Author's Note: If you have the movie soundtrack, put 'A Narnian Lullaby' on repeat while you read this. This story follows Night's Song, but can be read as a stand-alone, though I do suggest you read the other one first.
This would be the second thing I'd do in Narnia...
Peter pulled his light blue cloak closer around his body; it was not cold in the Narnian summertime, but it was night, and the wind was cool as his horse sped him into the darkness. Far above, yet closer than all the stars of our world, the Spearhead shone, guiding the king in his midnight search.
Branches dripped silver in the moonlight, sweeping past Peter in beautiful filigree patterns. Though he felt the magic in the wood, it was not the trees that the High King had come for. He was looking for a break in the dense forest, a certain clearing where he would see the fate of his kingdom.
Finally the trees thinned out, and he caught a glimpse of reddish hair in the dim light. Reining in his horse, Peter slowed cautiously and dismounted when he reached the edge of the clearing. He whispered to his horse, and though the animal could not speak, it knew that its master wanted him to stay within the protecting trees.
Peter turned and walked onto the open ground. Three great figures rose silently as he approached – great horses, great men, the wisest creatures in Narnia.
"Greetings, my lord King," said the oldest centaur, Calnath. He bowed from the waist in centaur fashion, and the two others followed his lead.
Peter returned the bow, then said, "Greetings, wise ones. I hope the night finds you well."
"It does indeed, my lord. And what of yourself?"
Peter hesitated. "I am well, and I thank you. Yet there are things I wish to know."
"There are many things to know, High King, but only a few are known." Calnath replied gravely.
The young king inclined his head, acknowledging the wisdom of the centuar's words. "You study the paths of the stars," he stated. "Tell me – what do they speak of?"
"Many things, Sire, many things. You are not here to listen to us tell of the dances of the heavens or the goings-on in other lands."
"Indeed I am not," Peter said, not surprised at the perceptiveness of the astronomer. He took a step forward, raising his head to look at the centuars towering above him. "Do they speak of peace for Narnia? We have spent the last year fighting the scum the Witch left behind, and though the greater part is defeated, they still attack our lands. When will we be rid of her evil?"
The three were silent. Finally Calnath spoke. "You ask much, lord King. Come – we will seek your answers."
The centuars led Peter to the middle of the clearing and sat down, horse-fashion, on their sides. Peter took a seat next to Calnath, then decided to lie on his back when he learned what the old creatures had in mind. He, too, gazed up into the heavens, eyes drinking in the brilliant flecks of light that were flaming suns.
"You know the Narnian sky, my lord, as well as any Son of Adam can be expected to. But that is not even a beginning to the art; you have, perhaps, simply learned the first letters of its alphabet. There is a history to the stars, and a life, for they are not merely giant spheres of fire but living beings. They dwell close to the Emperor himself, and they are his messengers. In the stars we read his emotions and his warnings. And, sometimes, if he so chooses, we can see a glimpse of the plans he has for us. Yet this is a hard art, and it requires much learning and even more time."
Calnath glanced down at the young man and continued. "You know that this world was born of song, sung by Aslan himself. The earth still vibrates with the echoes of that creation-magic, but the living stars still sing of it. Some can hear, if they are silent – and some can only hear after much practice and patience. We must hear the stars sing before we can see any signs. Such is the true nature of our art."
With that, the group fell silent, gazing in silent contemplation at the jewel-studded sky above them. The clear, round bowl above them was framed by the soft brushes of tree branches and the earth beneath them was still warm. A gentle wind caressed them, carrying their worries and thoughts away with it.
Peter let out a slow breath of sheer joy as he lay there, senses drinking in the wonderful sights and smells of Narnia. And so he listened for the song of life.
He did not know when he heard it, or if it was even a thing that could be heard. It was elusive yet overpowering, impossible to define yet a definition all by itself. Perhaps it was not so much a music as a thought, something to be heard with the spirit and not the ears.
The stars sang to him of love and joy, of an Emperor's delight in his Son, and the Son's delight in his people. It sang a tune of heartbreak for the broken land, and offered notes of healing and encouragement. And most of all, it sang of wonderful things yet to pass, secrets to be made clear, marvels to be revealed.
And then he began to see.
He saw the stars glowing bright, huge orbs of white fire in the black night. They had colour, too – vibrant orange, flaming red, and vivid green, all so bright that he almost felt the need to close his eyes.
They had faces, too – old, aged faces as fresh and young as his own. They moved throughout the sky, delivering their master's messages, displaying them clearly for those who would only look.
And they were singing.
Like a choir of angels they sang, though no louder than the fall of a petal. Peter felt a rush of excitement shake his frame; he felt their song running in deep tremors through the earth, falling in gentle waves from the trees.
He reluctantly tore his eyes from the heavens and looked at the centuars, needing to share this overpowering emotion.
Calnath looked at him, wise eyes reflecting the feelings of his king. "Sing," he said softly. Then his voice grew into a roar as emotion consumed him. "Sing, Peter, High King over all Kings in Narnia! Join in their song of life! For how can we keep silent?"
And Peter, Lord of Cair Paravel, Emperor of the Lone Islands, and Knight of the Most Noble Order of the Lion, sang. His voice was clear and high, for he was not yet a man, but even he felt unworthy to offer this pale imitation of the heavenly chorus. But still he sang - for how long he knew not, yet Time itself seemed of no importance to such an eternal song.
As the stars slowly made their way across the sky and night began its slow retreat into the west, Alambil spoke.
The Lady of Peace did not use words, but spoke in the way of the stars. From her Peter received tidings of hope, a message for all the peoples – a reassurance that victory had indeed been won, and that Aslan could not fail to triumph.
All will be well,
So let it be.
Tidings of peace
I bring to thee.
Remember this joy;
Let it not pass away.
I will flee with the night
It shall last through the day.
Peter smiled and whispered his thanks to the Emperor and his messenger.
Calnath sighed and lowered his head from the lightening sky. "So shall it be. Peace will come to Narnia."
"Yes," Peter breathed, still drowning in wonder.
"And perhaps, my lord, a little more than that comes to some of us." Calnath observed.
Peter laughed, the music of the stars still ringing in his mind.
"Well, Peter?" Lucy demanded as they headed away from the tea-table. "Why did I not see you?"
The High King smiled down at his little sister. "Maybe because I did not see you."
"Pe-ter!" his sister scolded.
"You may have heard me," he said reflectively.
"Nay! All I heard was the trees... and the waters... and perhaps even the stars..." Her voice trailed off as she remembered her magical night.
"Then you did hear me," the king said softly, smiling.
When darkness comes I'll light your night with stars
Hear the whispers in the dark...