Joshua and Marion came into the clearing as Robin was waking out of his trance.
"There you are, we’ve been looking for you." Marion said concerned.
Robins eyes were half open. He felt as if he slept for a week. Confused he searched around himself. The last thing he remembered was fetching some wood for the fire. Suddenly he felt very cold, he then realized his tunic was lying on the forest floor. Quickly he bend down and grabbed it, along with his belt, and started putting them on. Looking thoroughly confused now Robin surmised.
"I guess I was sleep walking."
"Yes, I guess." Joshua agreed.
"Why did you take your tunic off?" Marion asked.
Trying to remember what happened, Robin let out a gasp of pain. Looking at his palm he saw that he had cut himself. Marion immediately grabbed his hand and examined it.
"Now I wonder how I did that?" Robin softly said.
"Its cut on your life line." Joshua quietly remarked.
Taking his handkerchief out Joshua sneezed several times into it. Turning he looked in the direction the wolf had gone. Robin just gazed at his palm in amazement.
"So it is." Robin chuckled. "Funny it would follow it so precisely"
"Yes, Funny!" Joshua returned. His back was still to them.
"Yeah funny." Marion sarcastically mocked. "Common Robin lets get you back to camp and take care of that." Searching around Robin now realized that his sword was missing.
"By the way, you haven’t seen my sword have you?" He asked the others.
"Its back by the camp." Joshua flatly said.
"Thank you." Robin said to Joshua.
Joshua just ignored him. looking in the direction that the wolf had left.
Slowly backing up, shaking his head, Robin mouthed ‘Weird’ to Marion.
Marion shook her head in agreement. They then headed back to the camp.
After Robin left Joshua breathed in heavily. She was here, he thought. Turning he followed Robin and Marion back to camp.
When Marion woke up in the morning she went to check the cut on Robins hand.
"Its okay Marion, really. Its just a scratch." Robin tried to brush her away.
But Marion wouldn’t take no for an answer. Little John, just hearing about Robins injury, stood next to Marion as she grabbed Robins hand. She then started to undo the bandage. Robin just sighed out his resignation. He knew there was no talking her out of this. As she unraveled the bandage she looked closely at the wound. Robin noticed that it was worse than last night. As Marion touched it Robin jerked it back in pain,
"Just a scratch. Robin, its opened up." Marion moaned out.
Her voice had a hint of alarm in it. She then started cleaning out the wound, finishing it with a clean piece of cloth wrapped around it. Robin seeing the concern in Little Johns face looked rather embarrassed.
"Well it looks worse Robin. You’ll have to have Tuck examine it when we return to camp." Marion then gave Robin back his hand. Robin put his hands up in submission.
"I will Marion. I promise!" He crossed his heart to show how sincere he was.
"Then lets get that wolf." Marion said as she started packing their things. "The sooner we catch it the sooner we can return to Sherwood."
They then resumed there hunt for the wolf. Joshua lead them away from the clearing where they had found Robin alone late last night. They traveled on through the villages. Each one told there story of the great wolf. Robin pledged the villagers that he would capture the wolf soon. It was not only a menace to Prince John, but also to the helpless villagers. As the day wore on into the afternoon they came upon two sets of tracks. Joshua examined them carefully.
"Very clever!" he amazed.
Little John also examined the tracks. "Which way do think it went Joshua?"
"I don’t know my large friend. This wolf is more crafty than I thought."
Standing up Joshua looked at the direction one set of the tracks went. Then the other.
"I think we have to split up here." Patting John on the back Joshua said
"Little John you go with Marion, and Robin you can go with me."
John looked hurt, he wanted to go with Joshua. Noticing this Joshua added. "We can’t have the two best trackers together. If we split up we’ll have a better chance of catching up with that wolf." He smiled up at Little John. John realizing the compliment grinned back.
"O.K. We’ll meet back in one hour."
"One hour." agreed Robin. Who was running to catch up with Joshua. He was already half way down the trail.
Half a hour latter Robin noticed the tracks suddenly stopped. He recognized that to mean that they were on the false trail.
"I guess Little John was the lucky one." Robin said, as Joshua walked a few feet past the trail end. Joshua stopped in the middle of the road, his back to Robin. Robin waited for his to reply, when no answer came he said.
"Joshua, lets make our way back to Little John and Marion."
Still Joshua remained motionless. Walking up to Joshua, Robin noticed that he had a strange look on his face.
"You can’t have her!" he softly hissed.
"Have who?’ Robin asked.
Joshua never answered Robins question. Acting quickly, he swung his staff around, hitting Robin on the head. The action was so quick and unexpected that Robin had no chance to react to it. Robin laid sprawled on the ground, Joshua stood over his lifeless body, panting in a crazed exhaustion.
"I’ve waited to long!" He cried out. Stooping down he picked up Robins body, hefting him on his shoulders. Joshua quickly walked into the forest, he had to hurry, night was approaching fast.
Marion was worried. Robin and Joshua should have been back by now. John looked down at her and gave her a reassuring smile.
"Don’t worry. I’m sure they will be fine."
Marions’ smile back was not to convincing.
"I don’t know Little John. They should have been back by now."
Crossing her arms she stamped her feet to get warm. The sun had set hours ago, the night was growing cold. John, seeing that Marion was cold, took off his cloak and placed it around her. Holding it close to her she shook her head.
"I hope nothings happened to them."
John just laughed out loud. "Marion, Joshua is the greatest tracker alive. As for Robin, he can take care of himself. You know that."
