An Exchange of RingsMature

Sarah took the Grand-Moyther’s proffered hand and stepped out into the light. For a moment it was blinding. Glancing up, Sarah noted there were no clouds, as if the sun had suddenly decided to grace them with a sunny day. Her eyes scanned the crowd and widened at the number of people who had come. Then she caught sight of Jason.

His smile out shone all other light and she returned it with a grin of her own. He too was dressed in white and Sarah could feel his excitement and joy as the Grand-Pairents led them to the pool that lay underneath the giant Dogwood tree. Taking their hands, the Grand-Pairents placed her right into his left.  Their then voices rose in sing song alternation.

“Today is a glorious day.”
“Today we join Lord and Lady Phoenix,”
“In the holy ceremony of Betrothal.”
“They will live as husband and wife,”
“But will not reap the fruits of marriage,”
“Until their three months of trials has passed.”

The Grand-Pairents turned to the crowd and presented the couple to them.

“Will you,” their voices now spoke in unison, “by the Gods good graces, both help them and test them throughout their Tri-Luna?”

Sarah scanned the crowd. She saw Jason’s family, including Gregory. General Hector stood near Griffon and Bear, who had Ryan perched upon his shoulders. Mathew, Jess and Kevin gathered nearby, with Reed, Aaron and London. There were many there that she didn’t know, but before she could guess their rank by dress the crowd, led by Ryan responded.

“By will of the Gods we will.”

“Turn and face the Well,” the Grand-Moyther whispered softly.

Sarah and Jason did so, hands still clasped and rings touching. A single dogwood blossom floated down from the tree of its own accord as a sigh echoed from the crowd behind them.

“As one you must scoop the blossom from the water,” the Grand-Moyther again instructed.

Jason clearly knew what he was doing and he guided Sarah to her knees. Together they reached forward, hands still clasped, which made it a bit awkward. As they scooped up the blossom Sarah felt Jason let out his breath. His hand firmly held hers as they cradled the flower.

Even the crowd had held their breath, for it escaped in sighs and gasps as Sarah and Jason turned to face them. Raising her hand with Jason’s they held the Dogwood blossom aloft for all to see. Prompted by Jay mentally, Sarah managed to speak with him in unison.

“Oh Gods take our offering and help guide us through Tri-Luna.”

“Now toss it,” the Grand-Moyther whispered.

No sooner had the blossom left their hands then it was taken by a soft breeze. The petals split apart landing upon the crowd. There were giggles and sighs, but, before Sarah had time to figure out where the petals went, a sharp pain ran around her ringed finger. Jason’s hand squeezed hers and she knew he’d felt the same pain. The Grand-Pairents quickly came forward with a damp cloth to wrap their hands.

“Wash them in the pool, and let go of the cloth when the water falls, do not let go of your hands,” the Grand-Moyther whispered.

Once more Sarah and Jason turned back to the well and did as they were told. The water left the pool in a whoosh, giving Sarah a glimpse of the cavern below.

“Rise Lord and Lady Phoenix,” the Grand-Fayther’s voice rang out.

“Show all who have witnessed this betrothal the Gods blessing,” the Grand-Moyther commanded.

This time rather than turning towards each other, Jason gently guided Sarah around so that their clasped hands stayed between them. Once they faced the crowd he lifted their hands up. Instead of rings, golden tattoos now wound about their fingers. Jason squeezed Sarah’s hand and, as their tattoos touched, a golden light shown forth.

“Now let us feast in celebration!” the Grand-Pairents declared.

“HUZZAH!” Ryan’s voice led the others in a congratulatory cheer.

Jason lowered their hands and Sarah could once again see into the crowd. Sarah smiled as she noticed Griffon dabbing at his eyes while Bear nudged him in the ribs. Her own eyes watered slightly, but she didn’t know if it was from squinting in the light, or happiness. The stood there in silence as the crowd filtered out of the Temple. Sarah couldn't help but continually glance at the tattoo on her finger.

Gods’ blessing for a Knight and his wife,  Jason looked at their hands and smiled at her.

“And it’s back into your daily clothing for the two of you.”

The Grand-Moyther spilt them apart and ushered Sarah back into the hut she’d come from. Once inside, Sarah shucked the ceremony garb for the clothing she’d worn that morning. Leaving by the other door, Grand-Moyther Magdalene led her around front to Jason.

Sarah laughed, “Here I am the Scout Sergeant’s betrothed and you the Lord. I tried to coordinate you know.”

Jason chuckled as he wrapped his arm around her waist and guided her to the Knight’s Manor. “I had thought my father would bring my Sergeants outfit, but it seems you’ve made an impression on him. He did not once mention that he would have to disown me.”

“Ah yes well,” Sarah looked about, “how about I tell you about it when we get home?”

Jason opened the main door to let her into the Knight’s Manor.

“Yes, well...” Jason pulled her in for a kiss at the door to the hall. I’ll tell you my tale as well, he thought at her as the reception cheered his gesture.

The End

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