Chapter 8 - The Wedding Ceremony
Although the wedding had been arranged last minute, the courtyard where the ceremony was to take place had been beautifully decorated with thousands of white flowers and long white silk ribbons. As it would soon be nightfall, hundreds of candles and torches lined the area, including the aisle where Lillian would eventually walk down to meet her future husband. The warm flames flickered brightly as the sun had already begun to set far off in the distance, behind the mountains.
The King had organised for his best musicians to play for the ceremony, their wind instruments prepared and each musician sitting patiently, ready to begin the first song when instructed. Greggory wanted to keep the music light for the initial ceremony, then a little more ravenous for the remainder of the evening at the great feast he had also organised to following immediately afterwards. The castle’s most luxurious chambers had been prepared for the happy couple to spend their first night as man and wife; Greggory had also instructed that red rose petals be scattered across the floor and over the large bed the two would share, his best wine ready on ice and the large indoor heated pool cleaned beforehand. Given the fact that he had very little time to organise all of this, he had done quite well for himself!
Below the great balcony the good people of Rykiss had gathered, torch in hand, waiting to hear the important news their King was scheduled to announce at sundown. Rumor had spread throughout the Kingdom of a possible wedding but details of who the groom was were somehow left out and there was much interest in the townspeople as they stood patiently waiting as the sky darkened.
An elderly minister with white hair and a tall hat stood at the end of the aisle on a large podium, waiting for the happy couple he would join in holy matrimony before the few guests allowed at the ceremony. With such a powerful groom being present, the guests had been limited to those he knew and trusted, including Lillian’s parents of course.
The air suddenly filled with the whimsical sounds of wind instruments as the signal was given for the ceremony to begin. Several soldiers dressed in black and gold armour marched down the aisle, leading their King down to the podium where he stepped up and stood before the minister, who seemed to cower before such a ferocious looking figure. King Draxus had apparently made the effort to bathe and dress in a slightly less terrifying outfit than the one he had arrived at Castle Woodsend in, earlier this morning. Instead he wore a long black armoured suit, laced with gold trimming and his trademark long black smoky-looking cloak flying along behind him as he walked. Many were mesmerized by the way the long cloak moved about, as if by magic in a way that only thick, black smoke could; No one had ever seen anything quite like it before and it intrigued them.
Draxus no longer wore his frightening helmet, this time choosing to reveal his true appearance to those few guests in attendance that evening. It was a rare sight to view the Dragon King without his helmet; he liked to keep his face hidden as much as possible with the threat of assassination always on the table wherever he went. King Draxus had made many enemies over the years during his reign of conquering and preferred to keep his face well-hidden from view.
Tonight was different.
Tonight he would wed the most beautiful woman he had ever laid eyes upon.
Once Draxus and all of his King’s Guards were settled in place, including his General and the tattooed man with the dirty blonde hair and neon green eyes, all eyes turned to the doorway where their Princess and bride-to-be would emerge from.
As the music played, the curtain was pulled back revealing King Greggory arm in arm with his beautiful daughter, Princess Lillian. The guests in attendance all seemed to silence as soon as she was in sight; her radiance and beauty causing the world to pause for but a moment as she and her father began to make their way down the aisle together, slowly.
Lillian struggled to get a good enough look at the man she would soon call husband. She could hardly see anything through her vail and even from such a distance away, there were so many figures standing around him, it was hard to see what Draxus looked like.
Draxus felt his heart jump as he stood there, taking in all of her beauty and innocence as she continued to walk down the aisle toward him. He couldn’t help it as his lips began to part and his breathing became much shallower. His amber eyes were locked onto her, like a predator would watch its prey, and soon she would be his. A slight smirk curved the corner of his mouth upward as he thought of all the things he would do with her later on tonight, when they were alone.
Her gown fit her perfectly, accenting all of her shape, with curves in the right places. Those voluptuous breasts pinned down beneath mere silk and lace at the top of her gown. Those long, silky legs which moved so gracefully, delicately even; he longed to have them wrapped around him. He couldn’t get a good enough look at her face at the moment, with the vail hiding it from view, but not for much longer. Soon he would taste those rosy red lips for himself.
His thoughts paused as he noticed they had finally reached the podium and King Greggory helped Lillian step up to stand before her intended husband and ideally, the most powerful and ruthless man in existence. With a hesitant nod at Draxus, Greggory then turned to face Lillian and lifted her hand, kissing it gently before leading her to stand before the Dragon King, then turning and moving to the side for the ceremony to begin.
