Caspian frowned at the mural in front of him in the tunnel. It was one of the rarer battle murals, most of said murals being found in the back tunnels of Aslan's How. It showed Peter and Edmund in their normal armor, Edmund identified by his lighter crimson surcoat and florentine style swords while Peter was recognized by his shield and darker surcoat. Susan was also visible on an outcropping in her own battle garb of a leather cuirass and chain mail overdress, wielding her bow and distinctive armor with admirable accuracy if the number of red-fletched arrows in painted fallen foes was any indication. That wasn't the cause of Caspian annoyance however. He stared at the last human figure, frustrated. In all his lessons, Doctor Cornelius had never mentioned any of the four Kings and Queens of Old- or any Narnian for that matter- using knives in battle.
Shaking his head, Caspian turned to leave the back tunnel and look for a sparring partner. Edmund was particularly interesting to fight, with his two swords giving him an extra edge. As Caspian wandered back to the main tunnel that would take him back to the entrance area of the How when he heard a strange but familiar sound: The solid sound of a knife sinking sturdily into wood. He stopped walking; trying to pinpoint the noise before letting his feet carry him to a dusty door. He paused, noting the small footprints and the single palm print- proportional in size to the footprints before pushing the door open.
Caspian froze as a small dagger buried itself into the lintel next to his head- at eye-level too he noted before looking beyond the dagger to the dagger's owner and occupant of the room, sitting with her arm still extended from the throw. His eyes widened as plump cheeks flushed and Queen Lucy the Valiant ducked her head down in embarrassment. "Sorry about that," she mumbled in a quiet voice. "I didn't think that that particular reflex would survive England."
Caspian said nothing for a moment before tugging out the dagger and extending it pommel-first to Lucy who took it quietly and sheathed it without looking. "It is well," Caspian began, "that such reflexes survive. They keep you alive. Though I did not know that you had any expertise in weaponry."
Lucy looked up at him and a strange little smile flitted across her face. Caspian shivered slightly- that smile was dark and did not belong on features so young. Small fingers brushed over the dagger sheath absently before Lucy looked to one side. "I don't think any history saying that I fought in a battle survived. Even in my time, everyone wanted to believe that Queen Lucy the Valiant only saved lives with her magic cordial, instead of taking lives on the battlefield."
Caspian eyes widened for a moment. "You fought in battles? But you're-" he blurted out before stopping himself. His mind was having trouble trying to imagine the small child before him in battle and surviving. Before he could open his mouth and apologize, the puzzle of the unknown fighter rose to the forefront of his mind. "In these battles…Did you fight with two long knives?"
"Why, yes," Lucy confirmed, looking at Caspian in curiosity. "I also had at least two bandoleers of throwing knives as well. How did you ever know?"
"Not all your history was lost- Come with me!" Caspian urged and moved to grab Lucy's hand when the littlest Queen was on her feet and out the door, standing in the dusty tunnel and motioning for Caspian to hurry up.
"Show me!" She demanded in a regal tone of voice and Caspian obeyed without question, a small part of him realizing that Lucy had been a Queen and fighter as much as any of her siblings. It took only a few minutes for him to lead his young companion through the winding tunnels to the mural he had puzzled over.
He watched as Lucy slowed to a stop, eventually standing still in front of the simple mural-version of her older self. She stared transfixed at the image for a long moment before letting her eyes drift over the other details in the mural. "I'm glad they simplified things for the mural," she murmured to herself. Glancing at Caspian she went on to explain. "When Father Christmas gave me my dagger, he said it was to be used only "at great need." I only left the encampment to fight in battle when things were- what would Edmund say? - "Going to hell in a hand basket." Caspian choked at the coarse language but his lips twitched towards a smile. People obviously forgot that Lucy was not the young child she appeared to be. Lucy sent him an amused look before brushing her fingers over mural-Edmund and mural-Peter. "What the mural doesn't show are the wounds. Peter had taken a harsh blow to his shield arm and at least one torso slash. Thankfully he actually managed to keep his helm for this battle. Edmund had a shoulder cut and several slashes on his back- from nobly jumping in front of Peter when he had lost Rhindon briefly."
