Return of Starlight

Sequel to Healing Starlight

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7. Kirma Otso: (Part Seven)

“Sounds like it.” Rijiin replied and he sat down at her desk.


“Will you need airfare to get to Los Angeles also?” She asked and he nodded.


    “Yes, for two, first class.” He replied, and the young woman nodded.


    “That will cost you about seven hundred and thirty four fifty.” She quoted looking at the computer. I will discount for the cost of the cruise and the Airfare into one bundle. It will be about two thousand and thirty four dollars and some odd cents.”


“That’s quite a lot.” Rijiin mused and she shook her head.


“It’s a great deal when you can bundle air fare and a cruise into one.”


“I see your point, and I think you just got a customer.” He said with a smile and Julie handed him a clipboard.


“Please fill out the form here and personal information, such as address, city, zip, phone, etc.” She instructed and he took out a pen and he set to work.


“Would you like a soda or water?” She asked, and the elf nodded.


“Soda please…” Rijiin replied as he began writing on the form.


A few moments later, she returned with a Coca-Cola ™


 “Thank you kindly.”


With one finger, the elf popped the top to take a determined sip of it. The form was ten pages long, one of them a survey from which he filled out and he signed.


Rijiin handed back to the form to the young woman.


“Nice to meet you Mr. L’Thil…?” She asked with a question and he looked up.


“It’s pronounced Theil, but you were close.” Rijiin corrected and he managed a smile at the young woman, sensing her discomfort.


The elf put his hand on the desk.


“Be at peace miss. I didn’t mean to make this harder than it is.”


“Oh no you’re fine.” She replied nasally, busily typing and entering the data in the computer. “This computer is kind of flaky some times.”


“So when are you getting married?” Julie asked, “If you don’t mind a personal question.”


“Oh no, not at all, we are getting married in June, during the summer…” Rijiin replied, “We’ve been together for a long time and my fiancé just now felt like she was ready to tie the knot, so to speak.”


“Oh, it’s a long engagement!” She exclaimed, “How romantic.”


“Something like, that.” Rijiin replied, making small talk. He was careful to hide his accent, and withhold that he had been with her four hundred plus years, a short time at that. It would have been a situation for Rijiin that would not bode well with the young human helping him.


“I will also need your driver’s license for identification.” The youthful woman said and he quickly dug it out, brand new fresh off the presses.


Rijiin handed it to her and she took down the information. Handing it back she smiled pleasantly.


“Your trip confirmation has been sent to you via mail, and it will include the airline ticket to Los Angeles Int’l Airport where you will be picked up by complimentary limo and taken to the ship out of the port of Los Angeles.”


After five minutes of entering the data, she hit print and the tickets spit out of the classic HP III DeskJet™ that sat on a small stand. She took the perforated pages, breaking them apart and put the tickets into a small sleeve. He handed his VISA™ to the young woman who slid it in a slide reader and it beeped accusingly at her.


“Okay it is going to be Two Thousand and thirty four dollars and fifty cents total that is the two tickets to board the SS Salvador Hato, and two round trip tickets from Denver Int’l to Los Angeles Int’l Airport. I assume credit?” Julie asked and Rijiin nodded.


After a moment, it printed a tag that he signed quickly. He took the yellow and handed her the white copy.


“You are all set.” She said, “My card and information is in there, if you have any questions and you can use these tickets up to a year.”


“Thanks.”


“Enjoy yourselves and congrats again.” Julie replied, “Thank you for choosing Rocky Mountain Travel Agency.”


She peered at the strange young man she had just helped as he walked out of the agency. The young woman did not know what to think of him, other than he was rather handsome, and youthful.


“He is almost too youthful.” Julie thought to herself and thankfully, to the elf, she did not notice the strange aura surrounding the elf or notice the twinkle of starlight in his eyes.


Traveling back to the college, he arrived five minutes before the end of his lunch and he quickly punched in on the terminal in the computer lab. The elf took out the tickets and he put them in a leather briefcase that contained important documents for his support role as a computer person on campus and found he could hardly wait to hand the tickets to Natil, to see her surprised face.


Work for the elf was busy, but the hours seemed to fly by quickly.


When he looked up at the clock, he managed a grimace that it read four forty-five. He would meet Natil soon and both would make their way to Elven-Home. At the end of the day, at five P.M. Rijiin walked quickly along the sidewalk past Aylesberg Hall, the Administration building, and the Student Union on campus, heading to a back area toward a metal shack. Meeting his fiancé, he kissed her lightly on the lips, as she warmly embraced him.


“Good afternoon Mr. L’Theil.” She said with a teasing tone and he smiled managing a quiet laugh.


“Good afternoon soon to be Mrs. L’Theil.” He teased back and she laughed.


“You know, that really sounds corny.” Natil told him and he frowned.


“It’s all I could think of when I was transforming into an elf, who heard of an elf named Nathaniel?”
 

She laughed and nodded, “Good point.”


“Besides, that name should not be in existence now, that part of me died when they found my so called body in a gully.” Rijiin continued, and here the elf paused a moment and after pondering, he managed a grin.


“Nice to be free isn’t?”


She cast a surprised look at him for the notion of what had happened and he had indicated he was still all right with it. Natil smiled widely and she embraced him.


However, little did the elf know that in another timeline, another place, even another existence that possibly that he was doing it all over again as a human being. He would possibly find the shop, the portal and travel through it.


“Are you about ready to leave, beloved?” Rijiin asked and she shook her head.


“Fifteen minutes.” She replied with a grimace, “Trying to pick up and catch up on my paperwork.”


