AN: Don't take this interlude too seriously, even though it does provide some background, it's meant to be humourous. By the way, there'll be a smattering of AMG and The Bet in here.

oooooooooooo

Corellon was in his office in Arvandor, glass of everquisst in hand, sitting in a large, overstuffed wingback chair. Labelas Enoreth sat across a small table, in the chair's twin. Between the two were two Cuban cigars sitting in a crystal ashtray. The office itself was, for the Father of All Elves, actually a retreat from Arvandor. Bookshelves lining three of the four walls groaned with the weight of the books and scrolls on them. The subject matter ranged from treatises on magic from long dead mages to the latest Tom Clancy and Dale Brown technothrillers. Recorded music from a human bard, Frank Sinatra, was playing in the background. "Corellon," Labelas asked, "I have to know why you chose that Saotome boy for Eilistraee. Surely there were elves more suitable than him."

Corellon gave the God of Longevity one of his rare smiles. "To be honest, Labelas, it was a poker bet I lost to Toltiir." He reached for his cigar, and inhaled, letting the fragrant smoke swirl around his mouth before exhaling. "It's a shame that one leader on Earth doesn't let his private stock out on the market. They are probably the best ever made, even among other Cuban cigars and premium non-Cuban labels." Labelas, having digesting what Corellon had said (before the cigar comment) had a repeat of his reaction 12 years ago. This time Corellon was ready, and the spit take stopped a good meter from the elder god. It, unfortunately, extinguished Labelas's cigar.

"What do you mean it was a poker bet that you lost?" He asked, as he relit his cigar.

"It was just after Toltiir closed down the Bet, when he decided to host a poker night once a week at the Well. I never thought Urd would be such a poor loser, but she'd always give it her best shot, and usually turn the game into strip poker once she lost all her chips.

"Anyway, the fateful match was down to just Toltiir and I. I placed my bet, an IOU in the pot since I had just run out of chips with the last raise. He raised his entire stack of chips. And I rue that day. I had the once in a lifetime hand—a spades Royal Flush—and I folded to a pair of deuces. A piece of advice, Labelas, never play poker with Toltiir, especially when he's a cat. He's got the best poker face around.

"His requirement to fulfill the IOU was to take Ranma and train him to be better the best human fighter of all time, as well as teach him nobility and manners. I was allowed to look into the boy's future, and saw a young man of great sense of self-honor and nobility crushed by a spoiled brat of a tomboy, to the point of cleansing his honor with ritual suicide. I looked into the other possibilities with his other fiancées, and saw similar fates—Ranma's death, either by suicide, depression, or accident. Fascinating people, these Japanese. They take honor so seriously, that they find suicide as a means to cleanse tarnished honor. I've only seen one other set of humans take honor to that extreme, and they happen to be in Kara-tur. But, I digress.

"Eilistraee would have had a similar fate, but at the hands of her mother, if I didn't introduce Ranma. He is Chaos Incarnate, and look at what he's done in such a short amount of time. He's taught her to smile and laugh; not to take life as seriously as she used to."

"Ah, I see. Corellon, just a piece of advice." The elven deity raised an eyebrow. "Quit playing poker. I don't think it's such a good hobby."

The Norn of the Past stuck her head into Corellon's office. "Corellon, are you coming to bed soon."

"In a little bit, Urd-chan," Corellon said.

Labelas looked over at the door, and saw the Norn of the Past wearing a diaphanous gown that left nothing to the imagination. The sweat drop on the God of Longevity would have filled an Olympic-sized swimming pool.

As Urd left, Corellon smirked. "She lost another hand of poker, and guess what her IOU was?"

oooooooooooo

Eilistraee sat at the dinner table, looking over the list of wedding guests. This wedding was going to be a headache of biblical proportions. In fact, she had a headache that large, as evidenced by the half empty King Kong-sized bottle of Excedrin sitting next to her. The problem that was bothering her was her mother and father. Lolth and Corellon were so diametrically opposite to the other that they'd try to kill each other. The only way that they'd even be civil to each other is if there was a divine security force enforcing the neutrality of the wedding. "Looks like I'll be calling the Valkyries in for this," she muttered. "But they'll both want to kill me if I only invite the other."

Ranma came in and set a mug of Kasumi's tea on the table next to his fiancée. "Problems, a'mael?"

"You have no idea, anata," she replied, placing her head on the table. "This makes that movie we went to go see look like a walk in the park."

