1866-08-22: The Wedding of Alina and Gabriel
The Wedding of Alina and Gabriel
Summary: The wedding of the heir to Lonnaire to her betrothed, the Red Knight.
Date: Aout 22, 1866
Related: the masque tonight
Alina  Gabriel  Michael  Corvin  James  Cesare  Lucas  Mina  

The newly-risen (only 2 years old) Grand Cathedral in the Cathedral District of Lonnaire is festooned with late summer roses, heliotropes, hyssop and Bishop's weed… blue and purple pincushions, allium (the bright purple blooms reminiscent of the fireworks that would be blooming in air later this evening), and blue, white and purple Hodire's Darts*. Blues, purples, and whites everywhere, punctuated with the deep blood red of the roses.

The well-known paranoia of the l'Saigner house is just as prevalent as the blooms both inside and outside the cathedral: a double handful of both the Black Fox mercenaries and the Wraiths ring the building, a trio made of a Fox and two Wraiths standing at the main door and vetting every person that is allowed to step inside for the ceremony against a pair of lists. Since at least one man had been rather forcefully turned away (in bonds when he started to make a fuss, nonetheless!), it is apparent that the limited space in the cathedral has already been spoken for.

On the raised dais at the front of the cathedral's interior, Alina's form draws the eye first. A vision of beauty in a gown of rich purple satins and taffeta, her shoulders bared and the sweetheart bust hugging the curves of her breasts, the back of the gown dipping low on her back. Fine silver and black embroidery makes its way up from her hips to her bust. The skirts are pinned in waves like a ballgown, the bottoms of the underskirts touching the floor, concealing the matching satin slippers she wears beneath. Her hands are covered with a pair of purple satin gloves covered in black lace. Her hair is mostly pinned up, with a few artful strands tugged loose and tumbling to her bare back and shoulders. Upon her cheekbones sits a delicate half-mask of silver, partially enameled with black, her grey-blue eyes visible beneath it. Amethysts decorate both the mask and her jewelry this afternoon, a pair of simple silver and amethyst earrings in her lobes, and a large amethyst nestled between her breasts on an ornate silver chain.

Though she seems the perfect picture of poise and calm, inside she is wanting to pace and twitch. Her half-brother stands to one side, holding the ring she will later slip on Gabriel's finger; Lord Michael stands to the other, leaving the space for Gabriel to arrive, looking enough like her future husband that she does not look his way, lest her heart stop a moment and her nerves redouble. The bishop of the Cathedral is all but ignored by Alina— God-botherers were more trouble than they were worth, especially after this most recent scandal (to put it mildly) with the Cardinal.

Her father, Duke James, awaits standing at the head of the first bench for Gabriel and his father to walk down the aisle. Soon, she tells herself, it will be over and then she will not have to wait anymore. She mentally goes over her vows for the dozenth time, and hopes Gabriel will be pleased with them. And with her. She had been so careful as to not let him see this dress before the ceremony, after all, wanting to see his reaction.

Gabriel had been waiting for this day to come for a while now. So it was something of a surprise to him when he felt a bit of nervousness leading up to the entire ceremony. For him, putting on armor was just like putting on some clothes, but still, even with Michael and his father helping him into his full set of Lightsilver Plate armor, save his helmet. Instead he wears a decorated half-mask that completes the ensemble. Still, it felt like he was a squire just donning armor for the first time. It was odd.

His father hangs the wedding cloak around his shoulders: the l’Corren side a rich royal blue, with the silver sun in the center and a rearing horse of royal blue inside it. The edges are embroidered finely with silver threads.

Time passes and the appointed time nears. As others gather for the ceremony, Gabriel spends his time pacing back and forth, waiting for that moment when he can make his entrance and walk to Alina. He glances up between each turn, his eyes meeting his fathers and finally he asks, "Father, did you feel this way when you married mother?" He halts in his pacing, turning to face his father. Of course, it was then that they were told that all was ready. Of course.

Taking a deep breath, and then another, he readies himself for this as if he were about to ride into combat. Nodding, he makes his way to the chapel itself. Reaching the doors, he takes another deep breath, nods, and then enters and begins to slowly step down the aisle. Perhaps his armor was not the choice that Alina would have preferred, but to him it made a statement. He was a knight who would join her family, and her family would not change the core of who he was.

Catching sight of Alina, he quickly averts his gaze. She looked beautiful, but it would not be polite to halt in the middle of his procession and begin gawking at her. No, not at all. Making his way down the aisle, escorted by his father, he lets his gaze drift around to see who else is in attendance. Finally, he steps up beside Alina and glances to the side to give his brother a faint nod. When he glances in the other direction, he is slightly surprised to see Corvin standing there instead of Lucas, but he does his best to keep his expression neutral.

In some ways, Corvin Fremont is as surprised as anyone else to see him standing beside his sister in this ceremony. Not that he had any thought to refuse her, but he rather believed the politics of the situation would lead towards the conclusion of Lucas holding this particular spot, despite the fact that he is not as close with Alina as Corvin. But Alina asked, and James gave no sign of discontent at the news. Perhaps in its’ own way, it is as much a statement as Gabriel’s armor: The l’Saigner do things in their own way, and accept whatever consequences come from those actions.

