The Flawed Troop
Disclaimer: I own very little, as you know.
Chapter Thirty-One: Getting Even
"Everyone's in their marching order?" Apollo asked, frantically pacing around trying to be sure that everything was in perfect order that next morning, early before the sun had even risen.
I had my back turned at the moment as I tended to a couple of men who needed direction in just where they were suppose to be. After helping them, I turned to Apollo briefly before continuing on to checking on the madness that was occurring up toward the front of the pack where Caspian stood.
"They're almost there!" I called to Apollo as I continued walking. "Just a few more adjustments and we'll be good.
We had been expecting to leave the spot very early that morning to allow for plenty of time to get back to the village. There were so many tasks that needed to be accomplished before this could happen. It surprised me just how much needed to be done, but with the number of people we had to prepare…it was quite the challenge. A scheduled plan of events would have been magnificent.
I noticed that as I moved forward, Apollo traveled back into one of the caves. He must have needed to finish something else before we were to head out. Caspian stood at the front of the crowd on top of one of the rock formations that would allow him to oversee the line formations. Whenever I reached him, I looked out to see just what he was.
"Are you ready?" I asked, releasing an exasperated sigh from all of the rushing about.
"As ready as I can be," He answered, trying to be as confident as he could, but before he could say anymore, his attention was drawn away by another member of the troop who needed his opinion on something.
Looking out over the lines of men that awaited to be released, I realized that though they were in the war formations and though they were soldiers; they were not an army. They were not prepared for battle. Of course, there was nothing we would have been able to do about this major fallback. We had no armor, no weapons, no nothing. This was a major problem, but there was nothing we could do other than experiment with how it would turn out without these aids.
I soon heard an out-of-breath Apollo come running around the corner.
"Your majesty, you must have a look at this!" He cried, leaning over to try and catch his breath.
Glancing at me, Caspian ran around the corner, looking at just what Apollo was mentioning. For several seconds, I stood in wonder as to what he had shown Caspian. Anticipation was stirring in those of us who had heard what the Head Adviser had said. Several moments later, Caspian was back. A smile grew on his face as he looked from me to other captains of the army who stood around.
"Aslan really does have an eye out for us," Caspian said with a child-ish grin and moments later, Apollo came around the corner carrying a large crate in his hand.
He dropped the crate at our feet as we gathered around to look in.
It was as though someone had read my thoughts, for in the box lie weapons of all sorts: spears, swords, arrows. I could hardly believe my eyes, but before any of us could argue that these would not be enough; Apollo spoke.
"The exit of the cavern is filled with these. Stacked to the top; we won't be leaving until they're unpacked," He spoke breathlessly. "I think that Lion is out to ruin our little schedule."
"Maybe we're much too focused on time," I said, bending over to examine one of the arrows. "Perhaps, this is his way of telling us to not get into such a hurry."
Apollo merely seemed to shrug off my statement for it did not take long for him to run back around the corner to find more and more crates. Immense happiness and joy filled me as I saw these weapons being carried in. Apollo and Caspian had ordered for the men to start unloading all of the crates which not only consisted of weapons, but armor as well.
It was all very good and wonderful, but I couldn't help but be somewhat disappointed that the caves, that were once in nice and neat war formations, were now a large mess of men trying to clothe themselves in the proper attire.
Aslan never ceased to surprise us.
Even though the gifts had set us back quite a bit, we were still to leave the caves in full readiness before the sun had risen too high in the sky. Caspian, Apollo, Emily, Stephen, and I went through the hassle of getting everyone back in order, this time in their complete war outfits. Although it was a good lot of backtracking, it was well worth it. A feeling of confidence swam throughout the men in the room.
Emily came toward me with one crate," I think that we should go ahead and change now."
I nodded at her and abandoned the neatly formed lines. Quickly, Emily and I retreated into the depths of the caves, assisting the other in tying up the leather bodices provided in the crate as well as the other flexible body army that could be found. To my surprise, there was even a sword for the both of us at the bottom of the crate.
