To celebrate we’re posting an old Sylum story that’s been edited and will be uploaded to the new archive!
Václav Wenceslaus stood silently at the rear of the tiny chapel where he’d come to worship as a very small boy.
Its simple stoneworks and ancient altar were as familiar as the back of his own hand, but now it sparkled with the brilliance of bright winter flowers and bowers of green, all cut from pines around his land, spreading their fresh clean scent across the years of history that filled this place with ancient rites and old memories.
In the morning he would stand before God and swear his marriage vows to the most beautiful woman he had ever been privileged to set eyes upon.
A blessing from Heaven indeed.
It had taken him so long to win her heart, to reach this moment, to face this future against so many who fought so hard to deny him the love of his Mate.
How dare he take a lowly kitchen maid and elevate her to his rank?
How dare he brush aside all those most eligible women, those vain glorious creatures in their satins and silks, parading themselves before the Court at every conceivable opportunity?
He had not done as his father had, and sown his seed far and wide across the kingdom in a show of regal virility. He had instead chosen discretion and privacy, and in doing so, shown greater respect and morality for the sake of those for whom his life would become an example to be followed and admired.
He had chosen to seek out that single defining love that might shape and surround him, fill and contain him, satisfy and content him for all eternity, and been blessed to discover that such a thing was not merely confined to the purview of Fairy Tales.
It was a reality, and in the morning Cinderella would be his bride.
His smile grew broader to consider how she would look in the Glass Slippers he had gifted her, and the virgin white silks sent as a gift from Romulus and Remus. For he had been most scrupulously denied all chance of seeing her gown until the appointed time should permit. Her maids had clucked at him just an hour since, for simply wishing her goodnight beneath her window.
Had his heart still beat, it would surely have skipped about his chest like some newborn spring lamb to even consider the pleasures awaiting on his wedding night. For his bride fully understood the nature of his being and had consented to be Turned and Bonded to him in far more than an exchange of vows and rings.
She knew her very Soul belonged to him, just as his belonged to her.
Forever more entwined.
Their guests had already come – as many as did befit his stature with added emphasis to best maintaining safety and security.
His staff may well believe that all the dangers they once had faced were long since gone, and none would dare express their political displeasure at his making such a match on the morrow, but he would not run a single risk without the best advice of eyes and ears far better trained in such matters than his own.
And in their great wisdom the Vampire Council had sent him Maximus and Quintus to bestow their best wishes, and to advise on preservation of the peace. A wedding ought not to have presented such cause for concern, but Václav had angered a great many folks in his wooing Cinderella, including her sisters with their powerful connections and wealthy friends.
Having the Council’s finest Hunters close at hand, had contributed much to his current peace of mind, and his soon-to-be-bride had positively swooned in maidenly fashion at the attention of such handsome, flattering men, regardless of the fine silver Loving Cups they offered as a wedding gift.
And of course there was the Guest of Honor, the man he looked to for leadership and to whom he had sworn fealty when still a newly Turned Vampire more than four centuries before, and from whom he had sought sage wisdom upon the foundation of Ehre as Kin to Sanguen – Alexander of Macedonia.
Somehow Cologne seemed a more subdued and stately city for his presence here within it, for he had spent much time with she who would co-rule Ehre at her husband’s side and he would, with a proud and noble heart give her to Václav in marriage.
She was young and from a sheltered life, with much yet still to learn of the world and those within it, but he had already determined to present his wife and Mate to Imenand, and seek his blessing also upon their union.
The altar candles flickered with a gust of wind as the outer door was opened and the rich velvet inner curtain drawn aside to admit his Page.
“Sire, it is very late,” he whispered, hushed and humbled in the Holy Sanctuary. “I am sent to bid you rest before the morning. Your bed awaits.”
“And on whose orders do you bid me?” he asked, glaring in mock astonishment at such impertinence.
“The Mistress Cinderella, Sire! She had Miss Mary fetch me to fetch you,” came the suitably awestruck and somewhat breathless reply.
And Václav laughed in delight, ruffling the Page Boy’s fine fair hair. “Well then child, let us not delay. We must not distress the Mistress on this of all nights.”
“Oh no, Sire. Of course not, Sire.”
Everything was indeed ready.
Yet still he cast one last glance over his shoulder at the scene that would await him come the dawn until, with a gently persistent tug at his sleeve, his Page drew him safely away.