A Wedding Dress is Unsuitable for Combat
For the prompt: Cara Getting Married
Summary: Cara is reluctant to wear the wedding dress, Richard is nervous, and Zedd is eating the wedding feast before the wedding takes place. Things aren't that straightforward, however.
"You look…" Kahlan hesitated.
Cara glowered at her. "This is ridiculous." She ran her hands down the white skirts. "I cannot fight effectively in this dress. Your dress at least has splits up the sides."
"It's a wedding dress," Kahlan said. "You aren't supposed to be fighting in it. And Cara; you look beautiful."
Cara accepted the compliment, tipping her head to admire herself in the mirror.
"Can I at least have my agiel back?"
Richard noted that Zedd was still sat at the front of the gathering. This wasn't only to keep him away from the food, though it was an added bonus. The cook had threatened to beat him with her ladle if he took any more pastries before the wedding, and only Richard's timely intervention had prevented any magical retaliation.
Richard looked around the grassy area again. Most of the villagers were already seated. One man was asleep, hood pulled over his face in a poor attempt to disguise the fact.
He touched the hilt of his sword, feeling reassured by its presence on his hip. There was, he told himself, nothing to be nervous about.
"Wish it was you?" a man joked, clapping Richard hard on the back.
Richard grinned. "No," he said, and walked away before he could be dragged into further discussions about the reasons behind his not wanting to be the groom.
"Stop it," Cara yelled.
Kahlan stepped back. "I'm done," she said.
"Flowers in my hair!" Cara sounded angry, though she gave a half smile when she looked at herself in the mirror. "Is there no end to the indignity?"
Kahlan held up the white lace that would cover Cara's head and face.
"Apparently not," Cara said, answering her own question. "Very well. Get it over with, Confessor."
"What's taking so long?" Richard muttered.
Zedd shrugged. "Women's clothing can take a while to put on."
"I've seen Cara – I mean not seen Cara change – that is, I know Cara can get into her tight leather faster than this. It's a dress," Richard said, fighting not to let his embarrassment show on his face. "Just slip it over your head. I mean, her head."
Zedd just stared at his grandson. "You're as nervous as if it were your wedding," he observed.
"I just know what the stakes are," Richard retorted.
"Maybe I'll just go and get something to eat," Zedd said.
"No!" Richard put a restraining hand on the wizard's shoulder, keeping him in his seat.
At that moment there was a whistle. Richard looked up and saw Kahlan by the tent, nodding at him.
"We're ready," Richard said.
Richard led Cara between the rows of seats, his eyes flickering constantly across the audience. Kahlan, standing at the front now, by the minister, was keeping an eye on the territory to his rear. Zedd, at the front aisle seat, was turned to watch as much of the area as he could.
Soon Cara stood alongside the groom, a tall man with long dark hair that was tied back in a ribbon. The minister cleared his throat.
"We are gathered in peace and unity this day –"
The speech went on for a while. Richard and Kahlan kept exchanging glances and scanning the treeline.
"And so," the minister said at last, "please join your hands and repeat these sacred vows in unison."
The groom looked to Richard, then Kahlan, then nervously held out his hand to Cara.
Cara shot Richard a look. Even through the veil he could see the desperation in her eyes.
"Do something," Cara whispered harshly.
"I have something to say," Zedd put in, rising to his feet. Everyone looked at him.
An arrow came hurtling toward the groom. Cara shoved him away so hard that he fell to the floor. Richard gave a yell and ran in the direction the arrow had come from; Kahlan was already running.
Cara flung the veil to the floor and tore at the dress, splitting it almost to the waist. She kicked off the soft white slippers she was wearing and ran off, barefoot, in pursuit of Richard and Kahlan.
Zedd moved to stand near the groom, hands ready to turn any further projectiles to ash before they could do any harm. The minister's eyes bulged, looking at the arrow which was embedded in the rose-covered trellis he was standing under.
"I'm afraid the wedding is postponed," Zedd told the minister. Upon hearing this, the man nodded and ran as fast as his stumpy legs could carry him.
Richard brought one bruised man back to the wedding party.
"Forgive me," the man said to anyone who cared to listen.
"I had to confess him," Kahlan said. "He wasn't working alone."
"You killed or confessed them all before I could get there," Cara seethed. "Stupid dress."
The groom bowed reverentially to Richard.
"My Lord, thank you."
"My pleasure," Richard said. "Preventing an assassination is all in a days work."
"You can send for your bride," Kahlan told him. "According to this surviving assassin, we've taken care of the rest of the people behind this attempt."
The man nodded, relieved. "I'll send word to her village at once." He turned to Cara. "Thank you. It was just a mercy your height and hair colour were so close to my beloveds that you could pose as her. I will never forget this kindness."
Cara nodded and then said, "I'm going to go and find my clothes and my agiel."
Kahlan watched as Cara stalked away, white silks hanging in ruins around shapely thighs.
"She let me put flowers in her hair," she said. "I still can't believe that part myself."
Richard turned to talk to Zedd, and found his grandfather had a plate of food in one hand, a chicken leg in the other.
"What?" Zedd said at the somewhat disapproving glances from his companions. "This food won't keep three days for the bride to show up. It seems a pity to waste it."
Kahlan shrugged. "I guess we deserve to eat," she said and picked up a bunch of grapes.
"Make sure we save Cara something," Richard reminded them. "And some wine. I bet she'll be glad of some wine."
When Cara, clad once more in her red leathers, agiel at her hip, returned, she was indeed glad of the wine, gulping most of a goblet in one go. She rubbed the back of her hand across her lips and sighed.
"Lord Rahl? Please do not ask me to do that ever again."
"I won't," Richard said.
"What if you ever want to get married?" Kahlan asked.
Cara shrugged. "If such an unlikely occurrence were to take place, I should make sure the dress was suitable for combat."
There was no arguing with that, Richard supposed, and hid his smile in his own cup.