Epilogue two

The Wedding Part Two - The Bachelor and Bachelorette Parties

(I apologize in advance if I didn’t do anyone else’s characters proper justice and for the slightly more pg-13 content towards the end) Rhom stood at the new center of the city, the pristine white marble square freshly installed as the heart of the central hub…engraved with runes and prayers of each of the good and neutral gods and goddesses of the world including one for Pooka. Rhom and Diana had worked for weeks with clerics of every religion to create this monument and protection for those that lived here, that should the dragon god ever try to push into the mortal world again that the stone would warn them all and the dragon knights of each race could be called again to defend them. The runes bled into each other, the words of the celestial language twisting into the next to make the separate prayers one continuous unbroken chain. He traced his hands along the surface, his fingers feeling the warmth as they brushed across the prayer to his patron goddess Sulis.

The sounds of boots on the cobblestones behind him made him turn his head. “Modura…I am glad you could make it.” The fire genasi bowed slightly as Rhom stood and turned to face him. “Prince Rhom, I would not have missed this celebration for the world.”

Rhom crossed his arms and scowled slightly at the title, “I see you’ve been talking to my cousin. I told him…” “That you were not having anything to do with Xalendare’s throne,” Modura said with a chuckle, “I know, but I couldn’t help it. It has been a long time since I had the chance last to annoy you.”

Rhom shook his head, stepping up and clasping his old friend on the shoulders. “And I missed it truly. How has responsibility and fatherhood been to you?”

“I think I preferred fighting for my life to civic leadership, but I would not trade being a father for anything in this world or the next. But we’re going to be late if we don’t hurry, the others have already started the drinking without us.” Across the city, in a small inn that had been rented out entirely for the evening, the bride to be had arrived with her own friends and allies to celebrate the coming wedding. Diana couldn’t believe she had allowed herself to be talked into this, but the other ladies had all been so insistent on having this one night where it was just ‘the girls’.

You’d never know it from just looking at them dressed in lighter and flowing dresses and outfits but these women were among the most powerful warriors and casters in the world, that some of them had not only stood up against a dark god’s avatar but now were finding the tasks of rebuilding the lands around them to be almost dull by comparison.

Diana had consented to wearing something that was not black, leather or skin tight for a change and was finding the blue dress selected for her by Madeline to be almost indecent as it didn’t fully cover her legs. Beside her at the bar was the wife of Modura, Zahra, a young and very beautiful fire genasi but also very pregnant at the moment…their second child already close to being due. Zahra had elected to have fruit juice because of her condition, and sat the mug down as her little one was electing to kick her kidneys some. “Here, she is being active.” Zahra took Diana’s hand and put it over one spot.

Diana felt the little one stir some and kick, “Quite a strong one, you think she’ll be more like her father or you?” Zahra smiled, “I’m hoping more like her father, our firstborn is a quiet baby, almost as if he was studying the world. At least one of our children needs to adopt the blade, and I think our son may be more spiritual than swordplay. What of you and Rhom, Diana, have you two discussed children yet?”

Diana reached for her own glass, she did not like alcohol and had taken to curbing her own groom of his occasional binges despite his demonic blood hindering his ability to become intoxicated. “We’ve spoken of it a few times yes, he wants children…but he’s secretly terrified of the idea… He’s not afraid of being a dad, just of being bad at it…of being like his own father…”

Zahra took Diana’s hand in her own, “Modura was the same…he is still learning what it is to be one of us, to be genasi… he was afraid of not being up to the task to teach a new generation when he himself had been denied the traditions and teachings of our people. You’ll find though that men like ours use that fear to make sure they will always be there for their family.”

Madeline leaned over the bar, “But you gotta give them stuff to do, James, Rhom, Modura…they are adventurers to the very bone. If they don’t go fight a monster or a bandit group they get antsy.”

Zahra nods, “Well there is that too, but Rhom doubly so…he is a Dragoon is he not? The stories you hear about that family make me wonder how they have not driven themselves into extinction already.”

The door opens and yanks itself away from the opener as a gust of wind pulls it from her grasp and slams into the stopper attached to the floor. Standing in the doorway was the slender dark skinned form of Shanasita, who kinda looked down. “Sorry sorry…the wind kicked up.”

Madeline calls out, “Oi, Sita, get in here and stop looking like you’re apologizing for being alive…” Rhom closed his eyes and let his own arcane senses take over as he tossed the hand axe, the perfectly balanced weapon tumbling end over end as it slammed into the painted target just shy of the bullseye. “Grah…missed the damned thing…”

Gary held out a hand, “Pay up…”

Rhom slipped a hand into his pouch and pulled out a few coins, “I don’t know why I let you keep winning, you’ll make a pauper out of me?” “Let me? Lad, if you were any worse at this I’d have to handicap myself by letting you start with 3 bullseyes.” A massive battle axe passed by them both and not only embedded itself in the log but split it asunder. Mitsune reached down and plucked the coins from Gary’s hand before he had a chance to close his fingers. “I think I win.”

