Chapter Thirty-Seven: Wedding Bells and Coffin Nails
Dolmabahçe Palace, Istanbul Turkey September 3rd 2010
Everything had been planned weeks in advance. The invitations sent out months before and RSVP’s made. Nothing could go wrong and nothing did. It was perfect, almost an eerie too perfect. Not that anyone but Emelye noticed. Pre-Wedding jitters made her literally dash out of the dressing room several times for fresh air before she fainted or ruined her elegant dress.
The wedding was held in the garden of Dolmabahçe Palace in Turkey, home of Kazim the Werewolf Sultan. Upon his orders the wedding was created within a night, turning the front of the Palace into a fairytale wonderland. The chairs were set in rows, lily and rose petals littered the aisle and fairies lit the night air with their song. Moonlight reflected off the clear surface of the large fountain just ahead, casting watery shapes on the glassy surface.
Lit lanterns hung in the crisp air; magically drifting to where light was needed and McGee had to stop Zachary before he grabbed one and caught the garden on fire. Sally gawked at the beautifully dressed woman and wondrous scenery, nudging her husband every three seconds to point out a new face.
To the left of them was a large white gate opening to the sea and at it docked a huge ship. McGee recognized the ship as a Japanese Envoy ship, the kind that hadn’t been built in decades but was sitting on the lapping water. The woodwork was painted a blood red and deep black; the sails were crimson with gold dragons dancing across them. Faceless men raced across the ship, throwing ropes over the sides and sliding a walkway over and securing it. McGee was still new to the Magic World and didn’t have a clue as to what that even was but it made Sally’s eyes lit up like Christmas.
“That’s the Demon Empress’s ship.” Xander stated, leaning over in-between the couple and pointing to the entourage leaving the water. “Very traditional.”
“What’s a ‘Demon’?” asked Sally, wrapping her arms tightly around Zachery so he didn’t leave her lap. “Is it like the Biblical Demon?”
Xander shook his head and watched the glamorous women exit the ship. “They’re like… Changelings or Shape Shifters. They rule by matriarchy unlike most Kingdoms and they have three female rulers; always will.” He pointed to the oldest woman dressed in a black and gold kimono. “That’s Empress Enzeru and her daughter, Empress Yukiji.”
Sally gasped at the woman in a lovely kimono that was turquoise with flowing waves of peach and salmon, little koi fish swimming in the river along her sleeves and hem. “So gorgeous…”
“They like to make a scene.” Xander chuckled. “Especially, Empress Uta the old bat.”
A woman glided down the walkway and through the gate like she was floating, a young girl tightly gripping her hand. Uta’s kimono faded from brown to a pale pink from the bottom up with silver and gold roses fluttering to the sides. Her obi was a flashy gold and fresh flowers placed neatly in her hair. Smirking, her dark eyes found Xander in the crowd for a second before her chin went up, ignoring him.
“Royal Princess Yua is almost two years older than Mona.” Xander said, glancing back at his daughter who was busy watching lanterns drift pass overhead.
“She’s adorable.” Sally mumbled, the smile never leaving her face.
Yua looked terrified and stumbled on her kimono once or twice along her way to greet Sultan Kazim. The cream kimono, with playful blue and pink butterflies, seemed too long and too flashy for the round faced little girl and her mother’s constant tugging on her arm wasn’t helping her any.
“So fascinating, isn’t it Zach?”
The little blonde boy glanced at his mother then back at the red head seated silently behind them.
Since arriving in Turkey, the McGee family spent much of their time with Rosemary’s tiny group and the two women grew attached. Xander had warmed up to McGee and the two often talked about the Magic World or politics. Even Zachery and Mona got along well, which was a surprise to Rosemary. Sad as it was, Mona found it hard to be around people. She was a shy, timid little girl and only opened up to Sophia, Emelye’s little girl. But the moment she saw Zachery she was begging him to play with her.
