A call came from outside of his tent. It was Oreius, the centaur.
“Aslan, your highness. Mr. Tumnus is here with the drink you requested.”
“Very good,” the mighty lion of Narnia spoke kindly. “Send him in.”
Tumnus was slightly hesitant but entered nonetheless. He knew Aslan to be kind and forgiving, but this particular fawn had been unable to locate the specific Scotch Aslan had requested. Aslan sought the Scotch given in the birth of the Old Magic. But the Glenfiddich 21-year-old was all that Tumnus could find.
“Tumnus, my friend,” Aslan said, welcoming. “Come, join with me.”
“I’d be honored, your majesty.” Taking a seat on a cushion a few paces from Aslan’s throne, he jostled the bottle from the lion’s sight and leaned forward to hand him a finely etched crystal chalice, one into which he had already added two fingers worth of the golden liquid, three nicks of ice taken from the White Witch’s cell, and a tiny bit of baptismal-pure water from the Great River.
“Your Scotch, my king.”
“I asked you to join me, yet your hand is bare.” Aslan motioned toward a cart of regal ware. “Take a glass and pour to your liking from the bottle hidden behind you.”
“Ah, yes, um, I shall.” Turning quickly to keep the bottle hidden, Tumnus moved to the cart and poured a small portion—straight, no ice.
Bending to smell Tumnus’ delivery, Aslan’s massive lungs pulled through his nasal passage something that caused him surprise.
“Tumnus, what is this you have brought to me?”
“Your Scotch, sire.”
“Is it now?” Aslan sniffed again. “It smells a bit harsher than I recall, more so than the selection for which I thirst. Are you sure?”
“Um,” Tumnus breathed but was interrupted.
“Its scent is that of rich sweets amidst a bed of Narnian roses.” He sipped, savored, and then swallowed. “I taste a rum cask vintage. Perhaps you wandered into the dwarves’ whisky hold. Was it too dimly lit to locate my request?”
“Indeed, it was dark in the cellar, sire.”
Aslan sipped again. “The vanilla is distinct. And again, the rum, it surely visits us here, yes? Go ahead and try it.”
Tumnus sipped and smiled, but it was a nervous smile. He enjoyed the dram, but he was still unsure about Aslan’s determination.
“A fine Scotch, sire?”
Aslan interrupted again, “And the finish, somewhat spicy, wouldn’t you say?”
“I would, sire. It is distinctly spicy. Perhaps even a sprinkling of mint, my lord.”
Rising from his throne and moving to the somewhat reserved fawn with sturdy gracefulness, he lifted his paw and rested it upon Tumnus’ shoulder.
“You have brought to me a fine Scotch, Tumnus,” he said and winked. “Indeed, you have discovered a dram born of the Old Magic.”