The Lion, the Snake, and the Safe Room
16 December 2007
Legend is the sixth chapter of The Lion, the Snake, and the Safe Room.
Breakfast commences and Harry observes that the older royals serve themselves, although the food is brought to the table for them (by "[f]auns and dryads in royal livery"). He follows their example and passes the dishes onwards to Hermione who is next to him and looking cheerful. Meghan is also looking happy sitting opposite him, whereas Malfoy—Draco—looks somewhat stunned. Harry has a vague memory of another time when Draco showed a lack of self-confidence, something involving a large animal[Note 1] in which the other boy was injured: he had panicked briefly but recovered swiftly, whereupon he had tried to blame it all on Harry. Harry is just speculating whether something similar is going on when Caelin breaks the silence. She has been speaking with Garnet, who mentioned her conversation with Harry about Narnian legends of wand-wielders. Ilana is intrigued, wondering how wands are used and what they look like. The students produce theirs, even Draco, and Harry passes his up the table. They are all different kinds of wood: Harry's is holly, Hermione's vine, Meghan's ebony and Draco's hazel…with dragon heartstring.[Note 2] The latter startles Caelin who nearly drops Draco's wand. Hermione explains that each wand contains a magical object for a core, usually part of a magical creature: most common are unicorn tail, phoenix feather and dragon heartstring, although she has heard of veela hair and even thestral hair. Ardan asks whether there is a reason for pairing a particular wood with a particular core: Meghan replies that they don't know because they don't make their own wands, they buy them—and it's the wand that picks them rather than the other way around. Ardan, having asked Harry's permission, waves the wand he is holding—carefully—and elicits some golden sparks. Ilana and Caelin are impressed and Gilles pretends to be jealous: Ardan replies that he has an "advantage" which goes with their story of ancient times. Hermione would very much like to hear this, and the others concur. Ilana suggests they repair to the morning room, which is more comfortable, since the full story can be long. Harry takes back his wand[Note 3] and pockets it without looking: he notices that Caelin seems to approve of this although he has no idea why. Oh a whim he offers Hermione his arm, which she takes: Draco grudgingly offers his to Meghan who uses only her fingertips. The four of them follow the Monarchs to a new room, "smaller and cozier", where Kargin and Garnet are playing chess. The latter stand and bow, and Kargin sets the chessboard to one side, then they seat themselves together with the others ready to hear the story. Gilles is to be the storyteller: he assumes that they already know about the Pevensie siblings and their long reign after defeating the White Witch. What they might not know is how there came to be four thrones at Cair Paravel in the first place. He asks formally if they wish to hear the story now, and Kargin and Garnet answer immediately: Harry, Hermione and Meghan are not long behind them with Draco nodding politely in agreement. Gilles looks away for a second, then announces "the tale of Gaubert and Regulo, and of Leticia and Beatrix": how they saved Narnia and became Kings and Queens, and thus how there were four thrones when Lucy Pevensie first arrived in Narnia.
Long ago in Narnia, when the line of Frank and Helen (the first Monarchs) still ruled, times were difficult: there was a dispute with the Trees and the "snake-people of the northern mountains" and the Queen was barren because of a childhood illness for which a cure had not been found. One morning there was a bright flash and a loud noise near to Caer Paravel, at the edge of the Forest, and four astonished-looking people appeared holding little sticks in their hands. Two were male, two female, and all were at most 20 years old. They were introduced to the King and Queen and gave their names. The men were Gaubert (the older, "his hair the color of the sand on the shore and his eyes bright as the sun") and Regulo ("whose hair was the dark brown of good earth and whose face was a closed book"), while the women were Leticia (the taller, "with straight shining auburn tresses and the bearing of a queen herself") and Beatrix ("with curls of brown and a smile as merry as the morning"). When the King asks them why Aslan has sent them, they are puzzled, not least because they do not seem to recognise the name: it transpires that they have been transported from somewhere else whilst under attack from a great enemy[Note 4] who most likely wanted to kill them all at once—which they thought had happened at first. Gaubert says that they need to get home, before their "great undertaking"[Note 5] collapses without them to provide impetus, and asks for help. The King says that help might be available but for a price: Regulo speaks up saying that there is always a price, and they are willing to negotiate. The King explains the "three great troubles" they are having with the Trees: the snake-folk and the Queen's illness. He says that anybody who could solve these problems could expect to be helped in turn by all of Narnia. Beatrix volunteers to try to find out why some Narnians are unhappy, using her talent for "fair decision", and Regulo suggests that his skill in bargaining might help her mission. Leticia has "studied some healing" and offers to try to help the Queen. Gaubert would be happy to help, he says, but his talents are more apt to fighting, so unless war actually breaks out…the Queen reassures him that any battles will come in their own good time. So Beatrix and Regulo set off that same day, bound first for the Forests and then to the northern mountains: Gaubert is particularly sad to see them go. Meanwhile Leticia examines the Queen and determines that concocting a potion would be the appropriate approach, but does not know what kind of ingredients might be available here; also it would only give the Queen the chance to bear children with no guarantees. The Queen knows of one thing which might fit the requirements: the fireflowers which "grow in the valleys of the sun" and cure all ailments. Gaubert enters the room and announces that he will fetch the flowers, and invites Leticia along: she accepts gladly. So they also depart from Caer Paravel, this time on a ship sailing to the Eastern edge of the world: they will leap onto the sun as it rises in the morning and thus collect the flowers they seek.
