"You're welcome." Said an annoyed Edmund as he slumped on the bench beside his brother Peter. He, along with his siblings in their uniforms were at the subway awaiting their train. Annoyed was he for he got hurt when he helped his big brother in a brawl with some other school kids and Peter didn't even seem grateful.
"I had it sorted. " replied Peter as he stood up. He too was in a bad mood for back in Narnia, in his older body, he would have won the fight without much struggle. And now he felt ashamed that he would need his younger brother to protect himself. How can I protect my brother and sisters when I can't even do it myself he told himself dejectedly.
"What was it this time?" Susan asked irritated that her brother was acting immaturely.
"He bumped me." was the curt reply.
"So you hit him?" asked Lucy incredulously. She hated seeing her brothers hurt and was unhappy with what just happened.
Peter gave Lucy a look and replied: "No, after he bumped me they tried to make me apologize. That's when I hit him."
"Really, is it that hard to just walk away?" questioned Susan patiently as if talking to a child.
Her tone angered Peter more and with a stronger voice he said: "I shouldn't have to! I mean, don't you ever get tired of being treated like a kid?"
"We are kids!" his younger brother said stating the obvious to all. However, all four knew that they were all fifteen years older than what they appear to be. Peter is seventeen but was in his thirties once and so was Susan. On Earth though, Susan was but a sixteen year old girl, while Edmund appeared fourteen years old and Lucy but twelve.
"Well I wasn't always." Peter said a little sadly then he continued: "It's been over a year. How long do we have to wait…."
"I think it's time to accept that we live here." Susan countered being her usual reasonable self. She sorely missed Narnia too but she was being practical and she felt it was logical to just accept things as the way they are. Peter sadly heeded her words and sat down beside Edmund.
Silence reigned for a moment as all four of them started thing about their lives in Narnia. It was Susan who broke the silence. "Oh no! Pretend you're talking to me!" she said a little panicked as she spied a freckled boy coming their way. Susan was quite used to fending off boys wanting her attention. And she has successfully scared of most of the young boys with her icy demeanor, except for this one persistent schoolmate of hers.
"We ARE talking to you." her younger brother replied with one eyebrow raised annoying Susan who gave him a "you-know-what-I-mean" look.
Suddenly Lucy stood up as if electrocuted shouting: "Ow! Someone pinched me!" Susan too felt something strange but not unpleasant as she too stood up. Then Peter also shot up from the bench saying: "Ouch!"
"I'm not touching you!" Edmund said defensively when Peter looked at him. Like the others, he felt like an electric current run through his body. All of them felt a slight breeze and a rumbling of the ground they stood on yet when they looked around, the people crowding in the tube seemed unaffected and unaware.
"It feels like magic!" Lucy said excitedly. She immediately understood what was happening.
"Everybody, hold hands!" the older sister said.
"I'm not holding your hand!" Edmund told his older brother yet Peter firmly took his hand as the breeze turned into a forceful wind that swept away the concrete, the benches and the signs of the subway revealing a most beautiful place that could only be Narnia.
In but a few seconds, the Pevensies found themselves in a large cave overlooking crystal blue waters. They silently walked out of the mouth of the cave, cautiously with disbelief, gazing at the gorgeous scenery.
Lucy faced Susan in apparent joy, and her older Susan responded with a big grin. Without words, they ran towards the shoreline playfully and frolicked in the clear waters of the ocean. They laughed and played and splashed water at each other blissfully, just too happy to be back in Narnia.
Looking up with a frown on his face, Edmund asked: "Where do you suppose we are?"
"Where do you think?" Peter asked incredulously.
"Well I don't remember any ruins in Narnia." He replied. All three stopped what they were doing and looked at the direction where Edmund was gazing. They noticed for the first time the ruins on top of the cliff. They immediately climbed the remains of what they surmised as a great fortress carefully for they were barefoot.
Once atop, Lucy picked a red apple from a tree and walked towards the edge of the cliff and looked down at the beautiful beach below. She mused out loud: "I wonder who lived here."
