Once she was headed in the right direction, Cat made it back to camp in about forty-five minutes. Resting only twice along the way. Once she was over the bridge she dropped to her knees. She was breathing so hard she thought her lungs would burst.
Marion saw Catrina run into camp and collapse. Calling Tuck and Little John, she hurried to Cat’s side.
"What happened? Where’s Robin?"
Tuck arrived and knelt next to her to see if she was hurt. She was breathing heavily and was flushed, "She’s fine. Just out of breath.
"Where’s Robin?" Little John asked as he ran up.
"That’s what we’re trying to find out," Marion said
"Rob...Robin," Cat tried to spit out. "Lord...Malum’s...men. They...they have...him. Help...help Robin!" she finally finished.
"Lord Malum? Marion, Tuck we have to go now!" Little John urged.
"We will John. We need to get organized before we rush off after him," Tuck told John calmly.
"Tuck’s right. Little John, go and get our horses ready. I’ll get the supplies," Marion ordered.
"I’ll get some medicinal supplies just in case," Tuck said as he hurried off.
Regaining her composure, "What can I do," Cat asked.
Marion put a gentle hand to her shoulder, "Stay here until we return. This is the safest place for you."
Cat slapped Marion’s hand away, "Don’t patronize me!"
Marion stood up.
Cat stood up as well.
The two women just looked at each other for a moment.
Marion held back saying anything she might regret later.
"Look, I don’t have time for this. You will be safe here," Marion said in a very controlled voice.
"I don’t want to be safe here. I want to help Robin!"
"I’m only going to say this once more. You must stay here. We have to worry about getting Robin out of whatever he’s gotten into. We won’t have time to worry about what you’re doing."
"That’s final!" Marion said as she turned and walked away.
Cat crossed her arms in front of her and stared at Marion with angry, flashing eyes.
"I’ll show her," Cat grumbled.
Marion, Little John and Tuck mounted their horses and were gone within ten minutes.
Cat waited by the bridge until they left. Feeling the urge to pace, Cat walked over the bridge. She saw a nice spot down by the river where she began pacing.
Talking to herself out loud, "What to do, what to do. I have to help Robin. I have to! He was helping me and as a result he’s caught. Maybe even hurt! It’s my fault. Again! Indirectly it is."
Cat continued to argue with herself for several more minutes before she plopped down on the ground.
"What am I going to dooooooo," she said as she began to cry.
Her tears began to subside. The water of the river mesmerized her as it flowed. It kissed the shore briefly then moved on. Slight waves were made as it tumbled over a hidden foe in its depths. Cat’s mind began to wander. Her eyes were open but she did not see. Robin’s words entered her mind. Her time spent with him past and present. The time earlier that day. His voice was inside her ears. Echoing in her brain. The dulcet tone of his voice. His voice and his words. His words... "Stare at something. Breath deeply. Focus your mind. Collect the energy in the orb."
In her mind she was startled, "I’m there! It’s growing inside me. I must do this for Robin. I can do this for him. I can do this for me. I have the power. I am all powerful!"
The energy grew inside of Cat filling her with a euphoria she could not put into words. Tranquillity filled her. Everything was clear to her now.
"I must go to him," she said aloud.
Closing her eyes she began to concentrate. Robin had a presence about him. His aura was strong, bright, and filled with pure white energy. His heart, his soul were her guide to him.
Cat began the incantation, "I call on Tana, daughter of Hakodatia. Ilorin, ischia, saida amas, vu ais chol ixil luba manx. Kabard sia iban caliana vu agau futuna. Tana send me to Robin Hood. Dyerma vu ixil ais cymraeg!"
With her last word a halo of light formed around her body. The luminescence
grew as it became blinding. In a flash, it and Cat disappeared!
Meanwhile Little John, Tuck and Marion had reached the outer wall of Malum’s castle. Each took a side to find a way in. A short time later they were all back where they started and still no way in.
"What do we do now?" Little John asked.
"Robin is the planner. Let me think a minute," Marion said. "Let us all
think a minute." she added.
Robin’s cell was dank, dark, and odiferous. Although none of these things registered in Robin’s mind. He was still unconscious. Only now he had been striped to the waist and was shackled to the stone cell wall by his wrists. The shackles were bolted into the wall a third of the way up. Just high enough so a man could not sit, stand or kneel comfortably.
Robin’s body fell forward as dead weight. The pressure on his bare wrists was tremendous.
