224 Chapter 221 The Wedding
"How do we do this again?" asked Joseph's mother, running her fingers through Stella's hair.
"You have to do tight braids, close to the skin, so I don't have any hair flying in my face," explained Stella again, itching to do it herself.
She could have it done in no time, but tradition dictated that her mother must do it. To show that she had prepared her for the final hunt, that of marriage. Joseph's mother had shown up, as she tried to explain it to her own mother, and the two had started discussing how to even braid hair.
Stella had tried to show them, by braiding a few strands of her hair, and then taking it out, but they were still struggling. If Stella's mother had ever known how to braid hair, she had forgotten it, and Joseph's mother had never learned, being the mother of a boy. That left Stella in a bit of a quandary, wondering how she was going to look for her marriage.
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"Is anything wrong?" asked Selena, poking her head into the tent that had been set up for Stella to get ready. "Everyone's in position and about ready."
"She says she needs her hair braided, but neither of us know how," explained Stella's mom.
"Oh! Well, I do, let me help."
For the next thirty minutes, the two mothers helped by holding hair out of the way as Selena's fingers flew faster then either of them thought possible. She started with three braids, close to the skin, from the front, to the back, then combined the hair from the three into one braid, then wrapping it in a tight bun and securing it to the back of her head.
"I don't know how you did that, but it looks fantastic!" said Joseph's mom.
"I agree! I don't think I could have done that, but are you sure this is the style you want for your wedding? It doesn't look like a princess, or queen style?" her mother said, stepping back and looking at it with a frown.
Stella stood up and shook her head vigorously, as the three of them looked at her in horror. Not a single hair was out of place, and she nodded.
"It's perfect. Thank you! I can finish on my own," she said, turning away from them.
"Are you sure?" asked Joseph's mom, looking at the robe she was wearing. It was black, which meant it was definitely not the dress she was going to be wearing.
"Yes, no one must see what I am going to wear, until I show up at the altar."
Selena gave her a hug and said, "This hairstyle is known as the goddess braid, and I think it's prefect, too!"
They looked at each other, as Stella stood waiting for them to leave. With a shrug, Selena lead them out, and Stella glanced at herself in the mirror with a nod. The hair wasn't that of a princess or queen, because she was a warrior.
Joseph was standing at the altar, nervously waiting for Stella to show up. Everyone was waiting, having been seated for over half an hour, and the great tree towered over them all. None of the gods had chosen to come, probably to prevent showing favoritism and possibly ruining his marriage, and thus being killed.
A noise from behind him, had him glancing back along the aisle again, and the sight that met his gaze startled him. Everyone in the crowd gasped when they saw her, too.
Stella was riding on the back of the sphinx she had saved in the mountains. Joseph had no idea how she had brought it here, but the sphinx stood proud and regal, as it carried her down the aisle. She perched high, wearing red plate mail that covered her from the neck down to her boots. Joseph had never seen this armor before and his eyes danced along it, noting the fine details where she had quick release buckles hidden, and yet it was fully functional.
Jumping down from the back of the sphinx, she crouched before him, as if about to attack, looking over the crowd after a moment, as if determining the danger she was feeling must be from them, and many cringed back, as if feeling the threat she was emanating with just her glare. The sphinx moved off to the side, out of the view of everyone, yet still watching the show.
She carefully danced around him, placing her feet purposefully, and after a few movements, everyone relaxed to watch her twirl and spin around him. His clothing was made of gold cloth, and the red seemed to enhance it as she drew closer and closer to him.
Coming to a sudden stop in front of him, there was a collective sigh from the crowd as her lips were only inches from his. Joseph could feel through the mind link that he shouldn't move, despite the itch to kiss her that seemed to inflame his lips.
Stepping back, she smiled, and his heart gave a leap. Reaching up, she let loose the snaps he had noticed before, and the armor on her left arm came loose.
"With this armor, I pledge my loyalty to you."
Handing him the armor, he set it on the table behind him. He wasn't sure who had set it there, as it definitely wasn't there a moment ago, and wondered if she had placed it on her last pass around him from her bag.
Removing the right arm, she handed it to him as well, "With this, I pledge my strength."
The left leg came next and then the right.
"With these, I shall not leave you, but shall always hasten to be by your side."
As she pulled off the breastplate, everyone suddenly noticed that she was wearing a golden gown that fell to her ankles. A heart shaped opening over her heart showcased the tattoo he had drawn of his name.
Handing him the breastplate, she said, "Our love will be told in stories to come, and while none shall believe the whole of it, I pledge to protect that love with my whole being. Any who threaten it shall die!"
Joseph couldn't help but chuckle at the shock on some of the guests faces, but reached out and took her hands. It was his turn.
"I vow that I am yours, as you are mine. Your joys and sorrows will be mine, as my joys and sorrows will be yours. I will keep you as close as my shadow, and let nothing come between us. I will love you forever, and should death separate us, I will come back to you, for you are my eternal soul mate."
She smiled at him, a smile that he knew he would replay in his mind over and over. His heart seemed to skip a beat and light trickled through the tree branches to land on them, which was quite a feat for the world tree.
He knew that, for many, his vows may have seemed odd, but if it made Stella this happy then, he was sure it was right for them. As the thoughts of children and a happy home played in his mind, he knew without a doubt that the kids would be adorable. With the fey glamour they were going to get from their mom, it wouldn't be possible for them not to be.