|Character from Narnia movie|
The man opposite stood staring at her, wondering at the twistedness of this remote country. “Impossible,” he said, simply.
The crowd that had gathered around them stepped closer, unwilling to miss any word of the confrontation between their reigning lady and the stranger.
The woman laughed lightly. “You are not from this land,” she said patronizingly. “You don’t know the customs or the laws. Regardless of how they do things in your land, that has no bearing on what happens here. You are in my world now.” She was triumphant and mocking.
“That is not true,” the stranger said.
The woman raised an incredulous eyebrow. “You are a native? Really? Name your parents!” she demanded.
“Have you forgotten Kapulchen and Irea?” the stranger asked quietly. His face looked reproachful.
A gasp went up from the crowd, mostly from the older generation, and several of them glanced nervously at their leader.
The woman’s eyes grew darker but she showed no other sign of recognition. “Folk tales,” she scoffed. “Children’s stories. Some far away king who owns this country and all the surrounding countries. Bah, no one even remembers the stories anymore.”
“Your denial means little,” the stranger said. “The land is mine. I write the laws. There are no customs aside from the ones I put into place.”
At this treasonous statement, the woman pulled a knife from her hip, and three score men in the crowd drew their weapons. “Watch your tongue, stranger, or you will die,” the woman threatened. A faint but deadly smile flickered over her face. “I believe you are outnumbered,” she said.
The stranger was unmoved. His steady gaze matched hers, unnerving her slightly. Why didn’t this fool submit?
“Put down your weapons,” the stranger ordered. He spoke loudly so the crowd could hear him. “I have heard of this woman’s wickedness and here I find the rumors confirmed. She is now removed from her command. I will set up a new ruler here.” He raised a fist high over his head, slowly turning to look at everyone in the crowd that encircled him.
“Fool!” the woman hissed. “You will be dead before your next breath.”
The stranger lowered his fist, signaling his own men to advance, and faced the woman again. “That is not true,” he said firmly. And as he spoke, an army of 800 men emerged from the trees with their weapons ready. “And it is you who are outnumbered.”
The woman lowered her knife, turning slowly to see the surrounding horde. Anger and hatred seethed from her, but years of bullying had taught her the power of superior force. Her guards were no match for the stranger’s army.
“I will go,” she said, tightening her grip on the boy’s shoulder. “But the boy is still mine. I bought him.”
The boy turned pleading eyes to the stranger.
“With what?” the stranger demanded. “What was his price?”
“A handful of coins,” the woman retorted, her voice rising angrily. “What does it matter? It was a price agreed to by his parents!”
“In all our lands, the price for a life is another life,” the stranger announced. “Unless you gave yourself in his stead, then his price was not met. He is not yours.”
The woman released her fingers from the boy’s shoulder and shoved him unceremoniously from her mound. “Fool,” she cried, spitting out the words. “Will you take everything from me?”
“I have taken nothing that was yours,” the stranger said. “But you have betrayed the people I entrusted to you. You will be punished.”
For a moment, the woman stared at the stranger. Her mouth moved silently. Then she turned to the people. “Will you let him speak to me like this?” she demanded. “I have been your leader for a generation.”
The crowd was silent. Years of oppression created a deepset fear in the people. Even with the stranger’s army surrounding them, they could not quite believe themselves safe from the wrath of their reigning lady. Yet, their fears were coupled with a repulsion that would not let them speak on her behalf. And so they were silent.
Then one old man’s voice rang out from the crowd. “Long live the son of Kapulchen!” the voice quavered.
The little boy, now free, joined his young voice with the old man’s. “Long live the son of Kapulchen!”
One by one, the people in the crowd added their cries to the chant. “Long live the son of Kapulchen!”
Even the lady’s guards lowered their weapons and cried, “Long live the son of Kapulchen!”
The lady turned her eyes, glittering with hatred, to the stranger. “They all forsake me, but it does not matter, oh son of Kapulchen.” She raised her knife again and shouted, “I will kill you myself!” With an evil look in her eye, she leaped from her mound with the agility of a cat.
But her intended blow was not to be. Two guards intercepted her, pinning her arms harmlessly behind her back. She screamed, a terrible scream like an angry panther, and then fainted dead away into her guards arms.
For a moment, the crowd was silent, staring at the limp form of their wicked ruler. After years of suffering her oppressive power, it was stunning to see her so quickly defeated. Not a man of them would have believed it possible if they had not seen it with their own eyes. As the seconds of silence ticked by, there was an air of waiting – as if they half-expected her to rise before them and send them scurrying to their graves.
But the evil leader remained motionless in the guards’ arms. She was powerless, and the days of oppression were truly over. Once certain of her defeat, a victorious shout rose in the voices of the people.
Long live the son of Kapulchen!