It had all been done at the last second. But that had a beauty to it unto itself. Everything had been just a little off, a little imperfect, a little askew. But in that imperfection–in the attempt to provide “just enough” so the ceremony could take place–it had been perfect. A double wedding, planned and executed with less time than a fleet’s “rage form,” on Huola VII at the new cathedral. Shalee Lianne Cerra with Tigerfish Torpedo. And Katerina Tzestu with himself.

Kat had mesmerized him. She wore an ivory dress, her hair done into curls gathered behind her head. Her smile was radiant and she carried with her a pride he knew would make her an excellent noblewoman. And her face when he had shown her her parents was priceless.

“How did you…” She shook her head, “Nevermind, it was very thoughtful of you.”

“You shouldn’t look so surprised,” he laughed, “Will you introduce us, love?”

The words they exchanged were limited as he quietly stood by and let Kat do most of the talking. He watched her embrace them, then she introduced them and they spoke for a while. They were nice enough people–polite–though he hoped that stemmed from their approval as parents of him rather than as commoners remaining respectful to a Holder. Kat was going to be his equal, and as much as he could, he would extend her parents the same courtesies.

He didn’t really understand what Johanes Beaumonte was saying.

“Mawage. Mawage is wot bwings us togeder today. Mawage, that bwessed awangement, that dweam wifin a dweam… And wuv, tru wuv, will fowow you foweva… So tweasure your wuv.”

But then, he didn’t really care. He was basking in the pride of marrying the woman he loved, standing beside her in front of the altar. She was an image in ivory with her copper hair glowing like embers.

Before he knew it, they had exchanged vows. Before he knew it, they had kissed. Before he knew it, they had exchanged rings. And then he was holding her hand, walking with her towards the future.


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