Alasair 5, 228: A Wedding Ceremony

A Wedding Ceremony
Summary: Before the wedding festitivities can kick off, there is a wedding ceremony at the Temple in Stormvale, celebrating the union of Ruthgar and Caillin. Yet it is the bride, whose delicate temper threatens to prevent the ritual from being completed properly.
OOC Date: 22/08/2013 (OOC)
Related: Happens before Kilgour/Ruxton Wedding Feast
Ruthgar Caillin 
The Temple, City of Stormvale
The temple surrounding you shows brightly it's demeanor; painted exclusively in bright whites, light blues and yellows, with somehow superimposed clouds and a chandelier reminiscent of the sun itself, this is a glorious show of the morning in its full bursting splendor, down to the fade red around the west edge, and the hiltops painted rather ingeniously around the entire scene.

From here, you see three archways; one you recognize as the double-door into the hallway that leads to the street and eventually the castle.

5th day of the Month of Alasair, in the year 228

Standing before the Enlightened are the bride and the bridegroom. As would be expected on a day as this, the Baron of Dellhaven wears his finest clothes, a doublet of sammit, red at the torso, with black slitted sleeves allowing for glimpses of the white shirt below. The silver anchor of House Ruxton is embroidered onto the garment at the center of the chest. Breeches of black sammit cover his legs and black leather boots that shine from recent polish his feet. No sword is present at his side today, for what knight would bring a weapon to his own wedding? His mien is pale and composed, no signs of excitement almost showing in his features, apart from those pale grey eyes below dark brown locks flickering a little. And also there is that occasional twitch at a corner of his mouth whenever he casts Caillin a glance, his bride who stands there beside him; it is then that his demeanour is brightened by a moderate smile, albeit a slightly nervous one.

This day might be the most important so far in Princess Caillin Kilgour's young life, and her attire befits such an occasion. She wears a spotless gown so white that it, and she in it, seems to radiate a dazzling, holy light. The gown is of exquisite silk that clings to her slender shoulders, arms, and upper body. As does all silk, it has an additional shine that illuminates and diminishes shadows that other lights around her cast. A delicate garland of small white flowers with vivid green leaves rings her hips. Those close enough to the princess will notice that the garland is not a solid strand of flowers, as it appears from a distance, but many flowers and leaves interconnected with a chain of finely wrought polished gold. The gown continues to flow like a waterfall, gathering into a large pool of white well below her feet. A veil of exquisite lace, in the same dazzling white, hides her face for the moment. A crown of regal simplicity, holds the veil in place. Seventeen small points rise from its perimeter, and at the tip of each point is a pure, lustrous white pearl. A veil of golden threads, woven so finely that they appear translucent, shrouds her shoulders, arms, and back. This shroud of gold has wide, padded shoulders and cascades toward the floor in a long train. Woven into the veil are jewels of various colors, blue, red, green, and violet, that sparkle like wildflowers in a summer field. To prevent the train from dragging on the ground, six handmaids, two of 16 summers in age, two of 12 summers in age, and two of six summers in age, carried the train in procession until the princess reached the altar. They are dressed in the same dazzling white fabric that the princess wears, although their gowns are much simpler in design.

Caillin is standing in front all these people, but her back is turned for them. The girl's shoulders flinch from time to time. Her head is lowered and she stares at the point, where the dress meets the dusty ground.

The Enlightened in her robe of white raises her hands in a blessing meant for the couple as well as for those who are attending the ceremony. “In the name of the Light, let us begin…” A warm smile brushes over the face of the priest as she motions for both bride and groom to kneel down before her, on those small kneeling benches of red sammit that have been put up to provide a certain comfort.

“We all have gathered here today to witness the union of Lord Ruthgar Ruxton, Baron of Dellhaven, and Princess Caillin Kilgour.” The holy woman continues, folding her hands before her, the warm smile remaining on her features, the joy in her temper controlled and calm as befits her. “See how many have come: dear ones, close ones – family and friends. They can’t wait to hear you exchange those prayers to the Light…” She smirks a little at the crowd and raises one hand, before she turns her attention back onto the pair that is kneeling before her. “Alas, before we can welcome the future we have to let go of the past, my dear ones.” Her brow arching a little as she casts the two an almost sympathetic glance.

“You two need to let go of whatever sins and passions lie behind you, by performing the ritual of the sacrifice.” The Enlightened raises her arms again, her head inclined, and motions for Ruthgar and Callin to rise from the kneeling benches.