"Sometimes, I wonder if he's really there. Aslan, I mean. It was as though he came in just before we were breaking," Emily spoke to me as I laced the back of her bodice. "We haven't heard from him in so long…it was a nice surprise."
I nodded my head as I looped another piece of leather through," He knows what he's doing. To think, that we actually thought we were alone. We would have never survived without him saving us from the nymphs...and we probably would have been destroyed had he not sent the equipment."
"I know, Rosalie," She shook her head. "It doesn't make sense, but it works because it's him. I would have never thought that this would be happening. I never would have thought he would provide the army with all of this equipment out of thin air. I would have never thought he would have intended for me to be fighting alongside you all."
In this time, I finished the last loop and she turned around to face me. I looked at my servant's face and saw a very scared young lady.
With a smile on my face, I placed a tender hand on her shoulder and looked into her nervous eyes," You'll be fine, alright? Just stay close to me and I won't let any of them harm you."
Confidence was slowly growing inside of her," Of course, I would never leave your side."
And with that I said to her finally," Then let's save Narnia, once and for all."
That day was one of the longest. We seemed to stop briefly and when we did, there was very little time to become fully rejuvenated. Sweat dripped from my brow and with every bead of sweat; we were one step closer to finding Jacob and stopping him. Leaving the caves was a huge relief for the men and immediately a new spirit could be sensed in the men. They were entirely different people; they were ready to fight.
Caspian and Apollo spent quite a bit of time chatting up ahead of the front lines. I walked at a quick enough pace in the middle between the front line and where the two leaders stood. To my right, I noticed Emily and Stephen talking with one another. Still, I couldn't help but smile whenever I saw them together.
It was almost as though they were meant to be together. Emily was searching for something or someone after Beck died. She thought that by being with me and helping me to find Caspian, then she could get her thoughts off of that, but little did she know that she needed someone else entirely. Stephen was searching for someone to help mend the old wounds from not only Jacob, but the death of his father. They may have been quite opposite, but looking at them walk and smile with one another…they looked absolutely radiant.
I walked alone for quite some time, gazing upon the beautiful Narnian landscape that curved into the green, lush foothills as we traveled back East. The sun was beating down on us the entire trip with a large blue sky overhead. I believed that this was one of the first times that the sun had shone in quite some time, perhaps it was a good omen.
The sun rose high in the sky as we stopped for a brief break at lunch time to send around what little lunch rations we had. Small conversations ran through the men for we all knew what was to come. There was even a time whenever Caspian and Apollo were nothing but silent. Confidence seemed to be fading and the idea seemed to hit us that we had no idea what to do.
At this time, I figured that we were still several hours from the village.
However, Caspian took this as an opportunity to address the men. He looked at me before standing up and taking a deep breath. Immediately, at the sight of Caspian standing atop of one of the large boulders in the valley; they were silent.
"Soldiers of Narnia!" He called, his voice seeming to echo through the valley. "After taking a rather extended break, here we are once again. We are the last ones. We are the survivors and the last hope for Narnia to be restored. I know that this is not going to be easy and I know that this may be one of the most unorganized events you have ever been apart of, but we must take a risk.
"Whenever we arrive at the village, Apollo and I have decided that we want all of you to hide yourselves until we signal you. Apollo, Rosalie, Emily, Stephen, and myself will enter the village first and should we need you then Rosalie will send up a flare that we have been so graciously given by Aslan himself. You will know that is your time to come and attack, but you will wait for one of our final calls before you strike any of them.
"We know little of how well protected General will be, but will know by this evening. You must be paying close attention and most of all listening. Your skills may not be as fine tuned as they used to be, but I'm sure that the adrenaline will come back to you.
"I know this is dangerous and risky, but think of your families. Rosalie has told me that Jacob, the ring leader of this operation, has turned Telmar into rubble. Narnia is no longer a safe place, in fact, it is much more savage than what it used to be. We must restore it! For the sake of your wives, sons, daughters and future generations…fight for Narnia. Do not be scared, be strong, be courageous. Death is not the one to fear, but rather the fear of death is what is to be feared."
