Vows of Blood and Honor

Sebastian tugged at his tunic and regarded his hands with resigned astonishment. They were shaking, rather violently in fact. His breathing wasn't precisely steady either. A wry smile twisted his mouth. It wasn't truly a surprise that he was nervous, considering what he was about to do. Taking a deep steadying breath that wasn't really deep or steady he knocked on the door and heard the quiet invitation to enter.

As he closed the door behind him the prince saw Merrila sitting quietly with Vidanalas. The two of them regarded him with slightly amused eyes, affectionate but definitely amused by his nervousness.

"Ma'am, Sir." He nodded politely moving forward to bow.

"Sebastian." Merrila smiled. "It is good to see you. You seem…agitated though. Are you well?"

"Quite well Ma'am." Sebastian ran a hand through his curls, mussing what he had only recently tamed. "As I hope are the two of you?" His hands hadn't stopped shaking yet he noticed.

"We are very well." Vidanalas stifled the urge to chuckle over the prince's nervousness and contented himself with a smile.

"I hope you'll forgive me for not playing the game of social banter any longer." Sebastian's gaze moved from one to the other. "But I seem to have lost my usual patience and calm."

"Then say what you have to say and be done with it." Vidanalas gently commanded.

Sebastian shot him a tortured look and took a deep breath. "I have been courting your daughter almost since I met her, later with Dragon's knowledge and permission, such as it was. I would like your permission to propose marriage to Rosaleen, and to marry her if she accepts me." The words came out in an undignified and very un-courtier-like rush.

Merrila smiled, her lips twitching with laughter and looked at Vidanalas. The elf manfully did not laugh at the young man's expression but nodded as if considering Sebastian's words. "Part of me will always wish I had known of my daughter before her heart was stolen by a young man, and the larger share of her attention given to him." He said finally.

Sebastian's face, for once without his customary mask, took on a look of dismay as he registered Vidan's words. "I don't want to apologize for the fact that she fell in love with me before she met you, when I am so thankful for her love." He said slowly. "But I know you are in her heart, and should she agree to marry me, you will always be welcome in our home." He offered as if hoping to change Vidan's mind in the elf's seeming decision of denial.

"Well-" The bladesinger began and Merrila laid a hand on his arm interrupting him.

"Stop tormenting the poor boy." She commanded wryly. Looking at Sebastian she smiled sweetly, all the gentle joy of spirit Briar possessed apparent in whom she had inherited it from. "You have our permission to marry our daughter. I wish you Selena's smile on your proposal to her."

Sebastian's face brightened with a grin. "Thank you Ma'am." He looked at Vidanalas who was now openly grinning. "Thank you Sir."

"Well?" Merrila asked. "What are you waiting for? Go and ask her now."

Sebastian bowed and replied obediently. "Yes Ma'am." He turned and hurried from the room.

Rounding a corner as he tried to think of the best way to give Briar the ring he had in his belt pouch he became aware that someone was behind him. Quickly he stepped to the side and silently pulled one of his daggers. As the person rounded the corner Sebastian stepped out and found himself nearly gutting his mentor.

More shaken than he could believe he stuttered out an apology and nearly winced at the look on Raden's face.

"Sebastian, I know you want my position, but I didn't think you'd take matters into your own hands as far as this." The spymaster commented dryly.

Sebastian groaned leaning against the wall and his eyes flickered over the man and woman who stood just behind Raden, obviously on their guard. "My apologies." He offered again. "I'm a bit on edge."

"Obviously, though I fail to see the reason since Loren is dead and the threat to your lady and family is dead with her." Raden said with some asperity.

Sebastian smiled somewhat nervously. "I just got through asking Briars parents for permission to pay my addresses." He explained. "I was on my way to propose when you came up behind me." He looked down at his hands, one of which still held the dagger, and noted they were trembling again. Sheathing the blade he looked up at his teacher again.

Raden grinned and clapped a hand on the prince's shoulder. "I wish you luck, though I don't think you'll need it." He offered. "You'd better go and accomplish that, your most difficult task to date, while I take these two to see your parents. I don't think the halls are quite safe until you're betrothed."

Sebastian grimaced and rolled his eyes humorously but nodded. "I haven't been this nervous since my first 'errand'." He commented. "I think Mother and Dad are in their morning room."