Brought in are now the piglets for the ritual of the sacrifice, a rosy one on the arms of a servant in Kilgour colours, and another spotted one, as required, pulled on a leash by a man of House Ruxton. Approaching from the left and right are two novices – one male one female –, carrying the wide green garments, lined with silver that are needed for the ritual, each moving to one of the soon to be married couple and helping them into those, the green fabric quite handy to prevent any stains on their festive attire. As soon as they are done, the novices step to the side, while the first piglet is brought forth to the bride; the slightly spotted one of House Ruxton.

The Enlightened moves towards Caillin and places her hands on the Princess’s shoulders to offer her a kiss onto her forehead. “May the Light guide your hand, Princess Caillin of House Kilgour, that you may not falter and perform the ritual of the sacrifice, as it is required.”

The spotted piglet is held on a leash by the servant of House Ruxton, and as if it were aware of the fate that awaits it, the small animal starts to struggle as Caillin takes a step towards it and lets out a loud squeal as it glimpses the shining blade of the dagger lying on the altar.

The green garment is put onto the girl's shoulders. She squirms slightly as if it would be really uncomfortable, but actually the squeal of the small piglets makes that garment so heavy, that the young princess threatens to stumble at the second it touches her wedding dress.

That squeal, why it can't stop?! Caillin closes her eyes firmly, when this thought crosses her mind. And indeed, two small piglets are squealing as loudly as possible. Likely, they understand that this is the last road which will be taken by their small legs, that these are the last few breaths and rays of sun, which may be felt. These two poor creatures are just squealing for help, but the ceremony does not stop and the Gods and Goddesses are not kind at this point.

Here we go, the thick string, which twines around the neck of the small piglet is thrust into the hand of the young princess. She tosses a quick glance at the animal and that creature glances at the princess. The girl frowns in pity and just closes her eyes. Tears start erupting through her eaves into the freedom, rippling through the cheeks and falling down, straight on the pink skin of the piglet.

Caillin falls on her knees near the piglet and hugs the animal, taking it into her armful and carrying it near the sacrifice place, while the animal is struggling. "His heart is beating… He has the heart…" whispers the princess under her nose. Just the nearest people can hear her "Can't we stop it?" and her gaze finds Ruthgar for a short moment, but quickly is turned back on piglet. The girl puts the poor animal into the sacrifice bowl and takes the dagger, which was resting besides. Tears are running down her cheeks even more. I must do it, because my father and my mother want it. I must do it and they must be proud of me… Caillin firmly clenches the animal with her one hand, slowly bringing the blade near the piglet's neck.

The girl whispers "That poor animal has the heart too…" she closes her eyes firmly once more and flinches, lowering her head and just freezes with the blade near piglet's neck. The piglet freezes together with the princess, maybe from fear, maybe from… What else, actually, can be left for the soul which is destined to die?

The gathered guests wait in the excited silence of anticipation, yet… it seems the moment stretches on and on without a sign whatsoever that the princess finally will make the necessary cut to the piglet’s throat.

Little emotion has been visible so far on the groom’s features, apart from a little flicker in his pale grey eyes that grows in intensity when he notices his bride’s hesitation. Although he catches that glance of hers and her question, he cannot offer her any words of comfort or even relieve her of that task. These are the marriage rites of Mobrin, and they are entitled to follow them – as so many others have done before. His gaze follows his bride to the altar, and he frowns with growing concern, especially since he cannot help but notice the princess’s distress and current inability to perform the task. The awkward silence that follows has him clear his throat, his gaze shifting from Caillin to the Enlightened, and back again. The ceremony cannot proceed, that much is clear.

“Mayhaps I shall go first…?” Ruthgar proposes, the tone of his voice low and soft, as he turns his stare towards the Enlightened again. “I am sure the princess has little… experience in taking a life, maybe it would help if I… showed her how it is done?” His head is slightly lowered in reverence to the priest, his voice devoid of any cruelty – he is only trying to be helpful.

“Before the Light it does not matter who goes first,” the Enlightened replies, her voice equally soft and her smile towards Caillin assuring. “It would not mean anything if it were performed lightly, my dear. So step to the side, for now.” A glance and a warm smile is shot towards one of the acolytes next. “Pray remove that particular piglet there for the moment, and put the other one in its place.”

