The Ties That Bind
By Virginia Cavazos

Chapter Four

Rhiannon started to lift up her medallion when Joshua emerged from where he hid.
"No Rhiannon, You are mine!" He roared out.

Dropping Robins hand, Rhiannon snarled as she whirled around. Who would dare to interrupt her? She instantly changed into a wolf. Joshua stayed in human form.

"No, Rhiannon. I will not fight you. How can I fight my mate?"

Rhiannon changed back to a human, she sensed that this man was the same as her. Looking back at Robin her feeling for him intensified. She had no mate, she choose this man. The other must die.

"I have made my choice." Pointing to Robin she hissed. "This man is to be mine."

Joshua cried out. "Rhiannon, don’t you remember me? For centuries we have been bonded. Please Rhiannon, remember what happened. A spell was put upon you by that cursed Mortiana! She made you forget me. I will go mad if you don’t remember."

Rhiannon gave Joshua a curious look. "A spell?" She asked.

Joshua thinking that perhaps the spell might be breaking, started walking closer to her. "Yes." He whispered out soothingly as he approached her. "That foul Witch was jealous of us. She put a spell on you to make you forget our love while on me she put a spell of madness. If we don’t break the spell soon I will shall become so mad that I will kill myself! Please Rhiannon remember." he pleaded with his love.

As Joshua approached, Rhiannon quickly changed into the wolf. Attacking him with a vengeance. Joshua, not wanting to harm Rhiannon, would not defend himself against her attack. She tore at him mercilessly, slashing into him again and again with her teeth and claws, until he was torn to shreds. Any human would have died of such wounds. But for the shapshifter, he went into a healing sleep. Changing back to human form she looked down at Joshua.

"That should hold you long enough for us to leave!"

Content, she turned her attention back to Robin.

"Come my love. We have to leave here." Robin warmly smiled at his beloved. His eyes glowed in anticipation of being with her. He was patiently waiting for her return. Reaching out his hand to her, she took it, placing his palm against her face, she gently stroked it against her cheek. Wrapping her arm around his. She pulled him along, dragging him towards the dark forest. Robin, entranced by her spell, followed her lead.

Marion and Little John had come to the clearing just as Rhiannon turned from a wolf into a human. Grabbing Little Johns arm Marion cried out in alarm. "Little John, we have to do something!"

Little John was already ahead of her. "Stay here!" John whispered back. Little John then started running at the outskirts of the clearing. As he ran he was using his knife on his staff.

Rhiannon was trying to urge Robin to go quicker. In his entranced state he was moving to slowly. Because of this Little John was able to place himself ahead of the two. As he was in position he whistled out loudly. Rhiannon turned around at the sound, and found a rough spear heading towards her. Little Johns aim was true, the spear pierced her in the chest. She let out a howl of agony into the night that pierced Little Johns very soul.

Falling to the ground she squirmed around, the spear still embedded in her chest. As she fell to the ground Robins trance was broken. He blinked his eyes, trying to clear the cobwebs in his mind. Little John ran up to Robin, grabbing him by the arm he dragged him away from the Celtic shapeshifter.

"We’ve got to go now Robin!" Little John stressed, half carrying, half dragging him towards where Marion was waiting. Marion motioned with her hand for them to hurry.

"Quickly! Before she recovers!" She warned Little John. Glancing back Little John noticed Rhiannon was trying to work the staff out of her chest. Reaching Marion he shoved Robin at her.

"Here Marion, take him away from that witch."

Marion grabbed Robin, seeing Little John walking away she cried out.

"Little John! Where are you going?"

"To get Joshua!" John called back.

The wounds that Joshua had suffered from Rhiannon were now healed. Soon he would be fully recovered. Little John, not knowing that Joshua was a shapshifter, picked him up. Hefting him on his shoulders, he quickly followed Marion. A final look at Rhiannon saw that she had managed to pull the staff out. Standing up she started her song again. Robin hearing it was once again was drawn to her. He pulled on Marions grip.

"Let me go!" He cried out. He looked to his beloved, his body ached for her. Tugging against Marions hold he moaned out. "I have to go to her, I am to be her mate."

"No Robin!" Marion looked to Little John for help. He was just now coming with Joshua draped over his shoulder. "Little John, help me, We have to get him out of here."

