As they approached the gate to the camp, Robin turned his horse into some brush and waited, watching as the next step of the plan began to transpire. Sims laid across the saddle of a horse and the "King's Guards", now dressed in civilian clothes, lead the horse toward the gate. The soldiers had no idea where the entrance to the camp was, so they were forced to call out, time and time again.
"Robin Hood sent us. This man has been hurt!"
"Please, send Marion out. She knows this man!"
"Please help us!" This time, a horn blew, and the soldiers watched in amazement as a wall of trees parted, exposing all types of buildings and people. Out walked a giant of a man, followed closely by another man - this one dressed in a monk's robe. The monk walked up to them and spoke. "You say Robin sent you? Let me get Robin, and we'll get your friend some help." Turning, he led the way into the camp.
"Where is Robin?" One of the men asked as two residents of the camp hurried up to pull Sims from the horse, and carry him toward one of the huts.
"I'm not sure. No doubt with Marion. Let me see if I can find out." The Friar left them, and headed toward a different hut.
As Tuck rounded the corner, leaving the two men with Little John, Sean raced across the compound toward him, breathing heavily. "Marion . . . " he gasped. "Marion's in trouble!"
"Slow down, Sean. What happened to Marion?"
"Marion was just carried off . . . by . . . by . . . " again Sean gasped, unable to breath.
"By Robin!" Sean finally gasped out.
The smile returned to Tuck's face. "Playing again, eh? Why so upset?"
"No, she didn't want to go . . . made her." Sean bent down now and leaned against his own knees. It was obvious to Tuck he had been running for a long time. Tuck began to worry, remembering Marion's earlier words. Whomever it was who had taken Marion, it was NOT Robin Hood! He began to realize just how serious this matter was.
"What are you trying to say, Sean." Tuck's voice began to show his own fear.
"He hit her, Friar." Sean finally got his breath back. "I couldn't believe it, but Robin hit her, then threw her across his saddle."
"Saints preserve us!" Tuck exclaimed, running for the stables. "Take me to where you saw this, Sean!"
They mounted their horses and returned to the scene where the abduction had transpired. Tuck took a couple of sniffs, then looked at Sean. "Do you smell smoke?" Then, without waiting for a response, he headed off, deeper into the woods, and saw the smoke curling up, into the sky. Without saying a word, the two headed directly toward the smoke, galloping the horsed through the low bushes. It wasn't long before they came upon Marion, sitting next to the bound and bloodied "Robin."
"Mother of Jesus! Marion! What happened?" Friar Tuck slid to the ground and ran to Marion's side, noting right away her tear-stained cheeks.
"Remember what we discussed before? Allow me to introduce you to Jacobi." Marion stated, her voice now totally steady.
"Jacobi?" Friar Tuck gasped. His eyes immediately went to the man's forearm, which was totally exposed now that his hands were tied behind his back.
"Marion, are you all right? Did he hurt you?" Tuck asked worriedly, helping her to her feet.
"I'm fine, Tuck," she replied, wiping her cheeks with the back of her hand.
Tuck looked down at Jacobi's bloodied face and shook his head. "When Robin told us about this Jacobi looking like his identical twin, he wasn't stretching the truth one bit, was he?"
"He has Robin, Tuck. He threatened to kill him if we don't let him go." Marion had to fight to keep control of her emotions.
Sean pulled his sword and just stood still, watching what was the man. Everyone in camp had heard Robin tell of an identical twin he was forced to kill during a struggle a few months earlier.
"Let's get him back to camp - then we'll decide how to handle this." Tuck rubbed Marion's back soothingly. "Don't worry."
Jacobi raised his head and looked at the group. "Let me go or your precious Robbie dies" he slurred with his accent.
This startled Tuck into motion. "Let's go."
