Disclaimers ~ These characters belong to me. If they have a passing resemblance to you or share your name, it's purely coincidental.
Bad language ~ Nothing I deem bad, but...let's say yes, scattered here and there.
Love/sex ~ Ongoing relationships between women. Love scenes between m/f & f/f. If none of this is your cup of tea or it offends you, you're in the wrong place.
Violence ~ Loads! The warriors are at war so....
Author's note - Questions, comments & thoughts all welcome. Loves_to_write_fic@yahoo.co.uk
Copyright © June 2008
Rayna smiled as she breathed in the fresh morning air. Sitting up high on a tree branch near the shore, she looked out across the calm sea, the sun just peeking over the horizon, making the sky pinkish-orange. Life changed daily since her return to Belleza, but this was one ritual that had survived.
Once normalcy returned to the island, Dionis informed the warriors they wouldn't be returning to Britannia. With the Romans taken care of for the time being their help wasn't needed. Instead, the warriors were to go on guard duty, either defending the Palace and patrolling the island, or guarding members of the family.
Athena and Daralis Green got together and drew up plans for a proper hospice. With the building being made out of stone, it was going to take a few years to complete so work was started right away. The Queen also met with Savannah Reeder to discuss a new medical career choice. She had spoken at length with the shaman and had convinced the older woman to become head of the new venture, passing on her healing knowledge to a larger group. With that year's school curriculum already decided though, they had to wait a year before putting the new plans in place. Athena was also kept busy by Jada Theccan, one of those on her public relations committee, with wedding plans.
The Royal family publicly pardoned Lexie and Blyth Sheehan, informing the women of Belleza that Blyth had no idea what her wife's plans were and that Lexie had, in fact, saved the Princess' life. The public pardon didn't convince everyone though. Blyth, having lost her wife and being disliked by a number of the women, saw no reason to remain and chose to move away. Lexie opted to remain. Though her peers didn't trust her and the older women whispered around her, she didn't want to leave the home she had always known. Arcadia also promised she would have the job she had been in training for and that she would one day be the future Queen's adviser. For now, she was being trained by Aaronia, the Queen's mother stepping into Tamara's place.
Having fallen for Gayle, Bedilia decided to move to Britannia so they could court. She had been surprised to learn that her new love was Royalty. Daughter to Delicia and Trenton, she was a cousin of the Princess. The warrior wrote to Rayna, happily informing her friend of the news that once she married the Princess, she would not only have Leslie and Keera as distant relatives, but Bedilia as well if she settled down with Gayle.
Rayna knew it was only a matter of time before her lifelong friend returned to Belleza to marry.
Much to everybody's great relief and happiness, Keera woke from her coma a moon after being brought home. She was fine and healthy, the only indication that anything had ever been wrong was when she was stressed or worried and got a crippling headache that usually sent her to bed. The brunette had paced restlessly as Leslie went into labour late one afternoon, worrying and stressing over her wife's health and that of the baby. It wasn't until eight candle marks later, late evening, she had become a proud mother to Kinsey Marie Shepherd, a beautiful baby girl, with grey-green eyes and tufts of strawberry-blonde hair.
Wedding plans for Arcadia and Rayna had started out simple. As everyone on the island was invited, as well as family and friends scattered around the world, the ceremony was to be performed on the stage which would give everyone a view of the couple. They knew who was coming, they knew where it was to be held, but by the time they had agreed on the venue, it was approaching winter where it would be cold and most likely wet and the flowers Arcadia wanted would be out of season. Then there was the Princess' pregnancy. Arcadia, with her hormones all over the place, had days where she was blissfully happy and others where she wold burst into tears over the smallest thing.
Not wanting her wife-to-be more stressed than she needed to be, Rayna convinced the blonde they should wait until after the birth of their child and for the nicer weather, as no one wanted the day ruined by rain and thunderstorms. It was decided that half way through the next year would fit the bill perfectly as their child would be six months old and the harvest would be out of the way.
