Gabriel and Breena had a beautiful, yet very simple wedding ceremony. Breena wore a beautiful white dress that Jaida had flown in from San Francisco. Gabriel wore all black, including his long coat. Oz braided Gabriel’s hair into one thick braid. His deep blue eyes shone brightly as he looked at the crowd gathered for the ceremony. He hoped it would become a regular thing in his clan.
Scythians usually pledged their love for each other and moved in together. Gabriel thought marriage should mean more to them. He wanted it to have a very special place in the hearts of those who were willing to pledge their lives to one another. He didn’t want it to grow into the financial fiascos he heard about in the human world, but he did think it should be more special than the Scythian way.
All the villagers were there as well as Yellow-mane and Azura, who had just arrived that morning from America. They both knew how proud Grandfather would be if he could see how the villagers loved their new elders and respected them. Perhaps he knew this would eventually happen, given time. The Scythians weren’t the only ones in attendance.
Thankfully, it was going to be a moonless night so Zeus could attend without frightening the villagers. Even Jaida and Anthony were in attendance. The three, along with Oz had been given special permission to enter the village on this one occasion. Since it was believed they had witnessed the wedding couple shifting to other forms during the battle, it was generally accepted they knew the Scythian secret already.
There was nothing formal about the set-up or the way the villagers were arranged. As the sun began to set, two of the women began playing native American flutes and all eyes looked to the sky. They could see him, but they couldn’t hear him. High above the village a huge, magnificent Gryphon was circling silently.
Just minutes before, Leonidas had been waiting outside the clan’s cave as Breena finished preparing for her wedding ceremony. When she walked out in the sunlight, he could hardly contain himself. She was so much like Gabriel’s mother he wanted to cry. Her dark black hair contrasted beautifully with the white dress.
“Ready to make an entrance?” she asked Leo.
“You are going to make my son the happiest man on the planet today,” Leo answered.
He scooped her up into his massive arms and was immediately in the form of a giant gryphon. He had spent the afternoon preening himself to make sure his feathers were extra shiny. He even allowed one of Breena’s handmaidens to brush his lion’s hindquarters till they too shined. He glanced at the setting sun and knew the timing would be perfect as he took off high into the sky.
It was a short flight from the cave to the village and Leo took his time. No matter how high he went, Breena seemed to enjoy it. As the sun creeped onto the edge of the horizon, Leonidas began his descent to the village far below. He flew in an ever-tightening circle as he dropped quickly toward the onlookers.
Landing behind the small crowd, he was instantly in his human form again and Breena was no longer in his arms but standing beside him and holding onto his left arm. Without a word the villagers parted to create an aisle for the two to walk down. The men looked on, but the women giggled incessantly.
Everyone, including their human guests, were in awe at the beauty of the young woman holding onto Leonidas’ arm. After seeing their first gryphon, only Breena’s beauty could affect the American twins so much. For the first time in his adult life, even Anthony had nothing to say. He could only stare as the man-gryphon walked past him. Anthony feared no man, not even Zeus, but he knew this man or beast, whatever he was would be a deadly and efficient killer if he was cornered.
When Leonidas finally stopped and gave Breena’s hand to Gabriel, he was openly crying. He was crying tears of joy and sadness at the same time. Joy at being a part of such an important event in his son’s life, but sadness for not having Stazia with him here to enjoy it too.
Gabriel was staring at Breena and as far as he was concerned they were the only two people in the entire village at that moment. He was focused on her and only her. So much so, Oz had to reach out and touch him. Everyone laughed just a little and Gabriel turned slightly red.
“I believe you have something to say,” Oz said to Gabriel.
The young elder simply nodded and then turned back toward Breena and stared deeply into her eyes.
“I love you and I promise to always be yours, before all others, in spite of all others, of this I pledge on my life,” Gabriel said loud and clear.
“I love you and I always have and I always will, this I pledge on my life,” Breena answered.
“The love before me is pure, may it always be so,” Oz declared, and everyone cheered.
That concluded the ceremony. Gabriel kissed Breena deeply and held her for several minutes. As they finally broke their embrace everyone gathered around them to congratulate their new elders. Finally, Zeus, Jaida and Anthony got their turn.
“That was perhaps the simplest, purest and best wedding I’ve ever attended,” Zeus said.
“Thank you, Zeus…err, grandfather. I’m so glad you were here to witness this,” Gabriel answered.
“We’ll be having our own ceremony at the compound in the Spring, please tell me you’ll both be there,” Jaida asked excitedly.
“We wouldn’t miss it for the world,” Breena answered.
The couple thanked Leonidas and Oz again for their parts in the ceremony and then they wondered off toward their cabin. Tonight, for the first time, they would sleep in the same bedroom as man and wife and they just wanted to enjoy the moment while they could.
The two were going to enjoy a day or two of wedded bliss. Then they had to go to Belize and what promised to be a very contentious meeting of the Scythian Elders. They had explained to Zeus and Jaida that they were going away on a ‘sort-of’ honeymoon, but only Oz knew for sure where they were going and why.
The day after the wedding, Oz had come to brief the couple on what was learned from the newly formed ‘Angel Corpse’s’ trip to Grace’s lab, including the inclusion of Scythian DNA into her own new body and that of her lieutenants. Oz was concerned that somehow another monstrosity like the shifter virus was going to be loosed on the planet if Grace kept tinkering with the creature’s DNA.
Gabriel explained to him about the elder’s conclave and promised to alert the Scythians about Grace and her shifters in the hopes they could avoid any more kidnappings. Guards should be placed outside all villagers until Grace was put down once and for all.
“That will be a problem, will it not?” Oz asked.
“What do you mean?” Breena asked.
“Isn’t the Scythian way to NOT kill. Even the likes of a shifter like Grace?” Oz asked.
“No, it is the Scythian ‘wish’ to not to have to kill but given the choice of being captured or having our secret revealed, we will kill. We only do it if we must and only to protect ourselves, but we will if we have too. At least, some of us will. Many of the villagers have taken a vow to never take a life, regardless of who or why,” Breena answered.
“And what of you Gabriel, will you kill?” Oz asked the silent elder.
“I don’t think I can do that ever again, not even to save my village,” was all Gabriel said.
Oz simply nodded that he understood and began floating back toward the compound.
“You must think that’s awful of me,” Gabriel said to Breena as they walked back toward the village.
“No, I love you and I support you, whatever you decide. You’ve been through more than all of us combined Gabriel and I’ll back you till the end my dear. I don’t want to have to kill again either. Since the night of the attack on the compound, I’ve had enough killing to last a lifetime, but I will if I must. I hope you don’t think less of me for it?” Breena said.
“Of course not. It is important for us to be who we are, to keep our individuality, even though we will be together as one from now on,” Gabriel answered as he stopped to kiss his new bride.
Now was the perfect time for Gabriel to tell Breena about his dream, but he couldn’t bring himself to do it. She had been through so much herself and she was finally enjoying her life as an elder, he just didn’t want to burden her again so soon. Once he told her what his dream was, it would devastate her.
Perhaps, once they returned from Belize, he could find a way to explain it to her…