Five O'Clock Somewhere

Welcome to Five O'Clock Somewhere, where it doesn't matter what time zone you're in; it's five o'clock somewhere. We'll look at rural life, especially as it happens in Rio Arriba County, New Mexico, cats, sailing (particularly Etchells racing yachts), and bits of grammar and Victorian poetry.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Wizards of Winds and Waves, chapter 24

Some sappy stuff, and then some racy stuff

The tail-end of this chapter actually was fairly difficult to write (show, don’t tell), although Pat enjoyed the side effects. Unfortunately, said end of chapter also probably would violate somebody or other’s standard of decency, so I had to edit it here.

Wizards of Winds and Waves
Chapter 24

The next morning, Pierre and I went out with Runyon and Sylvia to gather materials for the joining spell. We went out to a nearby stream, where Sylvia helped me gather reeds from one bank, while Runyon helped Pierre gather them on the other bank. Then we went into the small ceremonial room, where they showed us how to weave the reeds into a small basket. “You must both be working at the same time,” Sylvia said, “weaving it together, as you will be weaving your lives together.”

“That’s a beautiful thought,” I said. “I could almost see doing this at a real, traditional wedding.”

“Actually, Runyon and I did have a traditional wedding, a big church affair with hundreds of guests. We just worked this into the ceremony. Almost none of the guests knew what it was really about, but they did comment on the poetry of it all.”

Pierre and I continued to weave together, working out a rhythm so that we were always working on opposite sides of the basket as it turned and turned between us, building up the sides. In the end, we had a small, very tightly woven basket with gently curving sides.

Sylvia took the basket and looked at it carefully. “I think this is one of the best-done baskets I’ve ever seen,” she said. “I’ll take this into the great hall, and we’ll begin the ceremony in an hour.”

Pierre went to the guest quarters to get dressed, while I went to the dorm room. Betsy brought sandwiches from the dining hall for lunch, but I was too keyed up to eat much. She also had my dress laid out for me – not a formal wedding gown, but a simple white dress with gently curving seams. While Pierre and I had been collecting reeds and weaving our basket, Betsy had been busy, too, gathering summer wildflowers. She had created garlands for my waist and hair, and she had assembled a small bouquet. Overall, the effect was perfect.

“Betsy, how beautiful you make me look!” I reached over to pat her cheek, forgetting for a moment about her scarred face. She jumped back, but I noticed a strange patch where I had touched. Could that spot be just a little less red and a little less rough? I summoned some controlled magic and reached out to her face again. “Here, let me see something,” I said.

Reluctantly, Betsy came forward. I stroked her cheek, and sure enough, the scar tissue faded. It didn’t go away completely, but it did become much less severe. I turned her to face the mirror over the vanity. “Look. You’ve helped me become beautiful, and now I can help you.”

“Oh, Sarah, it’s wonderful! But how did you do that? Since I’ve been here, I’ve seen so many wizards, and they said this kind of work was impossible. They could make a temporary cover-up spell, but the scars would always be there.”

“It’s a rearranging – just more complicated than I’ve done before. I just saw the cells and molecules, and I knew I could do it. Here, let me finish up, and then it will be time for the ceremony.”

Betsy and I entered the back of the great hall, joining Sylvia, to wait for our cue. It was in some ways like a traditional church wedding, but in other ways not. For example, Pierre was standing at the front of the hall with Runyon and Jackson, and I would be coming down the aisle to him, but there wouldn’t be music, and there wouldn’t be any religious readings. Instead, on the table at the front of the hall sat our little basket that we had woven that afternoon, and a basin of water, and two golden pitchers.

Jackson stepped forward. “Let the joining begin,” he said.

Sylvia led Betsy and me to the front of the hall, and Pierre and I stepped up to the table. “Here is the basket that you have both woven together,” Jackson said. “Here is water from the sea, a symbol of our wizardry of the winds and waves. Place the basket into the water, to let it soak up the essence of the sea.” Pierre and I did so, and the basket soaked up the water, the reeds swelling up to make the weaving watertight.

“Now, we will pour something of each of you into the basket. Pierre, for all you like diet soda, your essence is champagne, cheerful and bubbly and a little bit dry. Sarah, you have the essence of fine whiskey, smooth and very strong. Take your pitchers, and pour them into the basket.” We did so. “Now drink to your joining.” I took a sip, savoring the combination of the smoky whiskey, the intoxicating champagne bubbles, and the salty basket. Then Pierre, too, took a sip.

“Let it be known that from now on, Sarah and Pierre are joined. Share in their cup.” Jackson took the basket and passed it first to Betsy and Sylvia, then to Runyon, and then he drank from it himself. Finally, he handed the cup back to Pierre and me, for us to drain. After this, without waiting for a cue, Pierre seized me in his arms and initiated a fierce kiss. The guests cheered, and the ceremony was over.

Edna came to us as we left the hall. “My, that was beautiful,” she said, dabbing at the corner of her eye with a lavender handkerchief. “So meaningful, and you all looked so beautiful standing there. Betsy, what did you do to your face?”

“I was wondering that myself, when I saw the two of you come in,” Pierre said. “That’s not a cover-up spell; that’s healing.”

“I just had to do it,” I said.

“I wonder how many times in the rest of my life I’m going to hear that line,” Pierre said, laughing. “I’ve already heard it again and again.”

The crowd escorted us to the parking garage, where Pierre’s car sat ready for our getaway. After many hugs and farewells, we got into his little Mercedes convertible and took off, to return to Pierre’s condo.

The last time I had seen the place, it had been a mess. The bedroom window had been broken and rain streaming in, and all of the furnishings except the slave bed had been ruined. Now everything had been repaired or replaced, but there were some subtle differences – more bright colors in the fabrics, more cheerful paintings on the walls, even floral sheets on the bed.

Pierre saw the curious look on my face. “Edna didn’t have any place to live, so she came here until it was time to enroll in the school. She helped a bit with the decorating – don’t worry; she had the bed, and I slept out there on the sofa.”

“I know you wouldn’t dream of doing anything with any other woman,” I said. “At least, not any more.” I pulled him to me for another kiss. Soon, our arms were all over each other, and we were slowly removing each other’s clothes.

“It’s time, at last,” Pierre said as we moved over to the bed.

[The remainder of this chapter has been redacted in the interest of keeping this blog at a family-friendly level. If you wish to receive the chapter in its entirety, uncensored, give me your email address and proof of age.]


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