They made their way across the main hallway, being sure to avoid the spot where Robin had seen the battle, and went into a large banquet room. Perhaps his ancestral brother was in this room? Standing in the open doorway, he scanned the interior. He saw a long wooden dinning table centered in the room. Plates were still scattered on its dusty top. Cautiously they walked into the room. A large fireplace was on the far side of the room. Robin turned and looked questioningly at Tuck.
"Try going around the room." Tuck suggested, "See if anything happens."
Robin circled the room, as he neared the table, suddenly the room was awash in light. His eyes squinted at the daylight that was streaming in from the windows. He saw two men seated at the table. A heavy-set man was devouring his meal, totally ignoring Robin. The other man sat on the other end of the table – he was huge! Almost as big as Little John, his dark eyes flashed hate, as Robin slowly made his way to the table. Giving Robin a look of disgust, he slammed his fist on the table.
"Damn you Matthew!" He snarled, "Father has declared you the heir of Locksley, it is up to you to protect this castle!"
"Leave him alone Richard," The rotund man moaned, a mouth full of food shooting out on the table. "It’s not his fault mother coddled him."
"You stay out of this Martyn!" Richard angrily shot back. "Father chose this…Lamb to run our clan. He has to learn how to be a man!"
With that said, Richard jumped over the table, running to the mantle, he pulled down two swords that hung over them. Throwing one to Robin, he deftly caught it. With a malicious grin set on his face, Richard moved the sword back and forth in the air.
"Let’s see how the Earl to Locksley Castle defends his honor!" Richard lunged his sword towards Robin, he expertly blocked the move. Richards eyes shot up in respect. "So…it looks like you’ve been practicing little brother." Richard sarcastically said, as he pulled a knife from its leather sheaf - which hung on his hip. "Let’s see how good your teacher was." He ran to Robin, with sword flashing, and blade slashing in the air.
To Robin’s friends, it was all they could do to stay out of his way. They saw their leader jumping over tables, as if avoiding a killing blow. The three waited in silence for the spectral duel Robin was in to end.
Robin somersaulted on the wooden table, he jumped up in the air; barely avoiding a killing sweep of the sword.
"Excellent!" Martyn clapped his hands in joy, "That was great Matthew!"
Robin ran down the table, kicking plates and bowls at Richard, he held his hands in the air; blocking the flying dinnerware. "Are you hungry dear brother," Robin asked, "How about some roast!"
Robin stuck his sword in a large piece of roast, grabbing the blade with both hands, he threw the roast at Richard. He ducked the meat, only to find a bowl of fresh picked berries landing on his head.
He heard a taunting chuckle from his younger brother as the bowl was smashed on his head. The juice of the berries stinging his eyes as it ran in them. "What’s the matter brother, you don’t want any dessert?"
Richard was livid, ranting that he would have Matthews head. Grabbing the bowl, he threw it towards where Martyn sat. The crushed berries were dripping off his head. Martyn had to duck to get out of the way of the flying bowl. "Keep your little squabbles to yourself!" Martyn moaned as he continued with his meal.
Robin back flipped off the table, landing hard on his feet, he grabbed a chair, throwing it across the table. It was met by another chair - thrown by Richard. The splinters flew in the air, Robin cried out in agony, as a large splinter embedded itself in his shoulder, the pain making him drop his sword. He quickly pulled the splinter out. He tried to reclaim his sword, but time was not on his side, as he heard an unearthly cry of battle.
Richard was flying across the table, Robin had to duck down to avoid his ancestral brother. As he felt Richard landing on his back, he straightened out, flipping him up and over. Spinning around, he brought a fisted hand up, slamming it on his back. Richard stumbled back, standing up, his face was twisted in outrage and shock.
He pulled his knife out, flipping it to the bladed side. Robin knew he would be unable to stop the blades deadly path, "Here Matthew!" he heard Martyn cry out, his hand reached out to grab a bow and arrow sliding down the table. Quick as a shot, Robin cocked the arrow and let it fly, it flew true to his target, the knife in Richards hand.
"You..you have never beaten me in battle before Matthew," He sputtered, as he shook the sting out of his hand.
"That’s going to change," Robin shot back, standing ready to meet Richards challenge, as he retrieved his sword. He waited to renew his battle with his ancestor, until he fell forward, a sharp pain exploding in the back of his head. The room suddenly went black, as he heard a voice giggle, "You forgot about me."
Little John grabbed Robin before he fell to the ground, for all appearances, it looked as if someone hit him from behind. Picking him up, Little John gently lay him on the table. It did not take Robin long to wake up, he clutched his shoulder and head in pain. Taking his hand away from his shoulder, all were shocked to see blood on his fingers.
"This one injured you," Tuck said, with worry entering his tone, as he pulled Robins Jerkin back. To expose what looked like a small wound. Tearing a strip of cloth from his woolen robe, Tuck quickly wrapped a temporary bandage around it, stanching the wound.
"Did you learn anything?" Tuck asked, as he finished attending to the wound.
"Only that Matthew was picked by his father to be the next Earl, not his
older brothers." Robin moved his shoulder, loosening the tight bandage. Jumping
down from the table, a half grin parted his lips. "I guess we move on to the
As he headed towards the door, being sure to avoid starting that battle again, he felt a strong hand grip his wrist.
"Robin, we can’t keep doing this, next time you might end up on the wrong side of a sword." Marion pleaded with him.
Robin slowly turned to face Marion’s concerned face. "I have no alternative, unless we solve the riddle of why I can’t leave this castle. I’m stuck here…forever." He whispered. Marion knew he was right - she always hated that. Seeing her resignation, he walked out of the banquet room. They all went to the only other room on that floor, opening it, they were pleased to find a small sitting room. A dusty old-couch, and broken up chairs were all that remained in the room.