By now Lillian’s heart was thumping loudly in her chest, so loudly she thought he may hear it for sure! Even standing right in front of him, she could not force herself to look him in the eye, fear having enveloped her as she fought to stop her legs from trembling too much. His strange scent circled around her, entering her nostrils and causing her to feel slightly dizzy with something she had not yet felt before. His scent was utterly intoxicating.
Her heart suddenly stopped entirely as he held out his hand for her to take. She stood staring at it for a few seconds, then turning to her side and handing the bouquet of lilies to one of her handmaidens. With a gulp she reached her hand out, lifted it and hesitantly rested it inside of his; his long, warm fingers wrapping around her hand easily as the two turned to face the minister for the ceremony to commence.
The minister began his speech and the room fell silent.
“Kings, Queens, Ladies and Noblemen, special guests. We are gathered here this evening to take part in an auspicious event; the merging of two Kingdoms and of two great families, by joining King Draxus Rhys Krillian and Princess Lillian Rose Grace in the bonds of holy matrimony. Now... If anyone can think of a reason these two should not be joined by the bonds of holy matrimony, will he speak now, or for all eternity hold his peace...”
King Greggory already stood on the podium, off to one side with his Queen up there next to him. The two held hands as Katherine suddenly squeezed his hand tightly, silently signalling her unease and need to say something to stop this. He responded with a firm squeeze, as if to silently assure her that everything will be alright while the minister continued with his speech.
Lillian seemed to drift off while the elderly man in front of her spoke formally to the guests gathered in the room with them, her thoughts were only of the man she was holding hands with, the man that seemed to tower over her in height and appearance. Her eyes darted sideways to take quick glances of him as she stood there beside him. He was well-dressed, smelled magnificent and had a warm touch. So far so good. Perhaps she had been worried all this time for nothing.
Suddenly her mind was pulled back to the present as Draxus released his grip on her right hand and turned to face her. Instead reaching out to take her left hand and holding it up as he took something off of a pillow that was being held out towards him and faced her once more. Peering through her vail, she tried to look up into his eyes but could not see them clearly enough as she heard him speaking for the very first time. Surprisingly, his voice was quite captivating, deep and huskier than she thought it would be, almost rumbling with each word he spoke.
“I, King Draxus Rhys Krillian, first of my name and ruler of the Kingdom of Westoria take thee, Princess Lillian Rose Grace to be my wife and Queen. To have and to hold, till death parts us.”
His head lowered as he carefully slid a delicate golden ring onto her ring finger. Lillian watched as he did so; she couldn’t see the ring’s precise detail, but from what she could see, it was made of gold with a fiery ruby in the middle which glistened in the torchlight. It seemed fitting, having come from the Dragon King.
“Princess, it’s now your turn.” the minister said turning to focus on her.
This was the most terrifying moment she had come across so far, but Lillian had been trained in diplomacy for many years and knew how to speak to an audience. She had made many speeches in her time and forced her fear aside for the moment as she opened her mouth and spoke from beneath her vail.
“I... Princess Lillian Rose Grace... sole heir to the Kingdom of Rykiss take thee, King Draxus Rhys Krillian... to be my husband and my King. To have and to hold, till death parts us.”
Once she had finished a second pillow was moved up beside her and she turned, sighting the single ring sitting in the middle of it. Reaching out she grasped it in her hand and turned to face Draxus who was standing patiently before her. His amber eyes were narrow watching her, as if waiting to see what she did next.
With a great breath to calm herself Lillian reached forward and grabbed his left hand, pulling it up quite harshly and forcing the ring onto his long ring finger, then releasing his hand and looking down in embarrassment. Draxus gave a slight chuckle at this clear act of rebelliousness she had displayed; a sign of what was to come for sure.
“Excellent.” The minister announced with a smile as he clapped his hands together. “Now with your rings and your vows spoken, you have made the sacred promise to one another to remain by your partner’s side, throughout all endeavors life may throw at you. And so, in the name of our creator...”
He paused and Lillian watched as the minister slowly pulled out a long white silk cloth with golden embroidery all over it. She gasped in fright as Draxus suddenly took her by the left hand and the pair turned to face the crowd gathered before them, to be joined as a couple officially.
The minister continued as he carefully wrapped the cloth around both of their left wrists and loosely knotted it in the middle, joining them visually.
“...and by the powers vested in me as Holy Minister of the Crown, I name thee man and wife. King and Queen of Westoria. Your Highness, you may kiss the bride.”
