Neville the Chamberlain

by elecktrum

Disclaimer: Narnia and its characters are the property of CS Lewis, Walden Media, and Disney. I'm just borrowing them and I promise to give them back when I'm done. Until the next story waylays me, of course.

I beg your indulgence with this story as it's something totally different from anything I've tried before! Updates will probably be slow, but I hope you enjoy it! All puns are intentional. Many thanks to my wonderful and highly talented beta readers!


32 Lenisgale, 1002

Dearest Mum,

It's Neville. Your son. I promised I'd write and tell you about my new position when I got one. Well, here I am and you'll be happy to read that I got not just one, but two new jobs my first month here at Cair Paravel. Oh, and I'm not actually writing this myself if you can't tell. I'm dictating it to one of the scribes in training because you can see that he really needs the practice. He says he's an Opossum, but since I never saw one before I have to take his word that he knows what kind of Animal he is better than I do, because I don't. Anyway, I hope you can read his writing. His name is Bizzy, by the way. -No, it's not, my name is Bizmy! And I'm a girl!

I arrived at Cair Paravel on 28 Snowbrice in the middle of a storm. I got lost in a maze that turned out to be the formal gardens. I didn't escape until morning, when a very kind lady Cat named Mrs. Tibs found me. She got me out of the hedges where I was stuck, cleaned me up, and gave me something to eat that tasted like a chicken but had no bones, so I wasn't sure. She loaned me some of her kittens to guide me to the palace gates and they all rode on my back. They thought I was a Dog, which made me laugh, which made them laugh, which made me laugh more. It's strange they never heard of Striped Hyenas before (or any other kind, as it turns out, not even a spotted one), but then I never heard of Opossums.

The front gates at Cair Paravel are very big - big enough for a Giant, they say, and very grand compared to our cave. The kittens steered me to a very wise-looking Okapi who seemed to be in charge of the crowd. - You recognize an Okapi but not an Opossum? - He gave me an odd look and I supposed I must have looked silly with kittens all over me, which set me off laughing so hard I could barely introduce myself, which made the kittens laugh again. I told him I wanted to work at the palace and he directed me to some other people waiting in a group. I said goodbye to the kittens and they asked me back to their house sometime soon for tea. Even though they live in a maze, I think I can find it again. – I don't. Madam, how could you let this idiot out of your sight? He's a danger to himself and others.

There was a Faun in armor talking to the group and it turns out they needed more guards for the palace, so I asked to join on the spot. There was a Mouse next to me that also asked to join, and to prove his worth he whipped out a sword that was like an overgrown pin and waved it around madly, squeaking a war cry that hurt my ears. He managed to slice off all the hair along my left foreleg and about half from my belly before the Faun could get him to stop. The Mouse was heartily embarrassed at the pile of hair beside me and so was I to be partially bald, but the Faun, Captain Celer, said he was impressed by my cool reaction (but that was only because I never got a chance to run away or take cover, it happened so fast) and the Mouse's aim because there wasn't a cut on me. The captain took our names and told us to report directly to the training grounds, then asked a Skua to guide us there.

The Mouse's name is Skeepomeep, but he said I could call him Meep. I told him my name was Neville and that I didn't know anything else he could call me. – Send him to me. I can give him some fitting titles. - We decided then and there to be friends, so not only did I get two jobs, but I made friends with some kittens and a Mouse. I was so happy that I laughed all the way to the training grounds. Meep laughed with me until he was too tired to go on. - Wonderful. A matched pair.

At the training grounds a Centaur captain the size of two Centaurs told us to line up with a few other likely recruits. His name was Captain Kanell. I'm not sure, but I think his first name is Sir, which seems to me an odd name, but that's what everyone calls him and so I do, too, except when I call him Captain. Perhaps Centaurs are like Horses with long names that they keep adding on to.

He spoke a lot about what was expected of palace guards and how we would have a whole year's worth of training before we were actually considered part of the guard. He split us into groups for now and I was very happy to be with Meep. We were told not to bother the kings and queens, keep out of the way, keep quiet, and to pay attention to what the guards did so that we could learn. - Good luck.

Our first task was to be assigned living space and a training schedule and all sorts of duties to keep us busy for days. Eventually we would get armor, which made Meep so happy he tried to pull out his sword again to celebrate. I think waving weapons and bouncing about and squeaking must be how Mice celebrate things. Luckily Kanell stopped him from shaving my right side bare.

I learned something important, too – it seems most of the people in Cair Paravel, except maybe Mrs. Tibs' kittens and Meep, don't have very good senses of humor. I started laughing when Meep tried to celebrate getting armor and Kanell frowned at me so hard I could almost feel it. I thought about explaining the joke, but he had said to be quiet and I suppose that includes laughing as well as talking. Besides, I don't think he would have gotten the joke. Like Uncle Wilt always said, a joke explained is a joke ruined.

I have to go, Mum, but I'll send another letter soon since Bizzy needs the practice. - I need no such thing! - Then I'll be able to tell you more about my job and Meep and what it's like to train as a guard. - I can scarcely wait. - Give my love to Da and Choonie and Swoosie and the twins and Bith and Otzo and Richard and everyone else I can't think of right now.


Neville (Your son).