Robin walked over to his bay and untied it, leading it to where Olwyn was waiting. Stopping the horse near him, Robin then motioned for Olwyn to mount. Olwyn just eyed the horse.
"You really don't expect me to actually ride that thing, do you?"
"Unless you plan on walking there, yes!"
The boy stared up at the horse. Putting his hands behind his back, he poked at the ground with his toe, Robin could see there was some fear in his face. Olwyn's head suddenly shot up.
"I'm not afraid of a horse! It's just . . . I . . . I . . ."
"Don't tell me, let me guess. You never rode a horse."
The boy looked cross now. Did you ever think that I never had the time, hmm, Robin of the Fitzsooth. I had more important things to do, like studying to become the most powerful wizard since Merlin. Even Melanoc won't be as powerful as me."
Robin just shook his head as if disappointed. Leaning casually back against his horse, he took out his knife and started cleaning his nails. "Well, if you don't want to find that humility, we can just stay here until the next new moon. It really doesn't matter to me." Looking at Olwyn he could tell that the boy really appeared to be frightened of the horse.
"Frightened! I'll show you, Robert of the Thieves!" Olwyn pushed Robin out of the way, and grabbing the pommel of the saddle, he tried to mount. As the horse shook its head in the boy’s grip he felt a light tap on his shoulder. Releasing the horse he turned to see Robin motion his hand in a circle.
"First thing about mounting, you do it from the left side of the horse."
"Oh." Olwyn said, slightly embarrassed. Walking around the horse, he tried to mount again. The horse braced itself when it felt the young man's attempt, and Robin grabbed the boy's waist and helped him up. Olwyn found it hard to sit up straight as he tried to hold on, using the horse's long mane. The bay shook its head again, trying to shake the boy's hands off as the child pulled harder on its mane. Robin jumped up behind Olwyn, grabbing the reins he gently said.
"Let go of the mane. Don't worry, I won't let you fall."
Olwyn felt Robin's arms form a protective circle around him. The outlaw eased his horse into a slow walk, as they rode on, Olwyn had a look of shock on his face. He grabbed Robin's arms nervously, and Robin held on to him. Olwyn began to notice that he was starting to feel safe with this Robin Hood. Something about him gave him a warm protected feeling. They slowly rode on into the night.
"Just where are we headed to, Prince of the Hoods?" He giggled.
Robin let out an exasperated sigh. "To my camp OLWYN!" He almost shouted.
"I know my name," Olwyn countered. He smiled to himself.
Robin kept telling himself that the boy was teasing him. He also had to realize that this was not his Olwyn, he was only a fourteen-year-old boy. And being fourteen, he acted like one. Hopefully, by the time he returned to Merlin, he'd run out of different names to call him.
"Don't bet on it." Olwyn snickered.
Robin let out a frustrated breath. "All I ask is for you to stay out of the others minds when we reach the camp. It really gets on one's nerves, and if you don't . . . " Robin started thinking of different ways of punishing Olwyn, knowing the child was reading his mind. After the third one Olwyn gave in.
"Okay! Okay, I promise not to read anyone's mind in the camp. Besides, like I said, it doesn't always work."
"Seems to be working all right for you right now." Robin noted.
Olwyn chuckled. "Yeah, isn't it great? Maybe being around you is helping my powers to stabilize? Hopefully, after a month, I'll finally be able to do that spell I've been working on. Did I tell you about it? It's really a great one."
"No thanks, If you don't mind, I just want to get back to bed."
Olwyn let out a big yawn. "Me, too." He was then quiet for the rest of the ride. When Robin and Olwyn rode into the camp, it was near dawn. Olwyn had fallen fast asleep in his arms, Robin saw Sean was still on patrol.
"Who's that, Robin?" Sean asked as he came up to the pair.
"Uh, just someone I met, Sean." Robin, still holding Olwyn in his arms, eased himself down off his horse. "Can you take care of my horse for me?" He continued, shifting Olwyn's weight in his arms to carry him better.
"Sure, Robin. No problem."
