"All that proves Tuck, is Robin looks like his ancestor." Marion walked closer to the painting.
It was a remarkable resemblance. She stared at Robin and then at the painting. They were indeed identical. The same long brown hair, both men sported a goatee, they even had the same, expressive brown eyes. Why, they looked to be the same age! Robin also stared at the painting in wonder, and shock.
"Well," Robin smiled widely, "I must say something about the man in the portrait. He's really the most striking man I've ever seen!" He said with a raise of his right eyebrow, and a half grin.
Robin glanced over to Marion, she replied; with the straightest face. "Oh, I don't know. I think he's kind of homely myself. "
She rolled her eyes at him as she walked by. Tuck suppressed a laugh as Little John just stared at the painting. "But, he looks exactly like Robin," the gentle giant told them, confused. Seeing the look on Marion's face, it dawned on him.
"Oh, I get it." He smiled at the private little joke.
Robin examined the painting more intensely, noticing something, he asked Tuck. "Look at the medallion he's wearing."
Tuck stepped up closer to have a look. Bringing the candle he held up, he stared at it, a small glimmer of recognition flowed across his benign face. "It does appears to be of a Celtic design. I hate to say this Robin, but it looks like your ancestors dabbled in some magic - black magic."
Marion softly added, "That's probably why Olwyn likes him so much."
Robin never heard the remark. His attention was fully on his twin. Turning to his companions, he suggested, "I think we should postpone the exploring of the castle until morning. We're all exhausted from the storm. Let's look for a dry room to stay in for the night. We'll wait until morning, when we'll have more light. Walking in these dark halls could be dangerous."
"Of course." Tuck agreed. The painting had spooked him a bit, too. "First or second floor?" He looked to Robin Hood for guidance.
"Let's try the first floor. It's closer to the exit in case of trouble." Robin added as he headed toward the door.
"What kind of trouble do you expect from a three hundred years old Castle?" Little John scoffed.
"Who knows? I'm just being cautious. Come on, let's go." He then headed for the staircase. The others followed close behind. John gave a parting look at the painting, before closing the door. As the door closed, two columns of mist formed in front of the fireplace. Voices whispered in the darkness. "He's very strong. I can feel a wizard's work on him. Perhaps it won't work?"
The other cried out "It must. We have waited too long, worked too hard. After all these years, he's the one. The only one who can help us!"
Robin led the way down the stairs. As he crossed the large hallway - making his way towards one of the rooms, he suddenly found himself in the middle of a battle! Looking around he saw that the others had disappeared.
"What the . . ." he exclaimed. The night was gone, sunlight flooded into the room from open windows, and the doorway. The roar of a battle was heard, as he found men fighting all around the hallway, and into the courtyard. A great battle was being raged, the castle was being stormed, and the inhabitants were trying to fend them off. A large man ran up to Robin, handing him a heavy sword, "Don't just stand there Matthew," He cried, as he blocked a blow aimed for his head, "We have to defend the castle."
A man lunged his pike at Robin, he found himself deep in a fight for his life. Robin jumped high in the air, the pike whooshed under his feet. Landing hard, he swung his sword across, catching the attacker with the blade of his sword. Slicing into his arm, he immediately dropped his pike, with a scream of agony. Bringing the swords hilt up, Robin slammed it on the mans head. He fell heavily on his knees. As the man knelt on the ground waiting to be finished, Robin told him, "Go while you can." The man’s eyes glowed in thanks, standing up, he limped off.
The man that handed Robin the sword charged him. "Are you mad?" He spat out in a fit of rage. "Why didn't you kill him?"
"He was defenseless," Robin said, in defense of his actions.
The other man was positively enraged, "Haven't you learned anything that I taught you Matthew? We must kill all those that stand against our clan. We will fight together, as a family. For Family is everything. "
The man pulled his hand back, and backhanded Robin across the face. "Let that be a lesson to you, little brother!" he bellowed.
Robin was spun around from the blow. When he was able to focus again, he was looking into the eyes of a concerned Tuck. Once again he was back in the old castle, the darkness of the night returned. Robin shook his head, trying to clear it; for the roar of the battle still echoed in his ears.
"What just happened?" Robin asked his friends.
"We were about to ask you that same question." Tuck exclaimed in a hushed whisper.
"One minute you were walking in front of us," Little John explained, "And the next, it seemed that you were in another world. You didn't hear us when we talked to you, and you seemed to be fighting a battle with someone. "
Robin let out an unbelieving laugh, "You're not going to believe this, but I was. It was as if I stepped back in time. I was here," Robin spun around, holding his hands aloft, "In this castle, there was a great battle being raged to protect against invaders. Someone, who called me Matthew; was also here." He brought his hand to his face, "He slapped me," Robin gasped out, "And I felt it."
Bringing a torch up to Robins face, Marion could just make out a redness forming on the left side. She felt a sudden chill run up her spine. "I think I want to stay in the barn for the night," she muttered.
"So do I," the blond giant heartily agreed, as he ran to the large door leading out, with the others right behind him. Little John pushed hard on the door, but it refused to open. Even with the giant outlaw straining with all his might, there was not the slightest movement.
"Let's all try," Robin suggested. The four shoved in unison, but once again the door would not budge.
"There's got to be another way out," Marion cried, choking back the fear she felt welling up inside her chest.
"Right - Let's look for one." Robin said.
As Little John continued to try opening the main door, the others searched for another exit. When Robin reached the far side of the hallway, Little John found the door suddenly opened for him.
"I've got it," Little John proudly declared.
"Great!" Robin smiled in relief, as he walked back towards the door. As he neared it, it suddenly slammed shut, nearly knocking John down. His bright blue eyes blinked wide at the violent closing.
