Carpathia III: Episode 125: Wedding
The Outlands, Yseri
Though the villagers managed to scrounge up some formal-ish attire for Kaoru and Quilyon, the rest of the group had to make do with what they carried there from wherever they came from. This wasn't a major problem as most people were dressed in a way befitting isolated villagers for a wedding. Jacob was a good example, donning his farmer's best, consisting of an off-white, button-up shirt, tweed waistcoat, and the only pants he owned which were not stained.
Blue was useful as well, his size enabling him to help decorate the lone tree in the grass near the riverbank. The shed nearby was used for storing tables and chairs for just such an event. Once they were brought out, they were filled with pots and plates of dishes for the celebration. Nearby, a large firepit was being set up with a spit for dinner. Aside from that, there was little preparation to be done. The site of the actual wedding was empty and the villagers simply stood around the couple to witness the nuptials.
There was little pomp to the proceedings. The only way a causal observer could tell the bride and groom from the rest of the villagers was by the flower laurels placed on their heads. Together, Kaoru and Quilyon walked, hand in hand, to the side of the river where the eldest of the elders awaited, standing on a rock. The air was sweet with the smell of kinro tree blooms as everyone gathered around to watch the ceremony take place. It had been a long time since Jaze had a chance to use his camera, and this was the perfect moment. No longer keeping it in his sock, he pulled it out of his pocket and began filming.
The ceremony itself was short. The elder said some words and had Kaoru and Quilyon recite their vows. When all was done, they kissed and turned to wave to the crowd together.
Toma: So, that was a wedding.
Jaze: Pretty much, yeah. It's not that different on Carpathia.
The applause continued as Kaoru and Quilyon made their way through the guests as newlyweds, greeting all the villagers one by one.
Toma: We should do that.
Jaze's ears popped up and swiveled slightly toward Toma, hardly believing what they were hearing. Toma spoke again before Jaze had a chance to register his disbelief.
Toma: When we met, I told you that it's unusual for a tokki to take another for life and the ones that do are not regarded well. I wondered for a long time if I was the sort who would do that. I think I am. At least, it doesn't seem strange to me anymore.
Jaze smiled and decided that nothing needed to be said. Instead, he sidled up close to Toma and took his hand, petting it gently. Soon after, Kaoru and Quilyon had made their way through the well-wishers. Jaze immediately threw his arms around his best friend and hugged him tightly.
Jaze: Congratulations, Kaoru!
Kaoru slid to the side and hugged Toma while Jaze gave his greeting to Quilyon. It was at this time that the smokey smell of roasting meat began to permeate the air. As Jaze's eyes panned toward the spit, he caught sight of Reuli and Zet, along with others under the big tree, preparing their instruments for the evening's music.
Jaze: Uh oh. It's almost time.
Kaoru gave Jaze a hearty pat on his shoulder.
Kaoru: Trust me, you'll be fine. At least you only have to sing a few bars. I did an entire song for Quilyon and I'm not nearly as good as you are.
Jaze took a long, deep breath.
Jaze: Well, no use delaying the inevitable.
Jaze took Toma's hand and gave it a squeeze. Toma, however, did not let go when Jaze tried to pull away and instead followed him to the makeshift stage where Reuli was setting up.
Jaze: Thanks for coming with me.
Toma: I'll be close the entire time.
There was little to do, as most of the band was acoustic. Only Reuli had a powered instrument, his guitar, but that would wait. The first was a slow, traditional song and Reuli would use an acoustic guitar for the first song. Reuli called out to the mingling crowd.
Reuli: Clear a space! This first song is for my brother and sister!
Right away, the villagers cleared a roughly circular area and Kaoru and Quilyon moved to the center. Jaze took another deep breath, reciting the lyrics in his head. Reuli would sing the first verse and then would accompany Jaze on the second. Zet started the aria with his violin and Reuli followed with his guitar and wordless song.
