"Miraz may be a tyrant and a murderer. But as king, he is subject to the traditions and expectations of his people. There is one in particular that may buy us some time…"
Issa stood at the top of Aslan's how and surveyed the telemarine army that was slowly making their way towards them. Susan and Lucy had gone off to hopefully find Aslan and until they got back Caspian had come up with a clever way to hold off the telemarine army until then, which involved Edmund and Issa going into the depths of telemarine army. Issa wasn't exactly thrilled with the idea but it brought them time not to mention there was a chance that Caspian's plan could lead to a way of avoiding bloodshed if Miraz accepted the single combat challenge. Issa wearily watched the telemarine army consolidate their forces when she felt a hand on her shoulder. She didn't have to look to see if it was Edmund.
"Are you okay?" Edmund asked.
"Why wouldn't I be?" Issa replied.
"You've been really quiet since last night..." Edmund said and Issa sighed, her late night conversation with Edmund had been interrupted by a little problem and that problem was Jadis. Caspian was almost convinced to revive the White Witch. Cleary that brought about some negative emotions in Issa and things could have got very bad if it wasn't for the quick actions of Edmund. Issa was furious about what happened and had left without a word to anyone. Things may not be looking that great but it wasn't that bad that people wanted to go to such as extremes as bringing back Jadis, Issa would prefer to die than bring back the White Witch. She never wanted that evil to come back to Narnia and inflict the pain that she had once had on Narnia again.
"I'm fine Edmund, I admit that it was a shock to see Jadis after all this time as I haven't thought of her in many a hundred years but I'm fine. Jadis is not coming back…" Issa quietly replied lifting her hand in order to place in on top of Edmund's, it was sweet that he was so worried about her but she had come to terms with most of what had happened to her a long time ago. Besides there were there other things for her to worry about now instead of the events of the pass. "Can I ask you something?"
Issa turned around so she was facing Edmund. "Why don't you give up on me?"
"What are you talking about?"
"Twelve hundred years ago I broke your heart and then you come back after all that time away and I'm horrible to you Edmund, I was rude, mean and pushed you away because I thought you had forgotten about me. But yet here you are, by my side when I need you and I didn't even have to ask…"
"You know why." Edmund replied and Issa did know why, it was because he loved her, for reasons unknown to her Edmund Pevensie loved her and Aslan help Issa, she felt the exact same way. The two of them were doomed from the start, one of them was human and the other wasn't completely human. They lived in different worlds and were never the same age. Their time together was complicated; they spent just under twenty years together only to be then separated by twelve hundred years before they saw each other again. One had a family, the other was an orphan and had been for a thousand years. They were star-crossed lovers. But Issa no longer cared about everything that told her that she and Edmund wouldn't work out.
Issa didn't see the point in hiding how she felt anymore, she didn't know how time she would have with Edmund this time or whether she's see him again after this. After what happened last time, Issa didn't want to waste time with Edmund not now when there wasn't much difference in their age. Last time Issa had been scared and afraid of how she felt but it was different now and Issa was pretty sure everyone knew how she and Edmund felt about each other given that Caspian, a telemarine prince who had know they all for a couple of days now had figured it out within minutes of seeing Issa and Edmund together. "Edmund…"
"Forgive me for interrupting your majesties, but it's time…" Glenstorm said interrupting the two of them and Issa nodded, what she had to tell Edmund could wait for a shirt while as right now they had things to take care of. Coming along with Issa and Edmund was Salazar, Glenstorm and Wimbleweather. The men all walked whilst Issa rode Salazar to the battlefield towards the make shift camp that the telemarines had set up. The walk through the camp was met with several stares especially when they came to a large tent where they believed Miraz to be. Issa climbed down from Salazar with help from Edmund, before they could even get into a tent a telemarine soldier stopped them.
"What do you want?"
"On the behalf of Prince Caspian, High King Peter and the realm of Narnia their royal majesties the Queen and King Edmund have come to talk with Miraz." Glenstorm stated as Issa slid off her cloak hood and the soldier wearily eyed them before going into the tent and reappearing moments later. "King Miraz will see them alone."
Taking a deep breath Issa and Edmund walked into the tent where Miraz was sitting, surrounded by several of his followers. "You wanted to see me.
