Nightfall came quickly as Sims and Robin began planning how they would make their escape. One of Robin's first priorities was to stop these soldiers and criminals from hurting the villagers. He wanted a plan that would apprehend them, keeping the people safe.
At the dinner hour, the Captain appeared for the first time that day. One thing Robin was acutely aware of, was this man was known only by the name of "The Captain". He had to find out who he really was.
The Captain wore a warm smile, and carried a large decanter of mead in one hand, and two goblets in his other hand. "Ah, Jacobi. You're looking quite good tonight," he said with a chuckle.
"Sims here says I'm almost all the way back, Captain," replied Robin forcing that strong accent back into his voice, and casting a quick glance toward his newfound friend.
"You can leave now, Doctor. I'll watch over your patient," the Captain ordered.
"Yes, sir. Good night, Mr. Jacobi." Sims said, turning to leave.
"Good man, good man." The Captain stated after the flap dropped back over the door of the tent.
"Yes, he is."
The Captain filled the two goblets and handing one to Robin, proposed a toast. "To the fall of the legendary Outlaw, Robin Hood!"
"And all the money he'll be bringing us," concurred Robin, raising his goblet as well.
The glasses clinked and the Captain downed the strong honeyed mead in one gulp. Seeing this was necessary, Robin did the same, feeling the fiery liquid burn its way down to his empty stomach.
"By the end of tomorrow, we'll both be very rich men, Jacobi." The Captain chuckled.
"Tomorrow?" Robin responded. This was unexpected.
"Yes, you seem to be feeling better. No sense delaying it any longer. I don't want to risk being discovered."
"Yes, but to . . . tomorrow," Robin stammered. "I don't know if I'm up to that kind of fight yet!"
"It WILL be tomorrow!"
"Very well," Robin sighed. Looking back up at the Captain, he glared. "But I want Sims with me, in case this blasted thing opens up again. I don't want to be dropping where I stand in the middle of getting all that gold."
"Very well then," the captain replied, refilling Robin's glass. "That makes sense, and can be easily arranged. We'll leave at first light."
They clinked their glasses again and downed the liquid in one gulp. The Captain threw his goblet against a chest across the room, exploding the glass into a million pieces. Looking please with himself, the Captain turned to stare at Robin.
"Don't even entertain the thought of double crossing me and making away with the gold, Jacobi. You try, and I guarantee you'll draw your last breath before week's out!" The Captain's eyes narrowed to a slit.
"Wouldn't even think of it, Captain."
"I didn't think so. Now get some sleep. We have a big day tomorrow," the Captain said, replacing the harsh look with a warm smile.
"Great," thought Robin as the Captain exited. "I have to rob my own
camp tomorrow, accompanied by a mad man." He lay back down, and continued
working on the plan he and Sims had began, earlier that evening.
When he heard Friar Tuck and Marion start to move around the hut again, Jacobi rushed around the corner, watching for the two to exit.
"I'll go talk to Little John immediately, and we'll saddle the horses and go search for Robin. Rest assured Marion, we'll find him, and he'll be fine."
Marion smiled. "And I'll keep our friend entertained while you do."
"Be so careful, Marion. We don't know who we're dealing with here," Tuck cautioned.
"I know that," Marion snapped back quickly. "Please hurry, Tuck. I'm really worried about Robin."
"We'll be back by sundown," Tuck promised, heading toward the stables.
"Sundown cannot come fast enough for me," Marion muttered, kicking at a clump of dirt in her path. A few minutes later she watched as Tuck and John rode out through the gates. Suddenly she felt a wave of fear wash over her, and she realized she was virtually alone with this stranger, even though they were in a compound full of people.
As she walked toward the river to get herself a cold drink, she became aware of someone walking closely behind her. Marion swung around. Standing right behind her, was Jacobi.
"You startled me," she said with a shudder.
"Now why would I be a doing that?" Jacobi smiled, looking up at her through long dark eyelashes. "You're not afraid of ol' Robbie are ya?"
"Why would I be afraid of you, Robin?" She asked hesitatingly.
"Oh, I don't know, ya seem to be avoiding me, Marion," he continued, moving closer.
"I thought it was you who was avoiding me, Robin." Marion turned, and began to walk toward the center of the camp, keeping ahead of Jacobi.
"I would never avoid a pretty little thing like you," he replied, moving quickly to her side.
Marion suddenly realized no one had seen her come down to the river. And right now, there was no one else in sight. Frightened now, she quickened her pace, but as fast as she moved, Jacobi moved faster. Grabbing her by the waist, Jacobi pulled her against him, and covered her mouth with a large hand before she could cry out.
"See? You are afraid of ole' Jacobi, ain't ya, Marion?" His deep voice breathed into her ear. "Bet you ain't afraid of Robbie, are ya?"
