Meanwhile Marion had returned to the spot where Robin Hood was resting. Shocked to see he was no longer there, she frantically looked around for him
. "Robin" she softly called out.
Listening intensely for a reply she heard voices coming from a distance. She walked toward the voices, peeking through a bush she could see Prince John walking with Robin toward some horses. She quietly walked around the underbrush to try to get closer to Robin. As she reached a spot near to him she could see John talking to Barkley. Now was her chance to try to get to Robin. As she was about to call to him, the Princes men suddenly returned.
After Barkley discussed something with one of the Princes guards he quickly mounted and rode off. Prince John strode back to where Robin rested. Marion had to blink twice to be sure she had seen right. John was smiling at Robin like an old friend, he was helping him up on a horse.
What was going on? Robin wasn't a prisoner of Prince Johns, he was willingly going with the Prince. Barkley helped the Prince mount his stead, pulling his white stallion next to Robin he smiled warmly at the confused outlaw, giving him a reassuring nod they rode off together down the road.
After they left Marion just sat down on the ground with a plop, her face was a mask of bewilderment. Minutes later she heard the horses of her companions approaching. Standing up she ran towards where they were coming.
As she came up to them Tuck asked her. "Hows Robin?"
"You’re not going to believe this." she stammered out. "He just rode off with Prince John."
"Oh my god." gasped Tuck. "You mean the Prince has him?"
"No." Marion said almost in a daze.
"He wasn't a prisoner Tuck, Prince John was talking to him like an old friend. He rode off with them willingly." Marion looked up at Tuck the fear evident in her face. "There’s no way Robin would have done that Tuck. What do think happened to him?"
Tuck pondered on this. There had to be an explanation, he then recalled some past cases of head injuries. "Marion, I think I have it. I've heard of incidents where head injuries had occurred and the person lost their memories. They were said to have forgotten anyone that they had known."
"Tuck do you think this is what happened to Robin?" Marion gasped, she turned to look down the empty road that her Robin had just disappeared with his most hated enemy.
"Its the only explanation Marion there’s no way Robin would have joined up with Prince John if he was in his right mind. He must have forgotten who he was."
"That has to be it." Marion agreed. She then started pacing nervously, thinking out loud. "And of course Prince John, being a man to take advantage of any situation, saw a golden opportunity to have Robin by his side. " Stopping she looked up at Tuck. "We’ve got to go to Robin Tuck. We have to help him remember who he is."
"I think we must first must try to find when we would have the best opportunity. Perhaps with Kemals help?"
Kemal didn’t have to be told what to do, he knew what needed to be done. "I'll return within a day to let you know what I can find out."
"And please Kemal." Marion asked as he pulled the reins tightly on his stead. "If there is any way to bring him back...."
"Don't worry Marion." Kemal gently said. "I'll try to find the safest way to bring Robin back." Kemal then rode off towards the castle. The three companions looked dismally at each other. There leader, companion, and most importantly friend was probably in the most gravest danger he has ever been.
Prince John was walking briskly towards Robin’s room. He was told The Doctor was examining him after he had slept most of the day. As he reached the door the doctor was just leaving the room.
"How is he?" he asked the doctor in earnest.
"I've leached the wound on his head." He said in a hushed tone as he closed the door behind him. "He’s a very strong young man. I'd say aside from a headache he has fully recovered."
Prince John bellowed out. "I don't care about his physical condition. I meant about his mental. Do you think his memory will come back?"
The doctor pondered on this. "It’s hard to say your Highness. I have heard of some cases where the patient never recovered his memory, and others where the memories returned in a few days."
Dismissing the doctor with a wave of his hand he added "Well lets just hope its more the latter case." As the Doctor scuttled down the dark cold corridors of the Princes castle, Prince John quickly opened the door to Robins room, he found him standing in the center of his room, dressed in his bedclothes, searching around the room.
Barkley had told the soldier that left quickly to prepare the room to look as if it had been lived in for years. From the looks of it they had done a pretty good job. Robin noticed that John had entered the room and warmly smiled at him.
"This is my room?" he asked. Spreading his arms to emphasize the expanse of the room. His bright brown eyes shinning in wonder.
