Part two of the OUAT Saga written by Darien and Malachi.
This will follow the lives of the children born to the Heros of the free world.
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Mark came with Saiorse on a shout fangs extended and pierced into her collarbone as he marked her. He claimed her. She was finally his, and every other shifter would know it. They would see it and smell it on her. It would change him too. Trothian women would know he was mated by the scent on him. Both of their scents now permanently mixed. He held her tightly as it rocked his body and his entire world. Who would have thought that the Frigid Saiorse could be so hot. He groaned collapsing on her and breathing heavily. He'd never felt so... good after the act of sex. Mark could have gone all night long... and tonight... this one time, he had given it his all and he was exhausted. And yet he continued to nuzzle her. "I love you Saiorse... I will always love you..." he sighed and whispered to her repeatedly. It wasn't long before both of them were heavy and needy again and Mark took her again... and again... He couldn't get enough of her, she couldn't get enough of him... and it wasn't until the wee hours of morning when both of them were so exhausted they could no longer keep going at it, and so remained tangled up in the other fast asleep, and Mark was certain he'd never been so happy in his whole life.
He. Was. Complete.
The festivities had died down for the night, dignitaries and the like had retired to their suites or to their embassies scattered throughout the City. It was the Eve of Yule, and all the children were tucked into bed, but probably no where near sleep, too excited to see what gifts they might find under the massive tree that had been set in the Ballroom, and was the talk of the evening when people were not talking about the wedding... and everyone talked about the wedding. Gwen had been thoroughly pleased with how the night had gone. She'd seen to the very last guest, bidding them goodnight, her daughters had retired to bravely face their wedding nights, well Saiorse more than Mira. She helped Raiyla put the triplets down, and then her own children. Josephine and Nereus seemed to have a hell of a time taking Palo, and Garreth and Phaela, had a hell of a time taking Iona -those two obviously did not like to separated as their parents attempted to send them off to bed. Gwen was just leaving Julian's room to see to the quiet halls of the Caslean when she ran into Josephine who stood by one of the windows and looking out.
"I hate this place you know?" Gwen frowned. "Not as much as the home of VanPelt, but this place still brings back a head full of bad memories..." She muttered, and turned. "I couldn't sleep." She confessed and Gwen walked to the window, where from this vantage they could see the remnants of the wall that outlined the old boundaries of the Caslean... the same walls Vanderhoff had left over with Alex that fateful night.
"I understand... I have my nights too." She confessed. Josephine took a deep breath and looked about, both of them quiet for a long time.
"It was a lovely wedding." Josephine confirmed after a bout of silence. Gwen smiled and nodded.
"It was, thank you." Josephine nodded before placing a hand on Gwen's arm.
"Goodnight." Gwen whispered as Josephine walked away to return to her own husband. Gwen started down the halls to check on the room housing Aiden and the massive fortress made of canvas for wagons where he, the MacKenna twins, and Odin all stayed together, and she knew they were still awake, as she heard their whispers, and someone blew out a candle quickly as they all pretended to be asleep as she peeked into the room. She found herself doing this every night, walking through the halls to check on her children. Aiden was usually her night owl, so to find that candlelight still glowed from under Evangeline's door was shocking. Silently she peeked in through the crack and could spy two little bodies curled up with the other.
"It will be beautiful." Evangeline whispered facing Attica with a sweet smile. The Candle light flickered from the nightstand over their angelic little faces. Even at her young age and in the candlelight Attica was the prettiest girl ever, and Evangeline was well aware of it even at her own young age. "I'll marry your brother and we will officially be sisters. It will be grand! And then we can spend all sorts of time together!" Evangeline sighed then a dreamy look crossing her sleepy face. "I'll wear a gorgeous white dress and be surrounded by all sorts of flowers, it will be a spring wedding, and it will be in mama's gardens, and there will be a great ball full of dancing and tasty food, just like Saiorse's and Mira's was! And I know we're both going to be so in love! Mama said she wouldn't let me marry if I wasn't in love..." Evangeline giggled then. "I can't wait to know what it is like..." Evangeline reached over excitedly, despite the demure little yawn she did and took attica's hand, both girls so terribly exhausted. "You'll be such a beautiful bride too Attica... no one will be as pretty as you will be..." She sighed. "You have to promise me that when we get married we won't forget eachother, we'll be like our mama's and always be close... I'd be so lost without you Attica..." Gwen tensed from outside the room, and felt her eyes tear up. Hadn't she said the exact same thing to Raiyla years, and years ago?
Yes, she believed she had, and with the soft sounds of giggles she left the two little girls alone to the dreams and fantasies, while Gwen returned to her bedchambers -to her husband. Everything was always going to be different, nothing could ever be the same... it never was. And Gwen couldn't be more excited for the ever changing future.
She didn’t think it would be possible… but the second kiss to which he stole her words and thoughts, was even better than the last. This time when he slid his tongue against the seam of her lips, she opened without thought and suddenly tasted him and made a small sound as his arms slid around her, hoisting her just subtly enough against him. Her hands slid up to clutch at his shoulders and when he finally pulled away she her lids were heavy and her lips glittering as she panted. How could it be that a single kiss could spark such a fire in every one of her extremities? Her entire body tingled and she felt so light headed that she hardly remembered to curtsey as Mark bowed to her parents. Gwendolyn smiled and Ticarthis merely lifted a hand in a gesture; bidding them goodnight. Just before they turned the corner to retreat down the hall, Saiorse glanced over her shoulder and caught sight of Mira in the center of the ballroom; eyes closed and head laying on Mathias’ chest as they swayed to the music. She seemed so utterly happy.
It did not occur to her exactly what leaving the ballroom meant until they hit the top of the stairs and kept going. Together. The last couple of weeks that they had been in Bayadaire, the nights had always ended the same. They would stop at the very top. He would take her hand in his, bow, and press a kiss to it, and they would go their separate ways. Now, his arm remained around her; his hand splayed against her lower back as he exerted minute, delicate pressure to guide her steps. Breath hitching as the haze from the wine she’d been drinking all night immediately cleared, Saiorse could only stare straight ahead, eyes widened and body trembling as she forced herself to keep moving. In the midst of it all she wondered if this is what a prisoner felt like walking to their execution- and for a frightened virgin of epic proportions such as she was, in many ways that’s what this was. A walk to the death of her innocence…
The suite they would be sharing was on the top floor of the Caislean down a private, deserted hallway. No other guests resided in this wing, and Mira and Mathias had requested the Dowerhouse cottage to be made up for them. They were alone, shrouded in darkness. Alone- completely and utterly alone. There would be no one to hear her scream, whether in terror or delight. Mark finally released her as they reached the ornate double doors and opened them to reveal a sight that for a moment has Saiorse forget to be afraid. Who had done this? The four-poster, canopy bed was enormous and sat in the very center of the room facing an equally large fire place that was blazing away, and casting the room in a soft golden glow- warm and inviting. Covered in thick quilts, it was sprinkled with the deep purple petals of not roses- but orchids, filling the air with a mixture of pine and tropical flowers. Over in another corner was a large porcelain bath that was prepped with a small table nearby stacked with oils and perfumes and large, soft looking towels. A copper cauldron of water hung near the water, covered, and steaming and ready for use. And nearby on the nightstand, sat a silver covered dome of sweet fruits and chocolate, and a matching basin of champagne that sparkled in the firelight.
Mark was the first to enter. Saiorse couldn’t have if she’d wanted to; her feet didn’t seem to want to move. She stood frozen in the doorway, trembling; hands clasped beneath her breasts as she fought to breathe. She couldn’t do this. She was too scared… He walked a few steps inside and paused, seeming to look around for a moment, before turning and staring at her; eyes dark and so molten pitch, she swore she could feel their heat prickle her skin. For a moment they stood there in silence and finally he raised his hand towards her. "Once you walk in this room Saiorse... things are going to be different.” His voice was so deep, rough with hunger and some hidden emotion. Her parted lips trembled. “You said ‘I do’ at the alter... and I wasn't lying when I said I wanted you for my wife.” Her eyes closed and swallowed, fighting to keep her composure. She was just Saiorse, the Ice Queen. Saiorse, the Shrew. She wasn’t meant for sex or to be loved. She couldn’t do this… “I won't hurt you Saiorse. I'd never hurt you... let me know my wife," he whispered darkly to her.
