Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Work against the Emperor's Magic?

[Originally posted at Ana Mardoll's Ramblings.]

"Oh, Aslan!" whispered Susan in the Lion's ear, "can't we -- I mean, you won't, will you? Can't we do something about the Deep Magic? Isn't there something you can work against it?"

"Work against the Emperor's Magic?" said Aslan, turning to her with something like a frown on his face. Those who heard were shocked at Aslan's tone, for it contained something they had never heard from him before: Uncertainty.

"Perhaps we could discuss this in private," Susan whispered. Aslan nodded. Susan addressed the witch, "We'll have to confer privately. We'll get right back to you."

As soon as they were inside the tent Susan said, "You'll have to excuse me, I don't understand the Deep Magic."

"No one does," Aslan said.

"No, I mean I don't even understand the basics. I don't even know why it's called the Deep Magic."

"Because it comes from the depths."


Aslan pointed with one paw, slightly downward, in a direction nothing seemed to be in, "If you were to go straight that way you would travel first through a short span of air, then a mile of earth, then you would meet the sea, if you continued until you had moved beyond the sea you would find yourself in my father's realm, a place of neither earth nor air, nor fire nor water. It is from those depths that my father, the Emperor, rules this world."

"So your father has determined that Edmund has to die?"

"Edmund doesn't have to die. I can save him."


"The witch's understanding of the Deep Magic is quite shallow. She doesn't understand the nuance of what it says. I can save him by offering myself in his place. If I understand the magic correctly I won't stay dead, and we can defeat the witch then, with Edmund safe."

"If you understand ... Your father didn't explain this stuff to you?"

"He doesn't talk much."

"So if you're wrong the witch kills us all."

"I'm pretty sure-"

"And if you're right we're still allowing evil to rule this land. Because demanding the sacrifice of a nine year old boy is evil, even if there is a loophole."

"Susan, if we don't give her someone she'll destroy all of Narnia. Edmund will still die."

"It's not right."

"It is the way things are."

"Then fight against it. Change the way things are."

Aslan was silent for a long time, then he asked, "Is that your command as Queen of Narnia? That we should risk the death of every one of your subjects not to save your brother but because you think the Deep Magic must be opposed on moral grounds?"

Susan asked, "Is it my decision?" doubt in her voice for the first time since she entered the tent.

"No." Aslan said. Then he called for the other Pevensies into the tent. "You are Kings and a Queen of Narnia," he told them, "Susan, Queen of Narnia, has a proposal for you."

Susan spoke nervously, "The problem isn't the witch, Edmund has already been saved from her, the problem is the Deep Magic. We need to fight it, not her."

"How?" Lucy asked.

"By taking the fight to my father," Aslan said.

"But we don't have time." Edmund said. "She said that if I don't go with her she'll destroy all of Narnia."

"She won't," Susan said, "the Deep Magic will."

"I can make her wait," Aslan said, "But you must understand what you're doing. If you do this it will mean going to war with the one who made this world. What hangs in the balance is more than the fate of the world, but the world itself.

"If the world should survive the battle, and we should defeat my father then the risk is still not ended because the Deep Magic may yet survive. If we do this then we will all be traitors and, if the Deep Magic endures, the witch will have the right to every one of our lives. If even one of those lives is denied to her, Narnia will perish in fire and water, everyone will die."

"Can- can the witch choose to pardon anyone?" Edmund asked.

"No, but she can postpone their execution, indefinitely if she chooses, that's why some of her followers are so loyal. They know that she could decide their time has come, and if she does, whether by her hand or the Deep Magic, they will die."

"I'm not going to destroy the world to save myself," Edmund said.

"It's not about you, Edmund," Susan said. "We have a way to save you anyway."

"How?" Peter asked.

"By killing Aslan," Susan said.

Lucy gasped.

Edmund looked at his feet as if they held the answer, apparently they did because soon he lifted his head and said, "I'll go with the witch."

