I know its awhile since i've updated. Won't bother with excuses.
This chapter is dedictaed to LuMezenga - dedictaed reviewer or what?
"The Northlanders have insulted our intellect, made an absolute mockery of our command, and irrevocably damaged our honour and our pride, which we proudly hold in Narnia." Susan announced angrily. Her fist smacked down loudly on the table for impact, as she held the attention of all the members of royalty, and the generals and officials present.
Edmund sank back in his seat, sighing loudly in irritation, receiving a withering look from Susan in response. He simply frowned back at her.
Yes, the Northlands had made complete and utter fools of them, but did Susan really have to repeatedly point it out? Wasn't it embarassing enough already?
"Aside from that," Susan continued, radiating authority. "On legal matters, the Northlanders had spies trespassing and hiding in our territory, under false identities. This may have posed a serious threat to the safety of our people, which is our duty to prevent." Susan was in full debate mode, proposing the motion that war be declared on the Northlanders, on the grounds of their 'atrocious' actions against them. And, judging by the looks of the few members of the panicked opposition, she was well on her way to winning.
"Not only that," she continued, her tone now full of contained fury. "A plot to take the life of one of our very own kings, my brother, was in place." If she had looked angry before, she now looked downright pissed.
Edmund sank into his seat even further, as various sympathetic eyes flickered toward them. As if it hadn't been embarassing enough. He shot a poisonous glare at Susan, who ignored it.
"We simply cannot let this pass unnoticed. If for nothing else, do it for the sake of our pride in Narnia!" she demanded, her hand coming down on the table again, this time with more impact.
Countless heads nodded readily in agreement. Susan had this one.
"Your highness, with the utmost respect, I do object." One brave member of the opposition suddenly said.
Susan slowly raised an eyebrow, her expression full of utter contempt. She folded her arms slowly, expectantly. "Oh?" she said casually, as if she really wasn't interested at all. "Pray, do tell?" she continued expectantly.
In the few short seconds it had taken Susan to reply, the young official seemed to have lost all of his fleeting bravado. He now looked at Susan nervously, with the look of a deer caught in the headlights, looking like he now regretted saying anything at all.
Edmund couldn't blame him. But it was too late now. He pitied him. He was pretty screwed.
"Well, your majesty." The official began slowly, squirming slightly in his seat. "Our army has just returned from battle with the Telmarines. They are still recovering. If we were to go to war now, our army wouldn't be at its best, which it would need to be, against a country such as the Northlanders, who has an army of an absolutely massive scale prepared."
Susan snorted contemptuously before he had even finished, shaking her head dismissively, her face scornful.
"Narnia has always prided itself on having a vast, durable and excellent army of a very high standard, even higher than that of the Northlanders. Our men are always well prepared, always ready and waiting, and ready for battle at the drop of a hat. That proud reputation we boast has never changed, our standards have never dropped in the slightest, and it's most definetly never going to happen either, especially not under our watch." She glared at the man before her, who was now near quaking in his boots. "Any more excuses?" she spat at him.
Having been openly made a fool of before all of fellow his colleagues, the official looked rather pissed, but managed to contain himself. "Well, we would just be unjustly initiating a war with a force that didn't directly oppose us." He argued.
Edmund chuckled dryly, shaking his head. That was most definetly the wrong answer. The official should have just said no, like any smart person would have.
Susan's furious eyes narrowed to slits, blazing dangerously as she glared angrily at the stupid, stupid official.
"Let me get this straight." She snapped tightly, her voice barely containing her anger. "The White Witch infiltrated not just our town, but our very own home, with hidden spies, and this isn't reason enough to fight back?" Her hands were trembling now, a sure sign that she was beyond pissed at this stage.
The official now looked like he just wanted to just shrivel up and die. He hesitantly opened his mouth, fumbling with words, desperately trying to think of something, anything to save himself.
Edmund smiled grimly. Too late buddy.
"So what you're saying." Susan continued, her voice lowering even more to a vicious snarl. "That even though these spies that she sent in made an absolute fool of us, and uncovered all sorts of private information from countless, oblivious subjects in Narnia, we're not within our rights to retaliate?"
The official scratched his head nervously. "Well-"
"Never mind the fact that one of those spies was preparing to kill my little brother?" Susan roared furiously, her voice rising angrily.
The official finally closed his mouth resignedly, as he should have done long ago, dropping his head in humiliating defeat. "Of course, your majesty." He mumbled.
Susan glared furiously at him a moment longer, steam practically coming out of her ears. After a moment, she turned to face everyone in general, taking a deep breath to calm herself. "The White Witch has made a fool of us." She said quietly, her voice determined, convincing. "I believe that war should be declared on the Northlands, not only for their appalling actions against us, but also to reinstate our authority, which has been severely undermined." Susan looked at everyone in turn around the table, purposely ignoring Caspian, who was sitting silently opposite Edmund, his face empty.