Kaoru and Quilyon held each other close and swayed to the music. Reuli then beautifully sang the first verse and, the closer he got to the end, the more nervous Jaze felt. Finally, after a short instrumental, it was Jaze's turn.
Jaze closed his eyes, for he did not want to see any faces staring at him, even though he knew that most of them would be focused on Kaoru and Quilyon. With that, he opened his mouth and sang while Reuli harmonized in the background.
Jaze: I am thankful my beloved
For your tenderness and grace.
I see in your eyes, so gentle and wise,
All fears and doubts erased!
Though the hours take no notice
Of what fate might have in store,
Our love, come what may,
Will ne'er age a day.
I'll wait forevermore!
For a brief moment, Jaze was pleased with himself. He did not forget any lyrics, sang in the correct rhythm, and felt that he was reasonably in tune. This feeling, however, did not last long. Suddenly, he realized that the music had stopped. Nobody was playing instruments. Reuli was not singing. No idle small talk could be heard. Only the wind and the crackle of the fire beneath the spit punctuated the silence.
Jaze opened his eyes to find the entire village crowded around him, their faces blank as though in a trance.
The villagers, as though coming out of hypnosis, suddenly started looking around at each other. At the stage, they found Reuli and Zet, but where Jaze had been, there was nobody. It wasn't until someone looked up into the tree that he could be found, clinging to one of the branches.
The villagers seemed to forget the incident relatively quickly, as they were more interested in the party. Jaze sat in a chair, away from the festivities, with Toma by his side, trying to comfort him.
Toma: It's not that bad.
Jaze: I don't know if I'm more embarrassed that I hypnotized everyone somehow or that I ended up halfway up a tree.
Jaze caught sight of Kaoru and Quilyon nearby, having a conversation with Jacob. This would not have been cause for suspicion, except for the fact that all three of them cast occasional glances in his direction. Finally, all three approached.
Kaoru: Jaze, I had a thought. You remember Hades, right?
Jaze: Of course.
Kaoru: I just remembered what he said to you when you were in the crystal. He said he was giving you two gifts, one to suit your fiery personality, and we all know what that was. The other, he said, was because he could no longer use it himself.
Jaze put his chin in his hand as he considered Kaoru's words. Suddenly, things were making more sense.
Jaze: He told me that it used to be his job to guide the departed with his song and that he could not sing anymore.
Jaze's eyes widened.
Jaze: Why would he give me that?
Kaoru shrugged his shoulders.
Kaoru: I don't know, but it seems to work on the living, too.
Jaze thought more, as the revelation potentially answered some questions, but not all.
Jaze: But the first time I sang, with you, nothing happened. So what makes it work? Tone? Pitch? Volume?
Kaoru shrugged again.
Kaoru: No idea. I guess you'll have to practice to find out.
Jaze now turned his attention to Jacob, who he now just noticed was carrying something large, bundled in a cloth.
Jaze: Jacob, the other villagers aren't scared of me now, are they?
Jacob smiled and then laughed heartily.
Jacob: Jaze, think about everything they've seen over the past several weeks, and a giant blue dragon on top of it all!
Jaze tilted his head and looked away. Jacob had a point, though he wasn't sure how to respond to it. Jacob kneeled on the ground and placed the large bundle on Jaze's lap.
Jacob: Anyway, now that I got you all here, this is a good time to give you this.
Jacob carefully unwrapped the bundle, revealing a leather bound book. It was large, several inches thick, in fact, and appeared to have been bound by hand, as the yellowed pages stuck out haphazardly alond the edges. No title adorned the cover or the spine.
Jacob: Quilyon, your great-grandmother was quite an adventurer. This is a record of her journeys that she wrote herself. Nita was keeping it and I think it's only right that you have it now. I hope that you'll share it with Jaze too, since Nita cared about him very much.
Quilyon kneeled and opened the book, flipping through several random pages.
Quilyon: Of course I'll share it. I'm happy to have something of hers.
Quilyon closed the book and stood to give Jacob a hug.
Kaoru: Thanks, Jacob.
All city pictures from SimCity 4