He paused, allowing for his words to sink in.
"I wish I could give you a more elaborate plan, but I know that you will not fail me," He spoke with such confidence and every one of the battered soldier's eyes were plastered to Caspian as he spoke. He thrust one fist into the air and yelled," FOR NARNIA!"
The men did not hesitate in joining their true King. Moments later, the entire valley was echoing with one booming voice screaming their loyalty to Narnia. The true Narnia. The Narnia that lay over the horizon.
The sun sunk lower into the sky until it was nearly tucked under the horizon for the day. Off in the distance, Caspian, Apollo, and I could see what was left of the village. There was just enough light at dusk for us to see the rubble. Not to our surprise, there appeared to be a troop of men lingering around the village. They would not have been able to see us yet, but Caspian did notice that they were patrolling.
"They appear small in number," I whispered to Caspian, standing behind a pine tree.
Caspian observed them more closely before saying," Yes, they are not nearly as large as I thought they may be. Jacob must be holding the rest of his army in Telmar. He would not have thought to send many with General…perfect. There are maybe...one or two dozen...not many."
I looked behind me and noticed that our men were strategically weaving themselves into stealth mode behind the trees and rocks in the forests. We were now traveling on the downhill side of the valley to where the village sat. We now had the advantage of night with us for the sun was sinking quickly into hibernation for the day which made moving down the valley much more practical for all of us.
With every step that we came closer, the more my heart seemed to speed up. I couldn't believe that we were finally coming down to the end. Pain cringed through me as we came closer as well because all of us could still hear the sounds of men screaming at the tops of their lungs from underneath. I couldn't help but feel as though we were responsible for their well-being. Chills were ticking the top of my skin before moving down to the bone.
In a matter of hours, we were standing a mere few feet from where General's men were exploding more items in the town. General could not be seen, it could be assumed that he was in one of the last standing structures in the village. Caspian moved quietly from the tree he was standing behind to where I stood hidden, across from his tree.
"Are you ready for this?" He asked me, his breath heavy as Stephen and Emily moved briskly over to us.
"Of course," I said with a nod, though he could not see it in the dark.
"The both of you are ready?" Caspian asked, a genuine concern in his voice as he looked at Stephen and Emily.
"I've been waiting for this day for a long time," Stephen grumbled as Apollo could be seen in the moonlight coming over.
"Of course!" Emily chipped in.
Apollo seemed to appear next to me out of nowhere.
"The men are in their hiding spots; Rosalie, do you have the flare, should we need it?" The adviser asked me seriously.
I looked down to my belt and saw that both the sword and the flares were tightly attached to me," Yes, I am prepared."
Apollo released a sigh and then nodded," I believe we are now ready. I have given them orders to stay put once more and since we have been blessed with darkness, then we can now continue our ascent forward."
Though we could not clearly make out one another's faces, the tension was still high in the air. All five of us knew what needed to be done, but this was where we would actually do the work. This was where the end of Jacob's reign started. Silently, we all turned to look upon the village that was in flames once again.
General's men seemed to be enjoying themselves, burning more and more rubble. Roughly ten men were surrounded around a building that was set ablaze. They seemed to be howling with laughter and we assumed that the rest of his men were in the building along with him, one of the non-burnt ones.
"We need to stay hidden. It looks as though there are two structures left standing in the village," Caspian whispered to us. " General appears to be holding up one of the buildings; we need the other one to hide behind. We'll go one at a time to run to the building, hiding on either sides, understand?"
A chorus of "yes" flooded quietly amongst us as we sneaked along, unseen. Just as we reached the last line of trees before the village, another explosion was set off. Luckily, it was not the building we planned on attacking, but merely the other fires sparking up. General's men were still greatly distracted.
Caspian gulped hard and then looked at me," I'm going in now, follow me after I give you the okay, alright?"
I nodded hard and looked at him intensely as he turned to perform his attack. He moved quickly and gracefully in the moonlight from the tree to the other side of the building, out of sight. He kept his body low to the ground and after my heart starting beating again, I noticed he was waving me over.
