Part 19 & 20 / Part 21 & 22 / Part 23 & 24
When Robin awoke and discovered that Olwyn was gone, he was furious. With the sweep of one arm he trashed the magician's chamber. leaving debris scattered everywhere, before fading out in a spark of gold. He knew how to lure the old man to him, and when next time they met...Olwyn would die.
Mortiana had been expecting Olwyn. She kept a close watch on him always, a habit she found impossible to break. But she had never seen him look so shaken. Not even when Malenoch had appeared to confront them.
"How can I save Robin?" Olwyn beseeched, his eyes locked on Mortiana's face. She had aged with a soft grace, and he still considered her to be beautiful. Too bad she felt she had to allegiance herself with the dark powers, and Prince John. But it was her darkness that Olwyn now needed.
"I'm not sure that you can save Robin," Mortiana replied, hating to say it, but knowing that it must be said. "He is more powerful than even Merlin imagined. And now that Zusa has tapped into his dark side, Robin is unstoppable. He can destroy you, Olwyn. His power grows stronger by the minute."
Olwyn shook his head. "There has to be a way, Mortiana. And I beseech you to help me find it."
Swallowing down a sigh, Mortiana nodded. She patted Olwyn's shoulder. "I will do what I can, old friend," she whispered. Then the too of them fell silent, each lost in their own thoughts.
Marion was able to lead the others to Olwyn's cave, but when they entered they found that the Magician was no where to be found. But what shocked them was the destruction that greeted them. "Looks like this place was hit by a tornado," Marion commented, as she stepped over the ruins of a table.
"Who could of done this?" Tuck wondered, out loud. But no one had an answer for him.
"What now?" Little John asked, as he righted an overturned trunk.
Tuck sighed. "We return to Sherwood," he replied. He saw that the others were about to argue with him, but held up a hand. "We're exhausted, and so are the horses. We need to eat and rest, and think. You know I'm right."
Marion nodded, then forced a smile. "You are, Tuck," she conceded. "We'll go home."
The group headed out, silent and weary.
When they returned to the compound they were greeted by Sean. He had a big smile on his face as he took the reins of Marion's horse. "Guess your *feelings* were for naught," he said.
"What do mean?" Marion countered, a frown furrowing her brow.
"About Robin," Sean replied. "You all rode out of here to rescue him when he wasn't even in danger."
Tuck tapped Sean on the arm to garner his attention. "How do you know that Robin's not in danger?" he queried.
Sean shrugged. "Cause he's here," he replied, shaking his head. Sometimes he worried about the good Friar.
"WHAT?" Marion gasped, then grabbed Sean by the arm. "Robin is here?" When Sean nodded she demanded, "Where?"
"In his quarters. Sleeping," Sean replied. "But he found himself suddenly alone as the group ran across the compound.
Marion was the first to enter the room and, sure enough, Robin was there. He lay on his pallet, eyes closed, one hand over his stomach. "Robin..." Marion whispered, as she blinked back tears of relief.
Little John was next inside and his cry of joy could have awakened the dead. He ran to the pallet and scooped Robin up into his arms. "You're okay!" Little John shouted, as he hugged Robin. "I'm...fine.." Robin gasped, but he was laughing and patting Little John on the back.
"Put him down before you crush him, Little John," Tuck ordered, as he entered the room. But a smile lit up his face. He was thrilled that Robin was back. "Are you all right?" Tuck queried, as he watched Little John settle Robin back against the pillows.
Robin sighed. "I am now," he whispered. His eyes moved to Lord Drake, who had entered last.
The Earl moved to the bed then fell to his knees beside it. "Forgive me, Robin," he begged, his voice cracking on a sob.
"There's nothing forgive," Robin replied, one hand reaching out to touch Lord Drake's face. "I know you did what you did because you love me, Father. I love you too." Reaching out, Robin drew the Earl into a hug.
"What happened to you, Robin?" Marion asked, after the moment between the two men had passed. She wanted to hug Robin as well, but kept her distance. As always.
Robin sighed then told the story of how Zusa had held him captive, but he had managed to escape. Then he listened, displaying horror, as Marion told him about Olwyn's cave. Sliding off the bed, Robin declared, "We have to find him." Without waiting for a reply, he ran out the door.
The others followed, but skidded to a halt as the air suddenly shimmered. Olwyn appeared before them. The magician had eyes only for Robin. "EVIL BEGONE!" Olwyn shouted, then he fired a bolt of pure power into Robin's chest.
Marion screamed as she watched Robin collapse. Little John ran forward, ready to defend Robin, and Tuck and Lord Drake formed a protective shield around their fallen friend.
"What are you doing?" Marion demanded, drawing her sword and glaring at Olwyn.
"Robin is not what he seems," the magician replied. "He is...possessed.
No one believed Olwyn, especially after seeing the condition Robin was in. He was limp and deathly pale, yet conscious. Tuck felt for a pulse and it was weak and thready. His heart leaped into his throat when Robin's eyes locked with his. Pain shimmered in the velvet brown depths. A pain that was almost viable. "You nearly killed him!" Tuck shouted at Olwyn.
Robin reached for Tuck's hand. "It's all right," he whispered, making an attempt to rise. "Olwyn would never hurt me," Robin insisted.
"Rest, my son," Lord Drake beseeched, as he pressed a heavy hand to Robin's chest to hold him down.
