Incredible Adventure

By Lisa Arnold

     Elisha had wandered endlessly through the forest for days. She had been on the run once the soldiers had come into her village at dawn and attacked. They set fire to all the huts, as the scared villagers ran out of their burning huts the soldiers were there to kill them. It was a horrible scene to see.
     Elisha’s mother had seen what was happening and told her to dress in boys clothes and flee into the forest. Elisha had cried to her mother "I can't leave you."
     With tears in their eyes Elisha's mother had told her that all was lost and she wanted her only daughter to be able to escape being raped and killed.
     Not wanting to appear weak to her mother she did as she was asked. Being petite, Elisha fit perfeclty into her little brother, Josiah's clothes. Josiah had died a few months earlier from a fever.
     With tears coursing down her cheeks, Elisha hugged her mother, told her that she loved her, and said their last goodbyes. As her mother ran out of the hut to keep the soldiers distracted, Elisha had made her escape.
    Four days later, Elisha was lost, tired and Very scared. Every noise she heard, she was sure was the soldiers chasing her. She missed her mother terribly and broke down in tears when she relived the massacre in her mind. Knowing that her mother would want her to be strong was the only thing that kept her going.
   As Elisha continued moving though the forest she kept thinking to herself " I must find a village soon or I will surely die."
     Lost in her own thoughts, Elisha tripped over a fallen log. Or was it? She heard a moan from the direction of the log. She was frightened but decided to check out what had made the noise.
     What Elisha found was a man covered with leaves, and he was hurt. She brushed the off the leaves covering him to check on his injuries. The man was dressed as a pauper and as she finished uncovering him, Elisha found that he had an arrow stuck in his right shoulder and a very large, dark bruise on his right temple.
     This man may be a bandit and harm her when he woke up and Elisha was frightened. But hearing another moan from the injured man and already having seen so much horror she decided to help him.
     Taking some fallen branches Elisha built a lean to, to protect her and the injured man from the weather as well as hide them from the soldiers that she was sure was looking for her.
     Elisha knew that she had to remove the arrow from the man’s shoulder to clean the wound. Fearing she would injure him further she hesitated, but realized that the man may die if she didn't remove the arrow, Elisha gently tested the wound to see how far the arrow was imbedded in his shoulder.
     It appeared that if she was careful it wouldn’t do anymore damage if the arrow was removed, so Elisha took a deep breath and pulled it out.
     The man let out a small groan and a trickle of blood ran out of the wound, but he didn’t wake.
This worried Elisha. She covered the wound with a piece of cloth from her tunic to stop the bleeding.
     Going in to a creek that she had seen a short distance away to get water to clean the mans wounds, Elisha had looked over her shoulder the whole time, in fear of soldiers.
     After cleaning and binding the wound the best that she could, Elisha realized how tired she was. Using leaves to cover the lower half of the mans body and carefully raising the upper half of his body so she could prop the man up against her to try to keep him as warm as possible through the chilly night. Getting as comfortable as she was going to get, Elisha drifted off to sleep.
     Robin woke in a great deal of pain. His shoulder and head ached unmercifully. "Just go back to sleep" Robin told himself, then he realized he was leaning against something warm. All that had happened to him,( being chased by soldiers, being shot in the shoulder, riding as far as he could, falling from his stolen horse, then blackness ) came flooding back.
     "Maybe Marian found me." was Robins first thought. Unable to open his eyes because of the horrible pain in his head, Robin moved a little and whispered "Marian".
     Elisha came quickly awake when she heard the man whisper the name Marian. Remembering her mothers warning about pretending to be a boy, Elisha quietly said " No sire the names Eli. I found you injured and tried to help."
     Robin whispered "Thank you Eli." and drifted back to unconsciousness.
     Elisha realizing that she was trapped where she was for the time being under the man, decided to try to catch up on some lost sleep.
     Waking up a few hours later, Elisha felt a little better. Sleep always helps. She took time to look at the injured man leaning against her. He looked like he was resting well. His arrow wound hadn’t started bleeding again which was good. The awful bruise on his head worried her. Looking at his face, she realized how handsome he was. His shoulder length hair was well kept, all it needed was a good brushing. He had a well trimmed goatee and mustache that accented his rugged good looks. His appearance didn’t match the pauper clothes that he wore. "I may have to ask him about that when he gets well," Elisha thought out loud.
     Deciding that she had stared at the sleeping man enough, Elisha knew that the man would be hungry and thirsty when he woke.
