Peter was at the top of the stairs when he saw someone moving into the waves. "Pete? What is it?" Edmund asked when he nearly ran into his older brother.
"I'm in trouble, aren't I?" the elder replied.
Edmund followed his brother's line of sight and saw that he was watching the girl in the waves. It was Evelyn. "Oh yeah, you're in trouble," he replied.
"Five days. Five days I've known this girl and I feel like I've known her forever. Only five days and I think I might be falling for her," the blonde said.
"You think? Pete, you've already fallen pretty hard," Edmund laughed, nudging his brother down the stairs.
"What do you mean?" he asked.
"You hardly let any other men talk to her," Edmund teased. "And I had to convince you to let me cut in for a dance with her," he added.
Peter looked over his shoulder at his brother, and Edmund saw how dark his eyes were. "Actually you had to convince her. She wouldn't let me leave her alone on the floor. She's afraid of strangers. Men more than women, but she is definitely afraid. It has something to do with what she can't remember. She doesn't trust," the High King explained.
"So you were protecting her," Edmund realized.
"Yes. But now...Ed, I have no idea what to do. Last night, she was so...Aslan, she was amazing. I didn't know what to say," the elder king suddenly looked like the teenage boy he was; confused and unsure.
"Pete, just try not to move too fast," Ed warned, glancing down over the railing to the beach. Evelyn has waded in up to her knees and rolled up both the pants and her sleeves. Her hair hung all the way passed her elbows, and the wind pulled it out behind her like a banner.
"She's something special, huh, Pete?" he asked.
"She's my something special," his brother replied simply, grinning. Then they were stepping onto the sand, spreading towels and dropping two more on top. They rolled their pants up and pushed up their sleeves, and then Edmund followed his brother towards the water.
"Evelyn?" Peter called, moving into the waves.
"Listen, my Kings," she said in a dreamy, trance like voice. She moved further into the water and the waves lapped up to her thighs.
"Evelyn," Peter called again, but now his voice was a warning.
"Can you not hear them, Your Majesty?" she asked, looking back over her shoulder at him. He gulped; her eyes were shining ruby, and shook his head. She began to sing, and he heard the enchanting in her voice. He surged through the waves and clapped his hands down over her ears.
Instantly, she shrieked in protest and Edmund cringed from the sound. It was not human. The ruby color of her irises flared darker, to a blood color, and she struggled. When she couldn't break Peter's grip, she dove forward, dragging him under the waves. The music was immediately louder and more influencing, and Peter nearly let go because of it.
Edmund's natural reaction wasn't to dive after them. Instead he kept his head above the water and waded after them. He hooked an arm around Peter's waist and yanked him back above the surface. Evelyn slipped free and was about to plunge back in when both Kings grabbed her and covered her ears. The ruby eyes flashed and then they were blue again.
Neither King was expecting the sudden release of enchanting and when Evelyn went limp, she fell into the water. She came up coughing and shaking her sopping hair out of her eyes. "What was that?" she gasped, and Peter realized she was crying.
"The Sirens. At least, that's what we think they are," The High King replied.
"Like from the Odyssey?" Evelyn asked, looking back over the water. King Peter nodded and placed his hand on her arm. She turned to him and he realized she was wearing a white shirt that was now soaked and clinging to her.
"Evelyn, what's on your back?" King Edmund asked, moving closer. She looked at him and twisted to see down her back.
High King Peter moved around behind her to freeze in shock. The discoloring he'd seen under her shawl that day was clear and visible now. A dark D, S, and W were written on her back. "Are those tattoos?" he asked, horrified.
"No," she replied flatly. "They're scars," she added. Both Kings heard the notes of bitterness, tears, and shame in her voice.
"It looks like a brand," King Edmund realized, and he saw his brother's eyes widen and then darken in fury.
"It is," Evelyn whispered over the crash of the waves. She refused to face them, and she let her hair swing down in a dripping curtain.
"Ev, who branded you?" Peter asked, moving around to stand in front of her. He lifted her chin in one hand and cupped her cheek in the other. Her eyes were filled with tears and he used his thumb to wipe them away when they spilled over.
"I don't know. I can't remember," she sobbed, and he realized this was a weakness. They'd done something to her that left her afraid of them. They'd done something that had forced Aslan to take her memory to restore her. To save her.
