Author's Note: I own nothing :)
Chapter Three: Courtyard Talk
Caspian could hardly believe the words that came out of this military man's mouth. He had ordered for many different troops of men to travel through the country and make sure that peace was, in fact, restored. General was one of the top leaders in the military and it must have taken a lot for him to actually come back. The thought that an entire troop of men dead, was horrific. Yet, Caspian was still a little wary of the situation at hand.
Another round of worried conversation buzzed through the room, forcing Caspian to stand once more," Silence! Please, allow me to at least question the man!"
All of the men looked up to their king, frightful of what was going to happen. Still, it was Caspian's job to keep them calm.
"Now," he said with a clearing of his throat," You mean to tell me, General, that while on your patrol that I assigned you, you stumbled upon a town that was left in ruins other than a run-down tavern. While you and a couple other men investigated the tavern, the rest of your men were exploring the town, is this correct?"
The dark man looked directly at his king and nodded, before Caspian continued retelling, just to confirm that he had, in fact, heard the information correctly.
"And while speaking with the, as you said, rather 'eccentric' tavern-owners, you learn that the killings occurred by some 'supernatural' spirits that haunted the town. They listened to the deaths of their fellow townsmen and were tortured by these 'spirits'. You claim that these people were not mentally stable and refused to come here and speak with me over the matter. And to put icing on the cake, you leave the tavern to gather my men and find all, what is it? Thirty, of them dead?" Caspian asked, raising a brow, hardly able to believe what he had just retold.
There was a pause for a brief moment as General appeared to be making sure that he had retold the account accurately. Before long, his dark eyes met the king's and his head nodded," Just as you said it, my liege."
Caspian sighed," You see, at first, I was going to argue that perhaps the town had been gone for years now and that the sad tavern owners were merely delusional or unstable, like you mentioned. However, one factor that changes the story is that thirty Telmarine men are dead, as of right now."
There was a pause for a moment before the King asked," You are positive that they are dead? You saw their dead bodies?"
General nodded his head," Yes, they were all badly sliced to pieces. They appeared as though they had just been slaughtered in a battle."
"How did you manage to get out of there alive?" Caspian asked, looking at this man hard, trying to figure out just how he was going to handle this situation.
General looked behind him and pointed to two other soldiers standing in the back of the room, who looked rather spooked themselves. He motioned for the both of them to step forward to where he stood and, slowly, they did so," Both of these men would be able to account for what they have seen, and I tell you that I do not know how or why, but when we left that tavern…there was no source of attackers or spirits anywhere. It was only us and the dead bodies."
They both nodded their heads vigorously and Caspian hardly had to question them. They appeared to be permanently scarred. He folded his hands behind his back in thought, while his assistant Apollo stepped forward," King Caspian, I believe that this might mean we have an enemy arising from the shadows?"
"Possibly," Caspian said, looking out one of the windows in the throne room that overlooked the landscape," Or that we just have a couple of strategic protestors, just as we have had for the last few months. This could very well just be a trickster-"
"A trickster able to kill a troop of trained soldiers?" another man in the council asked incredulously," I find this hard to believe."
Caspian shot a look at the man," I'm not saying that they are not dangerous, I'm just saying that they know their land well. To us, that area known as the 'Western Wild', is basically a foreign nation, however, to someone else, they could very well know every loop hole and trick there is to know of that land. There could very well be things out there that we have never seen before, nor have we ever known existed."
"Then, tell us, what are we to do, my lord?" Apollo added, trying hard to be a good aid.
It took several moments for anything to come out of Caspian's mouth, for he was deep in thought. He knew that there could be a very dangerous, harmful force brewing out there, but still, he wanted to be certain before he sent an entire army out West to fight off these men. This could still be something that could be taken care of easily, which was why he was doing what he was about to do.
