John knew that the dragon had headed west so that was the direction he started. Once on his way, he really had no idea of how to find Robin. His regular tracking skills would be of no use to him now. The only way he could track the thing on the ground was if it left dragon droppings as it flew. It was a thought and that was about it.
As his horse trotted, John began to think about what Tuck had said, ‘use your common sense’. John knew that he was referring to his leaving. But it made John think hard about the dragon. It was the biggest thing that he had ever seen. It was also a creature that he had never seen or heard about. This suggested to him that it must have stayed hidden for a very, very long time. Now John just had to figure out where a beast of that size and age would hide itself.
It was the wee hours of the morning and John was close to falling asleep in the saddle. Knowing that it would do no good if he was hurt by something that foolish, he stopped. John tethered his horse and took off the saddle. Finding a sheltered spot by a big tree, he plopped down and made himself comfortable using the saddle as a pillow. Between the emotional trauma and physical exhaustion, John fell immediately asleep.
He had not been asleep for very long when a strange dream came to him. John found himself standing in a forest clearing, a mist began to rise in front of him. Once there was a large wall of mist, a vertical swirl began to grow in the center. John was fascinated by it and found that he could not move, and he did not want to. Fear never entered this dream. He felt calm and comforted. A smile came to his lips as small bolts of lightning flashed in the whirling mist. Then golden sparkles appeared and a form grew in the center. It was not solid, but he could tell that it was human. John squinted trying to see who it was as the mist cleared a little more. Finally he recognized who the mist person was, Olwyn!
Calm and with a matter-of-fact attitude, "Hello Olwyn. How are you?" John said.
"Salutations John Little. I am fine. I believe that you are in need of my help young man," the mist Olwyn told the dream John.
"Yes you do. You are a very good friend to my young pupils Robin and Catrina. Robin’s life is in great danger and Catrina cannot help him with her magic this time," Olwyn explained.
Little John tried to jump up and down but couldn’t being stuck in one place, "I knew it, I knew it! Please help me! Please help Robin! Please, take me to them!" he begged the old wizard.
Stoically Olwyn told John, "Yes John, your feelings have not betrayed you. They do you proud. I cannot take you to the cavern of the selazor, Kaylor. If I enter the cavern, my powers will be absorbed. He will become so strong that the world will be in great danger."
"If you can’t help them, then how can I?" John cried out as tears began to well up in his eyes.
The mist Olwyn raised his arms, "Tranquillity John, now."
John’s eyes closed and the sweetest calm he had ever felt washed over him in waves. When he opened his eyes he found that the only emotion he felt was joy.
"That is better. I cannot take you to them, but I can tell you where to find Kaylor’s lair. There will be signs along your way to help guide you. Once you are there, you must use the skills that you already possess to find a way to rescue them. For I will not be able to aid you."
"I understand Olwyn. Thank you for what help you have given me. I will find Robin and Cat. They will be safe with me," John smiled.
"I know that they will John Little. Robin has chosen a good man to be his friend, protector and ‘brother’," Olwyn smiled back at the giant.
John blushed, "I would gladly give my life to save Robin. I love him."
Olwyn raised both arms and the mist began to fade. John’s dream body sank to the ground as Olwyn’s voice began to fade out, "And Robin loves you."
John’s dream eyes closed and he relaxed as the words "loves you.....loves you.....loves you" echoed until they scattered to the wind.
Little John’s eyes snapped open as he bolted upright, "Robin! I’m coming for you!"
Light was just beginning to paint the sky in soft pastel hues as John
saddled his horse and mounted up. John knew exactly where he had to go.
Not exactly sure how, but he headed off to the lair of the selazor Kaylor
and to Robin.
Cat held on for dear life as the selazor sailed through the air. To her it seemed as if they had been airborne for hours. As she gazed ahead, she could see the wind buffeting Robin’s dangling body. The evil from the selazor had already made her feel sick. Now to see Robin unconscious and helpless in the cursed creature’s hand made her retch. Cold sweat dripped from her pale face. Weakness seemed to grip her as she continued to hold on to the leg. Panic began to take hold of Cat’s heart as she saw a red stain moving down the material of Robin’s right side.
