Ahah! I have found it! Great idea, Ylisa. :)IC Date:
Midsummer, 45th Turn, 10th PassPlayers:
Liesana, Dashvard, Nherys, Aderyn, Niara- and Teraille-players spoofing their now NPC characters.Location:
Main Hall and Ballroom, Harper HallSummary:
The wedding of Master Crafthead's Second Liesana and Guard Captain Dashvard. (Finally.)
Harper's Tale - Saturday, July 16, 2005, 4:37 PM
Well, it darn well took 'em long enough, and longer still as they attempted to surreptitously avoid all the fuss they could, but Istan Guard Captain Dashvard and his (very) long-time lady love Master Crafthead's Second Liesana of Harper Hall are finally getting married. (It's only been nearly a decade.) Interested parties, @go harper to join the milling crowd in the ballroom and rib Dashvard for looking nervous. Although he -does- have a sword...
-- entered by Liesana on 2005-07-16 15:41 MOO Time. (39 seconds)
Hippolyta> It's amazing what a few determined Harpers can do on short notice. While there are no doubt unseen drudges and cooks shaking their fists in frustration at Liesana and Dashvard, the ballroom has been set up with chairs in a double row to either side of a central aisle that meets the base of the grand staircase. A small dais has been set up on the landing, so that even the folks in the back can view the show. The majority of the ballroom has been left clear for dancing and feasting from tables of nibbly food, and a string and wind quintet of journeymen harpers is tuning up.
Hippolyta> Officiating over this happy occasion means that Nherys gets to wear a pretty dress, and already be in position up on the dais rather than having to approach it in some ceremonial fashion. Attempts to play it cool are met with only partial success, as she cannot wipe the happy -- and occasionally even bubbly -- smile off her face. But, for the most part, she's still, waiting for the word that everyone is in position and it's time for things to begin.
Hippolyta> Sitting in one of the front rows of seats is a wide collection of various people who all seem to share a family tendancy towards the wire-thin and and tomboyish in the women and a sort of beef-fed solidity in the men. There's a distinct wave of Keroon coming off of their accents as they talk, and a girl of about eleven, youngest of the clan is busy trying to itch at her formal dress when she thinks her middle aged mother isn't looking.
Hippolyta> Dashvard leans just outside the door to the ballroom, arms folded across his befineried chest; the temptation is to dither, but he hasn't got anybody to dither *at* except for Sergeant Ping, and that's just not worth considering. Besides, Ping is busy running back and forth in a whirl of black and gold and an *awful* lot of embroidery, making sure all of the guardsmen and guard recruits are ready in their sleek black dress uniforms and nobody's forgotten their swords, as that would be terribly humiliating. Instead, Dash stands there as close to perfectly still as he can get, remembering to breathe. It's only however many *bajillion* people decide to show up, after all, it's not as though it's going to be a *drastically important event* in which he will have more than his fair share of the spotlight, for example ... the background noise level of people chattering buzzes through the doors.
Hippolyta> Aderyn slips in with a small group of her fellow apprentices, her attention for once turned outwards and not in, as usual. "Master Liesana ma'am interviewed me for the harpers, and I met Captain Dashvard"--she's found out his name finally--"in the Flying Mug. I think he was pretending to be drunk," she explains to one of the other apprentices while they find seats in the back of the room.
Hippolyta> And there surely are rather a lot of guards hanging about: their Captain's getting himself hitched, after all. Of course, if they were *decent* guardsmen, they'd be standing at attention or at least looking impressive or something instead of milling around. Ping does his best to threaten them into something equating efficiency, but Ping is about as threatening as the average, you know, skinny curly-haired man with very large ears and a sling-shot hidden in his very fancy gold-embroidered vest.
Hippolyta> Wriggle, wriggle, itch. Illianne grows tired of sitting still, and takes a moment while her mother Rilna's distracted by arguing with her Uncle Lian about whether or not her cousin Liesana is or is not little better than a Bitran trollop for living in shame so many turns. Illianne rather likes her much-older adult cousin, and is also much more interested in the nearest of the buffet tables. With a rustle of starched skirts, she siezes a strawberry and vanishes underneath the table to nibble at it until discovered.
Hippolyta> One seat is occupied by a figure wearing forest green and brown riding leathers with a black and white knot with a brownn ribbon entwined through it on one shoulder. Her hair is curly and red, a rebellious force quite at odds with her perfect posture and attentiveness. She occasionally leans over to make a comment to her companion, a brick of a man with a hat and a dragonrider's knot of his own: former Guardsman Carid--Telgar brownrider--is at attention.
Like all moments-prior to big weddings, there's a whirl of activity just behind the scenes. In Liesana and Dashvard's quarters, the last laces are being pulled and tied on Liesana's traditional graduated red gown, pins are being poked equally into fabric and hair and sometimes skin, and someone over in a corner is having a nervous breakdown about flowers and flower petals. Meanwhile, in the lounge outside, Andron is looking insouciant and smirking to himself at the feminine commotion inside, -his- duty of giving away the bride a simple one. Hah.
Hippolyta> Leaning down to catch a whispered word from a rather anxious Apprentice who then goes skittering off to find himself a seat, Nherys can't help but allow her smile to broaden. Straightening and smoothing out her dress, she turns to the journeyman band, and gives them a rather significant Look accompanied by a predetermined hand gesture. Seeing their cue, the band strikes up the first march of the ceremony -- the musical cue for the guards' (and therefore Dashvard's) entrance.
Hippolyta> The cello and viola are dark and martial in their tune, the flutes providing light skirmishes of trills and scale-runs in counterpoint, as the quintet calls the guard forward with a modern arrangement of a very old soldier's song dating back to the time of Fax's invasions. Victory and honour, the rattling of shields and sabres, call in the Guards!
Well, it's about time. Seated crosslegged on the floor and /trying/ to get an errantly trailing hem stitched back up into place, the former fosterling turned journeywoman curses under breath as she pricks her finger yet again. "There's a reason I didn't do weaver..." says Niara glaring upwards. No flower petals and nervous breakdowns in the corner for /her/. "'most set?"
Hippolyta> There's a loud cracking bang from over beneath the buffet tables, followed by a muffled whimper. Illianne emerges, rubbing the crown of her head and biting her lip as she scoots back to her seat beside her mother with the rest of the bride's relatives.
