yawned and looked around in a panic. “Where am I?” She glanced at shields
and swords hanging on the walls. “Oh, right. I’m in the castle. This place
is so cool. It’s my mum’s wedding day.” She leaped out of bed and ran to the
room next to hers. “Mum.” She rapped on the heavy wooden door and then
opened it. “Mum! It’s your wedding day today.”
Mairi rolled over and pulled
herself up on to her pillows. “Fiona? It’s early.”
“But Mum, you’re getting
married this afternoon. There’s tons of stuff to do.” Fiona grabbed hold of
her mum’s arm and pulled. “Come on, Mum. Up you get.”
“All right.” Mairi’s bare
feet hit the floor. “Thank goodness there’s a rug.”
“Just look at this rug, Mum.
I’ll bet it was made in Xilia. I’ve never seen this pattern before.”
“You’re probably right. I’m
sure a lot of the furnishings here in the castle are Xilian.” Mairi tied her
robe around her waist.
“Mrs. McDonald told me to
tell you that she loved the invitations you sent out. She said they were
ingenious, making them in the form of an old fashioned scroll.”
“That was creative, wasn’t
it? I can’t take credit for it. It was totally Johnny’s idea.” Mairi brushed
out her hair.
“Are you sure it was a good
idea to invite everyone who lives in Inveralba and Inverdrochit to your
wedding? Aren’t you worried about the questions they’re going to ask?” Fiona
took the brush from her mum and continued brushing her hair for her.
“Not at all. In the first
place, they’re not invited to the wedding, but to the reception afterwards.
As for the rest of it, we’ll come up with some explanation. Why don’t you
run along and get dressed in something casual. There’s no sense in getting
into our wedding clothes yet. It’s not for hours. Selby said she’d do our
hair.” Mairi led Fiona to the door. “Go get dressed. I will too and I’ll
meet you downstairs in the kitchen.”
“All right, Mum. I hope when
the wizards come that they don’t bring all their dragons.” Fiona giggled,
closed the door behind her, put on blue jeans and a tee shirt and some
sandals that she’d brought back from Malawi.
When they went downstairs
into the main hall, Sarmantha and Selby were there. “Oh good, Fiona, Mairi.
I need you to try on your dresses. Selby and the other seamstresses worked
on them all night.” She grabbed the two gowns. “Back upstairs for a few
minutes until we’re sure they fit right.” Sarmantha pointed up the steps.
Fiona sighed, but did as told.
While Fiona and her mum were
busy upstairs, the cooks arrived at the castle. They’d spent their first
night at Mairi’s house. “I am so glad that Mairi gave us her house, aren’t
you, Locke?” Ackley sighed. “I’ve not slept that well my entire life. I tell
you one thing; I love telly. I found a cooking channel when I was up playing
with the remote. By the way, of what I understand, the remote is the man of
the house’s domain.”
The three women rolled their
eyes and went into the kitchen. “I’m going to love cooking on this new
stove. Imagine, all you do is turn a knob and flames burst into life.”
Carling started pulling pots and pans from the cupboards.
“I’ve got a few finishing
touches to put on the cake,” Ailen said. “Mac should be here shortly. It’s
quite lovely, don’t you think?” Sitting on the counter, the cake towered
higher than the bottom of the cupboards. Each layer was covered with a layer
of marzipan. A heavy cake of raisins, candied fruit, and nuts ached to be
eaten. Icing ribbons decorated the side; fresh orange blossoms and tiny
white, yellow and orange rosebuds had been placed with care on top of each
“You and that Mac seem to be
getting along quite well,” Locke said, nudging Carling.
Ailen gave a shy smile and
turned her back to the others.
“We’d better get breakfast
going first. There’s several dozen people here. Open that refrigerator,”
Ackley said. “I’ll never get over this. Something that keeps things cold.
Hand me some eggs.”
They worked hard all morning
preparing a breakfast feast for the guests and family.
After the morning meal, King
Rolfin asked Johnny and Mairi to follow him to his room. Fiona kicked Elspet
and Callum under the table. “I wonder what he wants.” Callum chuckled.
“He’s probably going to give
them a present for their wedding and doesn’t want everyone else, especially
his wives,” Elspet said, turning her head and looking in the direction of
the twelve women, “seeing what he’s giving them.”
Fiona’s gaze went there too.
“I’m sure they’ll love anything he gives them. I’ll get Mum to tell me
later.” She shoved another pancake into her mouth. “I must tell Locke that
she did a good job on the pancakes. I actually had to show her how to make
them. She’d never heard of pancakes. If they’re going to live in our time,
they have to learn to cook pancakes.”
“And waffles. I nearly died
laughing when Carling made toast. When the bread popped out, she fell on her
bottom.” Elspet laughed. “It’s going to take them a while to get used to
Fiona had just finished her
orange juice when Johnny, Mairi and King Rolfin came back down. Mairi was
smiling and holding Johnny’s hand. She sat across from Fiona. “Mum, what did
he give you?”
Mairi’s cheeks turned red as
she whispered to her daughter across the table. “A bed.”
“A bed? Is it pretty?” Fiona
saw her mum’s discomfort.
“Mum, are you embarrassed? Don’t be. You will be married to Johnny. You’ll
share a bed. Sheesh, Mum. This isn’t the Middle Ages.”
“It’s beautiful, Fiona,” Johnny said. “Its frame is
wooden and carved with green men, oak leaves, ivy, castles, dragons and all
that sort of thing. He’s arranging to have it taken over to the house in
“But that’s not been fixed up yet, has it?” Fiona had a
quizzical look on her face.
“Surprise! The wizards redecorated that house too. I’ve
not seen it yet and they’ve not told me what it looks like, only that we’d
be happy,” Mairi said.
“That’s great, Mum. A new bed. I suppose that’s a
customary gift back in his time,” Fiona said.
“Kegan and Sarmantha gave us feather comforters,
pillows, silk sheets and all the bedding we need for the rest of our lives.
They’re monogrammed too. I’ve not seen anything, but it’s all waiting for us
at the other house. Fiona, just so you know, I had all of our things taken
from our house and moved to the new one. I let Ailen, Ackley, Locke and
Carling have the house. I hope you don’t mind. They’ll take care of the bees
and the gardens.” Mairi reached for Fiona’s hand.
“I don’t mind, Mum. That was kind of you to give that to
them. I’m sure they’ll love it.” Fiona squeezed her mum’s hand and then
pulled hers back.
“Don’t run off. There’s
more.” Mairi pulled a necklace from inside her dress. “Sarmantha gave me
“Holy cow, Mum. That must be
worth a zillion dollars. Is it made from real diamonds?” Fiona gulped.
“Yes, they’re real. So are
the pearls. The pearls come from the waters around Tahiti. She wanted to
give me something to match my dress.”
“That matches.” Fiona
“Wait till you see the
tiara. It matches this too. I’m going to feel like a real princess.” Mairi
felt herself getting choked up. “This is all so surreal.” She kissed Johnny
on the cheek. “Fiona, I’ve got something else to show you, but it can wait
till later. Now you can run along, you three. Stay out of mischief and don’t
wander too far.”
“We won’t get into mischief,
Mrs. McAllister. Did you see what Jack and Jimmy built? They made bridges
that go from the ground on both sides of the loch so that people from both
Inverdrochit and Inveralba can cross the bridges to Castle Athdara. They
stayed up all night doing it. Let’s go and check them out.” Callum’s eyes
“Bridges? Cool.” Fiona,
Elspet and Callum excused themselves from the table and ran out to see what
was going on.