By Lisa Prusok
Robin felt the cool water and pressure of the cloth on his back. His body ached all over. Even his hair hurt. As consciousness returned, he moaned. He felt a hand on the side of his face. His eyes fluttered open at the touch.
As his vision cleared and steadied, he realized that he was in bed on his stomach. He couldn’t remember how he got there. The air touched his bare skin and he got goose bumps. Robin couldn’t remember when he had undressed and gone to bed. Plus, it was still daylight. What was he doing in bed during the day?
Robin pushed up a little and turned on to his side. He first saw Little John standing over him, eyes wide and mouth opened, "What’s going on?" Robin asked confused.
"Robin how do you feel?" Tuck asked while John just stood there.
"I’d like to know where the boulder is that hit me," he said rubbing the back of his head. "Why am I in bed?"
Tuck opened his mouth to answer when Marion rushed in.
"I have all of the things you’ll need Tuck. Robin!" she yelled out when she saw him awake.
"Hello Marion," Robin said casually.
Marion joined Little John in just standing there with her eyes wide and mouth open.
Robin looked from Marion and Little John over to Tuck as he sat up. "What’s with those two?" he asked Tuck.
"Robin don’t you remember what happened?"
"What do you mean what happened? The last thing I remember is having lunch with everyone. What am I doing in here and why am I undressed?"
As evenly as he could, Tuck began explaining what had happened.
As Tuck continued, Robin’s face joined the other two in its expression. He just couldn’t believe the things that Tuck was telling him. To prove his point, Tuck showed Robin the blood covered cloth that was used to clean his back.
Robin tried to look over his shoulder at his back.
"Trust me Robin. There is nothing there to see. It’s as if nothing had happened. You healed in the blink of an eye. You healed right before our eyes. I know, my friend, that you are a strong man and a quick healer...but nobody heals that fast," Tuck said.
"Magic!" was the next word from Robin’s lips.
Tuck nodded his head in agreement.
Robin looked at Marion and Little John, "Are you two just going to stare at me all day?" he chuckled.
The two ‘statues’ blinked and came back to their senses.
"I don’t understand what happened," Little John said very confused.
Marion just shook her head from side to side in complete bewilderment.
"Where’s my tunic?" Robin asked looking around.
John held it up, "It’s covered in your blood. It’ll have to be washed before it can be worn again."
Robin took the garment from John’s hand and looked it over. It was indeed covered with dried blood. Robin got up from the bed. He wavered just a little on his feet. Three sets of hands reached toward him. Robin held up his hand in a signal that he was okay. Getting another tunic, he slipped it on and began to lace it up.
"I think that I need to go see Olwyn. I don’t remember what happened, but I sure don’t want it to happen again. The after effects are not very pleasant," he said as he finished the lacing.
"Do you want us to go with you?" Marion asked.
"No, I think I should go alone," he said as he placed his hand gently on her arm.
The foursome left Robin’s hut and headed toward the stable area. As they were walking, Robin tripped and fell flat on his face in the dirt.
Spitting the dirt from his mouth, Robin pushed himself off of the ground.
He began brushing the dirt from his front, "I don’t know what is going on,
but it is getting a little annoying!"
Catrina was walking from the wood pile with an arm load of wood. She tripped on a tree root and ended up sprawled on the ground. She sat up, "Stupid root." Checking herself over, she couldn’t believe that she was not hurt. The fall had not even winded her.
As Count Lanis was whipping her, she had decided that she had had enough. No job was worth this. Building up her power, she whispered the incantation and disappeared.
She was home now. Safe in her little part of the forest. It had been a
while since she had been home. Inside it was cold and uninviting . A fire
was the ticket to warm the place up. Cat gathered up the wood that had scattered
from her fall. As she did, a huge splinter stuck in the palm of her hand.
The only way she knew it was there, was by the increased pressure against
"Ouch!" Robin yelled. He looked at his hand and saw blood pouring from an open wound in the center of his palm.
"What’s wrong," Tuck asked coming up to Robin.
Robin held out his palm for Tuck to see. Then Robin shook it to try to make the pain go away. Blood flew from the palm.
"Here! Give me that!" Tuck said impatiently as he grabbed Robin’s hand.