But fresh trouble had flared in Britannia. The Romans returned with more men than ever, determined to take complete control of the island called Britannia. Dionis had listened to Rayna and the teachers. She had listened to all the things they had learnt about the Romans and their thoughts on the likely outcome if the warriors were to return to Britannia to help fight. Realising the enemy was bent on taking over the world and would not retreat or back down, Dionis decided that a war would be futile and a waste of life. Athena advised her uncle to move his people and settle elsewhere, everyone knowing there would be no peace there for a long while.
With this development, the wedding was delayed again, until their friends and family could find and settle into a new home.
Cornelius moved his people north to Caledonia and had a new village built, much like the one they had left. They bred sheep, as was common to the area. They settled easily and mixed well with the locals, who hated the invaders as much as they did.
Now, finally, today was the day for the Royal wedding.
Getting up, Rayna stretched, looking out at the glorious morning view once more before turning to leave. She had to get back before everyone started going into a panic. Mariah had been running around for days like a headless chicken, fretting about anything and everything. With Brutus home for his sibling's wedding, she had to worry about keeping him and Rayna apart and out of trouble. Then there was Sarah Banks, Benedict's young widow, and her three children. Finally getting to meet the young girl who had stolen her son's heart had been wonderful and terrifying at the same time. And the children, the two boys who looked a lot like Benedict and a little girl Sarah had conceived the last time she was with her husband. The Banks' house was overflowing and chaotic.
The warrior made her way through the trees with ease, moving quickly and stealthily towards the farming community. She wondered if anyone had woken yet and if they realised she was gone. She smiled as she wondered if her bride-to-be was up yet.
Reaching the edges of the forest, Rayna jumped effortlessly from the tree she was in to the ground below and strolled towards her home, admiring the house in the distance. It was situated on a Bank, which was how they got their surname, and looked down onto their fields where the cattle grazed. It was a one-story wooden house with four bedrooms, a storage room, a kitchen, wash room, and living area with fireplace. The farm was rimmed by fencing they had made and erected themselves. The fence not only ringed the house, but ran to their fields as well, keeping the animals in. There was also a latched gate that led onto the Banks' property that Rayna loved jumping over rather than unlocking and walking through, though this annoyed her mother, Mariah, tremendously.
She jumped the gate now, wearing a bright smile as she did, and made her way along the dirt track to her house. "I'm back," she called out as she opened the front door. "Miss me?"
"Rayna Banks!" Mariah growled. "You will be the death of me! Where have you been? Do you not remember what day it is? I don't need all this stress!"
The warrior looked from her mother to her mama Nyx, who hid her smirk and shrugged. "I was at the shore, mother," Rayna said, turning back to the glaring raven-haired woman. "Watching the sun come up, it is a ritual and I won't give it up, no matter what the day."
"You could have left a note! I was going out of my mind and now I'm behind with all the things I need to do before we leave! Here," she thrust a giggling Harry at the warrior. "Look after your nephew while I do you some breakfast." Mariah turned to stomp into the kitchen. "And don't think I didn't see what you did, Rayna Banks! I could...I could smack you!"
Rayna burst out laughing, not a wise thing to do, but she couldn't help herself. "What, mother? What did I do?"
"You jumped the gate! We put that there for a reason, kindly use it properly. And don't you laugh, Nyx Banks! You only encourage her!" With her wife and her oldest daughter laughing at her, she threw her hands into the air in frustration and moved into the kitchen to start breakfast.
"Grandma's gone loopy!" Rayna said tickling the little boy she held. "What did you do, wake her up?"
"No!" the little boy shouted through his laughing. "Grandma's mad at you!"
"Me? Why would she be mad at me?" the warrior asked, tipping the boy upside down.
"Oh, Gods above! Is he being a nuisance?" Sarah asked as she came out of one of the bedrooms. "I'm sorry, Rayna, I..."
"Not at all, Sarah. We are just playing," Rayna smiled kindly.
The strawberry-blonde smiled and headed for the kitchen, as was a ritual for her. She liked to help Mariah in the mornings, no matter how much the older woman protested.
Rayna sat down opposite Nyx, setting Harry on her lap and sighed. "It's a beautiful morning."
"So it should be for such an occasion." Nyx smiled lovingly at her daughter. "You're not nervous, are you?"
