JUST AND MAGNIFICENT
Volume 3: The Price We Pay For Love
This chapter takes place approximately 16-19 years after the events of the movie. It is the last chapter of Just and Magnificent. It is AU and if you haven't figured out, contains slash and incest. Hopefully you find it handled in a way that is as pure as possible.
Summary: The Golden Age ends.
Warnings: Slash, Incest, Love, Romance, Adventure, Mystery, Action.
Disclaimer: Only characters that are mine are the Pretty Eyes People from Shian! And since they're all dead except Orrin, well I only own him now! Well actually, he's dead now so now I own no one! sniff Actually, a bunch of characters are OCs, but hey, what can ya do?All the rest belong to that master of awesomeness, C.S. Lewis.
This is the last chapter!
JUST AND MAGNIFICENT 3.15 – GOODBYE
A GOLDEN AGE
Thirteen years. That is how long it has been since the Dark War ended. When one who is many plunged the world into darkness. When fates were destroyed, renewed, and born.
There was no greater threat than that of the Dark War. The Golden Age of Narnia truly reigned in the time since that war ended. Peter the Magnificent, High King of all Narnia, Lord of Cair Paravel, and Emperor of the Lone Islands, led Narnia into a new age of peace. Initially he was aided by his husband, King Edmund the Just, and his youngest sister, Queen Lucy the Valiant.
Queen Susan the Gentle departed after the celebrations and ruled over The Lone Islands personally for three years before finally returning to Narnia when rumors began to surface that a new threat loomed for Narnia. A new threat that came in the form of a sick Queen Lucy, which seemed innocuous enough, but when other Narnian became sick, a more sinister plot was revealed.
Once more the four monarchs banded together and once more Narnia was saved. From that point on, Peter kept his family together at Cair Paravel. Though Narnia was faced with many trials since the Dark War ended, the Golden Age was a time of great prosperity and peace. Archenland remained a fierce ally to Narnia. Calormen, under the rule of Tisroc Lash became another of Narnia's allies.
As with all things, many lived and many died. Mrs. Beaver died one year after the death of her husband. Many say the grief of a broken heart finally claimed the lonely beaver. Queen Lucy was said to have taken the death especially hard.
General Oreius was lost in the Border Wars with Ettinsmoor seven years after the Dark War ended. King Peter gave his eulogy and a day of mourning was declared in honor of the loyal centaur. His death had a great impact on King Peter and he was known to have been in a somber mood for some time after his friend's death.
Queen Susan's hand was sought out by many, but she did not allow herself to be courted. Soon suitors gave up trying to win her hand for it was well known her love burned only for her dead husband. Though she was known to have been one of the fiercest warriors in the Dark War, it is widely believed she did not pick up another sword after its conclusion. Instead, she became a warrior of diplomacy. She would use her grace and intelligence to form treaties and agreements, and mediate disputes between foreign kingdoms.
Queen Lucy on the other hand was widely sought out by suitors. As she blossomed into a radiant young woman with a valiant heart and a warm smile, she was constantly courted. There were many times when it was believed she would marry a prince or a king from another land, but she never did. In fact, no one ever knew whether Lucy even found love. Yet she did not seem to despair in this thought, for as she often stated 'My love is my Narnia'. Indeed it was.
High King Peter and King Edmund were rarely apart and their marriage served as a source of inspiration for lovers of all kinds. Their largest separation however came during the Border Wars with Ettinsmoor. Though both kings set off to lead the defense of Narnia, King Peter was forced to return home early after sustaining a near fatal injury in the same ambush that claimed General Oreius's life.
As if the death of King Peter's friend was not enough, the separation from his husband made Cair Paravel a very sterile place to be. He spent six months recuperating. Six months without his doubt-bucket and husband, King Edmund the Just.
When the Border Wars were won successfully, King Edmund was welcomed home a hero at the head of the Narnian Army. He had been absent from Cair Paravel for a year, and away from his husband for over six months. Needless to say, High King Peter was said to be overwhelmed with tearful joy at the sight of his husband's return.
The marriage itself was seen as rock solid by all who knew the monarchs. Of course they were known to have some heated arguments that usually involved an infuriated High King Peter chasing down a brooding King Edmund. The public vilification of King Edmund prior to the Border Wars, and resulting threat of divorce was the only time the marriage seemed to truly be at risk. Yet no one ever doubted that they would work out their differences and reconcile, even after the most heated arguments.