“Oh fun.” Rijiin replied with a smile, turning to stare outside at the snow-covered ground, and feeling the cold wind chill, he shivered to step inside her shed. It was warmer than the outside.  The overwhelming smell of oil and gasoline permeated the air. Her office is small, with a desk crammed in it, with a small chair amongst the blowers weed eaters, mowers and tools for her gardening.


“It is another typical cold, snowy February day in Denver.” Rijiin thought, and placed his briefcase down on the chair beside him. He watched his beloved Harper as she worked, or glanced at the papers he carried with him, including the Travel Itinerary for their plane trip and boat trip.


Fifteen minutes later they stepped out of the shed onto the snow covered walk and they walked together to the battered blue van belonging to Hadden that took them onto the highway 70, leading them into the mountains. They got off the highway, second to last stop and picked up Becky who clambered into the van through the side door from her job.  


“Damn its cold.” Becky complained, “The temperature must be in the negative numbers with the bloody wind.”


“Last I looked, it was about 15 degrees out here.” Rijiin told her and she grimaced.  


“Brrr that’s too damn cold, at least in California for February it was usually maintaining a constant 45-50 degrees.” She complained, “I guess it’s going to be hot chocolate all around when we get to the home, something to at least warm my cold bones.”


 Natil and Rijiin both chuckled quietly. They went up two blocks and stopped, allowing Mimi to board the van too, greeting her warmly. Together they took off to Highway 70 again into the mountains and soon came to Highway 6 where they made the transition.


“Next stop… Elven Home…!” Natil said merrily, and she met the smiling faces of her passengers. They soon came to the familiar turn off and they found their way on the makeshift road that led to the Home.


When they arrived, Natil, Rijiin, Becky and Mimi exited the vehicle and walked with soft steps through the thick falling snow, to a side door. Here they entered, stepping inside to a whoosh of warmth that filled the air, as the electric heater kept the place around sixty degrees when no one was at the home. Rijiin walked to the fireplace and he immediately put logs in it and lit a fire that started to heat the entire home.


He sat with Natil on the plush benches in one of the many alcoves, his alcove with some of his antiques and there they watched the clouds billow outside as large snow flakes fell on the cold ground of the Rocky Mountains.


Becky and Mimi sat with them too, all sipping hot cocoa, from white ceramic mugs. Rijiin, Natil, Mimi and Becky as they sat in the alcove, laughed, cried and talked among themselves. A vigorous conversation about the past, remembering happier times in a place they had all been together for a long time and what happened today at their new jobs in Denver. Becky secured a job as a Secretary at a local law firm. Mimi got a job with a school as a Teacher’s Assistant. Other times they sat in silence, staring at the flakes or with their eyes closed, at the starlight.


“I have something for you beloved.” Rijiin said breaking the silence, and turning to his briefcase, he grabbed the tickets, “These are for you Natil, a gift to you my beloved fiancé.”


“What do you have there Rijiin?” Mimi asked as Natil took the tickets and peered at them. She examined the ticket and itinerary for American Airlines flight 556 to Los Angeles, California and the other ticket to board the SS Salvador Hato the Liner/Yacht that would be taking them on a cruise to Mexico.


She stared at the brochure with a shaking hand.


“Happy honeymoon…!” He exclaimed merrily, smiling broadly, as she read the brochure that came with the tickets. Natil embraced him warmly after a moment.


“My word, you are going to take me on a cruise to the Mexican Rivera?” Natil exclaimed, “It is wonderful Rijiin, I love it! I love you.”


“You got her a cruise ticket?” Becky gasped, “Oh you are so lucky mistress Harper.”


“I heard about that cruise, it’s really well done.” Mimi declared, “A friend at De Anza went on it with her husband and they had a ball.”


“Thanks beloved, you really made my day.” The Harper told him, “I was wondering what you were up to the other day looking stuff up on AOL™.”


“I actually saw it in a place while I was downtown Denver today and the brochure was so intriguing, I had to look into it. It has a lot of amenities as you can see, and several excursions, adventure trips on shore.”


“I am pleased you thought of it.” Natil replied, “It looks like a wonderful cruise.”


“How much did it cost you Rijiin?’” Mimi asked, “My friend said it cost them over three thousand dollars for round trip and airfare.”


“I got a sweet deal for the time we are going. It is not quite the red season which is high travel months like July to September and it’s far after spring break.” He said, “It only cost two thousand and thirty four dollars with tax. Both with airfare and the cruise itself are together in the cost.”


“Geeze, you made out like a bandit.” Mimi replied, and Rijiin grinning, nodded his head.


“You are going to have a ball, make sure you take a lot of pictures and maybe a video camera to tape it if possible.” Becky added jokingly, “I can bet everyone would love to see your adventures on tape.”


“I can do that.” Rijiin promised and he smirked at his fiancé who was also smiling.


 “Here’s to a happy wedding for my friends.” Mimi said and all smiled as Becky brought another round of cocoa to the alcove. The four of them tapped their mugs together in toast.


“Amen.” Natil murmured and she smiled too.


When it reached April, time seemed to move rapidly along for Natil and Rijiin before they knew it. The sun came out from behind the many clouds parked over the Rockies and spring-like conditions came to the woods around Elven Home. Snow still caked the Rockies at the higher elevations, a few patches were still around the Home but the elves were out in it over the weekend, turning to and making good use of the perfect weather.


 As the time passed, Natil realized she is growing more nervous by the day and the days ahead clicking quickly down toward the event of a lifetime. The Harper knelt next to her garden, attempting to weed and plant, but her mind is elsewhere at this moment. Her mind is focusing upon the event to come, her wedding to Rijiin.


