Ok, see I told you that I'd get this chapter up tonight! Thankyou to everyone who's reviewed- I'll include a huge thankyou list at the beginning of the next chapter.
A lot of you have been asking where Marian is. Well, she's mentioned in this chapter but her exact position isn't revealed yet (where would be the fun in that).
I hope you appreciate this. I should be doing science revision right now- if I fail then it's all your fault!!!! lol
Disclaimer: Blah blah blah, not mine, blah blah blah, property of bbc etc etc
"Without leaps of imagination, or dreaming, we lose the excitement of possibilities." Gloria Steinem
He couldn't be sure how long the talk had been going on for now, but it was definitely too long to be standing up for. Prince John's boy (Simon, he thought his name was) had been given a seat. Alright, it was barely more than a stool, but still. It was the principal of the thing!
His name had been mentioned occasionally, usually when the idea of refreshments was brought up. The Prince would murmur something about being hungry, and The Sherriff would reply something like "Oh, we'll send Mike" or "Mitch, go and fetch us some water!"
The Sherriff seemed painfully unaware of anyone else in the room except for Prince John. It was ironic how everyone else in the room was decidedly lower down the 'Ladder of Importance' as his father called it. He was one of those men who didn't notice anyone except for those who had money (or stole it in Robin Hood's case).
But there was one distinct advantage of being invisible. Being Invisible. He had heard bits of their conversation, only snippets, but enough to know something about a port, peasants, and somewhere up north. None of it made the blindest bit of sense- well, not to him anyway. But there were others, maybe even people in the castle who would know what to do with the information…
Yet he wasn't allowed to leave the room except to fetch something, and even then he was closely watched by thousands of pairs of swivelling eyes. You could never be truly alone in this place….
"Why is it, that you can never be truly alone in this place?"
It was a good question, a very good question, but now was not really the best moment for one of Much's deep, involved debates. While Robin was happy that the conversation subject had switched from (the rather touchy subject of) his personal life, he wasn't really that pleased with the alternative that had been provided.
Gisbourne had been training. It was evident in the slight bulges in his arms and legs, making the leather ripple. It was obvious why he believed that Marian may have had feelings for him. Under any other circumstances he would have rushed straight at the moron (especially with the events of his dream still fresh in his mind), but his main priority was currently to get the other three out of harms way. If Allan was recognised, he would be killed for sure, and the rest would hardly be any better off.
But he knew that they would never agree to leave him. Already the helmets had been taken off; the eyes were scanning immediate area for escape routes or weapons.
But maybe life wasn't all bad. All the guards had either been assigned to some outside job- guarding the gates or keeping the peasants in control, or to the main doors just outside the Great Hall. There were none anywhere around. Which meant that Guy had to fight four men single handed.
With this sudden revelation, Robin drew out the slightly clumsy sword, and strode out towards Guy. John, Much and Allan spread out, covering the other three sides of the courtyard. And yet there was no fear in Guy's eyes, only a cold empty darkness that scared Robin even more than the massive sword that Guy had, held high above his head, ready to bring it down at a moments notice.
There was eerie quiet. Silence except for the wind…
"And then, like a cobra, he strikes!"
He had been surprised at how easy it had been to get out. He had simply gone to move the water jug to allow them to have more space on the table, and had 'accidentally' dropped it onto the floor. A young girl had run off, and returned with several rags to clean up the mess. He was sent off to retrieve another jug.
And that had been it. He had walked out of the doors, and had told the guards some story about 'being sent to fetch something of the Sherriff's'.
And so here he was, strolling along through the corridors of the castle, finally feeling truly alone. But of course that couldn't last long.
He heard the scream first. Not a scream of pain or terror, but an animal scream, a scream of joy, like a wolf when it reaches its prey. There were more that followed, and then the familiar metallic clang of swords.
