The Duel Begins
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Chapter Twenty: The Duel
"Are you ready to put this on?" Susan asked me almost as soon as I entered into our quarters, referring to the armor that lay in our room. My mind was still wandering about all that had been said to Peter and seeing Caspian. In the deeper portions of my mind, I was praying that Caspian hadn't heard a word of Peter and I's conversation. I was hoping that it was only chance that I just so happened to run into him and he had heard nothing...but part of me wondered.
"As ready as I'll ever be," I said with a shrug of my shoulders, she actually smirked at this comment.
Even though we didn't particularly see eye-to-eye, there were some things..such as putting on armor that I simply wasn't experienced in.
I had never worn such heavy clothing before in my life. I guess I was used to wearing some sort of light dress or something of the sort so when Susan began throwing metal chain and thick leather layers over my head, I was rather shocked. When the whole process was over, I felt as though I had gained roughly fifty pounds and had long lost count as to how many layers I actually was wearing. The room also seemed to get much hotter and uncomfortable, but I figured that if it was going to save my life...then it was worth it.
Queen Lucy happened to be walking in when I was about to begin helping Susan into her armor. I was slightly embarrassed by the fact that the small Queen had more knowledge of this than I did, but then again I had to take into account that she had done this before with her siblings. Quite a few times, actually.
"No, no, silly," she would scold," Don't you know that this goes over that? Oh please, allow me."
All I would do is smile and step aside and let the young Queen do whatever she desired until Susan was fully suited. About the time that Susan was finished, my own sister sauntered into the room. I had forgotten that she was going to play a part in this as well, if the battle did occur. She would be in just as much danger as any one else would be. There was no way, however, that I would ever let her out of the How to see any of it unless absolutely necessary.
"Penelope your armor is right here," Lucy stated as she walked over to a small pile over in the corner.
"I can't believe I'm watching my baby sister be suited up for battle," I said with a sigh," But don't you think for a minute that gives you an excuse to leave this Tomb until you are told that it is absolutely necessary."
She rolled her eyes at me as Susan and Lucy began tying up her armor," Yes, mother."
I returned her eye roll with an eye roll. I loved her to pieces, but we were still sisters and we still could get on each other's nerves at times.
Soon enough, King Edmund came into the room, fully suited in his own armor. He took a look around the room to see that everyone was accounted for before saying," Ready to take our positions?"
Susan and Lucy looked to each other before nodding. As they headed toward the exit, they embraced their brother one last time. None of their eyes sad, but yet well aware that anything could happen. The two queens looked back to Penelope and I again before leaving with a smile. I took a step forward to stand beside the Just King and wait for him to start leading the way. I felt Penelope grab my arm," Please, Rosalie," I heard her beg me as I turned and met her eyes," You're not going to make me stay bundled up in here, are you? Let me at least watch the duel."
She was just like me. She didn't want to be locked up and she didn't like being told what to do. I would have loved to allow her to go with us, but being her older sister; I couldn't let that happen. I couldn't allow for her to place herself in danger because she was still a child. There wasn't even an option for her; she had to stay hidden.
"Penelope," I started," You've got to stay here. Trust me, there are things that you do not want to see out there."
She pleaded once more before throwing herself into my arms. I held her tight for a moment and I could imagine the awkwardness that Edmund must have been feeling, just standing there and watching, but I held her while I could because…honestly…I couldn't completely guarantee that I would come back.
"Please stay here," I whispered to her one last time as she broke the embrace and only looked at me with a slightly trembling lip.
I felt a brush on my foot and then looked down after a couple moments. Watching as the little mouse climbed to my sister's shoulder, I laughed.
"She will not be going anywhere, my lady," Reepicheep assured me, looking from my younger sister to me," Don't worry."
A smile grew to my lips," I know that she is in good hands then."
Penelope looked at the little mouse and grinned, before looking back at me," Be careful, Rose."
There wasn't an option for me either. I had to come back for her. I couldn't leave her alone. Grabbing both of her hands and squeezing them slightly, I told her," Don't you worry."
Edmund and I met up with Peter and Caspian a few moments later as we traveled down the tunnels. My heart beat harder with every step I took. I could hear the pounding of the Telmarines footsteps outside and wondered just what they looked like. I knew I wouldn't have to wonder for long, but it still made me curious. Part of it did frighten me, however.
I saw Peter, dressed fully in his armor for the battle. There were plenty of creatures surrounding him, making sure that his armor was properly attached. Attending to every detail that would give him the advantage. As we came into view, I walked over to him once again.
"Hello Peter," I whispered to him as he sheathed his sword.
"Hello Rosalie," he answered with a forced smile.
