Title: King's Bane
Summery: Its Edmund's 13th Birthday. But all's not well, what with a rebellion rising in Narnia and the White Witch appearing everywhere he looks…set in the Golden Age
Disclaimer: Though I did get to see one of the wardrobes that may've started the Chronicles, I own nothing.
AN – This is my first foray into the fandom that is Chronicles of Narnia. I'm a huge fan of the books – have been for years – and I absolutely adore the new movies. As a result, this, and any other Narnia fics I spin out there in the future, will share influences from both the book and movie-verses.
Edmund dashed madly down the hall. He needed to find a place to hide; she was coming! There wasn't much time, for all ready he could hear her feet coming down the corridor from behind him. Click click click click click went her heels against the marble floors. He looked to his left, and – Perfect!
He dove behind a statue of a centaur and hunkered down next to the wall. After the last time she'd caught him, he couldn't take any chances for it to happen again. He wondered if he'd made it there in time, or if he'd been spotted. All would be lost if she'd seen him. Everything he'd worked for, all the time he'd spent fleeing, and –
"Oh, Edmund dear, there you are!" she called. He flinched.
Edmund wondered, not for the first time that week, if maybe going and fighting those giants might be the best course. Never mind it would cause a war that would last – at Oreius' best estimate – five months and probably end with him getting killed, or at least mortally wounded. What did it matter that the locals were showing all signs of being able to sort the dispute out by themselves? Really, all of that was much more appealing to the young king than the prospect facing him now…
Susan shook her head and looked down at her brother. "Really, its not all that noble to be hiding like that," she said. In her arms were two pieces of fabric.
Edmund stood up. "I wasn't hiding," he protested. "I was just…looking for something."
"What?" asked Susan, raising an eyebrow.
He thought for a moment, and then his shoulders slumped as he sighed. "My dignity, I suppose."
"Did you find it?"
"Well, then, perhaps you can tell me which of these you prefer for the table spread at the feast?" Susan held up the two pieces of cloth.
"Uh," Edmund squinted. "Su, those are identical to each other,"
"No, they're not," Susan corrected him sternly. "This one," – she held up the fabric on the right – "Is blue with silver stitching. And this one," – the eldest Queen contemplated the left piece – "Is blue with gray stitching."
Edmund tried to see the difference, he really did. "I don't know, whichever you like,"
Susan sighed the sigh of a weary person about to launch into an explanation said many times. "Edmund, how many times must I tell you? This is the first birthday party we get to throw you at Cair Paravel! Last year you were helping with a dispute in the Western Woods. And the year before you were held up by the land negotiations in the North,"
What Susan didn't know about either of those things was that Edmund had diffused both situations – neither of which really merited a King's attention – well before his twelfth and eleventh birthdays. The incident in the North had been resolved within days, and it had really been the return trip that caused him to miss his birthday. There had been presents to spare by the time he returned, so he felt he hadn't lost anything. And the 'dispute' in the Western Woods was created by a naiad and a dryad arguing over who got to groom Philip, which caused the poor Horse to send for reinforcements from the Cair as they wouldn't allow him to leave until they decided. Again, Edmund had gotten the good food and gifts. But he'd managed to dodge – both years – the critical point of birthdays that drove him near wild with boredom.
Oh, how Edmund despised birthday parties thrown for him. All these people, or Animals or creatures, who he didn't know but knew him coming up and exclaiming things about himself. He never quite grasped how to respond.
But Susan would not be denied. Neither would Lucy. And Peter, the 'dear' brother who was supposed to be watching out for him, knew of his loathing of birthday parties, and simply egged the girls on.
"Edmund? Are you even listening to me?"
"What?" he blinked. "Oh, sorry Susan."
She shook her head with disdain, dark curls bouncing to and fro. "Now, it isn't as if it's a difficult decision! Silver, or gray stitching?"
"Gray," Edmund said.
Susan contemplated to two swaths. "Are you positive? I think that I like the silver better…"
"Then silver!" Edmund threw up his hands into the air.
Susan beamed at him. "There! Now, was that so difficult?" She kissed his cheek and walked off down the passage.
Edmund waited before she was out of earshot. "Yes, it was that difficult," he muttered as he all but ran towards the pastures. Maybe he couldn't go wage a war on giants, but he could at least get out of the castle for a while. And it wasn't even as if he was shirking on his Kingly duties; Peter had made sure that almost every thing that wanted his brother's attention was diverted to either himself, Susan or Lucy.
Which, in turn, left Edmund out of things to do by nine and spending the rest of his day dodging the girls who nagged him about the party, and otherwise bored out of his wits.
"Oi! Philip!" Edmund called over the fence. Philip's head rose from the grazing herd of talking Horses that lived in the Cair. He tossed his head and trotted over.
"King Edmund," Philip greeted, butting his nose lightly against Edmund's chest. In turn, Edmund patted his neck. "May I be of service?"
"Not officially," Edmund said, looking away slightly. "More of a practice in…evasion…tactics?"
"From your siblings, I presume?" Philip asked. Edmund shrugged in answer. Philip sighed. "Then I shall need my saddle. Come, your Majesty."