For a moment she remained as she was, eyes closed and lips parted; hands clutching and body trembling. And then she opened them, two glittering tears falling softly down her cheeks. She finally took a step inside the room and the door closed behind her… as she slid her hand into his.
They danced. It had been the first time in a long time since he'd danced with Saiorse. The first time had been that fateful night Gwendolyn had insisted Saiorse dance with him out of respect for showing up at all, and he had a feeling his just being titled Earl of Terran might have had something to do with it. He did remember not loathing every step taken as he thought he might have when Gwen told him to dance with Saiorse, she didn't have a partner and he was readily available. The second time had been that night when he'd told her about Mathias and Mira... becasue for some reason he felt she deserved to know about the situation. Now that he thought about it, and while he danced with her, artfully drawing her closer to him and breaking down her walls of foolish propriety, he remembered he genuinely enjoyed that night. It was the first night he could honestly recall being enthralled by a woman, for wanting a woman for a reason other than her looks. Yes Saiorse was lovely, but he'd discovered so much more was to her over the years. Her steadfast determination, loyalty, unwavering kindness, and passion for the things she loved.... and her devotion. She had waited at those damn docks every day for nearly six months hoping and praying he would return... and he had a feeling had he really died, she'd still wait for him. Which was good to know becuase he would have waited for her as long as he had to.
The waltz was ending but she still wasn't close enough to him for his liking. He wanted her pressed against him, to feel the soft curves of her body and to have her scent wash over him. Not once did he take his eyes off of her, and she didn't look away either. In fact, Mark had forgotten they were surrounded by over a hundred people with all eyes on them. So it really had happened... Mark Guisppie was a happily married man, who was foolishly in love with his young wife. He loved her, he'd always love her, he wanted everything with her. No more searching for that happiness, or that something to fill the void in his life. She would fill it, was already filling it. He wasn't alone when she was around, and he didn't feel lost. He had a future, and since he'd married just before the deadline of his father's will, disowning him, and revoking him of his title to the crown, he had reached what his father wanted -and luckily what he wanted just in time, and now there was no fear of not being able to provide for his new wife, and whatever family they were going to have. He tensed then as she twirled about him and he side stepped lightly over to catch her. Pulling her closer than ever before.
He missed his family.
He missed his mother, he actually missed his arrogant pompous pain in the ass father, and he missed his sister... he hated being alone.
Looking at Saiorse, he knew without a doubt he was no longer alone. He stared at her, his hand resting on the small of her back, the soft fabric of her cranberry dress teasing him silently, begging him to peel it off of her body. His breath caught as he caught her heated gaze.
“Mark… I…” she began, but he silenced her quickly with a kiss, unable to help himself. She just looked so temping, delicious.... and she was. He would have groaned if he could, but he was shaking to keep himself calm, to at least remain somewhat respectable as he kissed his wife before everyone. If he could just get this one kiss out of his system... Her lips parted and he went against all his restraints and let his tongue slide in against her own. He tasted the sweet confines of her mouth, made even more intoxicating by the remnants of the merlot she'd been drinking. He had tasted it on her lips, but to taste it off her tongue, had him shaking. It took everything in him to pull away from her.
His own breaths were shallow, and under his trews he was hard for her. He blinked slowly, uncaring that another dance had started and they were still standing, staring at the other.
“Mark… Mark I’m sorry, I…” He stoped her from speaking with another kiss, and just simply lifted her up into his arms in a tight, warm embrace. It was afterall very late, but he was not tired at all. He carefully set her down on her feet and turned them to look up at the head table where Gwen and Ticarthis sat watching them. From across the hall Gwen gave Saiorse a comforting smile and yet it was a smile that said 'I'm so proud of you'. Mark gave Ticarthis a bow from across the room, signalling he and Saiorse would be retiring. He really didn't let her have a say in the matter just turned as the doors were opened for them and he escorted her out of the room.
It was strange, how they walked in silence, hand in hand up the stairs and down the hall to the suite they would be sharing for the remainder of their stay. He stopped at the door and looked at her. Already shaking like a leaf. He'd had his fair share of virgins, but not one of them had ever been as terrified as Saiorse was. Then again, between the stories that followed behind him and his actions, he didn't give her much of a reason to not fear him at the moment. He pushed the door open and looked in and even his own heart raced. As he walked in he turned and looked back at SAiorse, there was a darkness in his eyes, but a hunger and a longing in them too. "Once you walk in this room Saiorse... things are going to be different. You said I do at the alter... and I wasn't lying when I said I wanted you for my wife." He glanced back at the bed that greeted them and looked back at her and held out his hand. "I won't hurt you Saiorse. I'd never hurt you... let me know my wife." He whispered darkly to her and waited for her to enter the room and close the door.
"You look absolutely lovely." Saiorse blushed deeply as the two of them made their way towards the grand double doors of the Caislean’s grand ballroom. The fluted refrains of some light Yule-concerto could be heard just over the muffled laughter and voices of the crowd waiting to greet them. Despite her nervousness, Saiorse gladly wrapped her arms around one of Mark’s and gave him a squeeze.
“Thank you,” she whispered softly as they stood at the ready next to Mathias and Mira. Glancing up at him shyly from beneath her lashes she gave him a soft smile. “You’re very handsome, Mark… Very… handsome.” She had just enough time to stand on tiptoes and press a fleeting kiss to his cheek before the doors opened, flooding them with bright light and the call of the herald as he announced their arrival.
“The Earl of Terran, Bayen Prince Reagent, Mark Guiseppe and his wife, Lady of Terran, Princess Saiorse Guiseppe.”
How odd to hear her new name. Yet the feeling was wonderful. It was the first time she had ever felt as if she truly belonged somewhere. Both she and Mark stepped forward and Saiorse curtsied to the applause given them.
“The Lord of Wewick, Mathias Mackenna, and his wife, Lady of Wenwick, Princess Mira Mackenna.”
Mira and Mathias stepped through second and Mira grinned happily and did her best to curtsey as Mathais bowed.
And so it beagn. They’re first moments as married couples. Mark and Saiorse took to the masses like pros, being light hearted and talkative; smiling as the greeted and accepted their congratulations with fervor. They were thought to be a most excellent match, both elegant, well-educated, and tying political and economic routes for both countries. Saiorse stood right alongside Mark and spoke to the Oriental officials just as well as he did. Mark and Mira, however, were just slightly more awkward. Though they accepted their own bout of congratulatory offerings with grace and dignity, it was easy to see that neither of them were completely comfortable with all the attention, and never once did Mira let go of Mathais’ arm.
The entire perimeter of the massive room, was lined with tables for guests to sit and seat should they so desire it. Saiorse and Mark had taken a moment to rest their feet and Saiorse sipped at her wine, slightly flushed from all the exertion. Without warning, a familiar moist heat flicked out over her earlobe and she nearly dropped the crystal goblet. “Mark!” Saiorse whispered on a gasp, eyes falling closed as her body was speared with heat. All night he’d been doing that and it had made her tremble with sensations she’d never felt before. His lips slid against her throat and she felt herself blush as, without her permission, her head tilted and her eyes fell closed; pulse speeding up unbearably. Gods what was he doing to her? He nibbles on her ear again and her hands clutched at the table in front of her. “Mark!” she whispered.
“I haven't been able to dance with you all night,” his voice breathed into her ear and she tensed as she felt his arm slide around her waist. “But Mathias has with Mira, and he's actually getting good at it...” She opened her eyes, lids feeling heavy from arousal she did not understand, and peered out at the dance floor where Mira and Mathias were indeed dancing. She watched him twirl her sister who laughed as she ended back up in his arms, hair fluttering with its ringlet curls. “I don't like being out shined Saiorse... I think we should dance."
“Oh Mark,” Saiorse said and watched him stand. “I don’t think…” He turned and offered her his hand, and she found herself staring up at what was possibly the most handsome man she’d ever known. The lights from the brilliant chandeliers overhead and the massive, warm fireplace, glittered over his blonde hair and deeply tanned skin; making him look like he was cast in bronze and gold. It made the dark color of his suit stand out. Broad shoulders and well-muscled, she was suddenly starstruck.
