The echo of these words resounded in a small chamber. A wizened woman, dressed in black, stooped over her crystal ball. She could see a young Olwyn talking to Robin Hood, her blue eyes shone with evil intent.
"I have a big day planned for you tomorrow." Robin said.
Mortiana softly laughed. The glow of the crystal faded out as she stood up and started pacing the small dark chamber. Her face was a mask of white. It stood stark against her high black collar.
"So, Merlin. That is how you swerved Olwyn toward white magic. You sent him to Robin at a time in his life when he was young and impressionable. A time when he was at a junction between good and evil. Well, I think I'll have something to say about this before he returns." Chuckling to herself, she nodded her head. "If he returns!" She laughed out loud, the sound echoing in the large chamber. This was better than she had hoped for. Olwyn would be hers at last!
In the following weeks, Robin tried to show Olwyn the same things the older man had once shown him as a youth. He had hoped that Olwyn would be moved by the poverty and strife that was present in England, but Olwyn only showed indifference. He was solely intent on becoming a sorcerer. Any hardship that others faced was just not his problem his sole reason for living was to become the greatest living sorcerer since Merlin. Robin was becoming increasingly frustrated. He knew Olwyn had some good inside him. He could tell that from the way Cindy seemed to have attached herself to the young magician. It really was quite a spectacle in camp. Olwyn would be seen chasing Marion, while little Cindy was shadowing Olwyn. If anything good came out of Olwyn's visit, it was hearing Cindy's voice for the first time, for even though she still didn't speak, she had started humming.
It was two weeks after the young Olwyn appeared that Robin approached him. Robin was running out of ideas on how to help the young Olwyn. He was also getting increasingly angry about the name-calling. It had taken on a bizarre twist now. Steeling himself, Robin stopped in front of Olwyn. He was sitting in back of Robin's tent, a small bolt of lightning jumping back and forth between each of his index fingers. Robin cleared his throat to get Olwyn's attention, and the boy smiled smugly up at Robin.
"Olwyn?" Robin began.
"Yes, Sparrow Hood!" Olwyn replied.
Robin tried not to show how irritating the new names were to him. It only encouraged him. "I was wondering if you wanted to go fishing?"
Olwyn jumped to his feet, and his eyes held a sparkle in them. "Fishing!" he said, the joy evident in his voice. "I love fishing! When can we go!"
Robin was speechless. Finally, he found something that the boy liked. "Well, we can go now!" He offered.
"Let's go then!"
Olwyn quickly headed toward the small pond that lay at the outskirts of the camp. Robin whistled out to Olwyn, and the boy whirled around to see Robin grinning widely at him. With a deep chuckle, Robin said. "Unless you can catch fish with your magic, I think we need fishing poles."
Olwyn blushed, realizing Robin saw the enthusiasm he had for fishing.
"Wait here, Olwyn. I'll get them."
Robin slipped into his tent, and as Olwyn waited for Robin, his shadow suddenly appeared. "Hello, Cindy. We're going fishing!" Olwyn enthused. He really loved fishing. Cindy smiled and decided to wait for Robin, too.
As Robin walked out of the tent with two fishing poles in hand, he saw her standing next to Olwyn and chuckled as he saw she was mimicking the way Olwyn was standing. Olwyn as so enthusiastic about fishing, he hadn't even noticed. Walking up to Olwyn, Robin handed him one of the fishing poles.
"Well, Hooded Crow, let's be off!" Olwyn stated as he whirled around and made his way towards the pond.
Robin, feeling Olwyn's exuberance, just shrugged off the new name. They made their way toward the small pond found at the East Side of the camp, and as they reached the pond, Olwyn stopped at its edge. Robin kept on walking. "This way, Olwyn. Let's go a little further down to the river. I know of a good place to catch fish."
Olwyn followed after Robin and Cindy skipped after Olwyn.
As they made their way up a small hill, Olwyn dug the pole in the ground to help him climb up. Reaching the crest of the hill, Olwyn could see a river below. Giving Olwyn a playful shove with his pole Robin started to run to the bottom, laughing he said. "Come on, Olwyn! I bet I can beat you there!"
