Chapter 10: The End of the Voyage
As before, the hours turned into days and the days turned into weeks; the sea was more deeper and wider than anyone could have ever guessed. Caspian had said the journey home would be long, though Lilliandil was full of patience; she was not about to throw tantrums and annoy anyone else onboard with moans of impatience. She managed to keep herself busy both in mind and action like everyone and it always made her smile knowing that she was in the presence of her future husband; she had too good a heart to show any spoilt or selfish feelings. Caspian had kept true to his role of the King on the deck of his ship, but at the same time, he had kept true to his role of the future husband to the future Queen of Narnia; of course, he knew to give her space because she did not need constant supervision, but he would devote his attention to her when he could and when she would come to stand by his side. Now when it came to them retiring for the nights, they were not to share the same bed for they were not yet married; Lilliandil continued to sleep in Caspian's cabin, whilst he continued to sleep in a hammock, but that was not to bother them. They both knew it was inappropriate for them to share a bed while they were still unmarried and they knew better than take further action on the nature of their relationship before their wedding, but Caspian had already promised Lilliandil that they would have the perfect wedding night. But for now, that was put to the back of their minds as they both slept peacefully in their own spaces waiting for the morning to arrive with their awakenings. They both slept unaware if the forthcoming day would be the day when they would finally arrive back home. They awoke when the sun had risen high into the sky; it was the late morning when they were both out on the deck that they heard a voice calling out.
Caspian and Lilliandil were quick to rush to the deck; Caspian looked through the telescope handed to him by Drinian and smiled when he recognised the land and the castle of Cair Paravel; they were finally home. He lowered the telescope almost at once after smiling and turned to look at Lilliandil.
"We are home," he exclaimed.
Lilliandil showed the same happiness in her lovely face as Caspian did; it had been a long journey and now, they were finally reaching their destination.
"Get everything ready captain; we dock in at least ten minutes," the King instructed.
"Yes your majesty," Drinian replied and he set off to insure that the orders were followed.
Caspian turned to Lilliandil and took her by the hand, leading her into his cabin so they could prepare themselves for the docking; none of the King's belongings were to be left behind on the ship. However, Caspian had one final deed to perform before they docked and it was that he had one last gift for Lilliandil.
"Lilliandil, because you are going to be Queen, I think it is only fair that you have this," he said as he handed her Susan's bow and arrows.
Lilliandil looked at what was being given to her before taking it in her hands, but she felt she could not accept it.
"This is not mine," she said.
"It is now," Caspian replied. "It once belonged to Queen Susan and this sword once belonged to High King Peter; he gave it to me before he left Narnia for the last time and he wanted me to have his sword, so I'm sure his sister would want you to have her bow and arrows. After all, it is the weapon of a Queen."
The former star could only smile when she understood his words and knew that she could not turn away this gift, though she still had her doubts for she did not know how to use them.
"Thank you," she said.
"One more thing," Caspian suddenly said.
He walked to where Susan's horn was kept and took it, then to the cupboard in which Lucy's healing cordial and dagger were stored; he took the vial and dagger and turned back to Lilliandil, who put the bow and arrows on the table.
"This was also Susan's; this horn is magic for when blown on, help will come wherever you are. I blew this horn and it brought the Kings and Queens of Old back," he explained as Lilliandil took the horn. "And this was Lucy's; it's a healing cordial, the juice of the fire flower. One drop will heal any injury and this; take it for extra use for anything, not fighting."
Smiling, Lilliandil took the vial and dagger, accepting everything that was given to her.
"Thank you, but I have no fighting skills; the horn and healing cordial I can use, but I have never used a weapon in my life," she explained.
Caspian took note of what she was saying and understood completely, but also had a solution.
"Well that is why I will teach you," he said.
"Thank you," Lilliandil replied, "I accept your offer to teach me, but yet, I hope that I will never have to use these."
The ship itself was getting closer and closer to its destination and it was finally at that point when it could be seen from the castle; a dwarf with a long beard and long hair of red came rushing to one of the balconies that overlooked the Eastern sea. It was Trumpkin, or Lord Trumpkin as he was now, one of Caspian's most loyal friends. It was he who had been left in charge when the King set out on the voyage and now, he was relieved and happy just like everybody else to see the Dawn Treader arriving home.
"The King has returned!" the dwarf called out. "Prepare to welcome him home!"