"A little," the warrior admitted. "So much has happened to delay the wedding, I keep thinking something's going to happen. Someone will turn up and oppose us marrying or the stage will collapse!"
"Nothing can stop the wedding now. Can you imagine Dionis letting anything go wrong on her little girl's big day?"
Rayna laughed and shook her head. "No."
"Has she got the jitters, mama?" Brutus asked, stepping out of a bedroom, his shirt hanging open and untucked.
"Do up your shirt, Brutus," Nyx chastised. "Your mother is already at the end of her rope. And no, your sister hasn't got the jitters. She just thinks something is going to go wrong."
"Sounds like she's having second thoughts to me, creating a problem to cover up her own feelings."
Rayna glared at her older sibling. "I am having no such thoughts. Unlike you, who can't get a girl to stay in his company. I love Arcadia more than life and have been waiting patiently for this day since stepping foot back on the island."
Brutus grinned. "If you say so, sister. And I could keep a girl if I so wished. I like having my freedom, like you do."
Setting Harry on his feet, Rayna jumped up and lunged at her brother, the pair falling to the floor in a usual scuffle. Nyx watched on, shaking her head as she held Harry. Mariah and Sarah came out of the kitchen upon hearing the sounds of fighting.
"Why didn't you stop them?" Mariah asked her wife in disgust.
"I wanted to see if Brutus would blacken Rayna's eye."
"What on earth for!" Mariah exclaimed in horror. "'Tis her wedding day, wife!"
Nyx smiled. "I know. I wanted to see how Rayna would explain it to the Princess and the Royal family."
Hearing this comment, Rayna stopped struggling with Brutus looking horrified. "By the Gods, brother! What were you thinking?" she asked, standing up. "The last thing I need is Dionis or the Queen mad at me! Mad at you perhaps, but not me."
Brutus smirked at his younger sibling as he got to his feet.
"Enough. All of you in the kitchen, except you, Brutus," Mariah said to her son. "Go and wake Leala and Benedict junior for breakfast and bring out baby Jasmine. You can look after her while the rest of us eat."
* * * * *
Arcadia sat at the dining table bouncing her daughter on her knee, watching the serving staff rush around in a panic.
With all the Royal family home for her upcoming wedding, the staff were rushed off of their feet seeing to everybody's needs. Meal time was always comical. The cook constantly had a fit getting the meals ready for such a large group, the serving girls hurried back and forth as they tried to get everything set out on the table and to keep everyone with a drink. The maids rushed around the bedchambers stripping the beds of linen and putting on new ones, before hurrying the dirty ones down to the cleaners, who rushed around all day getting them clean again.
Shaking herself out of her reverie, the princess cooed down at her wide-eyed, one year old daughter, a miniature version of Rayna.
A year before in the last winter month of the year, in the still of night, Rayna had been sent for as Arcadia went into labour. The warrior had rushed to the Palace in a panic, half undressed and out of breath. She and Dionis spent the rest of night pacing about, unable to remain still as they waited for news on the princess and baby. Morning had found them crashed out in Dionis' office, leaning on each other in slumber. An adorable picture, Arcadia had later been told by the Queen. Athena had woken the pair and informed them of the new arrival. Little Princess Ava Banks had been born with the rising sun, with wispy dark hair and eyes as blue as the warrior's.
"Mama?" the little girl frowned, hands hitting the table in front of her.
"Soon, sweetheart. We'll see mama soon." The blonde smiled down at the little girl who was fast growing, much to her dismay. She blew a raspberry, her smile widening when the little girl laughed loudly in delight.
"That sounds like my granddaughter!" Dionis said loudly, before appearing in the dining room. "What's my favourite little girl doing?" the ex-warrior said in a soft voice. She kissed Arcadia's head, then picked up Ava, swinging her around, much to the little girl's delight.
Dionis scowled over at her daughter as Arcadia laughed. "I don't see why she calls me that! Wouldn't gama do?"
"But it wouldn't be half as funny," Arcadia laughed. "Where's mummy?"
"Getting her hair done. She seems to think she won't have another spare moment once she comes down."
