The two of them had been put in separate rooms on arrival and were show to a anteroom the next day. Elizabeth looked Jacobi over to make sure he was presentable. She shook her head when she saw where one shirt sleeve had a tear.
"I'll need to fix that."
He began to take off the shirt and she caught her breath, knowing how the sight of his naked chest made her feel "Umm... no, you don't have to take it off. Sit on the table and let me have your hand." With needle and thread, Elizabeth went to work repairing the shirt.
While she worked, Jacobi couldn't take his eyes off of her. She wore one one of her plain dresses and had left her long hair loose. He had to resist the urge to run his fingers through it. The sleeve only needed a couple of stitches.
When she finished, she gave it a tug to make sure the stitches were strong enough. Then she smoothed the front of the shirt.
Jacobi caught her hands in his and Elizabeth froze, her heart pounding as he lifted one to his lips and kissing it gently, then the other. She closed her eyes, trying to block out the sensations he was causing her. He let go of one of her hands to run his fingers through her hair, while the other went around her waist and pulled her closer to him, kissing, first her forehead, cheek, then her lips.
Elizabeth's legs went weak, and he pulled her closer. She had such mixed emotions - she didn't know what to do. She loved Jacobi, and to love a man, any man was forbidden to her.
Her lips trembled under the strength of his passion as her fingers found their way to his hair. They were both so lost to all but their kiss they didn't hear the warrior's approach. Elizabeth was pulled roughly from Jacobi's grasp. His eyes opened to see the warrior, who had summoned him, holding onto Elizabeth. He stood and took one step towards the warrior, before he was hit from behind and all went black.
* * * * *
Jacobi woke to find himself in shackles and with a terrific headache. when
he could finally bear to open his eyes, he discovered he was in a dark and damp cell, which worried him slightly. He tried to remember what had happened. He remembered kissing Elizabeth, the Amazon and then nothing. With a groan, he dropped his head.
He dozed, and when he woke again, his thoughts were somewhat more clear. He almost wished he couldn't remember. Elizabeth had been torn from him, and he could not bear to think what might be happening to her.
He cursed his own weakness. She was so precious to him and he hadn't been able to protect her this time. He had not wanted to love her, had not wanted to love anybody, but because of Elizabeth’s kindness and gentle way, he couldn't help himself.
He was lost in his thoughts when the door to his cell opened. In walked the tallest man he had ever see. Behind him a dark man and a monk. Jacobi wondered what kind of prison he was in, until a slender woman walked it and behind her, someone he knew well.
The two men looked at each other as his comrades looked from Jacobi to Robin in silent disbelief. They knew that Jacobi looked like Robin, but until then did not realize that it was nearly impossible to tell the two men apart.
An Amazon's brought in a chair and set it in front of Jacobi. He stood the best he could as a blond warrior walked in with a petite redhead. Each stood on one side of to the side of the chair, waiting. Waiting for what? or whom?
Several Amazon guards walked in then, and stationed themselves around the room. Next, Elizabeth entered the cell, eyes lowered, not looking at Jacobi. He could see that she had been crying, and his heart was wrung. She appeared not to have been hurt physically, and he heaved a sigh of relief.
"Her royal Highness, Queen Mother of England, Queen of the Amazons, Queen Eleanor."
The announcement startled Jacobi. The Queen? Here? She walked in and to the surprise of even himself, Jacobi knelt before her. Eleanor sat in her chair, then beckoned him to stand.
"I owe you a great deal, Jacobi. Your saving of Elizabeth has not gone unnoticed." she said.
"You're welcome, your Majesty."
"It seems that you are not well versed in Amazon law. What are your intentions for Elizabeth?"
Looking at Elizabeth he said, " I love her and want to marry her."
This brought audible gasps from Elizabeth. Robin looked at him with suspicion.
"I am sorry to tell you this, young man, but Elizabeth is not destined for any man."
"If I may ask your Majesty, why?" Jacobi was confused.
"For the last five generations, Amazon healers have been virgins throughout their lives. Marriage and children clouds both judgment and abilities."
"Enough!" The Queen looked at him coldly. "There are other considerations. Yes, you have saved Elizabeth's life, but you have also committed crimes for which you have not paid. Tomorrow you will be put before a high court to stand trial. Do you have anything to say?"
Looking at Elizabeth he spoke. "I am guilty of many crimes and no trial is needed. I will accept whatever punishment you decide upon."
