Here is the promised Prince Caspian AU!
So, the idea for this one is when Ed shouts, "I'm not holding your hand!" in an effort to make Peter reach for him after a year of being so distant and angry, Peter does not, in fact, reach out, and Edmund is pulled away from the other three *GASP*
Lucy, on seeing this, lets go herself to try and reach him. She cannot, because the Magic is already too strong. But because they got pulled into the Magic before they were supposed to, they end up in Narnia too early. So Susan and Peter haven't gotten there yet, and Lucy and Edmund are half a world away from each other.
DISCLAIMER: This is CS Lewis's sandbox. I am just very happily playing with his toys.
WARNINGS: Nope, this one is good! I mean, there's a lot of feels or whatever, but other than that!
SPOILERS: Prince Caspian, little bit of movie, little bit of book, but mostly movie.
SO, here we go!
Everything Changed (And I Don't Know Why)
The magic began to swirl faster and pull harder, and Lucy looked at the others, desperate excitement filling her sea-colored eyes. But when she looked towards Edmund, she saw Peter let go. Horror flooded her, she gasped out a hoarse, "NO!" and ripped her hand out of Susan's, throwing herself towards her brother.
Her hand reached out, and Edmund shouted something, lunging towards her, both arms reaching, trying to grab hers, but then he was gone, and Lucy was spinning upside down and sideways. Black spots filled her vision, and then sploosh! She was unceremoniously dumped into deep water. She sank for a few minutes, trying to remember which way was up. Eventually, she managed to find it, and started swimming towards it.
Then she burst above the surface, gasping for air. She opened her eyes and almost cried, because she would always recognize the Eastern Sea no matter how dizzy she was. She was home. Laughing and crying and shouting thanks to Aslan, she swam quickly back to the shore. She hauled herself out of the water and looked around.
"Peter?" she called. There was no answer. "Susan?" Only her echo replied. "Edmund?!" Silence.
"Oh, no," Lucy whispered. She raked her fingers through her hair and started pacing. "Oh, this is bad. Alright, alright. Calm down. Aslan is watching over them. Oh, dearest Lion, please keep them safe!"
She ran back down to the water, took a deep breath and started to sing. She sang the sea songs that the mermaids had taught her. She called their names until her voice was hoarse and her eyes were stinging with tears and she was shivering from cold. But none of them answered her. Her sea, her beautiful sea, was empty and cold.
The Valiant sucked in a deep breath and looked up the cliff, then tilted her head in surprise. Since when were there ruins along the Narnian coast? She climbed up to investigate. The view was absolutely beautiful, but wholly unfamiliar. Lucy frowned. She had memorized every bit of shoreline, and the fact that she didn't recognize this was not a good sign. She turned to head deeper into the ruins and flailed her arms, trying not to fall over as something sharp jabbed her bare foot—she'd lost her shoes in the water.
"Ouch!" she muttered, picking it up. A golden Centaur stared up at her, broadsword held up in a salute. "Funny," she whispered to herself, lightly stroking his back. "You look just like one of Edmund's knights in that old chess set he had."
Smiling a bit at her own wistfulness, she flipped the piece over, where her brother's seal would have been if the piece was his—
The seal was there.
Lucy felt her face go white. She looked around the ruins with new eyes, seeing in her mind soaring towers and flowing banners. She let out a low moan of agony as she saw the decimated throne room. She sank to her knees before the lump of rock that used to be her throne and let herself weep for a precious few minutes.
Then she wiped away her tears, and went hunting for the old treasure chamber. It took her a while, and a whole lot of effort, to get the wall to slide away, but the door was still intact. She kicked the lock out and shoved the door open, carefully feeling her way down the steps since she had no light. When she reached the floor, she threw open the iron gates and just stared at the room, full of golden sunlight.
"It's still here," she whispered.
She saw an elaborate gold plate, engraved with the Lion's likeness, and lifted it off the ground.
"Oh, Aslan," she murmured. "How could you let this happen?"
She carried the plate over to her chest, pushing open the lid. The first thing she saw was a golden gown made for a willowy, slender girl at least two and a half feet taller than Lucy was now.
She sighed. "Well, it's not going to be any use now." So she used the skirt of the dress to polish the plate until the Lion gleamed. Satisfied, she placed it in her statue's arms, and went about finding something to wear in her chest.
The gowns were beautiful, but impractical. If what she'd seen upstairs was any indicator, she would need to be the Warrior Queen, not the stately royal who held court in gowns of silk and satin. But Warrior Queen wasn't the name they had called her by.
"The Wild Lady of the Wolves," she whispered, a smile stealing over her face as she remembered nights spent running with the pack. Edmund had always been better than she at woodcraft, but she'd learned fast, and in her the wolves had recognized a fellow loyal, fierce spirit. The fact that she'd been the Whisper, the feared Head of Narnian Intelligence, had also helped with stealth, tracking, and all that.
"Oh, duh," she said, shaking her head at herself.
Whoever had packed her trunk would have been someone very close to her, which meant her weapons, leggings and hunting tunics should be in here somewhere. Sure enough, in a false compartment in the bottom, there were dark tunics, sturdy leather boots, and hardy cloaks. Her bow, quiver, long knives, boot knives, throwing knives, dagger and cordial were also safely stashed away.
Ten minutes later she felt much more like herself. She wore a dark blue tunic, black leggings and boots with a deep green cloak. She had a knife in each boot, and her cordial and dagger were slung around her hips once more. Her bow, quiver, and long knives were strapped across her shoulders, and the bandolier of throwing knives wrapped around her body, going over one shoulder like a sash.
