Seven Lost Lords
Disclaimer: As you know, I don't own anything from Narnia other than a couple characters.
Chapter Forty-Two: Seven Lost Lords
Winter was soon upon us and we put all of our projects on hold. We had been able to get quite a lot of work done throughout the fall, but after the first snow, I remember scrambling in order to prepare the projects for pause and the harsh weather ahead. Winter was the time for us to take a break from the physical labor and begin working on the emotional labor and paperwork that lay on the inside of the castle.
Trina ate up all of the attention that suddenly came upon the interior of the castle. She had been absolutely appalled at the sight of all the nastiness that the castle had endured. The sight of blood on the walls was something she immediately requested be worked on due to the simple fact that it gave the castle a very barbaric look. Obviously, I had to agree with that statement. Whenever leaders from around the country came to meetings at the castle, one of the least welcoming signs would be to see blood scattered about the walls.
Caspian allowed for her to use all of the servants she needed during the day in order to put the castle back together. He had little knowledge in that area and found that it would be best to simply put her in charge. He ordered for the remainder of the staff to try to re-organize their previous stations and begin performing their duties as soon as the resources became available for them to do so. He wanted them to report any problems they had to either himself or Trina, who would help them as soon as possible.
As time proceeded right along, I found myself working alongside my sister and Emily quite frequently. Toward the end of the year, the three of us found it fitting that some sort of celebration be thrown for Christmas. Two weeks before the day had come upon us, the castle was in no way shape or form ready to host any party. We made do with what we had; however, and invited the entire population to an "open house" type celebration where we could all be together for the special time of year.
Supplying food would not be a problem, for not only did we find that the kitchen had been kept in very well stock (Jacob apparently liked to keep himself well-fed), but the other regions around us had been gracious in their gift-giving and supplied us with nearly every sort of food that we could imagine. We even had local musicians around the city that offered to provide the music. It may not have been the most extravagant production, but Trina made sure that it was well-organized and enjoyable for anyone attending.
The local regions had not only been generous in their donations, but they were also very understanding whenever Caspian invited them once more to the castle in order to explain everything that had happened. He wrote to them shortly after the Christmas celebrations were over and the first month of the next year was whenever the castle received the visitors who would be the first since we had been back.
I remember being tended to before the formal meeting. Before, I had been very reluctant whenever the servant girls came in with their frills and dresses to "pretty me up" for these types of meetings, but after all that had happened, I was beginning to appreciate all of the little details more by the day. Emily, who had originally been a servant to me, came along with them, as well, though I hardly considered her a servant anymore.
The dress they had picked out for me was a lovely lilac color and they claimed to want to try some new hairstyle. I didn't worry about anything they wanted to do for life was much more than just hairstyles and dresses, why not let them enjoy what they like to do? The moment that made me think the most was whenever they had finished and Emily held in her hands the delicate, gold crown. I stood in the mirror, the light dress already in place as well as my hair which had been intricately braided and tied to the side, coming down nearly to my stomach. She placed the crown atop of my head and that moment, like every time it was placed on my head; I smiled. Memories flooded back to my head every time I saw the crown and wearing it reminded me of how hard Caspian, Penelope, Emily, Stephen, and I worked to get to that point.
The meeting went very well as we greeted the other leaders and their families. They had nothing but good wishes to bring to us. Again, they offered much assistance as soon as spring came back and apologized for their lack of assistance when Jacob took over. Apparently, the giants had kept a very extensive guard over the borders. Many other meetings came after this one, but it was a good start for both Caspian and I to get back into the swing of taking the country back into our own hands.
All of that aside, winter was a good time for all of us to be reborn into our "family". All of us at the castle may not have been related by blood, but memories and experience bonded us all together. Stephen and Emily had made the castle their home alongside us and were seen nearly every moment of every day together. Talk spread around the castle as to when they would be wed. From my own talks with Emily, it sounded as though they were in no rush to go off and get married until they were older. I couldn't blame her, in fact, I envied her.
