By Virginia Cavazos
Queen Eleanor let out a contented sigh, "They look so handsome together," she whispered.
As they moved across the ballroom, everyone noticed how perfect the couple looked together. Everyone, including Sir Guy. He had returned from his fuming, standing in the doorway.
"You will not take her from me again, Fitzsooth!" he hissed.
Robin spotted Guy at the outskirts, his eyes twinkled in mischief, as he danced Marion right past him.
"I’ve forgotten how good a dancer you are," he said, loud enough for Guy to hear him. "When was the last time we danced?" Robin knew full well, it was at Sir Guys castle.
Marion giggled, as she saw Sir Guy’s face turn three different shades of red. "You still have the touch Robin, only you knew how to make Guy so angry."
Pulling her closer to him, they floated to the center of the ballroom. "It’s a gift," he said with a chuckle, as they continued to dance. Marion held his hand tightly in hers. Her eyes gazed up into his. She saw a sadness lingering at their edges. Her head dropping, she whispered. "I’m sorry about what happened to you…and your father."
She felt his finger tuck itself under her chin, lifting it up. "I don’t like to see you with such sad eyes."
She was startled, as he lifted up his right eyebrow. She let out a merry chuckle. "Robin, you were always able to make me laugh."
She lay her head on his shoulder, as the music took on a slower vein. "I really am sorry," she sighed.
"I thank you for that," Robin whispered back.
"Has it been a hard life…living amongst the peasants?"
Marion was startled, as he gently pushed her away. She looked up to see anger flashing across his velvet brown eyes.
"In a way I thank the Prince for what he has done to me," he sternly said. "For it opened my eyes, to how cruel a ruler he is."
"Robin, I don’t blame you for hating him for having your father killed. But you have royal blood in your veins, surely it can’t be pleasant, living amongst the common folk."
Marion was startled, as Robin stopped dancing. They were near a balcony. His dark eyes blazing with anger. He turned, to walk out onto the balcony. Marion gazed around the great hall. She noticed all eyes were on Robin. She saw loathsome looks from the Lords and Ladies. They despised Robin for doing the unthinkable, to steal from his own kind. He was an outcast, and they were angered at him for daring to show up so boldly in their midst.
From across the hall, she saw Sir Guy giving her a scolding look, it told her she should be with them. Not the ex-lord of Locksley castle. Clenching her fists, she stormed out on the balcony. She found Robin leaning on the railing, he gazed out towards the back of the castle. A large stream flowed past the castle, to wind out into the dark forest.
She continued to stare at him from a distance. She marveled at how much he changed, since she last saw him. He was no longer the gangly young man that loved to climb trees.
He was now a strong, handsome man, sure of where he was going and where his life would lead him. So different from hers, she was still unsure of what she wanted to do with her life.
Marion slowly walked to him, she quietly leaned on the railing next to him.
She gazed out towards the stream, the flowing waters were very pleasing to listen to. "I’ve always loved that stream, it’s so pleasant, so calming."
Robin mutely nodded his head. Clearing her throat, she closed her eyes, a soft breeze blew over the moving waters. Wafting up to the young couple standing on the balcony. Marion had no idea how long they stood there, basking in the cool breeze, until...
"I once thought I was better than most men," Robin softly said, breaking the silence. "That was until I held a dying, five year old girl in my arms." Marion opened her eyes when she heard his voice break. She saw his eyes glassed over. He has changed so since she last saw him. She waited for him to continue. Running his fingers through his hair, he sighed, "At first I was frightened, living on my own amongst those that used to work for me. I had no idea how to care for myself."
She saw his eyes shift to anger, as he cursed out, "I fled like a coward from my land. The land of my ancestors." His eyes softened as he continued, "As I stumbled through the forest, I met a wise man named Olwyn, he tried to show me the hardships the people of England has been forced to endure under Prince John’s rule. Even after witnessing the atrocities, I still had thoughts of begging for my title back. I finally accepted my true role in life, after I saw Prince John’s guards burn down an entire village, because one man refused to relinquish his land, to the Prince."
Robin’s eyes narrowed, as he recalled that horrible day, "It is a day that will forever be etched in my mind Marion. The destruction, the useless deaths of so many." His head fell forward, as he whispered, "Feeling that child’s last heart beat in my arms."
"The Prince has laws Robin," Marion tried to console his sadness, "They do need to be upheld,"
Robin turned around, he leaned his back on the balcony, letting his head fall back, he stared up into the starry night. "Those laws are made up for his own benefit, Marion." She saw him close his eyes, pain etched on his face.
"Before they torched the Village, the farmer agreed to give the Prince his land. They set it on fire anyway." Opening his eyes, he locked eyes with Marion. "They said it was to serve as a warning for any that would hesitate to pay the Prince his blood money."
"Please Robin," Marion sighed, "I always hate talking politics."
Robin whirled around, gently grabbing her by her shoulders. The intense look on his face made her gasp. He was more handsome now, than when she first saw him. Because he was speaking of something which he passionately believed in.
