The day seemed like any other ordinary day, except here was some unidentifiable difference. Robin couldn’t put his finger on it. No matter how hard he tried, he couldn’t brush off the odd feeling of being out of place. Strange, Robin stood in the forest glen, poised and ready to shoot as he had a hundred times before when he left camp to train and meditate. This time shouldn’t have been any different. But the trees…they were fuzzy. For the first time, Robin noticed that he couldn’t focus on his target. Ignoring the unshakable feeling of anxiety, Robin raised his bow in preparation to shoot. But he lowered it again, squeezing his eyes shut in agony as a wave of dizziness washed over him. Looking to the sky for a moment while trying to regain his balance, Robin glimpsed a pale pink instead of a light blue.
This wasn’t right. Something was wrong, indeed. Robin grabbed onto the trunk of a nearby tree, his lips incredibly dry. Robin glanced towards the sky again, then looked to the other side of the forest clearing on impulse. A pink sky, fuzzy trees, and Marion?
As Robin Hood stared off into the distance, his mouth fell open in disbelief. Coming toward him was the most beautiful maiden he had ever seen. Although she was on the other side of the forest clearing, Robin could clearly see her smile, her dimpled face, and her soft pink lips. Under her sheer white gown he made out her curvy figure, swinging as she ran across the field. Her step was light and sure.
Robin felt guilty as he looked the girl up and down, for even through she looked exactly like Marion, something was missing. This glorious girl, she looked
as though she should have been warm and gentle. But Robin could see evil in her striking blue eyes. He felt a chill even in the warm weather, but his chill quickly melted into a puddle of pleasure as the girl approached him, threw her slender arms around his muscular neck, and kissed him passionately. A thrill traced Robin’s spine as the mysterious girl’s soft brown hair brushed his face. As Robin returned the girl’s passion, feeling her silky ivory skin as real as the breeze, he knew he could forget everything to be with her.
"Marion," Robin murmured softly between kisses. The words he wanted to say were right on the tip of his tongue, but they would not budge. What was wrong? Robin rehearsed the words dozens of times. He had her, in his arms, so why couldn’t he tell her? Maybe it was the fact that his lips were busy. Or maybe he couldn’t find the right words to say in the right order. Or perhaps…no, something was not right. Robin knew that. This girl, she was too passionate. Marion would never behave in this way. Or would she? This event added to the pink sky and fuzzy trees brought a new feeling of fear into Robin’s heart. What should have been a warm embrace was turning icy cold to the touch. But Robin searched through the cold to find the kiss irresistible. He was under her spell. Until a loud booming voice from the heavens stole his attention away.
Robin pulled his lips away from those of the girl’s and looked again to the pale pink sky. Then out of the corner of his eye, he saw movement. He turned his head to the left, his arms still around the young women, and saw Olwyn walking slowly toward him. "Robin," Olwyn stated flatly, "you must come see me as soon as you can. There is danger and England needs you now".
The cold, clammy feeling that the young girl radiated took over Robin that very moment. A feeling of anger and violence filled Robin’s otherwise kind heart, and he glared at Olwyn with such disrespect that took the wizard by surprise. Then Robin smiled and turned back to the young girl. Her blue eyes, wide in fear that her spell on Robin had faltered, closed once again as she resumed her magical kiss.
Robin could see he was safe. How dare Olwyn believe that HE was the savior of the entire world? "Find another warrior", Robin thought.
"Wake up, Robin" he heard echo through the forest in a very different voice than Olwyn’s. This time, Robin ignored it. The feeling, however cold, was far too pleasuring to let go of. But a few seconds later he felt a tap on his shoulder. Robin whipped around, letting go of the girl. Behind him stood Tuck.
"Robin," the Friar said gently, "You must wake up. Your skills are needed at this time, for England is in trouble."
Robin spoke gravely in a voice that seemed far different from his own, a muffled voice that should have been heard as clear as a bell. "I want to stay here with Marion right now and nobody is going to take me away from her."
"That girl is not Marion", Friar Tuck stated plainly. As Robin turned back to the mysterious girl, his confidence fell. He could see in her eyes that the Friar was right; she wasn’t Marion. But whoever she was, he wanted her. The girl, seeing that her wickedness was prevailing, took Robin’s hand and led him away from Olwyn and the Friar. Olwyn, however, was through with being gentle.