Robin walked to his tent, and pushing the flap back with Olwyn's legs, he carried the boy over to his bed. Gently laying him down on his bed of furs, he picked up a heavy blanket and covered the boy. Standing back, he stared down at the young Olwyn. Sleeping, the child looked so innocent. You would never suspect that in a few years time he would grow up to be a powerful sorcerer. For now, he was just a young man, trying to grow up and learn about life. Robin hoped he would be able to help him, as Olwyn had helped HIM years earlier.
Stifling a yawn, Robin wearily went to get a blanket. Plopped himself down on a chair he stood up with a yipe! Grumbling to himself he removed his quiver and sword from behind him. Lying back down in the chair he covered himself as he settled down, hoping to get at least a couple hours of sleep.
"Robin! Robin wake up!"
Little John shook Robin again, trying to rouse him. Robin's eyes opened slowly, glancing up to see a concerned John staring back at him. Yawning, he stretched his long legs out. They had cramped from sleeping in the chair.
"What's wrong, Little John?" he asked, rubbing the sleep from his eyes he then began to finger comb the tangles out of his hair.
"Robin, you have to come quickly! There's a strange boy in camp. He says he's Olwyn!"
Robin shot up out of the chair. Glancing at his bed, he saw it was empty. Slapping the heel of his hand on his head, he groaned out. "Olwyn!"
"Then it is him?" John looked confused as Robin quickly ran out of the tent, when Little John opened the flap, he could see Robin running about the camp, searching for Olwyn. Looking back at Little John, he shrugged his shoulders and gave him a 'Where is he?" look.
"He's by the cooking area!" John yelled out, pointing in the direction of the campfire. Robin nodded a thank you, and raced toward it. When he reached it, he found Olwyn in a heated argument with Tuck.
"And I'm telling you, it's rosemary not basil." Tuck countered. The Friar slammed down a bundle of herbs on the table and picked up another. Olwyn just stood in front of Tuck, his arms crossed, tapping his foot impatiently.
"Friar, I do know my herbs, and basil tastes better on eggs than rosemary."
The herbs on the table rose into the air and flew into the frying pan. Seeing Robin entering the cooking area Tuck rushed towards him, with wooden spoon in hand. Robin jerked his head back as Tuck shook the spoon in his face, then pointed the spoon at Olwyn. Almost spitting in anger, the gentle Friar bellowed. "Robin, do you know who this boy says he is?"
"Yes, Tuck. He IS Olwyn." Robin sighed wearily, then gave Olwyn a stern look. Olwyn just stared back nonchalantly. He knew he hadn't really done anything bad. Yet!
Tuck's mouth just hung open in shock.
"Keep doing that Friar, and you'll be able to catch flies for your live frog potions!" Olwyn chuckled.
"Olwyn!" Robin gave him a fierce look. "You promised not to read anyone's mind while you were here."
Olwyn pointed to his chest, giving him a most innocent look. "Why, Robert of the thieves, you didn't say I couldn't read your mind."
Robin gazed up into the sky in exasperation, then stared back at the child sternly. Just as he was about to scold Olwyn, he heard a familiar voice from behind.
"What's all the commotion?"
Olwyn glanced behind Robin, his mouth fell open as the most beautiful woman he had ever seen in his life came into view. Her hair was a dark sable brown, it gently ran past her beautiful curved shoulders. Her eyes put the blue sky to shame, and her lips were as red as the reddest rose. AND she was dressed in the most revealing outfit Olwyn had ever seen on a woman. Walking up to her, Olwyn gently took her hand, kissing it as he softly whispered. "Marion Fitzwalter, I am Olwyn."
"You got her name right." Robin said, shocked.
"Of course! Could anything as beautiful as this be called anything else?"
Hearing this, Robin slapped his hand across his face and pulled it down in frustration. Tugging gently on Marion's hand, Olwyn led her to a table. Marion eyes were knit in confusion, gazing questioningly at Robin she mouthing 'Olwyn?' Robin nodded as she took a seat, Marion eyed the young man.
"You're Olwyn?" she asked, shocked.
"Yes, but you can call me by any name you'd like."
