Very few people alive are lucky enough to have been born into a family of high rank. Caspian of all people knew this. After all, he himself was born into a royal family and he was raised as the royalty he was. He was different to every other boy in more ways than simply because of this although now this isn't exactly the case. It is incredible how much can change in a miniscule five years. It was only then that he had been running for his life after his power-hungry uncle Miraz had decided he wanted the throne for himself even if he wasn't next in line. It was only five years ago that the Narnian's had been living under the oppression of his people and even now this fact still weighed heavily on him. It had only been five years since he had met four people he had always looked up to even though he himself for a long time thought them simply to be nought but legend.
They might have started off rather rocky with one another (well, just Peter in truth) but tensions were rising within everyone. War can very easily turn the best of friends against one other and can push two enemies together. Fate is a funny thing, and it is also a tenuous thing. He should have accepted it by now that they were never coming back- Aslan himself had stated in front of that tree which had a chasm within, remembering the way their faces fell but quickly being smothered by a look of grace. Deep down though there was still a part of him that hoped they would just appear again so he could show them what he had achieved and hopefully to get some sort of guidance from them again.
Before they had all left, they had each given him their own fair share of advice and he had taken all of this on the chin. From Peter, he learned how to keep a country running under strain. From Susan, he had learned to always keep other people's interest at heart and to never do something simply for his sake. From Edmund, he had learned to always be fair when passing judgement. And from Lucy he had learned to always stay positive about things and to never let the negatives affect him. All separate pieces of information all drastically different from one another yet all equal importance. These single tips had solidified his status as a King. He wasn't simply a King though; he was the King. For over a thousand years there had been two Kingdoms essentially combined into the one and there were numerous wars. In fact, one side didn't even know the other existed and wasn't simply a legend until five years ago.
Caspian the Tenth was the first person to attempt to combine the two into one again- and he had succeeded in his quest.
Of course, he didn't take all the credit. After all, if it wasn't for the Pevensie's then everything would have fallen apart before it had even started to build up. He wondered what they would be doing now. Very little was known of their world. All Caspian knew was that the country they resided from was called England and they lived in a district in the city of London. Edmund had attempted to explain everything to him but it just didn't make sense. But the way he was brought up decidedly different. The only other thing he did know of their world was of a great war taking place and that they did not meet the specific requirements to fight themselves.
They would make excellent warriors wherever they came from- he knew from experience. He had seen just how precise Peter would slice his sword in ways that would confuse his opponent so he would always have the upper hand. He had seen how deadly Susan was when she had a bow in her hands. He had seen how specific Edmund was when he was swinging his short dual swords. The last always shocked him massively, because a part of his mind couldn't get his head around the fierceness of the angelical being that was Lucy. He had only seen it once and it was only briefly.
Everywhere he looked, all he saw were swords being sharpened and armour being tightened. All he could hear was metal clanging against metal and the soft twangs of bows and arrows notching. All that he could smell was a strong earthy scent that came from hiding within the How. It had become a bit of a routine now for him but somehow, he still always found something that caught his attention in complete awe. For example, a few days' prior he had watched intently from a few metres away as a dwarf carefully shaped a piece of armour that was intended for a human into a piece of armour that fit a fawn perfectly well. He had watched as the dwarf in question had taken a white-hot piece of iron and drew a design into it.
Today he was watching from the second floor up as the archers prepared for practise with Susan leading them. His eyes trailed a little bit longer on the eldest Queen than should have been allowed but if she didn't know then there was no harm done. The way her skirts seemingly danced around her feet as she walked and the way her dark brunette hair flew in the air as the wind caught it. She was absolutely breath taking- the legends did nothing to capture just how imperfectly perfect Susan Pevensie was. He heard a slight chuckle behind him and he didn't need to look to see just who it was who had decided to accompany him as he recognised it. The King of Old carefully sat down beside him and watched for a few seconds.
