Xanadu Weyr – Glade

Surrounded by majestic trees with their boughs spread outward in the ovalesque clearing so as to create a gentle filtering of the light on the glade floor, this little area of paradise located in the depths of the forest that surrounds Xanadu Weyr makes its debut. Tiny flowers with their upturned pistles of yellow, pink, red and blue scatter here and there, some of them with definitive petals that glisten in what light is supplied, and others appearing like tiny balls of fuzz or fluff, with stamen so fine that to distinguish between themselves and the petals is nearly impossible. Their leaves are of all different shapes and sizes, some coming up to shield the blooms during the day and thus only allowing their beauty to be seen at night.
One thing that makes this area of the weyr so popular with the residents and riders would be the small moon pool that is situated directly center of the glade where even the longest of the tree limbs cannot reach. The water is smooth as glass, as the trees cause such a wind break that nothing ever disturbs it. The reflection of the moonlight at night confuses the flowers around it, so they sleep all day, and then their magnificent blooms open during the night. Concrete benches have been situated about the pool for people to sit and enjoy these rare occurances in relaxation.

The first of the leaves have turned to gold and bronze, marking the end of the summer in a fashion less arbitrary than the calendar which states this as the first of the year. The seasonal changes caused by Pern's yearly rotation relative to Rukbat do not happen overnight; they are instead part of a continuous and multivariate system. As such, there are already indications of autumn in the relative coolness of the breeze - at least when compared to the peak of summer; the weather is still quite pleasant - and those changes, as noted, to the leaves, as the carotenoids and anthocyanins become more prevalent, thus altering the light-reflective profile of those surfaces and their perception by the eye. The primary light is that of Rukbat, albeit indirected through the leaves; the days are still long enough that this hour may be construed as afternoon instead of evening, when judged by its physical characteristics instead of the parameters of a socially constructed view of time. Here in the glade, the shades of plant pigmentation, both those still supplemented by chlorophyll and otherwise, have been further supplemented by the addition of tasteful flower arrangements, twined against the trunks and hanging from the branches to layer a sweet scent over that of the forest. The positive aesthetic properties thereof may be ascribed primarily to Marel's guidance. In this particular instance, the flower shop's proprietor is also seated as part of the audience. There has also, in this particular instance, been a more technological contribution to the decor. Pale white blooms are nestled around color-shifting lights, so that their translucent petals catch the varying shades with a soft glow that brightens the shadows of this glade. Other flowers of more constant hue compliment and contrast in turn, but the effect is a subtle one, not intended to draw the eye. The focus of gaze is meant to be on the event occuring, not the setting; an arrangement of flowers forms a framing arch between two trees, providing a suitable indication of both where to look and where to stand.

Jethaniel stands in front of it. He's dressed in a well-tailored grey suit, paired with a shirt of smoky orchid. It is, on the whole, understated and dignified. He is likely more interesting than the scenery, despite the fact that he is doing very little other than standing there. Or at least, not visibly so. His thoughts may be rather active, but they are hidden behind a composed expression. He is aware he is being observed; it inclines him toward the same neutrality of posture that he uses in Weyr meetings or during technical surveillance. The observers - and, indeed, the circumstances - are notably different, but there are nevertheless sufficient similarities to so incline him. He waits. That for which he waits is, assuredly, worth it, but that does not alter the fact that, for the moment, Jethaniel waits.

Those looking are, for the most part, seated in angled rows of chairs, two sets of four across and three deep with an aisle in between. There's an exception in the form of a journeyman harper, dressed in subdued blues - it's the traditional harper shade, and he's very much on duty - standing off to the side. He has a small leather case in hand; a fancier variant of a clipboard, holding the important documents that will give actual legal standing under the Charter to what is conducted here today. Technically speaking, all that's required is the signing of the document in that case in front of witnesses. The harper? He's just here to advise those present as to the legal ramifications of their actions. Technicalities aside, there are a variety of traditions which may, at the discretion of bride and groom, be employed, and it is to be hoped that the consultations had prior to this ceremony have adequately expressed them. If they have not, there may be some amount of improvisation required - ideally, in a fashion not apparent to the guests who have gathered here today, witnesses in both the legal sense and the personal one. Improvisation to social circumstance is among the skills trained at the Harper Hall. Also among those skills is the production of music, and as such, the services of the Harpers have also been retained for the production of music, and a suitable tune drifts through the air to accompany the rustling of the foliage and the occasional avian attempting to assert control of a territory.

Those guests have arrived at Xanadu and more specifically at this glade, and taken their seats. On one side, Jessa sits in the front, nearest to the aisle. Her greying hair is elegantly coiffed, and she wears a dark green dress in a conservative cut that fits the torso before sweeping into a long skirt and three-quarter length sleeves. Lianiel sits beside her, vaguely uncomfortable in a black pinstriped suit with a green tie that's been selected to match Jessa's dress. Filling out the rest of that row is Nereilse, in a pale pink gown that might be better suited to a springtime occasion and doesn't exactly suit her complexion. It is, however fashionable in cut… as of last turn's spring. On the end of that row is Tolenar, who'd really rather not be where everyone can see him fidget. He has not, however, been given a choice, and so the seventeen turn old in an imperfectly fitted black suit tries to sit still.

Directly behind her eldest son is Liessa, in a short-sleeved black dress, knee-length and with a white slash along one side to save it from utter simplicity. It's still a relatively plain garment, loose enough to move in and accompanied by flats. Liessa is expecting she may require activity over the course of this event - for example, to chase after children; conveniently enough, sitting next to her is six turn old Lariette in a blue-and-white speckled sundress, followed by Ramodel at eight turns, with the dark-eye and haired Artur sitting on the aisle in a suit that looks remarkably like Tolenar's - except it fits better on him, even if he does slouch.

The aisle seat on the next row has been claimed by Vidalia, her brown eyes as wide as only a child of four turns can make them. She wears a light green party dress, with puffy little sleeves and a wide sash of darker green, and there's a matching ribbon in her medium-brown hair. Her mother Viorena is next to her, the golden brown hair seeming rather out of place amongst all the rest - though it explains where her daughter got it from, when considered in combination with that of Sulliam, sitting beside her with his arm draped casually over her shoulders. Sulliam's in a brown suit that's been mended a time or three but still looks respectable, and Viorena's dressed in a loose white blouse and a long brown skirt. In her lap there's a wispy-haired baby, wrapped up in a blanket and, fortunately, asleep.

Azliet's on the end of the row, a lanky starcrafter with grey speckled through her short-cropped chestnut hair. She's dressed in buttoned white shirt and pressed brown slacks with a tailored jacket to match, and she's sitting straight-backed and proper… though there's a slight smile playing about the corners of her mouth as she observes the others - not that she says anything.

Sitting on the other side, in the back row, is Erijeane. Maybe it seemed less crowded? Or maybe she's just trying to avoid certain sorts of temptation. Either way, she's here. She's even wearing a dress - a knee-length one in dappled blue with a border of multicolored fish around the hem and the half-length sleeves. It may not entirely meet the standards for formality of this occasion. Judging from her broad smile and the ease with which she sits, she's not actually worried about that. Besides, she's in the back row. Who's going to notice? All eyes will (should) be up front, except the eyes of those who're going to be up front, which should be on each other.

Though the thought of inviting the entire Weyr has been discarded, there is enough family on both sides to have a nice gathering at this occasion today. Sitting in the front row on the other side is the family who claims to belong to Darsce. There is a petite blonde woman, her golden dragon lounging upon the starstones as if she belongs there, even after a ringing challenge from Seryth, peace somehow achieved that's left both queens nose to nose apparently in deep conversation after the Xanadu Senior gold rose to claim her usual perch overlooking her Weyr. Asher has for the most part held her tongue though that hasn't stopped the dressed-to-the-nines older woman from eyeing others there - Jessa mostly - and dismissing them before fixing her gaze upon her soon-to-be son in law. D'had - and a cloud of whiskey fumes - are seated at the opposite end of the front row. Thus far he's holding what he's gulped to fortify him for this ceremony, thankfully, so his arrival, while one of careful steps lacked the staggar of a drunk. He's…not dressed up but the not-new black broadcloth slacks and white cotton shirt are clean and pressed. Likely sent over by someone who knows his taste for comfort and lack of laundry skills. That someone is probably Thea, who sits not beside him but directly behind him, ready to put a firm hand of restraint on him if need be. For the moment D'had is silent, not-quite-frowning at Jethaniel though that's probably because he's working so hard at ignoring Asher over there. Between them sit Halimeda, Rehsa and Evee.