Everyone in the castle prepared themselves, but the people of the town were already prepared to welcome the King home when they heard the bell ringing out telling them that the Dawn Treader was approaching the docks. They gathered in the streets, each side of the road crowded, though some stayed in their houses and chose to watch from their windows; the ship was drawing nearer and nearer. The people from the castle rode to the docks on horseback and made it just in time, for as they dismounted, the ship came to port. Trumpkin was to be the one to greet the King, so he stood before everyone else; the walkway from the ship to the pier was put in place and once ready, Caspian appeared with Lilliandil at his side. The crowd cheered to see their King alive and well and home, though they did not recognise the young woman he was holding hands with, but they instantly assumed that he must have brought home with him a Queen. The two walked from the ship on the walkway and finally, they reached the pier; Lilliandil felt something of excitement rushing through her when she stepped into Caspian's kingdom for the first time. Trumpkin stepped forward to greet the King; he bowed before him.
"Welcome home your majesty; your return has brought much joy to us all," said the dwarf.
"Thank you Trumpkin; it is good to see you again," Caspian replied.
"You have brought a new friend home with you?" Trumpkin asked turning his attention to Lilliandil.
"Correction; a bride. Lord Trumpkin, may I present Lilliandil the daughter of Ramandu, my future wife and future queen of Narnia," the King declared proudly so that the declaration was heard by all those around them.
"It is a pleasure to meet you my lady; welcome and many congratulations," Trumpkin said as he bowed to the beautiful young woman.
"Thank you Lord Trumpkin; I reciprocate your pleasure," she kindly replied.
Trumpkin was impressed by her already and decided to tell Caspian so.
"If I may say, you have chosen well sire."
"Indeed I have," Caspian said with a nod, "but not for what is on the outside."
He turned to look at Lilliandil with a smile and she smiled back; it is warming for anyone to know that the one they love is in love with them for the right reasons.
"Of course sire; I will see to it that preparations for the wedding will go underway immediately," Trumpkin said.
"Thank you old friend, but for now, let us get back to the castle," Caspian replied.
His horse was there waiting for him and to him, he walked with Lilliandil; it had been a long time since he had seen his noble steed.
"Good to see you again Destrier," he said as he stroked the horse's black coat.
"And you, your majesty; it has been too long," Destrier replied; he then turned to Lilliandil. "Greetings my lady."
"Oh, beautiful horse!" she gasped as she touched him.
"A horse does not carry the beauty of such a one as you," he said.
"On the contrary, you are some of the most magnificent creatures to have lived."
"Thank you; you are always welcome to ride me, but I think my wife would be more suitable for you when you are ready to ride her," the horse stated.
"Thank you," said Lilliandil.
"Well enough talk, let's get home," said Caspian.
Lilliandil smiled before he led her a few steps forward and lifted her onto Destrier; the horse remained calm and steady. Drinian stepped forward to help Caspian climb up onto Destrier after Lilliandil positioned herself correctly to hold Caspian from behind; everything was ready and the other crew members were prepared to follow the King back to the castle. When Caspian gave the signal, everyone was off; Destrier rode off in walks with Caspian and Lilliandil on his back and the others from the castle and the ship were on horseback or on foot. It was just like the day of Caspian's coronation; he rode through the streets with the people cheering his return, throwing flower petals into the air and waving handkerchiefs. This was something he was familiar with, but not something Lilliandil was familiar with; she had never been in a place with so many people before, but she was enjoying every minute of it for it made her feel very welcome as she heard the people welcoming her to their home. She smiled at them all as she passed them and felt so indescribably happy; no longer lonely, but happy and she felt that she was home. The town was beautiful in her eyes and then finally, they came to their destination and Lilliandil's eyes widened when she was saw the castle; never had she been so close to one in her life or inside one, which is where she would be within minutes. Cair Paravel was the most beautiful building she had ever seen. Destrier rode on and then Caspian saw that someone was waiting for them outside the castle doors.
Lilliandil heard him and looked over his shoulder; he was right, the Great Lion was there ahead waiting for them. Aslan had told Caspian that he would be there when Caspian returned and indeed, he had kept to his word; Caspian did not feel angry this time and Lilliandil had no reason to be angry. Finally, Caspian brought Destrier to a halt and dismounted him; he helped Lilliandil down, took her by the hand and together, the took a few steps towards the lion and bowed to him.