"What happened?" Caspian asked in a soft tone.
Lucy shrugged in an almost casual manner but the tightening of her muscles was obvious. "I was fighting nearby. I refused to fight in armor like Edmund's and Peter's and make an obviously royal target of myself. I wore some modified faun armor and fought in breeches. Anyway, I defeated my current opponent- a dwarf I think- and managed throw enough knives at the boy's opponents to give them time to get back on their feet and fighting. Orieus and Susan gathered enough soldiers for a charge and broke the enemy line and killed the leader. It was a simple rout after that." Lucy's normally expressive voice and eyes were blank and flat, speaking volumes to Caspian.
"And what of your injuries?" he asked.
Lucy glanced at him, startled, before smiling slightly before pushing up the sleeves of her dress to show the close knit network of scars scattered over her hands and forearms- the marks of a knife fighter. "The scars fade in England," Lucy observed, idly looking over her hands, "but they come back to us here. If you can get past Peter's collar, you'll see the slices on his neck where someone nearly managed to behead him at some point."
Caspian stayed silent for moment before mumbling something along the lines of "I'll be sure to do that" before he considered something. He stood as tall as could be and faced Lucy, who, sensing something was coming, faced him. Caspian bent low in a full formal court bow and extended his hand with a flourish. "Queen Lucy the Valiant," he began in a formal tone.
"Yes, Prince Caspian the Tenth," she replied, just as sober as he- except for her dancing eyes, wild with laughter.
"Would you permit me the honor of sparring with you, later this afternoon?"
"I do believe that I have no appointments scheduled prior, Prince Caspian. Nothing would give me greater pleasure," Lucy answered warmly. Her face dropped as she thought of one minor detail. "If you could find practice armor and weapons to fit me. I don't know if any of my gear survived," she worried her lower lip for a moment, looking entirely like the young child she was, physically.
Caspian frowned slightly, thinking of all the old chests and crates sitting undisturbed in the back of the How. "Give me a few hours leave," he said slowly, "and I will see what I can find. Meet me by the Stone Table in three hours."
Lucy looked at him for a second before nodding slowly. "I do believe that Edmund need my help gathering some things," she said with a mischievous smile.
Caspian nodded gravely. "It would not do to keep your royal brother waiting."
Lucy laughed, "It would not indeed. See you in a few hours Caspian!" She darted off down the winding corridor, her bare feet nearly silent on the pounded earth and stone floor.
Caspian watched the young Queen leave before turning back to face the tunnels and hidden rooms, propping his fists on his belt. "If I were a set of practice armor and weapons made for a young queen, where would I hide," he murmured to himself.
The sound of booted feet pounding on the tunnel floors sounded like thunder as Susan, Peter and Edmund made for a desperate run towards the entrance of the How. One of Reepicheep's mice had skittered into the meeting room, chattering about how Prince Caspian was fighting an unknown, but skilled fighter in the unofficial arena in front of the How's entrance. The members in the meeting had looked at one another before wordlessly running out of the room and towards the entrance.
"What I want to know," Edward panted, "is how a Telmarine soldier got close enough-" he paused to suck in another lungful of air before continuing, "to engage Caspian in single combat!"
"More importantly," Peter added grimly, "why aren't the others interfering?"
No one had an answer for him but the speed of the group picked up subtly- before coming to a complete stop as the group ran into the crowd watching the ongoing fight. It took a few minutes for the crowd to realize who was trying to get through but the former monarchs were quickly allowed through the ranks of soldiers to see this unknown fighter for themselves.
