In the Name of the King (AU/CC/Mature) 7/19/12 COMPLETE

Finished stories set in an alternate universe to that introduced in the show, or which alter events from the show significantly, but which include the Roswell characters. Aliens play a role in these fics. All complete stories on the main AU with Aliens board will eventually be moved here.

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Re: In the Name of the King (AU/CC/Mature) Ch 104 7/6/12 p12

Post by Cardinal » Sat Jul 07, 2012 1:52 pm

Chapter 105

The Princess Bride
Liz tossed and turned, desperately hoping to snatch a few hours of sleep before she had to rise for the start of a very long day. But her mind was racing, thinking over the intricate plans for the wedding, from an early morning breakfast with her bridesmaids, through the wedding, and on and on, right until the moment Max was to take over and lead them to their new home.

The only thing Liz was truly worried about was the weather, which Max had told her was notoriously changeable in the capital city, especially during the fall. She didn’t know how late it was at the moment, except that she felt sure it was closer to morning than to bedtime, when she heard a short, sharp click on her bedroom window. She had no idea what the noise was, as there wasn’t a storm outside, but as she disregarded the click and began to drift off again, there came another click. She half-rolled in her bed, and stared at the window now, waiting to see if there would be yet another click. Once is an accident, Liz thought, and twice is a coincidence, but a third time…


That’s it. Someone’s making that happen. What an inconsiderate ass!
She wondered if she should ring her bell and have one of her chambermaids refer this matter to the nighttime commander of her father’s household guards, but then she decided to handle the matter herself, hoping to end things more quickly so she could get back to chasing sleep.

Liz sat up, pushed her coverings off, and clambered out of bed before peering through the bedroom curtains of her spacious bedroom and into the garden beyond. What she expected to see was someone who’d gotten drunk a day ahead of the big wedding celebrations and had somehow snuck into her family’s private gardens. What she saw was another matter entirely. Instead of finding a random person standing in the garden, she saw a very familiar-looking young man dressed all in black, and who was bouncing a pebble in the palm of his hand as if weighing whether or not he needed to throw another.

Liz threw open the double-paned double door of glass and wood that led out to her third-floor balcony, and stuck her head and shoulders out so she could wave to draw the man’s attention. Once he noticed her, he trotted over to stand beneath her balcony, and she said quietly, “Max! What on Earth are you doing out there?”

“I was restless,” Max admitted, “and…I needed to see you one more time before the sun rises, and everything spins out of our control.”

Liz smiled widely upon hearing Max’s confession. “See me?”

“Yes, see you.”

“Give me a few moments.” As Liz made her way across the room to where a thick, ankle-length blue robe was laid out next to her bed, across the back of a comfy armchair, she smiled again, pleased to know her beloved Max was just as worked up about the wedding as she was. Once she had wrapped the robe around her pale blue nightgown and belted it closed, she padded back across the room and slipped out onto her balcony. Liz grinned, as she said, “You know, Max, a lady does not let just any man see her like this.”

“I know. I am fully aware of the honor you do me,” Max replied, as he drank in the sight of her robe-shrouded form.

Liz leaned forward just a bit and rested her forearms on the balcony’s marble balustrade. “You know Father will be irate if you are caught here.”

“Well then, keep whispering, and he will never hear us.”

“What about the household guards?”

Max gave a conspiratorial glance to the left and the right before looking back at Liz. “Rumor has it the guards will be watching just the front of this mansion for the next few minutes.”

Liz took that as her key to quit asking questions and proceed to say what was on her mind. “So, why did you need to see me, Max? Forget what I look like already?”

“I just wanted to let you know how much I love you one last time, man to woman, before Mother’s carefully scripted wedding plan takes over tomorrow.” Max dropped his remaining pebbles, and rubbed the dirt from his hands as he smiled helplessly at her.

She stared back at him, eagerly awaiting what he had to say. As far as she was concerned, the words ‘I love you’ would never get old, not as long as they were coming from him. But whatever Max had planned to say had fled his mind the moment he took in her earnest smile and the adorably fluffy robe that hid her from view. He just stood there, drinking in the sight of the woman with whom he would spend the rest of his life.

Ninety years,” he said in a ‘how could I be so lucky?’ tone of voice; he had spoken very softly though, as he hadn’t meant to voice that particular thought, but Liz heard him anyway. It took her a moment to realize what that comment alluded to, but once she did, her eager smile grew, becoming something that made Max hot under the collar.

“Ninety years,” she said a bit more loudly, her tone agreeing completely with his. “Pretty amazing, is it not? I am eighteen, you are twenty, and we have another ninety years to be together.”

Max nodded slowly. “Yes, and if the next ninety years are anything like the first year and a half…”

Liz finished his thought, “…we wll be the luckiest couple ever.”

Max was in the process of adding to that, when he heard the guards coming back and hurried to excuse himself before he got caught. “I love you.” He blew her a kiss, which she ‘caught’ with both hands before cradling it against her chest. “I need to go.”

Liz could hear her father’s men coming, too. “I know.” She quickly blew Max a kiss of her own. “I love you, too.”

Max caught her kiss, held it to his heart, gave her a deep, courtly bow, and disappeared, as if he’d never been there. Liz slipped back into the mansion just as the guards came into view around the corner of the building. It wouldn’t do for them to see her, both because it would make her father wonder what she was doing on her balcony at that time of the morning, and because she didn’t want to cause trouble for the officer who had made this brief meeting possible.

After their brief but exciting meeting, sleep wasn’t soon in coming for either Liz or Max. Compounding that lack of sleep was the fact that both of them were woken up early by ruthless servants who knew the prince and his lady had tightly calculated schedules to keep.

Liz dressed quickly and went downstairs, where she was hosting a breakfast for all of the women who were standing up with her today at the wedding. It was the last chance any of them would get to relax before the wedding was over. The breakfast meeting was also a means to make sure all of the women were up and ready to begin the laborious dressing process.

The list of women officially waiting on Liz today was longer than ever, as not only were her ladies-in-waiting involved, but so were her sisters and Princess Isabel. Maria was the last one downstairs, but that hadn’t been her fault. When Tess had teased her eldest sister about being late, Maria had blushed slightly, but her only explanation had been to grumble something about how it would be Tess’s turn soon enough to learn about being married.

The conversation at the table was excited and light-hearted; Maria was the oldest one present, along with being the only married woman of the group. Some of the girls wanted to talk about how romantic the day was going to be, while the more adventurous girls speculated about what would happen after the wedding. Liz blushed furiously at such talk, until being rescued by Maria, who told everyone to shut up about sex unless they’d actually had some. Of course, she ruined that moment by turning on Liz and telling her all sorts of stories that made her blush as furiously as before.

