Disclaimer: Still nothing is mine. All belongs to the great C. S. Lewis and Disney.
I can't believe that I've left this hanging for so long. My muse completely abandoned me and I didn't write anything during the whole of this year. Somehow the prospect of the new movie made me turn back to it, and I hope you'll like it. Enjoy!
Be Strong and of Good Courage
Everything has happened so fast now, and I think I cannot fully comprehend it all and have also not yet fully arrived here. We are back in England again, on the train that will bring us to school, and I feel a bit strange. Not a bad strange, but still. Just as it happened when we returned for the first time, no time has passed here at all, and still everything is different now. The person sitting in this train is not the person that arrived at the train station an hour ago. Or is it a week? The concept of travelling between Narnia and our world will probably always remain a mystery to me.
I am glad that Edmund and I have a compartment to ourselves which gives me the opportunity to somehow try and sort my thoughts. Edmund has dropped off to sleep almost immediately, he has gone through so much and his exhaustion was clear for everyone to see. I wonder if I had been able to bear everything he did had our roles been reversed. If he had pushed me away, had been as obnoxious as I have been… I think we would have come to blows within a week. I know we have talked through everything, but I still have to cringe when I think about the past year. Edmund would now probably kindly tell me that it is my bloody impatience coming through and that true healing takes time. I am slowly coming to accept that, and – what is perhaps more important – to believe it.
It is very quiet, the silence only disturbed by Edmund's slow breathing, and my thoughts turn to the last day, the last few hours. I have known of course that we would have to return to England eventually, but when the moment arrived it was different from how I had imagined it to be. Riding through the streets of the city with my siblings and Caspian and all those who had fought loyally and valiantly with us was a truly breathtaking and unforgettable experience. For just a short while it felt as if nothing had changed, as if we were simply returning from a campaign and being greeted by our faithful subjects. But reality soon caught up with me. The castle was not Cair Paravel, the crowd was made up of more humans than Animals and even our gowns were different. It is strange, but I knew then that we would not be staying for much longer, and while I was sad that I would not be able to see Narnia returned to her full glory, I was somehow serene in the knowledge that I would leave her in Caspian's capable hands. When we crowned him in the courtyard I could sense very vividly that I was handing over my sceptre to him. I will always be High King, I do not doubt Aslan or His word, but this moment had a sense of finality about it that I still cannot really describe. And for just a blink of eternity I saw some hazy images, woven together like a tapestry. An elegant ship with a dragon's head and a purple sail. Impossibly tall mountains, blazing in a light so bright I wanted to close my eyes. A woman robed in green. A donkey and a monkey in a little stable. Rising oceans and falling stars.
I did not understand what I was seeing, but then Susan and I had a long conversation with Aslan. I am still amazed at everything he told us, sad though it was in parts. We are not returning to Narnia, 'not in your lifetime' were Aslan's exact words. I am surprised that I am not more disheartened by this, I truly must have known somewhere deep down that this would happen. Perhaps Aslan has been preparing me for this silently, without my knowledge, since our encounter at the Stone Table. I cannot help wondering how I would have reacted had I received this news last week or even a few days ago. I believe I would have fallen into a raging fury, lashing out at everything in the vicinity and destroying more than I could have repaired. And I once again have to humbly acknowledge that Aslan's timing is always perfect. For now I feel just a comforting calm and acceptance, even some anticipation, however bizarre that may sound.
Aslan told us that we have learned all Narnia could teach us, and while I would have liked to protest this statement quite vehemently, I knew that He was right, that it would have just been my desire to stay. I do not think I am even aware of everything Narnia has taught me. I have not only learned to be a ruler, how to lead a country and a people, but also how to be a man people can rely on and trust, whom they can turn to. I have learned to be generous and prudent in equal measures, when to speak and when to be silent, when to show mercy and when to enact justice. And most importantly I have learned who I am in Aslan's eyes. I had forgotten this lesson during the last year, but Aslan reminded me of it again. I do not have to prove anything to Him because He knows me better than I do myself anyway. He knows all of my strengths and weaknesses and never expects more of me than I can manage. That thought is truly liberating, and it is also the reason why I am confident that I will be able to fulfil the task He set before us, to come closer to our own world. He has faith in me to cope now, to not fall back to the state I was in after our first return and to lead an upright life in a manner befitting the High King of Narnia in accordance with His wishes. I know I can do this, trusting in Him and in myself and accepting the help of those closest to me.
I glance over at Edmund, he is still sleeping peacefully, and I have to smile. I have not yet told him what Aslan said to Susan and me, things just happened too fast after our conversation and we were back at the train station almost before we could blink. But as soon as we arrive at the school I will talk to him about what has transpired. I have felt his curious eyes upon me a number of times, even though he tried to hide it. I hope he does not think I am trying to shut him out again, nothing could be further from the truth. He is my anchor, he is my balance and I know he will understand and support me.
I cannot restrain myself and lean forward slightly, gently running my fingers through his hair. He truly is the best brother in the world and I cannot imagine my life without him. We have come such a long way from the times when our only mode of communication was yelling, when every other word was an insult. Now he is my best friend, my confidant, the one person in the world I would not hesitate baring my complete soul to. I would do anything for Edmund, and I know the same holds true for him. Again I thank Aslan for His mercy in reconciling us to each other. I do not think it would have been possible without Him and Narnia…
I have to admit to feeling wistful. No matter how much I understand Aslan and his task and trust that he is right, I will miss Narnia very much. It has been my home for more years than I have lived in England, and the thought of never seeing it again does hurt. Although I cannot help but wonder what Aslan meant when he said 'not in your lifetime'. Can we somehow return after our death? Does it have something to do with the images I saw so briefly? For I do believe now that they were glimpses of the future…
I should have asked Aslan about that, now this opportunity is gone… Or is it? His last words come back to me, that we can find him here, in our world, just under a different name. My heart beat a bit quicker at that and joy and warmth flooded me. He is here, He will not leave us alone, and He is also not abandoning us, but rather changing our relationship. I have a feeling that it can only become deeper. His voice is still ringing in my ears.
"This was the very reason why you were brought to Narnia, that by knowing me here for a little, you may know me better there."
I cannot wait to start my search for Him, and I am very much looking forward to getting to know Him better. We truly only got glimpses of Him in Narnia, and I have this inkling that there is so much more to Him than we will ever be able to fathom. I wonder where I should start looking, I do not think I have ever heard something about a Lion such as Him here in our world. Perhaps Edmund might have an idea, he has become quite interested in philosophy and history.
I am brought out of my thoughts by a change in Edmund's breathing, and I look up to see his sleepy eyes blinking at me slowly. I get up from my seat and cross the compartment to sit down next to him, putting my arm around him and drawing him against my side. He rests his head on my shoulder, and I press a quick kiss to his forehead.
"Go back to sleep, Eddy. We still have more than an hour to go."
I can feel him nodding slightly, and a few minutes later he is asleep again. I turn to look out of the window, watching the trees that we are now leaving behind. Just as they are slowly disappearing into the distance, the past year slips away from me, and I know that I can lay it to rest now.
I am finally at peace.
And one of the elders saith unto me, "Weep not: behold, the Lion of the tribe of Juda, the Root of David, hath prevailed." – Revelations 5,5
And this is finally the end. I'm really sorry that it took me so long. Just as the note, one sentence was taken from Voyage of the Dawn Treader Chapter 16, "The Very End of the World". I hope that someone is still reading this and that you liked it.