Chapter 6

Marian sat on the hill overlooking Locksley, the sun beating down on her and a light breeze running through her hair. She sat all alone on the top of the hill watching the villagers below her go about their daily lives. Even in hard times they were happy; couples hugging and greeting each other with a kiss, children running around and laughing as they helped their parents gather food.

But there she was alone. Robin was thousands of miles away and so she had no husband to hold her in his arms or take away this feeling of loneliness. He wasn't there to give her a greeting kiss and wipe away the tears left by his absence and she hated the emptiness left where her heart should be.

She rose to her feet and began to walk away from the village, heading across the fields she'd sat with her back to. As she walked her eyes were drawn to some movement on the horizon. A figure. Someone was walking towards her across the fields. She brought her hand up to her brow, shielding her eyes from the sun as she struggled to make them out. Gradually, as they grew closer, the figure became clearer to her. Male, light brown hair, his clothes looking a little worn, a bow and quiver in his hand. She couldn't quite make out his face at first but she didn't need to be able to, she knew exactly who it was. Robin.

Her heart lifted, the loneliness disappeared and her pace quickened. The two of them reluctantly tore their gaze from each other, both watching the bird that had flown up from behind him. It fluttered past Marian and perched on a tree, its pretty song filling the air and its jet black eyes watching them progress ever closer to each other. Her gaze returned to Robin's, his stunning green eyes looking right back into her blue ones, grins on both their faces.

But then he slows, a pained expression forming on his face, his hand moving to his side and his gaze dropping to the floor. His eyes moved quickly back up to hers, need and fear displayed in their depths. Marian's pace quickened once more and yet again as he collapsed to his knees. Now at a run her voice echoed out to him, his name on her lips but not a loving whisper in his ear as she so wished it could have been.

She pushed herself on towards him, her gaze never leaving his in a poor attempt at reassurance. She dropped to her knees in front of him, hesitating for a moment; if she touched him would it hurt him more? How had he been hurt? What could she do to help him? She knew all she could do was love him and hope that was enough to get him though this.

"I love you. You'll be alright." She kept her eyes on his and tentatively reached out to cup his cheek.

But he faded away, as if only an illusion. Her fingers closed on empty air. The bird that had seemingly brought her hope and happiness screeched in its tree; a cackling, mocking laughter that filled the air as it took wing and disappeared from sight.

Marian was left alone once more, with no Robin to comfort her as she cried.

Marian woke with a start, her cheeks damp with tears. Her palm rested on the edge of her pillow, fingers curled round the edge; this, she realised, was where her Robin should have been.

She wrenched herself from the bed and wiped the tears from her face. Her emotions had been bottled up too long; it had been months since she let her true emotions show, but even then only in a letter. She could only ever be herself with Robin and given his absence still remained there was only one thing she could do; write a letter. She had to write to him about her feelings, confide in him again, even though she knew he would never read her letter.

My Robin,

I woke from the most awful dream this morning. I could see you coming home to me, walking across the fields and you were happy to see me as was I to see you. But this happiness did not last; as we drew near you collapsed in pain, I went to help you but just as I sought to touch you, you vanished. I fear this is some kind of prediction; I worry that you will be hurt, wounded in battle, perhaps even fatally. And although I don't want to, I find myself thinking there is a possibility that you will not come home to me. Although I continue to pray for your safety, I worry there is nothing I can do; if you are injured I cannot be there to tend your wound, reassure you and give you hope. Be careful, please, I beg you, just be careful. Please come home safely. I'm scared.

The battle still rages here too. The situation has only gotten worse, the new Sheriff is still raising taxes and it angers me that he is making the villagers suffer only for his own gain. There is a famine in Nottinghamshire now, it has officially been announced and this only makes the Sheriff's taxing worse and so in turn only angers me more. If you knew the risks I take every day you would perhaps be angry at me, you always used to tell me you loved my feistiness but warned that my passion can cloud my judgement, I know it is doing so now. Yet that matters little to me, the villagers need their nobles help and it seems I am the only one who is willing to provide that help, so I must do all I can for them and perhaps one day soon you can help them too. But as I warned you to be careful, I will take my own advice, perhaps only for you because I know that you would not want me to put myself at risk, and I suppose it is a fair deal that I'll be careful if you are.

Guy of Gisbourne is still sniffing around me like a spaniel, I find myself avoiding him more and more often. At times I wonder if he listens at all to what I tell him, he does not understand that I do not want to be his wife and never will. As he talks to me I remind myself you will be home soon enough, and I quickly excuse myself so I can be alone with my thoughts of you. He thinks I smile because I enjoy his presence, I wonder how he would react if he knew that I don't and would rather be in the Holy Land with you than at home in England with him.

I cannot believe it's only been a year and a half since you left. It seems like an eternity, I feel as if I have lived a whole life without you; the changes in circumstance are so huge. It is my thoughts of you, however, that are getting me through this time apart, whenever I feel down or lonely I remember the times we spent together; your stunning green eyes, the warmth of your embrace and the feel of your lips against mine. Until your return I will content myself with my memories of you, because along with the knowledge that you will return, for now it is enough.

Keep safe my darling and come home to me soon,

Your Marian x

Marian folded the letter up neatly, but she knew where it would end up. As with the others it would be hidden away, it would remain in England because there was no way she could ever send it. If he knew the circumstances and how she put herself at risk he would be home at the first opportunity. For now they had to be apart; England may need both of them but for now Robin was needed in the Holy Land, she just hoped he was making a difference.

She knew that in time he would return home, safe and well. She would run into his arms, and refuse to leave them, they would be together again right where they belonged. She could almost hear their voices; each telling the other how they'd missed them, terms of endearment and whispers of 'I love you'.

She looked out her window at the night sky, imagining the night after his return, how they'd talk all night, feeling safe in each others arms. She imagined the jokes he'd make but also how he'd pour his heart out to her so she could lift his burdens. The kisses to lift the atmosphere and gazing into the depths of his soul without needing to say a word. These were the things that kept her strong. She knew soon they would have their dream life. He would return home to her soon.

Marian pulled the covers over herself and imagined she wasn't alone, she imagined she'd rested her head on his chest, remembered the feel of his strong arms around her and pretended he'd kissed her goodnight. And with him in her thoughts she drifted off to sleep once more.

She had written the words she needed to, but she would never send her letter, it wouldn't travel thousands of miles to Acre and would be left unread. She hoped he knew her faith in him remained.

A/N: Most inspiration came from Beth's last chapter, simply because I was making them relate... hope you liked the chapter.


Abi xx