"Is it politics, when women and children die of hunger? When a mans land is taken from him, that has been passed down for hundreds of generations? Is it politics, to have a good King away on a noble crusade. While in his absence, his brother is drowning in riches taken from his people?
Trying to squeeze more from people that have nothing left to offer but the clothes on their backs, or their own children?"
"Robin, I’m sure you’re exaggerating," Marion scoffed, as she gently pulled herself out of his grip. Robin’s eyes curved down, his sadness flowed across his face, as he mumbled, "I wish I was, Marion…I wish I was."
Her eyes stayed on Robins. He looked so vulnerable now, almost as innocent as when they were children. Her gaze shifted to inside the ballroom, at the aristocracy that filled the rich room. Oblivious to anything that happened outside of the castle walls. Was what Robin telling her the truth? Even if half of what he said, happened? Shaking her head, she thought, ‘No, I refuse to involve myself in the Princes matters.’
"So Fitzsooth. Have you told Marion of how many of the Princes men you have killed, in the name of YOUR justice?"
Sir Guy was leaning in the doorway, he spun a small chain from his fingertips. Robin froze, when he saw what he held.
"Where did you get that?" Robin snarled.
Guy stood up, his face washed in a mock innocence. "What, this little thing?"
He let the chain dangle in front of him. Marion squinted her eyes at the object that hung from the chain. It was a small silver arrow.
"Beautiful workmanship, don’t you think?" Guy sung out. He slowly swung the chain in front of him. "I found it when Prince John asked me to join him in inspecting a new castle that he had just acquired."
Flipping the arrow to his fingers, he tapped the small arrow on his chin.
"Now, let’s see, where did I find this?"
Robin took a step forward, Sir Guy’s grin grew wider, as he saw Robin’s eyes narrow in anger. He continued to dig the knife deeper into Robin’s heart.
"Oh yes, now I remember, I found this in a boys room. Along with some other things his father gave him."
Robin took a step closer, Marion could see Robin shaking as he fought to control his rage.
"You know, I thanked the Prince for giving me that castle. I really don’t use it though. I’ve had it boarded up. It was just to bothersome to get rid of all the Locksley family crests."
Sir Guy now took a step forward, as he drove the knife further in.
"Some day I shall burn it down, it’s an old eyesore now. I think I’ll use it as a dump for the local villages, that’s the only thing it’s good for now!"
Robin stood toe to toe with Sir Guy now, "If I had not promised Queen Eleanor not to harm a man while in her castle," Robin said in a deadly voice. "You would be lying here dead on the floor right now."
Sir Guy swallowed hard, he knew Robin’s threat was genuine. "We shall see, Fitzsooth," he whispered.
"Don’t ever call me that again!" Robin hissed.
His hand rested on the hilt of his sword. Marion was about to leap between the two men, when two girls rushed in.
"Marion!" Agatha babbled, "You didn’t introduce this Handsome man to me," she sighed in a seductive way. Marion was surprised to see Agatha acting in a very adult way. She was pleased to see Agatha acting in a very assertive way.
"Sir Guy, we didn’t finish our dance," Cynthia grabbed him by the arm. Pulling him away from Robin.
"This is not finished Fitzsooth!" he snarled, his eyes growing dark as he was forced to dance with the young woman.
Averting a near disaster, Marion let out a nervous laugh.
"Robin, this is my cousin Agatha," Marion mouthed a thank you to the young girl, as Robin took her hand. He gently kissed it. Marion rushed to her side, as Robin found he had to hold her up, to keep her from falling.
"Don’t know what came over me," she sighed. Trying to catch her breath. "I know," Marion coyly smiled at Robin.
"I see what you mean," Agatha whispered. "He is the handsomest man I have ever seen."
Marion didn’t hear her words, she could still see the anger in Robin’s eyes. As Guy moved Cynthia back to the balcony, Marion grabbed Robin.
"We didn’t finish our dance," she nervously laughed. She pulled him out of the balcony, and across the ballroom floor.
"You and your cousin didn’t have to do that," Robin hissed, as she danced him away. "I do not run away from a battle."
"Please Robin," she pleaded with him. "Let’s just dance."
Robin took his eyes away from Sir Guy, to gaze down at Marion. Her blue eyes seemed to pierce right into his soul.
"I’ll dance with you forever, if you wish," Robin said.
They spent the rest of the night dancing. It was in the middle of the night, when they found themselves walking in a small garden, that overlooked the stream; that flowed behind the castle.
Marion slowly walked down a small path, her arm held tightly in Robins.
"I heard you were training to be an amazon."
"I’m not sure what I want to do with my life."
Robin halted just at the banks of the stream. He stared across the moving waters. "When my land and father was taken away from me. I didn’t know what I wanted to do." Robin stooped down. Picking up a handful of rocks, he began to skip them over the waters.
Marion picked up a few for herself. They both flicked the stones across the waters. Trying to skip them more than the other.
"Olwyn helped me to see the evil in Prince John’s heart," Robin threw a small stone, it skipped seven times before plunging in the fast moving waters.
"I’d like to meet this Olwyn," Marion threw her stone. "He sounds like a good man." Her stone matched Robins attempt.