"Oh, that's better," she sighed. Rubbing her arms, she looked around the room, biting her lip. She didn't know where any of her siblings were. As far as she knew, they'd all been dropped into their corner of Narnia: her in the East, Ed in the West, Pete in the North, and Su in the South. But she knew that the Cair would be the first place they'd go. Except Ed—he'd go check on his people first, to make sure they were all right. And Edmund was really who she was most concerned about; so her decision was made: to the West.
Lucy knelt for what felt like the six thousandth time that day and ran her fingers over the tracks on the ground.
She had been in the woods for three days now, and still hadn't seen hide nor hair of her brother. She hadn't found a single Narnian, either.
She pursed her lips and started to rise when a gleam of metal caught her eye from a few yards to her right. She jogged over and brushed aside the ferns.
It was…..a sword?
Lucy blinked. Why was there a sword buried in the ferns in the middle of nowhere?
She sighed. "This is getting ridiculous, Aslan," she said quietly. Over the days, she had found herself talking to the Lion almost constantly, stubbornly refusing to believe that He couldn't hear her. "I've been here for almost four days now, and I still haven't found a single one of our people. I haven't seen a single Squirrel or Bird or Deer or Horse, and it's frightening me. What—"her voice broke, and she had to blink very hard for a long moment. "What happened to our people?" she whispered. "After we left?"
She raked a hand sharply through her hair, fighting to ignore the little voice in her mind that hissed, All your fault. Look what's happened. All your fault. You led them out. You abandoned Narnia. Look what's happed because of you. It's all your fault.
It was hard to ignore the voice, but after over a year of hearing it, she was rather well used to it. (And it's not like it wasn't right…)
The voice whispered from her left. "Aslan?" she whispered, whipping around to face it.
The slender girl leaped through the brush, bolting towards the sound of the well-loved, well-known voice of her King.
She burst through the last line of trees, finding herself at the edge of a gorge that plummeted straight down to a wild river. A distant corner of her mind acknowledged that, but most of her attention was riveted on the massive golden Lion waiting for her on the other side.
"Aslan!" she cried, tears filling her eyes.
"Come to me, Dear One," he said gently.
She stepped forwards, trustfully, only to shout in surprise as the ground gave out beneath her feet. She fell a good four feet, but landed on a sturdy ledge. Looking around, she quickly saw the path leading to the bottom of the gorge.
She looked up at Aslan—but He was gone. She stared, heart sinking. Had she just imagined Him? But no. She would never have found this pathway on her own. He wanted her to cross.
So she quickly made her way down the path. She did slip halfway across the river, though, and soaked her right side. But she was on her way to Aslan, and really didn't care.
She finally made it up the other side of the gorge, and took off at a run for where she'd seen the Lion.
And there He was, waiting for her.
"Aslan!" she cried out as her arms wrapped around His mighty neck and her face was buried in His sweet mane.
"Lucy," He said gently.
"I'm so sorry!" she cried, losing her battle with her tears. "I'm so sorry! I didn't mean to leave! I didn't mean to—"her voice died, and she just clung tighter to Him as she cried.
"Lucy," He said again, and gently drew away from her. She wrapped her arms around herself, sinking to her knees in a torrent of self-hatred and guilt.
"Look at Me, Daughter of Eve," He said, and His voice was terrible—quiet, but it rang like thunder in her ears. She trembled as she raised her tear-stained eyes to His blazing gold ones. "I am the Son of the Emperor Over the Sea. I am the Creator of this world and all other worlds. I always have been and I always will be. Nothing happens but by My will." Here his voice softened, and He gently nudged her forehead. "Nothing, Dear One. It was My will for you to leave."
Her eyes widened, pain ripping through them. "Oh, Aslan," she whispered. "Why? Why did we have to go? Why did I have to lead them out? Did I do something wrong?"
"No, Dear One," He said. He laid down beside her, and she curled up between His paws. He purred gently and blew on her face, and she felt new strength fill her weary heart. "My plans are not your plans," He said gently. "My will is not your will. As well as you know Me, you cannot understand Me fully. You had to leave so My will could be done. And I chose you to lead them, Valiant Queen, because you are the bravest of them all."
Lucy's shoulders slumped. "But Aslan, I've been afraid all year!" she exclaimed, dismayed. "I haven't been brave at all!"
Aslan smiled. "You let go to reach your brother," He reminded her. "You armed yourself and left a place of safety to go and find him. You are the Valiant Queen of Narnia still, Lucy. Do not doubt yourself. That is why I chose you to lead your siblings out—because no matter how you doubt yourself, you have never doubted Me."
"Oh," Lucy said, feeling very small and very proud and very like she was going to burst into tears again.
He smiled warmly, and showered her in wild Lion kisses, and she thought her heart would burst because she was home, and she was with Aslan, and He didn't blame her and for the first time in a year the guilt wasn't crawling up her throat, threatening to choke her.
She threw her arms about Him again, and He chuckled. Then He rose to His feet. "Now, climb on my back," He said. "There are places you need to be, Queen of Narnia."
And when Lucy rose to her feet, she could feel the difference. Her shoulders were straighter, and her spirit stronger. She felt taller, and she knew that her eyes were clearer. Aslan had summoned the Valiant, and she had answered the call.
She was home.
Two weeks later…
Lucy was absentmindedly fletching arrows. So much had happened in the last few weeks…
Aslan had brought her to a massive tree (but she was absolutely certain it should have been a Tree), and when the door had opened and a Badger and two Dwarves came out, she'd nearly cried. The Badger had immediately recognized her, and while the Dwarves stubbornly clung to their suspicion for a while longer, it really is hard to argue with Aslan.
