Disclaimer: I don't own Narnia or any characters you may recognize from the books or the movies, I wish I did but I don't... I also don't own the Narnian Calendar. It belongs to Elecktrum who was kind enough to let me borrow it for my story. Her own stories are awesome and you should go read them too.
Summary: When the General took the day off, it was not without its challenges.
A/N: This story is part of my A Light in the Darkness universe. Enjoy!
When the General Took the Day Off
"That wasn't what shocked them the most, you know."
"Oh no?" I couldn't quit subdue my chuckle as I met Alambiel's mischievous gaze. "Then what pray tell do you think was more shocking to the guests at the High King's wedding than our kiss?"
Alambiel leaned forward and whispered conspiratorially, "The fact that after we ended the kiss, we walked away from each other."
I laughed out loud. "You walked away from me, Minx. I could only follow your lead on the matter since you seemed to be plotting to devil the matchmakers again."
"Then you agree it caused more shock than that kiss."
I laughed again, shaking my head. The morning cool was fast being replaced by the heat of the day, but still we lingered at our breakfast picnic. "It did cause a stir as you well knew it would, my Milis Cantalach. And I-" I cut myself off as Alambiel abruptly pounced on me, shoving me over so my shoulders touched the ground. I could have braced for it or at least caught my balance before we toppled but I saw no reason to do so.
The laughter in her eyes and her bright smile were more than worth it. Alambiel braced her left arm against my chest as she leaned closer and whispered, "Your Irritable Sweet, am I? What say you now?"
I reached up, cradling the back of her head just below where her hair had been allowed to fall free of her chignon, and grinned. "I say-"
A nervous voice called, "General Oreius! General Oreius! Oh dear…"
Alambiel sighed as she sat up, shifting away from me. I frowned. I knew what she thought, what she expected me to do and I found I did not like it at all. The lady I courted should not expect me to abandon her on a day I promised to her. I was still frowning when I got to my feet and searched for whoever had interrupted us. A quiet voice sounded near my hooves. "General Oreius! Here, Sir!"
I narrowed my eyes at the Chipmunk. His small dark eyes gazed up at me with some apprehension before he ducked his head. "There's been an altercation between one of the Lone Islanders and a Black Dwarf, Sir. No weapons were involved, but I thought you would want to know of the situation as well as receive the formal report, which is being prepared."
"Cheermeek, is the situation being addressed?"
Cheermeek blinked then clasped his paws together. "Yes, General, Lieutenant Germaine is overseeing matters and a messenger was sent to fetch the King Edmund so he might mediate."
I nodded. "Germaine should be handle it then and if he feels he needs someone with higher authority, have him appeal to Captain Ardon. You are dismissed."
The Chipmunk didn't move at first. But then, he bowed his head. "Yes, General." After Cheermeek departed, I turned back to Alambiel only to find she was nowhere to be seen. The remains of our picnic had been cleaned up and the basket had been placed beneath the shade of the nearest tree. But, of my Alambiel, there was no sign.
Something bounced off my arm and I wheeled about just in time for a small object to bounce off my chest. What in the worlds… It was a small rock. I looked up and spotted movement a few trees down from where the picnic basket had been left. Alambiel stepped out of the shadows, the silver beading that outlined the silver vines and forget-me-nots embroidered across her light blue dress glinting in the sunlight along with her silver jewelry. Her expression was unreadable. "You don't have to stay, Oreius. I will not hold it against you if you return to the Cair."
I sighed. Oh yes, I had much to make amends for even now. "But, I would hold it against myself for I promised you this day and I fully intend to stay by your side."
Alambiel didn't respond for a very long moment then a smile crept across her face. "Wouldn't that require you catching me?"
My unfinished question was answered by the minx's cheeky laugh as she whirled around, lifting her skirts somewhat, then called over her shoulder, "Catch me if you can!"
Her laughter rang out as she vanished into the woods. I grinned as I waited just long enough to give her a true lead before I galloped after her. She was clever, slipping through narrow spaces between close-growing trees that forced me to take a longer path, and at times, it was only the flash of silver that told me where my lady was running. Still, it would not take me any longer to catch her than I allowed. Alambiel hopped over a fallen log then dashed into a narrow crevice that came out in a wide grassy area that ran alongside the river.