She is a typical bride, fretting over the arrangements made for their wedding and double-checking everything setup by the wedding planner. Natil kept running through a mental checklist of the wedding party, and all the components involved, especially fretting over scripted words belonging to the hand fasting ceremony while in her room before going outside to the garden.


“What if this goes wrong?” She thought to herself, “What if I don’t say them right? This is hardly Adria of the fourteenth century. What if I cannot remember the words to say?”


She gasped aloud at the turmoil of thoughts cascading in her mind and shook her head slightly, as if to clear them away.  Natil suddenly realized how nervous she is right now. The Harper had gasped when she had glanced at the wall of her room this morning in the Home, peering at a calendar tacked there and realizing the date.  


“By the Lady, my wedding is only two months away!” Natil thought, quickly reminding herself of the time and that her day was not quite upon them yet.


Despite the time closing on them both, the Harper realized there are still many things needed to be finished before she could relax. Rijiin had been taking a lot of the strain off her, being a fine future husband, making the necessary calls and changes that Natil wanted to see for their wedding. He also comforted her often at the home, showing her a deeper love than she realized.  
 

She also realized that she is having difficulty focusing on her job at Kingsley. The turmoil started taking its toll on her and causing her to make her first mistakes ever while on the job. The mistakes were simple and small, but nothing serious that she and her crew could quickly repair or change. The Harper and her crew had been tilling the flowerbeds, getting them ready for the planting at the end of the month. The Harper, on accident hit a water pipe for the sprinklers that had to be un-earthed and repaired before they planted for the spring semester. Here Natil fought to put the offending images of her personal life aside and closed her eyes to let the starlight sooth her very soul.


  The Harper, shaking her head, had cleared the images and here she managed a smile, knowing that once wedding ceremony itself is complete, she could relax during the honeymoon with Rijiin. She focused on those images and managed a slight nod and a smile.


“I hope everything goes smoothly.” Natil coached herself, “Please let it go smoothly.”


Looking up from her work in the garden at the home, she stared at her betrothed who worked with TK, Hadden, and Marsh nearby. Rijiin helped dig a trench for a drainage system for the garden and flood control around the Home. Natil quietly smiled, staring at the men who had their shirts off and the Harper watched Rijiin’s hard muscles ripple. She noted the few scars he had on his muscular form as he hefted the pickaxe, thrusting it into the ground. Natil found herself totally mesmerized by the spectacle of the elf-meat, her soon to be mate that stood next to the garden’s edge.


“By the Lady, he is handsome.” Natil said to herself realizing she was madly in love with Rijiin. “I am glad the Goddess sent you back to me. I don’t know what I could do if I lost you again now that you are back with me.”


She forced her eyes back to her garden where she had been working but kept periodically glancing up at the men as they took a break. They all took a beer from the chest, which Becky had kept stocked full and the other elves worked outside around the home too. Dell, Fox and Web brought trees to plant on the property. Tristan and Raven worked on the roof, repairing and cleaning the gutters. Ash, Heather, Laurie, Bright, and Sana were working inside. They also were helping Allesandro and Wheat in the kitchen as they prepared lunch for everyone. Kelly kept herself occupied in one of the many alcoves of the home with a novel.


A moment later, the hilarity started when Heather stepped outside of the door and rounded the corner, followed by Wheat, Laurie, Bright, Ash, and Sana. They had all come out to ready the barbeque for lunch and brought snacks for everyone on metal trays. Ash and the others smiled when they saw the men working near the garden, noting their shirts were off.  


“Wooo! Hubba Hubba.” Heather shouted gleefully, “Sexy half naked elf meat! Avert your eyes, gals.”


Ash, Wheat, Laurie, Sana and Bright all laughed heartily, mock fanning themselves with their hands, and mock swooning. Raven and Tristan peered over the edge of the roof grinning broadly. Dell, Fox and Web glanced up from their planting to flash an amused smile on their faces.


Hadden, TK, Marsh and Rijiin looked up to smile at Heather and the others. They glanced at each other for a moment to laugh, then dropped their tools to mock pose and flex like body builders. There was instant hilarity among the elves, as all burst into hysterical laughter, even Natil laughed loudly. The laughter lasted over fifteen whole minutes.


 “Oh baby!” Ash called out, “Sweaty man-meat. Oh yeah, flex them muscles.”


 Whistles and catcalls followed by the others.


“You mean Elf meat.” TK commented, and there was more laughter.


“We’d better be careful guys.” Hadden said with a mock horror, “We poor guys might get our bones jumped.”


“I wouldn’t mind that.” Rijiin said with a snicker, “Bring it on!”


“You know you can get your wish later, Rijiin.” Natil catcalled, and the others smiled openly at the Harper after an ‘Ooo’ sound.  


“Now, now… Put the hormones in park and let us get this section done before lunch. Let’s get back to work men.” Hadden said with a chuckle, and the four of them put down their beers. They returned working on the drainage piping and together they placed a length or two of piping in their ditch, connecting it to another main drainage pipe.  Rijiin turned his head to Natil who knelt next to the garden. He winked at her, making her blush.


Ash shook her head.


“I have snacks for everyone who wants any.” She announced, “By the goddess, everyone take five for Pete sake.”


The elves dropped what they were doing and all gathered around the tray. They each dipped into the chest of soda, pitcher of iced tea or the chest of beer. The men stuck to beer of course. Natil grinned at her soon to be husband who stood over her, peering lovingly into his gray eyes. He put out a hand and Natil took it allowing him to help her to her feet. He helped brush off the loose dirt from her gardening clothes.


“My thanks, beloved…” She told him and he smiled.


