Time passed quickly since everybody
had plenty to do, and events started to converge on one date.
The clothes were ready, except for final, last minute alterations,
the venue was organised, the flowers arranged, the guests confirmed.
Everything was nearly ready, which was why when Amanda announced
that she had to go to Paris, five days before the zero hour her
friends were somewhat amazed. She promised them all faithfully
that she'd be back in plenty of time, but most strangely of all
she wouldn't tell any of them why she was going.
Seleti returned to the city two
days later, seemingly much happier, and delighted to help with
any final jobs that needed doing. Richie was quietly going insane
and nobody seemed to be able to calm him down until the newcomer
took over. A quiet talk with someone who had not been part of
the build up appeared to do the bridegroom a lot of good, and
everyone just left the self-appointed psycho-therapist to it.
The other half of the happy couple
was completely the opposite to her fiance, if anything she was
the most organised of the whole group. She threw fits occasionally
when things were not where they were supposed to be, but other
than that she was fine. There was a small amount of tension on
the day before the wedding, when she and her bridesmaids were
supposed to go for their final fitting. Amanda was the head bridesmaid
and she only turned up five minutes before she, Kari, and Beren
were supposed to leave for the fitters. There was no explanation,
just a hurried apology for being late, and then events just began
The wedding was not taking place
in a church, but it was on holy ground. There had been a monastery
on a site in the heart of the city long before it was anything
more than a few houses on a bay. The order had dissolved many
years previously, when the real settlers took over, but it had
remained a place of worship. It was now a large oak panelled hall,
with almost church like seating, and an altar at one end.
Beren had fallen in love with
it when she had first seen it, and the administrators had no problem
with her uncle, a member of the Church of England clergy, taking
the ceremony. Since a justice of the peace was present and would
be seeing to all the official documents, the denomination of the
priest in charge had no bearing. The young English woman had wanted
the ceremony with the words she recognised from a on and off relationship
with the church at home, and Richie had been pleased to accommodate
The hall was filled with flowers,
and over flowing with people. There were well over two hundred
guests, friends of both the bride and groom, family from Beren's
side, some of whom she hadn't seen in years. The colour scheme
was red and green, allowing the isles to be decked with roses
and ivy in long plumes. There was an olde worlde feel about the
whole event, especially as the ushers, bridegroom, best man and
some of the guests were wearing swords.
Every Immortal had been presented
with a scabbard specially constructed for their blades, and asked
to wear the weapons openly, peace bound with golden cords. Only
the bridesmaids were exempt. Even Madi, dressed in a long, flowing,
green dress with a high collar and plunging neckline, had her
sword hanging from her waist. The invitation had invited the guests
to dress in clothes from any ear they chose accept for the late
twentieth century, and it made for a colourful and delightful
It seemed that each Immortal
had gone for a slightly different style. Methos wore the garb
of a gentleman from the late eighteen hundreds, with wing collar,
cravat, waistcoat and tails. He clutched in his hand the book
from which he would be reading halfway through the service, and
Craven showed him and Madelaine to their seats with a smile.
Seleti had chosen desert wear
and the turban and baggy cloak in soft green showed off his dark
good looks for the best. He made a regal addition to the congregation
as he sat down.
Craven, and Chris were ushers,
and Greg played the part of photographer, but they matched only
in that they did not clash. The medieval look to the oldest member's
tunic and trousers, in dark green were quite a contrast to Gregor's
early twentieth century morning suit. The only allowance of colour
that the black haired man allowed himself was the red cravat.
The fact that the bridegroom and one of the ushers had exactly
the same face could have made for some confusion, so Chris had
made sure his clothes were nothing like his brother's. The red
silk shirt, black, tight fitting trousers, long boot, gold and
black waistcoat, and short black jacket, gave him an entirely
different look to his nervous brother.
Now there was really only one
thing a Scotsman could wear to a wedding, and the MacLeod tartan
looked very fine on Duncan. The Highlander truly looked his part,
and the crisp clean, white shirt looked fantastic against the
wrappings of a full kilt. The silver broach on his shoulder proclaimed
his clan crest and the leather band pulled back his hair to reveal
strong features. Some may have thought that a Japanese Katana
wouldn't look right with a Scottish kilt, but in Mac's case, somehow
he pulled it off.
He looked calm and collected
as he sat next to Richie in the front row, waiting for their cue
to stand. His disposition was quite a contrast to the young man
beside him. The other Immortal's wing collar was crisp, his red
cravat was perfect, his white and gold frock coat was pristine,
his trousers were neatly pressed, but he was far from calm. Nothing
made Richie this nervous, not even very nasty Immortals, but his
companion had to keep reassuring him.