Marion struggled, but she was pressed too close to him to get off a good kick. The only thing she could think of was the same trick she pulled before, and stamped down the top of his foot with the heel of her boot. He yelped in pain and let go of her mouth for a moment, but did not release the grip he had around her waist.
Marion screamed, but Jacobi swung her around and caught her across the face with the back of his hand. She fell to the ground, dazed, and everything began to move in slow motion. Jacobi reached down and grabbed her hand, pulling her to her feet. When she staggered, unable to stand on her own, he hoisted her over his shoulder, heading for his horse.
In the distance, she could see Bates and Sean come up over the hill, but they were too far away to help her, even if they realized what was happening. The blow she took to the head left her dazed, and she was limp over Jacobi's shoulder as he raced across the meadow. Reaching his horse, he threw Marion across the saddle, slid up behind her, and turned the horse toward the back of the compound.
By now several of the men were running toward their horses. None of them quite knew what was happening, but all realized something was desperately wrong.
"Ya' thought ya' could fool ole' Jacobi, huh," he snarled at her as
they raced away from the others. "No one fools Jacobi, and you WILL pay!"
His voice was hard and cruel, and Marion had never felt so defenseless.
Robin lay awake all night, thinking of how he could protect his own people without giving himself away. He didn't want to lose the chance to capture the escaped convicts, and he wanted the Captain and his men, too. He would have to play this Jacobi role until the very last minute, and would have to think of some way of alerting Little John, Tuck and Marion for assistance.
Before the sun had risen fully, Sims pushed back the flap on the tent and entered, putting his finger to his lips in a request for silence. He approached Robin slowly, looking over his shoulder towards the door.
"I overheard the Captain a little while ago," Sims whispered. "He has plans to kill you and the other convicts as soon as Robin Hood is captured. He'll wait until you get him the gold, then get rid of you, too."
"I thought as much," replied Robin. "Otherwise, he'd have to think of a plausible excuse for the convicts being there."
"Robin, the man is stark raving mad. How can we make plans when he is as unpredictable as rain!" Sims sounded desperate by this point.
"Dont worry, Sims. I think we can use that to our advantage. Here, unwrap my arm and redo the dressing, just in case the Captain decides to pay us a visit. We're going to have to tell Friar Tuck what's in that concoction you put on my arm." Robin smiled, putting Sims at ease. "It works great!." Then he whispered his plan to Sims. Just as he was finishing, the Captain burst through the flap of the tent.
"How is he doctor?" The Captain asked.
"It's become infected, just as I feared. I hope he's up for today's mission." Sims replied, glancing quickly at Robin.
"Oh, I be ready," Robin disagreed, reaching for his arm after Sims tied off the bandages, cradling it gently against his chest. "I'm ready to be rich!"
"That's the attitude, lad" The Captain laughed. "And that you will be, beyond your wildest dreams. Be ready to leave within the hour." Spinning on his heel, the Captain left the room.
"Just do exactly what I say, and follow my lead," Robin whispered, staring directly into Sims eyes.
"That I will, Robin Hood . . . that I will."
Marion had no idea where Jacobi was taking her, she only knew they rode deeper and deeper into Sherwood Forest. He reined in his horse behind a large grouping of boulders, and slid from the tall animal, pulling Marion roughly off behind him, letting her fall to the ground.
Still somewhat dazed, but slowly regaining her senses, she stared up at him as Jacobi snapped the fingers of one hand, and pointed at her. "Robbie's woman, eh? Today ya become my woman!" Reaching for her, he yanked her back to her feet, and kissed her roughly, forcing her head back with the power of his lips. There was no emotion in his kiss, just roughness, and Marion began to fight back.
Jacobi pulled back quickly when Marion bit down on his lower lip, as hard as she could. Taking the slap she had known was coming, she turned her head enough to deflect some of its power.
Marion shook her head free of the lingering haze, and swung around, giving Jacobi a kick in the stomach which sent him spinning back into the boulders.
"Yes," she hissed, hatred dripping from her voice. "I am "Robbie's" woman and you'll do well to remember that! Robin told me all about you, Jacobi. Unfortunately, he was wrong about one thing. You're not dead!" Marion reached down into her boot and withdrew the dagger she had left there, after her last encounter with Jacobi. "But that is a situation we can easily remedy," she continued, hurling the dagger directly at his chest.
Jacobi jumped to one side and the dagger hit stone, bouncing off. Racing forward, he leaned in and tackled her, grabbing her around her knees. Not expecting this type of attack, Marion went down with Jacobi landing squarely on top of her, pinning her arms to her sides.
"I like 'em feisty." Jacobi laughed, and again forced his lips down on hers. She bucked, knocking Jacobi off to one side, scrambling back to her feet as he rolled away.