“I kind of like the sound of that.” He replied and she saw him flash a pleased expression at the thought.


Allesandro appeared at the door with a platter in hand containing hamburgers, hotdogs, corn, steaks, and potatoes. Hadden walked to his side, quickly grabbing an apron and a spatula to assist his kinfolk at the grill.  Everyone who had gathered in the garden area sat on the wood benches along a groomed gravel pathway or on the grass. Drinks passed hand-over-hand until everyone had one. Rags made his rounds wiggling his tail at the attention given to him by the elves. A low murmur and laughter rippled through the group.


As Natil joined in the conversation she glanced periodically at her fiancé who sat nearby gazing out at the trees, he seemed to be preoccupied. The maiden wondered if the wedding worried him.


 Knowing Rijiin too well, she would have said no to that.


 Something bothered the elf and she could not put her finger on it. Rijiin sensing her gaze, turned to flash a quick grin and a nod to her, as if to say ‘I am alright, don’t worry beloved.’


Rijiin after a moment stood up and went inside, returning shortly with his sax. He started playing, the music free flowing around them as it echoed off the trees and mountains. Natil had gasped openly at the music. She realized that it had been a long time since he had played a musical instrument in her presence and it startled the Harper.  Everyone was astonished that Rijiin was playing an instrument and had never known that he had talent as a musician. The bittersweet soprano sax echoed through the trees. He played ‘Going Home’ part of the first live album that Kenny G produced. He played it effortlessly, surprising everyone present.


Marsh and TK glanced at each other. TK shrugged slightly, as if to say ‘No big deal, so Rijiin can play.’ Rijiin, however, was only playing to entertain, not trying to show off for Marsh or TK since they both were in the same band. The elf sensed their thoughts and grimaced, moving to Natil’s side. A look of surprise appeared on everyone’s faces when he hit a high note and he held it for five minutes. He finished the song quickly.


 Beside him, Sana returned from the home and she handed the Natil’s old harp to her. She rippled off a note, tuning it quickly and she nodded to Rijiin.


They were silent as Natil and Rijiin played a duet together, the Harper’s hands smoothly and quickly rippling across the bronze strings of her harp. It is a familiar tune from one of many albums of Kenny G Rijiin owned on CD.  The song was entitled ‘Sentimental’ and it came to him quite easily. He played as he walked among his new kin folk who watched in silence. Like before when Natil played the harp, there was not a dry eye in the group. Wheat sobbed into the arm of Laurie as the last ripple of notes and the sax floated away with the wind. Rijiin smiled at Natil warmly, nodding his head.


“Sai-vanima.” Natil told him and she flashed a quiet smile.

 
“That was amazing Rijiin!” Mimi said with an amazed look, “Since when did you ever play.”


“I had a lot of practice over the centuries.” Rijiin replied, “Had to take it easy on what I could play, or find myself in the dungeons of the Inquisition or kingdom as a warlock, a Wicca spell caster.”


Natil smiled at the thought but also knew he spoke the truth.


“Not bad.” Marsh said with a smile, “Keep practicing. Could we have another horn blower in Elven Home?”


“Aye, it appears so Marsh.” TK replied, “He’s not too bad at that, although I am unfamiliar with the music he is playing.”


“That’s my secret.” Rijiin replied with a laugh and he grinned. He played another duet with Natil. As he played on for half an hour and he could sense the swirling starlight, as it surrounded them, the home and the area. The others sensed it too and all looked on in amazed silence.


“It’s Kenny G, I think.” Wheat said after a moment, “He’s a sax artist who plays Jazz. It’s very interesting that you picked those Rijiin.”


Rijiin smiled at Wheat’s revelation, nodding slightly then bowed slightly at the waist.


“I picked him because his music is unique in its own way. He has been a great influence even through the centuries I wandered. It’s mellow, very uplifting and can be quite calming.”


“You play it very well, beloved.” Natil said, and she smiled at her future husband.


Nodding her head, she signaled another duet with him.


 Together, with his beloved on her harp they tackled ‘The Champion’s Theme’, a harder piece to master because a section of it required several high notes. Rijiin managed to whiz through it with difficulty and after they completed the song, there was applause by all. Rijiin and Natil both acknowledged the applause in silence.  The last song was one that he had wanted to play for Natil for a long time. ‘Forever in Love’ and she smiled as he played it.


“Lunch is ready folks.” Hadden announced and they formed a line using paper plates and loaded up on food to eat outside. Marsh had setup Tiki torches that would keep the insect-life away as they ate and provide light for later in the evening. Rijiin of course sat next to Natil who tackled a decent sized steak.


“Beloved, I think I have someone for the hand fasting, but they are in California.” Rijiin started and she looked up in surprise.


“Will he do it?”


“I am not sure to be honest. After all they are druid and not Elven.” He replied, “There might be another if not.”


“That makes no difference.” Natil replied, “Any denomination can do the deed.”


“It is a she mistress.” He replied, “I have not asked yet. It looks very promising.”


“We need to get that arranged as the last thing Rijiin.” Natil counseled, “We need to have that done, we have two months till our wedding.”


“Be at peace, I think I’ll have it done by then.” Rijiin replied with a smile and nod. He planned to surprise the maiden with the Creatrix of the elves, old and new who would and could be their officiating party over the hand fasting part of the celebration.


Everyone enjoyed their meal and after they finished, the men quickly finished off their work outside. They broke close to sunset to watch together at the overlook near the home, the sinking sun falling behind the mountains in array of deep crimson reds, spectacular burnt orange, golden yellows and sinister purple colors.