"Rise, King and Queen of Narnia," Aslan said and to their feet they rose. "Welcome home your majesty and welcome to you Lilliandil, the future Queen of Narnia; tonight the sun will set and will rise tomorrow for a day of much joy and sheer happiness."
And there he spoke the truth, for there would be so much cheer around the kingdom when the wedding would take place.
No one was to wait long for that day of sheer happiness, for it took place the very next day. Before it arrived with the new dawn, Lilliandil had been taught the basis of living in a castle and as a Queen and she had learned well; there was joy everywhere in the castle for she had already won the hearts of all those who served her. But now onto the wedding, which was to be held in the great throne room; Caspian had rebuilt Cair Paravel since becoming King, shortly after the Pevensies left, and the castle was as mighty and powerful as it was before it was attacked by the Telmarines when they invaded Narnia all those centuries ago. The Telmarine castle was no longer Caspian's home or in use, in fact it was weathering away along with its town, and the King had built a new town near his new castle so all the Telmarines had relocated their homes and shared their hometown with the Narnians. The throne room, located in the centre of the castle, was just as it was before; its wonderful columns and glass roof had been restored. The only major difference is that there were now only two thrones instead of four. Caspian's throne was similar to the four thrones of the Kings and Queens of Old and was made of fine white marble; beside it was a second throne that his advisors had advised him to have made ready for his future Queen. The throne would very soon belong to Lilliandil as soon as the crown was placed on her head. And all that was to soon happen, for the townspeople were gathered at the castle along with the centaurs, the fauns, the Minotaurs and every other Narnian creature; the centaurs were lined up on each side of the room with their swords held in high honour, just like at the coronation of Peter, Susan, Edmund and Lucy, and fauns and other centaurs stood at the entrance blowing a fanfare through their trumpets; Drinian, Trumpkin and Lord Trufflehunter were among the people who stood at the front. However, not all of the townspeople were among the crowd of Narnians and noblemen and women who stood in the throne room, for there was not enough space, so the others were forced to wait outside for the King to present his new Queen to them after their marriage and her coronation. As soon as the fanfare was played, the wedding began and the first to enter was Aslan, as he was the one to perform the marriage for he had the power and authority to do so. Once he was standing at the front and turned around, a second figure entered with a golden crown on his head wearing a King's tunic of royal blue; it was Caspian and the centaurs pulled back their swords and everyone bowed as he passed them. He reached the front and finally, a third figure entered wearing a beautiful silken dress of white and silver and a silver flower headband with a long white veil attached and there were two young women behind her, who were her ladies-in-waiting; it was Lilliandil and she was smiling as she walked towards Caspian, who was amazed at how radiant she looked. Again, the centaurs pulled back their swords and the crowd bowed as she passed them; she reached her destination and Aslan began as the couple stood facing each other.
"A truly joyous day has dawned upon us as we gather here to witness the union of this man and this woman," he said. "Caspian, Lilliandil, I invite you to join hands as the journey to pronounce you as husband and wife begins."
Caspian and Lilliandil joined hands and Aslan gave out a scripture written years ago by himself on the nature of marriage and the love and devotion between two people who join together in matrimony. Once that part was over, it came to the exchanging of the rings and vows; Trumpkin came forward with two rings on a velvet cushion, one of them being the ring that Caspian had given to Lilliandil when she agreed to marry him and the other was another gold ring that similar to Caspian's mother's, except it had different markings inscribed on it and it had no diamonds. That ring was for Caspian and Lilliandil would place it on his finger after she received hers again; Caspian picked it up from the cushion and Aslan said his part.
"Caspian, in placing this ring on this woman's finger, will you love and cherish her always until the day when death will part you?" he asked.
"I will," Caspian replied gazing at his bride before slipping the ring back onto her finger.
Lilliandil smiled and now, it was her turn to take the second ring and place it on Caspian's finger; Aslan repeated the question in an alternate form.
"Lilliandil, in placing this ring on this man's finger, will you love and cherish him always until the day when death will part you?"
"I will," Lilliandil replied with a tender gaze at Caspian before slipping the ring onto his finger.
The most important part of the ceremony had been completed and as the couple stood holding hands, Aslan gave the final words that were to complete and conclude the ceremony.
"Caspian, Lilliandil; you have sworn an everlasting oath to one another as you have been joined in heart, body and soul. I therefore declare you as husband and wife," he declared before giving out his mighty roar.