There is a crowd of people - trader folk by the look of their colorful garb and weathered complexions - filling the rest of the seats behind them. The Vega Run has docked a few days prior and though the cargo off-loading took some time, there's also been a little time for revelry upon the decks. So Naois and Caileigh, grandparents of Darsce, Lairgnen, her uncle, sits beside them, all dressed in the loose-fitting slacks, colorful sashes and voluminous white shirts they're accustomed to wearing for celebrations. Her sister, half-brother N'shen are likely seated together somewhere, perhaps beside Thea.

The harpers playing pause and Darsce steps into view - having dressed at one the cottages in the nearby forest -perhaps Mur'dah's. The setting sun touches on the white lace and pearl-embroidered gown she's chosen for this occasion, turning it peachy-pink. She's decided to revive an old Earth custom rather than wear the traditional red-gown of Pern weddings. It is modest, compared to her usual manner of dress - her one concession to that is the shoulderless bodice, which hugs waist and hips and then flares gracefully to her ankles. White satin heeled shoes give her another inch of height. One hand rests gracefully on Mur'dah's arm, the other holds a bouquet artfully arranged by Marel of white and creamy flowers, the stems wrapped in sisal ribbons. A single harper plays a few low, commanding notes on his chello prompting people to rise and then softly plays strains perhaps written for today; it is simple, sweet and subtle. Only Mur'dah will feel the quiver of her fingers on her arm as Darsce begins the trek down the aisle with eyes only for Jethaniel; her smile trembles and her iceblue eyes shine with love for him.

Mur'dah is dressed in the outfit that Darsce gave him for his turnday and for this purpose, neatly pressed and immaculate. Shaved, combed, and perfect except for a few untamable bits of hair that never sit quite right. Still, he's dressed nicely and appropriately attired for the occasion. With his arm held out for Darsce, the young brownrider glances over at her and smiles at the sight of her expression. He doesn't say anything, it's not his place, but he is proud of being able to walk his sister down the aisle.

While the rate of time is - according to units of measurement such as the rotation of Pern, its orbit around Rukbat - consistent, the accuracy with which it is observed varies according to the mechanism of the observation. Various forms of clock, both mechanical and electronic, keep that time imprecisely and require periodic realignment to the time kept by the external universe - or at least the consensus thereof as established by the requirement for persons to share a view of time for scheduling purposes. The variance of time according to the perspective of those experiencing it may, depending on the circumstance, be quite significant. The perceived duration of a temporal period is often associated with the novelty of the experience; metaphorically, only the deltas from existing data are evaluated. As such, those situations substantively similar to existing ones are given less attention. They may, in fact, be conducted without consideration given to the experience, while newer ones are considered extensively. For those with few experiences, such as the children in the audience today, there are many novel scenarios. Over the turns, they will create for themselves a greater wealth of experiential knowledge, but even for those who have such a store of experience, there remain situations which have not yet been encountered.

Jethaniel has encountered Darsce before. That is not the novel portion of his experience today, and yet the time in which he awaits her seems, nevertheless, disproportionate to the number of minutes which are, in theory, between his arrival here and hers. This is not actually due to delays; things are proceeding, if not precisely on schedule, well within the established margins of error. There is, it appears to him, far more than sufficient time for him to look over those gathered here, both those long familiar and ones with whom his interactions thus far have been relatively brief. A period of days seems brief; a span of minutes seems excessively long. Such is the nature of temporal observations biased by perspective. Jethaniel waits, and conceals his impatience behind an impassive face. The pause in the music brings Jethaniel's eyes to center as he stands up a little straighter. There exists a temptation for him to leave his position, to conduct an inverse walk down the aisle to meet her. He does not; the eagerness which motivates that desire is nevertheless apparent in his posture. Her dress is an elegant one; the flowers in her hand match the single white bloom of his boutoniere. Mur'dah is formal to within several nines of precision and performs his function admirably. Jethaniel may be aware of these facts due to his peripheral vision, but the grey of his eyes are for Darsce's blue as his lips curve in a smile. The music plays. Darsce approaches.

Darsce's steps are steady and measured as she walks the length of the aisle. It isn't a long trip but to some it might seem so. To Darsce, with all eyes upon her? It might if she hadn't so completely forgotten them upon seeing Jethaniel. D'had gargles; it might be throat-clearing it might be indigestion, or he might've caught sight of Asher, it's hard to tell. Asher sniffs but that's most likely criticism of the dress or hair style or the thought that her daughter is marrying Jethaniel whereas Asher hasn't been spared a glance. Halimeda, Rehsa and Evee are all smiling; the rest, the trader clan, are quietly respectful, as is Thea, after one brief warning glance at D'had.

Darsce reaches the front, her eyes remain lifted to Jethaniel and her fingers tighten on Mur'dah's arm just a wee bit. The harper steps forward, one hand motion bids the guests sit and he asks quietly, "Who gives this bride?" That's your cue, Mur'dah.

Wait. He…wait. He has ONE LINE. Hold on. Give him a second. Mur'dah clears his throat, looking down for a second to compose himself. He's cool, he's good. Wow, why is his vision suddenly cloudy? He glances up again with a quick smile and manages to say in a relatively stable voice, "Her family and friends gathered here today do." Then he turns to offer Darsce's cheek a kiss, giving her arm a squeeze. "Love you," he whispers before he's turning to shake Jethaniel's hand and then turning to take his seat. Unless she wants him to hold her bouquet?

So many eyes on Darsce. Jessa watches with pursed lips, silent in her observation of the bride. Vidalia, eyes wide, almost reaches out with the desire of a small child to touch a pretty thing, but her mother stops her in time. Erijeane's grinning; Azliet's smile is more reserved, but quite present. There's a brief stir near the front, as Lariette discovers that she can't actually see over those in front of her, but Liessa orchestrates a hurried swap of positions between her daughter and Tolenar, the two sliding into their new places just as the harper indicates it's time to be seated.

Jethaniel's eyes, on Darsce. He keeps himself where he is, waiting for her, but he cannot entirely resist the urge that makes his fingers twitch, a partial gesture reaching toward her before lowering again in order that he may continue to wait. He may, however, keep his gaze on Darsce as he waits; this is, for the moment, sufficient. The harper's question is, while traditional, somewhat misleading. It ascribes a certain lack of personal intentionality to the actions being undertaken. Jethaniel's philosophical objections are not, however, sufficient to distract him from his contemplation of Darsce. The traditional forms are imperfect, but the context - independent of the particular words - has the desired memetic context. Mur'dah's lean toward Darsce may be useful in that it brings him further to Jethaniel's focus, which means when the hand is extended toward him, Jethaniel successfully draws his gaze away from Darsce to look to Mur'dah, incline his head in a nod as he shakes the brownrider's hand in implied gratitude for his assistance in bringing Darsce to him, a symbolic gesture of the transfer familial custody that is, in this instance, recontextualized into both a more specific gratitude for his role in the ceremony and a more general one concerning the formalization of certain established transitive relationships. After the handshake, Jethaniel's eyes return to Darsce.

Friends? Cough. Darsce has no friends. But she doesn't correct her brother. She smiles at him as his lips touch her cheek and as he attempts to move away to shake Jethaniel's hand, her hand tightens to restrain him for a moment, drawing on his arm and rising on tiptoes so she can kiss his cheek back. "Love you too, squirt," she whispers through a tight throat while blinking back a haze of moisture in her eyes. Her bouquet? She… hadn't thought what to do with it before this. She doesn't have a bridesmaid. After a moment's hesitation, she hands it to the harper. L…u…cky….him? Thus her hands are now free to offer both to Jethaniel, her hands soft, the nails buffed to a pearl pink, the ring he'd made for her glints in those color-changing lights.

The harper chuckles, takes Darsce's bouquet without blinking. His traditional question is followed by another, this one addressed to the audience. "Does anyone have an objection to the union of this man and this woman? Let them speak now or forever hold their peace." Ut oh? D'had, stirs, opens his mouth and from behind him Thea clamps a hand on his shoulder and squeezes warningly. D'had mutters and subsides. Intentionality will be covered later; for now the harper simply waits the prescribed time for objections, if any, to be addressed.

Mur'dah sits down in his assigned seat, and when the Harper asks if anyone protests, the brownrider shifts slightly to look around. Better not be any objections!