Lillian gasped, turning to face the minister quickly, then glancing up at her new husband as he grinned, reaching down to grasp both sides of the vail covering her face. As he quickly lifted it up and threw it over the back of her head, the couple finally revealed their true appearance to one another, seeing each other for the first time so closely.
Her breath ceased for a moment as she looked up into those amber eyes of his, completely taken aback at how alluring they were to her. He had a single scar across his left eyebrow but it actually made his look somewhat more intriguing to her. Draxus hadn’t looked anything like she thought he would; no sign of massive scars, no horrible spikes or scales, nothing but the dark and captivating expression of pure lust he carried for her. He had long black hair which came down to just below his massive shoulders and a slight goatee of stubble coating his chin and upper lip.
At the very same moment, Draxus stood in awe of just how radiant his new bride looked. Now being able to see her face from underneath the vail his eyes moved from her bright green eyes down to those plump, moist lips of hers.
Draxus wasted little time obeying the minister’s command, his hand quickly grabbing her from behind the head and pulling her in towards him. Their lips crashed together and Draxus instantly began devouring her as she stood with her eyes closed and in complete and utter shock. After a second or two of their kiss, she seemed to loosen up a little more and her lips unintentionally parted, giving his tongue granted access to dive deep inside of her mouth. Just when she was beginning to enjoy it and crave more, he pulled away and the kiss ceased, as if he had meant to tease her intentionally just now. With red and raw lips she frowned at him as Draxus turned them to face the crowd, their arms still bound together by the ceremonial silk cloth.
“Come,” announced the minister. “Let us share this great news with the people of Rykiss!”
With those words the elderly man led the bound couple down from the podium and across an overarching corridor leading out onto the main balcony, where just below hundreds of people stood waiting patiently to hear the announcement they had been promised. King Greggory was the first to appear on the balcony and the people clapped and cheered for their King; their savior. With a great smile, he waved his hands and nodded his head until the applause and cheering began to subside, allowing him to make his announcement.
“People of Rykiss. Our Kingdom has long lived with the threat of war upon our very doorstep. Too long have we lived in fear of the world outside our walls. As your King, I can proudly say that this will no longer be the case. I have exciting news to share with you regarding your beloved Princess, my daughter...” he paused and turned with an outstretched arm, gesturing for the couple to step forward and reveal themselves to the crowd of onlookers below.
Upon realizing what he would have to do next, Draxus immediately turned toward his General, who quickly stepped up beside his King, bowing his head and then lifting Draxus’ great helmet up for him to take. Although confused, Lillian watched as Draxus accepted the helmet and slid it up over his head with the one hand, adjusting it so he could see out of the two dark holes at the front. Then, with a firm nod toward King Greggory, he and Lillian stepped up to the edge of the balcony and revealed themselves to the patient crowd of people.
As they came into view, Greggory continued his speech.
“I now present to you the very future of Rykiss; King Draxus Rhys Krillian and his wife, Queen Lillian Rose Krillian. Hurrah for the happy couple!”
“HURRAH! HURRAH! HURRAH!”
Draxus lifted Lillian’s bound hand up with his into the air between them and the courtyard below suddenly filled with a thunderous roar of both cheering and clapping as their audience happily celebrated their former Princess’ union with King Draxus, now his loyal and faithful Queen.
Although she had been dead-set against this union to begin with, she had to admit there was some kind of appeal she held for him; something that continued to lure her in for more. Yes he was by far extremely handsome in a dark and sensual way, but why was she having these strange feelings for a man she had only just met? As excited as she was, she could still see the look on many of the faces down below as they spotted the frightening helmet Draxus wore and she knew that expression all too well; it was fear. They feared him.
Her thoughts were washed aside as a sudden and deafening shriek filled the air and all eyes turned to watch as the gigantic black creature swooped down, suddenly emerging from the thick grey clouds that were until now, shielding it from their view high up in the night sky.
It was a dragon; a real life dragon!
The sound of its massive wings beating down against the air as it flew in large circles around the castle was all that could be heard as the entire crowd instantly went silent, stunned by the sighting of this majestic creature.
Absolutely terrified, Lillian gasped as she stepped back and unintentionally moved right into Draxus’ firm chest as she watched the incredible creature moving about high above them. His free hand moved to rest casually on her hip as he too stood proudly watching as his dragon soared gracefully through the night sky.
As she stood in a state of complete intrigue Lillian wondered to herself, what other surprises did her new husband have in store for her?