It was when she began to fear that Robin would bleed to death, they began their decent. A monumental cliff loomed before them with a massive hole in the side. Kaylor slowed his air speed as he neared the cavern entrance. With grace unlikely for such a huge beast, he landed. Once on the ground, Kaylor tucked in his black wings and lumbered into the cavern.
Cat hopped off his leg and followed behind. She tried to keep herself concealed as much as she could. Taking Robin out of there while the selazor was not looking was her one chance to save him. Not even having tried to fight it with magic yet, Cat knew that she was no match for such inherent evil. Trickery and stealth were the best bet.
Kaylor continued a downward journey into the solid rock of the earth. His home was deep inside the cliff where the outside world could not reach him. He looked down at the small parcel in his hand. Shaking it slightly, he was amused at how the arms and legs dangled limply. Kaylor watched Robin’s head loll loosely back and forth. His long, thick, chestnut colored hair hung back and wafted gracefully in the air. Even in the dim light of his home, Robin’s hair seemed to have a sheen. Kaylor wanted to examine it more closely once he was settled.
When Robin had been dumped in the cave, he would go out and find a meal for himself. Robin would be the dessert. Kaylor wanted to relish every second of torture that he had planned for this human. Nothing short of his death would satisfy him completely. Now that Robin was unconscious, the pain and sickness that Kaylor felt had lessened. The poison that he injected into Robin with his tail also eased the burden of the purity and light that emanated from the man.
Finally Kaylor reached his den. Sitting down, Kaylor looked at the wound that was on his left arm. Green blood still oozed from the gash, but it was not too bad. The pain from it was nothing compared to what he had been subjected to over the years by Robin. It was just one more reason to loathe this human.
Kaylor began to examine Robin more closely. With the tip of his talons, he poked and prodded Robin’s body. Flicking Robin’s limp arms and legs back and forth amused him. Then he lifted Robin’s head and felt of his hair with his fingers. It was the softest thing that he had ever felt. This pleased him.
Finally tiring of this game, Kaylor dropped Robin’s body to the solid rock floor of the cavern. His body hit with a sickening thud and lay still. A long, slimy, black, forked tongue snaked out of Kaylor’s mouth and licked Robin’s spilled blood off his hand. His eyes closed in rapture at the taste. It was the sweetest blood he had ever tasted. Cleaning off the final stains of blood, he looked down at the pale, still form on the ground.
His deep voice rumbled through the cavern as he spoke, "Human, I Kaylor, may just have to keep you alive longer than I had expected. Your blood tastes so good I think that I want to kill you little by little so I can enjoy you longer."
Cat had been watching the whole scene from behind a big stalagmite. When Kaylor began to lick Robin’s blood off his hand, Cat was very glad that she had emptied her stomach earlier. If she hadn’t then, she would have now.
"I hope that your blood tastes as good as his," Kaylor chuckled.
Cat’s heart stopped. He was not talking to Robin any longer. He was talking to HER!
"You can hide all that you want, but I know that you are here. I felt your magic as soon as I entered my cave," he said slowly gazing about the chamber with his red snake eyes.
Cat knew the jig was up. She took a deep breath and swallowed her heart back into her chest. Standing as straight as she could, she stepped out from her hiding place.
"I am Catrina, powerful sorceress. I will be taking my friend Robin Hood home now. Please step aside or I will have to eliminate you," she told him with the most confidence she could muster.
Kaylor laughed. She beguiled him, "Once you stepped one foot inside my lair, your powers became mine. This is not just a cave in the side of a cliff. It holds strong and ancient magic. What little power you had is within me now. By the way, thank you. I do feel a little stronger since absorbing your magic," he said as he bared his sharp yellow teeth at her.
Catrina shuddered at the look on his face. She knew it was his rendition of a smile, but it unnerved her. Taking another deep breath, Cat stepped closer to Robin’s body and Kaylor, "I still want to take my friend out of here. He does not belong here and neither do I. I don’t understand why you went so far from your home just to find a meal."
"Oh little Catrina, he is not just a meal to me. He has been a thorn in my side for 29 years now. The goodness that comes from him has caused me nothing but pain for that time. He must die. I will just get to enjoy him for a while before he does. His death will end my agony and evil will be just one step closer to taking over the earth."
