By Virginia Cavazos
Marion stopped in the cold corridors, as she heard a voice call to her.
"Marion, come here."
She slowly walked to where Queen Eleanor was waiting for her.
"Marion my dear. I never meant for the dance to end this way," she said in apology.
"What way, your highness?"
"When I invited Robert to attend the dance, it was in hopes of helping you make your decision on your future."
Marion was unsure of what the Queen meant. Seeing the perplexed look on her face, she explained herself.
"Marion my dear. I know you are at a crucial crossroad in your life. You need to decide what you want to do. As I watched you train to be an amazon. I could see you never truly gave all of yourself. I saw in your eyes, something that remained at the back of your mind. You were not sure that Robert was no longer a part of your life."
Marion turned away from the Queens’ searching eyes. She walked to a window, gazing out, she saw the reflection of the moon, rippling in the stream.
"Tell me Marion," Queen Eleanor whispered, as she stepped closer to her. "What did your heart feel, when you saw him walking down the stairs tonight?"
Marion let out a deep sigh, her thoughts returned to the staircase. As he walked down the stairs, and past the lords. She looked behind Robin, and gazed at the faces of the Lords.
Only now, did she see what lay behind their looks of indifference. It was Fear! Fear for a man that was willing to stand up to them, and Prince John as well.
His land and title taken from him. Yet he was strong and brave enough to come to walk amongst them. She then had to ask herself...Why? Why would he risk his life to come?
Queen Eleanor took Marion by the arm, dragging her down the corridor. "As you sleep tonight my dear, listen to what your heart says."
Marion remained silent, trying to make the most important decision of her life. Coming to her door, Queen Eleanor left her with a parting kiss on the cheek.
"He asked me to go with him," Marion numbly said. "This morning, he will be waiting for me by the stream. If I’m not there, he’ll know my decision."
"Whatever you decide my dear, know that I only wish for your happiness."
She shoved her in her room. "Sleep my dear, for tomorrow will soon be here."
"Yes," she mumbled. "Tomorrow…tomorrow….to….
~~~~~ ~~~~~ ~~~~~ ~~~~~ ~~~~~ ~~~~~
Marion woke up. The room was dark. She searched around for Robin. He was not in the room.
Her fevered mind took her back to the ball. "Tomorrow morning," she mumbled. "I have to go to him." Pushing the blankets back, she stumbled out of bed.
Weaving where she stood, she brushed her hair from her eyes. "Have to find him…give him my answer."
She staggered towards the door. She jerked to a stop. A large chest was in her way. Walking around it, she now found a chair in the way.
"Have to go to Robin," she whispered, as she moved the chair aside.
"Don’t go!" she heard someone shout.
"I have to," she rushed to the door opening it, she felt refreshed as the cool night air hit her face.
"I need to get to the stream. I need to let Robin know that I love him," she shouted, as she flew through the door.
Marion stumbled into the forest, oblivious to her surroundings. Her thoughts was finding the stream, and telling Robin that she would go with him.
Robin entered the cabin with an armful of wood. The fire was dying down. Making sure Marion was sleeping comfortably, he left her only for a few moments.
The wood bundle fell to the floor, as Robin found her bed empty. Running out of the cabin, he called out her name.
"Marion!" he screamed. "Come back!"
He ran into the night, not knowing where she was. Praying that he would find her before she… NO, he drove that thought out of his mind. He knew he would find her well, to take her back to the cabin. As he ran past the river, his thoughts returned to the last time he waited by a stream.
~~~~~~ ~~~~~~~~~~~ ~~~~~~~~~~~~
"Marion, wake up!"
Marion turned over, to see Agatha and Cynthia standing over her.
"Marion, Robin is in trouble," Agatha cried.
"What do you mean?" Marion jumped out of bed.
"Tell her Cynthia!" Agatha shoved her towards Marion.
"I heard what you said to Queen Eleanor last night," she confessed. "I told Sir Guy that Robert of Locksley was going to meet you at the stream. I didn’t know he hated him so much!" she sniffed. "I’m sorry Marion."
"What is he going to do?" Marion asked, as she began to dress.
"He’s going to have guards posted along the river," Agatha told her, as she helped her dress. "To capture your Robert."
"We have to warn him," Marion gasped.
Glancing out the window, Marion saw that the sun was close to rising. She cursed herself for falling asleep.
They sneaked out of her room. Marion decided during the night to meet Robin at the stream. Just to speak to him. Once she saw him again, she knew it would help her with her decision.
As they quietly stepped in the corridors, they heard someone’s heels clicking on the stone floor. Agatha shoved Marion in an alcove. Grabbing Cynthia by the arm, she rushed over to where Guy was speaking to one of the guards.
"I want a guard posted at every entrance. I saw something in his eyes tonight, that told me he will return for Marion. When he does!" Guy slapped his fist in his glove. "He will be mine. Quickly now, I want his head by the morning!"
"Sir Guy!" Agatha and Cynthia cooed. "Where have you been hiding?"
Sir Guy turned to see two young ladies coming to him. "I’m sorry Ladies, can’t bother with you now. I need to catch an outlaw."
