Disclaimer: I do not own Narnia. If I did, I'd be rich and famous. I'm not…yet. ;P
Summary: I changed it! It is so much better now!!! I hope.
A/N: Well, here's chapter nine. I should be posting more regularly now because I have a lot more free time. No swimming or school, yay! In answer to lozzabum's review, Gabriel and Thorn are detaching themselves from the Witch, and will meet up with the others soon. But the ending is not what you'd expect...
So anyways, enjoy!
~Winter's Black Chill
Rituals and Aslan
I can't believe Narnia is so beautiful! We were walking through the forest as everything bloomed around us, after leaving our coats behind. It was getting really warm out, and I was really enjoying the warmth on my skin.
Tall trees stretched above us, towering into the sky like castle towers. Sunlight dappled the floors, casting wonderful patterns over the forest floor. I smiled happily, but my smile vanished when I thought of Thorn and Gabriel. Thorn always loved the summer; she would have loved Narnia now. She would have only seen it in the winter, which was beautiful, but a harsh, cold beauty.
I sighed and ran to catch up with Peter. He was staring straight ahead, lost in thought. One hand fingered the locket that he had given to Thorn, the other swung listlessly at his side. I slid my tiny hand into his and he looked down briefly, a soft smile on his lips that didn't reach his eyes, before returning to stare into space.
I swung his hand slightly, sadness for my older brother filling me. I might be little, but I don't miss the obvious. Like the fact he really liked and possibly loved Thorn. She had confided in me at the Professor's house that she had had a crush on him, but hadn't told him.
I wish she had.
We broke free from the trees and came across an open grassy area half hidden in a small ravine. We passed a beautiful cherry blossom tree and I watched in amazement as the blossoms flew to form the shape of a woman. She lifted a hand in greeting, and I waved back.
Up ahead, on an outcrop stood a man on a horse. As we neared, I realized it wasn't a man on a horse at all. It was a centaur! He lifted a horn to his mouth and blew; the sound drifted over the ravine like an echo.
We walked into Aslan's camp, and I nearly got whiplash trying to see all the magnificent animals! A bear and a dwarf worked together to make armor, while a faun hammered against a sword. There were great cats slinking about, and a number of beings I didn't even know the names for.
They all looked up as we walked through, and began to follow us through the camp. Susan gazed around self-consciously, a smile plastered on her face. "why are they all staring at us?" she asked.
"Maybe they think you look funny." I beamed up at her, and she smiled for real this time.
We soon reached the end of camp, where a heavily muscled, stern-looking centaur stood. We stopped before the tent and Peter let go of my hand and the locket to pull free his sword. He held it forward and spoke in a strong, clear voice. "We have come to see Aslan." He proclaimed.
I have never been more proud of my brother until that moment. He looked like a King, with the sun creating a halo around his head. The centaur turned to face the tent and bowed low. I turned around as the rest of the army all knelt respectfully.
Unsure of what to do, we kneeled, but I kept my head raised as Aslan exited his tent. He was magnificent to behold, and also quite unsurprising. The Great Lion was a golden color all over; powerful muscles rippled under his coat. His dark eyes gleamed with wisdom and kindness, and I felt a wave of safety wash over me as he smiled.
"Welcome Peter, Son of Adam. Welcome Lucy and Susan, Daughters of Eve. And welcome to you Beavers. You have my thanks." He purred.
The Beavers smiled bashfully at each other, but all our smiles fell as He spoke again. "But where are the fourth and fifth?"
I looked into his eyes and I knew He knew where they were. He just wanted us to try and help ourselves by talking about it. In that millisecond, my respect for Him grew.
Peter rose and sheathed his sword. The rest of the army and us followed him. "That's why we're here sir." He replied respectfully. "We need your help in finding them."
"They…got a little lost." Susan supplied unhelpfully.
Mr. Beaver scowled. "They betrayed them your Majesty. They're the Ice Prince and Princess of Ice."
Murmurings swept through the crowd, but I noticed three or four animals did nothing but keep their faces blank. The centaur by Aslan stamped his hoof in anger. "Then they have betrayed us all!" he declared.
"Peace, Orieus." Aslan chuffed. "I'm sure there is a viable explanation for this?" He looked to Peter.
"It's my fault. Back in our home…I was too hard on them, and that pushed them to the Witch when they arrived." Peter looked down, fingering the locket on his chest. I placed a hand on his arm comfortingly.
Aslan regarded him kindly. "Peter, follow me. I would like to talk to you. Lianlia," He called, and a dryad appeared.
"Yes, my King." She whispered, her voice soft like rose petals.
"Please show our guests to their tents. I will bring Peter along later." He began to walk away, and Peter went to follow him.
I watched them go, and hoped Aslan could help Peter deal with the mistakes he made. After all, Mum always said we learn from our mistakes, but that we can't always see what we've learnt. Hopefully, Aslan would help Peter see.