Caspian found it difficult to picture this fifteen-year-old boy as the great King. From the outside, he simply looked far too innocent to have witnessed what he was said to have witnessed. Well, that was his first thoughts anyway. The first time he ever saw who he was, was when he had a practise swordfight with his brother. The moves that had been used were easily too far advanced and were too strategically placed to simply be of that of a schoolboy. The second time he had seen it was when they were going over battle plans and coming up with different solutions to the problem before deciding on one. Edmund had been bent over the table and his eyebrows were furrowed in deep thought. The way he was standing held power and he was certain he appeared at least a foot taller. Almost black eyes hardened in such a way that even Glenstorm cowered underneath his glare. And if something cowered the centaur general, then it was something to not be reckoned with.
"Lost in thought, Prince Caspian?"
The older boy turned to face his companion before blushing madly at being caught staring. Edmund was a lot more casual towards what he felt for Susan and even though he never outwardly spoke about it- the Just King knew about it. Nothing ever passed his very observant gaze. Years of practise and analysing had given Edmund the incredible ability of reading thoughts simply by looking at the person's body language and through their eyes. Very few people possessed this unique gift and he used it to his advantage. There was no use for Caspian to deny it, nothing ever went by his friend no matter what was going on.
"I was always brought up with the belief of women only being people of the home and not of work or battle. Yet your sister is most definitely an incredibly archer. Easily one of the best I have ever seen."
He tried his best to ignore the sarcastic smirk that was playing on the younger's lips. Speaking of her, he watched as she notched up one of her arrows and taking aim. She was only holding the bow in that position for a second before letting the string go with a twang that echoed lightly up to where they both sat and he watched as the arrow imbedded itself in the centre of the bullseye. He had always been blown away with their abilities as far as weaponry was concerned. The two brothers possessing knowledge, power, planning, sheer talent, and then watching them combine these four together to become a very formidable pair. Many people tried their luck in beating one of the legendary Kings of Old but to date nobody had been successful in doing so.
"Follow me, there's something you may want to see."
It wasn't a question; it was an order. Despite Caspian fighting for the throne he was not King yet and Edmund was a King. It was a huge mistake known to everyone if a royal was challenged. So, Caspian carefully stood up and with one last wishful glance at the brunette beauty giving out archery tips he spun on his heel and followed Edmund down the corridor. He got confused as the younger led him down a corridor he recognised but had not been down before and he wondered how he knew this was here. It was then that he heard it- loud thumps as if something was being hit with incredible force.
He dared a look to the young King only to see a fond smile plastered on his features which confused the Prince. He didn't ask questions though as he could see that all would be answered before they were even asked. Eventually they came to a slightly ajar door and Edmund knocked quietly to alert whoever was inside before hearing a slightly high pitched call to let them know they could enter. Caspian was surprised to see the youngest Queen standing there herself. His eyes scanned the room and his confusion only grew at seeing practise throwing targets. His eyes darted from right to left to in front of him and then at Lucy who only now he noticed was wearing a belt around her waist with dozens of knives stored in the leather. At first, he was very alarmed because she was only thirteen for crying out loud! He was about to say something in protest but Edmund gave him a look that screamed to watch.
Lucy stepped into the centre of the room again before carefully eyeing the distance between herself and the target. There was at least six metres between and Caspian was a bit wary. It happened quickly and at first, he wasn't sure if he had saw it or if he had simply imagined it happening. Lucy swiftly grabbed one of the knives, removed it from her belt before flicking her wrist in a complicated manoeuvre and he had watched as the knife flew before slamming into the bullseye. His eyes widened at just how quick it had happened, it had only lasted at the very most three seconds. How did she even have time to aim? His mouth only fell open more as Lucy repeated her actions until every target set out had a knife deeply imbedded into the wood and canvas.
One thing was for certain, he was never getting on her wrong side if she could throw a knife like that.
How did they cope with it? Did they not get bored having to sit around in their world as war took place? Did they feel worthless over not being able to take part themselves? A part of him was glad that neither of them were in danger because they had already seen enough of that to be subjected to even more. He can try to deny it all he wants, but Caspian still wishes he had someone to go to for guidance who knew what they were talking about. He also wishes he still had his friends. It wasn't until after the war had ended that Peter had come looking for him to apologise for his behaviour and after that they had become very firm friends.
