Chapter Six
Aunt Alice

Part 31 & 32 / Part 33 & 34Part 35 & 36

Part 35
By Shelly Quinn

Robin knew that he was dead, and yet it puzzled him that he could be dead, yet be aware of it. He opened his eyes and discovered that he was in a place that had no real substance. It was just silver shadows and shimmering mists. "Where am I?" Robin called out.

"In the realm between life and death, Robin," whispered a soft voice. And then an image appeared, of a young woman with wings and flowing blond hair. "I am Macadia," she said.

"Am I dead?" Robin whispered back.

Macadia shook her head. "Not yet. It is not time for you to die, Robin Hood. There is so much good that you need to do for
England and her people."

Robin shook his head and tears filled his eyes. "No....I can no longer help England!" he cried. "I lost my soul, Macadia. I embraced the darkness."

"You did what you had to do," Macadia replied. "You were the darkness, Robin. Yet you did not kill. And even as your body died, you forgave Mortiana for your death. That is a power that only a man of goodness and light possesses." Macadia glided forward, one hand reaching out so that her fingertips could brush away Robin's tears. "You defeated the darkness. You have passed the final test."

"Test?" Robin repeated, shaking his head as confusion seemed to whirl around him. "I don't understand."

Macadia smiled softly, her eyes flickering over Robin's beautiful face. "All that you have been asked to endure since the moment of your father's death as been a test, Robin. Your destiny was decided centuries ago. But it take a unique man to fulfill his destiny. A man who could be King, yet has no wish to rule. A man who can lead the people, yet is willing to be lead as well. The fate of England rests in your hands, Robin Hood. We had to be sure."

Robin swallowed hard as what Macadia was saying began to sink in. "What happens now?" he asked, and he let the angel see his fear.

"You must go back, Robin," she whispered. "You must return to the people who need you."

"What about my powers?" Robin beseeched. "I want to be what I was...who I was."

Macadia understood, and she offered Robin a warm smile. "You are who you are," she said softly. "Your powers are a part of you, but you can control them, Robin. You need not fear them...or yourself."

Robin closed his eyes and heaved a sigh. He knew that Macadia was right, he had to return. "We can never go back," Robin whispered. He had learned that lesson long ago. "So I will go forward," he declared, a smile curving his lips. He nodded to Macadia. "I'm ready."

"Yes...you are, Robin Hood," she replied. Then she waved one hand and the mists swirled up to engulf them both.

When Robin awoke it was to discover that he was back in Olwyn's cave. He lay upon a soft pallet and was covered by a warm fur pelt. He shoved aside the fur and slid off the bed. He was unsteady on his feet but the dizziness soon passed. There was a pitcher of cool water and a cup on the table and Robin drank his fill. Then he went in search of Olwyn.

The ancient magician was by the river that ran behind his cave. He was stunned to see Robin approaching him, and simply waited as the young man joined him.

"You look surprised to see me," Robin said, with a smile.

"I am," Olwyn conceded. "When I left you a few minutes ago, you were still in a coma."

Robin sighed. "How long have I been here, Olwyn?" he asked.

His mentor blinked, then whispered, "A fortnight."

"What about my friends?" Robin countered. "Do they think I'm dead?"

"Yes," Olwyn replied. His eyes shimmered with unshed tears. "Forgive me, lad. But Mortiana and I felt it was best not to give them false hope. That your heart beat at all after Mortiana ran you through was miracle enough. But it seemed unlikely that you would ever wake up."

Robin reached out to pat Olwyn's arm. "You did the right thing, my friend," he said gently. "For a while, I wasn't sure I wanted to come back." Robin sighed, and ran his fingers through his heavy fall of hair. "I have so much to learn, Olwyn," he whispered. "I'm afraid."

Olwyn nodded, for he understood Robin's fear. "It is good that your fear what you do not understand, my boy. But I will teach you to know your powers, and yourself. We will learn together."

"I was hoping you would say that," Robin replied, as a smile curved his lips. "But..I guess first things first. I should return to Sherwood. To my home...and my friends."

"Yes. That would be best," Olwyn allowed. He rose to his feet as Robin did. "I'll will be waiting for your return. Come when you are ready."