"Oh there is an outlaw loose in the castle!" Agatha and Cynthia cried out in alarm. They both ran to Sir Guy, protectively holding onto him.
"Please Sir Guy, can you take us to our rooms? We absolutely wont’ feel safe with anyone else." Agatha insisted. Marion was pleased to see how assured Agatha was acting.
Blushing from their praise, he purred. "Of course ladies. It would be my pleasure."
"This will only take a few minutes, I’ll catch up with you later," he informed the guard. As they walked down the corridors, Agatha motioned behind her back, for Marion to leave.
Marion began to breathe again, only when the three left the corridor. Her hand reached up to try and slow down her heart. She rushed down the chilly hallways. She had to hurry. The sun would be rising soon.
Robin waited by the tree Marion leaned on the night before. His dark eyes gazing up at the castle. Looking for a sign that Marion was coming. The sun was nearly up, and still no sign.
He saw the guards posted at the ramparts of the castle begin to extinguish the torches. Letting out a sad sigh as sunlight began to reflect off the castle walls.
He knew now that Marion wasn’t coming. Slowly turning, he began to walk down the streambed.
He felt a something sting him on his thigh. Slapping it, he moved on. Again, he felt a sting to his arm, rubbing his arm, he continued down the streambed. Hearing a hissing sound, he fell to the ground, as someone grabbed his ankle.
"What was I going to have to use, a boulder!" Marion hissed, as she placed her hand over his mouth.
"Marmion," he mumbled.
"Hush," she whispered. Dragging him into the waters, they swam into a clump of water reeds. Robin saw the reason for Marion’s distress. A platoon of guards was coming from the direction he was going.
They waited in the cold waters, until the guards left. Diving down, they swam far enough away to leave the banks unnoticed.
Robin led Marion to two horses he had waiting.
Quickly mounting their rides, they silently rode off. They did not speak a word until they were far enough away.
"This is just temporary," Marion began. "I’m only coming, because I wanted to see if what you are telling me about Prince John is true."
"Temporary," Robin agreed.
As they rode on, a small smile parted Marion’s lips. She couldn’t help but notice him staring at her. Turning her head, her eyes glowed. Silently letting him know, what her true reasons for coming with him were.
He risked all to see her last night. Only a man truly in love, would enter into a den of lions. Robin did just that, because of his love for her. She didn’t know it then, but she did now.
She prayed that she was worthy enough to love this man back.
~~~~~ ~~~~~ ~~~~~ ~~~~~ ~~~~~ ~~~~~
As Marion raced through the forest, her fever coming to a high pitch. She prayed she would reach the river in time, to let Robin know how much she loved him.
She stumbled over a fallen tree. She had to find the stream. As she pulled herself up, she heard someone calling to her.
"This way," she heard a young woman’s voice.
Marion raced towards the voice. In her eyes, she saw a woman standing near the banks of the river. "This way," the woman beckoned her.
Marion fell to the ground, she felt as if she was burning up.
~~~~~ ~~~~~ ~~~~~ ~~~~~ ~~~~~ ~~~~~
Robin raced through the forest. Marion’s fever was at its peak when he left her. He was worried she would not survive the night. He prayed it would break before dawn. Now his prayers were that he would not find her lying dead on the forest floor.
~~~~~ ~~~~~ ~~~~~ ~~~~~ ~~~~~ ~~~~~
Marion was so hot, she needed to cool herself down, but her thoughts were on saving Robin. The Princes Guards would soon be arriving. Coming to the banks, Marion thought she saw Robin walking down a path. Slipping down into the stream, she waited for him to pass by.
Looking up for him, she saw he was gone!
"Robin!" she cried out.
"Over here," she heard the woman calling to her again. She weakly made her way through the waters. Stopping in a clump of reeds, she was so weakened from her illness, she could no longer stand. She fell in the reeds. Her head resting on a stump. The cool waters flowed over her fevered body.
"Robin," she sighed. Her body shivered, as the cold waters of the stream flowed over her.
~~~~~ ~~~~~ ~~~~~ ~~~~~ ~~~~~ ~~~~~
"Marion!" Robin frantically called out, as he raced through the forest. He had to find her FAST. The sun was just rising.
"Over here!" Robin heard a woman’s voice call out. He swiftly made his way to where he heard the voice. Coming to the stream, he searched around the banks.
"She’s over here," Robin saw a young woman standing on the banks of the stream.
"Quickly now!" she urged him. "She’s in there."
She pointed to a clump of water reeds. Robin let out a gasp, as he only saw Marion’s head lying above the waters.
Plunging in, he ran to her. He tried to lift her, but her body was wedged under a log. Grabbing the Log, he tried to lift it off her. As he lifted it, he was startled when some bones floated out from under the log. Pushing them aside, he lifted Marion from the waters, carrying her to the shore.
As he lay her on the ground. Her lips were blue, they were shivering so hard, she couldn’t talk.
"Marion!" Robin cried, he clutched her to his chest. "Don’t leave me. Please, god don’t take her from me."