Now that he thinks about it, he can kind of understand why Peter was so odd when it came to a lot of things. It must have been incredibly frustrating to go from being a High King to being a schoolboy with nothing to his name. The same went for all four of them but it easily hit the oldest the hardest out of the family. He noticed that he always took the blame for things even if he had no say in what it even was to begin with. He probably took the blame for them all leaving the way that they did. It was Edmund who told him what happened that fateful day, them just simply being in the wrong place at the wrong time and by the time they had realised what was happening it was already far too late.
Despite hearing all the terrible things that has happened and is happening in their world, Caspian could not deny that his curiosity was at its peak. He wants to see where they grew up and what their world was like. Not many people shared the same desire but there were others both Narnian and Telmarine who were curious. The former because they want to see where their legendary Kings and Queens came from, the latter being that they want to see the world their ancestors came from. It isn't possible though for them to experience this since the portals only work one way and even if they did work both ways it couldn't happen as nobody knew where they were located. For all he knows, the remaining could all be in the middle of the Western Woods, hundreds of feet underground, or even underwater.
It was probably a good thing that he had remained in his private study during his wander through his thoughts because he didn't want people to see him like this. He is the King and he needs to think about his people and what can be done instead of what cannot be done. With this thought in mind, he closed the book that he hadn't even been reading in the first place and decided to walk out onto the front balcony. The majestic palace of Cair Paravel had been finally rebuilt the year before and he has never felt like he has made a greater decision in his life. Every single day he would walk along the many balconies that overlooked the Eastern Ocean and every single time his breath was stolen from his lungs at the beautiful sight.
There had been another attack through the night, it wasn't anything new to anybody. Ever since the war had officially ended, they had all been driven underground whilst the city above was left to rot. There was a distinct smell of burning of both wood and rubber, and pieces of molten metals were littering the ground and gleaming against the darkness. Everyone thought that they would live in peace and harmony when it ended but instead they have descended into a revolution within the city. Nobody knows how it started, they could only guess. Most people assumed that people were jealous of some areas having less of a death toll and felt like it needed to be evened out.
What had started as one attack, became two, and then it became three. This pattern continued until everybody just pulled away from each other, every area of the city and Greater London splitting up and living in pain and misery. This wasn't how it was supposed to be at all, right now people should be above ground and walking around the busy streets minding their own business. Every single time they looked around, their hearts ached at the terror their home had become. It wasn't their home anyway, neither of them considered Finchley as their home but they had to accept reality. Well, look where reality had gotten them.
They had all expected to walk through the chasm and to go back to school like normal and eventually get older to perhaps go to university, travel, or to find a job that payed decently enough. They had gone back to school but this time they were all decidedly different. The first time they had left Narnia they had a bit of hope that they would go back and that was what got them through each day despite the tensions rising between the four of them. The second time however, this was not the case as they were told there was no way they would be getting back to the land in which they were royalty.
Instead they just accepted it with annoyed grunts and plenty of tears, instead focusing on what they were meant to do. They only remained at school for one more year and then all the chaos started. That was three years ago and now they were all stuck underground and patiently waiting on the next attack. Well, that attack had come and Lucy Pevensie had taken it upon herself to walk through the bodies and identifying them as she went. A lot of people would find it strange that a girl of seventeen could remain so calm and collected as she named people she knew personally and from seeing around but nobody knew that she had once walked along battlefields and saw her friends get beheaded and more gruesome things that cannot be put into words. The worst one she remembered was seeing someone flayed after being executed via bloody eagle.
Her dark auburn hair seemed to gleam in the torches that were sitting in prongs along the walls, her blue eyes twinkling as the light danced off them. Despite this though, there was only one emotion on her face and it was one of anger. How people could do this to each other and pretend like they had done nothing wrong irked the young woman but there wasn't anything that she could do about it. Eventually she came to the end of the line, closed her eyes for a moment and let out a long sigh.