"Good morning, ladies," Cornelius greeted as he walked in with his brother Abbott and eldest son Leland. "Are you excited, Arcadia? Today's the day you finally tie down that warrior of yours."
Arcadia smiled. "We really don't need a ceremony for us to be tied to each other, great uncle. Rayna and I share a bond no one can explain."
"Gods above, that is so romantic!" Colt said as he walked into the dining room. He kissed Leland's head, before taking a seat next to his partner. "It's looking like a wonderful day out. The sun is fast rising, the sky as blue as can be."
"That's what we planned for," Athena said as she entered. She smiled in greeting at everyone and posed as they clapped and whistled at her appearance. Kissing her wife's dark head, she took a seat next to Dionis and took her granddaughter. "Arcadia! You're not even half ready!"
Arcadia rolled her eyes. "I decided not to put my dress on because knowing my luck I'd spill my breakfast down it. And I didn't get my hair done because I had to feed and look after Ava. You know she has a habit of yanking on your hair."
"Good points," the Queen conceded. "But we are all up now, I'm sure we can manage looking after your lively little girl while you get ready."
"That is what I was waiting for, mummy. You really should try to calm down, everything is under control."
"You see, that's what you'd like to believe but just one mishap can throw all the plans out the window." The Queen handed her granddaughter back to Dionis, not wanting her newly styled hair ruined.
Val Plummer stepped into the dining room and waited to be acknowledged.
Rolling her eyes at the Queen, Arcadia stood up. "I shall go and get ready now. Don't let Ava walk about alone. Now that she has got her feet 'tis very easy to lose her."
"I know, darling," Athena replied.
"And try to keep her hands clean, the last thing I need is dirty little hand prints on my dress."
"Stop worrying, Arcadia, everything is under control," the Queen smirked.
Walking around the table, Arcadia kissed Dionis and Athena, and finally her daughter. "Stay with grandma Dionis and Athena, sweetheart. I'll be back in a moment and then we'll go and see mama."
"Mama now!" the dark-haired little girl clapped.
"Soon." Arcadia headed for the dining room door and smiled at the waiting maid. "Val, there are no problems are there?"
"Oh, no, Your Highness. Leslie Shepherd, Cherie Fisher, Kemina Sexton and Audra Reeder are here. I put them in the receiving room."
"Okay, thank you, Val." The Princess headed for the receiving room, a room finely decorated in light colours and with art on the walls, and stood in the doorway watching her group of dear friends. As they spotted her they squealed and jumped up to hug her.
"Today is the day!" Audra grinned. "I can't believe it, you're finally going to be properly married!"
"Wow, thank you for reminding me!" Arcadia joked. "Shall we go upstairs and get ready?" Getting nods from all the girls, the blonde led the way. "Where's Kinsey?" she asked Leslie, who scowled up at her.
"I decided to leave her with my wife as punishment!" Leslie replied. "Keera came home roaring drunk last night and drove me mad, so she is looking after our uncontrollable one year old this morn!"
Arcadia stopped walking up the stairs and turned back to look at her cousin. "Roaring drunk? You don't think...Rayna was in that condition as well, do you?"
"I have no idea, cousin. I doubt it though, 'tis your wedding day. I know when it was Keera's and mine, my wife stayed sober whilst everyone else got drunk."
Letting out a breath she hadn't realised she'd been holding, Arcadia smiled and turned to carry on up the stairs. "Come on, let's get ready for my big day."
* * * * *
A warrior had three types of armour - training armour, battle armour, and parade armour, which a warrior wore when meeting the Queen or other members of the Royal family. It was also worn when the warrior got married.
Rayna stood tall and nervous in her parade armour, unable to stand still. She kept fussing with imaginary problems, straightening buckles and fiddling with her ceremonial sword. Keera laughed from beside her. "Will you stop laughing at me!" the dark-haired warrior hissed.
"You can't possibly be nervous, Rayna! This is long overdue I'd say!" A dark eyebrow lifted. "Your not...having second thoughts?"
Rayna scowled. "Why does everyone keep saying that! No, I'm not having second thoughts!"