Everything was going fine, all
the guests were happy, the ushers were doing their job, but the
bridegroom was still dying quietly. His heart was beating so fast
he could have powered half the city, and he kept playing with
the buckle on his sword belt like it was a life line.
The music that filled the hall
from the string quartet in the corner covered the nervous conversation
that he and his best man were having, but his back was gaining
several sympathetic glances. Joe was sitting directly behind them
in a regal outfit of black and green, but he chose to keep his
mouth shut when it came to the two men in front of him. Nothing
was going to reassure Richie, of that the Watcher was positive,
so he kept himself to himself and just sat there with a small
smile on his face.
It was a five minute drive from
Craven's house, and the cars had just arrived. A large, 1930's,
dark blue Rolls was the vehicle in which Beren and her father
would travel. The bridesmaids in there turn were to be conveyed
in a black Mercedes. All were ready to leave, when Amanda took
the bride by the hand and led her into the next room.
"What is it?" Beren
asked quietly with half a smile on her face.
"I have something for you,"
the Immortal woman replied, the edges of excitement in her voice,
"it was why I went to Paris."
She squeezed her friend's hand
once, and then walked to the table and picked up a black velvet
"This is mine by rite of
inheritance," she said slowly, as if that was very important,
"and I want you to have it."
Very carefully she opened the
container so that Beren could see inside, and the bride could
barely believe her eyes. Nestled on red silk was a fist sized,
faceted crystal, mounted in gold on a chain of sculpted ivy leaves.
The light bounced off and through the stone, creating little rainbows
where ever the eye looked.
"It's beautiful," was
the slightly awed reaction.
"I had the chain made by
a friend," her companion said quietly, "and I'd like
it very much if you'd wear this."
The ivy leaves were and integral
part of the design of Beren's outfit, she never even considered
"Oh, that would be wonderful."
She would have kissed Amanda, but that would have smudges both
of their makeup.
Instead she careful moved her
hair so that he friend could fasten the chain around her neck.
It should have looked gaudy, or maybe too heavy for the rest of
the bridal gown, but somehow, the crystal just looked right.
By the time MacLeod nudged his
friend's arm to tell him it was time to stand up, Richie had taken
to staring fixedly at the large window at the end of the hall.
He never looked back, not until the bridal march started and he
was in place. When he finally did turn slightly and saw Beren
coming up the aisle, time drew to a shuddering halt.
That his wife to be was beautiful
had never been in doubt, but the dress he had never seen and the
splendour of the day added up to take his mind away. The dress
started with a high collar that clasped around her throat, and
then split to run just under her collar bone, parallel with her
shoulders. When it reached the join with the sleeves if swept
down to create the top of a curving bodice, which displayed just
enough of Beren's pale skin. Small, golden button ran from cleavage
to waist, finishing where a long, white, silk skirt fell away
in light folds. The sleeves were puffed slightly at the top and
then gripped her arm from the elbow down, until they terminated
in points that hooked over her middle finger.
The whole top part of the dress
was decorated in green and gold, with variegated ivy leaves trailing
from each button. Even the trim along the slightly dropped waistline
was tiny gold leaves. Beren's long dark hair was swept away from
her face at the temples, onto the back of her head and held there
by gold meshing. Only two ringlets were allowed to hang down either
side, and the rest of her tresses were lying down her back in
carefully prepared curls. At her bosom hung Amanda's gift and
in her hand lay a bouquet of red roses. She was stunning.
Her bridesmaids were no less
regal in deep, blood red silk dresses. Theirs, unlike Beren's
were fitted and fell to just above the ankle. Paul in a black
frock coat and suit, completed the party handsomely.
All this took a millisecond the
impinge on Richie's brain, but it seemed like a good while longer.
Beren just smiled at him sweetly as the party drew along side,
and he managed to just about drag his eyes to the Vicar. The man
in question just nodded to them both kindly and began.
"We are gathered here today,
in the presence of God and before this congregation, to witness
the marriage of Richard and Beren ..."
It was almost like a dream. As
the priest spoke the words, Richie heard them, but they had a
distant, surreal quality. There was a long speech about the role
of marriage, and the asking the guest if they knew and lawful
reason why these two persons may not marry etc., etc., but the
bridegroom took in very little. He just kept glancing at his bride
and all his mind kept telling him was how lucky he was.
When Paul placed Beren's hand
in his, however, the world came back with an alarming speed.
"Will you Richard take Beren,
to be your wife. Will you love her, comfort her, honour and protect
her, forsaking all others as long as you both shall live?"