Susan walked towards Lucy and stopped when she stepped on something. Picking up a small golden statue with recognition on her face she replied: "I think we did." As she swept her waist length hair back.
"Hey, that's mine! From my chess set!" Edmund exclaimed taking the golden piece from Susan.
"Which chess set?" Peter asked.
"Well, I didn't exactly have a solid gold chess set in Finchley, did I?" was the reply.
"It can't be…" Lucy said trailing off.
"Is this…." Susan began, quite unable to believe what Lucy was about to say.
"You are at Cair Paravel, Your Majesties. Or at least what it used to be." Said a voice no one recognized.
"Who said that?" demanded Peter, instantly alert. "Reveal yourself!"
"My apologies, Your Majesties." Replied the voice. "Please look up. Pattertwig at your service."
There up on the lower braches of the closest tree, was a squirrel of unremarkable size. The Pevensies all took a step towards the small creature. "What happened here?" Edmund asked what all four were dying to know.
"It is best my dear sir that I lead you to someone who could better answer your questions." replied Pattertwig as he climbed down the tree.
"Do you know us?" Susan asked, not quite willing to trust anyone just yet, not even a talking squirrel.
"You're the kings and queens of Old." Answered the squirrel. "You are them right?" asked Pattertwig now dubious. "Although I expected you to be a lot…older."
"Kings and queens of old…?" began Lucy uncomprehending the name. "We've been gone for but a year kind sir."
"I think you would need to speak to Trufflehunter for your questions, for it was he who summoned you here." was the reply.
"Before doing so," Peter began. "I believe we would need to change first." He said indicating their disheveled and wet clothing.
"Where are you going?" the squirrel asked as he saw the children walk towards a large bush. He was surprised when Peter pulled at the decaying roots and twigs to reveal a wooden door. The familiarity in which the four strangers regarded their surroundings ensured the creature that he was indeed looking at the legendary royal family.
"Kindly wait for us here." Peter told the squirrel. "Should we face the person you speak of, we need to be prepared."
Pattertwig hardly recognized Peter, Susan, Edmund and Lucy when they came back up from the underground room. Dressed were they in their Narnian clothes and weapons, which excited the creature immensely for he knew that finally their prayers would be answered.
He then led them towards a large clearing. Lucy could clearly see that it used to be the great hall of their castle. Wild plants and grasses now grew in between the cracks almost obscuring the once stoned floor. Nearing where their thrones used to be, Susan saw a strange assembly of men and beasts. A man and a boy, two dwarves, a badger and two mice stood on the elevated ground.
The Pevensies curiously observed the strange assembly just as much did the group watched them. Pattertwig ran ahead, shouting: "I've found them! The Kings and Queens of Old!"
"Pattertwig! You fool!" the slightly bigger dwarf said angrily. "These are but children."
"My horn." Susan said as she saw the man holding it. "Where did you get that?" The man looked surprised but did not immediately reply instead looked at the dwarf questioningly.
"We may bear images of children." Peter said irritated. "But we are not. Tell us. Who are you and what has happened in Narnia?"
"We would only answer to the Kings and Queens of Narnia." Replied the dwarf bravely.
Susan noticed that both Peter and Edmund were losing their temper and that Peter clasped his sword's Rhindon handle. She foresaw the problem ahead and said: "Should we be just children, then we wouldn't know how to fight, am I right?" Peter looked at her sister and agreed with her logic. He asked: "Who among you is the greatest archer?" Susan shot him a look for she had thought of Peter or Edmund in engaging one the men or creatures in a friendly fight. She wasn't thinking of volunteering herself.
"That would be me." said the dwarf smugly.
"Do you have a name sir?" Susan asked.
"I am Trumpkin good lady." He replied.
Susan pulled an arrow from her quiver and said: "Let's do this quickly then. Draw your weapon." She commanded as she positioned herself away from the group.
Trumpkin did so as if humoring a child. Seeing the look on his face incensed Susan much and decided not to spare him from embarrassment. "Do you see that apple yonder?" she asked.
"That cherry you mean." The dwarf said with disbelief.
