Part 19 & 20 / Part 21 & 22 / Part 23 & 24
Marion was more frightened than she had ever been in her life, yet she faced Robin without flinching. She knew this man. He was her heart and soul. He could never hurt her, he was too strong to let any darkness control him. With that in mind, Marion took a step closer. She ignored the others, he called for her to stay back. "Robin.." Marion whispered. "I know you can hear me."
"I can hear you just fine!" Robin countered, laughing. "Come closer, pretty one. Let's have a kiss." With that, Robin's arm snaked around Marion's body till she was pressed against his hard length. Then he buried his fingers in her soft hair and kissed her.
Rather than resist, Marion's own fingers curled in Robin's hair, and she put into the kiss all the love and truth and faith that she held for Robin. And in that moment she felt him tremble.
Robin's soul was trapped in darkness, pushed aside by Zusa's presence. The first time the witch had taken possession of his body, Robin had been completely unaware of it. But this time he stirred from his slumber, and he sensed a third presence...Marion. Whispering her name in his mind, Robin came to full, conscious, awareness. He knew what Zusa intended to do, using his body as a conduit, and there was no way in hell that he would let that happen. Robin would take back control of himself. He concentrated hard and felt his body tremble as he broke the kiss.
Zusa was enraged. Robin Hood was awake and trying to interfere. She would not allow that to happen. Not when she was so close to getting what she wanted. But she had to be careful, she could not destroy his body, it was her only means to secure her new powers. Without Robin's light and the vessel of his flesh, Zusa was nothing.
So she used the force of her mind to control Robin, only he would not give in so easily.
Robin had a greater motivation for winning this battle, and one that was more pure. And his light was stronger than Zusa's darkness so he was able to hold her back. But that wasn't good enough. Robin knew he had to eject the witch from his body. His mind voice taunted the witch. "Getting a bit crowded in here...don’tcha think? Time for you to go!" With that, Robin took control of the powers and turned them on himself. He pressed the palm of one hand over his heart and zapped.
Marion screamed his name as she watched him collapse. Olwyn closed his eyes, knowing what Robin had done. He felt Zusa's soul fading out and a heartbeat later it was gone. She was dead. Tuck prayed as he moved to kneel beside Robin, and Little John scooped up his friend. Lord Drake just stood frozen, staring at Robin's still form.
"Robin..." Marion brushed a hand over his face. He was so pale and his body so limp. She feared he was dead.
"He's alive," Olwyn whispered, as he glided over to the group. He looked at Little John. "Put Robin to bed. He needs to rest. Then return here. I have something to tell all of you. Something that you need to know....about Robin."
Marion touched Olwyn's sleeve. "What is it?" she beseeched, feeling torn between her desire to watch over Robin, and her curiosity to know what secrets Olwyn might share.
Olwyn smiled at her. "Wait, my dear," he said softly. "For Little John to return."
The giant was back shortly and Olwyn gathered everyone to him. "Robin has changed now," the magician began. He looked at the faces of his audience and sighed. He wondered if they would be able to truly understand what he was about to tell them. "Robin is special...as you all know. But it's more than what you have already seen."
"I don't understand," Marion interjected.
"You know the power of Robin's heart. Of the goodness of his soul," Olwyn replied. "You know that he would die to save any one of you. To save the innocent. Robin has a pure heart, and he is the chosen one to lead the people of England in their quest for freedom and justice. But he was chosen to do much more than that. The time will come when King Richard will return, and Robin's work in Sherwood will be done. But he has a greater destiny to fulfill. Robin is gifted."
Tuck was listening intently to every word Olwyn was saying and he suddenly thought he understood. "Robin is...magic," Tuck whispered.
Olwyn turned to the Friar and smiled. "Yes," he confirmed. "Magic born, but unaware of it. I chose not to tell him at this time, for I wished for Robin to learn to use the power of his heart and soul, before learning the powers of magic. You see...Robin's magic is far stronger than my own. If he is not completely sure of his heart, and chose to stray into darkness....once his powers are realized, he would be an unstoppable force."
"Stronger than Malenoch?" Little John interjected, swallowing hard as he remembered their run in with the evil sorcerer.
"Far stronger," Olwyn allowed. He sighed. "Because of Zusa, Robin now knows of his...gift. But I doubt he understands it. You see...the magic...the energy that you saw him use was not Zusa's, but his own. And it was just a touch of his true strength."
Marion was stunned, and horrified. She didn't know how to feel about Robin possessing magic. She had never liked, nor trusted, such powers. Be they good...or bad. "What happens to Robin now?" she queried.
Olwyn turned to smile at the warrior woman. He knew her thoughts about magic, and thought she showed admirable restraint in her actions now. "I think it may be best if I took him away with me. Just for a time, until Robin learns to control his...gift."
"What about Sherwood, and the fight against Prince John?" Tuck asked. He knew that without Robin, Prince John and his dark forces would crush the innocent.
"I will keep watch over you all," Olwyn replied. "When Robin is needed, I will send him. But I have faith that you all can do what needs to be done. I just need some time...a few weeks at least."
Marion blinked back tears, but nodded. "Do what you have to do, Olwyn," she said softly.
He locked eyes with her, then smiled. "Goodbye," Olwyn whispered, then he disappeared in a shimmer of light.
No one needed to check to know that Robin was gone as well. They all stood in a circle, eyes lifted to the sky, silently wishing Robin and Olwyn...godspeed.