However, a relationship that did not ever seem to fully reconcile was the one between King Edmund and Queen Susan. Though there was no animosity between them, they never seemed as closer as the other siblings. In fact, Queen Susan in general had a relationship that was somewhat muted in comparison to the other three monarchs. Some say it was because Queen Susan's heart had been too broken. Some say it was because she had never truly been forgiven for her attack on the two kings during the Dark War. Any talk of such a thing was quickly silenced by an angry Peter. His devotion to his sister would not allow such slander of falsities.
The Golden Age of Narnia was one that would live on in legend and song for a thousand years and more. It was an age of love, of prosperity, of joy. As with all things however, there must be an end. Unfortunately for Narnia, that end was about to come very soon.
A BIND THE NEVER BREAKS
"Can you believe how long have we been married, Doubt-bucket?" Peter asked as he sat at his study, writing a letter to Edmund.
It was a strange habit the two kings had begun. For their wedding anniversary each year, the kings would write a letter to the other expressing their love, thoughts on their marriage, and include the things they were grateful for. Peter believed it was an important way for the two kings to remember what a gift they had in their marriage. A way to keep their marriage fresh and to never take it for granted.
The years had been kind to both Peter and Edmund, as Kings of Narnia, as family, as husbands, as soul mates. They were now men, with Peter in his early thirties and Edmund not far behind. Since his time as a fallen had aged him somewhat, Edmund was now almost equal in age with Susan, leaving a gap of several years to Lucy who was still in her twenties.
Both Kings had been blessed with joy in their life that kept them youthful and radiant, both in spirit and body. The only time anyone felt Peter was looking less than his usual magnificent and brilliant self, was during the Border Wars when Edmund was away from home for a year. For the good of Narnia, their advisors and aides sought to maintain engagements and trips that involved both Kings remaining together.
"We have been married so long and yet not long enough, Peter." Edmund smiled, leaning down to hold Peter from behind, "My heart is as aflutter today as it was the day we married."
Peter responded by kissing Edmund's hand, before he continued his writing. He didn't really mind Edmund reading over his shoulder, for his heart was always open to his husband. His love had not waned in all these years, in fact it had grown – if that was even possible.
"I love you, Doubt-bucket." Peter whispered, kissing Edmund's hand once more as he was held.
Peter's eyes were laced with emotion, fueled by the strength of the words he wrote in his letter for Edmund. He stood up out of his chair so he could turn to face Edmund. Their fingers interlaced as he leaned forward and kissed Edmund's lips, his own lips aching with need and devotion.
Their kiss was interrupted by the trumpets heralding Susan's return from Calormen to visit her friend, Tisroc Lash. The Southern Alliance she had created in the Dark War remained strong to this day. This was mostly due to her maintaining good relations with both King Lune and Tisroc Lash. Tisroc Lash had long been rumored to harbor secret desires for Queen Susan, but Edmund believed Lash's respect for his friendship with Susan prevented him from asking to court her.
Edmund knew this mostly from the fact his duties as spymaster required him to keep tabs on matters of interest and most importantly, matters of security. He tried to limit his infiltration of allies governments, and mainly procured information that was already of a public or general nature. Though Calormen was still regarded as an ally, Edmund knew that were it not for Tisroc Lash, their relations would be far different. He had to maintain a close watch on the size of Calormen's armies at any one time, should unfortunate circumstances arise and Tisroc Lash meet a sudden demise.
Edmund himself had been responsible for preventing an assassination attempt on Tisroc Lash in Cair Paravel itself, which would have set up Narnia as the assassins. This would have led to war between the two states, but was thankfully averted due to Edmund's spy network procuring information revealing the sinister plot.
However, not all tasks required of Edmund as spymaster and Master of the Order were of such a noble sort. He was Peter's bloody right hand, often being responsible for 'tasks' that were of a nature that were best kept hidden. Thankfully these times were few and far between, but Edmund did what he needed to do to protect Narnia, Peter and his sisters, both physically and in reputation. What Peter didn't know, could not be blamed on him, and therefore Edmund carried the risk for both of them.
During the public debates that led to Narnia declaring war on an increasingly aggressive Ettinsmoor prior to the Border Wars, information broke out revealing that the Order of Justice and more specifically Edmund, had sanctioned operations that were unbecoming of Narnia. Edmund's orders to carry out such operations without his husband's knowledge protected Peter from the black taint that soon befell Edmund's name. Peter however, stood by his husband publicly and privately for he knew that Edmund did such things for Narnia and for himself.
The debates that brought Edmund's reputation into trial caused much grief for the two kings, Peter especially. He despised the attack on his husband's character and felt powerless to intercede in the court of public opinion, both foreign and domestic. When Edmund threatened divorce to distance his tainted name from Peter, the High King had what most considered a nervous breakdown.