"I haven't danced with you since that first night I dared a drunken kiss from you," he stated bluntly and pouted at her. "Please?" he wiggled his fingers for her to take. "I'll look foolish if I dance alone..." From across the ballroom Evangeline giggled as a fourteen year old Gavin lifted her up and turned her about while they danced together. Mark pointed at them and Saiorse smiled as she watched her beloved younger sister finally strong enough to have fun again. "Aww Look, even Eva gets to dance! Come on Saiorse, dance with me... I'm asking nicely don't you think? You don’t want me to force you to dance, cuz I'll do it. I'll pick you up and carry you around so I can dance." He gave his wolfish grin then and she blushed. Finally she slid her hand into his and he all but pulled her from the seat and lead her to the floor as a waltz struck up.
At first the dance started out as any other might. She tentatively placed her hand on his shoulder and ensured there was at least a good half-a-foot between them as was customary. They stepped lightly to the music, and all the while she blushed and stared up at him. He was a wonderful dancer, and she was dragged back through her memories to a day years ago when both of them had once shared a dance. Young teens who had all but hated each other but danced because they had been made too. He’d been a handsome eighteen and she’d been a blossoming fourteen; and they had been applauded for looking so fine together. It was the only night she could remember being able to remotely stomach him as he kissed her hand and told her she looked ‘nice’. Now? They were married, and Saiorse was very much in love, and he had assured her she looked a quite bit more lovely than ‘nice’.
She wasn’t certain how it had happened, but as the dance continued and she remained locked in his gaze, somehow he’d managed to coax her closer with every step so that at the very last twirl, she reeled back against his chest and was left breathless as a lock of hair clung to her flushed cheek. “Mark… I…” she whispered as she looked up at him, and then they were kissing. She was lost in that kiss. It was sweeter than any she had ever tasted, and without warning she found herself unable to help it. Her lips parted and his tongue slid between them to glide along hers. It had her entire body tensing. What on earth had she done!? Surely young ladies of propriety didn’t… didn’t… didn’t… She couldn’t think. Gods what on earth was happening?! It tasted so good! He tasted so good! It was the first time she had ever allowed him to kiss her as such and when they pulled apart she was panting; lips shimmering and gaze hazy with heat. “Mark… Mark I’m sorry, I…”
Gwen grinned as Mira dragged Saiorse from the room and down the hall to the main stairway. She had to admit, she was sad to be seeing both of them go, sad that they were married because now she'd hardly ever see them, and glad because the two of them were finally getting along. Gwen watched Mira duck with a horrified Saiorse around the corner, as she slowly followed and knew exactly who she would miss more. Mira. Mira had always been the one constant thing in a life that had been nearly back breaking. Mira had always been the little rock to keep Gwen up on her feet, and Mira had always been the little candle that kept away the darkness. Without Mira around constantly... Gwen had the feeling she was going to be very lonely. Mira had become more than just her daughter, Mira was a friend too. She loved Saiorse, adored Saiorse, but Saiorse had always been independent, off alone and away from the nest. Seeing Saiorse leave would still be sad, it was always sad, but she was always coming and going. Yes... Gwen had a feeling she would be very alone indeed, for all the other women here drove her crazy.
She watched as Saiorse took shaky steps down the staircase towards Mark who just stared up at her with adoration, and what Gwen was sure was a thundering heart. Slowly she sighed watching them all together, and she wondered if her mother felt this way after Gwen's wedding? Suddenly she felt a hand, a smaller hand grab hers and she looked down to find Evangeline standing with her and looking down at Saiorse and Mark as they finally got to see each other after their wedding.
"Mama, I'm gonna miss them." She sighed. Gwen could only smile and nod her head, giving Eva's hand a squeeze.
"I'm going to miss them too." She admitted.
"Mama?" Eva looked up to Gwen with matching blue eyes. "They're in love right? Like the princesses and Princes you tell me about in your stories?" Gwen nodded.
"Oh yes, dearling, they're very much in love, and your sisters are very lucky to be so." Eva looked thoughtful.
"When I marry Alex will I be in love?" Gwen's brows furrowed then as she contemplated the answer for a moment.
"Of course you will be." Gwen answered finally with a smile. Eva smiled then and nodded.
"Okay, because if not then I don't want to get married." Gwen knelt then and grabbed Eva's shoulders turning the little ten year old to face her.
"Eva, you listen to me. When it comes to the time for you to marry, I want it to be something you want. I want nothing more then for all of my children to marry for love. That is my greatest dream of all, no matter what, I want all of you to be happy. And you Eva... you're next." Eva looked a trite confused, and maybe worried.
"Because I'm the oldest?"
"Yes and no... but because you're my last little girl... you're my only little girl. Mine, all mine, I carried you and I gave you life... and I want nothing but the best for you."
"Alex is what's best for me?" Gwen sighed then and nodded her head.
"I believe he is." Gwen reached out and cupped Eva's full round rosy cheek and smiled almost sadly. "I would not be so willing to part with you for any less of a man, and some day you will make a most lovely queen for Soulstice."
"Yes mama." Gwen nodded then and stood. "Mama?" Gwen looked down at Eva.
"I love you." Gwen smiled and opened her arms for Eva as she rushed into them and hugged her.
"I love you too Angel, I love you too..."
“See! I told you!” Mark didn't hear her, or feel Mira as she slapped his shoulder and Mathias grinned from ear to ear as his new wife hung off his arm. she said slapping Mark’s shoulder. Mark had forgotten how to breath. Dear Gods he'd never seen Saiorse so lovely.
"I don't think he can hear you Mira, speak up." Mathias teased, but he too noticed how lovely Saiorse looked, and he gave her a small smiled to show he was happy for her, and happy that they could remain friends.
“Isn’t she the prettiest you’ve ever seen.” Mira asked and Mathias kissed her cheek. Mark just slowly smiled as she came to stand before him, eye level on the step before him and he took a deep breath, catching her scent along the way and nodded, as he reached down and took her hand in his and brushed the top of her knuckles in a feather light kiss.
"She's always pretty." He commented softly to Mira, though his eyes never left Saiorse. "Hello Mrs. Guiseppie." He commented with a small grin.
“Hello,” she whispered back and blushing.
"You look absolutely lovely." Mark whispered to her as he walked with her towards the ballroom. Mathias and Mira walked ahead of them, and the moment they all entered the room, the crowd broke out into applause for them. Mathias seemed to retreat from it, never big on large crowds, but if not for Mira being at his side Mathias might have worn a glare at everyone as they all rushed forward to congratulate the couples. Mark took to it like a professional thanking everyone for coming and always keeping his hand on Saiorse's no matter what. He didn't want her to go far from him. He wanted her close, and at every opportunity he was turning to her, to make it look like he was whispering something when in reality he was planting fire hot kisses along her neck and whispering every time how sweet she tasted, or how divine she tasted, how she smelled of spicy perfume, and everytime he made her well aware of how she was affecting him. How she was making him feel like some silly schoolboy chasing after a seasoned temptress. And Truth be told... she was.
Dancing ensued throughout the night, and when Mark was finally able to break himself and Saiorse away from a round of Oriental dignitaries questioning him of his ideas of trade routes for the Orient and Trothian Kingdoms that were soon to open, and what his personal opinion was to fighting off pirates. An Uncomfortable topic for Mark, and one he was happy to be rid of by the end of it... besides, he hated speaking the Orient language. He wasn't good at it. He glanced over at Saiorse then and finally to the dance floor. "I haven't been able to dance with you all night, but Mathias has with Mira, and he's actually getting good at it... I don't like being out shined Saiorse... I think we should dance." He said and held his hand out for her. "I haven't danced with you since that first night I dared a drunken kiss from you." He stated bluntly and pouted at her. "Please." he wiggled his fingers for her to take. "I'll look foolish if I dance alone..." From across the ballroom Evangeline giggled as a fourteen year old Gavin lifted her up and turned her about while they danced together. Mark pointed at them. "Aww Look, even Eva gets to dance! Come on Saiorse Dance with me... I'm asking nicely don't you think? You dont want me to force you to dance, cuz I'll do it. I'll pick you up and carry you around so I can dance." He gave his wolfish grin then.
"Telling him that would only make you to really seem like a fool..." Gwen warned, and turned her back towards the vanity. "Sit... we need to have... the talk." Saiorse’s eyes widened, filled and glittering with fear as her cheeks heated.
