Author's Note: It's all C.S. Lewis's, I only own parts of it.
Chapter Twenty-Three: Lord Sopespian
My father stepped closer to the two of us and I slowly slid my arms off of Caspian, setting my gaze strictly on my father. Defensively, I took a couple steps back as my father came closer for my blood began boiling. I couldn't help but feel an unbearable anger toward him.
"I don't think my plan is of any use to you," I said to him, trying to sound as calm as I could, but my fury was hard to conceal.
A small smile came to his lips as he tried to be warming," Oh, Rosalie. Darling, come now and be cordial to your old father," suddenly his smile disappeared and he growled," It's the last chance you'll get."
Before I could say another word, I felt Caspian step forward beside me and I slightly groaned to myself. He didn't have the tendency to make the best choices when it came to these sorts of things so I prayed that he was not still planning on sacrificing himself," She is not the one that has come to make the deal with you."
His brow raised as he looked over at the prince," But she has come. Why else would she come other than to move on with this deal?"
"Perhaps, you should let her speak for herself," I stated, taking a step forward alongside Caspian," And I'll have you know that the reason I came here was to stop this barbarous deal," with that being said, I shot Caspian a sideward glare.
"Trouble in paradise, eh?" my father asked with some humor in his voice," Is that what I'm sensing?"
Caspian looked right at me, hardly acknowledging my father as he whispered hoarsely," I had to try something…"
"Something reckless?" I whispered back at him sharply," You know he would never keep his word."
This was not the time nor the place for Caspian and I to have this argument, but it was hard to resist keeping my anger toward him for making me such a nervous wreck. We should have been bringing down my father, but it was there that we chose to start our argument.
"You know that we don't have those types of numbers Rosalie and I had to doubt whether or not Aslan would actually be found, which we can still see that he hasn't," Caspian shot right back at me," There's also another reason-"
"Caspian-" I started again, but this time it was my father who interrupted us.
"As much as I'd hate to interrupt this little…spat, I've a battle to win and a throne that is calling my name," he said with a sudden seriousness to his voice," So the sooner, I am rid of the both of you-the sooner I can achieve my rightful place in this kingdom."
Instantly, we both watched as my father placed his hand on the hilt of his blade before drawing it sharply. There was obviously no more emotional attachment between he and I nor he and Caspian. As he had stated, we were only objects that were in his way of becoming king.
"You're disgusting," I spat at him before drawing my own sword," What you've done to us all. To mother, mostly, but what you did to Jacob was equally wrong and sickening. The poor boy is confused and hurt yet he thinks that I have caused all of the pain. Which both you and I know is a lie."
As I made the comment all I could see was a smirk on his face while he took a step forward," Darling, I believe you are sadly confused beyond the point of healing."
I shook my head, tempted to say more, but was unable to.
Caspian then took a step ahead of me once more, pulling his sword out of his hilt," You helped in the killing of my father."
He released a sigh," Caspian, please, boy you must know this is nothing personal. This is merely a matter of…" he contemplated his choice of words as he gazed on the tip of his silver blade," Business."
"A corrupted sort of business," he snarled as we got closer.
"Ahh, but let me remind you that it was just the sort of businessman you were willing to make a deal with just moments ago before your sweet little angel came flying over to your rescue," Sopespian spat back as the tension grew even thicker.
Then, everything seemed to happen at once. The greedy man came running toward us before either one of us could say another word. His blade came down hard over Caspian's. Quickly, I slid my own blade in to the action. I had never experienced such an awkward style of duel before, but with every strike I felt like I was helping in bringing down a force that I wanted gone for so long. Every dodge from his blade encouraged me to fight harder.
Swing after swing we seemed to go on forever, careful not to slip off the edge of the wide bridge into the white water below. After a long time of hard, strenuous strikes, we all seemed to back away from the action, breathing hard.
"I have to say," my father said with a pant," The both of you have improved…greatly."
Caspian and I looked at each other before saying anything else," We've only you to thank," Caspian answered, a taste of sarcasm in his voice which forced me to smile.
There was no humor in my father's face as he tried catching his breath. It was tempting for me not to go running toward him right there and destroy this force that had ruined my life. It was hard for me to keep myself contained. It was hard to stand there and say nothing to Caspian about my father's physical condition at its weakest.
"Caspian," I whispered, barely audible to myself even, perhaps I was more tired than I thought.
Miraculously, he looked at me, still trying to catch his own breath.
"This…is…our….chance," I mumbled, so quietly that once more, I could hardly hear my own voice.
The look in his eyes was the same look in his eyes that I saw as a young girl sneaking around the castle late at night, debating whether or not to run through the hallway or wait and saunter on back to our quarters. The look always assured me to go for it…no matter the case...it was always the same.
Together, as my father stood, weapon unsteady and low, we began running toward him. The excitement of taking him by surprise was soon replaced by a different feeling as the seemingly unprepared man swiftly sliced his sword upward without even looking. The blade pierced right through Caspian's forearm, causing him to drop his weapon and stumble backward.