I didn't know exactly what I wanted to say to him, but I had to say something. This could be my last time speaking with him. I prayed that it was not, but there was always that dreadful possibility.
The crowd was pushing us forward, for we knew that midday had already rung, but as we were forced to the outdoors, I said to him," Please, be careful."
"I'll be as careful as I can," he assured me with a genuine boy-ish smirk.
With a final smile, he was forced forward. He looked back one time, but that was all and then; he was gone. I felt like a piece of me was being ripped out and dragged away from me. I watched as he exited the How and entered into the outdoors and I soon followed him at the end of the crowd. It was there where I found Caspian.
He bowed his head slightly to me as I returned the gesture," Rosalie," he said softly as we exited the How, side by side.
"Caspian," I greeted with a smile before turning my head away, I noticed that he was dressed for battle as well with many layers of chain and leather on the outermost.
There was a silence for a moment as we first exited the How and looked upon the army that had come to support its King for the first time.
It was unlike anything I had ever seen before.
The sea of men was so massive and…intimidating. They all appeared to be standing so tall and strong…so experienced and ready. Upon seeing them, my jaw dropped slightly. It may have been the shine of their armor or perhaps the sharpened spears the front of the line held, but at the sight of them, all of me wanted to run back in and hold my sister close to me. I most definitely did not want her seeing any of this. Their chants, mixed along with the chants of our own army rang through my ears...so this was the true calm before the storm. This was how the air would feel before any swords were drawn or before any blood was shed. Face to face. Staring down at one another. Cheering for our King to win.
"Oh my," I finally whispered, awestruck by our enemy.
I saw Caspian smile and look at me," Are you surprised by what you see?"
My eyes scanned the whole army that seemed to span over most of the open pasture in front of the How," Yes, that would be very appropriate to say."
His eyes scanned over the enemy as I broke my glance and looked at him before looking behind us at our own "army" of soldiers. I could barely stand to look at them, scattered all on the side of the How, after seeing the Telmarine army.
"I have to say that I am feeling the same way," he told me as we continued toward the pillars where Peter and Edmund already sat," They are very large."
"We haven't a chance," I whispered, stating exactly what I thought as I imagined the army charging us and destroying all of us in the hour.
Caspian shot me a look with a raised brow," Though it is likely…." he paused, taking in the vastness of the army," Remember, that we still have a hope for Aslan. Susan and Lucy are safely on their way now."
I nodded my head, blindly agreeing to him until out in the distance..toward the tree line, I could see a troop of Telmarine soldiers riding into the woods. They appeared to be on the trail of something, but they stood out since they were the only ones moving and the rest was lined up in these massive battle lines, stationary. Noticing this, I brought it up to Caspian.
"Safely? They have safely left?" I asked him incredulously, looking more closely at the figures in the distance," I hope not in that direction."
Caspian looked over and scrutinized the cluster of men heading into the forest. I heard him mutter to himself under his breath before saying," It is exactly where they were headed…" he stopped midway through and stared at the troop," Rosalie, I've got to go and help them. They won't last on their own."
The thought of the poor girls being ambushed by a group of Telmarines entered into my head and immediately I encouraged him," Go! Caspian, do not hesitate!"
Even if it was Susan, Queen Lucy had to get to Aslan. She was our only hope of getting out of this alive. Maybe we could hold off the Telmarines for a little while, but we would not last for long. Caspian soon was running back toward the How in order to grab his horse, I hadn't ever seen him running about so quickly. Within moments, he was riding out of the How on his steed rushing off to the forest, but before he reached the woods, he looked back at me one last time.
"Rosalie!" he called before I stepped any closer to where the duel was about to begin," You remember what I told you at the overlook?"
I looked at him and titled my head slightly, confused by just what he was referring to, but I guessed he meant what he told me he felt about me. I nodded my head, hesitantly. Without another word, he turned and kicked his horse into fast speed to go racing into the woods. Puzzled, I continued walking toward the duel where Miraz and Peter were already circling one another. The armies still cheering on their King.
"Has anything happened?" I asked Edmund as I reached the columns, looking on to the two.
He looked at me," Nothing, Miraz has just told him that it's not too late for him to surrender."
I chuckled at this," Which I am sure that Peter took very well."
Edmund only smiled along with me.
Miraz looked like some sort of man made out of metal. He looked indestructible in this suit of armor that had a gold tint to it. Peter's looked like light riding clothing compared to his suit of heavy armor. Just looking at the thickness of the metal made me shudder to think of what would happen had that big, heavy sword taken a slice out of Peter. The pain would have to be unbearable, but that couldn't happen. I couldn't bear thinking about if that happened.