They were dropping in numbers and now there were only around a thousand-people left in their faction. If this carries on, then there is no hope whatsoever for people surviving. It is quite simple, if they keep attacking each other then there isn't going to be anybody left in the city at all. She wishes she had her cordial here at least, because then she could heal people who would not survive otherwise but she quite simply does not and has to stick with her knives and guns. Many people feared the seventeen-year-old who had seen way too much for her tender age because they had seen how lethal her aim was. All the siblings were deadly and people respected them.
Her brothers were always involved in the planning of the attacks which were very rare. They only ever enter another faction when they are running low on supplies or to gain information. There are a few people in each faction who do not identify with one and instead relay information from both sides to each side. Everyone has spies, and to Lucy it wasn't a surprise that Edmund had a network of said spies. After all, he was known for his hot temper but genuine mercy for people he was up against. He knew the places to be and seemed to always know exact times to pretty much everything.
What shocked more people though was Susan. She was now twenty-one years old and her natural beauty had only increased as she got older. Many females looked at her in nothing but sheer jealousy and many men asked her for courtship, but she ignored them all. There was only one man that Susan ever had genuine feelings for but she cannot ever be with him. She became cut off and bitter, much like Peter had the first time they came back. She didn't have a bow here, but there were other weapons and she excelled in them. She was the epitome of a femme fatal. Looks so innocent on the outside yet nothing but poison on the inside.
Peter was still Magnificent. Edmund was still Just. Lucy was still Valiant. Susan however was no longer Gentle.
It worried her brothers and sister incredibly but they knew that this was her own little way of grieving for what she had lost and would never find again. Lucy inhaled sharply as she came out of her thoughts and walked down the street to meet Edmund as they were preparing for one of their rare attacks tonight on Islington. It would take time for them to get there but they needed medical supplies as it was well known within the factions that Islington had the highest amount of these other than Kensington. Ten other men were going in with them and she knew that nobody was going to die tonight. There has already been too much death. She trusted her brother wholeheartedly in his plans as she had seen from experience that not even one had failed him yet. So, they wouldn't fail now.
Along the way, she saw her sister angrily pulling the trigger of a gun at some dummies, a sad expression covering her face. She'd seen her angry before and she had been terrified. Right now, though, Susan wasn't angry. It was almost as if her heart had been ripped out of her chest and placed back in with something else running through her veins. Turning her blood cold and her thoughts almost held no good intentions. She didn't say anything however and instead continued down and taking in her surroundings as she did. It was the London underground everyone inhabited now except there was barriers around each separate faction. People had carved into the walls and made even more tunnels until it was like a city except daylight no longer existed.
Once Lucy came to the planning room, she knocked once before pushing the door open. Peter was also there and his face was wrought with worry. Every time one of them must go on a raid he feels like he has been a failure and every time he also prays that they come back safe and relatively unscathed. Whether that was just brotherly instinct or Peter being the huge worrier that he is none of them knew. Edmund was quickly pulling on a bulletproof vest and he shot his younger sister a toothy grin which she returned along with a tiny laugh. Lucy absolutely hates the entire death thing as far as all of this goes, but she has always been a huge adrenaline junkie and every single raid was an adrenaline rush.
Peter was still looking at them but he knew that he couldn't control them like puppets, if they wanted to do this to help their faction then he was not going to stop them. It's not the first time he's watched his youngest siblings pack up to go and do something extremely dangerous. At least it wasn't a battle they were entering. Twenty minutes later they were both covered head-to-toe in bulletproof gear along with numerous knives, guns, and darts filled with a liquid which knocked people out stored in the material. The oldest gave them a tight brotherly hug before going back to his planning and seeing what would need to be retrieved next to ensure people's safety.
It was strange, to be above ground once again. They've gotten so used to being stuck underneath in not so nice conditions that were barely liveable that it was weird to see sunlight again. What used to be a long street full to the brim of three story town houses were now reduced to rubble. The street had numerous dents in it from attacks from both the war and from other factions. Edmund and Lucy both made sure to remain hidden as far into the shadows as they could possibly manage as they could not risk being spotted. Not many people ventured out during the day and instead opted to raid at night so it was unlikely. The option was still there though and they of all people know that every possibility must be considered carefully and thought out.
