Friday, September 26, 2014

Chapter 15 Part 1

photo credit: Cheryl Ruffing
Robin hummed to himself as he strolled through the hidden pathways of Sherwood that could not be seen by many, but that he could traverse with his eyes closed. Swinging absentmindedly at the snow-dusted underbrush with his sword, he tried to keep from worrying too much over Will's safety, but his mind kept wandering back to that night and how angry he had been.

Robin didn't blame his cousin; Will had every right to be angry about what he'd done, but it pained him to see the lad so caught up in a girl who would only bring heartbreak in the end. Not to mention the fact that she was now a fugitive and the sheriff's search parties had been tramping through the forest for her at all hours.

Robin laughed at their efforts, knowing that surely they would come to nothing, but if Will was angry and love-sick, (a deadly combination in Robin's experience), he couldn't be thinking straight and was apt to blunder. Thank goodness Adam had gone with him. 

Coming out of the woods, Robin grinned from beneath his deep hood at the quiet village before him. Only a few straggling men and women remained outside the comfort of their homes, feeding animals, gathering water from the frozen well and exchanging occasional remarks on how cold it was, or how, my, that snow did come fast!

Aside from these chilly few, the entire area was desolate. Even the sheriff's soldiers, normally watching over everyone like hawks, hungry for any hint of activity that could be considered even slightly illegal or displeasing to His Majesty, were huddled and grumbling around puny fires, drinking ale and dozing off, looking forward to the end of their shift.

Chuckling to himself, Robin crept up to the manor and knocked on the door. Putting his ear against it, he heard the light, graceful steps approaching and straightened, grinning. "Hello, darling." He whispered as Marion appeared, looking unimpressed when she recognized who was standing on the stoop. "Surprised to see me?" He continued, letting himself in.

"Not in the least. The smell of forest blows upwind of you every time you turn in my direction. I knew you were coming an hour ago. I'm just surprised Gisborne hasn't caught on to it yet. If he had, you'd have been arrested long ago." She rolled her eyes and shut the door, turning to see Robin lounging against a wall near the fire, staring at her with untainted admiration. In another instant, he saw her eyes on him and the look vanished, but it had been there, and Marion smiled softly to herself at the knowledge.

"If I didn't smell of forest, I would most certainly have been arrested. Sherwood is the only thing keeping me from such a fate, my clever but short-sighted lady." Robin reminded her with a triumphant smirk.

She looked at him for a moment, taking in his handsome features, his sparkling brown eyes and wry, bearded mouth that always seemed to find something to laugh or smile about. Rather amazing, those smiles, considering the life he led was certainly deserving of tears more than anything. "Robin..." She began again, clearing her throat and blushing as soon as she spoke his name, with a voice softer and more tender than she'd anticipated. "Robin, why are you here?"

"Does a man need a reason to call on the woman he loves?" He raised a cheeky eyebrow, but Marion understood that he meant what he said, and a thrill rushed through her body.

"What makes you so certain we're in love?" She returned, eyes twinkling as she took a step towards him.

"Well, I think my last visit here would testify to the truth of that statement."  He pushed himself away from the wall, and bit his lip, remembering how hers had felt there only the other day.

"Mmm, perhaps it would." She laughed slowly, taking another step.

"But, in all honesty, I came to see if Gisborne had made any progress in finding his runaway." Robin's face sobered a little and he felt the electric waves that had been coursing through him fall away.

"You mean you don't have her?" Marion backed off, her electricity cut off completely. Her thin, dark brows furrowed with surprise and worry as she waited for his answer.


"I thought you were going to find her! Robin, what on earth have you been doing this whole time? Why are you wasting your time, her time, here with me?" Her voice drained of all the warmth that had been gushing from it only seconds before, replaced by stern disapproval.

"Marion, Sherwood is a big place, she could be anywhere. I have some of my men looking for her as we speak."


"Y-yes. How did you know that?"

She shot him a look. "It would take an idiot not to see that he is head-over-heels for this girl. It's almost as obvious as your infatuation with me."

"Excuse me?" Robin gasped, eyes wide with surprise.

"No, Gisborne has not found the girl, but evidently neither have you. We still have time. I could organize some people to keep an eye out for her, let me know if they hear anything. Who is this girl? What's her name, where is she from?"

"That's the thing: I have no idea."

Start at the beginning: Chapter 1 Part 1

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