They're coming.

Tumnus heard the howls before he saw the pack. Maugrim might be the head of the Secret Police, but he didn't mind letting a victim know he was on his way, particularly when said victim couldn't escape.

He had thought of it, of course. The Robin had even suggested it. Go underground with the Dwarves.

But it wouldn't, couldn't work. The Queen knew what she was doing when she assembled a police force with such a gifted sense of smell.

Tumnus set his teacup down, rattling the saucer slightly. He had put away his father's picture, a few other precious things. Maybe they would be left undisturbed. Not that it mattered, really. After he was taken to the Witch's House, he wouldn't be coming back.

But she'll be back. Lucy, he thought. His lips pressed together slightly as he considered the worry on her face when she realized what had happened. She would blame herself, he was sure.

Well, it was her fault, he supposed. But he wasn't bitter; he was glad, gladder than he'd been in a long time. The prophecy...

He had spoken to her at length the last time she'd been here, only two days ago. He had asked her everything. What was her family like? Was she a Queen in her own world? Did she have any magic? And, of course, "Have you any brothers or sisters?"

"Three," Lucy said. "Two brothers, Peter and Edmund, and my sister Susan." She frowned slightly. "They don't believe me."

"About what?"

"About visiting you here. About coming into Narnia at all. Peter and Susan finally let it drop a few days ago, but Ed's been really beastly." An ugly look flashed across her face for a moment, but was quickly replaced by mere sadness. "I wish they could meet you."

"Perhaps...I do not understand, Lucy. Certainly it is unusual for humans to travel into Narnia. I do not believe it has happened in an age, despite the stories my grandfather Tumaeus used to tell me. But if there are other humans, your kindred, living to the west, why should they doubt your word that you have braved the Wild Woods?"

"It's that, really," Lucy said slowly. "It...England, I mean...It's not just a place you can walk to from here."

"Eng Land?"

"It's where the spare room with the wardrobe is," she explained.

"Oh, yes, you have told me of those things."

"Well, it's not a place you can get to by walking. It was by magic, I guess. And the others don't believe in magic. They think I'm lying."

"I'm sorry, Lucy," he had answered, quietly. But his mind had only half been on the conversation.

Four, there are four of them.

The prophecy...

The howls grew louder. Soon now.

Her siblings would believe her soon: he knew that. Aslan was working now, and they would be drawn into the World. Two Sons of Adam and Two Daughters of Eve. Tumnus had doubted Aslan many times in the past; doubted and denied him, and then sold his soul to the Witch for a few comforts. But whatever he had done would not change the fact that the children would come, would fill the four thrones, would find his house empty and ruined...

She will be worried about me when she finds out. Poor child. But Mr. Beaver will take care of it. He said he would set the Robin to watch until they arrived. They will be safe, and they will rule. Surely Aslan would not send four children so far and let them fail.

"Lucy will be fine. She will be a Queen," he spoke aloud, trying to reassure himself.

Tumnus thought back to his visit with Mr. Beaver, only a few hours earlier. Hours: Maugrim hadn't even bothered to come at once. He liked letting his prey worry.

Probably because he can't have any fun with them after they're turned into stone.

The Robin had come as soon as word of the arrest reached him. It was difficult to keep secrets in the forest when one knew what to look for, and Tumnus had asked the Robin to listen, knowing he might be in trouble.

"Tonight," the Robin had said. "The trees are whispering that She knows. They are saying something about a child, a human child. Is it true, Tumnus?"

He had jerked his head once, then turned to do what he must before the officers arrived.

Fauns might not be blessed with the speed of their four-footed cousins, the goats, but Tumnus could step speedily enough when times required it. And this was one of those rare times. Quickly, he had snatched up his scarf and umbrella, and Lucy's handkerchief from where it lay on the mantle, and trotted toward Beaversdam.

He wished he were in slightly better shape as he reached the unfinished dam with a stitch in his side and rapped softly at the door, feeling the sound drift away on the wind, but afraid to tap more loudly so near to the listening trees.

Nevertheless, the door opened, a little. Mrs. Beaver in her apron stared up at him, her mouth slightly open, then snapped it shut. "Dear," she called over her shoulder.

"Who is it, Mrs. Beaver?" asked her husband. Tumnus heard his shuffling, unconcerned footsteps as he approached the door and his face came into view. Mr. Beaver blinked once, then again, before a frown settled on his face.

"You are not welcome here."