brokenly, running blindly, she staggered unseeing through the garden
until she collapsed to her knees at the foot of a tall tree...."
[Excerpt from Chapter 3]
The poor girl was tortured by her own memories as the mention of her unworthiness brought visions of Them before her mind's eye. Go away! she thought, Leave me alone!
But They would not leave, and remained, sneering at her, accusing her, putting her in her place where she belonged.
Suddenly, among Their leering faces, Melanie saw Taurin's kind face. The other faces dissipated like darkness around a candle. "Melanie," he pleaded, "what are you doing? Why do you refuse His Lordship?"
"I'm not w-worthy!" The words unleashed the sobs Melanie had vainly attempted to swallow. She sobbed to Taurin, "You are more worthy than I! You ought to be Lord of Nast!"
"Melanie, I cannot be Lord! I have the school to tend. There is none to teach it if I do not. It has been closed these last few months as I have been here."
"Taurin, I am not worthy!"
"You are, Melanie! You are worthy because you saved Lord Fausberg's life!"
Melanie looked at him with wide, tearful, bewildered eyes. "But you were there too!"
"Yet every witness could only identify one person: you. Think Melanie: they identified you as my father's daughter. When they discovered you were gone, I—as the next of kin—was made heir apparent and forced to live here! I don't want to be here, Melanie! I want to go back to my school. You must accept this, if only to prevent Gatling from becoming the next Lord of Nast!"
The awfulness of such a day nearly convinced Melanie to accept, if only to prevent such a terrible, conniving man from achieving his diabolical end, but They returned, spurning Melanie in her mind's eye.
"No!" Melanie cried, standing away from Taurin, "I'm not worthy!"
Taurin grabbed her arms, "Melanie, you are worthy for us," he said gently.
Melanie shook her head as tears poured down her face. "No," she sobbed, "not with what I am."
Sobbing brokenly, running blindly, she staggered unseeing through the garden until she collapsed to her knees at the foot of a tall tree. Their faces scowled at her in her mind's eye, and she accepted Their verdict. "I'm not worthy, I'm not worthy!"
Even in her mind's eye, Melanie saw the Lion, whose resplendent glory silenced all accusations and dispelled every last visage. Melanie opened her tear-filled eyes and raised her head.
Aslan stood before her, his magnificent face full of pity. "Why do you weep, Child?" he asked.
"Aslan," Melanie choked, "they want me to rule Nast, and be a Lady, but I cannot!"
"Why can you not, Child?"
"I . . . I—I'm n-not wo-worthy!" she wept.
"They do not seem to think so, Child. What is it that makes you so unworthy?"
Something within Melanie did not want to admit her deplorable condition to one so powerful, so pure, and so noble; yet something else convinced her that these very qualities were reason enough to tell him.
"I . . . I am . . . I—I'm cu-cu-cursed! If I rule this land, I will bring my curse upon them!"
Deep in her heart-of-hearts, Melanie realized how uncommonly insensible such logic was, but They had taught her such things since the day she was born. Why should she believe differently now?
"Melanie." Something in his tone compelled her to look at him.
"Let me tell you a tale: there was once a traitor so consumed with his own desires that he was willing to cheat and deceive his own brother and sisters to attain them. Such betrayal required his death as penalty. This death sentence was as a curse upon him. However, another man, a perfectly innocent one, whose every deed was righteous, stepped in and offered his life in place of the traitor. He died the accursed death, that by the righteous man's death, the law that once condemned the traitor would be fulfilled, and the curse would become a blessing instead."
Such a longing welled up within Melanie that she burst out, "Would that such a righteous one remove my curse!"
To read the full chapter, click -->HERE<--
[Excerpt from Chapter 4]
In addition to instructing her by the use of books, Leif occasionally accompanied Melanie on excursions around the province, provided for Melanie to increase her familiarity with the terrain and the inhabitants of the land she would rule.
It was on one of these outings, not two weeks since Melanie's lessons began, that Leif suddenly turned to Melanie with a very serious expression on her face. "Melanie, we have become close friends, and I would be honored if you would tell me truly the answer to the question that has been on my mind ever since I first heard about you: where are you from?"
Melanie, who had been expecting something much worse, laughed lightly at the question. "Well, I'm from England," she said.
Leif continued to stare at her strangely. "But where is England? Is it in Narnia? Is it an island in the Northern Sea?"
An odd fear clutched at Melanie's throat; what was her friend and teacher insinuating? "Well, it is an island," she answered vaguely, "and it is to the north . . ."
Leif had her cornered, and the woman was very well aware of that fact. "But it's not off the coast of Narnia, is it? It's not anywhere in the whole Great Sea."
Melanie grew very flustered. "And what if it isn't? Why are you so curious about my origins?"
Leif sighed and cocked her head sympathetically. "Now, please don't be angry with me; I am merely curious. As one who has been many places, and seen many things, I have quite a store of knowledge about geography and demographics. But you, Melanie, are quite unlike anyone I've seen in all the world. Come now," she smiled playfully, like a fellow conspirator, "we are alone in this carriage, and no one can hear us. I can be trusted with secrets. Please answer me truthfully, Melanie, for I greatly desire to know: are you from this world or not?"
To read the full chapter, click -->HERE<--