     Moving him as little as possible, Elisha wiggled herself out from under the man. Moaning and shallow breathing were the only signs that she had hurt him. Leaning over the man, Elisha quietly told the man "I'm going to get water, I'll be back soon"
     Wincing in pain the man acknowledged by saying, as loudly as his pounding head would allow "I don't think I'll be going anywhere. Thank you again Eli." and tried a grin. Elisha smiled at his attempt to show her that he was feeling better than he obviously was. Assuring him again that she would be back soon, Elisha went to get water, and hopefully find something to eat.
     Robin lay as still as he could, pain wracked his head and chest with each heartbeat. Needing to figure out his surroundings he decided to open his eyes slowly. When he opened his eyes he couldn't see anything, "maybe it's night." he thought to himself. After blinking a few times to clear his eyes he still couldn't see anything. A cold fear crept into Robins heart when he realized that it wasn't night, HE WAS BLIND!
     Trying to calm his fears, Robin had no choice but to wait until Eli, the boy that helped him, to return. " I hope it's soon." Robin whispered.
     After getting water, and finding some wild berries to eat, Elisha made her way back to camp.
     When she returned to camp, Elisha panicked when she realized the man was awake.
     Robin heard footsteps approaching and got worried. As the footsteps got closer, he called out "Eli is that you?", and was flooded with relief when he heard in reply, " Yes sire it's me."
     Elisha was confused when she saw the man looking straight at her and called out "Eli". As she got closer it dawned on her that the man couldn't see her. She saw panic in his brown eyes and realized that the man must be blind from the injury to his head.
     "The bruise on your head must have something to do with your blindness." Elisha told the man, to try to ease the fear that he must be feeling. The man only sighed and nodded.
     "I brought some water for you to drink and a few berries to eat if you are feeling up to it" Elisha said kneeling down in front of the man.
     Robin took the water and berries and said "That sounds wonderful" and winked at Eli with an unseeing eye.
     After the man had had his fill, Elisha cleaned his wound again. Curiosity was getting the best of her and she asked "May I ask your name, since you already know mine?"
     Robin only hesitated a second before putting his left hand out in front of him( because his right shoulder hurt too much to move). Elisha took the mans hand and in the strongest "manly" way she could as he said "My names Robin, nice to meet you."
     Elisha chuckled and said "Pleased to meet you Robin. That wouldn't be as in Robin Hood by chance, would it?"
     "As a matter of fact, yes, I am Robin Hood." Robin did his best to give a dazzling smile, but what came out was kind of a grimace due to the fact that his head still hurt terribly.
     Elisha smiled back even though Robin couldn't see it. She believed him, that must be the reason that she heard him call out the name Marion, when he first regained consciousness. She had heard fantastic tales about Robin Hood and Marion.
     Noticing the pain etched on Robins, handsome, even though bruised face, Elisha told him "lie back and rest easy, we'll talk more when  you wake up." Which is exactly what he did. He was too tired, and sore to think straight. And maybe when he woke up he could see again.
     As Elisha watched Robins eyes close and he drifted off to sleep. Thinking to herself that she never would have believed that she would meet Robin Hood. She had heard many stories of his tragic youth and his acts of heroism.
     Robin woke up in the morning with a hand covering his mouth, "soldiers are close." Eli whispered in his ear. When Robin nodded that he understood what Eli was telling him, he realized that his head wasn't hurting near as much as it had been. "Maybe my eyesight is back." was his first thought. Upon opening his eyes Robin was disheartened by the fact that he still couldn't see.
     Elisha heard Robin give a sigh of exasperation and she realized he had been checking his eyesight. By the sound he made it was obvious that it hadn't. Hoping to make Robin feel better, Elisha quietly said, "I'm sure you will be able to see again soon."
     Robins only reply was "I hope so because we can't stay here much longer." Robin knew that he needed to get back home soon. Tuck may have something to help Robin gain his eyesight back, and he was starting to feel feverish from the shoulder wound. Everyone would be worried when he didn't show up when he had said he would too.
     After the soldiers had moved on Robin decided that they must get moving. An idea popped into his head then. "Eli can you be my eyes until I can see again, so that we can get moving? I hate to feel like a sitting duck."
     Elisha broke into a wide smile, even though Robin couldn’t see it, he could hear the excitement in Eli's voice when he said "Of course, I will do anything I can to help."
     Most of the next hour was spent trying to help Robin figure out exactly where they were. Elisha did her best to give Robin a description of the area, what time of the day it was, and where the sun was located in the sky.
