A Vow amongst Men

Disclaimer: I own nothing. CS Lewis and his estate are the rightful owners of Narnia and her people. I promise to give everything back once I am done!

The drums beat, surely, strong, as though to caress the waves that rock our boat across the sea. The crew, in a strange melancholy, cannot summon up their usual boisterous laughter; they will not jig on the tables, they will not tell jokes into the early morn. It is well, for I cannot bear laughter in these moments. A little while later and we are there. In some ways, I almost wish we were not. It will be hard, painfully so, to do this… but I did make a promise, after all. Nodding to two trusted men, I leave the boat, trusting them to carry our burden. To take him away from Narnia, away from her beloved lands, away from the green home he so loved, it seems wrong… but it was his wish.

Casting my mind back, I can only just remember the old days – before this began, when he was still my laughing, carefree brother, intent on doing right and righting the wrongs of the past, of helping those that needed help and guidance. Little by little, it ebbed away from him; and I know that as life took him, he was perhaps grateful. Still, though, to watch him become such as he did, was no easy task.

Now, as our men – or rather, my men – carry our cargo, the sun begins to rise, casting a hopeful light over things. He would have seen the funny side, too. He would have made some joke or other. But he is no longer there, and that I must always remember.

Up, up, up she goes… up she goes, high ho, she goes. Up, up, up she goes – where she falls, no one knows…

Unbidden, an old lullaby creeps into mind, and I give a slight sigh. Appropriate, really. He would have found it so, I am sure. Still, there will be time enough for contemplation. Now, there is a job to be done. As we reach our final destination, a sharp nod to our men is all that is needed. They lift our cargo, and I try to ignore the look of panic, of pure fear, that crosses his features. If there were another way, I would take it, and I know that he knows that. We talked about it, once, but I am not sure how much he remembers… still, it doesn't really matter.

Up, up, up she goes, up she goes, high ho, she goes. Down, down, to the sea she goes. And where she falls, Lord only knows…

My name leaves his lips in a last desperate plea, but I turn my head away. He is the last link, the last weakness of a condemned world, and he must be disposed of. He would have understood I am sure. A literary begins to leaves his lips, and, without realising, I cannot help but murmur the words, too. Realising what I am doing, I quickly shut my lips, but too late. There is a knowing smile on his lips, something triumphant in his eyes. Dear brother, do you think you will be spared? Pah.

Up, up, up she goes, up she goes, high ho she goes. Down, down, to her grave she goes… and where she falls, the Lion only knows…

A shared glance between us, and he is gone. Tumbling, falling, gasping and falling; into the pit, along with our siblings, goes my brother, the last of us, into the grave of men.

A centaur steps to my side, cautious, eyes avoiding mine. They know better than to cross me – they have watched my world crumble, they have watched me rebuild and retake every last inch of that green land of home. "Where to, sire?" he asks, rumbling voice low.

I raise my head, proudly, not in the least remorseful. "To Narnia, General."

He hesitates, and my eyes narrow, waiting, until… "What do we tell them, sire?"

A chilling smile crosses my lips. Those who recall the old days, might liken it to Her smile. If they did, I would acknowledge them with pride. "We tell them the High King took a little tumble, General. They will understand." His eyes lower again, and I swear I can see a tremor run through him. It is hard for him; he was loyal to my brother before me, stood by him in battle, fought for the world he believes I have destroyed. I have to wonder, with the last obstacle gone and defeated… whether he will stay or not. I suppose he can always be replaced.

There are always more graves to fill, after all.

Up, up, up she goes, high ho, she goes. Down, down, to the grave they go… down to the depths of darkness below.

Finis.

Author's N: No idea where this came from; it came quite in the middle of me writing something rather different. Still, thoughts are always appreciated.