Too Much To Ask For

Chapter 20

Chapter 20

Evelyn sat in the window seat in her room, watching the stars. She didn't actually see them however, because she was reliving her life in her mind. Tears streamed down her face, and she saw. She was there, in the memory, seeing, smelling, feeling, tasting, hearing. Everything. It was like it was happening all over again. Just faster.

Being the youngest of five and the only girl, her brothers were very protective of their little princess. She remembered every time she'd fallen off her bike or skinned her knee or gotten picked on in school, every time she'd drawn a child's picture or played dress up or gone trick-or-treating. She remembered every Christmas, every snowball fight, every day spent ice-skating. At least one of her brothers was in the memory, but usually it was all four of them. Her father wasn't around much even before the war, as he was working all the time. Her mother wasn't there at all…and she didn't have any really painful memories either. She saw only until she was about nine, and then she left the dream like world.

It was dawn when she finally returned. She hadn't slept at all, and when she found the looking glass, she saw that her eyes were bloodshot and puffy. Tear tracks stained her face and she was exhausted. She stumbled into the study and let Flame and Spirit out, leaving the door unlatched enough that they could easily push it back open to let themselves in. "Tell the High King I am not feeling well and that I would rather he not disturb me," she told the tigers, faltering in her steps back to her bedroom.

When she reached the bed, she collapsed onto it and curled in on herself. She was back in the memories immediately. She lay on the bed, never moving, never even twitching, and never even blinking. She heard only the memories, not her door opening. She felt only her past, not her bed shifting as someone sat. She saw only the dream like scenes, not Spirit and Flame curling around her.

The sun was at its peak when she was released again. The first thing she saw was the wooden tray on the side table. Fruit, eggs, toast, jam, and juice greeted her eyes, and she smiled. There was a note under the cup, and she read it as she ate. "Ev, I hope you are not too sick. I had one of the dryads bring this, because I am otherwise tied up in reports and what not from the north. Please try to eat some of it so you recover sooner. If you are feeling better tomorrow, could you join me in my office for the second afternoon hour? I've something I wish to discuss with you. Love, golden Peter."

She laughed as she finished it, and then moved back to the window seat. It was raining today, and Evelyn had an urge to dance in the drizzle. She knew Lucy would have, and smiled at the thought. Instead of doing the same, she leaned her head against the cold glass and sank back into memory.

It seemed like Aslan had saved the worst memories for last, except for when she had come to this world from hers. She finally saw her mother, and wished she hadn't. The woman was no mother to her. Maybe to her brothers, as the woman had only wanted sons so they could serve in the military, but not to her. Her eldest brothers, William and Richard, took care of her. They took their mother's hate of their sister on themselves, something she hadn't learned until later in life.

She remembered the deaths over her life, both of her grandmothers, her only aunt, and one of her grandfathers. She remembered the declaration of the war, and watching her father and eventually William go off to fight. She remembered being evacuated to the big farmhouse in the country with Charles as she left Richard and John standing in the station in their military uniforms. She remembered unpacking her meager suitcase in her new room with one of the kittens perched on her shoulder. She remembered every pain in her life, every sorrow, every frustration, and every loss.

But the last thing she remembered was finding the tire swing on the hill above the pond. She still didn't remember how she got to the world of Narnia. She could feel the tears building in her eyes as she was released from the memories, and she got up and began to pace the room as she cried. She finally just sank to her knees and succumbed to the sobs until she felt as dry as a desert. Then she was pulled back in to the memories.

She saw herself as she climbed high into the branches of the rope swing tree. She saw the caves in the hills from the branches and made her way there on foot. She saw herself exploring the cave in the poor light and lipping into the river that ran through the rock. She felt the chill of the water as she went under, and then water suddenly got colder, and then she was gasping for air as she resurfaced. She blinked against the glare thrown off the snow she was looking at and gasped. She had gone from a pool in a cave to an icy river in the middle of a winter forest.

