MFB50: Edmund Hatches Another Plan

Peter only barely restrained himself from running out to meet the returning party, which would have been a rather un-High-King-like thing to do, but he could not help beaming with joy to see his brother wave at him as Phillip cantered up the grassy knoll to the gate. When Peter noticed the sling in which Edmund’s other hand was cradled, however, his grin immediately disappeared.

“What on earth happened to your arm?” he demanded as soon as Edmund was within earshot, before Phillip had even come to a complete halt.

“It’s nothing; in fact it’s mostly healed already, but Galen the Centaur – he’s the chap who tended it – made me promise to not use this arm for a few more days yet. And it’s not really my arm that’s hurt, just the back of my shoulder, and for heaven’s sake don’t look at me as though I nearly got myself killed! It was only one Harpy, and Per and all the Fauns and Satyrs were with me.”

“Harpy!” Peter exclaimed as Edmund adroitly stepped out of the saddle and down to the ground. “Where? What happened? Did you kill it?”

“Of course; although I did wish you were there with us,” Edmund admitted, extricating his right arm from the sling before throwing both arms about Peter’s neck. “It was all rather horrid, but we did what needed to be done. I just wish I’d heard about it sooner so we could have dealt with her before she killed so many of our people; but at least it’s over and done now.”

Peter had automatically returned his brother’s embrace and, upon hearing the weariness seep into Edmund’s voice as he recounted his ordeal, he hugged him in a crushing grip. Luckily his arms were about Edmund’s waist, far from his wound, so the tightness only filled his younger sibling with warmth and happiness.

“Well, I’m glad you’re back now,” Peter mumbled into Edmund ear as their cheeks pressed together.

“Are you sure you don’t want a drop of my cordial?” Lucy asked, reminding them of her presence as well as that of all the other Creatures who had come to the gate to welcome the travelers home.

“No need, Lu – like I said, it’s mostly healed. Per has been dressing it for me morning and night, just like Galen showed us, and the skin’s completely grown over. I just have to wait for the muscles to knit together properly.” After Peter reluctantly released him, Edmund hugged his sister with unfeigned fondness. “The cordial should be saved for more dire injuries. But thanks for the offer. I say, have you grown taller since I left?”

“I don’t know. Have I?” Lucy asked her brothers, smiling with pleasure.

“I think you must have,” Edmund said as Susan ran up to them.

“Oh, Ed! We’ve missed you so!” she cried and hugged him, but he winced when she touched his shoulder.

“Ow! Sorry, Su – I was injured in battle,” he told her with a wry grin. “I don’t want you to make a fuss, but it does still hurt right there…”

“Oh! I’m so sorry. What happened?”

So of course he had to tell the whole story from the beginning again, and what with unloading the Horses and greeting everybody and having to find their bags of dirty laundry to hand over to Mrs. Dumplesugar (who insisted on getting started on them right away) and sitting down in the garden for some cold drinks, you may imagine how often he was interrupted and had to go back to start over, sometimes forgetting where he was in the story. And Per was asked for his version of events, too, and the Horses and Mr. Tumnus had their pieces to add, then Edmund remembered to tell his siblings how the Beavers missed them and were expecting them all to visit in the near future.

Peter simply drank in the sight of his brother as Edmund told them about the tribe of Talking Mice they had discovered at the Stone Table (much to the delight of the girls) and noted how Edmund seemed to have grown up a good deal during his short trip away from the castle. It was a balm to his soul to see his love happy and content, relating all of his adventures with animation. Even though his arm was in a sling, Peter was relieved to have Edmund home, safe and relatively sound.

‹‹‹‹‹ ж ›››››

After dinner, which Felicity and the other cooks made into a special feast to celebrate the return of the younger king and his retinue, the two queens insisted that Edmund and Per take their turn in the bath first. Peter agreed as a matter of course, then realised that it offered the perfect opportunity to inspect his brother’s injury without the danger of falling into the same temptation as had assaulted him before, since they would be in Per’s company also. So he asked his sisters if they would mind very much letting him go in with the other boys, to which they answered of course not, and a few minutes later he stood with a set of clean clothes in his hand and knocked on the door of the bathroom. Mr. Griswold opened it.

“I thought I would take my bath with them,” he explained to the somewhat surprised Otter.

“Peter!” Edmund cried, a brilliant smile spreading across his freckled face. “Did you come to join us?”

“Yes – if it’s all right with you, old chap.”

“Of course it is!”