"Sebastian." Raden said in a surprisingly gentle tone. "Go. Just go and get it over with. You'll feel much better after and I won't risk a dagger in my throat when I go around a corner." Sebastian nodded and hurried off. "So love makes fools of us all." Raden remarked with a smile in his voice still. He looked sharply at the two Watchers behind him. "You didn't see or hear any of that. Its Sebastian's business, not ours."

The two nodded solemnly but each was curious to see the lady who could capture the prince's heart and rattle the exceptional assassin so greatly.

Sebastian knocked on the door to the suite and then entered to find her walking towards him. "Sebastian!" She smiled happily and wrapped her arms around his neck. Kissing him hello she smiled. "I was just getting ready to come and see you, you didn't need to come and escort me."

The young prince looked at her and his arms circled her waist, pulling her so that she was snug up against him. "I couldn't wait to see you." He said huskily. His mouth came down upon hers and Briar melted against him as she felt in his kiss how he needed her. Gentle hands, strong and firm, moved over her body and she parted her lips allowing her lover to deepen the kiss.

"Sebastian." She murmured as his lips brushed over her face. "My love…" slim white hands threaded through his golden curls and she felt him shuddering under her touch. "I need you." She whispered softly.

"And I you." He spoke against her skin and felt her shiver at his warm breath. Without thought he sought a place to lay her down and moved towards the bedroom. He gently eased her down to the quilted coverlet and lay beside her, staring in wonder at her loving expression. Her hands were moving on him, opening the laces of his tunic and shirt beneath it. Sebastian gasped as her fingers stroked his skin, pulling gently at his nipples and rousing his desire to an almost painful pitch. "What would you have me do?" He asked her softly, his fingers stroking gently over her form, pulling the thin robe she wore open and sliding under the shift beneath it.

"Make love to me." She whispered looking up at him. "Make me yours completely." Briar's hands drifted down to unlace his breeches. "Sebastian, I want to give my self to you." She pushed herself up so she could kiss him passionately, her mouth and tongue seducing his.

Sebastian thought he would explode immediately. "Oh my Rose." He murmured. "I will make you mine." He pulled of his clothing and threw it on the floor impatiently, and then gently helped her remove her robe and shift. As always he was stunned at the sight of her body, lying so trustingly beside his own. Her hands surrounding his member drew his attention and he eased down upon her and began to lovingly lavish pleasure on her body.

Briar cried out in pleasure as his hands massaged her breasts and held them to his mouth while he suckled on her nipples. Sometimes she thought she'd die of the pleasure his touch gave her. She could hear him whispering to her, erotic love words of how he loved to watch her, hear her, and feel her come to pleasure against him.

Sebastian dipped his head down further, parting her thighs and felt her hands slide into his hair as she arched herself up to him. "Oh yes, my Rose, my Briar, yes that's right…let me into your sweet sheath." He murmured against her skin as his tongue began delving into her. He felt her trembling under his mouth and lifted his head to suckle and lick her clit hearing her cries with a smile of delight on his lips.

He lifted her legs and draped them over his shoulders, loving how she felt as she tensed and began to climax. He could hear her protesting and lifted his head. "What is wrong my Rose?" He asked with a smile. "Am I not giving you pleasure?"

"Sebastian you know you are." She moaned. "But I want to come with you, not alone. I want you to come with me."

Sebastian felt his entire body heat with a wave of desire so strong he trembled with it. he rose up over her and her mouth fused to his own. He felt her warm moist nether lips pressing against his sword and ached to sheath himself within her.

Briar moaned in her throat and wrapped her arms around him and her legs drew up and cradled his hips against her own. She felt him sawing back and forth, his sword hot against her, in delicious friction over her clit, driving her to that wonderful explosion of ecstasy. "Sebastian!" She cried out into his mouth and felt him shudder and jerk against her and groan her name as his seed erupted out of him, warm over her mound and belly.

She felt him kissing her, lying on her and whispering warm wonderful words of praise for her passion and how she made him feel. Sebastian had ever made her feel just as desirable and lovely after they had both come as before. Tears trickled from beneath her closed eyelids and she felt his mouth taste them.