Edmund pulled out a scroll and began to read. "I, Peter, by the gift of Aslan, by election and by conquest, High King of Narnia, Lord of Cair Paravel, and Emperor of the Lone Islands, in order to prevent the abominable effusion of blood, do hereby challenge the usurper Miraz to single combat upon the field of battle. The fight shall be to the death. The reward shall be total surrender."
"Tell me, Prince Edmund–" Miraz began.
Miraz seemed shocked at Edmund's interruption. "Pardon?
"It's King Edmund actually. Just king though Peter is the High King, I know, it's confusing." Edmund attempted to explain.
"King Edmund then, who is your lovely companion?" Miraz asked turning his attention to Issa who just frowned at the unwanted attention Miraz was giving her. He was pretending to be the nice charming king but Issa knew that he was anything but.
Edmund glanced over to Issa with a small smile on his face. "Her Majesty, Queen Issa…"
"Queen Issa? The girl cursed by a witch to live forever and supposedly the great warrior queen of the supposed Narnians? I thought you were just a thousand year old legend but I am glad to be proven wrong…." Miraz said in surprise which didn't really shock Issa as most telemarines believed her to be some work of fiction given that none of them had seen her in a couple hundred years. Even Caspian didn't believe Issa when the two of them had first met. "They say you are very skilled with a sword but true talent lies with a bow… Rumor has it that you can kill two men with a single arrow. Care to give us a demonstration? Myself and my men would be honored to see the legendary Queen Issa in action."
"Unlike you Miraz I do not kill simply because I can, I only kill when I have no other choice, even if they are telemarines…" Issa stated forcing a small on her face.
"And what does that mean Issa?"
"I'm talking about how you killed your own brother to gain control over your people and then attempted to kill Caspian in order for you to usurp him and claim the throne for your own. You are no real King Miraz, just a weak man who was jealous of his brother and the role that was not meant for yourself…" Issa pointed out, feeling no need to entertain the man with the niceties.
"That's rather ironic coming from you Issa given that you yourself was not destined to become the so called Queen of Narnia when you were forth in line behind your brothers and yet here you stand, claiming to be Narnia's queen." Miraz replied with a chuckle and his men all followed suit and Edmund began to draw out his sword because of Miraz bringing up Issa's family.
"Edmund don'!" Issa warned.
"Yes, King Edmund… Be a good boy and follow the orders of queen that nobody believes in."
"My family were murdered by cruel tyrant just like you who believed that they could take something that didn't belong to them. I may have not been first in line to the Narnians throne but at least I did not kill my way to my throne and at least I have the respect for my people, which cannot be said for you Miraz. And surely people must believe in me as my so-called legend had gone on for over twelve hundred years." Issa firmly stated. "But Edmund and I did not come here to talk about you and me."
Miraz smiled and Issa felt a horrible feeling in the pit of her stomach. "Question… Why would we risk such a proposal when our army could wipe you out by nightfall?
"Haven't you already underestimated our numbers? Only a week ago you believed Narnians were extinct. You even openly admitted that you believed that I to be a fabled legend and I am a Narnian, and of royal blood."
"And so you will be again." Miraz replied which sounded very much like a veiled threat.
"Then you should have little to fear." Edmund stated which caused Miraz to laugh.
"This is not a question of bravery."
"So you're bravely refusing to fight a swordsman half your age?" Edmund asked in a deliberate attempt to push Miraz's buttons, which seemed to be working.
"I didn't say I refused." Miraz retorted.
You shall have our support, your majesty, whatever your decision." A telemarine lord told Miraz.
"Sire, our military advantage alone allows us the perfect excuse to avoid—"
"I wouldn't be too sure of that, your not so true King has stated that I can kill two men with one arrow. You may have an advantage when it comes to men but I can kill men pretty fast. I'm very apt at it, so your king avoiding this just means more of you die…" Issa interrupted and Miraz stood up and drew his sword.
"I am not avoiding anything!" Miraz yelled.
"I am merely pointing out that my lord is well within his rights to refuse." The telemarine lord who Issa interrupted replied.
"His majesty would never refuse. He relishes the chance to show his people the bravery of their new king." Another said.
"Your king is no true king of these lands and as the true Sovereign of Narnia I will take real pleasure in your king's falling…" Issa spat before turning to Miraz. "By the way Caspian… You remember him Miraz? The rightful heir to the telemarine throne who you've attempted to kill several times now? He says hello."