Robin embraced Olwyn, feeling the old man's strength as strong arms held him tight. "I'll be back soon," Robin promised. Then he turned and began his journey home.

Little John was walking outside the compound. He was supposed to be hunting, but he had no desire to do so. All he could think about was Robin. After two weeks, Little John still found it hard to believe that his best friend was dead. So dejected was he, that Little John stopped walking and slumped down onto an overturned stump.

"You won't catch much game lazing around!" Drawled a familiar voice.

"Robin?" Little John whispered, jumping to his feet. He knew that it was an impossible hope, yet he was positive that he had heard his friend's voice. A moment later Little John burst into delighted laughter as Robin appeared before him. "You're alive!" The giant shouted.

Robin tapped his chest and grinned. "Alive and well," he confirmed. But a moment later he grunted as Little John snagged him in a bear hug, then whirled him around till he was dizzy. Once he was back on his feet, Robin blinked to regain focus, then he patted Little John's cheek. "It's good to see you again, my friend," Robin said, solemnly.

Little John shook his head, then he reached out and tugged on a handful of Robin's hair. He was thrilled when Robin went "ouch." "You're really here," Little John whispered.

"I'm really here," Robin replied. "It's a long story, my friend, and one I'd rather tell only once." Robin patted Little John's arm. "Let's go home....shall we?"

"Aye, Robin," Little John replied, a smile threatening to split his face. "Let's go...home."

Marion was sharpening the blade of her sword when she heard the lookout's shout.

"It's ROBIN!" the young boy cried. "Robin Hood is alive!"

"What?" Marion whispered, jumping to her feet. Then she turned and ran towards the gate, where everyone was converging. When they swung open she nearly toppled over at the sight that greeted her. "Robin.." Marion whispered. Then a moment later she found herself in his arms.

Robin held Marion tight, feeling her tremble against him, then he allowed her to pull back, seeing that she needed a moment to assure herself that he was real. He smiled gently as her fingertips glided over his face, then tugged at his hair. Then she caressed his bicep, tracing her fingertips down to his dragon scar. Then one palm pressed against Robin's chest, over his heart.

Marion closed her eyes as she felt the thud of Robin's heartbeat against her palm. "You're alive.." she whispered, then she fainted into his arms.

End of part 35

Part 36
By Ginnie

Marion fainted dead away in Robin's strong arms-the shock that he was alive too much for the warrior woman.

"Marion? Marion!" robin gently shook her. When there was no response, he picked her up and carrying her to her hut shouted "Little John, go get Tuck".

"Sure thing Robin" and the mighty giant was off .

With a crowd of the compounds residents waiting joyfully outside to talk with their returned leader, Robin sat on the edge of Marion’s pallet placing a cool

compress on her forehead.

Slowly she moved her head from side to side and eventually her eyes fluttered open.

"I'm dreaming the same dream again aren't I"? she asked sadly.

"No, Marion, I'm here" Robin replied gently touching her face with his finger-tips.

"Your alive" hope appeared quickly in Marion’s dark eyes as she gazed up into Robin's face.

"Yes, Marion, I have returned"

The dark haired woman closed her eyes again as tears of joy spilled over onto her flushed cheeks.

"Marion-are you ok"? He dried her tears with his fingers.

"You return from the dead and ask if I am ok"? she said laughing, "Oh Robin, I thought

I lost you this time for certain" she looked up into Robins loving brown eyes and sitting up threw her arms around his neck.
Robin put his arms around her waist and clung on to her tightly, "I'm fine" Then he drew in a deep breath and looked down onto her face, "I cannot stay long Marion"

Marion gasped "Robin, you just returned! You cannot leave me again so soon".

Before Robin could explain the flap of Marion’s hut flew open and Tuck ran in. "You really are alive" Tuck sighed taking Robin into a tight embrace.

"Good to see you too Tuck-but could you take a look at Marion? She fainted at the sight of me" Robin said with a smile.

"Robin-I'm fine" she laughed "But maybe Tuck should look at our fearless leader, not everyday one returns from the dead"

Tuck stood still staring at Robin in delight. Marion swung her legs over the pallet and pulled Robin over to Tuck.