“But… but mother-” Gwen just waved her to silence with a finger and reached over to pull an empty chair towards her own. She then gripped Saiorse by the shoulders and forced her into it.
"Now... Listen well. I know I probably should have had this conversation with you before now, but... I promise you... there is nothing to be afraid of." One look from Saiorse clearly stated that she highly doubted it. She only smiled, cupping her cheek and wiping away her tears. "You should consider yourself lucky, most girls don't get to marry for love, and you've been fortunate enough to have a man who will be gentle with you."
“G-gentle? Gentle?!” Saiorse sputtered all but ripped her hands from Gwen’s, clutching them to her chest and whimpering. “Gentle with what!? I- oh gods mummy! I can’t! Mark is not gentle in the least!” And she would know.
Since his return from being held prisoner, Saiorse had spent several nights curled up in bed and in his arms. Though they had never had sex as it were, they had engaged in several sessions of delirious heavy petting. Or at least… Saiorse had thought them to be. She still had yet to allow him to spear her mouth with his tongue, and to her recollection he had never touched her naked. She had only hazy memories of what had gone on those few nights ago in the hot springs. But one thing had become irreversibly clear. Mark was not gentle. His kisses could be ravishing. They made her hot and dizzy, especially when they involved her ear or neck. The night that she perhaps recalled the most, he had pinned her beneath him and nibbling, actually nibbling, on her throat while his hands felt out her chest beneath the folds of her dress.
What had frightened her was not the act itself. It was the fact that she had actually been tempted to beg for more. Surely that was not right! Young ladies did not do that! Sex was not for amusement nor enjoyment! It was for an act of copulation. To procreate. That was it! How on earth could she explain to her own mother… that she might actually like having sex! Mira- sure Mira like it. More than liked it if her actions that afternoon were anything to go by. But Mira was different. She was a lady. Oh gods what was she going to do?! Mark gentle? Ha! He was a randy, demanding and insatiable! He stole kisses and more often than not forced her into dark corners where he made her dizzy and embarrassingly wanton! And don’t even get her started on the stories she’d heard from girls in school! God only knew just what the hell she’d have to experience now that there was no legality stopping him!
"There will be a moment where the act of... sex..." Gwen herself blushed lightly for a moment. "Well it might hurt just a bit.” Saiorse looked positively horrified, her face leeching of color. “But all the good will outweigh it, and that pain will begin to feel good."
“Pain? Good?! Mummy you’re mad! How on earth is sex to feel good! Tis a lecherous and unscrupulous act! Mummy! He’ll kill me! He’ll laugh at me and I’ll scream and he’ll kill me! Mummy I- I can’t have sex!” Gwen clapped her hand over Saiorse's.
"You will become a full woman tonight, Mark will make love to you, not because of how experienced you are... but because he loves you Saiorse. He wouldn't hold any inexperience against you. You need not be afraid Saiorse, there's nothing to be afraid of. You're my brave little girl, you can do anything. This will be no different and you will see... he loves you no matter what. Besides... you just might like it."
Oh lord but it was official! The women in this family were unmistakably mad!” Saiorse covered her frightened face in her hands and Gwen sighed. "When a man and a woman love each other, it's just... different. You have the chance to enjoy marriage and what happens under the bedclothes... be fortunate you're not like some of your friends, forced into political marriages for advancement without care to their daughter's feelings... That could have happened to you had you any other parents... luckily you have your father and I, and we would not allow something if we didn't have absolute faith in our hearts that you wouldn't be happy." Gwen said cupping her cheeks and kissed the top of her head. "You look lovely Saiorse... dry those tears and let's go down and greet your husband and all of the guests that wish to congratulate you, and then we can enjoy the festivities for your wedding tonight and tomorrow, is Yule... So come on." Gwen said then pulling her daughter up to her feet. "You don't want your husband to think you regret marrying him," Gwen teased.
Gwen helped spruce up the few curls and ruffles that had gone out of place in her tantrum, and lead her to the door. Her grip on Gwen’s hand was tight, and though she absolute shimmered in her delicate gown, there was no hiding her pale face. The door opened just as Gwen reached for it and Mira stuck her head in. “Oh! There you are!” Mira laughed and grabbed Saiorse, wrenching her forward so fast she nearly stumbled. “I showed Mathais my dress! He loved it! But Mark’s waiting to see you! Come on! Don’t worry! He won’t even see you coming! You’ve never looked so pretty!” Saiorse blushed even as her sister all put forced her to the top of the stairs. Bare shouldered and arms clad in long, cream satin gloves the same color as the lace, Saiorse froze at the top of the steps as she caught sight of him at the bottom. Both Mark and Mathais were dressed sharply in tailored suits with a military cut. Mira released her and skipped down the stairs, fluttering off the top step and into Mathais’ arm laughing. Saiorse truly had to admit that in that moment, Mira had never looked so happy in her life. “See! I told you!” she said slapping Mark’s shoulder. “Isn’t she the prettiest you’ve ever seen.” Gracefully Saiorse descended the stairs and stood on the bottom step so that she was eyes level with Mark.
“Hello,” she whispered, blushing. Yet it was obvious as she stared at him just how handsome she thought he was.
Josephine had tagged along with Gwendolyn to put Julian down in his nursery with Blythe, and the ever watchful Ryder who trotted circles in the room, tail wagging and tongue hanging out at the side. "He's gorgeous Gwen." Josephine breathed as she held Julian up to look his angelic features over. Gwen just smiled as she folded a little creme infant tunic with Blythe over a wicker basket of baby things. Gwen just watched them as he reached out for Josephine and suddenly broke into a giggle kicking his feet out. Little whisps of white hair curled about his head, and big round blue eyes regarded everything with curiosity, and he came with rosy cheeks, dimples in his smile and laughter. Julian was so far Gwen's easiest baby. "I mean, I don't think I've ever seen a baby so perfect."
"Oh yes you have." Gwen commented with a satisfied grin.
"Oh... Alex..." Gwen nodded as both women shared a look. "I'm still partial for Odin... that kid was ornery as a babe, is ornery now and will be ornery when he's grown. He's going to be a heartbreaker he will be." Gwen nodded fully in agreement as a maid come and knocked on the nursery door.
"Lady? People as requesting your presence, I can only tell them you are with your child for so long." Gwen smiled and nodded her head as Josephine groaned and leaned over letting Julian hand upside down with a squeal.
"Oh NO! Propriety calls Julian! What will we do?"Josephine asked dramatically. Julian laughed in response, before handing him over to Gwen.
"Come here little lion man." Gwen whispered to him and kissed his nose, his hand caught her cheek and tried to grab at it. She just smiled as she set him on the soft carpet of a small gated section of the room, filled with soft toys, and hand carved wooden ones, used by all of her children, and crafted by none other than their father. Gwen watched as he crawled to a stuffed lion made by Mira and sat himself up, he gazed up at the women curiously before grinning and going to toss his toy, but not realizing that in order for it to fly, he had to let go of it first.
"Gods so cute." Josephine muttered as she walked out the room. Gwen only blew him a kiss before following her out.
"Let's get the girls." Gwen said as they stopped before Mira's room and found it empty. Josephine only shrugged to Gwen's curious look and they stopped hearing a voice from across the hall.
“But Saiorse… it will be consummated! It will! You’ll see.” Josephine snorted laughter as Mira's voice broke through the hall, and a wailing SAiorse replied.
“But I can’t!”
"Oh I have to hear this!" Josephine whispered and hurried to the door with Gwen to listen.
“Because he will not like me!” Josephine looked like she would die if she didn't laugh right then and there. Gwen could only slap her shoulder to hush her. “He will not like me! He will see that I know nothing, I shall make a complete and utter fool of myself, and he will laugh at me, and I will be left with an annulled marriage, and no one shall ever want me again!” Saiorse began to cry and Gwen only sighed, and opened the door.
"What's going on?" Gwen asked looking between them. They both knew they couldn't lie to her and Josephine just grinned.
"Mira, why don't we go down together to meet the men?" She suggest, and when Mira agreed to follow, Gwen shut the door behind them.
She looked over at Saiorse, her oldest, most proper, and most terrified daughter at the moment. "Saiorse, what is it -" She stopped as Saiorse jumped from her seat and ran for her, slamming into her and holding onto her for dear life.
