I wasn't entirely sure of the age, because CS Lewis doesn't really mention them, does he? I did re-read The Lion the Witch and The Wardrobe, but I didn't see it anywhere. Still, I think Sara Wolfe makes him fifteen, and seeing as this is over half her story, I'll stick with that!
DISCLAIMER: I don't own The Narnia Series - that's the estate of CS Lewis. Nor do I own the basic idea behind this story, that Edmund got in first, or Chapter one and half of Chapter 2 - that's property of Sara Wolfe and her awesome story 'Trial by Fire'. However, all plot twists from here on in are my own.
The pair of them waited about a week for Peter and Susan to come back with Lucy. Edmund had been worrying that it would be more than five years – "If it was five years here, but only a minute for Lucy to get in, will five minutes be twenty five years?" – but Philip reassured him that time's relativity depended on Aslan, and Aslan wouldn't let them wait twenty five years.
"You'd be nearly forty years old, Edmund!" he snickered, "And no use in a battle against the Witch."
They didn't dare to practice any sword play, though Edmund did practice a little of the unarmed combat he had been taught by Oreius. The problem with being taught unarmed combat by a centaur, as Edmund had soon found out, was that he only had two legs – and he didn't really have the height to pull off the arm movements, either, even now that he had grown so much more than his ten year old self.
In the end, Oreius and Edmund had sat down and modified the centaurs' ancient techniques into something far more workable for humans – though, as Edmund pointed out, he'd have to be attacking someone who didn't have a sword, so they'd be defenceless, and, as they wouldn't know the skill Edmund was using, he'd be attacking a completely helpless foe. Edmund's sense of honour rebelled against that, until Oreius – and Philip – had pointed out that sometimes, dishonourable things had to be done in war, and just how dishonourable was it to attack a person who would kill you in your sleep?
None of the moves Edmund used were complex, as neither of them knew exactly what they should be styling their moves on. The time when his moves worked the best was when he was on Philip, and could react more like a centaur than a human, with Philip providing the kicks, and Edmund the swordplay, or the punches.
When Edmund wasn't practicing, and Philip wasn't exercising his stiff muscles, they were looking for food, or talking. They were careful not to talk about anything important, always remembering the originally light-hearted Narnian saying: "Always remember that the trees have ears!". Since the Witch arrived, this saying had taken on a much more ominous meaning, so battle plans, talking about Aslan's camp and any of the people in it was out. On the other hands, they had been the firmest of friends for five years, and subject matter was never really an issue.
Although they were wary for spies, the two of them never noticed the grey shapes which occasionally moved in the trees, their eyes fixed on the horse and boy, always watching and listening and waiting.
On the seventh day, Edmund woke feeling surprisingly cheerful, for someone who had been living on scrounged, half-grown fruit for a week. To begin with, it had upset his stomach, and he had terrible cramps – but there was just nothing else to eat, and he couldn't trust anyone who lived around Lantern Waste to give him food and not tell the Witch, so he'd carried on eating it, and eventually got used to it.
"You're looking extremely happy." Philip remarked, when he woke.
"Yes." Edmund agreed, cheerfully. "I am, rather. How are you?"
"Oh, just wonderful." Philip grumbled, scrambling to his hooves. "Really great. I'd forgotten what it was like to sleep in snow every day – but I'm beginning to remember, and to remember just how much I didn't like it."
"Well, at least we'll soon be on our way home." Edmund shrugged.
"How can you be so sure?" Philip asked, "We could be here several more weeks."
"Oh, Philip," Edmund smirked, "How many times do I have to tell you that Time is relative?"
Philip made a mock lunge at him, which Edmund dodged very successfully. He then ruined it by slipping on the snow, and ending up flat on his back. Philip hastily muffled his laughter (which tended to be rather loud), but that did stop some rather undignified giggles escaping.
Edmund sat up and glared at him, and was about to speak, when a rather amused voice said,
"I'm sorry – have we interrupted something?"
Edmund stood up and turned to see his brother and sister staring at him, smiling but still confused, and Lucy grinning widely at him.
He gave a little bow. "Welcome to Narnia, my Prince. My Princesses."
"Oh, Ed, you are funny!" Lucy said, giggling herself, and cannon-balling into her older – now eldest – brother. "See, I told you I'd do it. It only took a few minutes!"
"Did you tell Lucy to drag us out of bed and into the freezing cold?" Susan demanded. "Because I don't think much of it…"
"Susan, do be quiet." Edmund said, rather exasperated "Honestly, I know that you were sleeping soundly, but if you get over the fact that you're outside in the snow when you were tucked up in bed, you're in a magical land, in the back of a wardrobe! Isn't that the part you should be focussing on?"
She flushed a little. "Well, yes, I suppose so." She murmured. "I'm sorry."
Peter took a step forward, looking at Edmund a little warily, just as Lucy had done. "I'm sorry – but who are you?"
"Peter!" Lucy said, surprised, "Can't you see it's Edmund?"
"No, Lu, he can't." Edmund said, gently, "Just like you couldn't, remember? I've changed a lot, and you've had time to get used to it, but he's never seen me before."
