Disclaimer: Narnia, its people, its land, and its magic were created by C.S. Lewis and belong to him and his heirs. I just like to walk in his world quite often.
Peter the Magnificent
We don't count the cost.
My father said it first. Mum left the room, crying, as he pulled his army boots on and put his arms through his jacket sleeves. He looked after her, and then at me, sitting at the table, and said, We don't count the cost, son. The cost of going. 'Cause the price of staying is too high to pay.
As king, I put my people first, and the cost-it's denying myself every bit of selfishness I could ever feel as I just want some time to myself, every weariness I cannot give in to at night when the scrolls are stacked up on my desk, every temper I must keep in check at the simpering foreign visitors of state, every burden I want lifted from my shoulders. I must put that all away. Aslan first. Narnia and my family second. Myself in Aslan's paws.
The cost is battle after battle spent in blood, with giants and Calormens and evil. The cost is refusing fear and choosing faith; the cost is always, always doing what is right, no matter how easy the other road.
The cost is high. The cost is almost inhuman. The cost was determined by a Lion and an Emperor.
The cost buys my land's Golden Age. Stories that last a world's lifetime.
The cost buys my siblings' their home, their joy, and great health.
The cost buys more than I could dream of.
Susan the Gentle
Peter told me once, a night he found me crying from the cutting, smiling comments of the Telmarine women, Let it go, Su. Let the hurt go. We're kings and queens. We don't count the cost. He put his arm around me and held me while I cried. Because he was right. We don't count the cost.
I have forgotten more mean remarks than most women hear, for being envied is the curse of queens. I have waited, night after night with little sleep, as mothers came to me for help with sick little ones. I have given, over and over and over again, to those no others had patience for. Late into the night I have listened through stuttering words and rambling sentences, hours of stories and tedium, so that a heart might be revealed and comforted.
I have watched my brothers ride away and kept my head high; I have welcomed them back in bloody litters, and spent nights by their side praying they would not die. I have wrapped their wounds with trembling hands, and stilled those hands to hold Lucy as she cried. I have not rebuked Peter when he was weary, when the weight of the crown pressed lines in his face, because I know he is paying just as I am. I have watched him suffer and said nothing. I have held back words at Edmund's troubled face as they come seeking answers to impossible situations from a man who was once a boy, because I have seen his eagerness to love what Aslan loves, so I have held my own love inside and given the freedom he needed instead.
I have taught my family of Narnia that to be Gentle is to be both strong and kind. To buy that, I have given up all right to weariness and anger, save in Aslan's presence alone.
And I have seen Narnia flourish.
I have seen my older brother's face grow rested instead of weary, just because I am there.
I have seen my younger siblings lean on my strength without fear, because they know it will always receive them gently.
I have seen myself become a queen.
Edmund the Just
There is always a cost.
It is what a judge or a king knows. For every sin there is a punishment. For every victory there is a battle. For every blessing, there is a cost.
And I have paid. There is a scar in my side from my first battle. There is a shiver that runs from my skin to my heart when a cold wind sounds like her. There is a weight on every word I speak, for the words of a judge take lives. There is a weight each time I draw my sword, for I too have been prepared for a knife. And there is a weight in hope itself, for when it's in others' eyes, it falls on me to sustain.
But I did not pay the full cost.
It was not me the witch's knife pierced. It was not me whose blood stained the now-broken table. I am given cheers; His ears were filled with jeers.
He paid the highest cost. I need not count mine.
Narnia and myself free.
Hope in my siblings' eyes that He will never disappoint.
Peter's prayers answered and his burdens eased; Susan's strength sustained and her queenly grace; Lucy's faith undimmed and her joy upheld.
The role of judge given to the traitor - so I may give the compassion I have been given.
Lucy the Valiant
The way seems hard sometimes. The times when Aslan is gone (but not far), when Peter and Edmund ride off, and Susan presses her whitening hands on the walls as she keeps her head up, and I wave and pray Aslan will bring them back again.
The times when we get messages that say they will not make it back, and I ride, ride, ride, ride with my cordial, or sometimes even fly, praying I will get there in time, that I will not arrive to bury my brother.
Or when I got older, and I learned that Aslan's love reaches the traitors, but those who will not receive his mercy recieve his justice, and I went to wars and fired my bow.
Or the times we lost Narnia. Those were the hardest. Three times we went back to England, with Narnia a memory, and Aslan silent.
That was when I went to Him at night and cried. That was when joy slipped from my fingers, and faith fought valiantly to remain. When Peter and Edmund were gone to school, and Susan so far away, and the nights were dark and long. All I could do was wait.
Wait and believe.
Those nights were hard, and only Edmund and Peter could brighten away the shadows in my eyes completely; my kings of Narnia.
Those nights were the cost of being a queen of Narnia and then a child in England, with nothing but the promise, "Once a king or queen of Narnia, always a king or queen" to hold on to. That and Aslan's voice.
But He made the way.
He visited me on it.
He breathed on me and made me a lioness.
He sang and made Narnia, and then made me its queen.
And He brought us back to live there forever.
I've been asked before why the way is hard, why death tracks the footsteps of my own. Why the cost of following me is so high; why they must leave everything, even themselves, take up their pain, and follow me.
Dearest, I paid the highest cost. I paid more than a human could ever give. And I paid it so they could live, and live as queens and kings, children of my own.
So I gave them the road that would make them royalty, and asked them not to count the cost, for such counting makes even saints bitter. Counting the cost forgets the other side of accounting; the side that shows what has been given.
Royal character, royal strength, royal wisdom, royal joy.
Once a king or queen in Narnia, always a king or queen; eternity itself.
And myself. There is no more I could give.
What did you give up, compared to that?
A/N: To give credit where credit is due, I first came up with this when I was reading "Did you know?" by Almyra. It's well worth reading, and it is Susan telling Peter she knew the cost he paid to be a magnificent king. I didn't ask if I could write this, as I'm still not quite sure what's polite and what's nonsensical when writing fanfiction, so if I should ask her permission first, would someone let me know? Thank you.