On the way there, however, she'd asked Him about her siblings. And He'd told her what He'd always told her when she asked things like that, "No one is told any story but their own, Dear One."
And when she'd asked about the Trees: "All things in their own time."
So she had stayed with Trumpkin, Nikabrik, and Trufflehunter for a few days, and then Trumpkin had been captured by those dreadful Telmarines, saving the life of a young man, who had then shocked Lucy speechless by blowing none other than Susan's horn.
The boy's name was Prince Caspian, and hadn't that been a surprise. A Telmarine Prince. And she actually wanted him to win. Lucy shook her head in awe at the way Aslan was always surprising her. Though to be honest, Caspian looked just as surprised as she did, and about twenty times more lost.
The poor boy.
She shook her head, biting back a smile at the memory of Caspian trying to convince the Minotaurs to come to the gathering that was to be later that night. It hadn't gone so well to start with, and Lucy had had to intervene. Apparently, she was rather hard to argue with as well.
But eventually, all had agreed to come.
She shifted her focus from the arrow in her hands to the woods around her and allowed herself a sigh. She was desperately afraid for her siblings now. She'd been here for two weeks. Add to that the four days she'd wandered before she met Aslan, and that was almost three weeks. And she still had no idea where any of them were.
Hopefully, someone at the gathering tonight would have heard or seen something. She had especially high hopes about the wolves. Caspian had told her that he'd been unable to find them at all, but had the word of many other woodland creatures that they would be at the gathering.
The Wolves always had been loyal to Edmund, like the Gryphons to Peter and the Doves to Susan and the great Cats to Lucy herself. So if any creature had news of the Western King, it would be them.
She knew that she ought to be just as worried about the older two, and she was, but at the same time she was just so angry at them.
Susan had been drawing away from Lucy ever since they went back to England, becoming wrapped up in her makeup, and popular friends. The younger sibling felt like she hadn't even seen her sister in almost six months. But Lucy quickly brushed off any hurt dealt to herself—she was the Healer, it wasn't their job to heal her.
But Peter…oh, the way he'd been acting lately….It was enough to break her heart. Edmund never said a word about it, either. At first, Peter would realize what he'd said as soon as he'd said it, and if he didn't, Susan would make sure that he was informed. And he'd go running to Ed and hug him and apologize, in tears because of the pain that he'd caused to one he was supposed to protect.
But nowadays, he didn't notice (didn't care) when he hurt the younger boy. He shouted and used his words just as effectively as he'd ever used his sword. And with those words, he dealt Edmund a hurt that Lucy could not heal.
When he was done screaming, or throwing things, or fighting, Peter would storm away to stew in solitude. Susan would just purse her lips and flounce off somewhere else to pretend that none of this was happening. Edmund…Edmund would go to his and Peter's room. He would get a washcloth, and he'd start cleaning up the bruises he'd sustained watching Peter's back.
And Lucy would come up behind him and take it from him. She'd make sure he was looked after right, because no one else was going to do it. She would get him cleaned up and doctored up, and then she would hold out her arms. He'd collapse in them, and then he'd cry. Only in front of her, and only in those far too few moments that he allowed himself to hide in her always open arms.
He always knew when she needed him to return the favor, too. Whenever Susan was careless with a comment, or pretended she didn't know "that strange little Pevensie girl", Edmund would come and find Lucy wherever she was hiding. He'd pull her out and into his arms, and that was the only place she let herself cry anymore. They had done the best they could to keep each other together, because honestly, somedays it felt like their older siblings were doing everything they could to tear their hearts to shreds.
Warm hands settled over hers, jarring her back to reality. Caspian was kneeling in front of her, dark eyes equal parts concerned and understanding. He gently started unfolding her clenched fists, and she realized with a start that she'd snapped the arrow in two. She had to make a conscious effort to loosen her hands.
"Sorry," she murmured.
"Do not worry about it," he answered softly. "Where did you go running to this time?"
A tiny smile pulled one corner of her mouth. "England," she sighed. "And the usual sibling worries. If we don't find them by tonight, I'm rather afraid that I'm going to do something drastic."
Caspian snorted. "I'm not afraid that you'll do something drastic—I know that you will."
She scoffed, gently swatting his chest. Tears unexpectedly stung her eyes, and he noticed—of course he did. He pulled her into his arms, settling them both comfortably to the ground.
"I'm sorry," he said contritely. "I didn't mean to—"
"No, no, no," she interrupted. "It wasn't anything you said. It was how you said it. You sounded just like Ed," she gave a wet laugh. "And that's a very good thing, I'm just so worried about him right now."
Caspian sighed, running his fingers through her hair.
The two had gotten to know each other very well over the weeks. Caspian looked to her as the sister he'd never had, and she saw him as another brother. He knew that she would always support him, and offer clearheaded, sound advice. And he could soothe her fears and wake her from her nightmares with a success rate that only Edmund surpassed.
She was brutally honest with him about what he could expect from the other three sovereigns, not sugar-coating just how lost Peter was right now, and how confused Susan was. (The only thing she kept to herself was something that Ed had sobbed into her ear in the middle of the night three days before they left for school—and that, she had sworn by the Lion, she would never tell another living soul)
Caspian had been understanding, saying he probably would respond the same way were it him in Peter's boots.
All things considered, both young Royals were incredibly grateful to Aslan for bringing them together.
"I came to tell you that it is time to leave for the gathering," Caspian said softly.
Lucy wiped her eyes and pulled herself together with the ease of long practice. "Well then. Let's be off, shall we?"