     Elisha was frustrated because she didn’t think she was being much help.
     Robin heard the uncertainty in Eli's voice and tried to reassure him by telling him " From what you have told me I think I can figure out how to get home from here, you have been a big help."
     Elisha was shocked by this and simply said "Really?"
     "Yes, thank you Eli." Robin smiled when he replied. This made Elisha feel much better.
     Robin hadn't done much moving since regaining consciousness and now he realized that he needed to relieve himself, BAD! Not wanting to ask for help, but seeing no other alternative robin cleared his throat and asked "Eli, could you please help me so I can take care of some 'necessities'?" realizing what Robin meant, Elisha blushed. When she didn’t answer, Robin asked "Is there anything wrong Eli?"
     Elisha hurried to think of something to say. "No, I was just looking for the most even ground to guide you across so you don't trip." was all she could think of.
     Robin accepted her reply and she carefully helped him up and slowly they made their way to a close by tree.
     Trying to think of something to get herself out of the mess that she was in. How was she going to help Robin take care of  'necessities'. Elisha said "We are at a tree, do you need anymore help? I have some 'necessities' to take care of myself."
     Robin chuckled while saying "No, I think I can take if from here, I'll just lean against the tree."
     Breathing a sigh of relief, Elisha turned her back and walked a short distance away leaving Robin in private.
     Returning to the tree to help Robin back to camp, Elisha noticed him leaning on the tree for support, he was very pale and was covered in a cold sweat.
     Upon hearing Eli's approach Robin calmly said "I think I've overdone it." As he started collapsing, Elisha caught him, trying to be careful of his shoulder.
     "Please don't pass out until I get you back to camp, you are too heavy to carry." Elisha pleaded with Robin.
     Robin snorted and said "I'll try, but we better hurry."
     They slowly made their way back, with Elisha all but carrying Robin. As she started helping him to the ground, he slipped into unconsciousness.
     Elisha stayed up all night to watch over Robin, and look out for danger. "Please Lord, let him be well enough to leave when he wakes up again, so we can leave this place." was her constant prayer all through the long night.
     Robin slept fitfully, strange dreams filling his mind. When he woke up, he knew that they must find help quickly. Still sightless, he knew he was running a fever from his wounds.
     "Eli, are you awake?" Robin moaned.
     Alarmed at the weakness in Robins voice, Elisha answered "Yes, I've been awake all night. Are you ok?"
     "Not really, but we need to try to move, I'm not sure how long I will be able to travel." Robin painfully whispered.
     "As soon as I check your shoulder, we will get moving." was Elisha’s worried reply.
    Cleaning and binding Robins shoulder the best she could, Elisha realized just how sick Robin was. He was burning up with fever and his wound was red and swollen.
     "I've done the best I can, I wish I could do more." Elisha said when she had finished.
     Knowing Eli had done his best he could under the circumstances, Robin reached out and felt for Elis arm, upon finding it said "I know that you are doing your best, and I am forever grateful."
     Elisha felt a little better when she heard Robins heartfelt reply.
     "Are you ready?" Elisha tried to sound cheerful.
     "As ready as I will ever be." Robin gave a wink and a grin.
     After Eli had given Robin the best description of the landscape and position of the sun, Robin was almost positive of the direction they must travel to get home.
     Elisha helped Robin up and he leaned heavily on her, she prayed that she would be able to "carry" him as far as she they needed to go.
     Robin apologized for almost having to be carried and tried to reassure the small built boy by saying "I'm sure we till make it in no time. Maybe we will be found by my friends along the way."
     Traveling proved to be harder than either of them had anticipated. Robin had to stop constantly to rest because he was so weak.
     Breathing heavily, and wracked with chills Robin sat trying to gain his equilibrium so they could continue on in the right direction. Becoming delirious could prove deadly for both of them.
     After gathering as much strength as he could, and taking care of 'necessities' (luckily for Elisha, Robin could still manage that on his own). Robin and Elisha made their way slowly onward.
     Robin, trying to stay alert, asked Eli how he had come to be lost in the woods. Elisha poured her heart out to Robin all that had happened with the soldiers attack, the killings, and fleeing in fear. For some reason she left out the part about her disguise, not quite sure why but she did. "Maybe, if Robin finds out I'm a girl, he won't think I'm as capable of helping him as I am." was in her thoughts.
     His heart aching from the tragedy that Eli had been through, Robin assured Eli "You will always have a place to stay in Sherwood as long as you want to stay."
