I don't own the Pevensies or Narnia. I only pretend to in order to appease my need for flattery.

The Sea and the Siblings

It was midday, and the warm Narnian sunlight played upon the red royal sails of a small ship, anchored at the end of a long dock. Glittering cerulean waves lapped at its prow as the voices of a large crowd pealed joyfully through the lazy summer air. Aboard, the crew was making the final preparations for its voyage – checking provisions, tightening knots, straightening bunks, loading personal belongings and any number of other miscellaneous jobs. The banner of Cair Paravel flapped merrily atop the highest mast.

Ashore, the four rulers of Narnia wore smiles as they bid farewell to their subjects and friends. Lucy the Valiant, now approaching thirteen, shook the hand of her dear Tumnus, face nearly splitting with an infectious grin. She stood on her tiptoes and threw her arms around him in an enormous hug. The faun smiled just as broadly, eyes brimming with overwhelming excitement and a fair bit of worry, then bent to bring his face level with hers and said affectionately,

"You be careful, Lucy Pevensie." She trilled a short, happy laugh and took his hand in her own.

"Don't be silly, Mr. Tumnus," she said. "I'll only be gone for a short while, and Peter said the rumors were probably only rumors. There's nothing to worry about."

"All the same," he replied, dabbing his eyes with her handkerchief. "It should be ever so horrible if anything were to happen to you. You are, after all, the most wonderful little girl I have ever met."

"And you are still the most fantastic faun I know," she said cheekily. At that moment, there came a great fanfare of trumpets and the excited chatter of the masses died away. A centaur, powerful and graceful, stepped atop the edge of the dock and spoke in a loud voice.

"We bid safe return to the four monarchs of Narnia, and wish them well in their investigation in the Northlands," he proclaimed. Then he raised his right arm and the crowd exclaimed as one,

"Long live Queen Lucy! Long live King Edmund! Long live Queen Susan! Long live King Peter!"

Quickly kissing Tumnus on the cheek, Lucy picked up her skirts and hurried to the front of the assembly where her brothers and sister waited, looking regal and dignified. She felt a surge of pride to be part of such a family. Edmund turned to her as she approached, offering a fleeting smile as his dark, somber eyes scanned the crowd restlessly. He had become quieter since Beruna; wiser, older, more mature somehow. Now, as he gazed out over the people whose trust he had worked so hard to earn, he seemed much beyond his fourteen years. His younger sister returned the smile and went to stand beside him, glowing with anticipation.

"Well?" Susan said, turning to the dock, and the moored ship. "Shall we?"

"Can't see why not," replied Peter. He offered her his arm with an elaborately dramatic gesture. She laughed and shoved him gently before proceeding to lead the way down the pier, her deep purple dress skimming the sea-worn wood elegantly. Her siblings followed. Echoing across the beach came the cheering of their beloved people, Aslan's people, people of Narnia. There was an acute sense of adventure in the air. Perhaps it was the sea-spray that sent something leaping in Lucy's stomach, or maybe it was the thrill of seeing the inspired young monarchs setting off on their first real quest that brought the ripple of exhilaration shuddering through their subjects. It could even have been fear. After all, the rumors were inarguably frightening – if the remains of the Witch's army were indeed rallying, as some creatures had reported, the cause must be found and destroyed. It was only mercy that had prevented Peter from eradicating them completely and he would have hated to see such a decision proved as misjudgment.

Susan's booted foot touched the polished deck of their vessel a moment later. She swept to one side, fingers coming to rest on the railing as her brothers and sister boarded in turn. As one, the family looked back at the considerable throng on the shore and lifted their hands in salute, crowns glinting in the noon sun.

"Majesties."

The four turned to find the entire crew standing before them, dressed smartly in their uniforms and the captain at their head. He was a tall, broad fellow with a candid face and a nautical twinkle in his eye. He offered them a respectful grin, bowing.

"We are ready to set sail whenever you feel fit," he said.

"Then let us depart," said Lucy eagerly.

"If it is milady's wish, it will happen."

He nodded to the sailors, who scattered purposefully, some to disappear below deck and others to find posts above. He himself strode forward to grasp the edge of the gangplank, which rested on the edge of the ship, and with a mighty heave and a pull from two Talking Beasts on the dock below, it toppled away from the craft with a satisfying crack. The Pevensies stood by, watching, as the anchor burst forth from the water and set them free, the ship giving a rocking little shudder as it was released. Then there was the sound of the wind rushing into the freshly unfurled sails. A moment of pregnant, expectant inaction followed, the monarchs holding their breath, and then with a mighty groan, the ship revolved slightly and plowed out into the sea with a will.

Lucy glanced at Edmund, whose lips had curled into a content smile, then returned her watch to the brilliantly blue waters. A small tremor shook her body. They were off.