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Their Last Hope

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The discussion over the siege of Miraz's castle was going into its second half-hour and everyone involved was growing frustrated with the other and nothing was being solved. By this point, the discussion had turned into a shouting match – who could shout the loudest over each other to get their point across but they all became drowned in the chorus of shouting and screaming at one another.

Both Peter and Caspian were getting headaches from the shouting and trying to think of different ways to explain their ideas but mostly ended up repeating themselves multiple times. Nothing was getting sorted and everyone knew it but they couldn't even hear themselves think, let alone tell everyone else to be quiet so they could talk like civilized people.

After everything, it was Glenstorm who silenced them all. It appeared that he too had grown tired of the bickering and screaming that was going on between them all and he desired for a final choice being made. Caspian gave him a slight nod as a thank you before he spoke up, his voice hoarse from shouting so much. "We do have another chance to make this siege easier. We could call upon Princess Anya."

The moment Anya's name slipped from Caspian's lips, the entire room erupted into more shouting of "she's not even real" or "she's just a child". Once more, Glenstorm ended the shouting but it was Peter who spoke up this time. "I'm sorry but who is Anya?"

A fawn by the name of Maud brought out a leather bound notebook and opened it to a page with a drawing upon it. "Anya; the forsaken daughter of Aslan, was often sighted in Narnia several decades after the Golden Age and remained in Narnia for many years until she disappeared. Although there are many theories about what happened to her although the most popular belief is that she passed away somewhere near Lantern's Waste although her body has never been found to prove this theory." He nodded his head after finishing as he placed the notebook back into a satchel.

Silence fell across the room after Maud had spoken of Anya; she wasn't an easy topic to talk about. It wasn't as if she had died, it was more the fact that she simply disappeared almost as quickly as she had appeared, leaving every Narnian feel as if they had lost a child.

"So," Peter started, breaking the silence as he took a step closer to Caspian, "how do you propose we get this Anya to fight on our side?"

~#~

There were no clouds in the sky, leaving the moon to illuminate the world in a silver haze. But even with the light of the moonlight guiding Peter and Caspian, both had small lanterns to help guide their way. Once they were clear of Aslan's Howe, they set their lanterns down on a fallen tree log and brought out a neatly folded piece of paper. On it was a poem that was promised to bring Anya back to Narnia and do whatever they wanted her to do.

Looking at the poem, Caspian took a deep breath before he spoke the words;

"As friends of Narnia, we gather here to call to you,

To ask the trees of the earth and the stones of the sea,

If you could return the soul that gave you life and the one you took away.

Her rabbit heart true, and her lion mind in a war,

We ask of you to give us back our princess; Anya of the skies."

Almost as soon as the words left Caspian's lips, both of them heard a woman's laugh echo through the trees and the sound of feet running across the leaves that littered the forest floor. A cold breeze blew through the dark forest, the leaves on the floor blowing along with the wind. The two boys' eyes were fixed in front of them, the cold wind making their eyes water slightly as they kept their eyes peeled for any sign of the woman but they could see nothing. Their lanterns dimmed slowly until the light had completely gone, leaving both of them alone in the darkness, unknowing if the poem had worked to bring them Anya.

Just as they were about to give up, a woman dressed in a dark blue dress seemed to appear almost out of thin air before them. Her dark hair cascaded down past her shoulders and fell almost to her waist. Her piercing blue eyes shone through the darkness like sapphires, dark and beautiful, almost haunting. She stopped in front of the two boys, picking up some of her skirts to give a low curtsy to them. When she rose, she eyed both boys slowly. "I believe you called."

Both Peter and Caspian were in awe of the beautiful and mysterious woman before them, not saying a word for several moments before Caspian finally gathered up the courage to speak. "Are you Anya?"

A small smile came onto Anya's lips as she turned her gaze to fix upon Caspian's dark eyes. "Yes, I am. And who might you be?"

Caspian bowed his head. "I am Prince Caspian, and this is High King Peter."

