"Edmund, you'll land on this tower, take out the guard, then signal the others in when it's clear below. We'll land on the wall here, ideally, allowing some error for the guard patrols, then proceed to enter the castle proper here at Dr. Cornelius's window." Edmund was frowning slightly as he listened, thinking there were better ways to arrange their forces. But Peter carried straight on with barely a glance at him, and Edmund hesitated to argue. The situation with the Narnians was delicate and Peter was understandably touchy about his authority. Better they presented a united front whenever possible.
The moment passed. Edmund kept silent. But if he had not…
To Speak and To Keep Silent
"Edmund, you'll land on this tower, take out the guard, then signal the others in when it's clear below. We'll —"
"Why?" Edmund interrupts. "Because I have the torch? I can teach any of the archers to use it. Hell, I can teach the griffins to use it; it'll stand up to claws if they're careful."
Peter frowns at him, but it isn't an angry or even disapproving look. It's Peter's why are you making noise at me? expression, which means he's already four steps further into the plan and is trying to back up his thoughts. Edmund presses on carefully. "I'd be more use inside. My archery isn't the best."
"Good enough," Peter says, to which Edmund can only incline his head, because all of them are at least competent, if only through sheer, stubborn drill. "It's not just operating the torch. I need a commander there."
"Trumpkin, then," Edmund suggests, nodding toward the dwarf.
Peter's frown edges into annoyed. "No. Ed—"
"You'd rather one of us?" he asks quickly, before Peter can give the order he's working up to and Edmund will be duty-bound to drop it. "Because we can anticipate one another," he adds when Peter nods. The Narnians were starting to look offended, but they subside at the clarification. Peter doesn't see it — but then there's a lot Peter's not seeing right now.
"Exactly," Peter says, expression lightening at what he clearly supposes is capitulation. "Now —"
"So put Susan up there." He stands fast in the face of the glare his brother fixes on him for continuing a matter Peter thinks settled. "She's a better archer than both of us put together and she'll be far more useful that I would." Down the table, Susan nods her acceptance of the assignment.
Peter's face relaxes; he's at least considering it. "That position is going to be the most vulnerable to capture," he says, drumming his fingers absently on his sword hilt. "You'll be in plain view, and stuck, if any of them get clever. Su isn't as capable in close quarters — sorry, Su," he adds. She waves it off; it's true. She's an archer, and prone to go for a knife rather than a sword when she can't get the range for her bow. Against assassins and the occasional soldier who rushes the archers' line, it's good enough. Against heavily armed palace guards, the best she could hope to achieve is a holding action.
Edmund makes an impatient noise. "So task the griffin to stay close. At the first sign her position's compromised, she can pull off the tower and give any remaining signals from the air."
Peter mulls it over, while Edmund counts the faint beats of his fingers against Rhindon's hilt. His brother doesn't have many tells, trained by battlefield and throne room alike, but there are a few subtle ones prolonged exposure has taught Edmund. Rolling taps — ring-middle-index — are annoyance or impatience. Solid or two-beat patterns mean he's thinking. And slow, far-spaced taps are the pieces of a plan slotting into place. He keeps his gaze fixed on Peter's face, quiets his own breathing, and listens. One-two-three, one-two-three, one-two-three… four. One-two. One-two. One-two… three. Four. And he fights down a smile, because the pattern's stabilized there, into a slow, steady beat.
"Very well," Peter says abruptly. "Susan on the tower, Edmund with us. We'll have to work out the aerial signals — I don't like asking a troop to memorize two sets, but it can't be helped. Now, once we're in the castle…"
When the plans are finished, and the commanders dismissed to ready their troops, Edmund hangs back. Peter, Glenstorm, and Asterius the minotaur are studying the rough map of the castle, discussing alternate battle strategies, should they meet unexpected resistance at various points. Caspian hangs about the fringes, obviously out of his depth but trying to contribute. Edmund lets it go on until they start getting into the kind of nitpicking points that they'll never have time to implement properly in actual battle (but every strategist he's ever known loves to debate anyway) before he steps forward.
