Son Of Eve
by Katie Vieceli

There weren't any rooms full of Turkish Delight in the Witch's castle. Most of them were empty or filled with cold, uncomfortable looking furniture.

Still, Edmund preferred these to the ones that were full of statues. He could never walk into those rooms without feeling like all of those petrified eyes were staring at him, accusing him.

"But I haven't done anything wrong," he would sometimes say, and then he would think himself very foolish for talking to a room full of statues. But that would get him to thinking that perhaps they could understand him. The thought of minds busily working away underneath the stone frightened him so that he never went near those rooms if he could help it.

The Witch let him explore once she had impressed upon him just who the victor was. Really Edmund was relieved more than anything. He had rather thought that the Witch would kill everyone after they had lost the last battle. He himself certainly would have died if Lucy had not managed to slip him a drop of her healing cordial as he lay wounded on the field. The next thing he could remember, he was in the Witch's throne room, chained hand to foot with the other rebels.

His older brother and sister were beside him, along with a few dwarves and Talking Beasts that he recognized. Lucy was nowhere to be seen.

One by one Jadis had them brought forward. Some bowed low and swore allegiance. Most of these she waved off to her side, but a few she simply looked at coolly and muttered a few words. Edmund didn't know the language, but whatever she said caused instant death. At last she called Peter and Susan forward.

"Son of Adam and Daughter of Eve, wilst thou swear allegiance? You know full well that We have won this day."

Edmund had felt sick about it for days after, but a little thrill had run through upon seeing his brother defeated. Of course, Peter did not swear allegiance, neither did Susan. Both were packed off to the dungeons and then it was Edmund's turn.

"Ah, the fool. We are grateful to you in a way, for bringing the Lion to us. But we have no need for a traitor..." She took the knife from her belt and reached out, grabbing a handful of Edmund's hair and baring his throat. Peering into his face for a moment, she laughed and let him go. "You amuse us, slave, and We have reconsidered things. Perhaps a traitor is just what We need, and you have potential. You may stay with us."

That had all been years ago. Edmund now slept in a small room that was close to the Queen's quarters and lived a life that changed drastically depending on whether the Witch was feeling tolerant or not. On days when she was in a good mood, she would have him sit by her feet as she received people in the throne room: emissaries from Archenland, dark merchants from Calormen, or more rarely, Talking Beasts with arms full of gold for tribute.

Sometimes she would become enraged and then an empty room would be filled with statues and locked away with small keys that looked like they were made of ice. Or people would be sent to the dungeons and later that night Edmund would hear horrible screams. He was forbidden from going to the dungeons himself, and even when he tried he could never quite get there. There were powerful enchantments on the castle.

Nowhere were they thicker than near the center, the rooms going off from the throne room. Edmund actually liked these rooms. As he grew up, the hum of the dark magic there stopped making him sick. He became fond of the sound in a way, though he never quite got over the way it made him feel.

The Witch came to watch him one day. Edmund supposed that her dwarf had told him what he was doing, but he had been forbidden only the dungeons and the Queen's own quarters, so he kept walking as she shadowed him.

Not long after she arrived she spoke to him, her voice calculating and calm. "Are you not affected by the spells here?"

"They used to make me sick, but now it's not so bad." Talking to her was easier now. In the beginning, he had hated her so much it made him silent. But there had been no one else to talk to except the dwarf, and Jadis would sometimes take a fancy to forcing him to tell her tales of his World.

"We have been there, you know, dog. It is a world full of fools and unworthy men." Her face would cloud as she remembered. She was a tall woman, nearly seven feet, though as Edmund grew she seemed less and less intimidating.

However, right now she seemed every inch of her height as she smiled. "These rooms will only let those of royal blood walk in them. And not only that, fool, but only those who might someday walk the ways of old Charn."

He didn't like the sound of that, but she caught his hand and led him into a room that he had never seen before. It was lined with finely dressed people along both walls, all stiff like waxworks. They were fierce and beautiful of face, tall and proud like the Queen.

"These are my people, Edmund. " She smiled again at him and he squirmed. "If they let you walk among them, perhaps I was not wrong to keep you." She stayed in that room for close to an hour, peering into each face and then looking back at Edmund.

For a long time after that Edmund did not see her, he gathered from the Dwarf that a rebellion of Talking Beasts had risen up near Cair Paravel. It must have been a month later that he was wandering the halls of the castle, lonely. For though he had no great love for the Witch, she was interesting to talk to and beautiful to look at. With nothing to do, he was walking to the North Tower to look at the stars when he saw her.

At first he didn't recognise her, but then the curve of the nose gave it away. "Lucy!"

She turned and bared her teeth at him, brandishing a small dagger. "Get back, knave, I will kill you if you try to stop me."

"Lucy, it's me, Edmund!"

She faltered and the knife swayed uneasily in the air. "Edmund? Could it be...surely the Witch would have killed you." She steadied her hand and turned back to something in the darkness. "It's all right, it's just Edmund."

Something shuffled out of the darkness. It was a Talking Beaver. "Is it...?"

"No," Lucy said, shaking her head. "He died at the same battle you were captured in. This is his son." She pulled out the little bottle of healing cordial and approached a statue that was hiding a little ways in a corner on the landing. It was a faun, Tumnus, Edmund realised suddenly. He was suddenly very sure of what was going on.

Before he even knew quite what he was doing, he shouted for the Dwarf. Lucy looked at him in horror and then everything was a blur. The three intruders ran down the stairs-Tumnus looking very confused and stumbling behind the other two. There were cries from further down in the castle and he was surrounded by armed guards more quickly than he would have thought possible. They parted and Jadis came through them like a ship through water, smiling proudly. Edmund wasn't sure just what he had done until later on, when he was almost asleep; not in his own quarters, but on a couch in the Witch's outer chambers. Lucy had hissed the word traitor at him.

Jadis was kinder to him after that, as kind as anyone like her could be. He could go outside if he wished, not that he wanted to, as cold as it was. He was allowed to sit and eat with her, though he never ate much. He grew thin and hungry looking, though he was taller. He could look the Witch in the eyes, but he was never sure if she had made herself shorter or had somehow enchanted him so that he would be taller.

On his sixteenth birthday, the Witch made herself a new statue, one that he couldn't look at. But she put it in her throne room and couldn't get enough of it. To think that Peter-and more than that, that Susan had allowed it...that. It made him hot and cold at the same time, as if he wished he had died without seeing it but maybe not quite.

On his seventeenth birthday, the Witch made him kneel in front of her and she put a collar on him, a thin one that was made of something that looked like opal but felt like silk. Though he tore at it, it would not come off. That night, he did not sleep on the couch, but in her bed. Afterwards, she traced a pattern on his chest and told him of a garden on a hill filled with wonderful fruit. How perhaps, if he continued to please her, she would take him there and let him eat one of those apples and then he would be like her, forever young and beautiful.

Sometimes Edmund wished that Lucy had stabbed him right through the heart that night. And sometimes he would look in the mirror and see one of the old kings of Charn looking back at him, young and powerful and strong.


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