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Thursday, July 23, 2015

Mirror of Dreams - Chapter 22

22

When I woke up – all on my own – I saw my maids wringing their hands anxiously. By this, I could tell that they really wanted to wake me up and get me ready for my big day, but also didn't want to crawl into bed and extract me from under both Nathan and Ian. I smiled at them and put a finger to my lips to warn them not to wake my lovers.
Lord Antony and Sir Barrett also stood by with interesting expressions on their faces. Lord Antony looked like he dearly wished that he could have either watched or joined in on the fun last night. Sir Barrett looked mildly impressed, presumably that I managed to talk Nathan into letting Ian come to bed with us.
As much as I really didn't want to wake either of them – they didn't have nearly as much preparation as I did to get ready, and so deserved to sleep in – I had no choice because I was literally trapped under them. I kissed Nathan, stroking his hair. He didn't respond at first, but slowly, he started to moan. This woke Ian, who I took a moment to kiss as well.
Ian woke up first because he was usually a light sleeper who could wake up easily. “Good morning,” he greeted me, kissing me a bit more thoroughly. “Big day huh?”
Mmm,” I murmured in agreement. “Morning. I hate to bother you two when you deserve so much more sleep after such a fantastic performance last night, but I need to get out of bed now.”
Nathan clutched me a bit tighter. “No, sleep more,” he murmured. I laughed, kissing him. Ian helped me out a bit by pulling Nathan into a lecherous embrace.
Come 'ere, my Lord. Our Queen needs the next several hours to make herself look exquisite,” Ian murmured.
She looks perfect as she is,” Nathan mumbled sleepily, rubbing his eyes.
Aww, you're so sweet,” I purred. “But no way in hell am I passing up the opportunity to be pampered and beautified by my lovely maids.” I said as I got out of bed, and then kissed each of my maids, who purred happily and dragged me toward the bath.
Even though I had taken a bath and gotten a massage last night, I needed another bath and was more than happy to receive another massage. My maids decided to make my massage extremely interesting and soon had me gasping in pleasure. When they wanted to, they could be quite dominating!
Eventually, we had to leave the bathroom to start on my hair. In my bedroom, I discovered that Lord Antony and Sir Barrett had been kicked out. On my bed, Nathan and Ian were panting heavily, which told me that there was a high probability that they had just finished having more fun. I smirked at them, curious to know which had entered the other.
A few seconds passed with me staring dreamily at them. I felt my heart damn near burst from my chest! I am pretty sure that I was purring like a cat. My maids eventually forced me to sit at my vanity so that they could work on my hair.
They brushed my long reddish brown hair out, using a bit of magic to dry it. I stared at myself, wondering if I wanted my hair up in braids or turned into a mass of curls. I had worn curls to my other wedding, but I still wasn't sure that braids would be right for the day... I decided to compromise.
Can you only braid part of my hair and form that into a crown or a decoration, but leave the rest unbraided and curl it?” I half cringed as I realized that my directions were so vague as to be almost useless, but to my surprise, my maids seemed to know exactly what I was thinking.
They separated my hair into sections, and then decoratively braided some of the sections in a pattern while leaving the others alone except for making them part of the design. Then – and I'll admit that I thought this was seriously awesome – they used their magic to perfectly curl and arrange my hair. It would stay like that until I washed my hair! I didn't need to worry about it going limp or using a ton of hairspray to hold shape.
Next, they used their magically enhanced cosmetics to color my lips and eyelids. Just a touch of color went on my cheeks to make them look very slightly flushed. When they were done, I was impressed. Even the most expensive makeup in the real world had nothing on this stuff!
As I was being fussed over, Nathan and Ian eventually slipped out of bed to go take a bath. When they were done, they gathered up everything Nathan would need and left the room. Ian would help Nathan get ready in a different room so that he didn't see my dress before the start of the ceremony. It's not that it was considered bad luck here, I just wanted to see the look on his face when he saw it for the first time.
There was time for me to relax and drink some tea before Lady Leeza arrived with my dress. This dress was gorgeous! In true Leeza fashion, it didn't cover anything at all, but that the same time, it was a full length and form-fitting from the neck line down to the knees, and then it belled out a little to do justice to the train, which was only about two or three feet long. The best part of the dress was that it was made up entirely of lace rose motifs created with white thread. In places, there was a tiny rose bud made out of red thread, but they were sparse enough to be just a hint of color.