"Oh, Ed, I didn't see you there." Peter's casual, much more relaxed with just his two most competent commanders (and one princely hanger-on) before him. Good. "Come tell me what you think about positioning the Cats here."
"Will you excuse us," Edmund says to the others, meeting their eyes steadily. "I'd like a word with my brother." Glenstorm and Asterius take it as the order it is, bowing slightly and withdrawing. Caspian hesitates, looking between them while Edmund keeps a mild expression fixed on his face, but finally goes off quietly as well.
"Ed?" Peter's giving him a confused look. "If you see a problem with the plans-"
"It's not the plans." He folds the map over, insinuating himself between Peter and the table, because trying to talk to his brother about anything but warfare with a battle plan out is impossible. "It's you."
"Me?" He flickers between surprise and annoyance and finally seems to settle on humor. "If this is about being nicer to Caspian, you can get in line behind the girls, brother."
"Caspian's an idiot," Edmund says bluntly, and startles a laugh out of Peter. That's a good sign; he'd been starting to think Peter's face would be permanently locked in a frown. "He's a well-meaning idiot, and I'm sure he'll grow out of it if he lives long enough, but still."
Smiling, Peter says easily, "All right then, if you're not going to scold me about him, what's the problem?"
"You're... off," he replies, not having a better word for it. "And I'm worried about you. Your head's not entirely in this, and we both know how dangerous that is."
"I'm fine," Peter stresses, frowning a little. "In case you hadn't noticed, we just planned this battle -"
"And I had to explain tactical considerations to you," Edmund cuts him off. "And step in when you told your senior commanders you didn't trust them." The first worries him more than the second. It's fairly obvious Peter doesn't trust most of the Narnians, untrained and untested as they are, but announcing that fact is bad for morale. Normally he wouldn't — but then, normally he'd have hand-picked, frighteningly competent commanders to work with. This is —
"I did no such thing!"
Edmund throws up his hands. It's an extravagant gesture, but arguing with Peter drives him to them; he doesn't fight the impulses any more. "This is exactly what I mean! You didn't notice, Peter. You! You're so... fixated that you're not seeing anything but your own plans, and you're alienating your best allies. Lucy's still angry with you, by the way," he adds, because warning Peter about either of their sisters' tempers is a bit like warning him about the swordsman behind him; he'll probably notice on his own but the results if he doesn't will be messy.
"For what?" Peter asks, honestly puzzled.
For a moment Edmund can only gape at him stupidly. Then he throws his hands up again in utter despair. "Peter! You disparaged her competence in front of an entire war council! You're probably lucky we were in the Table chamber; she'd never go for her knife there." Lucy's demonstrations of her ability tended to be ... pointed. And hard on the furniture.
"Just because I don't think Aslan's going to come roaring to the rescue -"
"'I'm not sure you've really been listening'?"
Peter hesitates. "Oh. Well. Perhaps I could have been more diplomatic... I'll apologize when I see her. But really, Ed, the whole point is not to die."
"You were talking about a grand stand, and committing all our forces to it," Edmund points out, keeping his tone patient and light. He's prepared to make allowances; they're all out of their depth right now. It's hard to make any sort of plan when you're not certain what resources you have, and can't count on the ones you do know about. "This plan isn't that, but at the time she was right."
Peter rests his hands carefully on the table, well away from his weapons. It's a familiar gesture, but an alarming one. A simple argument with family shouldn't stress his control so far. "You agreed with me," Peter says, in the mild tone that usually precedes his pinning some fool's ears back.
Edmund doesn't appreciate having it directed at him. "No one ever won a war fighting defensively. And we're not equipped to hold off a siege here. A few solid hits and this place is a death-trap." Simple, obvious facts; obvious enough that even Caspian should have seen them. Obvious enough that Susan should never have spoken against them, even if she had appointed herself peacemaker. Peter relaxes a little, though, as if pleased by this evidence his brother is on his side. He makes to turn away, clearly considering the matter closed, but Edmund's having none of it. "If you'd gone on talking like you were going to abandon the How, I'd have stood with Lucy."