Some may find it odd that the female half-orc was there but those people didn’t know the fighter half as well as her allies. This was her natural environment, and the girls party may have been dreadfully dull to her.

The men had elected to hold this party outside the city walls around a bonfire with meat roasting on a spit and casks of drink gifted to the groom from all over…elven wine, genasi fire whiskey, dwarven ale, human cider, and even a small and very dangerous barrel of a potent liquor sent by the heroes’ vampiric allies from the war.

Father Slushie was truly living up to his capacity as a servant of the god of knowledge by sampling each one and taking careful notes on the strength and taste of each one and making sure all his friends kept their cups full taking over the role of barkeep. Ruven had only just arrived, having left his wife with the ladies and ridden out to join the men. He ties up his horse by the others and makes sure the beast has water and food before making his way over. Rhom spots him as Gary and Mitsune start to debate if using a magical axe is cheating.

“Ruven, I wasn’t sure if you’d make it till the actual ceremony tomorrow…”

“We were able to wrap up the negotiations earlier than expected. Misako says that Whitestone can expect provisions enough to handle the influx of refugees through the winter.”

Rhom’s face lit up like you’d told him he’d won a lottery. “How? You said the trade guilds were being firm about the prices, we don’t have coin enough to cover their costs…”

Ruven leans in, whispering a little, “The less you know, the less you have to deny. Needless to say, no one was hurt by the guildmaster’s little change of heart…other than his coffers and the likelihood that he may be able to keep his manhood since the information Misako has won’t reach his wife’s ears.”

Rhom could feel that worry leaving his shoulders, “You have no idea how much this means to us, Ruven…between rebuilding and keeping a standing army ready in case of a war breaking back out…so many displaced…so many children left without parents…” Ruven reached out and put a hand on Rhom’s arm. “That’s what friends are for, but I won’t lie when I say that my lady might be asking for a return from the Soul Reaver in a few matches in the near future.”

“If I had known that would follow me, I’d have picked a better fighting name…come on, let’s get a cup in your hand.” Karla whispered to Rina, “I did not know drow women could blush.”

Rina shook her head in disbelief, “I did not know either, I would have sworn it to biologically impossible.” The reason for Sita’s blushing and the discomfort of Diana was the partly undressed half-orc male dancing on the table for the ladies. Somehow Madeline had convinced her paramour to perform for the bride to be and the party. James was an exceptionally handsome member of his kind, having inherited his mother’s green skin and powerful build, but his father’s flinty blue eyes and rugged good looks. And judging from the way the leather pants were clinging to him, his face and abs were not the only traits that won him Madeline’s affections.

The concept of women dancing in seductive ways and undressing as they did so was not a new concept by any stretch of the imagination, but the reversal was still a new one and while James was feeling very self conscious about this he knew Madeline would reward his efforts greatly later when they were alone. Besides, he may never get this chance again to make the future ruler of Whitestone look so ill at ease. And in a way it was a huge boost to his ego, so many ladies all cheering and whistling as he danced. Zahra had moved away from the group some to feed her firstborn, the display was wonderful to behold, such dances were not uncommon among the genesai but not normally a solo dancer. Such dances would involve many dancers, often at the height of great celebrations…stirring the primal fires in all those in attendance, before the night’s activities led lovers and couples to celebrate again in private with each other. She thought back though to the night where she had danced for Modura, hoping he would find her a suitable wife and partner. She remembered the feelings of fear at being inadequate but once the music hit her heart, and her bare feet touched the sands she felt alive and free…

Jiro peered over his cards at his foe, seeking into the man’s soul for the truth off what he held in his hands. “I sense deception in your heart, you are bluffing me…I raise you 10 gold.” Jemporary was a master of the games, a champion of the gladiators and his game face was second to none. “Do you paladin? Can you be so sure that I would lie about such a weak hand? Perhaps you are the one being deceptive this night?” Somehow this one card game had gone on for almost an hour as the two tried without success to out maneuver the other. Finally the monk pushed a pile of coins forward. “50 gold…time to see if you really think I am telling a falsehood or if you are.” “Call… Widow’s Walk…Queen of Spades high.”