While Liz was embarrassed by the public nature of Maria’ comments, at least she was now armed with fresh information from someone she trusted implicitly. At least, Liz thought, I know a little bit more of what to expect now once Max and I are alone. When she finally managed to shush Maria into silence, she had her own topic of conversation. Making sure none of the servants were in the room, Liz told her girls about Max’s brief late night visit. She had her attendants sighing at how romantic he was, all except for Maria, who still wasn’t the [/I]biggest[/I] fan of mushy stuff, and Isabel, who couldn’t quite believe her brother was capable of something that sweet.

The funny thing about the so-called breakfast was that no one ate more than a small slice of fresh bread with butter and honey. That was because the women knew they would be wearing the tightest, most constricting corsets of their lives today, and would need every extra ounce of space they could get. As for drinks, no one had more than a single cup of tea or coffee, as none of them could afford a bladder issue once they reached the cathedral.

When the women ended their breakfast and headed upstairs to begin preparations, Liz pulled Maria aside, thanked her for rescuing her from being embarrassed, and then asked her why she’d then taken it upon herself to continue the embarrassment herself.

“Easy,” Maria said casually, “anyone who wants to mess with my little sister has to go through me first.” Then she smirked. “But messing with you is - as your older sister - my job.”

Liz just rolled her eyes as they continued their trip upstairs to get ready. “So, no one is allowed to give me a hard time except for family?”

“Now you have got it.”

As Liz and Maria were walking upstairs, Max and his guys were back in the winter palace, just rolling out of bed. They got extra sleep time solely because it was going to take them much less time to get ready. They had no clothes that required tight wrapping, and thus could well afford to stuff themselves full of sausages, eggs, breakfast pastries, and various fruits from the first of the fall harvest.

The one thing Max had been required to do for the wedding was to choose his escorts - his groom’s men. And since he didn’t have a coterie of attendants following his every move, he’d had a lot more slots to fill on his own. Twelve to be exact, as he’d needed to match Liz’s nine ladies-in-waiting, plus Isabel, Maria, and Tess. Most of his choices had been from the pool of young Alemanian nobles he’d known growing up. But court watchers had been surprised with a few of his picks, as he’d chosen King Alexander of Anglia and Prince Kyle of Krakovia as two of his groom’s men, and had chosen Baron Michael of Roswell as his best man.

When the meal was done, and the dishes were cleared away, the men went outside in the royal gardens for a walk while their meal settled. The gardens were in their last bloom of color before the leaves began to turn and the plants prepared for winter. Most of that walk involved the married men giving the crown prince lots of conflicting - and usually hilarious - advice on how to please his soon-to-be wife in bed. Every time an unmarried man tried to enter the conversation, Max responded with a sharp retort questioning the man’s lack of experience, but he took the ribbing from the married men with relative good grace.

While Max was getting his unsolicited and completely useless marital advice from his guys, Liz’s skin had just finished being scrubbed to a state of glowing, pink perfection; then she had been sheathed in layer after layer of shifts and underskirts. Now, two older chambermaids were working together to cinch her already slender torso into an even more narrow corset. Most corsets used whalebone stays to give the garment its needed rigidity, and there were more of them on this corset than Liz had ever had before, as the royal dressmakers had been ordered to make her wedding dress extra narrow in the waist, to create the illusion of a more curvaceous figure.

Liz wasn’t the driving force behind the extra-narrow bodice on her wedding dress, as she knew Max loved her just the way she was, but she had given in to her soon-to-be mother-in-law a long time ago on most issues regarding the wedding, as it wasn’t just a private wedding, but also a major state occasion. And in any case, Liz did privately admit that it would be nice to have the appearance of rounder hips and a slightly larger chest, even if for only one day.

Other servants worked on her hair, brushing it out until it gleamed in the morning light that streamed into the room. The hair was then pulled up and back in a pommel, before the rest was loosely curled and allowed to fall down her back in a chocolate cascade.

All in all, Liz’s maids took more than three hours getting her ready. The last things put on were her wedding gown, the lace mantilla that covered her head, and her velvet slippers. She had seen the dress several times as the royal dressmakers had put her through fitting after fitting after fitting, but for this occasion, nothing short of perfection was acceptable, to either the dressmakers, the queen, or Liz herself, so she had willingly gone through the lengthy process. And now, everyone else was going to get to see the result.

But not until Liz got the first look in her full-length mirror.

“Oh…my…God.” She had seen the dress in pieces as it was fitted to her, but never on her as a complete whole. “I have never worn white before.” Liz said mostly to herself.

“Of course you haven’t, Lady Elizabeth,” her most senior chambermaid replied briskly. “No one is allowed to wear white unless they’re in the royal family or are joining it.”

Liz knew that already, but she wasn’t really listening to her maid at the moment. Her focus was on the woman she saw in the mirror, and on the man she was about to marry. “I have never been this beautiful before.” Then she smiled radiantly. “I cannot wait for Max to see me like this.”

By the time she cautiously made her way down the wide stairway to the mansion’s large foyer - with two maids following behind to handle the train - all of the rest of the women were ready and waiting.

As Liz came into view, a collective ‘ooh and ahh’ arose from below. Her dress was a glorious confection of lace and silk - all in royal white - and the style suited her perfectly. The wide, square neckline showed a bit of cleavage in front and smooth shoulder blades in back, while the puffy, gathered short sleeves with their lace trim seemingly broadened her shoulders and added to the artificial shoulder-to-waist taper caused by the super-tight corset she had on under the bodice of that dress. And that bodice, which was oh so tight to squeeze in Liz’s tummy and push up her breasts to give her some cleavage, was thickly covered with the most intricate Adriatic lace.

The dress was completed with the outer skirt, which was a curtain of pleats, and its attendant train, both made of pure, gleaming silk. The outer skirt and the train were heavily pearl encrusted, with thread-of-silver embroidery around the edges of the train in a pattern that echoed the Adriatic lace on the bodice.

The twelve young women crowded in around Liz as much as they could without actually touching her gown, and the next several minutes were spent in excited chatter as everyone offered her their heartfelt congratulations on her gown. The last one to speak before the women headed outside to begin climbing into their carriages for the ride to the cathedral was Maria. She couldn’t hug her sister for worry of ruining her look, but that didn’t matter. “Liz, you look great. Poor Max will not know what hit him.”

