Evelyn woke when she hit the ground after she fell out of her hammock. It was the third time in three days. Queen Lucy sat up and looked down at her, and Evelyn felt horribly guilty. She wished the Queen would just take back her offer of sharing a tent so that she wouldn't have to wake up every time Evelyn did. "Was I screaming?" she asked the Queen.
"Yes. What was it this time?" Queen Lucy replied.
"The Witch tricked the High King and killed him in front of me. Then she put his crown on me," Evelyn sighed, getting to her feet.
"He'll be on the hill. He cannot sleep either, but you know that," the Queen told her. She nodded, pulled a pair of boots on, slid her dagger into one of them, and placed a sleeping Moon in her shirt. Then she pushed her way out of the tent and looked to the hill. True to her word, she could see the High King standing atop it, outlined against the stars.
She felt Spirit and one of the Wolves following as she ascended the hill. She knew they would stay out of normal hearing range, so it didn't bother her too much. Then she felt the warmth from the High King and then his hands were cupping her face and he was kissing her. It was a chaste kiss that didn't need to be longer.
Then he pulled her down into the grass and they lay on their backs, gazing at the stars as they had both of the previous nights. She lay with her head on his chest, his arm around her shoulders. They lay in silence and then she spoke. "It was the worst so far," she admitted.
"I could hear you screaming," he sighed unhappily, and she tilted her head back to brush her lips over his jaw.
"Jado fought in the battle, not Her. You killed Jado, but he put you in your rage. You came charging into the camp, and saw me. She'd tied me to the pole in the pavilion, and tied back the curtains, which she actually did do. She hid behind one of the pieces that was still down and when you came charging in, she cut you down. Right in front me. You thought I was screaming through the gag to be let go, but I was screaming for you to run. She took the crown from your head, and I have no idea why you were wearing it instead of you helm, and then she put it on me. And it burned. That's probably when I fell out of my hammock and woke up," she told him quietly.
"I really must not have been listening, because you were screaming really loudly," he replied after a minute.
"What did I say?" she asked.
'"Run! Peter, run! She'll kill you, my love, run!"' he told her softly. She sighed and nodded against his chest. That was exactly what she'd been screaming. "We have to find a way to stop this," he added, gently pressing his lips to the top of her head.
"Aslan said Her hold on me was gone," she murmured, turning on her side so she could face him.
"We can ask in the morning," he assured her. She nodded against his chest once more, and then he pushed himself up onto his elbow. He looked down at her, and saw the stars reflected in her eyes. He traced her face with his fingers, and she reached up to cup his cheek in her palm. He leaned into her touch and a smile flickered across her lips.
Then he leaned down and caught that smile with his own. Her hand slid to the back of his neck and she pulled him down to her. His hand wove into her hair, and he lifted her up to him. She felt his lips open on hers, and then his tongue swept over her bottom lip. She let him in and then she was lost in the kiss.
When they parted, they were panting. Peter untangled his hand from her hair to trace her face with his fingers again, and then he kissed her again. It was another chaste kiss, and then he was lying on his back, pretending to watch the stars as he watched her. If someone had told him two weeks ago that he was going to fall in love, he probably would have laughed. 'Who falls in love at eighteen?' he asked himself. 'You do,' he added, and he smiled.
"Peter, do you hear that?" she asked suddenly, sitting up. He listened, and then they were leaping to their feet as light exploded around them. It engulfed Evelyn, and she went still.
Peter heard the sound of a crowd approaching, and he saw Aslan at the head of the group. When the Great Lion reached the High King, he shook his mane and circled Evelyn. "It is the Deep Magic," he told the crowd.
The High King looked for Evelyn's face through the light, and he saw that her eyes were open. They glowed with blue and gold light, and he watched as the blue seemed to be extinguished until her eyes shown only gold. "Peter, come see this," Edmund spoke up from behind Evelyn.
When the High King moved to his brother's side, what he saw shocked him. The scars were clear black lines in the white light, and as they watched, the light wore the black out. Then the black lifted away and hovered at edge of the light above Evelyn in a shadowy mass. Aslan roared, and while everyone but Evelyn flinched, the dark mass exploded.
Then the light was fading and Evelyn was standing on the suddenly dark hill top. Her eyes were closed and when she would open them the next morning, the High King would be in for a surprise. But now she stumbled into the High King's arms, and he felt the absence of the chill on her skin. She was warm.
Without even thinking about it, he tucked her into his side, his arms around her. Queen Lucy slipped a small arm around Evelyn's waist and held her from the other side as Aslan looked out over the Northern Wild Lands from the hill. "Tomorrow we explore the Witch's castle," he declared, lashing his tail. "Now that Evelyn is free from the hold, she can lead us," he added, meeting the eyes he knew would be fully gold come morning.
She nodded and raised one hand out, palm up. "Try my gold one. I can keep you safe," he told her, and she stepped free of the King and Queen. She closed her eyes and a blue glow emanated from her hand, growing stronger until it was steady. It began to snow, and everyone looked up at the sky. Then they turned to Evelyn. She closed her fingers into a fist and the snow stopped.
"This is the price she must pay for being the Queen of the Wild Lands. She can wield the magic," Aslan explained. "It is her destiny to make this choice," he added, and no one argued. They could sense that he knew her thoughts.
"What choice?" the High King asked.
"To make the southern half of the Wild Lands part of Narnia," Evelyn spoke up, and her voice was richer and clearer. It was Narnian now. "The Northern Mountains do not recognize the Queen as theirs, and it is there that the Unspeakables reside. But the Southern Plains and Forest have always been like Narnia. The Animals just cannot speak," she explained.
"And the Giants? Where do they reside?" King Edmund asked.
"In the Mountains," she replied, and she turned to kneel before Aslan.
"I, Evelyn, Queen of the Wild Lands, cede the Southern Plains and Forests to the Kings and Queens of Narnia as a new territory," she announced. "I renounce my crown of the South and deem the Northern Mountains the Wild Lands. It is here that enemies of the Narnian crown reside, and I renounce my claim as their Queen," she finished.
Then Aslan got to his Great paws and stood over the prone figure of the kneeling girl. "I, Aslan, Creator of Narnia, declare the Southern Plains and Forests of the Wild Lands as a new territory," he said, and the wind swirled around the hill top.
Without knowing how they knew to do so, the Kings and Queen knelt before the Great Lion as well, and the High King spoke first. "I, Peter, High King of Narnia, accept the Southern Plains and Forests of the Wild Lands as a new territory," he announced, and everyone felt the change start.
"I, Edmund, King of Narnia, see the Southern Plains and Forests of the Wild Lands as a new territory," the dark haired King added.
"And I, Lucy, Queen of Narnia, recognize the Southern Plains and Forests of the Wild Lands as a new territory," the young girl finished.
Then they all felt the change take place. The air was cleaner and almost sweet. The sounds were both louder and quieter. The stars were brighter, and the sky was darker. The forests were thicker, the rivers clearer. Most of the animals changed as well, and they grew larger until they were Animals. Then they could talk.
Evelyn looked up and Aslan saw the determination in her eyes. 'I will not fail you, Aslan. I am not the Queen of the Wild Lands, but the Princess of the Northern Narnia Territory,' she thought, and he nodded.
That was how she recovered. She confronted the place that housed so many of her scars and she tore them apart. She took maps and anything she could think of that would help them, and then they burned some things. Still others were left in the palace to fade away, out of existence and out of memory.