Caspian rose to his feet and gave her a hand up, and within ten minutes they were off.
They arrived at the clearing long before any of the other Narnians, as per Lucy's request.
"I don't want them to follow me," she'd told Caspian days ago. "I'm not here to reclaim my throne. I'm here to put you on yours. I'll only step in if I absolutely have to."
She wanted to see how the Narnians would respond to Caspian without her influence. She'd helped him with his Minotaur problem, but they had been sworn to secrecy, and no other Narnians (except for Nikabrik and Trufflehunter) even knew she was back, so she had surprise on her side.
She pulled the hood of her cloak up and scaled a large oak tree, expertly hiding herself in the leafy branches.
"How do you do that?!" Caspian called softly. "I watched you climb up, and I still can't see you!"
She laughed. "Tools of the trade!"
He scoffed and muttered something under his breath that was probably not a compliment, then turned and settled against the base of her tree.
Lucy adjusted herself to a more comfortable position, knowing they were going to be here for a while. She tilted her head back and stared at the sky, and allowed herself one heartbeat to wish that Aslan's plan had been different. Her people were scattered and broken, and they had a kind of savagery to them now that she hadn't seen in many, many years.
She bit her lip, then took a deep breath and started to build her Whisper mindset. If she let her emotions dictate how she acted, she would never get through this meeting, and she knew it. Lucy was very good at suppressing emotion. She never closed it off completely—at least, not on purpose—but she couldn't afford to let her emotions drive her to make mistakes in a battle. And as heart breaking as it was, she was going into a battlefield now. Her people were angry and lost, and they would quite possibly blame her and her siblings for leaving them.
But this was one battle she was determined to win.
"Make them pay!"
"All this horn proves is that they've stolen yet another thing from us!" Nikabrik shouted.
It had been a very good idea to get a lid her emotions. Otherwise, Lucy would have been a puddle of tears on the ground by now. She still felt like her heart was being slowly ripped out.
Oh, my people…..What have they done to you?
Caspian stood in the center of a ring of accusation and hate.
"I didn't steal anything!" he argued passionately.
"Didn't steal anything?!" bellowed Wimbleweather, the Giant. "Shall we list the things the Telmarines have taken?!"
"Our homes!" shouted a female Centaur.
"Our land!" yelled someone else.
"Our mothers and fathers!"
Caspian's wide, dark eyes burned with shame as for the first time, he truly saw the depth of the damage inflicted by his forbearers. "You would hold me accountable for the crimes of my people?"
"Accountable, and punishable," Nikabrik snapped, waddling down to stand in front of Caspian.
"Ha!" snapped Reepicheep. "That is rich coming from you, Dwarf. Or have you forgotten that it was your people who fought alongside the White Witch?"
Lucy took in a very careful, slow breath. Jadis. The very thought of her filled Lucy with a strong desire to resurrect her just so she could kill her again herself— in a much slower and less merciful way than Aslan.
"And I'd gladly do it again," Nikabrik sneered, flicking Reep's blade aside. "If it would rid us of these barbarians!"
Lucy pulled back the arrow already nocked to the string, and her eyes narrowed. You wretched worm. You have no idea what she was like. You will pay dearly for that, mark my words. Speak of her again, I dare you. It will be the last thing you ever do.
Then a calm voice washed across the chaos below, soothing the storm. "Then we are lucky that it is not in your power to bring her back." Trufflehunter shuffled into the center of the circle. "Some of you may you have forgotten, but we Badgers remember well that Narnia was never right, except when a Son of Adam was king."
Lucy lowered her bow, but left the arrow on the string.
Nikabrik stared at his old friend like he'd lost his mind. "He's a Telmarine! Why would we want him as our King?!"
"Because I can help you!" Caspian said. He turned, meeting the eyes of as many of them as he could. "Beyond these woods, I am a Prince. The Telmarine throne is rightfully mine! Help me claim it, and I can bring peace between us."
There was a moment of silence, and Lucy smiled. Well spoken, Caspian.
The powerful Centaur sire, Glenstorm, stepped forward. "It is true." Instantly, all eyes were on him, and no one dared interrupt—not even Nikabrik. "The time is ripe. I watch the skies, for it is mine to watch as it is yours to remember, Badger. Tarva, the Lord of Victory, and Alambil, the Lady of Peace, have come together in the high heavens. And now here, a Son of Adam has come forth, to offer us back our freedom."
Lucy's eyes widened. Tarva and Alambil together?! The last time that happened—to my knowledge—was when we defeated Jadis!
"Is this possible?" asked a high, fast voice a few branches below Lucy. A Squirrel—Pattertwig, if her memory served—flicked his tail nervously. "Do you really think there could be peace? Do you? I mean, I mean, really?"
Caspian took a deep breath. "Two days ago," he said, "I didn't believe in the existence of Talking Animals, or Dwarves, or Centaurs."
Lucy had to bite her lip to stifle her laugh at the way Pattertwig's tail went stiff with indignation.
Caspian raised Susan's horn and stared at the ground. "Whether this horn is magic or not, it brought us together. And together, we can take back what is ours!" he locked his burning eyes on Glenstorm.
Glenstorm bowed his head. "If you will lead us, my sons and I offer you our swords."
Lucy felt tears stinging her eyes as he drew his broadsword from his side sheath and one by one, every Narnian in the clearing followed his example.
Caspian looked around, overwhelmed.
An older Faun stepped forward. "Glenstorm," he called, bowing his head in respect. "The legends say that when the horn is blown, the Kings and Queens of Old will return to us! The horn has been blown! And what of the strange echo heard nearly a month ago? Where are they?"
