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Thursday, December 22, 2011

Diamond Elf - Chapter 41

Chapter 41

Amara paced the room she was assigned to stay in. It was the day of her wedding, and she had a huge decision to make. While preparing the wedding, Gabriel had commissioned the Imperial seamstress to make her an elaborate, elegant, flowing dress.
It was breathtaking, and absolutely fit for an Empress-to-be. However, her father had also commissioned the Armintan Royal seamstress to make her a wedding dress. This dress was obviously expensive, yet a bit on the plain side compared to the first dress, and also seemed as if it were made for a young girl. A very young girl.
Amara honestly liked it, but it just wasn’t what she felt like wearing. Therefore, she felt guilty for not choosing her father. She stared at the first dress in serious contemplation.
Jasmine laughed. Amara had insisted that her elf friend be invited to the wedding, so here she was, helping Amara get ready for her big day.
“You know which one you really want to wear, so why not put it on already?” Jasmine asked.
Amara grinned, and examined the dress Jasmine had made for her. This dress was modest yet flirty. It had an otherworldly look to it, and was probably the single most gorgeous dress Amara had ever seen!
Her problem was that if she chose it, she would be subtly snubbing both her father and her husband-to-be. She bounced in sudden excitement, and flung her arms around Jasmine.
“You know what? You’re right! I absolutely want to wear the dress you made!”
Jasmine smirked, and squeezed the Princess tight for a moment. “Of course you do!”
The magic the two of them had shared during Amara’s visit to the Elven realm had not yet faded completely. The day Amara returned home, her people gasped in awe. She had always been considered pretty, but apparently, she was now beautiful.
Having always been popular due to her natural sweetness, but never truly the center of attention, Amara found it strange to suddenly be sought after by all the men. She received so many marriage proposals that her father was tempted to lock her in her room! Thankfully, he simply made it clear that her betrothal was far too important to dissolve in favor of anyone.
Yesterday, the magic glow had faded, but was still visible. Today, it had returned, but nowhere near as bright as it had been. Jasmine and Amara simply hadn’t had time to share much magic, though they had definitely shared some.
“I must admit, the elf knows how to make a fabulous dress,” Chelindra remarked, examining herself in the mirror.
Jasmine had made three dresses specifically for today. The first was for Amara, the second was for herself, and the last was a lavender creation that looked breathtaking on Chelindra.
“I knew it was your favorite color, and I figured that I would probably never have such an excellent excuse to make something for you again,” Jasmine replied with a grin.
The best part about all three dresses was that they were each obviously customized for their wearer, but also had a similar theme, so they subtly matched. Amara’s was a creamy, shimmering, almost golden white, and Jasmine’s was a vibrant red that accented her skin tone, and hair.
“I’m wearing it!” Amara finally decided, and let Jasmine help her into it.
Chelindra thought it was interesting the way the two girls kept touching each other. Little things, like hugs or the holding of hands. Each touch exchanged a tiny bit of magic, which made Chelindra wonder why the same thing didn’t happen between her and Gabriel.
Knowing that Amara would want Chelindra as her maid of honor, Gabriel had asked if she was capable of being part of his wedding. Chelindra declined. She was fairly sure that she could watch them – just as he had once watched her – but she feared that standing next to them as they pledged their lives together would make her cry in front of everyone.
As a result, Jasmine was named Amara’s maid of honor. Gabriel had no one he considered a good friend, except – ironically – Randy… and Aeryc. Aeryc declined the position so that he could hold Chelindra’s hand for support. Therefore, Randy was the best man.
The bride was eventually ready, and stood outside the Imperial throne room nervously.
“You look beautiful,” her father complimented her sincerely, kissing her on the cheek. He still had mixed feelings about letting his daughter get married, but not even he could stop things now. To him, she was still his little girl, and he didn’t want to think about her experiencing a wedding night. Ever…
Amara smiled, but could not bring herself to speak. She was much too focused on walking down the aisle without tripping or embarrassing herself in front of everyone in the packed throne room. It seemed as if everyone in the Empire had come to witness the nuptials!
Jasmine took the time while they waited to flirt with Randy. He had never seen such a breathtaking beauty before, and he couldn’t help but blush at the sight of her. Her voice was literally music to his ears!
She got close to him so that she could purr softly so no one else would hear her. “Tonight, would you like to share a bed with me?”
He felt his heart stop beating for several long moments, and then finally chuckled nervously. “Ah, heh heh, I’m actually engaged to be married soon, and I wouldn’t feel right…”
“Hmm,” Jasmine replied softly with a smile of respect. “Pity. She’s a lucky woman.”
The doors to the throne room opened, and everyone stood to watch the procession. Randy offered his arm to Jasmine, and ignored the way her light touch sent tingles all the way to his shoulder. He also ignored the murderous glares sent his way from all the men who were extremely jealous that he was this close to a real live and gorgeous elf.
He glanced at a beautiful woman in the crowd, noticing that she looked sad and resigned at the same time. I must remember to remind Adyta that she needs to stop worrying so much! It’s a bit unnerving for her to continually assume that I am interested in every woman I see!
He reached the dais, and guided Jasmine to her place before he stood next to Gabriel. Gabriel had his gaze firmly fixed on the floor in front of him. He was about one second away from freaking out over being the center of so much attention. Breathe… He kept reminding himself.
