Rushing through a dark hallway, Little John emerged in a great hallway. "Oh no!" he cried out, as he was joined by the others. "Were back here again!"
They were standing in the original foyer, surrounded by doors.
"It is a start," Olwyn mumbled.
"Can you find the right door?" Robin asked him.
Olwyn closed his eyes, holding his staff over his head, he began to chant a spell. All in the room saw his staff begin to glow an unearthly green. Olwyn gripped his staff tighter, as an ear splitting wail filled the room.
"You are not powerful enough to break the spell alone, Wizard!" A woman's voice shouted from within the chamber. Everyone spun around, they saw a beautiful woman standing in the center of the room. Jacobi pulled his hood down, to hide his face from her. He tightly clutched the medallion the spider woman gave him. Slowly he stepped back, leaving Robin and his companions to confront the enraged female demon.
"Of course, you may be able to stop it, if I decided to join you old man. But that would never happen!" she began to laugh hysterically.
"Forgive me if this foolish old wizard tries his hand in finding an exit from your cursed prison."
Jacobi pressed his palm on one of the many doors in the room. The medallion remained cold and lifeless in his hand. As Olwyn and the demon debated on who was stronger, he continued to test the doors.
"I do not wish to deliberate on your escape wizard, save for one man," she hissed. Stretching her arms over her head, they began to grow longer. Her skin turned to a shiny, ebony black. In seconds a giant spider stood before them. Jacobi stepped up his inspections of the doors. Suddenly, as he touched one, he felt the medallion burn his palm. Grabbing the knob, he pulled the door open. At the end of a long corridor, he spied lifesaving moonlight.
"That one must remain in the castle, as he pledged to me earlier," The spider slurred. One of its long legs pointed towards where Robin was standing.
"You're wrong!" Robin defiantly shouted. "I never made that pledge."
"Do not lie to me human! You gave your pledge to me that you would stay within this castle past dawn. I agreed in return to allow you my protection for your companions. I gave you my medallion to consecrate the deal."
"Medallion?" Marion asked. "Was this castle carved on it?"
"He knows that is what it looked like," the spider roman clacked.
"Robin," Marion said. "Remember the medallion Jacobi was clutching?"
"Yes," Robin softly said. Turning around, he searched for the hired killer. He saw his companions looking very concerned for his safety. He saw Sir Guy grinning like a cat at the prospect of Robin being forced to stay within the castle. What he did not see was his evil double. It was then that he spotted an open door.
"He must have used this medallion you spoke of to find the right door, and leave this castle."
A hissing laughter emitted from the spiders jaws. "I would not allow that to happen. You're mortal mind would not begin to understand the consequences if that were to…"
"Humor me!" Robin impatiently shouted.
At that moment Jacobi was sprinting across the courtyard. Horrific creatures filled the area. He kept the demons at bay using the medallion. The demonic beasts shied away from the dark magic. Spying the wooden gates, he rushed towards them. Leaping up, he slammed his shoulder into the large doors. They flew open, he landed hard on the ground. Standing up, he let out a relieved laugh, as he found he was standing off the castle grounds.
"Thanks Robby, fo' once in me life, I'm glad you 'ave me 'andsome looks." Giving the castle a parting salute, he shouted, "Once that castle disapears in the mornin' everyone in England will know me name, Ja…co…BI!!"
Jacobi was thrown off his feet, as the grounds around him began to shake. "Time to get your arse out of 'ere," he mumbled. Standing up, he ran over a meadow, and towards a forest in the distance. He stopped when he heard the pounding of horses hooves. Reaching down, he grabbed mud that lie in a puddle off the road. He smeared the mud on his face, and clothes. Pulling the hood to cover his hair, he began to stumble down the dirt road.
Out of the forest a team of horses galloped towards the dark castle. In the lead rode Will Scarlet. Behind him were ten soldiers, sons of William the Conqueror. They rode their mounts hard past an old man weaving down the road.