Sebastian looked at her in alarm and his voice went from adoring to concerned. "Briar, my love why do you weep?" He asked worriedly. "Did I hurt you? I try to be gentle with you but you do make me insane with desire. Where do you hurt?" Briar turned her face into his shoulder and her tears flowed even more. Sebastian grew even more worried and lifted himself off of her, hurrying for a cool damp cloth to bathe her body and examine her for any hurt.

"Stop it Sebastian." Briar sniffled finally. "Just leave me alone." She rose and took her robe from the floor wrapping it around her. Absently he wiped himself off and left the cloth by the wash basin. He watched as she pulled the robe around her and knew something was wrong but it might not be physical. Never before, not since their first night together, had Briar concealed her body from his gaze after lovemaking. Lazy and satiated she loved to lie with him in bed and let him gaze at her beautiful form. "Sebastian, why didn't you want me?"

"Briar how can you even say that when you've so much to prove otherwise?" Sebastian was astonished. Firmly he pulled her back to the bed and lay her down with him. "I've never known such pleasure as I share with you. I want you even now." He took her hand and pressed it to his groin, showing her the truth, that simply lying beside her, even after having just made love to her, he wanted her again.

"You didn't come inside me." She told him as if it were obvious. "I want to give myself to you. But you didn't want me."

Sebastian groaned and could have smacked himself. "That's because you're in love with an idiot." He said dryly. He rose and retrieved his belt pouch. Opening it he tugged her towards him and concealed something in his hand. "I wanted to do this more romantically." He told her. "But I notice that I go a little insane with passion when I'm with you. My Rose, will you marry me? Will you give yourself to me forever?"

Briar looked at him in astonishment and blinked. "That is why you wouldn't take me?" She asked incredulously. "Because you want to marry me? You said vows didn't matter."

"They don't." He told her. "But I want to do this right." The prince smiled whimsically. "We can be married soon. Until then…" he regarded her with a warm loving smile. "We have waited so long. To wait a bit longer will only make our first time together more special." He put his hand on her cheek and kissed her softly. "My loving Rose, will you marry me?"

Briar nodded slowly. "Oh yes, my Sebastian, my prince of night. I'll marry you."

He held out the ring and she shyly gave him her hand. With a smile that seemed even brighter in his eyes he slipped the delicate circle of platinum onto her finger. A single diamond tinted with pink shone from within a setting shaped like a rose.

Dragon reluctantly lifted his head pulling his mouth from Lorelei's lips as the doorknob rattled demandingly. "Why am I always interrupted when I am so enjoying your kisses?" He asked darkly of his betrothed.

Lorelei smiled. "It is the gods way of helping you keep your vows to yourself." She teased even as her lips trembled and she sighed, snuggling deeper into his embrace.

"The gods should mind their own affairs and leave my vows and the potential breaking of them to me." Dragon eyed the door and then looked down at her, unable to resist kissing her again.

His love made a delighted sound in her throat and he felt her hands clutching erotically in his long dark hair. The sweet hot sting that seeped through their bodies made them both ignore any other noise from the door as they indulged in the delightful pastime of playing with fire.

Sebastian opened the door silently, and grinned at Briar over his shoulder, drawing her forward so she could see why her brother hadn't answered the door. His bard gave him a mischievous look before snapping in a waspish tone. "Well!" She said sharply. "Is this the same man who refused to leave me alone with Sebastian after finding marks of passion on my body?" She couldn't keep her smile of amusement from her face. "Locking the door against interruptions?"

With a muttered curse Dragon broke the kiss and regarded his sister with irritation. "The occasion had better warrant interruption." He warned her with a dark look.

"I locked the door." Lorelei informed her brother and her friend. "I forgot that sometimes it doesn't do much good." She shot her brother an irritated look.

Sebastian's sharp gaze caught sight of a ring on his sister's finger. A slow smile spread his lips. "Forgive us for intruding on your celebration." He bowed slightly and his dark blue eyes were practically glowing with joy. "You were the first we wished to tell. You may wish us happy."

Dragon's dark unsmiling gaze underwent a dramatic change as a grin lit his face. "You may wish us the same felicitations." He stroked Lorelei's golden head and kissed her again. "Congratulations." He grinned at Sebastian. "Briar is your problem now."