"Good, 'cause it's just about time," Keera said as the shaman appeared in front of them dressed in her tribal outfit.
"Are you ready to be joined with your soul mate?"
Rayna smiled radiantly. "Yes."
The shaman smiled in return. "Good, then let's get started." She nodded to someone at the back and the band started playing music. Everyone watched as Queen Athena walked down the set out aisle with her granddaughter who had insisted on walking herself.
"Your daughter is as stubborn as you," Keera whispered, making her friend snort in amusement.
Next came Cherie on the arm of Cornelius, Leslie and Abbott, Audra and Evander and lastly Kemina and Leland. The girls all smiled at Keera and Rayna, while the men winked or pulled funny faces.
Blue eyes turned to the end of the aisle, breath catching in her chest as an angel stepped into her line of sight. Rayna could only gape at Arcadia as she started her walk holding onto Dionis' arm. The Princess was a vision in white.
Arcadia wasn't faring much better. She would have stumbled and fallen if Dionis wasn't holding onto her.
"Drool later, Arcadia," Dionis whispered, amusement in her tone.
The Princess couldn't help herself. Rayna who had grown a couple more inches since arriving back home, looked dark and dangerous, loving and soft all at once. She was dressed in her parade armour, black trousers that melded to her skin to show off her powerful thighs and a white shirt with her chest armour over it. The breast-plate, which had the Royal emblem etched into it, gleamed in the sunlight. She was a vision to behold.
Wearing a beautiful smile, the Princess carefully walked up the steps that led onto the stage and stopped in front of Rayna, her smile widening as she looked into the warrior's iridescent blue eyes.
Drawn to the blonde by an unseen force, the warrior closed the gap between them and claimed soft, pink lips in the gentlest of kisses that heated both up and left them craving more. It was only a strong hand on her shoulder and the shaman clearing her throat that brought Rayna back to where she was.
"Hold that thought, my friend," Keera whispered, grinning.
"Oh, sorry," Rayna muttered, looking guiltily at the shaman and then the crowd. "Sorry." She stuck up a hand in apology. Seeing Mariah's shocked look, the warrior grinned sheepishly. "Sorry, mother."
The crowd laughed and whistled and clapped, while Mariah shook her head.
"Let's begin," the shaman said, getting things under control again. "Does anyone here know of any reason these beautiful, young women should not marry?" she asked aloud, looking out at the deep crowd. When no response came, she turned her attention to the young couple. "Would either of you like to confess to any reason prohibiting your marriage?"
Both girls shook their heads for no, turning to smile lovingly at each other.
The shaman smiled, amazed at the love on display in front of her. "Then let the uniting of these two young women begin. Rayna Banks, will thou have this woman as thy wedded wife? Will thou love her, and honour her, keep her and guard her, in health and in sickness, as a partner should, and forsake all others, so long as ye both shall live?"
"I will," Rayna said, looking deep into the light green eyes of her love.
"Do you realise that this is not just a marriage of love but one of commitment to our future Queen?"
"Do you realise that upon taking the oath of marriage you are also committing yourself to a lifetime of service to the future Queen and her subjects, as you become not only her wife but a military leader of the women of Belleza?"
"I do," the warrior answered.
"Princess Arcadia, will thou have this woman as thy wedded wife? Will thou love her, and honour her, keep her and guard her, in health and in sickness, as a partner should, and forsake all others, so long as ye both shall live?"
"I will," the blonde answered softly, smiling lovingly at Rayna.
"Do you acknowledge that as your consort, you give Rayna control of all military aspects and give her authority over your warrior subjects, that can only be thwarted by a direct command from you?"
"Who gives these women?" the shaman asked.
Dionis and Nyx stepped forward. "I do," they said in unison, before stepping back.
"Rayna," the shaman continued. "Repeat after me. I, Rayna Banks, take thee Princess Arcadia as my wedded wife."
The warrior repeated the shaman's words, looking lovingly at the blonde. "I, Rayna Banks, take thee Princess Arcadia as my wedded wife." She leaned a little closer to the Princess. "Finally," she whispered, making Arcadia chuckle.
"To have and to hold from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, till death us do part."
