Disclaimer: I don't own Narnia.
A/N: This is kind of a sequal to the Traitor and the King. Special thanks to Sandshrew777 for suggesting this fic. This isn't quite what you suggested, but it's about Edmund and Oreius' reconciliation. I would love a review if you have time. ;)
Edmund, King of Narnia
"Do you fear me, Son of Adam?"
As I tried to shrink back against the icy wall of her dungeon, the White Witch stepped toward me, her frightening wand only inches away from my face.
"No," I declared, the fear in my voice making it painfully obvious that the statement was a lie.
The Witch smiled coldly, her icy blue gaze freezing my blood and sending a shiver down my spine. In the cold blue light of her icy dungeon, her sharp features looked stranger and her wand looked sharper and more dangerous.
"You should fear me," the Witch said in a satin voice.
I shuddered as the point of her wand hovered just above my eyes, and then retreated in a threatening position over her head.
"You shall fear me."
The wand bolted forward, and for an agonizing moment, I could feel its icy tip touch my chest, just over my heart. Then there was nothing but the dark and the cold.
With a jolt of surprise, I sat up straight. It took me a minute to remember it all. I was safe in Aslan's camp. She wasn't there. And then I realized that the shout that had awakened me had been my own.
I gasped, breathing in the cool night air. I wasn't a stone statue. I was safe.
"Ed?" Peter's voice asked sleepily from the direction of his cot. "Are you alright?"
"Fine, Pete," I said, trying to hold back my panic. "Go back to sleep."
I listened for a moment, and heard him turn over, mumbling in his sleep. Quietly, so I wouldn't wake him, I crawled out of my cot and slipped out of the tent.
What's the use of going to sleep if you are besieged by nightmares instead of rest? I wondered, shuddering and rubbing my skin where the Witch had touched me with her wand in the dream.
The grass was cool and soft under my bare feet. Torches gleamed from their stands all throughout the camp like lights of a city at night. Everything was so silent; so still compared to the action that took place during the day.
Carefully, I made my way to a cliffy hill overlooking the ocean. The moon was low in the sky, almost touching the water, but the stars were brighter than any stars I had ever seen.
The waves on the shore below made a calming rhythmic pattern as they splashed against the beach.
It was so quiet and peaceful, that for a long moment, I forgot who I was—and the nightmare I had so recently escaped. All my problems seemed like a tiny speck of dust as they shrunk under the star-lit, cloudless sky. A cool, fresh breeze from the East blew in my face and through my hair. I closed my eyes and let its salty taste fill my lungs and relax my soul. I was at peace.
"Do you always venture far from camp at the latest hours of night?" asked a low, threatening voice, one that was steadily becoming more and more familiar as my days in Aslan's camp went by.
Mustering all my self control, I kept my eyes closed and breathed in another calming breath of ocean air.
"No," I finally replied, keeping my cool, "but I might make a habit of it if all the Narnian nights are this lovely."
General Oreius moved to stand beside me, but surprisingly, he said nothing. Unable to bear the suspense any longer, I opened my eyes. Oreius was not looking at me. I followed his gaze.
"We centaurs have always cherished the stars," the general finally said.
He put his hand on my shoulder, and pointed with his other hand.
"Do you see those two stars? The bright ones, close together?"
Peering hard into the night sky, I found the two brightest stars with ease.
"I see them."
Oreius looked down at me with a strange expression on his face.
"They are Tarva and Alambil, the great lord and lady of the heavens. It is said that they foretell the coming of kings."
I looked up at him questioningly. His dark eyes seemed to see right through me. I looked down again. He seemed to be waiting for something.
"General Oreius," I said, my hoarse voice so soft that I could hardly hear it, "I believe I owe you an apology."
The centaur said nothing, so I swallowed, telling myself this was the right thing to do, and continued.
"I…I'm sorry that I lied to you yesterday. About the Witch."
Memories of her flew to my thoughts unwanted, but I pushed them down.
"The truth is, sir, I did betray you. And Aslan. And my brother and sisters. And well, sir, I guess the stars must be wrong."
Oreius stiffened unconsciously beside me.
"I'm no king. Maybe Peter could be, but I…" I bit my lip, forcing the memories of the Witch to leave my mind, "I'm a traitor. And I don't deserve to be alive, much less a king."
There was a moment of silence. I could feel the tension draining from me. There. I had said it. Then, Oreius stamped his hoof and said sternly,
"Look at me, Edmund."
I looked up. The dark eyes of the centaur found mine again, but this time there was something else in them, something other than distrust. Oreius put his hand on my shoulder again, and said,
"Sometimes our battles are not fought on the battlefield, but in the heart."
He looked up at the sky again.
"I accept your apology. It takes real courage to admit you have done wrong," he said.
The centaur's eyes met mine again, and he bent low and whispered,
"Contrary to your belief, the stars never lie. Any king who has the courage and humility to humble himself and speak the truth like you did is a king worth following."
Oreius stepped back and bowed as respectfully as if he was bowing to Aslan.
"Your sword, sire," he said nobly, drawing a sword, still in it's scabbard, from his side.
I was speechless. How could a simple apology change my toughest enemy into a friend? I looked at him in question. The sword was held out in front of him. Was I supposed to do something?
"Take it, King Edmund," Oreius said, a trace of humor in his voice, and a smile twitching at the corners of his mouth.
I reached forward, my actions stiff and mechanical, and grasped the hilt of the sword. The hilt was covered in soft, durable leather; it was too dark to see the designs that laced the handle properly. The leather was cool and smooth to touch, and my hand seemed to become one with the sword. Slowly, so slowly, I drew the sword from its scabbard. A strange sensation came over me; it was as if I finally understood.
I lifted the sword and tested its weight. Not too heavy, not too light. Perfect. The silvery blade reflected the light of the setting moon and the shining stars, and I somehow knew that this was only the first night that I would feel its perfect weight in my hand, the smooth leather melding with my hand. It was like meeting with destiny.
"Thank you, Oreius," I said.
My voice had a new note in it, and the great centaur noticed. He bowed his head again, and when he looked up, I could see the corners of his mouth twitching into a smile.
"Come on, your highness," he said. "It's time you were back in bed."
The kingliness I had so recently found almost left me completely as a shudder went down my spine. Sleep. Nightmares. Oreius noticed my unease. He bent down and pressed the scabbard into my hands, staring hard into my eyes.
"You're a king, Edmund. Fear not. The Witch cannot take you back. Aslan will not let her."
I nodded gratefully, and then yawned. The lulling rhythm of the ocean was going to my head. Carefully, the centaur guided me back to my and Peter's tent.
"Goodnight, Oreius," I said sleepily when we reached it.
"More like 'good morning'," he muttered, watching me leave as I stumbled back into the tent.
Peter didn't stir as I entered the tent, and almost before my head touched the pillow, my eyes closed in sleep. For the first time in two weeks, I had no dreams.