There was no other person in the world with whom I would have married, but it was wise for her to wait. I wish that I could have at least been in my late twenties before being advised to marry Caspian. My life was on the verge of being normal again, but many responsibilities came with being a queen and a wife. I would accompany Caspian to many of his meetings with the newly formed council we had and whenever the people had a problem to present to us, then both of us were present. Naturally, there were some events that I would not attend due to other commitments.
I found that Caspian and I were growing back to normal for quite some time, that was until the third month of that year. Things started changing.
Caspian spent nearly two weeks locked up in his study as we moved into the third month of the year. Every time I would knock at his door to speak with him, he would let me in, but seemed much too distracted to even tell me what he was up to. Never had I seen so many books piled upon his desk before. I scolded him many times for working so hard on whatever he was working on and encouraged him to lighten his load. He seemed to pay little attention to my words, which led us to become very irritated with one another.
That was the time when I was able to experience what life as "queen" was all about. Caspian would leave his study only to go with me down to the throne room and listen to the people's requests of the day. He would attend his meeting afterward and then lock himself back up in his study, but I noticed a problem starting when he would be rather late for these meetings and I would be left to cover for him.
Granted, in the evenings, he would come out, but he would answer none of my questions as to what he was doing in there. We would merely try and talk about something else, to my demise. Whenever we did speak, we were able to discuss some of the decisions we needed to make in regards to the people.
"Have you spoken with him over this?" Penelope asked me one evening as she, Emily, and I walked about the castle, candles burning along the walls to lighten our path.
I released a sigh," I tried several times now, Penelope. He doesn't seem to have any interest in telling me. Never have I seen him so distracted."
"I could try to have Stephen speak with him over it," Emily mentioned as we turned the corner.
I shook my head," He would not appreciate that on my part. I've already asked him about it on several different occasions and if Stephen asked, then it would just make matters worse."
Stephen was a member of the new council that Caspian assembled; therefore, he would have had more access to my husband, but I knew that it would have to be something that I confronted him on. The ladies and I finished up our nightly routine of talking together and then proceeded on to go back to my own quarters.
I didn't want to attack Caspian over this matter, for I thought that, at first, perhaps it was just a stage, but whenever the end of that month was about us another incident occurred that lead me to want to confront him.
We had been en route to the meeting with the council that morning, whenever I found myself waiting several minutes outside of our room for Caspian to join us. For the entirety of the morning, he had locked himself up in that study of his and I was ready to knock the doors in, but I waited for as long as possible before it was time to intervene.
"Caspian!" I knocked at the door, in two minutes the meeting was to begin.
There was no response.
He always responded.
Even if he was distracted.
"Caspian?" I asked, much less aggressive this time. What if the worst had happened? Had something happened to him.
I asked several more times with no answer and just as I was ready to find a way to break the lock on the door, it slowly came open. A tired, baggy-eyed Caspian emerged, looking at me with a nasty glare.
"Why didn't you answer me?" I demanded, crossing my arms over my chest.
"I was studying," He answered dully, walking to the door.
I forced myself to stay calm, but asked with a firm tone," What are you studying? It's such a-"
"We'll talk about it later," He mumbled back to me and without another word, walked out of the suite.
I swallowed hard, trying to fight back all of the emotions swarming my head. I wanted to chase him down and scream at him for being so difficult, but I knew that later that night, I would get answers whether he liked it or not. He wasn't the same person anymore and I needed to know why.
Whenever I entered into our bedchambers, after a long day, I noticed Caspian already sitting up, reading in bed. It was odd to see him in the room before I; I was normally the one waiting up for him. Even though he had been busy, he made time at the end of the day for us to talk of the day's events. After that day, it surprised me that he had even wanted to talk.
He looked up from his reading, briefly, smiled shortly before turning back to his reading. One thing that was different was that he had brought his book with him to bed. The thought of this baffled me slightly, but I said nothing and made my way to my side of the bed with my questions aside. I was already burning with anger toward him.
"Good evening," I said curtly as I placed myself upon the bed, sliding one leg under the covers, then the other.
