A/N: This story is the last in a trilogy. Please go to our profile page to find the two stories that came before it, The Wardrobe and The Witch. If this is the first time you are reading this, please feel free to review, good or bad. I'd love to have your input.
At the Back of the Wardrobe
"I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith." ~
2 Timothy 4:7
With strong steady wing beats, she circled. The courtyard below her in the black of night, banked sharply and the wind whistled through her feathers. Slowly, she drifted down, her four hooves touching the paving stones neatly.
She shook herself, made her way slowly over to the fountain and lowered her muzzled in to the crystal clear water. She drank deeply; it had been a long flight.
"Lord Peter!" Eric shook Peter, "wake up!"
Peter moaned and sat up, "What?"
"Something wonderful has happened!" Eric said, "General Martin says you must come to the War Counsel as soon as possible!"
Peter glanced over at the window and saw that it was still dark out.
"What is it?" He asked, rolling out of bed.
"Edmund!" Peter called, "Wake up!"
"What is it?" Edmund asked; his eyes were still closed.
"Martin has assembled the war counsel," Peter said, "so, stir a leg."
Edmund wiggled his foot, "Is that good?" he asked.
"No," Peter laughed, pulling him out of bed, "all the way out."
Fifteen minutes later Peter and Edmund reached the Council chamber. Silence fell when they appeared at the top of the steps, made their way down and took their seats. Susan and Lucy were already there and Peter vaguely wondered how they got there first when they usually took the longest to dress.
"Your majesties," Equus took a step forward, "a visitor has arrived with a message, but she says she will only say it to you."
"Where is she?" Peter asked.
Then, like a white ghost, beautiful and gentle, something only from a faerie tale stepped into the circle of light.
It was a horse with wings as strong and white as a swan's.
"I am Odette," She said softly, "are you King Peter, Queen Susan, King Edmund and Queen Lucy?"
"We aren't exactly kings or queens yet, madam," Peter said.
Odette let out a gentle horsy laugh, "you are the ones I seek. I am a messenger from Aslan."
At the name everyone rose and stood looking at her.
"He gave me message for you," Odette went on, "Romandue, Aslan's star is in the sky, he has been sent to lead you to Narnia. You are to meet Aslan there."
A breathless silence followed.
"Do we start at once?" Peter asked.
"Do you see the star?" Odette asked.
They looked up to the windows and saw, shinning in the sky, a star they had never seen before.
"We start!" Peter said jumping up. "Lord Darcy! Send word to the Narnian underground, tell them we are coming! Martin! Send a messenger to Cair Dirque, tell them to be ready as soon as possible!"
"It is time, then," King Lune rose and looked at them, "I have been greatly honored and indebted to your presence more then you know. I hope that we shall be as good alleys as we were friends."
"Of course," Peter said and they clasped hands firmly. "But we will be friends still."
Susan, Clyte and Ellen packed their things. It took more than two hours of folding this up and putting that in this trunk, then deciding against it and putting it in another. Lucy found that Susan was extremely careful about her packing. Peter was so impatient that he rode to Cair Dirque with Edmund.
"Good riddance," Susan said pleasantly, "we'll go faster with them gone."
"I wish I'd gone with them," Lucy said, staring after them out the window.
"We'll have enough excitement before it's all over," Susan said, "Believe me. Help me fold this dress."
Lucy helped fold the dress, she remembered making it, each painstaking stitch; whole seems Deidre had made her rip out and start over and the ruffle that she had sewed on backwards first time.
When they had finished a herd of bears helped them carry the trunks down into the courtyard and load them in a cart. Susan and Lucy kissed Corin goodbye, mounted their horses, and, accompanied by a group of centaurs, rode out of the gates of Cair Anvard.
Lucy leaned forward and put her check against Rhoslyn's mane. The strap of her quiver bit into her shoulder and she sat up again. Rhoslyn shifted one hind hoof down and the other up. Susan sat on Mia just behind her, reading a book.
Lucy was in the courtyard of Cair Dirque, surveying the scene around her. Several carts had been loaded up with tents and stores, each with two horses pulling them. The horses stood lazily in the sun with one hind hoof cocked and tails sweeping at the flies. The smell of horse filled the air.
Peter and Edmund were dressed in mail and green tabards with red lions. Their horses were standing behind them and they had their shields strapped to the pummels along with their helmets. They were talking to Martin in the middle of the courtyard. A moment more and they mounted their horses and rode out of the gates with Martin behind them.