The two walked off towards the stables. Edmund was about to walk to grab Philip's equipment, and he stopped his foot just in time from stepping on the barn Cat's tail. "My apologies, good lady," he said.
The Cat, Mella, blinked up at him. She bowed slightly. "No harm done, Majesty," said Mella.
"Madam," Edmund said, taking note both of her swollen belly and purse slung about her neck. "Were you going somewhere?"
"Aye, King Edmund. Just over to the Apothecary's for my supplements." she said. "Going to have my first litter of kittens,"
Edmund saw the chance; Philip saw the familiar gleam in Edmund's eyes, and rolled his own. "In your condition? Allow me to make the journey for you."
"Really, your Majesty," Mella said. "I can manage."
"Nonsense, my good Cat," Edmund replied from next to Philip. "You're close to your due date, yes?"
Mella looked self consciously at her swollen stomach. "Aye, King Edmund. Next week. But I can make it to the Apothecary's. 'Tis just up the road a ways."
"I feel I must insist, madam," he said.
"Edmund!" Lucy's voice came from back at the palace. "Susan wants you!"
"I shall return shortly," Edmund said to the Cat. "And Philip? Perhaps bareback…?"
Mella bowed the best a pregnant Cat could. "Then I thank you, truly, your Majesty."
Peter's voice came from around the corner. "He's probably around here somewhere, Lu. Most likely trying to escape…"
"Run, Philip! Run!" Edmund hissed, half-climbing, half-jumping, and all scrambling onto Philip.
"Yes, sire," Philip said, snorting and laughing. He took off down the road. Edmund looked over his shoulder in time to see Peter and Lucy talking to Mella before they vanished around a bend in the road. Philip gradually slowed to a canter, then a trot and finally an easy gait as they took lesser-known roads to the apothecary's. "If I may ask, Edmund," Philip said. (For he always called Edmund without his title when they were alone) "Why were you so desperate to flee your siblings?"
Edmund grimaced. "Party business."
"Ah," Philip said, knowingly. "But they only wishes to make you happy,"
"I know, I know," said Edmund. "But they're driving me up the wall, Philip!"
"Perhaps if you were to just…humor them?" suggested Philip. "Perhaps then it would not be so bad. And, at any rate, it won't last long."
"You're right," said Edmund. "As always. But in the mean time, I don't suppose we could take the long route back from the Apothecary's?"
"Ah, but then, my good King, dear Madam Mella would be kept waiting. She needs her supplements."
"I hate Horse Sense sometimes, you know that?"
Philip just laughed.
Abigaila Treehopper, Apothecary, had lived in her hollowed out tree since before the fall of the Witch. She had no love for the sorceress – being a sensible Monkey of science – or any of the creatures that took her side in the war. There was good, and there was evil. There was light, and there was dark. There was right, and there was wrong.
And there, riding up on a Horse – the nerve of it, to ride a talking beast during the times of peace – was the King Edmund.
For Apothecary Treehopper was a Monkey of strong beliefs, and she was of the belief that once a being turned to the darkness, they never did return to the light. Once a traitor in Narnia, always a traitor in Narnia. And she wasn't the only one who thought so.
Her tail curled around the bottle sitting behind her on a bench. They'd been waiting for the grand party being thrown for the so-called king, but perhaps…perhaps this was a sign. A sign from the Great Lion himself. Now. Better to strike sooner than later, then to have one's procrastination come back to haunt you.
"Good morn, Madam Apothecary," Edmund called through her window that she dealt with customers through. "I come on errand from Good Cat Mella. She sends for her supplements?"
"Ah, yes," Apothecary Treehopper answered. "I'll be just a moment,"
She carefully dipped the end of the tiny arrow into her bottle. The arrow was so small; it was only the size of a fly. But it would do. Oh, yes. It would do wonderfully. Then, Abigaila went to her shelf and pulled down the small bag of vitamins for the Cat. Perhaps some Narnians – like Mella Cat or Philip Horse, who was talking with it– had been fooled. But not she. And certainly not her friends.
"Here we are." Apothecary Treehopper set the bag on the windowsill. She kept the arrow, snug in her tail, hidden from sight.
The youngest King – just a boy-child, really – pulled a small leather bag from its belt. "How much do I owe you, good Apothecary?"
She forced herself to smile at it. Her tail curled tighter around the dart. "Really, the pleasure is mine,"
"Oh," It appeared startled. "Are you positive?"
"Most certainly," said Apothecary Treehopper. "Consider it…a birthday present."
"Then, both Madam Mella and I thank you," said Edmund. It bowed slightly, and she inclined her head in return. It walked away, the Horse following.
Abagaila Treehopper, Apothecary, saw her chance. Her tail whipped forward, and her small weapon flew through the air. It slapped the back of its neck, looking startled.
"Are you all right, King Edmund?" Philip Horse asked.
"Yes," It answered. "Just…just a bug bite, I suppose."
Apothecary Treehopper waited until they were out of sight before closing her window. She exited her home and made for the river. The others would have to be alerted of the developments in their plan. For the Free Narnians had made the first move.
Now, all the rebels had to do was wait.
So there's the prologue. Good? Bad? Crap? Let me know. C'mon, I can take it!