Trina stared around in awe. But this can't be right. In the seventh book in the series, 'The Last Battle', Narnia was vanquished with Telmerines and then destroyed all together. Even father Time himself finally woke from his sleep beneath the earth. And the Sun and the Moon were destroyed and the land became like a giant icicle. This couldn't be Narnia ~ unless... She pondered the new thought a moment. Unless this is New Narnia, the Narnia that they all came to after the 'old Narnia' was destroyed. She filled with excitement. If that were the case and this truly was New Narnia, then she would be able to see all of the infamous characters referred to in the books! The High King, Peter the Magnificent and his brothers and sisters, Edmund the Just, Susan the Gentle (for as you remember, susan's daughter, Alice Drauncey was a very old woman and Susan had died some years earlier) and Lucy the Valiant. Then there was Diggory and Polly who had seen the beginning of Narnia, and Eustace who had sailed with Caspian and then came back with his friend Jill to rescue Prince Rillian, and again came to aid King Tirian at the end of it all. And there were so many others that Trina couldn't even name them all at once. Reepicheep the mouse, and Fledge the first winged horse, and Trumpkin the dwarf with his friend Trufflehunter the badger. And there was Roonwit the centaur and Ramandu the star, and of course Mr. Tumnus the faun... and tons more.
Trina looked around again. But how am I to know if this is New Narnia? I suppose I should try and find my way out of this wood first. She sighed. It wouldn't exactly be an easy job, since she didn't know much about where she was (other than she was in Narnia). The wood stretched on for miles and miles around. If she could just manage to find her way to Beaver's Dam... maybe then she could get her bearings. But which way was Beaver's Dam?
I suppose I should try going east. I think Beaver's Dam lies in that direction, if I remember what I saw on the maps C.S. Lewis placed in his books. She glanced once at her car and tucked the mirror into her belt, pulling her long T shirt over it so it couldn't be seen. Then she took off east, scrambling over rocks and under low branches and dodging as many outstretched bushes as she could.
It was grueling work to tell the truth. Sweat seemed to pour from her brow; her arms obtained many scratches and her shirt got torn in several places. The canopy of leaves was so thick over head that it was hard to tell if it was night or day.
This is horrible!
She was just thinking that for the hundredth time when she stumbled into the open finding daylight suddenly shining upon her upturned face. There to her left a ways was a river. It looked so cool and refreshing, she went to bathe. Just as she was slipping into the water — clothes and all — she heard a laughing voice rise up to greet her.
"Where come you from, Daughter of Eve?"
Trina withdrew her foot and scrambled farther up the shore; the voice had come from the water!
"Who… what are you?" she asked.
"Do you not know?" Suddenly there rose from the water a beautiful slender maid garbed in aqua robes that shimmered in the sunlight. Her brown hair floated about in the air as seaweed did underwater, gently framing a face as blue as the stream was. "I am the Naiad of the river, Lalûin. My father, the river god, takes residence in the great river east of here. But who are you?" Lalûin glided over to the shore and sat upon the bank. The grass around her grew greener and shimmered with dew drops.
Trina forgot her tongue. "I-I… uh, I…"
"You come from Lantern Waist, do you not?"
"Surely you are not ignorant of your bearings! For you come from the north west through Lantern Waist where the honored four of the thrones of Cair Paravel first entered Narnia. Surely you know!"
"I know…" Trina's voice barely made a whisper. Taking a hesitant step forward she raised ever so slightly. "I… I fear I am lost. I had thought when I first arrived that I was in the wood of Lantern waist, but I could not be certain in the least! Pray, do you know the way to Beavers' Dam?"
Laluin laughed, her voice resembling tiny bells. "Of course! Is it not that my river flows right down to Beavers' Dam? But why ask such a question? Do you mean to behold the late king and betrayer Miraz's castle, for if you do I must warn you it stands in ruins molding into the earth, stone fallen, weed taken, and wind barren."
"Miraz's castle?" Trina's voice held evident awe. "So it is that it still stands?"
"Falls, to be precise. It stands no longer. But perhaps it is not in the castle ruins that you take interest; perhaps it is in Beavers' Dam itself, and if that be the case then just follow my river east until you come to what you seek. Beavers' Dam holds no beavers now, I'm afraid, but has become a market place in Narnia."
Trina was already heading east along the river shore. "Thank you!" She called over her shoulder as she ran. But the Nymph was now where to be seen.
For many hours Trina followed the river's course until at last night fell casting dark shadows over her eyes. She couldn't tell how far along the river she had traveled even though she had left the edge of the wood long ago. With nothing left to do and unwilling to travel through the dark she finally settled down beside the river to wait the night out. She found in her back pocket where she always kept it, a little book a matches that she used back at home to light the candles she read by at night. Taking it out she used river rocks to surround a space of the plains for a fire. She cleared the long grass away from the space for a ways so as not to set the entire plain alight, throwing her cuttings into the circle of stones to use as fuel and she lit it.
Then she sat down close to her fire and pulled out the old mirror that so strangely had started her entire adventure just that morning.
"What are you?" She asked the mirror aloud, gently running her index finger along the elaborately carved handle.
"I am the Way Maker that builds ways where they do not exist!"
Trina jumped, her trembling hands instinctively and protectively pulling the mirror to her breast. "Wh-h-o's there?!"
Suddenly a face appeared in the flame: a face of majestic beauty with brown-gold eyes, fiery whiskers and a glorious mane. Aslan stepped lightly from the fires where he seemed to materialize and onto the plains, as real in being as he had seemed unreal while still within the flames. Slowly he padded forward and placed himself beside Trina with his face towards the fire. "You ask questions, small one. Unburden your mind of them; pray, what is it you ask?"
Trina drew in a deep breath and stared skeptically at the leaping flames still wondering how the great lion had so suddenly appeared.
"Do you have none then, child?"
Trina shook her head. "I have many, Aslan, but how to ask them is what I find hard."
"Then take your time, dear heart, for time is not a priority of this moment."
Trina drew in another breath and ran her fingers through her long dark hair, staring deeply into the face of the mirror held clutched within her left hand. But the only thing she saw was her own reflection staring quizzically back at her. She sighed. "Aslan?"
"What is this thing you request of me, this — task — that you spoke of before? Am I to never know." She looked over at him but his face gave her no answers.
Aslan stared into the fire, seemingly intent on discovering its beginning and end. "That is for you to discover, Trina Davis. I did not just bring you here for reasons of my own, but for your reasons as well: the questions that you've asked yourself while still within your own world and the answers that you seek… they all are here for you to find. And you shall discover my reasons along the way and by the time you are completely satisfied with your answers, then you will look back and understand what it is you did for me. Do you recall the rhyme I left you with last time?"
"Then do not forget it, for you may find that within its secretive lines there are placed many of the answers to your riddles and also the clues to mine." The great lion stood and took two steps towards the fire.
"Wait!" He turned his head. "Will I… will you come back?"
"I never promise to return, but neither do I promise not to." And with that he stepped back into the flames and disappeared as if he had never been there.
Trina looked down at the mirror again and gasped, one hand flying to her mouth. For there within the reflective surface of the mirror was the golden head of the lion and across it ran in curving script the poem that he had left her with before:
"Look into the mirror and find what you seek Seek with your heart and your proof you'll behold To find what you long for, to find your desire
Remember, the meek that are strong are like gold."
(note: I don't know when the next chapter will be coming, but until then enjoy the ones I've sent. If you'd like to send comments, please send them to [email protected] .)