A/N: This is told from General Oreius POV. I'm saying it about 10 years into the Golden Age, and the incident with the Telmarines happened maybe 8 years into the Golden Age. It's inspired by the line in Prince Caspian when one of the brothers says "Telmarines in Narnia?" So they seem to have had dealings with them, and Peter REALLY doesn't seem too fond of the Telmarines.
I considered the Kings of Narnia, who where currently preparing for a sparring session. Peter had the obvious height/weight advantage, and was stronger. Edmund was faster and more agile. And it showed in their preferred fighting style. Peter fought with the traditional sword and shield. Edmund preferred fighting with two swords. Either alone was a formidable opponent – together they were something of a force of nature. And Lion forbid one of the brothers be hurt – especially Edmund. High King Peter the Magnificent became a terror when his brother was injured. Not that he lost control, oh no. The fact that Peter remained in control only made it even more terrifying.
Magnificence and Justice.
Peter earned his title Magnificent. Tall and golden, athletic, a natural leader. None could doubt his love for Narnia and it's people - or their love for him.
Edmund the Just was equally well named. He'd worked long and hard to give the country its just and well ordered laws, and earned their deepest respect. He was always at Peter's shoulder, the High King's most trusted counselor.
I thought of a Telmarine attempt to turn the brothers against each other – divide and conquer. It had failed miserably. If anything, it had actually made the brothers even closer, by proving to Edmund that Peter trusted him implicitly, and once again reassuring Edmund that his past had been forgiven. It had also earned the Telmarines Peter's hatred.
Peter's voice brought my attention back to the Kings. "Ready Ed?"
Sword and shield.
I found it ironic that while Edmund didn't fight with a shield, he was most certainly his brother's shield.
Peter was very easy to spot in battle that he sometimes used that. He'd make himself a target, drawing the enemy to him. Edmund hated the tactic, and had made Peter promise only to use it if Edmund was there to protect his brother. The enemy was always so focused on Peter that they foolishly paid no attention his dark shadow – his shield. It was frequently a fatal mistake, realized only when Edmund's flashing swords cut them down before they could reach Peter.
Fire and Shadow.
And a modified version of that tactic was used in political and diplomatic situations. Peter was golden fire, and naturally drew attention even off the battlefield. Edmund could certainly hold attention when he wanted to; but with his darker coloring and more reserved personality, it was easy for him to fade into the shadows when he wanted to. He heard and saw many things from those shadows, which he later shared with Peter.
It was actually this ability that had made the Telmarines think they could drive the brothers apart. They'd assumed Edmund must resent being Peter's shadow, not realizing it was a deliberate tactic, and only in front of outsiders. They'd missed the significance of the four thrones of Cair Paravel being all the same height. Peter was High King, but many of his actions were the result of Edmund's counsel; and the four siblings ruled Narnia together.
My mind drifted back to the confrontation in the throne room.
"In the interests of proving that we want an open and friendly alliance with Narnia, I am returning these to you. They were given to us by a traitor," said the Telmarine ambassador, his eyes going to Edmund on the final words, so he didn't see Peter's eyes narrow dangerously, but I did. He held out a sheaf of papers.
I took the papers, and looked them over. "To hand these to anyone, even a potential ally, is treason," I report.
"If you'd truly prove your friendship, then perhaps you'd give us the name of this traitor?" Peter asked.
"His supposed Majesty, King Edmund the Treasonous."
Lucy and Susan gasped, as did several others. Many of the animals snarled or growled at the insult to their King. Edmund's face went pale. Peter's hand went to his side, but he wasn't wearing a sword. I'm sure that if her brother hadn't just been dealt a vile insult Lucy would have smiled at Peter's reaction.
"Peter, I would never…" Edmund began.
"Peace, Brother," Peter said.
Their eyes met, and Edmund relaxed. I couldn't see the look, but didn't need to. Edmund was looking for any hint of accusation or suspicion, and finding none.
There were many dark looks and glares; many eyes held suspicion and accusation, but they were all directed at the Telmarine Ambassador, not Edmund. I'm sure that Queen Lucy, always so in tune with her people, was well aware of their reaction. King Edmund, reassured of his brother's trust, would be looking to his people's reactions. Queen Susan would be worried for her youngest brother, and focused totally on him. Peter would be aware of the reactions as he was aware of the Army, even when Edmund is injured, a peripheral awareness, even as his focus is on Edmund.
Peter turned his attention back to the Telmarine. "You say you want friendship, then accuse Our brother of treason?" I know High King Peter well enough to know he used 'our' in the Royal sense, but also to include Susan and Lucy.
"These were written in King Edmund's own hand," I report. "Someone must have stolen them from his rooms."
Edmund managed a small, grateful smile to me.
The Ambassador spoke again. "He was a traitor, and still is. They weren't taken from King Edmund's rooms by anyone but King Edmund. He's lying to save himself. You, General Orieus, were you not turned into a stone because of this traitor's actions?"
"Call my King that word again and we will fight," I warned, my tone dark and dangerous. "What you say is true, but in the past. Aslan saved me, as He saved King Edmund… as He saved Narnia."
Peter spoke next. "You bring up a past Aslan himself has declared need not be spoken of. The entire time you've been here you'd tried to drive us apart…"
"Don't look so surprised," Edmund cut in at the shocked expression on the Ambassador's face. "Do you really think my brother and I haven't talked about the things you've said to me? The subtle comments about what a shame it is that I'm constantly in his shadow. That I'm not given the recognition and attention I deserve. About what a blessing, and curse, it must be to have such an older brother, and High King. You were half right. I am blessed to have such a brother, and Narnia is blessed to have such a High King."
"I will have the name of the traitor," Peter said. "Say my brother's name again, and you will fight me, rather than General Oreius."
At the sound of clashing metal, I pulled his thoughts back to the present, and focused on the sparring brothers.