Mark forgot about trying to find someone to listen to his story, and ran headlong towards the balustrades that surrounded the courtyard. It looked as if four guards had ganged up against Guy of Gisbourne! No, only two guards, the other two had run off towards the gates, trying desperately to open it. The guards on the other side must have been preoccupied by the crowds, or they would have been in here helping Guy. He knew that in this sort of situation, he should go and find help, or join in himself- risk his life to save the nobleman. But did Guy really deserve saving? He had heard the stories, the rumours that floated around the servants quarters like tiny birds, landing on someone's head, and continuously driving you insane, not knowing whether to believe it or not.
The other guard had gone to help the others, leaving only one man fighting Sir Guy now. Their swords struck each other again and again, and it looked for a few moments as if the guard would be able to get Sir Guy down…
And then everything changed. A man in a black cloak descended the far stairs, with two shadowy figures watching from the other side.
He glided down the stairs, looking exactly like some spectre of death. And that was probably what he was. There were suddenly more of them, grabbing the guards, forcing them down onto the floor in one single swoop. Gisbourne was now standing in the centre, looking very smug, almost as if it had been him that had captured all the men.
But there was something wrong. It was only a twitch to begin with, a slight movement in the arms. Then it became stronger, more pronounced. And then they were on the floor, first one man in black, then another and another, until they were lying in heaps on the ground, black cloaks whirling around them
Robin leapt up, flexing his arms, trying to get some feeling back into them. Guy looked scared, as did the Sherriff. He could just make out the end of the conversation that he was having with someone, calling out "Yes, but that was only a tiny dose…!"
Guy had by now grabbed one of the men, and was forcibly dragging him up the stairs. A young boy ran over to help him, flashing a nervous smile at Robin first. He was sorely tempted to follow, and would have, had it not been for the remaining three cloaked figures. The hood had fallen down on one of them- a young woman who worked in the kitchens. But she wasn't the interesting one. It was the two at the far end, the ones who had held down Much and Allan who had caught his attention. His men had pulled their hoods down by now, and were staring at them with a mixture of sheer terror and wonder.
There were two of them, a man and a woman lying in the sand, breathing slowly, almost as if they were asleep. A man and a woman who he'd known for a long time. It was Will and Djaq.
She couldn't be sure how long she'd been asleep. She remembered flashes- rain, wind, someone holding her onto the horse. But that could have been ages ago. It could have last year, or yesterday for all she knew. He'd been worried she would catch a fever from being out in all weathers with no decent protection. She remembered falling into bed, this bed. Oh, how wonderful it felt to be wrapped up nice and warm under clean blankets.
He'd apologised for the length of the journey. "Bad weather" he'd said, as the rain started up again as if on cue. It always seemed to rain here, the sky was a constant shade of murky grey, as where the rivers and most of the buildings.
But she didn't remember eating, and her body was definitely telling her that it was time to eat. The door suddenly swung open, revealing a small woman in her mid 30s, wearing a plain white cotton dress, with her tied neatly back, showing off a slightly weathered face.
"Well, look who's finally awake. Technically, it's nearly lunchtime, but we're all having something cold for lunch, so I thought I'd save you something warm."
A bowl of hot broth was place in front of her, and although there would have been a time when she would have ignored it, the feel of something warm trickling down the back of her throat seemed too good to miss.
The woman seemed happy when she began to eat, and stood back up and headed towards the door.
"Oh." She said, clearly suddenly remembering something. "We're having some friends round later, so if you want to meet them then you'll have to be up by four. Don't feel pressured; you're perfectly welcome to stay in bed just as long as you want."
She would very much like to have stayed like this forever, buried under the layers of blankets. But she agreed to be up at the allotted time, and passed the empty bowl and spoon back to the woman.
"Thankyou, my dear. Now I don't think I've introduced myself. My name is Emily."
She smiled, causing Emily to join in.
"I'm very pleased to meet you Emily. My name's Marian."
Just some proof for you- see, she's definitely alive. But where is she? And what on earth happened to Will and Djaq? And what are The Sherriff and Prince John plotting? Review and you'll find out faster!!!