Jethaniel is not unaware of the objections certain members of the audience have, at previous times, raised. He simply considers them both inapplicable and irrelevant. If they were raised now he would, further, consider it inappropriate, as they have already been addressed to, if not the full satisfaction of the asker, at least the satisfaction of himself and Darsce. Fortunately, silence falls when the question is asked. Jethaniel takes Darsce's hands in his own, fingers curling around hers gently. His thumb brushes to touch the edge of that ring, and his head dips slightly, eyes lifting proportionately to remain on hers as he smiles to her. His lips move silently, forming words that may well be familiar enough to be comprehended by his intended audience despite the lack of vocalization. His perception of time continues to be somewhat extended in nature, but Jethaniel has no objections to this lasting for the same eternity during which the harper suggests objections must be denied if not currently presented. Despite this theoretical delay, some of them - while not stated now - may once more emerge during upcoming events, particularly those that, in a celebratory context, involve the consumption of alcohol, as that procedure is known to be correlated to a decrease in verbal restraint.

Jessa turns her head to look down the row at her family, then back to center. One corner of her mouth pulls sideways as she regards her eldest son and Darsce. Her look in the other direction - along the row defined at its terminuses with Asher and D'had - ends with a sniff. Not a frown, though. Just… a sniff, and then she returns her gaze to center. She has, it appears, no statement to make at the present time. As such, her objections will, traditionally, be discounted at all future occasions. Admittedly, if untraditionally… they already have been. Still; she is both here and silent.

Darsce's hands rest lightly in Jethaniel's, her smile grows with his silent words; she returns them, also silently. She doesn't really expect objections from her father. Not really. She does hear the stir from his direction but she almost anticipates one from another corner. When it doesn't come, a slight tension eases across her bare shoulders and she draws a steadying breath.

"Excellent!" the harper says smoothly, adding more formally, "So witnessed and so noted." He then speaks to the gathered, his words defining what marriage on Pern is, how it is a legal state that bestows certain rights upon the two involved parties and any children that may someday be born, how it is a public declaration of the two to abide with only each other; how it is a serious commitment but also a celebration of love. He says more, mostly to the couple in front of him, advice phrased lightly, punctuated with humorous illustrations, words of wisdom he almost assumes they'll forget as the turns pass because me cautions them to ask for help if they need it, ending with the promise not to just toss rope. He ends with an admonishment to Jethaniel to never stop trying to understand Darsce and to Darsce to always practice patience when responding to Jethaniel. He comes to intentionality, finally, by asking them each in turn, "Do you, Jethaniel take Darsce to wed?" and "Do you, Darsce take Jethaniel to wed?" And he'll wait, most gravely for the answer - and anything else they wish to say to one another - before concluding.

Jethaniel hears Darsce's silent words quite clearly. His perception of those spoken aloud by the harper is somewhat more questionable. There is some evidence he hears them; he occasionally nods, and the shape of his smile changes suitably for certain of the humorous parts. His gaze does not leave Darsce; there is no sufficiently compelling reason for it to do so. The other eyes on the two of them do not need to be observed. Darsce… does. The legal state into which they are entering will doubtless have various ramifications; he is unconcerned by them. His declarations to Darsce will include these public ones, that the world may be aware of certain facts concerning the two of them. He smiles for the admonition that he strive to comprehend Darsce; for the one that she be patient with him, his head lowers slightly, though his smile does not disperse. It lifts again for the question, and though it is addressed to him by the harper, it is to Darsce that he directs his answer. "I do," he says, earnest. There's a quirk of his lips, and his fingers squeeze hers gently as he adds, "I would be your husband."

Darsce's eyes likewise never leave Jethaniel's. Hers say things to him that she cannot say aloud at the moment but nevertheless are true: there's no one in her world at the moment but him; she wishes they could escape the crowd; she wants to kiss him… Oh she hears the fatherly advice they're given by the harper but she doesn't nod or otherwise acknowledge the words, absorbed as she is with the man before her. He answers in the affirmative and her eyes are wide with wonder as she regards him, her hands in his tremble as if they want to lift to brush the silent tears that escape to trace the curve of her cheeks - or lift so that her arms might fling 'round him . At the question to her, "I do," she says clearly, without any hesitation whatsoever. His choice of words earns a subtly quirked brow. He had better not be substituting the word 'slave' for husband in there! She lifts her chin and promises him firmly, "I will be your friend, your lover, your wife. Almost shyly then, she adds, "And I have something for you, Jethaniel." She reaches into her bodice, withdraws something hidden, yeah, in her cleavage because hey! Her dress has no pockets. The twilight is turning the sky lilac but the ever-changing lights catch the gleam of something as she holds it in her fingertips, offering to slip it on the appropriate finger of his left hand. The metal is still warm from resting against her skin. It is heavy, the metal bright silver with lapped facets, every four of them have six iceblue diamonds inset within. Inside engraved are the words Jethaniel and Darsce - 01/01/2699 He has given her a ring; she wishes to give him one.

The harper merely waits and at the appropriate moment bids them kiss with a murmured, "With the authority entrusted to me by Charter and Hall, you are husband and wife. Not that you need my permisson, but you may seal the pledge with a kiss if you'd like." And then he winks at them.

Jethaniel is conducting a substitution, yes, but only into that previous offer of his. The words he says now are the offer he makes from here. To be husband; an equal, joined to her willingly. He may not wish to tell her no, but he will have that option, and so he merely smiles for that quirked brow, his gaze steady and head unbowed. His hands remain around hers even as they tremble, the thumbs trailing in a gentle caress until such a time as their desire to lift, in combination with the circumstances, is sufficient to actually draw them away. Until that time, he holds them. He's not unaware of those tears, but what he is more aware of is the look in her eyes. The shine of them, and their warmth. The message so conveyed is an imprecise one, but he believes (or so his smile and the earnest affection in his gaze would strive to tell her) that he understands the general import. The details, he will be glad to hear later. His smile is already present when the question is asked of her; her answer is, while theoretically uncertain due to not yet having occured, of sufficiently high probability that his reaction proceeds under the expectation of it. The expectation is confirmed; his smile broadens, despite the fact that he saw no reasonable universe in which the answer would be otherwise. Darsce continues to speak, and Jethaniel listens to her far more carefully than he did the harper's commentary. He nods to each of her points; acknowledgment, approval, agreement. "Always," he adds. Her friend, her lover, her husband; a symmetric relationship, though the vocabulary is not entirely so. That is, nevertheless, his intention. That she has something more for him makes his brows arch slightly - what more could he want than her? - and he releases her hand as it shows sufficient intentionality to withdraw. His gaze lowers to observe that object's extraction, then lifts once more to meet iceblue eyes instead of the sparkle of diamonds. The smile lingers, but there's something deeper in his gaze, an acknowledgment of another sort as he lifts his hand that she may slip the ring onto his finger. "Then I shall wear it." Because she has gotten it for him, and while he may say no, he has no wish to do so. The fact that it is not an aesthetic decision he would make for himself is entirely irrelevant; it is one Darsce wishes to make as a representation of herself in his life even when she is absent, and as such, he is glad to have it. Once the ring is placed, his hand reclaims hers, fingers twining. Later, he'll note the interior; for now, he wears it gladly. The harper's suggestion is also received gladly, and Jethaniel leans toward Darsce to press his lips to hers in a kiss which, while he intends it to remain a chaste one - they do, in fact, have an audience - will certainly be lingering. In this, he has no desire for brevity.

When the ring is slipped into place, Darsce lifts her eyes to Jethaniel's, seeking his reaction to her gift, unsure whether he approves or is merely placating her whim. To her this is more than a statement to the rest of the world - though it is very much that. She did not make this - she couldn't if she tried. But she did design it and had it commissioned by the same jeweler who makes the other pieces she designs. She's never gotten him a gift before, is at a loss to choose something in that regard but having researched the meaning of the old Earth customs is saying with the ring what it symbolized to them: Love without end; unbroken. This is her intentionality. Later she will hand him a card with this written out in poem form but for now he will have to read the unspoken message in her eyes: she loves him. Her smile answers his as he entwines his fingers with hers once more and she lifts her face to his, her lips meeting his in that chaste kiss to seal the promise, lingering as if the crowd has melted away.

The harper clears his throat and then beaming, raises his voice to carry to the back rows, "May I present to you Jethaniel and Darsce." Well duh, they are the same people as they were before, but the way the harper says it, they are - and they aren't. They are the same individuals and yet… they are a unit. And now related to both sides of the aisle.