While the women were entering their carriages for the procession to the cathedral, Max and his escort were already well underway. He was dressed in his most formal uniform. The jacket was white, double-breasted with gold buttons and a high, stiff black collar which was thickly covered with thread-of-gold embroidery. On top of the jacket were golden shoulder boards which ran from his neck to the tops of his shoulders, where they were capped off with golden epaulets. A loop of thick, white cord ran around his left shoulder to signify his membership on the army’s General Staff, and a golden belt cinched the coat at his natural waist. Last but not least was a heavy chain of gem-encrusted solid gold medallions which hung from one shoulder, down across the middle of his chest, up to the other shoulder, down to the middle of his back, and back up to the first shoulder to complete a loop. The chain was part of his regalia as the crown prince and was only worn on the most formal of occasions.

Max’s pants were much more subdued, being white with a black-edged golden stripe down the outside seam on each leg. The pants disappeared just below the knee, where they disappeared into the mirror-like shine of his glossy black riding boots.

And while Liz would be riding in a gilded carriage, Max was riding on the back of a pure white stallion, with his best man, groom’s men, and a heavy escort of knights from the royal household guard right behind him as his horse clattered his way over the cobblestones that led from the main palace gate to the cathedral square.

No one tried to talk during the few miles they had to cover, as the streets were lined at least twenty deep with loudly cheering city folk who were eager for a glimpse of their prince and his entourage as they passed by. And to keep those people from getting too close, a cordon comprised of tens of thousands of halberd-wielding soldiers lined the edges of the processional route. The soldiers here came from both the King’s Legion - which Phillip had spent much of the summer rebuilding - and from Max’s own Borussian army.

Max and his men were already dismounting just in front of the main steps leading up to the cathedral by the time Liz and her lengthy train were carefully loaded into the last of thirteen carriages, and her procession got underway. The men lined up on the steps, with Max on the top, Michael on the next step down, and so on, as they awaited the arrival of the bridal procession.

The crowd noise from the throngs around the cathedral square settled to a dull roar once the prince and his escort took their places on the steps, but they could tell when Liz’s procession drew close because of the steadily growing wave of noise from the direction of her father’s mansion. That route was also lined with soldiers of the King’s Legion, and each of the thirteen carriages was escorted by knights from the girls’ respective families, and riding right beside each carriage was either the girls’ fathers, or eldest brothers, all in their finest uniforms.

As the growing wave of noise reached a crescendo, the first carriage seemingly popped out of its street and into the square, and headed directly for a specially positioned mounting block. Only one carriage at a time entered the square, and as that carriage stopped with its door positioned exactly next to the mounting block, the male relative chosen for escort duty dismounted from his horse and helped the lady out of her carriage and down the steps of the mounting block.

Once the lady was on solid ground, two royal servants rushed in to make sure her skirt was hanging just so, and then the lady was escorted across the square to the foot of the cathedral steps, where her escort handed her off to a groom’s man who offered her his arm and then walked with her up the steps and into the cathedral itself. When the first lady disappeared inside the cathedral, the next one in line was just stepping down out of her carriage for her walk. This process repeated itself over and over, with each woman receiving her share of shouts and nods of approval from the huge crowd.

Finally, the tenth carriage arrived, and Tess stepped out. Golden-haired, and with a golden dress to match, she felt like she was floating on a cloud as she walked with Jeffrey across the square. “I still cannot believe this is really happening, Daddy,” Tess said as they walked across the expansive square. “Liz is going to be an actual princess.”

“And our next queen,” Jeffrey replied. “I pinch myself every few days to make sure I am not dreaming.” Then he looked down at his youngest and wondered how long it would be until her turn came.

When they finally reached the cathedral steps, Prince Kyle was waiting. Jeffrey handed Tess over to the prince and hurried back to the mounting block, because Maria was next after Princess Isabel. Kyle offered Tess his arm, along with giving her a warm smile.

“Ready?” Kyle asked.

Tess matched his smile with one just as sunny. “For this? Oh yes. Let us get in there and see what it looks like when a Lady Parker marries a prince.”

Kyle shook his head, then shot back, as they headed up the steps, “Maybe that knowledge will come in handy someday.”

Isabel was next, coming to a stop in a gleaming royal carriage. She wasn’t escorted by Phillip, as he was already inside the cathedral in the royal box, and obviously Max was otherwise occupied, so she was being escorted across the square by a second cousin, who wasn’t quite used to the excitement of the capital. He much preferred the solitude of his family’s tobacco fields, but the queen had asked, and no one said no to the throne.

“Come on, Jesse, just get me across the square and your torture will be over,” Isabel said. She knew exactly how much her cousin liked this, but they had needed someone, and he cut a dashing figure in his uniform, so he had been ‘requisitioned’ by the queen.

When Jesse handed off Isabel to King Alexander and made his escape from the public eye, Alex used his head to gesture to the huge, boisterous crowd and all of the preparations that had gone into this day. “Getting any ideas, Isabel?”

Isabel took one more look around, and replied, “Tons of them.”

“Hmm…maybe we could have a quick wedding in the palace chapel once we return to Anglia. Or maybe we could do the job here.”

Isabel smiled to the crowd and retorted, “I do not know who you will be marrying then, because it will not be me.”

Alex chuckled and walked up the steps with Isabel just as Maria was being helped out of her carriage by her father. Once she was safely on the smooth stonework of the square, Jeffrey said, “So, how are you and Michael holding up with all of this hoopla?”

“We are doing surprisingly well,” Maria said. “Michael’s been treating this visit to the capital as one big lark.”

Max and Michael were watching Maria and Jeffrey approach, and listening to the growing roar from the crowds along the street as the last, and grandest, carriage rolled closer to the cathedral. Just as Maria and Jeffrey reached the steps for the handoff, the crowd surrounding the square exploded. Max looked up and saw the immense gilded carriage roll into the square.

Jeffrey kissed his daughter on the cheek and handed her off to her husband before turning to hurry back for Liz. Michael offered his arm to Maria, and then took a look at Jeffrey walking quickly across the square, before turning himself and Maria toward an obviously eager Max.

“You don’t really mean to make that old man go all the way out there again to do something you plainly want to do yourself,” Michael asked, “do you?”

Max rubbed his face with one hand, and spoke to Michael without allowing his eyes to wander from Liz’s carriage. “Well, Mother would…”

“Your mother’s inside the cathedral, well behind you. Your bride is right there in front of you.” When Max hesitated, Michael said, “Go get her.”

Max took off at a quick trot, and caught Jeffrey before he made it halfway across the square. Tapping the older man on the shoulder, Max said, “If you do not mind, Jeffrey, I would like to take this one.”

