Anvard Besieged

This piece of writing was written for the TLC Summer Challenge 2011. It looks at the thoughts that were going through Lune's mind during the Seige of Anvard. All characters and the setting of the events referred to are not my own, but come from CS Lewis' The Horse and His Boy.

King Lune glanced around him. He sat in his council chamber, with his chief advisors seated and watching.

"What are your orders, Sire?" asked Lord Darin.

The King sighed. It was not like the jolly king of Archenland to feel so miserable and be without a plan. He hadn't felt so lost since the day the news came that his son Cor was not on board that traitor Bar's ship. Until then he had had everything under control. But the moment he realised that his plan had failed and his son would not be so easily returned, he had despaired. He remembered still the depression he had felt.

But he had recovered from that tragedy. The joy watching of his other son, Corin, grow up, had eased the hurt. Even his wife's unexpected death had been bearable as he saw her smile in the eyes of his son. He had learnt to deal with loss.

But this time...this time it was different. His own castle was under attack. The castle at Anvard had not been built to withhold a siege. The treaties with its neighbours and its isolation by desert and mountain meant that a siege was never a real risk. If war were ever to come to this peaceful mountain kingdom, they had their fort in the mountains and there would be plenty of time to retreat.

But now this. An unexpected attack from the Calormene Empire. Not an attack led by the Tisroc himself, but by his son Rabadash. None of it made sense to the king.

The last he had heard, ties were good between the northerly kingdoms and Calormen. Why, the Prince himself had asked for the hand of Queen Susan. Lune had allowed his son to accompany her on her visit to the capital - had he been a fool to let him go?

His son...where was he now? No news had reached him other than that of this strange boy whom he had met while hunting yesterday, and who had commanded them to flee to Anvard just in time for Rabadash to engage them in battle before the castle.

What had happened to the Narnian expedition? He could only hope and pray that out of love for Susan, the Narnian delegation had been spared from whatever mad frenzy had caused the prince's attack on Archenland. His heart, however, told him that he was wrong - and that their visit had had something to do with this unwarranted attack. Though what might have gone wrong, he could not imagine.

And to make matters worse, there was now the boy in the mountains to worry about. He felt so foolish for letting a strange boy ride along without an escort, on the pack horse too - which was known for being lazy. It was because of that mist that he had gotten lost; a very strange mist which had come on them as unexpectedly as the attack by Rabadash. That poor boy probably didn't make it through the night. And what was worst of all was that boy's face.

It wasn't the first time he'd met a boy Corin's age and wondered if he was not his lost son. Almost every time he caught sight of a golden head, he had allowed himself to hope. But that was at the beginning, and he'd since learnt it was better not to get his hopes up. While he always held that his son was not dead and would one day return to fulfil the centaur's prophesy - he was sure it would be as an adult; probably long after he had handed the throne down to Corin. Then, as a man, he might return to save Archenland, but now was too soon.

Nevertheless the eyes of that boy haunted him, and he tried to brush away the pang of guilt and regret.

The feeling of hopelessness was overwhelming and as he perceived the eyes of his lords on him, he knew he needed a plan. They had fought off Rabadash's forces well enough last night. Could they hold out a few more days for the messenger to reach Cair Paravel? It was possible, but he had no idea who was at Cair to receive the message.

Edmund could be locked up in Calormen - or worse. Peter was away in the North. Lucy was Valiant, and would do what she could, but it might take time for her to gather a force. And what was going on in Narnia anyway? For all he knew, the Tisroc could have sent a larger force there by sea. The whole request to marry Susan might have been a ploy so that Cair Paravel would be empty of all but its youngest ruler.

He couldn't rely on Narnia to bring aid immediately. He had to assume the worst and that they were in this alone.

His thoughts were interrupted by a deafening boom that shook to the heart of the palace. What was that? Thunder? A quake? A chill ran up Lune's spine.


There it was again. What ever it was, it did not bode well.

"My Lord!" One of the guards from the gate tower came rushing into the chamber, not waiting for permission to enter. "My Lord," he repeated, panting. "It's the Calormenes. They're ramming the gate."

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