Robin slowly walked back and forth across the room, making his way closer to a small fireplace that lay on the far side. When he reached it, he felt the now familiar feeling, he knew this meant he was going into the past. Searching around for the others, he saw they were gone. He looked toward the doorway, and saw the man from the library stumble in, clutching his stomach, he was covered in blood. In his hand he carried a scroll, with the medallion from the painting of his twin wrapped around it. He fell down in the middle of the room groaning in pain.
Robin ran to assist him, "Let me help you."
"Matthew," the man said in a strained voice. "I'm glad I was in time to save you. What they were going to do to you was wrong." He gasped out in pain, as he tried to take a deep breath.
Robin helped him over to a chair, "What happened?" Robin asked, concerned coloring his voice.
"I thank God I had the strength to stop our brothers." He held Robin's arm and looked into his dark eyes. "Please don't hate them for what they were about to do to you. They were weak, Richard has always wanted power. "
Looking down, as if he was penetrating the floor, the man sadly shook his head. "I wish they could have seen the evil they were about to do to you. To our beloved brother." He wearily closed his eyes. Opening them, he smiled up at Robin. "But you, Matthew, you have survived. Before you leave, and you must leave this castle. That, Matthew, is indisputable. I have to show you something." He stood up and staggered toward the fireplace. With Robin’s help, he bend down, opening a loose stone on the side of the fireplace.
"Here is where I will hide the scroll and the medallion. They cannot be destroyed, so they must be hidden from the others. Tell no one where they are hidden Matthew, our family was very nearly obliterated because of our brothers greed."
Robin silently watched as the man placed the scroll and medallion in a hollowed out place in the stone. He helped the injured man put the large stone back in place.
Across the room, Robin's three companions could see him near the fireplace. He seemed to be looking at the inside of the hearth. Others were also watching. Two columns of mist formed outside of the open doorway.
"I believe he has found it," one moaned out.
"Yes, at last," the other cried. "We can finally end this. Wait for the right moment, and then we must act swiftly."
Robins ancestor struggled to stand on his own, smiling a thanks at Robin for his assistance. "Matthew, I am sorry the future of the clan has to fall on you, but I know you will make us proud. Remember, you come from a strong, fighting family. Ours were the best Bowman. Ours were the best fighters. We have always fought hard to keep the Saxons strong. You must never forget that. Teach this to your children - honor, discipline, and family. These, above all else." Wearily he went to a chair and sat down. Motioning Robin to come closer, he said to him.
"Alfred the Great has promised to care for all Locksleys. We have been rewarded with a plot of land for our devotion to the crown. Go to him. He will take care of you. Return the Locksley name to its former glory."
Robin strangely felt a strong kinship with this man. "Can you tell me your name?" he beseeched him. The man looked wearily into the young outlaws face, "Why Matthew, has the ordeal our brothers put you through caused you to forget my name? I am, and will always be, your brother Gregory."
As Robin went to take his hand, he was suddenly gone. He was back in his own time, he heard Tuck ask "Did you learn anything new?"
"Yes, I found out what happened to the medallion in the painting. My ancestor hid it, here in this room. There was also a scroll of great importance. My ancestor - his name was Gregory…had stopped his brothers from doing something evil with the scroll and Medallion. The same medallion in the picture, Matthew was the only one to escape from here alive that day. I am descended from him." Robin knew this was the only possible explanation.
After thinking about it, Tuck realized he might have a solution on how to get out. "Robin, can you get the medallion?"
" Yes I can. Why?"
"Because, we may be able to use it to open the doors."
"Tuck, do you think you would you know how to use it?"
Tuck shrugged his shoulders. "It wouldn't hurt. As it is, we can't be any more stuck in here."
Robin had to agree with this. Going to the fireplace, he began to retrieve the scroll and medallion, hidden in the fireplace. He found the stone was frozen. It had remained unmoved for three hundred years. Using his dagger, he was able to dig the stone out. As he dragged it out, he used a torch to search for the scroll. He saw a glimmer of metal in the dark hiding place. Shoving his gloved hand in, he pulled out the scroll and medallion Gregory had hidden so long ago.
As he started unraveling the medallion off the scroll, a hand came down and painfully grabbed his wrist. Looking up, he was shocked to see it was Little John, a wild look painted on his sworn brothers face.
"Give me that scroll little brother," he bellowed.
Robin kept a firm grip on the scroll, calling out to Tuck.
"Tuck, help me! Little John is not himself."
As Tuck came up to him, he also grabbed for the scroll. "Give it to him, little brother."
Tuck had the same wild look on his face. The pressure of both men made him drop the scroll, and as Tuck bent to pick it up, Robin suddenly found himself picked up and flung across the room. He heard Marion cry out in alarm. Rolling with the throw, he jumped up to see Marion backing away from Tuck and Little John. Looking at the corrupted looks on his two friends faces, he felt a sadness creep in his heart. For he could no longer trust his closest friends.
John threw his head back, his long blonde hair cascaded down as he bellowed out, "Finally, after three hundred years - to be ALIVE again!" He raised his hands into the air in triumph. "I told you Martyn, we would find the scroll. I knew a Locksley would return, and he would find where Gregory hid it."
"Yes, Richard. You're right, he did. But you got the better body." Tuck/Martyn whined.
"Shut up!" Little John/Richard hissed. "I simply took what was close to my own. It feels great to be alive again." Richard/John howled out. Tucking the scroll in his pants he now focused his attention on Robin. "Well little brother, we're back, to finish what we started."
Marion ran over to joined Robin. A look of concern covered each of their faces.
Their closest friends were now taken over by two of Robins ancestors.
End of Chapter Three
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