Before there was the novel, there were the stories...

by Nan Hawthorne, who also writes under Christopher Hawthorne Moss, Books and Stories b ChristopherHawthorne Moss at

Monday, March 8, 2010

Rory and Ceridwen Series: The Wedding and Home

Mild R rating.

Father Angus beamed. "I thought ye might. Well, ye do not really need me,
although I am so fond of ye both I should like to give a blessing. What ye
do need is a couple witnesses.. I can get me housekeeper... we need

Rory looked at Ceri questioningly. "Who?" he asked simply.

Ceri looked at the priest. "Can you not be our second witness?"

Angus smiled. "You know, I have never thought of that before. It never has
come up. But I suppose I might. The point is to have someone who can verify
that a wedding took place, and who is going to question the word of a
priest? However, Magda's daughter may be around."

Ceri inquired, "Anna? Back from nursemaiding?"

He nodded, "So shall we go inside?"

Rory looked hopeful. "Ye mean we can marry right now? No bans? No waitin'?"

The priest laughed, "That anxious are you?" Seeing Rory's blush he hastened
on. "If you were but young I might ask ye to wait, but you are grown people.
Besides, I want you married myself. 'Tis not often I get to bless a love
match and this one is the love match of the decade!" He looked fondly at
Ceri, "I think ye are already wed.. in your hearts. This ceremony just
plights the troth."

Rory and Ceri gazed happily into each other's eyes. Rory kissed her. They
looked at each other again and laughed. Father Angus just smiled

"Let me get Magda and Anna. How about by that ash tree over there?"

They looked and both nodded agreement.

Father Angus was only gone a few mintes, and In the meantime Ceri and Rory
had gone to the ash and stood before it. If they had worried about witnesses
they need not have, since a small collection of villagers, including
children and a couple dogs, had gathered nearby to see what looked for all
the world like an impending wedding between their much loved Ceridwen and a
very tall and handsome stranger.. or a stranger to most of them. For their
part the betrothed stood under the ash holding hands and gazing into each
other's eyes a little dreamily.

Father Angus came out of the little church followed by a plump woman with a
merry face and a tall young woman with a look of irritation on her own. When
the younger woman saw it was Ceri that was being married, the irritation
turned to pleasure and relief. Ceri vaguely noticed it but did not know the
reason for it until some days later.

The priest came over to Ceri and Rory, glancing with amusement at the
impromptu wedding party. He stopped before the couple under the ash with
Magda and Anna coming to stand beside him. He cleared his throat, as he
looked at the besotted lovers. "Time to give me your attention, my
children.. I promise it will not take long."

With difficulty Rory and Ceri took their eyes from each other's.

The ceremony was brief. The priest intoned a blessing in Latin, with all
heads bowed except for the smaller children's and the dogs'. He asked in a
ceremonial fashion if Rory McGuinness took Ceridwen of Brewood at Healling
to be his wife and to love and care for her for all time until death. Rory
was gazing with misty eyes at his bride. He said, "Och, beyond that, me

Father Angus turned to Ceri and asked her much the same. Her smile was
radiant as she said in a serious voice, "Oh, aye, I do take Rory McGuinness
as my husband." She went on "And I settle upon him an equal part of all I
possess to share and share alike." This caused a murmur of approval from the

Angus inquired, "And upon any issue from this union?"

Ceri looked up at Rory who nodded, "If there be issue of this union, they
shall inherit after death." She suppressed her own discomfort with having to
mention such a thing at this point in their lives together, but it was

The priest looked at Rory, who hastened, "Having nothin' but this lady's
love as me possession, I come to the union with only me love and meself."
The crowd around them murmured a little at this one as well.

As their hands were already clasped the priest was able to take a small
strip of sacred cloth to wrap them together. "In the presence of these
witnesses and the Lord God of Hosts I hereby bless the marriage of Ceridwen
of Brewood at Healing and Rory McGuinness. You are husband and wife."

A hush remained as the crowd waited for the couple to react. They stared at
each other a momet, unbelieving that they had arrived at their hearts'
destination. Rory had to shake himself to move. He gathered Ceri in his
arms. "Macushla, my Ceridwen, I will love ye as long as I live and
thereafter into the time of legends and distant memories." He kissed her,
singing in his own heart, "Ceri. Ceri. Ceri."

The group of people cheered and someone who had brought up a flute started
in to play. People, children and dogs circled around each other, dancing.
Rory kept Ceridwen in his arms, gazing with wonder and joy into her eyes. He
guided her in a dance that was too slow for the tempo, but he did not care.
He was floating somewhere in a place of perfect happiness. There were
moments when she wondered if he would fall in a faint. He leaned to whisper
in her ear, "Let us go home, me wife."