Rayna finished her declaration and lifted the small hand she held to seal her words with a kiss to Arcadia's knuckles.
The shaman repeated the words for Arcadia to repeat. Then looked to Keera. "Who has the wedding bands?"
Keera grinned as she moved forward, handing the two gold bands to the shaman, before stepping back again.
"Rayna, take your ring to give to the Princess and place it on her ring finger."
The warrior nervously picked up the gold band and gently slid it into place, smiling brightly as she looked into watery light green eyes.
"Princess Arcadia, take your ring to give to Rayna and place it on her ring finger."
Arcadia slid the ring into place and winked at her warrior.
"Seal your commitment to each other and your vows with a kiss."
Closing the gap between themselves, the young couple kissed, lost in each other as the crowd erupted in a frenzy.
"I present to you Princess Arcadia Banks and her consort Rayna Banks," the shaman announced, the crowd going wild again.
* * * * *
With the ceremony over, Rayna and Arcadia stepped down off of the stage to allow a band to set up. The young couple shook hands and hugged friends and family, while women from every community set up tables and grills. Precooked food was brought out along with a variety of drinks from alcoholic to juice. Women setting up grills had cutlets of lamb and veal, rump steak, T-bone steak, pork chops, and ribs ready to be cooked.
Athena greeted everyone with a bright smile, every inch the proud mother she was. Going up onto the stage, she called for everybody's attention, waiting a long time for everyone to calm down enough to listen to her. "I would just like to thank you all for coming and being a part of this very special day." She smiled and waited as the crowd cheered and clapped. "To get the celebration under way, I would like to ask the newlyweds to have the first dance."
Grinning, Arcadia led her blushing warrior into the space that was cleared for them and happily wrapped her arms around Rayna, holding her as close as she could. "Did you see me almost stumble earlier?"
Rayna chuckled. "I did. Did you see me drooling?"
"I am so happy!" the blonde said only for Rayna's ears as they swayed to the soft, romantic beat.
"As am I, my love," Rayna replied, kissing the blonde's head. "But, it would be perfect if I had both my girls. Do you mind?"
Arcadia looked up into blue and shook her head, amazed at her caring warrior. "I think I can share you just this once."
Stepping away from her bride, Rayna approached Nyx, who was holding onto Ava.
"Mama!" the little dark-haired girl cried out happily, arms outstretched for the warrior.
"Come on, my little pumpkin. Come and dance with me and mummy." Smiling, Rayna took her daughter from her mother and walked back to the waiting Princess. Holding their daughter in one strong arm, she wrapped the other around Arcadia's shoulders and squeezed her tightly. "Now my day is complete."
The crowd took this as a sign that the first dance was over and couples and friends quickly joined them in the dance space. The music changed and the celebration properly began.
"I'm going to meet and greet," Arcadia said, smiling lovingly up at Rayna. "Do you want me to take her?"
Rayna shook her head. "No, I missed her so much yesterday, I'd like to hold onto her."
"Perhaps when I am Queen, I will do away with that rule that keeps couples apart on the night before their wedding," she joked.
"How many couples are like us and have a child and live in the same place before they marry?" Rayna asked, having moved into the Palace once their daughter was born. Though her bedchamber was in a different wing to Arcadia's.
"Good point, my love. We are a special case." Standing on tiptoes, the Princess kissed Rayna softly on the lips and her daughter as well, before turning to make her way around the crowd.
Rayna needed a drink and headed for the nearest table to grab a mug of wine.
"Look," Keera said in soft tones to her daughter. "There's aunty Rayna and little Ava. Shall we say hello?" She approached the table and picked up a mug of her own. "Congratulations, my friend. It took you long enough!"
"Well, it would have been sooner but life got in the way." Rayna grinned, clinking her mug with her friend's. "To be honest, I'm glad we waited. Today is...perfect!"
"That it is. Arcadia looks divine by the way."
"Like an angel," Rayna sighed dreamily.
"Mama, dow," Ava cried out.
Putting her mug back on the table, Rayna set her daughter on her own feet and held the little girl's small hands in her larger own, smiling as her daughter bounced in time to the music.