"General, I thank you for bringing this to my attention. You have been a wonderful leader for the army, thus far, being able to take care of the skirmishes. I trust your word, but I want to have an even more accurate view of the matter which is why I will be sending two more troops of men out with you with two additional leaders. You and one of the two leaders will lead the force back out to this town on the foothills of the mountain, while the other will follow behind. You will go and this time, tell these tavern owners that by the order of the King they are to travel to Telmar and explain the events of what happened to me. I will have paperwork for you to show them, but I also want you to send the other troop up into the mountains and all around the area to find the source of this problem. Have the leader of the second troop stand a ways back and if he has not heard from any of you for two days, then he is to return back to Telmar and further plans will be made from there. Does this make sense?"
All three of the rather dark men nodded their heads and soon, Caspian said," Good, now you may go out to the army reserve and tell them that by the order of the King, you are in need of two troops of thirty men. I will send a notice them right away informing them of the validity of your words."
General nodded his head one last time before saying," We will get this figured out, my lord."
Caspian looked at the man and with a small smile said," You are a leader of the army, I would only expect that much from you. Now, go!"
And with a chuckle, the three men exited the room with a destination of the army reserve just on the outskirts of town.
"You are really trusting that man?" Apollo asked, shaking his head," You are really trusting him?"
"I told you before," Caspian said, staring at the door through which the three men had just exited," when I chose him to be the leader, yes."
"I think you are being awful risky here," another chipped in from his seat," I never have liked the man from the moment he stepped foot in here."
"I have to agree."
Several others buzzed in on the topic and Caspian could see why they would be. General was not the most civilized person, nor was he the most friendly, but Caspian, for some odd reason, trusted this rogue, who he believed was a man to be feared and respected. General had given him no reason to not trust him.
"I understand your emotions on this, men," he said to his council as he stepped down from the throne," However, all I can ask is that you trust me."
Another round of hushed conversations went through the room before Caspian finally said," There may be other topics that we need to discuss, however, I believe that I have just busied myself with another, large matter for the time being. This time tomorrow morning we will meet here. Our meeting for today is adjourned. Enjoy the rest of your day, gentlemen."
And with those last words, Caspian walked out of the throne room with a destination of his study where he intended on reading up on some of his old Narnia books about the history of the land they called, The Western Wild.
While this was happening, Emily and I were sitting in the courtyard, watching as the gardeners watered the plants and shrubs. I remembered the first time Caspian and I returned here after the war was over…how excited we were to be home…our first kiss. My heart fluttered a little at the sight of the bright flowers and polished trees. Children were running through the courtyard as Emily and I sat, talking.
"How nice it would be to be a child again," I said to Emily with a smile as a little boy chased his sister around the shrubs.
She smirked and looked at me," Yes, they haven't a care in the world, have they?"
"They don't," I said, smiling while they giggled and continued running," They are the blessed ones."
A sigh escaped my mouth. They were the children of one of Caspian's council men by the name of Apollo. Apollo and his wife, Trina, were two of the nicest people that I had ever met. Doctor Cornelius had been the one to recommend Caspian choosing him as one of his cabinet members and he was very right in choosing him. The two of them were in their middle ages, but were very easy to speak with and had plenty of wisdom to share.
Moments later, Emily asked me a question, her voice shaky," Do you mind if I ask you a question that is rather personal?"
I tilted my head and studied the girl's face. She typically didn't ever ask me permission to ask a question, for I had requested that she stop asking my permission and just, well, ask.
Something must have really been on her mind for her to want to ask my permission," Yes, of course, Emily."
"Well," she started, I could tell her voice was nervous," I'm sure you have heard the rumors that the women have started over you and Caspian. I know that the both of you have been close since you were little, f-for I saw you as children running around together, but…it's hard to hear rumors and not think that they are true at times. So, I just wanted to know…are you really going to be queen soon?"
I can imagine that it must have taken Emily quite a while to be able to muster up the nerve to be able to ask. I could see where she was coming from as well because I could only imagine the types of rumors that the women and other servants must have been gossiping about. And for the reason that I respected her boldness, I felt it was necessary to give her an answer she deserved.
