7 one shots in 7 days! Here's number 3!
For once, it was a calm day in Riften. The town guards strolled about leisurely, occasionally stopping to speak with the citizens about the weather or other trivial things that otherwise would have been too much of a distraction. The market was getting a comfortable amount of business. The merchants laughing and comparing wares, trying to win over each other's customers with good-natured competitiveness. One could ask any citizen and each would give you the same answer: "Things have been looking up since the Dragonborn strolled into town."
It was true. That fearless nord with fiery topaz eyes and cornsilk hair had gone above and beyond to better the town in everyway she could. Skooma addiction was no longer an issue, the thieves guild was quiet, even the screeching old voice of Grelod from the orphanage ceased to echo throughout the alleys. No one knew how she did it (and most almost feared to know) but, all agreed that things couldn't be better.
Inside the temple of Mara, however, the air was tense. Anjya Half-Blood paced in front of the idol of the divine, worrying her bottom lip and casting her narrowed eyes to the door. She had forgone her usual steel armor in favor of a pure white dress that was a bit too confining for her taste.
Dinya had accosted her upon her arrival, ushering her into a back room so she could lace the nord in.
"This is like the dress I wore to my wedding, I had it specially tailored for you," she explained. "Maramal loved it, and I'm sure your betrothed will adore it as well."
Anjya had thanked her graciously as she watched Dinya's nimble fingers tie the laces, but she was never the skirt and stockings type of lass. She didn't think her betrothed (the word made her heart leap into her throat) was into that kind of woman anyway.
Speaking of which… Anjya glanced at the door. It still hadn't budged from the last time she glared at it.
Her fiancé was late.
She went back to chewing her lip and pacing, fear began to bubble in the pit of her stomach. Where was he? Had he changed his mind? Was he lost? Thousands of thoughts ransacked her mind at once. She stopped mid-step and grimaced.
She loved Farkas to the death, it was the reason she had even decided to have this wedding. However, the man was a bit…what's a kind way to put it?…simple. Perhaps he had gotten the date wrong, or forgotten about the wedding entirely? Surely Vilkas would have reminded him? Or maybe…
"Be still, my daughter." Maramal's hand on her shoulder snapped her out of her daze. Anjya stilled her feet and looked at the priest, her amber eyes revealing her inner turmoil. Maramal only smiled and replaced a flower that had fallen out of her hair so all nine were present once again. Dinya had originally braided only eight flowers but at Anjya's urging, the dunmer added another purple mountain flower for Talos with an understanding smile.
"He's not coming," Anjya voiced her fears to the priest, her chest tightening with rejection. Maramal took the nord's hands comfortingly in his own and shook his head.
"The day is not yet over, my daughter. Have faith."
Anjya watched him retreat to the alter and begin preparing things for the ceremony.
If there even is a ceremony…
"Farkas! Hurry it up, the sun is getting behind us!" Vilkas called to his twin from the road. Farkas held a hand up in acknowledgment but didn't move. He stared intently at the blooms in front of his feet.
"Maybe she likes blue," He thought aloud. "But, those over there are the same color as her eyes so, she must like them. Right?"
"Stop messing around!" Aela shouted.
"Vignar said it was Cyrodiilic custom!" Farkas argued. Why is this so difficult?
"Who cares?" Njada asked, linking her arms with a very bored looking Athis. "We're in Skyrim, not Cyrodiil." "She's from Cyrodiil. She cares." Farkas furrowed his brow in concentration.
And they call me the daft one?
Vilkas sighed and stepped beside his brother.
"Here," He pointed to a full cluster of vibrant flowers to his left. "Those are nice, just take those and let's go."
Farkas considered them for a moment, then nodded.
The group gave a unified sigh of relief as the twins rejoined them, Vilkas shaking his head and Farkas staring intently at the bunch of flowers in his massive hand, as though he were having second thoughts about them.
Ria smiled and put her hand on the man's muscular arm.
"She'll love them, Farkas. Let's not keep her waiting."
"This was a mistake." Anjya sighed. She sat next to Dinya with her chin in her hands and her painted lips puffed out dejectedly. "I mean, maybe it's a good thing he didn't show up."
"Don't say that, daughter." Dinya chided softly, running a hand along the nord's back. The dunmer's eyes darted to her husband, who looked just as disappointed as the bride. Anjya shook her head.