Edmund broke the news in a public forum without giving Peter forewarning. At the height of accusations that stained his name, Edmund announced his intention to dissolve his marriage and renounce the throne. He stated that his actions were taken without the prior knowledge or permission of High King Peter. It was a move designed to protect both his siblings and Narnia in the eyes of the world.
Edmund immediately followed this public announcement by walking out of the public debate, leaving Peter a mess of disbelief. Though their marriage was already under strain, Peter never believed Edmund would go to such lengths to rectify the situation and protect his name. Edmund showed the intent in his announcement by moving out of his marriage chambers and into separate living quarters.
Peter was beyond irritable, almost irrational during this time of enforced separation from his husband. It was Susan, oddly enough, who inspired Edmund into rethinking his decision. She remembered the pain of Orrin sacrificing himself not only to protect Peter, but to reclaim his honor and thus remove any public taint that might come upon their marriage. It was this painful memory that drove her to speak to Edmund and implore him to rethink his decision. She told Edmund that such a decision would cause Peter more harm than good. It was a catalyst for change in Edmund's thinking that halted his noble gesture and caused Peter to sob openly on his knees in thanks.
Even now Peter shuddered to think Edmund would ever consider a life without him. Thankfully it was the only trial that truly threatened to separate the two king's marriage. Over time Peter managed to make his husband see that divorce would not protect him the way Edmund believed it would. By the time Peter led Narnia against Ettinsmoor in the Border Wars, his marriage to Edmund was well on the road to recovery. It would not be for another year however, after the Border Wars were won, that the two kings were able to take a well earned respite from their duties and pay much needed care and attention to their marriage.
"A bind that never breaks." Peter said softly, clasping Edmund's hand over his heart.
"A bind that cannot break." responded Edmund, brown eyes piercing into a sea of blue.
It was a statement the two kings made to one another following the Border Wars end. A statement Peter almost demanded from Edmund as a promise never again to threaten their union and marriage. No matter what was at stake, their marriage must never again be threatened. Their marriage was Peter's lifeblood and constant source of joy and strength. Yet the statement was not just a means to ensure their marriage was never threatened, but more a way for Peter to reinforce to Edmund that their love was a bind that would never break, would never die.
Peter kissed Edmund's forehead and then his lips, before leading Edmund by the hand to the door. It was time to officially greet their sister and welcome her home. Out of all the monarchs, Susan spent the most time abroad as there was always some foreign diplomacy to be taken care, some treaty or trade agreement to be settled.
"I will follow shortly, Peter." Edmund said, kissing Peter's hand and smiling, "Let me finish something first. By the time Susan reaches the throne room, I will be there."
"Very well, Doubt-bucket. Do not be late. We must not give Susan any reason to think you pay her return no favor."
Edmund nodded in agreement before Peter kissed him once more on the lips and left with a smile that said 'I will miss you'. It wasn't an overt statement, but a statement nonetheless that Peter seemed to make with every parting – be it a few hours or a few months. Each reunion would often be met with a warm smile and eyes that twinkled as if to say 'Now I am whole again'. It was small gestures like these that Peter seemed to make without even realizing. Small gestures that made Edmund appreciate even more the depth of love for his husband and their marriage.
Edmund sat down at his large oak desk, pulling out an intricately bordered parchment that was embossed with his official title. Next to his official title he added 'Doubt-bucket' with a smile on his face as he did so. This was of course his letter to Peter for their coming anniversary.
The parchment was already three quarters full with writing that was incredibly neat and perfectly structured, as if a mirror to Edmund's personality. There were however small sections where the tips of his letters would flare, particularly in sections that spoke of great and undying emotions. He completed the last section of his letter with words that flowed from his heart like a steady stream.
He signed it and stamped it with his official seal, before adding 'Doubt-bucket' to his signature and seal. The parchment had been sealed in a special wax so it would last for years beyond their deaths, thus allowing future Narnian to bear witness to the love they shared.
Edmund enclosed the parchment in a gold ribbon and sealed it with a kiss. With a warm smile of contentment he locked the letter in a small jeweled box with Peter's initials on it. He placed the locked box on top of Peter's dresser and placed the key inside the sheath of Peter's sword where it would lay hidden until Peter next used his sword. Half the fun of giving Peter the letter each year was making him try to find the key. For Edmund's anniversary box, Peter seemed to hide the key in rather obvious places. He always frowned when Edmund did not reciprocate in kind.
Edmund stood back, admiring his handiwork. With a content and excited smile, he turned and set off to welcome his sister back to Cair Paravel.
HOPE FOR THE FUTURE
"All hail, Queen Susan the Gentle!"