Olwyn laughed and ran as fast as he could, trying to catch up with Robin. They reached the river's bank at the same time, Robin laughing joyfully.
"You can run pretty fast, Olwyn. For a boy whose been cooped up for so many years learning Magic." Robin flourished his hands, trying to cast a made up spell. Olwyn started to laugh, also.
"Well, no matter how much studying I had to do, I always found time to fish."
Without any more ado, Olwyn and Robin plopped on the ground and started to dig with their bare hands. Both were laughing as they came up with rocks and stones. Still, the two persisted until they finally found what they were looking for - WORMS! They found a large group of them, and Olwyn anxiously placed one on his hook, plopping it into the water.
Robin walked a little further down stream. Sitting by the water's edge, he also placed his hook in the moving waters. As they sat by the riverbanks the only sound was the rushing of water and Cindy's humming.
Robin alternated staring at his fishing line to detect a nibble and looking after Cindy. She was playing by some dead logs that jutted out into the river. Olwyn didn't pay attention to her. He was solely intent on his fishing.
"So Olwyn," Robin softly said. "Where did you learn how to fish?"
"My father," Olwyn answered. His voice had a tint of sadness to it.
"My father also loved to fish. He would take me every day." Robin smiled at that memory.
"Where is your father now?" Olwyn asked, for once not reading Robin's mind.
"Dead." Robin told him.
"And where is your father?"
"Dead." Olwyn returned.
As they talked on, Olwyn began to realize that he and Robin had more in common than he had originally thought. This was the first time they were able to be themselves, and as they talked on, Olwyn decided Robin was a good man. Merlin must have known that, for even after all the teasing and goading, Robin Hood still tried to be a friend to him.
As the two talked on, Cindy continued to play among the dead trees. She hummed a little tune as she started to walk along the logs toward the center of the stream. Robin was the first to notice her. She had walked too far out to the edge of one of the dead logs, and the water moved fast at her feet. Robin slowly put his rod down. Standing, he cautiously made his way toward Cindy. Olwyn, not knowing what was happening, turned to look at where Robin was heading. When he saw Cindy standing on the edge of a log, he cried out a warning to her.
Cindy was startled by Olwyn's cry. Slipping, she fell into the rushing waters. Robin ran across the logs to where Cindy had disappeared, quickly diving under the water. After several seconds, Robin came up, spraying water out of his mouth.
"Olwyn! I need your help. The water is too muddy! I can't find her!"
Olwyn never hesitated. He ran to the edge of the rushing water, right to where Robin was swimming. He watched Robin take a deep breath, diving under again, trying to find Cindy. Olwyn tried something different. He concentrated on finding minds nearby. Robin's was easy to find, he’d read it often enough. He had to find Cindy's! Concentrating harder, he found a thin trace of her mind. It was faint and growing fainter by the second.
Robin came up for more air in time to see Olwyn dive under the logs. Quickly, the young outlaw followed after him. Under the logs, Robin could barely make out the two children. Cindy was lodged between two of the logs, and Olwyn was pulling at her. Olwyn knew he had to hurry. Cindy's thoughts were growing weaker and weaker. Kicking hard at the logs, he tried desperately to dislodge them. His efforts were soon aided by Robin. With the both of them wrenching at the logs, they able to remove the one that had Cindy trapped. Olwyn grabbed Cindy as she was released, and swam up to the surface. The two spewed out water as they reached air. Robin followed seconds later. His hair plastered against his face they struggling against the swift current as they raced toward the shore. As they finally made it to the riverbank, Olwyn heard a high pitched cry.
Cindy was coughing and crying uncontrollably. Clutching Olwyn's neck, she cried out his name.
"Olwyn!" was all she said. Over and over again.
Robin and Olwyn were shocked! They realized the significance of what had just happened. Cindy had finally talked.
"It's all right!" Olwyn tried to calm her. He held on to her, stroking her wet hair, and talking to her in a soothing voice. "I'm here. I won't let anything bad happen to you."