"Look here," Peter interrupted, "You can't be Edmund. Edmund's younger than me, and he's not here, anyway. He just went off to get a glass of water – so who are you, really? Don't pretend to be my brother."
"But Peter, I really am Edmund." Edmund told him, still rather perturbed by the fact that he was looking down at Peter, even if only by a little. "I still have my birthmark and everything – and that scar I got from playing cricket with you when we were little – and I've still got, oh, I don't know… that pink scar where I skinned my knees ages and ages ago…"
Peter was staring at him, as was Susan. "Edmund…" Susan breathed, taking a step forward. "How… How are you so much older, though?"
"I'm older," Edmund said, slowly, "Because I've been here a long time. Long enough to know that we should all be going pretty quickly, because we're going to get quite a bit of attention if we're not…" in the distance, a wolf howled, and Edmund flinched, "careful." He finished.
He gestured Philip forwards. "May I introduce my friend, Philip?" he said, formally, "Philip, you know Lucy, and the blond boy is Peter, and the older girl is Susan."
Peter and Susan were staring at him as if he was completely insane. "Edmund…" Peter began.
"It's alright, Peter, Philip speaks!" Lucy piped up, and the two (supposedly) eldest turned their worried looks on her, instead.
"Lucy, you know that that's not possible." Susan said, soothingly. "And I thought you grew out of pretending that animals talked?"
"Oh, stop trying to be so grown up, Susan!" Lucy snapped. "And anyway, Philip really does!"
"Indeed I do, your Highnesses." Philip interjected, dryly, and Susan and Peter gaped. "But I think the time for arguing about reality is past. If you would all climb aboard, please, we can get away from here – to somewhere we really can talk."
Susan and Lucy scrambled onto Philip's back, but when Peter saw that Edmund had no intention of doing the same, he sighed, and stayed on the ground with him. "I suppose you're walking?"
"Yes, I am." Edmund nodded. "But I know I can outrun the wolves, or at the very least outfight them. If wolves come, I want you to promise me that you'll get up on Philip and stay with the girls."
"Can – Philip – carry all three of us?"
"I've carried heavier weights than you three children, you Majesty." Philip himself answered. "And doubtless, I will again. If you won't give Prince Edmund your word, you shall give it to me."
"I promise." Peter said, a little reluctantly. "But I do think that you might let me stay and help you, Ed, if it comes to a fight."
"Your Majesty doesn't have the same training as Edmund. The Prince is a warrior; you are a child. Doubtless you'll grow into a fine, strong king, and a warrior too," Philip had already started walking. "But until that day, let Edmund get on with it. He can't fight a battle and protect you, you know."
Peter blushed hotly. "I know." He said. "So, Ed… tell us all about this place – Narnia, did you call it?"
As they walked, Edmund explained about the Witch, and the one hundred years of winter – but never Christmas. He explained about the growing resistance movement led by Aslan, about the wolves who were Jardis' secret police, and even told them about the prophecy which concerned them, and meant that they had to be so very careful.
"And if Aslan knew how things had turned out," he finished, "I'm sure that he'd have sent people to protect us, and help us, and would have told us how to do this, who we could trust, and he'd have made sure we were better prepared. As it is, I think he meant for me to go through the Wardrobe, and prepare back there, in England, I mean."
"Why didn't you?" Susan asked, reasonably.
Edmund looked at her, solemnly. "Su, if I had come to you, looking like the child I was, and told you I'd found a magical land in a wardrobe, where we were to rule as Kings and Queens, what would you have thought?"
"I'd have thought you were pulling my leg." She admitted. "I see now. Of course it was more sensible to ask Lucy to come and fetch us – but how did you meet Lucy?"
"She'd already found Narnia, hadn't you, Lu?" Edmund grinned at her. "And I knew you trusted Lucy, and if you didn't believe her, you would at least have followed her, just to humour her. You wouldn't have done that for me."
"We were really horrible to you, weren't we, Ed?" Peter said, sadly, and Edmund flashed him his wide smile.
"No worse than I was to you. Hey, Philip, what's that noise?"
"What noise, Edmu… oh. Peter, on my back!"
Peter looked round, and saw four grey shadows, streaking across the snow towards them, baying out a warning, and a command to stop. "Oh!" he said, as if he'd been hurt, but without further ado, Edmund booted him up onto Philip, and said, fiercely,
"Grip with your knees, and don't let go – Peter, look after the girls, and don't, whatever you do, don't fall off. Make sure you stay together all of you. Now, we must run."
For a while, Edmund managed to stay up with the horse, who was only cantering, but it wasn't going to be long before the wolves were too close to stay so slow. Finally, Edmund panted out,
"It's no good – you must gallop, Philip. I'll be alright. I see you back at the camp."
"Aslan speed, Edmund!" Philip murmured, and, with a horse's high scream, leapt forwards into a gallop. Edmund watched them for a few seconds, before turning back, drawing his sword, and facing the wolves.
Thanks, as always, to everyone who reviewed, they mean a lot. Please tell me what you think of this chapter - I know it's cliched, but I rather liked it... ;-)
lol, ami xxx