A Silver Sixpence in her Shoe

The church of St. Leonard’s, off Flowerdene Street, is an unconventional sort of place. Its priest is connected to any number of people that aren’t exactly the sort one associates with holiness - more the kind to leave holes in people, treasure stashes, pockets…

Fortunately, this also means that he has been known to accept donations in return for quiet, hurried ceremonies that won’t ever make the Bazaar’s tax records, or even come within scribbling distance of a legal document. All some people need are the blessings, and he is still technically a priest. One event officially excused as a kind of rehearsal later, and a happy couple goes on their way, feeling as close to married as they need to be.

(It’s only a rehearsal, of course. Like the royalty do, you see? Poor dears were just so nervous they had to practice, to be sure they’d get it right when the time comes.)

And so, if you are the priest of St. Leonard’s, when the man in charge of so many things in Flowerdene hands you a purse, all you say is ‘name the day.’

The day is today, and the event is very small indeed. Trusted friends of bride and groom, people who can be relied upon not to go spilling this news all through London, have been gathered to witness this, the wedding of Elias Lowe and Siobhan O’Malley.

Nothing ostentatious here, no fripperies, nothing so tasteless as a display of wealth in a place like Flowerdene. Only a couple who simply want to be married, insofar as anything in their lives could be called simple.

Siobhan isn’t nervous. Dressed in pretty simplicity, with blue and white ribbons woven through her dark curls, she is smiling so radiantly that she could as easily be wearing Parabolan linen, and shine no brighter than she does now in her plainer cloth. Beside her stands Eglantine, a friend pressed into service to give the bride away - for neither bride nor groom have family here, beyond what they’ve found for themselves.

It will be enough. The bride is ready, the groom is waiting, and for this one day at least, outside troubles need not mar their thoughts.

“I’m taking fashion advice from a feckin’ mushroom.” Elias deadpans, eyes bleak as he allows his measurements to be taken.

“Mushroom has at least paid some attention to trends in last three years.” Ezekiel scritches nervously, feeling about as uncomfortable around the Fearless Tailor as they do around it. “Been wearing same suit for so long, could pull Lady’s fingerprints off of collar.”

Eli sighs, conceding his better judgement and paying for the new suit. It’s black instead of grey and actually fits well. Ezekiel petitioned for a under-corset but Eli has always prided himself on having a functioning respiratory system.

Outside the door, two armed men in suits and bowler hats stand like murderous butler gargoyles. Things have gotten more nestley than usual, one of the lieutenants of The Pact had already been killed in a raid and now FDI had to worry about retaliation…

But today isn’t the day for that. Eli pats Ezekiel near where it’s shoulder should be. “EZ, let’s get me married.”

“Would cry if physically possible.”

It’s probably just as well that this isn’t a large or a formal affair, because when the time comes to make her way up the aisle, Siobhan is not exactly keeping to the traditionally slow and dignified pace. Her gaze is fixed upon Eli, and her smile shines like smuggled sunlight.

Beside her, picking up their pace subtly to match, Eglantine is grinning, and winks at Eli as soon as they get close enough. Then, they relinquish Siobhan’s arm, and let her take her place.

If one believes in miracles, the fact that the priest is apparently sober might be one of them. If one believes in strict practicality, it might just be that he’d really rather not vex Elias Lowe by making a mess of the wedding. He manages to sound dignified, even benevolently paternal, as he delivers the wedding sermon and guides the happy (and somewhat dangerous) couple through their vows.

Eli looks as out of place in a church as EZ does in a waist coat, but he is clearly happy that the day has finally come. His eyes never leave her’s. For that one moment in time and space, surrounded by murderers and creatures of the night, submerged beneath bedrock more than a mile beneath the sun-kissed surface, Eli understands why people choose love over war.

His eyes are stung red when he says “I do.”

Siobhan’s own “I do” might rank among the words said most devoutly, most reverently, in this strange church, and she casts her arms about Eli’s neck and kisses him joyously. Happy tears collect in her eyes, and she laughs and keeps hold of him until all is done, and they can head outside, to where the street has become the staging-grounds for this little celebration.

Tables and chairs, food and wine, the music of the Blind Fiddler who lives in Flowerdene, yet all of her attention is for Eli and Eli alone.

Which, it seems, means that ushering everyone to come and eat and mingle has become Eglantine’s job. Fortunately, it’s not a laborious task, though they do have to remind certain watching urchins that this food is for the guests, and that the food for everyone else is being supplied three doors down.

(For how could any here eat and drink and be merry, if their neighbours went hungry and sorrowful? There’s food for all, even if few attend the event itself.)

Even as the festivities ensue, tucked into a corner of Flowerdene like a well-used bookmark in a much-loved tome, Skinners and other agents stand vigil on the outskirts. Stoic reminders that a marriage in war is still a marriage.

Ezekiel entertains a group of urchins by growing mycelia on its face and pretending it’s a moustache. Father Albus didn’t waste a moment getting plastered and everyone seems to be having a grand old time.

Flesh-Stick tries to suppress a sniffle at the sight of the happy couple. It’s normal to cry at weddings, but he thinks he’s made enough scenes around poor Eli and poor Siobhan to last a lifetime.

