Hey lovelies! How are you?
I'm sorry I haven't been around much lately. Life has been pretty crazy. But I'm back now, so hooray!
I know this isn't what you've been waiting for, but in the last few chapters of For What It's Worth I had a reader suggest I write about the Pevensies Golden Age. I wasn't really sure about it at the time, but in the last month or so I started to become very interested in the idea. That, and I hadn't written anything for Arabella in, goodness, I don't know how long, and I missed her dearly. So I sat down to write and this is what I ended up with. Since it's a novella it won't be very long - I'm guessing about five chapters - and will jump around through the fifteen years these kids reigned over Narnia.
The first event we're going to look into is Peter and Arabella's wedding. I decided to split it into two parts, so without further ado, here's part one.
Thanks to Anna for pre-reading.
Disclaimer: The Chronicles of Narnia belongs to C.S Lewis and Walt Disney. Arabella and her story belong to me.
I leaned against the balustrade with a contented sigh, closing my eyes against the sharp light of the rising sun. I couldn't remember a time when I had felt so completely at peace, free of worry and fear. Narnia was without a doubt in the best and most capable of hands.
It had been almost ten months since the coronation of our kings and queens at Cair Paravel and life had never been so wonderful. I fully believed that our world was never right unless a Son of Adam graced the throne. The Pevensies ruled with wisdom beyond their years and a love for their kingdom that never went unnoticed.
The chilly morning breeze twisted through my hair, bringing with it the sweet smell of flower petals and I knew the dryads were waking. If you listened carefully you could hear the high, lulling tones of their morning song which coaxed the birds from their slumber to join them.
"Up already?" came a low voice from behind me and I smiled as warmth spread through my stomach.
"It felt wrong to stay in my dreams when there was such a lovely sunrise just begging to be watched," I replied, leaning back against Peter's body as he moved to stand behind me. His strong arms wrapped around my stomach and I felt his lips press against my hair in a soft kiss. "What about you?" I asked. "How come you're up so early?"
He hummed into my ear and my eyes fluttered closed. "I could feel you," he said simply, by way of explanation. "Ed and I are going hunting today so I had to get up early, but as soon as I was awake I knew you were wandering about the castle, so I thought I'd come and find you."
"And here I am," I sighed.
I felt his easy joy through the bond. "Here you are."
It was amazing how close and connected we had become since meeting in the forest that day in the snow. We had been rushed through our initial acquaintance, the White Witch more important than getting to know each other at the time. Nonetheless, we had managed to work out how our bond moved between us, the way it tethered our souls together. Thankfully, in the months following the coronation we were able to really take it in and begin to understand what this meant for us.
And now? Now I knew him as well as I knew myself.
We were so comfortable in our love for each other that we had recently decided that we were ready to take the first steps into the rest of our lives together. It had been announced two weeks ago but Narnia continued to rejoice in the fact that in two months time, High King Peter and Arabella, daughter of Aslan, would be wed.
The two of us stood in silence for a long moment, watching the sun rise over the water, lighting the path of the Great River of Narnia as it flowed into the Eastern Ocean. I would never get used to such an ethereal sight.
A gentle tapping interrupted us and we turned to see a young faun standing in the entrance to the balcony, the sheer white curtains brushing against her legs. The sun caught in her springy brown curls as they dangled in front of her eyes. "Good morning, Majesty, Miss Arabella." She gave a delicate bow and smiled at us. I was not yet part of the royal family and encouraged people to call me by my name, even after I was married.
I was Narnian, after all. We were equals.
"Good morning, Evari," Peter replied in a welcoming tone. Some of the younger creatures were easily intimidated by High King Peter and after it had been pointed out to him, he constantly made sure all who came to see him remained calm and relaxed. "Is there anything we can do for you?"
Evari shook her head and took a few steps out onto the balcony, the call of the sun too strong to resist. Her hooves clicked over the stones. "No, Majesty. King Edmund sent me to inform you that he is ready to leave, but if you wish for some extra time with your fiancée he'd be more than happy to wait."