A cry came from the prince's mouth from his place on the river bridge behind where my father and I stood a blade's length apart.
Chuckling, my father turned the, now slightly bloodied blade over to me," Clever, very clever."
"Caspian," I shot my head back toward him, but had little time to express concern for my father came running at me, bloodthirsty, just as Jacob had been.
"Rosalie, don't worry about me!" I heard him groan a slight notion of pain as the clink of metal filled my ears once more.
"You know," my father said over the blade," I've been waiting for this day for a long time now."
I hit him back hard with my blade as we circled each other," Have you now?" I spat back at him clashing my blade against his and we stood at a cross-blade.
"Very much so," he said bringing another smirk to his face," Very much so."
"As have I," I growled and with a new force pulled back my sword and stumbled backward, trying to catch my balance from the breaking apart.
He came storming toward me quickly," You've done nothing, but stand in the way of my plan."
His strength was great as he slammed, with all of his force, against my blade, almost causing my wrist to snap over. My balance was thrown off again as he hit me hard, both hands strong on his sword. For the first time, I felt just as I did the first time I battled Peter. The first time I battled him, I fell. I fell hard and with one more slam to my blade, I had fallen once more down to my knees as my blade flew out of my hand and over to the opposite side of the river bridge near Caspian.
I looked up into my father's eyes and saw no mercy, but merely tried to get him talking," Father-"
"Don't speak to me, Rosalie!" he screamed, raising his blade high, my eyes following it all the way," Unless…unless you want to admit that you were wrong this whole time. You can still come back-"
I raised my hands slowly into the air and shook my head, preparing myself for what was to come," I could never do that. Not after what you did to Jacob. How you have destroyed Penelope's childhood…how you killed your own wife and mother of all three of your children," I snarled at him, hardly caring if he dropped the blade…he needed to hear it. He needed to have his sins replayed to him," Not only that, but you also robbed another family of happiness…that family being the Caspians."
"Your mother and the Caspians-"
"Just admit it," I spat," You killed them solely to aid yourself and yourself only."
His blade dropped lower and his voice cracked," I did it for you. So that you and Jacob and Penelope could rule one day…to make our name the royal one," he was trying so hard to fight his evil, but it was a battle he would never win.
"Don't try and tell me that," I said incredulously," Don't even try. This is a lie that you've created just to make yourself be able to sleep at night."
There was a pause as he looked straight in my eyes, sword still held high. I realized it was there and I realized that death stood right in front of me, but I didn't care. I wanted him to know what a monster he really was," You are a sick, greedy, murderer."
He looked up and away and I could almost see a tear in his eye, but he was struggling all the way. Sweat began dripping down his face while his arm holding the weapon shook greatly. After a few moments, he looked right back at me," I'm sorry," then I watched as he once more raised the sword high over his head and began to swing it down hard to finish me.
I shut my eyes closed and prepared myself for the pain that I was about to experience and the death that awaited me. I was hoping it would happen fast so I wouldn't have to suffer for long and think about all my loved ones left, however when I slid my eyes open ever so briefly, I saw a man who had blood spilling out of his mouth and heard the sound of his sword clatter on the ground. Shaking, I slowly dropped my arms down and watched as my father slipped into the water…dead with a sword through his back…my sword through his back.
My eyes moved upward to the wielder of my sword, Caspian," Thank you," I said hoarsely, still shaking at the fact that Lord Sopespian, my father was dead and floating away with the stream.
His steady hand grabbed my shaking hand and pulled me to my feet," No," he said sternly," Thank you."
A silence hung over us again as I stood close to the prince who I had called my companion my whole life. Why would he try and do something like this? Didn't he know that he would surely be killed? Didn't he know that would happen? I couldn't find an answer from my own logic, but this was not the time for us to discuss anything. There was a battle taking place back at the How and it was because of us…we at least owed them an appearance.
I slowly untangled my hand from his, but kept my gaze locked on his," Listen, I know that we need to talk about all of this…I know that, but…now is just not the time."
He nodded his head, understanding completely what I was telling him," Of course," he said softly as I started to turn away from him to get mount Kingslee, who had seemed to wander upstream a little ways," But Rosalie-"
At the sound of his voice, I turned back toward him," Yes?" I asked, raising my brow.
"You have to know why I did this-" he started, but I shook my head, trying to shush him.
"Caspian, I swear we will talk about it…just not now…there's probably a battle because I doubt the Telmarines kept their words-" the words spilled out of my mouth, but he wasn't hearing my impatient argument as I tried pulling him away toward Kingslee.
"Rosalie," he said more forcefully, grabbing my arm, his grasp tight," I thought that I could trick your father. I thought that maybe…by some power I could bring an end to him so that you would be safe. I wasn't actually turning myself in to him Rosalie, I wanted to bring an end to him…for Penelope…but for you."