McGee let out a dry laugh. “I’m surprised Lilith was invited.”
Xander lent back in his chair behind the couple and watched Lilith, dressed in black velvet with gold trim. Her Court of undead rulers followed obediently behind her; Charlotte Corday guiding the two Royal Twins to wherever their mother went. The girl looked annoyed and the boy looked downright frightened.
“She would’ve thrown a fit if she wasn’t.” Xander stated.
“Everyone, please be seated!” boomed Kazim, his masked wife standing delicately at his side. “The wedding of the century is about to begin!”
Once the crowd was seated, every light from around the Palace or on the inside was shut off leaving the lanterns to admit sparkles like stars. Gentle music played from the darkness and soon the bridesmaids made their way down the aisle.
The groom, as tradition, turned his back on the woman walking down the aisle not once looking back to see his bride until she was beside him. McGee could tell the boy was nervous, tugging at his green tie or fixing his collar. The row of men beside him either smirked or blushed at the girls and McGee didn’t blame them.
Xander placed Mona in his lap, giving her a better view of her mother who smiled at them with a little nod.
The first to come down the aisle was Sinclair, Emelye’s sister and Maid-of-Honor, who was dressed in a pale blue gown with a deep red cape draped over her shoulders. Sally smiled, because instead of a bouquet she was holding a basket full of cookies and treats. Behind Red Riding Hood appeared to be Alice from Alice in Wonderland.
Cree wore a deep blue dress with a white apron and whiny black shoes. Spinning in her step, the fabric looked like waves on a sea. Tossing the white rabbit she was holding, Yua reached up in the air and caught it, finally smiling up at her small guards. The eldest ruffled her hair as she hugged the stuffed toy tightly.
Rosemary followed swiftly behind, a little embarrassed of her tight purple and emerald gown, and tried to flash a bright smile. Her bouquet was a neat array of seashells and starfish and shook in her trembling hands. Out of the corner of her eye, she caught Xander smirking at her so noticeably that she stumbled a bit. Blushing as red as her hair, Rosemary tucked a strand of curled hair behind her ear and stood in her spot.
The woman behind Rosemary, also known as Tilly, couldn’t stop smiling. A blush crept to her cheeks with all the eyes watching her. Lily, dressed as the Princess from Frog Prince, grabbed her friends arm and marched them up the aisle. Together, their gowns ruffled together in a mixture of gold satin and pale green. Stumbling almost like they were drunk, Lily threw her golden ball into the air and it burst into stream of fireworks.
As the swirling colors of blue and white rained down on the guests; Emelye made her way down the steps in waves of soft silk. The flower girls, Effy and Sophia dressed as a fairy and pumpkin, danced down the aisle in front of their mother. Their giggling caused Alex, unhappily wearing a mouse costume, to hush them grumpily. Emelye reached out to pat his head and the little boy looked back at his mother with wide eyes.
“Oh, how lovely…” gushed Sally, covering her mouth with her hand.
Emelye wore a dress of pure white silk. Along the hem and down the train was a swirl of embroidered baby blue snowflakes. The train reached back about eight feet and was held up by fairies that also carried her vale. A dark blue corset was pinned at the front by a silver snowflake and the back opened up to powder blue satin, covered in snowmen and igloos. Her vale was pinned to the top of her coiled hair by a diamond crown that sparkled in the dim light.
Her plump arm was wrapped around her Uncle’s as he led her down the aisle, ready to give her away. With every light step she took a glass shoe would peek out from under the yards of white.
Finally reaching the Groom, Emelye kissed her Uncle’s cheek and took Neate’s hand. When he saw her, his eyes went as wide as dinner plates and his jaw dropped.
“You look handsome.” Emelye cooed, nudging Neate with her shoulder.
“Y-yeah…” was all the Groom could utter before the Priest began the ceremony.
Everything was going smoothly. Perfectly. Nothing would go wrong. But in their world nothing went without a little hiccup.