A clamor arose as others raised their voices in agreement.
Lucy smirked. This was going to be fun. She shifted until she drew Caspian's eyes, and nodded to him once, and he grinned.
"Friends!" he shouted, gaining their attention once more. "I know not where all of them are, but one of the Four is already here!"
The Narnians began to look around, staring at each other and Caspian in utter confusion.
"So what say you, Wild Queen of the East?" Caspian shouted, striding towards her tree. "Will you fight for Narnia once more?"
Lucy dropped from the tree, landing in a graceful crouch. She rose to her feet and threw back her hood as she strode towards Caspian.
The Narnians gaped at her in total silence for a single heartbeat, then a roar of joy sounded, so loud that the Telmarines must have heard it from their castle. Minotaurs bellowed as Fauns and Satyrs shouted, skipping around in impromptu jigs. Centaurs bowed to her, and the Talking Animals whooped and cheered. The Red Dwarves started laughing and dancing, and most of their Black brethren did as well.
Lucy didn't stop until she reached Caspian. Then she drew one long dagger and her bow and dropped to her knees, offering the weapons to Caspian.
Dead silence fell over the clearing.
"My King," she said, clearly and firmly. "I, Lucy Pevensie, the Valiant of Narnia and Dear One of Aslan, swear myself to your service. My blades and my bow will fight by your side and for your cause as long as your cause aligns with Aslan's." She stood and resheathed her dagger.
Caspian grinned and held out his hand. They clasped forearms, and the Narnians exploded again.
Once the joy died down, Lucy drew and nocked an arrow in less than a second, pivoting on one foot and releasing.
Nikabrik let out a sharp yelp as the arrow embedded itself in the bank behind him, less than an inch from his head.
"Nikabrik, descendent of Ginarbrik," she hissed, stalking towards him with another arrow already on the string.
Nikabrik's eyes widened. "How do you—"
"I recognize the ring you wear." She drew the arrow back further, and the wretched dwarf cowered before her. "You speak of the White Witch," she said, her voice hard and unforgiving. "That is treason against the Lion and against the Four Thrones of Narnia. Jadis cursed this land and all those in it. Hundreds of thousands of Narnians gave their lives to free Narnia from her thrall, and you would dare suggest allying with her?"
Nikabrik stared up at her, unable to speak.
"What say you?!" she demanded.
Caspian watched with wide eyes. Lucy had seemed to grow two feet taller as she approached the trembling dwarf. Her face was beautiful, but a terrible light was in her eyes. They were seeing her as she used to be, Caspian realized. This was the Valiant.
Lucy lowered her bow, but her eyes kept the dwarf pinned in place. "You had better hope that ring is a family heirloom and nothing more," she said softly, dangerously, and Caspian suppressed a shudder. "Because I will warn you now—I am not Just. I am not Gentle, and I am not Magnificent. I do not give mercy and second chances. I am the Valiant, and that is far more than a little girl's faith. I will do what needs to be done to protect my people and my family. Do you understand?"
He nodded, and she turned away from him. He collapsed to the ground, breathing hard.
Lucy turned to face Glenstorm, and to Caspian's surprise, the Centaur had a small smile on his face.
"Welcome, Wild One," he rumbled, twisting his hand over his chest in a strange gesture Caspian had never seen before.
Lucy's eyes shone, the wrathful Lioness gone as quickly as she'd come. She easily mimicked the gesture and bowed in one smooth movement. "I have no words to describe my joy at being back, my good Cousin."
Glenstorm laughed. "And they said your brother had a silver tongue."
Lucy grew serious. "Speaking of my Royal Brother. We Four were together when we were called, but were separated upon our arrival. I landed in the Eastern Ocean. I do not know where my siblings are, but if I had to guess, I would assume that we each landed in our respective compass points."
Glenstorm's brow furrowed. "That is grave news indeed, My Lady."
"May I?" she asked, and Glenstorm stepped back, waving his arm as an invitation for her to do as she pleased.
She bowed in gratitude, then turned to face her people. "Wolves of the Western Wood!" she called sharply and strongly, and Caspian could see the Queen in the girl. "The Wild Lady summons you!"
A low howl rang out from somewhere, and then wolves, great Wolves of incredible size and speed, were pouring down into the Lawn. There were many warm greetings between the Wolves and many of the Narnians, but Lucy had eyes only for the Wolf that approached her.
He bowed before her, then rose to his full height. He was massive, about an inch taller than Lucy, and his coat was a beautiful brindle. His eyes were a vibrant green.
"We answer the call, Wild Lady," he said, voice a low rumble.
She gave him a feral smile, and Caspian couldn't help but think that Lucy looked much like a wolf herself.
"What are you called?"
"Have you news of my brother, Edmund the Just?"
The great Wolf nodded. "He landed in our midst almost two fortnights ago." He let out a growl of amusement. "I don't know who was more surprised, him or us."
Lucy laughed slightly, knees almost buckling in relief. "Probably you. This isn't the first time this has happened to us."
Angrim tilted his head. "If you wished, I could bring him to you."
Lucy's eyes filled with that awful desperation that Caspian had been seeing far too much of in the last two weeks. "Yes!"
Angrim threw back his head and howled.
Caspian felt every hair on his arms and the back of his neck stand straight up at the eerie sound. Lucy closed her eyes and tipped her head back, and a look of pure joy spread over her features.
