Chapter 37

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EPOV

“Blessed be!” Niall’s voice booms across the dining hall along with enthusiastic applause from the cousins as I give my bonded a slow, deep kiss.

Sookie finally pulls back when we feel all of them staring at us from just a couple of feet away. Her beautiful face covered in a rosy glow and huge smile. I stand and pull her to her feet then step back so that the family can congratulate her properly. They eagerly swoop in with big hugs and loud approval.

I stand aside and watch them with amusement as the cousins squeal and jump around like small children as Sookie gives them an indulgent smile.

Keeping this a secret from her was not an easy task. It was good training for my shields and learning to “speak” with only one person at a time though. Not letting her feel my excitement was the hardest part. I almost asked her several times this past week, but I felt I needed to have her family present. I knew she would be glad I had waited.

I know that a marriage is not something Sookie and I need to feel closer or more complete. Nothing could make us any closer than our bonds already do. But when Niall took me aside one day and gave me his late wife Branna’s ring, I knew I would ask her. He had told me a wedding was completely our decision, but that he would enjoy showing us off to the kingdom if that is what we chose to do. I will leave it up to her and do whatever she wishes. It will be her family we stand before after all.

My heart grows heavy when I think about having no one left to stand with me as I take a bride. The ache fades quickly though when Sookie’s eyes meet mine over Claudine’s shoulder and they are shining with understanding. She does not hesitate before sending her love and comfort through the bonds, wrapping them around my heart like a warm blanket, soothing it easily. I send her my love, gratitude, and a smile in return.

This amazing woman is all I will ever need and more. Despite the pain and loss I have suffered in my long life, I still consider myself the luckiest bastard in any realm.

She pulls out of her cousin’s embrace and walks over to where I’m standing. Looking up at me with watery blue eyes and a small smile, she asks, “Could your future wife have a hug?”

She knows I need one as much as she does.

Without a word I wrap my arms around her back and lift her off the ground, burying my face in her neck. Her arms and legs immediately wrap around me with none of her usual embarrassment.

“I love you, Eric,” she whispers against my skin and squeezes me tighter.

“As I love you, älskare,” I whisper back and give her neck a kiss.

I feel a few hot tears against my skin, but I know they are happy ones for her. She is feeling somewhat overwhelmed, as am I, but only in a good way. I try not to let my own feelings overrun her too by pulling them back to my side of the bonds. I just hold her closer and rub her back a little until she calms herself, giving myself some time too. It only takes a few minutes before I feel her take a deep breath and she lifts her head enough to rest her forehead against mine while her fingers play with the back of my hair.

“So you wish to have a wife?” she asks with a little smirk.

“It would please me very much to call you wife and hear you call me husband,” I tell her.

“It would please me very much too,” she says with a big smile. “You will have to teach me how to say husband in your language.”

“That one should be very easy for you. It is one small simple word. Man,” I tell her.

“Man? That is easy! What about wife?”

“Fru,” I say and kiss the tip of her nose. “You will be min fru,” I say, loving how it sounds.

“I can not wait to be your fru,” she whispers before pressing her lips to mine.

After kissing her thoroughly I let her slip back down to her feet and ask her when she wants to have the ceremony, “When, where, and how, min kära? You decide and I will be there waiting.”

“Well, I’m sure Grandfather is going to want a huge spectacle that the whole kingdom can come too, but I do not think I want that just yet, maybe later. After we deal with the scourge of our existence we can have all of that. For now I just want to be your wife as quickly as possible. Will that work for you?” she asks.

I take her sweet face in my hands and kiss her forehead, “I will marry right now, tomorrow, and everyday after that if you wish it. I will be happy as long as you are happy,” I tell her.

She wraps me in a hug again and mumbles against my chest, “I’m always happy. How could I not be, I have you.”

I squeeze her tight and kiss the top of her golden head. “I could not have said it any better than that, min kära,” I whisper.

She looks up at me with a bright smile and rests her chin on my chest. “You are really okay with getting married today, right now?” she asks.

“Yes,” I answer with a smile.

Pulling out of my arms, she grabs my hand, and hurries us over to Niall and the cousins.

“We want to get married right now. Can we do that?” she asks the second she gets to Niall.

He looks taken aback for a quick moment and then steadies himself. “Well, I suppose we could arrange it. I must say I was hoping for a large celebration. The wedding, a feast, and then perhaps a ball. You are the only eternal pair we have had in my life time. May I know the reason for the haste?” he asks Sookie.

