By the time Marion and Dalton arrived at Gisbourne’s castle the sun was setting. Marion was nearly worn out from her struggles to free herself. When Dalton dismounted and went into the castle one of the three guards that had been holding the horse cut the rope that bound her to the saddle and the one around her ankles and pulled her off the horse. She was then led to Gisbourne’s main hall where she was forced to sit down on one of the chairs. She had a guard on either side of her and her arms were still tied and she still had the gag in her mouth.
After waiting for what seemed like an eternity Gisbourne himself walked in. He made a bow towards Marion. "My lady." He then pulled the gag out of her mouth.
"Gisbourne you are detestable. When my friends hear of this--"
Gisbourne cut her off, "My darling I am not worried about any of your little Sherwood friends. I doubt they will be causing us any trouble." He sat down in a chair next to hers. "I do believe that I am forgetting my manners. I apologize my lady. After your long journey you must be tired and thirsty. Bring the Lady Marion and myself some wine and refreshment." a serving girl rushed off to fulfill the order.
"Now my lady if you promise to behave yourself I will have my guards untie your hands. While I am perfectly willing to feed, I do believe that is a task you would prefer to do on your own."
Marion nodded, she hadn’t eaten since breakfast and didn’t have the strength to fight her way out of the castle, especially since Dalton had left her weapons in the clearing where he had abducted her. "I promise."
Gisbourne waved his hand and one of the guards freed her hands. The serving girl reentered carrying a tray with a wine jug, two goblets as well as a tray with a slice of meat and some vegetables on it. She placed the smaller tray in front of Marion and the wine jug and goblets in front of Sir Guy. He filled both and then handed one to Marion. She took it hesitantly.
"My dear, it is perfectly safe for you to drink." He sipped his own drink.
Marion still wasn’t completely sure about it, but her mouth was dry and she didn’t think Guy would give her anything that would hurt her, so she took a sip. She drank the wine in sips. When her goblet was about half full she set it down. Her head was spinning and she was beginning to have trouble thinking clearly.
Guy watched Marion sip the wine slowly. He was wondering how much she would have to drink before the spell would start working. When she set the goblet down with a shaking hand and put her other hand to her head he began to get worried. He put his hand next to hers on the table. She looked up, blinked and then smiled at him. "Do you feel better?"
"Yes, I feel fine. Thank you my lord." Marion smiled at him and placed her hand over his.
Gisbourne smiled at the gesture took her hand and kissed it. "Perhaps you would enjoy a glass of one of my special wines."
"I would love it."
Gisbourne still held her hand, he took the fact that she wasn’t trying to wrench it free as a sign that the potion had worked. "Bring Lady Marion the special wine we prepared for her." Since spell number one worked it was time for spell number two. He kissed her hand again and she smiled at him. All the tenseness was gone from her posture, it was the first time in years that Marion seemed to be completely relaxed in his presence. Instead of releasing Marion’s hand when the new goblet came he took it and moved out of his chair, closer to Marion with his mouth next to her ear. He put the goblet to her lips. "Drink this." When she was finished drinking the potion he whispered, "Robin Hood, Sherwood Forest, your abduction by Dalton."
The next day Robin was up and ready well before sunrise. He knew something was wrong with Marion and he wanted to help her as soon as possible, before anything worse than whatever thing it was that had happened to her happened.
At sunrise he and Little John were out tracking where the horse had come from. Each led a horse so that when they found Marion they could get back to their village as quickly as possible. It was midday when they found the clearing.
"This is where the horse started back to camp from." Little John said. "There was more than one horse in this clearing yesterday, look at all the hoof prints."
"Look at this." Robin was kneeling down next to Marion’s whip and her dagger. "She left her sword and bow back at camp."
Little John crouched down next to him. "There was a fight. You can tell that from some of the marks on the ground." He then stood up. "The second horse went that way." He pointed.
"Do you realize what lies that way?"
"The two men mounted their horses and rode off to Gisbourne’s castle.
Gisbourne and Marion were strolling through his garden. It was the same garden that Marion had danced with Fitzsooth in all those years ago. Gisbourne smiled. "My lady would you care to dance?" He bowed to her.
"Of course my lord," she curtsied.
As they danced Gisbourne thought about Robin Hood, forever banished from Marion’s memory. He would come and try to rescue her. Somehow the outlaw seemed to know about everything that happened in Nottingham. But he wouldn’t know that Marion was lost to him forever. He smiled as he thought of a brilliant plan to hurt his nemesis. He would let Robin break into the castle and try to rekidnap Marion. Then he would let him go. The pain of knowing that his Marion was forever linked with Gisbourne would be good enough. That is until Dalton took him to Robin’s village and he burned it to the ground. Perhaps then he would tell Marion to help in Robin’s pre-execution torture sessions.
