Olwyn slowly pulled the fur flap back on Robin's hut and stepped out into the group of people who had assembled outside.
"How is he"? Little John finally broke the stillness.
"He will need to rest for a bit, but he'll be fine. He is a very strong man"
Olwyn said in his deep echoing voice.
"Olwyn, you know how I feel about magic", Marion started eyes searching the old sorcerer's face for answers, "but what exactly happened here. I am sure there was magic involved somewhere".
Olwyn swept his robes before him headed for a upturned log a few feet away and promptly and unceremoniously sat down facing Robin's friends.
"To put it as simply as possible, Robin is Robin again... no frills, just Robin"
Marion still looked at him with doubt in her eyes.
"What I am saying Marion is, if he is shot in the heart with an arrow tomorrow, he will die just as you would. No tossing lightening bolts from his fingertips, no vanishing into thin air on his own powers. He is as mortal as anyone here"
As if the news was too much for Marion, she slowly sank down on a log along side Olwyn relief apparent. "That also means no more trouble," she said a smile bright enough to light all of Sherwood crossing her face.
"But, that also means no heroic feats that would kill a normal man" Olwyn reminded her.
"He'll be just Robin" John said also smiling.
"I say we prepare a celebration feast" Tuck shouted and a crowd shouted "Yeah" in front of him.
"You will join us" Marion asked much to Olwyn's surprise.
"Normally I would decline, but coming from such a lovely young lady, how could
I refuse" and as the four of them stood together, it was apparent to all that a certain "ax" was buried deep in Sherwood that day and that things would now be different between Marion and Olwyn. The warrior woman knew that Olwyn had done a lot to bring her Robin home to her again.
As dinner cooked and lutes played and children sang, all looked up when the fur flap again drew back on Robin's hut and the outlaw emerged holding onto the door frame. He paused looking out at the happy sea of faces before him and smiled in returned quickly saying "Don’t stop now, I was just beginning to enjoy it"
Everyone clapped and laughed as John and Tuck ran to Robins side assisting him to a bench where he was the center of the activities.
"Guys, this isn't necessary" he laughed trying to get up.
"Not hardly" John pushed him back down.
"Olwyn explained what happened Robin" Marion smiled "Welcome back to the world of mere mortals"
Robin began laughing very hard until he grabbed his side with an "Ouch"!
"Oops...sorry" Marion replied sheepishly.
The festivities went well into the night with laughter, dancing and gaiety.
Robin was showered with attention from all of the camp members and Olwyn,
Lord Drake and Johanna enjoyed watching him even in his weakened state,
blushingly take in the compliments.
At one point Robin looked up at Lord Drake and signaled the older man over.
"Could I impose on you to give me a hand and take a walk with me"? he implored.
"Of course son" the nobleman responded assisting Robin to his feet and allowing him to put his arm around his shoulder and lead him away from the crowd. As soon as they were out of earshot Robin looked down on Lord Drake and smiled. "I had something I just had to share with you" Robin said smiling sentimentally.
"Do tell" Lord Drake returned seating Robin on a stool and standing before him.
"I was able to make amends with my real father" Robin said eyes filling with tears.
"Your real father? But how?"
"Long story, but we sat talking just as you and I are now. He told me how proud he was of me becoming Robin Hood whether I lost our lands or not. Now I can go on with my life Lord Drake" he said reaching up and wiping the tears with the back of his hand.
"Is there room for me and Johanna in that life"? Lord Drake asked tentatively.
"I told you once you would always be a part of my life...father," Robin said embracing the older man.
Tears spilled down Lord Drakes face as he hugged Robin carefully. "I love you too son"
The two men stood holding each other for what felt like a lifetime until they heard a small voice behind them "Is there room for one more at this family reunion"?
Both turned to see Johanna standing with her hands folded in front of her.
"Is there room for me...brother"?
Robin realized that she was telling him that she would learn to love him as a brother rather than a romantic pursuit.