"And what if it were Lucy?" Susan asked, a hint of anger in her voice. "What if she had met the witch and you'd met Tumnus? What if she had been tricked instead of you? What then? Would you stand by while she went bravely off to her death? What if it were one of the tree spirits outside, or a Minotaur, or ... anyone but you? Would you be so ready to appease the Deep Magic then?

"It's not about you Edmund, it's about doing what's right."

Edmund said, "You're right, it's not about me. It's about everyone else in Narnia. We'd be putting them all at risk. None of them are in this tent --no offense," he said to Aslan, "but you've been away a hundred years-- it's not our place to decide their fates."

Aslan said, "You are the Kings and Queens of Narnia, it is your place." He approached Edmund, "But it is you place to do it justly. And the things you're thinking are the right ones. So, how will you decide?"

"We can't take the side of someone who demands that anyone who is tricked has to die," Susan said.

Edmund looked at his siblings, then at Aslan. Then to an empty part of the tent. He tried to answer Susan's question. How would he feel if it were Lucy, or a tree spirit? How would he feel if someone he had never met had decided to put him at risk on behalf of someone else he had never met? That was how the War had started, wasn't it? He had never been to Poland, he had never met George VI, or anyone in any way involved in the declaration.

But at least they'd been in the country. He and his siblings knew almost nothing about Narnia. "We'll ask them," Edmund said.

"Ask who," Lucy asked.

"The Narnians," Edmund answered.

"You can't ask everyone," Aslan said. "Who will you ask?"

"Uh... The Beavers?" Edmund said.

Susan said, "Not the Beavers."

"Why not?" Edmund asked.

"Because they're racist jerks," Susan said.

Edmund looked at Lucy for confirmation, but she appeared to be trying not to giggle, then he looked to Peter who said, "They are."

Edmund thought a moment and asked, "Tree spirits?"


The group emerged from the tent and faced Jadis, clearly annoyed by the wait. Aslan asked her, "You say it is engraved on the scepter of the Emperor-beyond-the-Sea?"

"Yes," she answered impatiently, "and the stone table and the fire stones at the secret hill."

"Have you seen it?"


"Have you seen the engraving on the scepter?"

"Of course I haven't."

"Then how do you know what is engraved there?"

"You will not cheat me of my prize."

"I'm not trying to cheat you of anything. I'm just practicing due diligence. For something to be a part of the Deep Magic it must be written in all three places, otherwise the Deep Magic would include anything some random passerby had chiseled in."

"Chiseled in? As deep as a spear?"

"I am merely suggesting that we check."

When the witch spoke it was a soft, "Check?" more an expression of surprise than a question, and the first time her voice was without hostility.

"Yes, I propose that we go to the scepter and check what it says."

"Go... to the scepter?"

"I'll lead the way."

"I will not be cheated..." she seemed to have lost her train of thought.

"Edmund will be with us every step of the way, he need never be separated from you by more than a tent flap."

In the witch's mind a plot began to form, why try to thwart a prophecy here when she could destroy it at its source? The Emperor had always been out of reach, but if Aslan brought her to him... the possibilities were endless. "I'll need to bring witnesses of of course," she said.

"Of course," Aslan said, "Bring as many as you like, bring them all." He turned to the Dog, "Send word that everyone in Narnia capable of movement should come. We will all view the scepter together," turning back to Jadis he added, "And pack a lunch. It will be a long journey."

As Jadis left to gather her army the Bull with a man's head said, "Sir, what are we doing?" to Aslan.

"You were right," Aslan said. "When someone demands the life of a nine year old child, the correct response is to oppose them, not give in. Even when that someone is my father."

"So we're going to fight the..."

"Just be wary of his tentacles, for they are many."

Three days later Aslan parted the sea, and two armies began the long march to the place beyond.


  1. Oh this needs to be continued

  2. You have no idea how much I want to see Aslan punch out Cthulhu.

  3. I forgot about the tentacles. Yay tentacles!
    "Pack a lunch." LMAO