"Well!" Briar snapped in mock offense. Then she giggled. "I most certainly am." She leaned against Sebastian and smiled happily at Dragon and Lorelei. "I am most happy for you."

Sebastian tugged Briar in front of him so he could wrap his arms around her waist and look over her shoulder at the other couple. "I suppose we ought to go and inform our respective parents." He noted. "Though the little bird who informed me of where you were may have already spread the word."

Dragon groaned. "Katharine." He rolled his eyes. "Then we may as well go and let your parents know." He said to Lorelei. "Since it will not be a secret for very long."

As the two of them rose from the sofa Briar gently disentangled Sebastian's hands from her waist. Moving forward she embraced the smaller girl and whispered. "Now I truly have a sister."

Lorelei smiled. "Does that mean I have to stop tormenting Sebastian?" She teased.

Briar dimpled at her. "As if you ever would." She retorted with a laugh. She reached for her brother and drew him down to kiss his cheek. "Be happy Brother." She murmured.

"I cannot be otherwise with my Lorelei." Dragon replied in his low rasp a joyous smile on his face.

Amon and Sabine broke off their quiet discussion as the four absent young people entered the room. Merrila and Vidan were sitting companionably together, every now and then making a quiet comment. Andreas, Faith and Asrai had been listening quietly as the king and queen told them of how Serendal would be taken care of. Briar's uncles and mother had agreed to act as caretakers, not lords, until such a time as one of her cousins was in a position to inherit. Since none of her uncles sons were old enough it would be some time before Serendal had a true lord again.

The group looked up as the door opened and Dragon assisted Lorelei through it and was followed by Sebastian and Briar.

The king and queen looked at each other and then at Merrila and Vidan. Briar's mother had been practically radiating silent joy and Vidan's dark green eyes were bright with mischief.

Sebastian looked at Briar's parents and folded his arms. "You know, if you two have been looking so smug this entire time then what we have to say will be rather anti-climatic." He drawled.

Sabine laughed and Amon squeezed her hand. "Why don't you just say it anyway," He suggested, "and let us be the judge?"

Briar curtsied her lips twitching with mirth and looked up at Sebastian. He smiled and slipped an arm around her waist. "My lady has done me the honor of accepting my suit." His formal words could not disguise the joy in his voice. "We are to be wed."

Asrai and Faith gave a quiet huzzah and Andreas smiled, genuinely glad that his brother had decided to join his life with the sweet girl. "Its about time." Faith added with a throaty chuckle.

"We had a bet, on how long it would take you to ask her." Asrai seconded. "You waited longer than either of us thought you would."

"What were the stakes?" Sebastian teased his blue eyes gleaming wickedly.

"None of your business." Asrai blushed and Faith tugged one of her curls affectionately.

Sabine's eyes had gone to her other daughters hand and then flicked over Dragon whose dark visage could not quite disguise his own joyful mood. Andreas looked at his twin as his siblings bantered back and forth and he rose quietly to stand by her side.

"My twin." He murmured lifting his eyebrows in a silent question. At her nod and teary smile the crown prince's smile widened and he swept his twin sister up in a hug, lifting her of the ground and kissing her cheek exuberantly. Setting her down he grabbed Dragon's hand firmly and pulled the larger man into a rough embrace thumping him on the back.

Asrai and Faith looked at the trio as did Merrila and Vidan. Amon simply smiled and regarded Dragon as if waiting. His wife was already a bit misty eyed knowing what would be said.

"Your Majesty. By the permission you granted me when you allowed me to court Princess Lorelei, I have proposed marriage to her." Dragon bowed soberly. "She has been more than obliging in accepting my proposal. Will you wish us joy?"

"Leelee?" Amon looked at his daughter. "Do you wish to marry this…rogue and adventurer?" He stifled a grin as his wife elbowed him.

"Oh Daddy!" Lorelei made a face at him. "Stop teasing. You know I wish to marry him with all my heart." Though her words were impatient her voice was soft and loving as she looked at the tall dark warrior.

"Well then certainly you may. You know I can't help but give you what you want." Amon teased and his happy grin spread his lips. He rose and all could see how much like his father Andreas was, as the king grasped Dragon's hand firmly and yanked him into a rib cracking hug. "Welcome to the family." He laughed. "And see that you don't spoil my daughter by granting her every wish." He couldn't keep a straight face at the end of that outrageous remark and burst out laughing again at the indignant and slightly accusing looks his family gave him.