I tried very hard not to laugh in the jittery faun's presence. Edmund had been teasing us for months now and it had only become worse after we announced our impending nuptials. It was hard to miss the innuendo that thrived among his words.
Peter let out a sigh to mask the chuckle I knew was brewing inside him. I could feel his amusement through the bond; he was trying very hard to keep a straight, pleasant face. "Thank you, Evari, but that won't be necessary. I'll gather my things and meet him at the stables in a few minutes."
Evari nodded with a smile, wished us a pleasant morning and trotted back into the castle, her hair bouncing like springs.
When we were alone again I turned in Peter's arms and gazed up at his face. His startlingly blue eyes met mine and he smiled. He already looked so much older from that day in the snow. Everything about him was stronger; his face, his body, his mind. He had a leader's heart. "Do you ever think we'll hear the end of your brother's jokes?" I asked, tilting my head as he trailed his fingers across my cheek.
His eyebrows pulled together in thought. "I doubt it," he said and I laughed. "I should probably go before he sends the cavalry to drag me from the castle."
"Don't you think you're being a bit dramatic?" I teased.
"Not at all," he replied. I could feel his playfulness through the bond, the wriggling desire to make me smile and laugh. "Do you have any plans for today?"
I shrugged. "Nothing too huge. Susan has an audience with the public in a few hours, so I'm sure I'll be there to help. I think I have a meeting with the seamstress today, too; we haven't made a whole lot of progress yet." I was hoping to design my own wedding dress. One thing I wanted was to have it be a perfect blend of Peter's world and mine. Unfortunately, I didn't know a lot about where the Pevensies came from, so I would have to seek some advice and knowledge from his sisters.
Peter felt my curiosity and slight nerves like they were his own and cupped my face in his hands. "Will you be alright?" he asked, nuzzling his nose against mine.
I smiled and wrapped my fingers around his wrists. "Of course. It's nothing I can't handle. You go and have fun with Ed and I'll see you when you get back."
His eyes sparkled and he leaned down to kiss me. His lips were soft and I sighed into his mouth when he pulled me closer, my lips parting under his as our passion began to grow. He pulled away before I did but not before stealing a few more tender kisses that sent tiny shockwaves through my nervous system.
"Two months," he whispered against my lips. "Two months and we will be man and wife. Surely we can make it that long without losing ourselves."
I let out a soft laugh. "It will test us, I'm sure."
He frowned and wrapped his arms around me, resting his chin atop my head as I listened to the sound of his heart through the thin material of his shirt. "I love you," he whispered.
I kissed his chest and felt his pulse thrumming beneath my lips. "I love you, too."
"We have acquired only the finest materials for your dress, miss. Whatever you wish to use shall be at your disposal."
I smiled gratefully at the head seamstress before gazing at the rows of satins, silks, lace and any other kind of Narnian fabric available. It was all so beautiful. "You are much too good to me, Maggie."
Magdalena waved my comment off with her hand and a wide smile. "Anything for you, my dear. This is a very important dress, after all. Do you have any ideas on how you would like it to look?"
I gazed at the thin gathers of lace and pursed my lips. "I think so," I murmured. "But I might need some extra help. Do you think you could call on Queen Susan for me?"
Maggie was already on her way to the door. "Absolutely. I'll only be a moment." With that, she gave a small curtsy and hurried from the room.
I wandered through the rows of fabric while I waited for them to return, grazing my fingers over the different textures and fits. There was a table in the far corner practically covered in the most precious of Narnian jewels that took my breath away every time I snuck a glance. Narnia was definitely going all out for this wedding.
By the time Maggie returned with a curious Susan in tow I was standing by a table in the middle of the room with several different kinds of fabrics laid out before me.
"What on earth are you up to?" Susan asked with a subtle lift of her eyebrows.
I chuckled and brushed some hair away from my eyes. "I'm trying to design my dress and was hoping you could help me." I pushed my bottom lip out and clasped my hands beneath my chin in the hopes of persuading her assistance.