“There are a few reasons, but mostly I can not think of one good enough to put it off,” she says, then gives him a knowing look. “I know you have something else to tell us, Grandfather. This was only one of the surprises for tonight, remember? I have a gut feeling I know what the other one is about too,” she says.

I know there is no point in taking a look inside Naill’s head for a hint of what Sookie is speaking of, he is always locked tight. She on the other hand is thinking of the thorn in our side. She has no doubt the other surprise has to do with him.

“We have done everything we can to be ready for Appius and it is time to see our plans through. I want Eric to be mine, and I his, in every way possible before we face him. We will defeat him,” she says confidently and squeezes my hand, “but I want to be Eric’s wife before we do. I want to stand next to my husband in battle whether it ends in victory, or defeat,” she tells him with conviction.

“I agree with her. Nothing should separate us as we go into this fight. We should be as united as possible, connected in every way. After Appius has been dealt with we can have your celebration. If the gods are with us there will be even more to celebrate then,” I say, adding in my thoughts on the matter.

After a brief stare down he nods his head and says, “Very well. Where would you like to do this. Select a spot and we can meet there in an hour.”

Sookie turns and looks up at me. “Our favorite spot?” she asks with a big smile.

“Perfect,” I answer with one of my own for her.

“Claude, Claudine, help them find something to wear and then meet me in my office. We have a few things to gather up for the ceremony,” Niall says then turns to us.

The cousins disappear with a pop to do his bidding.

Gently taking Sookie by the shoulders Niall smiles down at her. “I have always known this day would come for you my child. I never once thought favorably about it, nor believed you could find a mate worthy enough of you. Though it pains me greatly,” he says then sighs dramatically, “I must admit I was wrong on all accounts.”

Sookie lets out an amused scoff. He looks down at her sternly for just a moment, then winks at her.

His eyes turn to me next and he reaches out his arm to me and takes my forearm in his grasp, as I do his. It is time to put aside our differences and respect each other as we should. Sookie deserves no less from either of us.

“You choose well my little Suzanna. Alone you are both impressive, together you are extraordinary. I am most proud of the two of you and I am certain eternity has many blessings in store for your future, I look forward to seeing them. There is no doubt, no matter the challenges that may cross your paths, you will rise up and defeat them.”

He squeezes my arm once more then kisses Sookie’s forehead. “I will see you shortly children.” Then he is gone with a quiet pop.

“That was something, huh?” Sookie asks.

“I assume that was his official blessing of sorts. Not that it would have changed a thing for me, but I appreciate it. Are you ready to go get married, min älskare?” I ask her as I scoop her into my arms.

“Yes!” she enthusiastically agrees and gives me a quick kiss. “To our rooms my future husband!”

“As you wish, future wife.”

I pop us into our room and am surprised to see Claude there. Our new clothes are spread across our bed.

“I think we can figure out who should wear what and get dressed ourselves Claude. But thank you for the help,” Sookie tells him, wiggling her way out of my arms.

“Nope!” he says popping the “p”. “The groom does not see the bride until the ceremony. He is coming with me,” he says with too much confidence.

I growl at him menacingly. I had planned on my future wife and I enjoying ourselves before getting dressed. We can be quick when we need too. My threat has no effect on him though.

He just waves his hands attempting to shoo me from the room, “Growl all you want, Viking. Those are the rules. You wanted this wedding, so get your clothes and let’s go. You will see her again very soon. You are not going to die if you are apart for an hour,” he fusses at me.

That just pisses me off more and I growl louder. Fucking faerie. For some reason he riles me like no other. Even more than Niall.

“Sookie, do something with him. We do not have time for this,” he huffs. “He can fuck you all he wants after the ceremony.”

“Claude!” Sookie yells at him as my anger boils over.

When he bothers to look up it is only my face he sees. Even though I’m keeping my expression calm, I know he can see the fury in my eyes because he quickly backs up against the wall as I slowly take the two steps to get to him.

“Eric! I apologize. I should not……” he starts to sputter but my hand squeezing his throat shuts him up.

“It is only because you are her family that I do not kill you for that,” I tell him quietly. “I will say this one time and it will be your only warning faerie,” I growl an inch from his face, my fangs on full display. “You will never disrespect her that way again. If you do, I will kill you. Do you understand me?” I ask, pulling him away from the wall and slamming him back into it.