"Olwyn, we've got to get her back to camp. She needs to get dry."
Olwyn nodded his agreement. Still holding her gently, he began to make his way back. Robin ran back to get the fishing poles, and then caught up with the two children.
As they entered the camp, everyone was surprised to hear Cindy crying. She just kept repeating Olwyn's name. Tuck ran up to see what was wrong. Seeing all three were thoroughly soaked, he stared at them in shock.
"What happened, Robin?" Tuck asked. He came up to Olwyn and started to examine Cindy. She was soaked to the skin, she seemed all right, but as Tuck tried to take her away from Olwyn, she fought him, grabbing onto the boy's neck and refusing to let go. Olwyn took her little hands and brought them around, easing Cindy toward Tuck.
"You have to go with him, Cindy. He needs to check you to make sure you're all right."
Cindy sniffled. "And then you come to see me Olwyn?" she asked in a small voice. A hush came over the small crowd that had gathered around the soaked group. This was the first sentence Cindy had uttered since she had been found.
Olwyn ignored them all. Smiling down at the little girl, he nodded. "Yes little one. I promise I'll come see you. Now you go with the friar. He'll take good care of you."
"Okay!" she agreed softly.
Tuck hurried the little girl to his tent. The sound of her quiet sobs slowly eased, and as Olwyn looked around he could see the others were very quiet. Glancing up at Robin, he was shocked to see the older man's eyes were wet from tears, his eyes following the friar and the little girl. Olwyn couldn't believe it. Robin was the leader, yet he was not afraid to show tears. The outlaw glanced down at Olwyn and his face broke into a warm smile.
Wiping his face unselfconsciously, he grasped the boy's shoulder gently. "I'm very proud of what you did back there, Olwyn." Robin told him. "If it wasn't for you, we would have never found her."
Olwyn realized this also, but he still blushed from Robin's praise. "Thanks," was all he could think to say.
Robin gave Olwyn's shoulder another squeeze. "I really am very proud of you, Olwyn. And I think Merlin would be, too. You put someone else's life above yours."
Olwyn proudly smiled. "I did, didn't I." As he said this, a curious look came over his face, and glancing up at Robin, he continued. "Can I go now? I want to change."
"Sure, Olwyn. I need to change, also. I'll talk to you later."
"Yes, later." Olwyn briskly replied as he turned headed toward his own tent.
It was a half-hour later when Robin approached Olwyn's tent. Dry with a new change of clothes, he wanted to see how the boy was doing. As Robin entered, Olwyn quickly turned around, his face turning beet red when he saw who it was. Robin had been around kids long enough to know what that look meant.
"What have you done, Olwyn?" Robin sighed out in frustration.
"Oh, nothing, Hooded Owl!" His eyes grew wide as he stared behind Robin.
Robin quickly whirled around to see something run toward Olwyn's bed. His head dropped down for a moment in frustration, his long hair obscuring his face. Bringing it up, he growled. "Olwyn, what have you done?"
"Well Prince of Earls," the boy mumbled. "You know that spell I was talking about?"
"You didn't!" Robin cried out.
"Well, I thought saving Cindy's life was all I needed for my magic to work."
"Olwyn it's not that easy." Realizing Olwyn might have conjured a possible danger to the camp, Robin ran to the bed. Carefully lifting up the bedclothes, he searched under it, in a dark corner under the bed, Robin could see a pair of red eyes staring back at him. "Olwyn what have you done!" Robin gasped.
"Hey, don't worry Earl of Robins. It never lasts long any way. She should disappear soon."
As Olwyn spoke, the creature under the bed suddenly bolted and ran out of the tent. Robin caught a glimpse of it just before it slipped out, and his eyes grew large in amazement.
"Is that what I think it is?" Robin gasped, pointing at where the creature disappeared.
"Well, if my mind reading is still working, yes."
Robin tore out of Olwyn's tent. Glancing quickly about, he saw the creature heading toward the cooking area, he ran as fast as he could to catch up with it before it could cause any trouble.