Cat kept stepping closer to Robin as he spoke. She now stood beside his still body, "I can’t let you do that. I will try to stop you with every fiber of my being."
Kaylor’s huge head lowered to her level and came within a foot of her, "You may try little one. It might just be diverting at that. I get so little entertainment here."
Cat nearly choked as she got a whiff of his putrid breath. Crossing her arms in front of her, "I will just do that then."
Kaylor laughed a deep guttural laugh. It nearly knocked Cat over as his breath burst from his mouth. Then a growl came from Kaylor’s stomach, "I must leave you now, but I will be back shortly. Do not go anywhere," Kaylor laughed again. It was not a laugh of joy, but one of the purest evil. His laughter continued as he left the cavern to go find his dinner.
As the sound faded into oblivion, Cat knelt down next to Robin. Turning his battered body onto his back, she was unable to stifle a gasp as she saw the horrible condition he was in. His face and arms were covered with dirt, blood and bruises. Blood had soaked through his clothes half way down his upper right thigh.
"Oh my sweet Robin. Look what he has done to you," she moaned.
Cat unlaced his belt and tunic. Pulling his tunic open, she gasped again at his blood covered torso. There was a huge puncture wound that went through his side from the back to the front. Blood continued to ooze from the torn flesh. Robin’s breath seemed to be coming in gasps now. He was cold to the touch and his heart beat was faint.
Catrina knew he was dying and she did not have much time to try to save his life. Lifting up her skirt to reveal her petticoat, Cat torn long strips from the garment. She ran to the steaming pool of water and dipped them in. Once back at Robin’s side, she slid her hand underneath Robin’s back to get a strip of cloth around his waist. Placing one cloth behind and in front on his wound, she then tied the long strip around his waist tightly to try to stop the bleeding.
Robin had not made any sign of life while she attended him. Now sitting beside him, Cat began to clean off the rest of his body. It took several trips to the pool to clean him up. He was such a mess. Once he was as good as she could get him, Cat removed his tunic. Folding it up, she placed it on her lap. Then pulled Robin’s head and shoulders onto her lap. Cat rocked back and forth with Robin held tightly in her arms.
"What are we going to do Robin? I just can’t let you die, I just can’t," she sobbed out.
As she sat quietly holding onto Robin, stroking his face and hair she realized something. Cat closed her eyes and concentrated. Yes! It was there! Kaylor hadn’t taken everything that she had. The little space inside of her that Robin had taught her how to keep filled up with energy was still full.
Kissing Robin on the forehead, "Lover, I can save you!"
Not wasting any more time, Cat placed one hand on his bare chest over his heart and the other over his injury. She carefully and methodically concentrated as to not lose one iota of the power that she had left. Softly she spoke the incantation. As her hands began to glow red, Cat felt the power dwindling. Her concentration shook her small body as she healed Robin. But before it was complete, Cat ran out of her magic energy; she was spent and collapsed onto Robin.
Robin felt awful as consciousness returned to him. Then he realized that he could feel again. Even if it was awful. A warmth was underneath his head, shoulders and draped over his chest. He was so tired that he almost didn’t care what it was. Ignoring the pain in his stomach and body, Robin slowly let his eyes flutter open. Blurred vision came back to him. Once he had blinked several times, his eyes focused and he realized that Cat was the warmth that he felt.
Robin raised his hand and stroked her head that lay on his chest, "It’s okay Cat. Everything will be fine," he murmured.
"No it won’t. I don’t have any more magic," she whispered. Cat’s eyes flew open as it sunk in that Robin had spoken to her. As her eyes focused, she was greeted with Robin’s chestnut brown eyes looking back at her.
Cat sat up and grabbed his face in her hands, "Robin are you okay?"
Robin blinked, "I’m not sure. I don’t feel very well, but I’m alive," he said weakly.
Cat let his face go and untied the cloth that was around his waist. Pulling it back, she took a wet cloth and cleaned the blood from his pale skin. Once she could see his side clearly, she ran her hand over the smooth, healed, unblemished skin.
"Your side is healed, so there must have been poison on the tip of Kaylor’s tail. I was not strong enough to purge that out of your body."
Robin shook his head slightly, "Who is Kaylor?"