I followed Aslan silently, my head bowed. I had failed to bring my family here safely, and now I was going to be punished for it. I noticed we had stopped, so I froze and kept my head bowed.
"Peter." He spoke gently and kindly. I didn't deserve his kindness.
"Peter, look at me." I looked at him and fell to my knees in anguish. Tears began to run down my face and I buried my face in my hands.
The weight of what had happened hit me like a train, and it all came out in the form of tears. Great sobs wracked my body, and at the moment, I let my grief overwhelm me, completely ignoring how weak I looked at that moment.
I felt warmth curl around me, and found myself burying my face in Aslan's mane as tears soaked his fur as I mumbled apologies to Thorn and Gabriel, to Aslan, and to Narnia over and over again. After a long while, I got control of myself and pulled back, scrubbing my face furiously. "I'm sorry I have failed you, Aslan." I whispered, ashamed of my weakness.
I heard Him laugh softly. "Peter, you have not failed me, not in the least. You have brought your family safely here, and grown stronger along the way. What more could I possibly ask for?"
I looked away. "I haven't brought all of them here safely." I mumbled.
I looked back at Aslan, who was looking out over the camp below. "Thorn and Gabriel are more than capable of taking care of themselves. Your destiny is here, with Lucy and Susan, but their destiny lies where they are now. They will rejoin us soon."
We both fell silent, before something flew into my mind. "Aslan, the prophecy about us says only four will rule at Cair Paraval, which is Lucy, Susan, Gabriel and I, seeing as we all are or used to be related."
I paused, and He nodded for me to go on. "But what happens to Thorn, sir?" I asked.
Aslan looked sad, and He shook His mane out before he replied. "Her destiny is bigger than yours, but rest assured, everything will turn out alright in the end. She will be fine."
I nodded in acceptance, and we sat side by said as the sun began to set, casting warm glows over the land. The sunset reminded me of Thorn, of her fiery nature and proud spirit. I hoped she was okay, somewhere out there. I gazed at the sun, and for the first time in a while, smiled a true smile. She would be fine.
Little did I know how wrong I was.
We gathered at the Seventh Lake that night as the full moon rose high in the sky. Our army gathered on the shore as Gabriel and I prepared for the ritual. Being a creature of the air, his affinity for Air and Shadow was greater than my affinity for Earth and Water.
Carefully, I dipped my fingers in the black paint and began to draw symbols on Gabriel's chest, face and arms. They glowed briefly, before fading to black. I would leave him to do his lower body, and turned away as he shed his pants and undergarments. Just because we had seen each other naked did not mean it was alright to stare.
Slowly, I slid out of my dress and under clothes, until I stood perfectly naked beside him. A female faun came up with blue paint and began expertly drawing symbols all over my body. A cold wind whipped around me and I shivered slightly.
As soon as the symbols had been drawn, I bent down and grabbed my athame, or sacrificial dagger. The blade gleamed cruelly in the moonlight, and I felt a shiver of anticipation go through my magic. It was time.
Slowly, wings beating at the air, Gabriel rose up and flew into the middle of the lake, where the moon's reflection now sat.
I approached the cold water, letting it lap over my ankles. I breathe deeply and let my magic take over me; when my eyes opened again, they were pure gold. I stepped onto the path of moonlight, which supported me easily. My hair raised around me in an invisible wind as I walked slowly towards the moon.
I stopped in the center of the reflection, and raised my eyes to the Mother Moon, my Goddess. My mouth opened of its own accord and I began to speak. "Matris Luna , Elementum Quattuor, EGO dico super vos iam , in Nox noctis of Estas Solstice , ut Pratus luna orior oriri ortus altus in divum. EGO scisco vos utor vestri veneficus quod sapientia ut tribuo meus vox tergum ut meus animus."
Mother Moon, Elements Four, I call upon you now, on the Night of Summer Solstice, when the Mead moon rises high in the sky. I ask you to use your magic and wisdom to give my power back to my soul.
The wind kicked up as the trees all bent forwards. Waves frothed on the surface of the lake and the fire in the torches held by my people flared brightly. Shadows detached themselves and swarmed, vaulting over to take their place with the other elements, unknown to me and Gabriel.
Gabriel was chanting above me, and as he ended, we both began to chant, and halfway through, we switched to English. "I give you a blood sacrifice, so it may appease you and honor your wisdom!" I screamed above the howling of the wind, the hissing of the waves, the roaring of the fire and the whispering of the shadows.
I slid the athame down my lifelines, and let the blood drip down to the center of the moon. It suddenly glowed a brilliant white, and I lifted my bloody hands up to the sky as I spun around on the spot. Nokan and Najah appeared outside of me, and they began to dance around me, faster and faster until it was nothing but a blur.