I felt as thought my heart stopped beating while he spoke. I couldn't bear to look at him again for an intense rush of guilt flooded through my veins. Guilt for ever thinking such horrid thoughts about the boy who had always been there for me…guilt for not being there for him as of late…guilt for shutting him out.
"Caspian," I whispered, my voice still hoarse," You could have-"
"Please don't say what could have happened because that's over now, as you said before we've a battle to go to," he interrupted, dropping my arm.
I couldn't find any words, but only stared right at him as he walked around me and began calling Kingslee to him. My feet stayed planted on the bridge as I watched the river roar underneath.
"Rosalie?" he asked me after several moments passed," The battle?"
Still contemplating, I didn't reply. Thoughts kept racing through my head of how rude I had been to Caspian…and then at that moment…it hit me. The words that Susan said to me just as I was racing out of the How. The words that I had forced myself to think of as merely just a lie. The words that I had blocked out of my head over the last couple of hours.
Caspian has always loved you.
"Caspian?" I wasn't really directing the comment at him, it mostly just slipped out of my thoughts, but nonetheless, he answered from his perch on Kingslee.
"Yes?" he asked, slightly irritated as I finally turned and started walking toward him.
He loved Susan. Not me. That was just ridiculous...maybe she was only trying to provide a comfort for me since she might have thought that I still had feelings for him tucked away somewhere and only wanted to provide some comfort for me before I left for my suicide mission. Plus, there was no way I could have returned these nonexistent feelings…because of Peter…right?
I approached Kingslee slowly and as I did, I met the prince's eyes once more before throwing my legs over," Why would you do this for me? I have been nothing but awful to you for seemingly forever now."
This was his opportunity to confirm what Susan had said. This was my opportunity to hear the truth.
He pulled me up on the horse and just as I was getting my leg over he kicked Kingslee into motion and we were flying through the woods once more. I couldn't see the expression on his face for I was behind him, but I had soon figured that he was not going to answer me. We rode in silence through most of the woods and just as we were arriving at the scene of the battle, I received an answer.
Just at the tree line, he stopped the horse and climbed off. He patted Kingslee once before grabbing my sword out of his hilt and handing it to me. While grabbing my blade, he looked right at me once more.
"Rosalie Sopespian," he said, I don't think I had ever heard him say my full name before," There are some things that I did to you as a child that I probably could have gone without doing such as chasing you even when I knew you didn't want me to or pulling your hair when you weren't looking. Yet, even though you hated both of those things, you still forgave me soon and it was always a relief to my heart to know that my best friend had forgiven me. As we grew older, our problems have seemingly grown in importance. All of this is not a matter of pulled hair, but a matter of life or death."
He shook his head, from what appeared to be, in shame before continuing," And the thought that I would be so stupid as to put your life at risk is something that I cannot live with. The thought of you never forgiving me…is absolutely horrible because you are my best friend. The thought that I would shut you out because of another girl bothers me beyond description. I didn't understand these feelings for you Rosalie until I heard that there was still a hope that you would not resent me forever."
I gulped, knowing what he was about to say.
"Forgive me, but I couldn't help but overhear you say that there was still room in your heart for me. I know it was none of my business, but now, right here, this is my last chance to try and convince you that I was wrong in leaving you to your death. I was wrong in leading you to believe that I was choosing Susan over you for I never was. Susan is a wonderful girl, but by spending time with her…it has showed me how much I miss you. I was wrong for everything, and that is the reason why I did this for you because I owe it to you. Because it has been you all along that makes me happy and my life as of late without you…has not been a life that I enjoy."
Amazement flushed all over me, but he wasn't done yet. I could hardly believe any of this was coming out of his mouth.
"And now, I couldn't ask an answer from you. I could never ask for you to give your love back to me because I know that you are confused as well, just as I was. I know that you've feelings for the High King, feelings for him that are probably stronger than your feelings for me, but I can only pray that you are hearing me out and that you will truly forgive me one last time before we go to the battle that could bring the death of the both of us."
There was really no words that I could have said that would have been appropriate, so I grabbed the sword from him and looked at the blade as I heard him grab his sword. Blood from my father still dripped at the tip of the sword and ran down the length of the blade. My gaze was looking for Caspian again, but he was already gone. He was off to battle for the land that he loved.
And I was following in his footsteps, his words still echoing through my head and heart. No one had ever told me such passionate words before. He didn't want me to answer because he was afraid of what I was to say. He was afraid of my answer…he was afraid that I would say that I loved Peter.
But, what he didn't know was that my heart was willing to forgive...
Author's Note: Sorry for the wait guys! I know it's getting toward the end and this is when I should be updating a lot (which is what I had originally planned), but school has objected to that idea…go figure right? Anyways, I'm going to try and catch up on my writing during my day off tomorrow…woo-hoo! Enjoy this long(er) chapter!
Thank you everyone!
Next Update: Monday-Tuesday-ish, we shall see. I can promise I won't make you wait as long as I did this time. :)