The End of this story
After the meal in the great hall had finished, with E.R filling in the Narnians and Archenlanders, on the Pevensies wonderful life on Earth still further. Faith, and E.R. began to discuss matters of importance in private.
“I can never thank you enough for coming to get me, but what aren’t you saying, lover? Because you’re hiding something.” Faith accused her would be rescuer, shutting the door behind them in what was once King Edmund’s study.
“Alright, but you’re not gonna like it.” E.R. sat on the King’s former work table. “My great uncles and aunt died in a god awful train crash in England when they were young. So did everyone else in my grandmother’s family, including her parents and her cousin. Granny Susan was in the States visiting family friends at the time. She came back to New Jersey after her family's funerals and stayed there permanently, there was nothing for her to go back for.”
“Holy crap.” Faith folded her arms and stood silently taking it in. “That just sucks.” Faith like everyone else in Narnia adored the Pevensie family. “And here I was, kinda thinking I’d look Lucy up in her cool old folks home, if we got back to the U.K. Lucy was the nicest chick I’ve ever met. I mean everyone loved her, E.R., Lu was just the best you know?”
“Yeah, from what Granny Susan said, from what I’ve been hearing coming down from Lantern Waste the past five days, everyone loved Great Aunt Lucy.” E.R. sighed sadly. “So how could I tell everyone just then, she died at seventeen? And newsflash, I don’t wanna be a king in Knightworld amusement park, Faith. And it has nothing to do with me being a republican.”
“Huh, why would you be…?” Faith jerked her head up working it out. “My god, you’re the direct heir to the Narnian throne on this world. Or would you be?”
“Uh huh, my older brother and my dad both drowned in a fishing trip two years ago. I tell you, my family’s had its share of tragedies just like any I guess.” E.R. explained. “And the Narnians’ are heading for a civil war. They’re clutching at straws.”
“Tell me about it. I’ve spent the last three evenings breaking up fights between Red and Black Dwarfs in taverns, the little douche bags can deliver a painful kick, and they bite. Still, slayer healing, not a problem, huh?” Faith unfolded her arms and began to pace the room. “I kinda want to stick around in a way, help out King Lune here. Never saw myself as a UN peacekeeper, but the good fight manifests itself in freaking strange ways. How come you ended up in Lantern Waste?”
“It’s where the god Aslan first created life on Narnia. Where the Professor and Polly Plummer first came to Narnia. I wish… I’ve always wanted to meet Aslan. You haven’t, you said?” E.R. fiddled with a paper weight on the King's desk, feeling a fool. Ever since childhood E.R. longed with his all his heart to meet the great lion face to face.
“Sorta, when I first got here, he was beside me, arguing with Tash about my soul. Creepy huh? I mean what gave Top Cat the right? He isn’t my god.” Faith felt definite about that. “Sounding deep and meaningful, I’ve never thought about religion so much, since crash landing in the Calormen western desert. And I’m a Catholic, E.R., I mean hey at the moment I’m using Vatican Roulette as a birth control method and not through freaking choice.”
“I wondered when I ever got to you, if you’d have two point five kids by that time.” E.R. grinned at her.
“Christ, any day possibly. This wise-woman Mesuline, you’ve heard?” Faith waited for E.R. to nod affirmation. “Yeah, if she doesn’t have herbal shit that can prevent the patter of little feet, who freaking does in this country? It’s yet another reason for me to get the hell outta this world. But not without Emeth.”
“They could make a movie.” E.R. raised his eyebrows teasingly at her. “‘Not without my hell dimension boyfriend’. Hey, do you know the world is flat here?”
E.R. woke up in his bed chamber the next sunrise, with an excited feeling in his heart. His journey from Lantern Waste to Cair Paravel took him throughout Narnia, to the places his grandmother lovingly described to him. Narnia was a beautiful country and the inhabitants for the most part good and simple.
He didn’t want the burdensome responsibility of being a king, how did King Lune describe being a king again? “To be first in every desperate attack and last in every desperate retreat, and when there’s hunger in the land to wear finer clothes and laugh louder over a scantier meal than any man in the land.” Fuck that idea and the horse it rode in on. E.R. was both brave and good, he wouldn’t have tried to rescue Faith otherwise, wouldn’t have trained to be a Watcher, but he didn’t feel up to being a king in a medieval society.
The previous night he spent patrolling the streets of Cair Paravel with Faith and Emeth, breaking up potential riots before they started. King Lune was considering imposing a curfew, something not practiced in Narnia since the bad old days of the White Witch’s rule.
