Derik stood in his tent in the northern farmlands and smoothed out his doublet after fastening Warwake this his hip. He took a deep breath and let it out slowly, then adjusted the leather headband that decorated his brow. Closing his eyes he reflected on the last few days.
After a magical trip to Ruathym, he watched Lannia restore her family honor and name, restoring her own confidence and spirit in the process. ((see prior posting)).
Just yesterday a man, Haldred the Axe, had arrived also pursuing Lannia's hand for a marriage of convenience. A massive, hulking Northman warrior who sought to ally himself with her bloodline to bring renown to him and his offspring. Derik had of course taken exception to this and there had been a formal challenge and a friendly fight according to the Ruathym tradition. A fight Derik had won. ((viewtopic.php?f=153&t=56171&start=15
, 9/19/17 posting)) Derik smiled to himself. That was the fight that Lannia's grandfather's spirit had spoken of to gain the family blessing on marrying Lannia. He would know, the spirit had said, when it was the proper time. Now there was no denying it from any tradition, she had chosen him, he had proved himself, and it was his right to marry her.
The signal was given and Derik stepped out of his tent to the walkway that was lined with softly glowing globes. Turning to his right he saw those lined up, friends and family, Gaven, Vala, her parents, Cillian, Gunthar, Wren and Max, Fierlith, his parents and sister, numerous others known for a long time or recently met. As he proceeded he fixed his eyes on the alter inside the gazebo. Freya stood there behind it, waiting. He stopped just before the alter and stepped to the right, turning to face the middle. His left hand rested lightly on Warwake's hilt as he turned his head back down the walkway. Music started.
The first to approach was Ronja, the Maid of Honor. She was adorned in an elegant red gown with black trim. Derik had to admit, she looked pretty good in that. Ronja stopped and took her position to the left of the alter and slightly behind where the bride would stand. Shortly thereafter two more forms started down the walkway. Aidan Thatcher strolled down with Lannia on his arm.
Derik's eyes fell on her and his heart skipped a beat. She was absolutely exquisite, adorned in a flowing white gown with golden trim. Her hair still windswept but decorated by a golden tiara holding green gemstones. The rest of the world faded as she approached.
The fading of music and a female voice snapped him back to reality.
"Lurues grettings." Freya began as she looked Aidan, smiling warmly. "Who comes to give Lannia away into marriage to this man?" Her look pointed to Derik.
"I, Aidan Thatcher, her father." Came the reply. Derik mused slightly at the now legal truth in that statement. Less than an hour before the ceremony Aidan had asked Lannia to sign some papers that named him legally adopted father. Though only 5 or so years younger than the Sunite, she was now his daughter in a very real and legally binding sense.
Freya smiled and motioned to Aidan, who then brought Lannia to the alter fully and stepped aside to take his place opposite Ronja as the Best Man in the ceremony. Derik turned to face his bride and once again, the world consisted only of her, her gorgeous blue eyes, and bright smile.
Freya then looked to the gathered people, still smiling. "Dear relatives and friends of Lannia and Derik. We have come together to be witnesses of a wonderful occasion. We’ll celebrate the commitment they share with one another by the Handfasting, the wedding between these lovely two."
This once more snapped Derik to reality. From the corner of his eye he could see Vala's incredibly wide smile and Wren, who was as directly opposite him in the crowd as could be give a silently mouthed "Way to go, neighbors!
" from behind Lannia's back.
Frey then offered Lannia a smile. "As Chauntea likes it you planted something in Derik with love, like a tree it will grow stronger as it already is." then smiled to Derik. "Tempus helped you, to win the battle for Lannias’ heart and will always give you the strength to keep it." She looked at both, "And Lurue has seen, through all dangers and adversities in your lives, you made the impossible possible. You are standing here under the sight of the gods. Please join hands."
The couple stepped forward to the center of the alter taking hands. Again Freya's look shifte to Derik as she wraped his hand and wrist tightly with a silver cord. "Derik, now speak your vows to Lannia."