Apparently, there was no set color for wedding dresses in Rolandia, so Lady Leeza actually wanted to make the whole dress in the Royal color of red, but I had vetoed that mostly because it has been steeped into me that wedding dresses were supposed to be white. Besides, there was just something about white and lacy and sheer that sent me on up to cloud nine!
The top of the dress was heart shaped. It hugged my breasts even as it bared my shoulders, upper back, and arms. The top hem and bottom hem were edged in red thread rose buds that were slightly open. My bouquet was a fabulous bunch of red roses that were magically enhanced so that they were so vibrant that they almost glowed. Lady Leeza assured me that the bouquet would never whither or fade, so I planned to have it on display in my room for the rest of my life!
By this time, it was very close to the start of the ceremony. I had my maids secure the bottom of my dress so that it wouldn't get dirty, and then cover me completely with a long flowing cloak made in a soft white cotton embroidered with a rose bud and vine pattern. Now ready, I decided to have my maids and a bevy of guards surround me for added effect.
We made our way to where the ceremony would begin, on the palace lawn. I planned to walk a very long line through a crowd of commoners into the ballroom where practically everyone who was anyone in Rolandia waited. I felt that this was a good way to include as many people in my wedding as possible.
Nathan gave me a curious look when he saw me walk up to him in a cloak and surrounded by attendants. The way his eyebrow was raised, I just knew that he was intrigued by my reasoning. I stopped in front of him with a huge grin and promptly answered his silent question.
More than anything, I wanted you to be the first to see my dress.” Slowly, the maids undid the clasp of my cloak and removed it, then busied themselves arranging my train. The look on his face as he took in my dress for the first time was priceless! He definitely liked what he saw and may even have been overcome by a sudden wave of lust. I grinned again, waving my attendants away.
The crowd of commoners weren't quite sure what to think. I'd heard whispers about how beautiful I was before my dress was revealed, and then after, they sounded excited and interested. The most interesting part was how the women all expressed a desire to be able to wear such a dress. In Rolandia, the common people were usually too busy working to wear such impractical clothes. It was by necessity that they wore rough and sturdy clothes.
Nathan and I clasped hands and waited for the signal to let us know when the Priestess was ready. The ceremony was really simple. All we needed to do was walk to her and let her bless us. We weren't required to speak at all, and honestly, most people didn't ask to walk any more than they had to. This meant that I have a few minutes of silent walking to mentally agonize over tripping over my own feet!
The crowd fell silent as a herald signaled for us to begin; the Priestess was ready. My hand shook ever so slightly because I was suddenly nervous. Not nervous to be married, but nervous that perhaps Nathan would change his mind after all. Nathan felt my trembling and squeezed my hand before kissing me on the cheek.
Everything will be fine,” he whispered in my ear, thinking that maybe I was afraid to trip over my own feet.
I smiled at him as we took our first steps together. Without warning, my mouth opened and lyrics came out. In my mind, I heard Sarah McLachlan singing about “Fear.”
Morning smiles... like the face of a new born child... innocent unknowing. Winter's end... promises of a long lost friend... speaks to me of comfort. But I fear I have nothing to give, and I have so much to lose here in this lonely place. Tangled up in our embrace. There's nothing I'd like better than to fall... But I fear, I have nothing to give...”
I sang the rest of the song, feeling like it was a power emanating from me with a will of its own. Soft fat tears leaked from my eyes. My voice projected from me in a way that carried to almost everyone, however, I converted the soprano parts to mezzo because it was more natural for me. When the song was finished, we still had quite a bit of walking left to do.
Smiling at Nathan, who looked moved almost to tears by my emotions, I started in on a more positive song. Martika entered my head, explaining why “Love, Thy Will be Done.”
Love... thy will be done... I can no longer hide, I can no longer run, no longer can I resist the guiding light... that gives me power to keep up the fight. Oh-oh-oh. Love... thy will be done... Since I have found you my life has just begun, and I see all of your creations as one perfect complex, no one less beautiful or more special than the next. Ooo-oh-oh. We are all blessed and so wise to accept... thy will love be done...”
This song was just so beautiful! It lasted until we had walked all the way into the ballroom and to the Priestess – though we weren't there yet. Again, my voice seemed powerful. It shocked even me!
Love... thy will be mine... You make me strive for the glorious and divine. I could not be more, more satisfied. Even when there's no peace outside my window there's peace inside, and that's why I no longer run, I no longer run! Love thy will be done...”
