The Kings and Queens stood in the Council Room, gathered around the table with the rest of the council. The Council was made up of a representative from every race in Narnia, and today Evelyn joined them. "You're sure of this, Your Majesty?" General Orieus asked, glancing at the remarkably different Evelyn sitting beside the standing King.
"What exactly is this?" High King Peter clarified.
"The existence of this Silver Witch," the centaur explained, not at all ashamed to ask the question others wouldn't.
"Very sure, Orieus. Evelyn, could you?" he replied, touching her shoulder as he spoke. She jerked, then looked up at him through her glass eyes. She nodded and stood, turning her back to the council. Her shirt buttoned in the back, and Peter carefully undid the buttons. Various shocked and almost dismayed sounds came from the assembled members when they realized what their High King was doing. Until he stepped to the side and revealed the brands on her back. Then the sounds were horrified and disbelieving.
Evelyn kept her head down as the various council members came forward to examine the marks, and she played with the end of her braid in her hand. Even after he'd buttoned her shirt back up, the High King kept his hand on her shoulder, and everyone was quick to notice this. They all noticed that the High King was always touching her, whether it be on her shoulder, her knee, her hand, or her back. But only King Edmund noticed the one time his brother removed his hand, and the results shocked him.
He'd thought he had the worst effect from the cold. He would never think that again after watching Evelyn. The second Peter's hand left hers, she lost any color in her skin, her veins stood out a vibrant blue, and her eyes froze in memory behind the glass. Instantly the younger King was moving to her and taking the older girl's hands in his. Color seeped back into her hands and up her arms until Peter's hand returned to her shoulder. The High King kissed her temple and her eyes melted as he freed her from a memory.
'Oh, Aslan, help her. Tell us how to break this curse,' King Edmund thought, unaware that all three of his siblings were sending similar prayers.
"My liege, how do you intend to go about this attack?" General Orieus asked, unrolling a map of northern Narnia and the Wild Lands on the table. The Red Dwarf member laid a box of little flags and markers beside it, and Evelyn reached for one shaped like a ship.
"There's a port-city here," she told them, placing the ship on a piece of the Wild Land coast. The council members picked up on the High King's idea as the girl rummaged in the box for a castle piece. She seemed to search the map, and then a memory struck her as she placed the piece. She went stone still and the High King moved closer, using their joined hands to pull her against his chest.
Queen Lucy rested her hand on Evelyn's arm as the High King whispered in her ear. King Edmund saw the golden color from his brother and the pinker color his sister was giving the shattered girl. 'How did she survive like this?' he asked himself, and then he knew. 'Aslan, be with her as you were there,' he thought, and he knew why Evelyn had hair the color of the Great Lion's coat. He'd kept his touch on her for so long that his color had permanently stayed with her.
Evelyn moved around the table, leaving King Peter's hand, and each council member held out their hand to help her. Her skin changed colors as she changed hands, and Peter watched in fascination. She set piece after piece on the map with Orieus's help until they had two armies and then she tucked herself back into Peter's shadow. Unable to stop himself, he wrapped his arm around her shoulders and pulled her into his side as the Council examined the map.
"What is this, Milady?" the dryad asked, touching a piece like a goblet.
"I'm trying to remember. I know there's something significant about that area, but it's gone," she replied, lifting her hand to her temple. Suddenly a dark gold flared behind the glass in her eyes and she groaned, holding both temples now. She bent forward and the council watched as colors bloomed and spread across her skin. Then they all drained from her and she reached a colorless hand across the table to a house shaped piece. She placed it where the goblet had been and then her hands were moving fast, marking out a far more detailed army in the Wild Lands.
"This is what we need to prepare for. I know how the army works, and I know how her mind works. I can tell you the weaknesses and I can tell you how to anticipate their every move. But you must know that she will guess for this. She will try to change the system, but again, I know how her mind works. I know how she'll change it," she started, and now that she'd begun, she wasn't stopping.
"We need to choose the battle ground. Force them to come to us, because if we fight too far over the border, we will be in the heart of the winter, and we will lose. I know the land along the border, and I suggest using the hills. If we station archers and whatnot on the hills, we have the range advantage. General, My Kings, I suggest moving troops quickly into this area, as discretely as you can. Here, here, and here, are open enough to camp and still be protected," she continued, touching a blue veined hand to various places. She went on like this until they had an entire battle plan, with escapes, retreats, and a few tricks. They had precise locations for troops and camps and Evelyn marked out the Witch's army and camps. She used black and white markers to show the set system and the possible changes the Witch would make.