Oxygen filled my lungs deeply before I followed in the same steps as my husband, careful of every step. Each of us made it to the building without much conflict. Getting into position proved not have been the difficult part, but killing the ten men that lingered outside would be.
"Oi! You 'ear 'bout the lit'le queenie? I 'eard she broke loose!" One of the men howled, dumping what appeared to be whiskey over the fire.
"That's just a rumor that was started a long time ago. I bet that Jacob has got her locked away in the castle still," another one said, jumping behind a barrel as the fire exploded at contact with the potent alcohol.
Before anymore conversation could be held, one of the men threw open the door where General seemed to be making camp. The building that we were not hiding behind.
"Oi, we need four of ye in here! General needs to speak with ya! The others keep guard," A rogue man yelled and immediately, as if competing, four men scampered over to the nearly beaten in door.
The remainder of the men had their backs to us, but were not very far away.
"I can take one of them," Stephen whispered, drawing a knife from his pocket.
Caspian shot his head over to the boy with a wary eye. He looked him up and down before nodding," Are you sure? You must be quiet."
Stephen gave him a look that assured all of us that he would before creeping around the side of the building. He was lucky for the man had just turned and began walking toward the opposite side of the building that we were hiding on.
"Be careful," Emily whispered, almost inaudibly as he crept around the corner.
Slowly, Emily followed in his steps to watch. Carefully, she stuck her head around the back of the building to watch. All of our hearts seemed to be beating quite a bit faster. Seconds later, Stephen rejoined us with a bloodied knife that he wiped against his pant leg.
"One down," he whispered," Five to go."
Instantly, Caspian saw a break in the watch as they were distracted by the killing of their fellow man. He sprinted as quickly as he could across the main village path as the men were distracted by another explosion in the town. As Caspian crouched behind a large piece of debris, I saw a barrel across the way that would have been perfect to hide from the men. Quickly, while the men were still distracted, I ran across the threw myself behind the barrel. Apollo stayed put at the building as Emily and Stephen took shelter behind the last standing building where General and his men were stationed on the inside.
Our eyes were stuck on the men closest to us. I noticed that a man was coming toward me, about to cross passed the barrel on his way to patrol the opposite side of the town. Before he could get that far, I sprung up from my hiding and sliced my new sword through his throat. I couldn't leave him laying dead in the middle of the village, so I caught him just before he could fall completely on his face, intending to pull him to the side.
Two down...four to go.
This plan seemed to be running much too smoothly for just before I could drop the man to the ground, one of the other men turned around sharply to see me with the dead man in my hands. Without much care for his body, I tossed the body down and tried to find shelter for myself.
"Oi! O'er there!" The scraggly man cried and immediately started running toward me with a sick grin on my face, I prepared myself for company, but before I could receive any of the action; a knife pierced through the man's chest.
Three down...three to go.
Stephen came running out from behind the building and pulled his knife out from the man's chest. The other three men came charging toward Stephen and before Stephen could be left out to dry, both Caspian and I joined him. We met the three in nearly the middle of the village, just out of sight from the building in which General was. With several quick slices I was able to take care of another man that didn't seem to be very well protected and more shocked than anything else. The concern for being concealed seemed to be of little importance.
Four down...two to go.
Stephen had sliced through another man, but before Caspian could give the coup de grace to the scraggy man, he let out a fierce howl," HELP! HELP!"
Six gone...more to come.
With a groan, Caspian sliced his sword through the man's midsection and motioned for all of us to retreat back to our hiding spots. Before we could make it there, the scuffle of men moving from behind us could be heard and they seemed to have seen us just before we could hide.
They ran out, yelling," STOP WHERE YOU ARE!"
None of us dared taking another step," Good, now drop your weapons and slowly turn."
As much as it pained me to admit that we were caught, I dropped the sword in my hand without hesitation and listened as it hit the ground. The other two dropped theirs and turned alongside me. Together, we faced a line of men pointing crossbows at us. The ever-present sound of the men screams from below the ground filled our ears as their ring leader stepped out of his shelter.
