First, darkness.

She does not know how long it lasts, only that it is darkness, deep, depthless. Endless. And then, suddenly--

"Let the circle be drawn."

She does not recognize the voice, but that matters little. It is a follower. Even now, after all this time, there are still those who remember the Old Ways. The thought focuses her, draws her back.

Another moment. The agony is unbearable, scraps of self drawing together, chilling, coalescing into something that is like matter, trapped behind a wall of ice but so close--

The Son of Adam is young, little more than a boy, but bowed with the weight of duties to great for him, desperate, hopeless. She can see it in his face, despite his frail protests.

"No, this isn't what I want."

Fool. All of them, fools. All of them desiring power but unwilling to pay the price. She will give herself to him; that was the bargain, the only way out of this nothingness. But then, oh, then--

The moment is shattered almost before it can begin. There is a horrid familiarity to this, to the sword pointed at her breast, awkwardly gripped in inexperienced hands, the righteous wrath, and for a moment she is standing on a sun-drenched meadow on the eve of a battle, facing a skinny boy with a sword he barely knows how to hold. She hisses, draws back, then hesitates.

Oh. Oh, yes, this is the way. The irony alone is so delicious: Narnia's High King brought so low. He is older, as humans count these things, tall and broad and strong, and the sword no longer seems too big for his frame. He is older, and that is the crux of the thing. Jadis knows that if Aslan had been only a little later on that long-ago battlefield, she might have killed Peter, but she never could have destroyed him. Now, though--

Now, Peter is a man, with a man's frustrated rage. He does not know what he wants; she can taste his uncertainty, his fear, like a heady wine. The broadsword sags in his grip, and any moment now--

He will be a king again. He will have Narnia, his kingdom, the one thing that he grasps at even as it slips through his fingers, and it will be as ashes and dust to him.

She forces her fingers through the ice, shards breaking, cutting into her skin, reaching for light and warmth. Peter is still staring at her with wide blue eyes, lips parted, his will fluttering like a trapped bird in her grasp. He is beautiful in his despair, and she feels her lips peel back from her teeth in a smile.

"You can't do this alone."

It's true enough, and he knows it. By now, he's twisted himself around enough that he can't see the truth beneath the truth, and she draws breath to twist him a bit further and--

A silvery shard of pain pierces her like broken glass. She screams out her rage and despair, spinning; and he is there. The Boy. He is older as well, but there is none of Peter's despairing rage in his level eyes. In his face is the look of one who has walked through fire and ice and come out unscathed at the other side.

She only has an instant to notice this, and then she is falling to pieces, and the crashing ice sounds like a lion's roar.