Hippolyta> On cue, the guards troop down the aisle: suddenly, the raggletag approach to discipline has vanished into the ether, leaving an honour guard of six on a side that know how to march. There is just a hint of saunter to Sergeant Ping's step - a touch of smirk on his lips, the one that says, 'hey look, I'm the Captain's favorite, yep, that's why I'm best man, and there's nothing at all you can do about it' - as he parades down the aisle to take up his position, flanking the empty groom's spot, at the end of it. Each guard stands at attention beside one of the chairs on the aisle, forming a column on either side: and when Ping has reached his position, Dashvard sucks a deep breath in through his teeth and begins his stately march to his own spot, beside the sergeant so keenly bouncing on the balls of his feet.
Hippolyta> Aderyn watches the musicians with some envy, her focus mostly on the flute player, and her attention entirely not on the man of the hour. She looks over at Dashvard once, and only when another apprentice elbows her and tells her to pay attention to the handsome guard captain.
Hippolyta> Carid isn't laughing quietly. Really. "I'm so glad riders don't have ceremonies," she mumbles to her companion, who nods a rather fervent agreement. She watches Dash with the intensity of someone just mischievous enough to see if the look aimed his way will cause him to turn nice shades of red.
"Juuuust abo--ow, dammit, that's my skin you're poking!" replies Liesana, looking fairly composed, but sounding a bit harried. But she can hear the music starting from downstairs, and quickly banishes her attendants with wide flapping arm motions, grabbing her bouquet of red and white roses and nodding at the door. "After you, Niapet. I'll pick up Andron on the way down, but you're first... got the petals?"
Hippolyta> Once Dashvard is in place on the dais, Nherys gives another nod to the band. They go silent for a moment, then strike up another tune -- this one, the signal for Liesana and her party to descend.
Niara scrambles to her feet, scooping up ribbons and sewing needles and flower petal baskets up with her, all but the last getting dumped on a random table already littered with Wedding debris. "I guess. Unless you don't want change your mind and run away after all," she winks, smoothing her own hair into place and catching the door for Lies.
You descend to the ballroom.Harper Hall: Main Hall and Ballroom
The ballroom's vast space is simply and tastefully decorated, combining images and materials from many parts of Pern. Opposite the main entrance, a broad balcony is supported by pillars of the finest northern marble; polished to glassy smoothness, they contrast the toning blues of the walls. A staircase of the same stone rises in sturdy flights to the upper level. The high vaulted ceiling with its round wrought-iron window is white, brightening the room, while the varnished floor is the deep red-brown of a Lemos hardwood. High on the west wall, a large 'mural' shows a map of Pern framed by images of harper life and symbols of the Craft, while the bright 'tapestry' opposite offers an informal scene. Glowbaskets rest on marble stands of different heights, turned to give both direct and reflected light, while carved stone benches along the walls provide places to sit for those attending functions, or simply wishing to rest. For everyday use, rush matting protects the most frequented parts of the polished floor.
Watching from a bit of artistically carved lintel are six firelizards.
You see Leyte here.
Gold_Guest, Dashvard, Nherys, and Aderyn are here.
Artist's Workshop Archive Vault Harper Office Harper Classroom Shainman Rehearsal Hall Great Hall Instrument Workshop Curving Stairways
His skin is very pale beneath the light bronze dust of his tan. He is five feet, nine iches tall, and very lean: broad-shouldered, but with a narrow waist and slim but well-formed hips. Wiry, lithe, with a silent grace that still shows hints of his grim past despite the Turns of working on the right side of the law. His hair is glossy black, his eyes sloe-black in his face. High cheek bones, slender but well-defined jaw, a fine straight nose - a slightly jagged face, but handsome in a surprisingly delicate, feminine way, save for the white knife-scar down his right cheek.
Royal blue sisal covers the male form, cut to allow easy movement without sacrificing sartorial glory. The jacket bears a high collar, accented by cranberry swirls, and secured with mother-of-pearl diamond buttons. The fit subtly emphasizes his shoulders and waist, seams kept to a minimum, and with the top button left undone, a shirt of slightly darker shade peeks out. Hanging from his belt in a fancy dark leather sheath, there is a sword more ceremonial than deadly, its hilt richly embossed with gold decorations. His trousers keep a careful balance between snug and too-snug, seams ornamented with more cranberry embroidery, this time geometric, and the well-shined plain black boots reach precisely to the knees. A gold firelizard is perched on his shoulder.
He is an adult of about 34. He is awake, but seems rather distracted.
Eyes of bright amber gaze from amongst sculpted features, slightly almond in their shape and retaining the quickness of a sharp mind and lively sense of humour. Framed by wavy, waist-length chestnut hair, her face is expressive and delicate, but with slight hollows to her cheeks, remnants of some past weight loss. There remains a determined strength to her sculpted jaw. She stands five and a half feet, figure slight and long limbed but past the coltishness of youth. Scars of old bone breaks appear on her right leg and left arm, and her hands show the marks of a career harper: slight callouses on her fingertips and one more prominant on the web of her right thumb, along with the faint blue-black tinges of old inkstains.
Slipping from rich burgundy into raspberry and finally into cranberry, the sisal of this gown flows in a gentle, flattering bias-cut over Liesana's form. From the front, it is perfectly correct, with long gathered sleeves laced at the wrist with rich royal blue ribbons, a softly ruched scooping neckline that doesn't quite show anything, an ankle-length skirt, and slippers of ecru leather with cranberry embroidery. From behind, however, it's a different story, as matching ribbons stretch ever-farther, starting by neatly covering the small of her back and halting entirely just below her shoulder bones. There is no tidy bow, just a graceful fall of shimmering brevity from an intricate knot, and a slit in the back of the skirt reveals a flash of thigh just above the knee. A glint of gold and blue gleam from the shadow of Liesana's neck.
Double cord and triple loops in white and rich blue couple with an orange ribbon and a binding thread of gold to denote the master wearing it as Crafthead's Second of the Istan Harper Hall.
You see Liesana glance your way.