Narnian in attendance all bowed to greet the returning monarch. Peter, Edmund, and Lucy, all stood before their thrones awaiting with wide smiles. Though they were all well and truly adults now, either in or approaching their thirties, they still held a certain childlike innocence at times.
Susan held a statuesque form, for though she no longer fought as a warrior, she still trained like one. Over a decade since her gentle days in the Dark War, she still possessed the same fire and passion in her eyes. It was tempered with a hollow grief that had never truly healed. She was beauty without a cause in many ways.
Queen Lucy on the other hand was still as bright eyed and innocent as ever, though she too held the figure of a ripe and beautiful woman. While many seemed to understand Susan's reluctance to be courted, none could understand why Lucy was not married. She was strikingly beautiful, and her innocence melted the heart of many a man and even some women. From Calormene to Lone Islander, Dryad to Faun, Queen Lucy was highly sought out, but still she remained an innocent in all manner of the word.
"You should at least try it, Lu." Peter whispered with a smirk, "Edmund and I could not imagine living without this thing you seem to run away from."
"I don't need to be married. I have my family, my friends, my Narnian. I am complete." Lucy said with a bright smile, before she predictably broke from her position and rushed to hug Susan.
"She'll never marry." Edmund said leaning over to whisper in Peter's ear, "I don't know why you bother asking. I don't even think she likes men."
"Pity. I love them." smirked Peter, "Well … one man, Doubt-bucket."
"I should hope so."
"A bind that never breaks." whispered Peter, his eyes still tracing Susan's approach.
"A bind that cannot break." responded Edmund.
Edmund sighed happily, visions of the future flashing through his mind. Ten, twenty, thirty years from now, he wondered what life would bring himself and his husband. They had already enjoyed so many years together, but he truly felt as though life had only just begun. When he looked in Peter's eyes, he felt as if life would go on forever. He felt they could exist together in each other for the rest of time.
"Will you still love me when I am old, Peter?" Edmund asked with a curious smile.
Peter turned to him, one eyebrow arched up in contemplation, "Will you age well, do you think?"
"Peter!" Edmund gasped with wide eyes, before Peter broke out with a grin.
"Ask a foolish question and you shall receive a foolish answer, my love."
Peter took Edmund's hand, kissing him to ensure Edmund knew that no matter what time or life did to either of them, this love, this bind would never break. They stood together, their fingers interlaced as they waited for Susan to finish approaching. Edmund could not help but smile gratefully for the years he had received and excitedly for the years he had yet to receive. Life was grand, but love, true love … was … beyond words.
"Peter!" Susan said excitedly, greeting Peter with a sincere kiss and warm embrace, "Oh, I missed you."
"And I you, Su." Peter laughed, pulling her off her feet with the intensity of his hug.
"Hello, Ed." Susan said, considerably muted in comparison to her greeting to Peter.
Edmund kissed his sister on each cheek before clasping her wrists. Though their reunion seemed almost cool, Edmund knew that Susan was glad to see him. She proved this by kissing his cheek and giving him a light hug. They had never fully recovered from their fallout during the Dark War, but one could not doubt they loved each other.
"How was your trip, Su?" Edmund asked, kissing her hand before she sat down in her throne.
Edmund smiled at her sincerely before he took his place in his own throne to the right of Peter. For a time they sat as their loyal subjects paid homage to them. Fauns played flutes while dryad danced and lingered about.
"Did Su tell you?" Peter asked without taking his eyes from the entertainment.
"Tell me what?"
"She sighted a stag on her way into Cair Paravel."
"That's nothing new." Edmund shrugged.
"It was a white stag."
There are perhaps one or two moments in anyone's life where they realize that everything is about to change. For better or for worse. In this case, the latter. For Edmund, this was most definitely one of those moments.
Edmund realized in that one moment that his lifetime with Peter was over. Peter was going to leave him. Even though he had so many years with his husband, he truly still felt as if their life together was just beginning. Edmund did not know how long he had left, but he knew that a price he had long forgotten would now need to be paid. A price he promised to pay for love. A price that now he felt was too high.
No one knew why Edmund began weeping stoically in that moment, but he did. As his siblings clapped for the entertainment, silent tears streamed down Edmund's cheeks and he gazed despairingly at his husband and his sisters, for they would all be pulled from him. His mind flashed with memories of glances, caresses, kisses, and moments of simply being together. After years of joy, of love, of life, fate had come to call for him.
THE LAST NIGHT FOR LOVE
"What is it, Doubt-bucket?" Peter asked as the four siblings sat in the library enjoying a nighttime tea, "You've been quiet all day."
"No doubt he is trying to think of the most wonderful anniversary surprise for you, Peter." Lucy smiled brightly, "Isn't that right, Ed?"
