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25 September 2015 @ 07:41 am
Last Scrap  

It was magnificently subversive.

Mr. Safron's two sisters were seamstresses, wedding gowns a specialty.

As they showed them the sorts of things they liked, one of Ra'd's geometric tangles flashed by and they made them back up to it . . .

"Lace in that pattern! It will be absolutely unique!"

"Over the bodice, with seed pearls and crystals around a deep scoop neckline. Then a high collar necklace in that pattern with pearl and crystal bangles . . ."

"A few emeralds to carry the green accents from the groom's agal . . . "

"Long sleeves. Ragland, with seed pears and . . . maybe bangles there too."

"Long sweeping lines, short train, with a detachable under train . . . "

It was done in three weeks.

Paer slipped out for a fitting and returned grinning. "It is incredible."


A fitting for the Official Dress. Complete with a photographer "for the book about the wedding of the century."

Paer recoiled as the three Madams pulled off the drape. "I believe I said 'traditional.' A key hole neckline so large it exposes half my breasts . . . that doesn't actually go low enough to show my naval does it?"

"It's the hottest fashion. This dress will be the talk of the town for months!"

"Years, most like. And I have a nasty suspicion none of us will like what they say." Paer braced her shoulder. "Right. Let's try it on."

Three frowns. "I do hope you've been dieting."

"I told you, make it fit the real me, not what you imagine I ought to look like."

But in fact she'd been so nervy, she hadn't eaten normally for weeks. Only barfed once, from stress.

The dress did fit. With the huge empty oval in front, only the hips could possibly have been tight, and there was enough fullness there as it swept out to an enormous skirt that it actually managed to make her look fat. The support mechanism for her breasts was stiff and squeezed her ribs. Padded to make her look busty, and about to fall out of the dress. Or, into the keyhole, in this case.

Paer looked in the mirror and shuddered. "It's hideous. And it is definitely not traditional."

"You look lovely!" Madam A beamed. "Cutting edge and modern."

Madam B smirked. "The long train is certainly traditional."

Paer turned to look. "I don't think I'll be doing a lot of dancing."

Madam C hustled up with an arm load of . . . stuff. "And now the headdress and veils."

Paer eyed the fluff . . . "Is that a wig?"

"Of course! I'm sure that shoulder length is practical but it's hardly romantic. And your hair is so straight and so brown. This is a huge improvement! I suspect you'll want to grow your hair out and get highlights!"

And then they got out the makeup.

"It's rather thick, isn't it?"

"It will photograph well."

"Today." Paer was firm. "On my wedding day I want to be able to grin like a loon without looking like my face is cracking."

Tripple titters. "So amusing, Dear."

Paer called the sisters and asked about a headdress and veils.

"Already taken care of, Sweetie! It will all be ready to go in two days."

"You guys are incredible. I'll send Rael to pick it up."

She had nightmares of the Safron Sister's Wedding Nook being burgled or going up in flames.

The photographer called, voice horrified. His files had been hacked.

The hideous dress was all over the grid by noon. To universal horror, scorn, and laughter.

Rael smuggled the Montevideo dress into Government House. And hid it in the emergency escape system. Paer woke up and checked on it three times.


Rehearsal and dinner, with added guests, all very carefully vetted. A couple of Ministers, Director Izzo, Director Ajki. Urfa of course. A few extra friends . . .

Paer smiled and played hostess, ready to scream with nerves by the time she finally escorted the last guests off to the cars.

Is it possible for brides to actually sleep the night before their weddings? I'm going to be a zombie by tomorrow.

". . . so impressed by your advanced medical magic. I must get you together with some of the top talent, so that you can get proper training."

Paer rounded the corner smiling faintly at the elderly Minister of Health. Evdu hovered at her other side, and she wondered how to politely disengage and let them find their own way back to the car park.

She glanced, and spotted the usual stiff stance of guards on duty and relaxed a hair as she walked past them.

Then she realized the guards uniforms all bore the red piping of Ministry Security. One of them flicked forward on Speed and blocked the path forward.

That's the dangerous one. If they are here to do more than escort the Minister home.

She turned to frown at the minister.

"We know that by now you must know what a horrible mistake you've made." The old man looked saintly and concerned.

The four ministry guards loomed.

"Minister, you are on the brink of doing something very foolish. Stop right now before a single one of your people lays a finger on me."