D'had isn't smiling - not yet. He's not quite frowning either though. His smile will be held in reservation to see how his baby is over the next several months. If he makes her cry, even once! Asher doesn't smile either and she's basically caressing Jethaniel with her eyes all but licking her lips. Thea - and probably N'shen and Marel are smiling. The grandparents, uncles aunts and cousins from the Vega run erupt into cheers, applause and whistles - noisy and enthusiastic. The harpers off to one side begin to play something lilting but still muted. After one sweep of the group before them, Darsce returns her gaze to Jethaniel. Her smile to her husband is radiant - also a touch uncertain. She has no clue what to do now.

The metal is warm as it slips around Jethaniel's finger; so are his eyes as they meet Darsce's. The technical expertise required for this ring likely also exceeds his own skill, though he managed the simpler design of the one he gave to Darsce. The statement it makes to the world is one he agrees with, but is the less important one. The statement it makes to him is that Darsce wishes to be with him; that she had provided this ring as a physical reminder to him of her intentions, even when she is not present. That fact is not something he was in any danger whatsoever of forgetting, ring or not, but it is nevertheless something he wishes to remember; to have brought to his attention by the weight of that ring on his finger, the ridges against the fingers to either side, the shine of metal as his hand moves. So yes; he approves. Later, he'll read about Darsce's intended meaning, but for now, his own interpretation is sufficient to please him. For now, so is the touch of his lips to hers. Later, when they are not observed… there are other consummations of those promises to be had. Even given his knowledge of the crowd, Jethaniel might grow distracted in the present moment; that may be part of why the harper clears his throat so, to draw the couple's attention back to their surroundings.

In particular, their family; Jessa's lips are slightly pursed, considering this turn of events. They begin to move, something that might, in fact, become a smile - or would have, except the start of cheers from the other side draw her attention. Her gaze doesn't actually reach as far as Darsce's grandparents, because instead, she sees Asher, and the start of a smile is cast away in favor of a disapproving frown for the mother of the bride and a turn forward again to sit straight-backed and pointedly proper. Unfortunately, she's forgotten her smile somewhere along the way. Lianiel has one, though - small, but that's only because it takes work to get past the gruff, and besides… his thoughts are focused turns away from here.

Nereilse is sniffle-crying. Because weddings. Lariette's not sure whether to stare at the tears (isn't this a party? Whyfor sad?) or at the couple up front, but behind her Liessa is smiling, along with the rest of her row. Tolenar and Ramodel even join in the applause! Admittedly, they're partly just glad that the ceremony's over - Tolenar mutters to his brother under the noise of the crowd; something involving cake - but it's still a celebration of the moment.

Sulliam grins, and leans over to kiss Viorena on the cheek, while Vidalia kicks her feet and joins in the cheers, though she doesn't entirely understand why. Erijeane, on the other side, knows exactly why she's joining in with those cheers, and while Azliet doesn't cheer, her smile's certainly a pleased one for the couple.

Jethaniel and Darsce. Will they always be happy? D'had's unspoken imperative aside, likely not. There will be challenges, but they are together, and those challenges will be faced together… even when the challenge is, in fact, each other. Jethaniel smiles to his wife, and caresses her fingers as he sets them on his arm. "Shall we?" Together, they may face the world - or, for the moment, at least the reception, after he walks her down that aisle in reverse of certain of her previous actions. He will not, however, be handing her back to Mur'dah.

Darsce is good with not being handed back to Mur'dah! Her hand curves around Jethaniel's forearm and she nods. Shall they? Yes indeed! She's busy smiling at Jethaniel and thus misses Asher's lecherous ogling of her husband. Her eyes flick left, then right. She catches Jessa's expression and D'had's frown but the cheering overrides them both and her smile grows. She and Jethaniel are together! Nothing save the two of them can change that. She lifts her chin and walks beside her husband proudly as they traverse that aisle. The harper follows them; he'll get them off to one side to sign a few documents - one of which is a copy for the two of them to keep. Darsce will sign her name in the spots indicated with swift, sure strokes of the pen before handing it to Jethaniel, keeping the fingers of her hand curved about his arm while he signs. Right now distance isn't something she'll endure with grace and she wants to be touching him.

Darsce and Jethaniel will indeed face their challenges! Realistically no one is happy one hundred percent of the time, and it takes two to work things through, but try telling D'had that! Poor Jethaniel. At least given how things are, Darsce won't be running to him in tears over this or that. There is wine provided but no whiskey. This hasn't stopped the bluerider from tucking his own small flask in his pocket and things might get…interesting if he clashes with Asher. For now though, he's avoiding her - and not really saying much to Thea either, who is half-keeping an eye on him as they all file out behind the departing couple. It's Jessa and Lianel who D'had smiles lop-sidedly at, attempting to be tipsily charming. Asher? She's traipsing down the aisle in an attempt to catch up to the newlywed couple. There might be dancing? If so she'll hover shark-like to claim the groom if she can get away with it. The guests will be bidden to the area where a simple, but elegant buffet awaits under the festive lights casting a soft glow over the flower-bedecked tables in the deepening evening.

Jethaniel has noticed Asher's reaction - she's likely made certain of that fact, during whatever opportunities find his gaze in her approximate vicinity - but he has not provided her with any response. Nor, if he can avoid it, will he. He has Darsce, and it's to her that he smiles as they head down the hall, past the assorted expressions of the first row and then through the rather less socially complicated cheering. The harper draws them aside, and another one directs the crowd - which, despite her intentions, will include Asher. The attempt to direct her may take much of the harper's attention; fortunately, the rest of the guests are being compliant. Jessa and Lianiel manage relatively polite small talk with D'had - Lianiel because he actually says things, Jessa because she doesn't - as they head out with the rest of the group, Nereilse following behind them. Erijeane mingles with the Vega Run folk, and Sulliam and his family wait for Liessa's so they can walk together - because Vidalia and Lariette chatter happily, and by the time they reach the tables, that green party dress has already picked up its first grass stain. Tolenar slips ahead to try to find someone his own age (more or less) to talk with, and Ramodel just trails along behind. Azliet smiles politely to everyone along the way, but doesn't attempt conversations.

Jethaniel signs where indicated. He's reviewed these documents before; at present, he is interested in acting efficiently such that he may return his full attention to Darsce, though he does not immediately seek to return to the party. Instead, once he has returned the pen to the harper, he lifts the hand so freed to gently brush his fingers to Darsce's cheek, his smile slightly wondering in its affection. They are, for the moment, free of the majority of observation. "I am your husband," he says, tone both pleased and faintly bemused. "I believe I understand the legal ramifications," he has, after all, reviewed them, "but I nevertheless look forward to discovering what it means." It may be more complex than expected. It will certainly involve challenges, and Darsce will, in due time, find reasons to be displeased with her husband - though he will, once he has become aware of them, work to resolve such issues. He has a strong motivation to do so. "I love you." He leans toward her, to brush his lips to hers in another kiss. Then? The food and their guests await, and there will be congratulations and exhortations and, ideally, a minimum of confrontations. The harpers will provide dinner music, and from there it's an easy transition to dancing, merely necessitating a change of tune. The change of partner Asher's hoping for will be far, far more difficult for her to obtain.

Darsce …has skimmed the papers prior to this event. She's had to have the legalese translated, rolled her eyes and asked why it's taken a whole page and fancy mumbo-jumbo to declare the two of them are husband and wife. She has nothing of value to make stipulations to, has already mentioned she has no problems pooling their incomes and possessions. She trusts Jethaniel and has told him so. She watches him sign, meets his eyes when he looks up to speak to her. Her smile becomes sweeter for his kiss and she, equally bemused, can say nothing other than, "I love you too, Jethaniel," after returning it. She has no idea what being married means other than the other doesn't just disappear - or, well, they aren't supposed to anyway. She will have a lot to learn! Loving him is an excellent first step, however. Their presence is required for the dining and dancing, otherwise she'd suggest they sneak away to be alone. That's what she really wants.

The meal, catered by the Rustic Treetop Cafe, is ready to be served, the cake, on a table off to one side, awaiting their attention to cut it. For the most part, the guests are seated at the tables, though there is some mingling. The trader folk know Thea and of course Mur'dah, Marel and D'had but they're sociable enough to introduce themselves to Jethaniel's family. Thea can only keep an eye on D'had for so long, finding herself in a conversation with someone, he's slipped away towards those he doesn't know, sipping on his whiskey flask, his judgment is questionable and his questions about his new son-in-law, even though he means well, are less than diplomatic. Asher has been sidetracked by the harper but remains tiger-restless, tossing glances over the man's shoulder for the return of the newly wed couple.

