Caspian introduces Lucy and Edmund to Lord Drinian, the captain of the Dawn Treader.
Edmund and Lucy compare their timeline with Caspian's. They figure out that one year has passed for Edmund and Lucy since they last saw Caspian, but for Caspian three years have passed since he became King.
In those three years, Caspian has solved most of Narnia's problems. He's established peace between the Talking Beasts, Telmarine men, and other creatures, and everything is so hunky-dory that he thought it was OK to leave for a while on a sea voyage. We just wish you could really turn a country around that fast!
Edmund asks Caspian the purpose of the voyage. Caspian explains that when he was a child, his Uncle Miraz, who had usurped the throne of Narnia, exiled seven lords who had been loyal to Caspian's father. As an excuse for sending them away, he told them to explore the Lone Islands and the Eastern Seas.
When Caspian was crowned King, he swore an oath to sail east for a year and a day to try to find seven missing lords, or at least figure out what happened to them. The lords were named Bern, Argoz, Revilian, Mavramorn, Octesian, Restimar, and Rhoop.
Caspian also says that, although his goal is to find the missing lords, Reepicheep has another one: to explore the eastern edge of the world. Nobody in Narnia knows what's beyond the Lone Islands, and Reepicheep thinks it might be Aslan's country.
Lucy's not sure that Aslan's country is the kind of place you could get to by normal modes of transportation – after all, if Aslan is a Christ figure (and we know he is), then his "country" is probably a metaphor for Heaven.
Reepicheep explains that when he was a child in his cradle, a Dryad spoke a prophetic verse over him. The verse describes Reepicheep traveling to the far east and finding everything he's looking for.
Nobody knows what to say after Reepicheep mentions his weird prophecy, so Lucy asks where the ship is now. The Captain, Lord Drinian, shows her their position on a chart and tells her about their adventures since leaving Narnia.
Drinian explains that they set sail from Cair Paravel, the capital of Narnia, about a month ago. After a day they put in at the port of Galma, where they stayed for a week so that Caspian could take part in a tournament. The Duke of Galma tried to get Caspian to marry his daughter, but Caspian wasn't interested.
Next they left Galma. After four days, in which there wasn't much wind and they had to row part of the way, they arrived at Terebinthia, but they couldn't stop there because Terebinthia was experiencing a disease epidemic.
They found a creek away from the plague-ridden city and got fresh water. After a few days, when the wind was right, they set sail for the Seven Islands. (Note: the Seven Islands are different from the Lone Islands.)
While sailing, they were threatened by pirates, but the pirates fled when they discovered the Narnians were well-armed.
Five days later, they arrived at Muil, the first of the Seven Islands. They hung out there for a while, feasting and building stores of supplies for the ship.
Six days before Edmund, Lucy, and Eustace arrived, the ship left the Seven Islands and headed for the Lone Islands. They should reach the first of the Lone Islands in two days. Nobody knows what lies after the Lone Islands.
Caspian suggests a tour of the ship, but Lucy is worried about Eustace. She finds out from Caspian that her magic flask of cordial is on board. (This is the gift Lucy received from Father Christmas in The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe; now it's one of the treasures of Narnia.)
Lucy retrieves her flask of cordial from Caspian and they go to see Eustace.
The narrator describes the ship. To get to Eustace's cabin, they go down one of two hatches in the deck and walk across the benches that sailors sit at when they need to row the ship. They use the oars in bad weather or for making small turns in harbor, and everybody takes turns rowing.
Along the center of the hold there are stores of food. Other foods hang from the roof and some of the off-duty sailors are sleeping in their hammocks.
At one end of the hold, there's a door to a cabin. It's not as nice as Caspian's cabin (the one he gave to Lucy) – the walls of the ship slope together at the bottom, so the floor is narrow, and the windows are usually underwater.
Caspian tells Edmund that they will share this cabin with Eustace. Drinian wants to give the cabin that he shares with Rhince to the kings, but Caspian says the captain and first mate need to have a nicer cabin because they do more work.
Eustace is lying in a bunk in the cabin, green-faced and scowling. He asks if the storm is going to stop, and Drinian laughs – the weather is very nice.
Lucy gives Eustace a drop from her flask of magic cordial. In a few moments, his face looks less green and he appears better. He begins loudly complaining about everything, insisting that he should be taken ashore and saying he wants to see a British Consul.
Eventually they convince Eustace that they're sailing toward land and they don't have any way of sending him home. Eustace agrees to change his clothes and come out on deck.
Caspian gives Edmund, Lucy, and Eustace a tour of the ship. They see the lookout post on the forecastle (the part of the deck toward the front of the ship). They see the galley, which is the ship's kitchen.
Caspian also takes everyone up to the fighting top, which is the lookout post high up on the mast. The view from there is a bit scary.
Next Caspian takes them to see the poop, which is not what it sounds like. The poop is a room built on the deck at the back end of the ship, where the tiller – the steering wheel of the ship – is located.
We learn that the name of the ship is the Dawn Treader. (But you probably already figured that out.)
The narrator tells us that in the old days, when Edmund and Lucy were King and Queen in Narnia along with Peter and Susan, Narnia had a great seagoing tradition. However, Caspian's people were afraid of the sea, and the arts of shipbuilding and navigation were lost over the years. With the help of people from other countries, Caspian is rebuilding Narnia's naval forces, and the Dawn Treader is the best ship he's built so far.
The narrator admits that the Dawn Treader is pretty small, but beautiful and well-crafted. Eustace is extremely critical of the ship and compares it to motorboats and submarines back in his own world. Edmund and Lucy, however, love the ship and are excited about the coming adventures.
The next morning all three children get their own clothes back, dry. Eustace retrieves a small notebook and a pencil from his pocket and begins to keep a diary.
In his first entry Eustace records that he's been on the ship for 24 hours and still wonders if this might be a dream. He finds the ship frightening because it's so small and, in his opinion, primitive.
Eustace writes that he's been trying to tell Caspian all about the technological and social advances of his own world, but Caspian doesn't seem to understand or appreciate them.
He also writes about his irritation with Reepicheep, the talking mouse.
The narrator tells us that the next day, before dinner, Eustace came running into the dining area shouting that Reepicheep had half killed him.
Reepicheep comes in and apologizes for the scene, saying that if he'd known how Eustace would react, he would have waited until a better time to deal with him.
The narrator explains that Reepicheep has a habit of sitting on the farthest point forward of the ship that he can reach, which is on the neck of the dragon figurehead (remember, the whole ship is shaped like a dragon and painted to resemble one). He balances by waving his tail around and doesn't need to hold on to anything.
While Reepicheep was sitting on the figurehead, Eustace came up to the forecastle and saw his tail hanging down. He decided to grab the mouse by the tail, swing him around, and run away laughing.
Unfortunately for Eustace, Reepicheep managed to draw his sword and stab at Eustace's hand. After Eustace dropped him, Reepicheep continued to point the sword at Eustace and insisted that they duel.
Eustace protested that he didn't have a sword, doesn't know how to duel, and doesn't believe in fighting. Reepicheep gave him several lashings on the behind with his rapier.
This is the point at which Eustace ran into the dining area and started accusing Reepicheep of attacking him.
Everyone else on the ship takes the idea of a duel seriously. Caspian offers to lend Eustace a sword. Afraid of a fight, Eustace apologizes to Reepicheep, but not very gracefully.