The crowd cheered knowing that their King was now married; Caspian and Lilliandil showed their own joy through smiles before completing their union when they pressed their lips together in a tender kiss, which made the crowd cheer and clap for them even more while Aslan looked on and smiled at their happiness. Even Tavros the Minotaur could not help but shed some tears and one of Lilliandil's ladies-in-waiting felt it necessary to hand him a handkerchief. Caspian and Lilliandil eventually broke apart, but it was all not over yet for there was still one more deed to be done; the sign was given and both the ladies-in-waiting stepped forward to remove Lilliandil's veil and headband. Once this was done, Caspian took her by the hand and led her towards the throne that she would sit upon; they both turned round to face the crowd and Aslan came forward to stand before them between the thrones, just like at the coronation of the Kings and Queens of Old, while Drinian came forward carrying a silver crown with flower shapes that was very similar to Susan's and Lucy's. Drinian presented the crown to Caspian, who took it in his hands as Aslan made his declaration.
"In the light of the union between this man and this woman, to the radiant Eastern sun, I give you Queen Lilliandil the Divine; Queen of Narnia, Empress of the Lone Islands, Lady of Cair Paravel and wife of Caspian X," he said as Caspian gently placed the crown on his wife's head.
It had happened; Narnia had gained a new Queen and she smiled at her husband once her crowning was finished. After Aslan's declaration, the King and Queen sat upon their thrones and the Great Lion turned to them with more words to say.
"Once a King or Queen of Narnia, always a King or Queen; may your wisdom grace us until the stars reign down from the heavens," he said; he then turned back to the crowd.
"Long live Queen Lilliandil! Long live King Caspian!" they all shouted with joy.
The room was filled of their cheers again for their King and their new Queen; King Caspian and Queen Lilliandil had started a new life with one another that would be filled with much more joy in the future, but the future was not something to think of at that moment, only the present was. Much more celebration was to take place that day; the new Queen was presented to the crowd outside, who greeted her and the King joyously and there was a grand feast to be enjoyed, along with dancing and the evening ended with a magnificent fireworks display. But for Caspian and Lilliandil, the day did not end until long after they retired for their wedding night; like many couples, this was the night when their physical relationship was finally consummated and the day only ended when they fell peacefully asleep after their night of passion drained the last bits of energy from them.
Time passed by and Lilliandil became a most beloved Queen and Monarch, just like her dear husband, though no one loved her the way Caspian did; indeed, he loved her dearly and she was his greatest treasure as he was hers. She had adapted well to her new life and had accomplished all the qualities expected of a Queen of Narnia, although there was still one deed that she was yet to accomplish as a wife, but that was to change one fine day when she and her husband were enjoying a well exercising game of target practise in the garden. Lilliandil had become an experienced archer with the bow and arrows that were now hers; Caspian had taught her well, though neither of them had had to use their archery or sword wielding skills for any battle, for all of Narnia was at peace.
"A perfect bull's-eye!" Caspian exclaimed when his wife fired at the target.
"Well you have taught me well my love, but yet I am happy that we have not needed to use any of these skills in war," Lilliandil said.
Caspian understood what she was saying, for he knew her better than anyone.
"I am King, but I am also a husband; there are to be no more wars, for a kingdom needs its King, a wife needs her husband and a husband needs his wife," he said.
"Of course, a wife needs her husband and… a child needs its father as well as its mother," she said with a smirk.
Caspian heard those words and looked her as his eyes widened; was she telling him what he thought she was? The smile on her face answered every question he was asking and he smiled as he took her into his arms and spun her around.
"A child?" he exclaimed as he held his wife in his arms. "We're going to have a child?"
Lilliandil laughed and cheered with such delight at her husband's reaction to her revelation; the deed she was yet to accomplish as a wife was to provide her husband with a child that would be his heir or heiress, but that would now be accomplished within a matter of months. The news of his wife's pregnancy was the best Caspian had received in a long time; he had already sworn he would never leave for another war or battle now that he was married and the fact that he was to become a father had added further to that promise.
