The Chronicles of the Fellowship
By Michael Weyer
Lord of the Rings created by J.R.R. Tolkien, film rights by New Line Cinema
The Chronicles of Narnia created by C.S. Lewis, film rights by Walden Media and Walt Disney Pictures
This popped into my mind after seeing "Prince Caspian." First, some may notice similarities to INMH's excellent "The Hobbit, The Ring and the Fellowship" which I greatly enjoyed. I did write to him first to tell him about this tale and he approved majorly. As you can see, it takes a different tack and as these are the more experienced version of the children, a few new shifts here and there. Seeing as how Lewis and Tolkien were friends and the films are so popular, the pairing fits better than you expect. All comments welcomed.
Called to a New Land
There are lands within lands. Worlds within worlds. Worlds between worlds. Worlds where life is much different than the one you know. Lands often considered myth and fantasy but are as real as the world around you. Sometimes, the barriers between these worlds weakens enough to let travelers cross through. Such as with the Penesieves, four children from a land called London who, in the space of a minute in their land, ruled for years as kings and queens of a land called Narnia.
For a year, they have been home. Well, the home they once knew although in their hearts, Narnia is home as well. But now, the call has come for them. The call of a land in need. The call of a land who desires the aid only these four can give them.
But as said before, there are many worlds out there and more than one requires champions…
As her eyes cleared from the rush of wind and light, Lucy Pevensie felt a smile come to her face. One smell was enough to tell her this was no longer London or Earth for that matter. The air was so crisp and clear, the light breeze feeling cool as she looked about her. Her siblings were joining in with similar expressions of wonder and hole on their own faces.
"Are we…back?" Edmund asked, pulling the cap off his head. His school uniform seemed out of place now, more even when he had put it on. It was in slightly better shape than Peter's, which still showed the dirt of the fight he'd gotten into on the platform before the train arrived.
"It's not London, that's for certain," Peter stated. He glanced around, his eyes taking in their surroundings. "It could be Narnia."
"If it is, it seems like winter," Susan said with a shiver as she looked up, shuffling her school jacket tighter over her, feeling the breeze kick at her exposed legs. "Oh my."
The others joined her, heads craning up to see a huge mountain rising roughly a mile away. Its peak was hundreds of feet overhead with snow atop it. It led off to a pathway near piles of rocks and a clutter of trees. "That doesn't look familiar," Edmund noted.
Susan looked away from it toward the ground around them and her eyes widened. "But those do." She moved toward a large grouping of rocks nearby, the others following her. Four neat piles were laid out before them, each containing a set of clothing and some other items.
"My sword!" Peter noted as he looked at his. "And my old leather armor."
Susan held up her bow and quiver of arrows along with a red dress with a leather jerkin. "It would appear we were expected."
"Aslan," Lucy smiled as she looked at the vial by her own dress. "It must have been Aslan who did this!"
"Maybe," Susan said, her lips pursed in doubt. As usual, she was always willing to be a bit more sensible and take all the information in before jumping to any conclusions. "But something about this just…doesn't feel right."
"Honestly, Su, you have to be a glass half-empty all the time?" Edmund complained as he hefted his own shield and sword. "How else could these have come here?"
"I'm just saying something about this feels wrong."
"We can figure that out later," Peter said. "For now, it looks like whoever left these for us wanted us to use them. We might as well oblige."
It took a few minutes for the change to be completed. Fortuitously (or perhaps not given how they had arrived here), there was a small cave in the rocks for them to change, placing their old clothes into the small bags they had carried when they had arrived. Edmund and Peter wore matching outfits of light pants, shirt and tunics with leather jerkins, their swords at their sides and shields hefted onto their backs. Susan's dress was a light purple with its own leather jerkin while Lucy had a much lighter orange and yellow dress that set her off well with a shawl around her neck.
"I'm not comfortable with this," Susan remarked.
"Miss the fancy dresses already?" Edmund teased.
Susan glared at him. "It feels like I'm being prepared for battle."
"She does have a point," Peter mused as he examined his sword. "It makes this all the more curious."
"Well, we seem set," Edmund decided. "What now?"
Peter glanced up at the cloudy sky. "It looks like nightfall soon. As soon as we see the stars, we should be able to tell our directions to Cair Paravel. We can find answers there."
