SHERWOOD FOREST – THE CAVE
It was cold.
Cold even though the sun was shining brightly, sparkling off of the leaving snow, that was still in dark places on the ground.
The gang were sat around, quietly sharpening swords or cleaning pots. Ever few seconds they exchanged sad glances, before looking over their shoulders towards Robin and Marians bunk.
"I will give you something to take, for the pain." Matilda gently settled the covers back up at Marian's waist after completing her examination.
Robin's gang had ridden hard to fetch her in the middle of the night.
Djac stood slightly behind her, watching with tear stained irises as Matilda set a small bottle in her hands.
Marian said nothing, just continued to lay on her back, staring at nothing, her hand by her head, her eyes and face red with tears.
Robin stood close with his arms folded, watching them, not breathing, his chest feeling as though it was being torn apart every time he breathed.
He had known grief, but this...
He shut his eyes against more tears.
"I will leave you to rest, try and get some sleep." Matilda said gently to who she saw as Lady Locksley, and straightened, picking up her bag and walking towards Robin.
She tried to smile sadly at him.
Many a time had she had to console parents on such a basis, and then there were those rare moments where the father seemed almost relieved, whether it was because they were unmarried, or because he did not want the responsibility.
But this was not one of those times.
"John will take you home." Robin's voice was low so it did not crack, his eyes locked on his wife.
Matilda touched his arm, "I am sorry..."
He took in a deep breath but said nothing in return.
Matilda was accompanied from the cave, and the rest of them flitted away to give Robin and Marian some room.
He stared at his wife, biting his lip. He looked way and blinked his eyes against the tears as he looked back at her.
He walked and gently sat on the edge of the bed facing Marian. He cupped her cheek with one hand and brushed some of her tears away, his other took her hand in his tightly.
Her face was sticky and flushed with crying.
She sniffed and opened her bloodshot eyes to look at him.
"I'm sorry Robin." She whispered and more tears fell. Her voice broke.
"Shush." he whispered, his hand shaking as he tried not to cry, "What are you sorry for?"
"I let you down." She started to sob, "I let you down and I let everyone down..."
"Of course you have not." He said firmly and his voice cracked.
He swallowed away his own tears.
"It happens Marian." He whispered, aching to believe it for his own sake, "it just happens, and there is nothing you could have done to stop it."
"But there is..." she cried, "I rode to Hull and back, I fought guards I ran around, leapt out of Locksley window..."
"Do not shush me!" Her voice cracked painfully, "I had small pains in my stomach and I thought they were normal and I didn't say… I don't know why I couldn't say…"
"You can't blame yourself." he said firmly and kissed her forehead, "it wasn't your fault... And it never will be."
Robin blamed himself.
He should have stopped her from fighting, from riding... It had been well within his power and capability to stop her from doing those things. It had been in his power to stop this from happening.
The guilt, the intense anger at himself and everything that had ever harmed her, churned away at his insides.
"You haven't let anybody down." he whispered and locked eyes with her, both of them were crying.
"But I lost our baby." she whimpered and more tears fell.
He swallowed thickly and sniffed, "I know."
She put her spare hand over her face and tried desperately not to sob loudly. She took deep breaths and Robin rubbed her shoulder gently, watching as she tried to calm down.
"We are going to get through this." he whispered firmly, "and we are going to win... Because we are strong, you make me strong." he told her.
She moved her hand to stare at him.
"I love you so much..." he continued, "things are going to get better for us you hear me, things will get better."
In the moment neither of them could see how, their grief was so intense.
But they believed it may be true for both their sakes.
Outside the camp Alan, Much, Will and Djac were sat looking at a small fire.
"Is... is it all going to be okay...?" Alan asked after a moment.
Djac squeezed Will's hand as she nodded.
"But the baby... Robin and Marian..." Much was strangely quiet as he spoke.
Will wrapped his arm around his wife as she tried not to cry.
"There isn't a baby anymore Much." He said quietly.
"I have been informed Guisborne that I must pay the annual duty early this year... a grand some, to be delivered to London by the end of the month." Vaisey waved the roll of parchment to illustrate his point where he was relaxing back in his seat.
He had his feet resting across the table, Guy stood across from him.
"But I was lead to believe that we did not have enough Money to meet that payment my lord..." Guisborne said in a low voice.
"Oh even the taxes will not be enough you are right..." Vaisey sneered.
"But we will take new measures to get the money."
Guy arched one eyebrow.
Vaisey grinned, "A clue..."