Yesterday was one of the few days I didn’t need to post Cat’s Forest, so I thought I would post something else, but we were too busy,
I went to see Rogue One with some of my awesome people yesterday morning! It’s a pretty intense movie, but still very good. (First Star Wars to make me cry–congratulations, Rogue One.) I had formed very great expectations (pun not intended) from the reviews I heard, and it did not disappoint!
Anyway, I’m super excited we got to this part. In a way, it marks the beginning of the end. (Which means Christmas is this week–how even? I know everyone’s saying it, but how did Christmas get here so fast?) It’s also. . . long. As in, over a page. *cringe* The parts just started getting longer and longer at this point, and there was never a place to break them up. So here we are. Consistency in length is something I’ve always been bad at.
Catania’s Forest: The Little Drummer-boy in Narnia ~ Part Fourteen
Catania awoke, and found everything about her dark. She sat up hazily, feeling strangely as if some sound had wakened her. She reached out and felt the heather beneath her, and touched her painfully dry eyes. She was still in her tunic and belt. She could not remember falling asleep, and she wondered what time it was.
She thought it must be near midnight. No crack of sunlight seeped through any crevice around her door.
She froze as the faint voice hollered her name again. Slowly she reached out in the dark and grasped her bow.
She racked her brain, trying to place the voice. It was familiar. . . Jéru? What ever is he doing here? Her heart skipped a beat as the thought flashed across her mind: He is running away. He’s running at last, and he wants me to help him! What is to be done?
Jéru didn’t know where to find her, did he? If she kept quiet, he would never know she had ever heard him. Lord Nightseer was known for his pride and cruelty–he would hunt down escaped slaves. Catania knew all the risks. For a moment she sat still, torn between hiding in silence and going out. For an instant she wavered. Then she crawled forward, cracked open her hidden door, and slipped outside.
The forest was like marble and pale silver; tinted with gold, and lacerated with charcoal shadows. Jéru stood at the edge of the trench, looking down at her in surprise. “There you are, Tanya!” he said. He sounded surprised and breathless, yet cordially happy to see her, and not frightened or desperate.
Why is the forest so bright? Catania did not understand. It should be pitch black in the forest at night. Is the sun rising? It does not look like sunlight. Is the moon full?
“So this is where you live?” Jéru said slowly. He jumped down into the defile, and winched as his feet sank into the mud.
“What is it?” Catania asked, a bit irritably.
“I. . .” he hesitated. “I had to tell you. But you won’t believe it. Do you. . . you remember Lythia, do you not?”
Catania narrowed her hazel elf-eyes. “Sure I do. What about her?”
“Well, she’s back. With her husband–Master Maylock. Her baby was born yesterday.”
“Did you hunt me down in the middle of the night and wake me, just to tell me that?” Catania interrupted.
Jéru smiled a little. “No. Tanya, I. . . I don’t know how to tell you. I saw Melcournar.”
Catania stared at him, nonplussed.
“I knew you wouldn’t believe me,” he said wistfully. “But I had to tell you.”
Catania eyed him doubtfully, suddenly realizing she had never really thought about whether or not she believed in the Creating One, or his celestial messengers. No one had ever asked her before, and now that the subject was finally confronted, she found she was suspicious of the idea that anyone had ever seen a Melcourna.
“Are you serious, Jér?”
“I’m dead serious, Tanya. I promise.”
“But, Jér–how did you. . . Where?“
“In my room, Tanya. In the Master’s cellar–they were there suddenly, as if there had been no walls–no doors, no locks, no guards. You. . . well, you know how the Master is. But that didn’t seem to matter. They came anyway. I nearly jumped out of my skin and shouted for help, but they told me not to be afraid. They said she had come back, and she was sleeping in the forest with her husband, and she had had her baby. They said the boy was. . . was the son of the Creating One, not an elf–or a man. They said he had been sent to the earth as a savior.”
“A what? To save who, Jér? From what?”
“I think, Tanya, for us. I think. . . I think, Tanya, that they mean from, from the humans.” He dropped his voice.
Catania was too bewildered to get excited about a revolutionary, and there was an awkward pause.
“They said the Creating One had chosen Lythia to be his mother because she trusted him,” Jéru added hesitantly.
Catania gasped, and then hoped he had not noticed. His words made her heart skip a beat. She was just beginning to realize she had never really believed in the Creating One. It made her wonder if He would have chosen her, had she believed. The thought terrified her, but somehow it made her feel almost wistful. She checked herself–did she believe what Jéru was telling her? It was impossible, was it not?
“Lythia said Melcournar came to her too.” The young girl realized through a haze that Jéru was still speaking. “They told her the Creating One was pleased with her, and she was going to mother his son. Maylock said they came to him too, and told him Lythia needed him to protect her and her child, and provide for them.”
“Jér!” Catania interrupted. “What are you talking about? You told me once you never saw Lythia before she left for Irenara!”
“I went and found them tonight, Tanya,” he answered, as if it ought to be obvious. “They’re camping in the forest, near the city gate. Everyone despises Lythia for being an elf and a slave, and because of the boy. And they hate Maylock for marrying her. There was nothing else to do, though it is cold in the forest at night. Lythia wrapped the baby in her own cloak to keep him warm. He was crying softly when I found them, and I followed the sound. I played my pipe when I got there, and he fell asleep listening.” His voice caught in his throat, and she looked up. There were tears in his eyes. “Tanya, ’twas the most beautiful thing. The Creating One sent the Melcournar simply to tell me to go. Tanya, why me? Lythia, she. . . she said maybe He told me because He knew I would listen to them. No one has ever wanted me before, the humans treat me like dirt.” He rubbed a hand across his eyes, unabashed.
Catania did not know what to think. How long had it been until since she had seen someone cry? Until that night, she could not remember the last time she herself had cried.
“I came straight here,” Jéru continued diffidently. “I hoped I could find you. I thought you might listen. I wanted to tell everyone, but no one else would believe me.” There was another pause before he added, “You don’t believe me anyway; I can see it. But please don’t doubt me until you have looked?”
“Looked?” Catania gasped.
“They are camping just north of the city gates. Promise me you shall look for them?”
The young elf hesitated, as she looked searchingly into Jéru’s green-grey eyes. Can he be serious? He has never lied to me before. He has never mentioned the Creating One before either. Can it be true? she wondered. And what if it is?
“Alright, I’ll look for them.” The words were barely out of her mouth before she doubted herself. Why should I? It cannot be true, I shall waste my time. The gates are too dangerous.
Jéru’s face lit with hope. “Promise?”
Something unexplainable made Catania nod. “Fine.”