"I think I'd be a rather horrid sister-in-law if I didn't help you," she said and came to stand beside me, bumping her shoulder against mine with an air of playfulness. She really was very happy here. "Everything looks so delicate," she continued, lifting a sheet of lace up to the sun. The light speared through the gaps in the material and cast an intricate shadowy pattern across her face. "Are you sure it'll hold?"
Maggie laughed. "It has more strength than you give it credit for, Your Majesty."
Susan ducked her head with a sheepish glance in Maggie's direction before she went back to examining my fabric choices. It was a while before she spoke again, her eyes narrowed in confusion. "Everything here is gold," she said, turning to look at me with uncertain eyes.
I blinked at her. "Is that not right?" I asked.
She frowned. "I suppose I'm still a bit out of practice with some of your customs. Is it vital to wear this colour?" She held up a sheet of gold satin.
I nodded. "Mostly, yes. Gold is the colour traditionally worn by the bride in Narnian weddings. Is it not like that where you come from?"
Susan shook her head. "No. Where we come from the bride wears white."
"White?" I asked in surprise. What an odd choice. "What is it supposed to represent?"
"Purity, I suppose." She looked down at the fabric in her hands and spoke again. "What does gold represent?"
"The sun," I told her. "For love in its purest form is said to have a beauty and strength that rivals even the most breathtaking of sunrises."
I smiled. "It is. Gold also represents wisdom and good health. But not everyone wears just one colour, which is why we add these." I gestured to the pile of jewels and other precious things. "Each colour represents a different thing, so I'll most likely have coloured crystals on my dress or flowers of some sort in my hair."
Susan touched her forehead and let out a heavy breath. "Goodness. We certainly have our work cut out for us, don't we?"
I grinned. "Why do you think I requested your help?"
She reached out and touched my hair. "At least you don't have to worry about wearing red. You have more than enough of that already."
Maggie chuckled and stepped up to the table. "Miss Arabella has been known for her hair ever since she was a baby. Everyone always used to talk about her; Aslan's daughter, the girl with hair as red as rubies."
"You've known her since she was little?" Susan asked.
Maggie reached out and pinched my cheek. "Almost. I met her when she was seven years old and what a precious little thing she was. Mind you she was never around for long, always going off somewhere new with her father. Every time she came back to visit she'd grown a few extra inches." The happy nostalgia was clear in her eyes. "And now look at her; all grown up and about to be married."
I could feel my cheeks burning. "As wonderful as all this reminiscing is, perhaps we could get back to the matter at hand?"
Susan laughed and looked at me in that knowing way of hers. "Getting a little embarrassed, are you?"
Maggie picked up some lace and set it down over a sheet of satin. "That's nothing. If you ever get the chance, ask Aslan to tell you some stories of when she was little. Like the time she sneezed so hard a clump of snow dislodged from a tree and practically buried her."
"I was four years old!" I cried as Susan and Maggie giggled to themselves. "Now enough teasing. We have a dress to make."
Despite my words Maggie continued to regale Susan with tales from my childhood as we shifted fabrics around and tried to decide on which jewels to use. Taking Susan's words to heart, I requested certain fabrics be found in white and brought straight to us. It took a few hours, but soon we had a design that couldn't have been more perfect for such a wedding.
Two months, Peter. Two months.
It's good to be back.
So there you go :) Our first look at life after the war.
I did a lot of research on what different colours represented so that I could choose the right one for a Narnian wedding, and gold just seemed to fit. They're such a magical race, I'm sure they'd be all about colour.
Now, here's where you come in. I have a few ideas on what else I'd like to write for this, but I want to know what it is you want to see. What would you like me to write? Is there a particular event you think would have taken place in those 15 years that you'd like see written down? What do you think Arabella would have gotten up to?
For those wondering, the sequel to FWIW will be written. I just have a few other stories that need to be written first. Hopefully this will help tide you over until then.
I don't have an update schedule for this, but I tend to post weekly. So keep an eye out for a new chapter early next week :)
In the meantime, I'd love to hear your thoughts.
See you again soon!