Chapter seven

Nyala felt like she was a child again, stuck after her daily lessons because of some prank or another that she and Ari had pulled, and she was again being forced to stand erect on a three inch piece of wood, trying to balance. If she fell then she would have to run twenty more blocks then anyone else, and Ari was constantly trying to get her into trouble. Things aren't looking good. The fact that was able to adequately compare her wedding day to an entire lifetime of dancing around Ari's pranks spoke volumes of her nerves, and the friend in question wasn't helping.
"My goodness. Did the entire kingdom really turn up? And just look at their side."
She said again from where she was peeking out the drapes that covered the balcony where they were 'getting ready.' Nyala had been ready for three hours, she honestly had no idea why they had to wait so long. It was simply ridiculous to wring out everyone's nerves in such a way. Nyala hissed at Ari in response, beginning to pace without meaning to. It wasn't like she was nervous about the idea of marriage, it was just. . . overwhelming. The actual day had arrived, and everything was running smoothly. . . too smoothly. That more than anything made her nervous, but Ari seemed as though she didn't have a care in the world.
"You're the head of security. Shouldn't you be out checking things?"
She asked, her irritation bleeding though despite her best efforts. Ari stopped long enough to look back at her with a soft, reprimanding stare.
"I may be head of security, but I'm also your best friend, sister, and maid of honor. See? I'm even wearing the dress to prove it."
She said, motioning to the draped material that was a hundred times less revealing then the one she had worn before. And it was blood red; which was probably the only reason that Ari had agreed to wear it. In their culture, red was used to symbolize bravery, power, the blood that the warrior had shed, and the blood that the warrior would shed in the future. Nyala shuddered and nodded, knowing that it was her nerves that made her lash out, but that seemed to be what Ari was trying to do.
"You're right. I'm sorry."
"I know you are. Now stop stalling and answer me this; what do you think your husband will be like in bed?"
She asked innocently. Nyala flushed, then screeched something incomprehensible before she threw several very blunt objects at her friend. It was going to be a very long wait.

Zolan, who felt like he had been standing at the damn alter for forever, looked up sharply when he heard a very familiar outraged screech and a vanity desk came flying from the brides covered balcony. Luckily, it landed in the middle of the isle and not on top of anyone, but still. The amazons started laughing, their eyes on the balcony curiously as Nyala yelled several curses and Ari's laughter echoed down. A series of crashed followed, then the two voice abruptly halted.
The Balvedarian folk on the opposite side of the isle shifted nervously in their seats, their wide eyes on the smashed desk that several burly men and women were cleaning up quickly, and Zolan turned his gaze back to the balcony just in time to see Ari's face peek out at the desk before disappearing again. The priest cleared his throat, and Zolan looked back curiously to find the elder man looking solemnly from the desk to Zolan.
"You're sure you want to do this?"
He gave the elder a droll stare before he returned to waiting. He didn't really know what they were waiting for, but the Sh'at queen had insisted on them waiting. She was sitting in front, looking very calm about the whole situation, though her eyes were on the sky above them. She had been looking at it for quiet some time, and he had actually taken advantage of the waiting to study everyone present. The King, who Zolan had already decided that he liked for his quiet wisdom and sense of humor, was chatting quietly with Erro, Lady Ari's younger brother. The lad was exceptionally talented according to everyone that Zolan had spoken to about the boy, but so far, Zolan hadn't had the honor of looking into the young mans works.
Suddenly, the queen stood and signaled to the people in the back, and she music started playing. Zolan frowned at the sky once before he turned his back to the isle and glanced to Keita at his side. The general never turned from his patient half turned stance, and his eyes remained on the isle. A silence fell over the crowd, and Zolan could tell even without looking that Ari had started down the isle, her sword strapped loosely to her hips and her strut defiant yet elegant. And he only knew all this because of the look in Keita's eyes. It had become almost common knowledge -to Zolan- that the best way to find Ari was to look where Keita did.
And judging from his old friends heated, surprised look, Ari most was most likely actually doing what she was suppose to. She had just goofed off in the practice, so it would surprise him.
The music changed subtly, and he knew that it was his cue to turn, but only did so after he felt Ari's presence on his other side. Then he turned, trying to look princely and stoic, but he failed when his eyes landed on Nyala. Then the most horrible thing in the world happened. He forgot his lines.

Nyala watched Ari move out as she had been told she must without faltering or goofing in the least. Her dress, designed to compliment the sword that hung at her side, swished and flowed around her as she stepped down the isle. Nyala ticked off the events in her head like a chant.
'Ari walks down the isle ahead of me. As soon as she reaches it, I start out. After a few moments, Zolan will turn to watch me walk down the isle, symbolizing his acceptance of me in his life. . . '
Her thoughts trailed off when she started down the isle and Zolan turned, and she was left a little breathless. He had always been handsome; almost handsome enough to break amazon hearts, with his dark, silky hair that always seemed windswept and wild and his calm, never wavering Forest green eyes. His solid build was drool worthy as well, but he had never before looked quiet so. . . .there wasn't even a word for it.
He wore a light colored tunic, with traditional Sh'at leathers strapped over it in pale tones. It revealed his chiseled elegance, and it accented his light skin tone. Then there was the way that the deep emerald broach seemed to mirror his steady eyes. He was absolute perfection, and he looked just as startled as she probably did. She didn't know when, but at some point she had made her way down the isle and stopped in front of him, her cream colored gown flowing and swishing is if it were made of feathery silky.
She spent the entirety of the ceremony looking at him, and when it came her turn to speak, it was on instinct and nothing else.
"I, Nyala Ves Seleries, princess of the Sh'at and soon to be queen, do hereby take Zolan Agus Mello as my husband. I shall honor him, walk with him, defend him, and be defended by him as the situation calls for, till death and forever more."
She had never head her own voice sound so certain, and she was glad for once that Ari had been teasing her before. It had actually helped her to avoid over stressing, because if she had continued stressing on the balcony, she surely would have forgotten the words. She watched in half amazement as Zolan slipped a simply white-gold ring on the second-to last finger of her left hand, then shivered when Ari the white gold chain with the two houses symbols on it around her neck. The chain represent the binding of the houses in their society, and was given in addition to the ring, and usually worn close to the neck, like a choker. She swore that nothing but war would ever induce her to remove it.
Zolan repeated the words, though slightly mixed up, and she placed his ring on his finger, and watched as Keita accepted the slightly longer male chain and clipped it around Zolan's neck. The priest let out a relieved breath and smiled at them hopefully.
"You may now kiss the bride."
With that, her whole world changed, and applause erupted all around.