Part 25 & 26 / Part 27 & 28 / Part 29 & 30
By Shelly Quinn
Tuck didn't know for sure what they had seen, but something told him the answer and he whispered, "The devil.."
Little John stared at him in horror. "What?" he shouted. "Are you telling me that the devil has taken Marion?"
"I...I think so," Tuck replied. He felt himself shaking and wrapped his arms over his chest. He had never been so cold, or so afraid.
"What are we going to do?" Little John prompted. He was ready to chase after the creature, straight into Hell if he had to, to save Marion.
Tuck grabbed Little John's arm. "There's nothing we can do!" he hissed.
Robin was concentrating on focusing his powers, without letting his emotions rule him. It was harder to do than he might have thought. Robin let his heart and soul guide all his choices in life, and now he was being ordered to ignore those feelings. He shook his head, eyes flickering over at Olwyn and Mortiana, both of whom watched from the corner. "I can't do it!" Robin insisted. "Not your way. I'm sorry." He flung out one hand and the energy in his fingertips shot out and slammed into the crystal wall. Like before, the magic shield faded.
Mortiana sighed. She was frustrated right along with Robin, yet she was also a bit envious. The young man possessed a power that she could only dream about. But she supposed it was best that it lay in Robin Hood's hands, for he was unlikely to betray it. Robin was the light, and he would not be tempted by darkness. Or so Mortiana hoped. Satan could be quite persuasive. And he wanted Robin, so he would do his best to rape the young man's soul. "Try again," Mortiana instructed Robin. "You can't just give up."
"I'm not giving up!" Robin declared, his eyes flashing with indignation at the very suggestion that he would. "I just know that I can't defeat Marcus on your terms, Mortiana." Robin's voice softened as his anger faded. "I see the world differently than you do. Differently even than Olwyn." As Robin spoke, he turned to smile at his mentor. "I can't fight Satan without emotion. It's my greatest weapon."
"You're right, Robin," Olwyn drawled. A smile crossed his face as well. His pupil had learned well. "You're heart and your soul are your strength."
Robin was about to reply to that when the air about them darkened and the ground beneath his feet shook. He caught his balance and whirled around just in time to see Marcus appear before them. But Satan was not alone. "MARION!" Robin shouted, and made to move forward.
Olwyn grabbed Robin's arm. "No.." he cautioned. "Keep your distance."
"Let Marion go!" Robin snarled, as he glared at Marcus. But he obeyed Olwyn and kept his distance.
"For a price!" Marcus allowed. "I'll be happy to release your beloved," the Prince of darkness replied.
Robin closed his eyes. He could guess what the price would be. Himself. But he could not betray England, or the rest of the world. Not even for Marion. Knowing that, Robin decided to beat Marcus at his own game. "Tell you what," Robin drawled, taking a step forward and letting a cocky smile curve his lips. "You release Marion and I'll agree to give you a fighting chance."
Marcus threw back his head and roared with laughter at the audacity of this mortal's offer. But he was pleased. Robin Hood would be the ultimate power, ruling by his side. They would control the universe. "A fighting chance..." he purred. "Tell me more," Marcus invited.
"It's very simple," Robin replied, feeling a sense of relief that Marcus was even willing to listen to him. "You and me fight it out. Light against dark. Good against evil. If you win, I become your...slave. And if I win...you leave my world in peace. Deal?"
"Interesting offer," Marcus replied. Then he smiled and nodded his massive head. "Deal!" he thundered.
Robin closed his eyes as relief flooded through him. So far so good. "Now...let Marion go," he beseeched.
Marcus shook a finger at Robin. "Now, now...you can't make all the rules, Robin Hood. Marion stays with me till the battle is over. Regardless of who wins, I give you my word that she will go free. But...until then...she is mine."
"If you hurt her..." Robin began, energy flooding through him and sparking from his fingertips. But then he broke off, realizing that Marcus was trying to goad him. "When and where?" he asked, meaning the fight.
"You'll see," Marcus replied. He made a sweep of one hand and in that moment, Robin disappeared.
Olwyn was horrified. "Where have you taken him?" he demanded.
Satan's eyes burned as they locked on the ancient magician.
"To my world," he whispered. "Robin might as well get used to his new home." With those words, Marcus faded out, but his laughter echoed behind him, mocking those who remained.
"Robin will be all right," Mortiana whispered, as she moved to Olwyn's side. She saw tears in her old friends pale eyes.
