In a Land, Far, Far away. . . But Closer than Any of Us Realize. . . the Following Story Continued. . .
Peasants and farmers came running out of their homes, hoping to catch a glimpse of what all the noise and commotion was about! Heralds from the Great King were seen and heard riding into every hamlet and village across the Realm, and on this particular day, the trumpets were ringing out and small scrolls were being tossed to the doorsteps of every dignitary and official.
One scroll landed on the doorstep of a sheriff in the village Maria was born in. An official who took great pride in his ability to blend in with all members of society, opened the scroll expecting some new decree. But when he opened the scroll and discovered the contents, he scoffed and threw it to the ground.
A passerby picked it up, and soon news was flying across the realm faster than the heralds could ride!
The Great King was announcing the wedding of His Son, the Crown Prince, to Maria, the love of His life and the pleasure of the entire Palace! Every nobleman in the Realm and every Lady were invited to attend the ceremony and the Marriage Supper! Admission to the Great Hall would be the donning of the white robe given to these people by the Crown Prince Himself. Anyone trying to get in without their white robe would be turned back, regardless of their rank in society.
The passerby looked up after reading the scroll, observing that his village sheriff wore grey. But he couldn't contain himself and began word-of-mouth as fast as he could say his own name.
Cliff and Meredith received invitations and wasted no time ensuring their white robes were sparkling and ready to go! The Innkeeper too received an invitation, and was specifically asked to bring the young girl Maria had rescued; a white robe was delivered to the Inn for the young girl.
Capital City was already receiving visitors and trying to find places to put them up as attendees from far reaches of the Realm who had received their invitations first, began arriving weeks ahead of time.
Within the Palace walls, the most cheerful mayhem ensued as all levels of court flew into action to prepare the Great Hall for the biggest celebration the Realm had EVER seen! Massive banners depicting the Crown Prince's attributes hung on the gates, the doorways, and around the edges of the Great Hall itself. Streamers, colourful airtight bags for the kids, and white linen were everywhere! The palace kitchen and bakery worked 'round the clock to prepare enough food for the hundreds of guests who had been invited.
Even the throne itself was undergoing renovations as now there was not to be just two seats there for the Great King and His Son, but a third seat was to be built for the Princess! She would sit at her Husband's right hand, as He sat at His Father's right hand. The workmen were so giddy with excitement that they had to pause periodically to calm themselves down so they wouldn't make a mistake.
The Great King Himself was flitting from one flurry of activity to another, overseeing details and pitching in where allowed. Finally He resorted to the Palace garden to put a bouquet together for the head table. Passing by Maria's home, what was soon to become the home of His son and Maria together, the Great King could hear laughter as the servants helped Maria get ready for the big event! He paused and smiled; a tear prematurely slipping down his cheek. This was the happiest day of His life!
Finally the moment came. . . The Great King took His place on the Throne as noblemen and Ladies began filing into the Great Hall. All would be seated before the pomp and ceremony began this time! Musicians could be heard warming up outside, and dancers did their calisthenics preparing for their entrance in the parade. Suddenly the loudest trumpet blast anyone had ever heard sounded over the Great Hall! The musicians struck up, and the parade began!
The musicians entered first, making their way in elaborate formation to the four corners of the room. Singers were next, singing the song of the Great King and of His Son, having written a new verse for the Bride which would be sung later. They too, in fancy manoeuvres, worked their way to their respective areas of the room. The dancers followed, waving flags and ribbons, playing tambourines and castanets as they almost floated over the floor. The honour guard in full regalia marched in, adding their drum beat to the time of the music the other musicians were playing, punctuating with their cornets in key places of the song. They formed a human corridor along either side of a bright red carpet leading from the far end all the way to the steps of the Throne. The servants followed the honour guard and took their places at numerous food stands and drink bars throughout the hall.
The assembled guests were awestruck by the pomp and ceremony and the wedding party hadn't even arrived yet!
At once, the room grew still! The Crown Prince entered alone, and walked the red carpet to the foot of the steps leading to His Father's Throne. Turning around to face the door from which He came, a flutist walked in, accompanied by the young girl Maria had rescued, carrying a basket of rose petals. She scattered them on the ground as she followed the flutist through the honour guard to the front. The Crown Prince placed them in front of him on either side.
Two more dancers entered, one of them the maid Maria had developed a friendship with. Maria followed them in the most ornate gown anyone ever laid eyes on! Gasps could be heard as everyone stood for the entrance of the Bride. A slip of paper on all the tables told her story, how she had been rescued, chosen, cared for, and prepared for this day. All eyes could hardly believe the beauty they saw before them as she made her way down the aisle. When she reached the honour guard, the musicians struck up again and the guard raised their swords high above her head as she passed through.
The Great King Himself officiated the wedding, wiping tears from his joy-filled eyes every so often. It was with great flourish when after the rings were exchanged, He turned to the crowd and announced the couple man and wife. The whistles and cheers and shouting could be heard for miles beyond the reaches of Capital City!
It was time to celebrate! The servants flew into action again, rushing plates of the most expensive food to every table setting, pouring the most expensive wine of the Realm into every cup, and ensuring the head table had the best of everything!
Maria couldn't help the tears flowing as she hugged the young girl she'd rescued. Cliff and Meredith could be seen congratulating the Crown Prince and the Great King was no longer on His Throne, but mingling with the guests, asking if they had everything and could he get them something. Truly He lived beyond the rumours of His kindness and His goodness. He was as He'd told Maria, a servant, and that to be great in His kingdom, was to be the greatest servant of all.
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~ Traveller Gal, out!
~ Traveller Gal, out!