Title: Seeing Red
Disclaimer: I do not own the Chronicles of Narnia or anything found therein.
Note: The answer to challenge 1: Red. I think this was the hardest one to write yet. Not only is it in first person, which I have never been very good at, but I attempted to make every paragraph exactly 100 words. It took some maneuvering, but I did it. This is basically an introductory paragraph and five times Edmund associated a shade of red with Narnia. (the slight Prince Caspian inspiration isn't spoilerific: you probably wouldn't notice it unless you've seen the movie.)
As I sit on the bench next to my brother, my mind wanders, as if often does, to the past and to Narnia. This time the memories come from a flash of vibrant red, a coat worn by a little girl who happily skips down the walkway holding tightly to her mother's hand. Red, the color I have always associated with Narnia. Lucy once asked me why, since she always views Narnia as gold and light, yet despite my usual way with words, I never could give her a reason. But sitting here now, the reasons come to the fore.
It started in the icy dungeon of the Witch's castle. Most people assume ice is white, or clear, but I know firsthand that it is horribly blue, a blue that can freeze your very soul. It smothered me, the sameness of the blue in that prison, the dull lifelessness that mirrored my own heart. When the Narnians rescued me, when I came into Aslan's camp as the sun peaked over the horizon, the scarlet rays spread over water and land and turned it into an ocean of flame. As fire melts ice, so I felt my heart begin to melt.
The first time I saw the shield that Father Christmas gave Peter, I was struck by the fact that the lion emblazoned on it was red. Having just met Aslan, the King who forgave my treachery, I thought the lion should be golden. While later I would also learn the rule of tincture, at the time the centaur I asked simply told me that Gules reflected the courage of its bearer. It symbolized one's willingness to expose one's throat to the enemy in defense of Narnia. Watching Peter fight, I knew all too well the color suited Narnia's High King.
If the Gules of Narnia's rampant lion was courage and sacrifice, the red of Lucy's fireflower juice was life. Looking ever so much like the grenadine Mother used to put in our ginger ale on special occasions, the flavor was like nothing I have tasted before or since. One drop as I lay on the grass gasping for breath, bursting on my tongue as if it were light and fire and air all at once. Swallowing, I was whole again, truly alive. Only later did I realize that the taste of fireflower had overcome my desire for enchanted Turkish Delight.
Red was Narnia, but it was not always happy. One year in Spare Oom and we were again swept away by magic. Standing in long-forgotten ruins, Susan saw the glittering of red and gold. A lone chess-piece, my golden knight, lain untouched for so many years. I stared down at it, with its missing gemstone, and I knew we were in a Narnia that was no longer what we remembered. The remaining ruby eye stared back at me, daring me to abandon it again. I did not; I fought for Narnia…and instead of my torch I brought home a knight.
Now, lying here on the cold ground with Peter's limp body half flung over my chest and the rest of me crushed beneath twisted metal, I see red again. It covers my shaking hands as they reach to block my brother's lifeless stare, it pools beneath a body that I no longer feel. Red seeps into my eyes and then disappears into blackness. When I open my eyes again I still see red, but it is no longer dark, brutal blood, but the light of the sun. I see Peter and Lucy's smiling faces and together we greet rosy dawn.
In case you were wondering:
1. Gules is the name given to the red tincture in heraldry. According to Wikipedia it may come from the French gueules which refers to the red throats of certain animals.
2. The rule of tincture says that one cannot put gold on silver and vice versa.
3. Grenadine is a juice made from pomegranate and was supposedly first mixed with ginger ale and other assorted flavors (together called a Shirley Temple) in a Hawaiian Hotel in the 1930s. I may be stretching it some by making it appear in England around the same time.