As they started away, someone in the crowd called, "Here, when's the feast?"

Ceri smiled and waved. "Do not worry.. there will be one." She and Rory went
to her horse and led it, hand in hand, down the road toward her farm. At the
edge of the village, they stopped and mounted the horse. Some of the
children and dogs danced along after them for a while, but then tired and
returned to the town.

Coming in view of her cottage, Ceri felt Rory sigh deeply. "We are home
then, me love?"

They rode in through the gate, Rory slipping from the horse's back to open
it and then close it once Ceri had ridden through. She slipped down then
herself, not waiting for help. She led the horse to its stable. "I shan't be
but a moment. Ah look there, my cats."

Rorys eyes lit up at the languid approach of two cats. "Och, darlin's!" Ceri
smiled watching the two come right over to her husband, rubbing against his
legs and twirling their tails about his ankles. He crouched and stroked
their heads, cooing and talking to them. She took her horse into the stable,
slipped its bridle off, made sure there was fodder and water, then came back
out to see Rory sitting on the ground, playing with the cats. She told him
their names were Bedewar and Guenhevar after two legendary Celts, a hero and
his lady, from the time when valiant battles had been fought against the
invading Saxons.

He looked up with a boyish smile. "Och, it seems Guenevar is to be a mother
soon." Then his face changed and he looked hard at her. He carefully
extricated himself from the cats, stood and brushed himself off. He met her
as she came to him and took her in his arms. "Macushla," he breathed into
her ear. "How happy I am to be home at last, at long last where I belong, in
your arms."

They walked holding each other tight to the door, where Rory suddenly leaned
and scooped her up into his arms. She put her arms around his neck and
smiled into his face. Not letting his gaze move from hers he managed to open
the door and bring her across the threshold. Inside he pushed the door
closed with his hip. He did not put her down but instead gathered her closer
so he could kiss her long and deep.

"Must we let anything else stop us from makin' love again, me heart?" he
asked huskily.

He looked about quickly and saw the ladder-like stairs to the loft where her
bed was. He made for it in two strides and managed to continue to hold her
as he took the steps up. It was a high peaked roof so even with his unusual
height he could stand. He set her feet on the ground gently. He gathered her
up again to kiss her. His hand going first to caress her neck, it then
slipped down to caress one breast. His breathing quickened. When she looked
into his eyes she saw that their blue had deepened.

Rory reached to undo her hair, letting it fall in cascades over her
shoulders and down her back. He regarded it with heavy lidded eyes and took
some in his hand and brought it to his lips. He breathed in its warm aroma.
Then he buried his face in her neck and kissed it right at the spot where it
met her shoulder.

"Ceri, I want ye so desperately." He reached for the tie of her cloak and
loosed it, letting it fall. Then he looked at her bodice, looseing its ties,
the as she undid her skirt and let it fall, he pulled the bodice from her
over her head. She was left in a shoft which he also removed.. He stood
gazing up and down her, his eyes swimming with love and pleasure. He came
forward then to touch her here and there, like he was judging fine cloth. He
suddenly reached to lift her and set her on the bed. Then he all but tore
his own clothes off. Standing before her only in his simple kilt, he reached
to undo its clasp and let it fall away.

He stretched out beside her and she turned towards him. He let his hand
slip from her breast down along her side, caressing softly then pressing
hard, then caressing softly again. He stroked her belly tenderly, then her
thighs, his breath catching as he slipped his hand between them to feel the
smooth skin between. Her answering shudder inflamed him.

He looked at, touched, and tasted her, then when they made love all his
delicate attentions were replaced with passion and ardor. Ceri saw his eyes
full of desire and hunger. He cried out when he came, then fell to her side,

Beside her he put his arms around her holding her tight and murmuring to her
in Gaelic. The words were both magical sounding and guttural in places. She
heard her own name amidst the Gaelic, repeated over and over.

"Och, macushla, ye are so beautiful. I love ye, Ceri, I love ye," he finally
said so she could understand.

They fell asleep in each other's arms. Rory woke hours later to feel Ceri
exploring his chest and belly with her fingertips. They made love again.
Before they fell again to sleep, Rory murmured in her ear, "Ye have made me
the happiest of men, macushla. The happiest."

Next: The Day After the Wedding

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About the author

Nan Hawthorne now writes under the name Christopher Hawthorne Moss. You can contact Christopher at .