Sunday, April 4The garden behind the Whitechapel Inn
We awoke in each other's arms, both terrified. Valmont, because he feared that I was being attacked; I because I felt something wrong
in the world, something beyond the long sleep and painful thirst and weakness. Some ripple of Power that was twisted and wrong. But under it all I could sense Nanshe's presence helping to set the dream-world right again. And Valmont and I had each other, and we were safe, and despite everything, that makes the waking world right.
And neither of us wanted to postpone the ceremony. We wanted - no, needed
to continue. Needed to make some new beginning, needed to make life go on as it was supposed to.
And so, still shaky, we went to the abbey this morning at dawn.
Valmont said that I was the one guiding this part of our wedding solemnities, for I was the one closer to the gods. So I arranged the offerings for us to burn on Nanshe's altar: two little bundles, both the same. Not
hair. Not incense. Not anything that would be in an Athenian wedding offering to the gods. We are making our own way, here.
So there are herbs from the garden that I planted and he cooks from. The first lilacs that Valmont gave me, and the lilies I gave him, both now dried into fragrant shadows of themselves. Splinters of wood from an empty keg for his profession; scraps of paper from an old book for mine. (Lydia offered me a book that was falling apart anyway; I would never have taken a page from a book otherwise! She gave us a gift, too: a lovely leather-bound and gilt-edged volume of Yeats.) And cotton candy - even though it made everything terribly sticky and I feared it would melt, I had to put cotton candy in there, for the memory of that first night that we soared above Excolo on the ferris wheel and felt as if we were flying. And because it made both of us laugh when I put it in, and we should begin our life together with laughter.
We smile as we light our offerings, and as we smell the fragrance as it floats up to the heavens.
Now, back in the garden behind the inn, I smile again as I wait to take my place next to Valmont and in front of Mab. I've found more lilacs for the bouquet, white and purple both, standing out against the shimmering deep blue fabric of my gown
I have no parents to bring me to the altar, and neither does Valmont. We just have ourselves, and are giving ourselves to each other.
There they all are. Our friends - all of the people who have grown dear to us in the last year. Our Alice, looking lovely and more grown-up than ever. Mab, tall and serious. And Valmont, who looks so magnificent that my heart leaps at the sight.
I feel a nervous thrill run through me as I step out. Dear gods, I'm getting married
! For an instant, I'm terrified, as I stare down that long aisle. But then I realize, why should I be afraid? At the end of the aisle is Valmont. I have nothing to fear as long as he is there.
At the end of my long journey, he was here waiting for me.
So I take a deep breath and step forward, towards my new life.[Open to wedding guests!]