It was a bright and sunny day, just what they’d hoped. Wullie gave his ceremonial armour one last buff, content that it wouldn’t get any shinier, and started to dress. Dipsy had nipped out to check on the rest of the Undying Force. They were going to be his honour guard as he marched from the barracks to the Palace and she was his best Gnome.
He wasn’t superstitious and neither was his fiance, but tradition had dictated that they shouldn’t spend the night under the same roof, as they had for much of their courtship. So Wullie had returned to the barracks, to his friends, to the place he had for so many years called home. While this morning his fiance was whisked to the home of her closest relatives, where they would do all the things brides did on their wedding morning. Wullie was hazy on the details, but he assumed dressing and having her hair decorated would be involved.
He’d just finished putting on his boots when Dipsy reappeared all smiles and excitement. He grabbed her hand to get her attention. “Dipsy, before you help me with the armour….” he started a lump in his throat. “I just wanted to say thank you for stepping in as my best Gnome…after…! I know you’d been looking forward to being one of the Queen’s flower ladies, but….I…..really appreciate having you here with me today. I…erm…made this for you as a thank you.”
Wullie handed Dipsy a small wrapped package. She opened it with her usual glee, throwing the paper to the floor with abandon. Inside was a small box containing a delicate necklace, a chain of gold and silver daisies. Dipsy grinned, pulled it over her head and enveloped Wullie in a bear hug.
“I wanted you to have a daisy chain that would last and never decay. To be as everlasting as your joyfulness.” he whispered into her ear.
Their hug over, Dipsy went to work helping Wullie into his armour, albeit with slight breaks when she was distracted by her reflection. Neither of them were use to such shiny metal armour, but this was a celebration and it wasn’t like he was going to be fighting in it. Wullie couldn’t dispute that his battle stained hide armour was hardly the thing for a wedding. In fact, all the Undying had been issued ceremonial armour for the occasion and when Wullie emerged into the mess to meet them, he was speechless at the fine sight they made. Saluting them proudly, he asked them to line up as he had gifts for them. Passing from one to another, he gave each of them a small present. Each of the Undying received a crest that attached to their uniforms. It was the unofficial crest of the Undying, but with the addition of a humanoid dragon rampant….like Hamish’s beloved pendant.
“My friends. Her Majesty’s Undying Force has been granted it’s own official crest for bravery in battle .” Wullie explained. “I made these for you myself. It is a pleasure to be one of you.”
A round of whoops broke out, followed by a quick round and a toast to absent friends and those that had gone before. It was then time for them to go. Filing out into the yard, they formed up, Corporal Skeleton and Elderon on point, Dipsy and Wullie bringing up the rear. A shouted command and they were off at a steady march into the streets of the citadel.
Their route was simple, a direct route to the palace. Much to Wullie’s surprise the streets were lined with people. His Queen and her advisors had told him it would be so, but he’d found it hard to believe. Sure – they would line the streets for any procession including his Queen, he’d have been one of them in years past, and for his brother….but for him….it seemed so unlikely. His Queen….a situation he had once only dreamed of…..but soon it would be writ in history. She would be embarking on her route to the palace soon. A more circuitous route, but then she was the ruler and of course couldn’t reach the palace till he’d arrived. Fighting the urge to look round at all the people along the streets he concentrated on marching, on watching his comrades ahead of him. A fine group of soldiers. They deserved the respect of the people of the citadel.
Ahead he could see the Palace looming ever larger. As they reached the steps up to the great doors, they turned and made their way up the long red carpet that had been laid from the doors. The doors were open, so that they could walk straight through and head straight to the great hall. The hall was full with dignitaries and representatives of the guilds. As they reached the front of the dais holding the Queen’s throne, the Undying Force split and lined up, only leaving space in the centre. Wullie and Dipsy took up position off centre and waited, all pent up excitement and nervousness.
Wullie lost all sense of time while they waited. It could’ve been minutes or hours for all he could tell. He wondered if it had all been a joke or a mistake, if his love would change her mind. If it hadn’t been for Dipsy letting out a delighted squeak, he might have missed the Queen’s entry with her retinue into the great hall. He’d completely missed the mistress of ceremonies taking to the dais with the elderly Gnome and ancient Elf Lord that would be directing events.
As the Queen walked towards him, Wullie’s heart soared, like the choir who were singing her in. He’d always thought her beautiful, but she was even more of a vision at that moment. It was as if she were lit by an inner glow. He felt weak at the knees and wished he had more to offer her. Her dress shimmered almost hypnotically as she moved till suddenly she was stood beside him, her smile of happiness contagious. Wullie took her hand and kissed it reverently. “My love!” he whispered breathlessly.
The ceremony went quickly to Wullie’s mind. They pledged their love in front of the crowds, exchanged rings and promises. The elderly Gnome chanted in Gnomish the oaths of love, while the ancient Elf Lord recited Elven marriage vows. There was singing, horns and thanks to Dipsy, a little bit of impromptu dancing. With the Mistress of ceremonies, Dipsy and one of the Queen’s ladies in waiting, they signed their names onto various parchments of the citadel, including one noting the Royal lineage over thousands of years Wullie reckoned. And then it was all over. As the Mistress of ceremonies brought things to a close, a lone rich voice began to sing. Wullie knew the song, it was one of the ones given to him by the Elf, Rima, in Hommlet. Love of the Wild had been his choice, but the Royal bard had found a wonderful singer to perform it. As musicians joined with the singer in a clever weaving of sound, Wullie looked up into his wife’s eyes. Both of them had tears of joy fighting to escape and, as if their thoughts were as linked as their hearts, they came together for their first wedded kiss.