Anya looked at Peter, a small blush falling on her cheeks as she forced another smile. "Wow, I am a lucky girl. Now, why exactly did you call me?"

~#~

As soon as Anya entered Aslan's How, everyone except the Pevensie's and Caspian gave her a low bow as a sign of respect and stared at her in amazement – just knowing that the legend of Anya was true and the daughter of Aslan was standing before them in all her glory.

A slight frown fell upon Anya's features as she noticed the three other members of the Pevensie family and how they were the only ones who did not bow like everybody else did. "Are these your siblings, High King? You all look so much alike."

Peter stepped forward, nodding his head. "Yes, these are my siblings; Susan, Edmund and Lucy. This is Anya, the daughter of Aslan and our last hope as it seems."

Edmund took a step towards Anya, his hand out to shake hers but alas Anya just seemed to stare at his hand, giving quick glances around the room in a desperate attempt to understand what was going on. After a few moments of silence, Edmund spoke up to explain. "Oh, you shake it. It's a formal way of greeting where we come from."

Anya's features lit up as she took Edmund's hand to shake it almost violently. "Of course! How rude of me? You have to forgive me, I have spent the last few years in Archenland and I now live there and I have not been able to meet new people in a while."

Edmund couldn't help but let out a light laugh once he released Anya's hand from the handshake. "The daughter of the true king of Narnia yet you live in Archenland. I'm not sure he'd approve of that."

Anya forced a smile as she brought her hand back to her side before she hid both of her hands behind her back, intertwining them. "Well, I'm sure he's proud of me either way."

Peter stepped in once again, noticing Anya's uncomforted mood when asked about Aslan. "Now that Anya has arrived, I'm sure we can finally get ready for the siege. We'll explain the plan while we're preparing if that's alright with you, Anya."

Anya nodded, not fully listening as her eyes were fixed on the carving of her father on the wall. "I'll catch you all up, you can all get ready. I just need to do some things first, I won't be long."

Everyone cleared the room to prepare for the siege, leaving Anya alone with the Stone Table. She slowly walked up to the carving of her father, placing a hand over his mane, letting out one loud sob as she rested her forehead against the carving. One sob turned into multiple until the whole room was echoing with her sobbing, crying out for her father who would never come. It had been a long time since Anya had cried over her father or even thought about him and the only reason why she stopped doing it was because it hurt her too much. She felt utterly weak and helpless – something that the daughter of the mighty lion should not be in any shape or form.

Sinking down to the floor, Anya let out a scream before hitting the wall with the palm of her hand. "Hey, dad, it's Anya. I don't know if you can hear me or not but I guess I don't really care. You said that you'd banish me here until you forgive me. Well, today marks the 500th anniversary of you sending me down here to die so it would be a really good time for me to come back now. Does that sound fair?" She waited a few moments before continuing. "Of course not, you still want me to live out my punishment. I just miss you, and mum. And I'm sorry, I shouldn't have done it but if I had known you would have done this to me, I wouldn't have even attempted it." And with another hit to the wall with her hand, Anya left the room to prepare for the siege with the other Narnians.

Once she came out, all traces of crying had completely gone, she was in warrior mode and warriors don't cry, only their victims do. She was quickly handed a sword along with a belt to hold it with while they travelled to the castle. Just as she was attaching her belt to her dress, she heard a centaur speaking in a language she understood within a heartbeat; it was the language she normally spoke to her people in. She couldn't help but let a wide smile spread across her lips as she walked over towards them and start talking to them.

Peter noticed that Anya was murmuring with a few centaurs in a language that he didn't recognise; he turned towards Truffelhunter as his eyebrows fused together in confusion. "What language is she speaking in? I don't recognise it."

Trufflehunter looked up from the straps he was tightening on Peter's boots for the siege. "I believe it's called Aadmari, it's a language that only few Narnians know now. It used to be the language of the Narnians many years ago but now it is hardly used in Narnia. Although I have heard it's used more in Archenland now."