Just as the words ‘I do’ were forming on Emelye’s lips the main gates to the Palace burst open. Startled guests darted out of their seat as a crowd of men, clad in black, stormed in. Whoever was unlucky enough to step in their path was cut down within seconds. People began to scream and rush about, knocking children and the elderly over in their rush.
The only people who didn’t flinch, but only stood to watch the Wedding Crashers with narrowed eyes, were the Rulers.
“Enough!” cried Emelye, gathering her dress as she dashed down the aisle to face the men who ruined her wedding. “What is the meaning of this? Answer me!”
Neate stood by his wife, sword drawn and pointed at the biggest of the men in the front.
“I suppose my wedding invitation was lost in the mail.” Said a dark haired woman stepping through the sea of black as it parted for her. “Or wasn’t I sent one?”
“Morticia!” shouted Theodosia, rushing to step in front of Death and Emelye. “You have no right in being here.”
“Don’t I!?” screamed the woman, morphing in the image of a middle aged woman then to a child. “I have every right to be here! Just as she does.” she pointed to Empress Uta, who snapped a fan open in front of her face. “Or her!” The finger, which was eternally pointed to, gestured to Lilith who rolled her eyes.
McGee stood from his seat but Xander’s steady hand pushed him back down. “But-”
“No,” whispered the Halfit, pulling his daughter to him. “Just be quiet and sit still.”
Xander’s eyes met Rosemary’s from a distance, her fear showing across her face. Death was knocking on their door.
“Well get your business over with and leave!” hissed Emelye from behind Theodosia’s slender frame. “I don’t want you here.”
Death balled her hands into fists, her nostrils flaring with her anger. “Fine but remember this:” she leant forward and whispered, “The storm is brewing and it will drag you down with it.”
Upper lip curling in distaste, Death stepped back and snapped her fingers to signal their departure.
Howling in fury, Emelye took the sword from her husband hands and cut off the head of the largest man in the group. Blood stained the purity of her white dress and pooled on the ground. But the moment the blade tore through flesh every single person vanished like black smoke.
Throwing the sword to the side in tiresome anger, Emelye turned and stumbled, causing Theodosia to grab the girl, steadying her. The old Halfit dusted off the creases of her dress and fixed the falling curls of the Ice Witches hair.
“It wouldn’t be the Ice Witches wedding if at least one thing didn’t go terribly wrong.” Tutted Theodosia handing Emelye over to Neate.
Pinning her lips into a thin line, she took a deep breath then shouted, “Everyone but the Royals or Wedding Party get the hell out, shows over.”
While the grownups talked about the future in the Ceremonial Hall, their children were sat in the Blue Salon waiting a little impatiently.
On one side of the room sat Sophia, her twin siblings, Mona, Zachery and a close family friend’s child, Jay. Across from them was Princess Yua with her four little guards on either side of her. In the middle, on one half of the room was fizzy haired Cearpholly and her twin brother, Malachi. Parallel to them was the large group of Lycan children, squirming in their seats.
A guard blocked the each of doors and windows, making sure the children were safe but the only thing they really did was annoy Sophia. She shifted in her seat and fiddled with her hair or pumpkin suit. Finally she looked up at her older brother and asked when they would be able to help their mother with her job.
“You help?” Alex laughed, ruffling her hair. “Wait ‘till you’re a little bit bigger. You can’t even mix a potion with having it blow up in your face.”
“Trod on.” Scolded Effy, swatting his hand away from Sophia. “She’ll take over Mum’s job one day; I think she ought to at least be in the same room.”
Sophia pouted and crossed her arms.
Jay leant over and whispered in her ear. “Well, I think you can cook better than your Mum. Does that count?”
Ignoring him Sophia only continued to sulk and rest her head on Mona’s tiny one that was propped up on her shoulder; Zachery already asleep on the red head’s lap, sucking his thumb. Effy sighed at her sister’s stubbornness and flicked her twin for being so rude.