"Of course." John said with confidence. "Do you recognize anything in it?" Robin circled the room. He stopped near a cabinet, where a bow and quiver of arrows were set. He picked them up and examined them. "These are strangely familiar." he looked to Prince John for approval. "Should they be Sire?" John smiled at Robin to confirm this.
"Why yes my boy, they should be. You are after all the best bowman in my kingdom."
"I am?" Robin asked amazed. He though hard at this new bit of information of his past life, he tried to imagine himself using the weapon.
"Yes, I do seem to recall my father, or someone like him teaching me."
John suddenly realized that he might be to close to remembering something he didn't want him to. He tried to gently steer him clear of these thoughts.
"Uh look Robin, it’s almost time for supper. I've taken the liberty of inviting some of the local aristocrats to dine with us. Perhaps if you see them, it might help you to remember who you were? Barkley has set out some clothes for you to wear for the banquet."
"Whats wrong with the ones I had on?" Robin asked the Prince.
"Oh, ah those are your hunting clothes." Prince John quickly lied. "You can't wear those for dinning my man. Now please put on the clothes that Barkley left for you and meet us in the dinning hall, theres a good lad. I'll have one of the guards wait outside of the room to show you how to find the hall we will be dining in."
Robin nodded eagerly as he began to quickly to undress. "I'll be there as fast as I can." Robin enthusiastically said.
"Don't rush Robin, we have all night." John said as he left the room. Prince John spoke to the two guards posted outside Robin’s room.
"When he's ready I want one of you lead him to the banquet hall. The other is to stay here. I want his room guarded at all times, is that clear?"
"Yes you highness." The guards said in unison as they snapped to attention. The Prince strode down the corridors to meet his guests.
Prince John entered the banquet hall to find all of the Lords that he had given a special invitation came to the special banquet. The large room was abuzz with talk of why they were summoned to the Princes Castle. There were long tables set in a ‘U’ shape in the large room. Prince John strode slowly towards the center table, taking the center chair; he sat down making a motion with his hands for the hall to be silent.
"I suppose you’re all wondering why I've asked you to be here."
"The thought had struck our minds." One of the Lords said.
"Well I have something I want everyone of you to do for me." Prince John’s eyes roved to every man in the room. Pausing for effect he continued. "The reason I've asked all of you here is because everyone of you have done something against me and the crown for which if I were not such a generous ruler, you would have been executed for." Some of the Lords turned pale, they knew they were living on borrowed time, it was not time for the Prince to call in his dues. "Now you have probably heard by now that Robin Hood is a guest in my castle. What I want you to do is to treat him as if he has lived in this castle for many years. I want you to make him feel like he’s always been a part of this court. "
"And if we don't?" the same lord asked.
Prince John coldly looked at the man. With a snap of his fingers the man suddenly found an archer aiming an arrow at his heart. "Then my dear boy, your wife will finally get a good nights rest." The man gulped hard and sat down.
"One rule," John said menacingly. "You are not to call him Robin Hood. Robin will do just fine. Am I clear?" The others enthusiastically nodded.
John then sat down relishing the moment. He waited impatiently for Robin to make his entrance, it was minutes later as John was talking to one of the lords he heard one of the ladies-in-waiting gasped out, turning around he saw Robin walk in.
A hush came across the nobility. Robin was more regal looking than any lord in his entire court. Prince John had chosen the clothes for Robin to wear himself. Robin was dressed in straight blue velvet pants, a regal blue waistcoat and sky blue vest. His long sable hair fell gently on his shoulders, haloing a noble face that spoke of his royal blood. Prince John wanted to have an effect on the lords. Smiling to himself he had received the reaction he had wanted.
It was not hard to see that Robin was indeed of royal blood as his long legs carried him leisurely into the silent banquet room. "Please Robin." Prince John beckoned Robin from the other side of the room. "Come here my boy. You always sit next to me." John pointed to a chair next to him. Robin made a small bow to the other lords as he passed by them, excusing himself he sat down next to the Prince.