"Kaylor is the thing that brought us here. He is evil incarnate. He told me that he is going to kill you because you are good and pure inside. Right now he is out eating. I don’t know how long he will be gone."
"Then we have to get out of here. If you will help me up, we can try to find a way," Robin said as he tried to rise.
Cat pushed him back down onto her lap with very little muscle power, "No Robin. You are too weak. There is no way that I can carry you. You are just too big for me. Plus, there is the super high cliff that we would have to scale to leave this stupid place."
Robin sighed deeply and put a hand to his forehead. Closing his eyes, he tried to think of something. After a few minutes of silence he opened his eyes and looked at Cat, "I think that this time my dear, we are well and truly stuck."
A deep laugh rumbled through the chamber, "I could have told you that."
Cat’s head snapped around, "That’s him," she hissed.
Robin tilted his head back so he could see Kaylor again. His eyes stayed glued on him as he walked near them. Robin could feel the ground shake his body with each step that the behemoth took. Even though Robin was the one that was on the ground and Cat held him; he took her hand and held it trying to comfort her. Giving it a squeeze to assure her that he would try to do what he could to get them out of this. "Help me sit up," Robin whispered to Cat.
Cat looked down at him and shook her head no as Robin shook his head yes. Finally Cat helped him since she couldn’t stand the strain on his beautiful face as he tried to do it himself.
Clearing his throat, Robin tried to sound like his old self, "What is
it you want with us?"
Kaylor was surprised that the man was this alert. He thought that he had caused more damage to his body. Plus there was the fact that the poison should have been coursing through his veins making him weak as a kitten. Kaylor lowered his head and body so that he could see Robin better.
"Human..." Kaylor started to speak.
"My name is Robin Hood!" Robin told him defiantly.
"Very well then, Robin Hood what I want with you is your death."
"Why?" Robin asked as Cat helped him to stand.
"Because...Robin Hood, you represent everything that I loathe. I was born and trained to destroy all that possess the combined qualities of goodness, purity, love and light. None that have come before you have been near to being as powerful as you. For 29 years I have watched you. The pain and suffering I have gone through as you have grown is not equaled to anything in my thousand year memory."
"I am sorry that you have suffered. I had no idea that you were in pain," Robin told him with the true compassion he felt.
"You see! There it is again! Compassion!" he spit out as if the word left a foul taste on his forked tongue. "You have been given many chances over the years to turn to the ways of evil, the easy way. But you have chosen the path of righteousness. I cannot allow you to live much longer. The only reason you still breath is because I want to savor the taste of you before I devour you entirely."
"What? Do you mean that you are going to eat me?"
"Yes, that is what I do. You are just food to me, but since I tasted your blood, you are to be considered a delicacy," Kaylor laughed.
Robin felt his stomach turn and began to hurt him even more as Kaylor spoke. "I’ll take that as a compliment," Robin said dryly. "What about my companion? What are your plans for her?"
Kaylor looked from Robin to Catrina. Reaching out his hand, Kaylor flicked a sharp talon at her. It hit Cat and sent her flying back eight feet to land with a thud. "I have not decided yet."
"No!" Robin screamed out. As Kaylor spoke, Robin ran weakly to Cat’s side. She was dazed and semi-conscious. Anger began to grow inside of Robin. He would not stand idly by and watch anything hurt his Catrina. It may have been either his fever, or just plain foolhardiness that made Robin run with all his might to attack Kaylor barehanded.
Before Robin even got near him, Kaylor reached down and caught him in his hand.
As Robin struggled in Kaylor’s grip he shouted, "I will not allow you to hurt her again."
"I will have to say this for you Robin Hood, you have the most courage I have ever seen in a human before." Although impressed with Robin, Kaylor slowly began to tighten his grip on him. For he was really nothing more than an appetizer to him.
As Robin felt his breath being squeezed out of him, "Didn’t anyone ever tell you not to play with your food?"
Kaylor looked at Robin and then began to laugh. All the while gripping
tighter and tighter. The pressure started to become too much for Robin.
The pain was unbearable and he screamed as consciousness began to fade.
End of Chapter Three
Chapter One Chapter Two Chapter Three Chapter Four Chapter Five Chapter Six
Chapter Seven Chapter Eight Chapter Nine Chapter Ten Chapter Eleven Chapter Twelve
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