Count Lanis had learned a valuable lesson from his last sorceress. Always check the references.
He had now found a sorceress worth her weight. Her name was Orrxuda. She was a tall, slim woman. Her eyes and hair were as black as ebony. Her skin a very pale ivory. She could have been said to be gaunt looking, but she was so beautiful that one could hardly tear their eyes from her. Her lips were ruby red and could draw a man into them. There was doubt whether he would survive, but they were so tempting. Her eyes show no emotion. There was danger and an evil that lurked there. She was one that was not to be toyed with.
Count Lanis had been furious with his last sorceress, Catrina. He held a grudge and would get even with her. It had only been two days since her departure, but he was still enraged.
It was his good fortune that Orrxuda showed up the day Catrina left. He didn’t question how she knew that he needed a new one. He just accepted it. Now he would get what he wanted, gold. With the gold would come power and prestige.
These thoughts were all that mattered to the greedy Count.
What he did not know was that this dark woman had a dark purpose in mind. She too would get what she wanted. For she now had money and accommodations to aid her in her quest. It would not be denied her!
As soon as Orrxuda had arrived at the Count’s castle, she settled herself in quickly. She had little time to form her plans. Before she came to the Count, she had heard about his sorceress Catrina. The young woman had gained quite a reputation for being the one that had rescued the famous Robin Hood with her magic.
Her target was not Catrina, but was Robin Hood. He too had a reputation. It was one of the do-gooder. He was said to be a former pupil of Andrew MacGreggor and of the wizard Olwyn. She knew that this meant he was strong in body and in spirit. It was also told that he was the "chosen one". His prana was strong. His chakra’s were strong. He was in tuned to Gaia. This was a rare quality. Very few mortals were in tuned to the life force of nature itself, Gaia. He was a remarkable man of Divine energy. She would possess that energy by choice or not. It mattered not to her what way she got it, as long as she did.
The Count had given her an order to make Catrina pay for her insolence. Orrxuda would do this, but only since it met her needs as well. The Count was inconsequential to her. She only needed the floor space in the deep recesses of his castle to carry out her ultimate objective. In the two days since her arrival, she had formed her plan. Now it was time to put it into play.
Orrxuda had located Catrina’s cottage. It was just after dawn. Orrxuda cast a spell on herself to make her invisible to the naked eye. She waited high above in a tree over the small cottage. She watched and waited.
It was an hour or so later when two figures emerged from the cottage. One was a small woman and the other a tall slender man. Orrxuda had never seen either of them before and their physical appearance did not matter to her. (At least she didn’t think so at the time.) Her plan was now going to be put to the test.
She watched as Robin Hood departed. This left Catrina alone and unprotected. Orrxuda made her move. She slowly descended from the tree to stand behind of Catrina. She was still invisible and therefore was undetected by the woman. Orrxuda brought her arms up and made a sweeping gesture with them. As they fell to her sides, Catrina was hers.
Cat watched as Robin rode away. She already missed him. Her face was wet with tears. Her thoughts were far away. Then suddenly she felt strange. She felt detached. Her thoughts were clear, but she could not feel her body. Mind and body no longer made and equal equation. There was blackness yet she could see. There was no audible sound yet she could hear. The sense of touch was no longer available to her. Where was she? How did she get here? How could she get back? Help!
Orrxuda now had possession of Catrina’s body. The first step in her plan had worked beautifully. With her mind, Orrxuda reached out and touched Robin’s mind just slightly. She called to him as Catrina.
"Robin come back! I need your help!" she called.
Robin heard Cat calling to him. Her voice was not in the air, it was in his head. He didn’t know that she had the power to do that. Her voice seemed strange to him. It was not the usual light and cheery Catrina that he knew. That could only mean one thing. Trouble! Turning his trusty steed around, he galloped back to Cat’s cottage.
It only took a few moments for him to arrive. When he neared the front of the cottage he was shocked at the sight. Catrina was lying on the ground. She did not move. Robin leapt from his horse and ran to her side. He knelt down next to her and gently turned her over. Her face was pale. Her lips were ruby red now. Her eyes were closed yet her face seemed hard some how. It may have been the light, but she seemed so much more beautiful than before. But she was the same. It confused Robin.
"Cat, can you hear me?" he said as he shook her gently.
Her eyes opened.
Robin was taken aback. They were different. There was something in them that made him pull back just a little. "What happened?"
"I don’t know exactly. I felt strange and then I called out to you. Before I knew it, the ground came up to meet me. That’s all I remember until now."
Her voice was different. It was like her face, some how hard. There was no joy to it. "Maybe you had better come inside. I can get you something to drink. That may make you feel better."
Orrxuda, in Cat’s body, let him help her up. Once she was standing, she noticed his face. He was breath taking. She had never met a more beautiful mortal. Her mind began to reformulate her plan. Now she not only wanted his Divine energy, she wanted the body that went with it. Some how she must turn him to her side. If he would not turn, then she knew spells that would make him turn.
"You seem different Cat. Are you sure that you are okay?" Robin asked very concerned.
"I think that I am fine," she stopped. Then as if something had hit her, she faked a dizzy episode and deliberately fell into Robin.
Robin caught her against his chest. He carefully gathered her up in his arms and carried her into the cottage.
Orrxuda lay her head against his shoulder and placed her hand against his chest. She was amazed at the power she felt beneath her palm. The power was not only spiritual, but physical as well. Looking up to his face, her only thought was that he was even more handsome up close. There were no flaws. He was the ideal figure of a man. A man that she wanted to get to know a lot better.