"Robin," he yelled sternly, "that girl is pure evil. If you will not leave her by choice you will leave her by force." Olwyn raised his arm, but the Friar ran
over to him and pulled it back down again, his feet leaving the ground for a second.
"Stop. I have a better idea", Tuck said. He walked briskly to Robin as fast as his stubby legs could carry him.
Robin was completely lost within the girl. She continued to lead him across the grassy forest clearing. An evil smile spread across her face, twisting her beautiful features into an ugly mask. Friar Tuck ran up behind Robin, grabbed his shoulders, turned him around, and cried "WAKE UP ROBIN!!"
"You call that a better idea, Friar Tuck?" Olwyn called out.
Robin blinked his eyes. The girl suddenly turned mean and began yanking on Robin’s arm. "Get away from him. You want me!" she said between clinched teeth. Her voice had no similarity to Marion’s at all.
Robin blinked again as he felt all of his energy leaving him. The next thing he knew, the Friar’s fist was in his face. Tuck smacked Robin with all his might.
"That was my real idea," Tuck called back to a shocked Olwyn. He smiled as Robin tumbled backwards. Robin attempted to defend himself from his new position on the hard ground, but with no success. His eyes closed involuntarily and he felt his body slip out of the deamstate. "Wake up" was the last thing he heard.
* * *
Robin was finally able to open his eyes. His first impulse was to lash out at Friar Tuck who sat near the grass mattress, his eyes worn over with concern. Robin sat up quickly and looked over to the left to find the beautiful young girl, but she had disappeared. Her face was somehow replaced with the hard straw-made fabric of the hut. Did Olwyn somehow transform…? Robin wondered groggily as he glanced over his shoulder to the right where Olwyn once stood. A wooden chair was all that was left.
"Robin," Friar Tuck said, "are you alright? You must have been having some dream."
"Some dream?!" Robin blurted out. Then he rubbed his head. "Oh what a headache"
The Friar hopped up and began searching around for a mortar and pestle. "I can take care of that, Robin, with a little…. drat, where is it?"
Just then Marion walked in. "I apologize for barging in, Friar and Robin, but I heard some yelling. Is everything alright?"
Faster than you could say "Sherwood Forest", Robin was out of his bed and in Marion’s arms. "Oh I am so happy to see you!!" he cried as he covered Marion’s face with kisses. Tuck did a double take.
Marion pushed Robin off playfully but firmly. Her pink lips curled into an embarrassed smile. "Robin, what’s gotten into you"?
"Isn’t it all right to be happy to see the person you lo….." Robin stuttered as he suddenly realized what he was doing. His handsome face colored. "Listen, I better see Olwyn today. I sense that I must. You take care of things while I am gone."
Marion nodded, eyebrows raised as Robin squeezed her shoulder and ran out of the hut. "What is wrong with him??" She asked Tuck.
"I found it!" Tuck said, pulling the mortar and pestle out from behind a pile of bow sticks. "Oh, what’s that? Oh, I have no idea Marion. He was having some sort of dream. When he sat up in bed, he almost slugged me."
"Huh," Marion scoffed. "He practically devoured me. That’s not like him, you know. He’s never been that happy to see me!" She laughed sarcastically
* * *
Robin was already calm by the time he found Olwyn in his study in the back of the cave. However, Olwyn, being the wise old wizard he was, spoke first thing of Robin’s exhaustion like he knew it was going to happen before it happened. In fact, he did.
"Robin," he said "I couldn’t help but notice your ailment. I am glad you came to see me today." He led Robin to a chair. Robin guessed that meant the conversation was going to be a lengthy one.
"Yes, well, some higher power told me to do so."
Olwyn smiled slyly. "It must have been the dream."
Robin often forgot how truly powerful Olwyn was. But before he could ask questions, Olwyn changed the subject quickly.
"A new threat has moved into England," He explained.
"So you hinted before," Robin muttered. Olwyn ignored the comment as he sat at a table, opposite Robin. He looked long at the warrior who sat before him.
"Unfortunately, this enemy is more powerful than any you have ever dealt with. He, like me, is a very powerful wizard. Centuries of knowledge are on his side."
"What has he done?" Robin asked.
"This man has not done anything to anyone."
Robin was confused. It wasn’t often that he showed personal confusion to anyone. But when it came to Olwyn, it was pointless to hide anything. "If he has done nothing, then why is he an enemy?"
