Travel by magic portal was not Salvador's transportation method of choice, but it would have to do. Another business venture
earlier that evening, only a few short hours before the ceremony of the century, had him cutting it a little close to the wire. There was no time to change out of the rumpled and dirty suit jacket, the once white dress shirt now stained with mud and Lord only knew what else. If he wasn't there, Taneth was going to be very upset with him, and the last thing he wanted to do was make his baby zebra sad on her very special day.
Salvador tumbled through that handy portal there, arms out to catch his balance. Bent over, wavering, and then righting himself to smooth out as many of the horrible tears and wrinkles in the suit jacket he had on there. He looked dirty and not at all fit to be attending a wedding, but he tried to look smooth by raking fingers through his hair.
Brushing some straw off his collar and wiping a smudge off his cheek, he looked around and went sneaking toward a chair in the back. As far as he could tell, nobody had noticed his near tumble into the dirt, and that was good. He had done quite enough tumbling into the dirt for one night.
The one person who did immediately notice him however had been clever enough to spot him first. Fionna's dark eyes flickered on over to settle on him as he passed by, and feeling the burn of them gave him pause. It was just his luck that they shared similar sentiments concerning where to sit, way back there in the back, and so he stepped around to drop onto a chair beside her at the end of that there row.
Nearby was the wolf man with the wings whose name he could never remember no matter how many times he heard it. They may or may not have been introduced at least once. He vaguely recalled Ali trading names on their behalf at some point, but this name like so many others completely eluded him. All this meant, unfortunately, was that the winged wolf man was not yet important enough to register on Sal's radar. Maybe that was a good thing.
There were enormous toadstools way over there that he was glad to be avoiding. A good old fashioned, man made, solid chair was more to his liking. The people who chose to sit on them were welcome to them. And the people, they were aplenty. Half of them he didn't even know.
Over there he caught a glimpse of Alain's eye. The detective sent him a smile and he sent him an upward lift of his chin, as a nod, in return. Somewhere over there he saw a masked man in a top hat, the tall ear-like appendages on his head gave Skid away, as well as the exuberant wave of his arm. Sal grinned and lifted his arm in reply. Somehow, he thought, that hat suited the monster man.
Everyone around him looked so elegant in their gowns and their tuxedos. At the alter, there was Tormay, glowing with pride from his wings to his ears. And here sat Salvador, looking like a bum bent on crashing the party, pretending he belonged. Here he sat in a rumpled and dirty suit coat, a dress shirt that had once been white, wasn't even completely buttoned, and wasn't tucked into his jeans at all.
Beside him, Fionna was tense and fidgeting, while he sat slouched and perfectly at ease. She was careful not to impose on his senses by taking his hand, though she strongly wanted to, he could tell, for some reason. Instead, she twined her fingers in the material of his sleeve for a moment. Seeing no accompanying Ali, he figured it was a-ok to slip his hand in under hers and twine their fingers for a squeeze.
She exhaled a deeply grateful sigh for that, though didn't thank him audibly. She didn't need to. He knew, she was feeling disconnected. Maybe she didn't feel like she belonged here either. They were perfect company in this crowd of mostly strangers, then. Oh sure, he knew a few of them. Skid and Alain, Chryrie and Tara, and even Lucien and Maranya over there. But the majority were nothing more than faces. He hardly spared anyone a glance at all.
The reason for this was mostly due in part to the fact that there was just so much fairy dust in the air. Maybe it wasn't a visible thing, but with all the fae creatures that were mingling in this crowd, it was everywhere. It didn't help that the location of the ceremony happened to be in the middle of an ancient fairy circle. One he intended to stay just on the fringes of. Though he hugged the outskirts and kept a grip of Fio's hand, there was no escaping it.
