Author's Note: next few chapters are darker, and are the rated T part
Also, I really want a kitten, hence Moon's character. :)
Evelyn woke when Moon walked across her forehead. It had snowed during the night, and she had to shake the powder from her clothes. It was one of those bitter, biting cold days, and she unbraided her hair to let it act as a curtain for Moon. The kitten was curled around her neck, and Evelyn shivered.
She was furious. Evelyn guessed it had to do with her and her defiance, but she glad she'd done it. So she wasn't expecting to find the cloak in a heap at the base of the cliff. 'Someone's helping me' she realized. And whoever it was had serious courage if they were defying the Witch to help a prisoner. She pulled the cloak around her shoulders and sighed. It was so warm. Moon let out a purr that made Evelyn laugh, and soon she was sitting with the gryphons. Dizzy, Shadow, and Moon were curled around her, snuggling into the warmth, and she began to think of a plan.
"How do they keep you here?" she asked Zephyr.
"These collars. She can freeze them from any distance and we just drop like stones," he replied, and Zephyra nodded.
"I found a key hole," Evelyn told them quietly, searching the collars. She noticed that all the other prisoners had one somewhere, whether on their neck, ankle, or wrist. Only she didn't have one. And she had a dagger. Grinning, she pulled it out and picked Zephyr's collar. It fell into the snow, and Evelyn had an idea. "Pile them all there," she ordered quietly, picking Zephyra's collar.
Evelyn was glad the Witch thought her prison ingenious. It meant that she didn't post guards along the rim, and that made Evelyn's job easier. She spent hours picking collars and made her fingers bleed. Then she explored the ravine, even though she was pretty sure she knew it by heart. She found two bodies, and she let a tear fall. Those tears froze before they hit the snow, and shattered into a thousand fragments when they did hit.
One body was older, a male centaur, and she picked his collar too. He didn't deserve to be a prisoner even in death. Neither did the wolf she found at the end of the ravine. His body was brand new, and she realized it was Dargrim, her wolf companion. He'd been loyal to her from the beginning. "Thank you, my friend," she whispered as she closed his eyes. It had been him to help her.
As she walked along the base of the cliffs that made their cage, she slipped and fell onto the frozen river that made up this part of the ground. She looked up the rock face, and made her way back to the pile of collars. She took one, holding it open over her shoulder, and looked up at the wall here. Then she climbed. The other prisoners watched in shock and fear, but she paid little attention.
She slipped and fought for holds multiple times, and managed to make her fingers bleed again. Then she was able to peek over the rim. She understood another reason for no guards now. The ravine was at the back of the camp, and to try and get back to Narnia, one would have to go straight through the camp.
Unless one knew her way around the Wild Lands. And that one was her. The ravine was separated from the camp by a wall of trees, and Evelyn's idea became far more concrete as she listened. The ravine also happened to be uphill of the camp, and all the sounds from the camp reached her. She heard them making weapons, sharpening weapons, and arguing. She heard them not paying attention to their prisoners.
And she grinned. Now she just had to find a way to get everyone out. She climbed back down the cliff and went to the fire. All the prisoners had gathered here, and she sat with Dizzy and Ferro. "How did you get in here?" she asked Emmis.
"At that end of the ravine is a slope. It is steep, and slick with ice, and they slid me down it," the centaur replied.
"Have any of you tried to climb up it?" Evelyn asked.
"I cannot climb up such a hill as that," Emmis replied.
"Nor can we," Kivin added.
The rest of the Animals made such agreements, and Evelyn decided to try. Most of them accompanied her there, but the fauns stayed to tend the fire. With Moon still in her collar, she moved to side of the slope, where she could grasp the sides of the cliff. The slope was like stairs in some places, and in other places, she would have just slid right down. She made it roughly eighty percent of the way to the top, and then she knew what to do. She slid back down and ran to the pile of collars.
Pulling out her dagger, she picked the hinges off a few collars until she had what she thought was the right amount. She carried them back to the slope and studied it silently. She closed her eyes and pictured the stair case she needed, then stabbed a half into the ice on the slope. She worked her way up the side with the most step-like spurts and protrusions, forcing the pieces into the ice continuously. Eventually, she had a stair case of ice and iron. She used some of the smaller ones to make hand holds in the rock, jamming them into the ice on the rock.
