Disclaimer: I own only Jaer, Jaerin, and Alman. The rest belong to whoever owns C. S. Lewis' rights. Shafelm belongs to electrum's imagination. She let me borrow it. The sword name that is, not her imagination.
"Your plight is hopeless. You might as well surrender nicely and keep yourself in one piece."
Even though his face was masked, there was no mistaking the sneer in the man's voice. Jaer watched their ambusher impassively as the golden-haired man at his side arched one eyebrow.
"So certain are you?" Peter shifted his grip slightly on the silver shield across which a bright red lion ran free.
A short harsh laugh escaped the first man. "Come now, your majesty. Surely you must admit that even your legendary skill can only do so much? You are already tired, your blasted animal friends dead. There are but four of you and I have forty men at my command. Do you really think it wise to resist?"
"Numbers do not win a battle," King Peter answered dryly.
"No? But I bet they help." The masked bandit snapped back the second half of the quote that had become legendary among the Narnians.
"They do." The slight youth with a silver circlet in his dark hair spoke calmly. "But the strength of Aslan matters more." Jaer allowed a slight smile to flicker across his face at his king's words.
"It's quite sad really." Jaer glanced to his left at the tall lithe youth with a yew bow slung over his shoulder and a quiver of arrows at his back. Jaerin was grinning broadly. "Those with Aslan on their side can run against a troop, by Him they can leap over a wall. He is a shield to all who trust in Him. We have no fear of the outcome."
Snarling, the leader's hand shot out as though he would strike the grinning youth. In the blink of an eye, Jaer's hand caught the bandit's in a vise-like grip and twisted his arm back at unnatural angle. Startled eyes jumped to meet the impassive gaze of the young warrior.
"Strike not my brother, traitor," Jaer said. His tone was soft but girded with steel.
For a moment, panic filled the green eyes of the bandit but they hardened quickly. "And here I thought barehanded fighting was beneath you, Sir Jaer," he spat.
Jaer merely smiled.
"Let him go, Sir Jaer," King Peter said.
"As you wish, my king." The knight released his hold.
"Master Alman," King Edmund spoke with the authority of his crown and the solemnity of a judge, "two years ago we banished you from our court for your egregious offences against our subjects. You sought still to convert others to your ideology and we banished you from our kingdom. Three times you sought the life of our siblings and our friends. You claimed a changed heart and we pardoned you but kept the sentence of banishment upon you. You were never to return to Narnia again.
"Yet here today you stand within the borders of Narnia guilty of the death of our subjects and the attempt to waylay your kings and liege lords in the persons of myself, our royal brother, and these noble men, Sir Jaer and Jaerin Peridanson in whose service you once were. For this offence and your lack of repentance, I, Edmund, High Judge of Narnia, Knight of the Table, and King of Narnia do hereby sentence you to death with the witness of the High King and Jaer and Jaerin Peridanson. This sentence may be executed at any time from this moment on by any of these three loyal Narnians or myself."
"So be it." Three calm voices spoke as one the words with which each Narnian court closed. "By Aslan's name, let justice be wrought."
Jaer watched Alman clench his hands several times before the man managed to speak again. "Bold words, little king," he retorted. "You will need more than words to get out of this."
"Then let us be done with words!" Jaerin exclaimed. "You boast of your men, traitor—let us see if they are as good as you claim. Or do you wish to try your mettle against us yourself for once?"
In answer, Alman stepped back into the ranks of his men, blending into the crowd whose only distinction was in the color of their skin and the shape of their eyes. Jaer saw swarthy men of the south, fair northerners, and slant-eyed easterners among those assembled to kill. Who had killed the youth thought sadly of the centaur, fauns, and great cats who would never fight again.
"I'm not sure antagonizing him was such a good idea, Jaerin," King Edmund said dryly. "We really don't want him angrier than he already is."
Jaerin shrugged. "It matters little. Your words were enough to through him into a temper. He was already pointlessly furious." The youth paused a moment then through back his fair head and laughed joyously. "It is absurd, is it not? Here we stand, surrounded, outnumbered ten to one, and without the means to call for aid, yet we fear not. Rather, it is they that should fear." Jaerin waved at the silent horde. "They should fear."
"Such is the way of things when Aslan…"
"Ware arrows!" Jaer's urgent cry cut through King Peter's response. Four shields shot up and three men dropped down. The rain of arrows pattered harmlessly against polished metal.
"Is that the best you can do?" Jaerin taunted.
"Jaerin." Jaer looked at his younger brother disapprovingly. "I thought you wearied of words?"
"Oh. Right." Jaerin grinned sheepishly. "Deeds, not words. That's your motto, isn't it? Though there are times when I think you could use a few more words. Its not like Ariella can see your face you know."
Jaer's face turned bright red though his eyes never left the surrounding enemy. Why did Jaerin have to bring that up, he thought. King Peter laughed softly.
"I think he has you there, Jaer."
Jaer turned even redder. "There's no need to say so though," he muttered.
Peter laughed fully at that, a disconcerting sight to the ambushers. "Brother and friend, Sir Jaer. Brother and friend."
"They're coming," Edmund said softly and the mood sobered.
"Back-to-back and side-to-side?" Jaer said, stating the oft repeated mantra of their mutual teacher, General Orieus.
"How else should pairs of brothers fight?" Peter answered.
A/N—Hallo all! I know I really should be working on Only Children but this popped into my head and wouldn't go away. Technically speaking, I should be working on a reflection paper for one of my classes but I haven't written any story for nearly a month and couldn't stand it any longer. Therefore, I present to you this short tale.
Three cheers to the person to correctly identify the purloined Bible verse. It is slightly altered, but you might be able to recognize it.
This story is set about a year after The Dream Dasher, hence the brief mention of Ariella. Peter is therefore 22, Edmund 19, Jaer 20, and Jaerin 18. Do let me know what you think!