"I say, this place looks familiar. Does any one know where we are?" Peter halted his horse and looked up at the tall hill silhouetted against the setting sun. His three siblings stopped beside him.
"I'm not sure," Susan replied. "It does look familiar."
"It's the hill of the Stone Table!" Lucy burst out suddenly.
"By Jove, you're right! We haven't been here since before the Battle of Beruna. Let's go up and have a look around, shall we? The view of the Cair is splendid from there."
"I don't know, Peter, its getting late and we ought to be heading home."
"Oh come off it, Su. There's nothing up there that will hurt us. Besides, the leopards will be here shortly."
Susan nodded reluctantly. The four monarchs left their horses at the foot of the hill and climbed up. Lucy was excitedly remembering every detail of the first time they had climbed the hill; Susan remained quiet, she was remembering the second time.
"…and then we saw that tree that was a cherry tree and it was all white with blossoms! Don't you remember, Peter?"
"Of course I remember," Peter grinned affectionately at his youngest sister. "What did you think of it Ed?"
Edmund shrugged. "I can't say I saw much. It was dark and I think I was half unconscious."
"Oh, I'm sorry, Edmund. I'd all but forgotten," Peter winced.
"It's nothing. What's done is done. There is no need to fret about what is past."
"Right." There was silence for a space as all three were lost in their memories of that first time to see Aslan. Lucy was the first to speak.
"Oughtn't we to be nearly there now? I don't remember it taking this long."
"Of course we are, Lu. It's just…By the Mane! What devilry is this?" As Peter was speaking, they topped the crest of the hill and saw the flat top of the hill. The Stone Table, broken in two, was right in front of them.
"Oh!" Lucy gasped.
"Who would dare to deface this place in such a manner?" Peter exclaimed. "I swear if I get my hands on him, I'll…"
"It was Aslan's doing, Peter," Susan broke in quietly. "He broke the Table."
"What? How came you to know this?"
"I was there; we were there, Lucy and I, when it happened. He came back to life and the Table broke."
"Came back to life? What on earth are you talking about? When was he ever dead?" Peter was looking back and forth at his two sisters, both of whom now had tears in their eyes.
"I think you'd better sit down and tell us the story," Edmund gestured to the ground before following his own advice. "It happened on the night before the Battle of Beruna didn't it?"
Lucy nodded. "We couldn't sleep and we saw Aslan leaving the camp and we followed him. He saw us and told us to walk with him. We put our hands in his mane and walked all the way back to here. Then he told us to leave him and we hid in some bushes and saw, we saw…" Lucy burst into sobs and buried her face in Susan's shoulder.
"We saw the witch and her minions," Susan continued, gently stroking the younger girl's hair. "Aslan walked up to them and they all drew back. But the witch commanded them and they feared her more than him. They beat Aslan, bound him, shaved him, muzzled him, and dragged him to the Stone Table. They mocked him, the brutes, they laughed at him, the witch said that he was a fool to think that by giving her his life, Aslan could save Edmund's then she said something else, and then she pulled out her knife and…Oh! I can't bear it!"
"It's all right, Susan. It's all right. I think I know the rest," Edmund stood from his seat and walked over to the Table. She took her knife and killed him. He gave his life for mine. Aslan died in the traitor's stead."
"You mean that Aslan died that night on the Stone Table?" Peter's voice was incredulous. "But I saw him! I saw him leap from the hills to crush the witch; he crowned me, you, all of us! Don't tell me it was all a dream, that I was imagining that it was Aslan!"
"You weren't dreaming, Peter, we all saw him," Edmund turned to Lucy, "He didn't stay dead did he. Aslan came back to life." It was not a question.
"Yes," Lucy's tears were gone now and her eyes were shining. "Just before dawn, Susan and I were walking along the edge of the cliffs, looking at Cair Paravel, when we heard this awful cracking sound behind us. When we turned around, Aslan was gone and the Table was broken. We were scared but then Aslan came out and we saw him. He told us that though the witch knew the Deep Magic from the Dawn of Time, she didn't know the Deeper Magic from Before the Dawn of Time. He said that, that…what was it, Susan?"
"That when a willing victim who has committed no wrong is killed in a traitor's stead, the Deep Magic will be appeased and death itself will start working backwards."
"Yes, and then we played tag for a while, and what a romp it was! Then Aslan roared and we rode on his back to the witch's castle. And then…well, you know the rest of the story."
Peter whistled through his teeth. "All this time I've thought, and most of Narnia still thinks, that Aslan just took you two girls with him to fetch reinforcements from the witch's castle. I never knew."
"Let them think that," Susan said. "They don't need to know. I'm sure they'll just start blaming us."
"No." The quiet sternness in Edmund's tone brought all eyes to him. "No. They need to know. If Aslan was willing to give his life for a traitor's, what more would he be willing to do for those who love him? If I had been sure of this sooner, I would have proclaimed it to everyone already."
"You thought this might have happened?" Peter demanded. "You thought Aslan had died and risen but you never said anything? How come?"
"He told me it might be necessary. That morning before the witch came. He told me. Now I want everyone to know. Will you help me to bear it?"
"Of course we will, Ed," Susan stood and wrapped her arms protectively around her younger brother. The other two joined the hug.
"Of course we will," Peter echoed. "That's what a family is for."
"Now shouldn't we be getting back to the horses?" Lucy asked as they released each other. "The leopards are probably here by now."
"What! Lucy's being practical? What has the world come to?" Peter exclaimed and led the laughing group back down the hill.
Thus it came about, that at the first signs of spring, a great festival was held in Narnia, not only to celebrate the end of winter, but also to commemorate the time of Aslan's great sacrifice and ultimate victory over the witch. As the sun set on the western horizon, someone would begin the tale of how four children came from the land of Spare Oom. In the darkest part of the night, the story of Aslan's sacrifice would be related and at dawn's first light, all would spring up and shout for joy and the celebration would begin. If you were to look for the four monarchs of Narnia, you would most likely find them on the hill of the Stone Table watching the sunrise and remembering what had happened at that place however many years ago.
I've noticed that in most of the fics I've read, everyone but Edmund seems to know about Aslan's sacrifice. The thing is, only Susan and Lucy of all the Narnians were even there. It made me think of what it might have been like for Peter to find out. I got the idea of Edmund knowing that Aslan might have had to die in his place from someone's comments on narniaweb. I can't remember who it was but between that and wondering what Peter would have thought, I got this. Hope you like it!
Thalion, Daughter of the King of kings