She is an adult of about 39. She is awake and looks alert
Time tempers all, and a faint hint of maturity is seen within ever-bright green eyes, though mischief still sparkles within their depths. These view the world from under near-platinum hair, palest strawberry-blonde showing nearest roots. Tiny braids of trademarked purple fall well below her hips, still a foot longer than the rest. Big in nothing but heart, tanned frame tops out around 5'2, gentle curves silent testament to her status as mother. Adornments are few; a gold band lies around her neck, attached to roughly claw-shaped piece of obsidian, and simple bracelet of white-dyed hemp and cobalt beads remains around her wrist.
Midnight's rapture curls across the long expanse of fabric bathed in moonlight which makes up a woman's dress. Starlight echoes across frozen time, reflecting within the depths of glossy raven's feathers. Pristine flowers, alabaster in hue and burning a silent twilight, climb across the exquisitely woven cloth's edges in intricate patterns depicting a garden's stroll in the company of pale stars. Vines of singed emerald intertwine the floral tapestry, groping into the void darkness of forgotten memory. Containing immaculate petals of misty shades, long sleeves have been cut at the wearer's elbow, leaving the remains of the silver glistened material hanging in the simple elegance of hanging flowers. The neckline dips in serene modesty, broached in snowy petals, and crescendos the ebony fabric to rest on smooth shoulders. Reaching past the wearer's ankles, the raiment carries a measured degree of modesty in its coal stroked depths though not sparing in the passionate display of pacific elegance. Every stitch drips in pearly moonlight, the faint serenade of a nightingale echoed in its silver essence. A blue firelizard is perched on her shoulder.
Bone-pale white twines with faded blue, once brightly harper-hued, journeyman's knot settled easily on the young woman's shoulder, proclaiming her to be a member of the Harper Hall.
She is an adult of about 40. She is awake and looks alert.
The tune calling forth the bride begins on a stridant bell-tone of a note, repeated twice and allowed to fade to nothingness for two bars. Softly but intricately, a complex piece of chamber music evolves, growing in volume as it grows in complexity, but always returning to the same simple and sprightly summoning.
And here comes the bride, the unconventional Liesana appearing very traditional in the graduated red shades of her dress. Clearly showing a Master Weaver's hand at work, the colouring has been matched to flatter her complexion rather than leave it looking ruddy, and she treads along the balcony and down the stairs behind Niara with head held high and a regal smile on her face. Escorting her, friend filling in for a father deceased, is the retired Lord Warder Andron, busy whispering no-doubt risible comments to her ear as they descend. They pause at the base of the landing, waiting to take the last steps to the dais in time with Dashvard and his Second.
Aderyn stares at Liesana, though whether it's because the Harper Master looks quite lovely or because she looks *traditional* is anyone's guess. She watches the pair and their companions, taking mental notes on the way the ceremony works; there is, after all, that Harper curiosity to satisfy, and one day Ady will be on one side or the other of a similar event.
It's generally one of the duties of the best man to make sure that the groom isn't too nervous to function on the big day; there is a brief, enraptured pause, wherein the Guard Captain is too busy being struck by the image of the bride in her wedding gown to remember to move and Ping is too busy scoping the fine ladies in the crowd to remember to nudge him. Which of them comes to his senses more quickly isn't entirely clear - Dash clears his throat almost simultaneous with Ping's little jump-inside-his skin that comes when he realizes he's actually supposed to be doing something. It's Ping's turn to flush dark red to his ears and Dashvard's to look relatively collected as they mount the steps to the dais in time together with their opposite numbers.
One guard, of a sort, in the audience smiles faintly; Carid is quiet now, watching the ensemble on the dais with attention more suited to a Harper than a brownrider. She absently reaches over to clasp H'havu's hand in hers, the rare sentimentality in her surfacing in the face of another couple's happiness.
Liesana and Andron share a private grin and step down the remaining bit of staircase with synchronized feet. At the bottom, but before he allows her to leave his arm and step beside her husband to be, Andron swoops in quick as a wink and places a slightly dipped and most unfatherly kiss upon the bemused bride before doing his duty and giving her away. But not, we might add, before a cheerful leer is given to Dashvard. He settles in a comfortable semi-slouch in his designated spot.
Yes... the Heretic Harper in not only a dress, but traditional red. Hah. Her somewhat more traditionally girly fosterdaughter falls into her place with a roll of her eyes toward the evil, lecherous hump (that would be Andron, not the groom. As far as she knows, that is.)
Nherys flashes a saucy wink at Andron herself, then returns her attention to the pair before her. Once they're settled, facing each other with their profiles toward the crowd, she begins her speech. "Dearly beloved, I am talking out of my ass and have no idea what to say." There's a pause, green eyes twinkling cheerfull as she lets her words sink in. "What can I say, that hasn't been said before? We are here today to witness the union of Guard Captain Dashvard of Ista Hold, and Master Crafthead's Second Liesana of Harper Hall." She pauses, then leans toward Liesana to ask, sotto voce, "When are you getting promoted again so your title's something I can actually /say/?"
A tinge of the sardonic to the glance that Dashvard flicks Andron's way, but then he's got more important considerations at the moment than the casual insouciance of a former Warder - although it seems to have made Ping, of all people, uncomfortable to see such "liberties" taken with the bride on her wedding day, and he twitches visibly for a moment, a squawked "Oi!" bit back before it could escape from his throat, and he doesn't settle until the calm Guard Captain half-turns where he stands to stare him down. The last thing they need, reasons Dashvard, is a spastic twitchy best man futzing around on the dais, fierce champion of decency or whatever it is Ping thinks he's doing. The cool sloe-black stare is enough to still the boy, at least, and then Dash can return his attention to the aforementioned more important matters: such as, his handfasting. The informal tone Nherys elects to take allows for the curve of a grin on Dashvard's mouth, although the traditional silence at this point is not at all difficult for him to maintain. Mmm, precious reticence.
Four things are certain in Carid's life: Thread, Adhaith, H'navu, and Andron's quirkiness. The faint smile turns into a full grin, and then into laughter when Nherys' words sink in. She hides her face in her weyrmate's shoulder until she can compose herself, clearing the view to a harper (not unusual) wearing Igen colors in her journeyman's knot (somewhat more unusual): Journeyman Kaytie is here for the lyrical inspiration, officially, and to get an eye-full of her friend Carid's former guy, unofficially.