"Oh, yeah, Meet the Parents. I remember meeting your father. It's just that I think your mother wants us both dead. And I haven't met her yet." Eilistraee took a sip of tea. "And the only to appease both sides would be to invite them both?" She nodded. "Oh boy, this is something we can't ask 'Dear Abby' about. Well then, when we send out the wedding invitations we'll add a note declaring a truce for the wedding."

"I think that'll work. At least I hope that'll work. Of course, we can always invite the Valkyries to be ushers. They'll ensure that everyone behaves."

"That'll definitely work, then." Ranma looked over the list. "Are you sure you want to invite my old man? Oyaji'll probably try to kidnap me right then and there. Valkyries, deities, archmages or not. Besides, that fat bastard wasn't the best father I ever had."

"Okay, he's off the list." A red line suddenly appeared across Genma's name. "What about Herb, Kieran, Saffron, Kiima, Tarou, and the Amazons? They've all tried to kill or kidnap you at some point in time. And from what you told me, Herb locked your curse for awhile."

"Yeah, but I tend to consider my rivals the closest thing to friends that I have, and there'll be enough divine and magical firepower to keep things calm. And besides, it'll help cement our alliance with the Amazons. Anyone else that might cause a problem?"

Eilistraee looked at the list again. "Well, there's Elminster, but he can keep himself out of trouble, especially with Mystra there. Fizban might cause a problem, he's older than Elminster, and I swear he's suffering from either senility or Alzheimer's. But with the Valkyries present, I think everyone'll behave."

"I think we have another problem."

"What's that?"

"Well, who's going to officiate?"

"I was thinking Bereth."

"Yeah, but he's a priest of your father, right?" Ranma's fiancée nodded. "And who's going to be seated in the front row? Your father. And Nabiki can't marry us, since you're a critical part of the ceremony."

"Frak, you're right. So who should we get?"

"Maybe Amaterasu or Bast. And if we don't get the other, we should at least invite them. That'll cover our bases there, especially if Amaterasu won't officiate."

"Good point. I'll ask both, or maybe we could just get Thoth, and invite the other two."

"Works for me," Ranma replied.

oooooooooooo

With the guest list finalized, invitations began arriving at the various keeps, wizard towers, heavens and/or hells. Corellon smiled when he opened his, and the smile turned into a smirk when he saw the note stating that there will be no fighting in any way, shape or form, that the wedding is neutral ground for 72 Earth hours, and time traveling or stopping magics will be automatic grounds for ejection.

In the Abyss, Lolth growled at her frustration, when her invitation arrived. A truce was called, and there was nothing the drow goddess could do to get at her wayward daughter and her defender of the faith and consort for the wedding. Ah well, she thought, I should make the best of it. After all, my fight with Eilistraee does follow my philosophy. One day of guarded peace would be a helpful thing. And I can always see what kind of mischief I can get into there anyway. The denizens of Lolth's realm were treated to a rare sound—the Spider Queen's laughter. A few checked to see if it was snowing.

Elminster of Shadowdale checked his calendar, and made sure that this was going to be one wedding he wasn't going to miss.

oooooooooooo

As the day of the wedding approached, the first to arrive were the Valkyries. With Crystina, they scouted out the terrain, looked for the best points to set up their perimeter, and generally provide usher service to the arriving guests. The Shrine's contingent of regular soldiers polished their armor and weapons, and readied themselves to deal with the "regular" guests; those without any sort of magical or divine firepower at their commands.

Time flew for the couple with all their preparations, and suddenly it was the day of the wedding, and Ranma awoke to such a hangover that he couldn't remember what day of the week it was. His bachelor party had been hosted by his soon to be father in law, and thankfully hadn't turned into the drunken debauchery that Bacchus would have had, although it was close. Very close. Elminster had gated in several worshippers of Eilistraee from Neverwinter, which included several comely, and very flexible, drow and elven lasses. Mixing sake, evermead, everquisst, morimatra, beer, wine, and what ever other alcohol was on hand was not good for one's constitution check. He peeled an eyelid open, and immediately closed it, as the evil sun blinded him. He tried again, this time successfully, and looked around. The living room floor was strewn with bodies, divine and mortal. Corellon, nursing his own hangover, sat at the kitchen counter, jumbo truck stop-sized mug of coffee in hand.

