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Maidens of Mayhem Chapter 30

Started by Evie, July 28, 2010, 10:51:37 PM

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   Chapter Thirty

   "What in Heaven's name?"  Sophie said, giggling as Seisyll sloshed past her, continuing on in the direction of his apartment, a grudging grin plastered to his wet features.  Her brother joined her, smiling in smug satisfaction, as she continued in her separate direction towards the Great Hall.

   "It's not raining outside, is it?"  Sophie asked in some confusion.

   "No.  Finally got him," Stefan said.

   "What do you mean?"

   "Well, you know—the old Nyford tradition of pitching a man into the river once he gets betrothed?  Well, I was planning on springing that on Seisyll unexpectedly, only he got wind of my plans and has been avoiding me ever since.  Or, at the very least, making sure never to get near me when there was a convenient body of water handy."  Sir Stefan paused as a page came by to serve Sophie.  She thanked the young boy, taking a bit of the roast capon and turning back to her brother.

   "I see.  So how did you catch up with him?"


   Sophie nearly choked.  She grabbed her goblet to wash down the morsel of capon.  "Kelson?"

   "Yes."  Stefan stretched out his legs, studying the toes of his boots with a wicked gleam in his eyes.  "Once I explained the Nyford tradition to him, and your future bridegroom's seeming unwillingness to...ah...comply, he was most helpful."

   Sophie  giggled.  "Was he?"  She glanced up at the Royal dais, then back at Stefan.  "What did he do, lure Seisyll down to the Eirian on some pretext?"

   Stefan shook his head, chuckling.  "Oh no, not quite that far.  Seisyll's too cagey.  We ended up having to use the castle moat."

   "The castle...."  Sophie turned wide-eyed with horror.  "Stefan!"

   Stefan roared with laughter.  "The Eirian's not all that much cleaner, sweeting.  Don't worry; he kept his mouth shut.  And I'm sure he's scrubbing down quite thoroughly.  It will probably be safe for you to kiss him...eventually.  Someday."


   Sophie mustered up her courage.  "My lord bishop," she asked shyly, "will you marry me?"

   Bishop Duncan shot a look of pure, distilled devilment at his brother priest.  Father Nivard ducked his head to hide a grin.   Duncan's guileless blue gaze transferred to the young lady-in-waiting.  "Lady Sophie, I must admit that's the most delightful offer I've had in years, but I'm already under vows to Another, so I regret I must decline."

   She laughed, turning rosy.  "I meant to Seisyll!"

   "Ohhhhh, Seisyll!  That's right...Sir Seisyll Arilan, handsome fellow, about so tall, a bit too smooth for his own good, keeps you away from the Library far too much...that Seisyll?"

   Sophie giggled.  "Yes, that Seisyll."

   "Hm.  I'll need to think about it.  I'm not sure he's good enough for you."

   John Nivard laughed.  "What the Bishop means, Sophie, is that he'll be glad to marry the two of you. Duncan, stop teasing the lady already."

   "But it's so fun!"  The Bishop subsided, although a smile still lurked in his eyes.  "Yes, I'd be glad to.   Just tell me what date you're considering, and I'll check my calendar."


   "Sophie, would you run upstairs to Duchess Meraude's quarters?  She has something she wants us to bring to Sofiana's Court in Andelon."

   "Yes, my Lady."  Sophie put down her needlework and left the apartment to do her godmother's bidding.

   "She's gone?"  Celsie said once the door had closed behind her house-sister.

   "Yes.  Let's wait another minute, and then we'll head up the back way," Constanza said, a conspiratorial gleam in her eyes.



   Sophie looked around at the gathering of ladies in Duchess Meraude's solar.  Duchess Richenda was there, in addition to several other senior and junior ladies-in-waiting Sophie had met during her stay in Rhemuth.  In one corner, her sister-in-law Lisette sat, giving her a wave and a bright smile as she entered.  Sophie heard a giggle behind her and turned to see Celsie and the Contessa .

   "What's...going on?"  she asked, bewildered.

   Duchess Richenda smiled, taking her hands to lead her further into the room.  "Constanza told us the happy news of your upcoming marriage.  I realized that our travel plans have disrupted your household's schedule lately, with us packing and making other preparations for the trips to Coroth and Andelon, but we didn't want to take anything away from your special day.  You've been so busy helping us make ready, I don't think you've had much time to work on your own trousseau, so some of us wanted to help that along a bit so you won't feel so rushed thinking you have to get everything ready in time all by yourself."

   "And we also knew," Duchess Meraude added, "that given the somewhat rushed circumstances and also your family's recent loss, you and Sir Seisyll are intending on having a small and rather private ceremony.  That's perfectly understandable, under the circumstances.  But since you won't be having a lavish wedding feast, we figured we could at least have a little celebration of our own with you, since we'd already decided to help you out a bit with the preparations."  She waved a hand towards the sideboard laden with dainties and delicacies.  "So come in and enjoy!"


