She stood there in her wedding gown, knowing the chapel was full of people she cared for, silently preparing herself for the moments to come. Peace filled her, and while excitement pulsed through her being, serenity was foremost. There were no doubts in her heart or soul about joining her life with Balthazar's.
Anxiously awaiting the trial, Elisabeth had tirelessly arranged and planned everything to the tiniest detail. There was no thought of being one of those
brides, but when it came down to it, she wanted their wedding remembered as an occasion full of warmth and love for all – Elisabeth would settle for nothing less.
sat next to her, glancing up at the young woman as if asking what they were doing. For all the world, the feline couldn't figure out what she was waiting for. His
girl often did strange things, but that trial seemed more unnatural
than most. They had stayed in a place that was most certainly not
Haven House - his home and where all his things were. People had not
paid near enough attention to him. And now, they were just standing around, doing nothing
Balthazar's approach might have gone unnoticed had it not been for those accompanying him. As he often reminded her, he was better at stealth than she, but the other men weren't. He would sense no anxiety or trepidation from her, only all-encompassing love and excitement.
Standing facing the chapel, Elisabeth waited until she was confident they were near before turning to greet the small group with a serene smile. Typically, there would have been some witty remark prepared, but any words she felt inclined to say fell away at the sight of her groom.
Balthazar was always handsome, and Elisabeth had seen him with and without his mutations. Regardless, it didn't matter to her – modifications or not. He was always her Balthazar. Their wedding trial was upon them and whatever made him most comfortable was perfectly fine with her. She looked at him the way she always did, eyes full of love and amazement that the beautiful person in front of her loved her as fiercely as Elisabeth loved him in return.
Robin and the others gave the couple space, turning to the duties they had assigned themselves for the trial to ensure everyone's safety, leaving the two alone for the time being to prepare before the ceremony began.
She wanted to say something to Balthazar, but none of the words she could think of suited what she felt inside. Somehow, every word that came to mind felt less, as if they could not do justice to the emotions. Perhaps even diminish them in comparison, so Elisabeth remained quiet until the right ones came to her.
Taking a few steps towards him, she simply offered her hand with a luminous smile, soaking in the moment, squeezing his hand gently, and searching his gaze for some indication of what he was thinking.
It took a moment, but the words finally came to her. The perfect words were the ones he had heard before and would hear again throughout their shared lifetime. He often teased her about her love of the phrase and insistence on repeating it, but never had they been said the way she said them then, voice full of emotion.
"I love you."
Silk and Balder stood to the inside of the chapel doors, and when the knock came from outside, they knew the couple was ready to make their entrance. Checking with Darius to make sure all was ready, the moment came, and the guards opened the doors.
It was overwhelming, stepping into the space they had created, seeing all the faces of those they cared for and loved, and sharing the joy of their union with them. With her fingers tangled through Balthazar's, Elisabeth couldn't help but be in awe of the beauty before them. The settlers had transformed the simple room into a wonderland of warmth and comfort, and it was nothing short of perfect.
Storm, upon seeing the chapel filled with people, perked up, following the pair into the building. Keeping close behind, he sauntered down the aisle, surveying all the new people that had come to see him
. What a wonderful surprise! It would, obviously, take him awhile to make his way through everyone in the room, but it was certainly worth the effort involved if any of them had snacks.
Elisabeth's eyes searched every face, smiling at the blessings and bonds of friendship and family before them. Baron Devin, dapper as ever, was there. During their one brief meeting, she had found him to be a kind, generous soul. His good works for the Barony were extensive, news of which had traveled to Haven. Faldrass was lucky to have such a soul looking out for it.
The ever-beautiful and kind Gennadiya. Elisabeth had been overcome with joy when her friend mentioned coming to the wedding. The healer's grace, compassion, and beauty were an inspiration to her, and Elisabeth was thankful for Genna's presence. The two young women had forged a bond in Rharne, and while they hadn't been able to keep up with each other frequently, whenever they did, it was like no time had passed.
Sometimes the most rewarding relationships came from unexpected places and hard work. Woe had accepted the invitation to join them, and the young woman was thrilled he had. The man's place in her life was unique, and as she crawled her way to understanding, Elisabeth realized how gratifying it was to work through conflict and arrive at a place where joy could be mutually celebrated and meant.
Oram Mednix was something of a contradiction – a delightful one, but one regardless. He liked to put on a gruff demeanor, all scowly and such, but he was one of the kindest, most clever men she knew. He was someone she could count on for advice and honesty, and those types of friends were priceless. His presence made the young woman smile.
