Disclaimer: I don't own Chronicles of Narnia.
I remember being on the maiden voyage of the Dawn Treader. She was a beautiful ship. Small, yes, but beautiful.
I remember the different Islands. They were beautiful, too—some were terrible in there beauty, others, beneficent.
I remember being a dragon, so large when compared to Reep or even Edmund, but tiny compared to the vast loneliness of Dragon Island. They tell me I was beautiful, for a dragon.
I remember Ramandu's Island—though I still don't know what a purple smell is, I do know what beauty means.
I remember the Lamb that became a Lion at the world's end, and I know that He is both good and terrible, with a beauty all His own.
Now I travel toward Narnia, across the waves I remember so well. Far beneath me is the Silver Sea, its liquid light so bright that it hurts my eyes.
Now I travel toward Narnia, flying high over the Islands. Far below is Dragon Island, and even from here I see the piles of treasure glinting in the sun.
Now I travel toward Narnia, coming ever closer to the waves. I clear Narrowhaven by barely a mile.
Now I travel toward Narnia, the land that I have never seen.
I wonder how much time has passed there, and if anything is wrong there. Nothing was wrong—not truly wrong—the last time I was in this world, and I wonder if it will be the same.
I wonder at myself. Nothing will ever be the same. My cousins came back the second time to find their kingdom in shambles and a millennium passed.
I wonder why Jill is here.
The waves skim my foot. The shoreline is fast approaching. Something is happening.
There is an old man boarding a ship. She is large, and nothing like Dawn Treader, but still beautiful in her own way. Couriers and courtiers stand by the gangplank and wave their hats and cheer.
I land with a bump on a river bank and creep forward until I can see.
There is a silence. Another person lands beside me. I know it is Jill. We watch in silence.
Caspian, an old, doddering man? It is not as much time, I know, as it was for the Pevensies, but it still comes as a shock. Jill doesn't understand. To her, the King is just a King. A doddering old man. A man whose prime has come and gone. A man who is preparing to die.
I know better. That man was my friend. Fair and golden-haired and in the prime of youth. Impetuous and lithe. Limber and strong. His hands never shook—not with fear, not with age. They should not be shaking now.
It's the little things, I suppose, that make me realize how fragile life is. Like watching my childhood friend die an old man, while I myself have not done with school uniforms or suppers.
Like watching him embrace his son with tremulous arms—the son that is at least twice my age.
Like seeing Caspian again, as he was when I knew him, and yet knowing he remained in Aslan's country while I went back to England.
I've been to Aslan's country thrice already, and each time I've been sent away. Perhaps the next time I will join him where I truly belong.