The Orthani king is throwing a fit that we’re having a public human-dark elf mating ceremony in Vhoig but I can’t be arsed to care.
As long as I have Layla by my side, nothing else matters. The king can suck an egg for all I care. I know I’m taking a risk doing this but I think it’s absurd that human-dark elf relationships are so looked down upon.
Layla means the world to me, just as much as Ursalah means to Salnath. It seems stupid that one is highly valued while the other is seen as unworthy.
I was also mainly worried that my family would be unable to accept Layla and Jasper. It weighed on me that I might be putting them in danger, even though I vowed to protect them.
But mother was, as I predicted, overjoyed and thrilled that I found a mate and that I had a son with her. She adores Jasper and loves Layla like a daughter already.
And I think Salnath and mother worked on father because he’s actually been cordial, even nice to them lately.
Jasper is thrilled to have an aunt and uncle with Salnath and Ursalah. They’ve spoiled him with toys and presents and he even has a room in their house when he visits.
The planning for the mating ceremony seems to fly by. I have Layla’s Aunt Leandra and Uncle Jethro brought in from Tlouz, along with Amara. They agree that they want to live in Vhoig and are excited that they will be able to live a more comfortable life here and for the chance to see Layla every day.
Harper and Adelaide are also brought over for the mating ceremony. Layla asks Harper, Amara and Ursalah to be her bridesmaids and the three of them help her get ready on the day of our ceremony.
It’s going to be held at the temple for the Hearth Keeper, per my mother’s wishes. Layla and I are still not particularly devoted to the gods but I know that disobeying my mother is out of the question.
One of the temple priests is performing the ceremony. I arrive before Layla and walk in with my father, glancing around to see everything set up already. It’s quite beautiful, filled with chairs for plenty of family and friends to come witness the ceremony.
There are flowers and decorations everywhere, all done in shades of greens and browns with touches of purple. Jasper is escorted in by Salnath, holding on tightly to a little green, brown and purple box that contains our rings.
He’s going to hand each of us our rings when it’s time.
“Don’t be nervous Daddy,” Jasper stage-whispers to me when he stands next to me. “Mama is excited to mate wif you!”
A chuckle reverberates around the room at that. I straighten my ascot and wait for the bride to make her entrance.
Layla’s three bridesmaids file in, each wearing a beautiful green dress with a purple flower in their hair.
The music swells and I watch Layla enter, gasping at the sight of her. She looks radiant, practically like a goddess in her white dress. It’s got long, lace sleeves and is made of lots of flimsy layers of silks and there’s a pretty beaded belt around her waist. She looks so good that I start crying. I can’t believe I get to mate with this gorgeous woman.
Her hair is done up fancy too. It’s pinned up on one side with a large purple flowery clip and the curls rest over one shoulder. I think she looks more beautiful than anyone else in the world right now.
She walks towards me and stands with me, the two of us holding hands and facing the priest.
The priest smiles. “We will light a ceremonial candle to the Hearth Keeper,” he says, holding out a smaller candle to each of us.
Together we each light the larger candle, which will burn throughout the ceremony.
“Now, please recite your vows to each other,” he says.
I take a deep breath. “Beloved, I seek to know of you, and I ask of The Thirteen that I be given the wisdom to see you as you are, and love you as a mystery,” I say to her. She smiles before repeating the words I spoke.
“Now please give each other your solemn pledges,” the priest asks.
“I pledge to you my living and my dying, each equally in your care,” Layla recites, a soft expression on her face. I repeat her words this time, then together we finish.
“You cannot possess me for I belong to myself, but while we both wish it, I give you that which is mine to give.”
“Above you are the stars, and below you the earth. Like the stars, your love should be a constant source of light, and like the earth, a firm foundation from which to grow,” the Priest says.
The last part of the ceremony is the exchanging of rings.
“Jasper,” Layla calls. He perks up and brings over the ring box.
“As a circle has no end, so my love for you has no end. I place this ring on your finger as a symbol of my unending love. May it bring you comfort all the days of your life,” I say as I slip the ring onto Layla’s finger.
She repeats it, taking my ring from Jasper, who hands it over with a solemnity that almost makes us laugh.
“I declare that you are mated under The Thirteen. May the Hearth Keeper keep your hearth all your days,” the priest declares.
Everyone claps and Layla and I kiss before picking Jasper up and giving him big kisses on his cheeks.
“I love you,” I tell her as the three of us walk back down the aisle together.
“I love you too,” she says, squeezing my hand in her smaller one. “You and Jasper.”
The reception is held at the manor home that father gifted us for the wedding. We have a place to live now, a large, comfortable home for Jasper to grow up in. And space for more family.
We’re dancing when father comes over and taps me on the shoulder.
“May I dance with your bride?” he asks. Layla smiles shyly.
I watch them together, talking. Father has decided to accept Layla, it looks like. I didn’t think we would ever get there but I think Jasper had something to do with it. Since Layla raised him by herself, he feels protective of his mama. He’s always ready to defend her from anyone who even looks at her funny.
I’m glad that my family has come around, finally. Jasper has that effect on people.
A few months later, Layla and I lay in bed together after making love, coming down from the bliss of being newlyweds. Everything feels so perfect, I can’t imagine a better life for myself.
“I love you,” Layla says, smiling up at me. “I’m so happy. Everything is so perfect right now.”
“Absolutely,” I agree. “I couldn’t ask for anything more.”
“You couldn’t ask foranythingmore?” she says, her expression light and teasing. She looks like she’s got a secret and I poke at her side.
“What?” I ask. “What is it? You’ve got that look on your face. Has Amara met someone?”
“No,” she shakes her head. “It’s not that.”
“Then what is it?” I ask, turning over so I can look her in the eyes. I run a hand over her gorgeous naked body, touching her tenderly as we gaze at each other.
“It’s a surprise,” she giggles.
“A good surprise?”
“The best surprise,” she agrees, shifting so she’s closer to me. “The kind of surprise that you have to wait for though.”
“How long do I have to wait?” I ask, running a hand over her breasts, lightly teasing her nipples. We just finished but I’m already ready for round two at this point.
“Hmm. About nine months,” she says.
“Surprise,” she grins. “I’m pregnant!”
“By the gods, are you truly?” I ask, feeling as though she’s joking. I know she wouldn’t joke like this but I hardly dare to get my hopes up for this perfect moment.
“Yes,” she nods. “I saw the healer two days ago. I’m pregnant.”
“Oh, my darling, my beloved,” I hug her close to me. “You have no idea how happy I am,” I tell her. Tears fall from my eyes as I kiss her all over.
“You’re going to be a great dad,” she says. “I know you are with Jasper but I’m so happy that you get to be there from the start with this one.”
“I am too,” I tell her, wiping my eyes. “I am so blessed. I have you, and I have our son, and now we will have another child. Maybe a girl? It doesn’t matter. All that matters is that I am finally able to be here with you every step of the way.”
We embrace once more, the two of us lost in each other’s arms as we celebrate the life that we were so blessed with.
Leave a Reply