“Oh mummy! What have I done!” She cried. Gwen just grinned and wrapped her arms around her daughter and rocked her slowly.
"You've gotten yourself married, that's what." She answered with a knowing tone.
“I’ve made the biggest mistake of my life!" Gwen scoffed and pushed her out at arms length and looked her over. Saiorse was truly horrified, "And I shall be absolutely horrid! And how shall he love me when I know nothing!"
" I’m frightened! Please! I cannot do this!"
"Saiorse." Gwen tried again, keeping her voice calm.
"You must tell Mark I simply cannot! You must tell Mark that I am dead!” Gwen blanched and arched a brow.
"Dead?" She asked shocked Saiorse would suggest that after everything.
“Yes- that’s it! Tell him I’m dead so I do not make myself look a total and complete fool!”
"Telling him that would only make you to really seem like a fool..." Gwen warned, and turned her back towards the vanity. "Sit... we need to have... the talk." Gwen muttered darkly.
She grinned at the way Saiorse's cheeks blushed and she sat down on a nearby chair, pulling it closer and took Saiorse's hand in her own. "Now... Listen well. I know I probably should have had this conversation with you before now, but... I promise you... there is nothing to be afraid of." Gwen assured her with a smile. "You should consider yourself lucky, most girls don't get to marry for love, and you've been fortunate enough to have a man who will be gentle with you." Gwen could only smile at the horror on SAiorse's face. "There will be a moment where the act of... sex..." Gwen herself blushed lightly for a moment. "Well it might hurt just a bit, but all the good will out weigh it, and that pain will begin to feel good." Gwen clapped her hand over Saiorse's. "You will become a full woman tonight, Mark will make love to you, not because of how experienced you are... but because he loves you Saiorse. He wouldn't hold any inexperience against you. You need not be afraid Saiorse, there's nothing to be afraid of. You're my brave little girl, you can do anything. This will be no different and you will see... he loves you no matter what." She grinned then and stood up. "Besides... you just might like it." She sighed then. "When a man and a woman love each other, it's just... different. You have the chance to enjoy marriage and what happens under the bedclothes... be fortunate you're not like some of your friends, forced into political marriages for advancement without care to their daughter's feelings... that could have happened to you had you any other parents... luckily you have your father and I, and we would not allow something if we didn't have absolute faith in our hearts that you wouldn't be happy." Gwen said cupping her cheeks and kissed the top of her head. "You look lovely Saiorse... dry those tears and let's go down and greet your husband and all of the guests that wish to congratulate you, and then we can enjoy the festivities for your wedding tonight and tomorrow, is Yule... So come on." Gwen said then pulling her daughter up to her feet. "You don't want your husband to think you regret marrying him." Gwen teased.
“What’s wrong?” Saiorse turned her head from where she’d been brushing it at the vanity. Mira stood in the doorway dressed in possibly the most gorgeous gown that Saiorse had ever seen her sister wear. Then again, there hadn’t been much in Saiorse’s wardrobe to compare it to. A shimmering mint green, it hugged her slender body and look lovely with her hair down around her shoulders the way it was, her crown sparkling atop her curls. The color, cut, and creasing were perfect.
“Oh Mira! You look beautiful!” Mira smiled and pushed the door opened further, stepping inside and giving a little spin; the full skirt fluttering outwards in an arc.
“You like it?” Saiorse smiled, and quickly set down the brush.
“I do. Did you make it?” Mira blushed and dipped her head with a sheepish sort of smile.
“You’re so talented.” She beamed and looked down at the skirt, smoothing her hands against the material.
“Thanks. I… I was thinking of opening a shop. In Troth’lenka.” Saiorse looked thoughtful.
“Truly? In port?”
“Maybe,” Mira replied, and made her way towards the bed in the corner, sitting down.
“But you’re a princess. You don’t have to, you know.” Mira smiled and shrugged.
“Yeah, I know. But Mathias is going to be busy once he’s married, and I’ll have nothing to do.” She grinned then and raised her hands out in front of her, fingers splayed. “Think about it. Mira’s Masquerade Marvels! It’ll be a costume shop! I’ll design lots of neat things for the ballet and the theater!” Saiorse gave a smile as she babbled on about a dream. “I just have to convince Mathias to let me.”
“I’m sure if you give him a smile… he’ll agree to anything,” she said quietly, in wistful voice.
Mira dropped her hands to support her weight as she leaned back. “Saiorse? What’s wrong? You were so quiet in the carriage over. You look… upset.” Saiorse flushed slightly and bit her lip, turning back to look in the vanity mirror. Her own hair was pulled into a half-ponytail, stylishly tousled down around shoulders made bare by her own gown. It was a deep satin cranberry that revealed her voluptuous figure. She had powdered her face into a smooth and flawless palate, and painted her lips to a deep rouge that made her dark eyes stand out. Mira’s jewelry was silver. Saiorse’s was gold.
“I’m not upset,” she assured her sister, lifting her own circlet-crown from its case on the desk and placing it on her head; teasing it to remain just right.
“Are you sure?”
“I’m…” Her fingers froze in mid-air and finally she sighed and dropped them to the table top in front of her. “Mira… what’s he like?” Mira blinked and watched her sister turn to stare at her with fear in her eyes. “Mark. Whatever is he like…”
“Like?” Saiorse blushed heatedly.
“As… As a lover.” Mira sat up straight and frowned.
“What do you mean? Don’t you know? Hasn’t he… Didn’t he… the other night?” Saiorse dropped a head into her hand.
“I don’t… no. He didn’t. He… I don’t remember. I truly don’t.”
“Truth be told, I don’t either,” Mira admitted.
“Oh gods!” Saiorse suddenly exclaimed and turned to bury her face in her arms against the vanity top. “What have I done! I- I cannot be married! It shall be annulled! I- I just know it! What have I done?!”
“Saiorse calm down! Why, whatever is the matter?!”
“Our marriage shall be invalid!”
“Because it will not be consummated. Bayen law states it must be on the night of the marriage!” Mira’s eyes widened.
“But Saiorse… it will be consummated! It will! You’ll see.” Saiorse Lifted her head to reveal teary eyes.
“But I can’t!”
“Because he will not like me!” Saiorse suddenly exclaimed leaving Mira to stare… and try very hard not to laugh. Saiorse looked at her feet, horror in her face as tears filled her eyes. “He will not like me! He will see that I know nothing, I shall make a complete and utter fool of myself, and he will laugh at me, and I will be left with an annulled marriage, and no one shall ever want me again!” she wailed and buried her face in her hands. Mira stared.
“Saiorse I-” she tried just as the door opened and Gwendolyn poked her head in prepared to tell them that the guests were all there waiting to for them. Mira shrugged, thoroughly confused and gestured to the sobbing Saiorse.
“Oh mummy! What have I done!” she bawled when she saw her mother. “I’ve made the biggest mistake of my life! And I shall be absolutely horrid! And how shall he love me when I know nothing! I’m frightened! Please! I cannot do this! You must tell Mark I simply cannot! You must tell Mark that I am dead!” she begged, clutching at her mother. “Yes- that’s it! Tell him I’m dead so I do not make myself look a total and complete fool!”
Mathias was beside himself with glee. He no longer had to truly hide himself and Mira. If he wanted to kiss her, he could kiss her, and if he wanted to steal her away from everyone and lock her into their bedroom he would. Mrs. Rooney had already taken the liberty of changing everything about his room so it could be shared with Mira before they had left for Bayadaire. He didn’t mind it. A larger bed was purchased, new linens, pillows, mattress –everything. There was even a corner vanity for Mira now, and what had been her room was completely refitted to be her personal sewing room, with empty racks just waiting to be filled with fabrics of her choosing, there was even a table sewing maching for her, the newest and the best with a foot petal and everything. She just had to opened it when they returned –it was her wedding gift. Mathias and Mark had both debated on what the hell to do for their brides’ wedding gifts… but Mathias honestly thought Mark might have him beat with Saiorse’s.
A Music room, and it was a big one back at Terran, with a gleaming white baby grande piano with gold appliques, and pearl keys. Mathias had seen it –the piano alone was a work of art. Not to mention the other instruments he bought her. One of every kind she could play, and bookcase stuffed full of music books, and some of her favorite pieces –a list he’d compiled behind her back with the held of her instructors. Mathias had to admit… Mark did good… but as they all sat in the carriage together Mathias only had a split moment to watch Saiorse before Mira’s emotions took hold of his own and he turned pinning her against his chest, and his lips molding over hers.