Running his hand across his face and closed eyes, the pigtailed martial artist staggered over to the kitchen counter, and poured himself a cup of tea. "Would you like anything to eat, Ranma-kun," Kasumi asked. Ranma had to chuckle quietly to himself. Unflappable Kasumi regarded the scene before her as if it were almost commonplace. Well for a former resident of the Tendo Dojo, besides the numbers and differing types of power in the living room, it was. All that was missing was a panda passed out on the floor.

For once the bottomless Saotome stomach remained quiet at the prospect of being fed. "No, thank you, Kasumi." He looked at the bodies again. Elminster was snoring away, a drow and elfmaid on either side with their arms wrapped around him. "Just how bad were we last night?" He looked around again, and saw Hiroshi with his arms wrapped around Hanali; both in drunken slumber. Daisuke was also passed out, snuggled up to another drow maiden from Neverwinter. The pigtailed groom chuckled, as much as his hangover would allow, at the sight of one of his best, if perverted, friends sleeping with the elven goddess of love. "Maybe they'll all have a future together," he said sotto voce. He'd find it amusing if Hanali and Hiroshi did become an "item" down the road.

"No worse than Father and Uncle Saotome getting hammered, and toasting their latest crackpot scheme to get you and Akane together again."

"Good. At least we didn't disturb any of the other guests, or Eilistraee. I'm going to take a long soak in the furo." Kasumi nodded, and Corellon toasted his son in law with his mug of coffee. The pigtailed groom stopped in his room to grab his bathing supplies, before heading to the bathroom.

The occupied sign was missing, so he walked in…and immediately walked back out, when he saw his mother-in-law lounging in the tub. "Ranma," Lolth purred, "it's alright if you come in. Would you like me to wash your back?" What better way to get back at her daughter, than by seducing her son-in-law on his wedding day.

"Ah…ano…That's quite alright, Lolth-sama. I'll just wait until you're done." Ranma said, before heading towards the bedroom. The hollow thump of a head hitting a wall could be heard through out the house, as Ranma tried to banish the image of Lolth lounging in the tub, in naught but her birthday suit. Well, at least I know where Eil-chan gets her good looks from, he thought.

Damn his conservative nature, Lolth thought. I'll have to find some other way then, especially since open warfare is out right now. She chuckled evilly to herself.

Ranma stood at the altar, wiping his hands on pants of his hakama. The groom-to-be was wearing a traditional wedding hakama, the Saotome family crest embroidered over his heart. Instead of a pair of katanas that would have denoted his samurai heritage, he wore his longsword buckled on his waist. His pigtail was secured with a silk bow, instead of the expired dragon's whisker. He looked nervous, and felt ready to flee for his life. It probably didn't help Ranma's nerves any that on more than half of the folding chairs were beings of such immense power that if a divine war broke out, Earth would be turned to ashes. He was thankful that Eil-chan had gotten the Valkyries to police the deities here, even though there was only one goddess that they were worried about. Crystina, serving as his best man, noted Ranma's unease. The Rose Knight, clad in her best armor, cracked a joke. Ranma chuckled, which released some of his tension. There was a string quartet off to the side, playing soft airs, as the cavalry buglers sat on their mounts, armor and bugles gleaming in the sunlight that filtered through the surrounding trees of the grove. Thoth, the ibis-headed Egyptian god of knowledge, stood beside the altar in his best robes; Nabiki standing beside him to assist him.

With the last of the guests seated, Daisuke escorted Amaterasu to her seat. There was no denying her divine presence as an elder deity to any mortal from Japan. And it was a good thing that Daisuke was escorting her. Hiroshi would probably have a divine curse placed on him for doing something. The less perverted half the Perverted Duo from Nerima took his place next to Crystina. Next, Hiroshi escorted Nodoka in. Ranma's mother was dressed in her finest kimono with the Saotome Honor Blade secured in the obi, with another sheathed katana below it, as a traditional samurai would wear. Once the Saotome Matriarch was seated, Hiroshi moved to stand next to Daisuke. The perverted duo also wore dual katanas, but probably would wind up sticking themselves in their foot if they had to use them.

With military precision, the buglers sounded a call, and the quartet moved into a more Wagnerian-style air (think "Entry of the Guests" from Tannhäuser). Escorted by eight Valkyries, four in front and four in the rear, Lolth marched down to her seat. The Matron Goddess of the Drow gave Nabiki a look that promised pain, for being a follower of her traitorous daughter. There was nothing outright she could about it know, given the truce, but later…that would be a different story.