He grunts out a weak “yes” and I only let it slide because I’m not letting him have much air.

Sookie reaches up and punches my arm. “Eric, I think he understands,” she says.

I take a deep breath and look down at the center of my existence and see her looking up at me with annoyance. I immediately feel like an ass.

“Let him go. I’m use to his bullshit. It does not bother me anymore. I do not want him to ruin this for us,” she tells me completely frustrated.

I let Claude drop to floor, then turn and scoop her up in my arms. Once I set us down on the bed I gently take her face in my hands and kiss her lips. “I’m sorry älskare, but he should not speak about you that way,” I whisper, begging her to forgive me with my eyes.

“I know,” she says rubbing my back and laying her head on my shoulder.

I hear Claude gasping and coughing behind us.

Sookie picks her head up and looks over at him, “You need the leave Claude. This is our wedding, so it is our choice,” she tells him.

“But Sookie” he wheezes.

“Claude, you idiot! Get out now before I let him hurt you!” she yells at him.

Finally, he is gone with a pop.

“I’m sorry Sookie, I did not….”

She stops me by putting her finger over my lips, “Shush, there is no need to apologize. He deserved it. Besides it was his fault and I love you for standing up for me,” she says then kisses me softly on the lips.

“I will always stand up for you Sookie, always,” I tell her and kiss her back.

“I know you will my love,” she smiles at me. “Just as I will you.”

With one more kiss to my cheek she gets up and walks over to her dress and gathers it in her hands. “Now, if we do not hurry we are going to be late for our own wedding. I will see you soon my Viking,” she says turning back to look at me while she heads to the door.

“Wait!” I yell without meaning too, jumping up and going to her. “You are still going to leave me after all of that with Claude?”

She reaches up to cup my cheek and smiles at me indulgently, “I’m not leaving you, Eric. I promise I will not be far. But I want to see the look on your face when you see me as your bride for the first time, feel the butterflies in my stomach as I walk to you. If you see me in my dress now it will not be as special. You can talk to me the whole time if you want, I just want it to be a surprise for both of us, okay?” she asks.

I agree, but I am still not happy about it. “Okay. For you I will wait and be surprised,” I tell her with a sigh.

“Thank you,” she smiles and reaches up on her tip toes to give me a kiss. “I love you, Eric,” she whispers and pops away.

“I love you too, Sookie,” I say to the empty room.

“I know. Now get dressed. We have a wedding to go to,” her words and giggles float into my mind.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Thirty five minutes later I am waiting anxiously for my bride under the huge tree by the river. I tug at the hem of my dark silver tunic to keep myself busy. The pants I’m wearing are a lighter shade of silver. I have a thick leather belt around my waist with a scabbard for the dagger Niall gave me and another falls across my chest and back to hold my sword.

Niall is standing at my right and Claude is behind me pretending he is not there. The little shit should be scared, I meant every word of my threat. I am certain if Niall had not ordered him to be here, he would be very far away right now. I do not know if he told Niall of our altercation or not. If he did, Niall has not mentioned it. He has been all smiles since we walked out of the castle.

As we had walked down here, he asked me if there were any wedding traditions of my people I would like to use as part of the ceremony. I was grateful he had asked and told him of one I would like to include. I’m sure Sookie will like it too. He conjured what we would need, the sword and dagger I now wear, and I went over the ritual with him so he could add it into the ceremony. Although Sookie and I had wanted to do this quickly, he said there was no reason not to make it as special as possible. I wholeheartedly agreed with him. I want Sookie to remember this day as one of the best.

Standing here trying to wait patiently, I finally notice someone has laid out an aisle with pale pink flower petals leading to the tree for my love to walk down. I am standing in a circle of them at the end of it. A thick canopy of what I assume are the same flowers is floating down from the tree over our heads, making it look as if it is raining flowers. They smell as sweet as honey too. Niall must have used magic to manage this so quickly. Sookie is going to love it.

I no more have that thought finished when I suddenly feel her close. I look all around and finally see Claudine moving out from behind the trees on the other side of the glen. I catch a glimpse of blonde hair and flowing pink fabric as Sookie ducks behind her.

“Let me see you, älskare. Please?” I beg her so only we can hear.

“Very soon my love,” she whispers back.

Claudine takes several slow steps towards me, but my eyes are only for my bride. I keep my feet planted where they are, but lean just enough to see around Claudine, making her and Sookie giggle at me.