There were several awkward moments of silence as Caspian looked down at his reading, still deeply concentrated on it. I would have expected that he would have at least been cordial and say something back, but the air remained tense.
I turned my head away from him and sighed, trying to think of just what to say before looking back, trying to get a glimpse at what he was so focused on.
Before asking anything major, I thought to ask another question," You've had a busy day, I suppose?"
All of this was just a build up as to how I was really feeling.
For a moment, I saw some emotion on his face, but it must have been something in that book he was reading. The first time, I was going to allow it, but this time; I would not. For too long, he was ignoring me and not telling me what was going on. Something was not right. I could hardly contain my emotions for much longer before an outburst.
"That's how you're going to treat me?" I asked haughtily. "Caspian, please!"
The air seemed to be cut through rather sharply as he shot his head up and looked at me, confused," What?"
"That! I walk in and you-you look at me like I am some ghost!" I exclaimed, a little louder than I would have liked. "Not only that, but you've been acting bizarre lately. Everything you do revolves around some sort of research that you're so unwilling to tell me about!"
He released a sigh and shut his book before looking directly at me," You want to talk?"
"Not if you don't want to, Caspian!" I said, crossing my arms over my chest, tired of his games. "This is how it seems to be for the last few weeks. All you do is stay locked up in that office all day, this is our only time together and now you're choosing your work over-"
"Rosalie, you know that's not-" He tried to interrupt, still very calm.
I, on the other hand, was not very calm," You can't deny this! It's been clear! Everyone who's close to you can see it, Caspian. You're obviously distracted by something. I don't understand why you're keeping me out."
The tone of his voice was starting to become angered," Rosalie, what I've been doing over the last few months is nothing that you would have any interest in!"
"It wouldn't be the first thing you've kept me in the dark about, now would it be?" I shot, cutting my eyes over at him, nearly feeling disgusted at even looking at him. "How are we ever suppose to get along if you don't tell me the things that trouble you?"
He didn't say anything. I scrutinized him closely as he released a sigh and began rubbing his temple in frustration. Perhaps, I would finally get an answer from him.
"We have to talk, Caspian," I said, my voice nearly cracking, not being able to stand the lack of communication between the both of us.
I shifted my gaze over to him and locked eyes for one long moment. I didn't need to say anything else, for it seemed as though he knew exactly what I meant. In silence, he turned his eyes away from me and ran his fingers through his hair as he gazed off, planning his next words.
"Rosalie," he said my name, but nothing else.
"Yes?" I said, trying to calm myself down.
"Do you remember when you told me that you wanted to slow down?" He asked, obviously much more relaxed.
I looked at him again and nodded. His eyes told me that he was quite serious when he said this. He genuinely appeared as though he was thinking hard on how he was to explain this to me and stay calm about it, as well.
"Apparently, whenever my father died and Miraz assumed his position as king, he banished the lords who were friends with my father. I don't know if you remember them, but I don't much at all. The point of this being that he persuaded the seven noble lords to sail away to the ends of the world. They hadn't any knowledge of the fact that they were essentially being banished. He did it in such a way to assure they never returned to Narnia and caused him no problems," Caspian explained, running his fingers over the binding of the book that lay in his lap.
I watched him closely as he continued on. I was still failing to see why the missing lords were of any importance to him and why they would consume so much of his being.
"Over the last months, I have been looking through every single book, diary, or scribbling that I can get my hands on to try and locate these men. They could offer so much wisdom and knowledge to us about how to run the country. They knew my father. They were close friends with my father. They could provide some invaluable information about him. Do you realize how much wisdom they could provide us with?"
By this point, I had a feeling that I knew where he was going with this. Still, I allowed for him to continue, silently hoping that what I thought he was hinting at was merely just my imagination.
"I can't 'slow down' until I know what happened to them, Rosalie. I have to find them. They were victims of Miraz who deserve to at least have some sort of respectable memorial if they are dead. Narnia's history; they're vital to that. Knowing that they were led so far astray, it bothers me. I want to know where they are.