“Glorious.”  Rijiin murmured, as he held Natil in his arms “A good end to a long day.”


The elf maiden turned slightly, smiling to nod at the revelation of her lover. Rijiin glanced at the other elves.


Marsh had Heather in his arms with Kelly beside her. Wheat held Laurie in her arms. Hadden held Ash in his arms. The others had smiles and looks of silent admiration on their faces. They watched until the light had gone and the twinkle of many stars appeared in the sky.


“Thanks for sharing that Rijiin.” A voice said, and looking down he nodded to the Elfling who stood before her parents.  Marsh put his hand on Rijiin’s shoulder to nod.


“It was magnificent.” Hadden said, as he passed the couple with Ash and the elf managed a smile. They all went back to the home together for a new day before the weekday would begin for the rest of the elves’ lives ahead in the mile high city.


Natil and Rijiin paused however, standing alone on the overlook and they peered lovingly into each other’s eyes. Even in the pitch-black darkness, he could see her clearly in the violet and lavenders that highlighted the elves ability to see in the dark.


“I really love you mistress Harper.” He told her, putting his hands on her shoulder, “Never changed and I looked forward to this day being in your arms again.”


 “As do I you Rijiin. I don’t know where I’d be without you after being returned to me like you had.”


“Alone like I was, trust me it was not fun what I went through, to see death destruction, disease, murder, and other dark human emotions, it’s not a place Elves belonged until now.”


“You are home, its over, you must let it go.” Natil said, and he nodded.


“I have one month to find renewal if not another year, and perhaps I will find peace. But for now the goal is to be a good and loving husband.”


She gasped and he embraced the Harper, to kiss passionately. A clearing of the throat made them turn their heads. Marsh stood near the path leading to the home.


“Are you two coming?”


“Aye, be right there.” Rijiin replied as he took up Natil’s hand, and with Marsh, they made their way back to the home. It suddenly dawn on him that Marsh had echoed the words that Terrill had asked after coming home with his Harper to Adria.


Two months passed quickly before they knew it, during that time everything was prepared for probably the hardest thing either of them were about to do. It was time to celebrate their wedding as a couple.


People from far away had gathered in Denver to celebrate Rijiin and Natil’s wedding. As the elf walked out the door of the building belonging to Tree Star Surveying, he is clad in the familiar green and gray garb habitually worn a long time ago.


 Rijiin walked alone toward the party, greeting the many people who arrived bearing their invitations. He also cast a long panning gaze at the surroundings, dressed up in white with netted streamers through the trees and a trellis that runs along to the gazebo where the wedding will actually take place.


As he walked further onto the Treestar grounds, he managed a smile and a nod, greeting the familiar people whom he had known at De Anza College. He peered at the familiar faces of ‘Jell-O’ Jen, Omar, Chris, Katherine and her family, Ray and his wife Lisa, Cathy, Patrick, Steve, and even John, Becky’s ex-boyfriend.


They were familiar friends of Mimi and a few of Becky’s but only a few of them were present initially when the elves arrived on that cold December morning. The same morning Rijiin and Natil utilized their abilities to jump time together, and heal Mimi. A handful of them had actually witnessed her transformation into a beautiful young elf maiden, touched themselves by the magic of the elves.


Rijiin greeted each one with a handshake, a nod and some of the female guests with an embrace.


Turning his head, he had sensed the young women, Mimi and Becky approaching. Both were clad in long flowing gowns that fell to the ground and seem to flatter the formidable curves of their bodies. Rijiin managed a smile at their attire.


    “You both look stunning and beautiful.” He told them and both of them blushed slightly at the compliment.


    “Thanks Rijiin, you aren’t bad looking yourself.” Becky replied and he smiled.


    “You really wear that well, you always looked like you belonged wearing that garb.” Mimi complimented and he managed a solemn laugh.


    “Perhaps a long time ago I did, but it does not seem fitting now in the modern age.” He replied, “But you do have my thanks.”  


    “Sure it does, especially for this hand fasting.” Mimi corrected, “You are an Elven Ranger, and she is an Elven Harper.”


He laughed loudly, and nodded his head, but his laughter subsided when it dawned on him that he had not seen it like that. He raised an eyebrow and he met the amused expressions of Mimi and Becky.


“That is a very good observation.” Rijiin said, “I never looked at it that way before…”


Both maidens bowed slightly.
 

Becky and Mimi had turned to their friends, embracing many as Rijiin made small talk. He turned, excusing himself to mingle with the large audience that had shown up. Beside them, the elf met the smiles and the warm greeting of Katie Roth from Bellbrook, and the others whom he recognized from the old school he had attended a long time ago. The elf embraced Stephanie Rhiner, Janae Dorn, Kathy Lehman, Amy Panstingle, Melinda Morris and Angie Stethem, even Emily Montgomery and other class of ninety.  He shook hands with Mark Alsobrook, Reggie Wax, Doug Woolard, Steve Herries, Steve Gardiner and countless others he had known once in another lifetime, another dance.

          
“Thank you for coming.” The elf told them, and moved on to stand before two older women with middle-aged people beside them whom he introduced to others as Anne and Margot Frank.


He had finally confessed one of his sins of violence. Rijiin told the tale to the elves during one night at the home of that one day when had found his way and stumbled onto the sickening scene of a concentration camp of Nazi Germany. A place where he helped and healed, slaying the soldiers with exact precision.