Robin came awake slowly. He shifted his body and bit back a moan. Pain seemed to ripple along every nerve and screamed in every muscle. But he forced himself to breath evenly, then he opened his eyes. "What the..." Robin blinked, then sat up, as he stared about him. He was in a chamber that was somewhat similar to Olwyn's cave, yet not the same. "OLWYN?" Robin shouted.
"I'm here," rumbled a deep voice. Then Olwyn appeared in a shimmer of silver. He put one hand to Robin's shoulder. "Rest easy, my boy. You've been through alot."
Robin shook his head, and regretted it as pain stabbed at him. Still, he made himself rise to face his mentor. "Where are we? Where's Zusa? And my friends."
Olwyn sighed. Robin could be so stubborn at times. He had wanted the boy to rest, for he would need to be strong to face his new destiny. "We're in a safe place," Olwyn replied. Not adding that it was a place where Robin's magic could do no harm. Or so he hoped. "Zusa is dead, and your friends are in Sherwood. Anything else you'd like to know?"
"Why am I here?" Robin shot back, with a touch of defiance flashing in his eyes.
"To learn," Olwyn drawled.
Robin frowned. "To learn what?" he countered. He had thought Olwyn had taught him all he needed to know to be a good leader.
Olwyn locked eyes with Robin and whispered, "To learn how to be a sorcerer." And, with that, he waved one hand and disappeared.
"A sorcerer..." Robin repeated. Then he realized that Olwyn was gone. Turning in circles he shouted, "OLWYN! Olwyn....come back here!" But the only response he received was the echo of his own fears.
End of part 23
Robin sat back down on the edge of the bed looking carefully at his surroundings. The room was large and well lit, surrounded with shelves and shelves of books and tables containing jars of various shapes and sizes.
"Sorcery...great" Robin sighed. His hand throbbed a bit and Robin noticed he had lost the feeling in his fingertips. He shook his hand in an attempt to regain the feeling when bolts of energy shot from his fingertips striking some of the glass bottles on the table causing them to explode against the wall. Leaping to his feet Robin looked in horror first at the bottles, then back at his hand.
"What is going on here" he asked terrified to move any further.
"You will learn to control that" a woman’s voice cut the silence.
Robin swung around and saw Mortiana walking towards him from the far corner. She was dressed in a long black dress that refracted light from every source in the room. Robin started to back away to the opposite corner putting the palms of his hands up to motion her to stop.
"What do you want of me" Robin asked realizing that he had not regained his strength to fight anyone yet.
"I am here at the request of Olwyn" Mortiana slowly replied, "I am here to help you"
"Why would you want to help me" Robin looked suspiciously at the witch.
"Because Olwyn has told me of your strength and powers and that you need help learning how to harness these powers" she replied with a smile.
"Then where is Olwyn"? Asked Robin stopping in his tracks confronting her.
"He has gone to gather some things that will be necessary for your training. Robin, you have managed to destroy Zusa but she was only a figurehead. There is a much darker force that was working through Zusa...one that still wants you. You must learn how to use your power to overthrow this force as you are the only one who can do it" Mortiana explained carefully. She could see that this new news disturbed Robin
"I don’t know if I am strong enough to fight anyone else, Mortiana. I am just so tired" Robin said sinking down onto the pallet.
"We will teach you Robin, we will show you the way" Mortiana said sounding comforting to Robin. This was something usually missing from her persona. With an iridescent glow Olwyn appeared next to Mortiana looking down at the puzzled Robin. He desperately looked up at his mentor. "Olwyn, I don’t understand" he said fear filling his large brown eyes. "I am afraid I will hurt someone unintentionally"
"It can be controlled Robin, we will train you how to use your powers from within. How to make decisions without using your emotions as a guide"
The lesson was disrupted by a large explosion at the far end of the room. A shower of sparks and bright lights appeared followed by flames and spewing lava. Robin jumped back looking quickly at Olwyn and Mortiana for a reaction. Both reflected fear and horror at the sight that was materializing before their eyes.
Emerging from the flames was a creature so large as to dwarf everything in the room. It had the body of a large human but the head of a ram and its eyes reflected pure fire and evil.
"We meet again Olwyn" the rough voice came from the entity but the mouth did not move. It was as if it relayed the message through thoughts, but Robin could understand it clearly.
"You are not allowed on this plane Marcus" Olwyn spoke aloud to the creature.
"You know why I am here as do you Mortiana. You are looking lovelier than ever" The voice resonated off of every wall in the room to the point of it being deafening even without a word being spoken. Robin covered his ears in pain while the discussion continued.
"You cannot have him Marcus" Mortiana said firmly, "He is ours".
"He is my only hope" Marcus boomed in return.
"You must leave this place NOW" Olwyn resounded in return throwing a ball of energy at Marcus having it explode across his chest. His laughter filled the room to the point that the deafening sound doubled Robin over with the feeling his head would surely explode.
"I will leave....for now. But in two days time I will return for him. And you will have him ready for me" his voice echoed around the room as he disappeared along with everything he appeared with. The echo's dissipated and Robin dropped face first down onto the pallet breathing heavily. "Robin...are you alright" Olwyn said joining his student.
"My head" he muttered.
"You will get used to that" Olwyn said with a smile.
"We have only two days to fine tune his skills" Mortiana said looking soberly at Olwyn.
"Not nearly enough" Olwyn returned
"Do I have any say in the matter"? Robin asked quietly.
"No" they both replied in unison as they walked to the table and began pouring over books.
Robin, head throbbing, laid back on the pallet and closed his eyes thinking of what lie ahead of him. Apparently whatever happened to him in two days time would also effect Olwyn, Mortiana, and all of England.
End of Part 24
Part 19 & 20 / Part 21 & 22 / Part 23 & 24
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