Jeffrey’s first reaction was to insist on walking his girl this one last time before she was no longer his, but then he realized she hadn’t truly been his for quite some time. He turned to Max, clapped him on the shoulder, and said, “Go on. She has been yours for quite a while. It is time to make the obvious official.” Max grinned and started to turn away, but Jeffrey stopped him. His eyes were a bit watery now, and Max noticed the change immediately. “Please take care of my girl.”

Looking as serious as Jeffrey was, Max replied, “I will.”

Impulsively, Jeffrey threw himself forward and gave his soon-to-be son-in-law a fierce hug, before breaking away and walking back to the cathedral. Max watched the man go for just a moment, before turning to the carriage that had just come to a stop next to the mounting block. He ran the rest of the way to be standing there when the footman opened the door and Liz came into view.

As Liz rose from her seat and ducked out the door of the carriage, the two maids who’d managed to squeeze their way inside the carriage, along with Liz and her dress, dealt with her train. And when Liz came into view, the crowd roar reached new heights of insanity, but that didn’t matter to Liz, because there waiting for her was not her father. Instead, wearing a white royal uniform, was Max.

Liz was surprised to see him, but Max was utterly blown away as Liz took his hand and gingerly made her way down the steps to the surface of the cathedral square, with her train and the two maids coming behind her. He saw shimmering silk, intricate lace, finely detailed thread-of-silver embroidery, and pearls studding her train like stars in the sky.

But none of that matched the woman who was wearing it all. She had a lace mantilla covering her head and hair, but while the mantilla hid her head, her dress accentuated each and every curve she had, making him aware of her body like never before. His mouth was suddenly bone dry, and not from nerves; this reaction was caused by nothing but pure desire.

“White truly suits you, Liz,” Max breathed.

“What are you doing here?” Liz asked, as she looked around furtively for any sign of her father.

“I am sorry, Liz. I have been going crazy inside all morning, and I could not wait another second to see you.”

“Really? You just had to see me?” Liz thought she was going to melt.

“And now that I see you…” he gulped and tried to gather his composure. “You are so beautiful…staggeringly gorgeous really. I cannot believe you are mine.”

“You think so?” Liz asked, as if she couldn’t quite believe it. Inside her mind, though, she was turning cartwheels.

“Oh yes. I am going to remember the way you looked when you stepped out of that carriage for the rest of my life.”

Liz’s smile rivaled the sun at that moment. If no one else made a single positive comment today about how she looked, the hours of preparation would still have all been worth it. “And you…standing here looking like every little girl’s dream of what a prince should be…I am so lucky.”

Max offered Liz his left arm, and she gladly looped her right one through it. “Come on, Liz, let us get inside before Mother gets worried and sends a search party.”

“Wherever you go, Max, I will follow.”
"In the Name of the King"
-----Winner, Round 15 - Favorite Lead Portrayal of Liz Parker
-----Winner, Round 15 - Best Use of a Supporting Character (Jeff Parker)
-----Winner, Round 15 - Best New Fic
-----Winner, Round 15 - Best Period Fanfiction

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Re: In the Name of the King (AU/CC/Mature) Ch 105 7/7/12 p13

Post by Cardinal » Sun Jul 08, 2012 7:55 pm

Most of the service itself was taken from three different websites: Catholic Wedding Help, Weddings, and a bit from Wikipedia.

* * * * * * * * * *

Chapter 106

From This Moment On
Arms linked together, Max and Liz turned toward the cathedral, with her two maids still handling the train of her dress. But as soon as Liz’s attention was caught by the gray stone of the cathedral, she stopped, which brought Max to a stop beside her. Curious, he asked her if something was wrong, but she just stood there, drinking it all in: the clear blue skies and bright sun, the soaring stone spires of the cathedral, the cheering throngs lining the edge of the cathedral square, the smartly attired soldiers holding back those same throngs, and most of all, the devastatingly handsome man at her side.

Liz wasn’t like Tess. She hadn’t dreamed of being a princess for most of her life like her younger sister, but she had dreamed of what her wedding would be like. She’d come up with a number of different scenarios over the years, but none of those dreams had prepared her for this. How could they? This was far beyond the wildest imaginings of a girl who’d never been more than a hundred miles from her home until her family had left Roswell and headed out of the country.

Finally, she answered her prince. “Everything is perfect, Max: the weather, the cathedral,” then she looked up into his chiseled face and beamed, “and most especially you.”

“The weather would not dare be anything less than perfect today,” Max smiled. “Even Mother Nature knows it better not mess with Mother. Thanks to hordes of workers, the cathedral is cleaner now than it was when it was brand new,” he reached over and squeezed her hand briefly, “and as for me, I have been yours for a very long time.”

With two hearts beating as one, two minds thinking in unison, Liz and Max began their slow march toward the cathedral and their shared destiny, taking time to wave to the crowds as they went.

“If your mother is so formidable,” Liz asked, “then why did you break from her plan so you could come get me yourself? Hmm?”

“How could I not?” Max replied. “From the moment your carriage entered the square, I knew I wanted to be with you to start our life together as soon as possible. Then Michael gave me just enough encouragement to convince me to go. And I am glad I did. After all, this is our day, not Mother’s.”

When the Max, Liz, and the two maids handling her train reached the steps to the cathedral, the young couple quit waving to the crowd and ascended the steps. Liz took slow, careful steps to keep from stepping on her hem of her dress, and when they reached the top, the huge, intricately-carved, bronze-sheathed doors were being held open wide and they eagerly strode inside.

The cathedral had a spacious foyer, which was convenient at this moment for organizing all thirteen couples before they began the procession down the nave of the cathedral to the dais itself. And doing the organizing was the royal seneschal, whose job was to organize the business of the throne room and other formal events. This day, he had the first twelve couples in line. When Max and Liz came inside, he gave the prince a sour look as if to say, ‘Finally!’ but what he did was usher the prince and his bride to their place at the end of the line, and said, “Now that we are all here, we can begin.”

The seneschal gestured with one hand, and the inner doors, which opened onto the nave, were pushed open. He then called out softly for the first couple to go and they began to walk down the aisle, arm-in-arm, at a slow, measured pace.

The pews in the cathedral were jam-packed with well-connected guests from all over Alemania and around the world, and all of them turned to face the doors as they opened. Those people closest to the wide central aisle merely looked back, while those seated to well to either side craned their necks, hoping to improve their views as the first couple made their way down the length of the nave.