His body shuddered from time to time from the cold, damp air. An occasional drop of blood would fall to the filthy cell floor from his head wound. His chin was to his chest and his shoulder length hair fell forward concealing his pale, blood covered face.
In the dark silence a hum began. A few seconds later a white glow pushed at the darkness. A halo of light appeared and in the center was Catrina.
As the light diminished, she opened her eyes. An enormous smile broke out on her face as she realized where she was.
Cat jumped up and almost yelled yippee before she caught her tongue. The last thing she needed was to call attention to herself. Before she did anything, Cat mentally began to replenish the energy inside her. It was getting a little easier to do as Robin said it would. Robin!
Quickly she went to Robin’s side. She breathed a sigh of relief as she saw his shoulders move up and down ever so slightly. He was alive.
Cat knelt down next to him. With her left hand, she placed it under his chin and lifted his head. Gasping at the sight of his face.
"What did they do to you?" she whispered. "Robin? Robin?" No answer came. His eyes stayed closed.
"I have to get you out of here and quickly. Although once I do, I have to find the others. Maybe I should locate them first and then get you out of here. Yes, that’s what I’ll do."
She lowered Robin’s head to his chest again, gently. Sitting back on her heels she closed her eyes and concentrated on Marion. Marion had the most vibrant aura of the three. There was such a vitality in the woman. Cat knew this by instinct. Passion for life and love emanated from her.
It only took a moment before she located the trio by the castle wall. She was so pleased with herself for succeeding where they had failed. It tickled her to no end. She really would show them.
Cat examined the shackles that held Robin’s wrists. The decision was made that the easiest way to get him free was to just break the metal. Cat focused her energy in a narrow beam through her body to her finger tip. Slowly she raised her index finger to point at the iron that held Robin’s left wrist. Putting a bit more oomph into it, she saw the metal split open. Robin’s arm dropped to his side with a slap and his body began to swing forward.
"Whoa there. Where do you think you’re going?" as she caught his limp body against her shoulder.
With Robin against her right side, she had to go south paw for the other shackle. Again she focused, pointed and presto! He was free.
His right arm fell to his side and his entire body weight fell against Cat’s chest. Cat almost fell over on her back when his body was set free.
"You are heavy! But it’s a nice heavy, solid muscle. Now it’s time for us to leave."
The thought of failure never entered Catrina’s mind. It was as if she had been doing this for years instead of an hour or so. An energy focus was done first to build up enough power to transport both of them. Then she closed her eyes as she wrapped her arms around his back. Robin’s head lay on her shoulder. She nestled her cheek against the back of his head and all of that luxuriant hair. With a deep breath, Cat began the process. The incantation was whispered. The cell was lit up by the glow around the two. Just as she appeared, she disappeared with Robin.
The sun had set outside the castle. Tuck, Marion and Little John had just about formed a plan to get into the castle keep when the night was illuminated.
"What is it?" Little John asked.
"I have no idea," Tuck told him.
The glow became so bright the three had to avert their eyes. When it was once again dark, they looked over to where it had come from. All three blinked with disbelief at what they saw. It only took a second or so for them to come to their senses. They ran to Cat and Robin.
Little John eased Robin away from Cat and lowered him to the ground gently. Little John carefully pulled the strands of hair away from Robin’s bloody temple and smoothed them back.
Tuck knelt down next to Robin’s still form. Placing his palm on Robin’s face, "He’s running a fever. There is no telling how bad the head wound is. We will have to wait for him to regain consciousness to tell. The raw skin on his wrists and split lip are easily taken care of. We just need to get him back to camp as fast as possible."
With great care, Little John slid his arms under Robin’s knees and around his back. As if Robin weighed no more than a sack of flour, John lifted him up into his strong arms. He cradled Robin against his chest as they made their way to the horses.
Once settled on the horses, they made short work of their trip back to Sherwood and home.
Tuck and Catrina were with Robin around the clock for two days. It was dusk on the second day when Robin finally began to show some signs of life.
His fever was finally not a raging heat. Robin’s wrists had been anointed and wrapped with white bandages. A loose bandage square had been placed over the gash on his right temple.
The first thing that Robin was aware of was a throbbing pain in his right temple. He moved his head and regretted it. A moan escaped his lips as the pain increased with the slight movement.
Opening his eye lids just barely, he was greeted with a fuzzy image. The only light in his hut was that of a candle and even that hurt his eyes. He closed his eyes again and let the blanket of darkness cover him once more.