Sabine's throaty laugh drifted over the air and she rose gracefully to take Briar's hands. "I am so very glad to welcome you to our family my dear." She said in her low honey voice. She kissed her son on the cheek and smiled. "I could not have chosen better for you myself. You need a lady your equal in every way. Dare I suggest you talk her into becoming your business partner as well?" her voice was less than a murmur as she spoke the last and with a mysterious smile drifted over to greet Dragon.

With a strength in her grip the warrior found almost surprising the queen took Dragon's hands. "Welcome to our family Nwyfan." She smiled. "I give you fair warning though, there are few secrets but for the ones the entire family shares." She stood on tiptoe to kiss his cheek and regarded her daughter with great pride in her eyes. "My very dear child, I am so happy for you." She wrapped her petite daughter in her arms and held her tightly. "It will be hard to let you go."

Amon had gone from Dragon immediately to Briar and found his son grinning at him like a lunatic. "Admit it Dad, you thought this day would never come." The prince drawled. He still hadn't removed his arm from Briar's waist as if afraid she would change her mind.

"I feared it would not." Amon said gently. His eyes like Sebastian's were a deep intense sapphire blue as he gazed from his son to Briar. "He has, like myself, ever compared every other lady to his mother and found them wanting." He took Briar's hand in both of his and conveyed it with great care to his lips, for a heartfelt kiss of welcome. Gently he enfolded the slim girl in his arms. "Finally my son has found a lady to cherish and respect." He murmured. "And I now have another daughter."

Briar looked up at the king and smiled. "Now I have two fathers, and as many brothers and sisters as I wanted when I was a little girl." She looked over at Asrai and Faith who were standing with Briar's parents, the princess chattering a mile a minute.

"Uh, Dad, can I have my future wife back now please?" Sebastian regarded Briar still being warmly hugged as if impatient to take her in his arms himself.

His father laughed and shook his head drawing Briar over to the couch to sit beside he and Sabine. Lorelei found that her mother had done the same thing, proudly bearing her new son away to sit beside her. The two siblings looked at their parents with identical expressions of annoyance and frustration, which started their baby sister giggling all over again.

Faith simply leaned back against the credenza and regarded the royal family as if they were putting on a play for her personal amusement. A slow smile tilted her lips as she saw a familiar gleam in Sebastian's eyes.

The prince with a slight shake of his head simply strode forward and scooped Briar up off the couch and sat down in her place settling her in his lap so that she could face his father and mother, resting her back against Sebastian's arm and the couch. From the look of contentment on Briar's face she didn't mind such cavalier treatment one bit.

Dragon held out his hand for Lorelei and his betrothed gracefully strolled forward to perch elegantly on the arm of the couch. Dragon, with a grin that told Lorelei he was up to no good, set his hands on her waist and slid her backwards until he could wrap an arm around her waist. The result of this was Lorelei's tiny feet resting on his legs and her hand on his shoulder, threaded through his hair.

Andreas watched these affectionate displays without expression finally smiling slightly as his twin looked at him. Taking a seat in a wing chair near his sister he asked curiously. "When do you think to marry?" He immediately regretted the question afterward for it brought forth a burst of conversation that conflicted in tone, volume and enthusiasm.

His mother winced sympathetically and Faith shook her head and put two fingers in her mouth to produce an ear splitting whistle. "Sweet gods, it's a wonder you can hear yourselves think!" She exclaimed. "Did anyone even answer the question?" The dark haired girl casually sprawled at the feet of Asrai's chair to listen.

Briar looked at Sebastian and found she was blushing and had she looked at Lorelei she would have seen the same effect on the princess. Her betrothed had whispered in a tone that sent delicious shivers down her spine. "As soon as possible."

Lorelei met Dragon's hot onyx gaze and smiled even through the heat in her cheeks as she recalled his murmured words. "Immediately if not sooner." He had told her and his eyes and wicked smile had left her no doubt as to the reason.

"A time can be best decided once we've looked over the schedule of commitments for the next year." Amon reminded them in a stern but gentle voice. "This will be two members of the royal family marrying, not simply our two children, and there are obligations that must be met to our allies."

