olwyn," he replied. Then he glided over to the candle on the table. It was part of Olwyn's spell and one that Zusa was familiar with. Reason being that it was black magic, which was why Olwyn couldn't get it to work. Of course, Zusa couldn't get it to work either. She didn't possess the power. But her black skills combined with Robin's light, that was a power that could not be tamed. Robin let his palm pass over the flame and a moment later a ball of pure energy formed in his hand. He molded it, feeling it's heat and it's hum, then he made it expand until it took the shape of a lion.
"What the..." Olwyn exclaimed, as he watched Robin's performance. He knew that the young man possessed a purity of light that was a great power. But it was a power that Olwyn had felt best not to introduce Robin too. Not yet, anyway. He had been saving that little talk for a time when Robin was an old man. Then Olwyn felt it would be proper time for Robin to learn how to use his magic. But, apparently, Robin had figured it out for himself and had gotten a head start. "Very impressive," Olwyn conceded.
"Thank you," Robin drawled, his eyes glimmering with amusement. But then he waved a casual hand and the lion disappeared. He could have made it attack the magician, but that would have been too quick.
Olwyn was puzzled. "Why have you come here, Robin?" he queried. "Is something wrong?"
Robin sighed. He studied his fingernails for a moment, then buffed them on his tunic. "Something is wrong," he allowed. "You were a bad boy, Olwyn. You hurt a friend of mine, and I've come to punish you."
"A friend?" Olwyn echoed. "What are you talking about?" He was unconcerned with the rest of Robin's speech.
"Does the name...Zusa...ring a bell?" Robin inquired. Then he threw back his head and laughed as he watched Olwyn turn pale. This was going to be fun.
End of Part 19
Olwyn stood totally still staring at Robin trying to fully understand what was happening.
"Where do you know Zusa from" he said frowning looking back at the table where he had been working.
"We had a ... chance encounter" Robin returned still laughing.
"And what did she tell you" Olwyn asked in a monotone voice.
"How much she detests you" Robin shouted spinning around and hurling one of the energy balls at Olwyn.
Olwyn grabbed a silver plate from the table and held it before him, the energy ball striking it and dissipating. Olwyn slowly lowered the plate to look deeply into Robins eyes as he stood laughing hysterically. Behind the deep brown pools burned red flames, with the depth of eternity.
"How did you get into Robins body" Olwyn slowly asked.
"I tried to have him enter mine, but you have taught your pupil well Olwyn. He is the first mortal to be able to resist my powers. But there was nothing he could do when I entered his" Robin hissed, "and with his purity and light and my darkness-I will have no problem destroying you"!
Olwyn’s eyes grew larger as Robin held his hands apart with sparks flying between the palms. "There is nothing I cannot do Olwyn-but I wish to play with you for a while before I destroy you. Something like the way a cat toys with a mouse before she devours him"
Again Robin laughed heartily frightening Olwyn. The old sage realized that any action he might take against Zusa could kill Robin, yet he would have to think quickly as Zusa's powers appeared to be increasing by the minute. Perhaps a temporary fix while he got his bearings... Robin stood fascinated by what he was now capable of doing, watching lightening bolts strike various points around Olwyn’s cave from the palm of his hand. With the speed of light Olwyn grabbed a glass jar off of the shelf full of red powder and threw it at Robins feet and with an explosion and a cloud of dust Robin shouted "NO!!..." and inhaling the fumes, dropped to the floor of the cave.
Olwyn stood looking at Robin lying in a heap and walked to the door of the cave staring out into the forest. He returned to drag his young student back to a pallet and out of love for the man, carefully laid him out covering him with a blanket. There was no point binding him realizing that with the degree of Zusa's powers it would be a waste of time.
"I must get help" he said very serious, "The only one I can turn to is Mortiana" and with that he vanished in a cloud of sparkles and mist.
Lord Drake lead the band deep into the woods to an isolated cave far from their compound in Sherwood.
"This is where the witch resides"? Marion asked in disbelief.
"This is where I found Johanna last time she consulted with her" Lord Drake returned.
They dismounted from their horses and entered the mouth of the cave where they could see dim lights in the distance. Walking to the back of the cave they found the books, tables, and chains that once held Robin captive. Looking around Marion gasped as she saw Robins Dragon sword and bow strewn in one corner fully realizing that he was there at one point. Picking up the sword and anger coming into full effect she swung around and placed the sword against Lord Drakes chest.
"If it were not for the feelings Robin has for you, I would run this through you right here and now" she spit out at him eyes burning with rage,
"Mi Lady, I would fully deserve it" Lord Drake returned slowly sinking down onto a stool and placing his face in his hands.
Marion lowered the sword feeling guilt as she realized he was now sobbing quietly.
"We love him too Lord Drake" she whispered now walking over to him and rubbing his back.
"What are we to do"? he cried.
"Yes Marion, what"? Little John sighed looking around at the surroundings.
"We must get help from Olwyn. He will know how to handle black magic" Marion said decisively.
Friar Tuck looked up and his face was brighter.
"Of course! Marion, do you think you can find his cave"? he inquired hope filling his voice.
"I remember how Robin always said he found him...I think it will work. Common"
She said running from the cave with everyone following. Already she felt better in the knowledge that there was some way to get help. The kind of help that could save Robins life!
End of Part 20
Part 19 & 20 / Part 21 & 22 / Part 23 & 24
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