Gilles pauses the story for a sip of tea and explains that at this point the narrative splits into two parts, one of which has a hidden aspect which nobody knows. He asks which they would like to hear and Meghan immediately asks for the one with the hidden part; Hermione concurs, but Harry isn't bothered. Gilles asks Draco, who wants to hear the mystery…belatedly tacking on a "please" which Harry thinks was added only at the last moment. He happens to glance at Kargin and Garnet and has to bite his tongue: they are staring dumbfounded at Draco with identical expressions; after a bit they shake their heads and sit back to listen further. Harry stuffs his thoughts—of how he shouldn't think that was funny—away in favour of listening as Gilles carries on.
It takes Beatrix and Regulo days on foot to reach the home of the Tree-folk, who were not so friendly to humans at this point. They are deep in the Forests when Beatrix trips on a root—which might not have been such an accident. Regulo catches her, but she is lame and will not be able to travel further for some time. They make a camp, building a small fire with care, and consider their options. Beatrix decides that Regulo will have to leave her behind. He is indignant, saying that they have no way of telling how she will be treated by the Tree-folk without him to protect her. She chides him gently for his suspicious nature, saying that the Trees might respond better to trust: if she remains, alone and injured, she will demonstrate this to them. He is not sure but she reminds him that the Trees were friendly not so many years ago, according to the King, and that in any case they cannot risk losing time if they are to accomplish their goals. When he starts to argue again she threatens to hex him and he backs down. He embraces her tightly, wishing her well, and she kisses him on the cheek. He is off within the hour, leaving Beatrix behind with most of their camping gear and slightly more than half of their provisions.
This is where the hidden aspect of the story kicks in: Regulo finds the hidden caverns of the snake-people and speaks with their Queen, and he succeeds in persuading them that invading Narnia would not prove beneficial. He later refuses to divulge any more than vague generalities, but speculation as to just how personal were his methods of negotiation is fueled by two particular points of fact…which are to be revealed later.
In the meantime it transpires that Beatrix had been entirely correct to trust in the Trees. Scarcely has Regulo departed than some young dryads came to visit. Once she demonstrates that her small fire was kept under strict control they are happy to sit and gossip with her, and even to feed the flames with snippets of their leafy hair.
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- Harry Potter
- Hermione Granger
- Meghan Freeman
- Draco Malfoy
- Queen Caelin
- High Queen Ilana
- High King Ardan
- King Gilles
- ancient Kings & Queens of Narnia, in the story told by Gilles
- King of Narnia (as yet unnamed)
- Queen of Narnia (as yet unnamed)
- ↑ Obviously Buckbeak.
- ↑ This corresponds with Draco Black, not with canon Draco whose wand was hawthorn with unicorn hair (see ref); q.v. Draco in Be Careful!
- ↑ Nit-pick here: he takes it back from Caelin when it was Ardan who was holding it!
- ↑ Would that have been Merlin?
- ↑ Presumably the Founding of Hogwarts.
- The Lion, the Snake, and the Safe Room, Chapter 7 on FanFiction
- The Lion, the Snake, and the Safe Room, Chapter 6 on Fanficauthors.net
|The Lion, the Snake, and the Safe Room|