"I hope so," Susan sighed as she sat on the rock and glanced back at the large mountain. "I don't recall seeing a mountain like that before in Narnia."
"We didn't see the whole world, Su," Lucy pointed out. "In fact, it's possible we're in a part of Narnia no one has ever explored before."
"I hope that's it," Edmund said with a frown. "Otherwise…"
Peter looked at him. "What is it?"
Edmund bit his lip. "Well…remember how we spent twenty years here and when we came back, it was only a few minutes?" As the others nodded, Edmund took a breath. "Well, if that's the case…how much time could have passed in Narnia when it's been a year in London?"
The other three grew grave as they took in the implications of what he was saying. "It could be decades," Susan said gravely. "Even…centuries."
"Mr. Tumnus," Lucy said, her eyes watering. "The beavers…everyone we knew could be long gone by now."
Edmund nodded to the mountain. "And for all we know, that's some hill we saw a hundred times grown somehow over the years."
Peter saw the worry on his sister's faces and felt the need to soothe them. "That's just conjecture for now. We wait until we see the stars and figure out from there."
Susan pursed her lips but she recognized the look in her brother's eye. When Peter had his mind set like this, it was nearly impossible to talk him out of it. And waiting for the stars did make sense. She examined her bow carefully as Lucy sat next to her. Her young sister smiled. "It is good to be back, no matter what time has passed."
Susan couldn't help but smile at her sister's constant optimism. "You always look at the bright side, Lucy. Especially with him."
Lucy shrugged. "I just believe is all. We all do. You do."
"I suppose," Susan acknowledged. She took a deep breath as she glanced at the sky, the sun fading away at last. "I guess I'm still…angry. Oh, don't look at me like that, Lucy, I know you felt it too. We'd become so committed to ruling Narnia, to living there, being among the people and then to have it all wrenched away and back to our old bodies, our old lives…" She sighed. "I just keep wondering what we did wrong."
"Maybe we didn't do anything wrong," Lucy said. "Maybe it was meant to be that way. I know it doesn't seem fair, Susan but even Narnia isn't always perfect. And if there's one thing we know about Aslan, he does have a plan with whatever he does, even if we can't see it."
Susan smiled at her again. "You are going to be a force when you grow up."
"I was grown up," Lucy smiled back. "And taller than you then, if you'll recall."
Susan's laugh was cut short by a sound not far away. She listened, sobering as she heard footsteps on gravel. The others heard it too, all instantly alert, Peter moving forward with his sword drawn. "Stay here," he ordered the two girls as he walked toward the small incline nearby where the mountain tapered off into the ground. Edmund was behind him, letting his brother take the lead while Susan draped a protective arm around Lucy.
As he heard the footsteps growing closer, Peter took a deep breath. Despite the oncoming possible danger, he couldn't help but feel an exhilaration. This is what he had missed. After so long dealing with the mundane, with school, with people talking down to him as a child, this was something he could really sink his teeth into. He tried to keep his senses alert as she knelt at the side of the pathway, Edmund next to him.
They watched as the footsteps grew closer, indicating a large group. The first man in the lead was tall and appeared to be in his late thirties or even early forties. He was dressed in black clothing with both a bow and a sword strapped to his back, his dark face marked by a beard and piercing dark eyes. His dark hair was unkempt but something about him made him a man worth watching. He was followed by a man dressed in more elegant clothing not too dissimilar from the boys' own. Leather pants and a leather jerkin top with a long leather cloak around him, a shield on his back with a sword at his side. Around his neck was a long horn of some sort. He appeared the same age as the first man, his hair and beard lighter and carried himself with a more regal bearing.
Edmund leaned in to whisper to his brother. "We'd best stay here, let them pass by before…"
The man in the lead suddenly whirled around, his sword yanked out of its scabbard, his eyes flickering right to their position. The other man seemed startled but quickly took out his own sword and moved his gaze to the same direction. Before Edmund could react, Peter had jumped to his feet and was moving forward with his sword swinging. The dark-garbed man blocked the blow and its follow-up.
"Aragon!" the other man called out, about to move to help when he saw Edmund coming in. Edmund held back, his sword raised but not moving to attack just yet, mentally cursing his brother's impatience. His opponent raised an eyebrow, Edmund deciphering his motion as "I don't attack you, you don't attack me," and nodded slowly.
