The high priestess rushed through the hallways. Her Long black gown swooshed on the cold stone floor as she quickened her pace. Her heart had called for her. She hurried to the center of the prior. The other sisters quietly gazed at her as she walked by. Most were envious of her position. She held the highest position of all the priestesses of Morigan. Exhausted from the long day, she tried to keep a look of dignity as she entered the sacred room.
The room was bathed in darkness. Light flickered around the room, as the only illumination came from torches lined along the walls. At the center of the room stood a stone Dais, walking towards it she pulled her long black dress up as she kneeled on the cold stone floor. She laid her head on the ground. Her long, dark hair fell in front of her. Her hands clutched at her chest as she whispered a prayer to her heart. Lifting her head up her dark eyes searched for a sign of her heart appearing. The dais began to glow, she clutched a small locket, shaped like a heart, around her neck. Grinning widely as the goddess Morigan began to appear before her.
"Aurora, you have come, as I have called." Her voice gently called out.
The goddess’s voice was soft and sweet. Aurora smiled. She was always almost at tears whenever she heard her hearts voice.
"Yes my heart. I came as quickly as I could. I heard your call for me. Please forgive me for not coming sooner." Aurora bowed again.
Her long hair hitting the ground. She held her stance in homage, for not coming quicker to her goddesses call.
"Rise." Morigan said.
Aurora brought her head up. She smiled, pleased that her heart had forgiven her. Slowly she stood up. Brushing off her gown. She laced her hands and placed them in front of her.
"My heart, what is it that you want from me?"
The goddess’s head was the only thing visible above the dais. Aurora could see that Morigan was upset about something.
"Why my heart, what is wrong?" she said concerned. "Aurora, I am upset over the death of my son." Aurora placed her hand to her heart. Her head fell to her chest. "My heart aches, for what had happened to your son my heart."
The goddess nodded. "It has been over a year and still nothing has been done to the man that took his life. I want this man. I want Robin Hood."
Aurora’s heart beat quickened. "My heart. I will get this man for you if that is what you wish. But I fear he is protected by a strong wizard."
The Goddess just shook her head at her servant. "You think that I fear Olwyn. Olwyn is old, he is not as strong as he used to be. We must make plans Aurora. You who have been my most loyal priestess."
Aurora’s face lit up. "My heart. I would give my life for you. You know I will do as you say." Morigan nodded. "I know this Aurora. Someday you will join me." Aurora smiled so widely her dimples showed. "I await that day with joy!" she said with glee.
"Then listen to what I have to say, for we must make plans. This Robin Hood is special. If he was able to kill my son, he must have more about him than the protection of a Wizard. We must talk Aurora."
Morigan told Aurora of her plans. Aurora listened intently. The light from the flickering torches played across her face. Her deep brown eyes were totally focused on her heart. Whatever her goddess wanted Aurora would lay down her life to do. She would do whatever it took to get this man Robin Hood.
Robin and Tuck were returning from a visit to Tucks home. Robin had noticed as they rode towards Sherwood, that Tuck had seemed saddened by the visit.
He rode quietly along side Robin. His head hung in deep thought. Robin tried to talk to him several times, but each time Tuck just rode on starring at nothing. Growing frustrated Robin pulled on the reins, stopping the gray stallion.
Tuck still deep in thought kept on riding. Robin let out a laugh. "Well Tuck do you plan on riding there alone!"
Tuck turned around to see Robin’s dark brown eyes smiling at him, as Robin laid his hands across the pommel of the horse.
"You’ve been a million miles away since we left the village. Tuck what’s wrong? You were always happy to see your family. What made today different?"
Tuck pulled his horse around and rode back to where Robin was waiting. He hesitated forlornly gazing at Robin. Robin softly laughed, trying to break the somber mood. "You know you can tell me anything Tuck. What’s wrong?"
"I fear..." Tuck started. Then once again he hesitated. Robin was now becoming concerned. His friend had never been one for a loss of words. Placing his hand on Tucks shoulder Robin gave it a gentle squeeze.
"Tuck, whatever it is you know you can confide in me. I’d hope that our friendship is strong enough for that?"
He looked deeply into Tucks face, trying to see if there was any sign of what was wrong with his friend. Tuck seeing the genuine concern tried to reassure him.
