An Unclear Journey
Disclaimer: I don't really own much. Kudos to C.S. Lewis.
Chapter Twenty-One: An Unclear Journey
I wanted nothing more to be left alone, but I should have known better than that. I should have known that sooner or later, even as I sat on the large, sharp rock in the middle of the river that someone would come out to try and consol me. Anger churned in my stomach as I splashed my bare feet through the cold, swirling waters underneath. I couldn't help but kick the water hard at the thought of Caspian working behind my back, even if it was for my benefit.
"Rosalie," Emily's soft voice broke my tirade after it felt like eternity of sitting in my own shame.
I merely looked at her through the side of my eye as she inched her way closer, sliding her slippers off before stepping into the chilly river.
"You needn't try to comfort me, Emily," I said to her, a little more bitterly than I had intended," I don't need any comforting."
"Are you sure about that?" she asked, tiptoeing her way through the water.
Silence surrounded us as the question floated around. Quite frankly, I didn't know for sure what I wanted.
"Is this all really happening, Emily? Can you at least confirm that much to me?" I asked, trying to hold back my emotions," Am I really sitting here, a newlywed without a clue of where my husband is? Am I really feeling pain of not having him here? Am I really feeling bitterness toward him?"
She inched her way atop of a rock next to mine and swirled her own toes briefly through the dark waters," I can confirm that you are a newly wed missing her other half, but the others I cannot confirm."
I stopped abruptly and looked at her," You doubt what I am feeling right now?"
"If you will excuse me," Emily said to me, her voice strong, yet not overpowering," I believe you are being much too impulsive about this, Rosalie."
"Impulsive?" I asked, raising a brow before releasing a dry laugh," I don't think you understand the pain I have been enduring for months not knowing where my husband is and not knowing what the plan for my life was going to be. You don't know how many nights I would lie awake, wanting nothing more than to hear him say that he had a plan. Never in all of my life have I been more lonely and miserable than these last few months and now I learn that not only was everything planned out from the beginning behind my back; it was all his idea."
I think that Emily had not particularly planned out what she had said, but after I had spoken; she spoke," I have no idea the pain you are experiencing for I have never felt it, but I am asking you something very important, Rosalie," she reached over across the small distance that lie between the two rocks," Please listen to me."
Her hand grabbed my hand and for several moments, I tried not looking directly at her. I tried avoiding her glance, but as she started talking, my eyes drifted over to her," I don't know why Caspian had not told you of all this sooner and I cannot sit her and try to figure out why, but I can tell you one thing. Every time that he speaks of you when you are away, his eyes light up and he is overall a more happy person. You are the love of his life, Rosalie. Any of us could easily tell you that. Cornelius knows all of the story and as much as I would love to sit here and rant about Caspian, I cannot for I know that deep down you really do love him tremendously and he is also my master."
A small smile came to my face after she had spoken," You're too kind, Emily."
She squeezed my hand before whispering, her voice barely audible," I'm sure this wasn't an easy decision for him."
The moonlight shone down on the running water and I tried to think over what I was going to say next. Softly, I squeezed her hand back before dropping her hand. I wrung my own hands nervously as I tried to think of how to explain my emotions. The fact that Emily would come and speak with me made me feel fairly better, but there was still a pinge of resentment sitting deep inside.
Something hit me that I realized I would have to cope with. Until I was able to locate Caspian, which I did not even know was possible, I would never be able to figure out everything for sure. As much as it confused me that he had not spoken to me or informed me, I had to assume that for the moment…he was doing it for my protection. That was going to hard for me to allow to seep in, but I had to make Emily think that I was alright for now. It was illogical for me to think that I could just sit there and sulk my way out of this.
I chuckled after a long moment of silence," I can be so childish sometimes."
Emily smirked while starting to walk toward land once more," Rosalie, you're one of the most brave women I've ever been around. I think we can allow you a slip up every once and awhile."
Reluctantly, I slipped off the rock and allowed my feet to meet the smooth rocks that lay at the bottom of the river bed. The cool waters swirled through my toes and over my feet as I walked toward the land," That's a comfort and I appreciate you coming out here, Emily."