Robin just stared at the door with a curious look. "Little John, try to open it again."
John strained with all his might, once again it was impossible. Robin slowly started to step back, it was not until he was halfway across the large hallway, that Little John found the door was easy to open again. Robin stepped closer, and the door slammed shut.
"Hmm. Clearly this castle doesn't want me to leave."
"But it doesn't mind if we go," Tuck added.
Marion turned to Robin, again the concern for the man she loved was evident, "We're not going to leave you here Robin."
"Perhaps it might come to that." Robin looked at Marion. She saw the concern in his eyes, "At least we know that you have a way out." He tried to find the up side to all that had happened to them since they entered this foul castle.
"There has got to be another way out of here," Marion said, in a hopeful voice.
"Let's look for it," said Tuck and John in unison. "Together."
Robin smiled widely at his companions. He knew his friends would never desert him.
"Then I guess we'll have to do some more exploring."
They all agreed to start on the ground floor. As they waited to decide on what room to explore first, they heard a click of a lock. Rusty hinges were creaking and in the dead silence, they could hear a door slide across the floor. All four turned their heads, to see a door slowly opening by itself.
"I guess we start…there?" Robin asked, in a cracked voice.
Bowing deeply at the waist, Little John sung out, "Ladies first."
Marion cocked her head, giving Little John a deadly look she angrily asked, "What happened to together?"
As Little John tried to think of a quick response, Robin grabbed both of them by the arms, with Tuck on the end they headed towards the opening door. Little John mouthed a thanks to his closest friend. The four travelers moved in unison, stopping at the entrance of the half open door. They silently waited for Robin to make the first move. It was Tuck, however; who opened the door wider, cautiously sticking his head in the room. "Looks like a library," he informed the others.
They hesitantly walked in. Scanning the room, they found books and scrolls littered about the place. Most of them had been thrown about, lying haphazardly on the floor. It looked as if someone had been searching for something.
"Maybe we could find some kind of clue here, perhaps a Bible? Something that will tell us what happened here so long ago. Hopefully they left something for us to find."
As they walked around the dusty room, each one started grabbing books and scrolls from the floor. Robin was about to tell Tuck, about a scroll he had found with an unusual mark, when, as he turned he saw the others were gone.
"Oh no," he groaned, "Not again."
The library was now in pristine condition. It was dark in this room. He saw a lone man, bent over a table. A small candle burned brightly over his head, as he struggled to read a scroll lay out before him. Robin walked over to him, clearing his voice, he gently asked. "Pardon me?"
The man looked up at Robin, his face was ashen, looking as if he had not slept in days. "Matthew." he whispered " I'm glad you're here. Please come," He weakly beckoned with his hand, "I think I found out what Richard and Martyn are up to."
Giving Robin a sad grin, he sighed, "I am afraid it is not good, you must leave here immediately Matthew. I now know what they have planned, you are crucial to it. Without you, it will not work."
The man stood up and used Robin’s shoulders for support, "Please little brother, you must go. What I do, I must do alone. You are the last hope for the Locksley clan. It must not end here."
Robin endeavored to find out what happened those three hundred years ago, "Can you tell me what they plan on doing?"
The man sadly shook his head, "Already it has begun. Our misguided brothers begin their evil work."
Looking down he spat on the ground. "I curse our other brothers. What they want to do is wrong. Now come brother, time is short." Grabbing Robin by the arm, he pulled him towards the door.
Suddenly, Robin felt someone tugging on his other arm. As he looked back, the room was awash in a bright light. When he looked forward again, the man was gone. Little John was there, holding tightly to his arm.
Tuck, seeing Robin was back, told John to let go. "You were gone again, weren't you?" Tuck asked.
"Yes," Robin gasped, as he suddenly felt exhausted. He sat heavily on the nearest chair. "Tuck, what do you think is happening?"
Tuck began to pace the floor, pondering on all that has happened. "I think you are being caught up in crucial moments of the past. They're like bubbles, waiting for you to go in. Each scene playing out for you."
"But why just me?" He asked, "Why can't the rest of you see them?"
"It might have to do with your association with Olwyn, or because of your heritage. Being a Locksley, you may be the only one who can see these manifestations. Have you learned anything from what you have seen so far?" Tuck knew there was a puzzle to be solved.
"I haven’t been able to figure that out yet. I saw a man in here. He was reading a scroll, but I have no idea what it said. I believe he was the brother of Matthew. He spoke of two other brothers, Richard and Martyn." He paused with concern, "Something happened here, and it seems the only way I can solve it is to go into each room, and try to piece it together."
"That could be dangerous," Tuck warned him.
"How?" Asked Little John, "You said he's seeing what happened in another time."
"Yes, but I think there's a little magic involved also. Remember the red mark on his face when he was slapped in the hallway?"
They all stopped to think of this. "Regardless of the risk, I have to find out what happened in this castle. If I don't, I'll never get out of here...Alive anyway. I think we should split up." Robin said, quickly leaving the room. The others followed, their protests were loud and clear.
"And I think we're going to need to stay with you, Robin." Marion insisted.
Robin turned, raising his hands to stop the small group in their path. "We could go quicker if we split up."
Marion quickly countered, "Oh really." Placing her hands on her hips, she asked, "And what would you do if you get caught up in one of those past scenes. Not seeing a hole in the floor you could fall into it, and perhaps break your neck?" She then crossed her arms, her toe nervously tapping on the floor, as she stared hard at him - waiting for his answer.
Robin realized the logic of her concern - he did need them. Letting out a deep sigh of surrender, he said, "Let's get started."
End of Chapter Two
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