Narnia was meant to be free, and his grandmother’s family always helped the country out when called upon Aslan to do so. E.R. got dressed in the Narnian garments laid out for him. Clean and fresh, comfortable, they made him feel as if he was about to quote Romeo’s balcony scene. The garments belonged formerly to Peter. The two men were the same build and height.
Strolling around the palace grounds brought E.R. face to face with Mesuline. The witch leaned gloomily over a parapet in a tower, watching the grey autumn sea crash upon the cliff face below.
“Thinking of jumping?” E.R. leaned easily beside her. He had met Mesuline the previous evening. The young woman occupied an uneasy position in the palace.
King Lune was not a supporter of the idea her unborn child should be the future ruler of Narnia. The Archenland King believed firmly in the law. As Mesuline and Peter were not married, the child Mesuline carried did not have a right to claim the Narnian throne in his opinion. But the centaurs were insisting she stay within the confines of the palace.
“Nay, of perhaps possibly climbing down and escaping. They want to take my baby away, I’ve heard them. The centaurs say my child will be Queen someday.” Mesuline pulled a stand of hair from her golden tresses and dropped it over the edge to see the wind direction. “It takes away the customary surprise, to know already the life inside me is female.”
“It’s a long way down, you might fall.” E.R. cautioned her.
“Haven’t you heard off worlder? The imps and demons I reputedly consort with would catch me.” Mesuline grimaced angrily. “This is my own entire fault. I knew I risked this happening to me when I lay with the High King, but I was lonely and him comely. I never knew he would send for me afterwards. And I began to care for Peter from the moment in which we first met. He married on his world you say? Was she fair?”
“I never saw photos, uh portraits.” E.R. felt a complete heel. Why did he lie? Was it truly to spare the Narnians grief or himself? “I’m sure she couldn’t have been as pretty as you. It’s not right if they take your child from you.”
“Who will defend and protect me? Everyone mistrusts me for being a witch.” Mesuline drew the wool cloak she was wearing, closer to her for warmth.
“Witches’ can be good.” E.R. confided. “Not many in my personal experience, however much they like to kid themselves. In my country people didn’t like witches. But they misinterpreted something that was written. What is wrong is to try and speak to the dead. You don’t do that do you?”
“Nay.” Mesuline quickly denied. She went red before blurting out. “I have been trying since I was a small girl in Archenland, to turn lead into gold in a self serving way, but I have never succeeded.”
“Well that would be very bad indeed, honey, you could crash the freaking economy.” E.R. reprimanded the young woman sternly. “That’s what I mean, all witches are basically on the take. They wouldn’t get into magic if they weren’t.”
“And you are as honorable as all your family were?” Mesuline hung her head in shame.
“No I’m not. But I can see…” E.R. saw his hard path ahead most clearly. “You know how Narnians referred to my grandmother as ‘Queen Susan the fair’? I hope I’m not gonna go down in Narnian history as King Regent Eustace the liar.”
Faith and Emeth bade farewell to the inhabitants of the court of Narnia that night. Faith wished she could have said good bye to Hee in person. But perhaps it was for the best Hee was in Lantern Waste with his family and Hwin. Hee and Emeth made each other uncomfortable.
Faith was kissed and hugged by several people in parting, but Emeth stood aloof from it. Faith realized it was none too soon to get Emeth out of the North, it quietly was destroying him inside, to feel a traitor every day to Calormen.
Faith carried securely a letter on her person, that E.R. had written to his mother and sister, explaining his decision to stay in Narnia.
“You’re lucky you never got to be my watcher to be real honest, E.R., I mean my first one died and I tortured the second.” Faith kissed the new King Regent on the cheek. “Good luck.”
“You tortured your watcher?” Emeth kept his tone even. “I would like to hear about that, oh sweet one, in specific detail.” He put his arm around Faith’s waist firmly.
“Trust me you wouldn’t, but yeah I’ll tell you when we’re back on Earth. Not my finest moment. Ready?” Faith held out her hand, ready to touch the yellow ring set before them on an ivory inlaid table. This was Mr. Tumnus’s idea. The faun liked ceremony for important occasions.
“But of course.” Emeth’s face betrayed his excitement. He had always been profoundly interested in Faith’s world, and was looking forward most keenly to traveling in an aeroplane and an automobile.