"Plus, I want to know my father. I want to know the father that everyone speaks so highly of and they…they could give me a glimpse of that man. Something in my gut tells me that they're out there and that it's my job to find them."
A mixture of anger and relief flooded through my body. Relief because he was finally telling me what was consuming his attention, and anger because of what was consuming his attention. We had just gotten used to being home. We had just gotten used to having a semi-normal life again. The people were gaining our trust again and that ever-desirable new horizon of Narnia was finally upon us. Potentially, we could have had a nice, safe life as King and Queen that would not require any more adventuring for quite some time.
But there he was with a diary of his father in his lap and an idea that told him to go trotting about the nation to find some lost men that knew his father. I couldn't be entirely cold-hearted as to why he would be interested in finding these men or something of relation to them since they lived in the time of his father and would have many wise things to tell us, but they could all very well be dead. In fact, that was a very likely possibility.
"Are you up for another adventure?" He asked, trying to lighten the mood, as I continued to ponder the thought.
I paused for a moment before shaking my head violently," Are you really asking me that? After we've just started to go back to normal? Absolutely not. I don't want to go on some random adventure that isn't vital to the success of Narnia."
He looked away, staring at the ceiling before saying," And this is where it gets complicated…"
"Why is it so important?" I demanded, crossing my arms tighter over my chest.
"The new council wants me to take an oath to find them for their knowledge could be crucial to fully understanding Narnia, Rosalie. The people are well on their way to being at complete peace once more, look at how far they have come in such little time! Look at how independent they are!" Caspian told me, his heart seemed to be bleeding for me to concur, but I couldn't.
"Complete peace? They're like a newborn nation, Caspian! They've no knowledge of what independence is! Are you and the council out of your mind?" I challenged, heatedly. "Don't you want to be King? Don't you want to be here with us?"
I looked at him incredulously as he seemed to be staring into space. Shaking my head in disgust, I threw the covers off my legs," I don't want to hear this."
"Rosalie!-" He tried, but I was already half-way to the balcony.
I heard his footsteps following me hot and heavy. The last thing I wanted was to hear anymore of his plan, but it seemed as though that was what I was going to get.
"Hey, you were the one that asked me about this!" He growled from behind me as I leaned against the edge.
"I thought you would be spending your time doing something a little more productive, Caspian," I answered back, just as heatedly. "Do you honestly think that we can just up and leave these people? We may as well invite someone else to come in and take over. That can't happen again. They need stability. I need stability."
Another moment of silent crept upon us and it was then that all I could hear was the sound of both of us breathing.
He released a sigh," I know that they do. You're right. We can't both leave."
I looked at him for a long, hard moment before realizing that he was set on this idea. This must have been something that he genuinely was dedicated to. I thought back to the day that Caspian and I were married. Our relationship was all about sacrifice for the other. We were one. Even if I thought Caspian's plan was reckless, I would have to support him. I couldn't keep him chained here.
"You really want this?" I whispered, looking at him. "To be off again? To find these men or something relating to them?"
He looked down before meeting my gaze," Anything to learn more about Narnia and my father."
I still stood by my word that Narnia needed stability and from that moment on, both Caspian and I decided that it would be in the best interest of the nation and our relationship for him to follow through on the information that he had found over the last few weeks that would take him out to sea. To his defense, he strongly believed that by going out to sea that he was aiding Narnia and his councilmen seemed to agree with this. In my own personal opinion, this was still not the best option, but perhaps it was best that he leave once more in order to discover who he was once and for all.
"Then I will not stand in your way," I said simply, to his surprise.
He came closer to me with a look of complete shock on his face," Are you-"
"I may not agree, but I must support you in what you do. Go and see what you need to see, but please don't let me know if it has been done in vein," I said softly, trying to ignore the feeling of him being gone again.
He was now right at my side and softly laced his fingers through my own," Just trust me on this. I'll make sure that until the day I leave that I am with you. I'll make these next few days count."
