In summation, it seems that our information mirrors yours. The entirety of the plot was orchestrated by Lord Duarte of the Elvenkingdom and his group of radicals called the Zur Felhu. Agents in Funchal were employed to poison King Fennodt. However, they were instructed to use a particular poison which is deadly to Elves but only debilitating to Humans. Once the poison left King Fennodt's system, His Majesty recovered quickly. He is now in good health, though Lord Physician Nestor has advised that he refrain from any strenuous activity for some time. He refused to remain at home, however, and left for Almeirím the instant that he was well enough to travel. I believe his exact words were "I wouldn't miss Allary's wedding for all of King Adam's gold".
Knight-Captain Breuce of the King's Guard
Allary put down the letter. She couldn't help smiling.
"It's good news, princess?"
"Very. Fenn—my cousin—is healthy and well. He'll be here."
"I am so pleased," Olalla said, with a large smile. She twisted another ribbon into Allary's dark hair, humming slightly as she smoothed it down. "You are going to look lovely, Princess Allarí."
"I truly wish you would just call me Allary," Allary said, twisting a little so that she could look up at Olalla.
"I'm sorry, I cannot possibly. Today of all days, you should be called princess." Olalla shook her head and continued braiding in ribbons. Green, crimson and gold. The colors of Orcad and the Elvenkingdom together.
Allary sighed. "Yet another problem I must face today. This dress is trying to kill me." She squirmed a little in the tight bodice. She had to admit, though, that the dress was glorious. Pale green for Orcad, matched with a flowing crimson and gold wrap to drape over her shoulders and glide behind her as a train. Olalla had told her the dress makers had thrown their all into it, and Allary couldn't have been more grateful for it.
"Nevermind the dress," Olalla said cheerfully as she arranged a circlet over Allary's hair. "There will be plenty of young ladies in the assembly who would kill to be in your position."
Allary rolled her eyes and helped Olalla settle the tiara. "Yes, I know—are these really necessary?" she asked, gesturing to the gold confections on her ears. They were delicate constructions of filigree capping her ears, coming to a golden point and giving the illusion that Allary had pointed ears herself.
"They were a gift from the king, Princess," Olalla pointed out gently. Allary sighed and tapped one of the little points with one fingernail. She would not admit it, but the jewelry almost made her look like her mother. Almost.
Allary turned from the mirror. "How do I look?"
Olalla smiled at Allary, her large eyes brimming with tears. "Oh, Allary, you look like a queen. I would dearly love to embrace you but I'm afraid of disarranging your dress. Are you ready?"
Allary took Olalla's hand and squeezed it. "I think I'm—"
There was a knock at the door, immediately followed by it opening. Allary's heart leapt. "Fenn!" she cried, and paying no attention to her dress she rushed to hug the man in the doorway. Fenn laughed and hugged her back tightly. "I'm so glad you're here," she managed after a moment's breathless clinging. More quietly, she said, "I couldn't have done this without you."
"I said I wouldn't miss it," Fenn said, smiling, his blue eyes full of light and laughter. "And I have to meet the man who is crazy enough to marry you." Allary laughed and hit him on the arm. He pretended to wince and held his arm in mock-pain. "You are still as strong as ever, I see."
"Did you come up just to see me before the ceremony?" Allary asked, still grinning. She couldn't seem to stop smiling.
"Actually," Fenn said, straightening up, "I'm here to escort you downstairs…everything is ready. And I'm to give you away."
Allary couldn't speak—she just flung her arms around him again and hugged him tight. "I'm so glad," she said after a moment. "I'm so glad, Fenn."
With Olalla supporting Allary's train, the three of them left Allary's chambers and began to make their way down to the courtyard. It was there that the ceremony was to take place, but the decorations were not contained just to there. The entire palace was festooned with gorgeous curtains and trains of flowers. It looked almost like a fairy castle, instead of an Elven one. Allary's heart was beating like a hummingbird's wings—and it felt as though several more had taken to fluttering around her stomach. She found herself wishing that Elven tradition called for a very small, simple wedding, not one that included almost the entire city and a herd of ellónin to boot.