He grabbed Jacobi's arm and roughly pulled him to his feet. As soon as he regained his footing, Jacobi threw his head forward, slamming it into Tuck's forehead, bringing the Friar to his knees. Then, Jacobi headed start toward Sean, who swung his sword, slicing Jacobi in the upper arm, opening it up enough to cause the blood to run down his arm.
Jacobi winced, but leaped forward and kicked Sean squarely in the chest, sending him flying. Marion snatched up her dagger and ran towards him, but he dodged her attack shouting. Leaping onto one of the horses, balancing himself, even with his hands tied behind his back, he rode off. "Until next time my sweet! You WILL be mine!"
Marion let him go, turned, and ran toward Friar Tuck and Sean. Helping them to their feet, she sighed. "Now, how are we going to find Robin."
Jacobi, instead of riding away, rode back toward the camp. He was not about to leave without the gold. The man he killed had told him all about the sacks of gold hidden around the camp for the poor, and Jacobi wanted it! As he galloped into camp, Little John was just coming out of one of the huts.
"Robin! What happened! You're hurt!" Little John was shocked to see blood streaming down his arm, and more blood on his face and in his hair.
"Prince John's men," Jacobi gasped. "Headed this way. We must prepare to defend ourselves!"
John signaled one of the guards by the gate and a bell began to toll. People ran about the camp, hiding in various designated spots, used for only for emergencies. John grabbed a linen shirt hanging on the clothesline and ripping it, bandaged Jacobi's arm.
"There, that should stop the bleeding until we get this taken care of."
Jacobi quickly washed his face in the rain barrel near Robin's hut, and smoothed back his thick brown hair. Smiling to himself, he looked at the gentle giant. "Little John, get the gold and meet me back here," he ordered.
"Right, Robin!" Little John turned and ran.
Jacobi laughed as he ducked into Robin's hut. Grabbing a sword, he ran back into the compound in time to meet Little John.
"I'll take that into the forest to hide it until this battle with Prince John's soldiers is finished," Jacobi told him. After Little John gave the signal, Jacobi mounted and rode outside the gates.
Robin, watching patiently from the sidelines for a signal from Sims, saw Jacobi exit. His shock was short-lived, and quickly mounting his steed, he rode out onto the path, meeting Jacobi face to face. The gates of the compound were still open, and people gathered, shocked to see two Robin Hoods. Little John just stood there, totally bewildered. Confusing the situation even more, both men were injured AND bandaged, in the same place, and on the same arm. Only their clothes were different.
"Robin Hood," Jacobi laughed. "We meet again."
"Jacobi,." Robin answered. "I thought I killed you last time."
Jacobi began riding his horse in circles around Robin. "I'm like a cat, Robin Hood. I have nine lives, and a long way to go.
By now, Friar Tuck, Marion, and Sean had returned in time to watch the fight begin, being played out right in front of them. There was nothing they could do. Both men looked too much alike to be able to tell them apart. Each were dressed differently, but they had no way of telling who was who. Jacobi had plenty of time to change his clothes, and no one knew how Robin was dressed.
They watched, helpless, as both men slid from their horses, facing each other in a deadly dance only one could win. One of the pair drew his a knife and attacked. The other waited until the last minute, then drew his own knife, countering a vicious thrust. The pair was strangely silent, both intently watching the other's movements.
Marion put a hand up, stifling a scream. Even she couldn't tell them apart. Sims and the two soldiers ran forward too, stopping in amazement at the sight in front of them.
"Which is Robin?" Sims asked Tuck urgently.
Tuck just shook his head. "I don't know!"
"Today is the day I kill you," Jacobi said, grinning maliciously at Robin. They came together with another clash of steal, then fell back again, each seeking an opening in the other's defense. Jacobi snapped his fingers, pointing at Robin, "I escaped death at your hand, but you'll not escape it at mine."
