Faith through the picture
Title : The Slayer, the Lion and the Talking Horse
Author : Kiwikatipo
Rating : F18
Disclaimer : The character of Faith etc belongs to Joss Whedon and Mutant Enemy. The world of Narnia created by the deceased C.S.Lewis.
Summary : Faith ends up in Calormen and runs into Hee the talking horse and Emeth Tarkaan. Eventually she winds up in Narnia and meets the the adult Pevensies. Edmund makes an impact on her. Multiple pairings.
Warning: C.S. Lewis was a great guy who lived in the first half of the twentieth century. Some of his books philosophies reflect this. I strive to replicate his tone of story telling.
Timeline. Autumn 2006 Earth: Faith twenty five. 1014 Narnia: Peter twenty seven, Susan twenty six, Edmund twenty four, Lucy twenty two.
In the shaded woods of the Suffolk countryside, a young woman sobbed her heart out leaning against a tree for support. It is very sweet when you are crying to have someone you love kiss away the tears and put their arms around you. It is very bitter to cry alone, because you are trying to be strong and put a brave face on everything for the person you love most in the world’s sake.
Perhaps that is why the young woman began to punch the rough barked tree instead, screaming and shouting her rage to the heavens. It achieved her outwardly nothing more than bruised bleeding knuckles and a sore throat.
The assault on the innocent oak tree certainly did not cure the woman’s husband’s terminal cancer the source of the woman’s sorrow.
It did however temporarily relieve the young woman’s deep internal rage, over what she perceived to be a fucking unfair situation. Her husband, a decent kindly man, was only thirty-two years of age - the woman seven years his younger. They celebrated merely their second wedding anniversary that year.
Calmed down sufficiently, the woman walked over to her nearby grazing horse and took hold of its reins. She mounted her brown horse competently but not expertly, she first learned how to ride only one year ago. She clicked her tongue and cantered for home.
The young woman arrived at the stables of the boarding school she lived near. Her husband used to be a principal of the school until a few months ago. She gave the horse to the stable groom with a smile. Explaining her hand damage away due to a fictitious fall. The young woman’s childhood gave her much practice in explaining away injuries with lies.
The woman crossed a cobbled lane into the small village located on the outskirts of the boarding school called the Watchers Academy. She walked up to the front door of a small picturesque, if drafty cottage, and let herself inside. The village was so quiet, no one locked their front doors.
The woman called out to her husband and the district nurse. The nurse relieved the woman nursing her dying husband for an hour each day. “Hey pal, I’m home. Get up to no good with Sister Barking?”
“We’re running away together tomorrow. I'm just planning on seeing the final episode of 'Xena' first.” Her husband’s voice came from the bedroom.
The young woman put her chin up, walking into the room in the most sultry manner she could manage, flirting with her husband and nurse alike to make them laugh.
The nurse left soon after the woman’s arrival. The woman curled up on the bed beside her husband, carefully putting her head on his chest, watching the final episode of 'Xena The Warrior Princess' with him. A repeated series, showing every week day at twelve noon during the last two months of his illness.
Her husband loved Greek myths and legends. The woman’s ignorance in the subject before she met him was vast, but her husband a born pedagogue, loved filling in the gaps of her knowledge during advertisement breaks.
“I want you to marry again.” Her husband whispered, during the commercial advertising dishwashing liquid.
The woman took her husband's withered arm, once so strong, and put it around her firmly. “I intend to screw my way through Europe. I never expected to be monogamous with the first guy who boned me when I got out of prison. Three years and it’s only been you in my bed. Don’t know how the fuck that happened.”
“It’s because I’m prettier than you, can’t be my ‘stamina’ anymore. I’m the one surprised you took the ‘in sickness and in health’ crap for real.” The man exerted himself to hold her as closely as he could, despite the tubes in his body.
“Whatever,” The woman kissed her formerly handsome husband softly on his lips. Oblivious to his skeletal features and chemical smelling breath, due to her great love for him. He definitely wasn’t prettier than her now, but he’d never been so cherished in her eyes.