Anya could sense eyes on her that didn't belong to the centaurs before her, almost as fast as a bolt of lightning; she turned her head directly towards Peter and Trufflehunter. Her eyes locked with Peter's for a moment before she turned back to the centaurs, continuing their conversation. It felt like Anya was home in Archenland when she was talking to the centaurs, not somewhere in the middle of Narnia and expected to attack a castle of some false king. She missed home but she had a duty to perform, and all she had to do was wait a few hours and then she'd be allowed to go home and back to her people who she imagined missed her.

Once everyone was ready, Anya was introduced to Mallowburne; the griffin who had the responsibility to take her to the castle and then back to the Howe after the siege was done.

~#~

Anya's eyes were closed as she waited for the signal that they were arriving at Miraz's castle – her composure was completely calm as if she was going to take a peaceful walk through the woods, not like she was about to take on hundreds of heavily armed guards who would kill her within the blink of an eye and without a second thought.

"We're here, your highness. I will wait for your signal." Mallowburne told her, keeping a tight hold on the princess.

"Signal? For what?" Peter asked; his eyes widening as he looked at Anya, his grip tightening on his sword.

Anya didn't answer; a small smile came upon her lips before she spoke. "Now!" She shouted, feeling her body instantly being released before she felt the air rushing past her as she fell. She loved that feeling – she felt weightless, she didn't have to fear anything. It was just like she was flying and in those few moments, she was truly happy and at peace.

When Anya hit the ground, she left a small crater in the stone where she landed – completely unharmed. She took a few moments to remain completely still before she stood up, reaching for her sword placed on her right hip. She heard the sound of feet running towards her, swords being drawn and the familiar sound of chainmail against skin and stone. She let out a bitter laugh as she prepared herself to face off the Telmarine guards, a wide smile spread across her lips. "Oh, how I've missed this," was all she said before she started fighting the guards.

Within moments, the guards were dead and lay around Anya's feet. She removes her sword from the body of one of the guards, completely ignoring the blood that coated both her and her sword. With a smile on her face, she walked over to the gate to help Peter and Susan open it. Once the gate was opened, the true siege of the castle started as the rest of the Narnian army arrived and stormed all other guards that surrounded them.

Just as Anya was fully getting into the spirit of battle, she was told to fall back and leave the castle in case she was slaughtered by the Telmarine army. Since she didn't have a choice in to stay or to go, she was picked up and thrust onto Peter's horse so they could escape together, much to Anya's protests to keep fighting or go back to help others. When Peter looked back at the scene, Anya looked back too. She gave a nod to one of the centaurs before she mouthed the words; "yu gonplei ste odon." Then she and Peter rode back towards Aslan's Howe.

By the time they arrived back, Anya was practically falling asleep with her head resting against Peter's back and her arms wrapped tightly around his middle. As much as she enjoyed a fight, it did completely exhaust her and all she wanted to do was sleep for days but she still had a duty to perform for everyone at the Howe.

As tired as she was, Peter still helped her off the horse so she could get inside and have some proper rest. By the time she was arrived inside a tent, Anya was pretty much asleep to the world and several fauns had to clean away the blood on her skin and hair before she was changed into clean clothes and then left to sleep.

She awoke several hours later, sighing as she sat up in her bed. Very quickly she noticed that she was clean from all the blood and the dress she wore the previous night. Instead, she was in a dark green long sleeved dress that came down to her ankles – definitely something she wasn't wearing the night before. Taking a deep breath, she walked out of her tent to see everyone having breakfast.

Just as she was about to go back into her tent, Peter came up to her with a plate. "You should eat; you were out for a while."

Anya simply shook her head, pushing the plate away from her. "I'm fine. In fact, all I need are my clothes back and then I should be getting home. Everyone's probably wondering where I've gone."

Peter's heart almost skipped a beat in that moment. He placed his plate down to grab Anya's arm. "You're leaving? But we need you. I need you."