“One, two, three.” Faith and Emeth touched the rings simultaneously. The next thing they both knew was that a soft green light was shining above them. They were under water, they both broke through to the surface and scrambled ashore, their clothes dripping wet.
“Wow, look at all the Guinea Pigs.” Faith drawled as if stoned. For the green woodlands contained a multitude of trees, pools and guinea pigs. Faith had never seen so many guinea pigs. She felt very relaxed it was the influence of the place. Nothing seemed to matter here.
“Do these rodents eat meat?” Emeth inquired immediately, kicking an inquisitive one out of his path lethargically. The Guinea Pig squeaked indignantly and shuffled off quickly.
“No, baby, when we get to Earth just don’t kick Guinea Pigs okay?” Faith hugged him reassuringly. Although not sadistic, Emeth’s attitude to animals was often very callous. Faith knew he had been working on it in Archenland. Emeth was fortunately quick on the social uptake.
“As you wish, Faith. You will tire of being my guide in your customs I fear. You grew impatient explaining the rules of Grid Iron to me.” Emeth suddenly said to her, withdrawing stiffly from her warm embrace.
“Hey, that’s just me. Hell, there will be loads of guys who won’t be able to contain themselves helping you out understanding them. Do you wanna go back, because this is your last chance?” Faith snapped out of her dreamy sense of being. She didn’t want Emeth to leave her but she felt she had to be fair.
“Do you want me to return?” Emeth asked in turn, the magic of the rings had unnerved him. “Did you wish me to accompany you out of misplaced pity for me?”
“I love you, dumbass. More than anyone and if you go back, I’ll just jump back in the fucking pool too, because I want to be with you anywhere. Even a world without Frappes.” Faith confessed frightened.
“The poets have said…” Emeth began.
“Are you coming to my world or not, for the love of god?” Faith interrupted harshly.
“I’m coming to your world for the love of you, Faith. And I desired to leave the North most strongly. I would have taken this opportunity to see strange and wondrous new things, even if I’d never met you.” Emeth assured her. “Shall we find the pool that leads us to your world?”
“Yeah, you had me worried for a sec.” Faith and Emeth with damp clothes still clinging to them, searched for the nearby tree E.R. previously scored an arrow into with a knife.
“There it is, Faith.” Emeth spotted the marked tree quickly. He also spotted something else padding towards them. He placed his hand on his scimitar. He warned her in a low voice.“Stand still, my sweet, lions attack on movement.”
“Lions? Oh shit!” Faith hissed. She slowly drew out her own straight sword from its scabbard. She preferred Narnian swords, having mainly used a straight sword in combat since being found as a potential at seventeen by her first watcher.
It was the biggest freaking lion Faith had ever seen, and it smelled good.
“So what do you want, Top Cat?” Faith folded her arms and leaned insolently on the tree, that marked where the pool to Earth led. “Get up, Emeth, will you?”
For Emeth had flung himself prostrate on the ground before Aslan. “All my life I was wrong.” Emeth whispered, humbled by the lion’s magnificence and aura of stern goodness. “I am so sorry, Lord Aslan.”
“Oh get up!” Faith ordered her lover impatiently. “It’s just a lousy hell god, kitty cat’s not worth two cents compared to the real thing.”
“The real thing, daughter of Eve?” Aslan sounded neither angered or amused by Faith’s rudeness, merely interested. “I thought you sometimes doubted your god’s love for you?”
“It’s real rude to talk about people’s politics and religion on my world.” Faith sneered. “Remember that, Emeth,” she shot as an aside to an awed Emeth still on the ground.
“Would you tell him to get up already?” This, she snapped at Aslan.
“All the service Emeth performed that was good in Tash’s name, I counted it as done for me, now he realizes this, he chooses to express his newfound love for me thus, every one has free will. I love also you, daughter of Eve.” Aslan’s rich voice would melt the hardest of hearts but not Faith’s.
“I don’t give a crap if you do or not!” Faith shouted at the lion, disturbing the leafy tranquility of the wood. She couldn’t believe she sounded near hysteric. “I don’t love you and I don’t love my god either, because he definitely does not love me!”
“Why do you say that?” Aslan asked her sincerely.
“Because…” Faith gulped like a child, and her eyes filled with tears that she dashed away. “Putting aside my living hell growing up with a bad mommy, and Larry when I was only fuckin' sixteen and couldn’t do anything to stop him. What about Robin? Huh, answer me that, you stupid lion! Go on answer me that,” she hissed at Aslan with hatred. “Why did Robin have to die?”