Liesana was not a blushing bride before, but she is now, little red apple-spots appearing on her cheeks as she glares at Andron half-heartedly and hands off her bouquet of mixed red and white roses to Niara before stepping up to stand beside Dashvard and face Nherys. Surreptitiously, in full view of the entire crowd, she sneaks her hand sideways to brush against his fingers. -Her- good looking Guard now.
Aw. Aren't they sickeningly sweet. Nia grins unrepentantly at Nherys's words and offers Lies a wink as she takes the bouquet, twitching her skirt into placeto cover the sidestep she takes to get a better view of her male counterpart. Misplaced chivalry was never so dangerous, eh?
Despite the lack of a response from Liesana, Nherys is triumphant over having gotten a smile from Dashvard, at the very least. Ping is snickered at -- quietly, quietly -- before she turns to face Dashvard's direction, rather than splitting her attention equally between him and his wife-to-be. "Captain Dashvard," she begins, projecting her voice so that the rest of the crowd can hear her, as well. "Do you pledge to take this woman as your wife. To love her, to honor her, to cherish and protect her above all others?" There's a brief pause, and then she hastily amends, "Well. After you're done defending the Hold, of course," and winks.
"If you say no," Liesana mutters sotto voce with a smirk. "There's a window off to the side ther ei think you could fit through before Lian caught up to you." Indeed, her aging but still portly and belligerant uncle is glaring at the handsome guard captain with a look rather less than loving and welcoming.
Dashvard moistens his lips first to be certain that his tongue will work; there is the slightest hint of mirth to his expression, born of the hasty acknowledgment of his duties to protect hold as well as family, but anyway who wants a somber sourpuss for a husband? Apparently not Liesana: At the dire threat of being chucked through a window by the bride's family his features break into a broad grin. "Gladly do I so pledge," he intones, tone crackling with suppressed laughter. The formalized trill to his language resultant from how long similar words were rehearsed in his head, but the marred solemnity of the occasion peopled by cheerful harpers who like the limelight very well thank you have allowed him to forget, at least for the moment, about the whole stage fright thing.
"Okay, so we can all breath now, right? He's pledged," Niara murmurs ever so sweetly, for the diased group to catch, lifting the bride's flowers up higher to hide her smirk behind.
"That's a few marks to me, that is," Ping murmurs playfully, pitched for Dashvard's ears to catch, as he fingers something suspiciously notebook-shaped in the inside pocket of his heavily gold-embroidered vest. Dashvard finds the urge to swat his sergeant almost overpowering, but just barely manages not to yield to it.
"She could always still say no," Nherys returns to Niara, grinning at her as she turns to face Liesana. "Master Liesana," is drawled in a measured tone, "Do you pledge to take this man as your husband. To love him, to honor his claim, to bear only his children?" The unbearably traditional words are delivered with a straight face, though her head snaps around and she shoots Ping down with a Glare of DOOM. "A/hem/." Returning to Liesana, she finally smiles. "Lies, do you pledge to love him, to honor him. To cherish him, and allow him to pretect you only when you /really/ need it, and pledge to kick him soundly in the shins if ever he gets too stuffy and overbearing?" Beat. "And to rescue me the next time he tries t throw me in jail for reciprocating a prank on /you/?" Twinkle. Twinkletwinkle.
Carid's shoulders are shaking, her face still hidden against her weyrmate's shoulder; no, she isn't crying, thank you. "I think this is the most entertaining wedding I've ever seen," she murmurs, the words slightly muffled by the aforementioned shoulder.
Dashvard pretends to some affront. "Stuffy and overbearing?" he demands, quietly at least. "Me? I never would." Ping, meanwhile, wilts under Nherys's gaze, and shuffles his shiny-booted feet together like the sheepish youth he never quite outgrew.
"I do so pledge," Liesana states with mild innocence, practically maidenly in her bearing. Yeah. Right. What she's really doing is hiding gales of laughter behind that prim facade, smoothing one hand down the sisal of her gown in a little theatrical gesture she thinks fits well with the attitude. Yes, this is a wedding that's half Harper. "I also solemnly swear to at least provide you with legal counsel." The prim smile grows all the more innocent. Ignore the flash of teeth.
"Are you kidding? After she dragged me in for this? If she doesn't say yes, /I/ will. Somebodies getting fasted today..." Niara retorts, subsiding only after Nherys launches into the traditional vows. Children? Wait, what? "Make sure it's legal counsel for /your/ side..." She's going to lose it if they don't stop. She stuffs her nose farther into the bouquet. Mmm. Smells nice.
"You could marry Ping?" is proposed to Niara simultaneously with Liesana's pledge, and Nherys looks slightly put out for a moment. But only a moment! Then, it's time to pounce on Ping! Or, more precisely, to turn toward him and bark out, "Ping!" This wold be his cue. If he remembers.
Ping bounces a little on the balls of his feet, having forgotten in the spirit of the moment the well-earned sheepishness of only a few moments ago. "Now she's stuck with you, Cap'n," he chortles gleefully, despite the solemnity of the occasion. He wishes he'd made a pool as to whether the wedding would turn out to be rather more farcical than one would've expected from a couple of important people. "Uh - me?" Get married? Now? To - er - girl whose name - ... can he remember it? Starts with N. Bugger. Stares, dithers for a moment, having completely forgotten his primary function being on the dais. And then. "Oh - uh - right. Shaffit. Sorry." He digs into his other inner vest pocket and removes the rings, in their cushioned box.
"Definitely the most entertaining," Kaytie agrees, leaning forward just enough that the enshouldered Carid can hear her. "I think that little guard has more energy than a greenrider." Carid, familiar with both greenriders and Kay's greenrider-like behavior, twitches.
In the bustle of the moment, the quiet arrival of a woman in the back of the room might be missed. She appears to be around 60, with short grey hair, lively green eyes, and the knot of a Harper Master from Fort on her shoulder. Recognizing the lateness of her arrival, she takes only a moment to glance around, then makes for the nearest seat, slipping into it swiftly and silently with a nod of apology for the seatmates she is dislodging. Those who have been at the hall some time may recognize her as Teraille, though she is greyer, plumper, and more deeply lined than when she last was spotted within the walls of the Istan crafthall.
Yes. N-girl. Who is now glaring at the best man. Best man. What a misnomer. Niara leans between Nherys and the couple to hit Ping's shoulder with the back of her hand, hissing "You were /supposed/ to give me one of those!" He was hording them! How dare he!