"But we're not." Peter bites off the words, patronizing. You're mistaken. "So there's nothing to discuss."
"Since when do you need me to lay out the benefits of having archers on the high ground? I expected you'd grasp my point immediately - I assumed you had a reason for wanting me up there instead of Su and I just hadn't seen it yet." Peter doesn't answer but something about his expression sends a chill through Edmund. "Peter... tell me you'd thought about putting Susan on the tower. Tell me I wasn't your only option." He's more than half begging, his voice strangled by fear.
Peter looks away, a faint blush staining his cheeks, and Edmund has his answer. He wants to explode. He wants to weep, or run and hide. This isn't his brother. Not the battle-hardened High King. Not even the fifteen-year-old boy who won his first battle on the strength of news reports, story books, and sheer cussed determination. Peter sees things. He's always at least three steps ahead of anyone else in the room, and even Edmund, who knows his brother better than anyone and is no slouch himself in tactics, has trouble keeping up with him. Edmund takes a step away from the table. A step back. The abortive pacing does nothing to steady his nerves, but the motion sheds some of the restless energy gripping him. "Peter..." He has no idea how to start that sentence, let alone end it. He's never seen his brother like this - not in Narnia. He takes a deep, slow breath, and tries again. "Peter, this plan of yours is either going to be a spectacular success or a resounding failure."
"I know," Peter admits, but there's still an arrogant note in his voice. For no reason he can name, Edmund thinks of pine branches and fur.
"You've pulled off longer shots. I have no doubt you can do this, too." It's a little bit heartbreaking the way his brother still lights up with that vote of confidence from him. Edmund considers his next words carefully; he'll probably only get one shot at this. "Peter... are you prepared to abandon the plan completely, if that's what's needed?"
"It'll be fine," Peter says, which answers the question, though not the way Edmund hoped.
"I mean it, Pete." He catches hold of his brother's wrist when Peter would have waved it off. "We know what happens to plans when battle starts. I'll follow you even if you're going to be pigheaded, but the Narnians have to be our first thought. I need to know you won't put me in a position where I have to countermand your orders for their sake."
Peter looks stricken. Edmund hopes that's because he'd finally getting through to him and not because he's threatened to challenge his brother's authority. "Promise me, Peter. Narnia first."
"Narnia first," Peter echoes, and for a wonder he sounds like he means it. His voice and face firm, something of the king Edmund expects to see coming back. "I promise, brother, I shall not put you in such a quandary."
"No quandary," Edmund says, but lets go of his brother's wrist, relaxing. "I honor you always, High King, but in a contest between your pride and Narnia's well-being, I would not hesitate for an instant."
"I should think the less of you if you did." Peter nods gravely. Edmund's relief is so great it sucks the strength from his limbs. He leans against the table, going for casual rather than weakness. That's more like Peter, and the return to courtly speech is a good sign as well. "Is your mind at ease now?" Peter asks, taking in Edmund's posture with his old sharpness.
Edmund makes himself straighten up. "It is, brother, and I thank you."
"Come on, then." Peter claps him on the shoulder. "Let's get armed up."
There's nothing in England to compare with flying with a griffin. Even planes, Edmund imagines, would be pale imitations of this: soaring over Narnia with the night wind in your hair, slipping between broad currents of air with ease. Griffins fly like the raptors their bird parts resemble: soaring smoothly with a minimum of flapping, and changing direction with the merest flick of a wing.
Vyr, the griffin who had volunteered to carry Susan, strokes his wings twice and pulls ahead of the rest, twisting toward the tower that will be Susan's post. A few moments later they are lost to sight against the night and the dark stone of the castle. Edmund glances to his right, where Peter flies, and Caspian beyond him. Peter is focused on the castle, his face grim. It's hard to tell in the dark, at three wingspan's distance, but Edmund thinks Caspian may be a bit green. First flight. He'll get used to it. Or he won't, in which case he'll have trouble ruling Narnia, but that's for later. Now is for the light flickering on the tower - Susan's in place and calling them in. Below and behind them, the ground forces should be moving toward the gatehouse, ready to cross when the bridge is lowered for them. He hopes. One of them should have been there, but someone needed to stay at the How and Peter's insistence on having someone he trusts (which is to say, one of his siblings) in the signaling position means there's no one left to command the main force. Glenstorm and Asterius are the closest things the Narnians have to experienced generals, though, so they should be able to handle it.
