Brian S. Pratt

The star of Morcyth

Chapter One

“I’m close enough!” states James with finality. Had he known this was part of the deal he never would have agreed to it.

“You’ve got to see it for yourself or it isn’t binding,” Rylin says from across the room.

“I can see just fine from where I’m at, thank you,” he asserts.

“No you can’t,” Rylin says with impatience. “There can be no doubt. Now get over here.”

Reluctantly moving closer, he says, “If I would have known I was going to have to do this I never would’ve agreed.”

“We didn’t realize you didn’t know,” says Rylin. “I don’t like it any better than you do, but custom is custom. We thought you knew and by the time everything got underway, it was too late to change.”

Moving closer, he stops halfway across the room. “Closer,” prompts Rylin and he slowly moves until he’s near.

“Will this do?” he asks, voice a little raspy.

“Yes,” replies Rylin. “You’re not looking,” he accuses him.

Turning his eyes, he looks at Rylin and watches.

“There,” says Rylin. “Did you see it?”

Red faced, James stammers, “Yes.”

“Alright then,” he says. “Get out of here.”

With great relief, James turns and rushes for the door, glad to be out of there.

Opening the door, he hurries out and shuts it behind him. Blood rushing to his face, he looks over at Miko who’s one of a hundred people staring at him expectantly. He’s got a mischievous grin on his face, earlier he got to listen to James as he bemoaned this particular duty he was to perform for his friend Rylin.

The crowd grows silent as the door shuts and every eye is upon him. Clearing his throat, he says loud enough for everyone to hear, “The marriage has been consummated.” A cheer rises up from the crowd and the musicians waiting nearby begin a lively tune.

Shortly after returning from his expedition to Saragon, a messenger arrived with an invitation to the wedding between Rylin and Sheila. Rylin asked him to be the best man at the ceremony since he more than any other had helped this union to be. Of course he gladly accepted.

The ceremony was to be held in Trademeet where Sheila’s family ran their family business. He took Miko, Jiron and Fifer with him, everyone else remained at The Ranch. The festivities lasted a week, at the end of which was the wedding and this particular duty the best man was to perform. Of course he didn’t actually find out about his duty until the third day into it and by that time it was too late for him to back out.

It was the quaint little custom of their religion that someone had to witness the consummation of the marriage in order for it to be binding in the eyes of the people. That job traditionally fell to the best man.

Shawna approaches him and asks, “Will you be staying long after the feast tonight?” The feast was the final activity in the week long celebration of her daughter’s wedding. The week long celebration wasn’t a week long party, that aspect only started on the sixth day. Up to then, it’s smaller things only the family and close friends attend.

“Maybe,” he replies. “I’m waiting for the return of Jiron and Fifer. When they show up I’ll be heading back home.”

“You were right,” she says to him. “He does love her more than anything and I’m thankful you made me come to see it. I just wish her father had lived to see this.”

“So do I,” he replies.

“But enough talk, there’s a wedding to celebrate,” she says. “Go find a beautiful girl and dance.”

“I may just do that,” he tells her.

“You’ll have to excuse me,” she says as she moves away to talk with a richly dressed gentleman. He’s another wealthy trader who’s been a long time friend of hers.

He looks around for Miko but he’s disappeared in the crowd. On the far side of the courtyard are tables set up with all manner of food, including tarts. James is afraid that they may not have enough for the ravenous appetite of Miko. Sure enough, he sees Miko coming toward him with another berry filled tart in hand.

“Isn’t that your seventh?” he asks as he draws near.

“Maybe,” he replies, wiping his mouth off on his sleeve. “Haven’t been keeping track.” Smiling, he then shoves the rest of it in.

James just gives him a grin and shakes his head.

Just then Darria, a daughter of one of the trading houses here in Trademeet comes over and takes Miko by the arm. Dragging him over to the dance floor, she soon has him in line to begin the next dance set.

Miko has begun to realize that since the Fire prematurely aged him and made him a man, that the girls are beginning to take notice of him. At first he hadn’t known what to do and every time one came to him, he would get all nervous and shy away. But ever since coming to the wedding, his attitudes are certainly changing.

When before the thought of going out onto the dance floor terrified him, now he joins in with glee. Darria has had the most to do with it. Ever since laying her eyes on Miko, she’s marked him for her own. James figures that if they were to live here in Trademeet, Miko would be lost and soon married. But since they’re not staying more than another day or two at the most, he doesn’t have much to worry about.

He crosses over to where the food tables are set out and helps himself to the fare. The roast goose is especially good and he takes an extra helping as well as a variety of others. Turning back to the dancers, he finds Miko out there moving gracefully with a smile on his face. Yes, he’s definitely coming into his own.

If only Meliana were here. The girl whom he met when he was in the city of Corillian has been on his mind lately. He would give anything to be able to see her again, perhaps one day he can make the trip back down to see her.

Occasionally others would come and see if he cared to dance, and once in a while he accepted. He did actually enjoy the dancing here, he prefers the structure of it over the types which were common back home in California.

Hanging out at the edge of the crowd as is his want, he continues eating while watching the people and eventually hears a round of applause beginning as Rylin and Sheila emerge from their home. He’s dressed very fine and she wears a startling dress worth more than some common laborers make in a year.

With her hand resting on his arm, they make their way to the dance floor. James walks over and reaches the edge of the dance floor just as the musicians begin to play. Dancing by themselves, Rylin and Sheila move gracefully to the music, the people around them talking quietly amongst themselves while they watch.

Miko comes to stand next to him and he looks to see if Darria is with him. When she isn’t, he asks, “Where’s your girlfriend?”

“Talking with some friends, I think,” he replies. “They sure do make a good looking couple don’t they?”

“Yes they do,” James replies.

As the musicians bring the music to a stop, Rylin and Sheila end the dance facing each other and then give each other a kiss to the cheering of the surrounding crowd. Breaking off the embrace, Rylin turns to the crowd and holds up his hand for quiet.

Once the crowd has quieted, he says, “I thank you all for joining us in this most happiest of times.” The crowd erupts in cheers again briefly before quieting back down. “My lovely wife Sheila and I would like to express our appreciation for our best man James, who’s stood by us through this entire ordeal.” Another round of applause, though not as energetic as the previous one breaks out and a few snickers as well. It’s been the running joke of the celebration about how James reacted when he learned of having to witness the consummation of the marriage. He had the misfortune of having it witnessed by many and has been the butt of many off colored jokes since. “There’s

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