The Curse of the Orthana by Nick Tamboia

Spread the love

Chapter 11: Alia and Jadis

Without realizing it, Alia had been heading down the stream in the direction of the hill Jadis had been observing the battle from.

She ran by that area, and continued on, unaware that she was being followed. Eventually the stream she was running down widened until it emptied into a large, swampy area, and she realized she could go no further in that swampy mess. She had no idea how deep the mud beneath the water might be, or anything else. Her only choice was to go on land, but she was worried that goblin was following her. 

After checking behind her, she moved to the left, and found a hiding spot in the brush, where she waited for a short while, making sure she had not been followed.

This actually gave Jadis the advantage, as the spies reported to her and Noctis where the girl was.

“What is this place?” she whispered to herself as she peeked out of an opening in the reeds and the brush, looking back in the direction she had come. “Crazy walking lampposts and monsters fighting and killing each other. Where am I?”

After a while, realizing that nothing had followed her, Alia calmed down. Pulling her feet out of the water, she wiggled her toes and looked at the dense forest behind her. She couldn’t go walking through there barefoot, well she could but if she had to run from something it would be a problem.

She hunted around the area, plucking up a few reed leaves and sticks, which she set down on a flat top of a stone, and then used her magic. 

Because her magic was amplified here in Narnia, as what had happened with the sword the gobbling had been holding a short while ago, all Alia had to do was both think and say, “sandals,” and instantly the plant stems, leaves and twigs turned into a pair of sandals. 

Smiling the girl sat down and tried them on, finding them a perfect and comfortable fit. Smiling she looked around, trying to figure out what her next move should be.

“See my Lady,” Noctis rumbled softly. He and Jadis, along with the wolf who had tracked Alia where hiding among the trees and brush at the top of the hill that overlooked the swamp, watching.

“Excellent work, Noctis,” Jadis whispered. “I have no time for subtleties. I have waited long enough. Take her.”

Alia was captured a short while later, when she entered the clearing at the top of the hill, and found herself surrounded by Jadis’s followers. For a moment the girl froze in place, looking around at the strange assortment of creatures that stepped out of the forest, forming a circle around her. Then she raised her right hand up, ready to use magic and push any of them out of the way so she could make a run for it, but Noctis stopped her.

“So what do we have here,” he growled in his deep voice. “A spy for the Goblin King?”

Alia gawked at him. As frightened as she was, she both had never seen a wolf as large as Noctis was, nor had she ever heard one talk. 

“Y-you can talk,” she finally said, amazed by that.

“Of course I can,” Noctis grumbled. “So can you. I would say that all intelligent creatures can talk, but being able to talk is not actually a sign of inelegance.” 

Impressed by seeing the wolf speaking, Alia took a slight step toward him as she tilted her head to the side. “I ain’t ever seen or heard a dog talk before.”

“Dog,” Noctis almost shouted. “I am no dog, I am a dire wolf, you little spy! One who serves the White Queen.”

Alia frowned at that. “I ain’t no spy.”


“Really. I am lost,” the girl blurted out as she looked around at the strange creatures around her, giant animals that stood up like men, but had the heads of bulls, Dwarves, and others. 

“Lost,” Noctis said as he thought. “These woods are not safe for a child to be lost in. Goblins and orcs hunt it. Our queen asked us to ride the woods of them.”

Alia thought for a moment as she looked around. “Is that what that . . . fighting was back there?”

Noctis appeared to smile. “Yes it was. The goblins were bothering the people that live nearby here,” the dire wolf lied. “We were trying to chase them off, were we not?” 

The others around him grunted and made noises as if agreeing with Noctis.

Alia glanced around at them before looking back at the huge dire wolf. “You were fighting them to . . . help people.”

“Something like that,” a small hobgoblin said and snickered.

Noctis growled at him before looking back at the girl. “I am still not sure you are a not a spy for the Goblin King.”

Alia found that interesting, but said nothing to that as she took a slight step closer to Noctis. “I don’t know any king or goblins, except the one I cracked on the head with a rock back there,” the girl pointed off into the forest. “He was going to stick me with his sword.”

“Well goblins aren’t known to be the friendliest of people,” Noctis told the girl. “You should come with us. For your safety.”

“Well,” Alia said thoughtful for a moment as she looked around at the others, thinking. Something told her not to argue with the dire wolf, or do anything foolish. “If you and your friends promise not to eat me like Puritan Kane was going to.”

“Who?” the Dwarf beside Noctis asked. He was almost the same size as Alia, stocky, with long red-brown hair and a long, braided, red beard. 

“Puritan Kane,” Alia answered him.

“We don’t know who that is,” Noctis informed her.

“A man,” Alia answered the dire wolf. “Only I don’t think he was a real man, but something evil pretending to be a man. He was after me because he said he had to eat my soul and feed off my magic.” 

“So you can do magic?” The dire wolf asked with a slight smile.

Remembering what Raven had told her about not letting others know too much about her, she meekly nodded her head. “A little,” she answered.

“He was going to feed off of your magic?” The Dwarf was horrified to hear that.

“Quiet, Rusty,” Noctis growled at the Dwarf.

“But I have heard of such creatures,” the Dwarf went on to say as he glanced from Noctis to the girl and back again. “They are scattered throughout all the worlds. They are like vampires. Only they feed off of those with magic.”

Noctis glared the Dwarf named Rusty.