Elisabeth had once told Praetorum that he was part of her family. She had meant it then and meant it even more now. Their bond stretched back to Rharne as well, Prae serving as a mentor and friend to her, but it had become so much more in the intervening time. It was hard to explain their connection, but seeing his face amongst those in the chapel made her soul soar.
She saw her friends and loved ones, but there were two faces Elisabeth didn't recognize, and she knew why.
in the middle of the aisle, Elisabeth gently squeezed Balthazar's hand, giving him a beautiful smile before kneeling gracefully before Winston and Tiggy. The mage had no intention of letting go of Balthazar's hand, so she continued to hold it as she lowered
, skirt billowing out around her. There was no invasion of personal space, but she wished to be on their level as she spoke to both in a soft voice.
"We are honored by your presence – both of you. We are family here, and we welcome you into it."
The young leader of Haven was sincere with her words. Saoire's children were special to her, and Elisabeth silently marveled that the strangers invited to the wedding ended up being two of them.
Leaving both with a gentle smile, she rose again, and the couple continued their journey down the aisle.
Herman was there, and she was ever glad he was. The cadouri from Saoire's school had helped her with two settlement projects and, because of the time spent together, had become a dear friend.
Elisabeth stopped again as they came to the front row of seats where Vin and Rilith were. Her hand never left Balthazar's, but she gently embraced each, giving them a kiss on the cheek and a few soft words of thanks, although there were none to express the gratitude in her heart. Her childhood hadn't perhaps been the most typical one, but it had put her on the path where she found herself, preparing her for the life she led.
Her eyes drifted to a pair of chairs nearby, which were empty save for pieces of chocolate cake on each. At Elisabeth's direction, those two chairs were to remain that way and would be taken to the celebration site as well, in honor of two whose presence would be dearly missed – Vega and Joy.
Vega and Elisabeth were two peas from much different pods. In the new world the mage had found on Faldrass – a world she had somewhat been overwhelmed by, with responsibilities she hadn't been able to fathom, her friend had been a rock when she needed one, giving Elisabeth confidence through her own unique brand of mentoring. The pair had endured a rough start, adding to the beauty of their resulting friendship. At least to Elisabeth.
The Forging had brought much into Elisabeth's life, including Joy. Those that fought for Scalvoris had been allowed to be a part of the young girl's life if they chose, and it was a chance Elisabeth embraced eagerly. Joy was Vega's daughter now, and about that, she couldn't have been happier.
She would not have her wedding without a nod to them, and that was that.
As the pair approached Darius, Elisabeth gave their friend a warm smile. He had happily embraced his role in their wedding ceremony, and she would be forever thankful for his friendship and support. Having met the young sailor in Viden while there for a visit, Elisabeth never imagined how their friendship would flourish and grow. Even then, without either knowing, the roots of that relationship were already planted in common acquaintances. In the end, the pair hadn't needed those to appreciate each other. Now, both settlement leaders on Faldrass, their settlements had become all the stronger because of their tight bond.
Light streamed through the windows, filling the chapel with an ethereal glow….
And in the blink of an eye, it all changed.
The young woman was no stranger to all sorts of fantastical scenes. Cassion's Forging story. Dragons. The Umbral Caverns. Even those
couldn't have prepared her for the transformation of the chapel they had built into the towering masterpiece of glass where they now found themselves.
Elisabeth's eyes drew up as light descended upon them, and all she could do was stand there and look around with the wonder of a child.
It finally dawned on her that Balthazar was enveloped in light, and while she wasn't sure what that was about, it made Elisabeth beam with happiness - it was obviously a good sign.
There were long panels behind Darius that depicted scenes that she recognized with certain Immortals. While Elisabeth wanted to look at everything, there was simply too much for right then, but one thing remained constant – her hand never left Balthazar's.
Trees – there were trees! And little glittering stars rained down on all of them. She had no idea what was happening, but there was no doubt in her heart that it was something extraordinary.
Turning to Balthazar, she just looked at him, wondering if he had an explanation, smiling gently. Elisabeth didn't need one because faith didn't need a reason. It just….was. Something beautiful and wonderful had been transformed into more. And so had the chapel.
Elisabeth's words found voice again, knowing that something needed to be said. They were standing in the middle of something exquisite and pure – she felt it – but there was a wedding to get on with.
Whispering, her voice softly reached out to her friend, eyes unable to rip themselves away from the beauty wrapped around them. "I'm….not sure how we will follow that, Ox, but perhaps we better give it a go?"
Thank you Visna for the beautiful wedding template!