My thoughts were interrupted by the sound of metal hitting metal. I watched as Peter climbed to higher ground and came crashing down on the Telmarine King. The duel for Narnia…had begun. Between clashes, I had the chance to look over to the other side where Miraz's own group of men stood proudly watching on. I looked over every one of the men's faces and of course, my father was there, as well as Glozelle, along with others. I also noticed a different face standing next to my father. A face that I hardly recognized.
He looked so different. It was not the older brother that I used to see as a child. It was not the face of the boy who I used to play pretend with…no it was someone entirely different. His face looked hard and cold as he stared at the duel happening in front of his face. His arms were folded over his heavily protected chest as he watched silently, but every so often father would whisper something to him. At times, I would argue that they were speaking of me with their small glances shifting in my direction.
"Ahh!" my thoughts were interrupted by the sound of Peter's cry.
My eyes returned to Miraz and Peter's duel. They continued exchanging heavy swings, that, had they actually made contact, probably would have sent the other flying in the other direction. It amazed me to watch the speed of the battle and the power that the two possessed.
A couple minutes after the duel had begun, I noticed my father speaking with my brother. He leaned over to whisper something into his ear and then quickly, he turned away from the duel, as if excusing himself. My mind was away from the duel once more as my father met another Telmarine from the front of the lines with his steed. He quickly mounted before riding to the back of the line, but he didn't stop there. He kept on going and going before he was out of sight into the tree line.
I shot my head back to the battle. A hit here and a struggle there. It went back and forth. Peter was handling himself very well against such an experienced fighter, both of them appeared to be equally matched to one another. It tired me out just watching them take such desperate, swings at one another. At one point, Peter's helmet had been knocked right off his head, making me gasp slightly. My heart seemed to be beating out of my chest as I watched. It was so close. I was so close to losing someone who was very dear to me and I was also very close to having someone so cruel being destroyed. It made me very nervous not to know which way this was going to go so as a nervous habit, I folded my hands over one another.
The crowd behind us cheered and at times were silent. Their roar of joyous cries when Peter would strike Miraz would set my heart a little more at ease, but when the Telmarines would cheer, my heart would once again begin beating quickly, nervously.
"Ahhhhhhh!" the cry sounded once more, this time, pain-filled.
Peter had been knocked to the ground by Miraz, The High King's shield being crushed behind him. I could almost hear the moving of bones from where I stood beside Edmund. I felt color wash from my face as the dark headed monster peered over Peter before Peter was able to climb to his feet. The pain in his face told me that the blow to his arm was hurting him desperately, but in the duel, Peter had been able to slice up Miraz's knee badly.
Both of them were limping as they circled each other, preparing to strike once more, but Miraz soon filled the silence," Does, his majesty, need a rest?" he spat out the mock from behind the golden mask on his face.
"Five minutes," was all that Peter replied with as Edmund ran to meet him. I looked back at the crowd as they stood, now silenced, by what had happened.
"I think I've dislocated my shoulder," he groaned to Ed as he took his sword away for a moment and sat himself down on one of the larger rocks.
Edmund nodded and gave his attention to Peter's shoulder. Trying, in some way, to ease the pain of it. I could only imagine the throbbing of the bone and the pain that lie in his arm. Nevertheless, I crouched down to my knees and placed both of hands on his armored knees where he sat.
"This is too close," I whispered to Peter hoarsely replaying the scene of Miraz dislocating his arm in my head," You know it is."
He glared over at Miraz before looking back at me, his face dripping with drops of sweat," I've got to give Lucy time to get to Aslan," he answered, weakly," You haven't heard anything?"
I looked over to the tree line where Caspian had gone racing off to only moments earlier," Peter…Caspian went to defend Lucy. I guess that a group must of realized what they were doing or something, but Telmarines were heading after them in the same direction."
No words came from Peter's mouth, but another cry of pain came as Edmund tried twisting his arm. I tightened my grip on Peter's knee, watching him in such great pain. Tears came to my eyes as I looked at him, feeling his pain as my own.
"I'm sorry," I whispered to him as I watched his blue, pain-filled eyes meet my own.
"It's alright," he answered, but the look on his face did not look convinced," If I die, I'll know that I at least tried to help her through."
I didn't like listening to him talk that way," Stop it, you're going to beat him, Peter. You can and-and you will."
He forced a smile to his face as he placed his hand on top of my own," Thank you, Rosalie."
Then through the silent air, horse hooves could be heard approaching. The same look came to both Peter and my own face as we shot our heads back toward the tree line. The rider of the brown horse was Susan. I would have been more excited to see her had she been with Caspian and not just riding his horse.
Where could he be?