"My love," Gisbourne pulled Marion close to him.
"I need for you to do something for me."
"I will do anything you ask. You should know that my lord."
"Yes, I do." Gisbourne kissed her. "We will be married soon, my darling, but before that happens a man will try and steal you from me."
Marion’s eyes grew wide and she stepped closer to him. He led her to a bench and they sat down. "He will tell you many lies. I want you to tell him that you love me and only me." She nodded. "If he tried to take you away by force, struggle but go with him. I know where he will take you and when I come to rescue you he and all his friends will know that we were meant to be together and they will never bother us again."
Marion nodded again and put her head on his shoulder. "When are we going to get married?"
"In one month all the important people of England will come to watch you become the most beautiful bride ever."
"It is our destiny."
It was nearly twilight when Robin and John reached Gisbourne’s castle. "This is probably the best time for us to sneak in and get her. We’ll have enough light to see but by the time we’re in the forest it will be dark enough that they won’t be able to follow." Robin said.
"What’s your plan?"
"One of us has to find Marion and get her out. We also need to know if Dalton told Gisbourne how to get to our village."
Little John nodded. "I’ll find Dalton."
Robin nodded. He had really wanted to be the one to rescue Marion.
The two friends left their horses in the woods and continued on to the village surrounding the castle. There a friend of theirs was about to deliver a load of hay to Gisbourne’s stable and graciously agreed to allow them to hide in it.
"I figured you’d be coming today or tomorrow, so I put off its delivery as long as I could." the young man told them.
"Why did you think we would be coming?" Robin asked.
"Well this morning Gisbourne started making everyone prepare for his wedding to Lady Marion, he’s planning it to be in four weeks. I heard him telling the butcher to get all the best cuts of meat he could because everybody who’s anybody is going to see him married to her. Besides that I overheard the captain of the guard talking about how the man who brought Marion to the castle was insisting on leading the raiding party on your village. He won’t even tell Sir Guy where it was until the day they go."
Robin and Little John had digested this information. It made their jobs simpler, they just had to do something to keep Dalton from talking. Once they were inside the stables and their friend told them it was safe for them to come out of hiding he told them some more news.
"I gossiped a little with one of the serving girls and she told me where both Marion and this Dalton fellow are. Marion’s in her room on the southwest side of the castle, third floor, second room when you go up the servants’ stairs, and she has a balcony, the only one on that side of the castle. Dalton is in the apple orchard on the West Side of the castle."
"Thank you, my friend, I don’t know how we can repay you."
"Just keep sticking up for us Saxons. Its us who owes you the debt."
Little John found his quarry first. The two of them were alone in the orchard.
"Well, well, well, I was expecting you my friend," Dalton said, his voice had a sinister note in it.
"I’m pleased you weren’t disappointed." Little John took a step towards him, he intended to capture the man and then let the people of Sherwood decide what was to be done with him.
Dalton leaped on him with a sword, Little John drew his as well and the two men parried each other’s blows for several minutes before Little John got the upper hand.
"You won’t kill me." Dalton told him. "If you do Robin will never find out what’s wrong with his precious Marion."
Little John moved the tip of his sword closer to Dalton’s neck. "What did you do to Marion? If you tell me now I may spare your life."
"Nothing you can fix. The spell she’s under was from a page ripped out of Olwyn’s magic book, there is no antidote. You would do best to leave her here." Dalton then threw a handful of dirt in Little John’s face. The blond giant turned his head and momentarily his sword arm moved in reaction, not away from Dalton but further into his neck, killing him.
Robin crept slowly up the back stairs to the third floor. Once he was sure there was no one in the hallway he snuck in and tried the door to Marion’s room. To his surprise it opened. He had expected Marion to be locked in -- perhaps she had already freed herself. He quickly shut the door behind him. He looked around the room and saw Marion sitting in a chair next to her balcony, her back was to him at first. He crept towards her trying to decide if it was some type of trap. "Marion?" he whispered as he tapped her soldier.
She turned her head to face him, he noticed that something seemed wrong with her, besides the fact that she was wearing an obviously expensive dress most likely furnished for her by Gisbourne. Her eyes showed no recognition and she remained seated in her chair. "Who are you?" she asked.