Elizabeth looked up at him, tears in her eyes and fled the room. Jacobi looked imploring to Marion.
Jacobi's love for Elizabeth was plain for all to see. "I'll go look after her." she said.
The Queen rose to her feet. "I will think on your sentence and give you my decision tomorrow."
"Thank you, your Majesty. "
Queen Eleanor bowed her elegant head, acknowledging his statement, and left the room, leaving Robin, Tuck, Kemal and Little John alone with him.
The outlaw leader walked up to Jacobi, looking him over. Robin could see that the old arrogance was missing from Jacobi. He, too, had recognized that Jacobi loved Elizabeth and marveled how one woman had seemingly changed and gentled the once callous murderer. He also realized it might be a trick.
"Do you really love her? " asked Robin.
"Do you really love Marion? " countered Jacobi.
Robin turned and left, taking his fellow outlaws with him, leaving Jacobi
to contemplate his short future.
It was late the next morning when Jacobi was escorted to the Throne room by Robin and his men. "Elizabeth will not attend the proceedings," Robin told him. "She has been sent home. The Queen thought it would be less painful for her if she wasn't here."
"I will have to thank the Queen." Jacobi replied.
The rest of the walk was carried out in silence. As the two men approached the Throne Room, a commotion out in the court yard caught their attention. In a moment, Marion ran towards them in a panic.
Grabbing hold of Marion's arm, Robin gave her a small shake. "What's happened?"
Marion took a deep breath. "The bandits who have been molesting the villagers, attacked Elizabeth and her guard. They are in the court yard right now demanding ransom!"
Jacobi's heart skipped a beat. He brought up his shackled hands desperately wanting to get free. Robin saw the panic look on Jacobi's face and for a moment thought of releasing him.
"Little John, watch him!" Robin said, running towards the court yard. "You got it Robin," replied Little John, taking his leader literally, he stood right in front of Jacobi, staring down at him. He then thought better of it, and pulled Jacobi into the Throne Room where most of the court, including the Queen, were standing at the windows that over looked the courtyard, watching events below.
Jacobi tried to see what was happening, but Little John and the Amazons prevented him from moving close to a window and the Queen.
Queen Eleanor, seeing him, walked over to him. "They have Elizabeth, have severly beaten her and god only knows what else. The leader has her now with a knife at throat. Are you willing to see her this way? "
Jacobi could only nod. A terrible knot of pain made breathing or speaking difficult.
She beckoned John to take Jacobi to the window. Jacobi looked out and stifled an oath. Elizabeth was in the man's arms, knife to her throat, dried blood on her face from her nose and lips. Red marks where they had hit her were slowly turning to bruises. Her cloths in tatters around her body. The sight sickened him.
Just then, Elizabeth bit down on the arm holding her and the man hit her so hard, she flew about 4 feet.
A strangle cry escaped Jacobi's lips, as he lunged forward. It took all of
Little John's and Kemal's combined strength to hold him. Still, Jacobi couldn't stop himself from looking out the window as the man went and picked up Elizabeth by the hair and threw her over his shoulder. He threw her unconscious form in the wagon as Tuck came up to receive their ransom demands.
The man threw a parchment at the monk, then took off with his men. Jacobi watched as Elizabeth's battered body disappeared out of sight. Only then did he go limp in the blond giant's grip. Jacobi hadn't even noticed that he had been crying, till the Queen walked up to him and with a motherly touch, started to wiping his tears away.
Little John let go of him as he sank to the floor. Queen Eleanor, knelt down, and put her arms around him. The touching gesture was more then he could stand. He put his head in her arms and cried, letting her gently rock him.
Robin, Tuck and Marion came running through the door and stopped, surprised to see the Queen, holding a sobbing Jacobi close. Robin was the most shocked.
The Queen cleared her throat. "Robin, I think its time that you and Jacobi settle your differences. I need both of you to go after those men and get my daughter back!"
Jacobi looked up, " daughter? "
"She is my adopted daughter," the Queen explained. "When she was a baby, her parents were killed in a raid and I took her as my own. If you love her as much as I think you do, you have to get her back for me! Please! " her eyes imploring.
Jacobi looked at Robin and stuck out his hand. "Please," he echoed the Queen's request. Robin took Jacobi's hand, sealing a new found bond that was to last a lifetime
End of Chapter Three