Edward felt his heart clench and heard Peter's violent cursing while Susan gasped, her fingers finding Edmund's shoulders and clamping down. Edmund winced at the desperate strength in his older sister's fingers but focused on the two fighters locked in combat. One was clearly Caspian, there was no mistaking the Telmarine armor and besides, the idiot liked to fight without a helm. Aslan forbid that Caspian would get helmet hair and ruin his good looks, Edmund thought wryly before turning his attention to the other fighter and groaned.
Looking at the navy blue gambeson and weapons, it couldn't be anyone else but Lucy. Edmund watched his younger sister, looking for any telltale signs of possible injury resulting from a spar- limping or favoring a limb would be evidence enough for him or Peter to grab their own gear and turn Caspian into a smear on the ground for daring to harm their sister. But after analyzing Lucy's loose limbed, flowing movements for several minutes, Edmund could find no sign of injury. In fact, Edmund realized, Lucy is holding her own. Caspian is the one having trouble...
His brotherly outrage abated, Edmund started watching the fight in earnest, leaning forward while Peter and Susan stood like statues, white-lipped and tense as if Lucy were fighting against a deadly opponent for her very life. Edmund sighed and rolled his eyes mentally before grinning as he overheard an intense conversation between several soldiers, betting on the outcome of the match.
Trumpkin sidled up next to Edmund and cocked a speculative eye at the younger King. "Is that little fighter who I think it is?" He asked in his low, rough voice. Edmund nodded slightly and was surprised at the sly little smile that spread across Trumpkin's solemn face. "I think there's a bet I want to place," Trumpkin said carefully.
Edmund grinned down at the dwarf and fumbled for his belt pouch. "Here," Edmund muttered in a low tone, passing the pouch to the dwarf. "Double that bet and we can split the profit." Trumpkin nodded and made his way over to the circle of soldiers gambling, whistling a low but jaunty tune, Edmund's belt pouch firmly in hand.
A rousing shout drew Edmund's attention back to the fight and he sucked in a breath as he watched Caspian trap one of Lucy's long knives in a bind and sent the blade flying out of her hand. The blade clattered to a stop near Edmund and he quickly stooped over a large rock that edged the area and snagged the blade, removing it from the arena. Looking over the weapon, Edmund confirmed that it was Lucy's weapon, with a blue leather hilt and wrapped with silver wire for grip. If there were any doubts left, an unmistakable lion's head formed the pommel of the long knife.
Another wild shout jerked Edmund's head up and watched as Lucy ward off a few blows from Caspian haphazardly. Suddenly Lucy slid one of her legs in a large arc and whirled around Caspian, drawing her remaining long knife for what looked to be a killing blow to Caspian's kidneys. Edmund sucked in his breath and watched in annoyance as Caspian spun, knocking Lucy's knife away from his back. Abruptly, Lucy's free hand whipped forward and the entire crowd roared as they watch a dulled throwing knife bounced off the top of Caspian's gorget and clattered to the ground. Caspian and Lucy both froze before Caspian raised his blade in a salute and bowed before laying his blade on the ground in the universal sign of surrender.
Caspian smiled and wiped his forehead with a spare bit of rag that had been tucked in his belt. "A most excellent spar…Queen Lucy." He had deliberately waited to give the name of his opponent until she had pulled off her helm and everyone in the large crowd could see who had just bested the Prince. There was dead silence for a moment before a huge, roaring cheer erupted from almost the entire crowd. Lucy grinned broadly before Peter and Susan vaulted over the boulders and made a beeline for her. Edmund caught Trumpkin's eye and jerked his head towards the small gathering in the arena. Trumpkin nodded and after conferring with several soldiers and collecting his winnings, joined Edmund and the small group around Lucy.
"-don't realize is that you could've been really hurt Lucy!" Peter was finishing up in a low, lecturing tone. "Don't you remember the battle with the ogres? You could've lost your entire forearm!" Susan hadn't said anything but her expression said everything, even as she nodded firmly, agreeing with Peter.