Jay huffed and glanced at the group across the way, glaring at them. The Princess was a distant cousin of his, but since his father was born human he was banished from Sanpuku and all ties to the Royal family cut off. Forever holding a grudge against the Royal Family for insisting on such a Law, he didn’t even want to be in the same room as them.
“Merhaba!” called the second eldest Lycan Prince. He waved to the frizzy haired girl clutching her twins arm. “Hey, Vampyre girl! Over here!”
Cearpholly looked up and pointed to herself causing the boy to nod variously.
“What’s your name?” he called over with a large smile that caused her to blush.
Ceapholly opened her mouth to answer but her brother beat her to it.
“Mother says not to play with dogs.” Malachi said innocently, pulling his sister close.
“Who says were dogs, bloodsuckers?” spat the eldest Lycan Prince with a cold stare. He turned to Yua who was smirking into her doll. “What are you smiling at, freak?”
Her four guards stood and pulled out their weapons but stopped when Yua raised her hand. “Enough.”
The room fell into silence once again. Their parents were taking too long and they were growing bored. Maybe if they were from different spectrums of the world or Magic world, they would have suggested a game to play to chase away the boredom. But, unfortunately, they weren’t and it only made things harder.
“Right!” Sophia finally jumped to her feet. “I wanna play a game. So we’ll play,” she glanced around the room. “All of us.”
For a few minutes the room remained in the quiet, stiff atmosphere it once was in before it was broken by a clap of tiny hands. Eyes turned to Ceapholly who stood from her seat.
“I’ll play. I like games.” She said in her timid voice.
Sophia smiled, her blue eyes looking around the room hopefully, waiting for another person to join in. Soon Mona stood, after she eased Zachery’s sleeping form from her lap and onto the chair. Jay lept to his feet and tugged Effy and Alex with him, smirking as he watched the crown Princess of the Lycan’s carefully get to her feet, fixing her Hijab as she did so.
Soon all of the children were standing; even the sour Demon Princess got off her high horse and joined the rest. Sophia instructed them to all hold hand in a circle in the middle of the chairs and around the center table. Reluctantly they linked their tiny hands together and gazed around at the mass of empty faces that had yet to be filled by a name.
“We are all going to say our names.” Stated Sophia, blushing slightly as Jay squeezed her hand for encouragement. “Let’s start! If you’re the youngest in your family, like me, then say your name. Ready?”
Emelye glided down the hall with Uta following swiftly after. Her dress was still stained but her hair had come undone and she left it that away after she tore her vale from her head in frustration. The Demon was unhappy with the Ice Witches refusal of allowing her to take Sophia back to Sanpuku to train with Yua. Emelye wouldn’t hear of it and her day was already ruined, there was no way in hell she’d let her daughter go home with a person that wasn’t herself.
“I refuse to let my daughter be trained in such a way, Uta, I just will not have it!” hissed Emelye, spinning around to come face to face with the woman. “Sophia’s mind is too fragile. If I let her go with you then-”
The women paused their argument and dashed to the doorway, watching as the girls screamed out their own names.
“MONA!” the youngest girl’s face went red as she shouted at the top of her lungs.
“That’s not your name.” tutted Malachi, tugging on his sister’s arm.
“I want to be called Polly from now on.” Declared the Vampyre Princess crossing her arms over her chest.
“Is it my turn now?” snapped Yua from across the circle.
Biting her lip, Polly nodded slightly before-
“YUA!” the girl even bowed.
“Ah… would you look at that!” purred Emelye clapping her hands together. “They all know each other now.”
Uta nodded, slightly embarrassed that her daughter was acting like a middle aged woman and not a six-year-old. “Yes, it will make thing easier.”
Resting her shoulder on the doorframe, the Ice Witch looked at the children with tears glistening in her eyes. “The future lies in their hands now.”