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Part I - Part II - Part III - Part IV - Part V

~*~


He hadn't taken long to follow after her, though Marian already managed to find Little Jess and her mother by the time that Robin reappeared. There wasn't much time for talking as there were so many people to see to. They passed each other now and then, checking on completely different people, running between beds.

The cries that would suddenly go up when another person died. The moans of the children. The quiet sleep of the ones everyone had begun to fear the worst for. The weary settling of dread that kept all of their shoulders up and tight. As medicine after medicine that Djaw tried, whether theirs or her own, seemed to have absolute no effect on man, women, or child.

Still they all pushed on. Tireless, except for certain glances between each other.

Little John appeared somewhere into the end of the first hour, informing them there was "Food."

Marian simply looked at Djaq beside her, who must have been doing this for several hours more than her. Maybe even since the barricades had gone up, before she'd managed to even sneak out of the castle. She offered, easily, with a nod of her head to where Little John had gone, "I'll take over."

She didn't miss, or feel that slighted by it either, that the woman looked to her, relieved but undecided and then glanced to Robin, getting a small only the smallest glance from him before he went back to his patient. Not even a nod, but it seemed to free her as able to go on. Handing off the water cloth to Marian, who watched her go, before tending to the man at her side again.

She looked around herself, them, and all the people. The cries of anguish as a current of sound everywhere, and Robin. Who hadn't looked up but the once to John and the once to Djaq, both times without a word, and each without the slightest inclination to stand. Surrounded by beds and people and not much inclined toward moving, or eating, himself.

"You organized this?" Marian asked, quietly.

"We had hospitals in the Holy Land," he said, glancing up at her briefly before his gaze shifted. And in the weight of it, the focus, she knew he wasn't looking at anything to her side, or this space anymore. But that place. So far beyond here, that, yet, he still carried within him. "I thought that’d be the last time I’d see them."

But he did glance up at her at the last, as though needing her to see. Him, and it in him, or, perhaps, just to see her.

Marian tilted her head, "How did you know there wasn’t some kind of infectious disease?"

He shook his head, no bravado or smile in his words or actions. "I didn’t."

"That's brave," Marian said, solemnly, the edges of her mouth rising despite the situation.

Even when he scoffed softly, shaking his head again. Before glancing back at her. Again. The smallest lift to his chin in her direction, when he followed it up with. "How did you know?"

Marian looked up, peerlessly in the simplicity, and acknowledgment -- "I didn't." -- that she'd come because she had to. That she'd still be here regardless of what she'd found when she got here. It might surprise her to find him here, doing this, but she'd been doing this very kind of thing for half a decade now. Since right after he'd left for his war.

Then suddenly his name was cried, and Marian looked up to see an all too familiar face. She slipped from her seat at the man's bed, trying to crouch into a corner completely baffled. Even as some things started to sink in such clarity. She watched him and Robin disagree about whether he was eating. First as a sharp demand, then as a awkwardly handled entreaty.

He vanished away, and Robin turned to her with a scoff, as though asking what that had all been about, before his eyes narrowed suddenly on finding her hiding in the shadows. As she leaned out, whispering very quietly now. "Robin. Robin, i know that man. I've seen him before in the castle." His eyes went wide as she continued on. "He’s advising the Sheriff."




Then they were both up, in that very second, tearing through the streets of the make shift hospital. It had only gotten worse, the look in his eyes, when they found Joseph's bag. The mask he'd used to impersonate her as The Night Watchman, and a diary log of the people he'd poisoned and how it was effecting them.

Robin had gone for his bow, and torn off again. Robin knew where he was going, and Marian hadn't quite decided if she was going for the same reason, or because she might be the only one to reign him again, as she had barely a few months before. How ragged the edge on the wounds opened in him by all of this.

When arrows were fired off at all the food in his men's hands in the room, they barged into. Robin bow held high, aimed at Joseph, as she stood framed in the door beside him. Wary of being seen by the man, for several reasons, but unable to leave Robin to this alone. Ever as John yelled and Much sputtered, all of them from having their food shot from their hands.

"This is the later supper for you, Joseph," Robin said walking across the room the arrow unmoving. Not addressing the shouts from his men.

Marian held up the mask still in her hand, angry disgust in her tone. "You poison people and then you keep a record of their suffering."

"What?" Much exploded. Wiping his mouth, even though the food never touched him. "That is revolting!"

He started softly, his dark eyes so bright. "My poison has no taste, and no color, no odour." The way he said, so soft, like he was telling the best story. As he began to look at all of them, so proudly. "It’s a beautiful thing."

"What's the cure for the poison?" Robin's voice was so deadly still that it worried her already. Joseph had twisted, smiling, this tiny, infuriating smile, and bow string twanged as the arrow broke free. Cutting the man across the cheek, and Marian looked up and over at Robin. Still considering a step closer to him. How far.

If she couldn't approve of him wounding someone, she couldn't say she was disappointed to see the man wounded either.

"There are people out there dying." His bow dropped as his voice demanded louder. "Children!"

Joseph was still smiling, fingering the wound on his cheek. "It’s made from an extract of the Amanita mushroom."

When no one moved, or seemed to understand the man only seemed to become even more smug. Surrounded as though in his eyes by children so beneath him. He looked around the room, and settled his gaze on Djaq. "The Angel of Death?" Then, to Little John. "The Devil’s Cap?" Before looking back to Robin, and herself. "There is no cure."

As that took hold of the room, he suddenly kicked the table in front of him and ran past Djaq, diving head first through the window behind her. Though people shouted to stop him, he made it out with a rolling tumble. Taking off down the street. The men tearing after him, as Robin stayed still following him with a new arrow, but kept having other people in the way.

Joseph continued to run, screaming to the guards at the barricade to open the gates, which he slipped through right before Little John could grab him.




Robin had followed them up, with Marian never far behind him. Coming up on Little John and Much and Djaq all talking, angry and fast. The first part of their conversation lost to the running and scuffle, and Joseph's escape.

"Belladonna," Little John said suddenly.

Much looked at him exasperatedly, "Bella what?"

"Belladonna." He'd said it again, looking to Djaq. "For mushroom poisoning."

The Saracen woman looked deeply confused, so far as troubled, when she said carefully, "Belladonna is deadly nightshade. It is a poison."

Little John shook his head, taking a step toward them all. Quiet, and towering, the anger and sureness in his face seeming to have merged as one. "It works. Woodman’s remedy."

"Poison to fight poison," Djaq said slowly, considering the merit of his words. Then, rather suddenly, she smiled, and she ran from the barricades area, passing right between Marian and Robin, leaving him looking to his men, and her looking toward the quickly disappearing back of Djaq.

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queenofmay

May 2014

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