Anya shrugged off his hand, her arms folding over her chest. "You said you needed help with the siege of Miraz's castle – I did exactly what you asked me to and now I need to get back to my people. I'm sure you being a High King you understand my urgency to get back to my people."

Caspian joined in at that moment. "Anya, you can't just leave. It's too far, and Miraz's men will find you."

"Not you too, Caspian." Anya complained, the palm of her hand slapping her forehead before she continued. "I do not need protecting or saving, I can look after myself, thank you very much. I don't care if Miraz gets me, he can have me if he can actually defeat me which is highly unlikely since he probably won't even catch me."

"Just stay one more day so you can rest and we can make sure you have everything you need for your journey." Peter offered.

Anya sighed heavily, rolling her eyes. "Alright, fine. I'll stay for one more day and then I'm gone." She threw her hands up in surrender before she went back into her tent, closing it as soon as she was inside.

~#~

It wasn't until hours later when Anya came out of her tent again, her long hair tied up into a tight braid. She shook her head when she was offered any form of food, instead sitting down on the grass and staring at the thick woods that faced the camp.

After a short while, Peter sat beside her but still said nothing to her until he finally spoke up to ask her something he'd wanted to ask her ever since she arrived. "Why were you banished here? If you don't mind me asking." He asked; his eyes focused on Anya intently.

Anya took a long time to reply, her eyes still focused on the woods as she replied. "It's simple; I rebelled against my father just to see what would happen but it went wrong and he punished me by leaving me here until I learned my lesson. I gave up waiting for him to come a long time ago; I don't think he'll ever forgive me for what I did."

"What exactly did you do?"

"I played with dark magic and I got my mother killed in the process. My father was heartbroken and when he found out that it was my fault, he didn't hesitate to banish me here for however long it'll take for him to forgive me. And five hundred years later, he still hasn't forgiven me and now I know that this is where I'm supposed to be. I have my people here and my duty lies with them. I have my own kingdom here, and I'm not going to give that up just yet." And with that, Anya picked herself up and went back into her tent, once again closing the entrance and blocking anyone who wanted to enter.

Peter didn't even bother to move after Anya left, her words stuck inside his brain and he had a new prospective on the mysterious girl the Narnians know so well. She had to fight her way to survive and that changed her; from other Narnians, he heard stories of when she first came to Narnia, the sweet and innocent child that came was no longer there, that child had to go in order for Anya to survive for so long on her own. And in that way, Peter understood her. He too had to change in order to survive going back to England after his adventures in Narnia; they had a lot more in common than most people would think.

~#~

When the Telmarine army came towards the Narnians, Anya was already in her battle armour; a pair of black, tight fitting leather trousers, she wore a black jacket over the top tightened to her body by a thick black belt, her black leather boots completed her battle armour – despite no actual armour being on her body. The only weapons she had on her were two swords in scabbards that were on her back.

Anya's dark hair was tied back into multiple braids around her head so none of her hair would fall across her face during the battle. Her normally clean face was now covered in black face paint, making her face almost unrecognizable. The only way you could tell that it was her was her bright blue eyes that seemed more like diamonds shining.

She walked beside Peter, her hand almost instinctively wrapping itself around one of his fingers as they walked towards the fight to the death he was due to have against Miraz. She wasn't afraid; she was more worried for Peter. She had to blink back the tears that started to form in her eyes; she just had to remind herself that he was going to be fine and that he was going to win. If only she actually believed it.

While she watched the fight, she had to hide behind her hands or even behind Edmund since she couldn't watch Peter being hurt in that way – which was strange for her since normally, she would be cheering the fight on and watching it eagerly to see who won. Not this time. Admittedly, she started to have a softer side for the High King but she wouldn't let anyone know that, of course. She was a princess and a warrior, after all.

Then the true battle started, and the Narnians watched as the Telmarine army closed in upon them, but the Pevensie's and Caspian's eyes were fixed upon Caspian, since she was chosen to lead them into battle by Peter, much to the protests of Caspian and Susan who both thought someone else should lead them into battle. Anya seemed so calm while everyone around her looked as if they were about to faint from fear.

