Jan 27, 2020 6:56 AM
Bryce gets married
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Weddings are usually small affairs. It's difficult for people to travel to other towns, even if they have family there. Witches frequently invite themselves, and most have at least one villager who's too fond of them to complain- not that complaining would do a thing. Frank considers himself lucky that there are only two or three witches in attendance. They seem well-behaved, for witches. He's not concerned about them. He's concerned about Bryce.

She worries, he knows. He doesn't know exactly what she's worrying about at this moment, but it's a wedding; there are a few things to be worried about. Weavers tend to make proclamations. Witches come out of the woodwork. Their parents, of course, offer advice and opinions, entirely unasked. And of course, there's her recent attempt to walk the paths. So she didn't become a hearth, like she had expected to. His mother can offer all the pins that their children will need, and he knows Bryce's mother will offer. So what if he has just one pin? That's all he needs.

He finds his bride just before their wedding, closing his eyes so as not to catch sight of her in her dress. He knocks, gently.

"Bryce, are you alright?"

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"Yes," she says, unconvincingly.

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“I just wanted to ask how you were doing. I know it’s a stressful day- I’m nervous too! Everything is going to be fine. We have all four gifts, and everyone that we wanted here is here. We’re going to do great.”

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She sighs, smiles a little.  Frank is so wonderful, she's so lucky.  She doesn't deserve him.

"I know," she says.  "I know we can do it.  It's only, it's - "

It's the only thing I was supposed to do, and I couldn't, says a small voice in the back of her mind.

"It's helpful to be reminded sometimes, I guess."

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"Let's just forget about everything that happened. Today is about the future, not about regrets. I want us to face it together."

The door remains shut, of course. He doesn't want to invite any problems by seeing her in the dress; even if that superstition is harmless now, all it takes is one witch or weaver to decide it needs magical backing.

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"I think I can do that," she says, and her smile is in her voice.  "I love you, Frank."

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"Love you too."

Frank goes back to his preparations. He's getting married today (!!!).

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Frank's mother, meanwhile, helps Bryce get ready.

"You know, when I got married, his parents interrupted the ceremony. They disapproved. Today cannot possibly go any worse than that."

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Bryce laughs a little.  "Is... that a story you'd like to tell?"

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"They were very sensible people, the Aylwards. We were both young, and they wanted him to marry someone more...local. My family were all happy to attend, but his parents didn't put in an appearance. Until they arrived, insisting that I had bewitched their son somehow. They brought a woodsman with them! I spent most of the day proving to a crowd of suspicious townsfolk that I wasn't a witch."

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She giggles behind her hand.  "Oh dear!  I hope they warmed to you after that, at least...?"

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"They learned how to put up with me. I think we can do better than that."

Most people in the town have heard rumors about the problems between Melanie and her husband, which ended in him leaving town. She certainly isn't going to get into it on her son's wedding day.

"Just a few more finishing touches, and you'll be done. You look beautiful."

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She grins, and sighs contentedly.  "Thank you.  ...I think we can."  She does, too.  Maybe it doesn't have to be the end of the world.

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A wedding should be a happy occasion. Melissa continues fussing a little bit- she only gets the one wedding, so she wants her daughter-in-law to look as good as she can- and then it’s time for the ceremony. She takes her place by Frank’s side, where they wait for Bryce and her parents.

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Bryce appears, flanked by her parents.  If either of them were a rich family, it might be somewhere fancier than just the town square, and yet -

She's getting married, she's getting married to Frank, and it's perfect.

She's grinning, radiantly.

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Frank participates in all of the rituals. So much of their wedding had to buck tradition, but he thinks both of their parents are grateful that they're honoring the rest. As the weaver speaks (more than he's ever heard her speak, he thinks; weavers tend to speak as many or as little words at a wedding as they choose, but she seems to have a lot to say about trust and unflinching support). Frank says the proper words and takes the proper steps. After the walking and the praying and the sharing of food, all that's left is the blessings.

He never takes his eyes off her for long.

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The weaver, finally done with her message about the meaning of marriage, looks pointedly at Ms. Aylward.

"Oh, me? Right."

She fumbles for a moment before she manages to pull out the pocket watch.

"Frank. This watch has been in your father's family for generations. The witch who gave it to his ancestor said it would always give the men of his line good timing. They might not always end up at the best place for them, but it would always be the right time to get there. A bit of a mixed bag, if you ask me, but- the best thing your father can give you. Make sure that whatever you and your new wife do together, you do it on a sane schedule. I'm too young to be a grandmother."

She places the watch in Frank's hands, kissing him on the forehead.

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Frank bears this indignity. He accepts the watch. clasping it tightly in one hand. With the other, he takes Bryce's hand.

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Next is Brycen's mother.

"Bryce," she says, "fate hasn't always been kind to our family.  I know you don't always think as highly of yourself as you deserve, but you're stronger than you know.  Some days I wonder how we're going to get by without your cooking," she adds, smiling warmly, which coaxes a giggle from Bryce.  "Our lives have been tough.  I'm afraid we're probably going to pass some of that along to you.  But with any luck, this will help."  She retrieves her pin, a narrow, polished dagger with a ridged black handle.  "This will help the things you make and the things you mend go a bit further and last a bit longer.  You were always happiest when you were helping people, Bryce; this will help you help your family, and I hope you'll let it help you, too."

She presents the knife to Bryce.

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A rush of pain like a sudden chill runs through her fingers, the feeling of touching a new pin for the first time; and it stabs and prickles like a biting cold receding by the warmth of a blazing fire.

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The weaver speaks some more. They can all hear it now, in her words; as she spins the tale of their marriage, they see the loom in their minds. Only briefly, of course; only weavers can see the whole tapestry.

He lets out a breath. He'd always wanted to know what it looked like. The web of fate and family and friendship-

And then it's time for him to receive his boon. He knows all of the princes who've visited their village, but he doesn't know which one her parents have chosen.

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