Caspian frowned and opened his mouth to comment but Edmund beat him. "Peter, we wouldn't have even survived that battle if Lucy hadn't taken out that ogre and werewolf! You had lost Rhindon and my back was laid open- we weren't going anywhere."
Peter turned an interesting shade of white before taking a deep breath, only for another interruption from Caspian. "What you seem to forget is that just as you and Queen Susan are warriors, trapped in children's bodies, so is Queen Lucy. It is a dishonor to treat her any differently."
"But she's so small!" Susan protested.
"If you think people shouldn't be allowed to fight based on size, Reepicheep and I might have a few words to say," Trumpkin almost-growled.
Susan sent him a withering look. "Fine, but she's still too you-"
"Would you all stop talking about me as if I weren't here!?" Lucy's outburst effectively silenced the group and they all turned to look at her as the youngest Pevensie fixed Peter and Susan with a surprisingly steely-eyed gaze. "I know you want to protect me and keep thinking I'm the cute healer but I'm not. I'm just as much a fighter as any of you and I don't need protection! Or did Father Christmas just give me a show dagger, something that would look pretty on my belt? He said that I would only use my blade in the greatest of need, and I have! I have sweated, fought and bled for Narnia just as much as you!" Lucy looked at Peter and Susan for a moment longer before she whirled about and stalked angrily back into the How. Trumpkin looked at the group before sighing and following his young friend in to the How.
The small group watched the dwarf trail after the young queen for a moment before Glenstorm quietly approached the group and suggested that now that they had all seen that Prince Caspian was safe and sound, they should resume the strategy meeting. Peter and Susan agreed, distractedly while Edmund and Prince Caspian shared a look before nodding, following the others inside the How.
Trumpkin swore softly as he circled around to the main entrance of the How- without Queen Lucy. The smallest Queen had neatly slipped through the winding tunnels without anyone seeing her. The red dwarf ran a hand over his nose and mouth, brushing over his beard with its twin braids and wondering what he was going to tell the other Kings and Queen. So sorry, an eight year old has given an entire army the slip? Trumpkin snorted softly to himself and looked about himself absently before freezing. "Trufflehunter!" he called, catching the historian's attention.
"Trumpkin," the Badger acknowledged, stopping to one side of the entrance.
"Can you track Queen Lucy's scent? She, uh, left a while back and her siblings are starting to worry," Trumpkin explained a low voice, not wanting to get the entire army up in arms over the disappearance of Queen Lucy.
Trumpkin snorted. "Don't see why they would be worried- after that bout with Prince Caspian, anyone could see that Queen Lucy can take care of herself. But to answer your question, yes, I can track Queen Lucy's scent."
Trumpkin breathed a sigh of relief as Trufflehunter stopped talking and started snuffling around, tracking down Lucy's scent. Finally, the pair wound their way through the many tunnels and out the back entrance of the How. Trufflehunter then took the lead, leading his silent companion through thin, broken trails that often had the duo ducking through dense branches and thick ferns. After about fifteen minutes travel, the Badger and the dwarf came upon a small clearing whose sole occupant was the Queen.
Trumpkin had just barely taken three steps forward, when a dagger embedded itself in the ground next to his right foot. Trumpkin looked at the dagger in surprise before picking it up and wiping it clean. "If Peter or Susan sent you to collect me, you can tell them to go stuff it," Lucy said quietly, wordlessly promising a world of pain to her older siblings if they still persisted in their overprotective attitudes.
Trumpkin shook his head. "We just wanted to make sure you weren't going to do anything…" he trailed off, looking at Trufflehunter.
"Drastic," Trufflehunter stated firmly.
Lucy frowned but said nothing, calmly accepting the cleaned dagger and sighing deeply. "Do you think I was too angry with Peter and Susan?" she asked in a soft voice.
Trufflehunter shook his head. "Your siblings- with the exception of King Edmund- are the only ones who don't see you for the warrior you can be. Even the most peaceful Badger can bite back when angered."
Lucy smiled slightly and turned to look at the forest before sighing. "We should probably head back, before the rest of the army comes looking for me."