   "Oh, Sophie, they're all so lovely!" Celsie exclaimed later, after the surprise celebration had ended and the girls had returned to their apartment, briefly accompanied by a few other ladies who had been enlisted to help them carry Sophie's gifts downstairs.  "Look at all these yards of green damask; that should be enough to make bedcurtains and a cover, with pillows to spare.  And there's chemises and night-rails, and seat cushions, and these pretty little embroidered towels...."  Celsie picked up one item and dimpled.  "Ohh, Seisyll's going to like this, I think!"

   Sophie's eyes widened.  "Give me that!"

   Celsie giggled.  "Is that meant to be a night-rail?  You can read through that silk!"

   "Celsie!"  Sophie's cheeks flamed.

   "I wonder who gave you that one?"  Celsie peeked at the accompanying card.  "Hm. Duchess Meraude."  She grinned.  "Well, I suppose that explains why she and Nigel keep having children even after all these years..."

   "CELSIE!!!"  Sophie stifled a laugh.

   "The smocking is beautiful, but I could add an extra bit of embroidery around the hem, if you'd like.  You know, just like on that pillowcase I nearly made for my trousseau...."  The blonde demoiselle gave her house-sister an impish smile.

   "Don't.  You.  Dare!!!"

   Celsie continued giggling as she helped Sophie fold and sort her wedding presents.


   The wedding itself was small,  the Royal Chapel easily accommodating those few friends and family closest to the bride and groom, the Earl of Carthane and his Countess, and the King, who had turned up just before the brief ceremony was scheduled to start, slipping into the back with only a couple of his men and, to Sophie's surprise, taking a seat off to one side in one of the rear pews, as unobtrusively as his rank and station would allow.  Bishop Duncan was the celebrant, leading the bridal couple in their exchange of vows, followed by the nuptial Mass.

   Afterwards, the bridal party continued upstairs to Sir Stefan's and Lady Lisette's tiny apartment, where a small informal wedding feast had been set up after all.  

   Kelson stopped by there briefly as well, staying just long enough to offer Sir Seisyll his congratulations and startle Sophie with a quick chaste peck on the cheek.  Glancing at her new husband, he grinned and in a quiet voice told Sophie, "Seisyll mentioned the kingdoms game you like to play with your brother.  I realize your husband might have other designs on your time for the next day or so...."  His gray eyes gleamed with suppressed mirth at his knight's vigorous nod and Sophie's blush.  "But once he lets you out of your apartment, have him bring you up to my Map Room for a visit before he whisks you off to Tre-Arilan.."

   Sophie turned a questioning look up at Seisyll, then back at Kelson.  "Your Map Room, Sire?"

   "Yes.  With the table-sized, scale model relief map of Gwynedd and our neighboring kingdoms.  Miniature mountains, valleys, plains....Great place to test out battle tactics and strategies."  The King grinned.  "Keep Stefan's agile mind well-exercised; a knight should remain battle-ready."  He glanced down at the dark emerald silk gown Sophie wore.  "So, that's an Arilan-catcher gown, is it?  No peacock feathers?  No cloth of gold?"

   She laughed.  "None, Sire.  But I still have those gowns, if you have need of some blindingly garish souvenir throw pillows."

   "No."  He grinned and moved on, stopping only long enough to exchange a few quick words with the Duke and Duchess of Corwyn and a handful of others.  

   Well, you might not have caught a Haldane, but at least you got kissed by one!
Celsie teased Sophie.  Oh, if only Ailidh were here!

   I know.  I wish she could've made it back in time.  But at least she's safe. They had received a letter from Ailidh earlier that morning, filled with funny stories about her wedding to Sir Jass and the ways in which she and Lady Caldreana had been amusing themselves, often at Duke Dhugal's expense, before the Lady Caldie's lying-in.  Caldie had finally been delivered of her child the week before—a healthy son—and now Duke Dhugal was starting to make plans for their return through his lands and eventually back to Rhemuth. I'm glad the Duke of Corwyn decided to wait a few more days for his own trip so that you and the Contessa could be here, though.

   We wouldn't have missed your wedding for the world!  You know that.


   The ladies left first, escorting Sophie upstairs to Sir Seisyll's apartment—and now her own—their voices lifted in song as they helped the bride prepared for her bridegroom's arrival.  Celsie produced Duchess Meraude's gift, which inspired sighs of admiration along with some gentle teasing as the ladies assisted Sophie in her final preparations.

   Shortly thereafter, they heard the sounds of other voices singing in the corridor—male voices this time.  The Contessa went to let them in.  Seisyll and the other men entered the apartment's outer chamber, still singing the wedding songs, this time in counterpoint to the women's voices.  Constanza led Seisyll into his bedchamber and to the screen which had been set up beside the curtained bed, the other women backing up towards the room's entrance to allow him greater privacy and space while he made his own preparations to join his bride.  At last he slipped under the covers beside her.