"Whatever surprise I did manage, it would not be sufficient to declare my love." Edmund said with a faint smile, his eyes tinged with sadness as he covered Peter's hand with his own.
"Be ready to leave at first light for the hunt for the white stag." Susan said as she kissed Peter and Edmund goodnight.
Lucy did the same, before Susan led her sister away by the hand. The two kings were left alone, their hands clasped together. For a time, Edmund sat and listened as Peter read aloud a story written by a Shian playwright, long dead from the great genocide of SharShian. A tale of two lovers who met in the first age of the world and somehow transcended death to find one another.
Edmund could not help but wonder if the story were based on some truth. Filled with mentions of heaven and hell, of dark and light, and the first destruction of one who was many. Mention of a love that refused to be apart and only found rest when two hearts were reunited.
The ancient book had been a wedding gift from a long dead brother in law, Prince Orrin, the very last of the Shian. Though it had been over thirteen years since his death, Edmund could see pain in Susan's eyes when she thought no one was looking. Pain caused by witnessing before her what she would never have: love.
The soothing tone of Peter's voice filled Edmund with sweet memories of their life together. A life that would soon end. How and when exactly he did not know. He only knew it would be soon.
"And in the end … love found a way. They were never parted again." said Peter before closing the book.
"Do you believe in fairytales, Peter?"
"Of course, Doubt-bucket." Peter said kissing Edmund's hand, closing his eyes and letting out an adoring sigh.
"Do you believe in happy endings?"
"I've been living one from the day we were married. Well, except for that war that almost consumed the world. And the time when you threatened to divorce me before the Border Wars."
Peter yawned and Edmund took the book from him, stacking it away affectionately. Edmund held his hand out and Peter gratefully accepted. The two kings made the short trip from the library to their chambers in relative silence. Occasional smiles and the odd squeezing of their fastened hands were all that pervaded the stillness between them.
When they arrived back at their chambers, their bath had already been prepared and night clothes set out. Before Peter could remove his tunic, Edmund stepped behind and did it for him. Soon Peter stood naked, divested of his clothing before he returned the favor, helping Edmund to remove his.
For a time the two kings stood naked before one another, studying the other with adoring eyes. For Edmund, it was much more than just adoration, it was final rites. He knew Peter was about to leave him. He knew this would more than likely be the last moment of love they would share in this lifetime.
Love was made that night, in a way that words would be ill equipped to describe. Gasps filled with passion, kisses made with searing love. Tender touches and gentle caresses. It was the epitome of the love they had shared in their marriage.
They made love long into the night, aching, needing, wanting more than bodies could physically allow. For Edmund it was desperation and acceptance in one. For Peter, it was yet another moment of bliss between himself and his doubt-bucket. For both, it was love.
When breathless gasps filled the night and two kings lay recovering from a silent and emotional experience, Edmund lifted Peter off the bed and laid him in the still warm bath. The candles beneath the large gold tinged bathtub kept it heated just perfectly. Instead of joining him however, Edmund aside the bath and lovingly washed his husband.
From each toe to each finger, Edmund adored the body of his husband. He cleaned it painstakingly slow with visible emotion in his eyes. He kissed as he went along, ignoring Peter's silent urgings to join him or at least allow him to return the favor.
Not until he had washed Peter's golden locks did Edmund step into the bathtub and lay down with his husband. Back to chest, Edmund sighed, trying not to let emotion get the best of him. Peter washed his husband, though he was far more intent on keeping Edmund in his arms than he was on making sure he tended to every digit and every toe.
"I could not live without you, Peter." Edmund said softly, breaking the silence, "I would rather die."
"Well, perhaps we can arrange to both die at the same age when we're old and gray. How would that be, Doubt-bucket?"
"That would be wonderful, Peter. That would be a fairytale."
"Are you alright, Love?" Peter asked, sensing his husband's ominous tones.
"Fine, Peter. I'm just fine."
"I was thinking that next week we could take a trip to Galma. I know we have engagements, but if Roan flies us there and back, we can spend at least a day there between the Welfare Guild meeting and the Army review."
"Roan is not as fast as he used to be." sighed Edmund with a melancholy smile, "My loyal friend is getting so old."
"He has many good years left in him, just as we do. We're still young. We're not even halfway yet. Why this melancholy mood, Doubt-bucket?"
"I just … I can't believe how fast time has gone by. I want it all back, Peter. I want to do it again." Edmund said with strained tears in his eyes, "I want another lifetime with you."
"As long as it's with me, you can have as many lifetimes as you want."