As legalese mumbo jumbo goes, these papers are relatively brief, though that fact is unlikely to have changed Darsce's opinion of them. Jethaniel has no issues with the monetary ramifications. He would already have given Darsce anything of that she asked for; that she need not ask is merely efficient. His own resources mostly consist of turns of various salaries he hasn't bothered to spend in any significant fashion - though nontrivial portions of those reserves have gone into a certain project, these past months. In the coming ones, they will learn the details of what that marriage means - to them - but their exploration will be motivated by that love. Jethaniel smiles to Darsce; were their presence not required, he would be quite glad to slip away with her to be alone… but their guests are expecting them. His fingers brush over the back of her hand, still on his arm, and once he assures himself that the harper's done with arranging papers and all the legal matters are completed, Jethaniel accompanies Darsce to the reception, where they will complete the social matters despite the fact that they'd prefer to address more personal ones.

Fortunately, the mingling - while present - has not yet resulted in any social issues significant enough to require immediate action. The traders may - if conversations get past the stage of introductions - find some common ground with Artur (though he's traveled with caravans instead of ships) Erijeane, or Lianiel. The cake, at least from a distance, has passed Liessa's inspection. D'had will - depending on who he asks - receive various answers about Jethaniel. It's a natural enough subject that nobody is shocked by it, even if he's not entirely polite, and there'll be some questions back about Darsce. Jessa's one of the minglers, talking to the seated Viorena and cooing over the new baby. Her occasional disapproving looks for Asher's behavior are, at least, silent.

And here they are, Jethaniel and Darsce. He glances over the gathering, then back to Darsce as he leads her to the small table set up just for the two of them. It's not like they have a wedding party to sit with, and the prospect of sitting with their immediate families was not one desired by either half of the happy couple. As such, they'll sit with each other. The caterers have been waiting, keeping the food warm and cold as appropriate, and the harpers will play dinner music as it's served.

Despite the fact that Darsce cannot make her escape yet, she is very happy. At the brush of fingers on the hand resting on Jethaniel's arm, she lifts her other and places it atop his, leaning against him and smiling softly up at him. Aided, no doubt, by those changing lights twined in the branches overhead, she has stars in her eyes. She's willing to go to that table, sweeping her white skirts under her to sit. She hasn't eaten all day - she's been far too keyed up to do so - and yet, as the caterers prepare to bring them covered plates, her attention isn't upon the food. Her head tips back to take in the flowers and lights, the tables, glimpse of the cake, then regard the man beside her. "It's perfect," she breathes. He is, at least as far as she is concerned.

D'had is taking his dinner in liquid form. This… could be problematic down the line. Presently he is seated with his rowdy seafaring family but they're all behaving thus far. Thea has seen most of the people, made them welcome to Xanadu Weyr and directed them to one of the headwoman's assistants for a room if they wish to remain overnight after the reception and now stops beside the table where Jethaniel and Darsce sit. "Congratulations," she says with a quiet smile. "I hope you two will be very happy." And stay at Xanadu for many turns! That part she does not say but it's there, hanging in the air regardless. The Weyrwoman will linger for a moment before taking her leave, pulled back to Weyr matters. Asher, sitting by herself, is nibbling daintily but her eyes are watchful of that small table for two.

The existence of actions Jethaniel would find preferable to the current plan is not to be construed to mean he is not quite glad to be here; so his smile for Darsce and the affection in his touch may convey. His attention is on her, not the lights - designed and prototyped by him, produced by techcraft apprentices for the dual incentives of marks paid and lab credit - and the brightness he sees is that of her eyes, the radiance not that of photons moving at various wavelengths, but of her smile. He sits beside her, twining his fingers gently with hers to rest their hands on the table. He could, in theory, be intending to release that hand once the plates arrive, but the probability of him doing so is rather low. Darsce takes in their surroundings, and Jethaniel watches her, his smile spreading as she draws her conclusion. "I am glad." Not that it is perfect - that would, in fact, be impossible - but that she finds it so. Her perceptions are both inaccurate and something he seeks to shape the world to please. He is glad she finds this favorable; he is glad to be here, with her. It is Thea's approach that draws his gaze from Darsce, and he inclines his head to the Weyrwoman. "Thank you." As for their projected happiness? He looks back to Darsce, and smiles as his fingers caress at hers. "I believe we shall." The same answer might apply to the hope left unspoken, though Thea has been made aware that, in the short term, her Steward will be taking a vacation. He will not, until his return, be available to assist with those Weyr matters, and his farewell to Thea is a polite one before he returns his attention to Darsce.

The Weyrwoman's approach to their table may have been a signal, albeit an implicit one. It's not long after her departure that Liessa approaches, coming up more toward Jethaniel's side of the table. "Congratulations," she says, offering a smile to both of them. "It was a lovely little ceremony." Back at her table, the food's being served, so she likely won't stay for long, but for the moment, the children at that table (all together, for ease of handling) are being kept in line by the other adults. The rest of his family is at mingled tables with Darsce's - Jessa and Lianiel are with N'shen and Halimeda, and Erijeane and Azliet have drawn the short straw of being with Asher, because the Iernian goldrider can't exactly be given a table entirely to herself… tempting as the prospect may be.

Jethaniel designed them and so Darsce admires and enjoys them as she does being with him. Her fingers curve to fit with his, press in the best semblance of a hug she can manage with Jessa watching - and with Asher eyeing her husband (yeah, she's noticed) it is blatantly possessive. Despite feeling under the microscope, her smile for him is unfeigned, only broken to attend the Weyrwoman, her stepmom, as she congratulates them. Her response is a step behind Jethaniel's, "Thanks!" Her smile is bright - she side-glances to Jethaniel as he states his belief and she drawls, "We intend to make the attempt a priority." Perhaps not the best thing to say to her boss! Oh well? She does not watch the Weyrwoman retreat nor does she examine the plate before her. It is Jethaniel she looks to with a dreamy expression only to blink up at Liessa, smile and dip her head and murmur, "Thank you."

D'had is pushing up from the table where he's been, weaving his way towards where his baby and her husband are seated. He's slow enough that Liessa makes it there first. He's got what he thinks is a charming grin pulling at his mouth as he bobs his head at the ladies of the unknown Cove Hold family but when he makes it to the table, he is growly-gruff. One hand is offered to Jethaniel to shake. "Take care 'a her," is his way of congratulating him, his grip strong from a calloused palm if the steward accepts his handshake. Darsce rises, perhaps from the impulse to sidetrack him if need be and is swept up in a hug. "You be good," D'had mutters sternly and then releases her. His baby isn't old enough to be married?! Is she? How could that have happened? He needs more whiskey and there isn't any here, so he wobbles off into the shadows.

Asher is coolly asking questions designed to make her feel superior to her tablemates, subtle put-downs couched in the guise of socially-acceptable 'compliments'. Some of the questions are blatantly information-seeking about Jethaniel. She does not approach the table. She'll wait to do that when they rise to have that first dance. The grandparents, uncles and aunts from the Vega Run are cheerful and festive but appropriately so.

On this particular occasion, it seems rather appropriate for those joined hands to remain quite visible. The gesture is one not likely to be thought excessive even by the most conservative viewers, though it is, apparently, somewhat insufficient a signal to certain others. Darsce provided Jethaniel with a ring; has she considered the potential utility of a flashing neon sign? For her answer regarding their happiness, he glances to her and smiles, his fingers squeezing against hers gently as he murmurs a quiet, "Indeed so." Thea is also his boss, yes… but he's quite capable of conducting complex prioritizations in a time-dependent fashion. Which is to say, his attempts to please Darsce will only rarely occur when he's on the clock as Steward, though the rest of his hours may be filled with such attempts. There's time enough for their eyes to meet again before Liessa draws Jethaniel's attention. He looks up, nods, and smiles as he says, "Thank you." There's apparently little more to be said between Jethaniel and his eldest sister, and when D'had arrives with what his drunkeness would like to claim is charm, she's already departing, though she gives the bluerider a nod in passing. Jethaniel shakes D'had's hand, his grip a firm one without being a challenge. "I will," he assures his bride's father, and does not add the clarification that he intends to do so according to whatever method Darsce instructs him is suitable. It may not correspond with D'had's concept thereof, but his satisfaction is not one that Jethaniel makes a priority. He observes as Darsce is hugged by her father, and as D'had goes, he lifts a hand toward her, palm facing up in invitation that she rejoin him. His smile remains, but there's a look in his eyes that wonders if he'll see the same from her, as her father staggers off to the rest of his evening.

