The heat where I live recently became . . . rather unbearable for Allie and Rose, and this rather humorous one-shot was born. Enjoy!
Sweltering, blistering heat. That was the last thing I remembered before the world went suddenly black. Everything around me was dark, and my head felt as if Brickit, the Chief Smith of Blue River Smithy, had taken one of his hammers to my head. My throat was on fire, my lips were cracked, and I didn't even know where I was. The urge to vomit demanded attention, and I clawed my way to the side of my bed, relieving myself of anything that was in my stomach.
With a groan I flopped back onto the mattress. It was our room, Peter's and mine, that I now occupied. The one lone candle cast no illumination, and I wondered at the lack of light. Last I knew, it had been sometime in late morning, the sun well overhead, when Peter and I had taken to the training grounds in full armor. Our lesson had been canceled for the day due to the sweltering heat, and Oreius had been called away for the morning on business. Of course, my brilliant brother and I had disagreed entirely with the decision to cancel training. We decided it was nowhere near too hot to practice, but a debate with General Oreius would have done absolutely nothing to change his mind. So, dressed in full armor and carrying our swords and shields, we had slipped onto the field. Oreius had ordered none were to practice today, not even the higher ranking officers.
I couldn't say which one of us had come up with the, oh, so wondrous idea of disobeying our teachers and friends, but I suspect Peter bears that responsibility.
Sweat had been pouring down both our bodies by the time we had stopped for a rest. Usually, soldiers from the army were there with water when we paused for rest, but today we were on our own, seeing as no one knew where their kings were. After a brief consultation we decided that if we took a drink after we got back, it wouldn't be so bad. I think we might have been wrong.
It was when I went to attack Peter again after our break that my memory stopped. I had a vague impression of the ground rushing up to meet me, and the thought that it was really too hot out for this kind of activity, and then darkness.
Voices, some hushed, some extremely loud and angry from the sound of it, carried in from outside the bedroom door. I wished my head didn't ache so much as I struggled to hear what they said.
"What in all of the Lion's Mane, were they doing out there?!" the first voice thundered. That must have been Oreius. He sounded rather angry with someone. Probably my idiotic brother and me.
"Well, sir, it looks as if King Peter and King Edmund were training." A second voice, much quieter than that of Oreius', answered. I grimaced. Now we'd done it.
"In summer tunics, yes?"
"Well, no, General. They were in full armor, and further search found their swords and shields on the training grounds." That second voice, it must have been Felern, answered a bit timidly.
"What?! Why did no one see this? Was something not done?!"
I resisted the urge to groan again. The next time we were allowed to train was going to be completely, utterly, and totally awful.
"The kings must have snuck out, Sir. No one knew where they had gone, and the queens are down at Glasswater." I could almost feel Oreius' rage. Peter and I were going to have quiet a lot of explaining to do later.
Speaking of which, where was my brother? Usually I would expect to find him hovering over me, like a worried mother hen. I twisted my head towards his bed, trying to catch a glimpse of blond hair. If he wasn't in bed, Oreius would be asking these questions of him, instead of Felern. Ah, there he was. I gave a muffled yelp. My brother looked so pale. Last I had seen him, Peter had been extremely red and the sudden color change was a bit worrisome, to say the least. I could almost hear his heartbeat in the silence, the pace far quicker than any human's should be. Perhaps the most disconcerting of all however, was his slightly sunken eyes and cheeks. I barely recognized my brother, and that terrified me.
Felern hurried through the door, followed by a worked-up, enraged Centaur. Oreius glistened with sweat, his flanks were foamy. He had donned only a sleeveless tunic that morning, and perhaps it was because of the heat. I gulped, sparing a brief thought for what lay in store for us, before returning my attention to Peter.
"King Edmund! Oh thank Aslan you have awoken! Here, drink this." The healer pushed a goblet of water my way. I shook my head, but under Oreius' steely gaze quickly changed my mind, and taking the goblet I drank its contents. Felern continued to fuss around me as I drank, fluffing the pillows, and rearranging the water pitcher.
