A Darkness Out West
**Urgent** Author's Note: I appreciate your support. I own nothing J
Now, some of you may have noticed that there was an issue with timing and such in the first chapter. Although I believe I have fixed it now, I want to make a note to mention it. There is a three year time span between the events of PC and VDT. In the last, original chapter, I mentioned that this story took place four years after the events of Prince Caspian, which would obviously cause problems with the plot of this story since I planned for this story to be Pre-VDT. I did in fact know this when I wrote the first chapter, however, I believe I got the two different time zones confused so it didn't really occur to me how significantly it would change things.
So, now, this story has changed from taking place four years after PC to one year after the events. Though it sounds like a significant change, I think I can make it work. Thanks to Calyn for bringing this to my attention. I apologize for not picking up on this and I am rather embarrassed right about now. Anyways, I'll shut up now.
Chapter Two: A Darkness Out West
While we walked through the castle, moonlight began to seep through the windows. Throughout the hallways, the number of people gathered around diminished greatly. All of the servants were already tucked away in their beds, all of the other members of royalty were broken off into their own private quarters. Though it was not extremely late, the hustle and bustle of the daytime would always settle down at about this time.
In the grand entry way we saw Emily, struggling to get Beck to follow her. Caspian shot me a sideways look as we grew closer and mumbled," I think I can find a different way."
I tightened my fingers through his and whispered back at him," No, I'm not letting you sneak your way out of this one."
He shifted uncomfortably as we moved even closer still," Rosalie-"
I looked right at him sternly," You've fought in battles, you're the King of Narnia and you're telling me that you are-"
"King Caspian!" the teenage boy exclaimed happily as we approached, interrupting my thought. I put on a smile to try and put on any sort of facade I could get him to believe. Stealthily, I rubbed my elbow into Caspian's side causing him to release a small groan before following my lead with a smile.
Before Beck could move any closer to us, Emily grabbed his arm and shook her head," Beck, you've still got some chores to do!"
We both bit our tongue at the sound of this as we continued toward the exit. Although, inside I felt the same way as Caspian, I didn't want to hurt the poor boy's feelings. Beck's look of joy slowly deteriorated as Emily continued to pull him in the opposite direction.
"O-oh," he stuttered, slowly following along," Well, don't worry! I'll make sure to talk with you tomorrow!"
"I will make an appoint to speak with you then, Beck!" Caspian called reassuringly, but did not stop walking as we migrated to the outside world.
I continued to stifle a laugh as we stepped into the fresh air. Caspian looked at me as though I was crazy just as I burst out laughing when we reached the bridge. It was just so humorous to me that he put on this mask so well that the boy actually believed him. It was utterly awful, but I couldn't help but chuckle at the sight of seeing it all.
"And by making an appoint to speak with him, do you mean, hiding away from him once more?" I challenged, still laughing as we crossed over the bridge.
Caspian glared at me, but couldn't help but chuckle softly," I really will speak with him. At least for a little while, I think the kid deserves that much."
"He's really not that much younger than us," I said with a raise of my brow," He's only a bit older than Penelope."
He nodded in agreement," That is a very valid point yet Penelope is a tad more mature than he is."
I chuckled slightly, but just as we turned onto the forest path; I spoke in a more serious tone," When she wants to be."
He looked at me sideways," You have to admit that she is exactly like you were when we were making the transition to that age."
"I was not nearly as impudent as that," I defended, trying to make myself seem not as bad as her, but Caspian merely stared at me hard before I cracked, there was no use in arguing the point," Okay, so I maybe I was, but my point is still we are hardly even out of that age yet!"
"You're right," he admitted, with a sigh and nodded," It just seems as though we are much older than that. We've gone through so much…it just feels like we should be older than merely nineteen and twenty years old. It feels as though the last year should have really been ten years."