Keera did the same with Kinsey. "Have you seen Bedilia yet?"
"No, I haven't had a chance to see anyone."
"She's moving home," Keera grinned.
"Oh, that's it! Spoil my news," Bedilia said from in front of the pair. "Are these your girls?" she asked, eyes on the two little girls.
Rayna picked Ava up. "This is your aunty Bedilia. She is a very good friend of mine." She handed her daughter over to her friend, who looked mortified. "So, you're coming back to Belleza after only a year away?"
Bedilia nodded. "Gayle finally accepted my proposal. I want to keep her safe and Belleza is the place to be."
"She has accepted your life as a warrior as well?" Keera asked frowning, knowing it had been an issue.
Bedilia let out a deep breath. "I'm quitting. As only child of Gaylene and Ida, I thought maybe I'd take over the orchards. Though, " she looked to Rayna. "If you ever need me, all you have to do is ask."
Rayna clapped her friend on the back. "I am happy for you, truly. And I am glad you'll be home."
"By the Gods, you look adorable!" Gayle said, approaching the small group. She smiled as she embraced Rayna. "Congratulations, Rayna. You look so...handsome! Is that something all you warriors wear?"
Keera burst out laughing. "What is it about our armour that gets the girls so hot?"
Bedilia handed Ava back to Rayna and wrapped an arm around Gayle. "Don't get her started!"
"I will leave you here to argue," Rayna said. "I must go and track down my wife. Enjoy yourselves, won't you." She waved goodbye to her friends and started her search.
As night fell, the party raged on. People drank and danced and celebrated the Royal wedding. Rayna's and Arcadia's parents told everyone who would listen how proud they were of the pair and indulged in more than a few drinks.
Rayna hadn't managed to track down the Princess, but had been told by a laughing Cornelius that Arcadia was personally thanking everyone, so she could be some time. The warrior left her daughter in Dionis' capable hands and continued her search, finding her brother sitting with Abbott and Brock, the three men drunk but happy.
"Five moons they make the announcement," Brock wagered.
"Four moons they make the announcement," Abbott wagered.
"Four moons they make the announcement, then they go on to have a boy," Brutus wagered, smirking.
"What are you doing?" Rayna asked, looking down on the seated men.
The three men looked up guiltily at the dark-haired warrior who stood with her arms crossed and a dark eyebrow lifted in question.
"Uhm...we...we..." Brock started.
"We...were...we were just..." Brutus stuttered.
"Setting a wager," Abbott confessed as icy blue eyes turned his way.
"On what?" Rayna asked, moving closer to the seated men. When none of them spoke, Rayna looked to her brother. "Don't make me go get mother."
"On how soon you and the Princess will be announcing your next child," Brutus confessed, pouting.
Rayna grinned and picked up her sibling's mug, taking a healthy swig of very good wine. "What's the top wager?"
"I bet you make the announcement in four moons, then go on to have a boy," Brutus said.
Setting the now empty mug down, Rayna looked at all three men. "Three moons and we have another girl."
The three men laughed and cheered.
"What are you doing, my love?" Arcadia asked from behind the warrior.
Rayna turned around to face her amused looking wife and grinned. "Just making a small wager."
"Oh really? On what?" Arcadia asked, moving to the warrior's side and wrapping her arms around Rayna.
"Uhm..." Rayna frowned, suddenly thinking this hadn't been a good idea after all. "On uhm...how soon we announce the arrival of our next child," she said in a rush.
"And what did you wager?" Arcadia asked looking from Rayna to the three men seated at the table in front of her, then back at her wife.
"I...I uhm..." Rayna sighed. "Three moons and that we have another girl."
Unable to hold it in any longer, Arcadia smiled brightly and kissed Rayna's chin. "We better go and get some practise then." She winked at the three men, who all groaned, knowing they had just lost their bets.
Rayna laughed loudly, wrapping her arm around the blonde's shoulder and turning away from the table to head back towards the Palace. "I'd find a new wager if I were you," she declared.
Without another word to anyone else, the young couple hurriedly made their way back to the Palace, eager to start their life as a married couple.
The end.Return to the Academy