A/N: So, I got this idea from a few of the fanfics I've been reading, and I've come up with my own. I've drawn inspirations from several different fanfics and I can't remember all the authors, so if you recognize something that's yours, or a bit similar to yours, please PM me so that I can add an extra chapter crediting you all. Although I think majority of my inspiration here is from WillowDryad's story, "Counted Among the Traitors." Thank you!
P.S. For those of you waiting for my update to "Lead Me Home", my other Peter/Edmund multi-chapter brotherfic, hang in there! I really want the next chapter to be the best possible for you guys, so I'm going to be spending a little extra time on it before I post it. I hope this one-shot can tide you over until then.
In the most kingly way he possibly could, High King Peter the Magnificent yawned.
He was bored. Plain and simple. He was holding court in Cair Paravel along with his siblings, and the cases had dragged on all morning.
As he waited for the next case to be announced, he looked at his siblings, who all looked as bored as he did, especially Lucy. The Valiant Queen was fidgeting in her throne, playing with her hair, and looking in all different directions as if she was stargazing. She caught Peter's eye and he gave her a fond smile. "It'll be over soon," he mouthed. Sighing, his sister answered, "I know, but it seems to take forever!"
Leaving the Valiant Queen to her own devices, Peter glanced now at his other sister, Susan. Her throne was beside his, and it wasn't difficult to observe her. The Gentle Queen was staring dreamily into the distance, her hands folded on her lap. "No doubt thinking about that prince again," Peter thought ruefully. Every so often Susan would snap out of her trance and take Lucy's hands into her own to stop the fidgeting, or to tell the younger Queen various admonitions. Peter could only hear a few, but he smirked at the older Queen's attempts to turn her carefree sister into a "proper young lady".
He sighed as he leaned back into his throne and looked at his brother Edmund. The Just King looked like the most interested in the hearings out of all the siblings. His gazed intently at the court assembled and once in a while gave a sigh.
"How you holding up, Ed?"
They were all past the age of twenty now, each coming into their own as Kings and Queens. Each had their own titles, but they had also reserved their nicknames for privacy and family only.
Edmund glanced at him and smirked. "Boring court day, eh?"
"It doesn't seem boring to you, brother mine."
Every so often, though, they would take to formalities if the situation needed gravity.
Edmund sighed. "If only you knew, my Liege. I still have much to learn on the intricate system of the Narnian law. If not for the title of the Just, I would have left the court proceedings to your capable hands, and to those of our dear Queens."
Peter smiled. Ed would always be Ed, sticking to his duty even though he was bored to death.
"You honor me with your loyalty, brother mine."
Edmund inclined his head in acknowledgement, just as Thales the Faun, Master of the Court, walked up to the four thrones.
"The next case awaits, your Majesties," he announced. "And this is the last of the day."
At this, all four monarchs perked up, and Thales continued at a lower tone, heard only by the four.
"So please," and here he winked at Lucy, while still keeping his voice serious. "With all due respect, your Majesties, quite a bit of interest will be needed."
They all straightened up at that gentle reproof, all attention once again back at the court. "Whose turn is it?" whispered Lucy.
Susan shrugged, and turned to Peter. He shook his head with a smile on his face, and immediately elbowed instead his younger brother, King Edmund the Just.
The younger looked at his brother. It was Peter's turn. But then again, he was the only one keeping count, so for the sake of his and his older brother's dignity (he did not want to start a squabble in court), he nodded to Thales to proceed.
The faun nodded in return and stood at the side of Edmund's throne, unrolling a scroll. Edmund straightened up a bit. Thales started to read, his voice resounding throughout the marble hall.
"The Narnian court receives the case of Miletus, Son of Adam. Appearing on this day, in the year of the Great Lion, in the court of our most noble rulers, High King Peter the Magnificent, Queen Susan the Gentle, King Edmund the Just, and Queen Lucy the Valiant, the honourable King Edmund the Just presiding."
The crowd parted to make way for a youth, who Edmund guessed was Miletus. He had black hair and black eyes, with a lean, muscular build. His hands were shackled in front, but he held his head up defiantly, not minding the stares coming from all around. He was accompanied by two guards.
As he made his way to the center of the court, Edmund kept his gaze fixated on him as Thales continued reading. Miletus, for that was his name, stared defiantly back at his judge, hatred in his eyes.