"I know he will be," Olwyn whispered. Then he moved to a nearby chair and sank down into it. His legs would no longer hold him. "I only hope that I have taught him well enough," Olwyn sighed.
Mortiana moved to join him, one hand resting on his shoulder. "You have taught him well, old friend. Robin is a good man. I have known no other mortal who is his equal. That he is mortal and magic is what gives him the edge. He will defeat Marcus," she insisted. "I know it."
Olwyn nodded, his hand reaching up to pat Mortiana's. "Thank you," he
whispered. Then he faded out in a shower of silver sparks.
Robin found himself in a chamber that was opulently and lavishly decorated in black and scarlet silk. A bed rested on a raised dais in one corner, in another corner were silk pillows, with woman draped over them. Lusciously beautiful women dressed in red and black. Another corner held a table groaning with food and wine, and a sensual melody filled the air.
"So...do you like my home, Robin Hood?" a bass voice inquired.
Whirling around, Robin found Marcus smiling at him. It was grotesque, curving the lips of a ram. "It's a bit decadent for me," Robin drawled, as he assumed a relaxed posture. He would not show fear to Satan.
Marcus shrugged, then snapped his fingers. "To each his own," he mused, then he laughed at the expression on Robin's face, for he had used his powers to dress Robin in new attire. Black silk trousers, and a long, sleeveless, sapphire blue tunic now clothed the human's form. "You really are a most lovely mortal," Marcus whispered, as he paced a circle about Robin. "I like pretty things." Satan reached out with claw-tipped fingers to snag a lock of Robin's sable hair. "Like silk..." he breathed.
"Go to hell!" Robin hissed, without thinking of his words. Then he grimaced as Marcus laughed, seeing as how they were, literally, in Hell right now.
"You'll learn to like it here, Robin," Marcus drawled. He felt the young man pull away from him, then his fingers were tangled in the thick hair and he yanked Robin towards him.
Robin remembered what Olwyn had said about not letting Marcus touch him. So he summoned up his powers and let it flood throughout him. All that was goodness and light. And when the pure energy touched Satan's flesh, the creature howled and pulled away. "Keep your hands to yourself!" Robin hissed, feeling a swell of satisfaction. Apparently Satan couldn't touch him either. At least now when he was powered up. But Robin couldn't sustain the aura, for to do so weakened him. He let it fade out and in that instant found himself in the clutches of two of Satan's minions. He struggled in their grasp but they held him firm. Robin tried to use his powers, but suddenly Marion appeared before him.
"Behave yourself, Robin," Marcus drawled. "Or your beloved dies."
"What now?" Robin demanded, ceasing his struggles immediately.
He glared at Marcus. "Do we fight?"
Satan nodded. "We do...in good time. But for now, you will learn my ways, Robin Hood." And with that Marcus faded out taking Marion with him, but his ominous words hung heavy in the air.
End of part 27
Robin paced the floor of his large room. If it weren’t for the fact that he was in, well, hell -the accommodations would be very enjoyable. The surroundings were lovely, the company exquisite, the food spectacular. The only thing that Robin found physically uncomfortable was the heat. The temperature was a constant minimum 95 degrees. The silk he wore was soaking wet in a matter of minutes making it necessary for Robin to shed his shirt and search out water to cool himself with but none was to be found.
He was also annoyed that the "ladies" that were supplied for his pleasure would not take no for an answer. They were constantly leading him towards the plush bed rubbing his chest with their long fingers kissing his arms and back despite his pushing them away.
"If you really want to please me ladies, find out where Marian Fitzwalter is being kept" Robin tried once only to find they were not listening to a word he was saying. It was if they were in a trance with their only objective to please Robin.
So Robin kept moving around the room to try to find an escape from his prison and from his entertainment. Unfortunately, he could find no relief from either. It wasn’t long before Marcus reappeared looking disappointed at Robin.
"You don’t appear to be enjoying the wonderful things I have given you" he bellowed.
"No, I am not. If your intention is to please me Marcus, return me to Sherwood
Forest" Robin blurted out swinging around in his tracks. Marcus gave a hearty laugh then beckoned Robin to join him. "I will show you the rest of my world" he said eyes flashing.
"Do I have a choice"? Robin again shot back at his host.
"Not hardly" returned the beast as there was a flash of light and Robin suddenly found himself in different surroundings redressed in a clean shirt.