Liesana is having an increasingly difficult time keeping herself from breaking up into undignified laughter as Ping... continues to behave exactly like Ping. One gathered sleeve is discreetly raised to hide her twitching mouth, 'lest the official portrait of the event looks less than dignified. It can look like she's overcome with emotion this way. Yep. "Next wedding, no Ping?" she murmurs to her halfway-husband.
Ping yelps, startled by the swat from Niara into dropping the rings. Rings, being round, have a tendency to roll; and Ping's luck being as it is, what with the laws of narrative causality being how they are, one of them is drawn inexorably to roll beneath the red skirts of the bride. Initial momentum is enough to drop Sergeant Ping to hands and knees in a flailing dive, slamming his fist over the one ring before it can enter into no-man's-land (or what is shortly to be one-man's-land, hem-hem). Where's the other one gone? Crawling on his belly like a gold-embroidered lizard, Ping frantically scans the dais, hunting for the missing treasure. Dashvard, meanwhile, has closed his eyes as though shielding them from Ping's wriggling along the floor will make it so that this never happened. "I'm with you," he replies to Liesana. "Can't imagine what I was thinking." Well, what he was thinking ... has a lot to do with the amount of alcohol he'd imbibed when he made the decision, come to think of it, although he hadn't the heart to try and take it back, what with how appallingly happy he'd made the boy. "Mmph," he adds, opening his eyes to roll them ceilingward with a closed, grim look (patented to fight off inappropriate laughter) as Ping's ceremonial scabbard whacks into the back of his knees.
There's no helping it anymore. Kaytie joins Carid in laughter, if not against H'navu's shoulders -- a good thing for the poor man's health. The dignified former Telgar Weyrharper buries her head in her hands and tries to stifle her giggles.
Teraille, in her seat in the back, settles her skirts about her and focuses her attention on the front of the room and the figures attempting to enact the solemn and dignified ritual of marriage. Her lips twitch, and she lifts a hand, pressing the knuckle of her forefinger against her lips to control a smile of the sort typically out-of-place at weddings.
Nherys's backward dodge to avoid Niara turns out to've been a fortuitous thing, because -there- go the rings, and look! There goes Ping. She doesn't shield her eyes, instead watching the proceedings with the last shreds of dignity rapidly falling away. "Maybe we'd better rethink that proposal, Niara," is stage-whispered through a hastily quashed fit of laughter, though she nearly loses it again as the scabbard hits Dashvard in the back of the knees. Well, this is one for the books, at least.
Liesana parts with a muffled shriek at that, demonstrating that yes, the Master Crafthead's Second is indeed of posession of a fine soprano voice, and promptly swirls the skirts of her bridal gown tight around her legs before any blindly questing hands can go a-reaching. Peering closely at the floor, she eventually taps with a toe to indicate "-There-, Sergeant." in a tone suggesting please, can she bloody well get -married- now?
Aderyn stares at Ping as though he's sprouted a second head, hiding a giggle by biting--hard--on her lower lip. "They aren't always this strange. Weddings, I mean. That guard on the ground is really odd, though," the apprentice next to Ady informs her.
"What proposal?" Niara says, no longer even bothering to keep her voice to a stage whisper as she watches the proceedings with a growing sense of horrified fascination. Was he /really/ always this bad? Just /how/ does he manage to /survive/?
Face flushed scarlet with embarrassment to the bright tips of his protuberant ears, Ping rescues the ring from beneath Liesana's foot and scrambles to his feet again, brushing imaginary dust off his black trousers with the hand that contains no 'fasting rings and wishing that he could crawl into his grave and die, the better to forget the occasion. He proffers one of the rings to Niara. "Err, did you want this?" he asks bashfully, after clearing his throat. He tries not to look at the myriad gigglers in the crowd, but it's really quite hard. Thank you, thank you, he'll be here all week ... Dashvard, meanwhile, is rubbing at his temples with the first two fingers of either hand. "Yes, indeed," the guard captain can be heard to mutter under his breath, if you're listening real close. "This is exactly how we wished to represent ourselves on solemn occasions ... the right bloody terror we'll engender as protectors of the Hold is certainly intact today, I'll warrant ... knew we should've eloped."
"You two should have eloped," is Nherys' proclamation, "But as you're already here and halfway there.." Beat. "Ping!" Hopefully Niara's got her ring by now, because Nherys is moving this thing along. "Midair collision," because Pern doesn't ahve train wrecks, "That this may be.. give Dashvard the ring, Ping." She's poised to make a grab for it, should it escape the guard's hands anywhere other than into his captain's.
Weddings are such beautiful things. Teraille continues to sit in quiet attention, that smile a bit easier to mask as delight for the participants now that things seem to be settling down a bit.
Liesana awards Nherys a grateful look. Were this anyone else's wedding but her own, she'd be neatly riding herd on things herself. However, as the job description for 'Bride' seems to consist of 'Stand in lovely dress, exchange vows, party, go make babies or practise for the making thereof afterwards', she'll gladly concede the ringmastering of this circus to her old friend. She shakes her skirts loose and attempts to reach for poised again, although it falters as she gives Dashvard a small, helpless smile. "Think both of us could fit through that window is we ran?"
Ping, with extreme deliberateness and extraordinary care, hands the ring over to Dashvard. Thank Faranth, there are no further mishaps, at least from his quarter. He can, for the moment, relax, and offer apologetic facial shrugs to anyone who's still paying any attention to him. Dashvard holds up the ring, as though to display for the benefit of the crowd the fact that it has not, in fact, vanished. "Now, now, love - the worst *has* to be over," he murmurs to Liesana, a touch of his own playfulness making an appearance in the glint in his dark eyes.
"Rings aren't always overrated," decides a much calmer Carid, and the brownrider is careful to keep her voice low enough for H'navu's ears only. "After all, you don't see weyrmates needing rings. Well, other than those two who were married before they Impressed, and their rings don't make them more committed." Satisfied with her impromptu ring lecture, she returns to quietly watching the ceremony.
Nherys is a little fuzzy on this part, apparently. But Dashvard goes first, and so she waves him gently towards Liesana, still chuckling quietly. "Dashvard, give this ring to Liesana as a token of your love and committment." It looks like that's all, but true to form, she leans in and whispers, "Try not to make it too mushy?"