And then they're diving, and there's no more time to worry about anyone else's part of the plan. Caspian slices down a guard who's seen them come in, tumbling him off the tower. He has to hang by one shoulder to do it; maybe he will get used to griffin-flight after all.
They land on the wall and Peter's sword is out even before he touches down, killing the nearest guard in one swift slice. Edmund draws his even as he lands, pivoting to check their six and to make sure he's out of Trumpkin's shot. The dwarf fires once, twice: the second guard goes down. Mercifully quick and quiet — so far, so good. He signals an 'all clear' to Peter.
Rope secured, Caspian goes down first. Against Peter's wishes, but the prince had argued that his professor would be startled by a stranger rapping at his window. Edmund notices Peter goes down practically on top of him. The ledge is only big enough for two, so he and Trumpkin have a moment's wait, wary and nervous on the open wall. Clear below. He slides down the rope, then steadies it for Trumpkin's descent. The dwarf's not entirely comfortable with this climbing about - though he'd probably be fine making such a climb if they were hanging off a cliff in a cave instead of castle walls - but he doesn't complain, and Edmund remembers why he's always liked dwarfs. Once they're inside, he shuts the window behind them, to hide their trail and to signal the griffin tasked with retrieving the rope that it could be collected. He turns back to the others in time to see Caspian pick something up from the table.
"We have to find him!" the prince insists, brandishing the object at Peter. Edmund can make it out now: a pair of spectacles.
"You don't have time! You have to get the gate open!"
"You wouldn't even be here without him," Caspian argues. "And neither would I."
Peter looks at Edmund, for support or maybe just for patience. He thinks fast, recognizing a situation that can go sour fast, but only one solution presents itself. Before he can think better of it, he offers, "I'll go."
"What?" Peter and Caspian glance at each other, wary as two tomcats, and Edmund hides a wince. If they can't deal with agreeing even that much...
"I'll get the gates open." He looks between the older boys, decides he doesn't have time for persuasion. The plan lasted ten whole minutes, anyway; that has to be a record. "Get Cornelius, Caspian." He's going to anyway, and it's poor form to give an order you know will be disobeyed. "Take him as far as the courtyard and leave him with us. Then come up here and give Peter a hand with Miraz." To Peter, he says, "I'll get the gate open," and meets his brother's gaze squarely, willing him to understand and trust.
"All right," Peter says, reluctant but firm. "Caspian - go." The prince hardly waits for permission; he's out the door before the syllable is fully formed. Trumpkin stumps out after him, headed for the upper gatehouse and the bridge controls. Peter hesitates, his eyes on Edmund.
"Don't do anything stupid while I'm not around to watch your back," Edmund instructs, only half joking. A quarter.
Peter smiles. "I believe that's my line, little brother."
"Yet somehow you manage to find twice as much trouble as I do."
His brother snorted, aiming a good-natured cuff as his head, which he ducks easily. "Get going. I'll see you soon." Edmund nods, and they take opposite directions down the corridor.
Down the stairs, and through another corridor, keeping his footsteps light and straining his ears for patrols. He has a good head for direction, but the map Caspian had drawn for them was rough and inexpert, so he's working as much off instinct as any plan.
Fortunately the route to the gatehouse was one of the major focuses of the map, sketchy though it was. Edmund reaches the gate just in time to see the bridge creak open a hair. Trumpkin and the Mice made it, then. He hurries to the wheel, putting his full weight against it to make it turn. It wasn't meant to be operated by skinny boys, and a few days in Narnia isn't enough to give him back his full strength. The bridge comes down before he has the gate half up. He looks up, but there's no beam of light signaling their forces on the other side. He can't make out Susan on the tower, but on the assumption she can see him - and his lack of progress - he gives the standard field signal for 'advance', making it as large and clear as he dares. The light snaps on almost at once. He turns hurriedly back to the gate-wheel.