Glancing around the tables he tried to find if he recognize anyone in the room. A heavy sigh crossed his lips, none of them seemed familiar to him. During dinner he quietly ate the meal laid out before him. Listening intensely to the others conversation. Trying to catch on to the ways of the court. He found he was unable to eat much of the meal, he just didn't seem to have an appetite for the rich food. Prince John however was thoroughly enjoying his company. He spoke constantly with Robin during the dinner. Robin noticed that a particular Lord was eyeing him during the whole meal.
The lord turning to his companion said. "I heard he’s suppose to be the greatest swordsman in all of England."
The other Lord said, "That’s what they say. No one has defeated him in battle. He is said to be well versed in all weapons. Although I’ve heard he has no equal in the Bow."
"I would like to see how good he is. Perhaps later."
When dessert came, the nobility finally had the nerve to talk to Robin. "So Robin the Prince tells us that you seem to have lost your memory."
Prince John eyed the Lord suspiciously. What was he up to?
"I'm sorry sir." Robin apologized to the Lord. "You have me at a disadvantage. And your name is?"
"Why I am Lord Damaris. Surely you have not forgotten our many duels here in this hall?" Damaris laughed out loud.
"We fought here?" Robin asked. He strained to remember.
"Many times Robin, although I've always won those battles. You were always hopeful of defeating me. Perhaps today might be it?"
Robin turned to Prince John for approval. "If it would please your highness." He begged.
"Please do Robin. I do so like to see a good duel." John motioned to Robin with his hand, giving him his blessing.
At this the others gasped as Robin jumped the table he sat infront of, quickly he walked towards two guards posted at the large entrance doors of the banquet room. He asked the two for their swords. The guards looked to Prince John who nodded his approval. With the two swords in hand Robin then strode back toward Damaris. As he walked on he unbuttoned his top coat taking it off he threw it on one of the long dinning tables.
Robin then showed the Lord both handles of the swords giving him first pick. Damaris smiled wickedly as he picked out one of the swords. Also jumping across the table in a flash, he flicked the sword back and forth testing the balance of the weapon.
Robin waited with his sword hanging loosely in his hand, smiling widely at Damaris, a dimple popping out at the length of the grin. Robin couldn't remember who he was but this he somehow did know how to do.
With a clash of swords the duel then began. Robin started slowly with the cocky Lord, to try to get the feel of his fighting style. As the fight wore on Robin realized that he could easily defeat this lord, he was not as good as he had boasted. Damaris also began to realize this, he had hoped the stories of Robin Hood had been a little blown up. But now as the duel raged on, he knew he was in deep trouble. He was quickly getting out of breath defending himself against the talented outlaw. His sword was becoming increasingly heavy while Robin wasn't even breaking a sweat.
As Robin began to back Damaris up with a series of thrusts and lunges he lightly said. "You know it is said that losing a battle builds a mans character. Well according to you I have a lot of character." He now had Damaris up against a wall. The swords clashing echoed in the great hallway.
All were enjoying the fight. It was very rare to see such a great swords man at his best. John was enjoying it the most. It was like the old days when Richard was still home. Robin gave Damaris a wink as his speed in his blows with the sword increased. "I think perhaps my losing streak might end here." He gasped out.
Suddenly with a flourish he disarmed Damaris and had him backed up against the stone wall, with his swords point against his chest.
Damaris gasped out in fear. "Well done Robin. " He let out a nervous laugh.
Robin smiled wickedly at him, he slowly brought his point down. But just as quickly brought it back up.
"By the way." Robin said in a deadly whisper. "My friends call me Robin. You can call me Robert." He then brought the blade back and plunged the sword into the wall next to Damaris’ head. Giving him a dangerous look he warned him. "Don't ever lie to me again. " Turning around he walked back to Prince John. "Now thats character." He added, John began to laugh joyfully at Robin’s joke. The other lords picking up on this also joined in the laughter.
As Robin sat down John patted him on his back. "Well done Robin. Well done. God I haven't see a fight like that in a....., Um I mean I love to see you duel like that."
"Thank you highness." Robin bowed his head to the Prince in thanks. "I do try to please you My Lord." Robin was becoming embarrassed by all the sudden attention.
As he glanced around at the other lords, he spied a large trophy stag above the mantle. John tried not to recognize him looking at it.
"That’s quite a stag. Did you kill it you highness?" Robin asked.
