Sorry it took me so long to update, but I was out of town. Here it is...the last chapter! Thanks to everyone who reviewed and kept me motivated to keep updating. You guys are amazing. Keep writing and keep dreaming!
The morning brought a cold sun. Kaylin went for a walk inside the walls she had once dreaded. The people of Telmarine had once again provided her with a flowing purple gown. A woman had come in earlier and washed Kaylin's hair until it literally shone. It hung in curls down her back. She had never felt so beautiful.
Her hand traced along the stone walls of the courtyard. It was strange to think they had just been here a few nights ago fighting a battle that almost cost them all their lives.
Kaylin turned at the sound of someone clearing his throat. Caspian stood in the middle of the courtyard, staring unabashedly at her, taken back by her presence.
"Everyone has gathered," he finally managed to choke out.
Kaylin smiled and walked toward him, taking the arm he offered. Although he was the rightful heir of this country, Caspian couldn't help but feel inferior in her presence.
All of the Telmarines had indeed gathered. Kaylin, used to being in the background and overlooked many times, blushed at all the eyes that turned to her as she walked in with Caspian. He led her to the very front of the crowd where Aslan and the Pevensie children all stood along with Glenstorm, Trumpkin, Reepicheeps, and Trufflehunter over to the side.
Caspian stood beside Kaylin, giving her an encouraging smile as Aslan stepped forward, talking to the Telmarine people.
"Your ancestors invaded from Telmar, but before that they were from a different world, from the same world of our kings and queens of old," Aslan started. "They were exploring a cave when they fell through a rare portal into our world. It is a good place, a place for starting over for those who wish to go back."
Kaylin stared in awe as the tree behind them suddenly began twisting around, opening an archway in its trunk. All the others in the crowd seemed breathless as well.
"I'll go," someone spoke up. Everyone turned back around to look at General Glozelle.
"Us too," said Caspian's aunt, the old queen, along with her father. She held the son Miraz had so desperately desired.
They all stepped forward to stand before Aslan.
"Because you have spoken first, your futures shall be bright in the other world," Aslan said before breathing on them.
They disappeared as they stepped through the portal, causing the crowd to start a ripple of gasps.
"How do we know that he's not sending us to our deaths?!" a townsperson cried out.
Peter looked over at his brother and sisters before stepping forward. "We'll go."
"What?" Lucy asked, confused.
"Time's up," Peter replied. "It's time to go home."
"Will we ever come back?" Lucy said, pleading with Aslan.
"You two will," the high king pointed at his youngest sister and brother.
"What does that mean?" Lucy continued to ask questions.
"Peter and Susan have learned everything they need from this land," Aslan said.
"Did I do something wrong?" the youngest Pevensie was starting to cry.
"No, quite the contrary, Queen Lucy," Aslan chuckled.
Edmund looked over at his sister, holding her hand comfortingly. The four of them all stepped forward, hugging all of their new friends.
Kaylin clung for a few extra moments to Lucy, so happy that she had the chance to meet these rare children. More than one tear was shed as all the goodbyes were said.
They walked through the portal one by one, Lucy looking back once more before finally stepping through. And they were gone, just like that. Kaylin felt like a part of her was gone also.
More townspeople offered to go through the portal, and as they too disappeared one by one, the town dwindled as the ones not going through were slowly returning to their homes. Soon it was just Aslan, Caspian, Kaylin, and their Narnian friends standing at the portal.
Kaylin walked up in front of the tree, staring through the portal but only the town behind could be seen. Aslan walked up to her, his eyes gentle and knowledgeable.
"Did I have a family…back there?" she asked, her eyes filling with tears.
Aslan stared into her eyes for a few moments before answering. "Yes, you did. The name given to you by your parents was Sarah Mitchell. You were named Kaylin by the centaurs that found you, which simply means fair one."
"You were from a city called Boston. You had an older brother named Walter. Your parents searched for you for a very long time after you disappeared one night," Aslan continued, "but, of course, there was no trace of you. You had wandered into a closet in the house which led you here. Eventually, they had to move on, as everyone must do and had another daughter, who they named Sarabeth…in your memory."
The tears slid down Kaylin's face for the love of the family she couldn't remember. She glanced over at Caspian, who was watching her anxiously.
"Would I remember anything of Narnia if I went back?" Kaylin asked softly.
"Only what the mind of a four-year old can hold. If you went back, it would be as if no time had passed in your world, like you had never climbed out of bed that night. At first, you will seem to remember a lot, but the older you get, it will become just an imaginary world that you invented as a child."
"What of this world here? Could I ever come back…if I decided to go?" Kaylin asked, now staring at the prince. His eyes were getting sadder with each additional question she asked about her past.
"No," Aslan answered, shaking his great mane. "You were here for a purpose, and if you choose to leave, then that purpose will be finished."
She was staring at the portal back to her world again. Her mind was a tumble of mixed thoughts and emotions. One part of her desperately wanted to see the family she had always dreamed of, but another part longed for a reason to stay. It seemed everything she had ever hoped for and thought of had cumulated into this moment. It was more of just a question of where she wanted to live, but who she wanted to BE…Sarah or Kaylin.
She took one last longing look at the prince, but he stayed silent. Gingerly, she took a step forward toward the portal.
"You'd better speak up, Prince," Reepicheeps said, poking Caspian urgently.
She was taking a few more slow steps toward the
"Wait!" Caspian finally cried out, just before she stepped through to the other side.
Kaylin seemed to halt in mid-step, looking at him expectantly.
The prince took a deep breath before he stepped forward. "I know that you want to go back and know your family back in…your world. But…what about your family here? I mean, there's Reepicheeps and Trufflehunter and Trumpkin…and there's me. You would…you would always have me."
Kaylin's eyes filled with tears, different tears now. Not for the old family that she had never known, but the family that she could see now standing in front of her. Reepicheeps bowed gracefully while Trumpkin looked rather sheepish but attempted a smile. Trufflehunter waved. She met Caspian's eyes, the love she had always sought there in his eyes.
She began to laugh as she ran towards Caspian. He wrapped her in a large hug, tears now welling in his own eyes.
"For that, I guess I can stay," she whispered in his ear.
Caspian leaned back, wiping her tears away affectionately before bending down to kiss her. Kaylin let her mind linger in that kiss, all her dreams seeming to come true with the promise it held.
Aslan was laughing, his deep voice carrying over the courtyard. "Good choice, Queen Kaylin."
She looked over at the creatures she now considered family. Quite an odd group they were: a dwarf, a badger, a mouse, and now a prince. Her prince. And she had never felt such at home.