Disclaimer- I make nothing, nor am I affiliated with any subsidiaries connected to C.S. Lewis or to the world of Narnia.
Eye on the Sparrow
The Sparrow still fell, but not without the fathers notice.
The sound of hooves packing in the freshly fallen snow; and the breathing of the horse and his rider was all that was heard. It was the day after the first big winter storm in Narnia, and the lands' youngest king was breaking away from the sympathy and sad eyes of his siblings. It was the first winter after his betrayal, and regretful memories linger when the reminders are everywhere you look. Lately, it reminded him to listen and be the Just king everyone expected. But some days the expectations of others are high, and words are said unintentionally, and feelings are hurt, and people run.
News travels fast, and Phillip had gotten wind of the small dispute between the brothers and had the stable hands saddle him up. Edmund sighed with some content knowing his friend understood him so well. They left at a gentle canter towards the woods a few miles from Cair Paravel. As they passed the first few trees Phillip slowed to walk. "So, what happened?"
Edmund closed his eyes;
He and his brother where drawing plans for an upcoming campaign North, to dispel all misgivings about the new monarchs and clear our any remaining forces of the witch. It was a very taxing strategy and many issues were arising.
"Ed, can you please be of some use for once, stop moping and help me plan this?"
"You know what I meant."
"No I don't think I do."
"You've been moping for weeks, and have been dragging your feet since the first sign of snow. Perk up and do something to get your mind off of whatever it is that's bothering you, this is not a very kingly way to behave Edmund."
"That's because I'm no king at all." He turned and walked away as stiff as a man on his way to his execution. Peter had called after him, but didn't follow.
"I'm not sure yet if I wanted him to follow or not. I'm trying, Phillip, I really am. But Peter and the others are royalty, they've possessed it since birth, and here I am trying to be one and failing miserably." Phillip came to a dead halt almost causing Edmund to slam forward into his equine friend. "Do you really think Aslan's grace just skipped you? You are every bit as worthy to wear that crown as your siblings. You are not only my king but my friend, and I will not tolerate you being so full of discontent towards yourself!" A stomp with his hoof helped emphasize his lat remark.
Just as Edmund was opening his mouth the reply they heard a muffled cry that made his heart ache.
"What was that?" Phillip turned his ears in the direction of the sound. "It's coming from that tree over their." Edmund slowly dismounted and walked towards the oak tree in question his hand on the hilt of Shafelm. As he got closer to the noise he could see movement coming from the base. Once he got within a foot of the tree he could make out that it was a bird.
It was a plain brown sparrow fighting it way to the top of the fresh snow. It was leaving a blood trail as it struggled. A wing was hanging at a precarious angle and its foot was sorely mangled. It looked as if it was going to be a winter snack for another animal, stored fresh for later. How this bird had survived Edmund would never know. He kneeled slowly not wishing to startle it even more. He removed his cloak and draped it over his hands, gathering the weak bird in its' warm folds. The sparrow squealed in terror and fought to no avail. Edmund held him close as the bird finally stilled and he hurried back to Phillip. The bird would die if not treated soon. "Back to the Cair, this little one needs help!"
Without hesitation Phillip turned back and hurried down the snow covered path.
The bird in Edmund hands chirped softly and began to close its eyes. Not knowing what else to do he tapped its beak and shook it a little. The bird opened its eyes again and fought to move. Still held close, it stopped and gave a warble in pain. "Please hurry Phillip!"
The return to his home was anything less than grand. With tear stained eyes he walked the stairs to his personal quarters still holding the sparrow close to his chest. He opened the doors to his chamber and Peter rushed from Edmunds chair to meet him. "Edmund! Are you alright? You're freezing! Why aren't you wearing your…Ed?"
With tears in his eyes Edmund opened his cloak some to reveal the dead sparrow.
"He didn't make it! We hurried! I held him, tried to keep him awake, but he just… He just fell asleep and wouldn't wake up. I tried, I promise I tried! I was going to help!" He collapsed into his brother's arms tears streaming and falling onto the precious gift he even now held close to his heart.
Long after the shades of the setting sun passed and the tears had stopped Peter was still holding his forlorn brother in a comforting embrace. "Alright?" He finally pulled away some to get a look at his younger brothers face.
Edmund glanced at the bird he was still holding. "Why? What was the point of me trying so hard when it just died in the end? Why did it have to die?"
"Death is a natural part of life Eddie; it comes for us sooner or later. Think upon it this way, the bird died yes, but now he's home with Aslan. Think also, that in his last moments, he was warmed loved and protected, which in the end is the point, you might not have been able to change the inevitable, But you did what you could, and gave your whole heart while doing it."
"I know Aslan never gives us more than we can handle, I just wish he didn't trust me so much."
Peter smiled and put his arm around his brother. "His trust in you is not misplaced, nor is mine. I waited in here to apologize for what I said to you earlier. It was uncalled for." Peter stroked the head of the sparrow gently as he whispered, "For you are and will always be a King."
That night in the garden the Pevensies gathered for a private ceremony. The little bird was buried with not a dry eye to be found among the handful of witnesses.
Peter had found a bird bath and it was used as a headstone. In spring, he said it would bring all sorts of birds so it would seem like the little Sparrow had visitors.
Lucy and Susan brought winter roses to plant, so every winter the little bird would have something pretty to smell.
Edmund brought nothing, save the lesson he learned through something so small.
'Ask of the beasts and they will teach you the beauty of this earth.' He glanced up at the moon and smiled as the echo of a sparrow chirping merrily to the decant of a purr.
A/N: I can't express enough appreciation to Elecktrum for doing the beta work on this thing I'd like to call a story. She did a masterful job, and showed me just how much harder I need to work to achieve the level I'd one day like to achieve. I took it down for a bit, because I felt so shamed keeping it up without using her beta job, but it's done and I'm content, so it's back up. Thanks to all for your support!