Apr. 15th, 2006


Apr. 15th, 2006 12:33 am
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“Listen, o my daughter, to your mother, for I am soon for the next world, and shall not be here to teach you later the lessons you must learn.

“Years ago, when you were only so tall as your father’s knee, the land to the north was covered in ice and snow and hostile, for the great god Tash was displeased with it. Its inhabitants had refused to make him sacrifice, and so he sent a servant to punish them for their insolence. And it came to pass that while our own land prospered, for we remembered our place, theirs grew colder, to the point where those who had not fled froze like statues, and the only living creatures that remained were demons of the most vicious sort.

“In their blasphemy, one, in the form of a Lion, a great monster with teeth longer than a scimitar, rose up against the servant, and in her mercy Zardeenah, Lady of the Night, did reach out and take the servant home. All manner of unholy spells, the great cat cast, to make the North warm, against Tash’s will, and when he was done he took what remained of the ice and snow and formed two men and two women from it, their skin sickly pale, like what they had been created of, and said, “Now then, o my children, I shall give you this land, and you shall rule it,” though it was not his to give.

“They began to call themselves kings and queens, and the demons of the land bowed before them, and served them, and even our Tisroc—may he live forever—was forced to give them the titles, for while Tash is powerful, the demon’s magic is as well. Barbarians, all of them, the women more so than the men, none of them have married, despite being well of age. But they are fair to the sight, and bewitch those that see them, and so many have gone to seek the hand of one or another, over the years, o my daughter. It is said that the women amuse themselves by coupling with demons of the land, that the men with spirits of the earth, but they entertain those that come for all that, sometimes more kindly than others.

“O my daughter, and o the delight of my eyes, it was not long ago that a young lord of our land did go to see the youngest queen. She is even fairer than her sister, hair as pale as her skin, and said to be the worst of them, foul-tempered and more like a man in behavior than a lady, even for their country. It is said she is the closest to the cat demon, (though how close or why not even those in Tashbaan can say, o my daughter, be they lovers or she merely devoted or that they have plans for the country the others know not of yet) and perhaps it is for that reason that she is so, a little cat to his lion.

“He was thought wise by our people, my daughter, though perhaps not in this actions, for a leopard is fair to behold, as his father said, but even if you think it tamed it may one day prove you wrong. But he was young, and headstrong, and sought to prove he could do what none had yet and take the snow queen for his own. So he left our land, and the bride his father had hoped he’d choose, and went to the North.

“And when he reached their castle, my child, he was brought in by their demon servants to the courtyard, and saw a servant running barefoot after a small dog and laughing. ‘Girl, you would do well to tend to your mistress, rather than play,’ he said, and the woman stopped and looked at him, and laughed again, as if he were not a lord but a servant himself. O my daughter, he did grab her arm, intending only to be stern, as one must be with servants or slaves, and she pulled a knife from her hip before he could stop her—inhumanly fast, for no human woman could strike a Calormene lord, my daughter, as you well know—and slashed his hand, and when he let go in surprise and cursed, she was still laughing.

“It was the queen he’d come to woo, o my daughter, and when he had discovered this he immediately began preparations to return home. As he left, she came to him again, hair wild and feet still bare, and offered to use the magic the demon had gifted her with to heal his hand. But he had learned the lesson his father had tried to teach him before, o my daughter, and he did not reach out for the leopard a second time. Instead he returned home, and married the bride his father had meant for him. Tash, well pleased to see his blood-line not mix with that of the demons, did gift them with children, and even today his wife is preparing to gift him with another son.

“So remember, o my daughter, my delight and my blood, that the North is dangerous, no matter how pretty their words or faces may seem. Do not suffer as the lord did, for wanting that which was not his. Remember this, and my words, and my face, o my love, and learn these lessons now.”


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Lucy Pevensie, The Valiant

June 2008

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