Saiorse was nervous… or… unhappy. Mark couldn’t really tell, and he certainly wasn’t a mind reader. “You look very lovely.” He whispered to her while Mathias and Mira made it a trite awkward to be in the carriage with them. Imagine that, the infamous Womanizer Mark Guiseppie was feeling awkward in a sexual situation. Her cheeks were flushed a dark, dark red that was indescribably arousing. He could sense her curiosity, and he felt a palpable nervousness from her. Which in turn made him nervous.
She was silent the whole ride to the Caslean, and upon their arrival, Mathias helped Mira down first, whispering something naughty in her ear. Whatever it was, she grabbed him by the front of his jacket and dragged him up the stairs, and Mathias was all too happy to follow behind her like a lovesick fool. Perhaps now that they were alone his Pretty Saiorse would be less shy. "Wife..." he teased her at the stairs and reached out to kiss her -only she avoided him... He frowned. Brows furrowed he wondered if there were others in the foyer, and looking around he saw no one.
“I shall… meet you down in the ball room?” Mark frowned, the defeated sort of frown, for he wasn't angry... just confused. But he silently nodded his head and watched her race up the stairs to get away from him as fast as possible.
He sighed at the bottom step. "I should have known this would happen..." He muttered. She was afraid of him, more so than any other blushing virgin he'd ever taken into his bed before. Most of them had been eager, all too eager... and he wondered if they'd used him just for the sake of saying they were once a lover of his -yeah once and only once. He couldn't help but cross his arms over his chest as he took to the stairs. Was she afraid of him? Or did she regret getting Married? She didn't honesty think he'd keep her holed away inside Guiseppie manor, or in Terran did she? Dear Gods he would never dream of doing such a thing. Up in the hall Mark could hear the muffled pants and moaning of the physical act between Mathias and Mira. A normal person wouldn't have heard them at all, but Mark could. He heard their premature celebratory act and glared at the door as if glaring in envy at Mathias who was currently swiving his wife at the moment, while Mark wasn't even allowed a damn kiss from his own.
'So come to my web' Said the Spider to the Fly.
Slowly Mark grinned as he stared at Saiorse's dressing room door. He vowed to have her trembling and needy in his arms before the night was out, and he vowed to make her enjoy every moment of it. He'd break her in nice and slow... and he would enjoy every moment of it. He'd only felt her on his palm the one time, but that one time had left him hungry for more. Saiorse was no Ice Queen. She was burning and hot with passion... she just didn't know how to tap into it yet.
He'd teach her.
And He'd enjoy it.
Mark was already dressed into his finer suit for the dinner and dancing that was to take place when Mathias walked into the room, his clothes asunder, barefoot, his jacket vest and shoes in his arms. All he'd managed to throw on was his tunic that was backwards, and his trews that were unlaced. He had a stupid grin on his face as he walked in looking mighty proud of himself.
"You look like you just conquered the Spaniards."
"Doesn't compare." Mathias sighed as he dropped his things onto the floor.
"that good?" Mathias gave him a cocky smirk before removing his tunic and reaching for his fresh clothes.
"Heaven, doesn't compare. She's a wily one." Mark simply nodded his head as he buttoned up his jacket and the other carriages finally arrived. "What's wrong with you?"
"Nothing, my wife is terrified of me and I'll have to break her in to the art of sex. She wouldn't so much as kiss me earlier... I think she regrets marrying me." Mathias frowned.
"You could always read women-"
"Women, yes, SAiorse... is like a damn puzzle... I'm always second guessing myself with her." he muttered darkly. Mathias sighed and clapped a hand over his shoulder.
"She'll come around. Worst Case scenario you'll have to wait a few extra nights." Mark sighed.
"We've slept together before, sort of... I mean... I've done everything right by her!" Mark said pacing the room now while Mathias dressed himself. "A few kisses here and there, I grabbed her tit a few times, but who came blame me for that when they're right there" Mark said holding his hands out as if grabbing them in that moment. Mathias chuckled. "I've only touched her once, and I feel terrible for it because I know she was drunk... she must not remember it either if she's running from me." Mark sighed and dropped into a chair, slumping and not caring if he wrinkled the front of his jacket. "I don't think I can wait Mathias. Those nights where I held her until she fell asleep, sometimes I kissed her until she was too exhausted to continue... I... I could hardly contain myself then. She's... well Legally her body is mine now, I could do with it as I pleased, but I can't... I just can't wait another night Mathias, I have to have her.... I'll find a way... don't you worry..."
"Well... just remember you catch more bees with honey then vinegar."
"A bear would say that..." Mark muttered under his breath.
The carriage that was waiting for the couples was warm, cozy, and glittered white and gold in the sun with fluttering streamers off the back. Mira laughed giddily as the four of them made their way down the aisle and out of the temple where the people of Bayadaire were waiting. They tossed flowers and waved at the royals- a people who had become much happier and more at ease; less angry now that they weren’t starving every night Police still roamed the streets, but they did not abuse their privileges nor their appointments. Quickly they climbed in, each couple to one side and the carriage took off back towards the palace. “Wasn’t it just beautiful?!” she exclaimed, curling up next to Mathias.
“It was lovely,” Saiorse replied, her voice quiet and still shy. She looked up at Mark who sat beside her, cheeks flushed. Mira just let out a muffled giggle and Saiorse blinked and turned to find her practically bent over Matty’s arm; wings fluttering as he kissed her silly. It was if to say she could now do it whenever she wanted because it was legal! Saiorse blushed deeper and dropped her eyes to the floor even as Mark told her how lovely she was. The truth was… she was so happy in this moment that she simply didn’t know how to take it. She’d never felt this amazing. It was almost scary. Happiness was always something that had been taken away, and for a while when Mark had been missing, it had been. But now? Now she was married, and in love with the man, and she rather felt like exploding from the way she felt…
When they arrived back the palace, they were all supposed to be changing into their formal ware for the reception. Mira, however, pulled Mathias right into the dressing room with her, much to Saiorse’s chagrin. She stood on the steps and turned to with a heated face to Mark. “I shall… meet you down in the ball room?” He went to kiss her… and she avoided him and quickly fluttered upstairs to change. Inside the room she slammed the door and fell against it with her fingers pressed to her mouth. Oh lord… what had she done?! She’d gone and gotten married! And now tonight… Oh lord tonight.
What was she to do?
She understood the mechanics of sex, but it seemed all together uncomfortable and frightening. The truth was Saiorse hardly recalled the other night when they she had been in his arms drunk and wanton. The things she had felt and said. And worst of all she was truly fraught with a most horrible idea.
What if Mark didn’t like her?
Oh he said he loved her, yes, but if he realized how inexperienced she was- he would hate her, wouldn’t he? And gods she was probably horrible at it! Though she wasn’t quite certain what it
entailed… She was the ice queen and she didn’t know a thing about carnal pleasure…
If Mathias and Mark weren't scared of Ticarthis before the wedding, they were now no thanks to Luther. Mathias didn't know who to fear more, the father of his bride, or his adopted father who had stuck a finger in his face, it poked his nose while he warned Mathias in a not so polite way not to 'fuck this up. Because if Ticarthis didn't get to him Luther would, and for Mark. For Mark Luther had just grinned giving Mark a hand gesture from his eyes to Mark, that said he'd be watching. Neither of them doubted that for a moment. In fact, both of them would have taken the torture from Tic. At least Tic had been blunt and to the point. Luther made them paranoid wondering what the hell he would just do to them. Just before they were called out Casey and Derek entered. Both dressed wonderfully in suits, having arrived from Padjua to be their best men since Mark and Mathias normally would have been for each other.
"It's time Captain." Derek said out of habit, and Mark gave him a look.
"I resigned... I'm not your captain." Mark chuckled standing up. Derek just grinned.
"You'll always be my Capt." He said with a mock salute. It was strange -they both had the same short cropped haircut that showed they were military men to their core. Casey just gave Mathias a goofy grin.
"They're calling for us."