"And families as well." Sabine said quietly. "Briar you know that your family will be working very hard with Serendal, but magical transportation can be arranged so that they need not spend months away." She looked at Merrila. "It is every mother's prerogative to plan her daughters wedding. I hope you will consider our services at your disposal."

Merrila blushed faintly and smiled. "Lady, you are very kind, and most gracious in your offer." She looked at her daughter. "You have treated my child like a daughter, from the time you met according to her words. Since her uncles and I do have obligations to be met, I would be honored if you would plan my daughters wedding with your own." She leaned forward to touch Briar's hand. "My dear, you know I will not be far, if you need me. Will you mind terribly if I cannot be here with you?"

Briar smiled, understanding in her eyes. "Oh Mother, do you think I would ask you to undertake planning a wedding, along with trying to keep Serendal running properly, also knowing how much you truly dislike social events?" Her smile was wry and infectious and her mother grinned back. "Lorelei and her mother,"

"Sabine." That lady interrupted firmly. "Please, Briar, my name is Sabine."

"Sabine," Briar blushed. "and I will enjoy planning the weddings and I will look forward to having you with me when I marry and you may relax and enjoy the occasion." Her beautiful face was laughing and sweet as she teased Merrila and Vidan smiled as he watched the two of them together.

"If I may, I will be pleased to act as a go between for the two of you." He offered impulsively. "I know a father has little to do with the planning of such events, but I hope you will allow me to do what little I am able?"

"Father I would be glad to have your help." Briar looked at him in pleased surprise. "But you must be here, if you are to give me away."

Vidan blinked and blinked again and finally looked down to take a deep breath and in an emotion roughened voice said. "I would be honored daughter."

Sabine looked at Dragon with a gleam in her eyes and in her quiet way inquired. "Dragon, is there anyone in particular you will wish us to invite?"

Dragon smiled ruefully and looked at Lorelei. "I truly had intended to tell you before your entire family knew." He said quietly. "I hadn't counted on your mother and her annoying habit of knowing everything that goes on in the palace. If you like we could be private and I will tell you, and you will know of this before your family."

Lorelei shook her head at him and smiled. "I know." She stroked his hair lovingly. "Mother tends to spring such things upon us, she likes to catch us unprepared." She shot an exasperated look at her mother.

Dragon sighed and finally answered Sabine's question. "I cannot get married and not at least invite my mother and her family." He said. "Mother will definitely come, I don't know about the rest of the House." The way he said the last word caused Vidan's eyebrows to rise curiously.

"Dragon…" Briar said slowly. "I thought your mother was dead?"

"No," Dragon shook his head with a slow smile as he thought of that lady. "I said Mother was gone. When I set off on my own she joined her family on Evermeet." He explained. "She and I write regularly, so she knows of you and our life together, and of you my love." He looked up at Lorelei.

"You said House." Vidan asked curiously. "Which House does your mother belong to?" He regarded the warrior mage with mild interest, expecting the man to name a minor noble house or simply a respected elven name.

"My mother belongs to House Silverspear." Dragon said softly.

Briar blinked wondering why in the world she recognized that name and then took a strangled breath of air as she made the connection. Looking around she saw that the rest of the family but for Merrila and Faith hadn't taken but a moment to recognize that name.

"Silverspear…" Sabine murmured thoughtfully. "His Majesty's father had a dear friend by that name did he not?"

Dragon nodded. "Myronthilar." He supplied the name. "My mother and I are of a minor branch." He smiled. "But she missed her family and so she returned to them when she was assured I was well here."

"Morgana will be interested to hear of this." Amon smiled at his wife and she nodded her agreement.

"Andreas." Dragon's macabre voice was an affectionate rasp. "I had hoped to ask you"

"If you would be my best man." Sebastian finished the sentence. He grinned at Dragon.

"To you both?" Andreas smiled. "I would be glad to."

"The question of when arises once again." Briar sighed. "For we must have Morgana here, and I wish to be at my brother's wedding and he will wish to be at mine. But I think that none of us wishes to wait long to wed, but if we have the weddings a week apart, it will be difficult to…" she blushed as her thoughts led her further than her modesty would allow her to speak.

