The Curse of the Orthana by Nick Tamboia

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Jadis was unaffected by any of that and simply sat where she was, opening up her eyes fully as if awakening from a distant daydream. The figure before her continued to grow larger, taller, ropes of shadow like smoke coiling around it like serpents, reaching upwards, twisting, forming into a massive shape that seemed to be made from shadows and snaking coils of smoke. The head was the only thing completely formed and defined, only seemed to be a shadow, one that resembled something like a deer or antelope, with three horns, two to each side of its head and one in the middle, all of them twisting and swooping upward and back.

His eyes were large, oval in shape, glowing in a deep blue color the way the night sky dose when the moon is full.

“Thy name is Narovis?” Jadis asked as she slowly rose to her feet.

Narovis glanced at her and snorted loudly before looking off into the dark woods to his right as if seeking something there in the night.

“I must admit, you are magnificently what I expected, yet different,” Jadis remarked.

The Shadow Lord looked to her as a deep rumbling came from within him. “Usurper Witch,” he then said in his deep voice. “You are much shorter than we expected someone who is half giant to be.”

Jadis was shocked to hear him say that. “You know who I am?”

“We know of you,” Narovis replied. “And that you destroyed all life in your home world of Charn because your sister was chosen to be queen over you, and that you now seek to take power from Aslan and become queen of this world.”

Jadis gritted her teeth in anger over hearing that. “That story between my sister and I is much more complex than that.”

Ignoring that, Narvois glanced in the other direction before remarking, “we are not alone.”

Jadis smiled at that. “I have guards nearby in the woods. Two watch the boat I used to reach this island. That is all it is.”

“Something flies in the night around us,” Narvois then remarked.

“It is a foul mouth bird,” Jadis commented. “An annoying night raven. Nothing more.”

Narvois snapped his head around to glare at her with his glowing eyes. “The Raven is not of this world. He is a Magi from another. One who serves a greater power than that of your lion friend.”

Jadis scoffed at that.

“Be mindful, witch,” Narvois then told her. “If Aslan were to call upon the Magi to aid him in his battle with you, your fight with them would be only moments long before your utter defeat. Such is their power.” Then he cocked his head sideways as if thinking. “Then again,” he went on to say, “if Aslan himself were to decide to meet you in open combat, your fight with him would be short lived. You should take great care in understanding that Stone Table.”

This was not the first time the witch would receive such a warning about the Stone Table in her long life, and of course, she misunderstood it as she had before and would again.

Instead, angered by most of what she heard, Jadis grinded her teeth together in an effort to control herself. After a long moment she finally said, “then if you know these things, you know why I called upon you?”

“We do.”

“Huh,” Jadis huffed as she thought for a long moment. “Then there is no reason to explain further. I need scales from the Dragon of Darkness to make the Black Ax. The old blind hag has said you are the only one who can approach that Leviathan and do this.”

Narvois just stood there, the shadow like smoke swirling around him as he looked silently at the witch for a long moment. “And in return for our services you offer what?”

Jadis put a fake smile on her face as she held up her wand. “Your freedom from the Underworld.”

Narvois snorted at that. “Your offer is void. I am Lord of the Shadow Realm. Free to do as I will there. Why should I give that up for this place?”

Jadis was a bit taken aback by this, as she most likely had not expected him to say this. “What do you require, then?”

“Revenge,” was the answer Narvois gave her.

“Revenge?” Jadis arched her eyebrows up, surprised to hear this. “Revenge against who? Aslan?”

Narvois grumbled at that. “I care not for that blustering fool who allows others to suffer for whatever purpose or his self-righteous suicide. Nor do I really care about this world anymore, which Aslan’s own father allowed him to create so he would have something to entertain and occupy himself with for a time.”

Jadis was both startled and unsettled to hear this. Unsettled because if there was any truth to it, especially that last part, then it reduced all of Narnia to nothing more than a paly thing for Aslan and reduced her to being nothing more than the equivalent of a playground bully who was trying to steal some other kids toys to keep for herself.