Back at the table, Azliet's expression is a consistent, meaningless smile. She seldom bothers answering Asher's questions, though she's responsive enough when Erijeane addresses something her way. Erijeane? Well, she's certainly replying, though the stories she tells have a tendency to not get to the point… especially when that point involves Jethaniel. So yes, Asher can hear all about the waters between Cove Hold and Landing (where Jethaniel studied) and about Ista Weyr's dislike of technology (what Jethaniel studied) and the many details of that time the kitchen almost burned down (while Jethaniel's favorite food was cooking). Erijeane is quite willing to talk. She might even be enjoying herself.

Once D'had is making his way off, Jessa rises from her table. She waits a moment for Lianiel - the food's good, he's not going to let it get cold - and then the two of them approach Jethaniel and Darsce. Jessa's expression seems pensive, almost. Thoughtful, in a way that has her brow lightly furrowed as they approach, a small frown that she'll turn to a smile when they get close enough. Lianiel's got a less deliberate smile, one that sneaks past the general gruffness of his expression in bits of wrinkle around eyes and mouth.

Asher would likely consider a neon sign an invitation to challenge. She's pretty much got the same reaction to those joined hands and that conspicuous ring. It's the thing where she wants what someone else has and the enjoyment she sees others experiencing makes her want it all the more. It doesn't hurt that Jethaniel is attractive, either. If she's frustrated by Erijeane's rambling, she seethes quietly, under the surface but another woman might pick up on it; Asher isn't as subtle as she likes to think. The questions she's asking are obviously leading ones about the woman's brother and since she's receiving little information, Erijeane surely must be aware that she's thwarting the petite goldrider.

Darsce does not watch her father go; she will not allow him to spoil her night and so she turns back to Jethaniel and her smile in response to him is determined at first, growing more tender as her hand is placed in his strong one. She keeps her iceblue eyes on his grey ones as she reseats herself beside him, but movement in her periphery draws her attention. Oh. Oh, damn. Jessa is approaching! Darsce schools her face to be neutral, to respectful rather than the smug 'I married your son anyway' that she almost feels inside. She's willing to try new beginnings with her mother in law and so swallows the impulse to be cheeky. Her smile is primarily for Lianel, but it includes Jessa on the edges. She hasn't eaten a bite yet, but that's no matter. Darsce bites her tongue, allowing Jethaniel's mother to speak first.

Erijeane might, possibly, have been warned about Asher. Also been apologized to for exposure to her, but she laughed off that part of what Jethaniel said. She knows a great deal about her brother; so does Azliet. Neither of them appear inclined to share, though Erijeane says nothing rather more voluminously than the starcrafter. A challenge? Oh yes. It's a rather entertaining one… for Erijeane.

Jethaniel curls his fingers around Darsce's, gentle in their strength. He draws her close, kissing the back of her hand as she seats herself again. He says nothing with words, simply assures her with touch and gaze that he is here. The change in her expression is what informs him of a change to their circumstances, and he looks away from her to see his parents. Ah. That would explain the reaction, yes. His hand remains with Darsce's, fingers curving together with hers. He is, most assuredly, here, and while he does smile for his parents, there's a certain formality to the expression, an uncertainty of response that's hidden behind a polite shell.

Jessa's… actually not the first one to speak. The pensive, thoughtful expression seems to be delaying her words, and so it's Lianiel who gets there first. "Took you long enough." That's to Jethaniel, and he thumps his son heartily on the shoulder before looking to Darsce - ah, but Jessa's had time to gather her words, and she has something to address to the bride. "I hope you and Jethaniel will be happy." She's not smiling; she's not frowning, either. "Marriage takes a lot of work. Some people aren't willing to put the effort in." There's a purse of her lips, a moment's pause before she adds, "I hope you are." Her lips twitch faintly up. It might be a smile.
It's that gentle strength that Darsce loves, though other times, while dragon-rare… are not half bad either. She yanks her mind with difficulty back to the here-and-now. Iceblue eyes dancing at the interplay between father and son, so when Lianel looks to her she is ready with a twinkling wink and quipped, "Thank Faranth it took him long enough for me to come along!" That's all she manages before Jessa speaks. The bride falls silent to listen, says a quiet, "Thanks," and then consider the advice. Advice that could be considered offensive. Darsce allows the silence to stretch while she cocks her head and observes her mother-in-law. At length her lips curl impishly and she drawls, "I've always felt that a pleasurable prospect feels less like work and more like play." Her other hand steals around Jethaniel's upper arm and her blonde head is leaned against his shoulder in a sort of cuddle-hug. "I'm totally looking forward to playing with Jethaniel. I'm so glad we see eye to eye about that." She smirks.

Asher is exhausting her repertoire of questions and veiled insults, looking rather bored save for when she glances at that table for two. Well now, there's the mother of the groom up there so it ought to be kosher for her to approach. "Excuse me," she says coolly to the others she's seated with and she rises, a feline on the prowl to stroll to the table. She arrives just as Jessa utters her admonition. It's not like her to defend her offspring. The words that fall from her lips are anything but, purred on the heels of Darsce's. "And if she lacks effort, I'll be happy to help her out." Although that's said to Jessa, Asher is looking at Jethaniel the whole time.

Erijeane, despite the fact that she's been quite talkative up until now, seems to suddenly lose her need for conversation once Asher leaves. There's a sigh when she sees where the woman's headed, but other than that? Nothing. Just another roll, to be picked apart and dunked at the remnants on her plate.

Certain expectations aside, Jethaniel was not, in fact, operating according to a schedule nor intentionally pursuing this state for its own sake. "It…" he begins to his father, and then his lips twitch at Darsce's statement. "…was just long enough." The correct sequences of events at the correct rate, wherein their correctness is defined by the fact that they have brought him to this point, here, with Darsce. This universe may, in fact, be the best of all possible universes when it comes to Jethaniel's lovelife; he is certainly inclined to consider it so. The duration of the time in which he was theoretically capable of marriage but did not engage in it is not one of the standards which he uses for assessing the quality thereof, and so - temporal facts notwithstanding - he is quite satisfied. To his mother's well-wishes, though not entirely directed at him, he inclines his head in acknowledgment. The statement regarding the work necessary he has heard before, and while he does not reply to it, his other hand reaches over to curve lightly over his and Darsce's, there on the table. He turns his head to smile at her as she leans in against him, and while her statement has recontextualized play to a rather broad definition, he… cannot help but consider certain subdomains thereof, concerning both playfulness and love. Jethaniel's fingertips tease over the back of Darsce's hand in a soft caress… then stop, as he hears Asher's voice. Being distracted by his bride, Jethaniel did not notice the approach of her mother, and his face stiffens as he looks up to the goldrider. He could say a great many things. He settles on a single, very simple one, directly to Asher's face. "No."

Lianiel snorts his own amusement at Darsce's rejoinder. He might ask her why she took so long - and made his son wait around - but Jessa's speaking, so he doesn't. He makes a habit of not interrupting his wife. It's one of the things, at least according to him, that's contributed to their many turns of marriage. Asher's comment makes him lift an eyebrow, looking from her, to Jethaniel, then back to her.

"Mm," is all Jessa has time for in response to Darsce before there's an interruption inserted into the conversation. The mothers meet! The mother of the groom looks to Asher, and frowns - but she doesn't address the mother of the bride, oh no. Jessa looks back to Darsce, though her smile is obviously a forced one. "…and some simply aren't capable." Of the work of marriage. "But I think you'll figure it out." By playing with her son? Well… "So long as you keep on when it is work, you'll have plenty of chance to play." …yes, actually. The smile's a touch more genuine, though Jessa still looks like she's overeaten on thoughts, some of them rather sour.