As that first couple moved down the aisle, an a cappella song washed down from the choir loft at the rear of the cathedral, just above the newly opened doors. The strong, clear voices of the choir filled the otherwise silent cathedral with a radiant warmth. And as the first couple reached the halfway mark, the seneschal started the next couple.

The slow-moving procession could have been boring, but for most of those in attendance, it only served to build the anticipation. One finely attired couple after another reached the front of the nave and separated, the women going to the left and the men to the right. The first couple moved far apart and stayed a good distance back from the dais. The next couple separated a step closer to the dais, and didn’t move quite so far apart. On and on it went like that, with each succeeding couple helping form a wide, shallow arrowhead to point Liz and Max to their appointment with destiny.

Out in the foyer, they were down to the last four couples, and Tess was nervously bouncing on her toes as she waited with Kyle for their turn to walk down the aisle. Kyle, Alex, and Isabel were all veterans of this sort of event and were taking the wait much more easily. Michael and Maria weren’t paying attention to much of anything besides each other at the moment, even though their only communications were with their eyes, and the touch of Michael’s hand on the small of Maria’s back.

Meanwhile, Max and Liz contented themselves by watching their line of escorts dwindle. As Tess and Kyle stepped off on cue, leaving just two more pairs to go before it was their turn, Liz took note of her sister’s excitement and nerves. “Are you nervous, Max?” she whispered.

Max held up his hands, both of which were steady as rocks and then dropped them back to his sides. “I thought I would be,” he whispered in reply, “but then I realized I am marrying you, so what do I have to be nervous about?”

Liz leaned in and hugged Max’s arm before linking their arms again. “You know just what to say.”

Alex and Isabel were next, and just before they were sent down the aisle, Isabel looked back at her beloved brother, puckered her lips, and then blew him a kiss before flashing him a radiant smile. Max smiled back at her and then turned his gaze to the only other couple left. It was easy to see just how much in love Michael and Maria were, even after six months’ marriage; it was something for Liz and him to aspire to, something they both meant to have, long after six months had passed in their own marriage.

Maria would have hugged Liz before taking her turn walking down the aisle, but she didn’t want to risk messing up Liz’s gown, so she contented herself with saying, “I will see you down front in a few minutes, Liz. Do not keep us waiting.”

Michael just nodded his head once at Max, and then the seneschal was sending him and Maria into the nave for the long, slow walk to the front. And now, Max and Liz were the last ones left. They looked deeply into each other’s eyes and smiled uncontrollably as they realized their life together would start in a mere handful of minutes. The seneschal didn’t want to intrude on their moment, but it was his job to keep them on schedule. But unlike the others in the bridal party, Max and Liz had some extra time as they were not supposed to begin their walk down the aisle when the couple in front of them reached the halfway point. No, being the bride and groom, they were to wait until Michael and Maria reached the front of the cathedral so every eye would be fixed on them.

And then, at long last, it was time.

The choir fell silent and a hush fell over the cathedral as the doors were closed again so that Max and Liz could move into position. Once they were squarely in front of the doors, Liz’s two maids carefully straightened her train and then took their positions behind her, ready to help out just in case. Then, the doors were pulled open a second time, allowing Max and Liz to begin their slow walk down the aisle. As they took their first steps onto the gold-embroidered red runner that stretched from the doors to just short of the dais, the choir started up again, this time with a song composed just for this moment, and everyone craned their necks to get a look at the couple they’d all come to see.

Tall, broad-shouldered, and devastatingly handsome, Prince Maximilian was the very image of manly excellence in his gold-trimmed white uniform and gleaming black, knee-high boots. But as handsome as he was, the focus of nearly every eye was Lady Elizabeth Parker. From the white lace mantilla that covered her face and flowing tresses, to the form-fitting, lace-covered bodice, and ending with the flowing skirt and the truly enormous pearl-studded and thread-of-silver-embroidered train, she was a vision to behold.

What happened next was completely unexpected, and with every eye on the bride and groom, it went quite unnoticed for several seconds.

King Phillip, Queen Diana, and Lady Irilta were sitting in the royal box - which was up by the dais along the right-hand wall, raised well up off the floor level and parallel to the nave - but with everyone looking the other direction, it took a while for anyone to notice when the king rose to his feet and stayed there, watching his son and his soon-to-be daughter walking down the aisle.

But people did finally notice, and they stood too, as no one sat when the king was standing, unless he directed otherwise. And so, the people in the church pews stood, like a ripple spreading out on the surface of a still pond. Max and Liz were surprised as the wave of standing guests surrounded and then passed them, but they kept on walking, with his glossy black boots matching her white velvet slippers stride for stride.

The closer to the front they got, the more important the guests were, until they started passing princes, princesses, royal ambassadors, and other high-ranking visitors. And then, the guests started to pass from view, revealing more and more of their bridal party spread out in the shallow arrowhead. But unlike the other couples, Max and Liz didn’t separate; they just kept on walking right to the dais and the two prie-dieux waiting there for them. The choir’s song stopped then, and the king took his seat, followed by the rest of the wedding guests.

The prie-dieux were gilded with white, velvet- covered cushions on the kneelers and armrests, and as Max helped Liz to kneel on hers, her maids tugged gently on her train, arranging it perfectly behind her before walking up to her and carefully folding back her lace mantilla so her face was in view. Then they slipped off to their unobtrusive seats on the far ends of the front row. With the privileged views these two maids were going to have, they were the envy of the household staff. Once Liz was situated on her prie-dieu, Max took his spot to her right, sank his knees into the kneeler and placed his forearms on the armrest.

Everything was ready. The moment had arrived.

The elderly archbishop moved forward to stand behind the intricately carved marble pulpit, which stood just on top of the dais directly in front of the prie-dieux. When he reached the pulpit and spread out his materials on its tilted work surface, what little buzz there was in the cathedral stopped as everyone strained to hear. As for the archbishop’s appearance, he was resplendent in his formal red robes and his pointed, heavily brocaded miter, which sprouted from his head like another of the cathedral’s majestic spires, serving to make the man look ever more stately and grand. But then the archbishop opened the Holy Book and smiled. It was a transforming smile, turning a look that was stately and grand into grandfatherly and warm. That smile soothed both Liz and Max, and helped them release tension they hadn’t even known was there.

When the archbishop spoke, there was an opening prayer, then a first reading from the Holy Book, followed by a responsorial passage from the Holy Book, and then a second reading. The choir then sang a joyous hymn before a third and final reading from the Holy Book. He then set his book aside and launched into his homily, which was a short sermon designed to give a fuller understanding of the three readings. All three readings had been about marriage: one had covered the reasons for marriage, the next had talked about the duties and obligations of each person in the marriage, while the last had spoken of the joys to be found in a proper marriage.