This is the story of the adventures that happened to the young woman in Narnia and Calormen and the lands in between, in the Golden Age when Peter was High King in Narnia and his brother Edmund and his two sisters Susan and Lucy were King and Queens under him.
A week after the last episode of Xena, the young woman whose name was Faith Wood, buried her husband at the local cemetery. A patch of Suffolk now forever New York State.
A month later found Faith staying temporarily in an old acquaintance’s London home.
Faith, a vampire slayer, intended to fly to Malta in three days and begin slaying full time again. Her newly allocated Watcher happened to be an American too. E.R. Montello hailed from Atlantic City, New Jersey. He refused to tell Faith what the E stood for, the R was short for Roberto apparently.
E.R. wanted to be equal partners in their new relationship. The mentor/protégée sitch, not appropriate for slayer and watcher the same age. Faith informed E.R. she intended to call the shots in all decision making and showed him to the door, promising to meet for coffee the next day.
That night Faith shared dinner with her host Rupert Giles in front of the television. Faith admired the painting hung over the fireplace. Picked up in an auction-house in Rome by a graduated trainee of Giles called Andrew Wells, the nineteenth century oil painting depicted an Oasis beckoning across a desert. Giles commented it visually warmed the living room up in winter.
Indian curry finished, Faith proceeded to get dressed to go out with a fellow slayer named Kennedy.
The two slayers spent their evening at a trendy pub. Faith found herself at eleven o’clock making out with a Swedish backpacker, in the pub’s back courtyard. Excusing herself to go to the restroom, intending to buy a condom from the vending machine there, she caught sight of herself in the Ladies mirror.
Hair mussed, clothes askew, lips swollen. Faith wondered what the hell she was thinking? The Swede’s kissing technique lacked skill factor. Guys that couldn’t kiss up to scratch nine times out of ten proved to be a disappointment in the sack, drawing on Faith’s considerable worldly experience. That was the only reason she wasn’t going to bother to go through with this, the only reason. Faith bade an impulsive farewell to Kennedy. A quiet chastened Faith entered the rain slicked streets of Soho, to hail a black taxi cab to take her home.
Alternating between berating and congratulating herself in her mind for not getting it on with Lars from Stockholm, Faith pressed her forehead to the glass of the cab window miserably. She assured the worried Taxi Driver she did not feel like puking for Christ’s sake. Yeah, she realized he would charge her extra if she vomited on the floor of his cab.
Once home Faith scrubbed and scrubbed in the shower. Brushing her teeth with extra venom. She pulled on her white sleep T-shirt, nicely warmed from the electric blanket. A joke present from Robin, her sleepwear bore the warning in black gothic script ‘don’t speak to me until I’ve had coffee’. Giles residence, an old Georgian townhouse with high ceilings could be very cold in autumn.
Faith awoke needing to pee at three in the morning. She slipped on her black fleece bathrobe, Robin’s old oversized one, and shuffled into her sheepskin ugg boots. The house froze her to the bone it seemed, once she left the downy warmth of her bed.
A hurried visit to the lavatory saw Faith progress towards her bedroom once more. A rustling sound came from the living room. A light shone from under the shut door. Weird.
Faith supposed Giles must have fallen asleep in front of the television or something. She opened the door to wake him up.
The living room did not contain Giles. The television and lights were off. The living room was illuminated by the picture over the fireplace. The smell of hot desert air assaulted her nostrils. Huh?
Unable to stop herself, aware curiosity killed the cat, Faith walked over to the glowing picture over the fire place. The picture shone sunlight into the room as if it were mid day.
The picture grew in size or Faith shrank. A gust of strong hot wind sucked her through the ornate frame, landing her on her hands and knees amidst the hot desert sand.
Shit, somehow Faith must have got sucked through a mystic portal into a Hell dimension.