Peter continued to swing his sword, the memories of years of practices and battles coming back to him. His parents had been rather surprised when he wanted to take fencing lessons but they were paying off here as he blocked one of the man's attacks, twisting his sword and trying to stab outward. The man dodged it and punched Peter in the face, causing him to back off with a stunned head.
Edmund saw two more figures running down the pathway. One was short but had the features of a man of age, his wrinkled face marked by a large nose and a long brown beard. His squat frame was clad in dark leather armor of some sort with a large helmet on his head, the axe in his hands almost as big as he was. Peter knew this had to be a dwarf.
The other figure was the one truly catching his attention. He was a tall man with a young face and long lush blond hair dressed in a green outfit that reminded Edmund so much of the stories he'd read of Robin Hood. The similarity was enhanced by the bow the man was lifting up, an arrow drawn back and ready to fly at the two figures ahead. "Peter!" Edmund yelled in warning.
Peter broke away from the fight, turning to see the archer before him. Thankfully, he was wise enough to realize the disadvantage and backed up a bit, sweat on his face. The black-garbed man did not appear tired at all as he backed up, the archer moving ahead, his arrow still drawn at Peter. "Keep him covered, elf," the dwarf growled out. "I'm assuming you can do that at least.
Peter and Edmund exchanged a surprised look and mouthed "Elf?" at each other. Looking closer, Edmund could see a pair of pointed ears poking out of the man's long hair. The figure gave the slightest of glares toward the dwarf, yet seemed fixed upon Peter and Edmund. "I can have them both down before you draw another breath, dwarf."
"You do and neither of you will be drawing breaths," a strong female voice cut through the air. Susan stepped forward, his own bow drawn and aimed right at Legolas. Lucy was right behind her, her small dagger in her hands, trying not to look as afraid as she felt. Despite all she'd been through, battles were still something she wasn't comfortable with.
A long silence fell over the area as the stand-off became clear. There was the sound of more footsteps and then a strong voice booming out. "What is going on?"
The four children watched as a tall man in grey robes and a long floppy grey hat came tromping down the pathway, a long staff in his hands. His face was lined and marked with a long grey beard and an aged face that still retained a warm feeling to it. He leaned on the staff as he gazed at the children, his face more curious than wary. "And what do we have here?"
"They attacked us," the dark-garbed man said in a voice that matched his bearing.
"Peter," Susan moaned, although she kept her bow aimed still.
"I thought they were enemies!" her bother defended himself. "We are in a strange situation, as you know!"
Susan rolled her eyes. "Honestly, sometimes I wonder if your brain degressed along with your body when we came back."
"Are things all right then?" The voice came from behind the grey-robed man, the first of four figures coming forward. At first, the siblings thought they were children until they saw the faces of twenty-somethings. They thought then they were dwarves but the lack of beards disapproved that theory. Each was clad in matching dark clothing of pants, shirts and vests with cloaks. They had similar builds and curly hair with pointed ears. A glance at their feet showed they did not wear shoes but seemed to have fur covering the top side to their toes. The one who spoke had a friendly face but troubled eyes as he took in the scene.
"We are solving that ourselves," the grey-haired man told him. He turned back to the siblings and straightened himself. "I suppose killing strangers is rude, if nothing else. I am Gandalf the Grey." He nodded to the dark-haired man. "That is Aragon, son of Arathon. The other man is Boromir, son of Denethor, Steward of Gondor." He glanced to the elf who still kept his bow raised. "Legolas of the Woodland Realm and the dwarf is Gimli, son of Gloin."
He motioned to the four small figures behind him. "And these are our hobbit friends, Frodo Baggins, Samwise Gamgee, Merry and Pippen." Each nodded and gave a small wave.
"Hobbits?" Edmund frowned. "What's a hobbit?"
"You may have heard them referred to as Haflings," Gandalf said. Seeing the children frown, he shook his head. "Well, that's for later then. And whom might you be?"