Dashvard smiles and bows his head slightly, marshalling his thoughts to include words that he'd planned out beforehand - not quite memorized, because he's learned that his best talents as a speaker come from allowing a touch of extempory to turns of phrase he's taught himself. It comes of having to teach guards to be guardly and occasionally of having to interview while under the influence. Then he raises his eyes to Liesana's face, and speaks. "I understand the point of these is to show that our love is as solid and long-lasting as the metal," he says. "A physical manifestation, something that can be shown around and held and measured and weighed, of something you can't really quantify. A symbol. So I guess it's a symbol of long talks, and walking together, and our joined hands, and all the random moments - picnics and runner rides and all the stolen moments we've gathered up over the Turns, all the loving each other we've done. And all the loving each other that we've yet to do. I guess it's a symbol of forever, or as close to two halves of forever as two people can get. So I hope you'll take this ring, and with it my half of forever, that it represents, and bear it with as much pride and affection as with I plan to bear its mate."
"Is she sure the lad isn't light in the loafers?" comes an audible sniff from the front row, where Liesana's aged Uncle Lian continues to glower dyspeptically. His sister and wife tag team to elbow him in the ribs at the same time. "What? He's a guard, nattering like a Harper-- Ow, leave -off-, woman!"
Ah, yes, and there goes the wedding feeling of things. Abandoning herself to the cliche (well, she /is/ a harper), Teraille rummages for an embroidered handkerchief, pressing it to the dampness beneath her eyes and smiling her anadorned approval at the pair.
Aderyn's companions look suspiciously bright-eyed following Dashvard's speeck, and Aderyn herself is quietly wiping at her eyes with her hand. The lyricist in her definitely approves, as does, it seems, her older counterpart across the way; Kaytie is making discreet notes on a sheet of hide and sniffling slightly.
Liesana allows her fingers to curl over Dashvard's, blinking her eyes rapidly to clear away a blurring of touched tears. What would be sheer unadulterated sap on the written page is instead laden with a vast emotional weight when it's being spoken to her personally and directly in front of a gathering of peers. She spares one withering glance to her aging uncle, before turning back with a sound that's half laugh half happy little sigh. "A Harper," she notes. "Spends much of their life playing a part. We are taught to wear masks to suit ourselves to this situation or that, to adapt, to bend, to shape ourselves to fit others' preceptions and tolerances and needs. It's part of our job, to be able to make life a play at need and will. But when I come home, I come home to you. And you love me no matter what mask I have to wear, and love me best when I'm wearing no mask at all. I love that you are the one person in the world that I can always be myself with, and that in turn, I get to see the man behind the guardsman's shield. It's us against the world, my lad," she states, a fond little nod to the five turns between them. "Take this ring as a sign of us facing it together."
Is that the cue for sniffling? It is! It is! Niara drags her attention from it's focus on Ping, and settles in to catch a ride on the sugar train, ending up with Liesana's flowers tucked back under her nose, and her snuffling into them. Cue a sneeze. Allergies.
Nherys leans, just the littlest bit, over to Niara, and nudges the younger Harper with her elbow. "Giver her the ring, Nia. Ping can't lose it, anymore." Because everyone knows that when you get sappy, you tend to forget the details. Like actually /having/ the ring you're using as a symbol of your union.
Ping is chewing contemplatively on his thumbnail, off in some thoughtful trance or other triggered by the levels of saccharine in the room, no doubt. He's got to be careful how much of that he listens to, after all, he might go into a sugar coma. Or maybe it's just that he's more affected than he'd like to pretend to be ... that's a possibility, too.
Teraille melts. It's just so lovely. Weddings are like concentrated harper inspiration, bottled up and distilled for maximum impact. At events like this, it's sometimes difficult to prevent sudden explosions of song; Teraille, as an archivist, has an advantage in containing it.
Dashvard slides the ring gently and carefully onto Liesana's finger, his expression rapt, although it breaks into something suspiciously like a foolish grin once the relatively simple manual task is complete. "There, love," he says, soft and barely above a whisper.
Liesana's own simple manual task is somewhat complicated by the fact that she has to subtly reach over and take her ring from Niara, keeping the flush overtaking her features limited firmly to her cheeks and the tips of her ears as the transfer is made. Sliding the ring into place on Dashvard's left hand, with a slight twist to ease it over his finger joints, she squeezesher fingers against his and gives him a private smile back. Quite unusually for a harper, she seems to be speechless.
Rings in place, and Nherys once again has a job to do. "This is it, guys," is whispered to the happy couple, before her voice once again reaches levels that will project across the crowd, "I now pronounce you husband and wife. Kiss her, you fool." She's smiling, but what's this? Are those tears? No, never..
"Weddings are overrated." Those aren't quite tears, but Carid will deny even the slightest show of emotion anyway. Her grip tightens on H'navu's hand. Kaytie leans forward again. "Maybe so, but you'll never find better inspiration for a song-writer. Trust me on this."
At long last, and with only a few neglible mishaps! Dashvard grins with sheer relief and not a little glee as he takes his bride into his arms and kisses her. Meanwhile, the best man can be seen to be bouncing on his feet again, urgent and itching to fulfill his next obligation: eyes round in a hawkish stare, looking at captain and master harper, trying to telepathically communicate the question: *is it time yet?*
And this is the point to which it has all been building. As Nherys makes the final pronouncement, Teraille's face shines with reflected radiance, and she clutches her handkerchief in both hands, holding it close to her heart as she gazes forwards. And there, there is the kiss, and the older master sniffles shamelessly. It's not as if anyone is looking at /her/, anyway.
Liesana's opinion, were she capable of having one, is that Ping can go take himself off to the privy and wait a bit, if he keeps bouncing. -She- has other things to tend to first. Newly be-ringed hand pressed against Dashvard's cheek for all the room to see, and she allows herself to melt into Dashvard's -- her new husband's -- arms and into the kiss. Not a wild one, despite some stage-whispered encouragement from the retired Warder still standing to one side with a hand in his pocket, but heartfelt all the same. When they break and turn to face the stairs leading down, dryly humorous, highly unorthodox, nearly-forty and exceedingly practical Master Liesana is as radiant as any innocent young bride of sixteen.