“Faith stop!” Emeth rose to his feet to try and silence her. Faith shook him off easily.
“I know who you are now.” Faith looked at the lion fearlessly. “Why? Come on why? Answer me for fucks sake. I mean here you are in the flesh, in this stupid incarnation. Why, I want an answer, why Robin?”
“You can’t command me. I command you.” Aslan still did not sound angry, his tone was more sorrowful than angry.
“In your dreams.” Faith spat angrily.
“Faith stop, my love, please stop.” Emeth begged her, attempting to hold her still. “If you love me as you claim, stop.”
Faith detached him in a gentler fashion than before.
“No, just because I love Emeth more than I loved Robin, and if Robin were still alive...” Faith began to rage at Aslan once more. “Oh what, is this everything has a fuckin' purpose?”
Aslan remained silent, gazing at Faith without breaking eye contact. There were great shining tears in his eyes, and for a moment Faith almost felt that Aslan was sorrier about Robin than she was. For a mere moment.
“The only purpose that you brought me to Narnia for, was to set up a Pevensie as a patsy.” Faith said bitterly. All her life Faith thought she came second best to people. She even in her darkest moments wondered if Robin would have preferred Buffy to her, as the rest of the Universe seemed to.
Aslan shook his mane with the first sign of impatience. “Do you truly believe that to be the only reason, oh daughter of Eve?”
“Well why then?” Faith pouted sulkily. She finally allowed Emeth to put his arm around her. “I’m not commanding, I just wanna know why.” She hesitated, and then in a small voice asked politely. “Please?”
“So that you might know me better and seek to know me better yet on your own world, and to realize that I always have loved you, never more than when you thought I loved you not at all.” Aslan breathed his rich breath on Faith’s face.
“I’ll think it over.” Faith replied guardedly. “I haven’t quite made up my mind totally yet.”
Emeth wiped the nervous sweat off his brow with relief. He feared Aslan would eat Faith at any second, angered at her foolhardy defiance of the obvious. Aslan was not a tame lion.
“But I also want the rings.” Aslan said matter of factly. “They are not how I wish people to come to the worlds, I and the Emperor over the seas created. And daughter of Eve, you know too many people who would be tempted to use the rings for ill.”
“You’re not gonna leave us here with the Guinea Pigs?” Faith panicked. She breathed deeply and had faith. “You wouldn’t do that to us.” She and Emeth placed the four rings on the ground at Aslan’s feet.
“No.” There was finally a hint of amusement in Aslan’s voice. “You need no rings when I’m with you.”
Faith and Emeth were both hanging on with rapt attention to every word Aslan spoke. All at once the great lion's face blurred into a sea of gold they found themselves floating in. A sea so tranquil, good and sweet, that for the rest of their lives they remembered it. And if they ever felt discouraged, and in Faith’s line of work there were to be many of these times, they both recalled the golden sea, and gathered the strength from the memory to carry on fighting for good.
The next minute they both tumbled onto the Persian rug in Giles living room.
Giles had a raised mug of cocoa to his lips, watching ‘Foreign Correspondent’ on the television set.
“Good Lord!” Giles greeted their unexpected arrival. “Faith, you’re back. Who’s this you’ve brought with you and where’s Montello?”
Two months later Faith and Emeth married in a small Maltese Catholic church. Robin Wood, an Episcopalian, had found the rigmarole he had to go through, to marry Faith in a Roman Catholic Church ridiculous in the twenty first century.
But Emeth fully converting to Roman Catholicism from his former worship of Tash, almost made the rotund parish priest faint at Emeth’s description of his former religious rituals.
Back in Narnia, Hee married Hwin and the two were most happy together for the rest of their long lives.
Mesuline died in childbirth and E.R. who made an incorruptible King Regent, was known as King Regent Eustace the Incorruptible, much to the former Watcher’s great relief. He raised the baby to be a fine young woman, cheerfully handing over the reins of power to the young queen named Swanwhite when she turned eighteen. E.R. married a dryad and had six children.
Faith and Emeth had two children together, a boy and a girl. Faith never, ever felt she came second best with Emeth. Emeth never did learn the rules of Grid Iron, but he became obsessed with football and joined a Maltese amateur team. Faith and the kids would watch him play every Saturday. And every Sunday, come hail or high water, Faith would drag the whole family off to church, in order to get to know someone better. THE END