Poor Erijeane. If she were a male, Asher would have probably hung on every word. As it is… Jessa's words spoken not to her, but perhaps taken as if aimed her way, make the goldrider turn and eye her with haughty cool superiority. "Then there are those who make it tedious work for everyone around them. But I'm sure you'd know more about that." Did she even hear that no of Jethaniel's? Oh indeed! But she has gone through most of her life ignoring what she doesn't want to hear. She's…airy in the face of her unwelcome, stepping behind that table and leaning down to drape an arm around both Darsce and Jethaniel - or attempting to - give the pair in an embrace. She air-kisses Darsce's cheek and murmurs, "Nice catch!" and then attempts a real one for Jethaniel's. While there, her comment, supposedly for his ears only but Darsce is meant to overhear it, is a silky, "Let me know if you need any help, hm?"

"You got that right!" Darsce manages to answer Jessa, obviously thinking of her own mother, whom she is staring open-mouthed at after her blatant comment to Jessa. From the look on her face, she unsure whether to laugh or cry. In a moment she's going to lose it and it promises to be epic! Though she is biting her tongue - hard - in an attempt not to. Bless the harper that steps forward and murmurs something to Jethaniel about them leading them in the first dance!

While Jethaniel does have a brother… he's also taken. Poor Asher? Only, not really. There's an aphorism concerning the making of beds and lying in them. Jessa could - along with assorted other holder wisdom - dispense it, but she won't. The goldrider would likely only hear certain parts of it, and not derive any of the intended meaning. Though, she did at least notice when she was being talked about! It's a start. "There's things I don't know as well as I'd like," Jessa says - allegedly to Asher, this time, but at the end, there's a glance to Darsce and a pursing of lips accompanied by a softening of her eyes. There may yet be aspects of her new daughter-in-law she finds off-putting, but, well… compared to her mother, Darsce is a model of propriety, and Jessa isn't very well going to blame the girl for having picked up a few bad habits. It's hardly her fault she's come from less-than-ideal circumstances.

Jethaniel's face may be impassive - he does not wish there to be an incident at his wedding; he wishes even less to be responsible for causing one - but Darsce can feel his fingers tighten against hers as Asher encroaches, a combination of possessiveness and tension. His rejection of the embrace is a subtle one, a distance created by one hunched-up shoulder and a lean away. Not nearly enough to stop Asher, and for the sake of not causing an incident, he tolerates it. The lean away from that kiss is somewhat less subtle, though - as it does not involve physically displaced her - still insufficient to stop Asher. He might be capable of tolerating that as well, but in combination with her words, it makes his hand tighten against Darsce's with the inclination, incompletely supressed, to form a fist. It's only a moment before he realizes her hand is there and forces his fingers loose again, but it is nevertheless fortunate for all concerned that the harper appears to make that suggestion and provide a mechanism for escape. Jethaniel nods, and his head turns stiffly, away from Asher and toward Darsce. It takes a moment before he speaks, and if his tone is slightly rougher than usual, it is not because of her; the way his eyes seek hers may assure her so. "Would you care to dance?"

Darsce endures Asher's display of 'affection' without grimacing but she does not return her air kiss as she might normally do to placate her mother; Asher doesn't notice because Jethaniel is next in her line of sight. That hunched shoulder and lean away is effective in one regard: Asher's lips meet nothing but air when she attempts that congratulatory kiss. She doesn't try it a second time because that harper has taken the goldrider's arm and firmly drawn her away at the same time he's murmured the prompt about the dance. He retains the woman's arm although he makes no move to lead her out onto the dance floor. Asher? Likely to save face, the Iernian is turning her attention to the harper. Does he get an honorarium for his service today? Perhaps it might be increased for his skillful intervention.

Darsce does not table flip - crisis averted! Though just prior to the harper's rescue she has time to meet Jessa's eyes with mostly-veiled chagrin - she'd been vainly hoping her parents would be on their best behavior - before Jethaniel's tightening fingers draw her attention to him with a wince. She knows it's not her and yet, "I'm sorry," she breathes. Since Asher will never think to apologize. This time she does not try to hide her annoyance and distress when she meets grey eyes. "I- yes. I would like that very much," she says firmly of dancing. She still doesn't know if he can, indeed, dance. But even a pretense would be a welcome escape and she rises without hesitation. To the dance floor that's been constructed specifically for tonight, where she turns to face him as the harpers begin the appropriate first strains of dance music. She curtsies, but that's as formal as she gets as she tilts her face up to smile at him with a twinkle of mischief. Her arms lift to rest both hands lightly on his shoulders; none of those formal, at-arm's-length dances for her, thanks! And if he doesn't dance, well, it's pretty much swaying while embracing.

Lianiel looks to Jessa, giving her a meaningful arched brow. She nods to him slightly, then turns back to the newly-married couple. "You two should come visit sometime." Because she wants to get to know her new daughter-in-law? Maybe. But there's something of a smile, and what may, at the moment, be even more welcome is the fact that those words are all she says before she lets them head off to the dance floor and goes with Lianiel back to their own table.

Jethaniel takes a deliberate breath, gives a small shake of his head to Darsce's apology. It is not her. The attribution for the problematic behavior is clear; responsibility - and the ability to resolve it - lie firmly with the person least inclined to do so. That he is made uncomfortable and unhappy by her mother does not change his love for Darsce. Jethaniel nods to her acceptance of dancing, and rises with her. There's a kiss for the fingers he clenched, and then he pauses at Jessa's words. Jethaniel looks to his mother, inclines his head, but… he doesn't answer her, and his gaze returns to Darsce. If they go, it will be her decision as much as his. For now, he leads her to the dance floor, and he bows to her curtsy, then returns her smile with a soft, almost shy one as he slips his hands around her waist. His motions are easier now that they've left the previous situation, no longer stiff with enforced control. If all (or at least many) eyes are on them, he can ignore that if he keeps his own eyes on Darsce's. He does so; there is her, there is the music from the harpers, and Jethaniel does, in fact, know how to dance. He may be slightly rusty - it's been turns since he learned - but he remembers the appropriate patterns, his feet are capable of following them, and the music is not unduly fast. If he were to try something overly complex, he might discover the limits of his recall, but Jethaniel is not inclined to anything more complicated than the tracing of figures wherein the shifting of weight creates the appearance of a sway while maintaining balance throughout… and keeping him close to Darsce. He is quite inclined to that part, grey eyes fixed on iceblue ones.

Darsce could perhaps have anticipated that the invitation would come sooner or later and thus isn't terribly surprised by it. She flicks a look to Jethaniel, then returns a hint of a smile and nods to Jessa but makes no promises. It will, no doubt take some mental preparation and internal bracing for the words of wisdom Jessa will want to impart while they're there. The harper remains attentive to Asher, keeping her preoccupied so that dance may go uninterrupted.

As Jethaniel places his hands properly, Darsce's mischievous smile turns pleased. She takes a half-step back and allows her hands to slide down his shoulders a few inches. Now he can lead if he so wishes but that's as far away as she wants to move. She has eyes for no other; the others present fade into a haze of an unfocused blur, semi-forgotten as she tips her head back to give Jethaniel a dreamy smile. "I love you," she says because she does and because he's wonderful and because…so very many reasons. The music plays - it's a sweet tune but she couldn't name it. Perhaps it was composed specifically for them? Over by the cake stands Xanadu's head cook, guarding her treasure and clearly expecting them to come cut it after their dance. The crowd from the Vega Run are still eating and watching the dance, somewhat quieter now but certainly not silent. Uncomplicated sort that they are, they're are smiling, happy and pleased for the couple.

Jethaniel smiles to Darsce, and while this dance could simply be taken as an opportunity for them to press close to one another… they will, in fact, actually dance. The alignments of their motions to the music may be sufficiently pleasant to compensate for the minor reduction in proximity. "I love you," he replies, the phrase mirrored because it is the relevant sentiment, and there is no need for qualifications or addendums. Despite the lack of need, he provides one. "I am yours - your husband." Perhaps Asher's attempted interference is part of why he feels the desire to state that at this juncture, but he does so with an earnest pleasure at the prospect and affection in his gaze. "And you are mine." He leads Darsce in the dance, his guidance gentle, the motions practiced into familiarity and his partner… also a familiar one, if not in this particular context. Perhaps she'll become so, if she desires to dance with him again. He is her husband; that can certainly extend to the creation of implicit dance cards. Tonight, he dances with her. At the end of the song, it would be appropriate for him to step back, to bow over her hand and kiss it. Jethaniel instead, as the harpers signal the ending of the song, steps closer, removing that half-step's distance from between them as his arms slide further around Darsce. He provides that kiss, not to the back of her hand, but to her lips.

