A/N: Aravis is my favourite female character in the series, so a story about her was inevitable. It's not very long but I've divided it into two parts. Enjoy and review ;)
Disclaimer: I do not own Narnia.
The Gifts from the South
Aravis Tarkheena was not having the best of mornings.
She was homesick. But the worst part was that she couldn't tell anybody about it because nobody would ever understand how she could want to return to a place like Calormen. Well, she didn't exactly want to return there, and certainly not for ever; she just missed some things: the smells; the sounds; small, fairylike palaces hiding among citrus trees; inner courtyards with marble fountains and sparkling, scented water; colourful robes and hair-ornaments of gold and precious stones; even the food. Archenland was a delightful country and it was a better place for her to live in… but was it enough for her? After all Hwin, Bree, even Cor in a way, had longed to return to the land of their birth all their lives. It was such a powerful feeling it drove them on and helped them overcome all obstacles. Could she fight it off, then?
It's not that she wasn't happy at Anvard. She was. She found everything she wished for here: peace, freedom and most importantly kind and caring people. Leaving this place was out of the question, but she couldn't change the fact that part of her heart was left behind in Tisroc's realm.
There was a knock on the door and Cor peeped in shyly.
"Hello, Aravis. I'm sorry to bother you, but you didn't come to breakfast and we were worried that you were unwell,' he said, looking at her questioningly.
"No, I'm fine. I just slept in today. Thank you, Cor," she replied lightly. She couldn't possibly tell him (him, of all people!) that she missed Calormen and wasn't quite happy at Anvard. He was trying really hard to make her feel at home and she didn't want him to know it wasn't working that well.
"Oh, right," he appeared to be at a loss what to say next, but suddenly he came up with an idea, "Shall I bring you your breakfast here, then?"
"Don't you have slaves for that?" It was meant to be a joke, but the word "slaves" ruined it. It just slipped out, probably because she was thinking of Calormen.
"Servants, you mean?" he asked apprehensively, as if he considered correcting her a really bad idea.
"Yes, servants, of course, didn't I say that? I meant to say that," she laughed off her mistake. "Well, anyway, thank you, I'm not really hungry."
"Oh, okay," he was clearly thinking of something else to say. "Would you like to go riding later?"
"No, thank you. I'd rather stay in today. I hope you don't mind?" She wasn't usually that polite with him, but this time she didn't want him to feel bad. He was so sensitive, he could jump to the conclusion that she was angry at him or something. And she most emphatically wasn't. She just felt guilty for thinking about Calormen when she should be as happy as a clam in Archenland and feeling guilty always made her extra nice.
"No, of course not." Her strategy was obviously not working, because Cor's light-hearted tone was clearly fake. Normally she would scoff at him for being such a baby but not today.
"Then I'll see you at dinner," she said warmly, trying to convey with her eyes that it wasn't his fault. This time it worked, because Cor relaxed a little and smiled quite genuinely.
"Have a nice day, Aravis."
"You too, Cor."
After he left, she stopped smiling. There was no way she could have a nice day. Nothing was clear to her anymore and it started being really painful, too. What was she to do? How was she to fight off these feeling of homesickness without going back to Calormen? And even if she did go there for a while, what would she do? She couldn't possibly go home or stay in Tashbaan. And what could one trip to the south change? Was she supposed to travel there every once in a while when she got the blues? That was hardly an option.
In the end she decided the best approach would be to stop thinking about it. Time heals all wounds, right? So with time she should be able to forget, to stop caring and eventually it will not hurt anymore. She would just have to be strong and patient.
At dinner that day she tried to be her usual cheerful self, teasing Cor and laughing at Corin's jokes. She found it quite easy, because their pleasant company made her forget about her trouble. For the next couple of weeks she managed to keep the feelings of homesickness at bay with surprising ease and she was becoming more confident about the whole time-heals-wounds thing. But one day, when they were walking in the woods near the castle and Cor was talking about the preparations for celebrating the anniversary of Archenland's founding, something snapped in her. She just sat down and cried, feeling powerless and frustrated, just like that time when she learned her father wanted her to marry Ahoshta. Cor looked worried sick, having never seen her in such a state, but she managed to convince him she had only hurt her ankle. He helped her return to her room and was so sweet and kind that she felt really bad about lying to him. But it was better that way. Hopefully, in time it would be a thing of the past and there was no need to tell anyone about it. Hopefully.
The next day Aravis got her first gift.