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Edmund James Pevenise, Duke of Lantern Waste, Count of the Western Marches, Sir Edmund of the How, Knight of the Noble Order of the Table, King of Narnia, the Just, hates winter now. He loved it as a child before Narnia but now he hates it quite vehemently. He will, and has from their real Narnian winter, usually spend much of the season buried (rather than simply wrapped in them like his siblings) in fur wraps taken from beasts that served the army of Witch-Queen Jadis (for 'Witch-Queen' is the only title Edmund will give her and the only way in which he will acknowledge her rule of his Kingdom) without any remorse when questioned briefly about their service to her, and which Edmund and his brother killed most of shortly after establishing their reign over Narnia, seated beside the fire in either his bedchamber, which he shares with Peter (he shares all of his chambers with Peter, a necessity they discovered within the first half year of their reign), his brother and High King no matter their place of Royal residence, or in his private study. He cannot escape court forever though, and on the days Peter forces him to attend, he will sit on his throne in the Great Hall of his own manor house and stare at a spot on the back wall, listening to the speeches and carols, and later the revelery that he will refuse to join in until his younger, Valiant Sister-Queen Lucy begs him to. This year is worse than most other, for this year, they are snowed in and it looks as though the bilzard will not be letting up any time soon. He is glad for the extra thick curtains he selected for the windows and the likewise extra thick tapestries that cover the walls of his manor house in the winter( in summer, both curtains and tapestries are replace with lighter ones, but for winter, at the first frost each year, he has had the extra thick ones of each pulled from storage and hung in their proper places, whether he intends to winter there or not)._

This is their fifth and a half winter in Narnia (he's counting the end of Her winter spell that his siblings and he brought about as a half winter for them), and Edmund decides he truly hates this winter more than the others. It is threatening to keep them snowbound here until it decides to settle itself down. He wants to be able to stage snowball fights with Susan by his side against Peter and Lucy. He wants to go on a sleigh ride with his siblings and watch them marvel at the calm blankets of white the snow has dropped over all Narnia. And He wants to be able to enjoy all of this, but he can not, because the Witch-Queen and her spell work have tainted Winter for him. And it is also because he fears she has cursed him to never enjoy winter the way he once did, to never get warm enough during the final season of the year, to have worse nightmares then he does the other three quarters of the year during this season. His siblings call his dislike of the season "Winter Sickness" and so now does he, if only in the privacy of his own mind or journal. It's become a bit of a joke between his brother and sisters to quip to each other as autumn winds down, 'Watch out. Ed's slipping into his usual Winter Sickness!' or 'It's that time of year again! Winter Sickness is settling over our Just Brother-King once more.' He just smiles and tolerates their good natured teasing. Aslan knows he doesn't mind it for their quips are not any more but the sad, unvarnished truth of Edmund's life now.

His siblings try to distract him more this winter than they have in previous winters since they arrived in Narnia. And for a while, when it is clearly daylight, these attempts momentarily succeed. But when the sun sets, Edmund is thankful, but knows that the efforts are futile, though he would never say as much to his loving, loyal, kind and wonderful Siblings and co rulers.

Susan brings him hot tea several times a day as he sits by his blazing fire in his study and they talk, about whatever Edmund wishes to share. Edmund is closer to Susan than to Peter in many small ways, but there are things one does not speak of with one's sister that one will with one's brother. He does not tell Susan of his fears or his worries of what the Witch-Queen might have done to him before her demise. He talks to her of all other matters, but not this, never this.

Peter coaxes him to join his brother in the small indoor training arena each day for an hour and they trade sword blows while conversing, under the watchful eye of Orieus or another commander of their army. They use blunted blades in these sparring sessions, one of Orieus's insistences after one too many injuries were afflicted upon each of the Brother-Kings. They also toss good natured teasing jabs at each other as they spar. It is Peter that Edmund wants to tell of his fears and his worries, but not in the indoor training arena where there are other ears present, who may not be quite as circumspect as Peter about keeping these fears and worries of Edmund's private.