Max thought it was a little bit strange to be lectured on marriage by an old man who had never been married in his entire life, while Liz was just hoping the elderly churchman had the stamina to make it through the whole service. But she needn’t have worried. And then, before they knew it, the homily was over.

It was time for marriage rite itself.

Max and Liz chanced a quick look at each other, and then each reached out a hand so she could slip hers into his. Most everyone who saw that sweet, romantic gesture smiled, even Queen Diana, but the archbishop just raised his eyebrows for a moment before continuing.

“Dearly beloved, we are gathered here today for a royal wedding between Crown Prince Maximilian Evans and Lady Elizabeth Parker, and the joining of the House of Evans with the House of Parker. And while taking the first step toward securing the next generation of royal heirs is something to be celebrated, there is something more important, more sacred happening here today: namely, the union of two hearts, two souls, two lives, before their God, and all of you who are here as witnesses. So for me here today, the crown prince and lady matter little; Max Evans and Elizabeth Parker mean everything.”

The archbishop paused a moment to let his point sink in. He was rather sure that the nobles gathered here - both foreign and domestic - needed a reminder that marriages were first and foremost about two people, as most of their marriages were alliances arranged by family heads, not love matches arranged by God. Then, the churchman turned his attention solely to Max and Liz. No one else existed for him from then on.

“My dear children,” the aged archbishop said, “I know your fathers have consented to this marriage, I have seen their contract on the matter, but now I have to know your thoughts.” He gazed at Max and then at Liz. “Maximilian and Elizabeth, have you come here of your own free will to give yourselves to each other in marriage?”

Max and Liz knew they were supposed to answer separately, but the temptation was strong for them to answer as one. Still, they managed to stick with the script, this time, as they answered.

“I have,” Max answered.

“So have I,” Liz said, before giving Max’s hand a firm squeeze.

The archbishop continued with his questioning. “Will you love and honor each other as husband and wife for the rest of your lives?”

“I will,” Max said confidently.

Liz’s answer matched his in word and confidence. “I will.”

The archbishop smiled slightly at that moment, as he wasn’t used to performing noble marriages where both halves of the future couple so plainly meant what they said when they answered him. These two truly are in love, he thought. Will wonders never cease?

“And finally, will you lovingly accept children from God and bring them up according to the laws of the Church?”

The word ‘children’ caused both Max and Liz to smile widely, and they both squeezed the other’s hand excitedly. This time, they did answer as one, as a couple might, even though they still weren’t married quite yet. “We will.”

Then the archbishop looked at their already linked hands and sighed. “This is normally where I would have you join hands…but as you have already taken care of that detail…” he cleared his throat, “since it is your intention to enter into marriage, it is time to declare your consent before your God and His Church.” He looked at Max. “Now repeat after me.”

“I, Maximilian, take you, Elizabeth Parker, to be my wife,” the archbishop read from a sheet of paper.

“I, Maximilian, take you, Elizabeth Parker, to be my wife,” Max replied. He felt so good to be saying those words that he felt like singing them.

“I promise to be true to you in good times and in bad, in sickness and in health.”

“I promise to be true to you in good times and in bad, in sickness and in health.”

The archbishop concluded with, “I will love you and honor you all the days of my life.”

“I will love you and honor you all the days of my life.”

The archbishop then turned his attention to Liz. “Repeat after me. I, Elizabeth Parker, take you, Maximilian, to be my husband.”

“I, Elizabeth Parker, take you, Maximilian, to be my husband.” The joy that Liz felt upon getting her chance to say those words knew no bounds; that was readily apparent to everyone in the cathedral who could hear her.

“I promise to be true to you in good times and in bad, in sickness and in health.”

“I promise to be true to you in good times and in bad, in sickness and in health.”

“I will love you and honor you all the days of my life,” as he concluded reading, the archbishop looked up at Liz and smiled, quite aware that the girl was on the verge of crying. Hold on just a few minutes longer, my lady.

“I will love you and honor you all the days of my life.”

“You have both declared your consent before the Church, May our God in his goodness strengthen your consent and fill you both with his blessings. What God has joined, let no man put asunder.”

The guests replied by saying, “Amen.”

“Now,” the archbishop asked, “may we have the rings?”

Michael was ready for his cue, and stepped forward to hand the archbishop the velvet-covered ring box that contained a matched set of platinum wedding rings, which had been made by the finest goldsmith in the kingdom.

“God, bless and consecrate Maximilian and Elizabeth in their love for each other. May these rings be a symbol of true faith in each other, and always remind them of their love.”

The guests once again replied, “Amen.”

The archbishop then stepped around the pulpit and stood directly in front of Max and Liz, who were still kneeling on their prie-dieux.

The archbishop offered the ring box to Max. This was the one moment where the side-by-side nature of their positioning was inconvenient. She twisted slightly and reached her left arm across her body. Max twisted also and released her right hand so he could hold her left hand. Max then lifted the smaller of the two rings out of the box and reverently slid it onto her ring finger.

“Take this ring as a sign of my love and fidelity. Just as the ring has no end, neither does my love for you.”

The box was then offered to Liz, as she clasped Max’s left hand with her right one, mostly to make this moment a little less awkward. She took the remaining ring and slipped it onto her beloved Max’s finger.

“Take this ring as a sign of my love and fidelity. From this moment on, I am yours.”

Author’s note: Use this link to access the song I listened to as I wrote this. It’s quite possibly the most perfect song for this moment. ... re=related

The archbishop closed the box and Michael stepped up once more to collect it. Then the archbishop resumed his spot behind the marble pulpit and led the guests in a prayer of the faithful, followed by the final blessing.

“Be appeased, O God, by our humble prayers, and in Your kindness assist this institution of marriage which You have ordained for the propagation of the human race; so that this union made here, joined by Your authority, may be preserved by Your help. Amen.”

And then it was over.

The archbishop came down once more, walked behind the prie-dieux this time, and helped Max and his bride to their feet. As they turned and faced the packed pews, with Liz’s train curling around the hem of her dress, the archbishop placed Liz’s left hand to Max’s right one, and said, “It is my very great honor and privilege to introduce to you, for the very first time, Maximilian and Elizabeth Evans.”

Liz started crying the moment she heard herself being called Elizabeth Evans for the first time. She couldn’t help it; she was just sooooo happy.

The archbishop stepped back and looked up at the groom. “Son, you may kiss your bride.”