I shrieked in wild laughter as the howling rose. Up above, the same was happening to Gabriel, only in the air. My markings glowed red as blood ran down my body. The magic had burned them into my skin, branded me with its own marks.
The elements appeared around me and began to manifest themselves. First, fire hit me and I screamed as impossible pain burned through my veins, lighting them on fire and filling my soul with heat. Above me, Gabriel echoed my cry of pain.
Next was water. It hit me like a solid wave, and quenched the fire burning in me. I spun around from the force of the hit as my blood froze. I collapsed to my knees as the pain raged through me like rapids, my breath misting out on front of me.
My blood flowed faster out of my body, but I felt my magic coming under my control. I was unprepared for air, which sliced through me like the athame. I was tossed this way and that, before it dropped me down hard on the surface.
I spat blood from my mouth, my eyes burning a brighter gold. I braced myself for earth, but was still bowled over as unimaginable strength filled me. It didn't hurt, which lulled me into a false sense of security for Shadow, the last element that I had not called upon.
It started slowly at first, a dull pulsing pain that I could ignore. Then, it got stronger and stronger until I was screaming myself hoarse. I clawed at my chest as the pain filled my lungs, leaving great bloody gouges in my skin. Above me, Gabriel panted with exhaustion and fear, for it seemed Shadow had completely skipped him and chose to come to me.
"THORN!" he bellowed, as I fully collapsed, twitching and jerking on the surface of the moon's reflection.
I arched up, my mouth open in a soundless scream, as blood welled up in my mouth and bubbled over. Najah and Nokan stopped their spinning and floated in the air as I arched again, screaming for real. Then, they disappeared inside me, and everything went black.
I blinked and suddenly I was floating in inky darkness, suspended in the air. I was still naked, to my embarrassment, but it wasn't like there was anyone here to see me. Or was there? The back of my neck prickled uncomfortably, and I spun around in mid air, vainly searching for the culprit.
"Oh, blast it all. I wish there was light!" I cried in frustration, and blinked in surprise as light flooded the darkness. I choked back a scream and wished I had never asked for light.
I was in some kind of dungeon with four familiar figures chained to the icy wall in front of me. Little Lucy slumped forwards in her bonds, bloody and bruised all over. The side of her head was bloody, as if something had smashed her head in. Her eyes were wide open and blank, and I knew she was dead.
Gentle Susan had been pierced with a thousand arrows, and her eyes too were open and glassy. I began to cry as I saw Gabriel, Strong Gabriel, dead with a sword through his heart. My heart broke as I saw Peter, his throat slit and eyes wide in terror.
"No! NO!" I screamed, stumbling forwards to caress Peter's cold face. "No! Please, come back! COME BACK!"
A hissing laughter emanated from Peter, and he raised his head, eyes alit with malice and hatred. "You did this to us! You betrayed us!" he rattled.
I reeled back, clutching my stomach in fear. "No! No, I didn't, I'm sorry, please!" I cried.
"It's your fault!" Peter cried again and again, over and over until I buried my face in my hands and threw myself to the floor. "STOP!" I screamed, and silence fell, broken only by the sobs that tore their way free of my throat.
"I'm sorry." I whispered to the dead. "I'm so sorry."
I stared in horror as my sister writhed and screamed in pain. Shadow was not supposed to come here! And why had it come only to her. I felt fear rise in me as blood bubbled from her mouth. Her guardians watched passively, before disappearing inside her. She laid still, her golden eyes open and glassy.
"NO!" I screamed as I bulleted down to her. Adrenaline filled me, pushing away the exhaustion and pain. "THORN!"
I landed on the surface and crept towards her. "Thorn?" I whispered, touching her bloody shoulder. She twitched under me, a breath catching in her throat. This wasn't supposed to happen. We were supposed to be fine, to go together to Aslan! But she was dying on this moon, and I'd be damned if I let that happen.
I scooped her up in my arms and flew back to our group. "We need to go, now!" I growled, ignoring my nakedness.
Our Army moved in a flash, packing up quicker than I'd ever seen. In moments, we were on our way, with me sitting on Phillip's back as the ritual took its toll. The blood finally stopped flowing from my marks, and I felt my magic calm, soothing me and telling me it would keep my on Phillip should I fall asleep.
I gazed down at Thorn, the only one who had ever been there for me though it all. I tenderly brushed a lock of damp, bloody hair out of her pale face. She twitched again, blood slowing, finally, in its desperate attempt to escape her body. I gently wrapped her in my wings, hiding us both from the world as I caressed her face.
"Please come back. We'll find another way to do this, I promise. Just please don't die." I whispered as we rode through the night, faster than the wind, as if wings had taken up our Army and flown them to Aslan.
We arrived by morning, exhausted, worried and tense. Aslan's Army came out to meet us, confused at the sorrow that plagued the faces of the Army. I could feel Aslan's magic against mine, and I knew my family was there.
