In which a long awaited wedding finally takes place and two young man have trouble putting aside their differences.
A Long Awaited Wedding
The wedding night was warm with a cool breeze. The town center was filled with torches and candles that illuminated the chapel constructed specifically for the wedding. Two long rows of pews were set up for the guests but it wasn’t enough, most of the guests stood for the ceremony. Front and center of course were the bride and groom, Sir Francis and Lady Madeline. The bride of course wore a white dress with a halo of white flowers around her night black hair. The groom wore a navy blue velvet cape with a green vest underneath and pure white shirt. Performing the ceremony, of course, was Geldolf.
“Friends, relatives, neighbors, and <ahem> casual acquaintances. We are gathered here on this joyous day to join together this man and this woman in matrimony. A matrimony that in the mind of this august body was long overdue.” The Wizard recited, “is there anybody here who objects to the union of these two?”
“I do” a voice called out from amongst the crowd. A middle-aged man rose up in the middle of the crowd smiling.
“Someone other than you Mr. Montgomery” Geldolf sighed remembering that he tended to do this at every wedding.
“Doesn’t look like it” Mr. Montgomery commented “Anyway I just wanted to say this cannot go on” he said walking out of his seat and up to the altar “at least not without this ring.” He opened his palm and unveiled a dwarf forged diamond ring. He gave it to Sir Francis smiled and returned to his seat. The audience laughed, Mr. Montgomery’s presentation of the ring was always a highlight. Michael sat in the third pew on the left side; he was in his green, white, and blue Gardian militia uniform just like his father and the other militia members. His father stood in front of the pews with the rest of the senior officers while his mother was amongst the bridesmaids. Michael sat with his fellow trainees Andrew, Alex, Wesley, Claudius, and Vincent. Over in the third pew on the right sat Thessaly, looking as beautiful as other wearing a light blue gown with white flowers around her waist and her hair braided into a ponytail. She noticed Michael looking over at her and smiled at him. He smiled back dreaming of the day when they would be up front. The ceremony continued with the bride and groom-exchanging vows until Geldolf pronounced them man and wife and they kissed. The two exited with the senior officers drawing and crossing their swords as they left the chapel.
A Cause For Celebration
With the wedding ceremony finished the reception began. Wine was popped and fresh brewed ale poured from at least ten different casks. Geldolf set off a few of his fireworks while others enjoyed the fine assortment of meats at the feast. There was dancing and over all merriment, a good time was had by all. Michael and his friends Alex, Claudius, Andrew, Wesley, and Vincent, were at a table enjoying a hearty meal of stag, potatoes, and the stew Michaels mother made, along with a couple of brews. The boys were having a contest to see who could drink the most and Alex was in the lead with five going on six pints.
“You probably should slow down we have a whole night ahead of us” Andrew warned Alex.
“Boy’s I haven’t even gotten started yet. By the time this night is over I’ll probably be waking up with Farmer Fran’s hogs again.” Alex boasted.
“Hopefully this time you’ll fall asleep in the pen and not in the slops.” Wesley remembered, “I still can’t believe you actually ate some of that stuff.”
“I was hungry and believe it or not it actually tasted good at the time.” The boys all groaned in disgust at Alex, who smiled at their reaction.
“I don’t know about you guys but I think I’m gonna lose my dinner. I’m getting another pint.” Michael excused himself. On his way to the casks two lovely girls flanked him, Katherine, with her red hair flowing, and Samantha, with her brown hair and brown eyes. Each of them took an arm and whisked him off.
Katherine was a fun girl, but tended to remain in the background. She would always wait her turn to speak and when she did she had a habit of using big words, even if she didn’t know the meaning of them.
Samantha on the other hand was a shy girl, until people got to know her. Then she was one of the most bubbly and hyper girls in the village.
“Come on Michael its time for a dance.” Samantha giggled.
“Looks like I don’t have a choice.”
“You don’t!” they said together. They brought him to the dance circle and shoved him in the middle where he was met by a very familiar face.
“Surprise” Thessaly smiled locking arms with him. They swayed together hands clasped to each others, Michael spun her around a couple of times before pulling her back and dipped her. He snapped her back up and the two began weaving, oblivious to everything but each other. For a moment it was only Michael and Thessaly and no one else. Suddenly, Michael received a heavy tap on the shoulder from Christopher Glassman, the son of Horus Glassman the mayor of Gard.
Christopher had an athletic body like Michael but was slightly bigger, with a freckled complexion, black hair, and straight posture. He lived on the Hill, where the wealthy made their abode. And he loved reminding everyone of his status.