Caillin withdraws slightly into the shadow. She crosses her arms, hugging herself, crouching as she would be really afraid. At first, the girl will follow Ruthgar with the grey gaze, but quickly, she will lower her head, closing her eyes. The princess even will raise her hands to cover her ears, as not to hear the last squeal of the animal. However, she quickly understands that it is not very proper and her fingers just nervously start dancing on the skirt, but the orbs are fixed on the floor.

When Ruthgar moves towards Caillin to accept the dagger from her, his fingers happen to accidentally brush hers – and he seems to freeze, his gaze shifting from the dagger to her face. A nod is offered, his mouth twisting into an assuring smile before he steps to the altar, where the spotted piglet has been replaced with the rosy one of House Kilgour. This one starts struggling as well, as soon as Ruthgar’s left hand grabs it firmly to keep it in place. “Shh, easy now,..It’s okay…” he murmurs soothingly to the animal which seems to relax a touch, no longer struggling but keeping perfectly still. Aware of the ritual’s meaning he casts Caillin an assuring glance, that shows at the same time his doubts that there would be really any sins of hers that needed to be discarded by these drastic means. Then his attention is back on the rosy piglet that meets his glance with its trusting gaze. One corner of his mouth twitches a little, and his right hand with the dagger darts forward, cutting the piglet at the throat – too quickly to let it manage a last squeal, a spray of blood leaving a trace on both his face, the green garment of the ritual, and his hands as well.

The sacrifice has been accomplished with the routine of a battle-hardened veteran, and Ruthgar takes a step backwards to watch the novice as he collects most of the blood in a golden chalice. Wiping his hands and face with a towel, the groom moves then to the side to a prepared bowl of water to cleanse himself more thoroughly. He has done his part. Now it is Caillin’s turn. Pale grey eyes come to linger on her, as soon as he has finished, still drying his hands with the now blood-stained cloth.

The Enlightened too turns her gaze towards Caillin, studying her with a warm expression of understanding on her features. “Now… Your sins have already been washed off you, young princess. It is this one here,” she points towards Ruthgar, “Who needs your help, in letting go of his past. You must complete the ritual, or it will be a bad omen indeed for your marriage. But… I am sure you can manage.” An assuring smile accompanies the dagger that is now placed into the bride’s hand by the Enlightened herself.

That cold dagger is once more in the soft hands of the princess, who has never killed even a fly. The girl walks slowly near the piglet again. The free hand is lowered on the head of the poor animal and Caillin whispers „You can’t be our sins… You are innocent. I am so sorry…“ Girl inhales deeply and raises the hand with the dagger, closing her own eyes. Now much more obvious tears erupt and the girl just freezes once more, even holding her breath.

While the Enlightened speaks to his bride, the bridegroom’s gaze seems to wander over those gathered until he glimpses someone, making him lower his gaze at once with an awkward look. Then he notices Caillin’s distress has not vanished, her reluctance to proceed with the bloody task obvious to all. His gaze shifts from her to his father, the Duke of Weston, and even from afar the exchange of glances between father and son seem to lead to a consequence.

“Maybe. I could assist.” Ruthgar offers, the tone of his voice a little firmer than before, his pale grey eyes showing concern and a bit of worry as well. And stepping beside Caillin he gently grabs her hand that holds the dagger, pulling it down and taking control over it as his fingers now hold both hers and the sharp blade. “It would make sense if I helped driving out those… demons, wouldn’t it?” This added in the direction of the Enlightened.

When Caillin feels the touch of Ruthgar, she all turns into a strawberry and exhales. Her grey look is fixed straight to the eyes of the young baron. The girl relaxes her muscles and gives herself to her soon to be husband’s hands. Caillin even forgets about the piglet, about the people around. All she can see are these eyes in which she will stare in her mornings, evenings, and days to come. Forever.

The Enlightened seems to hesitate for a few seconds at Ruthgar's proposal, yet after a moment of contemplation she nods, offering the bridegroom an enigmatic smile. „If it will take two to drive them out, then by the Light, so be it!“

Ruthgar notices Caillin's reaction to his offer and the touch of his hand on hers, and particularly her allowing him to lead. He mutters something into her ear, his glance as soothing as perhaps a few moments earlier when he was calming the Kilgour piglet. And so he meets with little resistance from her as he guides her hand for a swift cut of the spotted piglet's throat, the poor creature managing a last squeal as the dagger came not as swiftly and determinatedly as the last time, before all life leaves it in a last gargle, its blood as well being collected in that same chalice by an attentive acolyte.

The ritual of the sacrifice has been accomplished, and after removing those green garments that are now spattered with blood stains, the bride and groom look as splendid as they did before. The blood of the two piglets has been collected in a golden chalice which is now handed to the Enlightened, who clears her throat, her face clearly showing relief they finally can proceed.