"Some days, I feel as though the people, Caspian included, already treat me as queen, Emily. Day in and day out, I hear of women requesting to speak with me. Most of the things I hear from them, especially the older ones is, when is the wedding?" I paused for a moment, smiling at the remembrance of the elder ladies asking me this," And I can tell you honestly that the idea of being queen…is ridiculous. Not an outrageous sort of ridiculous, but it just…blows my mind, I guess because I have always pictured queen as someone much older than myself."
I paused for a moment…that hadn't come out the way I intended, so I continued on.
"But, I don't think that was what you were asking. If you are asking me if Caspian or I have ever discussed marriage, then…I would have to tell you that it has been on a very minimal level. As of now, we are not engaged and I don't really think that we've any plans anytime soon."
Emily nodded, absorbing everything that I said, before saying," I think you'll make an excellent queen. One day, that is."
I shook my head and looked at her sideways," I haven't the first idea about what it means to be queen."
"Nor did Caspian," she replied," But he's doing a fine job. You wouldn't be in it alone, that's for certain. All of us would be here, nothing too drastically would change."
She was right, I guess being queen was basically just a title that they would add to my name. Perhaps, it was just all a mental game that I played with myself. Perhaps, as Emily said, it wouldn't be all that different. Being queen would be hard-work, but it would be nice to be able to be treated with the same respect as Caspian and to be able to actually feel any emotional stress he may be feeling. The thought of a wedding to my best friend wasn't so bad either…
There was still another, small thing on my mind that interrupted what wedding fantasies I could have started to develop.
And that was Peter.
I knew that the Pevensies would never return to Narnia and that never again would I speak with the King that ruled over Narnia for many years…but I couldn't help but have a small hole in my heart that he took with him when he left. I hadn't even known him for a long time, like I had Caspian, but I was still clinging to some of the memories I had shared with him. Even though I had fallen in love with Caspian and that my feelings for him were much too strong to compare with that of anyone else's, I couldn't help but feel guilty about Peter every once in awhile.
"Is there something on your mind, Rosalie?" she asked again, interrupting my thoughts. I noticed that I had been spacing out," Have I overstepped my limits?"
I shook my head, "Caspian and I have gone through a lot, Emily," I explained to her, folding my legs once more," In fact, we almost lost everything that we had spent most of our lives building. The both of us were almost too proud to accept that the other makes mistakes."
She studied my face and nodded. I continued on.
"We would be sitting here for a long time if I went through all of the details, but the point being that we are still in a rebuilding stage, I think. In this stage, I have developed feelings for him that…I didn't think I had, but I think we are still trying to fully forgive the other for what happened. I still have many regrets and I believe he does as well, but we are most definitely heading down the road to total forgiveness," I explained to her, trying to choose my words carefully so that I would not have to delve into any more details that may trigger emotions that I couldn't control.
"I haven't any experience in the area, but I've been told that the best relationships are the ones that experience more than just the happiness that love brings," she said," However, that being said, I would have never guessed that the both of you went through that seeing how happy you are together now. I'm sorry, that must have been awful to think you might have lost your closest friend."
"Yes, that saying is an accurate saying. And, I wish that I could say that I was frightened that I would lose his friendship, but honestly…I didn't even know what I had until it was almost gone. We are both to blame, but I still can't help but feel some guilt for not even caring that I had hurt him for the longest time."
I didn't expect her to be able to come up with an answer to that, actually, I didn't really know why I uttered the last sentence for it wasn't really necessary, but it just happened to, like many of my other statements, fall out.
She nodded her head," Which probably makes you feel as though your time together is even more important."
Was there ink on my face? Before I could say anymore, she quickly covered herself up almost as if she felt she had said too much.
"I don't want to make you talk about this any longer than you must, Rosalie," Emily said comfortingly placing a hand on my own," I know that you have been through a lot and please, I do not want you to say any more than you feel you can trust me with."
I smiled for I knew that Emily would never want to bring any harm to me," I know, Emily. You were merely trying to figure out what was rumor and what was fact."
"And I know all that I was curious of," she replied with a smile.