In the distance he could see Marion seated in a chaise lounge being fed grapes by several lovely gentlemen. She was dressed in black and scarlet silk not looking in the least uncomfortable.
"What have you done to her" Robin whispered watching in horror.
"I promised you no harm would come to her provided you cooperate Robin. I have simply temporarily erased you and your world from her memory to make her stay here more comfortable" Marcus replied with an evil smile.
Robin watched as she teased these men and was rewarded with goblets of wine and slices of cheese all of which she ate out of their fingers.
Robin felt mixed emotions all of which Marcus easily read and this gave the devil great satisfaction. Again, he was eating away at his defenses...it was just a matter of time.
"Come, we will have dinner" Marcus stated going to take Robin by the arm.
Robin quickly turned his eyes away from Marion and jumped back to keep Marcus from touching him.
"You'll not win that easily" Robin commented quickly.
Marcus laughed and walked ahead of Robin. Robin hurried to catch up and in doing so found himself getting lightheaded from the heat. He reached up and wiped his forehead with his sleeve.
"Bit warm for you Robin"? Marcus asked teasingly.
"All the more reason to conclude our business in a timely manner" Robin hissed back eyes glaring.
They passed beautiful flowers and fountains, but as Robin went to go towards the water for relief from the heat, he saw that the water boiled and steamed and would provide no relief from the heat at all.
Entering a large room draped with tapestry and silk swags, Robin noted a very long table filled with luscious foods and golden candelabras. Music played, but not a pleasant melody, more of a hypnotic eerie ballad. Despite the heat, Robin felt a chill run up his spine. The line was fine between pleasurable and disgusting and he realized that Marcus was designing it that way.
They seated themselves and as they sat Robin thought how he would have to find Marcus' weakness concluding that anyone, man or beast, has a weak point.
"It is necessary to even eat in hell eh Marcus"? Robin jested.
"Actually, food is just a pleasurable experience. It is not necessary for survival...unless you are here and are not dead" He bellowed with laughter.
"The ladies in my room are also strictly pleasure too right? Is there anything necessary in this place"? Robin questioned seeking more clues.
"Just the residents paying homage only to their true god, Satan" he replied casually.
"And if they don’t? You'll send them where"? Robin further questioned.
"No...not send them anyplace. Just make their eternity very uncomfortable"
Marcus finished removing all of the meat from what appeared to be a chicken leg. But Robin did not assume anything here, "Your not eating Robin...how do you expect to match my strength if you starve yourself" Marcus wined.
"Not hungry" Robin replied, "Just tired"
"Then rest you will have" and Marcus snapped his fingers and Robin was back in his room the ladies waiting to ready him for bed.
"This is going to be a long ordeal" Robin sighed as they undressed him.
Friar Tuck and Little John rode into the woods shouting Olwyn’s name. "You must appear to us" Tuck pleaded going further and further in to the trees.
"There is nothing I can do" they heard Olwyn’s deep voice.
"Yes, but we cant just sit back and not try" Little John answered calling into the sky.
There was a bright light and sparks and crystals appeared followed by Olwyn’s appearance.
"What would you have me do Little John" Olwyn said. The two of them noticed Olwyn looking very tired and pale.
"You've already been trying haven’t you" Tuck concluded by Olwyn’s dark circles under his eyes,
"And will continue to, Little John" he admitted to the two of them.
"Do you believe he and Marion are alright"? Tuck asked begging for reassurance.
"Yes, for now" Olwyn replied closing his eyes and rubbing them with his hand.
Olwyn suddenly looked up as the ground began to shake again and steam erupted before them.
"You have got to try a different entrance sometime" Tuck responded with half a smile.
"The battle will be tomorrow" Marcus shouted at Olwyn, "I grow tired of toying with him-he gives me no pleasure"
Olwyn smiled clasping his hands together-"And he'll not give into your temptations Marcus" he replied firmly.
"It would appear so" Marcus stated with a wave of his hand leaving the three of them in a veil of sparks and steam.
"Too fast" Olwyn said in fear.
"Is there anything we can do to assist in the two of their escape tonight"? Little John tried.
"Not without destroying Robin and any chance for the fate of England" Olwyn said with conviction.
"Then we shall pray" Tuck said kneeling down holding tightly to his crucifix.
"So be it" Olwyn said disappearing as quickly as he came.
End of Part 28
Part 25 & 26 / Part 27 & 28 / Part 29 & 30
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