She was so cold as she dragged herself free of the water and tried to build a fire. She succeeded only enough to dry her hands and feet before she had to restart it. She was lucky; beneath the layer of ice of the riverbanks were shards of flint stone and other rocks that she could strike together to make sparks. She made a torch out of a piece of bark and a shred of the bottom of her under shirt, lit it in the fire, and made her way through the snow, eventually finding something like a road. They were sleigh tracks.

She began to walk along them, hoping anyone would find her. And someone found her. Someone who drove a sleigh pulled by white reindeer and had a patrol of wolves running along beside the sleigh. Someone who took her in under her arm and brought her to a magnificent castle of stone and ice. Someone who fed her whatever she wanted and dressed her in rich dresses of velvet and fur. The dresses were always white or light blue or silver or gray or even a pale cream. They always matched the snow and ice around them.

She was found by someone who gave her lessons in the history of the land, of the creatures, of the royalty, and of the enemies. Someone who taught her to host various creatures in their castle of stone and ice. Someone who taught her how to wield a sword and something called the Old Magic. Someone who taught her about the winter and how to command an army through it. Someone who taught her to survive in that winter.

Someone who taught her that Aslan was the enemy. Someone that taught her the prophecy of the Four Thrones and taught her that it would never come true, because the White Witch controlled Narnia. Someone who taught her to love the White Witch and what she stood for by never saying it.

She was taken in by someone who'd been planning on betraying her all along. Someone who had every intent on making her Queen and leaving her to face the wrath of the High King and Aslan when they discovered her winter and her army. She knew now that the army of that someone was made up not only of Wild Land Giants but of the Animals of Narnia that had turned from Aslan to the White Witch. She knew now that the influx of Animals from Narnia only a week after her arrival was the remnants of the White Witch's army, fleeing from Aslan and the High King.

She knew now that the someone had known that she was the one in the third part of the prophecy. She knew now that taking her in and making her Queen had been the plan to foil the prophecy. And foiling the prophecy would weaken the High King until the Witch's supporters could rise from hiding and destroy him.

Taking her memory had saved both Evelyn and the High King. Aslan had known where she was and what was happening to her. He'd acted as only he could, and she'd found her way to the High King. It had been Aslan that had called her to Narnia from England and to Narnia from the Wild Lands. It had been Aslan that had caused the storm to wash her onto the northern Narnia shore. It had been Aslan that had taken her memory.

The words of the prophecy rang through her mind in a terrible, but great, song.

"Wrong will be right, when Aslan comes in sight, at the sound of his roar, sorrows will be no more. When he bares his teeth, winter meets its death, and when he shakes his mane, we shall have spring again." That was the first part, and most of Narnia knew it.

"When Adam's flesh and Adam's blood sit at Cair Paravel in throne, the evil time will be over and done, and Peace will be restored to all of Narnia." That was the part every being in Narnia knew.

But the part Evelyn knew by heart was hidden and dangerous. "When Eve's name and Eve's spirit stand at Cair Paravel beside throne, evil's daughter will be over and done." She was Eve's name; it was right there in her own. She was Eve's spirit; she had acted against the wishes of the Highest King and now she had to make it right. She stood beside High King Peter's throne, and now evil's daughter, the Queen of the Wild Lands, had to be defeated.

She began to shut down, as she couldn't get the memories of the Wild Lands out of her head. She managed to stand and make it into the bathing room before she went into shock and sank to the floor, sitting with her ankles tucked under her. She never noticed Spirit sit at the edge of the pool to keep her away from the water. She never noticed Flame leave to find someone. She never noticed when he returned, the High King in tow.

But Peter noticed her and her glassy eyes. He noticed the tear stains and the pale skin. Fear rolled over him and he knelt before her, taking her freezing hands in his ever warm ones. "Evelyn? Can you hear me? Answer me, please, Evelyn," he said, watching her face for some kind of reaction.

"Evelyn, whatever you've remembered, you must remember that you are a good person. You must remember that you are safe here. You must remember that you are mine now, not theirs," he told her, moving both her hands into one of his so he could touch her face. Her skin was freezing, just as her hands were, and her lips were blue.

