Title: Bow and Arrow
Rating: Ch. 1, 2, 3 (T) and Ch. 4 is (M)
Summary: A series of vignettes of Robin and Marian at various times in their lives, all having something to do with Bows and Arrows. Takes place both as backstory and when Marian is in the forest.
Author's Notes: I wrote this story to help myself get over the finale…sadly it did not have that work, but I still enjoyed writing it and I hope you will enjoy reading. I am new to this forum and welcome your comments and suggestions. I am forever indebted to my wonderful beta, primarycolors, and to marjatta and jas for their comments on chapter 4.
The younger Lord of Locksley sat in a chair in the corner of the hall in Locksley Manor, watching his father pace back and forth across the room. Matilda and Eleanor had been with his mother from just after breakfast, and now twilight was upon them and it was soon to be morning again. Robin had tried to sleep but was kept awake both by his father's pacing and by the sound of his mother's cries ringing in his ears.
Thornton had also been awake all night, trying to calm Sir Robert. He had unsuccessfully tried to get him to eat, and now attempted to get him to sit and relax a bit. "It will be fine, Master," the servant's voice was calm and reassuring. "My Ruth was locked away from one morning until the next when young Matthew joined the family."
Robin, however, was growing more and more concerned. He had been listening astutely for his mother cries, and he'd not heard one for a longer period than made him comfortable. Something was happening.
Suddenly, Eleanor exited the chamber and leaned over the railing. All three men stood and turned their collective gaze upon her. "Thornton, fetch me clean water, now!"
"Eleanor?!" Sir Robert's voice shook with fear. "How is she?"
Eleanor did not answer. She just turned, re-entered the chamber and shut the door.
Sir Robert bounded up the stairs and banged repeatedly on the door. "Eleanor! Matilda! Tell me what is happening! Please! I beg you!"
Robin had never seen his father so helpless. Sir Robert was a strong man who went through life with purpose. He kept strict records of his estates and required work from every family. He was a man of action, moving swiftly to solve problems and resolve any issues that might interfere with the smooth operation of his lands. Yet he was also kind and charming, with a soft spot for children and an even larger one for his lovely wife. Robin admired him so, and often feared that no matter how hard he tried, he would not live up to the reputation is father had earned as the Earl of Huntington.
But now he watched as this man of action was paralyzed by fear. Sir Robert turned his back to the door and slumped to the floor. "She is dying," he said, rubbing his hands over his face in anguish. "She is dying and it is my doing!"
Robin still sat in his chair. Though he was now sixteen and liked to consider himself a man, he sat in the chair with his knees pulled to his chest and his head buried between his arms. He had sat this way for hours, watching the events unfold before him.
Thornton returned with a bucket of water and Sir Robert seized the opportunity to force his way into the room, leaving the door standing open behind him.
"No!" His father's voice rang through the manor as Lord Robert fell to his knees in the doorway as if he'd just been stabbed. "Sarah!"
Robin rose from his chair and slowly ascended the staircase, drawn as a moth to a flame, but afraid of what he would see at the top. The scene that presented itself was one of utter horror. Thornton stood at the foot of the bed, frozen, with the bucket still in his hands. Eleanor's apron was covered in blood, as were the sheets on the bed and piled upon the floor. Blood. So much blood! Matilda was cleaning and wrapping the body of his stillborn sister, she had seen this before, yet she still wept with sadness. His father sat on the edge of the bed, cradling his mother's dead body and sobbing uncontrollably. Her face was pale, her lips purple, her sand blond hair knotted and matted. Had all that blood come from her?! His father let out a guttural cry, "No! Sarah! I love you. I NEED you. You cannot go. Please Sarah, please!" Lord Robert shook his wife's lifeless body. "Oh God," he sobbed, "it is my fault."