By the time the Narnians - crossing as quietly as possible - reach him, he has it raised enough that most of the Beasts and Dwarfs can pass through. A few short Fauns duck under as well, and there is no shortage of willing hands to help him muscle the gate the rest of the way up.
He doesn't let them linger in the courtyard. One nervous eye on the walkways above them, he urges them into their units and assigned palace entries. All they need is for some over-alert guard or midnight insomniac to spot them while they're still out in the open, before their own archers (what few they brought; most are back standing defense of the How) are in position to give them cover.
"Sire, what-" starts one Faun, shifting anxiously on his hooves.
"Change of plan," Edmund says shortly, his voice the barest whisper. "Where's your unit, soldier?" Fortunately he takes the hint and goes; Edmund might have had to hit something if he'd pointed or otherwise answered.
Caspian had been supposed to go with Glenstorm's force (the fact that he hadn't questioned this assignment had only convinced them all the more that he needed looking after). Edmund has no intention of wasting their experience like that. He waves Glenstorm on, attaching himself instead to a mixed group of Fauns and Beasts nominally commanded by a Panther. (Cats, they had once found, tend toward competence on the battlefield regardless of formal experience. They're hoping this is still true.) Glenstorm at least doesn't question the change; thank Aslan for centaurs.
And for minotaurs, he adds, seeing Asterius glaring stragglers into order, and isn't that an odd thought? He'd known some peaceful minotaurs once, but never any who wanted to pledge to Narnia again. Thirteen hundred years - though the invasion's probably more the point.
The courtyard's finally clear. Edmund motions his troops onward, placing himself just behind the Panther. The Panther - Edmund thinks his name is Tolus - doesn't question this arrangement, just pads forward, soldiers following. Edmund winces a little at the click of hooves on stone; stealth is not their strong point, apparently. Fortunately, they needn't go far; their assignment is the watchtower at the far corner of the outer bailey — the one Susan is standing on top of. They hug the walls of the castle, creeping around the inner keep. Just a quick dash across a walkway separates them from the lower guard-post when a great clamour of bells rings out, startling them all. One corner of Edmund's mind catalogues the Dog who yipped and the Faun who dropped his sword, but most of his attention is fully on the problem at hand. And the obvious solution. "Charge!" he orders, breaking cover himself to rush the tower.
Tolus flows smoothly into motion beside him, giving Edmund hope that at least these Narnians have good instincts. The others hesitate briefly, but gather themselves to follow, and the whole party bursts into the lower guard post while the men stationed there are still scrambling for their weapons. Edmund sends up a brief prayer that the other squads had done the same. Then there's no time for anything but the dance of swords and death. "Upstairs!" he orders, shoving a Telmarine off his blade. "Get upstairs - the bowmen!"
It all descends into utter madness in short order, and if he had time to think about it he'd want to beat his head against a wall. The Narnians are fine in one-on-one fights, beating the Telmarines every time, but any attempt to make them operate as a unit collapses as soon as they meet resistance. Edmund batters his way to the stairs, not bothering with finesse. There are too many Telmarines for any fancy swordplay; he just concentrates on putting as many out of commission as he can.
About half his force beats him to the lower walk; they're already pushing outward, clearing a space around the tower. He takes a quick glance around, seeing two other squads doing the same at other points around the bailey, and then up. He can't see Susan from this angle, of course, but he does spot two griffins diving, picking off archers on the upper towers. He starts working his way toward the nearest group of Narnians. If they can meet in the middle and hold the wall, it'll give them a stronger foothold.