"You are a warrior, Evelyn, my warrior. You must fight this. Defy it, as you have defied tradition and stereotypes. Defy whatever holds you and know that you have done only good here," he implored her, and he realized that her hands were warming in his own. It was like holding ice, it just melted away. But it didn't leave Peter feeling cold. He was as warm as ever, and he was determined to warm her as well.

"Oh, Aslan, whatever it is, please, free her," he asked, looking to the lion carved in the wall.

"He did," a faint whisper reached his ears, and he instantly looked back to Evelyn. "He freed me when he took my memory and let me escape. He freed me by sending the storm to wash me up on your shore. He freed me by calling me to Narnia. He freed me by sending me to you," she murmured, and he saw that though her eyes were still blue glass, her lips were returning to their normal color. He watched the coldness melt out of her as color returned to her skin.

"What did you remember?" he asked her gently.

"Everything. I remember where I'm from, my whole life before this world. I remember coming to this world, being taken in by the Queen of the Wild Lands. I remember being groomed and trained and never realizing it. I remember being a pet to take the throne so that when you discovered the endless winter in the Wild Lands, you would destroy me. I remember being part of the plan to weaken you so Her followers could destroy you," she told him, looking straight at him with her glass eyes.

"What plan?" he prompted her. Anything she knew could help them now.

"You would see me as the source of the winter, because I would be, just not the original. You would see the remnants of the White Witch's army among mine, and you would think I in alliance with her, because I was groomed to be. You would destroy my army and me, and by destroying me, you'd weaken yourself, because you need me. You'd be weak enough that the Queen would be able to rise from hiding with those she still had loyal to her and destroy you. She'd rule Narnia," Evelyn whispered.

"Again," he breathed. He was horrified, but knew just clever that plan was.

"No. The White Witch, Jadis, is gone. The Queen of the Wild Lands is her daughter, the Silver Witch," she said, and a fire lit behind the glass in her eyes, fueled by hate and fury.

"No," he breathed, rocking back on his heels. His hand dropped from her cheek and instantly the color drained from her skin. She was sure he hated her now, because she'd been groomed by his enemy in a plan to destroy him. He didn't see the fire get snuffed out in her eyes. He didn't see the glass fog up as tears welled back up in her eyes. He didn't see the glass crack as her heart threatened to break.

"I'll go back, Your Majesty. I'll end this. I'll leave, just please do not hate me," she begged him quietly, pulling her hands free of his. He looked back and she saw just what kind of King he was in his eyes. His eyes were hard and furious like stone, but burned with the fire of hate and memory.

"No," he replied, his voice cold and unforgiving. "You are not leaving. You and I are going to make a plan, and then we are going to ride to the Wild Lands. We will take the war to them," he continued. "If this Silver Witch thinks she can use you then she's wrong. You are mine, and you were always intended to be," he added, taking her hands once more. "Tell me the prophecy," he ordered her softly.

She blinked in surprise and sighed. The coldness still held her, and his warmth was not melting it away this time. "You know the first part, Aslan's part, and you know your part, the second part. You just don't know my part, the third part," she told him quietly.

"Teach me," he suggested.

"When Eve's name and Eve's spirit stand at Cair Paravel beside throne, evil's daughter will be over and done," she breathed and as she spoke, her voice took on a tone Peter recognized well. Power and Old Magic rang through the words and the High King had the feeling it came from deep within her. He realized she belonged in Narnia as much as he did, and he realized that perhaps, besides Lucy, she was Aslan's dearest treasure.

She was his treasure now though. She was his guiding light, his star that shone above him. She didn't need to be a queen or noble or even truly anything other than exactly who she was. Exactly who she was, that was enough for him. That was all he needed. And as he thought this, he pulled her in and pressed his lips to hers. She was still ice as he kissed her, but he felt her melting as he held her. She kissed him back, had he kept his eyes open, he would have seen the golden color return to her skin.

When they broke apart, he pulled her to her feet, and then leaned his forehead against hers. "I could never hate you, Evelyn. You are my treasure," he murmured, then kissed her again.

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