“May I cut in?” he smugly asked the two of them.
“Yeah.” Michael reluctantly answered.
Michael left while Thessaly reluctantly joined hands with Christopher, her face flushed with disappointment.
“Don’t worry Michael, she’ll always take you over that Pecksniffian lout.” Katherine comforted. Michael didn’t hear her. He passed by Geldolf who was dancing with little Brooke the flower girl. Actually it was Geldolf doing all of the dancing with Brooke standing on top of his feet. He smiled at the two of them and gave them a nod and finally arrived back at the keg area where he picked up a mug and began to fill it with ale.
“Hey, hey there shyoung Donnington” a drunk voice addressed Michael filling his mug.
“Hey, Dougie how’re you doing?” Michael greeted the man the town dubbed “Dougie the Drunk.”
Dougie was a short grizzled individual with red hair and a beer belly to match. (Hence his nickname) It was not an uncommon sight in Gard to wake up one morning and find Dougie passed out on the front lawn. He has spent nights in lock up for such activities as heckling farm animals or randomly appearing outside the windows of young women. He’d been in lock up so many times that the town allowed him to decorate it to his liking. Despite his problems Dougie was also known as being the kindest of fellows in Gard and was generally well thought of by everyone.
“Up to ten pints” Dougie slurred “An’ I’s still goin shtrong.”
“I’d watch out Dougie, Alex is catching up to you. I think he wants to break your record”
“Bah!” Dougie shouted. “They ‘aven’t e’en brought out the wine yet. Heh heh Ho.” He sluggishly slung his arm around Michael. “Then we shall see who can drink the most!” Dougie chugged his pint and let out an enormous burp that caught many a person’s attention. Michael held his breath so he didn’t have to breath the fowl air. He then started back towards his friends.
“What’re you doin back here getting on the dance floor. Fight for your woman” Andrew encouraged his friend.
“Christopher’s a punk. You can take him. I’ll even arrange it so you’re blameless.” Vincent chimed in, holding up his mug and motioning toward Christopher.
“I don’t think that will be necessary.”
“Buddy” Andrew began, putting his arm around his friend “A girl like Thessaly is one in a million and a girl like Thessaly who loves you back is one in a….” he paused “I don’t know million, I’ve had a few.”
“Thanks for stating the obvious buddy” Michael told his friend.
“Well here’s something else that’s obvious, she’s not gonna wait forever. If you don’t tell off Christopher and stand up for Thessaly now, she’ll lose faith in you and submit to him like a fawn to a hungry wolf. If her parents are pressuring her it’ll only be a matter of time. Are you gonna let that happen? Are you?”
Michael paused for a moment then answered with a forceful, “No.”
“Now were talking.” They clanked and drank their pints together. Their merriment was short. “Speak of the devil” Wesley commented when he saw Christopher, with his friends Ryan and James approaching their table. Christopher slammed his fist on the boy’s table with Thessaly trying to convince Christopher to leave well enough alone.
“Didn’t I forbid you speaking to her? She’s my lady, I made that clear at the cotillion last spring.” Christopher said angrily.
“Isn’t that her decision?” Michael retorted while his friends laughing behind him.
“Clever. You find yourself clever don’t you Donnington?”
“I’ve been told so.”
“Well let’s see how clever you are once Thessaly’s hand shall is mine. And once she is you’ll never see her again. You won’t talk to her! You won’t wave to her! You won’t even whisper her name.”
“And how do you plan on stopping me?”
“Because if you do I will make your life a nightmare. I’ll toss you into lock up. I’ll have you banished! Why, you ask? Because you’re…”
“Christopher! Stop right now!” Thessaly interrupted.
“…You’re just the gardeners son.” Christopher taunted picking up Michael’s ale and throwing it in his face. Michael rose, brushed himself off, and slugged Christopher in the face. Christopher clenched his fist to take a swing at Michael only to have Thessaly come between them.
“Please! Stop!” she plead “not here, not now. Tonight was supposed to be…”
“She’s right” Christopher interrupted “tis not the place to quarrel. Unlike you I shall not cause a scene. Name the place.”
“The jousting stadium, with branches” Michael suggested.
“Ten minutes.” Christopher accepted.
“Michael don’t!” Thessaly tearfully pleaded.
The two groups separated. Michael then turned back and placed his hands on Thessaly’s cheeks. “Don’t worry this won’t last long” he assured her.
“Why does this always happen? Can’t you two just get along, for once?” she asked.
“Soon as he stops being an ass.” Michael answered and walked away.
Copyright ã 2008 Todd Matthy
Image is from “The Lord of the Rings” animated movie