As Tuck touched it with a cloth, Robin gritted his teeth as he sucked air in through them. "Ouch!" he said as his face screwed up at the pain.
"Robin. I don’t think you should go alone to see Olwyn. I think it would be best if at least one of us went with you," Tuck said calmly as he tended the wound.
Robin only nodded. Then his face muscles smoothed as the pain disappeared.
Tuck pulled back the cloth to stare at Robin’s hand. The wound closed and disappeared. Finally able to pull his eyes from the hand, Tuck looked at Robin’s face, "Pain?"
Shaking his head, "No. It’s gone. I..." he stopped, unable to form another
Cat pulled the splinter from her palm. "No blood!" she said surprised.
"This is interesting. No pain, no blood. I wonder..."she queried as she
got a sharp needle. She began poking at her left arm with the needle.
"Ow. Ow. Ouch!" Robin cried out as the pain increased. Small beads of
blood began rising on his left hand and arm. "I’m getting really sick of
this! Stop it!" he yelled at his arm.
Cat could not believe what was happening. She thought of one more test.
Taking a good sized log in her hand, she closed her eyes and aimed it at
Bright stars danced before Robin’s eyes as pain burst in the side of his head. The stars flashed and darkness replaced them. "Uh!" was the only sound he made as he collapsed in a heap on the ground.
Little John was the first to reach Robin. He turned Robin carefully on to his back, and placed his head and shoulders onto his lap. He held him tightly.
"John, you stay with Robin while Marion and I get the horses. We are all going to take him to see Olwyn," Tuck said with determination. He and Marion started to get the horses ready.
Even though it was daylight, the light that began to form was brighter. It hovered close to Little John and Robin’s still form. In the center a tall, slender, old man appeared. Olwyn had come to them.
"Olwyn I’m glad that you are here. Robin..." Tuck began.
"No need to continue Friar. I know what has been happening to Robin." He knelt next to his former pupil. Olwyn placed his hand on Robin’s chest, over his heart. "This is magic. There is no doubt about that. The only question is by whom?"
Marion finally spoke, "You mean you don’t know?"
"No I don’t. I only know that someone has invoked a spell that connects Robin to them. The two are as one. What he feels, is what is happening to him or her."
"Can we break the spell?" Marion asked.
"Why would someone do that?" John asked
"No and I do not know. I am unable to tell where the spell came from. I can not estimate how strong it is, so I do not know how long it will last."
"What good are you!?" Marion fired at Olwyn.
Olwyn did not take her words to heart, "I know that you are upset young lady, but strong emotion is not the answer to this question."
"Well you haven’t given us any other answer. The only thing you have told us is what you can’t do!" she countered.
"Marion please." Tuck said as he tried to calm the warrior woman. "Is there anything that we can do Olwyn?"
"You can care for him when he can’t care for himself. The answer will present itself in time." With that, Olwyn disappeared.
"The answer will present itself in time," Marion said mocking Olwyn. "What kind of answer is that? We are no better off if he had not come," she said kicking the dirt.
"Since we don’t have to go to Olwyn, let’s get Robin back to his hut and into bed."
Little John once again lifted the outlaw up and carried him into his hut.
It was an hour or so after Little John had laid him down that Robin regained consciousness. His head was splitting. He opened his eyes, "Not again!" he moaned.
Tuck offered him a cup of tea as he propped himself up on his elbows.
"What happened this time?" he asked softly.
"You just collapsed. No warning at all," John told him.
"In a few minutes, when I have my strength back, I want to get started for Olwyn’s."
"That won’t be necessary," Tuck told him flatly.
"What do you mean?" Robin asked as his brow wrinkled a little.
"Olwyn was here. Little good that it did," Marion said angrily.
Robin just looked at her with questioning eyes.
"He came and told us that you are connected to someone by a spell. What happens to them, you feel. He does not know who or for how long," Tuck explained.
"Well if I had to be connected to someone, why couldn’t it have been a nun? Then I’d only have to worry about sore knees," he said sarcastically. As his headache turned to a dull throb, Robin sat up.
"What are you going to do?" Little John asked.