He felt her body shaking in his arms. He needed to get her dry first. He spotted an old dress lying at the banks. Running to it, he used it to dry her off. He searched for the woman that helped him, to thank her. He was shocked to find her missing.
He returned his attention back to Marion. Wrapping her in the old dress, he picked her up.
"Robin," Marion mumbled. "This is temporary. Stay…until I find the truth about Prince John."
"Hush Marion, I need to get you dry."
He ran back to the cabin. She was shivering so hard, he was having a difficult time holding onto her.
Entering the cabin, he was surprised to find the fire blazing. The wood he dropped on the floor was now in the fireplace. Rushing to the bed, he gently laid Marion down. Removing the damp dress, he threw it behind him. Taking one of the blankets he began to dry her with it.
When she was dry, he covered her with dry blankets. He silently sat next to her. He ignored his hair dripping water down his arms.
"Marion," he choked. "Please don’t leave me."
Marion distantly heard Robin’s voice. She felt so hot, she tried to pull the blanket off her, but someone kept pushing it back. She struggled to open her eyes. She saw Robin gazing down at her. The first thing she noticed was that he was a MESS! His hair was plastered on his face, and he was covered in mud.
"What happened to you?" she whispered.
Robin allowed a small smile to part his lips. "You decided to take a swim this morning."
"I was just so hot," she said, with a smack of her lips. "I’m thirsty," she said in a hoarse voice.
Robin ran to fetch the water skin. Holding her head in his hand, he tipped the skin up. Marion took deep gulps of water. As Robin held her head, he noticed something…something Wonderful!
"Marion! Your fever, it’s gone!"
He lay her head back on the bed. "But how?" he wondered aloud.
He then recalled how cold she felt, when he lifted her from the flowing stream. The Water!
"Marion, why did you go into the river?"
"I saw a young woman. She told me I would find you in the reeds."
"I saw a woman also." As Robin said this, he heard someone whisper in the cabin.
Robin’s head turned, to see a young man, standing in the middle of the cabin.
"Thank you for finding her," he said, the joy evident in his voice. The dress Robin used to wrap Marion lay on the floor. As Robin stared at it, the young woman appeared before him. Wearing the same dress, she was standing next to the young man.
"Thank you for helping me find him," her haunting voice drifted to him. "I was trapped under that log for soo long. But I never gave up. My love for him kept me there. I knew someday, someone would find me. Thank you."
"Thank you for helping to break her fever," Robin returned.
The ghostly couple walked up to Robin, their eyes glowed in the love they shared. "We just played a small part. For it was the strong love you both share for each other that saved her. Love never dies." The young man said. "Never forget that. We never gave up, even after death. Thanks to you and your lady, we have been reunited at last."
The young woman rested her head on his chest. "At last, we are finally together. We shall never be parted again."
"Never, my love," he whispered. As they began to fade away, Robin heard the young man say. "Thank you, thank you for finding my love."
Then they were gone.
"Who was that?" Robin heard Marion say. He turned to see her gazing up at him. He was thankful to see her eyes clear, and strong.
"Two special people," Robin replied.
"My fever, it’s gone…how?"
"The cold waters from the stream Marion, they helped to break your fever." Taking her hand in his, he suddenly looked so tired, "I thought I was going to lose you."
"So did I."
Robin lifted her up into his arms, softly whispering, "Never leave me Marion. I cannot imagine living without you."
Marion rested her head on his shoulder, whispering, "And I you."
It was days later when Marion was strong enough to ride. Robin had been so attentive to her. Surviving such a life-threatening situation together, if it was possible, their love became stronger.
As Robin helped Marion mount her horse, she saw a new grave next to the cabin’s owner.
"Who’s that?" she asked him.
"Your savior Marion," he explained.
"Then you found her?" Marion asked.
"I never would have found you, if not for her. She showed me where you were, and led you to the waters. I went back there the next day. I found her remains floating in the reeds, and brought them back here. To be buried next to him, where she belongs."
Marion let out a sad sigh. "Together at last."
"Yes, she must have been crossing the stream, when she became lodged under the log. All those years he waited for her, and he never realized how close she was."
Robin mounted his horse, taking Marion’s reins, he led her past the two graves. Her face glowed, as she saw the new inscription added to the grave stone.
"His love was true, tho hers was not. He waits here still, beneath this plot."
Tho she did die, her love lived on. They are together now, in eternal bond."
"Let's go," Robin leaned over, giving her a warm kiss on the cheek.
As they rode away, Robin asked her. "So, have you made your decision to stay with me yet?"
Marion let out a light chuckle. "I’m still thinking on it. I think I’ll need a few more years to make up my mind."
"Take your time," Robin sung out. "Take all the time you want."
As they rode away, a happy couple suddenly appeared, standing on the gravesites.
"Thank you," they whispered.
Gazing at the ghostly couple, Robin whispered back, "Thank you."
He urged his horse on, to catch up to Marion.
He was so close to loosing her. He had never been so frightened in all his life. As he caught up with her, she gave him a look that mirrored his own. It spoke of a rare love shared by two people. A love so strong.
It proved stronger than death itself.
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