Robin, Friar Tuck, and Little John had never seen such a landscape before. The weather was extremely hot and they were surrounded by a desert. When they looked around they realized that they were standing in kind of a camp. The flag of King Richard was blowing on the top of a huge tent. Soldiers were coming up to them.
"Who are you?" one of them said in an unfriendly manner.
"I am Robert of Locksley and these are John Little and Friar Tuck. We received a message from his majesty King Richard that he needs our help." Robin answered in a much more friendly way.
"Milord, welcome to the Holy Land. His Royal Highness has been waiting for you. Please follow me."
The soldier led them into the huge tent. Inside King Richard sat upon a throne studying maps. The soldier saluted and told him who had come. The three outlaws fell on their knees and turned their faces to the ground. The king stood up and went towards them.
"Stand up Robert of Locksley and your friends. I'm glad that you decided to come."
"It's a honor for us that you invited us. We will always be there for our king when he needs us."
"I really appreciate that. As I’m sure Olwyn told you Queen Eleanor is in dire trouble. And I can't attack the Turks as long as she is in their hands."
"What do you want us to do sire?"
"We are here in Rama a few miles away from Jerusalem. The Queen is in prison inside of the walls of the city. You need to infiltrate the city and find the jail. Well, of course I could have asked some of my men to do the job. But the difficulty is the Turks. Jerusalem is guarded by them very well. And you have the needed skills to avoid to be discovered. I think my brother taught you that."
"Yes, he did more than necessary. Do you have any idea, where Queen Eleanor could be?"
"Yes. The Turks only use one jail there in Jerusalem and one of my spies told me that she is held there. It will be pretty hard work to get in. There aren't any secret entrances and the others are guarded constantly I'll show you a map where you will have to go exactly. But tell me my friends. Aren't you tired and hungry from your journey?"
"Well, maybe a little bit." Robin truthfully answered.
"Ok then. You'll get a meal and then some time to rest. I know that the heat is murderous at first. But you'll get accustomed with it very soon. Wilbur, take them to the visitor's tent."
"Yes, milord." The soldier answered the order of his king.
"Please follow me Milord’s."
Robin grinned. No one had called him or one of the others 'Milord' for years. He just wondered why Tuck and John hadn't say anything.
"Tuck, Little John! What's wrong?" he asked.
"I'm standing on the same earth as Jesus did. Wow.........." Tuck was everywhere but where he now stood.
"And what about you, Little John?"
"I don't know. It's very hot and I'm afraid of what lies ahead for us. The Turks are thought to be extremely good warriors."
"I see. Sometimes your fear makes you even stronger. I'm also a little bit afraid. But we have our swords, arrows, bows, Friar Tuck, you and me, and we have our brains. I'm sure that everything will be fine in the end with all those preconditions." Robin gazed happily into the huge man's eyes. And it seemed as if Little John's worries slowly went away. The tent they were taken to was huge and unbelievably comfortable. In the center of it stood a table with four chairs around it and lots of good food on it. Even Tuck hadn't never seen anything that this before and his eyes were wide open. As they sat down they felt as if they were sitting on clouds and their meal was rich and just fantastic.
When they had finished their meal King Richard came inside. He brought some maps with him.
"Do you feel better now?" he asked when he sat down on the fourth chair.
"Yes, we are your majesty. We thank you for your hospitality. Shall we talk about our plan now?" Robin asked.
"I've have some maps of the city of Jerusalem here for you to show where you'll have to go. I even have one that shows some secret entrances and floors in that jail. I suppose the Queen is kept prisoner here in this chamber." He showed it with his forefinger on the map.
"The Turks are known not to treat their prisoners well and especially not those of royal blood. That's the reason why we must hurry. The best thing would be, if you'll enter the city at night. Do you think you will be ready to do this tonight?"
Robin nodded. "I think we will. But first we must study the maps. Do you have any Turkish uniforms?"
"We have some Turks kept prisoners. Why do you need them?"
"I can't see any secret entrances to Jerusalem and the main gate is guarded by Turkish soldiers. So if we wear their clothes they won't realize that we are the enemy. This way we can get inside the city unseen."
"Well, you'll get the uniforms. But I don't know of we have one in Little John's size. What do you plan to do then?"
Robin studied the map of Jerusalem for a while and then he answered.
"See that? Here in the north of the prison seems to be a door It’s suppose to be unguarded. It won't be a problem to unlock it. So we can get inside the jail this way. The rest is no problem then. Most jails are built the same and I’ll soon know the way by heart. We'll free Queen Eleanor then. You should post a lookout outside the walls of the city meanwhile. When we are out of the prison I'll shoot an arrow over the wall. You attack the city then and we'll try to escape unseen. When we are back to you, you will retreat your soldiers and everything is fine."