"Stop, Phillip." I whispered, and my old friend did as I commanded.
I unfurled my wings and at last rested my tired eyes on Aslan. I slid off of Phillip's back and fashioned clothes for my lower body out of nothing. Carefully, still clutching Thorn to me, I bowed low, my muscles groaning in protest. "My king, we are here and ready to serve You." I murmured softly.
"Welcome, dear Childe." Aslan purred softly. He opened His mouth to say something else, but was cut off by a high, keening wail from Thorn's open mouth.
I stared at her in alarm and fear as she began to thrash, tears carving paths down her bloody cheeks. "NO! Not now! Thorn you can't! Fight!" I cried, falling to my knees with her in my arms as realization shot through me.
She blinked once, her golden eyes shining with pain. "Gabe." She whispered breathily as her body convulsed.
I heard Peter cry out in alarm and call her name. Thorn jerked again, screaming softly as a long cut appeared over her heart. Blood spilled out over my arms, and I began to rock her, crying shamelessly. "No, Thorn. There is another way, I know it. Please."
She smiled slightly at me as her body jerked and thrashed without her command. "It is my…destiny." She gasped out. Then, she sucked in a large breath and went still, her golden eyes staring into the sky, glassy and fevered.
I stared down at her on horror, my eyes taking in her bloody, bruised body, and her still chest. She did not breathe deep; instead, she lay slack in my arms, cold and pale. Tears fell like rain from my mouth as our Army bowed their heads in sorrow.
They had known their Queen would have to go through with this. They had all been prepared for it, but it still came as a hard blow to them. Thorn rasped slightly as her breaths grew shallower. "You know…what to do…Gabe." She sighed.
I shook my head. "I cannot!" I cried out. "Please do not make me, Thorn!"
She trembled. "It is the only way." She whispered softly against me.
I felt numb as I drew my athame down my life-line and smeared the blood over her stomach, and heart. She sighed in peace and smiled dimly. "Now, Gabriel. It is numb." She murmured.
I shuddered as I raised the athame. Too late Peter realized what I was doing and he lunged forwards in rage and shock, but I was faster. Like lightning, I plunged the athame down into her heart, hugging her to me and crying as she arched up, convulsed and fell still.
Her eyes stared up into mine as the light faded from them. I began to sob into her shoulder, my heart ripping in two. Two of the dark phoenixes, Rathar and Kahra began a high, mournful song as they flew above us, mourning the loss of their Queen.
Peter kneeled beside me in shock, his eyes wide. "No. Thorn." He murmured, reaching out a hand to gently stroke her face.
Suddenly, he ripped her from my arms with a cry, burying her face in his shoulder, ignoring the blood staining his clothes. "You bastard!" he shouted as tears streamed down his face. "You fucking bastard, you killed her! She's your sister, damn it!"
"You don't understand." I hissed. "I had no choice."
"You had a choice, damn you!" Peter yelled, tugging Thorn away.
"Would you rather she suffered a horrible death, or died swiftly at the hands of someone she loves?" I snapped my magic flaring around me.
"I would have rather she lived." He rocked Thorn, glaring at me.
"Oh, grow up and smell the roses Peter!" I snarled. "You want to know what her destiny is. This is it! She was destined to die, so her blood could be split upon Narnia's soil, so Narnia could live and continue to be! She is the Keeper of Narnia! It is -was- her job."
I rose and turned away, furious. A soft sniffling behind me caused me to turn. What I saw immediately melted my anger away. Peter held Thorn close to him, clutching her hand to him. With shaking fingers, he slid a silver ring onto her finger and kissed it. "It's a promise ring, Thorn." He murmured to her. "I promised to find you, and I have. But I've really just lost you again."
He slid the golden ring on his finger and buried his face in her hair, shaking silently with sobs. I approached them and gently rested my hand on his shoulder. He flinched, but calmed when he realized it was me. I glanced Susan and Lucy, who were hugging each other and crying. I murmured apologies to them, before kneeling down beside Peter.
"You have magic." Peter whispered brokenly. "Can't you bring her back?"
I sighed. "No, I can't Pete. Magic can do a lot of things Peter, but not this."
I rose again and turned away. "Thorn's dead."
"And there's nothing I can do about it."
Haha! Thorn is, well dead. Don't worry; this isn't the end- far from it! In case it's kind of confusing, Thorn had to die, so her blood could be split upon Narnia's soil. She is the Keeper of Narnia, which means she has to die in order to keep Narnia vibrant and alive. Every ten thousand years, a Keeper comes along and has to die by the hand of a loved one, so Aslan's magic is strengthened and Narnia can continue to be. But with Thorn, her destiny is way bigger than that. You'll see. ;) And there's some Lucy adn gabriel P.O.V for ya! Enjoy!
~Winter's Black Chill