"Little John, I'm going to tell you now a story I know from Olwyn. He trusted it to me if someday something would happen as today. No one is acquainted except me and him not even Robin. And now, please listen carefully." John nodded.
"When Robin lost his home, his castle and his family many years ago he had to escape into the Sherwood Forest as you know. At this time he left everything behind and he had no time to say goodbye. It gnaws on him till today. Well, his father had a new love after the death of Robin's mother. This wouldn't have been a problem if she were of noble blood. But she wasn't.
She got pregnant. A little girl was born. And though Robin knew that this wasn't right in the societies opinion he loved his half-sister over all. You never found him anywhere else. He was always with her. Up to the day when the Locksley Castle was invaded. He had to escape and to leave his little sister that was like a real one to him."
"Does Marion know anything of this?" Little John asked listening interested.
"No," the answer came, "because he even had to hide her from his nearest relatives. This wasn't always easy for him. The little one was only five years old when he had to leave. This all happened fifteen years ago. Her name was Rachel Cole. She was descendent from an old family of medicine men.
From generation to generation a strange gift was passed on. When one of them took another ones hands he could feel if the person would be dead or alive. They knew when somebody would die even before he did. Now, Robin’s sister has this fantastic gift, too. Besides this she has an unbelievable knowledge of medicine tasks from her uncle who brought her up. She has the understanding of a real big medic’s. This young women is now about twenty years old and she's Robin's only chance to survive."
"But where can we find her" Little John queried unbelieving.
"I'm sure you have heard of the strange healer of Sherwood Forest. That's her."
"Tuck, don't you know? Nobody knows where to find her! Not even we know it, though, we know the Sherwood as ourselves." John was angry and feeling up to the high because Tuck wasted their time with such a nonsense although he knew that Robin's time was running out.
"I know where she lives. Let's go to the horses. Hurry up!! While you are saddling I'm going to explain it to you." With this both of them left.
Not even fifteen minutes later, Little John arrived at the strange healers hut. She lived so near to the compound, on a place they passed day by day but none of them ever realized that somebody would live there. But at least Tuck explained him this was what she wanted. A little bit shy and not convinced at all of what he did he went to the entrance Tuck had described. Even before somebody could have noticed him he heard a warm female voice from inside the hut which told him to enter.
When he stepped into the small room he couldn't see anybody at first. But then a small dainty woman came out of a dark corner. She had long dark hair and she wore a simple linen dress. The lines of her face were both gentle and hard. She waved him to sit down. Little John didn't dare to contradict because he didn't know what to think of all this happening around him. On one side she seemed to be warm and compassionate, on the other cold and rejecting.
"I..." Little John couldn't say anymore. The strange woman was breaking into his speech.
"Wait a moment. I only need some herbs and then I'll come. We mustn’t waste Robin's time. His injury is really serious. The one arrow is much to near to his heart. We must hurry up 'cause it could move caused by an unfortunate accident and Robin would be dead within minutes." Her words came quickly and earnest and in her voice the wind of sorrows was blowing.
"But,... why do you know...." Again Little John couldn’t end his sentence.
"Olwyn. Only he is the reason that I know that my brother is still alive. That I live so near to the compound was pure intention. Now, let's go. Time is rare." And before he even knew what happened to him, they have been outside the door, on the back of the horses and on their way to the camp.
Friar Tuck and Lady Marion were sitting on Robin's bed expecting the coming rescue impatiently, especially Tuck because he felt that Robin was getting worse and worse with every minute passing by. Suddenly they heard horses coming near from outside which came upwards the hut. A short moment later Little John and Rachel Cole entered.
"Rachel!! I'm glad to see you. We must hurry up because I'm afraid that he is already worst." Tuck followed Rachel to Robin's bed who went to it without confusion. Marion didn't even seem to realize the young woman. She was to deep in her paining thoughts.
"Tuck, please send Marion and John away. I don't want them to see this. It is going to be very painful."
With the thought that Robin was going to be hurt Marion was suddenly up to the high and wanted to start a verbal attack. But a look of Tuck was enough to make her silent and with a painful heart she left the hut together with Little John.
Although Rachel hadn't seen her brother for a long time, over fifteen years, she remembered the time with him as if it would have never ended. She loved Robin from the deepest depth of her heart, but she loved him in another way as Marion did. She felt honored and looked up to him as little sisters used to do. So it pained her even more to see him laying down in such a bad condition. She hardly could hold back the tears burning in her eyes. But Rachel had to be strong if she wanted to help her brother.
"Friar Tuck, please tell Marion that I'll need cooking water, clean cloths and some light. While I’m waiting for this I'm going to pull out the arrow in Robin's shoulder. Send Little John to the blacksmith. Tell him that I need a knife with a sharp blade. It must be sharper than any razor. After it is made he shall heat it up once more and then he mustn't touch it without a clean cloth."
Friar Tuck did what Rachel told him to do at once, Marion and John had heard that they could help their friend they had been away. Meantime Tuck took some herbs, Rachel had asked for.
Now Rachel was alone with Robin in his hut. She couldn't keep herself behind any longer. Her tears were running down her cheeks like a burning stream of needles. She mixed a tea of different herbs that she poured into Robin's pale mouth. The tea was for easing his pains and to decontaminate his body from inside. She was panicky afraid that this tormented man, her brother, would suddenly awake and had to feel unbelievable pain. This thought was the whole time through on her mind. She hated it to be so unsecure in what she was doing. Tuck returned to Robin's home and with him Marion and Little John.