I noticed that Apollo, the father of the playing children, came walking up to the courtyard from the inside of the castle. He was actually one of the lightest haired people that we had around the castle for most of us were, in fact, Telmarine. Apollo and his family were not natives of Telmar, so their brown hair was actually closer to a shade of blond. He came entering into the courtyard and waved to the both of us, before calling out to his children.
"Emory! Isabella!" he called, looking all around for them, behind me I could hear the snickers of two little children hiding in the bushes.
The man came walking toward Emily and myself, wearing his typical green robes. A look of confusion was on his face as he stood in front of us," Good afternoon ladies, you don't happen to see my children anywhere, do you?"
"We are doing fine," I answered with a smile, still with the sound of little laughter in my head from behind us. Stealthily, I pointed to the bushes without the knowledge of either of the children. Apollo was able to catch this hint and nodded with a smirk.
"Well, that is good to hear," he continued on trying to make it sound as though he was still holding on a conversation with us, while really he was inching closer to the bushes where he soon was pushing aside the bushes to reveal both of his children, cackling. In one sweeping motion he bent down and picked up the younger of the two and grabbed the hand of his daughter, who was older.
Both Emily and I smiled at them as they passed by," Now, wave bye to Lady Rosalie and Emily," he told them quietly, waving along with the two children.
"Buh-bye," Emory said happily, waving his chubby little arm.
"Byeee," Isabella chipped in, her voice chipper.
I waved back, smiling all the way, but before leaving the courtyard, Apollo turned back around.
"Rosalie, you need to stop keeping the King out so late at night!" he called, teasing me of course.
I chuckled at the sound of this before defending," Oh hush, it wasn't that late! In fact, it was probably one of our quicker trips."
Apollo chuckled and adjusted his squirming son to the other arm," He was falling asleep in the meeting! I thought it be only necessary to blame you."
"I-I," I stuttered, still smiling, but unable to come up with a comeback.
"Take it easy, Rosalie," he said, still with a chuckle in his voice," I'm only joking with you. Trina said she saw you both out last night, I just wanted to give you a rough time."
"Thanks," I said smiling before rolling my eyes; Emily leaned over and whispered to me quietly, without interrupting, that she had other chores to tend to. I nodded my head to her as she quickly exited the scene," You all didn't give him too much trouble in your little meeting I hope?"
Apollo looked away for a moment before returning his eyes back to mine," I don't think it is anything too severe. I will let him explain everything to you-" Isabella pulled at her father's robes," I've got to get both of these rascals to their mother."
The little girl was persistent at pulling at her father's robes and just before she could grab it once more, he looked at me," Have a good day, Rosalie."
"The same to you," I answered, still smirking as his daughter pulled him along.
Then I was alone. Nothing but the trees, flowers, and bench beneath me in the courtyard and the sun shining on my back. I had spent a good portion of the day outside and it felt nice just to be able to sit alone. In peace. It also allowed for plenty of time for thinking, which…after talking with Emily…it left a lot of room for that.
Talking about being queen was just something that left me a little flabbergasted afterward. I guess it really should not have seemed that foreign to me…since it was going to happen before long, but I had not ever thought heavily on the topic before. Just as I had told Emily, I felt like some of the duties that were placed on a queen were already being put on my shoulders. It wouldn't have been that different, right? The truth of the matter was that I really did love Caspian. Despite what had happened with Peter, I had always had feelings for the Telmarine boy whom I had grown up with. And even though some days were harder than others when I thought back on what happened with Peter, I couldn't imagine anyone better for me to marry.
After thinking all of this, I shook my head sharply and tried to pull myself out of fantasy land. We hadn't even discussed marriage much…it was rather silly for me to be thinking this, really. This really was just a load of gossip that the women around the castle liked to start between cooking meals and watering glowers.
It was not like he was going to be asking me anytime soon, for Narnia surely did not need a queen that quickly.
Author's Note: Alrighty, so I kind of liked writing this chapter. I thought that it would be sweet to see a girl-to-girl chat between Emily and Rosalie before I delve into the plot too far. Anyways, love you guys and I hope you enjoyed! Drop a review and let me know what you think so far. J