With the help of Little John they were able to drag Robin away from the shapeshifter. He pulled and fought them all the way. Glancing back one last time, Little John could see that she had changed back into a wolf. She let out a mournful howl and disappeared into the forest.

Even with her gone, they did not stop running with Robin until the were sure that they were far enough away from the shapeshifter. They stopped to catch there breath when the clearing was far behind them. Marion gently helped Robin to sit on a old fallen tree. Little John slowly eased Joshua down to the ground. As he hit the ground he let out a soft moan. Checking to make sure he was going to be all right, Little John then went to see how Robin was doing. He looked down at his friend with deep concern.

Robin was looking very ill. He was panting as if out of breath, his face was very pale. Seeing the distressed look from his friends he tried to put on a brave face.

"Don’t worry about me. I’ll be fine."

Marion felt his head for fever, her eyes opened in alarm, he was burning up. Checking the wound on his hand, she found that it had festered to a ugly color.

"We have to get you to Olwyn quickly." Marion sighed out. Her brow was furrowed with concern, Robin seeing this gently touched it.

"I love when you do that!" he tried to joke.

Unfortunately, he said it so weakly, that it made Marion even more concerned.

"Little John." She looked up at the gentle giant, his blue eyes were glassed over from the concern of his most trusted friend. "We have to get Robin to Olwyn as soon as possible!"

"I agree." said a voice from behind.

Joshua was fully recovered now from his wounds, he quickly came up to Robin.

"We have to find Olwyn my friends. Theres Celtic black magic involved here."

"Do you know Olwyn?" Marion eyed Joshua suspiciously.

"We have met." Joshua said cryptically.

"Then lets go now. Before that witch returns!" said Little John.

"No Little John!" Robin tried to stand, with Little Johns help he managed to rise to his feet. Anger laced his voice.

"What game are you playing now Joshua?" Robin spit out.

"Robin, Whats wrong?" Little John was confused.

Robin swayed a little, Marion held on to him. Thanking her he explained to Little John.

"Little John, Joshua is not what he seems. Hes a shapeshifter. The same as the other wolf." Robin could now remember the other shapeshifter. Her beauty was now etched in his mind.

Little John shook his head in disbelief. This was a man that he had come to know as a friend, he had idolized his grandfather as a boy.

Joshua backed away from the small group. He brought his handkerchief up to his nose, sneezing strongly into it. It was getting increasingly hard to control himself. Marions and Robins wonderful smell, was becoming intoxicating to him.

"I’m sorry for what I was trying to do to you back there Robin." He clenched his fist, squeezing tightly he drew blood. The pain helped him to maintain his sanity.

"But I’m desperate. Now that I think about it, I should have gone to Olwyn in the first place. Please trust me, if we don’t find Olwyn soon the bond between Rhiannon and Robin will never be broken."

"How do you know that?" Marion now knew that she could not trust this man. Bringing out his left hand, Joshua opened it up to reveal his palm. Along the life line was a tiny scar.

"Because I have been bonded to her for most of my life. And that my dear friends is a very long time."

"How can we trust you." Robin sharply asked. "You said yourself that your going mad." Robin could not forgive Joshua for what had tried to do to him.

"Don’t you realize that if I wanted to, I could kill you all in a flash."

Proving his point Joshua quickly turned into wolf form. Little John jumped infront of Robin and Marion trying to protect them with his body. Just as quickly Joshua turned back into a human.

"I need you, and you need me. We must work together." He pleaded. "I promise on the name of Great Lug himself that I will not harm you. But know this, we must hurry. Or all is lost!"

Proving his point Robin suddenly started to falter where he stood. Little John held on to him. In his arms he felt as week as a new born.

"If I was not feeling so bad I wouldn’t trust you." Robin sighed. "But I think we really have no choice."

"Then lets be off." Joshua went to help Robin. Little John brushed him away. If Robin needed help Little John was going to do it. Robin smiled up at his best friend. Patting Little John on the hand he gently said.

"Don’t worry about me Little John. Lets just get to Olwyns before the next night fall."