Sebastian kissed her gently and his fingers stroked her flaming cheeks. "I know what you mean." He said quietly. "How does the first couple to wed have their wedding journey, only to return not long later in order to attend the second wedding?"

"You could always get married together." Merrila suggested. When the rest of them looked at her in surprise she smiled. "At Serendal, before you were born Briar, I had two friends who were twins. They each were courted and betrothed, and were left with the same problem of when to have their weddings. They decided they were have a double ceremony. That way they could be together and separate for their bride journey."

Vidan looked at Briar and Dragon thoughtfully. "And since we have brother and sister marrying sister and brother, it would suit very well." He smiled. "And you would have only one wedding to plan, though you would have to agree on many things, which I'm told can be difficult."

Briar grinned. "Lorelei, will you share your wedding with me?" She asked mischievously.

"I don't know…" Lorelei teased. "I hate to share." She laughed and nodded. "Yes. You and I both have good taste, we shouldn't have to much of a problem agreeing." She made a face. "And we have Mom to keep us from killing each other."

"In case we don't!" Briar finished her sentence and her laughter mingled with Lorelei's.

"In that case…" Sebastian whispered something in Briar's ear and she nodded eagerly. Looking at Lorelei she mouthed the words and watched the other girls eyes widen appreciatively. Briar nodded at her and indicated that she should be the one to say something.

"Asrai?" Lorelei drawled in her bitchiest tone. "Are you going to be terribly busy rehearsing or anything for a while?"

"Not really, I don't think." Asrai said glumly. "Tredorian is working on another play but he says it won't be ready for a while, and it doesn't have any female parts." Part of her wistfully wondered if she would be asked to be a bridesmaid perhaps.

"Then you'll have plenty of time." Briar said softly and watched the girl look up curiously.

"Time for what?" She blinked and looked at her older sister.

"Well to be our maid of honor of course!" Lorelei told her as if it were obvious and her lips widened into a smile.

Asrai blinked again and looked at Briar and her sister and then nearly squeaked in surprise. "Thank you thank you!" She grinned at Faith who rolled her eyes and smiled affectionately at her. Then she seemed to deflate. "But what about Morgana?" She asked anxiously. "Shouldn't you ask her?"

Lorelei looked at her mother uncertainly and Sabine smiled. "Your father and I expect Morgana to be taking care of a very important guest. I'm certain that she'd love to be a bridesmaid, but to be a witness of the ceremony demands a bit more time than she will have available to her.

Briar nudged Sebastian and nodded at Faith. Sebastian grinned and he whispered. "Oh you are as bad as I." He stroked her hair. "I love it." He raised his voice and addressed the Watcher. "Oh, Faith you don't need to worry about keeping an eye on Asrai during the ceremony." He assured her.

Faith regarded him with casual unconcern and frowned slightly. She didn't like where this was leading. It meant wearing a dress she was sure of it. The watcher stifled a groan as his next words confirmed her suspicion.

"Briar would like you to be one of the bridesmaids." Sebastian informed the dark haired girl gleefully.

"You'll be in good company." Briar smiled. "I want to ask Lady Shen too."

Lorelei grinned. "Good." She tilted her head. "Then Grandfather can escort Grandmother." She rolled her eyes. "Only in this family would this sentence be spoken." She looked up at Dragon. "Are you sure you want to join the insane Obarskyr clan?"

Dragon looked up at her and grinned. "Just try and stop me."

Andreas smiled at the fervent tone in his friends voice and watched his younger brother whispering something to Briar that made that young lady's cheeks tint a darker pink. Something sad and faintly envious spiraled inside him and he repressed a sigh of longing. Determinedly he kept his smile fixed firmly across his face as he watched his family bantering and planning the pleasurable details of the upcoming weddings.

In the afternoon light, as the sun slanted through the windows, the entire family seemed bathed in the sunlight, but for one. He sat, slightly apart from the rest of the laughing family, his ash-blond hair seeming even darker, and his hazel eyes nearly black with repressed emotions. As the sun began to slip under the horizon the shadows crept up his chair, as if old ghosts were claiming him, unbeknownst to any.


Author's Note: So this is it folks. I've got more stories that I'll work on getting formatted correctly and uploaded but this is it for today. I hope you're enjoying these as they are very near and dear to my heart.