The Temple was full of friends family, and dignitaries of Bayadaire and foreign countries here to celebrate Yule, which in the past ten years, had become quite the event for the Caslean. It started with Iona and Lilith. Iona hurried down the isle throwing handfuls of flowers and when she realized she had a basket still full dumped the remaining amount on the floor. Mark actually laughed out. "Ha! That's my girl." He said and shared a highfive with her before picking her up so they could wait for Lilith. Lilith who took her time setting down ever petal deliberately, and tip toed like a little ballerina, every petal had it's place. they needed guidance, and Mathias had to clear his throat to get Lilith to hurry up. He patted the side of his leg, his signal for her to come to him, and when she finally neared he knelt before her.
"You look so lovely, and you did such a fantastic job." he whispered to her as she kissed his cheek.
“Uncle Yovna? You vewy han’some.” He grinned.
"Thank you, go sit with Ono." He instructed and pointed towards Bowen who sat with an arm over Yanai's shoulders and a whispering Wesley at his other side.
"Alright Iona, go sit with your old man." Mark whispered, but Iona shook her head. Determined to stay with him. So Mark had to jerk his head towards Iona and met Garreth in the isle to get rid of her, leaving the temple to fill with muffled giggles.
Then the bells chimed.
Mathias and Mark both tensed, and their eyes turned towards the doors. Casey and Derek grinned from behind the two grooms and leaned over. "You can still walk away from this Capt." Derek joked.
"I don't advise you walking away from the Miss Mira, sir... I don't think her revenge would be very pleasant upon you." Casey advised with a grin.
"Both of you shut up." Mark muttered with a grin. Mathias only chuckled. "But Casey does have a point." Mathias tossed Mark a look, glad to see the Earl grinning happily. The doors opened like a great curtain to a stage, and what greeted them left them both speechless.
Ticarthis appeared with Saiorse and Mira on each arm. Both dressed like Snow angels. Mathias couldn't take his eyes off Mira and when he spotted the wings, he smiled a crooked bright smile at the memory they gave him, and she greeted him with a smile so dazzling he thought he'd fall over. Mark's eyes raked over Saiorse with so much approval, pride, and want it was palpable around him, but above all he looked so lost in love -he looked a fool. He was speechless save for the "Dear Gods..." he whispered as they came near. Both men stepped forward to meet their brides on either side of the Archbishop
“Who gives these women to be wedded?” asked the archbishop.
“I do,” Ticarthis said stoically. Both girls kissed him on the cheeks.
“I love you papa,” Mathias heard Mira whisper as he held his hand out for hers,and when it was placed carefully into his hand his fingers curled around her hand and he led her the small step towards the alter. He was shaking with nerves as Attica came around and waited like a good girl beside Casey who for her was a familiar face and he whispered a 'good job' to the little princess.
“I love you so much papa,” Saiorse said with tears in her eyes. Mark stood patiently watching them, trying to be a calm and stoic as possible, and his hands itching to reach out for hers, but Ticarthis was going to take his time with her. His first born, and probably his pride and joy. If there was one thing Ticarthis and Mark could agree on, it was that Saiorse was Perfect through and through.
“You don’t have to do this,” he whispered to her
“It’s okay papa. I want to. I love him,” Mark grinned and reached forward.
"I'll take care of her. I'll love her. I vow it." He said softly, and when her hand was placed into his -almost reluctantly, Mark gave Ticarthis a smile. "Thank you." He whispered and took Saiorse forward. Eva just stared up curiously at Derek, who she didn't really know, and from where she was smiled her papa.
Gwen watched the ceremony with a memory. Her hand reached out for Ticarthis as she remembered theirs, with every prayer said, with the two songs, and the Archbishop's reminder as to why the Amphi created man and woman, and how the union of marriage came to be, and how sacred it was. Mathias and Mark stood proud as they stared down at their brides. They recited their vows first. They said their 'I do's' as easily as it was to breath air. The women were asked to do the same, and with one final prayer and blessing upon them both the Archbishop announced them married, and introduced them.
"The Lord and Lady Mathias MacKenna, and The Earl and Lady Mark Guiseppie... I bid you both to kiss your brides." Mathias didn't hesitate, he took Mira in a show of strength and a chuckle and tipped her back tossing the front of her veil to the side to kiss her passionately.
"Mine..." he whispered after their kiss broke. "All mine, and those pretty wings of yours won't help you fly away, because I am never letting you go Princess." he whispered darkly, and his eyes glinted that gold for only a moment before he kissed her again.
Mark just smiled, taking his time, lifting the veil from her face as if pulling the ribbon on the top of a present. He made sure it was smoothed back before he cupped her face in his hands and smiled at her. He couldn't bring himself to talk, but there was a glitter in his eyes with unshed tears before her drew her in for his own kiss. both men would have kept kissing their brides too if not for the mass of people watching, children included and the way the Archbishop placed a hand to their shoulders to stop them and smiled.
"I place a blessing about you all, go forth and live a prosperous and happy life." Mathias and Mark nodded to the Archbishop before leading the way for their brides out of the Temple...
Ticarthis let out a huge sigh and stared at the alter that sat near the front of the temple, hunched over with his lips pressed to clasped hands. He was alone for the moment, though he knew that wasn’t going to last long. Soon the doors would open and his family, members of parliament, and several other people of varying importance and significance would flood the pews and witness the marriage of two of his precious daughters. Daughters that were being wed to Trothians… “What the hell am I supposed to do, old friend?” he muttered, staring at the elegant eight-point star that stood gleaming among Christmas roses and holly. “The world keeps turning so fast, and I no longer have the power to stop it like I once did.” Oh he might never had really had that power, but once upon a time he had thought himself strong enough to make the earth shake. Him and Vanderhoff; his right hand man. There was never a day that went by that he didn’t think of the man they had all loved and then lost. And too many nights he found himself woken by the remnants of dreams- reliving the final moments where he had died in his arms with a smile on his face. Now? Now he was nothing but a star…
Footsteps echoed on the elegant tile floor behind him and Tic closed his eyes. He didn’t even have to look to know that it was Luther, and sure enough when he opened them again the man stood there as regal as ever; arms crossed over his chest and brows raised. “So- you going to give the pre-wedding ‘don’t-fuck-this-one-up-or-I’ll-fucking-kill-you’
speech to our two boys in there? Or do I have that honor?” A smile tugged at the corner of Tic’s lips.
“I think I did enough damage already. I threatened the first one within an inch of his miserable life, and decked the second one. I think they got the memo.”
“Good- ‘cause I just laid my own set of scare tactics.” Luther grinned and sank down into the pew next to him, clapping him on the shoulder. “They’re in good hands Tic,” he assured his friend. “I’ve never seen two men more in love.” TRic stared at the alter ahead and nodded.
“Well… except maybe Bowen.” Luther scoffed.
“Please- that man is in a realm all his own. That’s not love… that’s… obsession. I remember a time when that bastard was one of the most ruthless, cutthroat asses this side of the Aquean. Now? Can you believe he actually had to cut our poker game short to read Lilith her bed time story last night?” Tic chuckled.
“If I recall, I cut many a game short to put Eva to bed- and Aiden. Hell, Julian’s been with me during just about every parliamentary meeting…” Luther smiled as he leaned back, crown glittering.
“I used to think that they year we faced Harland and won the war was the most difficult but…” he sighed and his eyes grew misty in the distance of a memory. “Now I realize that these last ten years, being king and raising a family and watching us all live apart in our own way… That’s been the biggest adventure of all.” Tic just closed his eyes and smiled.
Iona and Lilith were the flower girls. Both of their mothers had thought the idea of trussing the two up in sweet lacy dresses that made them look like snow-flakes, giving them little baskets full of white and ice-pink rose petals, and telling them to toss them while walking down the aisle was a perfectly wonderful idea. Everyone else, however, knew better. Even after a week’s worth of practice, the words had not quite settled into their vocabulary. ‘Toss’ seemed to fall somewhere along the lines of ‘throw violently’, and ‘walk’ had somehow twisted itself into ‘run, jump, skip, or all of the above’. And the outcome was just as hilarious. Lilith and Iona were on two opposite ends of the spectrum. They both entered the aisle side by side, but that was about it for the similarities. Lilith would flounce and twirl in dainty steps like some little ballerina, taking one petal at a time and dropping it with deliberate care into specific spots on the gilded white runner. Iona, however, nearly ran full speed up the aisle, chucking handfuls of them onto the floor and at anything that moved. And when she got to alter and realized that she still had a good handful left, she simply turned the basket over and dumped out the remainder. And then she turned and gave Mark a goofy grin and raised up her arms to be held. When Lilith finally
made it to the end, she tugged at Mathias and when he knelt down she whispered in his ear. “Uncle Yovna? You vewy han’some.”