“So impatient,” Sookie sighs happily as I finally get a good look at her.

My breath catches in my throat and my heart skips a few beats at the sight of her. She looks every bit the royal, faerie bride she is. Her long, gorgeous blonde hair flows in waves over her shoulders and down her back, it frames her perfect face beautifully. Her dress is almost as exquisite as she is. The neckline is encrusted with silver jewels and plunges deep between her perfect breasts. The material is on the verge of being see through and the colors it is made of, pink, purple, and silver, seem to swirl across the fabric. It floats around her legs as she makes her way to me. If ever there was a dress made just for my Valkyrie it is this one.

When she makes it to my side it takes everything in me to stand still instead of grabbing her in my arms and running away with her.

“You can wait a few more minutes for me, then I am all yours my gorgeous Viking,”
she whispers as she moves to face me.

“In every way,” I answer back.

“In every way.”

Niall clears his throat to get our attention. I guess it is time to marry my bride.

Claude and Claudine move to stand behind and to the side of us, creating the other two points of the triangle Niall heads, around us. With everyone in place, he begins.

“We are here in this place to join Sookie and Eric in the Fae, Viking, and Vampire ways of marriage. Are all present in accord?” he asks us.

“We are,” the four of us answer in unison.

“Sookie and Eric, know now before you go further, that since your lives have crossed in this life, you have formed eternal and sacred bonds. As you seek to enter this state of matrimony you should strive to make real the ideals that to you, give meaning to this ceremony and to the institution of marriage. With full awareness, know that within this circle you are not only declaring your intent to be married, pledged, and hand-fasted before your friends and family, but you speak that intent also to your creative higher powers. The promises made today and the ties that are bound here greatly strengthen your union and will cross the years and lives of each soul’s growth.” He looks at both of us in turn, ” Do you still seek to enter this ceremony?” he asks.

“Yes,” Sookie and I answer him as one.

“We shall start with the Viking oath. Eric?” he prompts me.

I take one step back from Sookie and draw my sword. Placing it across my palms, I kneel on one knee and hold it up to my beautiful bride. Niall places her ring on the blade.

“All I have, all that I am, is yours from this day forward until my last breath. My heart, my body, my soul belong to no other but you,” I vow to her.

I slowly stand to my feet when Sookie takes the sword from my hands.

“I receive all that you give with love. Your heart, your body, and your soul I will cherish until my last breath,” she accepts.

I take her ring off of the blade and Sookie places the sword on point, resting her hands on the hilt.

I pick up her left hand and slide the ring on her middle finger, “I bind myself to you with this ring. May you always know you are my heart and the center of my existence,” I manage to get the words out, but only just.

The tears sliding down Sookie’s cheeks are not helping me keep it together. Thankfully it is her turn now.

She leans my sword against her legs and takes her own from Claudine. Placing it across her palms she presents it to me. Niall places my ring on the blade.

“All I have, all that I am, is yours from this day forward until my last breath. My heart, my body, my soul belong to no other but you,” she vows to me.

I gently take the sword from her hands. “I receive all that you give with love. Your heart, your body, and your soul I will cherish until my last breath,” I say accepting her vow.

She takes my ring off of the blade and I place the sword on point, resting my hands on the hilt.

She picks up my left hand and slides the ring on my middle finger, “I bind myself to you with this ring. May you always know you are my heart and the center of my existence,” she whispers, more tears slipping down her cheeks.

I want so bad to hold her but I stand fast, instead sending her my happiness which she quickly returns. Both of us laugh causing Niall to clear his throat again.

“In many realms it is believed that the soul shares characteristics with all things divine. It is this belief which assigned virtues to the four cardinal directions; East, South, West and North.
It is according to this belief that we align ourselves with these elements. Each of these blessings from the four cardinal directions emphasizes those things which will help you build a happy and successful union,” he says.

“Face the East,” Claude directs us.

Once we all slowly turn and face East, Niall continues, “Blessed be this union with the gifts of the East and the element of Air, for openness and breath, communication of the heart, and purity of the mind and body. From the east you receive the gift of a new beginning with the rising of each sun, and the understanding that each day is a new opportunity for growth.”

“Face the South,” Claudine tells us this time.

“Blessed be this union with the gifts of the South and the element of fire, for energy, passion, creativity and the warmth of a loving home. From the fire within you generate light, which you will share with one another in even the darkest of times.”