I had to agree. Basically over the course of a few weeks, our teenage lives were sent spiraling in the opposite of what normal people our age experienced. In that time period, I had experienced more pain than I could ever imagine and seen more changes than I could ever hope for. It still makes my head hurt to even think of those times again.
Then immediately after, Caspian stepped up and took over as King, which was, in itself, a whirlwind. Even though the transition had not been anything overly spectacular and we faced trials that were no where near as severe as we feared, going through all of these events and having responsibilities pushed on us forced maturity to be shown in the both of us. They were not the action-filled, adventurous trials, but trials of maturity.
Despite all of the paperwork that demanded Caspian's signature and all the women that liked to gab in my ear, we were still the adventure-loving, bold people that we were as just a year ago.
"Can you believe this?" I asked him, my hand still locked in his as we walked down the same pathway we had when we were children, trees to the left and right of us" All of this has happened in such a short period of time that…it's still such a bizarre feeling. I remember just yesterday it seems that we were walking down this same path and you dumped me into the river at the end."
A smirk grew on his face as he briefly looked at me before looking away like a culprit," I haven't a clue what you're talking about."
"Oh, shut it!" I exclaimed as we entered the forest, lanterns tracing the path, as well as plenty of moonlight," I hardly believe that you don't remember."
He put a look of confusion on his face," So much has happened. I-I- I just don't recall. My apologies for ever offending you, but I haven't the slightest what you are speaking of."
"See, some of us are a little closer to the teenage years than we like to admit," I teased for his lies were awfully made up and I couldn't help but laugh at it and then sigh with a shake of my head," You are just too much sometimes."
"And you aren't?", he answered with a grin on his face, but soon sighed turning his tone to a much more serious one," You do have a point, however. I wake up every morning and cannot believe that I have a whole nation relying on me for its leadership. This last year has simply been…remarkably life-changing for all of us."
"You've done an excellent job thus far," I said to him, looking at him as he kept his eyes on the path ahead.
He laughed to himself," I haven't had much to do thus far. Sure, there were some skirmishes up in the North and a couple of rioters down in the South, but as far as restoring Narnia goes-it has basically restored on its own. Sure, the paperwork is a pain, but I think that I can survive signing my signature to pieces of paper day in and day out."
"I don't think that's entirely accurate," I told him with a smile," I think that you gained their respect by traveling around and seeing all of them. Plus, you redeemed them from a life of awful slavery, I think that they have probably been through enough for awhile. And I hardly believe that you would survive signing papers day in and day out."
By the look in his eyes he gave me as we came to the edge of the path, I knew that he wanted to argue. He wanted to tell me that he was not the only one deserving of King, but I shook my head as I stood in front of him before turning to start back toward the castle.
"I just want to feel like I am doing something to keep us protected," he whispered to me as I looked into his eyes.
"You already have done more than that for these people," I whispered back before squeezing his hand," Be careful what you wish for."
For a moment, he didn't say a word, but just stood there looking at me. I was confused as to what was going on in his head for a moment, but it wasn't long before he was smiling. He kept my hand held tightly before we turned to return up the path lit by lamp posts once more. There was a silence for a few moments, but not an awkward sort of silence. It was actually more of a peaceful one, but soon Caspian broke the silence, just before we reached the castle gates.
"You, once more, make an excellent point," he said," I don't know how I would react if a danger actually did come."
I stopped once more and turned to him before standing on my tiptoes and gently kissing him on the cheek," You would be the king Narnia needs."
That Next Morning
I have had this next portion told to me from word of mouth and have tried in the next section to portray it as best as I can despite the fact that I was not present when this meeting happened.
The buzz of conversation swarmed the room as the leaders of the country migrated into the place of conference. Chairs were set up around the throne room, all of them tall and magnificent looking. Just months ago, malicious, Telmarine men sat in those same seats, dictating the country. Some of the men now entering the room, were completely new to being leaders, while others of them had been leaders of other regions before. Caspian had made the decision before his coronation that he would not allow any of the previous Telmarine men, no matter of what their viewpoint was now, reclaim their role. He found it would be much too risky.