Robin reached out with one arm pulling her into the trio and they laughed and cried until the crowd caught up with them drawing them back to the party. Marion walked back to Robin looking down at his wet cheeks and smiled warmly.
THAT was her old Robin, the wonderfully warm sentimental man she had
come to know and love and standing next to him. She took his face in the
palms of her hands looking down into his big brown eyes and pleaded "Robin,
promise me you wont ever leave me again".
By Shelly Quinn
A month had passed since Robin had returned home to his friends and family. During that time Lord Drake and his daughter had returned to their home, but had extended an open invitation to Robin and his friends to come and visit them at any time. Robin had promised to do so...often.
But, for now, he was walking through the forest with Olwyn at his side. Had needed to talk things over with his mentor. So much had happened in the past year and Robin had trouble sorting some things out. "Olwyn," he began, coming to a halt so he could look at the Magician as he spoke. "What happened to me. Was it meant to be?"
"It was," Olwyn allowed. "You are the Chosen One, Robin. Mortal, yet unlike other men. You have a pure heart and the light of magic within you. That much has not changed."
"So...someday...I will have powers?" Robin queried, remembering the time he had spent with Olwyn and Mortiana, as they had tried to teach him to use his newfound magic.
Olwyn saw fear shimmer in dark eyes and he laid a comforting hand on Robin's shoulder. "You will come to me and you will learn," he replied. "But not for many years to come. When the time is right."
Robin heaved a sigh of relief. "So...I can just be myself for a while?" he countered, his mischievous glint in his eyes.
"For a while," Olwyn drawled, and he was pleased to see a smile light up Robin's face, revealing dimples in the lean cheeks. "But understand that your destiny can change, young one. You are mortal which means that you can die. Do not make foolish choices, or sacrifice yourself unwisely." Olwyn's word were meant as a warning, for he knew that Robin would give his life to save another without a second thought.
"I understand," Robin replied. He didn't want to die. Not now. Not when he a wonderful future was staring him in the face. The future he had always dreamed of. King Richard returning from the Crusades and granting Robin his lands and titles back. Then he could marry Marion and they could have a family. But Robin would never leave Sherwood and his people. Never trade his family and friends for wealth and status. He would use his lands and money to make their lives easier. That was his dream. Glancing up at the sun, Robin was startled to realize it was nearly midmorning. "I have to go," he said, smiling at Olwyn.
"Go?" the magician repeated, a frown marring his brow. "Go where?"
Robin laughed, then hugged his mentor, sensing the other man's surprise at his gesture. Then he was turning away, heading back towards where he'd left his stallion grazing. "I'm off to rob and run," he replied. "The others are waiting."
Olwyn understood. "Have...fun," he called after his young charge.
"I will!" Robin shouted, then he sprinted off.
"Put him down gently, Little John," Robin ordered, a smile curving his lips as he stared at the Norman Lord that the giant was dangling over the side of the carriage. Robin was leaning against a tree, arms folded over his chest. He was happier than he could ever remember being, eyes flickering over to Marion and Tuck, who were stuffing pouches of gold and jewels into their saddle bags. This was where he belonged.
"Okay, Robin," Little John replied, as he lowered the fat Norman to the ground, then jumped off the roof of the carriage. And just in time, for an arrow whizzed through the place where Little John had been just a heartbeat ago.
Robin ducked reflexively, his eyes darting about in search of the shooter. His bow was in hand, an arrow notched in the string even as he spotted his foe. A soldier perched in a tree. Robin aimed and fired and the soldier fell to the ground with a thud. But he wasn't alone. "SCATTER!" Robin ordered, even as he ran for his horse. He leaped onto the stallion's back and grabbed the reins. Was ready to head off when he saw that Marion had been targeted, an arrow aimed at her back. "No!" Robin shouted, and dug his heels into his horses flanks. As he galloped forward, the soldier released the arrow.