Darsce quite enjoys that dance, much as she wishes to be close to Jethaniel, to be alone with him, this, for this moment is right. There is something exquisite about being led across the floor by him, the graceful movement, the patterns they create together. She will definitely want to do this again. Her smile in response to his statement is bemused - the fact that they belong to each other is still new but she says, "You are. And I am." Then the smile, as she glances towards where Asher is becomes something bordering on pitying. Asher doesn't worry Darsce, she's more of an annoyance. Her gaze does not linger there but returns to Jethaniel, lost enough in his grey eyes that the end - and the kiss takes her by surprise. She manages to return it with a little spurt of laughter, prolongs it just a little, afterwards her blue eyes sparkling up into his, her smile is radiant. "There is one last requirement before we can escape, husband of mine," Her head tilts towards the cake. It's the escape more than the sweet that makes her look so pleased - not that she hasn't enjoyed this, but…

…but there are other things they wish to do, once they have escaped the various gazes of their guests. Jethaniel is not entirely unmindful of those eyes as he holds Darsce and kisses her, but he is sufficiently incentivized by her presence to proceed regardless of the fact that they are being watched. He keeps his head turned down toward hers after the kiss, eyes close to hers and the rest of the world a distant blur. The voices of others are nevertheless a reminder of their presence, but Jethaniel's attention remains on Darsce. "So there is," he agrees, and his arms squeeze around her for a moment before loosening and altering their positions so as to escort Darsce from the dance floor. Others may take their places on it, for the party will continue on without their presence. The harpers will play, and there will - once they have cut it - be cake.

Their progress toward the tiered cake the baker so zealously guards is interrupted by a pair of small children. Vidalia beams as she pronounces, "Happy wedday!" She's not entirely sure of the word, and they might have gotten tangled up somewhere between brain and mouth, but she's certainly happy about it (whatever it is). Lariette, two turns older and proportionately wiser, goes, "Nuh-uh! It's happy conradlations!" Or something like that. She's pretty sure there's a congratulatory part. Isn't there? Well, at least they're agreed on the happy. Behind them both is Sulliam of the indulgent smile. "Congratulations." Yeah, that's the word!

He leaves her breathless when he looks at her like that, with his face close to hers. If it weren't for those eyes upon them… but there are and so Darsce’s arms tighten before reluctantly slipping away releasing Jethaniel. She retains his arm and navigates the two steps down from the dance floor. The jubilant Vidalia and Lariette halt their progress towards the cake and Darsce burbles bright laughter. "You have the most important part down," she tells them, slipping her hand from Jethaniel's arm while crouching to offer them both a hug together. "And that's 'happy'!" Rising she adds a thank you to Sulliam and then it is to the cake where the cook hands them the satin-wrapped handle of the knife and points to where they are to cut. Darsce waits until Jethaniel places his hand over hers and then cuts two tiny squares. The knife is handed back to the cook and she takes one of the bites ready to feed it to her new husband. She… does not smash it on his face, but offers it carefully. Perhaps mindful of the suit, but more than that she's mindful of his dignity.

They exit the dance floor and though interim music is played, the guests likely know dancing is open for the rest of them. The rest of the clan intend to make merry and they're not going to make it easy for Darsce and Jethaniel to make their escape, either. They'll gather to watch that cake-cutting ceremony, cheering and clapping as they feed each other, then the males - starting with Naois, Lairgnen, perhaps N'shen and Mur'dah - will want a turn around the dance floor with their granddaughter, niece, cousin, half-sister - whatever she is to them, while Caileigh, Halimeda, Rehsa, Evee and perhaps Marel if she hasn't slipped away will seek a turn with their handsome new in-law. Erijeane will find one of the younger Vega Run folks - one of Darsce's dark-haired, dark-eyed cousins at her elbow, bowing with a flourish and bright-eyed hope as he asks for a dance. Nor will the Cove Hold folk be neglected, though the elder ones will find they are treated with care and respectfully handled by their dance partners. It will be some time - after cake, toasting and more dancing before Darsce and Jethaniel can slip away and leave the revelry behind.

Jethaniel shakes his brother's hand, smiles for the children as they laugh and… would probably babble further, but Sulliam's there to usher his daughter and niece away. It's getting on past their bedtimes, but tonight, they'll get to stay up until they can't keep their eyes open any longer. Jethaniel reclaims Darsce's hand to his arm for the remainder of their journey to the cake, then stands beside her. His lips quirk, and as he curves her fingers over hers on the knife, he notes to her quietly, "Inefficient, if symbolic." It's an observation, not a protest, and if anything, he's amused. The cake is cut, and he leans to take that piece Darsce offers him with his eyes on her, not the audience he knows is there to watch this hand-feeding. The suit remains clean; so does his dignity, and he offers Darsce her own small piece in return.

After that, his desire for them to make their escape is once more interrupted. His fingers brush hers with affection as he releases them to let her relatives have Darsce for that dance. He himself will dance with his new in-laws, polite as he takes each to the floor for the formalized patterns of steps and motion. The dancing appears, once it has begun, to reach a sort of critical mass such that it is self-perpetuating. Erijeane laughs and takes the sailor's hand, willing enough to occupy herself with dances and the enjoyment of the occasion. She'll likely be dancing for as long as there's merriment to be had, light on her feet and bright in her conversation. The rest of Jethaniel's siblings will take their turns as well, Sulliam and Liessa trading off which is watching both the younger children. Tolenar's nudged by his mother to dance with aunt Nereilse, and eventually, Jessa's persuaded to join in as well. Once she's been brought to the floor, she'll linger at least long enough to dance with Jethaniel while Lianiel asks for a turn with Darsce. Azliet's in there as well, for a dance and a few quiet words with Jethaniel. If Asher tries? She'll discover that Jethaniel knows those stiff-armed formal dances designed by jealous holder-fathers, and has apparently - for the duration of his time with her - forgotten all the other forms. His memory will, oddly enough, return as soon as that song is over. Somewhere in all this, Jethaniel will do his best to claim Darsce for another dance or three, even if he can't steal her away entirely yet. It's rather inefficient, since it extends the time until they've both danced with everyone they, by social custom, must… but he wishes the opportunity to be close to her, even if there is a limit to the gains of that sort he may achieve in this context.

Darsce opens her mouth and takes the cake in one careful bit,e iceblue eyes on grey alight with both amusement and suggestive meaning as her tongue subtly caresses Jethaniel's fingertips before she rises on tiptoes and offers her lips to his. It's a sweet kiss, made so by the frosting still clinging to her lips. Her traderfolk descend upon them and sweep her away, laughing and so she goes, but with a reluctant look over her shoulder at her husband. Asher might try to seek out Jethaniel, but she'll be kept as busy as that thoughtful harper can keep her and her fate is to be disappointed in what she achieves. The Vega Run folk know her, are onto her and will close ranks to assist the harper in keeping her off of Jethaniel and thus time passes wherein obligations are satisfied and they can slip away from the light-strewn trees of the glade. Darsce… is slightly tipsy from all those champagne toasts on an empty stomach. Where are they going anyway? Shells if she knows! She'll just be happy to be alone with her new husband.

The frosting is indeed sweet; so is the kiss. Jethaniel presses his lips to Darsce's, his arm slipping around her such that those dampened fingertips may caress along her spine, trailing lightly over the skin bared by her dress. He is quite aware of what she suggests with the dancing of her eyes, but this allegedly final requirement is followed by the application of a social one from her (and now his) family. If his disappointment is noticeable, it's likely also expected, and he is gracious with them. Asher will be disappointed in her pursuits tonight, but the rest of Darsce's family are given opportunity to interact with their new relative by marriage… though he may not remember the details of any introductions made tonight; even when Jethaniel dances with another, a large proportion of his thoughts remain on Darsce. Eventually, toasted and feted and with the public celebration of their wedding accomplished, the opportunity finally comes for them to escape. Jethaniel's arm is around Darsce as he leads her from the glade. The trajectory on which he guides her leads (presuming they are not distracted) to the crafter's complex and his own quarters. That is not, however, his intended final destination; he has been advised that it is advantageous to reach a metaphorical escape velocity as soon as possible, and so he's arranged with Comet for there to be a rider on standby (which probably means comfortably reading a book; he can wait all night and get paid for it), and to have a change of clothes and their travel cases waiting. All he told Darsce was the duration of the trip and, 'warm days, cool nights'. For now, they have left the party, and as they cross the clearing… they may, in fact, be floating.

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