"This is really a strange country." was Marion's first thought when she arrived in Israel. In England she was used to be cold that was present most of the year and now she was in a country where even the ground glowed from the heat. Desert and rocks surrounded her. In front of her about twenty meters away there was a compound of tents. This must have been King Richard's one. Marion decided not to go over it. She wanted to stay hidden in the shadows of the rocks until night was falling. Luckily she had some water with her. If something were going on at the king's place, she would have seen it.
"Hey Tuck, Little John, it's time for us to go now. Put on those Turkish uniforms. They should fit."
They had to look twice at Robin before they realized that is was really him. He already wore a uniform and was almost unrecognizable in it.
"What's wrong? Don't you know me anymore?" he laughed.
"Well you look kinda strange." Tuck answered.
"Then it works. That's good for us and bad for the Turks. Now come on. The night won't be long enough anyway. We have to hurry up." Robin spurred them.
It was funny to watch Friar Tuck and Little John putting their clothes on. They were almost helpless.
"I don't want to be a Turk at all. I can't understand how they get in those clothes every morning. I love my cowl." the friar complained.
"You will survive that, I'm sure."
"Robin, these pants are too short." John said.
And they were much too short. "I'm afraid you will have to take them. There weren't any in a bigger size." Little John nodded. "Ok."
Ten minutes later they were outside of their tent. King Richard was already waiting for them. He had built a troop of soldiers and ordered three horses saddled for the outlaws.
"If we go now, we will reach Jerusalem in an hour. Are you ready?" the King asked.
Robin nodded. "Yes, we are. We have our swords, bows, arrows, and maps. We can start the show."
Robin, Little John, and Friar Tuck mounted. The sun was already down and the heat of the day calmed and turned into a refreshing cold. During the ride the group became very quiet. Everyone was alone with their own thoughts. King Richard was thinking of his mother, Robin of Marion, Tuck of Jesus, and Little John was the only one thinking of the Turks. He had never fought one before and so he was getting anxious to find out just how good they were.
When Marion realized that a group was leaving the compound of the king she had a problem. She had no horse to follow them. But she had an idea. Marion looked up to the sky.
"Olwyn, I know that you can hear me. Would you help me one more time? I need a horse." she whispered. Suddenly the sky began to thunder and flash of light came down. And were it hit the ground a horse stood a moment later.
"Thank you Olwyn. You don't know, how much you have helped me with this." So she mounted the horse and followed the king's group from a safe distance.
They reached Jerusalem one hour later. Robin had never smelled such an odor before. The sent of blood, decay, and death hung in the air. A strange feeling grew inside of him. A feeling of fear and uneasiness.
They stopped a hundred meters away from Jerusalem and dismounted. The mood was solemn.
"Now, are you ready for the job?" King Richard asked the three outlaws. Robin, John, and Tuck nodded.
"Once we have the queen back in about thirty minutes, I hope. I'm sure everything will be fine again." Robin admitted.
The three men went towards the main gate of Jerusalem. Two guards were posted there and it seemed as if they were asleep. Robin wondered about that because he was told that Turkish soldiers were absolutely reliable. For them this was a big advantage. This way they could pass the gate unseen and so no one would cast any suspicion on them at first. After passing the gate they tried to hide themselves by crawling along the walls.
They found the secret entrance to the prison exactly there where the map showed it. Thank god no guards were around. Robin took a small knife and opened the door. Now the Problem was to find Queen Eleanor. Although Robin knew the way the prison was built, it wasn't easy to find the right cell because the jail was very big. As they searched on they found that the prison was in a deplorable condition. Mud was laying on the round as high as the walls. All over were rats and all around the painful screams of prisoners came to their ears. Robin, Little John, and Friar Tuck shivered at the sound. This jail was even more terrible than the ones in England.
But they had no time for their bad thoughts. They had to do a job. So they searched the next floors. Robin halted, listening into the darkness, he realized that all the noise was coming from the right. But to the left it was quiet. He couldn't hear a sound.
"We'll try the right floor." he decided.
John and Tuck watched him unable to fathom what he was doing, but they kept quiet, trusting their leader. They prayed that Robin was right with his supposition. They walked along for a while and passed a many locked doors and then, some meters in front of them, they saw one that was guarded by two Turkish soldiers.