"No, I mean it. I slay dragons- dragons, Dinya- Give me a blade, a bow, and a couple arrows and I'll send a giant crying for his mother, but marriage?" The nord began to pluck the wilted flowers out of her hair. "I'm not the wife-type, priestess. This wedding was all for Farkas." At the dunmer's questioning glance, a faint smile tickled the corners of Anjya's lips. "Farkas doesn't do anything half-way," She explained. "He's so sincere with everything he says and does. He wanted to make it official."
"Then, he'll be here." Dinya promised, squeezing the nord's hands in her own.
"By the Nine, I hope so." Anjya sighed and stared at the floor. The dunmer's lips stretched into a small smile and she threaded nine new flowers into the Dragonborn's pale blonde locks.
Both the women jumped as a clamor echoed through the temple. The large doors swung open, bathing the hall in the soft orange glow of sunset. Seven figures marched into the room, clad in ceremonial armor.
Anjya turned towards them, unable to contain her large smile as Farkas stepped in front of the group.
Farkas walked steadily and stopped before her, presenting her with a bouquet of slightly wilted mountain flowers. His eyes were downcast.
"Sorry, I'm late." He apologized. Anjya smiled and took his large, paw-like hand in her own.
"It's alright, Farkas," She assured him, accepting the bouquet and gently raising it to her nose to sniff the blooms. The corners of her eyes prickled with hot tears as she remembered her life in Bruma, the life she would never get back. It seemed like just yesterday she had seen a nervous bride standing outside the chapel of Talos, holding her flowers close, as though she would drown without them. Anjya finally understood the feeling. "This was very thoughtful, Farkas. Thank you."
Farkas looked up to meet her eyes and grinned, his chest swelling with pride. His large hand squeezed hers gently and he kissed her hair.
"Let's get married." He whispered.
Maramal smiled as the two nords walked up to the altar, hand in hand. He signaled to Dinya, who began ringing the bells on top of the chapel, signaling that the wedding was about to begin.
Anjya smiled and looked up at her fiancé proudly.
The priest couldn't contain his grin. It was almost as though he were back at his own wedding, with Dinya at his side. Citizens of Riften began to file into the chapel, staring at the Dragonborn in awe as she gazed at her betrothed.
"Please, be seated," Maramal asked the guests. The companions looked at their Shield-siblings for a few moments before obliging, small smiles adorning their faces. The people of Riften sat without hesitation, excited to be part of such a joyous occasion for the hero of legend.
"It was Mara who first gave birth to all of creation and pledged to watch over us as her children," the priest began. "It is from her love of us that we first learned to love one another. It is from this love that we learn that a life lived alone, is no life at all. We gather here today, under Mara's loving gaze, to bare witness to two souls in eternal companionship. May they journey forth together in this life and in the next. In prosperity and poverty, and in joy and in hardship."
He turned to Farkas, offering him a golden band.
"Do you agree to be bound together, in love, for now and forever?"
Farkas turned his gaze to Anjya, his eyes crinkling with his smile.
"I do. Now and forever." He vowed, slipping the ring onto her finger. The priest turned to the bride.
"And do you agree to be bound together, in love, for now and forever?"
"I do," She took the band offered and slid it onto her husband's finger. "Now and forever."
"Under the authority of Mara, the divine of love, I now pronounce you husband and wife."
Farkas grinned and snaked his arm around Anjya's waist, pulling her tight against his armor and capturing her lips in his. Anjya wrapped her arms around her husband's neck, eagerly returning the kiss as the guests clapped and cheered.
"Hey, Farkas! Save it for the honeymoon!" Torvar called. Farkas pulled away, cheeks reddening slightly, but his eyes didn't leave Anjya's.
"Right, that," He murmured. "I can't wait for that." His wife smiled at him and ran her palm affectionately along his cheek.
"We'll have all night, husband."
Farkas grinned and slipped an arm under Anjya's legs, sweeping her off the floor with one swift motion.
"I'm married!" He roared triumphantly, holding Anjya up for the chapel to see. She laughed and wrapped her arms around Farkas's shoulders to steady herself.
Seeing the look of joy in her husband's eyes, Anjya decided she was the marrying type, after all.