King Richard nodded. "This seems to be a perfect plan. I only hope that nothing will go wrong. But I trust in you Robert of Locksley - Robin Hood." King Richard watched him penetrating. He couldn't believe that this man was able to protect the country of Prince John so much.
Six hours had passed since Robin, Little John, and Friar Tuck had left the compound. Marion was walking around restlessly. Her mind was so full of sorrows about Robin. What would happen if he wouldn't come back to Sherwood alive? Who would be there then to guide her on her way through life? The only one she could think of for this job was Robin. She wanted to give birth to his children and to be his wife. But was there now still a possibility to reach this someday?
Robin was so far apart from her and in incredible danger and she wasn't there to support him. Maybe the Turks would capture him or even kill him. For her it was as if he would have left her forever.
For the other inhabitants of the village it wasn't easy to get along with her those days. She was irritated, unfriendly and it was better for everyone not to get in her way. And if someone did, he could be sure that Marion hissed at him. She gave them unnecessary and unimportant orders and if someone didn't follow them he had to be afraid of being punished severly. Well, Marion wasn't a perfect woman too and now she had overtaxed herself. She had to lead a group of outlaws and at the same time she had to protect them from Prince John's men.
She just wondered how Robin could handle it every day. She was deep in sorrows about it. Marion had no chance to help her Robin. Or could Olwyn help her?
Although she didn't trust in Olwyn as much as Robin did, she had to confess that everything he had ever foreseen had turned into reality. So why shouldn’t she go to ask him for advice? She went inside Robin's tent and lay down on his bed. That gave her the feeling that Robin was near to her and with every breath she took she had the smell of him in her beautiful nose.
"Robin, why did you just go?" she asked the walls. "I'm afraid of losing you. You are alone in a foreign country, during a terrible and unnecessary war.
Sometimes I only ask myself why you are so magnanimous. You are there every time for everyone - except me. I miss you so much." Marion started crying.
She stood up again and went over to the small chest of drawers where Robin had his clothes kept. She took one of his tunics off and breathed in deeply, her eyes closed. Now Robin seemed to be with her in this one short moment. When she opened her eyes again she was still standing alone in the hut.
Everything seemed to be all right but in fact everything was wrong. Tears were running down her red cheeks and her eyes were swollen. To go to Olwyn or not to go to Olwyn, that was the question now. If she really wanted to help Robin she had to go. And if she wanted to stay with her principles, she had to stay where she was. That was not an easy decision for her. In the end it seemed to be better to her to speak to the ancient magician.
Marion waited until dawn and then she left the compound secretly. She didn't want anybody to know where she was going. They would have asked her questions and maybe would have tried to hold her back then. The night was very cold and dark. And the way she had to go was even more sinister at night. And it was already enough of daylight. But Marion was not disturbed by this. The aim she was going for was bigger than the fear she knew. Her aim was Robin.
She arrived at Olwyn's cave round midnight. "Olwyn? Are you home?" She asked into the silence of the place. "It's me, Marion Fitzwalter, Robin's friend."
"What do you need, young lady?" Olwyn's voice asked her from behind her back. She turned around but no Olwyn was in sight. Then she turned back and suddenly he was there.
"Listen Olwyn, I don't have time for playing games with you. I need your help urgently."
"So, what's the problem?" he asked with his deep silent voice that never grew over a whisper.
"Robin. I can't stay here any longer knowing he might be in trouble. You will have to send me to Israel."
"So, tell me young lady, why should I do that?"
"I know that I wasn't very nice to you in the past. But Robin trusts in you and so I will have, too. I believe in things between heaven and hell we can't even think of but I'm always skeptic. This time I must give it a chance. And even if it's just because of Robin."
"Oh, I see. Well I don't think you are still in time. Robin, Little John, and Friar Tuck are already in the thick of things. You still want to go?"
"Of course. Now the wish is even bigger. See, I couldn't live without Robin. I must go." Marion looked at him suppliantly.
"Go over there in the middle of the room." Olwyn ordered. He took his piece of chalk and drew a circle around Marion on the floor. Then he used the same strange spell to take Marion away. A moment later she was gone.
It was late in the afternoon and Robin, Little John, and Friar Tuck were sitting in their tent resting for the big day. Both Little John and Friar Tuck were asleep but Robin couldn't find any sleep. In his mind he was with Marion. He knew that there was the possibility he may never see her again. Now he doubted if his decision to follow the call of King Richard was right. He remembered the few times he had her enclosed in his arms.
The smell of her hair, the warmth of her body, the sound of her laughing. Would he ever be able to feel all those small everyday things again? No doubt, the possibility of being killed by the Turks wasn't small. After all what the king had told him of them they weren't nice guys. But now he had made his choice. There would be no turning back, in a few hours they’re lives would be in danger.
End of Chapter Two