For once, Corvin’s finery is the equal of any nobleman’s, thanks to Alina’s deft eye for fashion. A high-collared black coat swathes his torso in darkness, with the only sign of the thin white shirt beneath seen at the wrists. Touches of violet encircle the wrists and the lower hem of the coat, which drops to just below his hips, encircled at the waist by a black leather belt. Purple crescents, carved from Amethyst, are pinned at the collar, and silver buttons hold the coat closed down the centerline of his body. The remainder of the ensemble continues the dark-hued trend, perhaps a subtle (or not-so-subtle) reminder of the profession Corvin holds within the House. Black, relatively close-fitting breeches are worn on his legs, with a stripe of violet running down the outside of each leg before being tucked into a well-polished pair of black boots that reach to just below the knee.

Coupled with all the finery, Corvin carries himself comfortably, with no sign whatsoever that his presence is anything abnormal. Just prior to the procession down the aisle, he makes one last check to insure he has the ring, and satisfied with the result, he gives Alina a smile, and Gabriel and his family a respectful nod just before they begin that march to the altar.

Lucas is seated next to his mother for the ceremony. Some doubtless wondered why it was Corvin, the bastard, who was standing beside Alina and not him, but Lucas was content to let them wonder as they did about most things regarding the young wraith. Lucas, like Corvin, was dressed the part today,in a fine doublet of l’Saigner purple, black breeches, and black boots that were folded smartly beneath the knee. Alina had chosen the outfit, of course, but it suited him well enough, and gave him enough room to move if he needed to.

As he waits for the ceremony to begin,he glances up at his sister. He did have to admit, it was strange to see her up there and yet at the same time pleasing. She did seem happy. He twists the gold ring on his finger, a habit of trepidation, he just hoped she would remain so with her new husband.

“Ha! My own wedding came together so quickly I scarcely had time to notice being nervous.” Cesare replies to his son, “All will be well, have no fear of that.” He gives Gabriel and encouraging clap on the shoulder after fastening down the last buckle of the armor he was responsible for. “And then it will be on to this…unique celebration the l’Saigners have.” There’s no distaste in Cesare’s voice, but he’s never been a frequent guest of the Masques. Not really his type of celebration.

In any case, the Duke of Murnord takes up his position to escort Gabriel down the aisle as well, where he will place him in the hands of the man that, to hear the folk of Couviere speak of it, he should despise. Perhaps thankfully, there’s no sense of surprise to see Corvin in the proceedings…perhaps James warned him ahead of time.

Michael l'Corren stands next to a very much not before the altar. It was clear Ali was uncomfortable standing by a man with her husband's face, so Michael was not going to make that discomfort any worse. Though, that had not been what Bella had suggested to him as they parted ways on his way up to the altar, 'pretend to be him' she'd urged with a wicked smile. Michael had shaken his head, kissed her briefly and carried on to his spot without further comment, Bella had grown up the spoiled daughter of a tyrant so her idea of propriety was somewhat different than most, that said she was amusing in her way.

However before any mischievous thoughts could take hold and be transformed into action Gabriel enters the cathedral with their father and the game was on as it were. Michael turns, giving his blue and white tunic a tug. He was well dressed in a tunic and breeches of his family's blue and white that showed off his knightly physique, but then, when you were standing next to a man with your face who's wearing a fortune of lightsilver it always pays to take a few final adjustments. As Gabriel approaches, Michael gives his brother a smile. It was a genuine one. Michael had little doubt that his brother was in love with his bride and for that he was happy.

Duke James actually seems pleased as he escorts Gabriel those last few steps from the first pew up to the dais beside his bride-to-be. He steps to the side, awaiting the last parts of the ceremony and his part in it, but gives his daughter and son on the dais a brief smile— the closest the man ever gets to anything approaching warmth. It is a good day, as far as James l’Saigner is concerned. Once this ceremony is done, the house’s succession is secure.

Alina gives Gabriel a bright smile as he moves up beside her, but a quick one, as she returns to mentally repeating her vows yet again. The armor she expected, of course. Gabriel would have done no less— and besides, when else would he have a chance to wear that ridiculous suit of Lightsilver? She fights the urge to reach over and slide her hand into his. Time enough for that later. And if he thinks he’s wearing that armor to the masque—

Oh. The bishop is speaking. Alina shakes her head slightly, returning her attention to the older man.

“—and so, it is necessary for you to speak your vows in front of the One and these gathered from the community,” the bishop finishes his speech.

Alina turns to Gabriel, the vows she had memorized on her lips finally. “Gabriel. To you I will be faithful, and love and hold no other. I will bear your children and teach them well, and guide them to being the best they can be, whether as scholar or knight or anything in between. I will give you naught but honesty and truth as long as we both live. I will…” she pauses, knowing this part may raise eyebrows, “I will obey you in all things when it comes to my protection and safety.” There. That wasn’t so hard, despite the twitch she felt threatening to mar her face. “Our marriage seals a pact between our houses, overturning generations of anger and hatred. I will respect that and welcome you as family to my house, and treat your family as if they were my own.” She smiles a bit. “And I will love you and care for you from now until we both are old and grey and you can no longer raise your sword. These things I vow, my husband.”