     Elisha's heart was lightened by his heartfelt invitation to join his "family"
     As the day wore on, the frequent stops got longer, Robin actually fell asleep. Deciding to let him sleep for a while, Elisha surveyed the area.
     A group of riders appeared, there was no time to hide her or Robin so she was going to have to make a stand. Grabbing the only thing she could find, a large tree branch, she prepared to defend Robin.
     There were three riders, a very tall blond man, a heavy man in a robe, and a woman. As they topped the hill they saw a boy standing by a tree. Maybe he had seen Robin.
     Marian saw the boy raise the branch in defiance to their approach, it was then that she noticed Robin lying on the ground beside a tree.
     "We're Robins friends!" Marian cried out. "Please let us help him."
     When the woman mentioned Robins name, Elisha realized that this must be the friends that Robin had said would be looking for him. Dropping the branch Elisha sank to the ground exhausted.
     Upon checking on Robin, the group asked Elisha what had happened. Telling them his name was Eli, Elisha explained to them what had  happened to Robin, and explained the blindness.
     Marian introduced herself, Little John and Friar Tuck, and with tears in her eyes thanked the brave boy for his help.
     Robin roused a little when little John carefully picked him up and put him on the horse. Little John then carefully climbed up behind Robin.
     "It's about time you found me," was Robin’s weak comment. Little John worriedly chuckled
     Elisha was put on the horse behind friar Tuck, and they made their way to Sherwood.
     Upon arrival to the camp Robin was rushed into his hut. Elisha tried to jump off of the horse that she was on to follow Robin. Her leg caught and she hit the ground with a thump. The hat that had been on her head as her disguise fell off revealing her long blond hair. She would have some explaining to do, was her first thought.
     A woman squealed her name, and as Elisha turned she saw her mother running toward her. Mother and daughter cried as they embraced. Elisha’s mother had been brought to the camp by one of Robins friends after finding her at the village, she was the only survivor.
     Marian and Tuck were hurrying out of Robins hut to get the supplies they would need to help Robin. They both stopped in amazement when they realized that the brave boy that had helped Robin was actually a girl.
     Elisha looked over her shoulder to see Marian and Tuck staring at her. Smiling shyly she quickly explained that she was Elisha and she was afraid to tell Robin she was a girl because he may lose confidence in her helping him.
     Marian winked at her and told her "I've saved Robin on many occasions, he would have been used to it."
     Marian and Tuck hurried to get the supplies they needed. Elisha ran after them and begged them to let her help care for Robin. Tuck assured her that as soon as they had cleaned Robins wounds and made him comfortable that she would be allowed to see him.
      Robin was gravely ill for two days. Tuck worried that he hadn't regained consciousness. Marian and Elisha never left Robins side, cleaning his wounds and giving him the herbs he needed to make him well.
     On the third day Robins fever broke and he slept soundly. Everyone breathed a sigh of relief.
     Elisha and Marian did a lot of talking while they were tending to Robin and Marian thought of the brave girl as a sister.
     Robin woke slowly trying to remember what had happened. Everything that happened flooded back, the arrow wound, the blindness, and brave Eli. Slowly opening his eyes he let out a sigh of relief that he could see again. Looking over he saw Marian asleep on a chair by his cot. He also saw a girl asleep on the floor, her head resting on the cot and holding his hand.
     Marian heard Robin moving and woke up. They smiled at each other and when Robin motioned to the girl sleeping at his side, Marian chuckled and said "This is Eli." Marian quietly explained to Robin the whole story about how Eli was Elisha, and filled him in on all the missing pieces of a very interesting adventure. Even how Elisha had met up with her mother at camp.
     Robin gently stroked Elisha’s hair. When Elisha woke up and saw Robin smiling at her, she started to panic. Robin winked at her and said "Hi Eli, thank you again."
     Elisha smiled radiantly back at him and gave him a careful hug. "I'm sorry I lied to you about being a boy but I was just so scared." Elisha blurted out.
     Robin laughed and said "From the story Marian told me and the willingness that you showed to defend me against three people with a branch, you are just about braver than any man I have met."
     Elisha blushed to her toes and muttered "Thanks."
     Elisha and her mother continued to live at Robins camp. Marian taught Elisha how to defend herself with weapons so that she wouldn't have to grab a branch out of desperation again.
     Robin smiled every time he saw Elisha, and when she looked in his direction he always winked at her, and she smiled right back at him because each of them knew that they had lived through an incredible adventure.
The End         

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