Despite the fact that he had picked his entire council, all of them were still on rather new terms with one another, but that did not stop them from sharing their opinions. Which was what Caspian had asked of them; he didn't want them to be afraid to share their thoughts for Narnia was theirs just as much as it was his. That being said, they must also respect the fact that, though he was young, he was still the one to make the final decision on the matter. Thus far, they had done a fairly good job of complying.
After speaking with several of the men briefly, Caspian took his place on his throne at the peak of the room. Most of the conversations had died out as soon as he took a seat, but there were still some lingering.
"I'd like to call this meeting to order!" he called out while the last few men straggled in.
A small buzz went around the room as they chose who was to give the first word.
It took a couple moments before one of the men in the back of the room took a step forward from his chair. He bowed slightly to Caspian before stepping into the middle of the room, where all could see him. He was the head of the Narnian military and had been out scouting over the last few months to ensure that peace was kept throughout Narnia.
This man wore armor from head to toe, but from looking at his face, one could tell that he was very dark skinned (like most Telmarines were) with dark brown, nearly black curly hair. His eyes were equally black and by looking at this man, one would be able to tell that he had experienced a lot in his life. A scar lay over one of his eyes, deep and thick in the skin, which led to an even larger intimidating factor that this man seemed to have over people. No one knew of his name, for he claimed that it was unimportant for anyone to call him anything other than what he was. General.
Caspian had located him in his travels during the first couple months of traveling from town to town. He proved himself worthy when he basically tore another man to shreds in a local tavern that the troupe happened to be traveling through. Granted, Caspian did not support any sort of bar-fights, but when he learned that this man had been so passionate to protect his family that this other fellow seemed to be threatening; he found something likeable about the fellow. He invited the family to come and live in Telmar so that the man could serve his term as a head of the Telmarine army.
"Your majesty," General said in his usual, deep voice that sounded rather similar to a growl.
"Yes? What have you to share with the council General?" Caspian asked, sitting back in his chair, finding it odd that General was home, standing in front of him versus being out in Narnia, where Caspian had told him to go out and protect. The young ruler kept his gaze set on the mysterious leader of the military, wondering just what it was that he had to share.
The man folded his hands behind his back and looked from man to man as he paced around the middle," Your majesty's army hasn't had the most exciting of jobs over the last few months mostly due to the fact that there has been an unusual peace that has settled over the nation."
The King crossed his arms over his chest, scrutinizing the man as he continued to speak.
"It has been unlike any other thing that I have seen in Narnia, but that's not the point that I want to make today," the fellow said, looking away from the King's gaze," The point I want to make is that I believe I have found the trouble that has been stirring over the last year. The trouble that we have been waiting for."
This was a trait Caspian liked about General: no beating around the bush.
He allowed the room to stay silent for a moment, but none of the men could seem to comprehend what the fellow had just said. They all sat, staring at him, for the longest time. Caspian, equally shocked was the first to speak," What are you talking about?"
"That is impossible!" another man, Caspian's advisor named Apollo, cried from his seat," The nation is at peace, my friend!"
The man's eyes shot over to the outspoken man, his eyes with a sudden boldness in them," You dare doubt what I've seen?"
The room began to get out of hand for several men began standing up and yelling all sorts of things at the general, calling him crazy and shouting all of their questions at him at once, while Caspian sat, seemingly in a phase as all of this happened in front of him. However, before any of the advisors could physically remove themselves from their seats, he stood up causing all of them to quiet themselves though most of them still spoke loudly.
"General," Caspian started, rather softly at first, but the men were not listening, which forced him to yell," General!"
The dark eyes met his while the others immediately became silent at the sound of the King's yell," Yes, my lord?"
