I don't own any characters other than Delaney and a few of her crew. All other characters, plot, and fictitious lands are property of their respective owners.
"My problems fell out of the back of my mind."
Relient K : Pressing On
Seven Years Later
It was a place of untold beauty and might. Its rulers were strong, wise, loving, and fearless. Its people were loyal and good. Its history rich. Yet despite the proud turrets and marble battlements, the whole of the place seemed to sag under the weight of the day. There would be no music in the Cair that night. There would be no dancing. The Kings and Queens would simply excuse themselves from whatever business they had and retreat to the guest wing of the castle. They would sit in Edmund's old room for hours, talking amongst themselves and reminiscing about a girl that had known Narnia for only two weeks of her life. They spoke fondly, laughing at jokes half forgotten and sorely missed. At sun down, they would go their separate ways, each choosing to mourn her on their own. No one dared disturb them on that day of solemn remembrance.
Susan always went out to the memorial in the gardens. The others couldn't bear to be so close to Delaney's final resting place, but Susan could not stand to be away from it for long. Some days she still brought out a lunch and sat beside the marble marker, chatting pleasantly. For seven years she kept up their lunches, and always she felt better afterward, as though Delaney were beside her listening.
"He's alright, you know," Susan said quietly, placing a flower atop the grave. "It was touch and go for a while. I thought he might go the way Grim did and just grieve himself to death, but he's been strong for you. He smiles freely, now, Lane. He laughs. I know he talks to you, too. Somehow…he's healed. He's living for you both, I think."
The queen sighed, closing her eyes. It would seem to anyone watching that she was listening for a response. Of course, there was none but Susan nodded anyhow. "I know. We'll see you again. Peace, sister."
Lucy went to the woods, hiding herself among the trees. Seven years ago, they had helped her hunt down Delaney's true murderer. Sessili had been the only one with access to all three poisoned swords. Once the young queen realized who was truly responsible for her friend's death, there had been no where for the dryad to run. Queen Lucy the Valiant walked into the woods armed only with her dagger. The trees pointed the way and Sessili was no match for the wrath of the ancient Oaks and Maples, nor the angry young queen that was hell bent on uprooting her and ending her miserable life.
Lucy sat with her back against a poplar, missing the easy companionship she had shared with Delaney. "They still don't listen," she said softly. "They still treat me like I'm eight years old and just laboring under an overactive imagination. They just don't listen." Lucy sighed and tried to imagine what Delaney would say if she were there.
Delaney had never once overlooked Lucy, never once devalued her. She proved that being the youngest didn't mean being the weakest. She had played her strengths, and had saved them all.
"It's been hard without you, Lane," Lucy said sadly to the night sky. "We miss you."
Peter stood in the middle of the practice yard, his head bowed. He was constantly drawn to the place where Delaney had been killed. Where he had killed her. The girls reminded him constantly that had Delaney not been poisoned, she would have easily been able to avoid his sword, but their reassurance did not give him much comfort. After everything, he had been the one to stop her heart. She had died in his arms. Her blood had soaked into him. He knelt down and took up a handful of dirt, rubbing the grit into his fingers.
It had taken a year for Edmund to even look at him again. That first year…it had been hard on all of them, but Edmund had been half dead, his heart gone. Then, suddenly, he was back to normal. Not even normal, he was better. He claimed that Aslan had visited him in a dream. He didn't elaborate, but Peter had felt his own guilt begin to dissolve each time he caught Edmund smiling, laughing, or even just at peace.
"I wish you'd come to me, too," Peter murmured. He stood up and let the handful of dirt scatter from his hand. "Rest well, Lane."
Edmund sat on the beach, watching the waves pick at the shore. He could almost feel her there. Sometimes he caught himself staring at the breakers as though Delaney was going to step out of the water again, but he knew better than that. Aslan had seen fit to take her back. The girl had simply been a loan, there in Narnia on borrowed time. It was his own foolish fault that he had fallen in love with her.
The thought still made his heart ache, but it wasn't unbearable anymore. He loved her. He had once cursed the love, hated it even as he craved it because it would never be anything more than one giant 'what if'. But after that dream…their love was a gift, transcending even death.
Be at peace, Just King. Aslan's voice was velvety and deep as it whispered to Edmund. She has a message. She was quite insistent about my returning to deliver it. She said…forever. I presume you understand this?
Edmund had woken up in tears. Yes, he understood. It was inscribed in the ring he had never gotten the chance to give her, yet somehow she knew.
"I'll love you always, Lane," he said a loud. "Always and forever."
A horn blew from the battlements and he heard people shouting excitedly. "The white stag! The white stag has been spotted."
Reviews are love...
Yes, this is the end of Untamed. I already have part of a sequal written but it might have to wait until I get back from London. In the mean time, I appreciate everyone's support. I loved your reviews and I hope everyone enjoyed reading as much as I enjoyed writing this story. Delaney Carter willsee Narnia again.
Rock on, write on.