Again the knives slashed, the men connecting in battle, first left, than right. They twisted and turned, one having the advantage during one instant, then the other. They broke apart, stared at each other, then Jacobi leaped forward. As Jacobi flew toward him, Robin swung his whole body in a circle, catching Jacobi with his left fist. His right still held the knife, and he swung it quickly, trying to catch his elusive foe. Jacobi staggered backwards, but did not loose his balance. Turning sideways, Jacobi leaped forward again, kicking Robin in the chest, sending him back into a tree.
Robin shook his head to clear it, then ran back toward Jacobi, catching him close, each arms wrapped around the others. Neither dared release his grip, and Jacobi chuckled as he stared into Robin's eyes.
"I almost had Marion today, Robbie and still will . . . after your dead, that is." Jacobi said with a twisted smile.
Robin saw right through his attempts to send him into a blind rage, knowing all would be lost if he let loose his temper. Instead, he just calmly asked, "Haven't we been this route before?"
"Yes, but you were sloppy last time, Robin Hood. You let me live!" Jacobi pushed Robin away, then flew forward, just missing Robin's side with his knife, almost loosing his balance from the speed of his attack. Robin lunged forward, but Jacobi was ready. Swinging the dagger quickly, he caught the back of Robin's hand, causing him to drop his knife. Robin dodged back, then ran forward, swung his foot high, and kicked Jacobi in the jaw, sending him back. Throwing himself backward, Robin flipped over, snatching his knife from the ground.
"Today is your day to die Jacobi, not mine." And Robin ran forward, catching Jacobi by surprise. Smiling, Robin held the knife to Jacobi's throat.
"What ya waiting for, Robbie," Jacobi forced a smile, too proud to beg.
"Maybe it's not your day to die. Maybe it is time for you to be placed in a honest jail, instead. You know, somewhere where you can get real help." Robin told him, looking deep into his double's eyes.
"Or another chance to escape and end yours, " Jacobi replied, still smiling.
The camp emptied, everyone gathering around the two men, surrounding them, and cutting off their escape. Marion forced her way through the crowd. As soon as she reached them, she took a quick look at Robin's arm. Seeing the sign of the dragon etched deeply into his skin, she sighed with relief, knowing Robin had won the fight. When Little John, Sean, and the others had Jacobi secured, Robin gave his orders, explaining the situation to his friends.
"There are several others around the camp, hiding in the woods back at the fork in the road. One of them is a very greedy Captain. They need to be rounded up and delivered to Weslley Prison."
"You got it, Robin." A group of men were already mounted, and they headed out. Little John grab Sims, motioning a couple other outlaws to grab the two soldiers.
"No, wait," Robin stopped him. "Those two need a trip to Weslley desperately, but Sims here, saved my life."
Releasing Sims immediately, Little John instead reached out and grasped his arm in friendship. "Guess I owe you an apology."
"Think nothing of it," Sims replied. "Now what?" He continued, looking over at Robin.
"Care to join a determined band of outlaws?" Robin crossed his arms over his chest and smiled.
Sims let out a mightily laugh. "That's got to be an improvement from where I've been."
"Good," Robin laughed too, then turned toward Marion. Seeing the bruise on her face, his expression turned grave. "You ok?" He asked gently, placing his hands on her shoulders. Her eyes filled with tears as she looked up into the gentle, loving brown eyes that could only belong to Robin . . . HER Robin.
"I'm fine," She said, her voice breaking on the last word. "Are you sure?"
"Now I am," Marion threw her arms around his neck and hugged him tightly. "Now that I know you're back again."
Robin pulled away and looked down at her, gently smiling. "I missed you too," Eyeing her bruised face again, his expressive brown eyes filled with fear as he realized how much danger she had been in. "You sure he didn't hurt you?"
"I think he came away worse off than I did," Marion laughed.
"Marion, he could have killed you," Robin shuddered, pulling her gently to him as he pushed away those thoughts.
They just stood, holding each other, ignoring the rest of the outlaws that still surrounded them.
"I don't think so. Haven't you heard? I'm Robbie's woman!"
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