It got more emotional after that, which was fun to sing. When the song ended, we knelt in front of the Priestess and waited as she tilted her head and stared at me. She was the same one who had coronated me, and so, must be fairly important. Clearly, she'd never had anyone ad-lib the ceremony before. It confused and flustered her, but she quickly composed herself and began the blessing.
It was a long prayer traditionally read at all weddings. The prayer warned us to place our commitment to each other above everything but the good of the Kingdom. It then went on to give some practical advice on love and children. After that, I hate to admit it, but I completely last track of what was being said. I simply stared at nothing for a while, and then I looked over at Nathan.
When he felt me looking at him, he returned my look, and the two of us got lost in our own little world until the blessing finally ended and the Priestess gave us permission to live the rest of our lives together as a married couple. Nathan got to his feet and pulled me to mine in order to lead me toward the pair of thrones set up for us, but I tugged on his hand and stopped him. In my world, a wedding wasn't official until sealed with a kiss.
Throwing my arms around him, I seized his lips in a greedy and possessive way that was probably not entirely appropriate for public viewing. Nathan moaned and slipped his tongue into my mouth, obviously forgetting that we had an audience since he was fairly shy. When we finally pulled apart, we were both panting from the passion running between us!
No thrones!” I insisted after I caught my breath. “I want to hug and thank as many people as I can.”
Nathan nodded. He wasn't likely to hug or kiss anyone, but he'd be happy to follow me as I did, and maybe even clasp hands with our guests. We walked toward the audience, smiling.
The first row was made up of palace residents who were used to me kissing them, so by the time I got to the other Royal Lords (and Ladies) and Nobles, they'd had a bit of time to get used to the idea that I was going to hug and or kiss them. I did actually kiss everyone unless they gave me a seriously hinky vibe. Some of it was on the lips and some was on the cheek.
The thing I found most interesting was that almost everyone blushed! Perhaps living with war for so long had made them inhibit most shows of affection so that they wouldn't be distracted. It made me think again about selling my fertility tea as an innocent drink just to get some passion back in the lives of the people! The only thing that made me hesitate was that the tea might cause some people to forget to take no for an answer.
As I walked around kissing almost everyone, musicians set up their instruments and space was cleared. My wish of having a dance was being granted! (Thanks to Nathan and Ian.) Even better, more musicians were setting up out on the palace lawn to entertain the commoners as they partied too! Later on, I'd slip away from this party to see how that one was going, but for now, I was eager to start dancing!
Ian had brought the sheet music for a bunch of different upbeat dance songs, so hopefully, it wouldn't all be slow dances that were common here when people thought to play any music at all. That said, the very first thing they played was reminiscent of a waltz, and I grinned at Nathan expectantly until he asked me to dance.
I quickly realized that it was a bit harder to dance in this dress than I'd thought it would be. I managed the waltz more or less fine, but I frowned that anything that required me to open my legs farther than six or so inches would be almost impossible for me! Lady Leeza smirked when she saw my expression, and then solved my problem.
Working quickly and carefully, she removed the bottom of the skirt from where the skirt belled out at the knees on down. Then, she unbuttoned a seam on either side of my skirt, from the knees up to my hips. Her solution made me grin, and I rewarded her ingenuity with a rather passionate kiss.
The rest of the dance was fun, especially when each time a song was played for a dance that no one knew, I could have Nathan demonstrate it with me – he had learned for me, so sweet! – and then people would try their best to imitate it. It was awesome! I felt so much love and acceptance from my guests!
Later on, I did change my dress to something slightly more common and covered my hair so that I could join the party on the palace lawn. To my delight, they had taken my suggestion of a potluck and BYOB seriously and were having almost as much fun as people in my other world might. Even better, I found my friend Molly from town and had a chance to chat with her.
She recognized me and Nathan from town right away and talked with me like I was an old friend. However, something about Nathan tugged at the back of her mind until she realized that even though he had removed the most obviously recognizable parts of his wedding outfit, he was still the groom. When this hit her, she gaped at him incredulously, and then her eyes grew wider than ever as she stared at me.
Stop that,” I whispered in her ear. “People are going to think something's wrong!”
But you're the Queen!” She exclaimed in a whisper. She then looked around as if she expected someone to come over and execute her for daring to talk to me.
I winked at her conspiratorially. “Not right now, I'm not. Right now, I'm just a girl at a party talking with a friend.”