"It's okay, Ev, it's okay. You are safe here, remember? I promised you that," Peter murmured to her.
"I remember, Your Golden Majesty," she replied, and he smiled at the nickname.
"You cannot be afraid, Evelyn," he told her, dashing away another tear.
"How can I not be? Someone branded me!" she asked, and her voice broke.
The Kings were hiding a great deal of shock at this point. Evelyn, strong, warrior Evelyn, had broken down so fast. They'd hit her weak point and she'd come undone. Peter pulled her into his arms and held her, the waves lapping at their waists. This wasn't a hug between lovers but friends, because Evelyn just needed the shoulder to cry on.
Once again, Peter found himself furious with whoever had done this to her. He wished she'd remember if only so he could make them regret it. "Pete? You should probably take her back to the beach," Edmund spoke up quietly. Flame and Spirit were moving into the water, and when Spirit reached them, she swatted Evelyn with a heavy paw.
Both Evelyn and Peter stumbled from the weight behind the swat, and nearly fell into the water. Evelyn laughed and Peter was so relieved that he laughed with her. He let her go, but held onto her hand, and pulled her back towards the beach. They were at knee depth when Peter started to turn to talk to Edmund and said King bumped Evelyn hard enough to knock her into the High King. As the High King was turning, he was off balance and when Evelyn fell into him, they both toppled into the water.
Neither really paid attention to Edmund doubled over laughing, as they were a bit too stuck to do so. The water was shallow enough that neither was actually submerged, but that wasn't the problem. Evelyn had fallen on top of the High King, and when she went to push herself up, she looked straight into the High King's eyes. They burst out laughing and climbed back to their feet, Evelyn ringing out her hair as she did.
Peter turned back to Edmund and tackled his brother into the water, where they wrestled and just goofed off. Eventually Susan and Lucy joined them, and Lucy jumped up onto Peter's back. They played silly games like Red Rover and threw a Frisbee back and forth on the beach. The girls flew kites as Peter buried Edmund in the sand.
Eventually, Evelyn flopped down on a towel on her stomach, and Lucy saw the dark outlines of the scars. The younger girl pointed them out to her sister, who quietly asked her elder brother. "Pete? What are those lines on Evelyn's back?" she asked, kneeling beside the blonde teen.
"Do not ask her," he ordered instantly. "They are scars, brands actually, that somebody inflicted on her. She doesn't remember and I believe Aslan took her memory to save her from them. They broke her, and He had to erase her past to restore her," the King said quietly, including Lucy in his explanation.
"That is horrid," Susan gasped, looking back at the girl lying face down in the sun.
"It's her weakness. Our warrior lady has a weak point and we found it. It's the fact that she cannot remember, that something could leave such a mark and just be gone. She wants to know, I think, but she'd afraid. I think she might have started to remember. The Sirens got her earlier, and you know how their enchanting works, sisters," Peter replied, his hands stilling in the sand as he spoke.
"Yes, unfortunately, we do," Lucy sighed, and went to join Evelyn in a nap on the sun-soaked sand.
Evelyn had drifted off when she felt the sand shift near her head and she lifted her face up. Peter sat in the sand, and he had moved his towel so that he more or less sat perpendicular to her. She rolled onto her back so she could look at him and not have to keep her head up, and rested her head on his knee. She felt him playing with her hair and was glad she hadn't just chopped it all off that first day on the beach. A smile flinted across her lips and she could hear the younger royals playing in the waves once more.
"Evelyn?" Peter said, his hand coming to her shoulder.
"Yes?" she asked, opening her eyes. He was leaning over her, and he was upside down.
"Do you remember anything?" he asked.
"Small things. I remember my siblings. My four elder brothers, I remember their names. William was the oldest, then Richard, then John, then Charles," she replied. "I remember that they were my big brothers, always trying to look out for me," she added, tilting her head back to see him better.
"That's good. Everyone needs somebody to look after them," he mused.
"Take your own advice, Peter. I'm your somebody now," she teased, grinning. He grinned down at her and let her return to her nap. The five of them spent nearly all afternoon on the beach, just relaxing and having fun, and being teenagers and children. After all, none of them were even eighteen yet.