Edmund sighed inwardly. Susan seemed to be leaving out the fact that she also hated Amber's guts, which, in Edmund's opinion, seemed to be the main motivation here. That, and the fact that Susan had always been incredibly (and annoyingly) protective of him seemed to sum things up pretty well. In short, Susan wanted Amber dead at any costs.
It wasn't that he disagreed with Susan. He hated Amber too. At least, he thought he did. Maybe. He wasn't quite sure yet.
Caspian, sitting just across from Edmund, quietly cleared his throat. "I object." He stated calmly, his voice even.
An expectant hush engulfed the room as the tension heightened, becoming almost palpable. All eyes were suddenly glued on Susan and Caspian.
At first, Susan looked taken aback. Then, she stiffened, glaring at Caspian with hard eyes, her jaw set angrily.
"Apologies, King Caspian, but your opinion cannot be taken into consideration in this case." Susan said formally, her voice cold, sounding like she wasn't very apologetic at all.
Caspian raised an eyebrow as though this news came as a tremendous suprise to him. He didn't break his gaze with Susan, looking at her evenly. "And why is that, Queen Susan, if you don't mind me asking?" he said politely, a slightly sarcastic emphasis on the 'Queen Susan'. Edmund sadly, briefly, remembered the times when Caspian called Susan 'Susie', and she called him 'fathead.'
Susan was beginning to look incredibly strained at this point, as if this whole conversation was requiring far too much effort, taking too much out of her. She had a 'why are you still here?' expression plastered across her face as she glared impatiently at Caspian, who looked right back at her with questioning, expectant eyes.
But Edmund knew his sister all too well. Beneath all the iciness, he could see the pain and suffering in her eyes. His room was only down the hall from hers; he had heard Susan desperately sobbing her eyes out repeatedly over the past few nights. So much so he had become rather accustomed to the sound of her anguished tears, but still, familiarity did nothing to ease the blows of pain he felt, having to listen to his sister suffer that way, every night, on her own.
"You see, King Caspian." Susan began icily. "Your opinion on this matter would be rather biased, don't you think? Seeing as your one of them." The icy venom that dripped from her every word was near palpable.
Edmund watched apprehensively as Caspian's eyes hardened angrily, their usual warmth noticeably absent. His mouth was set in a thin line, his lips turning white as he pressed them together in obvious frustration.
Edmund could also see the pain in his eyes, and the hurt and the pleading behind the hard expression, evidence of his suffering from his loss of Susan. But despite her own suffering, Susan was staying annoyingly true to the stubborn idiot she was, and refusing to talk to Caspian.
Caspian sat forward in his seat, still not moving his eyes from Susan's. "I hasten to remind you that I am the king of Narnia." He snapped. "And I rightfully have the final say on this matter. Initiating a war which we don't have the means to support would only put ourselves in even more danger than we're already in, and damage our already damaged reputation even further." Caspian pointed out.
All heads turned back to Susan expectantly, apprehensively awaiting her response. She stood motionless at the head of the table; arms folded defiantly, eyes boring angrily into Caspian's. Her eyes mirrored his - anger, frustration and bitterness mixed with sadness, loss and unbearable emptiness.
"Very well then." Susan said suddenly, after what seemed to have been hours. "Why don't we take a vote?" Susan finally tore her eyes away from Caspian's to glance around the table. "There are twenty-two officials present. Twelve or more in favour of battle, and we declare war on the Northlands. Ten or less, we give it up. Eleven each way, and it will go to a public vote. Agreed?" she stated.
Around the table, people nodded silently in agreement, sitting up straighter. Caspian stared at Susan with an unreadable expression, before sighing reluctantly, and waving a hand carelessly. "Fine." He sat back in his seat, shaking his head.
Ignoring him, Susan unfolded her arms, placing them on the table, looking around at everyone.
"All in favour of declaring war against the Northlands on the grounds of trespassing, posing a threat to the well being of our people, and attempted assassination of a member of royalty-" here a few eyes flashed to Edmund, who returned the glances with a withering glare- "raise your hands."
Susan raised her own hand before she had even finished speaking. Edmund almost expected her to raise both hands. Peter's hand followed immediatly, as did Lucy's; with many more following suit after them. Caspian, however, didn't budge. Looking around, Edmund silently counted the raised hands in his head.
And then slowly, almost unconsciously, Edmund felt his own arm rise slowly into the air, joining those in favour of war.
What could he do? In all honesty, Susan was right. Her argument was valid, even if there was more personal vengeance to it than political matters. But nevertheless, the Northlanders had trespassed unlawfully, made an absolute mockery of them, and Amber had attempted to take his life.
And yes, maybe the grounds on which Susan was declaring war were slightly – well, okay, scrap that, very prejudiced, but still, Edmund had to admit felt the same way. Amber had deceived him, lied to him, and plotted to kill him, for crying out loud. And while he still foolishly loved her, he hated her too, in a way.
She couldn't just waltz in, cod them all, leave, and then just get away with it. Attempting to kill someone had been known to offend people. Punishment was required, and punishment would be exacted.