But! But! Oh!” She protested, and then felt faint because she swayed woozily for a moment before almost falling. Nathan caught her, cradling her until she regained her composure. Unfortunately, this made her predicament take longer to get over as Nathan's natural gorgeousness made her feel like swooning!
Her man saw what was going on and stomped over angrily to berate Nathan for holding his woman so boldly in front of everyone they knew. I smiled at him and leaned over to whisper in his ear. As I did, he had an excellent view of my cleavage.
She's just feeling faint and my husband is trying to help her. There's no need for jealousy.” I reinforced my point by kissing him on the cheek.
He blushed, his temper dying completely. “Are you feeling sick?” He asked her.
Not anymore,” she assured him with a smile, taking his hand and stepping away from Nathan. “I just received an unexpected shock is all.”
Just then, a long chain of people danced by, enticing us to join them. I took Molly's hand in one of mine and her man's hand in the other. Nathan took Molly's other hand, which prompted Molly's man to grab hold of the chain. The dance was an interesting and energetic one, which left me utterly purring from happiness.
After that, Nathan and I decided that it was time to go start on our wedding night. As we walked away, I heard Molly telling her man: “That was the Queen and her new husband!”
He snorted in disbelief. “Why would the Queen concern herself with commoners?”
I don't know, but I've met them before.”
Oh right!” He exclaimed in disbelief.
I'm serious!” She insisted, but then we were too far away to hear any more.
I giggled. “Sounds like no one would believe her even if she introduced us by name and rank!”
Well, you are in disguise and not wearing your crown,” Nathan murmured with a smile.
Wait!” Molly called out, dragging her man over to us. “Will you please tell him that I'm not lying?!”
With a smile, I placed a hand on her man's cheek and forced him to look me in the eye. “Do my eyes look like I'm lying when I say that she's telling the truth?”
He was confused by the way I said that. After all, if I was the Queen, why not just say it? Well, it's because I didn't want to cause an uproar and spoil the party.
Eventually, he took the hint and looked at my eyes carefully. “One bright blue one dark brown...”
It was a commonly known fact that King Henry had such eyes and I think it had been spread to the public that I had the same eyes. Molly smirked as the color drained from her man's face and he looked over at her in shock. I let him go and pulled Molly into a hug.
I still promise to come visit sometime. Try not to fuss and fawn all over me,” I suggested before kissing her. She made a noise that let me know that she had never in her life imagine the Queen kissing her!
The music stopped abruptly as guards called out for everyone to be quiet. I pulled free from Molly's arms to cast a frown at the guards. How dare they ruin the party!
Surprisingly, Lord Gregory stood up on a balcony overlooking the lawn to shout out as loud as he could: “Your Majesty! There's an important situation that requires your immediate attention!”
I sighed and slowly started to walk toward him. No one else dared to move, so it took some effort to get through the crowd.
Your Majesty, please!” Lord Gregory called out again, trying hard not to sound frantic.
Giving up my attempt to reach him, I simply stood up on one of the many decorative low walls that added ambiance to the lawn and gardens. “Oh hush, my Lord Fusspot!” I roared in mild exasperation. “You're killing a perfectly excellent party!”
There you are!” He called out in relief. “Guards, go help make a path for her!”
Guards rushed to do exactly that as the crowd stared at me, utterly gobsmacked. They had never expected me to be walking among them. Part of me loved the fact that I had surprised them, but another dreaded them recognizing me the next time I went into town in disguise.
Nathan finally pushed through the crowd to be by my side as I waited for the guards. The funny thing was that once people knew I was the Queen, they parted for me like the Red Sea for Moses. I gathered up a calm air around me and walked forward with a reassuring smile. No matter what, I didn't want my people to worry – though I knew Lord Gregory well enough to know that he would never be so emotional unless there was a damn good reason.
The moment I reached Lord Gregory, he took me by the hand and dragged me into my office. I knew by this action more than anything that something serious had happened. Normally, he would never be so informal with me, not to mention, I resisted going into my office like it carried the plague, thus, it was probably the one place right now where we were guaranteed privacy.
We've just received word by messenger bird that Nibal has attacked one of our cities near the border,” Lord Gregory announced, getting right to the point.
That can't be!” I gasped in shock. “Fritz promised!”
Lord Gregory shook his head and shrugged. “Maybe he was planning this all along...”
I refuse to believe that!” I cried out almost angrily. “I'm going to ask him. In the meantime, prepare to send out a troop or something, and make sure I have a horse to ride because I will be going with y'all whether you want me to or not!”
