Good Night, Your Majesty
Originally published in Of Dreams and Schemes #24
Standard fanfic disclaimer that wouldn't last ten seconds in a court of law: these aren't my characters, I'm just borrowing them for, um, typing practice. That's it, typing practice. I'll return them to their actual owners (relatively) undamaged. This is an amateur work of fiction; no profit beyond pleasure was derived from the writing.
Good Night, Your Majesty
A missing scene from the movie The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian
Once a king or queen in Narnia, always a king or queen.
by Susan M. M.
Trumpkin wandered through the underground labyrinth of Aslan's How, mentally making lists as he walked. Food and medical supplies to be gathered for the raid on Miraz's castle – they'd need waybread, dried meats and fruit, flagons of water, bandages, healing salves. But they'd also need every weapon they could carry, so they'd want to keep non-essentials to a minimum. But they wouldn't have time to loot on the way, so food wasn't non-essential, and bandages never were. He turned round a corner, his mind still on military logistics, and came upon Queen Lucy.
"What are you still doing up? Isn't it long past your bedtime?" the dwarf asked gruffly.
"I'm waiting for my sister and brothers," Lucy Pevensie, former queen of Narnia, replied.
"They won't be back for a while yet." Lucy's older sister and brothers had gone with Prince Caspian on the raid on the construction camp by the banks of the Beruna River, to steal weapons from the Telmarines. In an avuncular tone, Trumpkin told her, "They'll expect to find you in bed, sound asleep, when they get back. C'mon, lass – Your Majesty," he corrected himself. "Let's get you settled for the night."
Pouting, she took the dwarf's hand and let him lead her off. He found an oread and borrowed two tunics from her. Then he took Lucy to an alcove where two pallets lay waiting. "This'll do for a nightgown. T'other one's for Queen Susan." He turned his back. "Get yourself ready for bed."
Lucy stripped off her gown and chemise, and put on the tunic. "All right, I'm decent."
Trumpkin turned back to face her. "Queen or not, it's time for a child your age to be in bed."
"I wasn't a child last year. And I should have gone with them on the raid. And I'm not tired," she added, petulantly. She promptly yawned, which provided a bit of doubt as to the truthfulness of her words.
"You move silently through the woods with the skill of a huntress twice your age," Trumpkin acknowledged.
"Last year, I was twice my age," Lucy said plaintively. She lay down on the bed. She sniffed appreciatively, and smiled despite her sulks. The pallet was stuffed with dried heather.
Trumpkin knelt beside her and pulled a blanket up over her. "Yes, Your Majesty, you told me." She and her siblings had explained it all to him on the trek from Cair Paravel, trying to refute his accusation that they'd abandoned Narnia: how a year ago they had come through a magic portal to Narnia from a place called England, how they had defeated the White Witch and become kings and queens, how they had reigned over Narnia for a decade or longer, until they had accidentally found the portal that brought them here in the first place. Not only had they been returned to England, they had been restored to the age they'd been when they left. They had spent the past year getting used to being children again, living a normal life of schoolbooks and toys. Then Prince Caspian had blown Queen Susan's magic horn, summoning them back to Narnia. But they had come back as children, while in unhappy Narnia, over a millennium had passed. And for centuries, Narnia had been under the occupation of the invading Telmarines.
"I hoped and wished and prayed to return to Narnia, but I never thought it would be like this when we returned."
Trumpkin just nodded.
"Narnia at war – "
Trumpkin harrumphed quietly. He'd never known a time when the Free Narnians hadn't been at war with the Telmarines, nor his grandsire nor his grandsire's grandsire, for generations beyond counting.
"Thirteen hundred years! Everyone we knew – Mr. Tumnus, the Giant Rumblebuffin, Swallowpad, Mr. and Mrs. Beaver, Thornbut – everyone dead and buried."
Trumpkin said nothing. He'd buried too many friends and kinsmen to count.
"And Peter and Caspian acting like – like – "
"Like two young bucks knocking antlers," Trumpkin finished for her. "If those two can't decide which of them is to be king, they'll be more trouble than Miraz's army." The last thing the Free Narnian rebels needed was a fight over who was in command. He remembered the look on Glenstorm's face when Reepicheep had switched his allegiance from Caspian to Peter. For all that Trufflehunter claimed that Narnia was never right without a Son of Adam as king, Trumpkin didn't think they needed a human - either human - as their leader. But if a human king was what it took to unify the other Dwarves, Satyrs, Centaurs, and Talking Animals, to stir them into action, then he was willing to acknowledge a beardless boy as figurehead. But if that popinjay Reepicheep quoted "When Adam's flesh and Adam's bone sits on Cair Paravel in throne, the evil time will be over and done" one more time, he'd feed the mouse his own sword! Bloody bit of doggerel didn't even rhyme properly.
"Not that. Although they are acting very silly," Lucy added. "It's the plans they're making. They're making a mistake."
"Your brother has a decent grasp of strategy, for his age." Perhaps the boy had earned the sobriquet of 'the Magnificent' all those years ago. "Are you worried about stealing weapons from the Telmarines? Stealing from the enemy in wartime isn't a sin."
"No, that's actually a decent plan," she acknowledged with a yawn. "It adds to our supplies and deprives the enemy of necessary resources."
Trumpkin raised one bushy red eyebrow. He hadn't expected a little girl to understand military logistics and strategy. She looked like she ought to be playing with her dollies; it was easy to forget that Lucy had been a queen, centuries ago.
"We have to wait for Aslan," Lucy insisted. "We can't hope to win without his help."
"Most likely he's dead." If he ever existed outside of campfire tales, Trumpkin thought.
"Aslan can't die!" Lucy sat up in bed, shocked not by the thought of Aslan being dead, but that Trumpkin believed him capable of death. "Don't you know who he is?"
"Lie down; past time you were asleep." Trumpkin waited till Lucy resettled herself, then continued, "You went back to England and became children again. Maybe he's a cub in another world."
"Don't you know who Aslan is? He's the son of the Great-Emperor-over-the-Sea." She stared up at him. "Trumpkin, don't you believe in Aslan?"
The dwarf kept his voice gentle, not wanting to disillusion her. "I know you believe in him." It was all well and good for the centaurs to speak of celestial conjunctions, of Tarva saluting Alambil. Trumpkin didn't care if the satyrs kept quoting 'Wrong will be right, when Aslan comes in sight. At the sound of his roar, sorrows will be no more' so long as they practiced their archery and their swordsmanship. But Trumpkin had neither the time nor the inclination to believe in superstition. He'd had his nose rubbed in the fact that magic was real; the appearance of the kings and queens of old had proved that. But a magical lion who'd ignored Narnia for centuries, but would now show up and save Narnia from the Telmarines because a little human girl wanted him to, no, that was too much to believe. Trumpkin believed in what he could see and hear and touch. Maybe Aslan had been real, centuries ago. Maybe the tale had grown as it was told and retold, until a heroic lion became a supernatural lion. But there was a better chance of the Telmarines feeling guilty about what they'd done, packing up, and going home to Telmar then there was of divine intervention from a magical lion. "Now, go to sleep."
Lucy looked up at him. There was in odd look in her eyes, and it took Trumpkin a moment to recognize it as pity. "Good night, Trumpkin."
"Good night, Your Majesty."