Robin was confused. "Marion, it’s me Robin. I’m here to get you out of here."
"I don’t know anyone named Robin." Marion seemed to be pulling back from him. "And I am quite happy right here thank you."
"Marion, this isn’t funny. We need to go right now, before Gisbourne’s guards catch us."
"I don’t want to go. If you leave right now I won’t tell the guards, or Guy, unless he asks me."
Robin stopped. Something was obviously wrong with Marion. She hated Gisbourne and would have no reason to want to stay here. He wondered if he should take her by force. "Marion, please come with me. We need to get back to Sherwood."
"Sherwood is a pretty name. Where is it? I told you before I don’t want to leave."
Robin acted on instinct, hoping that he was in fact doing the right thing. He pulled Marion up out of the chair and over his shoulder and then secured his rope at the top of her balcony. ‘When she’s herself again I’ll make sure to ask for her forgiveness.’ Marion struggled with him briefly but stopped once he stepped over the railing of the balcony to begin scaling down the castle walls. He briefly wondered why there weren’t any guards out near to make sure he didn’t do such a thing and decided to just be thankful that they weren’t there.
Once they reached the ground Marion began struggling again, but Robin was easily able to keep her with him. When he reached the spot where he and Little John had left their horses he found Little John waiting for him. Little John looked them over and nodded.
"I was beginning to wonder if you would need my help to get her out of there." The giant lifted Marion off of Robin’s shoulder and held her like he would a baby. Marion stared at him. "I’ve met you before, haven’t I?" she frowned. "You’re one of those wicked outlaws that Guy is going to get rid of."
"She doesn’t remember me or Sherwood at all."
"Why should I remember you or your Sherwood I’ve never met you before in my life."
Robin mounted his horse and Little John put Marion in front of him in the saddle and then mounted his own horse. "She’s been bewitched. Dalton told me that much and that the spell was on a page ripped out of Olwyn’s magic book."
"I am not bewitched. There is no such thing as magic."
They started riding to put as much distance between themselves and Gisbourne’s castle as they could before nightfall.
"Where is Dalton?" Robin asked.
"I killed him, in our fight. I was holding him at sword point and he threw some dirt in my face. My arm moved and it killed him."
As they rode on towards the edge of Gisbourne’s lands Robin and Little John were able to determine that Marion didn’t remember Robin, Sherwood Forest or the fact that Dalton had kidnapped her and she thought the Gisbourne was the most wonderful man who every lived and was certain that he would rescue her from their wolves’ den.
As they grew nearer to the edge of Gisbourne’s estate Marion grew quieter, she moved closer to Robin and held on to his shirt with both hands, as if she was afraid of something.
"Where are you taking me?" she asked in a quiet voice.
"To our home in Sherwood." Robin told her.
"Is it too much further? Will we have to leave Guy’s lands?"
"We will be there shortly after midnight. Yes, we will have to leave Gisbourne’s lands."
"Please, don’t," Marion whispered. "If you leave me at the edge of his lands I won’t tell him which way you went, please?" She voice was quiet. When Robin looked down he could see tears on her face, her eyes were wide and pleading. "Please?" she whispered again, she was begging them. It took all of Robin’s will power as well as reminding himself that what she was asking for was something that her real personality would hate.
Marion knew the instant that they had passed outside of Guy’s land. She clung onto the outlaw seated behind her on the horse. As they rode on she began to feel more and more tired. She shivered, it was early April and the nights were still cold, and moved closer to the outlaw who claimed he knew her and leaned her head against his chest. She was so tired and there was something about being held by him. He was handsome, and something just felt right about having his arm around her, she didn’t know what it was. She had never met him before and hadn’t Guy told her the two of them were destined for each other? Finally she was unable to keep her eyelids open any longer and she fell asleep.
Robin had noticed when Marion had begun to fall asleep, they hadn’t been more than an hour outside of Gisbourne’s territory when she had fallen asleep. It was a deep sleep, but Robin could feel her breathing. He slowed his horse to give it a chance to catch its breath and to give him the chance to put her under his cloak, to keep her warm. She looked so beautiful, it hurt him to admit that the dress Gisbourne had given her did look wonderful on her. He decided that the next morning he would go to Olwyn and see what could be done for her.
Marion was still asleep when they entered the camp. She didn’t even stir when Robin lifted her off the horse and carried her to her hut. He briefly attempted to wake her, but then when she didn’t wake up he placed her on her bed and then went back to his own hut and brought his bedding out so he could sleep outside her door.
End of Chapter Two
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