She was followed by Kasumi and Hanali, as bridesmaids, and Bast as the matron of honor. As soon as they were halfway down the aisle, there was another trumpet call, and the quartet began Mendelssohn's Wedding March. The guests stood, as Eilistraee was escorted down the aisle by her father. Corellon was wearing his finest armor, and his sword buckled on his waist. The sunlight glimmered off the divinely-wrought elven plate.

When Ranma saw his bride-to-be, his breath was taken away. Eilistraee was already a beauty, even in the pigtailed warrior's eyes, but today she outshone every other day. Her silvery-white hair, normally kept loose, was bound and braided, with two pigtails coming down behind her ears. She wore formal elven robes in a soft white, provided a stark contrast to her ebon skin. Light applications of makeup just highlighted her lips and eyes, allowing the viewer to take in the whole, rather than detracting from the image. Soft white boots completed the dress.

Corellon handed his daughter to her soon to be husband. "Ranma," he said quietly, "take care of my daughter."

"I will, Corellon-sama," he replied, accepting Eilistraee's hand.

"Mawwidge, that Bwessed Awwangement is what bwings us hewe today…" It was a shame that Thoth had been inspired by Peter Cook's bishop from "A Princess Bride" when he accepted the challenge of marrying a deity to a mortal. Marriage not being his strong suit, he'd asked Bast for some suggestions, and she suggested watching various movies to get some ideas.

Ignoring the basis of what Thoth was muttering about, Ranma looked over at his bride. Gods, she looks gorgeous. I feel so unworthy of her right now. Why is Thoth speaking in that faked English accent? Is that a cramp I feel coming on? Maybe I should have stretched before getting dressed.

Thoth got to the important part of the ceremony—the exchange of vows. "Do you Eilistraee, daughter of Corellon, daughter of Lolth, take this mortal, Ranma Saotome, to be your wedded husband? Do have and to hold, in sickness and in health, until death do you part?"

Eilistraee looked at her fiancé. She had truly come to love the pigtailed boy in the brief time that he was under her tutelage. Her father had been right about that. "I do."

Thoth looked at Ranma. "Do you Ranma Saotome, son of Genma, son of Nodoka, take this deity, Eilistraee, to be your wedded wife? Do have and to hold, in sickness and in health, until do you part?"

Ranma had made his decision a month and a half ago, the night he got kicked out of the Tendo Dojo. He knew he could never marry any of his other fiancées without a loss of honor, but that didn't persuade him from this course. "I do."

"The ring?" Crystina handed Ranma a simple gold and platinum band, a gift to him from the Corps of Eilistraee. "Repeat after me, then. 'With this ring…'

"With this ring…"

"…'I, Ranma Saotome…'"

"…I, Ranma Saotome…"

"…'Wed thee, Eilistraee.'"

"…Wed thee, Eilistraee." With the last words spoken, Ranma slipped the ring on to Eilistraee's left ring finger. There was a subtle flash of light, so unnoticeable that it escaped even Thoth's eyesight.

"Then by the powers granted to me by Kami-sama, I know pronounce you husband and wife. You may now kiss the bride." Ranma pulled his goddess-wife into an embrace and kissed her. She responded in kind.

There was a shout from the back of the grove. "NO! I SHALL NOT ALLOW THIS TRAVESTY TO HAPPEN! THE FOUL SORCEROR SAOTOME SHALL NOT BRING THIS DEFENSELESS WOMAN INTO HIS FOUL PERVERSIONS!" Three guesses, and the first two don't count, of course. Some wedding guests were wondering how this particular lunatic got through the divine, elven, and human soldiers keeping the peace for this wedding. There were also the signs out front that warned about unauthorized persons will be polymorphed without chance for save.

Amaterasu stood and looked at the newly wedded couple. "I'll handle this, as this individual has invoked me for the wrong reasons for the last time. Consider it a wedding gift." The head of the Japanese pantheon strode down the aisle with a purpose, her katana out.

Both Elminster and Fizban looked at each other, nodded, stood, and joined the Japanese goddess. Eldritch fury could be felt to all present as the goddess, god, and immortal (if occasionally immoral) mage worked their magics on the intruder. Suffice to say, one scion of the Kuno clan will rue the day he disrupted a wedding.

Although Azusa Shiratori eventually did find Kappa-Kuno, declaring him "cute" and name him "Jacques" on the spot. Perhaps that right there is a fate worse than death.