Robin thought a minute. He took a deep breath and let it out, "There really is nothing that I can do. I don’t know where to start looking. It would be futile to go out without a destination. The only thing I can do is wait and see what happens," he ended shrugging his shoulders.
"Robin..." Marion started to argue.
Robin got up and walked to her. He looked her deep in her eyes, "Marion there is nothing I can do. Even I have admitted that. This time we will just have to wait."
Marion opened her mouth to try to argue when Robin’s finger touched her lips to hush her. He didn’t say an audible word, but his eyes spoke volumes to her. She held her tongue. The look that he gave her was enough to quiet her, for now.
In the next twenty-four hours, Robin had sustained a few bumps, bruises and had tripped a few more times. Each time, he took it in stride. Just waiting for some sort of sign to appear.
Robin and Little John were walking to the cook tent area for lunch. They were casually talking about the hunt that was coming up the next day. Robin was about to take another step when he fell forward and landed flat on his face once again. A cloud of dirt rose from around his body.
Little John was now used to his friend’s little problem so he was not too concerned. Trying not to laugh, "Robin are you okay?"
Robin rolled on to his side. He propped his head up with a bent arm and began to drum his fingers on the ground. He was fed up. He was frustrated. "How can one person get hurt so much?"
John could not help laughing. He couldn’t answer Robin’s question he was laughing so hard.
"I have never in my life fallen down this many times in one day. Not even when I was a child. I feel like such a klutz." When Robin said ‘klutz’ it was as if a light bulb (or magic torch for the twelfth century) had gone off in Robin’s head. His eyes went wide and a huge grin grew on his face as it dawned on him. With one graceful movement he was up on his feet.
Grabbing Little John by the shoulders he shook him lightly, "John! I know who it is! I know who cast the spell on me!" Robin yelled in excitement.
Little John stopped laughing and couldn’t wait to find out who. "Who is it Robin!"
"Little John, it’s CAT!"
Realization and understanding were now reflected in John’s eyes. He knew that Robin was right. "So what do we do now?" he said excited.
"I am going to pay my friend a little visit. I want to know just what she thinks she’s doing. I also want to know what happened to her yesterday. Those first blows that I took were not from tripping or bumping into something. She could be in some kind of trouble."
"Can I come with you?" John asked with anticipation.
Robin knew how much John wanted to come, but this was a journey that Robin needed to take alone. "I’m sorry John not this time."
Disappointment flooded his body. He must have drooped down three inches in height. Trying to sound positive, "Well then I’ll saddle your horse for you while you get ready."
Robin gave him a warm smile and a reassuring pat on the arm.
"Yes Little John."
"What about Marion. Isn’t she going to want to go with you too?" he asked innocently. Although he knew exactly what Robin would be in for when Marion found out he was going alone. He would have a hellcat on his hands.
Robin closed his eyes and dropped his chin to his chest. He hadn’t thought about that. He also didn’t want to face her. Not now. Maybe later. He would face her later and smooth things out then.
Robin lifted his head and opened his eyes. Clearing his throat, "John I need you to do a little favor for me."
A look of fear came over John’s face. He held up his hands and waved Robin off, "Please don’t ask me."
Robin’s head tilted slightly to one side and he looked at John. His chestnut brown eyes became warm and sad.
"Aaawww Robin don’t look at me like that. I can’t do it. I just can’t..." he stopped. "All right. What do you want me to do?" he finally gave in with a deep sigh.
Robin’s eyes sparkled as he smiled, "Great! Thank you John. I owe you one."
"Yes you do and I will collect for this one."
"It’s a deal. I need you to keep Marion busy for about half an hour. That will give me just enough time to get far enough away from here so she can’t follow me."
"How am I supposed to keep her busy?"
Robin thought a moment. A mischievous smile came over Robin, "I know. Why don’t you ask her to bake you some of her infamous, I mean famous, tarts for you."
"Robin not that! I could die from that! I’ll think of something else. Anything else."
"Suit yourself. I tried."
"Yeah right. You tried. You tried to give me a stomach ache. Get going and get your stuff. I’ll have your horse ready for you by the gate."
Robin slapped him on the back, "I do owe you one my friend." Robin rushed to his hut to pack. He knew he could count on Little John.
Within five minutes, he was on his way.
End of Chapter Two
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