“The past lies behind us, obviously. But what… of the future? I ask the both of you now to offer your prayers for this union to each of the Eight, so they may give their blessing.” Her hands firmly clasped around the chalice, the holy woman inclines her head.

It is Ruthgar who goes first. Kneeling beside Caillin again, his voice is loud and clear as it rings through the temple. This part has been exercised many a time, obviously.

“Mighty Sess, may you grant us the victory in overcoming our daily challenges together. Mighty Nar, I ask you: Give me the opportunity to prove myself worthy of this wife, to protect her as well as the realm should it become necessary.” A glance is shot towards his bride, carrying a hint of regret. He has heard the rumors of another impending war, of course. That time might come sooner than they would have thought. But then he continues: “Mighty Alasair, may our hearts… fill with love for each other, so that there will be no desire and craving for anyone else.” This particular prayer is followed by a cough and a nervous glance towards the altar of Alasair. “And of you Inouv I ask only this: May our union be safe from you, your minions and the evil ways of the world.”

Ruthgar's voice is proclaiming all these pleas for the Gods and Goddesses, while people behind the girl's back are raising a very silent rustle. Caillin inhales and exhales very deeply and very slowly. Her eyes are closed and her lips are tight. The young princess, who soon will become a baroness, sways marginally as if she were about to faint, but she manages to keep herself on foot. Caillin could swear that she hears how her heart is beating, loud enough for everyone in the temple to hear. My heart is too loud. What will people think about me? What will my father think about me? - these nervous thoughts worry the poor girl, when finally her lips without asking open to continue the same pleas which were pronounced by the young baron near her side. "Mighty Thedor, let time deepen our bond, that we may experience happiness as well as any hardships side by side," the girl utters and continues a bit louder "Mighty Sheat, grant us wisdom and the strength to stay sensible in times of discord," a sigh follows the sentence. "Mighty Umbra, if we will ever have to deal with dire times, may you lead us through the shadows so that we can reach the Light."

And then the girl just stops. Her eyes widen, her rosebud lips are opened, but the young princess freezes as the small drop of water in the hand of the North Wind palm. But there is no rime in her bright face, but a sudden heat brushing over her cheeks, as hot as the modest flames in the fireplace of her small room, where she has spent so many hours of her childhood, playing and dreaming about weddings and here it is. She is standing right here, in the temple, but now everything looks different. Everything will be different.

Can't I stay that young little girl!? The princess stands there, deep in her thoughts, the silence growing long and awkward, only to be interrupted by the sound of teeth grinding, then a sough, from a dress being adjusted, making the skirt sweep over the stone floor of the temple. Most likely coming from the girl's handmaiden, who looks a bit worried that the princess has forgotten her words. That sound and the feeling of all those looks on her - they wake Caillin from her thoughtful state, all that modesty fading for a few seconds, so that her rosebud lips could whisper as silently as possible: "The mighty Cri, we ask your blessing. May I bear my husband many children, and not leave him without an heir…" There is no sigh, not any sound after this sentence, just two teeth firmly biting the bottom lip.

Ruthgar’s pale grey eyes flit to Caillin at her long pause before she utters that last vow, as probably those of all in attendance. Then as she proceeds finally, he lowers his gaze again, a smile playing across his features, possibly at her fascinating display of innocent awkwardness.

“You may rise now.” The hesitation on both the bride’s and the bridegroom’s part during the prayers does not seem to bother the Enlightened overly much obviously, as certainly most people are usually nervous at their own wedding. With a warm, almost motherly smile she raises the chalice before her until she holds it high above her head.

“The sacrifice has been accepted, the prayers received. The Eight grant your union their blessing. May the Light fall upon you, bestowing your marriage the warmth and love that will lead to fulfillment and happiness, needed to start your own family. In the name of Alasair, I now declare you husband and wife.” Lowering the chalice again, she turns towards Ruthgar then, to add with a wink: “By the way, you may now kiss the bride.”

The Enlightened’s words are drowned in a cheer from all those attending, while Ruthgar follows her advice and turns towards Caillin, pulling her gently towards him by her shoulder, to offer her a kiss on her lips – a brief one and certainly not the passionate sort that would be inappropriate. A smile conquers his face, with relief and the excitement of the day mingling into a strange cocktail of emotions, while he leans over to her and says something to her in a volume too low for anyone else to hear.

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