"I'm sure that this is the cell where the queen is kept. The other doors are not as well guarded." Robin gathered and Tuck and Little John close to him, they all nodded their agreement. Their hearts were beating heavily when they headed towards the soldiers. But when the two guards recognized them it was too late. One punch from Little John's fist and they were laying on the ground unconscious. Robin grinned down at them.
"Well done, strong one." he said. Then he looked through the small spy-hole he saw Queen Eleanor sitting on a plankbed. He bent down to one of the soldiers and looked for a key that was attached to his belt. Robin placed it into the lock and opened the door. The cell they entered was very small and the queen was frightened. But when she saw who had entered she stood up in disbelieve and relief.
"Robin Hood," she sighed out. "Did King Richard send you to free me?"
"Yes, milady. His Royal Highness ordered us to bring you out of this horrible place you were held in. Are you ready to go?"
"Of course I am. I can't wait to leave this place."
"Ok, then let's go." he said.
Getting out of the prison was easier than they had expected it would be. Just when they had passed the last door two guards were coming around the corner. They gave out the alarm at once. Now Robin, Tuck, John and Queen Eleanor were in great trouble. They were just the three to fight against the enemy and they had the queen with them who must be protected by them. To fight the two guards was no problem for Tuck and Little John.
Robin took an arrow out of its quiver and shot it over the city's walls. That was the sign for King Richard's men that their help was needed. The other Turkish soldiers couldn't close the main gate to the city quick enough and so the enemy was inside Jerusalem and a terrible battle began. The king's men fought as they had never fought before and many Turks were killed by them. But then the Turks showed a new strategy. They separated in two groups. Now one group was fighting against the soldiers and the other one fought Robin and his men. Somehow the queen had to be taken to a place of safety. The situation was becoming to dangerous for her. Now it was the friar's turn.
He took a horse of a killed Turkish soldier pulled the queen up to sit in front of him. He then headed towards the blockade of fighting soldiers. This was pretty dangerous tactic but it worked! The queen was safe outside the city, thanks to Tucks bravery. But the battle still raged on. Wounded or dying soldiers were on the ground everywhere, the screams of the ones who were hit by swords and arrows broke out into the silence, and fear was all around. Robin and Little John had a really hard fight. They were surrounded by soldiers, back to back they tried to protect themselves. But they had to many to fight against. One Turkish soldier placed an arrow in his bow and let off a shot. Robin cried out in pain. The arrow hit him in his belly. Robin fell down to the ground and closed his eyes in pain.
From her place outside the city Marion heard the sounds of the battle. Inside her fear grew. What about Robin? Would he be safe? Then she saw Tuck riding through the gate. Now Marion couldn't handle her fear of the unknown any longer. She grabbed her weapons and went off towards an unguarded part of the city walls. Marion threw a rope over it and climbed up and over. Now she was standing at the same place where Robin was shot down moments before. Little John was still fighting the soldiers to protect himself and his injured friend. When he saw that Marion was there, he didn't wonder about that. He was just relieved to see her.
With a look to Marion they both knew that they had to escape somehow. Meanwhile King Richard had realized that Robin was in dire troubles and so he sent enough men to the Sherwood outlaws. They would fight the enemy while Marion, Little John carring Robin would escape. So Little John lifted Robin up in his mighty arms and ran away from the prison. Marion had to fight many soldiers on their way towards the gate. Outside the city Friar Tuck and Queen Eleanor were already waiting for them, holding some horses so that they could get away. They rode off for about five miles before they dared to stop.
When they carried Robin off of his horse Tuck examined his wound. It had already became inflamed by the long ride, it did not look well.
"That doesn't look good for him." Tuck said in a whisper. "I'm going to have to burn it out. John, would you try to find some kindling so we can make a fire? I must treat this wound at once. If I don't, Robin could die."
Little John quickly fetched some dry wood and using a flint lit it. It wasn't much but enough to disinfect the knife Tuck needed to bring the arrow out of Robin's body. The small knife was still red from the fire when Tuck put it on Robin's skin began to cut at the wound.
Robin sighed out in his half-weakness when he felt the pain. Now Tuck had to pull the arrow out of Robin's flesh. He even cried out this time 'cause this was a pain no one could imagine. Marion sat by his side and held his hand until Tuck finally got the arrow, out Robin squeezed Marion's hand so strongly that she wanted to cry out in pain, too.
Tuck placed some herbs on the wound and dressed it. Now there was nothing left to do for them, except to wait for King Richard's return. So they were sitting close to each other, caring for Robin and taking their time.