Max didn’t need any further encouragement. He swept Liz into his powerful arms, lifting her off the floor and molding her body to his, before crashing his lips onto hers. Many kisses have been described as ‘passionate,’ but this kiss beggared the word of its meaning. Lips smacked, teeth grazed, tongues tangled, and hands itched to grope. Oxygen, that staple of life, was a distant memory, as the only thing they wanted to breathe in at the moment was each other.

A quick look showed happy, smiling faces all around, even over in the royal box, where it was a close contest as to whether Queen Diana or her mother had the largest smile. But what got to Max was the fact that his mother wasn’t just smiling, she was crying her eyes out. He couldn’t remember the last time he’d seen her cry, and he didn’t think he’d ever seen her cry happy tears before.

“I think you have converted the last of my parents, Liz,” Max whispered. “And none too soon, as you are now truly an Evans. My Evans.”

“As you are mine.”
"In the Name of the King"
-----Winner, Round 15 - Favorite Lead Portrayal of Liz Parker
-----Winner, Round 15 - Best Use of a Supporting Character (Jeff Parker)
-----Winner, Round 15 - Best New Fic
-----Winner, Round 15 - Best Period Fanfiction

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Re: In the Name of the King (AU/CC/Mature) Ch 106 7/8/12 p13

Post by Cardinal » Tue Jul 10, 2012 10:34 pm

Chapter 107

Princess Elizabeth Evans
Not willing to part, Max and Liz stayed pressed together, even as they both felt their faces flaming over such a public exhibition of their love.

“What do you say, my wife. Do you want to get out of here? I think there is a whole city waiting to celebrate with us.”

“Your wife,” Liz said, as she choked back a few tears, “it sounds even better than I had imagined. I cannot believe I am Elizabeth Evans.” As Max lowered Liz to her own feet, she added, “And yes, my husband, I think we should go. After all, we have one more ceremony to attend to before the parties can start.”

Max and Liz stood in place as her maids moved in to bring the tail of her train around behind her. Once the pearl and silver embellished train was in position, Max moved to a proper distance and formally offered Liz his arm, she just as formally linked her arm with his, and they headed back down the long center aisle to the foyer and the last part of the day’s ceremony which awaited them outside.

The moment the royal couple took their first steps together, the choir burst into song, but while their earlier offerings had been songs of warmth and love, this one was an explosion of joyous celebration. The onlookers reacted to the song, as expected, and rose to their feet as one, loudly cheering the young couple as they passed by.

The maids set Liz’s train into place as soon as she gained some distance from them, and then they followed after her, with their official witnesses coming after in reverse order of their entrance into the cathedral. So Michael and Maria were just behind the maids, with Alex and Isabel next, and so on, until the last couple left the cathedral. Then the onlookers were let out of their pews, one row at a time, to follow the bridal party out into the cathedral square.

But while the huge number of guests inside the cathedral began to file out behind them, Max and Liz weren’t waiting. They walked through the foyer without pause and headed out into the early afternoon sunlight. Waiting for them, from the doors to the cathedral down the steps to the waiting royal coach was a double line of knights of the Royal Household Guard. And as Max and Liz appeared in the doorway, the officer in charge of the knights voiced a crisp command, and as one they drew their swords, with opposite knights crossing their swords high in the air above the pathway between them, making an archway of steel for the newly married couple to walk under.

The formation of the archway was the first signal for most of the waiting throng that the prince and his bride were coming out. People stood on their toes and craned their necks in anticipation as they tried to see. And then, as Max and Liz made their way under the crossed swords and to the coach, a deafening roar went up from all sides of the square. The newlyweds stopped spontaneously to wave to the crowd before he helped her up into the front-facing rear seat of the immense open coach.

Once they were seated, and the maids had arranged Liz’s train, the driver snapped his reins and the eight-horse team set off at a walk. The coach was guided on a prearranged counter-clockwise loop around the square to give the assembled commoners a chance to view the prince and his brand new wife up close, while also allowing the mass of nobles and other lucky guests a chance to file out of the cathedral and take their places for the last ceremony of the day.

As the horses placidly walked along, pulling the coach behind them, Max and Liz waved at the crowd and smiled. “You notice something, Liz?” Max asked over the cheers of the crowd.

“No, what?” she replied.

“No more maids or ladies-in-waiting riding along to guard your honor from the ‘evil man’ who might try to despoil you.”

“Despoil me?” Liz said laughingly. “Since when do you talk like that, Max?”

Max chuckled as his lips descended on the side of Liz’s face, an act that drew an extra-loud roar from the crowd. She turned her face toward him and leaned back into his arms, all in a bid to get her lips onto his. He cradled her slender form with his thickly muscled arms, and those in the crowd who were close enough to see them marveled at the way they seemed to fit together so comfortably.

Meanwhile, the guests spilling out of the church were being arranged in wide, shallow arc all across the front of the cathedral. That arc was centered on a small, ornate stand that had been hurriedly assembled from pre-made parts during the wedding ceremony. A couple of wagons full of carefully labeled parts had been wheeled around front from a hiding place in back of the cathedral, and in minutes, a team of skilled craftsmen had transformed the parts into a small but elegant platform. Situated in front of the platform was another prie-dieu, which was just like the ones used during the wedding, except this one was of a simpler design.

As soon as the wedding guests had taken their places in the arc, four more liveried workers rolled out a sumptuous red velvet carpet that ran from the cathedral steps directly to the back of the small platform, as the platform faced away from the cathedral. Liz’s maids were waiting on either side of the single bench, and once the end of the red carpet was fixed in place and the workers left, everything was ready. All they needed now was for Max and Liz to finish their slow circuit of the square.

As the coach was brought to a stop, with Liz’s door mere feet away from the bench, a single, pure note was played on a horn. At that signal, King Phillip and Queen Diana solemnly walked side by side out of the front doors of the cathedral, with Princess Isabel a few steps behind them.

The Evanses weren’t just dressed in the same formal uniforms and dresses they’d had on inside, not for this. Now, Phillip wore a golden crown, studded with emeralds and rubies, and topped with a diamond the size of a robin’s egg. Diana wore a slightly smaller, slightly less ornate crown, and Isabel’s coronet was a simple circlet of gold which was embellished with a smattering of smaller jewels. Besides the gold and jewels adorning their heads, the one other addition to their clothing was a matched set of heavy white capes which were bordered in thread of gold, and had large, golden dragons embroidered in the center.