"I know." she whispered. "Its just, I have this uneasy feeling."
Turning she looked up at the gentle giant. "Lets look for them please." she pleaded.
Little John smiled down at her. "O.K. if it makes you feel better."
"Yes it would!" She nodded her head.
Gathering there things they walked down the path that Joshua and Robin had taken.
Looking up into the night Little John thanked god that there was a full moon out.
When Robin finally woke up he grimaced in pain, as his head ached terribly. As he tried to rub the pain he found he couldn’t reach his head. His hands seemed to be incapacitated. As he searched around he realized that he was standing between two small trees. His hands were tied between the two trees. Robin glanced around, he spied Joshua, his back was facing him as he stood a few yards ahead of Robin. Pulling on the bonds Robin found them to be expertly tied. Joshua sneezed, turning around he gave Robin a warning look.
"You’ll never break those bonds. For now at least."
Walking up to Robin he inhaled deeply. A smile came to his face.
"Old blood! Its so sweet!"
Robin looked puzzled. Joshua placed his handkerchief up to Robins nose. Smelling it Robin then sneezed. "Pepper!" Joshua said. "I had to use it to hide your smell. Well yours and Marions."
He stood by Robin. A look of joy on his face. He began to pace nervously back and forth infront of Robin. Robin noted that he looked like a caged animal.
"Its hard enough taking in the scent of one with a blood line as old as you." He babbled. "But the two of you was just a little to much!" Robin looked more confused than before.
Stopping, Joshua made a sad face. "Poor Robert of Locksley. You really have no idea who I am do you?"
Robin slowly shook his head. Examining Joshua more closely Robin noticed that his light gray eyes shone in the night. Joshua stepping up to Robin whispered into his ear.
"Let me give you a clue. I don’t have a Grandfather!"
His head then flew back as he shouted out. "Rhiannon!" His eyes went wild, Robin could feel a madness coming from this man, he remained quiet.
Joshua started pacing again. Was it Robins imagination, or did he look bigger?
"All this time I spent looking for her." he ranted. Coming up to Robin he place a finger on Robins arm. Robin jerked as he drew blood.
Placing his finger in his mouth he sucked the blood off. Crazily smiling to himself he cooed. "Sweet as honey! The old blood always is. Your line is true. Thats what drew her to you!" He laughed at Robins questioning look.
"I think I’ll let you in on our little secret!"
Pretending to look around to see if others were listening he quietly stated.
"When you were a little boy. I was what your father warned you of when he didn’t want you to go out in the night. I am that pair of eyes that looks back at you when you stare out of your safe, warm home. I am as old as the land. As ancient as Rome itself!" he cried. clenching his fist.
"And I have lost my love!" He softly sobbed. Raising his head he looked at Robin. His eyes still wet with tears he laughed insanely.
"You also might know me as a shapeshifter!"
To prove his point Joshua suddenly changed into a large wolf. Its hair was a dark gray. The eyes were unmistakably Joshuas. Just as quickly he changed back.
"TA DA!" Joshua said as he became a man again. His face had a wild look on it. Robin was stunned. A shapshifter, he was a druid! That was why the tracks were so big.
"You see it wasn’t Rhiannon who killed the Princes game. It was ME!" he roared with laugher.
"I did it to get you to come out of the protection of Sherwood."
Finally breaking his silence Robin demanded. "What do you want with me?"
Joshua giggled uncontrollably. "I need you to help me draw my love here. She wants you. I’m just using you, to get her to come back to me."
Joshua came up to Robin. Robin could see a mad look in the mans eyes.
"Yo...you see!" he stuttered. as he held Robins left hand. "She has left her mark on you!" whirling around he sat hard on the ground and cursed.
"All this time, and still she doesn’t remember." Clutching his head he moaned in pain.
"If I don’t get her back soon I shall go mad!!!!"
Robin, had to bite back his reply. Better not to antagonize him any more.
Springing up he replied.
"We’ll just have to wait for her. She’ll find you. I made sure that you were downwind. So that she could smell you from afar." he sang out. Tiptoeing toward a bush. He childishly snickered "I’ll just wait here!" He then hid behind the bush.
Robin seeing his chance, tried to break the bonds. He pulled on them both. The ropes cut into his wrists. The harder he tried to pull, the tighter they became. Sighing out he then tried to see if the ropes tied around the tree could be worked on. As he was about to lift his foot up to try working on the knot. A sweet, light sound came from the forest. A soft giggle was heard from the bush.
"Shes here!" Joshua sang.
Frantically, Robin tried to break the bonds. As he worked harder the music grew louder. He could feel it penetrate his very being. Slowly he stopped trying to undo his bonds. Looking at the forest he saw the large wolf with the white ears emerge. Her song continued as she transformed into a woman. Her smile was beautiful, she walked as light as a cool spring breeze. Robin felt a longing for her. His beloved was here for him. He waited Patiently for her to come and take him. The wound on his hand pulsed as she neared him.
Dragging her nails across the bonds she cut the ropes that tied Robin to the trees. Robins arms fell, hanging loosely at his side. Licking her lips she gently stroked Robin on his face with her finger nails. "I have come for you my love!" She sighed.
Picking up his left hand she unwrapped the bandage. The wound had opened up. She brought his palm to her face, breathing him in she gasped out in joy!
"Your smell is so delicious. You can never hide from me my mate. You are mine forever beloved! We will be bonded for life!"
End of Chapter Three