Caspian remembered an old Telmarine legend about the youngest monarch of Narnia. She'd been known as the Wolf Queen, because tales concerning her said that she dwelt in the forests of Narnia as a Huntress, as feral and wild as the Wolves she ran beside. Looking at her now, he could absolutely see where that legend had come from, no matter how his tutor ranted on and on about how "She is the Queen of the Sea, not the Woods! Her brother rules the Woods! Bah! You Telmarines get everything backwards!"
Angrim tilted his head, ears pricked, as though he were waiting for something. Soon, a distant howl echoed from somewhere a good ways off, and Angrim turned back to Lucy.
"They are on their way," he told her. "We did not know what to expect at this gathering, so the King stayed behind with our Alpha. They will be here soon."
Lucy made a fist over her chest and bowed to the great Wolf. "Thank you, Angrim," she said softly.
He bowed to her in return, then leaped up the bank to stand with his pack.
Edmund paced back and forth at the cave mouth, fingers tapping restlessly against his arms.
Raegren laughed from where he was comfortably sprawled a few feet away. "Calm down, My King," the Alpha said. "The Gathering will be over soon, and then we shall have news."
"I can't calm down," Edmund said shortly, raking his fingers through his hair. "I don't know where she is. We checked all along the shore, and she wasn't there. I don't know where else to look."
"But someone had been in the treasure chamber of Cair Paravel," Raegren pointed out calmly. The massive Wolf rose to his feet and padded over to his King, nudging his chest gently. "You saw the plate as well as I did, Majesty. Someone took great care to make sure that was in your sister's arms. There was no dust on it, while everything else was covered. Not to mention her cordial, dagger, bow and arrows were all gone. The Lady was there, but was gone by the time we had organized enough to look. You know this."
Edmund sighed and leaned against his friend. "I'm worried," he said softly, "because she is alone. Susan and Peter have each other, and I have the pack. Even if she did land at the Cair, she would have been alone."
"Not alone, My King," Raegren said sternly.
And just like that, Edmund's fear faded away, and the tension slipped from his shoulders. "Aslan," he breathed.
Raegren nodded, satisfied. "I have no doubts that He is watching over her."
Edmund nodded, then leaned back against the cave and slide to the floor. Raegren sat next to him, nudging his shoulder with a quiet whine, and Edmund leaned into his shoulder.
"How long is this—"Edmund cut himself off as a faint howl echoed through the night air.
Raegren threw his head back and unleashed a howl of his own while Edmund practically vibrated with tension beside him.
"That was Angrim, wasn't it?" the Western King demanded as soon as the Alpha turned to him.
Raegren's eyes glittered with a fierce joy. "The Wild Lady has been found," he said.
Edmund let out a desperate sigh of relief. "Oh, thank you, Aslan!" he cried.
Raegren crouched. "Quickly, Majesty! On my back! The Lady awaits!"
Edmund vaulted up onto the massive Wolf's back, and he took off at a full run.
Edmund stayed low on his back, pressing his face into the thick grey fur to hide from the biting wind.
The Wild Lady has been found.
A smile pulled at his mouth. The Wild Lady. That was what the Wolves had always called her. Out of all his siblings, Lucy had always understood him and his realm the best. Her woodcraft had been second to only him, and whenever he had to leave Narnia on a diplomatic nightmare or some such, on the rare occasions that she did not go with him, he knew his realm was in safe hands. Lucy had loved the Woods almost as much as she'd loved the sea.
Oh, it had captured his sister's heart and never let go. And Edmund had loved the Sea as much as Lucy loved the Woods. He was an extremely competent sailor, but Lucy….Lucy could read the sky and currents like no one he'd ever met. She loved her people dearly, and the Seafolk loved her just as much. She sang their songs and learned their tales. She spent every moment that she could on the waves, and lived every moment to the fullest. In many ways, Lucy was much like her Sea. She could be calm and peaceful one moment, then raging with impossible power the next. But she was beautiful and playful and absolutely untamable as the blue-green waves that matched her eyes.
Sometimes, when he looked very closely, Edmund swore that he could see waves cresting and breaking in his sister's eyes. Likewise, she told him that she could see forests in his own deep brown, green-flecked orbs.
Their older siblings, in Narnia, had been unable to see it, but took their word for it with no doubt. In England, Peter's mouth thinned and his eyes turned to grey slate before he stormed out of the room, and Susan gave a false, nails-on-chalkboard laugh and told Lucy not to be so childish.
The look on her face when Susan was cruel and Peter was cold…It was enough to make Edmund's heart break. He would go and find her when she inevitably fled to cry alone, and wrap her up in his arms and hold her until she'd cried herself out. Edmund wasn't blind. He knew that he was the only one she ever let see her tears. Just as she was the only one who ever saw his.
He would never forget the first time after a fight when Peter hadn't checked on him, hadn't asked if he was alright, had just shouted at him to mind his own business and then stormed off.
That fight had been particularly brutal, and Edmund had a nasty pair of bruised ribs that were hurting something fierce. So he'd snuck upstairs and into the bathroom, closed and locked the door, and started to take care of himself. Peter wasn't going to do it.
He was trying to wrap his ribs when the locked door suddenly opened.
He spun around, mouth open in shock, hands grabbing for something to hide the damage from—Lucy?
His youngest sister was standing there with a hairpin in one hand that she'd obviously used to pick the lock. Her face was pale, and her eyes were swirling whirlpools of pain and grief and understanding. Wordlessly, she slipped inside and closed the door behind her, then turned to him and lifted a soft washcloth that he hadn't seen in her other hand.
She sat him down on the edge of the tub, dampened her cloth, and started cleaning the blood off his face from his split lip and the gash above his eyebrow. She worked quickly and efficiently, and made him remember that she was not the helpless nine-year old she appeared to be.