Anya took a step forward, holding a hand over Peter's chest to hold him back, knowing full well he'd follow her like a lost puppy. It was all he had done since they had returned from Miraz's castle. "You may want to cover your ears; it's going to get loud." Was all she said before she walked towards the army, her Narnian accent thicker than any dwarf's. Once she was a few yards away from the army, she unleashed her secret weapon. She let out the loudest scream heard to anyone – Narnian and Telmarine alike. It stopped almost the whole Telmarine army in their tracks, many of the men removing their helmets to cover their ears while others didn't even bother since trails of blood came from their ears and dripped down their necks – their eardrums had ruptured and they would probably never hear anything again.

With a satisfied smile, Anya turned back towards the gobsmacked Narnian army. "You can take things from here, correct?" She raised an eyebrow up at Peter before she went back to stand beside him, grabbing both of her swords to hold while she waited for Peter to lead the army.

As the Telmarine army came closer towards the Narnians; Peter and Anya looked at each other for a moment, the fear clear in both of their eyes before Peter leaned over and whispered in Anya's ear, loud and clear. "Lead us into battle; show us how you lead your warriors."

In that moment, all fear left Anya's eyes as she held her sword up to the sky and let out a loud battle cry as she walked back onto the battlefield, Narnians gradually joining in with the battle cry until the battlefield was filled with their battle cry, the Telmarines didn't want to admit it but once they heard the battle cry, they did get slightly afraid. The Narnians had a seasoned warrior while the Telmarines barely had any battles to prepare them for anything like the battle that was going on.

Anya's pace became faster so she was jogging, then running and then sprinting towards the nearest Telmarine that came into her line of sight and then she was in for the kill, the soldier barely had any time to react or even defend himself before Anya got to him, slaughtering him within the blink of an eye, just like her people had taught her to do.

By the time the battle was over, Anya was completely covered in blood and dirt once more and ready to wash off the blood and war paint. Just as she was washing the blood off her body and swords, she noticed her father talking with the Pevensie's and Caspian. She rolled her eyes, completely ignoring what was going on and going back to cleaning her swords and helping others. She didn't want to see her father, despite her crying over him yesterday – which felt more like an eternity ago to her – she didn't even consider him family anymore. He abandoned her and she was going to abandon him, too, and that was exactly what she did.

~#~

The next few weeks were filled with celebrations to commemorate the Narnians taking back their country and of course; Caspian becoming king. But even with all the happiness, Anya still missed her home in Archenland and she was going back, she just needed to find the appropriate time to tell everyone that she was going home.

At one of the many parties; Anya was stood beside the dancefloor, just watching everyone enjoy themselves. For once, Anya had a small blue and silver tiara placed on her head, something that was given to her by Caspian as a thank you for helping him defeat his uncle and for staying with them all that time, even when she wanted to go back to Archenland. Her dress was a dark red – a nice change for her rather than being constantly in black or dark blue – that fell past her feet and was coated in small flowers across the entire dress, making her stand out within the crowds at the castle.

Anya felt almost hypnotised by the music, taking a deep breath before downing the rest of her wine and kicking off her slightly heeled shoes before she finally danced with the many other Narnians. It felt like an eternity since she'd actually been able to dance and enjoy herself. Living in Archenland, Anya rarely got the opportunity to wear long and beautiful dresses and to behave like a princess; her life was mostly rolling around in dirt, traveling from one place to another and fighting on battlefields.

Soon enough, the dancefloor was empty and it was just Anya spinning continuously with the whole court around the edges, clapping along to the music. She couldn't help but laugh a little as she kept on spinning, her skirts flying up to create a beautiful spinning circle around her. In that moment, she was happy; she was well and truly happy – something that came to her rarely after she was banished.