Tuck entered Robin’s hut carrying a cup of tea, "How is he?"
"He came to just briefly then lost consciousness again. It’s a good sign. What do you have there?" Cat asked as she got a whiff of the liquid.
"It’s a healing tea. It’s good for the fever, the pain, and to help him heal." Tuck explained.
Cat took the cup from his hand and smelled the tea up close, "Pew! This stinks! Does it taste as bad as it smells?"
Tuck was a little insulted, "It’s not that bad. Besides, it’s good for him."
"Well it may be good for him. But the cure does not have to hurt as bad as the injury. We need to talk. I can show you how to make a fabulous healing tea that doesn’t smell like, how did Robin put it?" Cat thought back to what Robin had said to her about Tuck’s tea. "Oh yes. Like a carcass had been out in the sun one day too many."
"Robin said that?" Tuck asked feeling a little hurt now.
"Yes he did. It’s the truth isn’t it?"
Tuck considered the question. He was hurt by the words but realized that Robin was only telling the truth. He knew it. He just didn’t want to admit it. "I suppose that Robin is right. When isn’t he."
"Okay so we are agreed. Now, let me give you the recipe for a healing tea that tantalizes the taste buds."
The two spoke in hushed voices about their own renditions of different remedies.
It was several hours later that the blanket of darkness rose from Robin’s mind. He was awakened by voices near him. He moved his head again to less severe results. The voices stopped.
"Robin can you hear me?"
He recognized the voice as Tuck’s. Slowly he opened his eyes. His vision was clear this time.
"How are you feeling?"
It was Cat. She was standing next to Tuck. Both had very worried looks on their faces.
Robin tried to speak and it came out as a croak. His vocal chords had lain silent for so long he had to get them to work again.
"Here Robin. Drink some of this. It should help your voice," Cat offered.
With Tuck there to lift his head, he was able to drink the soothing liquid.
"Thank you," he said in a whisper.
"How are you feeling?" Cat asked again.
"I have had better days. What happened?" he said as his voice improved.
"Cat saved you from Lord Malum," Tuck explained.
Robin was shocked, "How?"
Cat beamed, "Magic."
Robin was so proud of her. He knew she had it in her. "Thank you." he smiled.
His eyes suddenly became very heavy. Without another word he fell asleep.
It was another three days before either Tuck or Cat would let Robin out of bed. He had his color and vibrance back. Robin was taking a walk around the camp getting some fresh air when he met up with Cat.
"It’s good to see you up and about again."
"It’s good to be up and about," he said as he saw Marion coming their way. "How is the practicing coming?"
"Just fine," she said as she began to float a foot off the ground.
"That is wonderful Cat. I knew you could do it. Thank you for saving my life. Is there anything I can do to repay you?"
Cat settled herself back to the earth. As she thought about it, Marion came up to the two. Then a huge grin grew on her face.
"I take it you have thought of something," Robin said.
"Yes I have, but I don’t think that Marion will approve."
Robin looked confused, "Why? What do you have in mind?"
Cat looked from Robin to Marion and back again, "I want a kiss. A real kiss."
"Cat I..." Robin hesitated.
"You said anything. That’s what I want," she said determined to get her wish.
Robin looked at Marion. He cocked his head to the side and raised his shoulder to meet it, "I did say anything."
Marion just looked back at Robin. Narrowing her eyes she said, "Some times I wish you weren’t so darned noble." Leaning into Robin, Marion cupped her hand around his ear and whispered, "If you’re going to do it, I want you to do it right. Give her the full treatment with both lips. I want her to talk about this kiss with her grandkids. She deserves that much for all that she did for you."
Robin looked at Marion and winked. "Okay Cat. If that is what you want, I’ll do it," he smiled with dimples appearing on both cheeks.
Cat took one look at that smile and she turned to jelly inside. In a split second she had gone from elated to wanting to run away she was so nervous. Trying to conceal her nervousness, she stepped up to Robin boldly, "Yes, that is what I want," she told him as her voice cracked.
"Okay, are you ready?" Robin said as Marion stepped behind Cat.
Marion knew exactly what was going to happen to her. The aftermath would be something to behold. Marion didn’t want her ending up in the dirt so she was there to catch her when it was all over. Marion knew this by experience.
"Yes I’m ready," she said as she tried to stop herself from shaking.
End of Chapter Three
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