She kissed his cheek and then skipped down to Bowen and crawled up on his lap. Iona, however, wanted to stay with Mark. It took Garreth coming up to actually get her for her to let go. But it was the only mistake- and an adorable one at that.
The music they chose was a sweet and soft sonata. The doors opened and Ticarthis appeared with both brides on either arm. They held their bouquets and began their slow glide, glittering like jewels. Attica held the end of Mira’s train, and Evangeline held Saiorse’s. Both girl’s breathing hitched at the sight of their prospective husbands. Mira’s eyes lit up and she gave Mathias a dazzling smile. Saiorse, however, blushed madly, and when they approached the alter, she glanced up shyly at Mark from behind her veil.
“Who gives these women to be wedded?” asked the archbishop.
“I do,” Ticarthis said stoically. Both girls kissed him on the cheeks.
“I love you papa,” Mira whispered. He smiled and kissed her head and then set her hand definitively in Mathias.
“I love you so much papa,” Saiorse said and for the first time Ticarthis realized there were tears in Saiorse’s eyes. It made his heart clench because all he’d been able to think about for the past two nights was how he was losing his precious baby girls. Quietly he cupped her cheeks.
“You don’t have to do this,” he whispered to her. She looked up at him with a smile and placed her hand to his.
“It’s okay papa. I want to. I love him,” she whispered back. Ticarthis’ eyes glittered with his own tears and he smiled and brought her hand to his and kissed it, before turning to Mark and placed Saiorse’s hand in his; and then he took his place in the pew beside Gwendolyn.
“Oh bud, of course we will!" Eva's face lit up at the words.
"I can?!" She asked clapping her hands together and bouncing on her toes. Her eyes sparkling as she looked Mira over.
"You know I’ve been speaking to mummy about having you come to stay. For schooling." Eva squealed as she covered her smiling mouth with her fingertips, in excitement. "The ballet academy is always looking for new students, and Josephine could write your acceptance letter-”
“You know how papa feels about the academy,” Saiorse but in, her tone distracted as she was focused on her reflection in the mirror. Eva's heart fell. She had been so looking forward to the idea of living with Mira and Mathias so she could attend the Academy. To attend the Padjua Ballet Academy was all Eva ever wanted to do! To study under the Dianes who danced and choreographed the genius works of art performed by the very own Padjua Civic Ballet, or the prestigious Trothian Royal Ballet. Both Sister Companies. Though the Bayen's had their own Prestigious Royal Ballet, the styles were different, and Bavenfir was far to staunch for Eva's personal liking -just like the rest of Bayadaire.
"Why?" Eva asked. She hadn't known this. She'd been told before she couldn't go audition simply because she was too little and no one would be there to watch her, so her parents at least allowed her to take private lessons with one of the Primas from the Bayen Royal Ballet. But... it wasn't enough. Eva craved more. Saiorse answered.
“He doesn’t want Eva to go because he thinks it’s not as useful as the university.” Eva frowned, SAiorse must have mistaken her voice for Mira's. Mira rolled her eyes, when Eva looked to her for a little support.
“Let him think what he wants, Tis pointless anyhow for us to school ourselves.” Eva frowned then. This conversation was getting a little too advanced for her.
“Now Mira, where on earth did you hear that,” Saiorse scolded.
“Duke Viscount O’Rourke,” Eva frowned as she looked between then two, her dark brows knit together in confusion.
"What did he say?" Eva asked.
“He said that educating a woman in this country is about as useful as educating a dog, and less profitable to boot.” Eva didn't understand that at all.
"Why would you educate a dog?" She whispered to herself.
“Don’t you listen to a word any of those men on papa’s council say." Eva looked over to Saiorse who was giving her a warning look, but at the same time pleading her to do as she said.
"Their pitiable- the lot of them.”
"Pita what?" She mumbled confused before catching Mira's face and grinning. "Oh Silly." Eva muttered finally understanding on a giggle.
“Now, now," Aunt Fefi said walking forward and Eva did her best to look proper. "there’s no room for discouraging conversation on this day of all days,” Eva watched as Aunt Fefi helped the two brides down and Eva jumped down and collected her Aunt's hand “We still have to go to temple for prayers before the ceremony. The carriage is waiting downstairs to take you two. Our two grooms are already there.”
"You hear that?" Eva asked with a grin. "Mathias and Mark are waiting for you..." She sang and gave them a kissy face. "Aunt Fefi, aren't they pretty?" She asked looking up at the copper-haired Fey.
“You two look absolutely dazzling." Eva beamed, happy that her Aunt had agreed. "Gwen? Come- see how they look?” Eva heard her mother's footsteps and the rustling of her fabric as she walked around from the tall dressing wall and she gasped.
A hand fluttered over her heart and over her mouth. "Oh..." Gwen breathed as she looked them over -a loss for words.
“Well?” Mira asked with a smile. “How do we look?” Gwen looked at her, as her eyes began to get glossy with tears.
"You look so lovely, both of you."
"All three of you." Gwen corrected herself and Eva seemed satisfied.
"Angel, come. Come child." Ellen called and Eva skipped away to her Grandmother while Gwen walked forward and took a hand from each girl.
"You both... I'm so speechless... you both look so lovely, such beautiful, gorgeous brides." She suddenly stopped, and her lip quivered when she saw Mira's lacy wings. "You remember?" She asked softly reaching over and touching them delicately. "How Mathias had Kavi help him make you some out of wire and thin fabric for your birthday that first year we were all together." She sighed. "Oh... I wish you were both so little again... we had fun when you two were little."
And They did, lots of fun. When they first moved to the Caslean, Gwen and the girls would occupy themselves with tea parties, and games of dress up, and when spring had come they would go out and try to restore the gardens together. When Eva came along at the end of autumn she had joined their games, until after three years Saiorse decided she wanted to go back to the University... right around the time Mathias went back as well. They did have fun, even if for a short while. They had been Gwen's happiness during that first year at the Caslean when Ticarthis was not himself -too overcome with stress and hatred for where they were, and the man had gotten very good at making Gwendolyn cry at least once a week that first year, though... to be fair... she was easy to make cry while pregnant. Now? Now her two daughters -whom she loved without fault and would have given birth to if given the chance were to be married today. They might not have been hers by blood, but they were still hers.
"Rose." Ellen called. "The carriage is waiting for them. Mrs. Rooney and I will go collect the children from the Nursery and go with them." Gwen glanced back and gave a nod of her head, before looking back to Mira and Saiorse. She pulled them into her arms and held them close.
"You will always be my little girls. No matter how old you get, or how many children you have... you will still be my daughters." She whispered to them. "I wish you both the most happiness from this day on, for it's all I've ever wanted for you. Your happiness." She sighed and let them go stepping away and wiping the tears from her eyes with a soft handkerchief. "I will see you both downstairs, since your father and I are going to ride with you both." She said and turned away then, leaving them, smiling, but crying as she collected her favorite lace gloves from a side table and strolled out of the room.
At St. Vanderhoff Temple, Mathias paced the Grooms room -a MacKenna habit to be certain, while Mark just sat, one leg crossed, ankle at his knee and a happy foolish grin on his face.
"You seem far too calm." Mathias muttered.
"No... you're just too wound up." Mark countered.
"It's our wedding day! You're not even the slightest bit nervous?" He asked. Mark shrugged.
"No, not really... we all knew this day was coming. Well, I honestly didn't think I'd be marrying Saiorse, but I am, and I must say... tonight is going to... splendid." Mark said with a grin. "I've yet to bed the proper Saiorse, and tonight... is that night... and tonight..." He groaned sliding down the chair with a strange euphoric look on his face. "By Gods I can not wait to be inside that woman." Mathias rolled his eyes and finally fell into a chair.
"Well... it seems all either of us can do is wait..." Mathias muttered.
"I do hate having to wait..."
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