"Out of the way!" Will shouted, as he saw the hooded man boldly walking towards them. As he rode past him, he saw a face covered in dirt, he guessed him to be a charcoal burner. Many worked the forests looking to make extra money.
The sons of William the Conqueror stayed close to Will. They knew the castle ahead well. The legend of Pandora's castle was passed through each generation. It was what they were trained for their entire lives. The sons of William the Conqueror let out a call that was heard across the country side.
"That's right," Jacobi shouted, as they were far enough away they couldn't hear him. "Just ride to your deaths. Jacobi is to smart fo' that." Quickly he made his way to the forest, and freedom.
Marion stumbled towards Robin, he held her tightly in his arms, as the castle shook around them.
"What have you done Lilith?" Lucius wailed. The spider immediately fazed back into a woman.
"I did nothing Lucius, the one that pledged himself to me is here. I will soon win our battle."
"I say again, you were tricked!" Robin shouted to be heard above the bickering demons. "The one that pledged himself to you was a man that is my double. His name is Jacobi."
"What in heavens name is that?" Sir Guy screamed.
A deep rumbling echoed through the halls of the castle. "That is the end of England," Olwyn whispered. The rumbling began to grow louder.
"It appears this human is right," Lucius said. "The one that pledged himself to you has passed beyond the castle bounderies. It has begun!"
"By Merlins beard!" Olwyn gasped.
"What does it mean?" Robin demanded.
"This foolish mortal called Jacobi has awakened the army that the castle has been accumulating below," Lilith growled. "Because he broke his pledge to me, it is now an army that has no leader!"
Lucius' skin began to turn a bright red. "Once they leave the castle, they will roam this land, killing anything that gets in their way," he slathered.
Deep within the castle the creatures that lived within its walls were crying out. They were being killed by the released army. Their death cries chilled everyone to the bone.
"They are a body without a brain," Olwyn gasped. "Nothing, evil nor good is immune from their killing rage."
"How can we stop them?" Robin asked.
"This Jacobi must return to the castle before the sunrise," Lilith answered him. "If he is an evil man, they will continue their slumber."
"Is that all?" Robin asked.
"You may find it a bit more difficult Robin me lad," MacGregor called out.
"Why?" Robin asked his old teacher. "I think they may have something to say about that," MacGregor pointed at the far end of the hallway. The rumble turned into the sound of marching feet. The dead army were making their way out of Pandora's castle.
"Time to leave," Robin sung out.
With Robin taking the lead, they ran through the door Jacobi opened. "No creature will be able to escape from the army Lilith and I have been building for centuries," Lucius screamed from the chamber.
"Every time I meet an evil creature, they always want to rule the word," Robin sighed.
"Really Robin?" MacGregor panted. "Once we return to Sherwood, you really must tell me about these creatures. This old teacher of yours would love to hear about what you've been doing since the siege of castle Locksley."
"It's a date," Robin said. "If we reach Sherwood," he whispered. Coming to the end of the hallway, they all rushed out into the courtyard. They were immediately met by several creatures from the castle. They soon made quick work on them. As he fought; Robin saw the gates that led out of the castle. Plunging his sword into the chest of a horrific creature, he saw the large doors leading out were open. Quickly searching the courtyard, he saw that Jacobi was no where to be found.
"That man has more lives than a cat," he hissed.
"A black cat," Olwyn added.
"Olwyn!" Is there anyway you can stop that dark army long enough for us to find Jacobi, and bring him back here?"
"I'm afraid that would not be possible without some help," Olwyn sadly stated.
Rubbing his thumb on his chin hairs, Robin tried to think of a way to help Olwyn. He saw Lilith and Lucius floating out of the castle, onto the courtyard. Their haunted gaze stared at him and Marion.
"Can you help us?" Robin pleaded with them.
"Robin! How can you think to ask them for help?" Little John said, aghast.
"We have to choose between a greater evil, Little John."
"I will agree to help, but there is a price to pay," Lilith purred.