The point was further driven home when she slipped out the door with a look that he knew meant "Don't move." She came back a few minutes later with a small bowl that had an incredibly familiar scent to it. His eyes widened. That was a poultice she'd used often in Narnia. It numbed pain and helped bones heal and he had no idea how she'd managed to get ahold of it in England.
But asking would burst this fragile bubble they'd constructed to pretend this wasn't real, so he said nothing. She applied the poultice and wrapped his chest with an expertise that would have terrified their mother.
Then she took one step back and opened her arms. And he collapsed into them, knowing that this was still a safe place. Knowing that she would never judge him for this. Knowing that she would never turn him away. And her arms held a promise as well: the next time this happened, she would be there with cloths and bandages and homemade remedies and unending, unconditional love. She would stand there with eyes full of pain until his overflowed. She would stand there with open arms and she would shelter him until he could protect himself again. She would be his fortress.
So he clung to her, and he cried, and she held him until he ran out of tears.
But not even Lucy could make the pain in his heart go away.
Peter had come to him in hysterical tears at some ungodly hour the next morning, sobbing for forgiveness and checking his entire body to make sure that he was alright. It turned out that Lucy had barged into Peter's room at some point, dragged him out of a deep sleep, thrown the bloody washcloth at the oldest boy's head and then refused to answer when he frantically asked if Ed was alright.
When asked, Lucy had shamelessly admitted to taking a bottle of red dye to the cloth, making it look like far more blood than it actually was.
(A minute later, Edmund "left the room." He hid himself around the corner and kept watching. Lucy's blazing eyes locked on Peter.
"I had to throw a blood-soaked cloth at your head to make you check on him," Lucy said in a voice colder than anything Jadis had ever managed. "Do not ever let that happen again."
Peter's face was still white. "I won't," he swore hoarsely.
But Edmund could see in Lucy's eyes the same terrible thought screaming in his own head.
Yes you will.)
And he had. Many, many times over.
But where Peter had been unfaithful, Lucy had been true to her own unspoken promise: she was always there to pick up the pieces. For that alone, Edmund knew he owed his sister far more than he could ever repay her. He'd said that to her at some point, and she'd scoffed and gently smacked him.
"Ed, you're returning the favor literally almost every other day. I'd say we're pretty even at this point."
So that was how the year had gone: that one breaking, this one mending, reverse, repeat. And then they were at the station, and the wind started pulling at them, and the tiles started to peel away and the concrete and wood started to crumble and oh. They knew what was happening.
Susan had barked for them all to grab hands, and Edmund…..
He didn't know why he said what he did. Lucy would probably have a theory, but for whatever reason, Edmund had snapped, "I'm not holding your hand!"
And Peter had let go.
He actually let go of him, anger sparking in his eyes. Edmund had been too shocked to react in time, and suddenly all his siblings were looking blurry and far away. That was when Lucy had screamed.
Edmund met her eyes, and there was so much fear there. She let go of Susan and flung herself towards him, and he reached for her desperately, but then she was gone and he was spinning upside down and browns and greens and blues were whirling by. He crashed into the ground with an almighty THUD, the frantic call of Lucy's name still on his lips.
Whatever it was he'd landed on gave a sharp yelp, and Edmund gave a yell of his own as he scrambled in the opposite direction, because even in Narnia the ground was not supposed to be speaking. He shot to his feet and pivoted, only to find himself face to face with the massive Wolves of the Western Woods.
He knew his mouth was hanging open, and tears were welling in his eyes, but he really didn't care, because these were his people…..
He had spent the next week learning about what had happened to their home and the three weeks after that trying to find his incredibly wayward sister. He was worried about Susan and Peter as well, but they were together. They also weren't nine and ten.
Edmund hunched lower on the Alpha's back and wordlessly willed him to run faster.
Halfway through the second week he'd been among the pack, Raegren and his Beta, Angrim, had taken him to Cair Paravel. To see his beloved home like that was absolutely heartbreaking. He had shown them the wall that hid the door to the old treasure chamber, and had managed to get it open….
The door was halfway gone. The lock and handle were missing entirely, and the whole thing was hanging by a single hinge.
Edmund eyed it, jaw clenching. That looked rather intentional.
He shook it off and moved stealthily down the staircase, flanked by Wolves. They reached the bottom with no alarms or threats, and they carefully examined the room beyond before Edmund threw open the gates.
"It's all still here….." he whispered. "Praise to the Lion, I was sure it'd be gone."
"Especially since the door was knocked in," Raegren added from his right.
Angrim's low voice cut Edmund off as he made to answer the Alpha. "What's that?"
"What?" Edmund followed the warrior's gaze, and felt his heart warm. The younger wolf was staring at Lucy's statue—or, more precisely, the golden engraving in the statue's arms.
It was Aslan.
The plate absolutely glowed. Edmund strode over to it, reaching out to touch the Lion's face.
"It's clean," he said, partially surprised, but not really. "Everything else is just covered in dust, but this is spotless." He reached down and pulled open Lucy's chest. He immediately dug down the bottom, checking for the false compartment that he knew was in all the chests. Upon opening it, he discovered that all of his sister's weapons were gone, as well as her cordial. With a shaky breath, he closed the compartment and was about to close the chest when something caught his eye—a long, slinky, golden gown that had gray stains streaked up the entire skirt. He laughed aloud.
"My king?" Raegren poked his nose around Edmund's hip.
"My sister has most certainly been here," he said, still laughing. Relieved tears stung his eyes. "And I do believe she used the finest, most expensive gown she possessed to clean the dust from Aslan's image."