"What could possibly be happening that would cause you to bring me-" He started to explode on his dimwitted men as more and more piled out of his base. When his eyes met mine, a shiver was sent down my spine. The look General wore was a rather cocky grin, until his eyes drifted to my right, where Caspian stood. His eyes widened and voice cracked as he came closer to us," Y-you're suppose to-"
"Be locked away in the mountains?" Caspian asked with a smirk, amused by the look on General's face. "You may have left me to rot, but it just so happens that there was a loop in the plan. A flawed plan, if you will."
General gaped at us for several moments, unable to say anything. Never had I seen General so shocked in the short time I had known him. He appeared as though a ghost had literally flown through him. I moved my hand down to my belt and noticed that the flare must have fallen off somewhere in the scuffle. I tried to keep my calm, but internally, my heart was beating out of my chest.
"Men, go back to the building. Protect the entrance," General said, trying to clear his throat and sound more at ease. Just as the, twenty or so, men started to file back into the building, he stopped two of the men with crossbows. "You two stay, it'll make it more…even. Three-on-three."
After several moments of staring intensely at the three of us, General finally opened his mouth to speak.
"I must say, Rosalie," He looked over at me with a new found confidence, "that I am quite impressed."
I kept my eyes pinned on him as I crossed my arms over my chest and glared as he continued," I would have never thought that your little husband would have ever been seen again," He paused to pick up the sword that sat at my feet," And yet, here he is." He twirled the blade to examine the blood that was left on the edge of it.
As peculiar as the sight was, I didn't have to watch it for long because Caspian was soon to speak. I prayed he was being careful, for we still had two very serious crossbows pointing at us.
"I trusted you," Caspian growled at General, looking out of the side of his eye. "I should have never done so."
A cackle escaped from General's lips as he looked directly at Caspian," You said it, your majesty, not me," Cackles continued to escape his lips as he paced around to face Stephen.
"Well, well, well," General murmured, looking Stephen up and down, immediately recognizing him. "It appears as though I've a traitor of my own in our presence."
Stephen kept his gaze away from General's, but slowly General placed my sword under Stephen's neck and gently turned his head to look him straight in the eye. General sucked his teeth, looking at the young boy with disgust written over his face," You still think you're on the winning side?"
With a bored, uninterested expression on his face, Stephen answered curtly," I could ask you the same question."
And as if on cue, a red flare sparked in the air, high above our heads. At that small portion of time whenever General and his men were distracted, Caspian ran forward and threw the crossbow out of one of the man's hands. Stephen was able to weasel his way out of General's grip, for it was weak as he looked away and kicked the crossbow from the other man's hands.
"What's going-" General tried to ask, but both Caspian and Stephen had started struggling with the other two men, who were throwing wild swings.
I backed up as quickly as I could, trying to get out of General's sight before he noticed what I was doing, but with a nasty smirk on his face he came running after me with my own sword. "C'mere queenie, I think it's only fair that I get a shot at this…since last time you were the one holding the knife at my throat."
Just as I turned the corner, I saw Emily stomping out the flaming red flare that had apparently come blazing back down to the ground. I made the assumption that she had been able to retrieve the flare after I dropped it. She looked at saw me with General close on my back, in the distance, Apollo could be seen corralling the army of men to surround the village. She grabbed the sword from her own hilt and tossed it to me.
When I turned back around, General was threateningly waving my sword at me and I couldn't help but smirk," Just give up now, General. Your numbers are much smaller than ours and there is time for you to turn good. Create a new image for yourself."
I watched him look over my shoulder into the woods as he saw the army of men trampling through the trees. He appeared unafraid and uncaring of the words I had just spoke to him as he yelled," MEN! A LITTLE-"
Before he could finish his statement, I swung at him, taking a slice into his forearm. He swore loudly and looked at me with a glare," You little-"
He took a hefty swing at me. We went back and forth for several rounds before I saw from the corner of my eye as Caspian took down the other man and hastily picked up the crossbow from the ground. Seconds later, Stephen's opponent crashed to the ground, but rather than grabbing the crossbow, he ran back and picked up his knife that he had been forced to throw down.