“Oh…so sad…how could I ever hope to defeat such a hand? Oh wait… Lord of Flames… King of Diamonds high.” A cheer erupted from the spectators as one card difference had won the monk the pot. Nearby Rhom and Mitsune were refilling their pitchers for the…for the… hell, the two had lost count a long time ago. Rhom tapped his pitcher against hers, “You know, I found out a little while back you went to Rina for me back before the battle, tried to get her to give up the secret to her spell. I don’t think I can ever truly tell you how much that means to me.” Mitsune was oddly quiet a moment as she downed a large part of her pitcher all in one go, “It was important to you…I do not understand magic as well as I understand the singing of steel on steel, but it was important to you to know it and so it was important to me as well.” Rhom sat his pitcher down, “And I think there is something that is important to you that I need to do in return.” He took out a scroll and read it quietly, the letters blazing before the spell took hold and the tiefling felt his muscles tighten with arcane energy, he skinny warlock feeling stronger than he ever had. He signaled Gary and the musicians to play the song he had told them to play when he gave them the signal and pulled Mitsune out to dance with him…the last time they had danced had been under the waters at the triton court, but Rhom had been an unwilling partner and unable to keep up with the much stronger Mitsune. For a little while, he would be able to keep up with her and give her the dance she deserved.

Following the little striptease dance, the ladies all needed a moment to compose themselves a little and catch up some among themselves. Misako had relayed the story of the guild master among them and there was a general air of great excitement that the coming winter months would find the city able to feed their swelling population. She even took a turn holding Zahra and Modura’s firstborn, a look of sadness passing by her features some before she hid them. Shunasita had not missed the look and quietly asked her about it later. Misako confided to Sita that she had not been able to conceive, her attempts to have a child with Ruven having so far proved fruitless. Sita hugged her and felt her magics building up unbidden, as if reacting to something. “The dragon…oh…oh no…that’s why.” Misako looked confused but Sita explained, “The dragon…the brown dragon that held the elves in the time loop. Some of his essence is still poisoning you a little.” There was a glow coming from Sita’s shoulders as her wings extended briefly and little firefly like motes of magic flowed from the ethereal feathers to the elf. Her magic was curing the last tiny bits of the contagion, the impurity, within Misako…

The parties wound down, and all of the revelers returned to their lodgings for the night, knowing they all had to be up early to attend the ceremony.

Rhom collapsed into his little cot back in the guildhall where all of this began so long ago it seemed. When he was a angry warlock driven by his father’s plot of revenge. Before he truly knew what having a friend was, before his heart was opened to the idea that he didn’t have to just be his father’s willing servant…before he knew love, before he knew how to be a hero…before the amulets…before the fight to save the world. He shut his eyes, offering up a prayer to both Sulis and Boren Mal…life and death. Tomorrow life and death would be united in a new way, the living champion of life and the most powerful cleric of death taking vows as husband and wife. There was a sudden weight on his chest, and his eyes opened quickly and his hand calling his blade to him. But before he could do or say anything else lips, warm and sweet as wine found his and kissed him. He relaxed, recognizing Diana’s perfume and his eyes finding her face as she kissed him. He sent the sword away and his hand reached up to take her waist. She stopped him and pushed his hand up higher, moving it till it was above his head, then the other. He quirked an eyebrow, he was not unused to her being well…dominant…in their lovemaking but why was she here now. She was the one that had insisted they follow the old tradition about not seeing each other the night before their wedding.

His question never left his lips as she kissed him again as if she were starved for him. Rhom was a bit drunk and his mind wasn’t fully thinking or he’d have heard the clink of the manacles before they closed around his wrists, leaving them trapped above his head. He had barely said what when she had pressed a finger to his lips to quiet him, “No words…not tonight…” He recognized those words, the same ones she had said to him the night they shared themselves with one another the first time. And he relaxed, trusting her, allowing her to disrobe him before removing her own gown.

There was a passion in her he had never known, a fire unlike any he had felt before, and he wondered if she was drunk…or was it something else, nerves perhaps at being wed. Her nails left long red lines on his chest and sides as they spent their night together as one. Afterwards she rested on top of him, and he could feel her heart beating as she traced a finger through his hair. Rhom tried to hold her, but his arms were still quite chained to the wall behind his cot. “That was…very intense my love…” Her breath was hot on his ear as she bit his earlobe softly, “Yes, I have been waiting to do that for a very long time…” His eyes grew wide, that was not Diana’s voice… “No…not you, get off me… HEL…” Her hand clamped shut over his mouth. “Now now…none of that lover. You still belong to me, not to that cold little whore…admit it, don’t you prefer me over her?” Rhom could feel the poison of her powers seeping into his mind, all she would have to do is keep talking and she’d eventually be able to enslave his will once more. But then they suddenly stopped. “Choose my beautiful pet…choose her or choose me.” She had willed her powers to stop, he still had control over his own mind still. Her hand moved away from his mouth. “I choose Diana, Siren.”

There was a madness burning inside the eyes that locked onto his own, her smile cracked with a sudden hatred for him. “She will never have you, my beautiful demon…you are mine, no one else’s not even that bitch! I would have maybe shared you, but if you will not be mine…” She pulled a dagger out from under the cot and brought it down towards his chest…