Fealty Chapter 6
I don't own Narnia or anything else created by C.S. Lewis.
The Element of Earth: Night Moves Into Morning
In the middle of the night, two unplanned meetings took place in Cair Paravel. One was at the request of Narnia's Kings and Queens. The other was held in the Parliamentary Chamber.
In the narrow room used by the avian Parliament, full of windows and perches, lantern glow cast dark, flickering gold onto the plumage and eyes of representatives from most of the Talking Bird species of Narnia. There was just enough light to make things visible for diurnal Birds. The speakers' words were mixed with croaks, trills, and whistles, according to their kind.
Finally, Voornu, the Great Horned Owl who was the Speaker for this term said, "One of us must go to Their Majesties and tell them of our findings."
"Before sun-up?" asked a Goshawk in some surprise.
A murmur of laughter swept through the cluster of Owls perched near the Speaker, in the time-old amusement of nocturnal species at the limitations of diurnal ones. "Only if the Kings and Queens are awake at the time," said Voornu.
"I believe they are meeting in High Council at this very moment," volunteered a Swan.
"Then some of us will go to wait outside their meeting-place," a small Saw-Whet Owl said.
"All are decided?" asked the Speaker. After hearing the voices of assent and none opposing, he said, "Done, then. Carry our message to our Kings and Queens."
The brothers and sisters sat with members of their High Council. The monarchs and several of the councilors had had a few hours of sleep and had been awoken by nocturnal courtiers. Some, like Lucy, were rubbing their eyes as they entered the room.
"What can we allow them to know about us?" said Edmund.
"What knowledge could they gain that that they haven't already figured out?" said Peter with a shrug. "In some ways, I imagine we are the most vulnerable kingdom in this world, because we have a lot of land and insufficient population to defend it. Even with all of you, our cousins"—and here he looked around the room at the Centaurs, Bears, Fauns, Wolves, and others gathered around the table—"we are automatically outnumbered by nearly every other people. Even in Narnia, Talking Beasts are not found in profusion. Yet Aslan has never enjoined us to close our borders to all other Humans and huddle down in the dark. We have to start somewhere; why not with our traditional allies?"
"In any case, Majesties," said Fabricius, "I get the impression that at this moment they are more eager to impart information, not get it."
"He bowed to the Birds," Lucy said suddenly. "What was his name? Alaric. The one with Narnian ancestors. He bowed to the Birds when he came in today. Mirabelle told me."
"A good sign," said Fabricius.
"It'll have to do for now," said Peter. "As things stand, they have the advantage of us, because they have no interruption in their memory or their history. They know who we are. We will have to learn about them as we can."
The Centaur Titurel, standing honor guard outside the council chamber, saw a trio of small Owls dart through the hallway toward him. The Owls landed on the floor by Titurel's forehooves and tilted their bodies back to look up at him. Owls' eyes are fixed in position, so their heads and bodies have to move instead. The Owls blinked almost in unison, and the smallest one addressed the Centaurs. "We have a message from the Parliament for the ears of Their Majesties and the Council," she said.
Titurel knocked on the closed door and eased it open just enough to let the Owls flit through. The tiny birds curved their flight path upward and came to rest on the oaken table. They had everyone's attention; they spoke for Parliament.
"Cousins, we bring you news."
The High King leaned forward. "Tell us."
"The Archenlanders are not the only Humans who have entered Narnia."