"This is where it ends, General," Caspian growled, coming closer with the crossbow pointed directly at him.
General noticed the crossbow aimed at him and reluctantly put his hands in the air, dropping my sword. I bent down and retrieved it, stepping away.
This was a matter that was not between General and I…Caspian should have been the one to finish him. I handed Emily's sword to Caspian as he passed the crossbow over to me. Still, I kept it pointed at the grimy man.
"You've no right to live," Caspian continued, cornering his old friend against a piece of standing debris. "You realize that your treason alone is enough to lock you away for life?"
General gritted his teeth as nervousness seeped out of his oily skin," Jacob was going to make me king. I was going to do everything I needed to do to gain that title…you just so happened to be the one holding the crown at the time. It's nothing personal."
Caspian pointed the sword closer to him, by this time, our army had almost surrounded the entire village. They had not yet attacked, but would as soon as Caspian sent the word.
"Nothing personal?" Caspian asked with a raise of his brow. "You're saying that sending my men to this hell-hole to be brainwashed has no direct affect to me? You're saying that trapping my people in fear to go outside has no direct affect on me?" Caspian paused as he pressed the blade against General's midsection before growling. "You think that trying to ravage my wife for your self-gratification doesn't affect me?"
General swallowed hard with the feel of the sword at his midsection," Caspian, listen, we can-"
"No," Caspian growled again, with much more intensity as the men that were inside of the building starting filing out to aid their leader. I had to turn my back to protect Caspian against the men starting an uproar. I heard Caspian say," You've tried to destroy Narnia with no sign of repenting for your deeds. I'm sorry you were deceived so severely."
I looked over my shoulder just before one of General's men came rushing at me. Caspian dug Emily's sword straight through General, who could make no more movement until Caspian pulled the sword from him, in which, he fell to the ground with blood spilling from his lips.
As soon as General's men came piling out from the building, our men started spilling in from all sides of the village, weapons pointed straight at the small troop that was now cornered. They tried attacking, but saw that as our men continued coming and coming, their room was less large. They saw the odds playing out in front of them. Caspian pulled himself away from General and addressed the troop in the middle of the madness.
"This is your one chance," Caspian called over the loudness to the men, who appeared quite shaken up. " Rejoin us and you will be spared."
It was amazing to see how the courage on their faces when they stormed out of the building was seemingly destroyed as soon as they saw Caspian, along with all of the men around him point a sword at them. Though most of them seemed willing to oblige and drop their weapon, before one of them surrendered, he wanted something more.
He pushed his way from the back of the troop and came face-to-face with Caspian, holding his sword with a tight grip. He acted so speedily that we could hardly even process what all was happening," You'll never be king." He spat in Caspian's face, with a nasty smirk. "We won't back down."
"It looks as though your men feel differently," Caspian replied, pointing in the direction where the men were already being taken into captivity. "Just accept the fact that you were unprepared. This doesn't have to be-"
Before Caspian could finish his statement, the man cut him off by stabbing his sword deep into his shoulder. An evil cackle was released from the man's lips as he said," I don't care if they kill me. This country's damned and it's all because-"
In the same way that he had done to Caspian, I dug my sword deep into the savage man. Instead of merely grazing his shoulder, I hit a little deeper in his abdomen before turning to Caspian and leaving my sword dangling from the man's abdomen as he fell backwards. I fell to the ground beside Caspian, grabbing the sword from the wound.
Danger had only just begun.
Author's Note: Alright, so I'm definitely not going to finish this by August like I originally thought. I wanted to put more detail into each chapter, which explains why this one is kind of long…haha.
Oh and to answer a question, there is a reason why the Spring of Revival is called that and I will explain that in, *probably*, the last chapter…but only briefly. It's not very vital to the story.
Thank you reviewers! Keep the comments coming. :D