He also disclosed finally the horror of how he had declared a one-man war against the Reich and he massacred a thousand troops after finding that camp as judge, jury and executioner. A grim sad reminder of long ago when he lived in Adria, slaying the soldiers of the Inquisition of the fourteenth century with the same resolve. He admitted changing time as he had helped and healed those who had lost their lives in that terrible place, saving many of their lives from death itself. Rijiin, in his saving many lives, had ultimately changed time leaving an uncertain sixty years ahead for Margot, Anne and the many others who were supposed to perish there.  


He had surprised the residents with this tale and surprising them at his resolve to change history without the creation of a paradox that would have destroyed time, as they knew it. Rijiin had been carefree with his healing during that time, also destroying an enemy and taking the fight back to the Nazis for the death of still a million or more people at their hands.


The Creatrix of the elves had finally intervened to stop Rijiin and forced him to let history run its course.


Rijiin returned the embrace of Anne and Margot, who even in their sixties seemed younger than they were. He greeted their children, now in their thirties and their extended family that had come, including Miep who had helped them while they were in hiding. He wondered if Elven magic was playing tricks on him, or was it something more to what is going on around them. They seemed to be surrounded by a strange aura, one the elf could not quite put his finger on.


Turning, the elf crossed the threshold to the gazebo where Lady Elthia herself stood clad in the familiar blue and silver robe. Rijiin met her smile as she held a book in her hands, hand written in Elfish. He noted the silver in her long dark hair that cascaded smoothly about her shoulders and to her mid back.


The elf approached the gazebo and he drew his blade, in a sweeping motion bringing it to his forehead in a swordsman’s honor salute. She smiled at the motion.

            
 “You do me honor Rijiin.” She told him and he bowed slightly before sheathing it in the scabbard at his side.

            
Inside the building however, at the same moment, the young Harper named Natil occupies one of the many corner offices inside the Tree Star building. As she waits for her day to start, her hand fasting to Rijiin, she paces the office back and forth like a caged animal.


She is dressed in the long ruffled white wedding gown, her face made up and she wears her hair up in a neat bun. Natil is a young beautiful elf maiden but a very nervous bride to be. She held a wad of Kleenex ™ in hand, as she dried her tears and nervously wept every few minutes. Her gaze fell upon a mirror in the office and transfixed she stared at the radiant reflection of herself. The realization had hit her solidly that she was going to be wed today and never thought, centuries ago, that she would be with someone or find anyone in her travels she could love.

    
 “Oh by the Goddess, are you ready for this Mistress? Do you know what you are doing?”


The Harper had said it aloud as she stared at the mirror, and she managed a confident nod to the reflection she peered at in the mirror. The Harper smiled at the image of herself, a very youthful looking Elven woman, who is four point three billion years old, and one of the first borne elves of Adria. A young maiden who is now clad in a magnificent white ruffled wedding gown of the period. Natil grimaced as she felt her eyes welling up with tears. She peered at her beautiful reflection.

    
“Oh Mirya, Talla, Roxanne, Varden, Terrill, Charity,” She said their names aloud. “I wish you could see me now. I wish you were here.”


She had called out the names of those of four hundred years ago, her friends, and those whom she considered family who faded long ago.


 “We do.”  A voice said echoing in her head and she managed a smile, holding the Kleenex™ against her face.


Turning her head, she sensed Heather and Kelly Blues, Hadden, and Laurie. She had not heard them enter the room behind her. All had heard her say those names, and they all stared at the magnificently clad Harper in stunned silence.


 “Mommy is that Natil?” Kelly had asked but Heather had been too stunned to answer right away. She cleared her throat, finding her voice.  

            
    “Yes Elfling that is Natil.” She said in a choked voice, heavy with emotion.


Kelly walked toward the Harper who had knelt down and the young girl embraced her around the neck. Kelly is dressed in a green gown like her mother and the other elf maidens who make up her bride’s maidens.


    “You are very pretty Natil,” She said, holding her tightly.


    “You are too Elfling.” Natil replied and grunted at the tight embrace by the young girl.


         “If I may tell you this Natil, you look…” Laurie had said, pausing to wipe her eyes “Fantastic.”


Hadden had a smile on his face as he stood there.


        “You do, and are quite radiant mistress Harper.” He told her, “A stunning sight, I told you, you would make a beautiful bride.”


Natil felt her cheeks get hot as she blushed, fighting back the tears. Hadden wore a tuxedo, and he looked sharp, his eyes gleaming.

    
    “Thank you Hadden.” She replied, “Thank you Heather, Laurie, and you too Kelly.”


The Harper embraced each of them warmly her friends from the beginning of her time here at Elven Home.  


         “So Natil, are you ready for this?” Heather asked and Natil grimaced as she shook her head.


    “I can bet you are nervous, I was when I married Marsh.”


       “I just now stopped crying.” Natil admitted, “And I am very nervous. I am nervous for what I am getting myself into and wonder where life will take me from here.”


    “If you think this is a mistake, I doubt it Natil.” Hadden said, “Rijiin is good and a decent elf, who is one hundred percent in love with you. It shows very clearly between you two.”


Natil felt her eyes tear up and she blotted them, fighting the urge to start bawling her eyes out again.


    “You and he both deserve all the happiness.” He said, “Even after four hundred plus years, or four point three billion years, you have mistress Harper found your moment. A moment, that when it comes, you should grab onto with both hands and hold on tight.”


    “Damn.” The Harper muttered, as she blotted her eyes. She gasped, hearing one of Rijiin’s favorite words that he said often. A smile appeared on her face.


    “Profound words Hadden.” Laurie said, and he managed a broad grin.


       “So tell me this Natil, who is Varden, Talla, Roxanne, Terrill, Mirya and Charity?”


    “Yea, I never heard those names before. Are they family or something?” Heather asked, her face showing the same question as Laurie. Questions bombarded the Harper who held up her hand.