Never taking his attention from the blue-eyed gaze before him, Derik began, "Lannia, we met upon a beach, not looking for anything from another. Yet as I grew to know you, I realized that you were a part of my soul that I did not know I was missing. "
As he spoke, Lannia's smile grew even brighter. Derik continued, "You are my Strength of Purpose. You are the reason I go to war, and why I fight so hard to return. My shield will ever be your shelter, my blade ever stay off those who would harm you. I am for you, now and always. My strength is yours to command."
A single tear rolled down Lannia's cheek as Derik indicated silently to Freya his vows were concluded.
Smiling brightly, Freya then shifted to Lannia, binding her hand and wrist together with his, with the same silver cord. "Lannia, now speak your vows to Derik."
Lannia nodded to Freya and began, staring into Derik's eyes. "In the time we've been together, from when you saved me on the beach until now, there are infinite little moments I coudl have picked to illustrate and make this vow. " her voice trembled with emotion as she continued, "But the moments till now are just a prologue, and what really matters is everything that is till to come. Simply, if ever there came a time you didn't want me near, I would just have to love you from whatever distance you demanded. When I am happiest, I share my happiness with you. When I am sad, your are the arms I run to. When I want, need, or crave, yours are the only lips that satisfy. When I think of my future children they are yours.
Derik gazed into her eyes, smiling broadly and squeezing her hands in his as she concluded, "Derik Ranloss, I am yours. I am for you in every moment. Every happiness, every disappointment I share with you. All that was and all that remains. Ours is a love that will be always. We are a team and all that really matters is looking back at me. ... that and, you know... The dozen or so grandchildren Aidan has demanded."
This elicited some chuckles and quipped comments from the crowd towards Aidan who stood behind and to the left of Derik. Derik and Aidan also chuckles as Lannia gave them a wink and indicated to Freya she was done.
"Your promise lives in you." Freya said. "It will live on in your children and their children. What the gods bring together, no one shall part. By Lurue and Chauntea and Tempus, you are now husband and wife." A wave of her hand and a wave positive energy rolled over the place.
Freya winked to the groom and grined, overly happy for them both. "You may smooch your bride!"
Derik pulled her to him for a long, deep kiss amongst the clapping and cheers of the crowd of their family and friends. Linking her arm into his, he turned and strolled from the alter, leading the procession to the dancing area for the beginning of the reception.
Soon the dance began, a lilting song that invited the couple to keep a close hold. They didn't need much encouragement. A song about love and stories. It made Derik chuckle quietly as he whispered to his bride,
"Heh... song about stories... I have
read a lot of books you know..." The reference to Derik's taunt of the three pirates that were trying to kidnap Lannia on the first day they was not lost to her.
"It was that line that near instantly sold me on you, you smoothy" Came the whispered reply.
"Yeah, thought it was pretty clever actually."
As the tune came to an end, Derik kissed Lannia yet again, whispering "Can always give the pirates their due... they started the whole "classic hero" stuff..."
"Time for the father dance dear..."
"Yes, I know." Derik murmured quietly to her as he stepped away from her and to the ring of the onlookers.
Shortly after, a surprised Aidan is being nudged into the dancing circle with Lannia by Antje while Derik took up a spot next to Talas with a smirk. The Sunite had not been told this was taking place. Chatting lightly with the Hoarite paladin, Derik watched as Aidan danced with his adopted daughter, now Derik's wife. He chatted with Talas about the beauty of brides, heard Wren and Max banter about how it was hopefully soon their turn and that they had waited long enough. He watched his family and friends, and he was beyond content.
As the floor opened up for others wishing to dance, Aidan called out to the crowd, "Antje and I have a toast, rather an announcement. We were trying to decide what to get the bride and groom, as a wedding gift."
Eyes turned to regard the man as he spoke.
"And we've known for a while that Lannia is an amazing cook." He continued. "So we were trying to decide how to get her a better kitchen. We did a bit of looking, and we think we found one."
"She is NOT moving in with you!" Derik heckled from the crowd, standing next to Lannia.
"One catch." Aidan said as he kept going, more or less ignoring Derik's comment, "Sadly.... unfortunately... It's attached to the Last Anchor. So our wedding gift to you Lannia, Derik.... We're gifting you the Anchor."