When she came back down, Bican handed her the collar she'd been intending to put on her wrist. She had looped another through it, and it seemed he understood. She snapped the collar onto her arm, and then he took the other in his own hand. She climbed up, the Dwarf climbing behind her, and when they got to the top, he let go and scrambled into the trees away from the camp.
"You remember the way?" she asked softly. He nodded and his behind a tree to wait for the others. She'd told them all the way to go, just in case they got separated or something happened to her.
She slid back down and took Ferro up. He didn't really need her, but she went anyway, carrying Shadow on her other shoulder. Dizzy went after them, holding the loop in his mouth. A Fox, a marsh wiggle, and a Possum followed. A second Dog, a Rabbit, a Marten and a Muskrat came next. A Lynx and a Coyote were the last of the smaller Animals.
Only Snowwatcher, Zephyr, Zephyra, Emmis, and the two fauns were left now. The fauns went willingly now that the sun was after its peak. Emmis was easier to lead up than Evelyn had expected. The collar steps helped the most with her, and it helped that she could grab the hand holds too. Finally it was Snowwatcher's turn. This trip took the longest by far, and resulted in three near slips. Finally, the elk was able to leap over the rim and run into the forest.
Zephyr and Zephyra made their way up with her guiding from the middle. Zephyr was already over the rim when there was a shout and then Evelyn's collar froze. "Go!" she screamed as she fell back down the slope to the ground. The gryphons took to the air, since they no longer needed to worry about discovery.
And then she was blacking out.
High King Peter looked up when the hawk flew over their camp, shrieking his cry. "Your Majesty! Lady Evelyn's patrol was ambushed. They took her!" the hawk cried when it landed on the King's arm.
"Tell me everything. From the beginning," he ordered, fighting down rage and fear.
"Yes, Sire. Yesterday, Lady Evelyn had found the camp sites she'd told you about. We continued up the border, warning everyone, like you'd ordered. Yestereve, we turned back and started to come back to the camp sites. Captain ordered a camp put up for the night, and in the false dawn we were ambushed. We were pushed back from the border when they attacked, and they had an enemy to occupy everyone us so they could take Lady Evelyn," the bird started.
"Did Evelyn not fight? She would not have been so overwhelmed so easily," the High King asked.
"No, Your Majesty, she fought. They distracted her with a flying monkey thing, and after she killed it, the Dwarves in the company swarmed her. They went after her from every direction and eventually she fell to them. They dragged her away and I lost sight of her. Captain ordered me to come to you, and they were going to follow after her. Captain ordered the centaurs to continue back to join the army, but the two Tigers and the Horse were going after Lady Evelyn," the Hawk went on.
"They won't get near her," the High King sighed. "The Witch either has her as a prisoner, or Evelyn defied her and she killed her," he explained to the Hawk, who had titled his head.
"Have faith, my King, Aslan is with her. I know King Edmund knows this but her hair is not yellow or white or sandy. It is gold, like the Great Lion's fur. Her eyes, too, are not just blue. I saw the gold in them, and my King, you have too. She is the Great Lion's. He will not leave her," the Hawk encouraged the High King.
"Even Aslan cannot be everywhere at once," the High King replied, but he nodded. He had to believe. Right now, Aslan was the only one who could be with Evelyn. But that wasn't going to stop the High King. No, he was going to defeat the Witch's army and he was going to get his guardian back. He was going to get his Evelyn back.
'Defy it. Evelyn, defy it. I'm coming,' he thought, and the Hawk launched himself up into the branches of a nearby tree. The High King spread the news to King Edmund, Queen Lucy, and General Orieus, who in turn spread the news among the army.
He fought down feelings of dread, fear, anger, worry, and hopelessness. He had to fight them back if he wanted a clear head in battle. He couldn't afford a blind rage. Even with Edmund there, he didn't trust himself to be able to control it, and he had to be able to lead this attack. He couldn't give in. Not if he wanted to get Evelyn back.
'You picked the wrong world to invade, Jadis. And you picked the wrong girl to trap, Nixis,' he thought, 'I will not let you keep her or the Wild Lands in your clutches. And you cannot be the Queen of Narnia. We already have two Queens and two Kings. And we will stay the Kings and Queens until the end of time.'