She whirled around, as she heard Robin letting out a small chuckle. "Olwyn isn’t a man, he’s a great wizard."
"Nonsense Robin, there are no such things as a wizards."
"Just like Prince John is not hurting the people of England with his abhorrent taxes?" Robin flicked all of his stones away, they fell in the waters with a plunk.
He sat on the banks with a plop. Bringing one knee up, he rested his left hand on it. Flicking his fingers as he stared out into the night.
Dropping her stones, Marion brushed the dirt from her hands. Clearing her throat she slowly walked towards a large tree. She leaned on it. Collecting her thoughts, as she tried to think of what she needed to say to Robin. To break his somber mood. That decision was made for her. When she heard Sir Guy screaming at someone.
"Stay there," Robin hissed as he ran to where he heard him screaming.
At first she obeyed him, but hearing Sir Guy scream out again, she ran after Robin.
Robin saw Sir Guy slapping a young man to the ground.
"Damn you, I told you to curry my horse properly! That’s the last mistake you’re going to make. I’ll send you back to your parents, and take your sister instead!"
"No, please don’t. Not my sister! I promise to do a better job next time." The dark haired young man pleaded with him.
Sir Guy reached down, grabbing him by the collar, he pulled him up. Raising his hand, he backhanded the young man.
"Don’t you ever talk to me that way!" he seethed.
As he attempted to hit the young man again, he was enraged to find him being snatched away.
Robin shoved the young man behind him, "Leave him alone!" he defiantly shouted.
"You tax Queens Eleanor’s decree Robin." Sir Guy halted just inches away from Robin. "That young man belongs to me!"
"I’ve been forced to live my life fighting against taxes. It does not stop here."
"Ah yes, I’ve heard that you’ve pledged your miserable life fighting for those disgusting peasants!" Sir Guy’s brows knit in anger. He began to circle Robin. The young man circled with him, keeping Robin between him and Sir Guy. Marion stayed hidden behind a tree. She nervously bit her nails, as she listened to Guy.
"Do you like that young man? He came from a village that I was forced to burn down. It seems that a villager refused to give his land to good Prince John."
He stopped in front of Robin. His eyes locking with his as he coldly said.
"It was my order to burn the village. Even though he agreed to give the land to the Prince in the end."
Leaning closer, he whispered. "What did it feel like, to have a five year old child die in your arms? The great hero Robin Hood unable save her life."
Guy began to choke, as Robin’s hands clutched his neck. "You were the one that gave that decree?" Robin said with a snarl.
Marion ran from her hiding place. It took her and the young man to force Robin to release Guy. Gasping for breath, he fell at his feet in a heap.
"Damn you," he choked, massaging his neck. His anger grew to embarrassment as he saw Marion by his side.
He leapt up, pushing Marion behind him he screamed, "Guards!"
Robin pulled his fist back, slamming it into Sir Guy’s face. So shocked by the attack, he had no time to counter the move. He fell, stunned on the ground. Robin whirled around, grabbing the frightened young man by the shoulders.
"Do you want your freedom?"
"Yes!" the young man said, "But my family will be threatened."
"Take them to Sherwood Forest. My men will be there to protect them, and you as well."
"Thank you Robin Hood," the young man shook Robin’s hand.
"What is your name?" Robin asked.
"Shawn," the dark haired man replied.
"Go then. Get your family, I will meet you in Sherwood." Seeing Guy beginning to wake up, he shoved the man away. "Quickly now!"
"Thank you Robin. I’ll be there with my family!" Shawn called out, as he ran through the rushing waters.
Robin grabbed Marion by the shoulders, whirling her around to face him. As she clasped his hands in hers. It confirmed what his heart had been screaming to him all night. That this was his soul mate. He now needed to let her know.
"I have to go."
He searched into her eyes, hoping to see in them what he felt.
"Robin," her eyes began to tear. The night was so beautiful. She couldn’t believe it would end this way.
Robin saw it in her eyes, it was there.
"Come with me Marion," he pleaded with her.
"Robin, I don’t know…"
She hesitated, she was angered to see what Guy had done to the young man. Hearing his confession, from his own lips. That he was a part of the young child’s death. It brought doubt to her mind.
"The longer you live with them, the more your heart will become numb to the injustice that the Prince serves to his people. Please Marion," he pleaded with her. "Come with me, and let me show you the truth."
Marion heard a call in the castle going out for the guards. She hesitated, she was still not sure.
"I have to go," he quickly said, as he saw guards pouring out of the castle. "But I’ll be back, tomorrow, when the sun rises. I’ll be waiting for you by this stream. If I don’t see you by the time the sun rises, then I’ll know what your decision is."
She felt a warm hand on her shoulder. "There, there Marion. He’s gone now." Sir Guy cooed, as he recovered from Robin’s blow. "I’ll make sure he won’t come back to bother you again."
Marion whirled around slapping his hand away. She slapped him in the face. Landing on a blossoming black eye.
"Never touch me again," she hissed.
She ran into the castle, Robin’s words of tomorrow echoing in her head.
End of Chapter Three
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