Hi! No, this isn't an unexpected bonus chapter, but it isn't just a boring old announcement either . Since yesterday, at least, yesterday in my part of the world, was 17-11-2017 I am here to announce the winner of the poll some of you voted in. Well, technically it was a tie between two stories, but I decided to choose the one that was in the lead for the longest. If you voted for one of the other two choices don't worry; I plan to write all three of the proposed stories at some point and the poll was merely to determine which I worked on first.
Therefore, it gives me great pleasure to announce that I have already begun working on a sea faring (partially at least), adventure (Narnian politics count as adventure as well, right?) story, involving Lone Islanders (droves!), and crazed suitors (not droves, but more than two).
The working title for the story is currently "The Measure of a Sovereign", which is a reference to a quote from Plato. "The measure of a man is what he does with power." I am striving to make this story a more in depth look at the politics, traditions, and inhabitants of the Narnian world, though it will also contain a good amount of adventure, family fluff, humour, and less light-hearted content (this is me after all). It should be considered a loosely connected sequel to "The City Ruinous"-which essentially means, assume the events have occurred but they will be referenced only a few times. Due to the more in-depth nature of this story I will be taking longer on chapters and the chapters themselves will be longer, so expect the first chapter to arrive sometime in December. For a quick summary (no major spoilers), see my user profile.
Since I cannot bear for my followers to get a chapter notification and only have a long announcement I have included a sneak preview for the first chapter-hot off the presses and straight back from my wonderful beta, PaintingMusic14. Hope you enjoy! Thank you for voting, and feel free to let me know what you think of this preview!
Cair Paravel-The Sixth Day of the month Greenroof-Firstday
"Your majesty?" Peter sighed and cautiously opened one eye to peer blearily over at the nervous dwarf who was hovering beside his chair. Surely, I haven't been that cross, he thought, rather crossly, upon seeing the poor fellow's expression. In truth, he had been incredibly bad tempered since returning from his last Northern campaign with a broken ankle and a badly dislocated shoulder. Despite his foul mood at the prospect at being largely immobile for the better part of two months, he had stubbornly refused to allow Lucy to heal him with her cordial. A month into his enforced inactivity he was beginning to regret that decision, and his mood was steadily becoming more quarrelsome with each passing day.
"Your majesty?" the dwarf repeated timidly when Peter showed no signs of acknowledging him further. "A message arrived for you, your majesty; from the Lone Islands." He held out a roll of parchment sealed with the governor's official seal, and Peter sighed again.
"Thank you, Brickle. There's no use waiting for my reply." He hoped the dismissal was clear enough and was not sure who was more relieved, himself or the dwarf, when Brickle bowed quickly and hurried out of the room.
He broke the seal hastily and groaned when the parchment unfurled into what seemed doomed to be a very long and detailed report. The governor was a decent sort of chap, but he had a terrible habit of waxing poetic on all topics, from taxes to the price of ale in the local taverns. Edmund had once remarked that the Calormenes and their influence on the Islands were likely to blame for the flowery language displayed by the nobles, and Peter now found himself reluctantly inclined to agree.
Athelstan, by the gift of Aslan, by appointment and by birth, governor of the Lone Islands and Lord of Narrowhaven, to Peter, by the gift of Aslan, by election, by prescription, and by conquest, High King over all Kings in Narnia, Emperor of the Lone Islands and Lord of Cair Paravel, Knight of the Most Noble Order of the Lion; Greetings.
My dear and most noble king-
Peter found himself tempted, not for the first time upon receiving correspondence from Athelstan, to throw the parchment into the nearest fire and have done with it. Really, how much time must he waste on ridiculous greetings? I know my titles, and his, well enough that I do not need to be endlessly reminded of them. He half considered hobbling to the library in search of his brother and forcing Edmund to read the missive, but it was still early enough in the day for him to be acutely aware how dangerous that particular course of action would prove. Edmund was likely to be more short tempered than he was himself until mid-day-or at the very least until his fifth mug of coffee. There was nothing for it; Peter leaned back more comfortably in his chair, glared at his ankle when it protested against the movement, and reluctantly turned his attention back to the letter.
My dear and most noble king, greetings in these dark times. As you may be aware from my past correspondence, the Council of Narrowhaven is proving unduly troublesome. Despite repeated pleas by me for their more reasonable behaviour, they continue to blatantly flout your royal decrees and my edicts, and are openly supporting a movement for a secession of these Islands from the lands of Narnia. I am certain I need not tell you how disastrous this would prove for both of us. The councilmen are likely to call for my execution, should they succeed in wresting my power from me by trickery or by military force, and I can but hope that this circumstance will prove as distasteful to you, most esteemed king, as it is to me.