Islington was not far from Finchley, only a twenty-minute run and soon they were both peering down the drain. Instead of getting into the thicket of all the violence, they both always preferred to sneak through the drains to find out exactly where the supplies that they needed were. This made sure the death count was always considerably lower than it was in every other faction during a raid. Lucy squeezed herself into the drain with Edmund following checking there was nobody looking their way. All he was met with was the whistling wind and a couple of hissing stray cats passing by. His feet made a small splash with the water on the concrete path inside the tunnel.
They both removed their pistols from their pockets and shifted their clothing so their other weapons were very easily accessible before venturing down further into the darkness. They could hear people talking although it was muffled by the thick concrete and it was a good thing that there were vents in here so they could breathe properly. No sound was made as they walked, both adopting techniques of sneaking up from years of practise so that the prey never noticed them. It came in very useful now. They eventually came to the end of the tunnel and Edmund raised a finger to his lips and Lucy held her breath. That was when they heard it, from the vent underneath them. People were talking about moving the supplies from here to the opposite end of the faction.
They knew that they had struck gold and Edmund quickly grabbed a small pellet from his pocket and dropped it in between the metal bars. The two siblings waited cautiously in case any of the people looked up that they could see just vaguely through the grate. They were successful however as they all fell to the ground unconscious. The pellets never caused any damage, simply only knocked a person out for around twenty minutes which would give them enough time to gather supplies. They pulled on their gas masks so that they wouldn't inhale the fumes themselves before opening the vent and slipping into the room below them.
Four eyes were scanning the room expertly before Lucy's landed on a large filing cabinet and as she checked one of the doors she had found what they were looking for. Making sure to make as little noise as possible, they filled their pockets and bags with the medical supplies which ranged from medication to bandages. It only took them roughly ten minutes before they had removed almost everything and Edmund moved a chair to the centre of the room so they could climb back up into the tunnel above. He heaved himself up easily enough and he reached an arm down to help up Lucy as well.
Once they were back there they closed the vent again and began walking out towards the streets above that were occupied only four years before. It was a lot more difficult to make little noise with the clinking of glass and plastic bottles but they had to make do. They didn't have enough time to cover them in something to muffle the sound. They were soon completely covered in daylight once again and both squinting at the bright rays considering they were not used to it anymore at all. They stuck to the shadows again to make it a lot less obvious that they were there but they both knew they had gotten out unscathed with no deaths this time. Well, not of their own doing anyway. Some people in the Islington faction may turn against the people they knocked out with the pellets for letting them raid and succeed. Even if it couldn't be helped.
People's biggest enemy is people itself. That is a simple fact. Edmund and Lucy knew this better than everyone else. After all, they had ruled a country for fifteen years and fought in numerous wars along the way. Neither are stupid and they know what people want simply by looking into their eyes. It was a rare gift, but the Pevensie's had learned it to perfection. Hence why when prisoners were taken they were the ones who were asked to determine whether what they were saying was fact or fiction. Fifteen minutes later they were back in their own faction and were being greeted by numerous people for such a successful raid. Not many ever lasted just over an hour and normally took many hours to find what was needed.
They were back in the planning room again and Peter immediately looked up with a relieved look on his face. They took care to remove their heavy clothing, weapons, and the supplies they had taken before engulfing their brother into a tight hug. If only Susan was here and not constantly angry at stupid things now. They all missed their Gentle sister but they knew that the Queen in her was gone and now she was just an empty shell. She took leaving Narnia permanently the hardest out of them. Even though she never spoke about it openly, they knew that she had left a chunk of her heart there with a certain Prince who would now be King.
They didn't even know if Caspian was still alive. For all they know thousands of years could have passed again. There was simply no way to know though. This was their life now and they knew that if they focused the way that they did then they would eventually gain the respect and recognition that they did in Narnia. They might not be royalty here but neither of them cared. As long as they have each other then they didn't need anything else.