Grinning, I galloped in a wide path around the rocks. I would catch the mischievous mare when she emerged from the crevice. Slowing as I approached the grassy stretch, I waited in the shadowed recess beneath a large oak and watched. She came in a flash of silver and blue, still laughing softly. Her skirts were still gathered just below her knees and I could see her knife sheath attached to her right leg as well as the fact that she wasn't wearing any shoes. Alambiel's steps slowed as she pushed back the white and blonde strands that had worked their way loose to fall across her face. I tensed, waiting for the right moment, as she scanned the area. Now.
I charged. Catching her about the waist, I startled a shriek out of the minx. Then she laughed as I caught her up in my arms and stopped. Touching my forehead to hers, I muttered, "I should toss you in the river for being such a cheeky little minx."
Alambiel wrapped her arms around my neck. "Ah, but you won't this time."
"No. Because I think that…we have company…again."
I didn't bother to hide my scowl as I set Alambiel back on her feet. She needn't have giggled about it. Turning, I crossed my arms when I saw who it was. Remus and Romulus Greyback. The Wolves howled then barreled toward us. Remus went straight to Alambiel, but for some reason Romulus placed himself between us and glared at me.
The Wolf pups shifted until there was more of a distance between myself and Alambiel with the Greyback brothers watching me with suspicion. Flicking my tail in irritation, I scowled at them. "What is the meaning of this, Masters Greyback? Are you not supposed to be guarding the Just?"
"We were," Remus shouted, "but now we have to protect the Princess Royal."
Alambiel tapped him on the forehead, making him look up at her. "Why?"
"Because you screamed and that means you didn't want the General near you, so we're not going to let him near you. King Edmund's coming too."
I pinched the bridge of my nose and sighed. It had never crossed my mind that the Just's very green Wolf pups would attempt to guard Alambiel from me. "That is unnecessary."
Romulus' yellow gaze remained fixed upon me. "King Edmund decides."
It was rather fortuitous for the Greybacks that King Edmund rode up on Philip. "What's going on here? Romulus, Remus, what did you do?"
The Wolves raised their heads with identical quizzical expressions before the elder remembered he hadn't been released from his self-imposed task of guarding me. The Wolf's yellow gaze was steady as he growled, "We're protecting the Princess Royal."
"From who?" King Edmund looked from me to Alambiel then groaned while Philip snorted (that Horse was quite unimpressed with the Wolves and at the moment I did not blame him in the least). "Romulus! You do not interfere with the General and the Princess Royal. If they ever got into a real fight, she would win. And how many times do I have to tell you that randomly attempting to protect the women in the army from their own husbands or suitors is going to get you both in a lot of trouble?" He pointed at the Wolves who cringed. "Apologize for crashing in and then you two come on. We only have an hour before it will be time for court and remember, don't-"
"Growl at the diplomats even if they do smell strange or make our noses itch," the Wolves finished in unison. They looked at each other and then bowed their heads, nearly slinking on their bellies as they crept from in between Alambiel and myself. "Our apologies, General. Your Highness."
I watched them crawl back to King Edmund's side then fixed the four of them with a stern glare. "Sir How, it would be most beneficial for you if neither you nor your companions breathed so much as a word of this unfortunate encounter to anyone. For should I hear even one mention of it among the Cair's gossip, you will spend tomorrow and all of this week next becoming very, very well-acquainted with the points of the compass."
My dark colt swallowed then glared at the Wolves. "Yes, Oreius. I assure you no one will say anything. Enjoy the rest of your holiday. Come on, Philip. Remus, Romulus, see if you can track that deer from earlier."
After they disappeared from sight, I turned back to Alambiel whose arms were crossed, her hands partially veiled by the draped sleeves reaching just past her elbows. I spread my hands, shaking my head, half-wondering if I should apologize for yet another interruption. Alambiel arched an eyebrow then her lips twitched. The minx threw her head back and laughed.
It was tempting to laugh with her, but I did not. I had less success hiding my own smile. Alambiel shrugged then held her hand out to me. "They meant well."
"They are menaces and still lacking in training," I grumbled as I took her hand in mine.
"It can be fixed. And I think they're cute, absolute pains in the neck sometimes, but very cute." Alambiel moved closer, leaning her head against my shoulder. "Besides, I think a walk along the river is quite nice, don't you?"
"If that is what you wish, sweet." Raising our entwined fingers, I kissed the back of her hand.