Those next few weeks were difficult, but not nearly as painful as I anticipated. I tried to bite my tongue several times whenever Caspian would tell me the details of his plan. I would like to say that I finally saw the dyer logic in his plan, but the only peace I could come to was that there was something inside him telling him to do this that no one else would really understand. I had my opinions, but I tried to be as supportive as I could until the day in late spring came that he was to sail off for the uncharted waters.
After Caspian had addressed the people of Telmar as to what he was doing, they responded quite placidly. It was a relief to know that they trusted him so much to not doubt his actions and were supportive to the point that they would travel to the port city along with us, just to see him off. They made me feel slightly guilty for ever doubting him.
In those weeks, we had also decided just who would be leaving alongside Caspian. We had, since the fall of Jacob, been gifted with the presence of nearly every creature from the Old Narnia. Several centaurs, a minotaur or two, Reepicheep's army of mice, and other men agreed to go along with their king on this journey. In addition, Penelope was not one to pass on the opportunity to see more of the world and after many discussions, Stephen agreed to go on this trip along with a couple of Caspian's advisors. Apollo found that it would be in the best interest of his family that he sit out this one. I was slightly relieved at this simply because Apollo would be a huge help to me in Telmar.
I remember standing at the docks quite vividly in that small port town. A ship by the name of The Dawn Treader would be the vessel in which they would sail off in. I assisted as much as I could with moving the needed supplies to the dock where men were transferring the supplies. It seemed to take no time at all for all of the many crates to be stacked in the ship, but that may have been because the minotaur were doing the bulk of the work.
Around noon of that day, it appeared as though everyone was ready to go. The moment was surreal. I remembered back to that tense night when Caspian had first informed me and was surprised at how fast the time had passed. He was coming down off the boat to say his final farewells and I stood at the back of the dock while he made his way through the crowd.
Before he could reach me, another person had nearly knocked me over from behind. I laughed when I realized it was my sister and turned to hug her tightly before she too, was gone," Penelope!"
"Here I go again, Rosalie!" She smiled, pulling away and putting both hands on my shoulders.
I smiled with her, happy that she was excited," Here you go," I sighed, shaking my head in disbelief, but still keeping a smile on my face.
"I wish you were coming too," she said, much more serious this time.
I nodded, understanding her point, before reminding her," You know why I can't. I've got a responsibility to my country. Caspian's serving his country from afar and I'm serving my country from here."
She nodded before sighing," I guess you're right, but that doesn't mean I won't still miss you," She grabbed me tight.
I smiled and patted her on the back before pulling away," Be safe, sister."
She beamed at me as she skipped toward the boat," You know I will!"
For some reason, I wasn't so sure if she was being serious or kidding as she trotted up to the deck. Moments later, I felt another hand on my shoulder from behind me.
"Thank you again for everything," Stephen said with a cordial nod to me; Emily appeared next to him.
"You are very welcome," I answered, returning the nod. "Thank you for going off again to serve Narnia."
He shrugged his shoulders before reaching into his pocket and retrieving a knife," It's nothing really, but I figured that should the worst happen, then you deserve to own the knife I nearly killed you with a year ago."
I smiled as he laid the wooden knife into my palm. I examined it closely, remembering him throwing this at me the first time. The memory may have been scary at the time, but I could now look at it as pleasant for had it not happened then we would have never gotten Stephen.
"Thank you, Stephen," I said, meeting eyes with him one last time before he turned to Emily.
I watched the dark headed girl get up to her tip toes to kiss him one last time. They were so incredibly cute and I couldn't help but feel the same pain they were feeling as they embraced for the last time in awhile. With a quiet, "I love you", he turned to the ship and boarded.
The crowd growing behind us of innocent civilians must have been waiting for the moment when Caspian approached me for when he came to me, everyone seemed to become entirely silent. I looked around and saw that the dock was nearly abandoned and that even Emily had stepped several paces behind us.
"Are you still alright with this?" Caspian asked me, coming even closer to me with his hair loosely tied behind him.