Jadis was not at all happy to hear or think about this. I am not happy at all thinking about it as I retell it to you here. No one wants to be told that the only reason for their existence is to be a source of entertainment and distraction for someone else. Then Jadis probably reminded herself of much of what I have now, and that was that Narvois was a demon from the Underworld and you could never trust or fully believe what a demon said.

“Revenge against whom, then?” She finally asked the Shadow Lord.

“The Calormene,” was the answer Narvios gave her.


“In the Dawn Times of Narnia my people lived in the lands the Calormen now call their country. It was ours back then. My people were much like fauns, only instead of being part goat, they were part antelope. We were peaceful people who lived in balance with the land. My mother and father and myself were the leaders, and looked much like I now look, and unlike our people who had no real magic, we did. When the Calormen invaded, they began exterminating us during their quest to take over our lands. Our people, along with others who had lived in those lands back then, turned to us for help. We did our best to stop the invasion and extermination, and in the beginning what magic we had was useful in this.

“The Calormen had a witch with them, one of the Northern Witches they called the Red Witch. They used her power against us, defeating us again and again. My father and mother were killed by her in battle, and those of my people who were left, were pushed deeper and deeper into the desert. Before the final end, as my parents had done, I challenged the Red Witch to single combat. She defeated me and trapped me in this shadow form. As her prisoner I was forced to witness the extermination of all my people, after which she cast me into the Underworld.” When he finished explaining this, the Shadow Lord just stood there looking at the witch.

Jadis was lost in thought for a long moment, considering what she had been told. “I knew I had a good reason not to trust those people.”

“No one should fully trust the Calormene,” Narvios informed her.
Jadis considered that, reminding herself again that he was a demon and one should not fully trust or believe what demons said. “I know many of the Northern Witches,” she then said to Narvios. “But not this . . . Red Witch. I have never heard of her.”

“Nor would you,” Narvios replied. “When the Calormene’s victory was complete, they betrayed and killed her. She is nothing more than a mindless shade now, one who wanders the wastelands of Narnia’s Underland.”
Jadis made no remark to that. After a moment she turned and walked over to stand beside the craggy broken thumb of the stone hand, looking out at the moonlit night sky. “And your revenge? You seek to rule over them?”

“No,” Narvios replied. “Exterminate them, utterly and completely. Down to the last infant as they did to my parents, and my people ages ago.”

“And after that?” Jadis asked at length.

“I have no use for this world once my vengeance is complete,” Narvios told her. “I am the commander of the Shadow Legions now, and will return to them and prepare for the Battle at the End of Time.”

Jadis sighed, probably not sure what to think of this, or if she could trust him. “Serve me,” she said as she turned to look at Narvios. “Serve me and bring me back the scales from the Dragon of Darkness, so I may forge the Black Ax. When the Tree of Protection is destroyed and Aslan is dead and I am Queen of Narnia, I will not only free you to take revenge on the Calormen, I will give you an army to do it.”

To her amazement Narvios didn’t hesitate to respond to her request. “Agreed,” he said simply enough.

Jadis just stood there looking at the Shadow Lord for a long moment, before finally nodding her head. “So be it.” She sighed as she glanced around, thinking. “It will take me a week or so to acquire a ship and new crew for your voyage north.”

“We need no ship,” Narvios rumbled and as he said that the dark, the shadow vapors on his back formed into two huge, dragon like wings. “We will return to you with your dragon scales.” With that he shot straight up into the air. At the same time there was a loud clap of thunder.

Jadis had hardly the time it takes to take half a breath before she realized what had happened. When she looked up to where the Shadow Lord had flown into the air, she saw nothing but the distant stars in the sky.

After a short moment the three guards who she had early posted around the area to keep watch, stepped out into the open. One of them was Noctis.

“Do you think he will do as he said?” The dire wolf asked.
“He will either do as he said, or be my enemy,” Jadis replied. “Only time will tell. We are done here.”