Memories Of A Traitor
The flickering torches cast a circle of light around us, falling on the walls and floor, but illuminating little. Still, our torches show the one thing we're all looking at. There are paintings on the walls of us.
This Narnia seems so different than the one we left, but it's good to know that there is at least one place where the old days are remembered and honored. There's a picture of Mr. Tumnus behind where Lucy's standing. I wonder if she's seen it? Poor Lu, she was such good friends with the faun.
"What is this place?"
Prince Caspian looks at us in surprise. "You don't know?" Picking up a torch, he begins to walk further into this place. Silently we follow.
With every single step I become more curious. The air has changed and our torch light spreads farther, showing that we've come into a larger room. We all watch as Caspian sets the flame from his torch in a small bowl. A line of fire begins to spread across the wall, slowly beginning to light the room.
We watch as the line of flame spreads along the wall. One by one it casts its flickering light on huge, beautiful sculptures on every section of the wall that circles around this room. Occasionally the view of these is slightly blocked by huge stones on the floor. They look like pillars, long since crumbled and worn down till not much but their base is left. The flame is racing past the larger-than-life sculptures, and at the center of the room, directly across from us, it illuminates the most wonderful sculpture here.
Though nothing can capture how He really looks, the beautiful carving somehow shows His majesty and nobility. Just a sculpture of Him makes my heart leap. Oh, Aslan!
I drop my eyes a little as the flame reaches the other end of the room and the heart that was leaping stops dead in my chest. Breathing becomes hard and I can only stand here, frozen. Can I really be here? Is this really the place? But I know that it is. This is it. This it where it happened. This is where they killed Him. Because of me.
This is the stone table.
I can't believe I'm here. So many times during our reign I traveled through Narnia, covering so much land. But never here. I saw this place, but only from a distance away. I looked toward it through windows in Cair Paravel, but I could never get myself to actually come to the stone table. Yet I'm here now. Lucy's walking forward slowly and we each take a few more steps toward it. She gently lays here hand on the stone, then looks back at Susan with tears in her eyes.
"He must know what He's doing."
"I think it's up to us, now," Peter says in a slightly choked voice as we all look back to the sculpture of Him.
Peter is my older brother, and he's the High King. I won't argue with him, but I don't agree with him. I try to understand him and how hard it is, but I agree with Lucy. Aslan knows what He's doing, He always has.
Susan's eyes fill with tears and she walks toward Lucy. Gently my older sister lays one hand on the stone table, then draws Lucy into an embrace.
"He still knows what He's doing, Susan," I hear Lucy whisper.
Suddenly I remember. They were here that night. They actually saw it.
My eyes go to the floor as Peter walks past me and out of the room. Caspian also slowly walks out. After a few minutes Lucy and Susan start to walk out together, but I can't move from where I'm standing.
"Are you coming, Ed?" Susan asks gently, looking back at me.
Slowly I shake my head, still looking at the floor. "I want to stay here for a little bit."
Suddenly I feel Lucy's arms around me and I look down at her. She looks back at me with compassion and love. Returning her hug, I try to smile a little bit. "Go ahead, Lu. I think I need to be alone for a while."
She squeezes me a little tighter then walks out. Her footsteps, along with Susan's, fade from my hearing. Slowly, setting down my torch, I walk to the stone table. I kneel before it, bow my head, and weep.
He died here. He wouldn't have needed to die if I hadn't first betrayed my family and all of Narnia. How can they not hate me? So many times I feel like I hate myself. He died because of me! Because of the stupid things I did! And they saw Him die in my place. How can they even look at me? How can they love me?
Perhaps it's because He loves me. He gave Himself willingly in my place; He gave His life so I could live. Perhaps they accept me because He chose to give Himself, and He is not dead anymore. What an amazing thought, to know that He accepted me even before He died. Maybe that's why they have accepted me and still do, even though I betrayed them.
But it's always been hard to accept myself.
How can I accept what I did? I can't. There is no way to accept it, downplay it, or excuse it. I don't think He'd want me to. It was wrong, and I deserved to die for it.
Yet He took my place; He was my substitute. Even as I am here, looking at the stone table where He died, where He gave His life, I know that I cannot accept what I did, but I can know that He died out of love and wants me to live for Him now. The one thing I can accept is His forgiveness. He forgave what I did, payed the price for it, and made me a new person. That is what I can accept.
I stand to my feet again and look up at the sculpture of Him.
Being here is not easy, but it helps bring things back into focus. It was here that He died, and it was here that He rose. The stone table before me is an emblem of His suffering to save me, and I will cling to what He did here until I am able to see Him again.