Part 37 & 38 / Part 39 & 40 / Part 41 & 42
Robin awoke to find himself lying on softness. He opened his eyes and saw that he was in a place of beauty. The first thing that struck him was that all the colors were more vivid that he was used to. They seemed almost luminous, the emerald green grass and cerulean blue sky. There was the sound of a waterfall and the scent of roses in the air. Robin shook his head as he slid across satin sheets and rose from the huge bed he had been lying on.
"What is this place?" Robin whispered, as he walked beneath a white marble archway to enter a garden that was splendid with every flower imaginable. Robin brushed fingertips across velvety rose petals, then bent to inhale the fragrance of white lilacs. He heard birdsong like a beautiful melody, then felt himself drawn to the waterfall in the distance. Sunlight glinted off of silver-sapphire water and Robin was enchanted.
As he walked he realized that he was not dressed in his usual attire. Instead of his brown, suede breeches, leather boots and blue tunic, he was wearing white pant, made of butter-soft leather, tucked into white, suede boots. His tunic was white as well and the linen was soft against his skin. A gold belt circled his slender waist.
"You're beautiful, Robin," a soft voice whispered. A familiar voice.
"Who are you?" Robin demanded. "Show yourself."
A shimmer of light appeared and from it emerged a young woman.
She had flowing blond hair and wore a white gown. "As you wish," she said softly.
Robin knew her. "Macadia," he breathed, remembering the angel who had saved his life. But her wings were missing and Robin realized that she had taken on mortal form. "Where are we?" he questioned. "And why have you brought me here?"
"This is paradise, Robin," Macadia replied. "Is it not beautiful?" She whirled in an circle, her gown flowing outward, and laughed with delight.
"It's very beautiful," Robin conceded. "But why am I here? What happened to Guy?"
Macadia froze and her eyes grew dark. "He wanted to kill you!" she hissed. "What do you care what happened to him, Robin? You are alive and in paradise. You should be happy." But Macadia could see that he was not. That puzzled her. What mortal could resist paradise?
Robin felt anger stirring in him. "I'm not in Sherwood?" he countered, knowing it was a silly question. Obviously he was not in Sherwood.
"I told you, you're in paradise," Macadia reminded him.
"Where is paradise located?" Robin challenged, being blunt.
Macadia shrugged. "In a realm between heaven and earth," she replied, and she saw Robin's eyes go wide at her words. He was stunned.
Robin shook his head. "Am I dead?" he whispered.
"No!" Macadia was quick to assure him. "I saved your life, remember?"
"I remember," Robin replied, feeling a wave of dizziness wash over him. He sat down on the grass and closed his eyes. "This isn't real," he whispered, trying to convince himself otherwise.
"It's...just a...dream." But when Robin opened his eyes he was still in paradise, not his bed in Sherwood. "Where are my friends?" he asked, feeling fear ripple through him.
Macadia grimaced, then dropped down beside Robin. She tangled her fingers in his soft, dark hair. "They're fine," she allowed, feeling a touch huffy. Robin was in paradise, with her, and all he could talk about was his friends and enemies. Imperfect humans beneath his notice, and no longer his concern.
Robin pulled away from Macadia's touch. He stood up and glared down at her. "Why have you brought me here?" he demanded, hands on hips and his expression stern.
"You belong here," Macadia said, rising to her feet as well. She smiled and it was like sunshine breaking through gray clouds. Radiant. "You belong with me, Robin. Here...in paradise. You have earned it."
"I'm...flattered," Robin replied, and a part of him was sincere. But then he shook his head, trying to make sense of things.
"Macadia...you're an angel. If I'm with you...then I'm dead."
She felt a flash of anger and it sparked in her eyes. "I told you that you're alive, Robin!" Macadia hissed. "Very much alive."
Suddenly her anger faded as she realized that
she had a wonderful secret to reveal to him. "Always alive," Macadia whispered,
one hand reaching out to press against Robin's cheek. "I have made you
immortal," announced. Then she waited for his reaction. It wasn't what
she had hoped. Robin threw back his head and laughed.
Marion sat by the lake. She had been there since dawn. Olwyn had left her there several hours ago, after bringing her the news that Robin was no longer on this plane. No longer on earth. Marion had turned pale, believing that Olwyn meant that Robin was dead.
"Not dead," the ancient magician had declared. "He is very much alive, but in a realm that is beyond mortal comprehension. Robin is immortal now." And that was all the explanation that Olwyn had offered.
"Robin.." Marion whispered, as tears rolled down her face. Immortal or dead, didn't make much difference as far as she was concerned. Robin was gone. With that, Marion bent her head and wept.
Olwyn went to the Ruins of Shire's Keep. Once there he called upon his great teacher. Eyes closed, Olwyn reached out to Merlin. Much time passed before the Ancient sorcerer appeared.
"Why do you call me?" Merlin questioned, his voice booming like thunder, and his presence brighter than the sun.
"I need your help," Olwyn replied. "To find Robin Hood and bring him back. England needs him."
Merlin nodded. "She does," he allowed. "But Robin is beyond your reach now," he said sadly.
Olwyn refused to accept that. "Is there no way to reach him?"
"Only one way," Merlin whispered. "And it requires a mortal sacrifice."
"Explain," Olwyn beseeched. Then he fell silent as Merlin did so.
In order to free Robin from the realm to which Macadia had taken him, one of Robin's friends would have to be willing to sacrifice their life for him. In which case the greater powers would force Macadia to return Robin to his earthly realm. But there would be a difference. Not only would Robin still have his powers, but he would be immortal as well. His mortal life forever changed. Himself changed.