There are some murmurs among those gathered. Lucas makes a noise like a cough and their mother Mina discreetly elbows the young wraith in the side.

Alina's vows take Gabriel a little off-guard. He hadn't been expecting something so… well, romantic. Nor did he expect the part where she would obey him in all things. Granted, that was limited to protection and safety, but he knew Alina was… willful, and such a vow from her must have cost her greatly. He smiles at her, and then blinks. His vows. Hrm. What were they again? It's a few moments, but then he begins to speak.

"Alina, I will love and honor you for as long as we both shall live. I will do all I can to ensure the safety of you and of our children, even if that require that I must lay down my life to do so. I will do my duty and assist you in any endeavor that you engage in. Here and now I swear my sword to you and make these vows to you, my wife."

Alina’s cheeks flush under her mask, and her eyes sparkle with joy.

“Your vows are spoken,” the bishop says, “And now, an exchange.” He gestures for the two brothers of the couple to offer forth the rings. Alina takes the ring she had for Gabriel from Corvin, swallowing with nervousness as she reaches forward to slide it onto Gabriel’s hand.

The silver band is set with amethyst and sapphire and onyx chips, worked in such a way around the band that they lie flush, so the ring would not interfere with Gabriel’s use of his hand at all, whether a-horse or using his weapons. It is a ring very much intended for the wearer to wear often.

Right on cue, Corvin produces the ring he carries when required. His pleasant smile had remained unwavering throughout, even at the perhaps-more-unexpected tidbits of Alina’s vows. His duty performed and his confidence level high that his “charge” is not going to bolt from the aisle at this point, he again steps back into his position, folding his hands before him and watching the rings be exchanged.

Gabriel allows Alina to slide the ring on. He even takes a moment to inspect the ring as she does so. It’s clear to him that it is finely made and the design looks quite nice, far more than he might have hoped for such a thing when he was younger and had dreams of such things as romantic weddings. Nodding to himself, he takes the ring he has had made for her from Michael and then bends forward and slides it onto Alina’s hand.

The ring itself is gold, etched with silver designs in two moon-shaped patterns, each that intersect with one another. One of the moon-shaped patterns is filled with small clusters of sapphires and diamonds and the other is filled with small clusters of onyx and amethysts. In the center, is a large topaz that has been carved in the shape of a sun.

“Alina, let this ring signify that the union of our two houses will bring strength and stability to both of our houses, and also to all of Couviere.”

The bishop smiles, and then intones, "Your vows made, and rings exchanged. Now there is only one last, to seal the marriage with a kiss."

Alina smiles impishly over to Gabriel, and leans up, one hand reaching up to caress his cheek as she moves to press her lips to his. Her other hand, freshly bedecked with her wedding ring, rests lightly on the chestplate of his armor as she gently kisses him to seal their bond.

Gabriel leans down, returning Alina’s kiss, one arm moving to wrap gently around her and pressing her to him. Maybe he shouldn’t have gone that far and kept things more… appropriate for a ceremony like this, whatever that meant, but still. Once the kiss has been made, he steps back and lets her do the same before the two of them reach up in unison and remove each other’s masks. He then turns towards Duke James and steps forward, ready for the change of his cloak.

The Duke of Lonnaire steps forward to his new son-in-law, reaching up to Gabriel’s shoulders and unclipping the cloak. A moment passes, and then the duke flips the cloak over, revealing the new side and reclipping it to Gabriel’s shoulders.

The reverse side of the cloak is a rich sable, edged with purple crescents, and in the center, a rearing horse in purple with a silver sword across. Gabriel came to this family as a knight, and a knight he will stay.

James embraces the young man, and murmurs, “Welcome to the family.” His tone is cool and unemotional in this moment. He releases him and allows Gabriel to return to Alina.

With his part in this ceremony largely played, Corvin simply remains in his position, and for once, there doesn’t seem any particularly sardonic edge to the smile on his face. When the cloak is turned, and Gabriel rejoins Alina, he joins in with the rest of those assembled in polite-but-enthusiastic applause, as tends to be the Couviere fashion rather than more raucous cheers common in Rivana…not that there aren’t a few cheers to be had (which likewise, is not terribly unusual).

Meanwhile, in a rare display of emotion, the Duchess Mina l’Saigner actually dabs at her eyes with a handkerchief, ever-so-briefly. No tears actually fall, but the threatened enough that she felt the need. There’s even a smile on her face. Happy? Hard to say, but at least content for the moment. And perhaps hopeful for a happier union than her own.

The newly married couple link arms, and the crowd stands as they depart the cathedral through the main aisle, followed by Corvin and Michael. After the wedding ceremony is then well and truly over, those gathered begin to depart as well, to prepare for the masque in four hours time.

Notes: *Cupid's Dart. in this theme named after Hodra the Hunter, though passed through so many ways the name has been bastardized.

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