High King, I beg your aid immediately though it shames me to do so. I can no longer hold these Islands or fulfill the capacity you have entrusted me with unless you render me such aid as shall best crush this talk of secession. I would beg your majesty dispatch some portion of your army with all haste, and perhaps it will not trouble you too much to attend the next Council meeting in person or at the very least to send your royal brother in your stead? I beg you receive these tidings with the utmost consideration of their serious nature.
I remain your ever-faithful servant and the faithful servant of Aslan and Aslan's great Father, The Emperor Over the Sea. May Aslan's Blessings be upon you and your noble family and all those who dwell in your fair land.
Signed, Athelstan, Governor of the Lone Islands and Lord of Narrowhaven.
He read the missive through once more to be certain he had not mistaken its meaning and sighed for what seemed the hundredth time that morning. Given the circumstances outlined in Athelstan's letter, it did not seem an overreaction for the governor to request his presence and he briefly considered the necessity of sending for Lucy and her cordial. But no, he had long since decreed that the cordial be saved for only the direst of circumstances-since no one knew how many drops the bottle held. It would not do for him to prove himself hypocritical merely to allay the inconvenience of his situation.
Besides, he reflected (slightly more smugly than the situation merited), Edmund is the diplomat. I may as well send him as go myself, and by doing so I may spare myself the ordeal of dealing with Athelstan. In my current mood, I'm more likely to order his execution than I am to find a resolution to the situation. Unless…unless I can solve two problems simultaneously. The sudden, inspired thought was enough to make him smile and nearly forget his ill mood.
"Brickle!" His ill mood returned somewhat when the dwarf in question did not immediately reappear. Lion's Mane! Is it too much to ask for a servant who responds? "BRICKLE!" Yet still there was no response, and no ruddy faced dwarf rushed into the room. "BRI-"
"Did you need something, your majesty?" asked a somewhat harried sounding voice from the vicinity of the fireplace and Brickle tumbled into the grate, so covered in soot that even his bright red hair appeared dark.
"What the blazes were you doing in the chimney?" Peter demanded, forgetting for a moment the reason he had summoned the hapless servant.
Brickle had the good sense to look abashed and stared down at his filthy boots. "Cleaning, your majesty."
"Cleaning?" If Lucy had seen his expression at that moment she would have giggled and asked if his eyebrows were trying to escape from his face. "Without a brush, good cousin?" The unfortunate Brickle shuffled his feet and said nothing. "Perhaps you would be so good as to inform my spying brother that I require his presence. Send for Queen Lucy as well, if you would." Brickle bowed hurriedly and seemed about to bolt from room, but Peter couldn't quite resist calling after him. "Oh, and Brickle?"
"Yes, your majesty?" he mumbled miserably, tugging at his sooty beard.
"I would advise against telling King Edmund that you thought hiding in the chimney would be an effective method of keeping an eye on me." Despite his ill temper, Peter could not help being amused by the latest antics of Edmund's rather inept agent.
Brickle grinned, obviously relieved that Peter would not mention the details of his failure to Edmund, and gratefully backed out of the room, tracking a good bit of soot with him. Peter sighed, rubbing a hand across his eyes. Susan would doubtless be very displeased at the current state of his chambers, even if there had not now been a fine layer of soot covering the floor around the hearth and leading to the door. That meant servants with buckets and brooms and other various cleaning implements for him to trip over should he even attempt walking.
He glared at his ankle yet again and muttered an eloquent and heartfelt curse against the giant who had managed to injure him. There were few things that Peter hated more than being forced into a state of inactivity by an injury, especially one he felt was as trivial as a broken ankle.
Edmund arrived to hear the last few words of his phrase and raised his eyebrows sardonically, but wisely did not comment (he most certainly had no right to). He dropped gracefully into the chair opposite Peter, sighing in annoyance.
"Care to tell me why Brickle is covered in enough soot to block a chimney?" As far as morning conversations with Edmund went, this one was beginning better than Peter had hoped.
"I should have guessed he was one of yours," Peter remarked lightly, studiously avoiding answering the question. "Care to tell me why you find it necessary to spy on me?"
"I'm not spying on you, I am ensuring that you stay out of trouble and in your chambers where you belong." Despite his denial, Edmund looked distinctly annoyed at being caught.
Rather too annoyed to be believable, Peter thought with more than a little amusement. "I see. And to do so you saw it necessary to assign your most inept spy to watch me?"
Edmund grinned sheepishly. "I thought you might find it rather amusing. You are drearier than a Marsh-wiggle and more cross than a mountain giant when you're bored."
Peter had to admit it was an accurate assessment of his temperament, and it was true enough that Brickle's antics had proved amusing. He sighed in defeat and allowed himself to smile. Edmund seemed inordinately pleased by this response, and his face took on an expression which could only be described as gloating.
"As entertaining as this conversation is, I am assuming you didn't interrupt a Council meeting to talk about Brickle's inept methods of spying?"
Brickle may be my favourite original character to write, after Linus of course! :-) That is less than half of the first chapter, just enough to, hopefully, interest all of you!