     "They are the first borne elves, my family that perished into the winds of history. A young woman named Roxanne bore the named Sana back then and was my kinsman, Varden’s lover.”


    “Oh…”


    “She was a very wise and a powerful witch during the times where she risked being burned at the stake for her beliefs.”


The group was speechless by Natil’s vivid description of Roxanne, who made the Harper smile at such thoughts of a long time ago. The maiden had such good friends and whom she considered family. Natil nodded her head three times.  


    “Just relax.” Hadden said, “You will be magnificent Natil.”  


Glancing at his watch, he grimaced realizing the time.  


    “It’s time.” He told them and he put out his arm which the Harper reluctantly took. Outside, Natil could hear the music, thanks to Marsh and his band who had volunteered to pitch in and help for their wedding. The young Harper had butterflies in her stomach as she walked with Hadden, trying to keep her composure as they reached the doors where Ash stood waiting, baskets in hand.


    “If I must say you look incredible in that dress!” Ash exclaimed and Natil smiled.


    “Thanks Ash.” The Harper replied, embraced all four of them before opening a glass door and stepping out into the light. The Harper gasped as she appeared from the doorway, staring at Elthia in silence, standing next to Rijiin at the gazebo.


Many murmurs, astonished faces, and smiles appeared on the guest’s faces when they saw the bride. Marsh and the band had stopped playing when seeing the Harper and a low gasp echoed across the bandstand. Dell, Wheat, Fox, Raven, the other elves turned when they had heard the low murmur through the audience. Their gazes had fallen upon the Harper dressed in white and respectfully, the audience stood as Hadden led her down the aisle. The band began to play with Marsh Blues on the Guitar, TK on the Sax and Sana Joy on the Harp. The young woman played, her hands rippling across the harp strings.


The song is a familiar one Rijiin heard before called ‘The Wedding Song.’ again by Kenny G and he managed an impressed gaze at the bandstand.


“Thank you Marsh.” He thought, nodding slightly to a smiling Marsh and TK.


     As Hadden led Natil toward Rijiin, the Harper’s gaze fell upon the young man whom she loved dearly, standing at the gazebo. He stood with the Goddess, clad in the familiar green and gray leather, his sword at his side and his cloak. He openly wore the same garb that she wore a long time ago when she lived in Adria, the same time when a few elves lived, to help and heal in the world.


Rijiin had let out a breath when he had turned to see the beautiful young Harper appear with Hadden. He stared at his lover, wearing the long white flowing wedding gown, and her long dark hair neatly put up in a bun. The young elf shook his head silently in amazement at her radiant beauty and a low murmur by the audience rippled again through the seating.


“Steady Mistress.” He whispered.


“I can’t believe it but he got someone to officiate our wedding. I am pleased by his wisdom and his choice.” Natil thought nodding her head silently.  She continued walking with Hadden toward the gazebo.

    
“By the Lady she is beautiful.” Rijiin thought grinning as the Harper continued walking down the aisle toward him with her friend Hadden. The groom turned as she stood beside him a moment later, taking up her strong hands to kiss them, before turning to lead her into the structure.  Hadden took up his place on Rijiin’s left side, joined by Dell, Marsh, and TK, who with Sana, had dashed down the aisle from the bandstand to the gazebo. Heather, Ash, Laurie, and Sana took their places beside Natil on the right side.


Both Elves had turned to face the woman robed in blue and silver. Together they knelt before her. Elthia herself moved a hand over them as she blessed them, reading from the book in her hands. After a moment, the woman nodded and both opened their eyes, grinning at each other before meeting the smile of their Creatrix.


The other elves had been astonished to see the woman in blue and silver who blessed the couple. They knew her by name, as-if they knew her all their lives. They stared at her beauty and they openly were smiling.


       “Arise thy son, arise thy daughter of Earth.” The Lady said and she met the others who watched her intently. Rijiin and Natil stood facing each other.  The audience with a shuffle retook their seats.


    “Know now before you go further, that since your lives have crossed in this life you have formed ties between each other. As you seek to enter this state of matrimony, you should strive to make real, the ideals that give meaning to both this ceremony. Also the institution of marriage,” intoned the Lady. Here she paused and nodded a couple of times.

    
“With full awareness, know that within this circle you are not only declaring your intent to be hand fasted before your friends and family, but you speak that intent also to your creative higher powers.”

            
“The promises made today and the ties that are bound here greatly strengthen your union; they will cross the years and lives of each soul’s growth.” She continued, and here she paused to glance at Rijiin and Natil.


         “Do you still seek to enter this ceremony?”


         “Yes, we seek to enter.” Natil and Rijiin both replied together.


         “In times past it was believed that the human soul shared characteristics with all things divine. It is this belief which assigned virtues to the cardinal directions; East, South, West and North.” explained the Lady, “It is in this tradition that a blessing is offered in support of this ceremony.”  


She put her hand on the book and closed her eyes.


    “Blessed be this union with the gifts of the East; Communication of the heart, mind, and body, fresh beginnings with the rising of each Sun and the knowledge of the growth found in the sharing of silences.”

                
“Blessed be, this union with the gifts of the South; Warmth of hearth and home, the heat of the heart’s passion, the light created by both, and to lighten the darkest times.”

           
“Blessed be, this union with the gifts of the West; The deep commitments of the lake, the swift excitement of the river, the refreshing cleansing of the rain, and the all encompassing passion of the sea.”


    “Blessed be, this union with the gifts of the North; Firm foundation on which to build Fertility of the fields to enrich your lives, and a stable home to which you may always return.”