“Face the West,” Claude tells us.

Once again we turn.

“Blessed be this union with the gifts of the West, the element of water, for your capacity to feel emotion. In marriage you offer absolute trust to one another, and vow to keep your hearts open in sorrow as well as joy.”

“Face the North,” Claudine directs us again.

“Blessed be this union with the gifts of the North, the element of earth, which provides sustenance, fertility and security. The earth will feed and enrich you, and help you to build a stable home to which you may always return,” Niall says then turns back to face us.
“Sookie and Eric, I bid you look into each others eyes,” he asks us as he pulls a bundle of silver cords from inside his mantle and puts them over his head.

We do as he asks, happy to finally be looking at each other again.

“Sookie, do you have something to present Eric?” he asks her.

“I do,” she says with a smile as she pulls the beautiful dagger, that was in my belt earlier, from the folds of her dress. She holds it out across both of her palms and presents it to me, her head bowed.

Swallowing back my tears now at the honor she is showing me, I gently take the dagger from her hands and kiss it’s blade as she looks up and smiles at me.

“Eric, do you wish to fulfill the Vampire pledge at this time?” Niall asks me.

“I do,” I answer him.

Taking the dagger in my right hand, I slice my left palm with the sharp blade, cutting deep enough that the cut does not heal too fast. Sookie holds out her left hand to me, I quickly slice it and press my bleeding palm to hers.

“My Pledge, My Wife,” I say, lightly squeezing her hand.

“My Pledge, My Husband,” she returns.

Niall begins again, “Will you honor and respect one another, and seek to never break that honor?” he asks us, holding out the first cord.

“We will,” we answer him.

He lays the first cord over our still joined hands, “And so the first binding is made,” he states. “Will you share each other’s pain and seek to ease it?”

“We will.”

The second cord joins the first.

“And so the binding is made.”

“Will you share the burdens of each so that your spirits may grow in this union?”

“We will.”

The third is laid over the others.

“And so the binding is made.”

“Will you share each other’s laughter, and look for the brightness in life and the positive in each other?”

“We will.”

The forth cord is the last to be placed.

“And so the binding is made,” Niall finishes as he ties the cords together around our hands.

“Sookie and Eric, as your hands are bound together now, so your lives and spirits are joined in a union of love and trust. Above you is the sun and below you is the earth. Like the sun your love should be a constant source of light, and like the earth, a firm foundation from which to grow. You may seal your pledge with a kiss,” he finally says.

I wrap my free hand around the back of Sookie’s neck and pull her lips to mine kissing her until we are both breathless,
“Min Fru, finally min fru,” I smile down at her when I have caught my breath. “I love you, I love you so very much my wife.”

“Not as much as I love you min man,” she smiles back.

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I got about 75% of the wedding ceremony from this site’s Weddings article.

http://www.likesbooks.com/viking2.html

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23 thoughts on “Chapter 37

  1. Omg! This was beautifully written, and made me feel so good I had to re-read it immediately. Absolutely wonderful. Straight from the heart, with such feeling, sensitivity, and detail, I loved it. You really are a very talented author ♥x
    Congrats on your nominations too – thoroughly deserved.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. That hand fasting ceremony was PERFECT. I’m certified to perform weddings, and i’ve been looking for a good one to have in my book, and this one is perfect. non denominational, spiritual, simple and so moving. it was perfect for them.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. This chapter is amazing… so beautifully written!
    Loved how you mixed Faery,Vampire and Viking oaths in the ceremony.
    Thanks for sharing this incredible story with us, hopefully there will be an update soon.
    Take care.
    Jackie69

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you!!! I think there is probably only five more chapters to this story and I made a promise to myself I would finish it before the summer’s over. My muse has been running rampant with my new story Save Me so I was letting her run with it. Now the pirate one is screaming to be written too. So many stories, so little time! Lol. Thank you so much for reading and taking the time to leave all these wonderful comments for me!!! XOXO

      Like

    1. I’ve fixed that thing three times, or tried to at least! 😐 Things will be fine when I preview it, then it goes back to crap once I hit the update button. Grrrrr. I love wordpress but sometimes it get on my nerves 😉

      Like

  4. What a lovely ceremony! Al those different elements combined, so different from any other story I’ve read (I’ve read tons!), and so intimate. Perfect. Loved the binding! Damn! Wish I could get married again just to add some of those!

    Liked by 1 person

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