With a little help from Ian, the sky cooperated the next day. The ceremony was to take place outside, overlooking the field of green where benches had been prepared so the guests could sit. The maids tied strands of heather together forming sprays of flowers everywhere. Duncan had been kept from seeing Tara since they parted the night before. It was a frustrating custom Tara wanted to follow, even if it wasn’t his.
He adjusted the plaid of his clan until it sat perfectly upon his frame. His bride had jested with him about his kilt. She would see him in it for the first time when they exchanged vows.
The beauty of a kilt was the ease in which he would bed his wife. Perhaps he would take to wearing the kilt more often if his bride enjoyed his pursuits in the outfit. ****
Tara fidgeted while the women, maids, and in-laws fussed over her. They wove tiny flowers in her hair, and a small wreath sat like a halo on top of her head. The effect was magnificent.
The amber gown, adorned with pearls and gold ribbons, made every feature Tara had glow. The gown dipped low, and her br**sts thrust high enough against the bodice to enchant her husband.
The full, flowing sleeves cascaded over the tips of her fingers.
The most defining part of the gown was the material made entirely of silk, impossible to come by in this time and place. Someone told her, Duncan and Fin brought it back with them from one of their trips into the future. Its worth was immeasurable and admired by all who saw it.
The servants filed out of the room, leaving only Lora and Myra.
“Stunning,” Lora said, looking at her reflection in the mirror. “You will make my son a fine wife.”
Tara put her arms around her mother-in-law,
“Thank you for everything.”
“No, my dear, thank you for loving my son.”
Lora’s voice cracked. “I should go, check on everything one last time.”
Myra stayed behind to keep Tara company before she walked down the aisle. “Are you nervous?”
“Not like I thought I would be,” she said. “I remembered the vows Duncan and I pledged in California, and I’m more comfortable with what I want to say.”
Tara closed her eyes and remembered. “They started out with North, South, East and West. There was something about following his light, I’m fuzzy on that part, but then it went on about me giving him my love past my dying day.”
Myra stopped her by finishing her words,
“Where two hearts beat, there is now but one. This tie that binds us together shall never be undone.”
“Yes, exactly! How do you know?”
“You said those vows to him before?” Myra paled. Her eyes shifted to Tara.
“Yes.” Tara’s spine started to tingle.
“And he to you?”
“Yeah, why?” Tara felt a shimmer pass over her at the memory.
“You are already wed to my brother.”
“That’s what he keeps saying.” Tara waved her off. “Nay. You are truly wed already. Those vows are sacred wedding vows, Tara. When spoken by one with Druid blood, they are binding beyond any which could be said in a church or in front of a priest.”
“I don’t understand.”
Myra sat. “Druid wedding vows can never be undone. Once pledged, they will bind you to the person you said them to, instantly. If the two of you part, your soul will reach out for the other. Without the other one, you would die. These vows bind for eternity, in this life and the next. There is no ‘til death do we part.”
Tara knew the color washed from her face when she felt the blood drain from her head. Her knees hit the back of a chair. Sinking into it, she spoke with trembling lips. “And Duncan knows this?”
“Of course. We are all taught this early on. Few Druids make this vow, because of the bind it makes.
My parents shared the same vows which is why they can talk to each other with their minds.” Myra placed a hand on her head. “I should have known you did the same. It all makes sense now.”
Tara wrung her hands together, remembered the cord that burned when they said the vows to each other. Remembered the flash and the instant she could read his thoughts. “Why didn’t he say anything?” she asked. “Oh God, maybe he doesn’t love me. Maybe he is simply drawn to me?” Her hands started to tremble.
“Nay, Tara.” Myra caught her hands and made her look her in the eye when she spoke. “The vows bind you. Aye. But they don’t make you love. That is free will.” Myra fumbled. “Don’t you see? Duncan chose you before he brought you back. He could have stopped you and didn’t. He knew what he was doing.
Grainna would have bound you to a stranger, and flesh to flesh maybe you would have given into him, but when he left, you would have been empty. You would have died, only to dwell in eternity looking for a man you did not love.”
“I had no idea.” How could anyone damn another to such a fate?
“She is evil beyond anything we can imagine.”
Myra pulled the bulk of her black hair behind her.
“Now, enough of this. Let us change a few words in your vows. Sacred vows should not be spoken in a ceremony like this, it is entirely too public and would bring to light who we are.”
“It all seems unnecessary, knowing we are already wed.”
“Nonsense. You look so lovely. My parents want to see their son wed properly. And look at all the happiness, which has surrounded the hall these last weeks. I know it’s your day, but the rest of us are enjoying it as well.”
“I need to talk to Duncan. We can’t go forward without…” She stood and started to the door.
Myra stopped her. “Do you love my brother?”
“More than life.” Her heart jolted with the reality of her words.
“Do you believe he loves you?” Myra stopped her pacing by standing in front of her.
Flashes from her time and his, passed in her head. The moment he made her his, the moment he vowed to be with her for eternity. The smile he gave her when they last saw each other. “Yes. He loves me.” “Then what does it matter? Vows said today or months ago? Your love will survive eternity if given a chance.”
Tara looked in her sister’s eyes. “You’re right.
You’re right. I’m nervous.” She put a hand to her fluttering stomach. “So very nervous.”
The music changed and announced Tara’s arrival. She had asked Ian to walk her down the aisle. She would have been too apprehensive to walk alone. Besides, she still held Ian responsible. He had shoved her hand into Duncan’s and started all this.