"Miletus, Son of Adam, you are hereby brought to this court on charges of murder. A fortnight ago, you made your way to the dungeons of this castle and killed one of the prisoners. He had committed crimes, yes, but you ended his life, ending his chances of atonement. What say you?"
Thales rolled the scroll shut and bowed to Edmund, indicating that the court was his. Straightening his posture and clearing his throat, Edmund began.
"Miletus, Son of Adam, did you commit this crime, in full clarity of mind, on your own prerogative, without the involvement of accomplices?"
To Edmund's surprise, the youth merely stood ramrod straight, looked him in the eye, and answered clearly. "Yes."
One of his guards tapped him roughly on the back. "You will address our King with proper respect, boy!"
His gaze never leaving Edmund, the youth smirked and mockingly added, "Yes, my King."
"Are you aware of the punishment for murder?"
"Yes, my King. A life for a life. The punishment is death."
Despite himself, Edmund was unnerved. No prisoner like this had ever come to his court. Most of them had committed crimes less serious but were already grovelling at his feet, begging for mercy. This youth was different. He seemed not to care that it was Edmund who held his life in his hands.
"Very well. The punishment will be handed out, Miletus, Son of Adam. You are hereby marked for execution. What say you?"
At this, Miletus spoke, as if he had wanted to speak all along but had held it in for this final confrontation.
"What say I, my King? I say let the High King judge me!"
He pointed his shackled hands at Peter, who for the whole trial had remained impassive, letting his brother do his job. Yet now his face was a picture of confusion.
"Let me tell you a story, my Kings and Queens. There was once a family that lived on the northern plains. They were farmers, and every day the father worked his fingers to the bone to provide for his young child. They did not have much, but they were happy. One day, the father was slain while harvesting, because another farmer wanted the crops that the father had. However, the murderer was captured and taken to this fair court. Your Majesty the High King was young, and you did not impose judgment!"
Here he was fairly shaking, and hot tears started rolling down his face. His voice started to crack, but his anger made him carry on. "You sentenced him to the dungeons, when he should have died for his crime! What, you may ask, had happened to the dead farmer's child? He grew up, training himself in warfare. A fortnight ago, he avenged his father!"
The court went into an uproar, and it took some time to settle down.
"Therefore, my King," he said to Edmund, "if you are truly just, then you should not be judging me. Look to your side and see who is the true criminal! He who tolerates sin! High King, pah!" and here he made to spit on the floor.
The guards had made the move to gag him, when Peter put up his hand. "Nay," he said, his voice trembling. "Let him speak."
"You call yourself a High King? You are weak! Pathetic! You are not fit to sit upon the throne of Cair Paravel!"
With every word, Peter's face drained of colour, and it seemed that all will to fight back had left him. Edmund was clenching and unclenching his fists, willing his temper to simmer down.
"You're wrong!" came a high-pitched voice from the last throne. "You're wrong," the Valiant Queen repeated, her voice growing ever higher. "Peter's good, and kind, and noble…and oh! You're the one who should be judged!"
"Lucy…" murmured Susan.
"No! I won't keep quiet! He's insulting Peter, how could you…"
And here she broke down into sobs. Peter stared helplessly at Susan, and the Gentle Queen decided to leave the rest if the hearing into Edmund's hands. She stood up, and got Lucy out of her throne, gently guiding towards the back chambers.
All throughout Lucy's outburst, Miletus was grinning.
"Miletus, Son of Adam, your sentence has been changed."
At this the court gasped.
"You will no longer be executed by normal means. You will duel me, to the death."
At this, Miletus turned a paler shade, but he was undeterred.
"Very well," he managed to say. "Since the High King cannot defend his own honor, I will fight with you, King Edmund."
Before Miletus was led out of the courtroom and after the High King had retired to his chambers in distress, King Edmund beckoned to him.
"Tread carefully, Miletus. You have insulted my brother's honor today, and know that that does not come without consequence. I will fight you to the death, and may Aslan have mercy on your soul."
Unruffled, Miletus asked, "Why does not your brother defend his own honor? Has he not the strength nor skill?"
Voice cold, eyes burning with fire, Edmund answered.
"You are not worthy ."
A/N: Okay okay…I know what you're thinking. "This was supposed to be a oneshot?" HAHA…well, it got away from me while writing…I think this will be around 3-4 chappies long :D
Leave a review anyway please!