“They are very dangerous,” Rusty went on. “Even to us. They hold allegiance to none but themselves and their hunger. If one came here, Noctis.” The Dwarf finished as he looked concerned at the dire wolf. 

Noctis thought that over for a moment as he looked from Rusty back to Alia. “This is something concerning. Our Queen would like to know about this . . . Kane man. If he is a danger to people here and followed you, she needs to know. Come with us, girl, and tell her what you know so she can decide how best to deal with this threat.”

So that was how Alia was caught, or allowed herself to be caught. You decide. 

Noctis and Rusty the Dwarf led her to Jadis who was sitting on her large, white throne like chair in the tent, sipping a drink from her goblet as she listened to what the dire wolf told her in regards to the girl.

As soon as Alia saw Jadis, she knew the White Queen was evil and dangerous, just as she had known Kane was evil and not a real man the first time she had seen him. As she would later tell me, it was like being near a trash container that sat outside in the summer heat and sun with something foul and spoiled within it. You didn’t need to lift up the lid to know something had gone bad inside the container, the stink from it told you all you needed to know. That was what the girl felt as she looked at Jadis, and knew that something was bad inside the giant woman, but she hid her fears and in effect, as Raven had told her to do, played dumb.

When Noctis had finished his story, Jadis stood up and slowly walked around Alia as she looked her over. The girl just stood there looking down at the ground. She was wearing a tattered old brown and black dress that was falling off of her shoulders, dirty, her long brown-black hair a mess, her bare feet in the sandals she had made for herself were a little dirty. 

“I am Jadis,” Jadis finally said to the girl. “The Queen in the north, someday to be Empress of all of Narnia.”

“All that and a box of donuts,” Alia muttered, recalling what Raven had once said. She had no doubt this was the woman the boy had warned her about.

Jadis frowned at that she stepped around in front of the girl. “I don’t know what you mean.” Then she saw the necklace the girl wore, the one Raven had given here with the small silver hourglass dangling from it. “What is this?” She reached down and held the hourglass in her fingers. “Where did you get this?” Her tone was harsh, and she felt a pang of anger as Jadis recalled the hourglass the old hag had drawn on her cell wall before she had vanished. 

Alia looked up at the tall woman and offered her a slight smile. “My mother,” she lied, and then went on to tell Jadis a story about how Kane and the Witch Hunters had come looking for her, because she could use magic, but her mother had sent her into hiding. Before she had left her mother, the woman had given her the necklace as a gift, saying that in time, they would see each other again.

It was a story that Jadis believed, but as you and I know, it was a lie. Alia might have been a young girl, and a bit wild, as I have shown you, but she was smart. 

“These men, they were hunting down witches in your world of Salem and killing them?” Jadis asked as she looked off at nothing, thinking.

“Burning them alive at the stake,” Alia confirmed with a nod of her head. “Or hanging them. Sometimes crushing them to death. All but Puritan Kane, I think he ate them because he wanted to eat my soul and feed off my magic.”

Jadis said nothing to that for a long moment, just stood there looking down at the girl, thoughtful.

“A Pranan Chi Ki, my Queen,” Rusty the Dwarf suddenly spoke up. “They are vampires who feed off of magic.”

Alia looked at him for a moment before saying, “I think he might of killed Old Nann and ate her because she could use a little magic. Mostly to heal people.”

“And this . . . thing was after you because it thought you were a witch?” Jadis found that interesting.

Alia nodded her head.

“Are you a witch?” Jadis just stood there looking down at the girl.

“I don’t know. They thought I was,” Alia told her. “Kane said a witch with red hair dug me up out of a cornfield when I was a baby, and gave me to my parents to bring up. But I don’t believe that.”

Jadis said nothing to that, just turned around and walked back to her chair where she sat down. “You can do . . . magic?”

Alia meekly nodded her head. “A little,” she lied.

“Did this, Kane, did he follow you here to Narnia?” Jadis wanted to know.

“I didn’t see him come out of the trunk.”


Alia told her how she had been living in the cabin with Old Nann, and how Kane and the Witch Hunters had found her, and how Kane had chased her into the basement where the trunk was. She hid in the trunk from him and ended up here. “I was afraid he would come out of the trunk too,” Alia concluded, “so I knocked it over and closed the top and locked it before he could come out.”

Jadis thought that over for a long moment. “Where is this trunk?”

“When they retreated, a few goblins were seen carrying a large box off of the battle field with them, my Lady” an odd human looking man informed Jadis. “It was probably this trunk the girl is talking about.”

Jadis sighed loudly at that. “So the Goblin King has it.”

“It is doubtful he knows what it is,” Noctis suggested.

“Still,” was all Jadis said as she thought for a long moment and then looked at Alia. “If the Goblin King opens up that trunk, and that thing comes out, it could be bad for all of us,” Jadis said, thinking to herself as she looked at the girl. “I would like it if you came back with us and told my advisers all you know about this thing called Kane, so we can best decide how to deal with him in the event the Goblin King releases him and sends him after us.”

Alia looked at the woman for a long time, thinking herself. She then glanced behind her at the guards, dire wolf and the Dwarf, and realized that she really had no choice. Looking back as Jadis, the girl nodded her head and smiled. “If you want, sure, I’ll help you figure out a way to kill Puritan Kane so he can’t eat anyone else.”

Jadis nodded her head at that. “Very good, child.”