After Anya was far too dizzy to even stand, she found a seat near the dancefloor to catch her breath, have something to drink and just watch everyone else at court enjoy themselves. She was happy that she stayed, at least then she got to know the kings and queens of old – something that she had heard her father talk about often but she could now say that she knew them personally and she cared for them, they became her new family. But she knew it would hurt when they left, she was just waiting for when that day would come, even when she was dreading it. It was going to be hard, but what would be harder was to say goodbye to Peter, her fondness still stayed with her even with all the times they rarely saw each other, she still wanted to spend time with him and she didn't know how to go about telling him her feelings – that wasn't something she was taught in Archenland. She was taught to fight, but not to speak to a boy about her feelings.

All too soon, it was time for the Pevensies to leave and Anya's throat was tightening with every word Caspian said. All she wanted to do was hide in a dark corner and sob until her eyes could no longer cry but she needed to be strong and give them a proper goodbye, they deserved that after everything they had been through together.

Peter faced Anya, not fully knowing what to say to the other but they settled for silence and taking in each other's faces for the last time. After a few moments, Anya rested the palm of her hand on Peter's chest, over his rapidly beating heart. "May we meet again," she gave him a shaky smile before she dropped her hand.

A tear fell down Anya's cheek as she turned away from Peter but before she could say another word, Peter grabbed her arm to bring her back to face him and pressed a kiss to her lips. To her, he tasted like the sweetest drop of honey mixed with the sour taste of lemons. To him, she tasted like the sea but mixed to perfection with the fresh air of the woods. All too soon; the kiss was over, leaving both of them completely breathless as they stepped away from each other.

Anya couldn't stop the smile on her face as she turned away from Peter, her lips tingling and she had to fight the urge to touch them. It wasn't just a goodbye kiss. It was a kiss to make up for all the days they could never have together, a possible future by each other's side but they were taken away from each other – doomed to live in separate worlds.

It was her father's words that brought her out of her trance-like state from the kiss. "My daughter, you have a choice to go with the kings and queens of old into their world or stay in this one. You can come home, you are forgiven." Aslan took a step closer to his daughter, giving her a slight nod.

Almost immediately, she answered, her words falling out of her lips like poison. "I have no home. You took my home away from me the day you banished me here with no hope of survival. But I survived for five hundred years, and I'm not going throw that away now." Anya looked at her father then at Peter, her eyes locked with his before she looked away, blinking back her tears. "I know where my loyalties lie, father. My people need their princess." She nodded her head once, pulling her necklace off her neck before thrusting it into Peter's hand.

"Where will you go now?" Peter asked, his hand clasping the necklace Anya had placed inside it.

"I'm unsure now but I'll find my way home, wherever that is. Don't worry about me, High King Peter. I'm a survivor, I can handle this." She pressed one last kiss to his lips before she turned away from the scene. She walked through the crowd, forcing everyone to move to the side to let her through.

A single tear slowly made its way down Anya's cheek as she reached the end of the crowd, she wanted to look back and maybe even change her mind and go with the Pevensies but she knew that she couldn't abandon those she loved in her own land for someone she might never see again. She forced a smile as she made her way out of the castle gates, back towards the woods and her people, never looking back.

The last thing the Narnians heard of Anya before she left was a battle cry; echoing through the silent woods, reaching all of their ears and they all knew that it would be the last time they would hear of Anya again and it was for many centuries to come. But the stories kept coming about Anya, the warrior princess who was given the chance to live with the Kings and Queens of old but gave it up to stay with her people. Her loyalty became famous all across Narnia, to the point where King Caspian placed a marble statue of the princess beside his statue of the great lion.

You may think this is the end of the story but for Anya and Peter, but you're wrong, it was only just the beginning. After the events of the Pevensies returning to their own world, Anya went back to Archenland and was soon crowned Queen until she gave up her crown to go back to Narnia and to visit other countries such as Telmar and Calormen – while others claim she abandoned her people after she refused to marry any suitors that came her way. Anya was there at the final battle of Narnia, alongside her father and had a bittersweet meeting with the Pevensies and ended up following them into Aslan's Country.

And thus, the stories of their true adventures began.