"I have always thought of you in that way also." Trying to think of a way to tell Robin of his plight he spied a small pond lying to the south of the road. Pulling his horse around he headed towards it. Slowly riding to the ponds edge, his head hung in deep thought. Robins concern deepened as he followed Tuck.
The Friar stopped his stead at the ponds edge and slowly dismounted. Robin, waiting to see what Tuck would do, also dismounted, when he saw Tuck standing by the edge of the pond. Tuck just stood near the ponds edge, staring blankly at the water. He watched at how the ripples grew from the wind blowing across the pond’s surface.
Robin walked up to Tuck standing silently alongside him. He waited a few minutes for Tuck to say something. Still the silence, it was deafening. Robin said in a hushed tone "This is something serious isn’t it?" Tuck nodded his head, but still would not speak. Robin was now getting angry.
"Tuck, will you please tell me what’s wrong?"
"I fear..... that I have lost my faith." Tuck humbly said. Robin was taken aback with this statement. He never thought he would have heard Tuck say that. "Tuck, what exactly happened back there to make you think you’ve lost your faith? I’ve never seen a man more devoted to his faith than yourself. And I say this not as a friend but as your brother."
Tuck turned to see Robin warmly smiling at him. The look of admiration for Tuck was strong in his expressive eyes. Robin was always a passionate man. His love for others was always genuine. If a man was a friend of Robins, he was a friend for life.
"I have had this feeling for many months now." Tuck admitted.
Robin sat on a rock nearby. He looked up at his dear friend. Tuck was a very pious man. When things looked there gloomiest Robin knew he could always depend on his friends faith to pull them through. It pained him to see Tuck in such a depressed state.
Tuck stooped down and picked up some stones. Slowly he threw them into the pond. Keeping his back to Robin he quietly said.
"My bother had always thought that I was silly to go into the order."
A plunk was heard as a rock was thrown in. Robin listened intently. Tuck rarely talked about his past. Robin knew it was a hard thing for him to do.
"My whole family was angry with me. I had someone special that I believe, if I had stayed, would have married me." Another plunk.
Robin remembered Marion telling him of Enid and Tuck. Robin had met her at the Rainbow Inn. That had been the time he had to rescue her daughter Peggy, from the Arabian Francisco. He had the scars on his chest still from that horrible fight.
"I heard she had another child, a boy." The last word cracked as Tuck found it hard to say it.
"Jonathan said if I had stayed that boy would have been mine."
Tuck then drew his arm back and threw the rest of the stones that were left in his hand towards the ponds center. Robin followed the stones as they fell into the pond. Sadly shaking his head he looked up at Tuck, noticing..... he wasn’t sure, but was his shoulders shaking? As if crying? Robin tried to console his distraught friend.
"Tuck you chose your life, it was your decision. You can’t let your family let you think you chose wrong."
Tucks head turned and looked into Robin’s eyes. His blue eyes were wet from tears flowing down his face. Robin had never seen Tuck cry before.
"Robin, you don’t understand. Its not them who think I choose wrong, its me."
Tuck nervously started pacing. "I have gone over it again, and again. Why did I choose to be a man of god? What I gave up for it? I have begun to think that perhaps I had given up to much."
Robin listened intently. He let his friend talk it out. It was the best thing for him right now.
" I fear that I might not be worthy to wear these robes anymore."
Robin quickly stood up. "Now Tuck, you stop that talk. I have never seen a more godly man than yourself. You have never taken a life in all the fights that we have been in. You have always looked for a way peaceful way out of any battle. Never have I met a more loving and giving man than yourself."
Tuck beamed at Robin’s words. Wanting to say something back to him, but stopped when he heard a laugh come from behind. Turning Tuck saw eight women emerge from the forest. Each one wore long black dresses. They were armed with spears. Black veils covered their faces. Tuck recognized them to be the followers of Morigan. It was rare for them to leave the safety of the priory.
Robin noticing that they were armed, pulled his sword out. Their order had been known for violence. Robin never liked to fight a woman. But from the reputation of this order, he knew they were no ladies.
"You serve the wrong god." The lead sister mocked Tuck.