The oasis falsely appeared closer than it turned out to be. Unless it was a damn mirage. Faith trudged wearily towards it. How long she walked she did not know. Three hours maybe, judging by the lowering sun? Her body kept producing sweat. Faith wished it would stop doing that, she couldn’t afford to lose moisture.
Her fleece robe she wore as a head protection. She sank swooning to her knees in the sand. Faith crawled, burning and scraping her knees and palms on the broiling ground. She was so close she couldn’t give up now. She could smell the vegetation, she could smell something…
Obviously she was going to die soon, for heat delirium took hold of her. Or they were real demons, in Faith’s line of work it was hard to tell. Faith’s parched throat made her unable to speak to her new travel companions. Her limbs were now too weak to rise and kill them.
A great golden lion padded beside Faith on her right, he smelled good. Faith’s previous limited experience of lions at the Franklin Park Zoo in Boston on an elementary school field trip, were that big cats were scent free, kind of like upsize tom-cats. But this lion smelled of incense or something beautiful. This compensated for the foul stench of the demon hallucination on Faith’s left.
The gray transparent demon reeked of rotting flesh, it was roughly the shape of a man, a bird's head atop of it, with a cruel curved beak like a hawk or an eagle. It possessed four arms, its hands tipped with bird claws instead of fingernails. It floated above the ground.
“She’s mine, Aslan my eternal foe. She’s a traitor, a murderer, she’s mine.” The gray demon insisted to the lion over Faith’s head.
“Oldest magic, says she’s mine, she’s repented, reformed.” The lion counter argued.
“She can’t stay reformed. She’s basically evil.” The demon sneered
“Basically good.” The lion shook its mane. More delicious reviving scent wafted Faith’s way.
“Evil!” The demon cawed, the smell of carrion making Faith retch.
“The Emperor Beyond The Seas has given all daughters of Eve free will, so it would be wrong of me to interfere, but I think you will find at the end this one’s mine nonetheless.” The lion blew gently on Faith’s face, easing her nausea.
“Mine, as are half these souls arriving now.” The gray demon gloated.
The lion and the demon disappeared. A sharp stone cut into Faith’s palm. She could hear muted hoof beats on the sand behind her. Faith stopped crawling, on the verge of passing out. She lay prone on the ground, her heart beating weakly, her skin clammy. Her swollen throbbing eyes shut against the harsh glare of the afternoon sun. The hoof beats came closer surrounding her.
Faith opened her dilated eyes. Soaked with perspiration, she felt utterly disorientated. Twenty mounted human men, all olive brown complexioned, dark eyed, black bearded, hard bitten, wearing matching Arabian desert garb stared hostilely down at her. The fact the men carried nearly identical weapons to each other made Faith guess they were soldiers, not a men’s choir.
“What’s a Western rebel she-dog doing out here?” A middle aged speaker with gray in his beard, speculated warily.
“Dying.” A young soldier observed dispassionately. “Could be a trap of some kind. I say slit the Western bitch's throat to make sure, then leave her corpse for the scorpions and sand rats, my master.”
“Have not the great philosophers said, ‘Show mercy on occasion and the great god Tash might show mercy on our undeserving selves also?’" A soldier mounted on a dappled gray war horse spoke. He wore a different colored turban to the rest, his filthy clothes seemed slightly more magnificent under the travel stains. He gestured commandingly to one of the soldiers. “Put her on Dradta’s horse. We’ll make her drink at the water hole first, make sure the Western ingrates haven’t poisoned it. Then find out what in the seven hells she’s doing out so far east.”
Frisked first quickly for hidden weapons, Faith was given small sips of salty water from a flask to drink. It restored her electrolyte balance, although she was unaware of the reason for it. Faith found herself hauled unceremoniously over the saddle of a riderless horse. Her hands secured behind her back.
The oasis was reached in quarter of an hour. A spring surrounded by grass, and palm trees. A cave swiftly searched and found empty, except for the remains of many fires lit by passing travelers.
A bladder of fresh water was pressed between Faith’s lips reviving her. Only small sips allowed her. She was leaned carelessly against a palm tree in the shade. Three buckets of cold water thrown over her. Faith croaked out questions that made no sense to either her or her listeners. After a while she stopped talking nonsense as her sense of the danger she was in heightened.
