CHAPTER 3- Why did this happen?
Sue, Lu and I made our way back up to the surface ruins, newly robed in green, scarlet, and turquoise dresses, respectively. The boys got back into some of their own Narnian clothing. Everyone was outfitted in their old weapons, familiar grips returning to the matching handles. I was making my way to where the old balcony was, taking in the familiar view. I heard everyone slowly shuffle beside me, wondering what had happened since we were gone.
I scanned the narrow strip of river that emptied into the Eastern Sea, recalling that Pete and I had traveled along this on the journey to our honeymoon destination. As I began to get lost in the memories, I came upon a dark, oval shape in the water. Focusing more, I found that it was a boat, and it was coasting rather precariously, as if someone was struggling inside. I pointed this out to the others, who agreed we should check it out.
We hurried down the stone steps and out to the riverbed, where we found two dark-headed men holding what looked like a struggling dwarf between them, bound and gagged. My mouth dropped in horror as I realized what they aimed to do.
Instincts taking over, I quickly nocked an arrow, pulled back the bowstring, and let it fly into the bow of the rowboat. Both men looked up in alarm, and by then Susan had followed my lead, holding her loaded bow next to me. As I got another arrow ready, Sue shouted, "Drop him!"
Alarmed, I harshly whispered to her, "Drop him?! Really?!" The two offenders shrugged and tossed the dwarf in the ocean. The three Narnian kings dropped their swords and bolted to the riverbed, trying to rescue the poor creature. I, meanwhile, took advantage of the confusion and began firing at the two men. I successfully hit one in the arm, but I missed the other as he toppled into the water, trying to save his comrade. Sue and I kept firing at them, scaring them away from the guys. Ben and Ed were anchoring the boat to shore as Pete brought the dwarf to the surface. I rushed into the river, up to my knees, and helped get the dwarf to shore. Lucy drew her dagger and quickly cut the gag off his face, allowing him to spit water out and begin scolding us.
"'Drop him'?!" the dwarf shouted in a gravelly voice.
"A simple thank-you would suffice," Susan retorted.
"They were doing fine enough drowning me on their own!"
"Maybe we should have let them," Pete said fiercely. I turned to him worriedly- he was never severe like this.
"Who were they, and why were they trying to drown you?" Lucy innocently asked.
He gruffly replied, "Where have you been the last few hundred years?"
"You might be surprised," I answered as I handed Pete's sword back to him. The dwarf caught sight of the blade and comprehension dawned on his face, not believing it.
"You-you're it, then?" he asked, unable to grasp the truth. "You can't be!"
"Do we need to prove it to you?" Ben taunted. The dwarf, still disbelieving, looked skeptical.
"Oh, you might not want to do that," the dwarf warned as he watched Peter draw his sword again.
"Not me," he replied as he offered the hilt to the dwarf and nodded to Edmund, "him. He'll duel you. He was the most renowned swordsman."
The dwarf almost looked nervous, but then he swung the blade around at Edmund so ferociously it made me nervous. The weapons clashed viciously, blinding us when the sunlight hit them. They were flying so fast it was impossible to see who was gaining the upper hand. Soon enough, the dwarf's blade spun away and landed in the sand. He looked up in awe, accepting the truth.
"What is your name?" I asked, attempting to gain his trust.
"Trumpkin," he answered, somewhat warily.
"Well, Trumpkin, could you tell us what is going on? We've only just arrived; we're in the dark."
"Honestly, Your Majesty, I'm still trying to figure it out. This is going to take a while; might you sit down?"
"Of course." We made our way along the beach to a nice, sunny spot, where we prepared to hear Narnia's falling from peace to chaos. Lucy and Ben lay alongside one another on their bellies, heads resting in their hands. Ed sat cross-legged, sword lying across his lap. Susan was looking like a supermodel, stretched out on the sand, propped up on her elbow. I sat between Pete's legs, back propped up against his chest, his chin resting on my head. Trumpkin stood before us all, preparing to tell us the tragic tale. And so we listened to his account of the Telmarines invading, the Narnians going into hiding or getting killed, and Prince Caspian allying with us. It was shocking to realize that our departure could cause all this. Everyone was sad.
"All this- is our fault?" I asked, incredulous.
"Of course not, love," Pete soothed. "It's the damned Telmarines that did this."
"What can we do now?" asked Ben, rolling up to his knees.
"Well," answered Trumpkin, "we should get you to the How- the Stone Table. We have a much greater chance with you lot."
Wordlessly, we got up, collected our weapons, and pushed the boat into the river. We quickly boarded- Ben and Lu sitting in the middle, Ed and Sue sharing the next bench, and Peter and I rowing. Trumpkin sat with his back to the bow, staring at us with resolve.
As Pete and I rowed, Lucy's high voice remarked, "The trees...they're so still."
"They're trees, what do you expect?" the dwarf gruffly asked.
"They used to dance," Lucy said in a matter-of-fact tone.
"Well, when you lot left and the Telmarines attacked, they retreated so far into themselves we haven't seen them since."
"You know, we didn't mean to leave," I said, trying to defend our grievous actions. "It just sort of happened, it was an accident!" Trumpkin only sighed.
"It doesn't make a difference whether or not you left," he said, shaking his head.
At this remark, Pete rowed just a little bit stronger and said, "Get us to the Narnians; I know it will."
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