Marion and Little John then helped Robin along while Joshua took the lead. They had only walked for a few hours when Robin said he had to rest. He realized that they were all in need of sleep. They searched around the forest, until they found a small grove of trees that overlooked a large meadow. Joshua said he would take watch until morning. He then sat at the outskirts of the circle of trees. Little John kept a close eye on Joshua as he made the camp fire. Marion tried to make Robin as comfortable as possible. Gently she covered him with some blankets that they had brought along. Robin looked up at her, he was embarrassed for being so weak.

"Marion you really don’t have to." Marion just fussed with Robin more. Tucking the blanket around him she said lightly.

"Robin you have to rest, we have a long walk ahead of us tomorrow."

Clucking her tongue she sadly shook her head.

"I wish we hadn’t listened to Joshua and brought the horses with us. You’re really not well enough to travel."

Robin brought his hand out from under the blanket. Holding Marions in his, he felt her trembling.

"Marion don’t worry." He gently said. "Everything will be all right. We’ll go see Olwyn and he’ll know what to do to end this spell."

Marion tried to put on her brave face for Robin.

"Sure Robin. Olwyn will fix things right up." Placing Robins hand back under the blanket she continued "And when your well we can go hunting for some deer. You always like that, don’t’ you?"

Robin didn’t reply to Marion, he was already fast asleep. Marion just stared at him for some time. She had seen him in so many dire situations, but in those times there was something she could do to help. This time she just felt so useless. Only Olwyn would be able to help Robin this time.

Laying a blanket next to Robin, Marion stretched herself out. Placing her arm protectively around him, she tried to go to sleep. Exhausted from the days excitement, it didn’t take her long. Joshua remained where he sat, guarding them for the night. Little John tried to stay up also, to keep a eye on Joshua. But in the early hours sleep finally prevailed.

It was just before dawn when Little John woke up with a start. Searching around camp, he saw Joshua slumped down near a tree, snoring loudly. As Little John turned to check on Robin, he only saw Marion near the already smoldering fire. Panicking Little John jumped up and started searching around the camp. He didn’t have to go far, he found Robin sitting on tree root, overlooking the meadow.

John walked up to Robin. Stopping by his side, he looked down at his dear friend. Robin, noticing Little John had come, slowly turned his head and looked up at him. John had to stifle a gasp of shock, Robin was more pale looking then he was last night. His face looked gaunt, a deep pain was evident in his always emotional eyes.

"How are you feeling Robin?" Little John tried to hide the concern in his voice.

Robin just turned his head and looked out at the meadow.

"I can feel her Little John." Robin whispered, John sat next to Robin

"What do you mean Robin? Is it like the way you feel for Marion?"

"No." Robin shook his head slowly.

"Nothing like what I feel for Marion. For Marion I feel a love. Deep in my heart. For HER it feels like..."

Robin hung his head down in deep thought. He tried to think of a way of explaining it.

"It feels like I have a thirst, an unquenchable thirst. That only she can satisfy. I know I need to find her to end this horrible feeling. Something deep inside me is telling me to go to her, to find her, be with her. I know shes out there." Robin pointed towards the east. The sun was now rising. As its gentle rays fell on Robins face Little John could now see how badly Robin really looked. Robin could see the concern in his friends face.

"Don’t worry Little John." He chuckled. "I’ll be all right. Now lets break camp, the sooner we find Olwyn, the sooner we can end this spell."

Little John quietly nodded his head in agreement. Holding Robins hand in his he gently said.

"Robin, you stay here. I’ll do what has to be done, you just rest, okay?" Robin was too weak to argue with his concerned friend. He knew he had a long walk ahead of him.

"Okay Little John." He replied. Little John smiled warmly at Robin. Standing up, he went to wake Marion up and break up camp. As he left, Robin stared out into the meadow again. He had to think of a way of getting rid of them. She called to him even now. He had to go to her, he felt a deep ache inside for her. Clutching his stomach he tried to force the pain out of it. But is grew stronger and stronger. He hoped he would be able to last the day without her. Smiling to himself he knew she would come for him by night fall. He just had to bide his time until he would be joined with his beloved.

End of Chapter Four

 Chapter One
 Chapter Two
 Chapter Three
 Chapter Four
 Chapter Five
 Chapter Six: The conclusion
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