"I am having a hard time believing myself, so…" Caspian crossed his arms behind his back, still trying to piece this together," Why do you believe this and would you be so kind as to share where this 'evil' is located?"
The truth of the matter was that Caspian was scared of what the general had to say. It made him nervous to think that there was some sort of danger arising, but he could not allow the men to see his fear, so he tucked it away in his heart. Honestly, he did find it hard to believe, or at least that was what he told himself, but there was the possibility…and he had just spoken about this the night before, ironically enough. It would probably be nothing, just as every other little skirmish had been so far.
"My liege," General stepped closer to Caspian on his throne," I began my journey just outside of Telmar and surrounding areas, just as you requested. There was total peace, just as we all say, but there was something else that I felt as I traveled out West toward the uncharted mountain ranges…what they call the 'Western Wild.' Started to get antsy, all of us did…"
Caspian looked at the general incredulously," Now, general, excuse me for interrupting, but if you are telling me that this is all just a 'feeling', then I'm sorry to say that I haven't an interest."
He raised one of his thick, dark eyebrows at the King," The feeling was only the beginning of what we saw, your majesty. Now, if you will allow me to continue."
The young ruler nodded his head and the head of the army continued on with his tale.
"I brought the small troop to the border, right out to the farthest western border of Telmar, just as you commanded," he said, looking directly at the king," After days of traveling through small, peaceful, country towns that were of no danger, we reached one last town, well, ruin of a town. By the time we got there, most of the people had been killed, 'cept for a couple that were left in the tavern. We stopped in to find a lethargic man and his…slightly wacky wife."
"Both of them were seated at the bar, while the rest of the men did a thorough search of what was left of the destroyed town. I took a couple of men inside with me, just for safety sake. When I took a seat next to the man, I thought he would jump through the roof. He looked at me with these-these crazed eyes, your majesty. He couldn't stop the shaking either, but I still asked him just what the city had gone through after getting both him and his wife to calm down. They had hardly heard anything of you, my lord, but they did tell me of what had happened to the town."
Caspian nodded once more, prodding the man to continue on with his story. Caspian had done quite a bit of studying on Narnia and its history. The region that the general was referring to was, in fact, known as the "Western Wild", just as he had mentioned earlier. Caspian did not know much of this area, for it was uncharted, but he had known that it was the same place that the White Witch had formed her army. He knew that it did not have a particularly bright past, but it had been of no harm to Narnia thus far and he wasn't particularly worried that it would start now.
"They claimed that it came in the night, whatever it was. Both of them said it was a type of dark magic, spirit-like-thing, but I wasn't so sure if either of them were in the healthiest of mental conditions. They said that they saw…spirits of some sort sweeping through the town…entering homes…they could hear the screams of the people, the women, the children. They both claimed it to be the worst experience of their lives, hearing those they loved die by this supernatural-"
"Please tell me that you don't believe a word of this, your majesty!" another man stood up from his seat, laughing," Supernatural forces? Are we really suggesting that ghosts did this?"
"I'm telling' ya-" the general tried to defend himself, but Caspian stopped him.
"Silence!" he yelled," You will be allowed to speak when the general has finished his tale."
The man glared at Caspian hard before plopping himself down hard. The general looked back at Caspian," I don't know what else to say, but…these two people…they weren't normal and refused to leave their home to come and speak with you."
Caspian, finding it only necessary that he nod, was deep in thought. This was rather odd, but he was still doubtful that it was nearly as bad as the general was making it out to be. Of course, he cared deeply for his nation and all of its inhabitants, but it would not have been unusual for there to be some witch craft still lingering in that area of the nation. With the force of some military, they could easily take care of the problem…or so he thought for the time being.
"You would have had my permission to search the land surrounding the town, General," Caspian said, beginning to pace," You would have still been serving your duty."
"I was planning on doing that," General looked up at Caspin, gulping hard," However, that weird thing about the whole story…the whole troop of men I had with me was dead when we left the tavern."