All of them brought the things with them Rachel had asked for. Marion watched Rachel suspiciously while she was treating Robin. It seemed strange to her that this woman should be sister of this man she loved so much. They were so different. Marion made herself ready to defend HER Robin if this would become necessary. The young warrior woman's weapons were sharpened determined to defend her love until no blood would run through her veins. She wouldn't leave the hut anyway. No, she would never leave her Robin once again.
Rachel realized Marion's hostility. But she wanted to help Robin with all her forces - she was determined for all, too. The moment of the truth how bad Robin's condition was came closer and closer. The healer was deadly afraid. She put Robin's hand into hers. From now you couldn't hear any whisper. Not the tiniest mouse was moving and not the smallest breeze was blowing. Finally the slack hand slid out of hers. Rachel turned to face Marion, Tuck and John. They watched her full of expectation. The following moment of silence was awesome for every one of them. Finally Little John asked:
"Is there a chance for Robin to....to survive?"
Silence again. The air in the hut was getting worse and worse. After a short while that seemed to be eternity Rachel answered:
"Yes, it is. But his life-energy his down to the lowest and his blood his only running slowly through his veins. I don't know if can save him but I'll give my very best. Please, leave now. I need quiet for this what is coming up to us now. Little John, do you have the knife I asked you for?" He gave it to her.
"Thank you. Please go now. Time is rare."
The three friends left the hut unwillingly but thy knew that they did the right thing.
Outside of Robin's hut Marion collapsed. This unbelievable rage she felt inside herself, the terrible feeling of being useless and helpless made her cry. Usually she didn't lose control but her forces were out and the knowledge that Robin could die let her lose control at all. Tuck and John weren't different. They were tired and hopeless, too. They could only think of it what a life without Robin Hood would be like. And now they had to comfort Marion though they needed some themselves.
The love between Robert of Locksley and Lady Marion Fitzwalter has been an open secret for long. Everybody knew it but the two lovers seemed not to want to realize it. Nobody has ever said that love would be an easy thing but was it really necessary to make it more difficult than it was before? Now Marion blamed herself for the same reasons which robbed Robin of so many nights sleep. But was it too late now? Should be the most beautiful thing in her life be taken away from her again before she really had it? She swore revenge. The almighty God himself was her witness. She would give everything back to Prince John what he had ever done to Robin. And if Robin would die, if he would really die, she was determined to kill him. Even if she had to hunt him around the whole world.
The whole camp was quiet at this evening. The knowledge about Robin made them all silent. The center of the village where the school, the bakery and the blacksmith and Robins hut a little bit away could be found, was empty at all. No human being was on it. No sound could be heard from the adjacent huts even the birds in the trees were silent. The only sound you could hear was the one of the little creek running endless through its small bed. Sherwood Forest was so silent like the depth of a grave.
Up to midnight of this unlucky day fog was coming up and it started raining heavily. From inside Rachel heard the rain pattering softly on the roof. She was just washing Robin because a film of cold sweat covered his body. When she was ready she took off the cloths round the arrow near at Robin's heart. Thank God, it didn't move. Then she took the little saw and she cut off the arrow short above Robin's breast.
The grip to the small scalpel, that was perfectly made by the blacksmith, was the hardest she ever had to do in her whole life. She had treated such injuries often in her life and so she knew what she had to do. She pooled all her courage and force together and made a cut above and below the entrance wound. She looked inside the wound and she didn't like what she saw there at all. The arrow almost touched the cardiac muscle and to draw it out she needed a quiet hand. With one hand she embraced the standing out piece of wood. The sweat came up to Rachel’s forehead. Her hand almost cramped as she tried not to tremble.
Piece by piece the arrow came out of the wound. Finally she made it. The head of the arrow was out of Robin's body. She threw it away from her and then her fearful look went into the open wound. They were lucky. The heart didn't seem to be hurt and no flood of dark red blood protruded. Thank God for this. After she sutured up the wound, rubbed it in with a prophylactic ointment and dressed it she sat down at Robin's bed and watched him. He lay down peacefully and the shadow of physical pain was away from his face. He was sleeping very deep and peace returned at his face's lines. Now Rachel was only worried about the wound. If it would become inflamed, Robin was dead. She was afraid that she had refused. After an hour without changes she left Robin's hut. She didn't want Marion, Little John and Tuck to wait longer.
When Rachel stepped into Friar Tuck's hut she found them praying silently. The skin round their eyes was red and strongly swelled even those of Little John who rarely cried. The three friends watched Rachel full of expectation. They couldn't read anything in her face because her face was stoned, too.
"Come with me." she said whispering.
Quietly they went their way. They entered Robin's hut which was only lighted by one lonely candle. John, Marion and Tuck sighed. Their friend was alive, the arrow was out and his breast lifted and sank under the blanket. He was alive! Marion sat down at his bed and a tear of solution ran down her pale face.
"How is he?" she asked in a monotone voice.
"We must wait at the moment if the wound becomes inflamed. But it doesn't look like that. He will survive, I'm sure."
When Rachel ended she put Robin's hand back on the bed. She felt that his life force was rising. And it was rising on and on.
"Go to sleep now. It was a hard day and it's very late. You can't do anything for him anyway. I tell you at once if something will change."
Marion looked at Rachel. But she understood without any spoken word and Marion didn't even think of it to leave Robin. Without saying anything she took some blankets and some pillows and made a bed for her next to Robin on the floor." Sleep silent, beautiful child. You'll se that everything is going to be alright tomorrow."
So Marion lay down and slept at once.
End Of Chapter Two