The guards were spending more time looking outward than inward.


Evdu was grinning like hyperactive monkey. "So we're going to help you find the resolve to stand up that Upcomer clostuone bastard. As soon as he's slunk off, we'll release you. With no guilt, because it won't be your fault. We won't hurt you, but we also will not let you do this."

And he grabbed her arm. Oops, foolish boy, you just crossed the line.

The sound of running feet.

All the guards looked that direction. The fast one stepped around the minister . . .

Paer slid into Speed. Shoved loose from Evdu.

Two hands down on the fast one's neck. Kick right, step up and punch that one in the solar plexus. Turn and kick the last guard, step back and land the back of her fist to Evdu's cheek knocking him flat.

Paer turned to the Minister of Health as two Black Guards rounded the corner.

"Don't interfere." Paer looked over her shoulder. Pointed. "Stand right there."

She drew her open hand back as she turned to the minister. And let fly. Slap!

"So, you don't like my tastes in husbands?" Slap!

"What a shame." Slap!

"You've mistaken me for a passive doll." Slap!

"Shall I challenge you to a duel?"   Slap!

"I recommend against it." Slap!

"Because I don't have Ebsa's sense of restraint." Slap!

"Nor his cold-blooded control." Slap!

"He knows there would have been a good chance of him killing Doo Doo, here, and refused to risk it." Slap!

"If that's your idea of cowardice, you're a fool." Slap!

"Now, pick up your people and go away. I do not want you at my wedding."

Evdu wavered to his feet. "Paer . . . "


He hit the ground.

Blinked and focused behind her. "You! Aren't you going to save your Princess?"

Ebsa strolled up and looked down at the man. Shook his head. "She doesn't actually appear to need saving. In case you didn't notice, Paer is the most dangerous person here. She is, after all, a brilliant Directorate Agent. She doesn't need anyone. But she wants me, and I'm not stupid enough to say no. Now take your father home before this becomes a police matter."

Paer took his arm and steered him past the groaning ministry guards.

She paused by the Black Guards. "I may have seriously injured some of them. Perhaps you should call for an ambulance." She pointed at the Speedy one. "Get a neck brace on him before he is moved."

A grinning Ra'd—carrying a large rifle—slid down from the nearest roof. "That was beautiful. I can only hope there's a recording." He disappeared the rifle into a bag, and stopped near the Black Guards.

They were on their comms and stepped out to where they could watch her until she and Ebsa walked through the doors.

Ebsa sighed. "You know . . . unless they all keep their mouths shut, you may have trouble getting into medical school."

Paer squeezed his arm. "I really do admire your control over your temper. And . . . medical school can wait. I have all the time in the world."

She kissed Ebsa goodnight before Ra'd chivvied him off.

Most dangerous person here. Brilliant. She slept very well.

A quick shower in the morning, her hair rebraided . . . The hidden passage was opened and the real wedding gown was pulled out . . . Qayg's indrawn breath wasn't the only one.

Heak sighed.

Qammar squeaked and bounced on her heels.

The Fiend looked wishful for a second.

Nighthawk nodded. "Now that is a wedding gown!"

Rael giggled. "The best kept secret in Paris."

The others got into their gowns while grinning maids helped Paer get her gossimer and silk confection on, the necklace just so, the headdress, settled the veil. Makeup check for everyone . . . the bouquets had somehow been infected with red roses.

Rael giggled. "Ebsa insisted. No, I have no idea why."

"Then it'll be perfect." Paer reached for hers.

A tap at the door. "The limos are all ready. Most of the guests are seated."

Two blocks to the ornate structure that was called a mosque by one faction and a cathedral by the other.

They swooped up to the entrance where the groomsmen waited to escort the bridesmaids. Gorgeous dark cream tuxes with shimmery dark green cravats and red rosebuds on their lapels.

Heak swallowed. "Whoa. Now isn't that a handsome display of yumminess."

Qayg shook her head. "How did you two manage that much coordination?"

"Oh," Paer grinned. "Just luck, for the most part."

And then her father was there, grin widening as he handed her out of the limo and got a good look at her dress. "That is worth every penny Ebsa apologized for spending on a second gown."

And there was Ebsa waiting at the altar. Eyes bright and tall and handsome . . .