For the High King, it was hard to watch. He couldn't get the previous night out of mind. The feel of her lips on his, her body pressed against his; it was making it hard to focus. The memory of one hand in her hair, the other on her back to pull her closer; it was making it hard to breath.
And after that, when he couldn't leave her, he'd pulled her against his side and laid on the bed. He had sung to her, a lullaby Lucy loved, and he eventually calmed her into sleep. He'd fallen asleep there, holding her and praying. He was praying to Aslan to help her as he'd helped her before.
"Sire?" Orieus asked, and the High King tore his mind from Evelyn. "Are you declaring war?" the centaur asked.
The High King was relieved. He'd already discussed this with his siblings, and he had an answer. "Yes, General. The Kings and Queens of Narnia are declaring war on Nixis, Queen of the Wild Lands," he replied, and King Edmund nodded in approval. Queen Susan did too, but it was Queen Lucy who surprised the council. She nodded decisively, and her hatred of the evil the Witches posed was clear in her eyes.
"Prepare for war," Orieus ordered the rest of the council, and with that, they disbanded until it was only the five humans left.
"Edmund, are you riding with me?" High King Peter asked.
"I am, brother," King Edmund replied.
"Sisters?" the High King asked.
"I will," Queen Lucy replied. "I will ride with my cordial," the young Queen added, and Queen Susan relaxed slightly. The others understood that their youngest sister would not lead the army, but ride with them to heal those who needed it.
"I will remain," Queen Susan said, though none of them had doubted she would do just that. She was called the Gentle for a reason.
"Your Majesty, have you thought about what I suggested?" Evelyn asked, looking up from where she was staring at the map. Their eyes locked and the younger King and Queens saw a battle of wills unfold. Evelyn was determined to do something, and Peter was refusing with equal stubbornness.
"Believe me, Evelyn, I have. I do not want you to go," he replied. "If you were to be caught, or caught by a memory, Evelyn, I'd have a horrible time not just ripping through the Wild Lands looking for you," he added.
"See, I do not know if you noticed, but our High brother here has a bit of what we call a blind rage," Edmund told her, almost jokingly, as she had seen a glimpse of it on the practice courts.
"I know. And I know that you alone, King Edmund, are able to get through to him when he is caught in it. But you should know that I alone am able to prevent it or break him free," she spoke with a certainty that made Lucy realize Aslan had truly made this girl her eldest brother's guardian.
"What is it that you suggested, Evelyn?" Queen Susan asked, curious.
"That the High King allow me to ride with the Patrol when they warn the Northern creatures and Animals," Evelyn replied.
"Why couldn't she, my King?" Queen Susan asked, and suddenly Evelyn really saw the Kings and Queens as just that.
"She's hardly in any shape to do so," the High King protested, touching Evelyn's pale cheek as he stood beside her.
"She would not have offered if she did not think she could handle it," Evelyn reminded the blonde King, who sighed and realized he'd lost.
"Very well. But I am picking the squad to go with you, and Flame and Spirit are to both accompany you. I am getting you chain mail, and armor, and proper traveling and camping gear as well. Deal?" he decided.
"Deal, Your Majesty," she replied, and he laced his fingers through hers. He wished he could go with her on the Patrol, but he was needed here, to lead the army out into the North. Into his North. The High King knew why he had been named to the North, and he would always be proud of the reason. He was the leader of the family, the warrior, and it was his duty to stand between the enemy and his people. But now, he didn't have to stand alone.
Author's Note: over 5k views! Thanks to all my reviewers! I know it has been a few days since I updated, but I started Driver's Ed, and let me tell you, it is soooo time consuming. Anyway, I hope this chapter isn't too eck. I had a hard time with this one, and couldn't really think of anything to put in it. So I made it kind of fluffy. I thought it was about time. But can you believe it? I held out until the 20th chapter to make them kiss! So proud of myself. But now I'm 2/3 done. But do not worry, I'll have many more, if shorter, stories about Peter and Evelyn coming soon!
Dandapanda-you make me laugh every time I read your reviews! I hope I do not disappoint!
MCH-thanks for being my loyal reviewer!