"If it makes you feel any better," she started as I picked up my slippers that I had thrown off before climbing into the river," I probably would have never been able to be as strong as you had my husband disappeared in the way he had."
A smile still lingered on my face as her words sunk in," I pray you never have to experience it."
Then, I realized something else.
Emily, even though I viewed her as just my companion, was a young girl who admired me. Now, granted, I wasn't even twenty years old yet, but having the title of queen seemed to make people watch me more. Those women back home…they looked up to me for some reason. Not even because of my maturity, not because of my looks, but because of my title.
There was a population of people who needed me to find Caspian and find him quick because something told me that trouble lie ahead.
"Have you any clue where he is?" I asked Cornelius several moments later after some time had passed. I assumed it must have been very early in the morning.
The elderly gentleman sat at the desk in his living area and sipped the hot tea he had just taken off the kettle. Softly blowing on the cup, he looked over at me," I've had one correspondence from him saying where he might have been."
"How long ago was this?" I asked him, taking a seat in one of his rocking chairs.
"Three weeks ago," Cornelius responded, grabbing a map from underneath his desk.
"Three weeks ago? That soon?" I asked incredulously, my eyes widening.
"Think about it, Rosalie," Emily chipped in from her perch," The only person who he would really be able to keep in contact with would be Cornelius. I wouldn't try sending anything to that castle…not after your brother's got such a close eye on the place."
Emily brought up a good point.
"If it makes your feel any better, this is the first time I have received any thing from him and it is not even for me," the elderly gentleman said tenderly, passing a worn partridge to me.
Quickly, I tore apart the thin packaging and took out the delicate, hand-written letter:
You must forgive me. I know that now you are reading this that you have probably found out everything I have had to do over the last few weeks in order to protect you. I know that you are livid and I know that you probably have no desire to even read this letter. I pray that you will, despite what you are feeling now.
As you can probably tell, the operation to stop Jacob failed miserably. We were able to fight him all the way and could even see a light at the end of the tunnel once. We were so incredibly close to getting him, but that was just when he pulled out the giants. We had backed him up into the land of the giants and that was when they crushed us.
I don't know how much longer I will be able to write for they are keeping a close eye on us-
"Where's the rest of the letter?" I asked almost immediately after finishing.
Cornelius looked surprised," I haven't any idea, that was all that he sent, my lady. Would you mind if I read the letter?"
"Go ahead," I told him, leaning over to pass him the letter.
The elderly gentleman adjusted his spectacles as his eyes scanned over Caspian's rushed handwriting. The whole tone of his letter just didn't sound like him.
"Ah, this confirms my suspicious…" Cornelius mumbled to himself and I studied him intensely. He nodded slowly, looking over his map," I can't be sure by who, but I have a feeling that whenever Jacob brought the giants out; he probably locked up Caspian and Apollo both somewhere far away. As you can see by this letter, it is cut short. He wrote this in quite a hurry and even mentions someone keeping a close eye on them."
"You think they're in giant country? Up north?" I asked, watching him move his fingers slowly over the map.
"That is what my gut tells me, but I can't be sure," he paused, spacing off into thought for awhile.
"This was three weeks ago you said?" I asked again," Do you believe anything could have happened in this time?"
"Possibly, but Jacob would not have had anytime to oversee the moving of the King and his crew," Cornelius said, looking over the map even still," I believe that Jacob made an arrangement for Caspian to be kept away somewhere out of the way. Somewhere he would be sure that there would be no problems.."
Emily and I looked at each other confused as to what was going on through the elderly gentleman's head.
Immediately, a crash could be heard in the woods. Emily scampered to the window and released a shriek. I was soon to follow her, but Cornelius stayed seated at his desk.
Giants. All around the cabin, giants were roaming free through the woods, knocking down trees left and right, plowing their way through the forest as if they owned it. I couldn't help but feel hatred burn once more in the pit of my stomach.
"Cornelius?" Emily asked as the giants threw down another tree," You're sure the boundary is-"
"It's wearing off…they might be able to see us," the man mumbled, barely audible.
"What are we going to-" I started, but it didn't take long for Cornelius to fly up from his seat and grab me by the arm.