Months passed and Lilliandil drew closer and closer to her confinement; she was certain that it was a boy she was carrying for the baby felt strong to her every time it kicked in her womb. She would say that it already had Caspian's strength, which made her certain that she would give birth to a son for she knew Caspian's strength better than anyone. Finally, the day came when the Queen would give birth; this was the day that everyone in the kingdom had been waiting for and the midwives were sent for the minute Lilliandil went into labour. The King was forced to wait outside their chambers with his lord friends for comfort while his wife slowly brought their child into the world; a baby's cry could finally heard coming from the room and when the door opened, a lady-in-waiting stepped outside.
"Your majesty…" she began as Caspian stepped forward with a nervous look on his face, "you have a son."
At those words, his face lit up with a smile of relief and joy, even more so when the young woman stated that the Queen was in good condition, but needed plenty of rest until her strength returned. Caspian entered the room to find his wife sitting up in the bed; Lilliandil looked up to see who had entered and smiled at her husband before looking back at the baby she was holding in her arms. Caspian's eyes lit up when he saw his son for the first time; everything just felt so perfect now and nothing could make it even more so. He walked to Lilliandil's bedside and sat on a chair beside it; Lilliandil smiled at having him close beside her.
"Our son," Caspian said gently as he looked at the child.
"Our son; just look at him, he's perfect," Lilliandil exclaimed.
"And how are you feeling?" Caspian asked her.
"Tired, but indescribably happy," she replied.
Caspian smiled and kissed her forehead, but then he had a special request to make.
"May I?" he asked holding out his arms and Lilliandil knew what he meant.
"Of course," she said and she handed him the little bundle.
Caspian stood to his feet as he held his son for the first time; the happiness was so overwhelming that he was completely lost for words, until something finally came to mind.
"Welcome my son."
The child stirred in his father's arms, but he did not cry and there was something to be done by the King; it was Drinian who chose to remind him.
"Your majesty, the people are waiting outside to hear of the new heir," he said.
The King was reluctant to leave his Queen just after she had given birth, so he looked at her because he knew that she should have a say in this.
"It's alright Caspian, go ahead; you know where I'll be," she said gently.
He smiled at her for a moment before making a promise.
"We'll be right back, I promise."
She smiled back at him and he knew what she was saying; Lilliandil had so much trust in Caspian that he never felt worried and it was her trust and faith in him that gave him strength. After his wife's approval of Drinian's reminder, Caspian walked out of the chamber with Drinian, Trumpkin, Trufflehunter and the other lords present following him; he reached his destination of the balcony that overlooked the courtyard where the townspeople were waiting. Once he was out on the balcony and the people could see him, he carefully lifted his son with his hands into the air above his head and presented him to everyone below; he made a declaration that was met with their cheers.
"Behold my son; the Prince of Narnia!"
Narnia had a new heir to the throne and the people rejoiced; Caspian brought his son back into his safe arms, smiled at his people for a moment before turning on his heel and walking back into the castle where he returned to Lilliandil. She smiled again when her husband and son returned and Caspian chose to let her hold their child again; something she could never refuse, but it was more perfect now that her husband was seated beside them.
"What shall we name him?" she asked. "Shall we name him after his father?"
Caspian smiled at her suggestion, but his answer was to not be the answer she thought.
"It would be an honour, but there is a better name for him," Caspian explained. "We shall call him Rilian."
Lilliandil heard the name and engaged in her thoughts on how it would suit their son.
"Rilian? It is a good name; Prince Rilian of Narnia, it's a wise choice."
The King and Queen exchanged looks at the delight of the name they had chosen for their son; Prince Rilian, the son of King Caspian X and Queen Lilliandil the Divine was who he was and always would be.
"I am the King, but everything I need and want is right here, right now," said Caspian.
"And I am the Queen, but you and him are all I need and all I ever will need," said Lilliandil.
Caspian smiled before leaning forward and pressing his lips against hers in a soft kiss, before they looked back at Rilian; a happy day this was indeed and it carried on for many years after. King Caspian and Queen Lilliandil ruled a great and peaceful reign together; Prince Rilian was everything needed in an heir and everything any parent could want in a son. While his mother and father were very much in love and in a happy marriage, he grew to love them both as dearly they loved him; Caspian taught him all the fighting skills he needed to know, while Lilliandil passed on her wisdom to him through the stories she read to him. Aslan had welcomed Rilian into the line for the throne with great splendour; he had no doubts that the Prince would follow in his father's footsteps well, which made Caspian and Lilliandil very proud parents.
And of course, the day would come when the King and Queen would travel to Aslan's Country leaving their son to succeed as the new King of Narnia... but that's another story.