Peter trained his eyes on his brother’s shoulder to prevent them from wandering elsewhere.

“Let me have a look at that wound, Ed. I see it’s still red and tender… Does it hurt much to move it?”

“Not as much as it used to,” Edmund replied, lifting his arm gingerly. “I shan’t be able to do any sword practise for a while, but it seems to be coming along well enough.”

“Good,” Peter said with a sigh of relief. “Thanks for looking out for him, Per. I’m sure glad you were with him to keep him out of worse mischief.”

“‘Mischief’!” Edmund interjected indignantly. “I was only doing what you would have done if you’d been there instead. But you’re right about Per keeping me from getting hurt any worse – he’s the one who warned me of the Harpy’s second set of claws, and just in the nick of time, too!”

“Oh, really?” Peter asked, turning a warm smile on Per, who blushed and squirmed as Edmund recounted the gruesome details of their fight with the monster (which he wisely hadn’t done in front of the girls). Peter washed his brother’s back while listening, trying to picture the battle scene rather than imagining what it would feel like to walk his lips across Edmund’s smooth skin. He approved of Edmund’s decision to bury the cave with rubble and to lay the bones of the murdered Beasts to rest in the meadow, and he was impressed with the inscription the younger king had commissioned the Dwarfs to carve on the cliff.

“You seem to have thought of everything,” Peter told him with undisguised pride. “I’d pat you on the back if you weren’t hurt there.”

“Golly, Peter – I should hope I could do that much for our people, especially after what they had to endure! But turn around and pass me the soap; you haven’t washed at all yet.”

Peter felt a momentary unease, concerned that his brother might touch him inappropriately as he had done once before during a bath, but his worries were unfounded. They spent the next half hour scrubbing the dirt of travel off of the two younger boys, although by all accounts, the High King noted to himself, they were fast growing into hardy young men and warriors.

‹‹‹‹‹ ж ›››››

While the girls took their turn in the bath, the boys settled into the den, gathering on the comfortable chairs by the window. Per ran down the balcony to his room to fetch the poultice which Galen had given them and, under Peter’s watchful eye, applied a liberal amount to Edmund’s shoulder before binding it with fresh linen bandages. They helped Edmund put his loose nightshirt back on so he wouldn’t strain his injury, then put their feet up on the footstools and gazed out at the ocean. The sun had begun to sink in the western sky, casting the shadow of the castle on the darkening waters below; further out, however, the dancing waves caught the light and shimmered as they crested and rolled in toward the beach in myriad shades of blue, green, and blue-green. Edmund sighed contentedly.

“By Jove, it’s good to be home again! Not that staying with the Beavers isn’t like going home, too, in a different way, but I’d almost forgotten how good it is to look out at the sea. Peter, do you remember the time Dad took us to the beach on holiday?”

“I sure do; I’m surprised you remember it, though – you were quite young at the time. Lucy was barely walking…”

“Oh, I remember – she didn’t like the feeling of the sand between her toes,” Edmund laughed. “She got used to it right away, didn’t she? Or she was too excited to see the water coming in to mind much.”

Peter smiled fondly at the memory. “Yes, but Su and I had to hold her hands so she wouldn’t fall over, since she was still pretty unsteady on her feet. Golly, that seems like ages ago…”

“Like a whole lifetime ago,” Edmund agreed, “especially the way she’s growing.” He felt a pang in his chest – much like the stinging of bees he had suffered so often before, only sharper – as he wondered whether Peter’s affection for her had grown as well. He tried to push that thought to the back of his mind for now, wishing instead to enjoy the company of his brother as it was afforded him at the moment.

“You seem to have grown a good deal while you were away, too,” Peter remarked, then added, “both of you,” to include Per.

Per had been strangely silent, keeping his gaze fixed on the distant waves, and did not seem to have heard the comment. Edmund observed him and raised his brows meaningfully at Peter.

“Per, did your father ever take you to the sea or someplace on a lark?” Edmund asked, his tone direct enough to penetrate the other boy’s distraction.

Roused out of his reverie and somewhat confused, Per replied, “He took me often into the woods to teach me how to shoot game, my Lord, although we saw no larks – what birds we did see were too small to trouble with. I practised mostly on coneys.”

“Ah. That’s something we must do more of – practise archery, I mean. It would have been a lot safer to shoot down the Harpy from a distance… not that we could have done very well in the dark,” Edmund mused.

“It would be a master marksman to shoot unerringly that high up the cliff, your Majesty. Especially in the dark and with a flying target.”