Yes Majesty...” Lord Gregory grumbled in acceptance.
I grabbed Nathan's hand – he looked like he was feeling a cross between shock and numb horror – and dragged him after me as I went to find King Francis. He was still in the ballroom, mingling pleasantly with the Royal Lords and Nobles alike. He saw my determined walk and forced polite expression and frowned in curiosity and concern.
A word if I may, King Francis?” I asked with a respectful curtsey.
Of course,” he agreed, gesturing for his bodyguards to follow him discretely. They excused themselves from their dance partners to do as commanded.
With a gracious smile, I informed my guests that I simply needed his opinion on something, and then led him to my office, which Lord Gregory had vacated. Fritz wrinkled his nose at the musty smell, glanced at the serious expression on Nathan's face for a moment, but then gave me his full attention.
Is something wrong?” He wondered.
Walking over to the message that Lord Gregory had received, I picked it up and handed it to him. “I was just informed that Nibal has attacked one of my cities on the border.”
That's impossible!” King Francis roared in disbelief. “No one has the authority to mobilize the Royal Army without my permission!”
I gave him a look that clearly asked if he had granted such permission. He saw my look and was so flustered that he turned red. Stammering for a moment, he finally managed to gather his composure.
I gave my word!” He roared. “I would sooner give my life than break my word!”
Then will you help me?” I asked, clutching his hands in mine.
Of course!” He promised without the slightest hesitation. “I obviously need to find out who has the audacity to misuse my army in my absence!”
I pray that we can resolve this matter quickly,” I murmured. “Now if you'll excuse me, I have to prepare...”
As do I,” Fritz stated with a serious expression. “May I use your messenger birds?”
Only if you consent to letting someone read your message first,” I stated bluntly. “While I trust you, I don't want anyone in my Kingdom to accuse me of letting you send orders to destroy the city before we get there.”
He looked offended for a moment, but then sighed. “I understand...”
In the most brilliant stroke of timing, Lord Gregory returned at that moment to give me an update. “I've got my best man making sure that everything is ready to go first thing in the morning.”
Excellent!” I cheered mildly. “Please take Fritz to the aviary so that he can send a message. Also, he has agreed to let you read it first so that you know he's not sending any orders to attack.”
Unless they're in code,” Lord Gregory stated dryly.
True, but I'm going to give him the benefit of the doubt,” I said firmly, giving him a tight smile.
As you wish,” Lord Gregory murmured, and then gestured for King Francis to follow him.
With a sigh, I took Nathan's hand in mine again. “Let's go try to get some rest.”
He nodded in agreement, bringing my hand to his lips for a kiss. In the privacy of our bedroom, he rested his head against my shoulder.
I'm so afraid,” he confessed softly. “I have something now that matters to me more than anything I've ever had...”
I promise that I won't let anything happen to this Kingdom, and if it does, I'll fix it!” I vowed fiercely.
But that's part of what I'm afraid of,” he told me, holding my face in his hands. “You want to put yourself in the middle of a battle! What if you get hurt?!”
I won't,” I insisted. “What good is all this magic of mine if I can't use it to protect this Kingdom and everyone in it?”
There was a quick knock on the door, which promptly opened to reveal Ian. “Did something happen? Suddenly there's a strange energy in the air.”
I explained things to him in that super fast shorthand that we had. He was shocked that Nibal had attacked, and literally sat down in a chair without intending to.
So... the question is: Do you want to stay here or go home?” I asked him.
Do you even need to ask?” He responded with a look that let me know I was being stupid.
I nodded in acceptance but didn't say anything. He stood up and gave me a kiss on the cheek. “See you in the morning.”
See you,” I murmured.
Just to see if Nathan thought things were awkward between them now, he kissed Nathan on the cheek too. Rather than freak out – like Ian and I both half expected – Nathan gave him a soft smile. He looked down for one second before gathering up the courage to confess his thoughts out loud.
The more I think about it, the more certain I am that what happened between us was very interesting. I might be willing to do it again sometime...”
Ian and I exchanged grins before smothering Nathan in a group hug. We each gave him a big kiss on the cheek. Then Ian let him go and stepped back. He knew that our wedding night was not the time to have an extra lover in our bed. With a small wave, he left the room.
We waved in return, and then focused on kissing each other until all our clothes magically melted away and we nearly set the bed on fire with our passion. When we were done, I had hope that I might be able to sleep all night long.

Go To Chapter 23 

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