Friday, September 15, 2017

Aravis and Aslan after the battle of Anvard (Matter of Aravis: Susan Era)

Ok, so, this is the point where I say that I've done nowhere near enough setup to actually have parts near the ending make sense as a result of how very fragmentary this all has been, so:
  • Aravis dealt with the slave by freeing her, buying her a donkey and some food, and letting her set off to return to her non-Narnian homeland, which she had always wanted to do.
     
  • Aravis was attacked by a regular lion.  Instead of thinking it was a regular lion and having it turn out to be Aslan, they thought it was Aslan and it turned out to be a regular old deadly cat.

    It was a confluence of coincidence and bad judgement.  Right when they officially left Calormen there was this majestic lion that seemed to be waiting for them, silhouetted against the sky with the sun lighting up its mane.  It seemed to be divine, it was just a cat.  Shasta, Hwin, and Aravis all thought that they were being welcomed to by Aslan.

    (Approaching a random lion was the single stupidest thing our main three ever did.)

    That Aravis was the only member of the party harmed was sheer luck, that she wasn't hurt worse was a (presumably secular) miracle.

    Bree was only right that it wasn't Aslan because he was wrong about the nature of Aslan (who he assumed wasn't a lion.)

    While events have forced them to move passed it in general, when it does come up Aravis, Hwin, and Shasta aren't really in a good headspace.  Each one blames themselves for what happened and thinks less than complimentary things about their own intelligence and decision making capacity.

    Bree is so egotistical he's completely protected from such thoughts, plus he's quick to point out that he was right: it wasn't Aslan and approaching lions leads to bad things.  Who cares if some insignificant non-Narnian human got hurt?  He was right and that's what matters. In other words, Bree is acting exactly how you'd expect Lewis-Bree to act in this non-Lewis situation.
     
  • Aravis rode Hwin into battle, because of course she did, and was instrumental in Shasta's not-dying.  (The outcome of the battle itself depended more on the native Achenlanders and the Narnians.)  Thus she and Hwin are at Anvard.
Got all that?

Good.

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Aravis and Aslan walked together around the outskirts of the bloodied ground. The dead were being buried, homes were being repaired, and enemies were being guarded, but there was little to do for a girl who didn't know their funerary rituals, wasn't an artisan, and was a foreigner from the same nation as the enemies. For some reason the strange god had decided to grace her with his presence, but for a long while she found she had nothing to say.

Thus they walked together in silence for a time. Finally Aravis realized she had a question the god might be able to answer.

"Do you know everything?" Aravis asked.

"That depends on what you mean by 'everything'," Aslan said, "it is impressive how many different things that word can mean."

"When I started my journey I had a companion, but we parted ways when her freedom was secured at Azim Balda," Aravis said. "I have hoped since then that she has been safe and successful on her journey, and feared that she might be dead or worse."

"I cannot tell what will become of her," Aslan said, "but at this moment she is well: still free and still traveling toward her homeland. As you must know, she is quite skilled in many crafts. Thus far she has consistently been able to earn enough to fund her continued journey."

"That is good to know," Aravis said. "I thank you."

"I daresay she has fared better than you," Aslan said, "though you are recovering from your injuries well."

Aravis shrugged. "Now I know not to assume that every lion I meet is you."

"I do feel guilty," Aslan said. "At the time I was far to the west mediating a dispute between an Eagle and a Dragon."

"You were at the Tree?" Aravis asked with awe.

"A different Eagle and a different Dragon," Aslan said; "there was no Squirrel in sight."

"Oh."

"I can't help but think it would have been better to let that matter wait," Aslan said, "and instead pay more attention to who was doing what in my name. Then I would have realized your situation and could have spared you much pain."

"I would have accepted the pain a hundredfold to know what happened to my friend," Aravis, "so if you must feel guilt for not saving my friends and I from our own foolishness, know that you have more than made up for it."

"You have helped my people a great deal," Aslan said. "It is not given to me to know what would have happened if your message had not reached Achenland and Narnia, but I very much doubt it would have been been good.

"I shall tell Zardeenah Lady of the Night that you have earned my favor, Aravis descendant of Tash, and ask that she look after your friend on her journey," Aslan said. "Whether Zardeenah will see fit to provide such aid is something only she will know."

"Thank you, Aslan son of the Faraway Emperor," Aravis said.

They returned to silence and continued walking together.

[Index]

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Lewis uses things that seem to be clear Norse references a few times (most obvious being the gold chess pieces in Prince Caspian), and Aravis is knowledgeable about foreign religions, so I figured, "Why not stick in an indirect Ratatoskr reference?"

I'm not sure what I'm going to do with Tash, but Aravis says she's a descendant of Tash, so she gets that title.

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