“True. Although I daresay some of the Centaurs might have given it a try… We could have tempted her to fly low, you know, with some bait. But all in all, I think how we ended up doing it worked well enough.”

“I really do wish I’d been there,” Peter said a tad fretfully. “I’d have tried to talk you into taking the safer route. Or at least, I hope I would have thought of that, rather than let you go into the monster’s lair and get hurt!”

Edmund responded with a short laugh. “Don’t deceive yourself, Peter! You would have gone in, the same as I did, only you would’ve told the rest of us to hang back and stay out of harm’s way or some such rot.”

“That would have been the smart thing to do,” Peter insisted.

“Oh, bother,” Edmund replied without rancor, “don’t let’s start talking about the smart thing to do in such cases, when you know jolly well that we’re neither of us good at it. But I did what needed to be done, Pete; that’s the main thing. And with Per’s help, I managed to get out of it with only a scratch, which was worthwhile for the sake of giving our people the peace of mind that the Harpy wouldn’t trouble them any longer. I only wish we could have done it in time to save the ones who’d been eaten, though, rather than just avenge them…”

Per nodded his agreement wordlessly, and Peter had to acknowledge that his brother and his squire had accomplished all that had been necessary. The three of them turned their attention back out to the Great Sea, upon which the shadow of the cliff stretched ever further with each passing minute, turning the water to a dark, inky blue that would soon reflect the clear night sky. As Peter stifled a yawn, he caught a glimpse of his brother, whose brows were knit together in thought.

“I say, Per,” Edmund began, his tone seemingly ingenuous, “in all the time we’ve been together, I don’t think I’ve ever heard your father’s name.”

“It is not well spoken of in Anvard, my Lord,” the boy hesitantly answered, “but before his fall from grace, he was known as Sir Percivan. I am named after his eldest brother, who died in infancy.”

“Percivan. That’s a good, strong name,” Edmund said. “You should be proud of him. If he did what Lord Bar forced him to do in order to protect you, he was a good father.”

Before Per could respond, Mrs. Dumplesugar and Mrs. Hoppinger entered the room with a cart laden with pastries. Felicity had prepared berry tarts as well as some bite-sized pie puffs filled with rich, sweet cream that melted on their tongues. It was just as well that they set aside the girls’ portions or there might not have been anything left for them at all. Mr. Tumnus (who had insisted on bathing in the laundry tub below) soon joined them for their now nightly ritual of tea.

Since Mrs. Dumplesugar had busied herself with the laundry as soon as they had ridden up to the castle, she had missed out on the stories of their travels, so Edmund retold them all over again with Mr. Tumnus and Per’s assistance. Meanwhile, Peter mulled over his brother’s sudden interest in Per’s father (and his father’s name) as he sipped his chamomile tea.

‹‹‹‹‹ ж ›››››

The girls, when they rejoined them, wanted to inform Edmund and Per about all that had happened during their absence, so it was much later that evening, after the sky had turned to a velvety black sprinkled with a host of glittering stars, that they all turned in. Peter had just settled into bed, lying with his hands clasped under his head, when a light tapping noise came from the pane of the open window.

“Ed?”

“Yeah. I didn’t wake you, did I?”

“No, not at all.”

Edmund slipped into the room as soundlessly as a shadow, then sat on the edge of Peter’s great bed.

“I have an idea,” he began, “but I didn’t want to mention it in front of the others until I knew what you thought of it: I was thinking it might be a good time to knight Per for assisting me in slaying the Harpy.”

“Do you think he’s ready?” Peter asked, not to cast any doubt on his brother’s judgment but rather to confirm it.

“I do. He’s been a right brick ever since he joined us in Anvard, and even though he was white with fright at jumping off of the Flying Horse’s back into the cave, he just gritted his teeth and did it anyway. I only wish I would have thought of it at the time – it would have been nice to knight him there, on the field of battle so to speak; but I also think it would mean a lot to him if you did it, you know, as High King.”

“I would have thought you should be the one to do it.”

Edmund shook his head, although he was barely visible in the darkness. “No, because I’m the knight he’s been a page to. It really ought to be you, Peter – as a courtesy to King Lune, too, since he entrusted us with Per.”

“All right, Ed; if you’re sure about it, I’ve no objections. It sounds like Per was a great help to you, and I hope it will help him feel more at home here.”