She wore a golden locket shaped like a heart around her neck. Walking up to Tuck, she placed her hand on the cross that hung on Tucks neck, flipping it up.
"Our Morigan is the only true god." Tuck grabbed his cross. Clutching it in his hands as he said a blessing over it. The lead sisters’ face grew angry at this act.
"Why are you here?" Robin asked, wanting to draw the attention of the sisters away from his friend.
The sisters slowly walked around Robin and Tuck. They soon surrounded them in a tight circle.
The lead sister serenely declared. "I am Susanna, a priestess of the first order for Morigan. I have come for the man known as Robin Hood."
"Really?" Grinned Robin as he whipped his sword in a circle beside him. "Well I’m Robin Hood. What do you want?"
"Retribution." One of the sisters roared to Robin. Another pointed an accusing finger to him as she moaned out. "You killed the son of our goddess."
"Hush sisters." Susanna ordered the others. Robin was now back to back with Tuck. The angry sisters’ continued circling the two while Susanna calmly explained her reason for being there.
"Our Goddess is very angry that you have not been brought to justice. We have come for you Robin of the Hood."
"I see." Robin said. He glanced back at Tuck. Giving him a familiar signal that he was to run when there was an opening. "Now that you have found me, what do you plan to doing next?" Robin cautiously asked.
The sisters’ stop there circling. One of them pulled out a small vial. Pulling out a stopper she dipped the spear tip into it closing the vial she put it away in her dress. She then aimed the poison tipped spear at Robin. Each one of the other sisters’ continued to do the same. Robin had no idea what they were putting on there spear points. But their order has been know for there many poisons. What ever it was he knew it wasn’t going to be good for his health. Sizing his chances he knew he wouldn’t be able to dodge all the spears. Still he was going to give it a try.
The followers of Morigan waited for a signal from Susanna. After Susanna applied the same liquid to her spear as the others, she immediately lunged after Robin. The others followed suit. Tuck soon found that they were ignoring him. They’re full attention was on one thing. Getting Robin!
Robin jumped to the side using his sword to block a spear. He tried to make his way to the ponds edge. He jumped and twisted out of the way of three more of the spear points. But ultimately they proved to be to many, violently one had found its mark. A sister had managed to pierce him in his thigh.
The spear point burned like fire as it entered his body. Robin let out a yell as he felt the pain of the poison rush through his system. His leg suddenly felt heavy, finding that he was no longer able to use it. Robin fell to the ground, clutching his thigh. The sisters stood back, waiting for the poison to do its work. Tuck ran to Robin’s aid, he became alarmed as he found that he was unable to walk. His legs didn’t seem to want to listen to him. His eyes wide in alarm.
"Tuck, I can’t feel my legs." He cried out.
Tuck took Robin’s knife and cut open his pants where the spear pierced it. Tuck cringed when he looked at the wound. Already it was turning an ugly black. Robin felt the paralysis rise up his body. His chest soon felt heavy. His arms refused to work. He let out a shudder as he felt the poison work its way up.
"You will be ready for transport soon." He heard Susanna say. "Why?" Robin weakly asked. Already he felt the paralysis rising to his head.
"This way you will give us no trouble. It is best for you, as well as us." Susanna calmly said.
Robin’s paralysis was now complete. He found that he could only move his eyes. Tuck held Robins still body in his protective embrace. He could feel the weakness in Robin. He looked up at Susanna, pleading with her.
"What do you have planned for him?" The fear was evident in his voice.
"He will be brought to our goddess. That is our task." Susanna said. There was no emotion in her voice. "When he arrives our high priestess will decide what is to be done with him. For now we are to bring him to the priory."
Susanna motioned to one of the sisters. She quickly ran off into the brush that they had emerged from. The other sisters gathered around Robin. Staring at him with hatred etched across each face. Susanna went up to Tuck and Robin. She squatted down next to them, slowly she poked and prodded Robin to make sure he was totally paralyzed. Once satisfied she rose as a cart was being brought out from the bushes. When the cart was placed next to Robin, the other sisters’ went to Robin, roughly grabbing him but the arms and legs. All the while, as the sisters picked him up, carried him to the cart, dropping him in the straw filled cart, Robin could feel nothing. He was frightened by it. He prayed that the paralysis was not permanent.
End of Chapter One