She barely remembered the wedding ceremony. She was pretty sure she said all the right things at the right moment. Then the slightly plainer band was on her finger, and she was walking out the door grinning, and starting to laugh through a shower of rice.

Ebsa pulled her around for a kiss in public for all the newsies then it was off to the party.


"So, Ebsa, any comments on the wedding of the century?"

"Umm, you mean, besides 'Thank the One it's over?'"

"Yes. Besides that." Koil was grinning.

Ebsa spotted Madam ??? was stalking around a clump of dignitaries, homing in on him. Frame rigid, hands poised to claw.

He raised his voice a bit. "Actually it was great fun, and I owe it all to 'With Each Other.' I was so impressed by the level of secrecy they maintained, right down to the 'leak' of that appallingly ugly gown everyone entertained themselves critiquing all last week." He turned to Madam ???, freezing there with her mouth open. "A magnificent effort! I just can't say all I feel about the hard work you and your staff have put in.

"Now, if you'll excuse me, I believe it's time to sweep my bride off her feet and take her away to a secret destination."

(no subject) - politova_mari on September 25th, 2015 04:58 pm (UTC) (Expand)
matapampamuphoff on September 25th, 2015 05:14 pm (UTC)
matapampamuphoff on September 25th, 2015 05:49 pm (UTC)
Needless to say, a whole lot went on that hasn't been written. A non-duel, a bit of nerves/cold feet on Paer's part. Frantic running back and forth on Ebsa's part--I need to figure out what his current job is. Ditto Paer.
matapampamuphoff on September 26th, 2015 03:40 pm (UTC)
For those of you wondering if Paer's going to be a warrior or a healer, I believe she just decided.
(Anonymous) on September 27th, 2015 12:50 am (UTC)
I don't see why it has to be "either/or". With the type of work Paer does, it would not be surprising to find her needing to fight, or even kill, to protect her patients. Think 'combat medic', many of whom have distinguished themselves in combat, then proceded to offer aid and healing to both sides.
matapampamuphoff on September 27th, 2015 01:23 am (UTC)
It doesn't have to be a complete separation. But a warrior with medgician skills gets sent to very different places than a medgician who can, at need, defend her patients.

When I get around to finalizing the story some time next year, I'll try to make clear her choices, between high society and politics on one hand, and the Directorate work on the other. Her worry that Ebsa is getting too political, and is she just a high status wife to lift his own reputation and status? Is she about to turn into a accessory to Ebsa?

And her sudden conscious realization that Ebsa really does see her as "the most dangerous person here" who doesn't need to be rescued because she a directorate agent, and he thinks she's brilliant at it. And she likes that reflection of herself she sees in his words and actions.
Kjirstin Bentson on September 27th, 2015 01:11 pm (UTC)
I'm just curious -- have we seen any weddings of The One before this? It occurred to me while reading this that I was expecting more Islamic wedding practices (red dress, three days of ceremonies, henna painting) out of this culture... (And yes, at one point in time I followed wedding planning blogs so I have perhaps an unhealthily in-depth knowledge of the subject.)

BTW, I love this and I'm greatly looking forward to seeing what Ebsa and Paer look like as a married couple (and what their kids will be like, too).
matapampamuphoff on September 27th, 2015 02:56 pm (UTC)
While the Islamic Union won the Unification Wars, the New Prophets of the One True god had been preaching tolerance for three centuries. So neither the culture nor that specific religious practice obliterated the others. In _Dancer_ I had both Catholic church Rael attended, and the mosque she took Bunny to, to talk to a priest. In _Directorate School_ I had the mosque and church on the same grounds. Here, I had the Grand Mosque/cathedral very nearly secular, with smaller building scattered about the grounds that had more specific and restricted religious usage.

I replaced a /// invent wedding ceremony /// note with a brief Paer barely remembered . . . for the rough draft. What I need to do is check for Turkish ceremonies, since I've got the president as Ottoman Clan.
Kjirstin Bentson on September 28th, 2015 06:26 am (UTC)
Ah, that makes sense! Thanks for clarifying... Yeah, I figured secularization and ecumenicism were playing into it in this future point in time. I'd gotten the vague impression that Christianity had been all but wiped off of their map (but forgot about South America's survival).
Melvyn BarkerMelvyn Barker on September 29th, 2015 01:12 pm (UTC)
Thank you.