Ping calls out in his best sergeantly voice, "Company - at the ready!" He's rewarded by the hiss of twelve swords drawn from ceremonial scabbards in unison. And then, grinning cheekily, the best man reaches his favorite part: the one where he gets to shout, "Company - arch!" Six blades spring up on either side of the aisle, creating an arch of steel in honorarium for their guard captain and his new wife. Dashvard - young and beaming and not at all the prematurely crotchety old man the tales would tell of him - grasps Liesana's near hand in his own.
Carid, quite unlike herself, lets loose with a loud cheer, applauding the couple; behind her, Kaytie, trying not to laugh at the brownrider's uncharacteristic exuberance, joins in the applause. The people around them slowly start to clap with them.
Nherys' job is done, save for a few bits of hidework that can be done later. For now, she lets loose with a cheer, and begins applauding the couple as well. These are her friends, after all. "congratulations, Liesana, Dashvard. It's about time!"
"I'll second that," Niara quips, stepping forward to hand the sneezed and snuffled upon bouquet back.
Liesana grins over at Dashvard and raises her hand, joined with his, before obliging the public's need for a show, and her own sense of fun by taking her bouquet back from Niara and kissing her foster-daughter on the cheek and then running beside her new husband down the last little landing of stairs and, ducking, down through the arch of blades. "Life," she gasps sidelong to him, as corset strings inform her that running isn't desirable, "Should come with a lot more sword arches. Ready to shake hands and see how quickly we can escape?" And get Dashvard out of that tunic. And other things.
Teraille, too, joins in the applause of the crowd, lifting her handkerchief to dab her eyes dry between claps, her smile not fading. As the bride and groom leave the dais, she rises, with no intention of letting them away before at least giving her congratulations. The handkerchief disappears into a pocket of her dress.
Dashvard grins back at her at the other end of the arch of swords, although not at as breathless what with the lack of corset strings. "I surely am, my dear," he says lightly. He might've kissed her again, but then he seems suddenly aware of the fact that there still are an indubitably large number of people around, and restrains himself.
Carid leaves Kaytie to her writings and makes her way towards the front, H'navu a step behind and his hand still joined with hers. Rather than barge right in with her congratulations, the former guard and current dragonrider waits patiently to be noticed ... which, she suspects, will be a while, deciding the happy couple aren't too aware of anyone else at the moment.
Liesana is quite happy to stand on her tiptoes and kiss when Dashvard will not, although it's a light peck rather than a proper embrace. Because there are, as noted, people about. "Look," she points out with an excited little squeeze of her arm. "There's Master Teraille over there. She's the one who convinced me to go into Law... her husband's the Craftsecond. And we can avoid seeing my Uncle Lian."
Nherys waits until the happy couple are through the sword arch, and can begin to receive the congratulations of the crowd before she steps off the dais. Craning her neck, she catches Liesana pointing out Teraille.. and heads the opposite direction, towards Liesana's uncle Lian. A little bit of interferance never hurt anyone. "Did you like the ceremony, sir?" is asked of the gentleman in question, as she watches Liesana and Dashvard over his shoulder.
"Shall we go and say hello, then?" Dashvard asks, as he follows Liesana's gaze. "Er ... and avoiding Uncle Lian is something to be done at all costs?" he asks wryly. Not that he didn't catch some of the saltier remarks from the audience, with his sharp and guardly ears. "Looks like Carid and hers made it, too," he adds, mild of tone and a touch of curiosity in his dark eyes, as though he hadn't been quite expecting her to.
"What? Ceremony?" Lian snorts. "Undignified. Should've happened eight turns ago. She's too old for bearing much now, and -he's- gone and befuddled her. Likely just in time to get himself run through, and then we'll have her weeping about again, and her parents' line will die out with her." Lyserre his wife, a narrow horse-faced woman who appears to have responded to forty turns of matrimonial 'bliss' by growing acidic rather than crushed, digs him in the ribs. "Are we discussing your family or a runnerbeast?"
As Liesana and Dashvard seem to be approaching, Teraille lifts her wedding gift from the bench beside her -- a drawstring cloth bag with a suspicious bottle shape to it. She offers a brilliant smile to the couple, and speaks in warm tones. "Liesana, you look absolutely radiant. Congratulations. To both of you." Her eyes are approving as she looks at Dashvard, whom she's never seen before.
"Permission to approach, Captain Dashvard," Carid requests mock-solemnly, managing a distrbingly crisp salute. She let's herself go to at ease, grin blossoming. "I just had to see for myself when I heard the news. Congratulations, Dash. Congratulations, Master Liesana." She turns to H'navu. "This is H'navu, my weyrmate"--her expression is content--"who I don't think you've met. We need to get my friend Kay back to Igen, then it's back to Telgar for us. I just wanted to tell you I'm happy for the both of you."
Dashvard tends to approve of people he's never met, as it means they've never had occasion while he's held rank to come under the auspices of his office. "Thank you, Master," he intones gravely - a gravity strangely at odds with the general flavour of the ceremony, come to think of it. He glances at Carid, offers a smile. "Good to see you again ... er, and nice to meet you. Thanks," he says. He's not sure of the protocol here. Handshake? Hug? Entertaining jig?
"Of course it was," Nherys returns promptly, "I've known Liesana since she was an Apprentice, and I think half the hall has seen my underthings, thanks to her." The longer she can keep Lian occupied, the freer Lies and Dash are to do what they will. Who knows. /She/ might do a jig, at this point. "He hasn't managed to get himself run through yet, so I'm taking that to be a good sign. If he does, I suppose I'll just have to shave her eyebrows off." Yes. Because that's a good way to deal with the death of your friend's husband.
"A pleasure to meet you again, Carid," Liesana inclines her head with a smile, relaxing a touch at the introduction of the weyrmate. Even when one has just very firmly announced to all sundry that you are your man's and he is yours... ex-girlfriends are always a little bit uneasy to meet, at first. She offers a handshake and a "Thank you." But by this time they've made contact with Teraille, and Liesana demonstrates her own brand of protocal by rustling over and giving the older Master a warm hug whether it's wanted or not. "It was so -good- of you to come. I hope the trip from Fort wasn't too onerous. And Dashvard, as I said earlier, this is Master Teraille. She used to be in Ista when I was an apprentice and you were a recruit."