   Bishop Duncan entered at that point to bless the couple and the bridal bed.  This final duty performed, he smiled at the newlyweds and laid a small book on the nightstand.  "A wedding present of sorts," he told them, "though I'm afraid it's just on loan, as it's a fairly rare volume."  His eyes crinkled slightly at the corners.  "John and I turned the library upside-down looking for it; it had somehow gotten mis-shelved.  Enjoy your wedding trip to Tre-Arilan."  

   The bishop left, accompanied by the ladies.  The assembled guests lingered outside the bedchamber door for one final song of blessing, and then departed, leaving the newlyweds alone at last.


   "The Love Songs of Omar al-Sadr of Nur Hallaj?  Seisyll  laughed heartily as he read the cover of the book Duncan had left behind.  "Is that the sort of thing you've been reading in the Royal Library?  Sweet Jesú, no wonder you're down there so often!"

   "Well, no...I picked it up once, but they wouldn't let me...they said I had to wait until...."  Realization dawned.  "Oh!"

   "Yes, 'Oh!' "  Seisyll grinned.  "I can already tell this is going to be a very enjoyable honeymoon.  With your godmother leaving for Andelon, I'm responsible for your Deryni training now, you know...."  He gathered his blushing bride in his arms, his blue-violet eyes laughing.  "While it's good of your celibate friends to be so concerned for your educational progress, I'm afraid they'll have to leave the more practical applications of your studies to me.  Fortunately, I seem to have suddenly developed a vocation for the teaching arts myself...."

   Sophie giggled, shutting him up with a kiss.  "Then teach me, you insufferable man!"

   Seisyll Arilan needed no further coaxing.

Chapter 31:  http://www.rhemuthcastle.com/index.php?topic=575.0
"In necessariis unitas, in non-necessariis libertas, in utrisque caritas."

I have a vocabulary in excess of 75,000 words, and I'm not afraid to use it!


Good one!  And thanks for taking my suggestion of the groom-dunking. 

(Humming the refrain of an old rock anthem. . . ) ;D


Quote from: Elkhound on July 28, 2010, 11:01:59 PM
Good one!  And thanks for taking my suggestion of the groom-dunking. 

I honestly didn't think it would fit into the story, but Stefan liked the idea and ran with it.

(Humming the refrain of an old rock anthem. . . ) ;D

And I'll bet you're staying just out of reach of my rolled up newspaper too, aren't you?   :P

You're like my husband.
Me:  *eyerolling* "Behave!"
Him:  "What's 'haive'?  How can I be 'haive' if I don't know what that is?"

There's more than a little bit of both Seisyll and Jass in the DH, I'm afraid.   :D
"In necessariis unitas, in non-necessariis libertas, in utrisque caritas."

I have a vocabulary in excess of 75,000 words, and I'm not afraid to use it!


QuoteFortunately, I seem to have suddenly developed a vocation for the teaching arts myself....
*chortles*  And of literary studies, it seems ...

A loaf of bread, a jug of wine and thou
Beside me singing in the wilderness --
And Wilderness is Paradise enow.

Great chapter, and no, I certainly don't think the bride and groom needed any of Celsie's spells  :)


I can just imagine Sophie's next letter to Andelon....

"Dear Celsie,

Could you please embroider me a handkerchief...or a pillowcase...something?  I adore Seisyll, you know I do, but even God needed a rest by the seventh day...."

"In necessariis unitas, in non-necessariis libertas, in utrisque caritas."

I have a vocabulary in excess of 75,000 words, and I'm not afraid to use it!


Oh, I'd just quietly suggest to Kelson that he send Seisyll off on some sort of overnight errand at least once a week  ;)    Or else ask the literary heart-throbs and nice guys whether they have any other 'helpful' advice in that library ... :D


Oh, right.  Because the shyest of my ladies will have absolutely NO trouble asking three men--two of whom she has major crushes on--for help of this sort.  None at all.  Gotcha.  :D
"In necessariis unitas, in non-necessariis libertas, in utrisque caritas."

I have a vocabulary in excess of 75,000 words, and I'm not afraid to use it!


Well, the heart throbs gave her the book as a wedding gift to read.  I'm sure she could say she'd like to do some more 'research'  on certain side effects ... ;)   That is, if Father Nivard can stop laughing!


Well, it's definite she'd rather die first (probably of exhaustion!) before bringing the matter up to either Duncan or Kelson.  There's the remotest chance she might force herself to speak to Father Boy-Next-Door, if she's on death's doorstep, and if she can figure out a way to translate the request into code and send it to him via carrier pigeon so she won't have to look him in the eye when she does so....   :D
"In necessariis unitas, in non-necessariis libertas, in utrisque caritas."

I have a vocabulary in excess of 75,000 words, and I'm not afraid to use it!