Olwyn sat next to Marion, placing his elbows on the table, he supported his head in his hands. Marion felt a little uneasy as the boy just sat there, staring at her. Robin also started to feel uneasy. Walking up to the boy he bent down to whisper in his ear.
"Olwyn, may I have a word with you?"
Olwyn just kept staring at Marion. "Do you know you have beautiful blue eyes?"
"Well, I have been told that occasionally." Marion politely laughed.
Robin was starting to feel really uneasy now. Bending down again he whispered. "Olwyn, remember I'm suppose to show you how to become a man."
Olwyn just said dreamily, "Oh, I think Marion can help me with that."
Robin shot up, his face turned a deep red as he shouted out. "OLWYN!"
Olwyn yelled back, "What?!"
Speaking through clenched teeth, Robin hissed. "I want to talk with you. NOW!"
"Nooowwww?" Olwyn whined. His eyes never left Marion's face.
Robin walked briskly toward the outskirts of the area, and looking back at Olwyn, he began to think of the most devious ways of making Olwyn's life in Sherwood a living hell. After several seconds, Olwyn's head shot up as he gasped out.
"You wouldn't dare!" A wicked smile parted Robin’s lips, a dimple popping out to grin at him.
"All right!" Olwyn grumbled, taking Marion's hand, he gently kissed it. "If you would excuse me, my Lady?"
Marion grinned at Olwyn and replied, "Of course."
Olwyn stood up. Bowing, he smiled at her once more before he walked up to a still fuming Robin. Gazing up at Robin's fuming face, he let out a short breath and grinned. "You know, for a man with a pure heart, you sure have a lot of impure thoughts." Robins curtly replied, "My tent! Now!" Jabbing his thumb in the direction of the tent, Robin glared at the child.
Little John and Tuck stood dumbfounded as Olwyn walked by them. "Robin, what's going on here?" Tuck asked. Robin saw the puzzled looks on each of his friend's faces letting out a tired sigh he attempted to explain Olwyn’s sudden change.
"My Friends, this boy really is Olwyn, or at least, he's Olwyn when he was younger. Apparently, something is going awry with his magic and Merlin sent him here."
"Where's our Olwyn?" Little John wanted to know.
"I really don't know, Little John. He wasn't in the cave where I found the young Olwyn. All I know is I have to figure out what's wrong with his magic and try to help the young Olwyn. I have the cycle of the moon to accomplish this. "
"Robin, are you sure it's Olwyn?" Marion asked.
Robin glanced over at his tent. Olwyn was leaning against it, juggling fireballs with his bare hands. A small crowd was beginning to form around him. Starring at the young man, Robin wondered if this boy really was a young Olwyn. Was he being tricked? He then recalled when he heard Olwyn's voice coming from the boy, and nodding to himself, he smiled at the concerned faces of his friends. "Yes, I'm sure its Olwyn."
Still watching the young man juggle with fire, Robin continued. "I believe he's at a crucial junction in his life. He needs to be guided in some way. I have to find which way is best for him. Unfortunately, that's going to be very hard. He's nothing like our Olwyn. This one is a loud obnoxious brat!"
Just as Robin said this, a half a dozen eggs came flying toward his face. Robin ducked out of their way. They splattered on the ground behind him. Spinning around he saw the satisfied grin on Olwyn's face. " If you'll excuse me, I think I have to let our guest in on some of the rules of the camp!"
Robin stormed off toward his tent. Olwyn was still juggling the fire balls. The other members of the camp seemed to have mixed emotions about the young magician. Some appeared to be enjoying the display, while others were positively frightened. Robin knew he had to calm their fears first.
"Olwyn, please stop." Robin asked him, his voice stern.
"Sure Robin of Thieves." As Olwyn brought his hands down, the fireballs disappeared.
"He's a sorcerer!" someone cried out in alarm.
"He's evil!" another moaned.
"No, he's not!" Robin stood by Olwyn's side, speaking confidently to the frightened crowd. "This is the sorcerer, Olwyn. You've all heard me speak of him many times. You need have no fear of him, I assure you!"
They eyed the young man suspiciously. One spoke out. "I thought you said he was a old man. Doesn't look very old to me!"