Lannia's jaw dropped and Derik blinked, having been caught totally off-guard. "<Holy Damn...>" Derik recited quietly in Draconic to himself.
"I told you, there was a reason the adoption was important, dear." Aidan explained as Lannia squealed and tackle-hugged Aidan and Antje. Derik just blinked a few more times, giving Aidan the satisfaction of being one of the few times the swordsman was caught completely off guard and unprepared, to which Aidan just smirked at him.
There were other reactions from the crowd to this news, but Derik didn't really register them until Talas tugged his arm, "Aye, can I borrow you, Derik? Ronja said something about some sparring. Just wanted to go over what you had in mind."
"Oh, sure Talas." Derik responded and followed him to the Arena. There they chatted a bit about how spars would go and what rules if any would happen. Derik made some rounds, greeted guests, and eventually returned to the Arena to speak more to Talas. A bit about Bladestone was discussed. Derik mentioned that the Moradin blessed axe that Adelaide had used to defeat Mother Night before she was herself struck down and carried off by some unknown Celestial some months back had begun to glow brighter. Derik had kept his friend's weapon on his wall, and the magic had always caused it to shimmer, but now it was brightening noticeably. Talas was very interested in that, but neither of them knew what it could mean.
At some point in the conversation, Ronja arrived to announce she was there to take Derik to a wedding surprise. Talas sighed a sigh of relief, "Ye sent a paladin to distract someone Ronja. Ye know that was gonna end poorly."
Derik looked confused as Ronja stepped forward, taking his arm, "Come! You are kidnapped."
She took Derik to a bench by a fire, on which he plopped down as ordered, munching happily from his plate of food.
"Que the drummers!" Ronja called. "Drummers?" Derik asked, looking between Vala and Ronja. "What did you two do?"
And then he saw his surprise. Adorned in a somewhat revealing, deep red ceremonial outfit, and carrying a sword, Lannia appeared from a tent. Derik's eyes were immediately riveted to her.
She dropped a tomato across the blade to show its razor edge...
Sirion and Gunthar summoned massive Omni-elementals to the surprise and astonishment of the crowd.
Derik just put down his plate.
And then the dance began. A dance somewhere between a traditional tribal belly dance and a weapon kata as Lannia moved around the fire, the elementals mirroring her as much as possible. Derik's eyes simply followed, completely entranced. He leaned, chin on fist, elbow on crossed leg as he watched his wife dance for him. He commented a few times on her loveliness, part of an ongoing game of flirting whenever one did something like this for the other. A few of the crowed looked at each other in confusion though as it appeared Derik had forgotten to say those things in the Common tongue. Instead he spoke a smooth Draconic, never taking his eyes off the dancing woman.
Halfway through the dance, she balanced the flat of the blade on her head, performing several spins and shimmies with it there before retrieving it and resuming the dance as she had before. It ended with the blade sunk into the ground before Derik's sitting place, her foot on the hilt as she leaned over towards him.
"<Hello there, gorgeous>" The Draconic words were spoken as Derik leaned forward, hand now in her hair behind her head and pulling her down to give her a long kiss.
The rest of the night... pretty much was a blurr from that point. Lannia soon departed, completely exhausted from being up very, very early to help set up the ceremony. Derik stayed to host the guests. There were several spars, mostly the Hoarites fighting each other. Ronja beat the snot out of Talas, which was amusing. Then some idle chatter. A lot of food eating, though Wren kept stealing things from his plate. The Hoarites had some sort of internal political and philosophical debate, most of which Derik ignored, chatting with other folk at the arena. At some point Gunthar popped over to them and they had some sort of screaming match about letter verses spirit of the law, and Gunthar declaring himself above the law in his actions. Derik had no idea what was going on so wasn't wholly concerned.
The party winding down, Derik made his last rounds. The decorations were cleaned. A few more conversations were had and idle chatter made.
Then, Derik decided change into traveling clothes at the townhouse and stop off at the Muse on his way to Ulgoth's Beard and the Last Anchor to join Lannia for their wedding night and departure for their honeymoon. He strolled up the stairs and pushed the door open.....