She tried to kill me. Excuse me for being offended.
I think that's settled then." Susan announced, not bothering to hide her smug, victorious smirk.
Not settled yet.
Unable to sleep, Amber lay in bed, wide awake, restlessly tossing and turning from side to side every minute or so, in yet another desperate to try and fall asleep.
But it just wasn't working. Every time she closed her eyes, Amber's mind was flooded with haunting images that bloody well frightened her. The Green Lady's wicked, mocking smile, Caspian's bewildered, broken face, Edmund's defeated, betrayed expression as he glared angrily at her...
And then it escalated, her troubling thoughts spiralling out of control, above and beyond her reach. This then lead to all sorts of confusing, furious internal arguments and debates. Amber couldn't make sense of any of them, repeatedly failing to get a grip on herself. Thoughts buzzed uncontrollably around her head, such as the upcoming fight, Edmund, Aslan, the Green Lady, Caspian being her brother, her mother, her feelings for Edmund, her newfound, unknown family...
And that was usually around the point where it all became too much for Amber to handle, and she would ground her teeth in frustration, try desperately to clear her head, and turn herself on her other side in a renewed effort to try and find sleep.
But it was like an endless cycle, never-ending. Every time Amber closed her eyes, she was overcome with those dreaded thoughts all over again, no matter how desperately she tried to evade them.
Inside her, Amber could feel the ever-growing urge to scream, or throw something, or hit someone, or just anything, to make it all go away, to make everything go back to normal. Everything was suddenly so stupid. Her mother was stupid, for ever having fallen for Aslan in the first place. That was what had started everything, wasn't it? And Aslan was just bloody well stupid for being a bloody lion. Seriously, what the hell had he been thinking? And Edmund, Edmund was completely and utterly stupid for just being so godamn heart-wrenchingly perfect. And he was beyond stupid for not understanding. The Green Lady, she was stupid for just being stupid. She wasn't even green anyway! What the hell was all that about? Narnian's were just seriously messed up. So was Narnia itself. Narnia was bloody stupid for announcing war on the Northlands, at the very time when she least needed them to. The Northlands were stupid for being so stupidly arrogant about the whole stupid thing. And why were the Northlands so bloody well cold? Why couldn't it be as warm as Narnia?
Okay, now I'm seriously losing it.
Correction. Amber had lost it a little bit before that.
Amber sighed in frustration at herself. She inhaled, exhaled.
Amber needed to set her head straight. She needed to focus, get her mind around everything, organise herself, and clear her head.
The Green Lady. Fight.
How long do I have until I die?
Almost as instantly as the subject had been brought up, Amber hastily pushed that particular matter to the very back of her mind, not wanting to go there, and not quite ready, either. The mere thought of a duel with the Green Lady brought on an overwhelming, crushing sense of undiluted panic. The Green Lady was stronger, better, faster...and what about Breanne? If she failed, Breanne would inevitably die. A mountain of guilt overcame Amber at just the thought of it. Breanne had been waiting and waiting for years upon years to be free. Held prisoner by the Green Lady, the only light at the end of the tunnel for Breanne was the hope that her little sister would kill a guy that she didn't even know, or have any connections to, just to save her. That didn't sound very hard, did it? And it shouldn't have been hard at all, but of course, Amber had to majorly complicate things by falling for the guy that she was supposed to kill, and then fail. And so she had left herself in a situation where she now had to fight in a battle which she had pretty much already lost.
And that would undoubtedly kill her mother. Losing Breanne, when there was a way to prevent it, when it was possible to save her, would absolutely destroy her mother. And of course, it would only be so long before the Green Lady got to Caspian too. Jadis had already suffered so much, and, as strong as she may seem, would she really be able to take any more?
And what about Edmund? He had only been the oblivious, unaware victim throughout everything. For him, Amber had simply been a girl who had conveniently popped up out of nowhere, and then had become practically his other half for the next two months.
And in the end, maybe, just maybe, Edmund might have liked her just a little bit too. The Amber from a few a days ago would have been beyond delighted by this prospect, but now, it just made her feel all the worse. The fact that they could have had something, the idea that they could have had a future, but she had just thrown it all away, made the already heavy burden of guilt that weighed down on Amber all the more heavy.
And Aslan was bound to be affected by all of this too, as was Caspian. After all, Caspian was her...brother and Breanne's brother too, she supposed. Which would made him was Aslan's son too...and also her mother's son. God, this would take some getting used to.
And Aslan – a bloody lion, for crying out loud - was her...her father, even though she had lived her whole life up to now assuming she simply didn't have a father. Why had she never questioned that? No, why did she have to find out? Everything had been so much easier when she hadn't known anything.
Exasperated, Amber screamed into her pillow, but all it came out as was a muffled scream.
I have to go asleep. I'm going to go asleep this time.
Grinding her teeth in frustration, Amber flipped over to her other side yet again, trying for what had to be the millionth time to fall asleep.