Robin knew exactly what she wanted. For him to pledge to stay in the castle after dawn. At the same time, Marion heard Lucius whisper inside of her head, "I will help the old Wizard pretty lady, but you also know what I want in return for my help."
Robin and Marion realized the high price they would have to pay to save the people and land they loved. Miracously, they both came to the same decision. They cried out at the same time.
"I pledge myself to you!"
"Done!" Lilith and Lucius agreed.
"Marion NO!" Robin cried out.
"Robin, I love this land just as deeply as you do. I made a pledge to help you, to stay by your side, and fight for what you believe in. Besides the deal is done," she sadly said. "For the both of us. You can't get rid of me that easy," she whispered.
"Come Wizard, we have work to do," Lilith beconed.
"And so do we," Robin told his companions.
"Oh please!" Sir Guy scoffed, "What do I care about an army of the dead? All I want to do is go back to my castle!"
"Do you care that all of your servants will be killed?" Robin snarled. "Why Sir Guy, who will be left to dress, cook and protect you?"
"I suppose, I may be able to help," he mumbled. "How can we hope to stand up to that dark army?"
"I think they will be able to help us," Little John said, as he pointed to the gate leading out of the courtyard.
Through the gates rode Will Scarlet, and the Sons of William the Conqueror. "Robin, why didn't you invite me to this little party?" Will asked, with a pleased grin on his face.
"Sorry Will, next time I find a haunted castle I'll be sure to give you an invitation."
"We are the sons of William the Conqueror," the eldest man declared. "We come here to help you in your cause."
"There's your help, Sir Guy," Robin said.
As the men began to dismount, MacGregor grabbed a horse. "Since you are bound here Robin, me lad. I will go and find Jacobi."
"Where is 'e going?" Will asked.
"Jacobi escaped from this castle," Robin explained. "If he isn't brought back before the sun rises, then all of England is lost."
"Just can't leave you alone fo' one minute," Will grumbled.
"It comes with being Robin Hood," Tuck said.
"Why are you lettin' this old man go Rob? I can 'andle Jacobi me self. I was born in these parts. It's where I first 'ad me taste of a woman's lips."
"No tasting this time Will. We need you to get Jacobi back as fast as possible. With Andrew MacGregor!" Robin insisted.
"All right Rob, just stick me with this old man. And tries not to 'old me back," Will growled, as he clicked his heels on his mount's sides.
"I promise this old man won't be a burden," MacGregor panted, as he galloped across the drawbridge.
"I'll 'old you to that," Will shouted back. "Fortunately we 'ave a leg up. When we rode 'ere, I saws a man with a 'ood standing on the road. I'd bet me father's eyes that was Jacobi."
"Let us hurry then, we do not have much time," MacGregor insisted.
"Just tires to keep up with me, old man," Will taunted him, as he rode his horse hard.
"Ah the follies of youth," MacGregor sighed. It was not the first time he worked with a cocky young man. He knew in the end it would be his cool head, and years of experience that would help them capture Jacobi.
Robin ran back into the castle. He raced down the dark hallway and emerged in the hall of doors. He saw Olwyn standing in the center. He was surprised the elder man had managed to keep up with him. Lilith and Lucius were by his side. Robin pulled out his sword, as he saw the first soldier of the dark army emerge from the bowls of the castle.
Grasping his staff before him, Olwyn closed his eyes. "Clasp my staff," he ordered the two demons.
"We do not join forces with a wizard!" Lucius huffed.
"Then we will not keep our pledge," Robin announced.
"Fools," Lucius hissed. "The deed is done. I know your noble hearts will not allow you to break your word."
Robin immediately pulled out a small knife. "If you know me so well. Then ask yourself this. Will my noble heart allow me to kill myself before the sun rises?"
"Yes," Marion stepped up to Robin. She also held a knife clutched in her hand. The sharp tip was poised over her stomach. "What good are we to you if we're dead?"
"You wouldn't!" Lilith scoffed.
"No my dear Lilith," Lucius sighed. "I believe they would. With so many thieves and the scum of this world stumbling into our castle, we've forgotten that good people do exist in this outside world."
