Too Much To Ask For

Chapter 18

Chapter 18

The High King stood in the Great Courtyard, where Cair Paravel received and sent off travelers and guests. He stood by the stairs, dressed in some of his finest clothes, his siblings on either side. When the four of them stood together, they tended to stand in this order, the order of their thrones. And now Evelyn stood on King Edmund's other side, dressed in a tunic and leggings with a long sleeved undershirt and her sword on her hip.

Knights with their ladies, bachelor knights, lords and their ladies, the duke and duchess, and the unmarried ladies all came to say good bye. Some came alone, some came as couples, and others came in pairs. They all spoke to the Kings and Queens, and some spoke to Evelyn. She didn't mind that she was overlooked. The Kings and Queens were glorious in the finery and crowns, and they were the Kings and Queens. She wasn't even a noble.

She really didn't mind. She didn't want to be a noble. She didn't want to be tied to territory and titles. She wanted to be able to guide and serve the High King on her own choice. She really did want to serve him, and as she had told the Queens yestereve, she was his sixth sense, his guide. She could tell King Edmund was the protector of the family. The High King didn't need her to protect him when he had his brother.

Evelyn could see the roles the four siblings played. The signs were there, and she realized her feeling from earlier had been right. She did feel like she'd known them forever, but she knew it wasn't possible. She hoped she could stay, that something from her past wouldn't pop up and throw her back to wherever she'd come from.

High King Peter was the leader. He was the one who took it all on his shoulders. He looked out for his family, which now included all of Narnia. He was a warrior, not a fighter, and he would force anyone who hurt his family to regret it. He knew the difference between right and wrong, even if his judgment would get a little clouded at times.

That was where King Edmund came in. He was called the Just for a reason. He was his brother's judgment, his always clear sense of right and wrong. He was the protector, the one who tried to take it for King Peter.

Queen Susan was the nurturer. She was the Gentle, the one who tried to listen and understand. She was the logic and the beauty, the one who brought grace into the family. She was warm and welcoming, and she truly was the Lady of Cair Paravel. Her doors were always open.

Queen Lucy was the charmer. She was the joy and innocence, the smiles and hugs. She was always happy, except when one of her family was in trouble. Then she would take up the fight in her own way, with her persuasion and sometimes her dagger and a bow.

Evelyn was becoming the guide. She was the shadow in the background, the watchful eyes, and the one ready to act at all times. She knew what the High King needed through her feeling and she knew how to read him. She was the new outlook, the one who could fight or talk her way into something. But she did it all for the High King, not for herself. There was nothing she really could do for herself besides take care of herself. She was missing her history, so she would learn his. She was missing a cause, so she'd take up his. She was missing a story, so she'd make a new one at his side. She was missing a home, so she'd live in his.

She was his. Without a doubt, she was the Kings and Queens', but she was the High King's personally. That was the way she was starting to want it.

And the Calormen Court only saw glimpses of this the whole time they were at Cair Paravel. Now they were leaving, with only a few of them having succeeded in what they were sent to do. They'd made a kind of welcome-your-enemies-into-your-home kind of treaty, but the women hadn't even come close to really gaining favor. There would never be a marriage between one of the Kings and a Calormen noblewoman. They didn't know it yet, but nor would there ever be a marriage between a Queen and prince either.

Lady Kathryn was the last to speak to Evelyn. "You are lucky, you know, to have the High King's favor," Kathryn told her, curtsying.

"I would not call it favor. I am his friend," she replied, bow-curtsying back.

"Either way. He is quite clearly smitten with you," Kathryn said, handing her a small folded piece of parchment. "Write to me, perhaps? I want to know when you are engaged," the dark skinned woman added.

"Then there is peace between us?" Evelyn asked, taking the small piece of paper.

"If you wish. I have realized how foolish I truly was. You are a good woman, Lady Evelyn, and I hope there can be companionship," was the reply.

Evelyn nodded and smiled, and then the two women parted ways. The Narnians watched the Court leave, and a sense of emptiness in the Palace could be felt for a moment. That was, until Queen Lucy squealed; "Now I can go to the beach!"

The guards and other Animals in the courtyard laughed at their youngest Queen's excitement and Evelyn remembered Peter instructing her not to go to the beach while the Court was here. The other Pevensies laughed and agreed to go with her. When Lucy bounced up to Evelyn, it only took one look to get the warrior girl to give in. The High King laughed as she did, and then they all ran off to their rooms, various cats following.

Evelyn had noticed that the great wildcats included Queen Susan's ocelot and margay, and that those cats had appointed themselves personal guards. Other Animals were pages, soldiers, guards, teachers, staff, and the Sentinel Groups.

Flame had appointed himself to Evelyn along with Spirit, and had often led the girl around the palace. Now he guided her back to her tower, where she changed into the white shirt and ripped pants she'd worn on her arrival. She let her hair down out of its simple twist and ignored the collection of shoes and boots Queen Susan had sent her.

She made her way back down, and Flame guided her to the zigzagging staircase in the side of the cliffs. She loved the way the wind caught her hair and her shirt as she descended, and when she reached the bottom, she turned to look back up at the Palace. It sat perched on the cliffs straight above her head, and she could really only see it as she moved away from the stairs.

Then she saw that she was the first one down. So she walked into the surf and let it wash over her ankles.

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