The Valiant Varmint & The Deplorable Word

Fiction By Laura Elizabeth // 5/6/2009

The Valiant Varmint

Not far from Beaversdam there lived, in the the time of Miraz, a community of mice. There were about forty of them, including females and mouselings. One of the mouselings was Reepicheep, oldest son of the mouse chief. When Reepicheep was very small, he loved to play swordfighting with his uncles. He was very good at it, and soon his father noticed. "Son," he said. "I have a gift for you. Here it is." he held out a rapier to the young mouse, just like his uncles wore. Reepicheep's eyes glowed, as he took the sword from his father. From then on, he was trained in the Mouse Contingent, the youngest ever to be in it. His father taught him the codes of chivalry and honor. "Especially remember," he told his son. "The tail is the honor and glory of a mouse. We have been given very small stature, and if we did not guard our honor, many would afford themselves undue pleasantries at our expense." When he was about twelve years old, Reepicheep went on a raid against the Telmarine soldiers; it did not go well, and his father and one of his uncles, along with several others, were killed. With his father's death, Reepicheep became the new mouse chief. Never had the clan seen so daring and brave a leader. Everything he attempted was successful, and he won the respect, not only of the mice, but of the other woodland creatures as well, and his band of mice was often called upon to aid in rescue missions, raids, and spying. One day, when he was twenty years old, Pattertwig the squirrel came bounding through the trees, chattering excitedly. "Reepicheep! Reepicheep! Prince Caspian, Miraz's nephew, is gathering an army to fight against Miraz. Almost all the dwarfs, rabbits, raccoons, badgers, fauns, and other creatures are coming. I even hear that a giant will be there. You must be at Dancing Lawn three nights from now. Oh, and the centaurs, Glenstorm and his sons, will be there, too." Reepicheep immediately gathered the eleven mice in the Mouse Contingent, and, after making sure the women and mouselings were well provided for, they marched off to Dancing Lawn. The rest you can read about in 'Prince Caspian', 'The Voyage of "The Dawn Treader", and "The Last Battle"
The End

The Deplorable Word

Chapter 1

A young woman hurried through the streets of the large city, her long hair blowing a little in the stiff breeze. Entertwined in her hair were several bright jewels, mostly diamonds, contrasting with the deep black of her tresses. She was beautiful, a 'beauty among beauties', but her face was hard and cold. The sounds of life were all around her, the temple drums beating for the sacrifices about to be offered to the gods, the sacrifices themselves lowing and bleating, groans as a slave was beaten, and the creaking of grand carriages and farm wagons. But the young woman heeded none of these things. She walked quickly for several miles, until she had passed the city limits and was into the countryside. Looking furtively around, so that none should mark where she was going, she disappeared into the thick woods. Deeper and deeper she went into the trees, and all light was cut off. Unfastening one of the diamonds from her hair, she spoke some words softly over it, and immediately it was lit from within. At last, she saw what she hd been looking for: a house, built something like a small temple, with evil looking carvings all round. She paused a moment, looking for the entrance, and soon saw it, well hidden. She lifted the knocker, which was carved in the likeness of a terrible head which dripped blood from its fangs, and let it fall twice, the sound resounding in the stillness. At last, a voice, hissing and full of evil, answered. "Tell me the password." "Darkness evermore," the young woman said, trembling a bit at the sound of the voice. The door opened, and she slipped inside. She found herself surrounded by bones, skulls, and dead, decaying animals. "So," the person who had let her in said. "You wish to learn the Deplorable Word?" it was an old, old woman, whose very look was terrifyingly wicked, and the soft tread of her feet seemed like the slithering of a poisonous serpent. "I have my price, of course." "Yes, I know. What is it?" the young woman asked. The old woman cackled softly, and leaned in closer. She whispered something in the young woman's ear, which made the latter turn pale. "Will you still go through?" "Of course." the two stayed there for several hours, and finally, the young woman had learned the secrets, but also paid her price. She was nearly out of the woods, when she heard behind her a soft noise. Turning quick as lightning, and drawing a long knife at the same time, she found herself staring into the eyes of her older sister. "So, Jadis," the other said with a sneer, though there was fear in her eyes. "You have learned that which our father forbid anyone to learn." "Yes, I have. I am now the most powerful person in Charn," Jadis said defiantly. "Although I am younger than you, I had much more magic than you, even before now, and this has just put the finishing touches to my knowledge of the black arts." "But, you-you won't use it, will you?" asked her sister, the sneer gone from her voice. "I do not tell my inferiors what I will do. I may have occasion to use it, and I most certainly will, if ever you breathe a word of this to our father, or anyone else. Do not forget, I can see your thoughts." turning quickly away, her sister walked as fast as she could back into the town, and Jadis walked a bit behind, preoccupied with her own thoughts. She would be queen after their father died, although by rights her sister should be. Who could stand against someone as powerful as she? The first thing she would do, when she got the chance, would be to destroy the old woman who had given her the secret, so that she could teach no one else. As soon as she was back in the palace, she went up to her room and locked herself in. She took her crystal ball, and several other things, and for several moments worked intently. At last, she breathed a sigh of relief. Looking out her window, she both heard and saw a terrific explosion in the forest just outside the city. The old woman was no more.