He pushed me against one of the walls to where I was looking directly at him," The boundary line that Aslan prepared only is good for one day. As soon as that sun rises in the East, we will be in the open for them to see. Before that can happen, you must set out on another journey. Your main goal is to find Caspian, but I've another task for you as well. En route to giant country, you are going to go through the small village that Jacob was able to manipulate as being controlled by supernatural forces. I want you to figure out everything that he did to that town and how he did it. If you can locate the origin of where he came about all of these men, this sea of men to make his army…then we may be able to bring it down as well."
"The beginning of that sounds like a year's mission in its own," I said, trying to retain all of the information," Locating Caspian could take just as long if not longer. Where am I to even begin-"
"I know all of this doesn't make sense, but in order to stop Jacob we have to know his plans. Penelope is the only one in the castle near him and at the moment, she can't exactly get here to tell us anything," Cornelius rushed to the back of the house, pulling me along with him.
"You musnt' fail, Rosalie," Cornelius whispered harshly to me as he walked into a closet in the back, pulling out numerous nick-knacks and spare blankets, throwing them all into one pack," This was Caspian's plan all along. He knew that something would go array, but he wanted you to be the one to bring down your brother. He is trying his hardest to get out, I know he is, but you must help him along the way."
I looked at him, still trying to understand all of this which was happening," I still don't-"
"I know you don't understand," he said to me, pulling one last loaf of bread into the sack before tying it shut and shoving it into my hands," But Emily is going to be your guide. She knows what to do. If you don't leave here as soon as possible, they may find you and the chances of us ever getting you back out of their clutches may be near impossible. Penelope is trying her hardest at the castle, but I cannot guarantee you any help from there. I may still be able to locate you, but don't count on my word. There are many risks that we are about to take."
"How will you be able to locate me-" I tried, but he kept on talking as another tree came crashing down.
"Emily!" he cried, ignoring my comment and pulling me out of the cabinet and into the living room where she stood, cloak pulled over her scrawny body.
"Is it time?" she asked, her voice calm as if nothing were out of the ordinary.
"Yes, you know in which direction you are to take her?" he spewed out quickly, grabbing a compass from his desk and thrusting it into the palm of her hand.
Another tree came tumbling down.
"Of course, just as we said?" she asked, looking at him as the trees falling became even more loud.
"Yes, now Rosalie," Cornelius turned to me again as I took the pack from his frail hands," You mustn't look back. Not after you have left this cottage, do you understand me? The image you may see will not be encouraging."
"Why are you doing this to me, Cornelius?" I finally growled at him as Emily guided me toward the back of the cottage," Why are you making me be a puppet of all of this instead of just-"
"I wish that I could, Rosalie," the elderly gentleman whispered to me," All that I do, I do because I believe it is best for you, but above all…I believe it is best for the country. The new Narnia that is rising from the past is still on the horizon, but it is merely hidden. Hidden out of sight for now, but with your assistance…it shall be brought anew."
A loud crash came booming down on the top of the cottage roof. Soon, a large tree trunk could be seen crashing through, leaving a gaping hole as men rushed the front of the cottage.
"GO!" the old man screamed louder than I ever thought it be possible for him to muster.
Without any time to protest, Emily grabbed my forearm and threw open the back door out of the cottage. She pulled me through the darkness, but not without my struggling as I looked back at the cottage, now being stormed by men. It was difficult to run at such a high pace for such a prolonged period of time, but that was the least of my worries. My eyes saw a cottage that was not only being destroyed by tree trunks and branches, not only being raided by savage men, but being set ablaze by the same men that destroyed my country.
The cottage burned, but the men blocked all the doorways. Standing atop of a ridge, watching as they threw torch after torch upon the little cottage…I could not help but feel a piece of my heart being ripped from my chest. In a mere matter of minutes, the peaceful, home that Cornelius had lived in was a fire pit that appeared to be out of control.
And the sun rose above the tree line in the midst of it all.
Cornelius was right. I should have never looked back…
Author's Note: I did not intend to take a two or three week hiatus right at the beginning of summer, but that was, unfortunately, the way things turned out. I am going to try my hardest to work on this vigorously and have it finished soon. There are still a lot of loose ends, but I hope that you all will stick around to let me clean it all up and finish this story. I apologize for leaving you all hanging, but I hope you will forgive me! :)