"Well . . ." Robin stammered, trying to think of an explanation. Suddenly, the group gasped in unison. Whirling around, Robin saw an ancient Olwyn standing behind him.
"Is this old enough for you?" Olwyn said softly, his voice still that of a child.
"I guess it is." One of the outlaws stated. "Robin, if you say its okay then we'll accept that." Another stated, all agreed with the man. The crowd then began to disperse. As they left Robin’s tent a large grin curved his lips, for a young girl still stood there. Her hair was a dirty blond, always in tangles. She hated to have it combed. She grinned up widely at Robin, sniffling she rubbed her nose on her sleeve. Robin spoke softly so he wouldn't scare her. "Hello, Cindy. How are you today?"
Little Cindy just smiled wider. She walked up to Olwyn and stared up at him. Olwyn's disguise phased out to reveal the younger version again, and he gazed down at the little girl. Her green eyes were penetrating, but inside of her, Olwyn could feel a deep hurt.
"Who are you?" Olwyn asked the little tike gently.
She just kept staring at him. Not a word came from her. Robin walked up to Cindy and squatting down, placed his hand on her shoulder. Turning his head, he looked up at Olwyn. "This is Cindy. She's sort of a mascot, here. Her mother and father were killed by the Prince's men." Robin paused as he remembered the carnage he had found her in. Shaking his head of the horrible memory he continued. "She was in shock when we found her, she hasn't spoken a word since. She had no family left, so we brought her here to live. Cindy goes from family to family, now. We all take turns looking after her."
Robin brought his hand up and gently stroked Cindy's hair. She smiled at Robin placing her hand up she tried to grab a lock of Robins long hair. Grinning widely Robin bobbed his head from side to side. They continued to play keep away as they had done many times before. Until she finally was able to latch onto a lock of his long brown hair. Pulling him close to her she grabbed Robin by the neck and started hugging him. Robin let out a soft chuckle as he returned her hug. Grunting, he sighed. "Mmm Cindy, you give big hugs!" Slipping away from Robin, Cindy blushed happily, and turning, she went up to Olwyn, bringing her hands out for another hug.
"Better stay away from me Cindy." Olwyn remarked caustically. "Robin might get jealous!"
Robin stood up remembering the reason he had sent Olwyn to his tent. Bending down, he whispered in Cindy’s ear. "Could you please go to the tent and have breakfast for me Cindy. I seem to have forgotten to eat this morning." He gazed at her with a mock look of shock.
Looking up at Robin she nodded her head, her eyes sparking in joy as she skipped toward the eating area. Robin watched her as Marion helped her to sit at the table. Fetching her, her breakfast, she had come a long ways since that fateful day.
"That little girl has a lot of hurt in her," Olwyn stepped up to Robin.
Robin whirled around. "I thought I told you . . ." Olwyn cut him off. "I didn't have to read her mind. You can see it in her eyes."
"Yes, she does have expressive eyes." Robin sighed.
"Yes, just like Marion's." Olwyn grinned.
Robin glared at the child. "Olwyn, I think we have to set some rules for you while you're in camp."
"Great! What now, Hooded Robin!"
Robin let out an exasperated breath. These names were getting to be a pain. "First," Robin warned. "I don't want you to practice any magic while here in camp.
"You might as well tell me not to breathe. What you don't realize, RH, is that I am an apprentice Wizard. An apprentice means that I practice my trade. I need to practice my magic every day."
Robin pondered this. He had to think of something that would satisfy Olwyn, but would not frighten any more of the camp members. "Okay Olwyn, you can practice your magic. But all I ask is that you practice when no one is around.
"Fine, anything else EoL?"
Robin tried to think of a way to put it gently. As he was thinking Olwyn's face turned a bright red.
"Well, you should have told me in the first place oh Dimpled one! I'll leave Marion alone if she's your girl."
Robin was going to give Olwyn an angry scolding for reading his mind again but realized that he had gotten what he wanted without even telling Olwyn.
"That is IF she wants me to," Olwyn added.
"Olwyn, I'll accept that. For now we have a lot of things to do."
End of Chapter Two