The Wolf laughed with him. "If the Wild Lady was well enough to arm herself and so boldly declare her allegiance to the King, then I have no fear for her. He will guide and protect her."
Edmund felt his fears melt away. "Aye," he said softly. "That He will."
Edmund looked up as Raegren slowed, and realized that he'd been so caught up in his thoughts, he'd almost missed their arrival. The massive Alpha slowed to a stop at the top of a hill. A moment later, Angrim loped up to them.
"She is here," he said. "At the foot of the hill." He lowered his head and looked at Edmund. "And she is rather concerned about you, I might add. She invoked her full title, and demanded that the Pack answer."
Edmund felt his eyebrows go up. Though a power all of the siblings had, it was very rare that they chose to demand something of their people. Usually all they had to do was ask.
"Then I had better get down there and reassure her, hadn't I?" he replied, and then sprinted down the hill before either of them could respond. He could hear Angrim growling in annoyance behind him as Raegren laughed. The Beta was always getting irritated at the both of them: they shared the same reckless tendencies, and as he was sworn to keep them both more or less in one piece, it made his life incredibly difficult.
But then his feet hit level ground, and a wordless cry of joy rang in his ears as a slender form slammed into his chest, and he really didn't care how irritated Angrim was. Lucy was in his arms. She was half laughing, half sobbing in his ear, and he knew he was probably going to leave bruises because of how tight he was holding her, but he really just didn't care.
Because she was safe. And she was here.
Lucy buried her face in Edmund's shoulder and took in a deep breath. Woods and wilderness and Wolf and that undefinable smell that was just Brother.
"Thank Aslan you're alright," she whispered. "I tried to reach you, Ed, but I couldn't and I'm so sorry—"
"Lucy Pevensie!" he said, pushing her gently away to hold her by her shoulders. "I've half a mind to give you a good shake for that! Why did you let go? We had no idea what was going to happen, and—"
"I made you a promise, Ed," she said, quietly but with a voice of steel. "I might not have said it out loud, but I made it. And I intend to keep it."
He opened and closed his mouth a couple of times, then grumbled under his breath and just hauled her back into his arms. She went with no argument, and heard Trufflehunter give a cheer behind her.
"The Silver Crowns of Narnia have returned to us!"
There was a near deafening explosion of cheers and shouts and roars and yowls and all manner of sounds, and Edmund's smile was almost too wide for his face.
"All hail King Edmund!" Wimbleweather bellowed.
"All hail King Edmund!" the Narnians roared back.
"All hail Queen Lucy!"
"All hail Queen Lucy!"
Lucy laughed, bright and joyful, and leaped up on a boulder. "My people!" she shouted, and they instantly quieted. "My brother and I are with you now, and our older siblings are on their way! Aslan has returned us to you in this time of war and strife. But let me make one thing very clear—we are not here to reclaim our own thrones. We cannot. They are gone. The Narnia we ruled is no more. We fight not for our kingdom, but for Caspian's."
Edmund's head swung around, and he regarded the young man who stood by the Centaur sire. He was tall and lithe, wearing armor and sword with the ease of one who knows his way about them. His eyes were dark, but bright, and his face was kind. He also looked absolutely terrified, and Edmund strode over to him, clapping a hand on his shoulder and trying not to laugh when the poor boy almost jumped out of his own skin.
Lucy aimed a quick smile their way and continued. "I will not lie to you—the battle to come will be brutal. The Telmarines are many. They are well trained and merciless. They have war machines the likes of which we cannot match. But," she paused, and her eyes burned with passion. The Narnians unconsciously straightened in response. "We have something the Telmarines do not have and will never have."
Caspian watched as Lucy drew both of her blades and flipped them easily in her hands. "We have Aslan. And who the Lion leads to war, He will not abandon. Those who seek His will and follow His words He will not forsake. Aslan has called us here, every last one of us. If we march under His banner, and follow where He leads, there are none who can stand against us." She turned her blazing eyes to Edmund, and he gave her a sharp nod, understanding.
Caspian raised an eyebrow as Edmund quickly ripped off a piece of the Prince's cloak and launched it into the air. Lucy flung her daggers, one after the other, with incredible speed, and they pinned the obviously Telmarine cloth to a tree across the gathering: a declaration of war.
"For Narnia!" she shouted. "And for Aslan!"
The Narnians shouted back and Edmund leaped up beside his sister. He shot her an absolutely feral grin and Caspian's eyes widened as the Western King threw back his head and howled like the Wolves he commanded.
The Eastern Queen raised her bow high in the air, something old and wild burning in her eyes, and tipped her head back as her voice mingled with her brother's in an eerie, ancient, powerful call to war that their people answered with no hesitation in a deafening roar.
Caspian stared up at the Royals in awe. They were lit by the full moon behind them and the torches all around. They stood above their people, yet with them. They were wild and gentle and terrifying and inspiring all at the same time. There was something undeniably feral about their haunting call, and it felt as ancient and wild as the land Caspian stood upon, and the look in both siblings' eyes matched the feeling.
These were not children. This was a King and a Queen, and they were on their way to wage a war. They were waging a war to reclaim what was theirs, and they would not be denied.
'You had best pray to Aslan for mercy, Uncle,' the Prince thought darkly. He raised his own voice to answer the call.
'Because you will find none in the Silver Crowns of Narnia.'
So I think I'm gonna do a second chapter on this one, because I really, really love it.
Chap 2 will cover the reunion of the Four, and will also touch on the thing that Lucy swore never to reveal (which is just gonna be a big ole pile of angst, so you're welcome for that)
Loved it, hated it, let me know!
Till next time!