Chapter 2

Jadis pondered for many days on how she could win the kingdom from her sister. She did not want to use the Deplorable Word, not because she cared about anyone, but because she wanted to rule over a city, and the Deplorable Word would wipe out every living thing except for the one who spoke it. No, she must use it mostly as a weapon of fear. She had plenty of soldiers, almost as many as her sister had, and it would be a war to the death, if it came to it, which she was sure it would. Her sister, greedy thing that she was, would never give up her kingdom with out a fight. At last, one day, she went down to the huge kitchen area, where there was a great clatter of dishes and pots and pans. Delicious smells rose from the fifty ovens. In one part was the wine-press, where a hundred cooks were making barrels of wine. She took the chief wine maker aside, and gave him whispered instructions, plus several terrible threats. He shook his head fearfully, and promised, with many solemn oaths, that what she had ordered would be done. Then she left the kitchen. At the feast that night she watched her sister expextantly, as she drank her wine, but nothing happened. Curse her! Curse the chief wine maker! Curse everyone in the world. She should have known that her sister had at least enough magic to counter-act poison. Ah, well, she must bide her time. By and by, the old king, their father, died. The lords and nobles immediately sent a crier into the streets, shouting: "The king is dead! Long live the queen!" Suddenly, Jadis stepped out, arrayed in her most beautiful robes, and cried, in a voice like thunder: "I am the queen! Does anyone dare oppose my claim to the throne?" Instantly, the clamour of voices was quieted. All eyes turned towards Jadis. She read in some, defuiance, while in others uncertainty, and in yet others (only a few), agreement. Her sister, eyes blazing, came up to her, and said, "I challenge your claim!" Jadis had been ready for this, and immediately replied, "Then it is a war, I suppose. Whoever wins, will have all of Charn, and the rest of this country." "A war it is, then!" shouted her sister. "But," she added, more quietly. "It would be unfair to use magic. We must promise not to use it." Unfair, thought Jadis. Her, talking about fairness? "Very well," she said loudly. "I promise and swear by the immortal gods, and by the Deplorable Word, that I shall not use magic in this war." "And I," said her sister. "Do solemnly swear by the Deplorable Word, and by the immortal gods, that I shall not use magic in this war." Then the two sisters parted, and went to get their troops ready for battle.

Chapter 3

The next day, a battle was fought outside the city. Many fell on both sides, but neither one came out victor. They withdrew, and the next day fought another, even more terrible battle, drenching the ground with blood. Jadis's army drove back her sister's, and then retreated to lick its wounds. A year passed, with vicious battles fought at least once a week, and both armies were weakened. But they summoned soldiers from around the country, and for six more years they fought and fought, and both lost many men. At last, a battle was started in the very streets of Charn, just outside the palace. Jadis, looking out of a doorway high above the streets, saw her sister striking down many of Jadis's troops with magic. At this, Jadis's fury boiled over, as she watched her last one thousand soldiers fall by the river of Charn, further reddening its waters. Then, her sister marched to the palce, followed by her army, and all the way up the stairs, until she faced Jadis, and looked her straight in the eyes. "Victory!" she said. "Yes," said Jadis calmly, raising her hands. "Victory, but not yours." then she spoke the Deplorable Word, and all was blotted out forever. No more noises came from the streets, no more birds sang, her own sister disappeared in front of her very eyes. No one was left alive in the whole world but herself.
(You can read the rest of Jadis's story in 'The Magician's Nephew' and 'The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe'.)
The End

Comments

Very nice, very nice indeed.

Very nice, very nice indeed. You did a good job with this. Reepicheep is my favorite. Long live Reepicheep.

"Here are the beauties which pierce like swords or burn like cold iron." C.S.Lewis

airlia | Sat, 05/09/2009

"It is foolish and wrong to mourn the men who died. Rather we should thank God such men lived."
General George S. Patton

Jadis

Well written. I like that you made the witch's hair black, as I've always imagined her looking slightly middle-eastern, but perhaps with large, sparkling green eyes.  I have always wished more had been written about the Planet Charn and have always been mystified by the "Deplorable Word".  But what really drives me crazy with curiosity(so much so that I knew if I could contact C.S. Lewis beyond the grave and ask him just one question it would be about this) is the "terrible" price Jadis said she had to pay to learn the darkly magic word.  What was it?  If she was willing to sacrifice the entire population of her world, including her own sister, and obviously had no reverence for life outside her own...what could have possibly been so important to Jadis, that sacrificing it had been "a terrible" thing?  

 

 

Anonymous | Sun, 11/14/2010