The men watched her expectantly. After an hour’s wait with Faith gradually regaining her strength, not clutching her belly in agony, the men let their mounts drink from the cool spring of the Oasis, before drinking themselves.
“Who are you and what are you doing out here?” The leader squatted before her. His face stern in the rays of the setting sun. Birds twittered their evening song. His men set up camp.
“Name’s Faith. Where is here? I’m taking a wild stab in the dark and guessing it ain’t Kansas.” Faith’s temporary heat induced delirium over, she fidgeted experimentally with her bonds. The torture would start soon she predicted. These guys were paranoid about their guerrilla enemies she gathered - they thought Faith must be one.
“Faith is a strange name for a Western rebel. You’re skin is almost as fair as the cursed barbarians to the North, where it’s not blistered and burnt scarlet. Your accent foreign as you babble nonsense. Your garments most peculiar. You’ve recovered unnaturally quickly from your heat exhaustion. My men now want to slit your throat for being a witch as well as a rebel they’ve just requested.” The man’s teeth were white in the growing dimness as he grinned ruthlessly. He was tall, wiry, major eye candy, and clearly thought himself superior to all around him. The other soldiers addressed him as ‘my master’.
“What the fuck happened to 'show mercy'?” Faith’s strained stealthily against her securing ropes once more. The hemp ropes were of the best quality. Medieval military issue standard.
“For them that is mercy. Extremely humane of them, considering what I normally have to stop them doing to female prisoners. You have a dwindling opportunity to display the virtue of truthfulness before I let them have free reign with you.” The officer raised an eyebrow expectantly.
“I walked through a magic painting from my world where it was fall, into this hell desert dimension. You’re not buying it are you, pal?” Faith began to struggle in earnest in the darkness, tearing her wrist skin in the process. “Truth not gonna set me free I take it?”
A blood curdling male scream of agony rent the camp.
Eight emaciated vampires clawed their way out from the dirt of the cave floor. Attacking the soldiers nearest them.
The officer left Faith’s side to join in the melee with a snappy war cry.
Faith ran over to a fallen soldier. The vampires ignored her, focusing their attentions on the greater threat of the experienced armed soldiers.
Faith crouched on the ground, sawing at her bound hands, knocking out the scimitar held in the dead soldier’s hand. Using her knees to hold the blade steady. Free at last.
Palm trees seemed to lack convenient branches for stakes.
Beheading vampires worked well. The scimitar proved to be an efficient tool for it. The desert undead were weaker than the well fed city vampires she encountered in London, Manchester and Birmingham, the past two years in the United Kingdom. These undead possibly lacked victims blood for over a month. Faith personally beheaded four of the fanged assholes.
The soldiers hacked the remaining four to pieces.
All vampires dust, the remaining eighteen soldiers regarded the bleeding, sunburned Faith in the flickering light of the burning campfire with a combination of fear and gratitude.
“She’s a jinn sent by the great god Tash to save us. A miracle!” The youngest soldier present who looked to be twenty, declared convinced.
“The jinn didn’t save Deeta or Rasmshta. Never heard of a jinn suffering sunstroke.” The grey bearded soldier spat. “I still say the Western she dog’s a witch, my master.”
“I’m a vampire slayer, bud. I was chosen by the powers of good to destroy vampires and demons.” Faith remained holding her sword defensively, eyeing the tethered horses as a means of possible escape. “What the hell’s a 'gin' anyways?”
“Her heart remains beating tonight. She remains unmolested although watched.” The officer stroked his short beard contemplatively. “I think she might prove a better ally than adversary. For have the philosophers not said. 'In times of overwhelming misfortune allow faith to lead you through them'.”
Faith darted her eyes at the officer’s impassive face. Colonel Superior just cracked a joke over her name, she’d be damned. Seeing Faith landed up in a hell dimension, maybe she truly was damned.