Peter growled underneath his breath, rubbing at his forehead. "I don't see how we can win this battle with only our current forces," he admitted softly, looking at the other people in the room. Edmund and Caspian looked just as dispirited while Glenstorm shifted uneasily.
"Then ask for more forces." Peter whipped around to see Lucy stride into the room, dressed in an outfit all four siblings had thought lost to the ages. Loose blue trews allowed more movement (and hidden weapons) than any skirt or dress, and bare feet padded noiselessly on the ground. Lucy's hands- losing their English pudginess and softness to the strength and calluses of Narnia once more- rested casually on the two long knives sheathed at her belt while two bandoleers of slim throwing knives crisscrossed the sturdy tunic, colored a darker navy blue than the trews. Usually soft brown, doe eyes were hardened into war-edged flint, capable of doling out life and death as required by the young queen. The final touch was a simple bandanna, keeping Lucy's face clear of her hair.
Lu's campaign outfit, Peter thought. Whenever Narnia had been threatened, all four siblings would camp with the Army though in most cases, only Edmund, Susan and Peter fought. Still, any enemy forces thinking to kidnap the youngest queen to try and devastate the morale of the Narnians, had been sorely surprised by Lucy's skill with her small blades. Peter was so focused on memories past, he didn't notice the smiles Edmund and Caspian shared as Lucy calmly hoisted herself onto a nearby rock to peer at the maps and figures laid out. "The Telmarine forces are focused on the front of the How," Lucy pointed out, tapping the map. "There's only a small scouting party posted near the back entrance and they're not very observant." Her lip curled into a brief smirk before looking at the others. "Send me out into the forest to find Aslan. His aid is the only thing that will keep us from defeat."
Peter restrained his initial urge to shout no and considered the plan. It makes sense, the tactician in him admitted, grudgingly. She's just a little girl, the big brother shouted. Peter sighed and looked at the Telmarine prince. "What do you think?"
Caspian looked at the map and tried to point out faults in Lucy's idea. "It is a good plan," he admitted. "But what if there are archers? Their range is greater than Queen Lucy's."
"Let me take Susan," Lucy promptly suggested.
Peter hesitated for a moment before nodding his consent. He looked at Edmund for a final confirmation who frowned. "Aslan won't be much help if we're already dead," he said slowly. "We're going to need a diversion to make sure Lucy has enough time to find Aslan."
Caspian looked up, an idea occurring to him. "Miraz may be a tyrant, and a murderer, but he is a king. And as such, he subject to the traditions and expectations of our people. There may be one in particular that may be helpful…"
Lucy frowned, worried as she left Susan behind to deal with the majority of the Telmarine pursuit. Her thoughts turned from her sister to that of dealing with the three pursuers who had broken off from the main group and followed. Spotting a clearing carved out of a hill ahead of Destrier, Lucy's lips thinned in a predatory sense of anticipation as she urged to the horse to a greater speed to build up more of a lead. As Destrier entered the clearing, Lucy hauled back on the reins and to the right, sending the well-trained animal's hindquarters slewing around and stopping. Lucy quickly pulled out a pair of throwing daggers and flicked them at the horses of pursuers. Wait a minute, Lucy frowned as she watched the two horses collapse, throwing their riders violently, Where's the- Lucy let out a short scream as the third jumped from the ridge at the side of the clearing, only to be bowled over by a great, golden shape.
Her heart stopped thundering as the lion turned around, revealing a familiar face to her. "Aslan!"
AN: xD So. This fic is the result of me watching the first movie and coming to the realization that not ONCE, in any of the books or movies, does Lucy use her dagger from Father Christmas. Everyone else, with the exception of giftless Edmund, uses their gifts aplenty. So, I decided that Lucy needed to use her daggers, and from the one scene in the first movie where she nails the bulls eye when Susan only hit the red area of the target, she would be pretty proficient in knife fighting.