John just sipped some wine as he snapped back. "No!"
Robin, noticing his curtness said out of concern. "What is wrong sire?" John looking at Robin could see a genuine concern for him. Sighing he turned and pointed to every animal in the room. "All these magnificent beasts in this room were killed by my brother Richard!"
John then bit off his next reply realizing that he had mentioned Richard to Robin. He searched his face to see if this might have brought a memory to Robin. Robin just looked around and asked innocently.
"Why aren’t there any that you killed Sire?"
John, feeling Robin’s genuine concern answered him. "You see my boy, I have a problem with bow hunting."
"A problem sire what is that?" Robin was genuinely eager to help his Prince.
"Yes, um, every time I release a shot I always cut the tip of my finger, and the arrow never flies straight. I finally gave up on hunting altogether! Now I let others do the killing, I just go hunting to be able to leave this castle!" Taking another goblet of wine he quickly drank it empty.
Robin could see how deeply disappointed the Prince was. As he thought about his Princes problem a smile slowly came to his face. "Sire, I just realized something, I ruined the hunt we were on yesterday. Perhaps I can make it up to you by going on one tomorrow?"
Prince John’s face lit up brightly, a large smile encompassed his face. "You want to go on a hunt with me tomorrow?" He asked.
Robin bowed slightly to Prince John. "If it would please your highness." John nodded his head enthusiastically. "Yes, It would please me!"
Taking Prince Johns arm Robin pulled him up and started leading him out the hall telling him. "Then you’re going to have to get to bed early your Highness. So you can be well rested for the hunt for tomorrow. Barkley!" Robin called out.
Barkley, always close by was at their side in seconds. "Yes sire. I mean Robin." Barkley stuttered out.
Robin pulled Barkley close to him, he spoke to him softly as he gave him special instructions. "I want you to take The Prince up to bed now. I’ll see to the guests. We’re to go on a hunt tomorrow. I will help you to make preparations for the day." Barkley had to blink at Robin’s words, he was amaze at how quickly he began to take the role Prince John had fabricated for him. He looked up at his Prince for approval and could see that he was grinning from ear to ear.
"Is that okay with you your highness."
Prince John barked out. "Of course it is Barkley, you heard the man. We’re going on a hunt tomorrow."
As they turned to leave Robin called out. "Goodnight your highness. I hope you sleep well." Turning back John answered. "Thank you Robin, I believe I shall." As they left the hall John hid behind the door hissing at Barkley. "Wait, I want to hear what he has to say!"
Robin walked quickly to the center of the great hall, the room was loud with the Lords speaking to themselves about what had just transpired. Robin whistled out loud startling the lords, quieting them, as was his intent. Their attention was now fully his, clearing his throat he said out loud.
"I first would like to say that I don’t know how things were before. But I do know how they will be from now on. I’ve seen how you treated Prince John tonight." Looking menacingly at each one he said. "I want you to know that it will stop here and now!" He warned them, the seriousness evident in the tone of his voice. "From now on any man that disrespects the Prince will have to answer to me!" He paused for the lords to take this in. Waiting longer for effect he continued.
"If anyone here feels that they want to debate this with me, let them speak now!" One of the lords was going to say something, he stood in his place, a tug on his sleeve and a whisper in his ear informed him of the archers with their bows at ready. He quickly bit off his reply, plopping down in his chair. Robin nodded his head in approval. "Very well, then you may all go now." Robin dismissed the Lords. "The Prince and I thank you for coming." The lord’s faces were all in shock as they slowly rose and started leaving the great hall. Prince John slapped Barkley hard on the back as they hurried up the stairs.
"See Barkley I told you, I knew I could change him. With Robin Hood by my side no one would dare to oppose me now."
"But sire." Barkley pleaded. "I still think you can’t change the way a man is."
John just scoffed at this. "Nonsense Barkley, any man can change, any man!"
"But you worshipfulness, he still sounded like Robin Hood as he spoke to the Lords." He looked earnestly at his Prince.
"Yes Barkley, but there is a difference. Instead of fighting against me, he’s fighting for me!" Prince John laughed heartily at this. As he went up the stairs he said. "My plan is working out better that I thought."
End of Chapter Two