            
The couple caught their breath, as starlight flashed around her.

            
 “Each of these blessings from the four cardinal directions emphasizes those things which will help you build a happy and successful union. Yet they are only tools. Tools which you must use together in order to create what you seek in this union.”  She paused as she glanced to the couple who held each other’s hands.

            
“I bid thee to look into each others eyes.” She instructed, and Natil and Rijiin, both turned to peer lovingly into each other’s eyes.

            
“Rijiin L’Theil, Will you cause her pain?” asked the Goddess, as she turned to face him.

            
“I may.”

           
“Is that your intent?”

            
“No, my Lady,” Rijiin replied formally.

            
“Natil Summerson, Will you cause him pain?” asked the Goddess, as she turned to face her.


         “I may.”


    “Is that your intent? “


     “No, my Lady,” Natil replied, flashing a grin at him.


     “Will you share each other’s pain and seek to ease it?” The goddess asked, standing between Natil and Rijiin who stood beside her.


     “Aye…”  


    “And so the binding is made.” The Lady said solemnly, “Join thy hands.”


    The woman, robed in blue and silver, withdrew the first cord and she draped it across Rijiin and Natil’s hands. The cord, heavily woven, colored a deep crimson red, and blended with a gold hint to it.


    “Natil Summerson, Harper of Elven Home, and of Malvern. Will you share his laughter?” Asked the Lady and Natil glanced at Rijiin, smiling before she nodded her head.


    “Aye,” Natil replied, “With all my heart.”


       “Rijiin L’Theil, of Elven Home, Will you share her laughter?” Asked the Goddess, turning to him and she paused as Rijiin met the young Harper’s look silently.


     He smiled, and a moment later, he too nodded his head.


    “Aye,” Rijiin intoned, “Till thee part at the end of time.”


        The Goddess turned her head from Natil to Rijiin who met her fair features, looking into her starlit eyes.  


    “Will both of you look for the brightness in life and the positive in each other?”


    “Aye we shall.” Replied the couple together.


     “And so the binding is made.”


     The Goddess draped a second cord across their hands. The cord was this time was blue with a gold hint to it.  Both turned their heads to the Lady who stood waiting.


    “Natil Summerson, Harper of Elven Home and of Malvern, Will you burden him?”


     “I may.”


     “Is that your intent?”


     “No, my lady,” The Harper replied.


     “Rijiin L’Theil, Elf of Elven Home, Traveler of Earth. Will you burden her?”


     “I may.”


     “Is that your intent?”


     “No, my lady,” Rijiin replied.


     Again, the Goddess turned to face them both and she held another cord in her hands.  The cord was brown with a gold hint to it this time. She placed the cord across their hands. Looking down the couple stared at the cords for a moment. Both shared a reality check.


    “Will you share the burdens of each so that your spirits may grow in this union? “


     “Aye,” Rijiin and Natil replied together.


     “And so the binding is made.”


      With that, The Goddess draped the third cord across their hands.


     “Natil Summerson, Harper of Elven Home and of Malvern, will you share his dreams?”


     “Yes.”  


      “Rijiin L’Theil, Elf of Elven Home, will you share her dreams?” intoned the Goddess.


      “Aye, me Lady,” Rijiin replied.


      Again, the Lady faced them both.  


     “Will you dream together to create new realities and hopes,” asked the Goddess.


     “Aye, we shall.” Natil and Rijiin both replied together.


“And so the binding is made.” Intoned the Goddess, and she withdrew a forth cord, draping it across their hands.  The cord was white and gold interwoven. All four were heavy and multicolored.


         “Rijiin L’Theil, Elf of Elven Home, will you cause her anger?         


“I may.”

                
“Is that your intent?”
            

“Nay,” He replied, “It is not.”


         “Natil Summerson, Harper of Elven Home, will you cause him anger?”


          “I may.”


    “Is that your intent?”


     “No, my Goddess,”


          Again, the woman clad in blue and silver turned to them, her eyes flashing as they met them and with a solemn look on her face.


          “Will you take the heat of anger and use it to temper the strength of this union?”


     “We will.” replied the couple together.  


           "And so the binding is made.”


    This time the Goddess withdrew a bright silver cord, heavily woven and it seemed to glisten in the light.  She lay it across Rijiin and Natil’s hands and the couple managed to gasp at the almost luminance of the cord.


     “Natil Summerson, Harper of Elven Home, Will you honor him?”


     “I will.”


      Rijiin L’Theil, Elf of Elven Home, Will you honor her?”


    “I will.”


           The Lady met their looks, her gaze moving back and forth to both several times.


          “Will you seek to never give cause to break that honor?”


          “We shall never do so.” The couple intoned together and they heard a gasp by all.


    “And so the binding is made.”


            Finally, the Goddess draped a light blue cord across their hands. It was the same woven cord and it seemed to glow with a strange luminescence.


            The Lady took up both ends and handed them to Rijiin and Natil.


            “The knots of this binding are not formed by these cords but instead by your vows. Either of you may drop the cords, for as always you hold in your own hands the making of breaking of this union.”


            “Are there any objections?” The Lady asked, turning her head to meet the many faces of the crowd who had gathered here today. “Speak now or forever hold thy peace.”


She had paused, waiting and when no one spoke up, the Lady, clad in the blue and silver garb, turned to tie the cords together. She made the knot quickly and letting go, the goddess smiled at the couple and embraced both of them.


            “You come here on this day to be hand fasted, both of you showing your unbounded love for each other.” With that, the Lady removed the knotted cord and she placed it on the small pedestal beside her. “I now declare you bound, as husband and wife.”

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