"It is but perhaps a hundred feet away." Answered the queen, quickly shooting the fruit down. Pattertwig went quickly to pick up the fallen fruit and returned to the open mouthed Trumpkin. He held the arrow up as he ran showing how it pierced the apple dead center.
"Beards and bedsteads! It looks like that horn worked after all!" Trumpkin said immediately kneeling saying: "My kings and queens." All the other creatures and the two humans followed suit.
"Please do stand." Edmund said. "Perhaps now you would give us the answers that we are seeking."
"It is a long and sad tale Your Majesties…." The man said.
Lucy sat mesmerized as the beaver who introduced himself as Trufflehunter told them of the history of Narnia in the last 1300 years. Edmund gasped audibly when he learned that they were gone that long. Lucy was immediately saddened when she realized that all their friends, especially Mr. Tumnus were already gone. The badger, with the help of the men who were from Telmar and the other Narnians, pieced together the great events that changed their paradise. The man named Tirian, said that the Telmarines and Narnians lived in peace until about three hundred years ago, when strange looking men with pointed ears who sailed from the west landed in Narnia. Narnians welcomed them first, but then it became apparent that the strangers wanted dominion on their land. The boy named Caspian added, that they were led by a very powerful being who seemed indestructible, he bore the name Legolas. Reepicheep, the mouse said that they call themselves as elves, yet they were very different from any creature they have seen. And these elves were most feared for they easily took over their lands and the capital, eventually driving out the Narnians away. Only some Telmarines were assimilated in their kingdom, as the elves intermarried with them, increasing the population of the mighty elves. Mighty, the mouse said for they were immortals and skilled warriors that even the giants of the north feared them. The elves have increased their lands and wealth while the Narnians were driven away to hide in the forests and mountains, afraid to be terminated. Tirian said that he and his son Caspian, were descendants of the few Telmarines who survived the great Narnian war and who refused to live with the elves.
"They're immortals?" Peter asked.
"Yes." Nikabrik, the other dwarf replied. "The elves that nearly wiped out my clan are still alive today."
"I believe that they're immortals but not invincible." Reepicheep said. "Some elves have died in battle years ago. But they don't grow old."
"I don't understand." Lucy began. "Why hasn't Aslan returned since then?"
"Aslan?" asked Trumpkin frowning. "No one has ever seen him."
"We've been abandoned Queen Lucy." Nikabrik said sadly. "We weren't even sure if all of you would ever return. Trufflehunter knew of your history. He and Doctor Cornelius devised the plan to get you back."
"Aslan would never abandon Narnia." Lucy insisted. "He must have had a reason." She added looking at her siblings. Susan refused to look at her, her heart heavy for it seemed Narnia was abandoned.
"I refuse to believe it." Lucy said to herself out loud.
Peter wrapped one arm around his youngest sister for comfort then asked: "How did you summon us?"
"It was with this horn." The beaver said holding up Susan's white horn. "Doctor Cornelius once said that it took him forever to locate this precious object and that we use it in our greatest need."
"May we talk to this Doctor Cornelius?" Edmund asked.
The Narnians and Telmarines bowed their heads as Tirian said: "He….he gave up his life to bring this horn to us. He works at the library at the castle. When the elves learned of his treachery and that he was helping us, their king did not hesitate in ending his life."
"I'm sorry for your loss." Edward mumbled.
"His death would not be in vain, for the centaurs have foretold of your return of your saving Narnia." Trufflehunter said, hope very apparent in his eyes.
"How many able bodied soldiers does Narnia have?" Peter asked, the leader and fighter in him kicking in.
"Peter, we have another option other than war." Lucy cut off before Reepicheep could respond. "Aslan could save us all."
"We know Lucy." Edmund said agreeing. "But while we're waiting for Him, Narnia must be ready when He returns."
Susan went to her sister and said: "Hold on to your faith Lucy. We would need it the most. But Peter and Edmund are right. We must be ready at all times should war come quickly." Lucy just nodded and kept silent; Peter accepted it as her assent.
"Assemble all the Narnian and Telmarine troops." Peter ordered. "Let the word go out that your Kings and Queens of old have returned."