“Yes, that’s what I was thinking, too. And I was also wondering if we could give him a new name befitting a knight of Narnia. I know most first sons in Archenland have short names, but maybe something more like his father’s…”

“So he can expunge his father’s bad name, you mean?”

“Yes, exactly! He seemed rather downcast at how poorly his father was regarded in Anvard; I think he might like the chance to redeem his family’s honour.”

“So… if his father’s name was Percivan,” Peter mulled, “he could be Percival, the knight in the Arthurian legend in our own world – or Persifal as it was originally, I believe…”

“I was trying to come up with a good name that sounds Narnian, all during the girls’ stories,” Edmund admitted. “What about ‘Peridan’? Sort of like Captain Meridian, who was born and bred on the Lone Islands, but we could still call him ‘Per’ for short.”

“Hmm… ‘Peridan’… I do like the sound of it, although we should probably ask Per himself what he thinks.”

Edmund nodded. “Of course. He might have some uncle or other relative he’d rather be named after. But if you’re game, I’ll talk to him tomorrow about everything and gauge his reaction.”

“Sounds good, Ed. I say, you have been rather busy, haven’t you?”

Edmund blushed slightly at the teasing tone in Peter’s voice.

“Well, it wasn’t easy being the one in charge all the time,” he countered, then leant over Peter’s supine form to plant a kiss squarely on his forehead. “I can see now that it isn’t easy to be you. Goodnight, Pete.”

“Uh… G–Goodnight, Ed,” Peter managed to stammer out in surprise, just before the slender form of his brother disappeared into the night.


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22 Comments

  1. James

     /  2013/03/02

    oooft just brilliant, you just know how to keep me gripped in suspense

    Reply
  2. C

     /  2013/03/02

    Wow, fifty chapters! This is such a good story. We’re all proud of you. Can’t wait to read more. ❤

    Reply
    • Thank you so much!! A lot of people had already guessed that Per was actually Lord Peridan, but I wanted to make it clear for the 50th chapter. 🙂

      Reply
  3. Alex

     /  2013/03/03

    Oh I love it so much haha. You did it again! Mhm Im such a fan Im SUCH a fan 🙂

    Reply
  4. C

     /  2013/04/12

    How is the next chapter looking? c:

    Reply
  5. normally i avoid stories with an edmund/peter pairing, because it’s quite hard to write while keeping the atmosphere similar. but with your story i found myself utterly captured and unable to not care for the two. it’s just written so beautifully! so thank you very very much for it. kind of gave me back my faith in the narnia fandom.

    Reply
    • Thank you so much! I am hoping to stay in the spirit of true Narnia while stretching the rules just a little so that the two boys can be in love… but my biggest hope is that I can give fans a new taste of the old Narnia we all know and love. Thank you for your lovely review!! 😀

      Reply
  6. C

     /  2013/05/18

    You haven’t abandoned us, have you Thea? oAo Or are you just busy? Also I hope you don’t think I’m nagging. ;n;

    Reply
    • No! I won’t abandon this, it’s just… RL has been very sucky as of late. Sorry…
      Nag away! I need it.

      Reply
  7. Kelsey

     /  2013/05/24

    Is it possible to lovingly nag you? ;w;
    *hugs* I hope things get better for you, just make sure we get a good chapter in the end! XD

    Reply
    • You can and please do! I’m at a sci-fi convention this weekend, which should be lots of fun. But please think of the boys frolicking around the castle until I update. 😉

      Reply
      • Kelsey

         /  2013/05/26

        *lovingly nags* I just imagined them prancing around the castle, naked.
        Oh god..
        That works. XD
        Anyways, have fun!

      • Nekkid!!Prancing!! XD XD XD
        Thanks for the image!!!

  8. sodiumbisulfite

     /  2013/06/03

    So g lad I found the link to this on tumblr! I hope to see an update soon, I literally sat and read through it all in one night – couldn’t ‘put it down’ as they say 😀

    Reply
    • Aww, thanks so much! 😀
      I haven’t been updating it like I should (real life has been a bit hectic) but as I wrote someone else above, please imagine the boys (and girls) frolicking in the beautiful Narnian summer!

      Reply
      • sodiumbisulfite

         /  2013/06/04

        Hey thats alright, I understand 😀
        I’m glad I checked the tumblr tag & found it; not many people ship my ship xx
        I’ll be patient, its more than worth the wait!

      • Aww, thanks! 😀

  9. Daniel Pope

     /  2013/09/21

    This is by far the best story I’ve read in a while.

    Reply

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