If I was honest with him, then it would have crushed the plan. It would have crushed the selflessness that I had been working toward for the last few months. I repeated the mantra in my head of wanting the best for him. I repeated the fact that I didn't want him to be chained here and that he needed this in order to not only find out about his father, but also learn more of Narnia. I could understand why he wanted to know about his father, but it was hard to release him. I wished there was some other way he could do this.
"I'm fine with this. Whatever you need to do…do it," I said to him, masking my feelings.
A smirk came to his face as he tucked one of my stray hairs behind my ear," You're lying."
I looked down embarrassed before looking back up," For you. If this is what you want to do then don't let me stand in the way. I'm not standing in your way."
"And that's why I respect you, Rosalie," He answered with a soft sigh. "Thank you. I can't explain my feelings, but I truly believe that this will bring me a peace after we can settle this once and for all."
Wanting to lighten the mood, I teased, " And the fact that you're under oath with the council…"
He chuckled," Yes, that too."
We both laughed and for that moment of pure joy, it hit me just how much I was going to miss him.
His face went back to seriousness as Stephen called for him over the ship railing," Your majesty!"
Caspian looked up before looking back at me with a concerned look on his face," Well, it looks like this is it."
I forced a smile," Go find them."
He leaned in and surprised me with a surprisingly passionate kiss, in front of a good portion of the population watching. I placed my hand on the side of his face and for that moment felt as though everything was going to be alright. I expected the feeling of peace to disappear as soon as he broke away, but even as he broke away; I was content.
"Goodbye, Rosalie," He said, very quietly as I dropped my hand from his face. "I love you and will be back as soon as I can."
"Goodbye," I answered, just as softly as he stepped away. "I love you, too."
He looked at me once more as he continued to back toward the ship. He was the last one that needed to board. I watched him as he left me and boarded the ship. I thought that I would once again be filled with worry, but that peace was still sitting in my body, reminding me that this was for the best.
My eyes stayed glued on the boat, even as it left the dock and went out to sea. I stood in a complete state of contentment as the boat sailed off into the sea. I watched for as long as I could before the boat was no more than just a speck and Emily was pulling at my arm to get me to move.
The comfort I felt continued until we reached land once more. I was surprised at how well both Emily and I were reacting to this. We walked and talked as if nothing was wrong. Perhaps, we were both merely covering up, but if that be what we must do to be happy, then let it be. In several months, we would have been reunited with our family again and life could go back to normal, assuming that nothing would have gone wrong whilst the men were at sea.
Strangely enough, I walked through the entire crowd and socialized for quite some time with nearly no thoughts of remorse or sadness, but a different sickness hit me just as we were to enter the carriage back to Telmar. My stomach violently turned. I hadn't been sick at my stomach in quite some time and tried to ignore the turning.
"Rosalie, are you alright?" I remember Emily asking me from inside the carriage, but I could hardly focus on what she was saying for it felt as though my head was spinning.
Feeling as though I was in some sort of fog, I turned from the carriage and disgustingly released the contents of my stomach. The sight of that alone made me want to be sick all over again. Never, had I been sick at my stomach or felt such unpleasant aches. The last time I had felt such a way was whenever I was a child.
"Rosalie! Oh my! Are you alright? What can I do for you?" Emily started firing off questions.
To be entirely honest, I knew something was abnormal, but I did not want to cause any more of a scene.
"It's fine, Emily. I'm sure it was just…breakfast. It hasn't been sitting well all day and on top of the anxiety, my stomach's been a little uneasy," I said, trying to cover up for the fact that I was clearly ill.
She scrutinized me long and hard," Are you sure?"
I nodded my head reverently," Of course! I'm feeling much better now."
Reluctantly, my friend stepped aside and allowed for me to enter into the carriage. I tried my best to cover up the little scene, but I had a feeling that she was not believing me. And to be honest, I could hardly believe myself.
There was something more than missing Caspian that seemed to be wrong.
Author's Note: Well, it looks as though there's going to be one more chapter before the epilogue. I really struggled with writing this chapter, for some reason. I wanted to get it right.
Thanks a lot for your support this far :DOn a side note, what do you think is wrong with Rosalie? Let me know!