Robin set her down on her bed. He then went to the fireplace to pour some tea for her. It was what was left over from their breakfast together. He pulled up a chair next to the bed and sat down. Handing her the hot cup, "Drink this. It will make you feel better. At least that’s what everyone tells me when they give me a cup of tea," he smiled.
She took the cup and just held it. She was a little surprised when he smiled at her. She could not believe that he could have been any more handsome than he already was. But when he smiled and the dimples came out on his cheeks, he was even more stunning than before.
"What’s the matter? Why are you staring at me like that?" Robin asked. He suddenly felt very uncomfortable with the way she looked at him. It was almost as if there was lust in her eyes. "Cat, there is something different about you," he said as he got up and moved to the table, away from her.
That brought her around. She knew she would have to be more careful around him. He was very intuitive. His instincts were very finely tuned. She would have to play the little wench more on the shy side. In time, she would get her chance to play herself. For now, she would bide her time.
"I’m fine. I was just trying to remember what happened to me. I think that I know who did this."
His curiosity was peaked, "Who?"
"It was Count Lanis. I’m positive of that. He must have found another sorceress. She is carrying out his revenge on me."
"Can you stop her?" he asked concerned.
"I’m not sure," she said with sadness in her voice.
"I will go get Olwyn. He will be able to stop her," he said as he got up.
"No!" she said quickly.
With his brow furrowed, "Why not? I know that he can counter act whatever she has done."
Trying to cover herself, "It’s just that I have to do this on my own. I have to face her myself. I can fight her on my own. I need to do this," she finished, looking into Robin’s face to see if he had bought it.
Robin looked at her. He still felt there was something that was under the surface that was wrong. But he could not help the pride he felt for her. She was going to stand up for herself. That was something that she needed to do more of. It would build character. And maybe when she succeeded, she would have pride in herself. "I understand now."
The look on his face nearly made Orrxuda turn away. There was such sweetness and understanding in his deep brown eyes. It almost hurt her he was so virtuous. His voice was like a thick syrup just dripping from his tongue. She knew of a spell that she could cast over herself to take away some of the pain that she was feeling from his true goodness. She would have to if she was going to be around him for much longer. Now to make sure that he was, "Robin would you come with me?"
"I thought that you just said you wanted to do this on your own," he said with suspicion.
"I...I did. But I also need to get into his castle. I’m not good at that sort of thing. I need you to help me get in," she countered.
"Why can’t you just materialize inside? The way you did when you came to get me," he came back.
He was a smart one. She would have to come up with a good reason. It would be hard to get anything past him. Then she had the answer, "My powers are being suppressed by her. I am unable to bring my energy up enough to make that kind of maneuver," she said trying to sound a little weak.
Compassion spread over his face. He could not let a friend in need down. "Of course I will help you," he told her softly. Maybe that was why he was feeling the way he was. It was a spell. That could explain it. But...he would still keep his guard up. There was still the under current of evil that he felt. Time would tell.
"Thank you Robin. We can leave right away. The journey will take about a day. We should be there by some time tomorrow."
"If we take my horse, we could cut the time in half."
"No!" she said quickly. After seeing the distrust on his face, she quickly added, "I mean I’d rather not. Horses and I just don’t really get along," she said with a little shrug.
Robin accepted the answer, but just barely. "All right. Then let me go get him settled before we go," he said as he walked out.
Orrxuda heaved a sigh of relief when he left. She hadn’t realized how difficult it would be to fool him. She might just have to deal with him before she wanted to. It would be a shame to have to destroy that body. That would only be a last resort.
Robin could not shake his feelings. Just in case, he would stack the deck in his favor. Finding some birch bark and charcoal, he wrote a note to his fellow outlaws. He tucked it under the saddle. With a slap on the horses rear, "Find your way home boy."
Orrxuda walked out of the cottage with a little bag in her hand, "Are you ready to go?"
"Yes. Let’s go."
"Where is your horse?" she asked looking around.
"I sent him to graze. He will be here when we get back. Don’t worry," he told her smiling.
She looked at his face to try to detect any deceit. She only saw his glowing smile. Without a look back, "Okay then let’s be on our way."
The two lit out through the forest. Destination, the castle of Count Lanis.
Cat had no concept of time. It felt to her as if she had been where ever she was for an eternity. There was no heaven, no hell, only here. She had to try to get back. Some how she had to. Here was not an option. The silence. The blackness. It was almost too much to bear. She wanted to feel air filling up her lungs again. She wouldn’t even mind the feeling of bumping into something. At least that would be something. This was nothing.
She had to formulate a plan to get back. It was not easy for her to do because she had no legs to begin pacing. That was her best way to think. And pacing in one’s mind is not as easy as it sounds. She missed her hands. Her hands were always busy doing something. Whether it was playing with a fold in her skirt or mixing up a pot of tea. She had not realized just how much the little things meant.
Cat began concentrating. Even though she did not have a body, she imagined her little space inside her. She saw the orb in her mind’s eye. Slowly, painstakingly, she began to fill it with energy. As it grew, she began to hear birds. They were so faint. She thought that she could smell the fragrance of the fall leaves on the ground. Her skin felt the pressure of the breeze as it blew ever so slightly. Then suddenly it was all gone. She had been pushed back into the blackness.
End of Chapter One
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