Edmund closed his eyes, shuddering with tears that escaped him. He turned and pulled himself into Peter's arms, kissing his neck. Peter's arms were strong and securing around him, making him feel as if perhaps this night would never end.
When finally they found their bed sheets, Edmund did not sleep. Long after Peter had whispered his 'I love you' and journeyed to slumber, Edmund remained awake. In fact, Edmund did not sleep at all that night. He stayed awake, holding Peter or being held by him. He would gaze at Peter's face until dawn came and illuminated his magnificent husband. And when that sun rose, Edmund truly believed it would be the last time he witnessed such a thing.
The hunt for the White Stag was well underway and the four monarchs were almost upon the creature. They had no intention of killing it. This was merely an exercise to test their hunting abilities. A chance for the four of them to take some much needed respite and enjoyment from their busy lives.
Peter's grin was infectious as he galloped along on his mighty steed. Susan and Lucy were right behind him, though Edmund was falling back. His steed, Phillip, slowed to a canter and Edmund rubbed his neck affectionately.
"You alright, Phillip?"
"I'm not as young as I once was." responded Phillip.
"Come on, Ed!" Susan laughed, cantering back to Edmund.
"Just catching my breath." Edmund smiled and nodded, a strange sense of foreboding coming over him as he did so.
As Lucy and Susan mocked him playfully, Edmund noticed Peter dismounting his horse and staring at a strange … lamppost? Edmund dismounted himself and stepped up to the familiar object that was covered in leaves. His brow furrowed in anxiety as the others seemed to be curious about the sight before them.
"It seems familiar." Peter said with a contemplative tone.
"Spare Oom?" Lucy said, the word seeming to spark a curiosity in her eyes.
Lucy soon set off into the thickets behind the lamppost with Peter and Susan chasing after her. Edmund however, sensing that his time had come, remained behind with Phillip. As if sensing that this was in fact a moment of significance and their masters would not return, the other three horses wandered off.
"You can go too, Phillip." Edmund said with a sad smile, "Go with them."
Phillip hesitated at first, but did as asked. When Phillip wandered away, Edmund turned back to the thicket to see Peter and Susan coming back for him. Peter ran to him, grabbing Edmund's hand with a smile.
"Come on, Doubt-bucket." Peter said as he led Edmund along, "Before she gets away from us! Wait, where have the horses gone?"
"I will tend to them, Peter. Go on ahead." Edmund said with a reassuring smile, "Before she loses you."
"Alright." Peter smiled, kissing Edmund's hand, "We will not be long. We'll just chase down that rather wild sister of ours and bring her back."
Edmund did not let go of Peter's hand when Peter tried to leave. He found his resolve sorely lacking and he could not let Peter go. He bit back tears successfully, managing somehow to keep a composed demeanor, even though his heart was in the deepest turmoil.
"I love you, Peter." Edmund said with a strained smile, "A bind that never breaks."
"A bind that cannot break." Peter said with a small laugh, "Are you alright, Doubt-bucket?"
Edmund only nodded in response with a tight lipped smile. Peter cupped his face, kissing him one last time, no doubt the last time Edmund would ever feel such a joy. He closed his eyes and felt those lips against his, doing his very best to stave off his tears.
When he opened his eyes, Peter was running off after Susan, both filled with laughter. Edmund watched him leave, tears now running free as he whispered an 'I love you' that spoke more than three words could ever possibly convey. It was love in its purest form, unwavering and never ending. It was emotion that poured from the very depths of his soul. It was thanks for the years, for the joy, for the love.
END OF A GOLDEN AGE
As Peter followed Susan through the thicket, he found himself having to close his eyes so they would not get jabbed by the sharp ends. Soon however, he felt something rather soft mingling with the thicket. Something that felt like fur. When he opened his eyes it was completely dark around him and he could himself bumping into Susan who in turn bumped into Lucy ahead. Their cries were getting somewhat strained and they almost sounded like children.
"Peter, get off my foot!" Susan yelled.
"I'm not on your foot!" He yelled back.
All too soon he crashed forward into a blinding light. When he opened his eyes, he found himself and his sisters in a room. A room that was … in the professor's house?
As if a dream given life, Peter smiled in confusion at his sisters as old memories came flooding back into his mind. They had stepped back through the wardrobe. Only now he was young again, as he was when he entered the wardrobe.
The three siblings shared a laugh before Peter turned to the wardrobe and his face fell in horror. Three siblings. A knowing glance passed between the three of them, Susan and Peter especially. Edmund was not with them.
A TIME TO REST
As Peter disappeared from his eyes for the last time, Edmund fell to his knees breaking into heaving sobs. He cried out with a piercing scream that surely reached the heavens. Yet as he screamed he felt a strange tingling all over his body. His hands were changing before his very eyes. He touched his hands to his face and felt it too changing beneath his fingertips.