Marion turned in time to see death bearing down on her. No time to react. She closed her eyes, waiting for the arrow to pierce her heart, but heard a whoosh instead and her eyes flew open. Saw the arrow clutched in Robin's hand and he notched it on his bow, drew back, took aim and let fly. The soldier dropped dead, his own arrow protruding from his chest. Marion smiled at Robin and her eyes glowed with gratitude, and love. "Thank you," she whispered.
"You're welcome," Robin replied, blinking back tears. He had come so close to losing her. But hadn't lost her. They were all alive and well for the remaining soldiers had run off in terror after seeing Robin snatch the arrow out of the air. Nothing special for him. And old trick, in fact. Had saved the life of another beautiful woman once before, in the same manner. Gillian.
"You all right?" Tuck asked, as he joined Robin and Marion. He asked the question of them both.
Robin smiled at the Friar. "Right as rain," he replied, happily, and his words brought back another wash of memories. Of Gillian and Percy. Warm memories that Robin cherished. He sighed as contentment washed over him then grinned at his friends. "Let's go home," he stated, loving the sound of the word. Home.
Little John nodded. "After you, Robin," he replied. But he sensed that another adventure waited around the bend. Life with Robin was never dull or boring. And that was just the way Little John liked it.
As the gates drew back and Robin and his "partners in crime" rode into the compound, Robin looked around and sighed.
"Robin, you seem different after your illness" Marion said softly dismounting and walking over to the handsome young man.
Robin thought a moment before answering. Though details were still not totally clear to him, he knew that he was given a second chance at life. Once again he had cheated death and he was sure that there was a specific reason. He was Robin Hood the legend, the Outlaw of Sherwood. But just as he had been given a chance to revisit his past, he was sure he was also allowed to glimpse the future.
"Marion, take a ride with me" he said running back towards his grey.
"Don't ask me why, just please join me" he beckoned with pleading eyes.
Without saying a word, she remounted and followed Robin out of the compound.
Robin took a slower pace, keeping his horse at a gentle canter as he rode back through the forest and trees until finally they came upon the edge of Sherwood. Cutting across a field, Robin rode to a large, overgrown tree and swung down off of his steed running across the meadow.
Marion ran to catch up with him and heard him let out another deep sigh. "It DID happen though" he mumbled almost to himself.
"What are you talking about Robin? You speak in riddles these days" Marion was totally confused by his actions.
Then it became clear as Robin reached out to clear the trunk, brushing away some vines that had grown up the bark. There, beneath the leaves of the vine was deeply carved into the bark R.L. & M. F., the color deeply aged with years and years of exposure to the elements.
"My God, Robin, I had forgotten this place" she gasped in recognition. "You do remember it though"?
"Of course! How could I forget all those discussions we had at the base of this tree"?
Robin decided not to try to understand. He felt content in the knowledge that the whole trip in time was not the result of a fevered dream. He had been with his father, he had set things straight with him and he had said good bye.
He now had a life time ahead of him to rob from the rich and give to the poor until Richards return. Then he could marry his one and only love and he could continue to assist Richard to restore England to it's former glory while Marion took care of all of their children.
He looked at the warrior woman standing before him again thinking how beautiful she was and knowing their love had grown stronger and stronger with every year that passed.
"What is it Robin"?
A gust of wind picked up across the meadow blowing his hair back revealing tear stained cheeks.
"I have to be the luckiest man alive" he whispered a gentle smile curving his lips. He pulled the auburn haired beauty into his arms and softly kissed her hair. He thought how all that happened had caused him to grow up and appreciate all that he had despite what he had lost. Perhaps that was the soul purpose for his 'adventure'. And if that was the case, it worked!
As they walked back to the horses Robin spoke to Marion of his plans to rob a gold shipment scheduled for transport to Prince John from his tax collectors and Marion gave a little laugh. Things were truly back to normal in Sherwood.
Part 67 & 68 / Part 69 & 70 / Part 71 & 72 / Part 73, 74 & 75
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