"Let’s have a look" Tuck pulled on Robins tunic.

"Not necessary Friar"

"Humor me" Tuck said with a smile but the smile rapidly faded when Robin pulled the tunic over his head revealing a large scar across his heart.

"Robin-how could a wound of that magnitude heal in two weeks"?

For just a second the image of Macadia flashed through his mind but disappeared as quickly as it came leaving no recollection of their brief encounter.

"I was somewhere very warm and pleasant"...he paused as he closed his eyes trying to recall, "I cant remember".

"Perhaps your not meant to, its not important" Tuck finished examining his friend, "Your in perfect health" he sighed in amazement.

"Never better" Robin was grinning.

"When do you have to leave"? Marion said looking downward.

"Leave"? little John and Tuck chimed in together.

"I still have to deal with these powers" Robin replied quietly, "I still have so much to learn"

"Olwyn"? Tuck inquired.

"Yes. But I'll stay for a day or two and enjoy your cooking Tuck" Robin looked at the sad faces of his friends, "I wont be gone for long, just until I learn to control these powers and use them properly".

Little John looked at the others then smiled at Robin. "We understand...really"! Tuck took one of Robins arms and Marion took the other and walked Robin outside the hut to be greeted by cheering crowds. All of them were reaching out to shake his hand or kiss his cheek as he passed by. Robins eyes glistened with unshed tears as he walked through the compound towards the cook tent.

Thinking back he could not recall the last time he had eaten, but for that matter, he realized that there were large gaps in his memory he could not account for.

After eating 3 plates full of food, Robin leaned back from the table rubbing his overly full stomach and yawned a big yawn.

"That was so good" he sighed contently. "Would you mind if I retired early"?

"Of course not" Marion smiled in return.

"Then I bid you good night"

"Let me walk you to your hut" Marion leaped to her feet and ran to join him while Little John and the good friar watched with a smile.

They got outside and away from the crowds, Robin reached down and took Marion’s small hand in his holding it tightly and swinging it as they walked.

"Marion, I keep having this vision of a woman all dressed in white". Robin said just above a whisper.

"Are you sure its a dream"?

"Yes, I am sure. The surroundings were like nothing I've ever seen before" he replied slowly.

"Robin, you lived through a fatal injury and we cant explain how. Don’t be so certain of anything"

"I suppose" Robin replied as they reached his hut" It feels so good to be home" he sighed and lifted Marion’s hand turning it over and gently kissed the palm of her hand. She shivered feeling his soft warm lips on her skin looking into his passionate brown eyes "And to have you next to me again".

Marion’s face flushed with emotion as she stood on her toes, and quickly kissed Robin's cheek turning and running for her hut heart pounding wildly in her chest.

Robin entered his hut smiling with the knowledge that his Marion cared for him as he did for her. He again pulled off his tunic throwing it on a chair and sitting down on his pallet pulled off one boot and laid back too exhausted to remove the other one. He laid back with his feet hanging over the side of his pallet and fell into a deep sleep. He felt his other boot being removed and his legs being lifted onto the bed by small hands followed by a blanket being pulled over him.

"Thank you Marion" Robin mumbled half coherently.

"Your welcome Robin" but the voice was not that of Marion.

Robin bolted upright and opened his eyes to see a beautiful blond all aglow in white, large wings beating behind her. He blinked several times trying to focus on the image.

"Now its is I who am dreaming" Robin stuttered.

"Perhaps" the voice softly returned "Sleep Robin"

"Who are you" He asked tentatively.

"I am here to help you-do not fear me." Her voice lulled Robin who was now struggling to hold his eyes open.

Now sleep Robin Hood" her voice was like a melody pulling him under. She pulled the blankets up under his chin pausing to stare at the sleeping form a smile slowly crossed her lips. "You are even more beautiful than Lancelot Robin. I will help you conquer Prince John then you will return with me as you should have after your fatal wound and be mine for eternity".

And with a bright flash the angle disappeared, leaving Robin dreaming of more pleasant days.

End of Part 36

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