And he is happy for the two of them. It’s wonderful for Eli to finally have something to care about, to live for, other than the Cause. Because if there’s anything that will pull Eli through the upcoming hell, it will be his love for this woman and their child.

If Eli makes it through, Flesh-Stick will thank Siobhan every day for the rest of his life.

He joins in the festivities, and if he’s a little subdued, well…it could only be that he’s trying his hardest to behave. He has a gift for ruining parties with drunken nudity…in fact, it’s practically his mission statement that the stuffier the party, the fast the pants come off. But this party isn’t stuffy. And anyway, it’s for Eli.

So he celebrates, and if he doesn’t exactly celebrate long, well…he hopes the happy couple will understand. He knows he made the right decision, and he truly is happy for them, but…well, that green-eyed monster is a tenacious creature.

He also hopes they like their wedding present. It’s a puppy named &quotMr. Skaggles.&quot :P
edited by Kukapetal on 8/22/2016
edited by Kukapetal on 8/22/2016

In the study of Warwick House Absimiliard looks over a letter of congratulations. They sigh, frustrated, and crumple it and toss the paper at a waste-basket – it bounces off it and falls to the ground, besides several other false starts. They growl, “It’s b____y difficult finding a a present for him, and I know I’m not welcome on his side of the street or the mirrors.” But Eli matters, he has done good things that the Captain cares deeply about.

In the end a brief letter is sent to the priest at Flowerdene – an old friend of the Curious Captain, who has done much ‘penance’ at his hands – who then hands it to Eli.

“Still staying on my side of the street and the mirrors. Congratulations, most heartfelt. I shall walk my side of your mirrors as best I can to keep the Snakes away from you for now – it is the best present I can offer.”

If there ever had been a gift Amelia could grant anyone, it would not solely be the gift of her absence. She knows herself to be very rash tongued on purpose. But such a joyous occasion does not lend itself to ill pleasantries of words among other things.

Instead she gifts the joy of good company, sending the best the Flint Shack Lads have to offer. (Or rather whom among them was argued to be the best.) Though dirt and bruises cling to them like medals of honor, they enter politely and keep silent until the celebration begins. Only a red head among them does not jump to the celebrations readily and presents a vintage bottle of wine to the table. Tied in a bow around the next of the bottle is a note. It simply reads “May fortune carry you through in life.” with a rather messy but slanted AS.

Once the gift is placed among others, the child joins his brethren and both show off their skills in dancing as best as they can.

Maria cries from happiness. She hopes Eli will survive. Her gift, isn’t simple, but not completely legal. It consisted of two ebony boxes full of jewellery, a four leaf clover pin with emeralds, a few bottles of Vodka, and a eagle made from tin. By the rather simple way it was made, it certainly was made by her own hands. And a note, in russian, written with even more care than her usual letters
&quotDear Eli,[li]

I wish you good luck in your marriage and want to thank you for all you thaught me up to this place. I promise, I will do my best to remember that. I hope you won’t get killed… I am sure you know that already, but Siobhan needs you… and will probably murder the person who killed you. Unless I get them first. I know my gifts may not be much, at least not to what you gave me. You thaught me, you helped me a lot, you accepted me, you became like family to me… I will never be able to fully pay you back. However, I am sure that your marriage will work out. I am sure you will be happy and will stay with Siobhan. And, even if you thaught me everything can be bought (which I don’t believe…), I have to object. Siobhan can’t be bought, at least not to be used against you. If she tries to kill you, it will be your fault. I am also sure, I would be unable to get you to hurt Siobhan. You wouldn’t hurt her, even if I offered you immortality, if I had it. Either that, or I am too believing… I think, the sentence is: ‘You can buy anything, expect family. And you don’t hurt family.’ now, the question would be what family is… I guess it isn’t only blood. I think, it is based on love.

Good luck and dziękuję za wszystko,

Maria Konstantynopolska&quot

Evensong is dried eyed, and keeping a surprisingly stoic expression despite their spouses conspicuous use of a handkerchief. Their wedding at being nearly unknown, performed at a St. Jousha shrine. Evensong can’t help but fill a bit jealous at the celebration but holds her tongue. One of them had to keep a dignified presence.
Their present is deceptively simple, an ivory key, an address, and a steamer ticket. The steamer ticket is for the Carnelian Coast. If Siobhan and Eli ever go, they would discover it key to a hotel there, where the food is spicy and the view overlooks the vast jungles. The note with is just as simple.
“For the honeymoon and more.”

Emblem looks down the sight of the ratwork rifle, far enough across the street that she’d be hard to see, but close enough that the bullet would be quite fatal. Eli’s own design actually, a bullet that splinters upon impact and prevents life from coming back to the corpse through massive trauma to the brain and surrounding tissues.

The reticule hovered meditatively over Eli’s chest and then once again over Siobhan’s. She had her orders. The masters had no desire for another generation of Lowe’s…

Emblem realized that she was waiting for Ezekiel to jump in front of the bullet, or appear behind her and seize the rifle…

The weathervane on the rooftop adjacent to her flicked favourably. Now was the time to take the shot…

She ejects the bullet and let’s it fall into the streets below. Standing tall enough to expose herself to the sentries, which take aim against her within moments.

Not a bullet was fired that day… And Emblem was never seen again… What happened?
edited by The Absurd Rogue on 8/24/2016