I. And so King Caspian married the daughter of a star.
II. The first time Caspian kisses her, he comes away with his tongue scalded, seared as by fire; little blisters at the corner of his mouth. Oh, she says, touching his lips with her fingertips–they are warm, and set his mouth to aching again. Oh, I didn’t—I am sorry.
Do not be, Caspian murmurs. He meets her gaze, and there are pinpricks of light, burning at the center of her dark eyes. Caspian has seen the very edges of the world, where the water is sweet and Aslan prowls forever, and still he thinks she is more remarkable. I would fain be burnt by starshine, for such a kiss.
She wears her joy bright as silver, as a light shining, and Caspian loves her.
III. It takes her long months to grow accustomed to walking beneath the sun, and even then she looks pale and wan, outshone by a still-brighter star. Yet if Caspian lives unto the ending of the world, he will never see the like of her at dusk, gathering brightness beneath her skin as she walks along the sea at Cair Paravel.
IV. Sometimes he catches her smiling at him as though he is very young, an ancient nobility on her sweet face. He thinks to ask how long—how many years, on an island at the outer edges of the world, with only her father, marking his path along the night—but she does not like to speak of it.
How brief we must be to you and your kinsmen, he murmurs once, stroking her hair as they lay in their bed. Like little candles, guttering in the wind.
But oh, what a lovely light you give, she whispers, pressing a kiss to his jaw.
V. Their son is born of flesh and bone and stardust too, after nine months of the queen trailing wind and dust in her wake, her skin turning even cold baths to steam. Their son leaves a blackened mark on their bed, from where the nurse had to set down the child, too burning-hot for men’s skin to touch.
We will call him Rillian, Caspian says of his infant son, who sleeps on in his mother’s arms (the only cradle that will not catch alight, though she assures Caspian their son will cool, in time.) Together, they are so silver-bright and terrible that Caspian near cannot bear to look. But he does, and he smiles though he fears he will go blind with looking.
He would be contented, if this should be the last thing his eyes see of this world.
VI. The Seafarer has lost his North-star, the people of Narnia say when she is taken from him. The night is darker without her, the people of Narnia say, when she is taken from him. What king can endure without so beloved a queen? the people of Narnia ask, when she is taken from him.
Caspian, numb with grief and the stunned loss of a son yet to return, can think only of the way she laughed, the soft curve of her stomach after Rillian was born, the way she dripped silver sometimes, when she was not paying attention. He sits with her body the night before she is to be interred with the past Kings and Queens of Narnia, and her face is almost a stranger’s to him, absent of its light.
The stars are dim above him, hiding behind the smoggy night as though in veiled mourning. Caspian weeps to them, heartsick, and alone.