Teraille returns the hug with interest; it has been too long since she's seen her former student by far. "Of course I came," she says, as though there were never any doubt. "I'm only glad I got word of it in time... Mak wanted to be here, but unfortunately something came up at the last minute." She offers the bag with a smile and a "This is from both of us; there are another dozen bottles coming by slightly slower freight."
Ping has been bounding around, chatting up a variety of people with the energy levels of an overexcited rabbit. It seems he's completely forgotten about his spastic embarrassment on the dais, and he's collected a couple of wrapped boxes from somewhere and is hovering around, waiting 'til the bride and groom seem a little closer to finished with their dealings with Important People - more important than Sergeant Ping, anyway - before he bothers them again.
Carid returns Liesana's handshake, apparently quite comfortable with things as they are. "Likewise, Master." She solves Dashvard's problem by leaning over and shaking his hand briefly. "Expect a wedding sketch in a few sevendays. H'navu did a sketch of you two earlier. He just wants to clean it up a little." Not that they were doing anything particularly dirty ... She smiles again. "Best wishes to both of you"--a pause--"and best wishes from Adhaith." That said, the two Telgarites turn to find their rogue Igen harper friend and make their exit.
"We'll be sure to have it framed," Liesana nods to Carid, looking slightly blitzed at the gifts all popping up. Right... weddings mean -presents-, don't they? Absently, she smiles at Dashvard again as her cocentration wavers back to the man beside her, (Hers! All hers!) the expression a touch gangly and goofy before she tears herself back to focus. "Give Caramak my best, then. I know how things can come up, and we -did- try and announce this with as short of a lag time as possible to try and dodge a fuss." Of course, a hand waves to take in the quintet, now starting to play dance tunes, and the various Hold servers uncovering buffet trays. "But... you know the Hall."
Dashvard smiles sardonically at the idea that they might have thought they could get away with as little fuss as possible, considering the grand old time harpers and guards both tend to have at parties. He's not *exactly* sure where he stands with Master Teraille; it's not as though he has what you'd *exactly* call a mentor of his own to call on. But he makes a pretty enough arm ornament, and in social situations he's discovered that he's fairly good for that.
"Oh, yes," Teraille says. "My own wedding was a bit rushed, as I recall, and still managed to be quite ornate." Although hers had a bit more reason, hinted at by the fingertips that brush over her stomach in memory. "It was quite a memorable ceremony, however, and with less of the horror than sometimes mars Istan weddings..." And that is accompanied by a definite amused smile and the flash of a wink at Dashvard. "I oughtn't monopolize you two, however... my warmest wishes for a beautiful life together to both of you."
"We're hoping for a beautiful life for three of us or perhaps four, in time," Liesana reveals, noting the slight memory-trail of fingers and snuggling in beside Dashvard a little more closely with a secret little smile. "And we're honeymooning on the mainland. Perhaps we'll have to swing by Fort on the tail end of the trip and catch up. -So- good to see you, Master Teraille." she retains the title as a sign of respect, despite their equal rank, but her smile is warm and pleased. A hand clasp later, she nods and allows the crowd to mingle on past. "So, who's next, love?"
Nherys disengages from Lian and company, managing to beat a hasty retreat until she can find the happy couple, and offer her own congratulations. Teraille is noted as well, since they're coming from her direction, and Nherys stands on her toes to see if a better view over the crowd will reveal any other old and familiar faces.
"Erm ... Not sure." Dashvard glances around. Their honor guard is now milling around, munching enthusiastically on the contents of the buffet table. Ping darts forward from his strategic position behind the happy couple to tug gently on Liesana's sleeve. "'Scuse me, Master?" He holds forth an oblong box, wrapped with a blue ribbon. "This is for you, from the boys and me. Well, for the both of you, really." There is something a touch too sly about the grin on the young sergeant's face.
And Teraille, accordingly, mingles on past and off up the stairs to find a few other old friends before heading home.
"Does it bite?" Liesana wonders first, eyeing the sly looking guardlings with a sly look of her own, fingers lingering over the blue ribbon of the box. "And should we open it here in front of you, or later?"
Nherys waves to Teraille in passing, as the case may be, and wanders her way over Liesana and Dashvard. And the Box of Doom. "I wouldn't trust it, you know. Probably bites." She's grinning, and apparently missed the beginning of Liesana's comments.
Ping chews thoughtfully on his lower lip. "I reckon it's up to you," he says. "I mean, no, of course not, it's not like it's going to bite you." Dashvard eyes Ping suspiciously, but it's difficult to look threatening when one's not in the mood for it.
"Well, I'm curious. And this way we can thank you properly right away." Liesana decides, giving Dashvard a head-tilted look for his thoughts on the matter, and crinkling her nose at Nherys. Tug. Tugtug. Tuuuuuug on the ribbon.
Nherys clasps her hands behind her back, and rocks up onto her toes to watch Liesana's sloooooow proress with the ribbon. "So if it won't bite.. hmmm." Eyes twinkle as she looks up at Ping and crinkles her nose, then returns her attention tot he box. Not before elbowing Liesana ever-so-lightly. "Open it.."
From the expectant look on Ping's face, Dashvard suspects that once the box opens that the little brat is going to be in severe need of a pummelling. The contents of the box, once opened, resting on red velvet, turn out to be a shiny set of guardsman's hand-cuffs, lined with soft material perfect for 'recreational' use. Dashvard reflects, reddening as he peers over Liesana's shoulder into Ping's box, as joke gifts go it could be *worse*.
"See?!? Degenerate!" howls Uncle Lian from across the room. Liesana has, you see, fished the cuffs out of the box and is twirling them speculatively around one fingertip. "I'm assuming these -do- come with working keys, yes?"
Ping grins like a maniac. "Under the cushion," he says, pointing at the box. "Have fun, Master. Cap'n," he adds, tossing off a jaunty salute in the direction of his glowering commanding officer - not that he takes the glower very seriously, since there's a sheepish air behind it and it's clear that Dash finds it kind of funny in any case.
Nherys' respect for Ping has just been bumped up a notch or two, and she snickers gleefully. "I'm not going to think abut how much fun you guys are probably going to be having with those.." Still grinning, she moves over until she's next to Liesana, and wraps her up in a hug whether she wants one or not. "Congrats."