"I will," the worlds
slipped out of Richie's mouth without conscious consent, but he
was very aware of just how close he was standing to the woman
"Will you Beren, take Richard
to be your husband. Will you love him, comfort him, honour and
protect him, forsaking all others as long as you both shall live?"
"I will," her voice
sounded like the sweetest angel singing, and the words made Richie
the happiest man on the planet.
They'd been practising their
vows for days, and the correct phrases leap into Richie's mind
with no need for any struggle. He turned to face the most beautiful
woman in the world and stared straight into her eyes.
"I Richard take you Berengaria
Charlotte to be my wife, to have and to hold from this day forward,
for better for worse, for richer for poorer, in sickness and in
health, to love and to cherish, `til death us do part, according
to God's holy law, and this is my solemn vow."
Beren smiled at him so happily
and reclasped hands slowly.
"I Berengaria Charlotte
take you Richard to be my husband, to have and to hold from this
day forward, for better for worse, for richer for poorer, in sickness
and in health, to love and to cherish, `til death us do part,
according to God's Holy law, and this is my solemn vow."
Now where Duncan had a place
to put the rings was anybody's guess, but right on cue they appeared.
The Vicar took them onto his service book and proclaimed the prayer
of blessing. Both rings were Celtic style, Richie's a little heavier
than that of his bride, and they exchanged them happily.
"I give you this ring,"
they began in perfect unison, "as a sign of our marriage.
With my body I honour you, all that I am I give to you and all
that I have I share with you. Within the love of God, Father,
Son and Holy Spirit."
"In the presence of God
and before this congregation, Beren and Richard have given their
consent and made their marriage vows together. I therefore proclaim
that they are husband and wife."
Those were the most profound
words, Richie had ever heard in his entire life, and they filled
him with more joy than he could ever explain. They moved together
and kissed without even thinking about it, and there were smiles
on every face in the church.
There were blessings and prayers,
along with the signing of the registers to still get through,
but Richie only had eyes for his Bride. She was totally radiant,
and they all but floated through the rest of the ceremony.
The reception was a roaring success.
There was a huge marquee in Craven's ample garden, and a sit down
meal was followed by hours of dancing and making merry. Paul gave
a most wonderful speech about how delighted he was to give his
daughter away, to which Richie replied most eloquently. Then Duncan
had the entire place in stitches of laughter, whilst thoroughly
embarrassing, but complimenting the bride and groom. Where he
had found the green jacket that had once been Richie's pride and
joy, the young man would never be able to figure out, but it was
used to great effect. It was a fantastic celebration, and it was
due to go on long into the night.
The happy couple were due to
fly out on a round trip of Europe late the next day, but even
so, there was to be a traditional send off from the reception.
The pair had dashed upstairs to change into what would be their
travelling clothes, even though they were only going home, and
it was as they came dashing down the stairs that they came up
against a wall of Immortals. The rest of the guests were waiting
outside by the cars, but their closest friends were all gathered
before the front door.
"We wanted to say farewell
before everyone else," Amanda said warmly and gave Beren
a very big hug.
There was no stopping them then,
and there were hugs and kisses from everyone. Yet, it didn't stop
there, just when the couple thought it was all over they surrounded
by a ring of people. Richie knew that something different was
going on, because Chris was clamping down ridiculously hard on
his mind so as not to give anything away. Now the twin only did
this when he was desperately trying to keep a secret, and it was
never successful for very long.
[What's going on?] Richie enquired
silently as he felt his brother's struggle.
[You'll find out,] was the pained
For this instance, Duncan was
spokesperson and he stepped forward slowly.
"You may have noticed that
some of us have been disappearing at odd times lately," the
Highlander said with a smile on his face. "You see, Beren,
you're not the only one who can organise things. We decided a
while ago that there was something that you would both need, and
we had the means to provide. All of us, with the exception of
Chris who had to be kept in the dark for obvious reasons ... I
might add that Karina has been doing his part very well ... have
been working on something we'd like to give you. You'll find a
little piece of all of us there, and the car isn't taking you
to your apartment. In fact your apartment doesn't have any furniture
any more and the lease has been terminated, we figured you wouldn't
need it with a house of your own."
The Scotsman handed Beren a set
of keys which she held in her hand and just started at.
"House ..." Richie's
mouth really wasn't working at all well and it caused chuckles
from all around.
"Don't try and say anything,"
Methos suggested with a grin as he looked at the two stunned individuals,
"just go see it."
With that they all herded the
couple out the door and into the waiting arms of the crowd. The
news really didn't sink in until they were both sitting in the
car. At that point, climbing out the window to get back to their
friends would have been considered bad form.
of Part 19