To Salvador, it was a sweet scent, like a freshly baked hot apple pie, sprinkled with cinnamon, and left to cool on the neighbor's windowsill. The enticing aroma wafted up out of the crust and wormed its way through the air, closer and closer to his living room, crawling in under the cracks and luring him out the door. It wasn't easy to keep himself rooted to the floor, to not give into the temptation, keep himself from salivating. His sinuses backfired and had him sneezing instead.
He could feel the magic swarming around him, like chocolate covered ants that were still animated. A couple of pieces of heather dropped nearby him and that didn't help at all. At first he had restrained it, subdued the sneeze. Still he tried to keep the urge in check but couldn't hold it back. Until his olfactory senses adjusted to the overwhelming, deliciously abundant aromas, he was just going to have to deal with it. Thankfully, by the time the ceremony actually started, he got things under control, but he still wasn't breathing very easy.'
Then the procession started, shortly after Fio asked him if he was all right. He assured her that he was, but she had to tug on his arm to get him to stand up. Salvador had never been to a wedding before in his life. The only reason he had come to this one was because of Taneth's great big irresistible puppy dog eyes. He wondered why everyone was standing, turned to look down at the back of the row, but it all made sense when Fionna pulled him up to his own feet and he followed the will of the crowd to look that way as well.
"Yay, Rekah!" Of course, he heard her before he saw her. Salvador couldn't resist chuckling, but he kept it low and under the sound of the bridal march. That was his little baby zebra, being completely unconventional from the confines of her super secret tent. She could make a lion proud.
The tent's drapes blew open from the inside, coming to flair out so that all could marvel at Taneth, and marvel at Taneth did just about everyone. Except for Salvador Delahada. Oh sure, she looked prettier than he had ever seen her look pretty before, but no gasping or oh'ing or ah'ing came from his lips. He only watched with a vague yet appreciating little smile tucked neatly into the corner of his mouth.
Taneth emerged wearing some fancy designer gown that he just really couldn't appreciate. Salvador had no sense for fashion at all. His choice of attire for this occasion probably testified strongly in defense of that fact. But there she was.
Out she came, walking with old man Tass on her arm, and wearing a strapless A-line gown with a pristine lace bodice and a white ribbon sash encircling her waist. A handmade flower accent completed the sash whose ends fell over a full organza skirt embellished with lace appliques. She and her dress were both airy and angelic. At the very least, he could admire just how beautiful she really looked, more beautiful than he had ever seen her before.
Instead of marveling, he had to choke down another sneeze. One of those annoying restrained ones. Last thing anyone needed was someone shouting achoo during the middle of all this happy time, so he kept it in check as best as he could. Fionna did all the marveling for them both, he figured, and what a fine job of it she did while patting his arm in commiseration.
Salvador was a little lost as to why this was such a big occasion for people. Everyone oh'ed and ah'ed at the sight of her, and up there at the altar Tormay was speechless. There were even people crying, crying! That didn't make any sense at all.
He was very glad, way deep down inside, when the crowd was told to sit. Salvador immediately took advantage of this and rolled back down onto his chair. He propped one arm up on the back of the chair and slouched, relaxing, closing his eyes. A static buzz was starting to invade his ears and he submitted to its insistence to capture his attention. For this he missed the entire ceremony, all the beautifully unique and heart-felt vows the couple shared. He was brought back to reality by the roar of applause, and opening his eyes he joined them all in clapping, albeit with not quite so much enthusiasm.
Beside him, under the noise, Fionna was murmuring. She asked him a question that put a frown on his face, an expression that didn't at all belong at such a joyous occasion. They shared secrets with one another under the flood of voices and cheer. He upset her with his answers to her questions, even though all he told her was the truth.
"Why is it okay for them but not for us?"
"Because they didn't spring it on everybody as a sudden surprise." Maybe he was still bitter about it all, but did it really matter anymore? What was done was done, and that was what he told her. He didn't care that they were married. Though he still thought it had been a stupid decision to make, so abrupt and completely unexpected. How could he be happy for them when he was still trying to accept it as fact?
