Nothing special had been happening in Sherwood Forest within the last few weeks. Robin and his friends had plenty of time to get some rest of their fights against Prince John. Little John had fallen in love with a woman from a village, nearby the compound. So he spent most of the time outside the compound of Robin Hood and his men. And Marion spent most of her spare time together with Friar Tuck to learn more about medical herbs. She was a good student and was at Tuck's side almost all night and day and so Robin was very often alone. But there were many children in the compound and for them, Robin was the biggest attraction.
He spent much time with them. He showed the younger ones how to swim, in the creek that passed the compound, and the older ones how to use a sword. But the all time favorite of the children were his "How to make an arrow" lessons. A real crowd of children was surrounding him, once he sat down and took a branch and a sharpened stone and made an arrow out of them. This was absolutely fascinating for them. But once twilight had broken and they went to bed, he was alone again.
Usually Marion was too tired to join them at the camp fire and Robin spent his evenings without his dearest and closest friends. One evening he was walking around in the camp, when he saw light coming through the windows of Marion's hut. He towards it and knocked to check if it was okay for him to enter.
"Tom?" Marion asked from the inside.
"No, it's me, Robin. May I enter?" he asked through the closed curtain.
"Oh, Robin. Yes, come in." Marion said. Robin noticed a bit of disappointment in her voice. Who was Tom?
"What's up?" she asked him, once he was in her hut.
"Nothing. Just wanted to see how you're doing."
She hadn't even turned around to face him. "I'm doing fine."
"Seems you were pretty busied the last few days," he noticed.
"Tuck taught me much about herbs. I actually didn't know that there are so many different herbs. He really knows a lot about them."
"Yes, he does."
"I'm gonna go then again. You're tired, aren't you."
"Yes I am. Good night," she said shortly.
"Good night then," he said and left her hut.
Robin went towards his own hut a little bit outside of the compound. He hoped not to meet anyone. He was really not in the mood for one of those annoying small talks, which he knew so well. The only thing he wanted now, was to sleep. When Robin entered his own hut, he almost thought, that his bed was smiling at him.
"You're going crazy," he told himself. He took off his tunic and laid down in his bed, where he fell asleep immediately. And so he couldn't hear Marion leaving the compound on her horse.
Marion was still asleep when he got up the next day. He couldn't find neither Little John, nor Tuck and so there was no reason for him to tell anybody of his plans for the day. He wanted to ride through the forest to an old friend whom he hadn't seen for a long time. This guy lived almost at the other end of the forest and so Robin was only at the beginning of a long day on his horses back.
It was still pretty early in the morning when he left the compound and the air was cold. But it appeared to become a beautiful warm day. The sun was already shining through the hazy shades of the trees. Robin enjoyed the fresh air of the morning and so he went his way to his old friend.
*** Meanwhile back in the compound ***
"Tuck, have you seen Robin?" Marion asked the friar.
"I can't find him anywhere. He is neither in his hut, nor anywhere else in the compound. What do you think where he is?"
"Have you looked for him at his meditation meadow? Maybe he is there."
"No, I've been there. No Robin in sight."
"So, I think he is just out in the forest. You know that he likes the early morning out in the forest," he told her.
"Well, maybe you're right. But I have strange feeling. I'm worried," she said with concern in her eyes.
"Hey, don't worry about him. He knows what he does. Another possibility would be, that he is visiting Olwyn."
"Why, to learn some new tricks? There is no reason for him to go to Olwyn at the moment. There are no problems with Prince John or other Normans at the moment."
"Marion, you know that Robin loves him like his own father. Sometimes you seem to forget that," Tuck noticed.
"Sure," she sighed out. "The thing is, that I don't like Olwyn very much."
"Oh, something new, for a change," Tuck smirked.
"Haha, very funny," she said with an angry voice. She turned around on her heels and left the friar.
Tuck just looked up at the sky and let out a sigh. "Thank God, that I'm not Marion's wannabe."
Marion kept on searching Robin until noon. Then she gave it up. She sat down next to Tuck in the cooking area.
"Now, Lady Marion. Have you found him?"
"Robin! Oh come on now, Marion. You searched for him the whole morning through and now you want to tell me that you don't know what I'm talking about? I might be a man of the lord, but I'm not stupid."
"Do you know where Little John is?" she asked him.
"Have a guess!"
"In the village, isn't he."
"Sure. Well, let's have lunch now. I'm hungry," she grinned.
"Sounds very good to me," Tuck said with a big grin.
Another week had passed, and Robin hadn't returned to the compound. Marion was terribly concerned now. Every time when she heard someone coming to the compound she ran to the gate to see who it was, always hoping it was Robin. But it was never him.
"Where can he only be? He has never been out for so long," she asked Tuck. He was also concerned now about his friend.
"I don't know. That is not...." he couldn't end his sentence. Little John rushed into the compound.
"Little John, what is wrong?" Marion yelled as she ran towards him.
"Marion, Tuck. Follow me, I have to talk to you," he said as he dismounted from his horse. They followed him into his hut.
"Listen, today a stranger came to the village. I've just been in the inn, when he came. And he told about really strange things, going on in Sherwood."
"And what would those strange things be?" Marion asked him impatiently.
"As a matter of fact those strange stories were about Robin. He said, that he would attack villages and deprive the inhabitants from their property," he told them.
"And he was absolutely sure that this someone was Robin? I can't believe that!" Marion said.
"Well, he described him very well," Little John answered.
"Hey, many people know Robin's face. Do you think he is one of Prince John's men."
"Definitely not. He is just a poor boy as you and me. I'm afraid, that he didn't lie."
"And you are sure," Tuck asked.
"Yes," John said with raised eyebrows.
"Okay, then we'll have to find out what is going on," Marion said determined.
"We'll sure have," Little John agreed.
"Okay, is this guy still in the compound?" Marion asked.
Little John nodded his head yes.
"Okay then. Little John, you go back to the village and bring this guy to the camp. We're gonna ask him more about what he has seen then," Marion told him.
"Alright. I'll be back in about thirty minutes then." With it said, Little John left the compound again.
"Do you think that this man is telling the truth?" Marion asked Tuck. He just shrugged his shoulders. "I don't know what to think. Robin would never do something like that."
*** Somewhere else in Sherwood Forest ***
Robin couldn't see anything. It was dark all around him. He could only feel the handcuffs on his wrists. His head was terribly aching. He looked around, but his eyes were blind. Then he suddenly heard someone coming towards the room, here he was in. He could hear the door open, but couldn't see anybody coming towards him. He could only hear the steps. "Where am I?" he asked into the darkness. No answer.
"Who are you?" Again no one answered. Robin just felt the cold grip on his arm. It was caused by a cold hand with long strong fingers. He was led into a big hall. Then he was alone again. Suddenly someone spoke to him. "You did a very good job last night, Robin Hood."
"Who is there?"
"Someone," the voice answered.
"Oh good, now I know as much as before. Where am I?"
"You are really funny, aren't you," he smirked.
"You don't have to know about that."
"You must know."
"I should know."
Suddenly a pair of gray eyes flew towards him. Robin couldn't stand these eyes. A strange feeling came over him. Suddenly he felt a weakness in his knees and he fell down to the ground. The gray eyes followed him down. Then he only felt a terrible ache in his throat. Someone was licking his lips.
"He smells so sweet," a female voice said.
"Yes he does," someone laughed evilly.
"You made the right choice, Victor," the female voice said.
"Thank you, Regina. And besides he does a very good job."
Then everything became black.
"Goodbye world, I'll follow my father," was Robin's last thought, before he fell into unconsciousness.
End of Chapter One
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