In the hall just before the courtyard, Olívio and Nazual were waiting, both decked out in their most gorgeous coats. Allary smiled at both of them and took Olívio's hands. "Tauva, thoran," she said.
"Tauva, thorírel. Oiu thulla nei evo." Olívio said in reply. "Are you ready?"
"I think so," she said quietly, and looked back at Olalla and Fenn. Fenn held out his arm to her, and Allary took it. She held him close, rejoicing in the warmth and life in him. The two of them stepped forward to the flower-laden archway that led into the courtyard, and stepped into the light.
All of Almeirím seemed to have arrived to celebrate the wedding. And after the ceremony even more people arrived, packing the courtyard full of Elves. Allary looked out over the gathering with a new sense of peace—these were her people, just as much as the Humans of Orcad. And they were rejoicing to have her as one of them. Allary leaned over to Thiago and said, not bothering to hide her amusement from the crowd, "At least these people are happy to see us wed. Its almost as if there hadn't been a protest over me in the midst of the city this morning."
As Thiago was opening his mouth to reply, King Theodoro leaned close. Apparently he had been listening to their conversation. "My dear, I'm afraid that the city will never love you absolutely and unconditionally. They do not even feel that way about me."
Thiago cleared his throat and raised an eyebrow at his father. The king sat back in his seat, chuckling. Thiago looked back at Allary and shook his head. "Maybe the city won't ever love you unconditionally," he said, leaning close to her, "but you can be assured that I will. Always."
Allary couldn't help it—she leaned in and stole a little kiss. That did not go unnoticed by the crowd; a loud cheer erupted from the closest revelers and was quickly picked up by the others. Allary went to pull back, smiling, but Thiago pulled her closer and turned the little kiss into a deep and passionate gesture. The cheering continued, soon accompanied by stomping feet and laughter. When Thiago finally released her, Allary was blushing bright pink. She thought she could detect a flush of tawny across his cheeks as well. "You're incorrigible," she whispered to him, and he grinned.
"Dance with me," he said, holding his hand out to her, and Allary nodded. She followed him out to the dance floor. The two of them cut a deep path through the crowd as all stepped back to accommodate them. Walking through the crowd was like traveling through a rainbow colored forest of silk damask and brocade. Thiago led Allary to the center of the floor and pulled her effortlessly into a waltz position. Allary followed his lead, unable to keep a smile off her face.
"Do you remember our last 'dance' out here?" Thiago asked her, his lips close by her ear.
"Whatever are you talking about?"
"Our sparring match," Thiago said as he spun her slowly around. As he drew her back to him, he said in a lower voice, "that was when I realized how much I wanted you. How I loved you."
Allary looked up at him, into his sunset sky eyes. The light pressure of his hand on her waist, and his other hand holding hers, seemed to generate their own warmth. A link between them that was both physical and spiritual. "I was scared at first," she replied, her eyes roving over his face. The face that she had grown to love so fast, and so dearly. "I'm not scared at all anymore."
"Yes, I know, namazel."
Namazel. Wife. Allary shut her eyes and swallowed.
"Is something the matter?"
"Thiago, I'm so happy at the moment I think I might—cry, perhaps, or faint—" Allary began, but Thiago cut her off. With a kiss.
"So am I," he said softly, when his lips left hers. He looked down at her for a moment, fond and gentle, as they slowly moved through the dance. "Things won't be easy for us, you know. Almeirím is still in tatters, the New Pact must be formally ratified, everything is still in chaos—"
"I trust you," Allary said with a smile. "I trust us." She rested her head on his shoulder and let herself fall into the steps of the dance. She felt a certainty that she never had before. She had a partner now, an anchor, a guide. They had each other. Despite all the trials that still lay ahead, it was enough. It was more than enough, it was everything.
Author's Note: Well, it's finished! Mostly. It needs a hell of a lot of editing, but that's just the next step. Thank you so much to everyone who kept reading this and encouraged me to keep going (especially Esther, thank you for sticking with me for so long!)
If it's possible I'd like to provide a link somehow to this work when it's finished, so that you guys can read the finished, polished product—if you want to! I'll have to figure out a way to do that, but keep an eye out. Thanks again, everyone, this was a really fun project for me and I'm so glad that you enjoyed it.