He's nearly reached the other squad when a commotion above draws his eye, and he throws a look at the upper walkway to see a man in a nightshirt tearing along it, with Peter - conspicuous by his coloring among the Telmarines - in pursuit, Rhindon shimmering in his fist. Peter's path is hampered by Telmarine soldiers, while the man — who must be Miraz — barrels through unhindered. He's pulling away steadily. "Susan!" Edmund twists to find her on the battlements. When their eyes meet, he points to Miraz with his sword.
The trouble with anything meant to catch the attention of your own forces is that it also tends to catch the enemy's attention. Soldiers are generally only too happy to aim for the idiot yelling and waving a sword about, and the Telmarines are no exception. Three of them come at him, and for the next little while Edmund is too busy keeping all of his limbs attached to see what happens to Miraz. When he can look up again — two dispatched, the third tangling with a particularly vicious Boar — Miraz is leaning heavily against the castle wall. One of Susan's arrows sprouts from his right shoulder, and another… Edmund hopes Susan wasn't aiming there. It's likely Caspian's newborn cousin will be an only child. Unsurprisingly Miraz looks in terrible pain; he clutches the shoulder wound and slumps against the wall, face nearly as pale as his shirt. Peter looms over the usurper, Rhindon's tip just kissing his throat. Their lips are moving, but Edmund can't hear what they're saying; if he knows his brother, the conversation is being conducted in threatening hisses.
Satisfied that Peter has things in hand for the moment, he turns to pull a Telmarine off a hard-pressed Satyr. The Narnian salutes him gratefully, plunging right back into the battle. Edmund smiles grimly and wades back in as well. He's tired, but he's used to pushing through that; he can go a while before he starts to affect his fighting. Hopefully this won't last that long.
"Soldiers of Telmar!" Peter's voice rings out over the noise of battle. The clash slowly fades to silence as heads turn; the battle holds its breath. Peter is standing at the top of the stairs, Miraz before him with his arms twisted behind his back and Rhindon held to his throat. His brother's flair for the dramatic is working again; the stairs give him height on Miraz and the torch behind them throws a halo on his hair and sword that turns him into a golden king. He couldn't have posed it better himself, and he hates that Peter probably hadn't given a single thought to it. He's also making a brilliant target of himself, and Edmund starts scanning for Telmarines who might be stupid enough to try a shot at him, even with Miraz in the way. (Miraz isn't well-liked anyway; they could very well consider hitting him a bonus.)
"Soldiers of Telmar!" Peter calls again, though now he doesn't need nearly as much volume; he has their total attention. "Your Lord Protector has surrendered himself and this castle." Probably at least half a lie, but Peter can be very convincing. "Lay down your arms and no harm will come to you. We have no desire for further bloodshed."
Nice in theory, Edmund thinks, but the Telmarines are currently staring down beings out of their fairy tales and probably nightmares. He starts looking for Caspian. The prince has to be here somewhere, and any halfway legitimate authority will go a long way toward calming the soldiers who probably have no idea why the castle has been attacked by creatures of myth. Peter's going on, making the standard assurances about fair treatment and not blaming the soldiers for the poor decisions of their leaders and so forth; Edmund tunes it out in favor of weaving his way through the courtyard to where Caspian is apparently trying to disappear into the shadows. He yanks the prince unceremoniously from his concealment and marches him up to the stairs, trying to look like escort rather than captor. An attempt which the prince is not helping; Caspian keeps trying to squirm away.
"Straighten up!" Edmund hisses out of the corner of his mouth. "Try to look a bit regal, Caspian!"
"Shh!" He lets go at the foot of the stairs, giving him a little nudge — all right, push — toward them. "Get up there. Tell them to surrender. Call Miraz 'usurper'. Move."
Caspian goes, wearing a dazed look but carrying himself proudly. His expression sharpens significantly when he gets a good look at Miraz, shifting to something at least fierce, if not dignified. "Men of Telmar," he begins, his voice shaky but firming as he goes on, "My people! The tyrant and usurper Miraz does not deserve your loyalty. This man —" he stabs a vicious hand at the defeated lord "— killed my father, the rightful king, and sent men to kill me in the dead of night."
