A Day in the Life of Lady Locksley

Carol Weakland

“Robin, you cannot be serious!”

 

“Trust me, Marian!”

 

Those famous last words echo through my mind as my body slips from its highly camouflaged position in an obliging oak tree and falls onto the back of a horse that is already saddled with a wounded child: Ty. A sigh escapes my lips. This young lad gets himself into more trouble than anyone I know - save Robin. The horse whinnies in slight protest and my weight, though slight, hits him with all the vivacity of a fist. I pat the poor beast, then turn my thoughts toward Ty. Little John and Will have made a cot for him on the steed’s back. His condition is dire, indeed.

I am about to administer healing when Robin claps the horse on its rump.

 

“No!”

 

Did I mention that I am facing backwards on the horse so I can heal Ty? The steed rears, nearly unseating me, while the cot and Ty swing wide. Somehow, I right myself, then pull Ty and the cot back into place. Robin’s whistle rings in my ears. This sets the horse into a gallop. A moment later an arrow hisses past my cheek. It is then I remember that the King’s men are in pursuit. Fairy lights blaze their warning all around us. I speak to the horse in soothing tones to calm its frantic heartbeat.

 

“Fly like the wind, dear one, but not at the expense of your own life. Do only what is necessary to get us safely home.”

 

The horse shivers its response and dives off the path, rapidly making its way through a lush tangle of leaf, bramble, and vine. Out of the corner of my eye I see the fairy lights break into two columns. One hovers by me as I resume healing Ty, the other forms a wall of pearlescent light around us. There is no time for me to voice amazement. The fae are protecting us. My gratitude knows no bounds.

 

“Thank you, Dear Ones.”

 

Placing my hands upon Ty’s thigh, I see that a dagger still lodges deep within the skin. Blood seeps all around the wound. A painful, blue colors the skin, further augmented by the pulse of life which indicates that the dagger is thrust into one Ty’s blood ways. Pull out the dagger and Ty will bleed to death.

 

“Help me, dear friends,” I whisper to the fairies who hover overhead.

 

You know what to do, Marian. It is the only way,” their beautiful voices cry in my ear.

 

And so, the healing energies flood my hands with a warm, rich ivory light. The heat is so intense that Ty stirs to wakefulness. Perhaps it strikes him as odd that I sit facing him, instead of guiding the horse, for he begins to laugh softly.

 

No words are spoken. Indeed, none are needed. I watch as the healing energies miraculously knit the torn flesh back together – inside and out, effectively spitting out the dagger so that it slides off the horse’s back and deposits itself on the forest floor as we gallop on into the night.

Ty clasps my hand and brings it to his lips.

 

“Thank you, Maid Marian, uh Lady Locksley. It’s a miracle! You’re a miracle!”

 

I gather him close against my heart, conscious that the sound of water is growing louder, more prominent with each passing hoofbeat. Robin’s hideout – our home – is just ahead. The horse whinnies as he slows so that I can hop down and lead him through the falls. Ty sits up and wraps his thin arms around the steed’s neck, wordlessly thanking him for his service. Now that we are safe, the fairies withdraw their wall of protective light.

 

‘Thank you so much, Dear Ones. We are blessed, indeed.”

 

The fairy lights twinkle, then are seen no more.

 

Throwing the hood over my head, I lead the horse through the falls’ raging torrents without missing a step as Robin has taught me to do. It is always quite the task to shake the water off after such a dousing, but Ty and I are used to it. The horse appears slightly loopy, still new to this bizarre process, but he, too, ruffles his fur until it is reasonably dry.

 

We have just entered the seemingly deserted gorge, when the sounds of fifty, soggy feet trampling the same path as we just navigated signals that Robin and his forces have also arrived. Robin is first through the watery curtain, his tunic and breeches plastered against his long, lean body, revealing the curvature of his muscles. I marvel at his handsome, roguish appeal. He throws back his chestnut colored hair, showering the already soggy Little John with a fresh dose of water droplets. The two playfully dodge each other’s fists, while Will, Allen and the rest of Robin’s crew join in. I have just given the horse a measure of oats when the hero of Sherwood Forest, my husband, strolls up, brushes my hood back for inspection, then pleased with the results, captures me in his arms and kisses me.

 

“You never cease to amaze me,” he smiles, running his fingers through my hair so he can better shake the stray water droplets free. “Ty is walking around right as rain.”

 

“I owe it all to the fae and the higher power who keeps watch over us all,” I whisper, aware that more than one person is listening to our conversation.

 

“Well, I am grateful to them, as you full well know,” he laughs, tapping his shoulder in fond remembrance of the healing I had enacted upon him three moon turns earlier when he had nearly perished from the Sherriff’s arrow. “But you, hm…” he sighs, leading me to the thicket, “you are awakening into this magnificent healer who rivals those mages found in the texts of old. Trust me, Marian,” he smiles, offering me his devilish smile.

 

This time those “famous last words” ring true. Robin is right. I am awakening, but in a manner I never dreamed possible. Suddenly, I am able to heal a mortal wound with help from the fae. Where did this magnificent gift originate? Is it possible the healing hails deep within me? More likely, I am the conduit of that greater divine power. Whatever the origin, I realize this is only the beginning, that my healing gifts will take me places beyond my wildest imaginings…

 

A message stirs round me originating from those bright orbs which never stray far from my side.

 

All this and more, Marian.

 

Robin cocks his head as if he too caught at least part of the ethereal guidance.

 

Smiling back at him, I am unprepared for the vision that unfolds unbidden in the unseen recesses of my mind. Nottingham Castle looms before me but without the pomp or horror spun in days gone by. Indeed, the immense stone structure appears deserted, gateway and portcullis sans guards or watchman of any kind. No hint of nobility walks the inner courtyard. It is bare, stark, completely unadorned. What has happened here? What change has transpired within these royal walls over those past three moon turns since I and my love nearly escaped with our lives?

A series of images flash through my mind, leaving me puzzled, if not wary. I am traversing the inner labyrinth of Nottingham castle, but instead of trying to escape detection, members of the royal court walk at my side. The interior, though opulent, is also empty of people, save the few who press me with the most earnest pleas.

 

“Help us, Lady Locksley. We have nowhere else to turn.”

 

What could this possibly mean?

 

Hands reach greedily from every side, conveying me from chamber to chamber, scenes filled with death, stink, and decay. I am viewing a house of the dead. Fear bristles within me, begging caution, yet I know the vision is present for me to act upon. No sooner have I acknowledged this truth then the Sending waivers and is seen no more.

 

Robin sighs dramatically; used to my Second Sight. I count it a blessing that instead of asking questions, he simply lets it be. The fae, however, are not done – no, not by a long shot.

 

“Listen carefully, Marian. Your gifts will ultimately restore your title.”

 

“Trust me, Marian,” Robin soothes, oblivious, to this new development.

 

I feel myself melt against his warmth. Perhaps this one time I will.