"Where are Peter and Edmund going?" Lucy asked Susan as Susan turned a page of her book.
"To the army," Susan said absently, "we are going to meet them outside of Anvard with the baggage train."
"When do we start?" Lucy asked.
"When we are ready."
"Oh!" Lucy said, to Ellen, who sat in the cart next to her, "I can't wait to get going!"
"Neither can I!" Ellen said, "I've never done anything exciting in my life!"
"I hope it will be good weather," Clyte said from next to Ellen as she attempted to keep her four-year-old brother Baeth from climbing out of the cart, "Peridan says that it should, I would hate to ride in the rain."
"What's Flavis doing?" Lucy asked, standing up in her stirrup.
Flavis was standing over by one of the storage carts with a note pad. Every now and then Treve would come galloping up, shout something and scamper away again. Then Flavis would check something on piece of paper he was holding.
"Keeping track of the stores," Susan said.
Lucy scanned the crowd for people she knew. She saw Shard making his way over to them and Mr. Beaver waving his hatchet in an argument with a hedgehog who clearly wasn't interested. Mrs. Beaver was loading one of the carts in an extremely orderly fashion.
She saw Odette over on the other side of the courtyard. Lucy especially loved her and Odette even promised to give her a ride sometime…flying!
Shard reached them and flopped on the ground near Mia's hooves.
"Whew!" he sighed, "we never had this kind of trouble leaving back in Narnia, we just left."
"And starved because you didn't have any food or supplies," Susan said.
"You have a point there," Shard agreed, he rolled over on his back and fell asleep, all four paws neatly in the air.
"I wish I could fall asleep like that!" Clyte laughed.
"On hard cobbles too," Susan said.
Flavis made the last flourish on his paper, then made his way over to Susan and Lucy. Flavis grinned down at Shard and nudged him. Shard woke with a start, rolled over and stared up at Flavis grumpily.
"We are ready to roll," Flavis said, "I only need your permission to start."
"Of course, you may start at once," Susan said, she gave Mia a nudge and started towards to gatehouse with Lucy following ecstatically. The steady clopping of horse's hoofs and the creak of the supply wagons followed them.
Two centaurs fell in step ahead of them, each held a banner. One was lavender with a white swan; it was Susan's flag, a symbol of music, gentleness and fidelity. The other was Lucy's flag; it was a white rose on a green ground, symbol of purity, humility and happiness.
It was a beautiful day, a glowing day. The fields were abloom with poppies, the clouds moved overhead, driven by the wind that rippled the fields, hair, banners, even the shadows. The sun had just risen, making the world flush with that golden, long shadowed freshness only seen in the morning.
Finally, they rode through Anvard. The people of the town poured out of their houses. They cheered Susan and Lucy and ran alongside the wagons. Someone shoved a bouquet of flowers into Lucy's hands. There were flower petals everywhere. Flower petals caught in Susan's long dark hair and the sun caught flashes of fire in it. Mia arched her neck and pranced. They looked more as if they were going to a party then a war.
They reached the outskirts of town and saw the army waiting for them on the road. The supply wagons took their place at the back of the procession and Susan and Lucy rode ahead to where Peter and Edmund were.
The crowds were still running with them and flowers fell like snow as, at Peter's command, the army started forward again.
"This isn't a wedding!" Martin said angrily as a rose hit him on the shoulder.
Edmund laughed, caught a petunia in mid air, leaned forward and tucked it into Umbra's bridle.
"I hope they haven't striped all their gardens," Susan said worriedly.
"How did they know we were leaving?" Lucy asked.
"Everyone knows now," Peter said, "I bet even the Witch knows."
The road stretched before them like a twisted golden snake, threading through green fields and cool forests. They would not reach Narnia until the next day.
The Centaurs and Fauns warmed up their pipes and drums, then started playing a traditional Narnian marching song. It was the sort of tune of which you never got tired. The kind that you almost forgot was playing, but shot through your veins and made you keep time not matter how tired you were. It made you think of a deep green forest in the middle of summer, where you keep seeing a glimpse of something, like a nymph or a dryad. It was a secretive impish tune that made you want to dance along.
A/N Sorry we've taken such a long time to add this story, but we hope you like it despite the delay. Please review! :)