King Collin felt his daughter clutch his arm before he had a chance to offer it to her. Now that it was time, he was reluctant, but he started moving forward. She’s not a little girl anymore!
Amara plastered a bright smile on her face, and looked for familiar faces in the crowd. Thankfully, there were plenty of Armintan nobles mixed in with strangers. Don’t trip, don’t shake, don’t do anything but walk forward!
As she approached the front seats, she saw Chelindra smile at her. Her nervousness completely melted away. If Chelindra is strong enough to smile at me, I am strong enough to walk down an aisle without tripping!
Her last look before arriving at her groom’s side was towards the Emperor. He looked like he was also having mixed feelings, but he noticed her glance, and tried to smile encouragingly.
At his side was the Imperial Princess, whom Amara had not yet met. The Imperial Princess looked lost in thought. Amara returned her gaze to Gabriel’s back. This is the moment from my vision!
The Imperial Princess stared at Gabriel, her supposed twin, and wondered how she had never known about him. How did I not feel like I was missing a part of myself? They were both brunette, but she didn’t see any sort of resemblance otherwise. They did not have the same color eyes, nor the same skin tone.
He does look like a younger version of the Emperor though, she admitted. She knew her father well enough to wonder if the man was lying about them being twins. She also knew that he would never hand his throne over to someone without Imperial blood. So that only left one option. I’m not really his daughter!
This revelation shocked her to her core, but aside from a glance at her father, she hid her emotions well. Even so, her father felt her gaze, and briefly met her eyes. He could feel that she knew, but she smiled ever so slightly, and he nodded.
Both knew that it was in her own best interest to never mention the truth, though she was curious about her real parents. No matter who they were, they weren’t the Emperor, and her life as the Imperial Princess had been a good one. No way was she going to risk losing that. So… I guess I have a twin brother!
Gabriel turned to accept Amara’s hand once she reached his side. King Collin placed Amara’s hand in his, and smiled sadly.
“Take good care of her,” he nearly begged. His sincerity and touching display of fatherhood set Gabriel at ease, and he smiled.
“I will.” Gabriel took a look at his bride, and almost blushed. “Wow! You look amazing!”
Amara couldn’t speak. She was overcome with emotion, so she simply nodded; a blush adding color to her cheeks. The King stepped back, and then joined his wife. He sat between Haylee and Chelindra, and briefly examined the look on Chelindra’s face.
Chelindra held her husband’s hand tightly. She had tears in her eyes, but judging by her expression, they were tears of not just sadness, but joy as well. They will be happy! I just know they will!
The couple was blessed, and led through their vows. The High Priest looked to the Emperor, and received a nod. Now was the absolute best time to publicly emphasize the point.
Everyone knew, of course, that Gabriel was the secret Imperial Heir. It had been announced in the wedding invitation, but since he had purposely kept himself secluded, they all had a hard time picturing him as their Prince. Therefore, this wedding served two purposes; one: to join these two, and two: to showcase the Imperial Prince.
The High Priest took hold of the crown set aside for this very moment. It was the same crown worn by the Heir ever since the first Emperor had it made for his first son. It announced more than anything else could that there was no mistake; Gabriel truly was the Emperor’s son.
Gabriel watched the small golden circlet grow closer to his head. It was intricately carved. Princely. Yet it also looked delicate, as if it weighed next to nothing. The weight of it as it was placed on his head surprised him. It took him a moment, but he realized that he was feeling more than the actual weight of the crown… He felt the weight of his new responsibilities as well.
Next, Amara held still as the High Priest placed a crown upon her head. It was designed to match the Heir’s crown, yet was unmistakably feminine. It was meant to be a nearly invisible accent to her hair. After all, women were not considered terribly important in the Empire, therefore her crown was almost an afterthought. A reluctant concession to the fact that a woman was part of the Imperial family.
In all honesty, it suited Amara perfectly.
Finally, the High Priest stood back and smiled. “You may now kiss the Bride.”
Gabriel and Amara both felt the sudden return of their nervousness. A kiss sealed the ceremony by demonstrating that they both were committed to making the marriage work. All that was required was a brief meeting of their lips, but even so… there were hundreds of people watching!
Gabriel decided to do this properly, so he faced his new wife, and placed one hand on her hip. The other he used to guide her face to his. Amara felt her heart start to race, and noticed that her arms seemed to be wrapping around his neck without her asking them to do so! She also raised herself onto her tiptoes so that he didn’t have to bend over so far to kiss her.
Previously, Gabriel had been surprised by the way he felt as he kissed her. This time, he was afraid that he wouldn’t feel anything at all. Their lips met, and it was like magic. Everything else faded until the High Priest nudged them.
“That’s enough for now,” he informed them. “Save the rest for when you are alone later.”
Both blushed, and parted their lips. They stared into each other’s eyes for a moment before Gabriel forced himself to let her go. Now, the only contact between them was their joined hands.
The High Priest guided them to the Emperor’s private entrance to the throne room. They would wait – along with the Emperor, his daughter, Amara’s parents, the maid of honor and best man, Chelindra and Aeryc – in a lavish sitting room while all the guests piled into the banquet hall. After the banquet, everyone moved into the ballroom to dance ‘til the wee hours.
Finally, Gabriel gathered the courage to lead his new wife to the room they would share until they day they ascended the Imperial throne.

Go To Chapter 42 

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