Olwyn reached for a bottle of Hilalian Rubywater. Upon taking a long sip before answering, he offered some to Robin, who refused. "You do not understand, Robin. The enemy is dangerous, but he’s not a direct threat to the people. He is, however, a direct threat to you."
"Why?" Robin asked.
"Without you, Robin, the people have no hope for a future without prosecution. The enemy knows this. As the incarnation of every criminal in England, this man wants to destroy you and your people for the simple fact that you stand in the way. What’s ironic is that the plot is simple, the plan is simple, but the solution is not."
"I think I see it now," Robin replied slowly.
"Don’t think," Olwyn said. "Know, Robin. Know."
"So, this wizard wants to destroy me for the sole purpose of rescuing crime from the threat of good."
Olwyn nodded. "Precisely".
Robin sat back in his chair, puzzled again by the conversation. "But you said that the solution is not simple. How can I defeat this wizard? And why hasn’t he tried to destroy me yet?"
"No, the solution is not simple. Not at all, Robin,"
Olwyn answered. "Nor can you defeat this enemy as easily as you would like. And yes, this wizard HAS tried to destroy you. He is already doing it, right now. But he is doing it very slowly and cleverly. Remember the dream."
Robin shifted uncomfortably in his chair. He had never seen this "enemy" before, not even in his dream. Much less the dream he had the night before. The girl in his dream was a female, not a male, so it couldn’t be her.
What of the Friar and Olwyn himself? Impossible!
"Such a closed mind, Robin" Olwyn said, shaking his head. He smiled in a sympathetic, fatherly way. His steely gray eyes softened as he gazed upon Robin’s face. He continued.
"First, I must tell you that this enemy does exist in a physical form. He has a dwelling, though very very far from here. He has already shown himself to you in a mental form, and he will show himself to you again in a physical form at a later time. To defeat this enemy you will have to fight him in a way you have never fought before. I cannot tell you how, but when the time comes I have complete faith that you will know." The old man studied Robin’s face.
Robin studied him back, but Olwyn was next to impossible to read. "Obviously, I must find and defeat this enemy fast. Where can I find him, Olwyn? I have not seen him. Nor have I felt his presence."
Olwyn sniffed. "Robin, remember your dream. Your dream from last night is filled with clues."
Robin, who considered himself a spiritualist, tried in earnest for a few seconds to remember back to his dream.
Olwyn intervened. "Robin, let me help you this time around. Now, remember the pink sky?" Robin nodded. "And the forest glen?" Robin nodded again. "When is the sky pink?"
Suddenly the where-when answer hit Robin like a bolt of lightning. "Of course! He exclaimed, jumping out of his chair. "The sky is sometimes pink at sunset. Sunset in the forest glen! I shall go there tonight then."
Olwyn stood up fast, quickly raising his hand to silence the warrior. "Robin, you will not meet him tonight. In fact, you will not meet him in person until after you discover the way to defeat him. Along the way you will meet up with what are called ‘existing illusions’. These illusions are created by the evil wizard to weaken you before the final battle. Evil comes in all forms, Robin, as you well know. These illusions will stalk you in real life and in your dreams. They are set to destroy you by eventually driving you crazy. You must be careful. Eventually, as you battle these illusions, you will discover how to defeat the wizard. Remember your dream."
Robin nodded. "That explains why I was so defensive in my dreams."
"Exactly," Olwyn said. " As I said before, this wizard is very clever. The evil that you feel in your heart will weaken you as you ready to battle him. You must use your willpower to overcome this evil, this defensiveness. Or you will surely fail."
Robin sensed that he had all the help he was getting. "Thank you, Olwyn. I don’t know what I would do without you."
Olwyn smiled wryly. "Even great warriors need help now and then. This evil was unintended, Robin, totally unexpected. That is why I chose to help you extensively this time around. There are risks, chances that you may not make it. Real chances. Please do not forget this."
"Shall I worn the others of this terrible event?" Robin asked.
Olwyn nodded. "Yes, but only your close warriors. The rest of your people must not know about this."
Robin bowed. "I thank you again for your help, Olwyn."
"Be careful," Olwyn said. He walked slowly to Robin and put hi hands heavily on the warrior’s shoulders. "A human against a wizard leads to heavy odds. But it can be done."
"Oh!" Robin snickered. "So are you saying now that I can beat you, too?"
Olwyn dropped his hands. "I have nothing more to add, Robin." He tried to hide the smile that touched at his mouth, but the warrior saw it. It was actually hard to miss.
End of Chapter one