Illyana stood, pressing her fingers together nervously. Drake perched on her shoulder. He seemed curious about all the preparations. But not curious enough to fly around.
“Mum, do I look okay?” Illyana asked.
“For the seventh time, you look lovely,” Luc stated. “Honestly, I’ve never seen you act so concerned about your appearance.”
Illyana pressed her fingers together. “Well, it’s a special day,” she said. She paused for a moment. “Any word from Aiko?”
Luc almost shook her head. “No,” she stated. “Wherever she is, we haven’t heard from her.”
“I suppose she’s still in mourning,” Illyana stated. “I don’t blame her. So am I.”
Luc kissed Illyana’s forehead. “Life has to move on,” she whispered.
“If I didn’t believe that, I wouldn’t be doing this,” Illyana said. “It’s just… I always imagined him being by my side on this day. Helping calm my nerves. Wishing me all the happiness in the world. Although he would have said it in some bizarre, wordy way.”
“Probably,” Luc agreed. “Something like ‘I trust you have carefully considered this step and that it will be instrumental to your future joviality.'”
Illyana burst out laughing. “Something like that,” she agreed.
“Well, if it makes you feel better, there are quite a few of Athena’s priestesses in attendance. We’ve also got both elven and vampiric nobility.”
“At least Lyn came. I’m looking forward to seeing her,” Illyana said.
“Well, your hair is now perfect,” Luc said. “Let’s get out there. We mustn’t keep your bride waiting.”
Luc led Illyana to the Academy’s garden. There was a makeshift archway lined with roses On the right side, Bastion stood with Illyaa’s close friends from the Academy, her aunt Lais, Lynai, Callie, Tynan & Gabriel.
The minotaur was trying to wear a suit that was noticeably too small for him.
On the left side, Sylvie’s comrades from the Temple were arranged. Including both Inés and Serena. Her parents had also come. Luc recognised them immediately since her mother looked very much like an older version of her.
The altar was pure marble. Luc had crafted it herself using magic.
A priestess sat behind it. Ready to perform the ceremony. Illyana had met her, briefly. She was the head of the Temple where Sylvie had trained, Diana.
“How does Sylvie look?” Illyana whispered.
“Her gown’s trimming brings out her eyes, making them seem sparkly,” Luc answered. She has quite a gallant, fetching look.”
Luc led Illyana to the right of the altar. In her hand, she held a bouquet of wild flowers. When Illyana was in place, she faced her.
“Daughter, you have ever been my treasure. And now, on this blessed day, you will join our house with another.” Luc made sure to project as she spoke, letting her voice carry to the crowd. She gently placed the bouquet in Illyana’s hand. “Let this be the symbol of our house. May you keep it well and see it thrive.”
Luc bowed and moved to the side.
Sylvie came up next. Her parents carried a bouquet of multi-coloured roses.
Her mother spoke first. “I always knew you were a special child. All you’ve accomplished in your time serving Athena has only confirmed to me just how great your potential is.”
“My baby is getting married,” her father cried. “This is the day I’ve always been waiting for. I’m so happy.”
“Honey, calm yourself,” her mother said. She cleared her throat. “Let this bouquet symbolise our family. May you carry it with you and bring prosperity to it.” They handed their bouquet to Sylvie. Then they too moved to the side.
“Now,” Sylvie whispered.
She and Illyana walked forward. Placing their bouquets side by side on the altar.
“Gently, right there,” Sylvie lightly guided Illyana through the process. Acting as her eyes.
“This is a blessed day for all of us,” Diana said. “It’s a momentous occasion for these two great people and we, their friends, family and comrades have the distinct pleasure of witnessing it as they undergo Hera’s vow. Illyana Fensen, will you declare your love for this woman?”
“I will,” Illyana said. “Truthfully, I developed a crush on Sylvie while we were still studying together. She was so kind and sweet but I thought her feelings for me were just those naturally born of her kindness. When I learned she felt the same, I had trouble believing that she could love a blind woman. And I made her wait another year. Yet all my insecurity, all my self doubts… She cut through them and my feelings for her have only grown. And I just know that they’ll continue to grow as we forge a path together from this moment on.”
“A good, honest, declaration,” Diana said. “And you, Sylvie Fortunio? Will you also declare your love?”
“I will,” Sylvie said. “Though I fear my eloquence may be inadequate.” She took a meaningful pause. “The depths of my love, my passion for Illyana are boundless. I spent so long in her company, wishing only for the courage to convey my feelings. Now… Now I believe I’m finally worthy and I know I can and will make her happy. Because I love her, with everything that I am.”
“A fine, honest declaration,” Diana said. “I evoke the name of mighty Hera, queen of Olympus, and grant you the marriage you so rightfully deserve and greatly desire. May Aphrodite continue to bless you and may you never forget the feelings you have conveyed this day. You may embrace.”
Sylvie gently placed a hand under Illyana’s chin and guided her forward, kissing her.
“We’ll save the more passionate stuff for when we’re alone,” she whispered.
Their guests cheered them on.