Lucy joins him in his window seat in the evenings, two goblets of warm mulled wine in her hands, one for each of them. She is wrapped in her furs, and he buried in his, and on clear nights, they watch the stars dance over Narnia, reflecting off the snow covered ground, and on snowy nights they watch the snowflakes drift to the forest floor or come to rest on tree boughs already bearing the weight of many snowflakes. They talk in quiet tones of whatever Lucy can think of to lighten Edmund's mood before they each go to their bedchambers. Lucy, too, Edmund wishes to tell, for she is wise, and close to Aslan, and if any of his siblings would be able to give him spiritual counsel relating to the Great Lion, it would be Lucy.

He is ever thankful for their efforts, and tells them so, even though they fail to completely distract him from his worries and concerns, which is a fact he does not share with his siblings.

For Edmund, the only bright spot of winter now is Christmas. He is sitting up by the well fed and very warm fire in the fireplace one night in his and Peter's bedchamber, while Peter is asleep in his own bed, oblivious to the dark thoughts and bad memories keeping his younger Brother-King awake this night, when to his surprise Father Christmas appears in the doorway and enters the room. He has, apparently, lost track of the days and it is late on the night of Christmas Eve. "Edmund, Your Majesty. You should be asleep! I can't give you your presents if you aren't asleep." Father Christmas remarks, and although his words should be a rebuke, they are kindly spoken with only the slightest hint of a rebuke present in the tone or the words themselves. "Couldn't sleep. What with the blizzard and some bad memories being conjured up by it, My Lord of Christmas." is the Just King's short, tired but polite answer. "Here, have some more mulled wine, Your Majesty, it will warm you and help you to sleep, my king," Father Christmas says with a laugh at Edmund's title for him and reaches for the decanter on the small table beside Edmund. He pours two goblets and hands one to the young king who takes it and cautiously takes a single slow sip. When nothing strange happens, he throws back his head and sleepily drains his goblet in four quick swallows. Although why he is so cautious when he saw the wine poured and passed to him, he is not sure, for it is not as though Father Christmas, of all people, would seek to poison him. Aid his sleep on this of all nights? Yes. Poison him? No. Father Christmas merely laughs, "Tired, are we, Edmund?" The young king nods while his empty goblet nearly falls from his downward stretched hand to the floor, before it is reduced by Father Christmas. Father Christmas helps him out of his chair and over to his bed. "There, now, sleep my liege, and all will look better in the morning." Edmund falls into the bed, half asleep already and instinctively, his hand reaches out for Peter's outstretched, waiting, warm hand.

Almost ever since the night of their coronation, the brother kings have shared royal quarters, only maintaining separates studies for privacy. The first few months, they had maintained separate quarters that were next to each other, but as Edmund's nightmares grew in frequency, he would be more often found asleep in Peter's bed, curled inside his big brother's protective hold, clinging in sleep to Peter as though Peter was the one thing that would keep him anchored in reality, then he would be found in his own. And in the end, it was decided for the good of everyone that Peter and Edmund should simply remodel their quarters to be one large space. So the connecting wall was carefully knocked down, and the entire space reconfigured to serve both kings. Edmund's bed was moved into Peter's bedchamber for simplicity's sake, and originally placed immediately next to Peter's bed, thus creating, in effect one overly large bed for both Kings. As time went on, Edmund's bed and Peter's were separated, but only so far apart that both boys could each reach a hand into the space between so that their brother could hold onto the other in sleep, should they need it.

And each and every time Edmund has had particularly bad nightmares (which are more predominant in this last season of the year then they are in Spring, Summer or Autumn), he has known that Peter is there, and comfort is only as distant as the space between their beds, in which is always outstretched his older Brother and High King's hand. These nightmares are the ones that wake him screaming, screaming until his throat aches and his voice is nearly gone and he is hoarse from the lengthy time he screams. They are the one where he wakes shaking and so cold all the furs and blankets in the world could not warm him. The ones where, in the gloom of the shadows of the dimly lit room, he almost thinks he can see the pale face of the Witch-Queen watching him from the shadows, can almost hear her voice in his mind, telling him he is cursed, winter will always freeze his blood for the rest of his life from the first snow until the spring thaw. And all he has ever had to do to calm himself and anchor himself and reassure himself that She is dead and gone and can not hurt him any more, is to reach his hand out into the space between his bed and Peter's and find his brother's waiting hand there. Sleeping with his hand in his elder brother's hand is the one thing that allows him to truly relax in sleep during this cold, dark season, and especially on the coldest, darkest nights.


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November 2014

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