"You'll pay for this, Jacobi!" She uttered as she stepped back a few paces, "You'll pay with your life if necessary!" Marion quickly reached down and picked up a sturdy branch.
Swinging it around, as hard as she could, she slammed it into the side of Jacobi's head, knocking across the leaf-covered forest floor, and into a nearby oak. The tree caught him full force, and Jacobi slowly slid to the ground, unconscious.
Marion ran forward and reached for his neck, checking for a pulse. He was still breathing but blood seeped from his temple at the point of impact, and more dripped from his nose where he hit the tree. She ran back to the horse, and using the dagger she retrieved from the ground by the rocks, cut a section free from the reins, and bound Jacobi's hands tightly behind him. Slowly she sank to the ground beside Robin's double, just staring at him, her emotions in a total state of confusion.
He looked so much like Robin it hurt her to see him bleeding. It was hard to just watch him, and not help him. She had to keep telling herself this was NOT Robin. Robin would never have tried to force himself on her. Shaking, she slowly put her face in her hands, and began to sob softly. Where was Robin? Please, Lord, she prayed. Let him be alive!
"Are you sure you know where you're going, Jacobi? You did get the correct location of Robin's camp before you killed that man, right?
Robin froze, horrified to think someone had died at Jacobi's hand. He had been so sure Jacobi was dead. If he had been more careful, an innocent man might still be alive today.
"I'm sure," Robin replied, his voice cracking.
Robin had never been more concerned about his ability to make decisions which could affect the lives of so many. Here he was, leading Prince John's soldiers and four of the most notorious murderers in all of England, right to the very people he has sworn to protect. If his plan failed, it would not only mean certain death for himself, but would also cause the deaths of he whom held dear.
"How much farther?" Asked one of the soldiers.
"Ah, from what I can determine, it's right around the other side of that valley." Robin replied, pointing in the distance.
"Then when we reach that tree line we'll split up," the Captain decided. "We'll wait back here. Jacobi, you and the others will ride ahead toward the camp. We'll make sure no one escapes, and everyone - be especially ready for Robin Hood. From what I understand, he is quite the crafty fellow." The Captain smiled. "He won't allow anything to happen to his people, so you KNOW he'll ride out to defend them. We just have to be ready".
"Right Captain." They answered as they entered the valley.
Marion managed to compose herself, and decided to let the rest of the camp know where she was. She had no intention of trying to get Jacobi back by herself. She knew he not only had Robin's looks, but a lot of his strength and agility as well. She set about gathering some wood together into a small pile, clearing away the dry leaves, down to bare earth. Pulling some flint from her belt, she had just managed to get the kindling ablaze when she heard a moan, coming from behind her. Turning, she watched silently as Jacobi picking his head up from the ground and looked around.
He focused on her, and the dried blood in his hair and down the side of his face troubled her. It was obvious he was having trouble focusing his vision, even though he continued to quietly watch her actions. Finally, he broke the silence and spoke.
"They said you were an able fighter, but they never said you were as good as you are."
"I guess I don't have to tell you, if you attempt to escape, I'll be forced to kill you." Marion said in a deep, firm voice.
"Others have tried . . . others have failed. Even your precious Robin thought he killed me once." Jacobi grinned at the look on her face.
"What have you done with Robin," She said in a voice so hard, it actually surprised Jacobi.
"Let me go and I'll take ya to him."
"Just tell me where he is, and I'll spare your life," Marion returned, just as quickly.
"Can't. I have no guarantee you'll let me live," Jacobi replied casually. He worked his hands around in the leather strips, but they would not budge.
"You have no guarantee I will not kill you right now, just because of who you are." It was obvious Marion was loosing her temper, which was exactly the reaction Jacobi had wanted. The smoke curled up into the air, beginning to spread the aroma of burning leaves and branches throughout Sherwood.
"Ah, but I do have a guarantee . . . as long as I keep Robin alive, I live, too." Jacobi grinned up through his thick, sable hair as it hung slid his face.
"Then he is alive."
"For now," Jacobi agreed with an evil laugh.
"What have you done to him!" Marion ran forward, grabbed him by his thick hair, and pulling his head back. She placed the blade of the dagger against his throat, but he continued to laugh that deep, horrible laugh.
"You kill me and Robbie's dead too!"
"Argh!" She jumped away from him, shoving his face into the ground.
Jacobi coughed a couple of times, clearing his throat of dirt. "And ya be such a pretty lass, too." And he laughed again. "When did ya discover that I wasn't your Robin Hood"
"As soon as I got a good look at your arm." Marion replied in disgust. Pointing to her own forearm, she continued. "Robin has a large scar there, called the sign of the dragon. Something YOU could never have. Only the pure in heart will ever wear that sign." Her eyes again filled with tears, but she looked away, not allowing Jacobi the pleasure of seeing her cry.
End of Chapter Five
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