"Son of Adam … it is time ..." Aslan said as he emerged through the trees.
"Aslan …" Edmund gasped, disbelieving that he had seen the great lion after years apart, "What is happening to me?"
"The bond is broken. There is no more magic. You return now to the state of which Peter first loved the life back into your fallen body."
Edmund's head hung in despair as he began rubbing his arms and a body that was young once more. He felt suddenly cold as tears streamed out of his pained eyes. His love had left him, the bond was broken, the magic undone. Peter was gone.
"I'm so cold, Aslan." gasped Edmund, staring anxiously at the great lion, "I'm so cold."
Edmund felt his body growing colder, his arms and hands slowly draining of color. It seemed that as he drained of love, he drained of life. There was no more bond. There was no more magic.
"Aslan, I should like to go to sleep now." Edmund sobbed, his heart feeling colder than any other part now, "Can I go to sleep now?"
"Yes, my son." Aslan said with a sadness in his voice, "You may sleep. You may sleep."
As a cold wind filled the air, Edmund laid down on the ground. His eyes were still wracked with tears as he felt the loss of his heart, his hope, his Peter. He stared at the space that Peter had last been and stretched out his hand, hoping for a miracle that would never come.
"Oh Peter …" He cried out with despairing tears, "Oh my Peter …"
His body grew ever colder as leaves began blowing about him, covering him like a blanket. As his eyes grew dim and the life continued to fade from his body, he held his hand out to a Peter who would never come. His lifetime was over.
"Peter …" whispered a weak Edmund, pain still lingering in his broken voice, "I … love … you …"
Those were the last words spoken by King Edmund the Just in this lifetime. The life faded from his eyes, still tracing desperately for a miracle – his Peter. The last words on his lips spoke of a love that had brought him life. A love that had defied fate and denied death.
Leaves slowly covered Edmund's face, his hand still reaching out in front of him, even in death. At the very end, he still wanted his Peter. King Edmund the Just then breathed his last breath before falling into shadow and thus ending the Golden Age of Narnia.
JUST AND MAGNIFICENT
Peter picked himself up off the ground, only to find he had landed on a … a ring? He picked it up, realizing in an instant what it was – a wedding ring. In fact, it was Edmund's wedding ring. Beneath the wedding ring was a note in Edmund's handwriting.
It was worth it, my love. You were worth it. Do not despair. I am with you. I am with you all. Remember me, and I will linger in your heart. I am grateful to have had your love, and the life that we have shared. Remember me. Remember us. I love you.
All too suddenly, Peter's mind reeled with the implications of this note. Edmund told him that one day Peter would find his wedding ring. That it had not been lost, but that only Peter could find it. He also told Peter that he would leave him when their lifetime was over. It was something Edmund had feared and that Peter had forgotten about, but right now it felt as though he would never forget it.
"No …" Peter cried, oblivious to the sounds of the door opening and professor walking in, "No!"
Peter jumped to his feet and ran back into the wardrobe. Only this time he did not find trees or a dream or even salvation. All he found was a wooden wall.
He banged on the wall with all his might, crying out with pain filled tears. This could not be happening. This was all a nightmare. It could not be true. He had left Edmund just as he promised he never would.
"Edmund!" He cried out, banging the wall of the wardrobe so hard that it began to crack beneath his fists, "Edmund!"
"Let me back in!" Peter yelled, still banging with all his might, "Let me back in!"
Cry as he might, sob as he did, he did not receive a warm reprieve from his horror. He did not receive the sight of auburn eyes that were laced with love that he thought would never end. And as that painful realization set in that his Edmund was gone, he fell to his knees, sobbing against the wall.
"Edmund!" Peter cried out, his entire body tensing with his scream.
His sisters ran in beside him, but he paid them no heed. They both seemed to understand what had happened and joined Peter in his sobs, completely ignoring of the professor's enquiries as to their state of being.
"Why didn't you tell me?" Peter gasped with pain in his voice that he had never known before, "I didn't want to leave you! Why didn't you tell me? I want my Edmund … please … I want my doubt-bucket … oh Aslan, please …"
He banged feebly against the wall, too overcome with his grief to be of any force. He collapsed against the wall, sobbing and writhing in disbelief and anguish. His Edmund, his love, his very soul was no more.
He could not speak for his wailing and despair. Even as Susan tried to rock him, he knew no peace. His heart cried out for those warm brown eyes and that sincere smile. His heart cried out for his doubt-bucket. His heart cried out for Edmund.