With a nod of consent, Lucius placed his hand on one side of Olwyn's staff. After a moment of hesitation, Lilith followed him. Once they all were touching the staff, a stream of red light flew out, striking the front line of the marching dead. A relieved grin parted Robin's lips, as he saw the army come to a stop. His grin soon turned to a frown, as he saw them slowly resume their deadly march.
"We've only managed to slow them down," Olwyn shouted. "Robin, you and the others must use your swords to end their march."
"How do you kill something that is already dead?" Little John asked.
"You don't John, you just try to stop them," Robin answered him. Holding his sword ahead of him, he slashed it at one of the skeleton's legs. In one swift movement, he managed to break the brittle knees of a long dead, Roman soldier. It fell to the ground in a heap. It's reaction slowed by Olwyn's spell, it was unable to defend itself quick enough. Robin quickly moved on to the next soldier.
"For William the Conqueror!" a chorus of voices cried out, as ten men plunged heartily into battle.
Glancing at each other, Marion, Little John, Tuck, and Thomas shrugged their soldiers. "For England!" they shouted, as they joined the battle.
They all fought hard to keep the dark army in the castle.
"How long can we keep this up?" Marion gasped, as she slashed her sword through the ankles of a Germanic soldier.
"As long as it takes for Will and MacGregor to bring Jacobi back," Robin shouted.
"I pray they return soon," Thomas grunted. He swung his heavy sword to the side. He felt as if he were reaping wheat, as he was able to knock down two skeletal soldiers in one swipe.
"I pray they get along," Little John said. "Will likes to do things his way…Thomas duck!" he shouted. Holding a kicking soldier over his head, he threw it Thomas' way. Thomas dropped to the ground as a Saxon guard sailed over him. It slammed into four advancing skeletal soldiers.
"Five down," Little John happily declared.
"Ten thousand to go," Thomas glumly said.
"Will, you'd better get your butt back here as fast as you can," Little John whispered.
At the moment, Will and MacGregor crested a large hill. As they gazed below, they saw a large marsh that filled a small valley. In the distance they could just make out Jacobi struggling in the mud.
"Oh, this is my lucky day," Will said, with a chuckle. "We'll 'ave 'im back in that castle before the sun rises."
He was about to urge his mount down the hill, until MacGregor gripped his arm.
"Wait," he sternly said. "I don't believe that way will be best. If you look at…"
"Listen old man," Will cut him off. "We 'ave to get to 'im as fast as possible. On the other side of this 'ere march lies an old forest. If 'e gets in there, we'll never finds 'im. If you're afraid of a little mud, old man, then stay 'ere."
"It's not that, I just think…"
"We don't 'ave time for you to think," Will growled. "Now let me go."
Releasing him, Will slashed his reins on his horses rump. He galloped hard down the hill, and into the center of the marsh.
"Ah Adin, young men never learn," MacGregor addressed his mount. Leaning over he patted his muscular neck. "What say we teach this fool hardy man a lesson?" The horse nodded its head, neighing its approval.
"Then let us hurry, all of England is in danger." Clicking his heels, they galloped down the left side of the hill.
Will let out a curse, grabbing the reins of his horse, he dug his feet in the mud. The horse refused to go any further into the sticky, smelly marsh. As it jerked its head back, Will lost his grip on the reins. Windmilling his hands, he landed with a plop on his back in the mud.
"That's it, you're going to be tomorrows dinner!" he snarled. Sitting up he saw his mount galloping away. The brightness of the full moon illuminated his escape. "I don't need 'im," he mumbled. "I know a short cut. I'll be the one to get Jacobi back, not that old man."
Traipsing through the mud, Will heard a horse whinny. Looking up, he distantly saw MacGregor and his mount slowly making their way at the west side of the marsh.
"You'll never get 'im from there, old man." Will shouted. He quickened his steps. The night was moving fast.
Round Robin site / Pandora's Home Site / Chap Fourteen