I didn't expect to be so thirsty, but the water tasted so cool and refreshing. Narnian water is the best there is after all, but today I found it to be even sweeter than usual. I held out my cup for more, which Felern gladly obliged by pouring. I drank again. The dwarf continued to scold me as I drank.
"Your Majesty, I must insist you never try something to that degree again! That was extremely dangerous. Your blood pressure fell far below normal, and you're lucky your brother was found when he was. I already cooled you down, but I am going to prescribe you stay in bed and drink as much water as possible for the time being."
"Wait." My voice rasped, but I pressed on, ignoring the pain. "What happened? To Peter, to me?"
Felern smiled gently despite his anxiousness. "You should not have been training, Sire. It was dangerous in this heat. And for you to have consumed no water before you began the practicing, let alone during the fighting, was insane. I will not hear of you doing something like that again. Your head hurts, does it not?"
I nodded gingerly. Movement was not a good idea.
"And your throat felt as if it was burning?"
I nodded the affirmative again as Felern checked my pulse.
"And the last thing you remember is losing consciousness?"
"Yes," I croaked.
"I expected as much. Young man, you and your brother have suffered from dehydration and an overheating of your bodies known as heat exhaustion."
"But, but Peter seemed all right before I..." I trailed off, confused and worried.
"When you passed out, Your Highness, the High King saw fit as to carry you back to the castle, both of you in full armor. The exertion and distance were too much for your brother to handle. He too, fell unconscious on the way to the healers' ward. Lucky for both of you, some of your subjects found you and thought to fetch me. I cooled you down, and now here we are."
"Yes," the general added dryly. "All Narnians blessed with good sense and reasoning were in the shade and relaxing in the heat."
I swung my legs over the bed and tried to stand. Felern gasped in shock, and Oreius leapt forward to steady me. Dizziness rushed over me, and I swayed on the spot for a minute or more. I shook my head stubbornly, and took a few unsteady steps over to Peter's bed, where I collapsed in a heap. It was just like my stupid brother to carry me all that way, worried for me instead of himself. He could have just gone and gotten one of the healers, there was no need to carry me if this was what it had done to him. I poked him.
"Peter?" No answer came. In stubborn determination I poked him again.
"Peter?" And again there was no answer. I shook him.
"Peter this isn't funny, wake up!" My voice sounded slightly hysterical, even to my own ears.
My brother stirred, shifting in the bed and blearily opening his eyes.
"Edmund?" he whispered. I grabbed the goblet, already full of water and held it to his lips.
"Drink," I ordered, ignoring how awful my own voice sounded. He shook his head.
"I'm not thirsty, Ed."
I ignored him. "I wasn't either at first, but trust me, I needed it. And so do you, Peter, now drink."
Obediently he drank the liquid, and I filled the goblet again and again until I was satisfied. He grinned.
"Well, I suppose that was a bad idea." We smirked at each other for several minutes, forgetting that we weren't out of danger yet.
"Yes, Sir Peter, it was," Oreius whispered darkly. He was obviously already planning our next lesson as soon as cooler weather allowed for that kind of torture. Peter and I exchanged terrified glances before bursting out in laughter.
"You laugh now, my kings," the general warned, but we continued to laugh until we were crying and hiccupping instead, ignoring his warnings. Oh how foolish of us.
I glanced at Oreius with something akin to dread, catching my brother's eye. He smiled in sympathy. We both knew we were in for a bad time of it today.
"Today I want you to start with running. . ."
Although Oreius acted as if he was no longer angry with us, Peter and I knew differently. We knew he was waiting for the perfect opportunity to present itself in order to teach us a lesson we wouldn't dare forget. And sure enough, in Oreius' eyes I saw what he would never say.
Laugh now, my kings.