The siblings looked at each other before Peter took a step forward, raising himself up and speaking in a proud and clear voice. "I am His Majesty King Peter the Magnificent, High King of Narnia, Emperor of the Lone Islands, Lord of Cair Paravel, Knight of the Most Noble Order of the Lion. This is my brother, King Edmund and our sisters, Queen Lucy and Queen Susan." His introduction completed, he stepped back to await their reactions.
They were not what he expected. Aragon and Boromir exchanged baffled glances. Gimli just pursed his lips while Legolas appeared confused. The confusion spread to the hobbits, who shared looks of their own while Gandalf appeared thoughtful. None of them gave any recognition whatsoever at the name of Narnia. That alone gave the children a shared sinking in their stomachs.
"Narnia…" Gandalf murmured, biting his lip thoughtfully. "Narnia…I cannot say I recognize that country."
"Nor do I," Aragon said.
"What about London?" Lucy called out. "England? Great Britain? Earth?" Her voice trailed off at the baffled looks on their faces. "Oh, no."
"Well, this is Middle-Earth," the one hobbit identified as Pippin spoke up. "Is that close enough?"
"Damn," Edmund muttered under his breath. "I hate being right."
"Good thing you rarely are," Susan couldn't help saying.
"Wait," Aragon said. "I thought you said you were from Narnia. What is this London?"
"Well, it's a bit complicated," Peter said. "We are from London originally but we found a gateway to Narnia which is…well, another world."
"We aided them in defeating the White Witch," Lucy said with growing excitement. "And then we spent years as kings and queens there before we went back through the wardrobe and were back to our old selves."
"Wardrobe?" Boromir raised his eyebrows.
"It's how we got to Narnia," Lucy explained as if it was perfectly logical. "But it didn't work later. We thought that was that but then we were at the train station waiting for school and something…pulled us over here."
"Wait a moment," Gimli rumbled. "You're saying you spent years as kings and queens?"
"We did," Peter confirmed, pride in his voice.
"But we sort of, ah, de-aged when we came back," Edmund said. "See, time passes differently in Narnia than in our world. You could be there years and come back and it's only been minutes."
"I…see," Gandalf said. He looked to Boromir and Aragon and nodded his head to the side. The two men moved toward him, off from the rest of the group, out of earshot. Gandalf glanced at the children as he spoke. "Opinions, gentlemen?"
"I'll give them credit," Boromir said wryly. "They're either the worst spies I've ever seen or the most inventive."
Aragon nodded. "That tale is so outlandish, you cannot help but believe it. And Sauraman does not strike me as the type to use children for his goals."
"No," Gandalf murmured, stroking his beard. "He was never fond of children even before he turned." He studied the four again. "There is something about them…the touch of magic although different than what I am used to."
"The elder, Peter, is a warrior," Aragon noted. "I sense that with his brother and elder sister as well. The younger is stronger than she seems."
"If we believe their tale, they were brought here," Boromir said. "More magic?"
"Perhaps," Gandalf said. He slowly nodded. "Very well, if they choose to go their own way, we shall let them. If they instead join us, we accept them."
"But mention nothing of the Ring," Aragon quickly said. "Not until we are sure they can be trusted." The other two nodded as they headed back to the group.
"My apologies," Gandalf said. "If I may ask, what are your plans?"
The siblings looked at each other, struck by the question. "I…am not certain," Peter said. "If this is truly not Narnia…Then I don't know why we're here or how to get home."
"Well, you could come with us!" Pippin piped up with a wide grin. "We can use the help! And the company! And the…" He stopped as Merry jabbed him in the side with an elbow. "What was that for?"
"Where are you all going?" Susan asked, taking in the odd group.
"Oh, we're…" Pippin was stopped by Sam slapping a hand over his mouth.
"It's….a secret mission," Frodo stated, catching the warning look Gandalf was giving him. "And a dangerous one."
"We can handle danger," Peter said with pride in his voice. "If you'll have us…we'll join you."
"Peter," Susan muttered to her brother. "What are you doing?"
"It's not like we have many other options, Su," he whispered back. "This isn't Narnia, we have no idea where we are."
"Or who to trust," she pointed out, glancing at the group.
"All the more reason to stick with a large group," Peter said. "It's my decision, Susan." He turned, indicating the conversation was done which earned a scowl at his back. "At your leave, sir."
Gandalf the Grey nodded as the Fellowship of the Ring grew to four more pieces of royalty.