A patch of darkness shifts towards me, and reveals itself as Jacob, who wanders past and shows me his watch, the time’s getting close when I’m going to have to go over to Mill-en and perform the ceremony.
He’s looking… calm, in a way I find dangerous for a man who recently befell so much loss. I still have no words for him, nothing of comfort I can say. I spent last night by his side, a one man Weaver Wake, drinking, gambling and flattering the fine Flembic ladies who joined us in Tallards. He’s got a good claim on being the hardest bastard in the New World, and whilst seeing him crack was deeply unpleasant, the complete lack of hope is insidiously worse. The patch of darkness melts back into the shadows beyond the fire, and I try to collect my wits and words for the coming event.
I’m not sure I can do this, not really.
As I drift into Mill-en, there’s an avian attacking a man who blatantly isn’t the undead the feathered freak claims. I find the man a surgeon – Lady Justine saves another life – and go back to my worry.
But what am I going to tell people? No, I can’t perform your wedding, she’s not listening to me? No, I won’t be your priest, she knows nothing of my existence? But I can’t say “no”, can I? I can’t walk away from these people, the family who put so much faith in me that I didn’t deserve then, I certainly don’t deserve now.
And it didn’t work, did it?
I hold the wedding. Ana is looking… smug, as well she could, and her groom… relaxed. Neither of them are worried about anything to do with this, which is the first hint I have that this isn’t the thing it seems. I relax.
Weddings I know less of, but aligning Weaverites I’ve done before, and so I treat them as a Malathian tribe, far from home. I shout at them a bit, give them a bit of space to shout at me back, and go over the outline of the classic ritual. We’re here, they’re happy, they’re married. Ain’t stuff grand.
It’s a staged formality, as they confirm later on, but it’s a symbol and – as I will argue with Fiona again later on about something else – that doesn’t stop it being important.
I step outside for a moment, and the feathered freak is there to apologise, Flame and Rhind make for a bad combination.
Someone asks me who just got married, and James’ name clears my mind entirely. I manage to give the impression I don’t *know* who I just married, and I don’t. I should have known them better before I did this for them, instead of diving in half cocked to an event that has changed their public status. Even if I had answered the man, I’d still be a bad person – and a worse priest – to have just done this. There has to be something I can actually do, to help, to progress the cause.
To find her pleasure.
There is wine, cake, songs and tales, and I can join Havokstan around the fire for almost half an hour before Auriel catches my attention. Maybe this is something that I can do right.
Today doesn’t end yet.