Pandora's Castle
By Laurali
Chapter 2

As Robin, Tom, Marion, Little John and Tuck moved down the dark corridor they had to feel their way. Fingers slid on polished wood and cold stone as they stumbled on each other's heels down the corridor.

"Ouch! Tuck, that was my ankle."

"Sorry, Robin, that wasn't me."

"Who was that?"

"Sorry, Tom, that was me that time."

"Now who am I stepping on?"

"Robin, you're not going to find your way by feeling along there."

"Whoops, sorry Marion."

Suddenly the corridor ended, and they were in an open space in the dark. A spark struck up high, and a torch lighted by magic. One by one they lighted, gradually revealing that they were surrounded by corridors, like spokes of a wheel and they stood in the grand hub of the castle. The ceiling of the hall vaulted high above their heads, the corridors were flanked by tall columns topped with a flock of silvery gilded gargoyles, their hollow eyes staring dark and menacing upon the startled outlaws.

Robin surveyed the circle of corridors. "I hope someone remembered which way we came from."

As everyone's eyes met, they realized they had no idea which direction they'd come from.

"We're trapped. No one has ever escaped from Pandora's Castle." Tom's voice echoed funeral tones against the marble and granite.

"What's this about Pandora's Castle?" Tuck asked.

"I know about Pandora's Box, but I didn't know she had a castle too." Little John volunteered.

"After Pandora opened her box, all the horrors you could possibly imagine escaped from the box and went into the world. All she was left with was hope." said Tom. "We all know the basic horrors, but there were things in that box that no one ever wanted to consider. Those really terrible things came here to this castle. They live in the rooms here, and no one who comes in ever gets out."

"That's nonsense. All you have to do is remember not to open the doors." Tuck interjected.

"Yes, but how would we get out?" asked Robin.

"Oh yeah, there is that." Tuck agreed dejectedly.

"The castle was cursed, and the land it sat on was holy and rejected it. So the castle moves here and there, finding a resting place for a day and a night, then disappearing with the coming dawn." Tom's eyes darted about the hall, as if he expected the very walls to close in on them.

"It'll trap us all in it's rooms and we'll be lost forever."

"Don't say that, Tom. There's not a castle in England strong enough to trap me." Robin quipped with a grin. "We'll be out of here in no time. We just have to find the right door."

"Which way do we go?" Marion asked. "We can't just stand here and wait for Sir Guy to find us."

"I have a feeling Sir Guy is the least of our problems." Little John reached up and took a torch from the wall. "If Sir Guy were to get lost in here, that wouldn't be so bad. That would solve one of our problems."

"Little John, it's not Christian to wish ill to anyone, even if that person is your enemy." Tuck reminded him.

Robin waited at the entrance to a corridor, waited for everyone to get behind him and follow. John handed Robin the torch and they headed into the corridor.

Sir Guy, Jacobi, and the soldiers made their way down a long dark hallway towards a lighted room at the end. They stepped cautiously in the dark, looking for obstacles along the way. All of a sudden there was a great rush of wind, a howling whisper bounced off the stone walls, and a wooden door crashed shut on a soldier's screams. His comrades tried to open the door that had swallowed their friend, but it would not open.

"Leave him!" Sir Guy said impatiently. "We have no time for deserters. We are here to find Robin Hood."

"There seems to be a lot of doors in this place. Could be we'll 'ave a 'ard time findin tha bloke." Jacobi observed.

"I paid you handsomely to find him, and you will find him, is that clear?"

"I will find 'im. An' when I do, you'll be the first ta know."

"That's what I want to hear." Sir Guy stalked off toward the light at the end of the hall.

"Then you'll be next ta go." Jacobi chuckled to himself.

Sir Guy, Jacobi and the soldiers reached the great hall at the center of the castle. They explored it much as the outlaws had only a few minutes earlier. They saw the missing torch and figured that it led in the direction that Robin and the others had gone. After retrieving another torch from the wall, Gisbourne and his men headed down the hallway.

One of the soldiers lagged behind, mezmerized by the silvery tracings barely visible up in the shadowed ceiling. A long swath of cobweb brushed his face, as soft as a lady's silk scarf. He almost smelled flowery perfume on it. No sooner had he passed beneath the swath of cobweb than he felt a sharp stabbing pain through his chest. He felt himself lifted into the depths of the vaulted ceiling as the long spike that impaled him rose into the shadows. He tried to scream, but something cut him off, Literally.

Jacobi turned back to the light. He thought he'd heard something, a scraping noise maybe. The torchlight showed only cobwebs swinging slightly, as if a breeze had disturbed them.

"Where your path may follow I do not know, but where it leads is right back here...
where all paths become one again."-- from the Ancient Scrolls of The Haglets.

End of Chapter Two

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