No, he thought, marriage didn't change anything at all. They were still two people. Fionna Helston and Ali al Almat. Tormay Eludes and Taneth Mercer. Or had she changed her name? Not that it mattered. As much as he could determine, everyone made a huge fuss over nothing at all.
The crowds were moving, then, and Fio tried to drag him along with her, but he couldn't make his feet move in that direction too. There were too many people. It was far too much to take in all at once. So he retreated back a step, several steps, grateful for the interruption of the ever-cheerful and bouncing Rekah coming his way. Seeing her, he had to smile. She really did look pretty when she was all cleaned up.
"You look very pretty, Rekah," he told her.
"Thank you! I took a bath." She said this as if that were big news, and for Rekah it really was, this he knew. "I am glad you are here!! Taneth looked so very pretty!"
That made him grin a little, reaching out to ruffle her hair. "Yes she does," he agreed. Salvador hovered there for a time with Rekah at his side, staring at the crowd that was moving in to smother Taneth and Tormay with their congratulations. Eventually he edged back further, closer to the fringes, and began treading a path around toward the buffet table where he thought he had seen a masked man in a top hat. This was just way too much for him to endure. All this cheer, and all the fairy dust in the air. The scent of it still made him anxious.
Rekah followed him. "There is a lot happening right now," she said, somewhat quietly. "Do I need to be doing anything?" If she had her way, he knew, she'd be chasing fireflies.
"Isn't the bridesmaid supposed to stick by the bride's side or something?" he wondered while he walked.
"I dunno! Are they?" This was just as new to her as it was to him.
"What if people get too excited and trample her with all their joy?" He turned to point back at the surrounding crowd. "Maybe you should protect her from crushing."
"I..." There were a lot of people, she realized. "I suppose I should keep them from that!"
"I think you should, yes."
Determinedly, she stalked towards Taneth and Tormay. "Don't trample them!!" This was something she was going to take very seriously. She didn't want to see anyone get trampled. Never mind she'd probably be the one to end up underfoot. Salvador smirk at his cleverness and continued on.
Once he got there, to the tent he had been trekking toward, he reached out to clap a hand to Skid's shoulder from the side. "Oye, amigo." He lifted his chin an upward nod to Chryrie too, who he was trying valiantly not to look at hungrily at that particular moment.
"Sal!" Skid hardly even jumped. "You made it to the food side of things. Perfect." The monster man grinned. "I saw you eyeing my hat. Suits me, doesn't it?" There he snerked.
Chryrie nodded to him with a smile, and leaned closer to ask him very quietly, "Want some dust?"
"It does," he agreed, grinning up at the hat. But then he blinked at Chryrie, shaking his head and lifting a hand to protest. "No, no. Gracias. Right now I wouldn't be able to stop at dust. Actually..." He trailed off and looked back at Skid. "I was going to ask if I could raid your stash."
Skid's eye flickered, but his grin just spread. "Hrm? Which stash, exactly? You're welcome to most of them, after all."
"The one everybody keeps stealing from for me."
"Is it candy?" Skid blinked that one visible eye of his. "People've been stealing my candy?"
"Don't make me say it, amigo," Salvador muttered, withdrawing his hand. He looked down and to the side. "All this crap in the air is making me want to eat even the grass." He started wringing his hands like a junkie looking for his next fix. Nearby he heard snickering, and looked over to see Tara. The look he gave her clearly stated: shut it.Oh
. Skid nodded, then spoke jovially. "Of course. I'd been wondering about that. Thought..." He shook his head, and straightened. "Nothing. I could use something myself, actually. Were you thinking now?"
"Yes now, or else I might be forced to make things much less happy around here." He glanced out over the crowd. "Plus things'll probably thin out by the time I get back, and Fio's mad at me. Gracias, Skid." He turned about to creep back toward the portal.
Thus it was that Salvador Delahada and the masked man more commonly known as Skid missed out on the rest of the party.
[size=9](This story is mostly a conversion from live play with thanks to everyone
who was there that night.)[/size]