livingintrinity: (Sherwood)
[personal profile] livingintrinity
The pool opened into a bower of sun streamers and green in the shades of fading new spring and the whisper of promised emerald summer. There was a rock formation which jutted upward for twenty feet in the Northern area just beyond them, trees crowning onward from it, and just beyond westerly was a worn path with rivets from cart wheels which wound its way through the dappled grove.

"This," Marian said, with an awe and love that was never, and would never, be tarnished by time. "Is Sherwood forest."

Date: 2007-04-24 03:49 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
There's something heart-wrenching in her voice--no one so young should ever have to sigh so wearily.

"That is the role given to leaders of Men," Caspian says while they walk, wiping his hands clean of the sugar that had stuck to his skin. "My old tutor and dear friend taught me that. He said that to be a good and fair leader, you must love your people and be willing to do whatever it is they need. But it isn't much of a sacrifice if you really love them, is it? Whether it is some great need, or if it is merely to be one voice laughing when no one else feels as though they can."

His eyes follow the folk walking back and forth--the women chatting over the food, the men working to set up the tents and stalls. "You love them very much, don't you?"

Date: 2007-04-24 04:20 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
He looks down at her, at the force of her words, but her eyes are fixed on the people beyond, and he raises his head, focused on some patch of air.

There is no gleam of gold save sunlight, and no white flash but that of a cloud passing by, but all the same he sees, as clearly as though He were standing right there, Someone dearly loved.

"Good," is all he says, and it's quiet, but firm--and if Marian is listening, it is even fierce.

Date: 2007-04-24 04:37 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
A smile toys at his mouth. "It ought to be a king, I'd think. How many others might have the need to understand?"

Apparently many of the nobles here disagree. It's a horrifying thought, and he sends a quick thanks to the sky, for the peace and happiness in Narnia and the good folk that he knows so well.

Her other comment catches at the smile and sets it flashing. "You said that it isn't for days yet, though? It must be quite a sight when the tents are all up and the flags are hoisted into the air."

Date: 2007-04-24 04:49 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
"I'd like that."

He keeps pace beside her, the tall graceful girl who rode so well and who felt so deeply for her people.

"Though I haven't any idea of how often I may soon come to the woods. We sail at dawn in one week, and it isn't likely we'll sight land for some time."

He's almost wistful, but the urge to be aboard the Treader, to weigh anchor and run with the tide runs through his blood like rich wine, bright and warm.

All the same, he isn't terribly worried. The wood is magic, after all--and magic has a way of bringing you back to it once you are part of a place.

Date: 2007-04-24 05:02 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Until the waves grow sweet and sky and water meet.

Aye, if the Dryad spoke true.

"We sail East, lady, as far as our ship will carry us and as long as the winds will blow us--or until we find the very edge of the world."

He half-turns to her as they walk along, and smiles at the question. "I made an oath, you see, to find seven friends of my father who my uncle had exiled, and they were sent out over the Eastern Sea. That is my first reason, and I thought if I were to find them all I might count my voyage complete--until my dear friend Reepicheep told me of the prophecy spoken over him by a Dryad, a wood-woman, while he was still in his cradle. It speaks of finding the Utter East itself, and he has sworn not to rest until he has reached it. We sail with him as far as we may."

Date: 2007-04-24 05:15 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]

He shakes his head. "None. There are few enough sailors among Narnians these days, and none of the seven lords ever returned to tell us if they reached so far. Some say that the ocean ends and drops off in a mighty fall; others say that the end is too far for Man to reach. There are those who say we might even find Aslan's Country there."

Though the words are calm and cheery, he feels the familiar flaring joy, thinking of the great Lion, and for a moment the sun seems brighter, the air clearer and the scent of grass and woodland sweeter.

Date: 2007-04-24 05:32 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
There's enough caution in her question--caution that is not aimed directly at him--that Caspian blinks at her in surprise, not a little pleased that she seems concerned for his welfare.

Still, she looks worroed, and while he thinks she needn't be, he nods and tries to explain.

"'Tis a chance, of course, and it's possible we never will reach the edge, or even come close to it, or find even one of the seven lords. We might have to turn back, if our food or water won't last us as long as we hope, or if foul weather comes up. Never fear, lady, we will return home again. I would not abandon Narnia, even for the Utter East."

Date: 2007-04-24 10:23 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
He takes the crust, but there was something troubling about her prior words and about her fleeting optimism.

"Thank you," he says, and whether it is for the crust of tart, the well-wishes or this visit itself remains unsaid.

Sorely sniffs and lips at his hand, and once the treat is gone Caspian runs his hand under the mane. "Would you?" He turns to her, hand still on Sorely's neck, and smiles. "I'd like very much knowing that you are thinking of us during the voyage."

Date: 2007-04-26 01:39 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
"I would like, aye."

The thought of Marian thinking well of him--of them, that is, of the voyagers--suffuses Caspian with simple pleasure. He can feel the warmth of it creepiing up his neck and into his face.

"Thee are very kind, lady, to do so. For someone you've only just met, I mean," he adds, glancing over at her while Sorely, untied and following behind him, nudges at his shoulder with a soft nose, companionably.

Date: 2007-04-26 01:58 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
"Nay, it is not too bold." And to tell the truth, he rather likes the way Marian speaks her mind, alternately wistful and dreaming, quick and bright. It's refreshing, after the ladies who visit him in court at Cair Paravel, nice enough though they are.

He swings up into the saddle and Sorely prances, rested and questioning, mouth moving at the bit. "Had we met under different circumstances, I'd have thought you a native of Narnia for certain--but that isn't what you mean, is it?" Even though it's true. With her dark hair and fair skin, she could easily be a daughter of the Telmarines who had remained--or a maid of Archenland, mayhap, one who loves the woods and the mountains."

Date: 2007-04-26 02:13 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
"It is, very different."

Might it be that the pools of the wood were mirrors, held up to different worlds to show their far-off twins? As a child, Caspian had ever felt cut off and alienated from those he knew as his only family, even from those whom all said were his people.

He hadn't felt at home until he was hurled as by a wind into the wild joy on the Dancing Lawn; not until he had fled the castle he had grown up in.

But he knows his own story; it is Marian's he is interested in hearing. "You seemed well-loved in the fairgrounds," he says, gently, keeping Sorely at a walk next to his mistress and her mount. "Why do you feel so?"

Date: 2007-04-26 02:33 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
"Lady," says Caspian, who has never truly learned the art of thinking deeply before speaking his mind, "your free speech is only another of your charms, and those who would silence you would do better to keep a greater hold on their own mouths. I take it those you speak of now are the men who took power once your kind was gone?"

He hadn't liked the silence, but what Marian tells him might even be worse. It is horribly frustrating to listen to accounts of a lady of his acquaintance being insulted or pushed aside, and unable to do anything at all about it besides try to cheer her or listen to her as best he can.

Those men, he thinks, are fools.

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