As soon as he reached the fire, Robin dug in his heels, coming to a stop. Marion and Little John were sitting at a table eating some stew, and Tuck was by the fire. The three looked up at Robin as he stopped. Robin gave them a nervous look.
"Anything wrong, Robin?" Marion asked. She had a spoon full of stew ready to enter her mouth.
Robin noticed a movement behind Marion. There was the creature Olwyn had conjured. It had jumped up on one of the tables they used for eating. Olwyn caught up to Robin, and the dirt flew as he came to a complete stop. He also saw the small creature behind Marion.
"Marion, listen to me. Don't look behind you. Slowly, come this way."
Marion froze at Robin’s words. "What's wrong, Robin?"
As she jerked her head around the creature jumped down and ran toward some cooking pots. Tuck and Little John also looked at where Robin was pointing. All they saw was empty air.
"Robin, you feeling all right?" Little John asked.
"Yeah, Robin Hoodwink! What did you see?" Olwyn laughed. Walking up to the bench Marion sat on, he searched under it. Standing up, he had a grin on his face that went from ear to ear. He shrugged his shoulders.
"Uh, that's Robin Hood." Little John tried to stress to Olwyn.
Robin moved toward the pots. As he searched them he told Little John, "Don't get him started." His friends just looked at each other. They began to wonder what was wrong with Robin as they heard him mumble.
"It's in here, somewhere. I know it is."
"Robin, what are you looking for?" Marion asked. Her voice had a note of alarm in it.
"A creature Olwyn conjured up."
The three turned in unison to stare at Olwyn, who only smiled and slowly shook his head. He brought his hand to his head and turned his finger in a circular motion rolling his eyes. Robin noticed the silence and turned in time to see this motion. Groaning, he gave Olwyn a penetrating look. "Olwyn, tell the truth. Tell them what you did."
As Robin said this he heard a small squeak. Squatting down again, he could see the creature hiding in one of the empty pots, and reached out to grab it.
"Uh, Earl of Hawks, I wouldn't do that if I was you." Olwyn warned.
"I need to get this creature out of here," Robin hissed. The creature had no where to go. It was backed up against the inside of a metal pot. Robin stretched his hand further, coming slowly toward the creature.
"No, really! I wouldn't do that. You see, when you hear it squeaking like that, it means . . ." Before Olwyn could finish, the creature suddenly turned a deep purple and disappeared with a splat. Robin fell back, soaked in purple ooze, landing on his back. Looking up at the young man giving Olwyn a look of disgust.
Olwyn just stared back at Robin. After several seconds, he started laughing uncontrollably. "You should see yourself!" He had to hold his side, he was laughing so hard. "Oh, that was great! I told you, but you wouldn't listen. Then, when the thing exploded . . ." Olwyn laughed on.
As the boy kept laughing, something broke inside Robin. All these weeks he tried to hold it back, but this had been the last straw. Standing up, he tried to wipe the ooze from his body. He couldn't get the stuff off. It just stuck to him. Staring at Olwyn with a burning anger in his eyes, he finally let it out.
"That is it! I give up on you. I'm not going to help you any more with anything. You will never grow up to be a man. You care for one thing, and one thing only, yourself! I thought you had changed when you helped save Cindy, but I was wrong! You will never change. Well I give up. You're not worth it. I'm not going to waste anymore time on you. I wash my hands of you!"
Olwyn opened his mouth, but nothing came out. He was more hurt by Robin's words than he had believed possible. He bit on his bottom lip, trying to control its quiver as his eyes suddenly filled with tears. Whirling around, he ran towards his tent.
In a small cavern, Mortiana watched the argument Robin had with Olwyn.
Seeing the boy run away from Robin, she smiled to herself. "Well, Robin Hood, you had your chance. Now its my turn."
Mortiana called out for her servant. Olwyn was now ready to listen to
her. She would bring him back with her, and show him the darker side of magic.
If she succeeded, then when Olwyn returned he would become a black sorcerer.
And in the future, they would finally be together.
End of Chapter Three