Part VII: Fireworks
Gandalf was holding me. As my vision cleared I could see Lord Elrond bending over my bride, and I tried with all my strength to break away from Gandalf, but he held me firmly, then suddenly I bit his hand. With a small yelp he let me go and I scrambled over to where Anemone was lying. They had carried her over into the shade. I could not see whether she were conscious or not. It was Ríannor who caught and restrained me.
“Do not interfere,” she whispered.
“But what…” My wreath had fallen over one eye. I snatched at it and flung it aside.
“Shhh,” she said. Gandalf came to my other side.
I heard a gasp come from Anemone, then a little moan.
I heard her speak my name.
Lord Elrond turned and looked at me a long moment, then motioned me to come closer. I approached, terrified of what I would see, but I saw that her color was starting to creep back into her cheeks. I bent over her, speaking her name just barely above a whisper.
She smiled faintly at me. “Hullo…husband.”
I cradled her in my arms and held her as others came hesitantly forward and Lord Elrond motioned them back.
“I think she is all right now,” he said. “Her immortality left her quite precipitously, and rather dramatically, I should say. But now I may venture to say she officially possesses a human soul.”
I think his voice broke a little over those words.
“I felt…pain,” Anemone said putting a hand to her forehead. “It was terrible…but it was only for a second or two. I feel a little…weak, but I think I can stand now.”
I helped her up very gently. She was a little unsteady, but able to stand.
“I’m sorry to cause such a scare,” she said mainly to me, but looking around at the anxious faces surrounding us. “I didn’t mean to ruin the festivities. Shall we continue where we left off?”
I was fairly weeping from relief. “You are not up to it. Let me carry you back to the house.”
“Silly, not yet,” she chided me. “Look at all these people. Would you do them out of a special occasion?”
“To spare you, absolutely,” I said. I tried to lift her, but she playfully swatted my hands away. Her color looked quite normal now as she waved gaily to the crowd.
“I don’t know about anyone else…but I could do with a bit of wine,” she said. "I want to see what it is to be drunk."
Relieved laughter broke out, and the musicians struck up festive music. Wine was brought to us in one goblet, and we each drank from it. Then we kissed and the people cheered riotously all around us.
There was dancing, people forming two huge rings around us while we danced in the middle.
Your morning has begun
You stand a new creation
Where once there was one
Two there are now.
Your cup is filling
Where once it stood empty
May it hold the finest vintage
And never run dry.
May blessings fall upon you
As thick as the snowflakes
As the stars above you
As the sand below you
As the flowers of the field
As the grapes of the harvest
As the fishes of the sea
And the flowing of the falls.
May the sun gild your fields
and the rain drench your garden
May the night bring only joy
As you lie within its tent.
May the path kiss your feet
And the breeze caress your faces
And all the years bring beauty
That will build your truest home.
As the dusk approached after the wedding-feast (which did include fish and clams), there were fireworks, the first one taking the form of a splendid ship; the next one, of a whale rising from red waves. Then there came a row of starfish, and then a fine white conch-shell. And a school of fishes, of a vivid blue, then another one, gold this time, and one more, of red, all swimming and wriggling for a moment or two. Then, of course, a dolphin, just one at first, then another, and another, streaking along and then doing a graceful leap against the sunset colors just before disappearing into sparkling ripples. And then a waterfall, with a great eagle soaring above. And finally, a little bride, decked out in pure white, and a groom standing silvery by her side, and over them a garland of red roses and green leaves….
…and the people cheered the loudest over this one as the figures turned to each other and shared a kiss.
The festivities went on until daybreak, but we did not participate; we were able to slip away as the wine flowed unchecked. I don’t think anyone noticed, and if they did, they pretended not to.
We found breakfast laid out for us on the terrace next morning. Gandalf, Ríannor, Elrond, Celebrían, and Lady Galadriel drifted over as we were finishing up the last of it. We waved cheerily to them.
“How is the bride?” Elrond asked. “We were a little worried about you.”
The bride beamed up at him over a bowl of orange sections and mushrooms and strawberries and raisins doused in cream. “You need not have worried, my lord,” she said, artlessly sucking cream off a finger. “The consummation of the marriage made up for everything. Really, it is sooo much better for a mortal—what I have been missing all my life!”
I had to restrain myself with an effort to keep from sliding under the table.
Everyone else just laughed. I got my bearings then and hastily offered food to the guests. As they ate and drank and chattered I contemplated how I would instruct Anemone in the fine art of discretion, then forgot about it a few minutes later as I propped my chin on my hand and watched her in her blue velvet morning-gown with strawberry stains on her lips and sunlight in her eyes and hair, a large white butterfly hovering close over her as the very wings of bliss.
If Sam could only see us now….