Peter's lifetime was over. His reign in a land of magic and wonder, fantasy and adventure was now over. His love, his marriage, had been consigned to history.
For a time, for a lifetime, Peter had known joy beyond anything else. A joy that he now realized had a devastating counter; despair. It was a joy that was inspired by hope and filled with love. A joy born of a marriage and a love that he never thought would end.
A golden age had ended. A reign of four monarchs at Cair Paravel was over. A bond had been broken. A love had been denied. For all the pain that Peter felt, he still could not help but realize the depth of love he still felt. A love he would always feel. A love that carried a terrible price that had now been paid. A love that for a lifetime, indeed for an age … was … just and magnificent.
- The End -
A/N: It's over! My baby's over. sobs and wails I'm going to go away now and bury my head in tissues. I'm sorry to everyone who is disappointed with that ending, but it was always going to be this way. There was never going to be a reprieve. This story would always end how it began – with Edmund's death, with Peter losing Edmund. But you know, they had their lifetime and it was good. It was great.
If you have enjoyed this story, I hope you let me know and tell me why. It helps Sub see whether and where the Subby writing was good or not. And it's just nice to know that people appreciate something I do. Argh, I'm going to cry now. I suck as an author, because I get too emotionally invested in my stories.
Despite the ending, I truly hope that you have enjoyed reading Just and Magnificent as much as I have absolutely adored writing it. It pains me to say goodbye to it. I almost didn't want to post the last chapter because I didn't want to see it end. But it must end and it has. Please read and review if you liked Just and Magnificent!
If by some evilness you wish to endure more of my writing, read on ...
I've always left myself plenty of opportunities to write mini series or sideficcies. The biggest miniseries I would like write is Just and Magnificent: Border Wars, which if you read this chapter again, you'll realize what it alludes to. Also the Lucy and Susan mini series as well that are set pre 'The Final Battle'. I would very much like to write them.
Just and Magnificent is over. This story was my take on The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe. Just and Magnificent's sequel … yes, sequel, will be based on Prince Caspian. I always said Peter would leave. I didn't say he wouldn't come back. For those who have read the seven books, you will know that Peter returns to Narnia in Prince Caspian. And I will tell you this. That story WILL have a happy ending. I don't care if I'm ruining things by telling you that. But what that happy ending is? You'll just have to read and find out. I always knew that JaM would have this ending, I just didn't know how long it would take me to get here. I have been planning this sequel to JaM since Volume 2, weaving little details that you might have skipped over, making no sense before. But if you read them now with the understanding there is a sequel, you might go 'Holy shit, Sub! You were planning this all along?' And yes, you would be right. First scene of Damaged: Part 1 gives you many clues. There are dozens of them through Volume 2 and even more in Volume 3. Many in this chapter as well.
The sequel to 'Just and Magnificent'
1000 years after the Golden Age ended, Peter, Susan, and Lucy are summoned back to Narnia after Prince Caspian calls for aid with Susan's magic horn. No longer monarchs in their former land, they find the world has changed to a much darker place than the one they left. A warrior stalks the land, causing havoc to Miraz's armies who seek to quell any evidence of a land where animals talked and mythical creatures lived. This Narnia is a land of men with cold hearts and greed in their eyes. A land where a Dark War a thousand years earlier has left a mark on this world beyond what Peter could have expected. Balance was never truly restored as Peter learns when news from Salei Barion reaches him. In Peter's last adventure in Narnia, he must put right the wrongs of the past while helping Prince Caspian to build a new future.
Main Cast of Characters:
Peter the Magnificent
Lucy the Valiant
Susan the Gentle
That's right. Edmund is not a primary character in this story. But of course he is mentioned and even though he is not alive in this story, Peter's love for him still makes Ed a powerful influence on the story. I do not expect Beyond Magnificent to be anywhere as long as JaM. I have the story mapped out in my head and it's probably shorter than Volume 3 of JaM altogether. I will probably post it on for those of you loyal few who read JaM. Once again, expect canon to go out the window, but that should be accepted by now.
However, Edmund will appear in the Just and Magnificent Sidefics: Border Wars, Curse of the Valiant/Return of the Gentle. These fics take place in the golden age of JaM between 'Celebration' and 'Goodbye'.
NB: There is also short series that I wrote called 'Just Peter Pevensie', which is set in the real world following Peter's departure from Narnia in Just and Magnificent. I have changed canon(again) so that the space of time in the real world between JaM(LWW) and BM(PC) is about three years as opposed to the one year between LWW and PC. I am uncertain as to whether I will post Just Peter Pevensie on If you wish to read it, message me and I'll email it to you. Beyond Magnificent will be my last Narnia series featuring the Pevensies.