As we strolled through the gardens, Edmund told me, "What did Gray mean by calling you a traitor?"
I kicked a pebble in the path. "My past is my business, not yours,"
"But I'm the King," Edmund said. "And more importantly, the judge of such things. Why did he call you a traitor?"
"I've redeemed myself," I said. "That's all there is to it,"
"We both know that's not true."
I sighed. "What do you want from me, Your Majesty? A confession? A sob story?"
"No, just your past," Edmund said, peering at me. "I'm not stupid; I know there's something you're not telling me."
"I heard you were a traitor once, Edmund," I said carelessly. He stiffened. I continued. "The people are unsure."
"Well, there are generally four castes," I told him, "There's the commoners, the peasants, the free servants and such,"
"There's the middle class, the craftsmen and merchants and knights and things," Edmund continued. "And then the royalty,"
I nodded. "You and your brother and sisters,"
"What's your point?" Edmund asked me.
"There is one more caste." I told him. "The caste reserved for criminals, slaves. Traitors," I breathed in. "You and I belong to that caste, Edmund, but you belong to two castes. The highest and the lowest."
"What does that make me?" Edmund asked.
"A Traitor King, to some," I said. "A Wise and Just King to others."
"And what are you?" Edmund peered at me.
I picked a flower from the garden. It was a rose, and the thorns pricked my fingertips, but I couldn't care less. "A traitor," I said, twirling the rose in my fingers. "To some, the enemy," I dropped the rose.
"What did you do?" Edmund asked me.
"None of your business, Edmund," I said sadly. "And I wouldn't tell you if it was,"
Edmund led me to a bench, where we sat, and he said, "Is your past very horrible?"
I scoffed. "More horrible every day,"
"You said you had no family?"
"I meant it," I told him. "No one." Fingering my sword hilt, I told him. "It's all fine and dandy to be talking about me, but what about you? What's your past like?"
"Nothing at all like yours, I bet,"
I smiled. "I can believe that."
So he told me all about his past, about a place called England, and a wardrobe in another world.
When Susan's voice rang through the gardens, calling, "Ed! Where are you? Edmund!" He took off with a polite goodbye, and I sat on the bench and polished my sword.
I was almost done when a dryad materialized before me.
"What were you doing with the King?" She asked.
"Hi, my name's Fallon, what's yours, nice to meet you, too," I said cautiously.
"Willow. What were you doing with the King?" She repeated her question.
"Stay away, Fallon," She warned. She crossed arms that weren't there. "The King is not yours,"
"He's not yours, either, is he?" I put my sword away, and stood. "Nice to meet you, Willow, but goodbye,"
"Stay away from the King, Fallon," Her voice hissed in my ear. "Stay away, he is mine!"
I rolled my eyes. Dryads, especially that dryad, were rather possessive.
In my rooms, I found Lucy waiting for me, with Susan and Peter. Edmund was there, too, but he looked more relaxed than his siblings.
"Oh for the love of—" I closed the door.
"Fallon, who are you?" Susan asked me.
I went over to a small table, and began to take off all my knives, one at a time.
"I'm a girl," I said. Off came the knife at my belt. "I'm fifteen," The knives at my forearms. "I'm human," The knives in my boots.
One by one, I piled them on the table, high, and the Kings and Queens raised their eyebrows higher each time I pulled another knife out.
"But where are you from?" Peter pressed. "What is your past?"
"My own business," I said. "Believe me, Your Majesty, you don't want to know my past,"
"Why not?" Lucy asked, not understanding that some things were best left secrets. "What your past bad?"
"Bad doesn't begin to cover it," I said grimly. "My past is no bread and salt of yours, Your Majesties,"
"She's like me," Edmund said quietly. His siblings looked at him, and I didn't dare. I unbuckled my belt, and placed it on the table with my knives. "She's a traitor to Narnia,"
"A reformed and redeemed traitor," I said, "And still none of your beeswax,"
"What did you do to be called a traitor?" Peter demanded. "You're only fifteen,"
I gaped at him, and laughed. "A traitor at only fifteen?" I laughed again. "So is Edmund, and Lucy is a Valiant queen and she's eleven. You're High King of Narnia, a Knight, an Emperor, a Lord, at eighteen." I grabbed a brush and attacked my hair. "Don't talk to me about age."
"But what did you do?" Susan demanded. "Where's your family?"
I froze. No one ever dares to talk to me about my family.
"Susan," Edmund hissed. "She already told you, she hasn't got a family,"
"But what happened to them?" Susan pressed.
"My mother was murdered," I said, staring at myself in the mirror as I brushed my hair. I didn't turn around to look at my monarchs.
"I'm sorry," Lucy said.
"Don't be. She was a terrible person," I said, and clenched my fist around my brush.
"Fallon!" Susan admonished. "You shouldn't talk about dead family like that!"
"I'll do as I please," I growled, furiously calm. "It's my mother, much as everyone hated her,"
"What was her name?" Lucy asked gently.
I swallowed. I remembered the name my mother had been born to, before she changed it. "Arabella," I said. "Her name was Arabella, but she didn't like it, said it was too gentle and soft, so she changed it,"
"And your father?" That was Peter.
"I never knew him," I said, pulling the brush through my hair. "Never even knew his name."
"How did your mother die?" Susan asked.
That was one question too far.
"I think I'd like some time alone," I announced, putting my brush down. "Without questions,"
The Kings and Queens nodded. "Dinner will be soon," Susan said. "We dine without the Court, just do you know." She hesitated. "I'll send someone,"
And they left.
I sat on the couch, and put my head in my hands.
The memories. They swamped me. Memories were powerful. They were the instruments of Time, because without memories, you didn't grow old. Memories build up over time, and eventually, you get enough behind you for years, and you grow.
My mind grew faster than my body, it seemed. I was still a fifteen year old girl, but it seemed like my mind raced with those far older in wisdom.
"It was her, wasn't it?" a voice came. Edmund. He was still in the room.
I looked up.
I bit my lip.
I nodded numbly. His face was blank of any expression.
He nodded to me, and got up. Heading for the door, his hand was on the knob when I said, "Edmund?" He froze. "Please, don't tell your brother and sisters,"
The King nodded, and left.
I sat on the couch, then moved to the bed, and I wanted to cry.