That's enough, Edmund judges, watching the emotion twist on Caspian's face. "You need not fight and die for a kinslayer," he puts in, pitching his voice to carry across the courtyard. "Lay down your arms peacefully. Our war is with Miraz and his ilk, not those who acknowledge the rightful ruler of Narnia." He doesn't specify who he means; they can sort that out later, when bloodshed isn't imminent.
A man steps forward on the wall. By the way the soldiers give way for him, he's someone important. By his walk he's a warrior, not a lord. He stops a careful sword length from Peter and Miraz. His eyes flick from the battered Lord Protector to Caspian and back. "Now this," Edmund hears him say softly, almost to himself, "is a bloody Narnian attack." Miraz's face twists with rage, and he jerks forward only to be brought up short by Rhindon's blade. Peter, his face utterly still, twists his wrists higher until he has no room to struggle.
General Glozelle - Edmund is all but certain it must be he - nods slightly. Then deliberately he draws his sword, reverses it, and extends the hilt to Caspian. "My prince," he says clearly, for all to hear, "I do yield myself."
Caspian wraps his hand around the hilt, and the general lets go. He sinks to one knee, bowing his head deeply. Edmund gets a glimpse of his face as he does, and shivers. He knows the look of a man expecting to die in the next moments.
"Rise, General Glozelle," Caspian says, confirming Edmund's guess. "Have we not pledged mercy to those who fought under Miraz's orders?"
Standing, the general stares at Caspian. Oh yes, that's the look of a condemned man reprieved. "My prince... I -"
"We can discuss anything else you may have done later." Caspian holds his gaze for a long moment, something passing between them that Edmund can't read. Glozelle bows without breaking eye contact, and Caspian relaxes slightly. Then he turns to look at the nearest soldier. That man looks between him, Glozelle, and Miraz - and tosses down his sword.
The spell of stillness that's held the yard breaks as it rings against the stones. All over, Telmarines put down sword and bow. A few attack instead - it's expected, and Edmund is pleased to see the Narnians take them down without killing - easier to do when you can bring numbers to bear. He motions to the nearest Faun (Fauns and Dwarfs tend to be least unnerving to those unaccustomed to Narnians. Centaurs are a bit too imposing). "Collect the weapons," he orders, making certain he can be heard by the Telmarines, "and escort the soldiers back to their barracks until the new command can be sorted."
"Sire," the Faun murmurs, and goes to arrange it.
Edmund looks up at Peter, seeing his own relief mirrored in his brother's eyes, though both are hiding it behind court masks. "General," Peter says, handing Miraz over to the tender grip of two minotaurs, "perhaps you might undertake a task for us."
"A task...my lord?" Glozelle obvious has not idea who Peter is, but he recognizes authority when he sees it. Edmund's opinion of him rises a notch.
"The army -" Peter begins, cutting himself off when Susan joins them.
"I sent Vyr for Lucy," she announces, sliding her bow back into her quiver. Edmund sees Glozelle's eyes follow the motion, widening when he matches the red fletching of her arrows to those still embedded in Miraz. He takes in her armor and swallows hard, eyebrows reaching for his hairline. Susan just smiles slightly, used to such reactions.
"Good," Peter says, "we'll need her cordial." This for the benefit of the Telmarines, Edmund presumes; neither he nor Susan requires explanation. "General - the rest of the army will need to be told of the change in leadership. I expect they'll receive the news better from an officer they respect. Will you carry that word for us?"
"I-" He glances at Caspian, then straightens to attention. "Yes, my lord."
Peter nods as though he'd never had any doubt. He probably hadn't - Peter's very, very good at reading people. "We'll send you with a couple of centaurs and an appropriate force," he decides. "The commanders will have to be recalled, but you can leave the army where they are. The bridge will need to come down before the river gets angry, anyway."
"Rivers get angry? "Caspian asks, startled. Glozelle hides it better, but he looks like he wanted to ask the same thing.
Peter laughs, and Edmund finds himself grinning broadly. "Welcome to a new Narnia."