Olwyn sighed when Merlin had finished his tale and faded away. He made his way slowly home. For two days he paced and pondered, then he headed to Sherwood Forest. It was time to tell Robin's friends of what he had learned. He could not make the choice for them. Olwyn knew that without Robin Hood, England would fall prey to the tyranny of Prince John and to the darkness of evil powers. And so Robin's friends would be given the chance to decide. Would one of them be willing to sacrifice themselves for the outlaw? Olwyn knew the answer, but it did not cheer him. For he knew that Robin would not be willing to accept the sacrifice in his behalf.
"Forgive me, Robin," Olwyn whispered, his eyes bright with unshed tears. "But we all have sacrifices to make. And you, Robin, must accept that your destiny is greater than anyone life. No matter how precious to you." And even as his words echoed then faded, Olwyn waved his hands. A heartbeat later he materialized inside the compound that Robin called home. And Marion, Tuck, Little John and Kemal stared at him in surprise.
End of part 39
Robin smiled warmly at Macadia seeing he had angered her with his laughter.
"Macadia, I know you have my best intentions at heart but I don’t belong here.
At least not yet".
Again Macadia appeared visually upset. "Robin how could you say that"?
"I have a life on Earth with my friends helping to protect the Saxon people from
Prince John until King Richard returns".
"But how many times have you been injured to the point of almost forfeiting your life for these worthless mortals" her temper was now showing itself again.
"God has given me the ability to defend these people Macadia. what kind of man would I be if I did not try to help them" again he smiled trying to calm her temper.
"Robin, I have made it so that you will never suffer pain again. You will always be safe and happy with me, here in Paradise" she smiled reaching for his hand. Now it was Robins turn to lose his temper, something he swore to Olwyn he would not do.
"Macadia, I have no desire to live forever" he said trying to keep his temper in check.
"You will remain with me for eternity Robin Hood and that is final" And with that she waved her hand and vanished.
Robin sighed looking around again at the beautiful garden which suddenly turned very, very ugly to him.
"Olwyn...I need you now more than ever...where are you"?
'Olwyn, what is it? Is Robin alright" Marion blurted out running to the ancient sorcerer.
The concern reflected in Olwyns eyes sent fear through Marion as the others gathered around as well.
Marion had explained to her friends what Olwyn had told her. Everyone knew there were strange things going on and the sudden appearance of Olwyn sent panic through all.
'I have just met with the Great Merlin" Olwyn said just above a whisper.
"Can we get Robin home"? Marion asked quietly searching his eyes for answers.
Olwyn paused as if searching for a way to explain what Merlin had told him.
"Robin has a way to return but at a great cost" Olwyn started.
"What....what is it Olwyn"? Little John stammered in excitement.
"He will remain an immortal for all time" Olwyn continued "Which means this will alter his life forever".
"But he could be back with us"? Tuck said touching Olwyns arm.
"The higher powers have agreed to counter Macadias plans, the angel who took Robin" Olwyn said dropping to a stool, his legs suddenly not strong enough to support his weight, "They feel if there is one mortal who feels strongly enough of Robins importance to lay down their life for him and the work that he does, then that would be all the proof they would need that the world needs him".
Without hesitation, Marion, Little John, Friar Tuck and Kemal rushed forward around Olwyn, all talking at once volunteering to be the one to forfeit their
lives to return Robin to Sherwood.
Olwyn smiled and raised his hand to silence them. "It has also occurred to me to be the one, but this is easy compared to the other part of the proposition".
Olwyns head dropped with the knowledge of the problems this part would present, "Robin must agree to accept the mortal sacrifice in exchange for his return as an immortal".
Silence fell on the group as they all looked at each other knowing what the other was thinking.
"There is no way Robin will agree to that" Kemal said finally saying what they all were thinking.
"Olwyn is there any way we can see Robin or talk to him"? Marion asked tentatively.
"I don’t know"
Robin returned to his room and paced the marble floors for a while, then laid down on the plush bed. He was working on plan but it was difficult being he wasn’t dealing with mortal beings. His thoughts took him deeper and deeper.
He laid on his back hands locked behind his head. So deep in thought was he that he did not notice Macadia materialize in the room. She stood in the shadows watching Robins long torso stretched the length of the bed, his long silky hair draped across the satin pillows.
Yet she couldn’t help but notice that even though he was surrounded by these luxuries, he appeared to be so sad.
Out of the corner of his eye he saw a motion in the farthest point in the room and smiled slightly to himself. He turned on his side on the bed pulling his knees up to his chest and bowing his head.
She had to find out what was so wrong. She walked further into the room and
approached his bed and noted that he did not acknowledge her presence.
"Robin" she said softly.
He did not answer.
"Robin, it is dinner time. Why don’t you join us?" she beckoned.
"What is the point if you are immortal. You cant starve to death"
"For the pleasure of the taste of the food" she said brightly but he didn’t even look up at her.
"Robin. Look at me," Macadia pulled him over on his back and noticed his tear stained cheeks.
"Robin, what is it? Why do you cry"? she pleaded.
"I'm alone Macadia" he responded voice very deep.
"Far from it. You are surrounded by angels. Ones who love you almost as much as I do" she said pleading with him.
"I'm alone" he turned back again on his side away from the blonde haired beauty.
He pulled his knees back up glancing over his shoulder to make sure she was watching. 'I have lost everyone dear to me" he buried his face in the pillow and sobbed.
"Robin, go back to being mad at me...anything but this. I cant bear to see you cry" she said softly touching his arm.
"Leave me, please Macadia" he sobbed.
She pulled away with a look of horror. "I'll be back later" and with that she turned and hurried out of the room.
Robin turned back on his back with a smile.
"This may work" he mumbled to himself.
End of Part 40
Part 37 & 38 / Part 39 & 40 / Part 41 & 42
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