Narnia: Return of the Witch (Private).
It was strange, how much she missed it.
The crowded streets, the smell of the sea, and the white sands. It all vanished under her nose in a night's time. She could still feel her bare feet on the soft sand around the eastern shore, feel the ocean lapping madly at her toes. Her place was warm, warm and inviting. It made the princess smile, looking out the window of the rattling coach. Part of her suspected that she'd never return to that land of warm oceans and bright white castles, of elegant spires that threatened to touch every star in the sky. Mathias was no longer in her control, and after years of complaining of how quiet it was, she never realized just how much she would miss it now.
She was gone from it's shores now, a shaky boat bringing her to the western shore. The coup drove her from her homeland to that of Narnia, a magical place that bore quite a few old memories for her. There was much more green in this land than back at home, an old magic that coated each and every rock like sugar. More than once, on their rush to find the castle, she saw an animal walking upright in the broad daylight, or having tea with another animal over a roaring fire. Something in her would take time to grow used to the sight of magical animals...depending on how long she would have to stay.
She shuddered, and clutched her father's silver blade.
Suddenly, the carriage was pulled to a stop. Her bodyguard, bless his heart, was off the carrage in seconds, standing in front of the door.
"What is the nature of your intrusion?" an unfamiliar voice asked. "You approch the castle Car Paravell, and will speak your business."
"Please, we are from the island Mathias," her bodyguard said. "We are allies, age old allies from Caspian the first; I seek the safety of Narnia for the fate of the royal family."
"Safety from what?"
"The island has fallen to rebels!" The bodyguard said, "The king and his wife are captured, and the usurpers have control of the island-:
"Than who is it you are escorting?" the voice, apparently that of a centaur, demanded.
"Their heir," Celine said from inside. "Who else?"
Having enough of this tug around, Celine pushed the door open. She stepped out into the open, her fancy dress more than a little ripped, and tilted her chin up, red hair catching on her shoulder.
"I realize that we sailed her, and arived without any warning or clearance," she said, calmly, "but we...I am in danger, and my home is gone...I need help, and I know not where else to turn. If you cannot aid me, at least allow me one night of shelter."
Caspian's sword was drawn, it swished through the air, and landed against his opponents blade with a clank that echoed like a bell through the marble halls and forums of the castle Cair Paravel. King Caspian's breath was ragged, labored, his brow covered with sweat. His legs ached as he leap to avoid the next blow. Yet, his face was smiling, jolly, he didn't cry out when he nearly tripped over a decorative bust-carving, he giggled.
Caspian felt no threat nor danger in his castle. It was his home, his fortress, his playground.
True he was king now, and he had seen war, faced and defeated evil. But he was still young, full of mirth and adventure, tempered by his experience but hardly deflated. Caspian wished to see the world, and perhaps others someday...
He dodged behind a pillar, his opponents curved blade sparked as it struck the stone. "I've not had such a good spar since King Edmund and Peter were here!" They chased one another from room to room, down the hall. His opponents face didn't' smile, but neither did it frown. That dark face was also covered in sweat, but it's expression was calm, carefully controlled even as he labored to best the king.
They were by the front foyer when the doors burst open. A flurry of activity, a woman with long flaming hair barged into the palace. She was facing the guards, scolding him for his insolence... and rightly so it seemed.
"Danger?" Caspian dropped his sword in an instant. He was wearing a tunic of royal blue, his dark wavy hair touched was wild from his sparring match, but settled gently around his shoulders. "You need help?" He stepped toward the girl, his curiosity caught.
At the sound of his kings voice, the gruff Guard, red faced, knelt to the ground. "Your highness!" He touched his fist to his heart and lowered his head respectfully, hiding his ashamed face under a veil of brown hair. This guard had served king before, though he knew that Caspian was a much different king, yet, the old soldiers old habits and methods persisted.
"Anyone who has come to us for help shall receive it. I pray that Aslan has taught us all that much at least." He crossed the foyer toward the girl, and when she turned to him, he would blink. "Pardon our manners My Lady. I am King Caspian, please, you are welcome certainly welcome for the night, and more thereafter. Tell me of your---" Something in her face, her eyes, stopped Caspian short. There was something so familiar about her. "Pardon, My Lady, but you remind me of... Celine! Is it truly you!"
Without thinking, the King reached out to embrace his childhood friend. Her red hair touched his cheek and smelled of the sea. They had been the same age, and as children she had been the taller of the two, but now she fit easily in his arms, she was now tucked snugly under his chin.
He felt so foolish. "Forgive me that I did not know you! It as been so long! I meant to make a journey to your kingdom once everything settled down... yet... I am learning that 'settled down' is a relative term... Yet... you say now that you are in danger?" He had been so happy to see her, he nearly forgot her plight. He noticed her torn dress, her pale weary expression.
He stepped back, Caspian's dark brows knit together. "What has happend? You say your home is gone?"
"Your Highness." Caspian's sparring partner had held back through this entire exchange, but had not put his sword away at his belt until this very moment. He bowed slightly, respectfully as he spoke. "The princess is weary from her journey, perhaps she better tell her tale over a warm meal or after a hot bath."
This one would be a stranger to Celine. He had dark skin, short pale hair that fell around his striking lapis-blue eyes. He was dressed like a Narnian, yet, a black tattoo coiled up his left cheek, like a squids arm. He spoke to Caspian, but his gaze was fixed upon the girl.
"Yes... Thank you Lysander, you are quite right. Bid them prepare a feast, and the rooms for Princess Celine and her company."
Lysander bowed, but only a few inches, and left the Kings side to deliver his orders.
"Celine, I beg your forgiveness, I am not thinking clearly... Please, come with me, you and yours shall find shelter and care here."
The red-head had been expecting to see her old friend, but still hadn't been ready for what she saw. Her mind held the picture of a seven-year old boy, face still round with childish physique, and hair a mess of twigs and dirt. What stood before her was a young man, with lean build and dark, waving hair complemented a handsome face. The one thing that hadn't changed were his eyes, who were still bright and adventurous.
She wasn't given much time to think over the stranger, or her old friend, as she was offered room and board, something she had been desperately hoping for.
Her and Jonathan, her bodyguard, were escorted to their new chambers, where more shock awaited the princess. She'd been expecting maids to take care of her needs, jut like last time, and was met instead with a female badger. The badger smiled warmly, offering her paw.
"Why don't we get you cleaned up deary?" she said. "I have the hot water ready, and we found a spare dress or two from the previous queens. You'll look bright and presentable in no time."
One bath, one new dress, and one hot meal later, Celine was feeling much more like herself. The dress the badger spoke of was of a pale green color, with long billowing sleeves, gold filigree at the elbows, and velvet rouching around the waist. It was a work of art, one that she would have to appreciate later. The one downside was her father's blade, still stubbornly strapped around her waist. The Lion handle, resembling Aslan, glinted in the light.
She was guided by the guards, mice of all things, into a large study. The floor was lined with several Narnian rugs, tapestries on the walls depicting the history of the country. The red-head drew herself to the book shelf as the most boisterous of the mice, who introduced himself as Reepicheep, bowed.
"His majesty should join you shortly," he added. "Along with his other guest."
"Thank you," Celine said, plucking a novel the shelf. She turned down and smiled. "You've been a delight, you know. I wish half the men back home had been nearly as chatty."
Home... the word made her shoulders sag, and the smile momentarily vanish from her face.