"No.." Robin replied. "I must face Olwyn," he said. He made to rise again and accepted Tuck and Lord Drake's assistance. Robin was unsteady on his feet, but he moved to confront his mentor. "What evil do you speak of, my friend?" Robin beseeched of the magician.
Olwyn stared into Robin's eyes and saw only pain. He faltered, for he suddenly doubted the truth. Zusa was strong, but Robin was pure light. Perhaps he had defeated the witch and had banished her soul. "Robin..." Olwyn began, stepping forward. He cupped his hands to the young man's face and in that moment realized his mistake.
Robin's eyes glowed red and light flashed out of them, enveloping Olwyn. When the old man screamed in agony, Robin laughed. When Olwyn collapsed at his feet, Robin kicked him, then turned to face his companions. His eyes still glowed and energy sparked from his fingertips. "Who's next?" he drawled, and his voice echoed with madness...and doom.
End of part 21
Marion, Tuck, Little John and Lord Drake all jumped back in unison as Robin threw lightening bolts at the ground. He tipped his head back in laughter realizing that not even the almighty Olwyn was any kind of match for him. Marion cupped her hands over her mouth in horror watching the only man she had ever loved turn preparing to destroy his mentor.
"Robin! NO!" She shouted as he extended his hand about to expend pure energy into Olwyns collapsed form. Reacting quickly, she grabbed a large rock and running forward bashed it into the back of Robins head. He turned and looked at her, his eyes ablaze, then collapsed at her feet. All stood silent making sure that he was defiantly unconscious as if afraid to move.
Finally Friar Tuck broke the silence. "What is happening here"? He questioned in horror. Marion ran to Olwyn who was beginning to stir, "Olwyn. You mentioned Robin being possessed" Little John joined them helping the old sage to his feet.
"Marion, I am very concerned for Robin" he said facing the warrior woman, "This may be something I cannot get him out of" His face was drawn and his eyes reflected nothing but regret.
"What are you saying Olwyn" Friar Tuck asked walking up to the three.
"Many centuries ago, I worked with an apprentice named Zusa. I found her capabilities exhilarating. Her spells rivaled some of my own, something I hadn’t seen for years. In my excitement I foolishly taught her things at too quick a rate. Anything I showed her she instantly retained and was able to practice. I should have seen it then. Her thirst for knowledge, her lust for power. By the time I realized her intentions, it was too late.
I had to cast a spell on her to stop her from taking over the world. And to this day, I believe she could have done it! But as strong as my spell was, there is one who is stronger. One who wishes to control Zusa and have Robins pure soul all to himself", Olwyn turned to Marion and looked into her now tear stained face, "I don’t think I have the power to save him this time. He has met with forces far beyond my abilities"
Marion sobbed into her hands as Little John and Friar Tuck stood beside their fallen friend.
"What shall we do"? Little John asked with a totally blank expression.
Just then Robin stirred. He slowly opened his eyes and looked up at his friends.
Little John grabbed Robins sword laying by his hut and held it on him. "What...what happened"? Robin asked bewildered.
"Don’t move Robin" Little John stated as if it hurt to say the words to his friend.
"John, why? What am I doing out here"? he asked starting to rise but even Marion drew her sword holding it on him. Robin shook his head trying to clear the residue from the blow and rubbed the large lump on the back of his skull. He watched his friends backing away from him and looked at them visibly upset.
"what is wrong with you all"? he asked squinting from the obvious headache he was experiencing. Olwyn came and stood before him looking deep into his eyes.
"Olwyn! Thank God you are here. Would you talk some sense into them"! Robin beseeched.
Olwyn turned to the rest of the group. "Zusa is gone from him" he said with a small smile, "For now anyway".
"Olwyn, what are you talking about"? then Robin thought back to the last few days events and remembered the cave, and the shackles, and that horrible witch.
"Zusa" he repeated with a sigh.
"Robin-what do you remember"? Olwyn asked.
"Not much my friend" he replied sadly, "I remember a horrible pain in my chest when she touched me and with your teachings, feeling I was regaining control, then I blacked out and remember nothing else until now" . He watched as his friends slowly lowered their swords in relief.
"Olwyn, what happened? What have I done?" Robin asked in horror.
"When Zusa couldn’t have your soul enter her body Robin, she entered yours" Olwyn replied," and your good mixed with her evil has given her unlimited powers" Robin slowly closed his eyes in an attempt to block out the realization of what had happened.
"I didn’t hurt anyone did I"? Robin slowly asked.
"No, not yet" Olwyn replied as if the only one brave enough to answer.
"My God..." Robin sank to his knees with his face in his hands, "how much longer until she returns"
"Not long" Olwyn replied, "the only thing I can recognize is that she will return as soon as she realizes your body is physically out of danger". Robin leaped to his feet and faced his mentor.
"Then kill me now Olwyn, before anyone is hurt" Robin pleaded with pain in his eyes.
"I cannot..." Olwyn began
'Robin!" Marion cried at his request
"With unlimited powers, think of all the people she could hurt, could destroy"! Robin exclaimed.
At that moment there was a bright light and Robin flew backwards through the air landing on his back.
"No" he screamed as the light went in threw his chest and again he lie still...unconscious.
"What shall we do"...Marion whispered.
"Nothing" Robin said slowly opening his eyes, flames burning bright within, laughing wickedly..."Nothing but die"
End of Part 22
Part 19 & 20 / Part 21 & 22 / Part 23 & 24
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