Eventually, I did have to go back for our basket, which I promptly traded at the prearranged location for a different basket. Making my way back to where I had left Alambiel, I feared for a moment that she had wandered off again. Then I heard a giggle coming from the branches above my head. Looking up, I met Alambiel's twinkling blue gaze. "Miss me, Kentauri?"
"Of course. But, please try to come down without falling and breaking your neck."
She laughed. "I have yet to do so and if you get any more dire in your assessments of situations, people are going to mistake you for a Marsh-Wiggle." She leapt to the ground as gracefully as any Nymph and shot me a cheeky grin. "Not to mention, I always land on my feet."
"No you do not. You land on your back, knocking the wind from your lungs, not to mention stunning yourself and risking a concussion far more than you land on your feet." I purposefully huffed in annoyance after I finished my recitation.
Alambiel stuck her tongue out at me. "Don't be such a spoilsport and you are also exaggerating. Now, what's in the basket?"
"Food for later." I took her hand as we resumed walking.
The heat of midday caused us to seek some relief in a shady area by one of the smaller streams. Alambiel stuck her feet in the water and splashed at me as I crossed the stream to ensure there was a very small chance of our being interrupted. I smirked and slapped the water, sending droplets cascading over her. "Behave yourself, Minx, or I will pull you in."
She laughed. "No you won't because then I will blame you when Tuulea asks me how this dress was ruined and you, my dear Kentauri, shall have to answer to her."
"An effective threat, my lady." I bowed, grinning slightly. "I concede the matter." Once I finished checking the area to my satisfaction, I rejoined Alambiel. After plucking a sprig of forget-me-nots from among the fresh blooms alongside the embankment, I tucked the flowers behind Alambiel's ear then tilted her chin up. "Never forget I love you, sweetheart."
Alambiel's lips curved into a smile as she murmured, "Never. I promise." I kissed her.
As soon as we broke the kiss, I knew we were being watched. I waited, but no one approached us. Scanning the forest around us, I saw nothing and then the sense of being watched faded. It was odd, but I was grateful that whoever had stumbled upon us had enough courtesy to respect our privacy. Alambiel shifted away from me and then sprawled on her back in the midst of the wildflowers. I watched her for a moment then shifted so I could lean back against the tree near her head. Her eyes were closed but then she spoke, "Don't let the matchmakers talk you into things while I'm gone."
Reaching down, I stroked her silky hair. "You think I would allow them to do so?"
"Hmm, I think I'm just saying be on your guard. Tuulea keeps trying to pin me down on some sort of wedding plan and a date. I think if Alithia weren't so easy to distract with talk about her foal, she'd be ganging up on me too. Well, more than she is already." She opened one eye and smiled. "Are you quite certain, a chara, that you will be safe while I'm away?"
Playing along, I heaved a sigh. "I shall do my best, love. But, perhaps you should plan to hurry through the meeting in the Seven Isles so you might return all the sooner and give me some much needed aid."
Laughing, Alambiel sat up then turned around to face me. "I will write if I'm delayed. And, if I'm feeling generous, I will write even if I'm not delayed."
"You are indeed the most generous among women," I said.
We lingered in the woods until nightfall, speaking of nothing in particular and merely enjoying our time together. As the first stars rose, we returned to the hill overlooking Cair Paravel and the sea. I wrapped my arms around Alambiel, pulling her back against my chest. "Thank you for spending the day with me, Chéadsearc."
Sliding her hand up my arm, Alambiel tilted her head back and smiled. "Thank you. I know it was hard for you to take an unexpected day off and I shall cherish the memory, especially while I'm stuck in a new boat from Murphy's harbor."
"The Splendor Hyaline is thrice-cursed. I haven't decided what the Morning Dove is yet." She turned to face me. Her fingers slid from my shoulder across my chest to rest above my heart. "Tell me, Oreius, what do the stars say about this coming journey?"
I watched the stars for a long moment then covered her hand with my own as I met her upturned gaze. "They say that though we shall be separated for a time, our hearts will always rest safe in each other's hands."
"Oh, I like that," she paused then continued with a grin. "It sounds like something you say right before the last kiss of the day."
"As my lady commands," I rumbled. We kissed once more beneath the stars before I escorted her back to the Cair. This was a good day, even though I never found the right moment to ask Alambiel to be mine.
A/N: Please Read and Review! So, this is what happens when Oreius takes a day off and nothing too disastrous (or at least nothing deadly) finds them. ;) Leave a review and let me know what y'all thought about this one.