The fight went on as hard as it was when it had started. King Richard had realized that the queen and the four outlaws were able to escape and he decided that it was time to retreat. But it wasn't as easy as it seemed. The Turks could have followed them outside and the danger of being defeated was much bigger. The enemy was superior because they had more soldiers than the king.
Then King Richard had an idea. The sun was already up in the sky and he had a mirror with him. So he put it into the right position and dazzled some of the Turkish soldiers. Now his own soldiers could strike back. And they did. Caused by this action of their king they have been able to defeat the enemy and to escape from Jerusalem.
King Richard and his men met the four outlaws near to Rama. The king dismounted and went towards them.
"Is he alright?" he asked worriedly.
"I'm not sure. The original injury was not that serious, because the arrow didn't get into his flesh to deep. But it has become inflamed. That's what makes me afraid." Tuck replied.
"Well, then I think it would be better if we take him back to the compound. He can rest there. I suppose that he is too weak to go back to England now, no matter how easy the way of travelling is."
He ordered some soldiers to make a handbarrow so that they would have been able to bring Robin back to the compound. They still had a ways to go, the camp was about ten miles from where they rested. It would have been to dangerous to carry Robin on horseback.
They arrived there about noontime. The sun was burning hot and everyone was exhausted. Tuck treated the injured soldiers and Marion looked after Robin.
During the ride he got fevered and it seemed to be pretty high. This is exactly the reason why Marion didn't want Robin to go. What now? If he died, he would have left her alone with the responsibility of leading a group of outlaws. She just didn't want to let him go.
Marion was asleep when Robin finally woke up. He looked around in a daze when he saw Marion sitting beside him asleep and had to smile. He had no idea how she got there but he was glad to see her.
"Marion........... Marion?" he tried to awake her.
Marion lifted her head and rubbed her eyes. When she saw who had called her name she sighed out of relief.
"Praised be the lord, you are awake. How do you feel?"
"I don't know. Did we get the queen out?"
"Yes, we did. And don't worry, she is safe. You'd better worry about yourself. You have been injured seriously," she put her hand on his forehead, "And you are still fevered. I'll get Friar Tuck to look after you." she said.
Robin nodded. And then he remembered that he had still no idea how Marion got to Israel.
"Marion, wait. How did you just come to Israel? And why? I told you to stay in Sherwood Forest to lead the compound."
"I know. But I was much to worried about you. I was afraid that you would be captured or killed. The thought of this was driving me crazy. I couldn't just stay there taking my time. I needed to know what was going on. And now finally it was proved that you needed me. I was the one who brought you out of Jerusalem and took you away from that battle. Little John had organized some horses somehow and so we could escape. I'm sorry that I didn't obey, Master Robert," she laughed, "But I thought you would need my help and so I was there. By the way, Olwyn has sent me to Israel the same way as you. I think I'm going to start trusting him more after this."
"Well, you really should do that. If it were not for him, I'm sure I wouldn't have never survived the time after my fathers death."
Robin tried to get up. But the pain pushed him back into his pillows again. "Please, keep still Robin! You are still very weak and your body needs rest now. I'm going to get Tuck, try to sleep a little bit more." Marion caressed over his head and smile down at him. Then she left the tent.
Two hours later Robin woke up again. The pain in his belly had disappeared and he felt strong enough to get up. He went towards a chair where his tunic was hanging. He pulled it over his head and then left the tent in order to talk to King Richard and Queen Eleanor.
He found them together with Marion, Tuck, and Little John in the King's marquee. When he entered they all stood up.
"Robin Hood, my friend. We are forever in your debt, I promise, when I get back to my country I will give you your title back and all your possessions. And of course first of all I'll give you and your men ..... and women," he looked at
Marion, "your freedom back."
Robin nodded gratefully. "I thank you, milord."
"No, Robert of Locksley, we have to thank you. You saved my life and risked your own. If you ever need something, just let me know. I'll give you anything you want." The queen added.
"Thank you so much. At the moment I only want to get back to Sherwood Forest. I still haven’t become accustomed with the heat."
King Richard and Queen Eleanor both smiled at him. "Well, I think you will recover much better at home than here in Israel. Now, thank you once again for everything." King Richard bowed his head and so did the four outlaws. Then they left the marquee and with it they went on their magic journey back to England.
End of Chapter Three