As soon as Phillip and family left the cathedral doors, Max stepped out of the coach and walked around to Liz’s door, helping her down from the coach and onto the smooth paving stones of the square. He then kissed her hard and fast, before leaving her to circle around to the back side of the platform, where servants were waiting to place a jeweled coronet on his head and drape a white and gold cape on his shoulders. And as his parents passed by, he joined the procession right next to his sister. Liz’s maids, meanwhile, had stepped forward and carefully arranged her train, so that when she walked to the bench, it straightened out behind her smoothly and easily.

And now the moment was at hand.

Liz and Max were married, but she had yet to be crowned and made a royal princess. That ceremony was much shorter and to the point than was the marriage ceremony, but it was just as traditional, and the Alemanian people wouldn’t do without it; they wanted to see her being crowned.

From Liz’s position in front of the bench, the other members of the Evans family were arrayed in a straight line. Max was on her left, looking down at her with all the love and admiration a man might be expected to have for his bride, while Phillip and Diana were next, with twin smiles on their faces, showing just how happy they were at this moment. Isabel was on the right end of the line, and she was looking with a bit of wonder at this new sister of hers. She’d always wanted a sister, and now, not only did she have one, but the new sister was an age-mate.

Phillip gestured to the seneschal, who signaled for a couple of servants to march in and stand side-by-side a few steps behind Liz. Each of the servants was carrying a piece of regalia for the ceremony on a gleaming white velvet pillow. As soon as the servants were in place, Phillip spoke, and the assembled multitude went quiet.

“We thank you all for being here today in Our capital city,” Phillip was speaking with now with a pronounced royal ‘We,’ “to help witness and celebrate the marriage of Our son, Prince Maximilian, to Lady Elizabeth Parker.” Phillip paused for as the crowd roared, and when they calmed down once more, he continued. “Now that Lady Elizabeth Parker has - with the sanction of God - become Lady Elizabeth Evans, it’s time for Us to raise her up from mere lady to princess royal.” That announcement, though no great news at this moment, still brought on another roar from the thousands who had managed to squeeze in around the square.

Phillip wasn’t used to being interrupted when he spoke, but today was a day for the entire kingdom to join in the festivities, and so he waited and smiled, and looked down at his new daughter. Liz hadn’t been nervous before, but each roar of the crowd, each pause, built up the coming moment more and more, and she was starting to feel some nerves.

Once the noise dropped off to a decent level, Phillip nodded his head, in response to which Max and Isabel stepped forward and walked down the few steps to the stone surface of the square. Then they walked over to the two servants, with Isabel standing next to the servant carrying another white and gold cape, and Max standing next to the servant whose pillow was carrying a golden coronet. Liz then knelt on the prie-dieu in front of her and waited.

Once her children were in position, Diana looked directly into Liz’s eyes. “I, Queen Diana, charge you, Lady Elizabeth Evans, with your duties as a royal princess: to think of the good of the kingdom in all that you do; to place the welfare of the kingdom above all else, including that of your new husband and of the king himself; and last, but not least, to produce royal heirs, so that the House of Evans may prosper and grow.

“Do you swear to accept this challenge, Lady Evans?”

Despite her growing nerves as she waited, once the moment for her to speak arrived, Liz performed as if no one was watching. She curtseyed low to the queen, and spoke loudly and clearly. “I do, Your Majesty.”

“Then welcome to the family, Daughter,” Diana said with a transforming smile on her face. “May you always be a credit to the kingdom and to the House of Evans.”

That was the signal for Isabel to lift the cape from the servant’s velvet pillow, shake it loose, drape it over Liz’s shoulders and back, and carefully tie the golden cord in place. “In the name of the queen, I gird you with the cape of the House of Evans. As the cape shields you from the elements, so will the House of Evans shield you from those who would seek to harm you.” The two young women then shared a hug and kisses on either cheek before Isabel murmured, “Welcome, Sister. You cannot know how long I have waited for you to arrive.” She then stepped back to where she had been, and Phillip spoke again.

“Lady Elizabeth Evans, as you have sworn to accept the duties of a member of the royal family, and of a mother of future kings, upon royal authority We hereby pronounce you to be Princess Elizabeth Evans. May your sons and their progeny reign in Alemania for all eternity.”

Max then took the golden coronet from the white velvet pillow and stepped around Liz to stand right in front of her. Their eyes met, and he paused just a moment to absorb everything about her, as the maids came forward to remove her lace mantilla so he could place the golden circlet on her head. And when the mantilla was gone, he said, “In the name of the king, I place this golden diadem on your brow as the symbol of your new state in life: Princess of Alemania. May you wear it with honor, dignity, and grace all the days of your life.” Max then winked at Liz, and whispered, “You are my princess, now and forever more.”

Phillip ended the ceremony with a few last words. “Elizabeth, you knelt as a lady, now rise as a princess.” Then he turned his focus on the crowd. “I present to you, Princess Elizabeth Evans, next Queen of Alemania.”
"In the Name of the King"
-----Winner, Round 15 - Favorite Lead Portrayal of Liz Parker
-----Winner, Round 15 - Best Use of a Supporting Character (Jeff Parker)
-----Winner, Round 15 - Best New Fic
-----Winner, Round 15 - Best Period Fanfiction

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Re: In the Name of the King (AU/CC/Mature) Ch 107 7/10/12 p1

Post by Cardinal » Wed Jul 11, 2012 10:50 pm

Chapter 108


The moment Liz stood, all of the bells in the cathedral’s main spire began to ring. Each of the massive bronze bells required several acolytes pulling on long, thick ropes to start them in motion, but there was no shortage of ringers this day; the bells were scheduled to ring for hours.

As Liz’s maids moved in to take charge of her train, she turned to wave and smile at the crowd all around. Most were too far away to see much of her smile, but the wave and her beauty were more than enough. When she finished waving, Max stepped to her side once more. This time, he didn’t formally offer her his arm; instead, he engulfed her hand with his, and together they walked back to the waiting open coach. He handed her up, then the maids arranged her train one last time as he walked around to the other side of the coach to climb in beside her.

Once Liz’s dress was in place, the maids moved back and the coach pulled away, taking another slow lap of the square to give the crowd there a look at their prince and his new princess, before heading down the one street kept open for their use by a double line of halberd-wielding soldiers. In front and behind of the gilded coach rode a heavy escort: one-hundred knights of the Royal Household Guard clad in white tabards and gleaming armor, with each man pointing an eight-foot-long lance skyward and riding a powerful destrier.

The knights were there for show, but also for business. They had secret orders from the king himself to engage and kill anyone who broke through the lines of infantry. Phillip wasn’t willing to risk a repeat attack on either the prince or princess, especially not today. And to make things even more safe, Max had been warned to have a green energy shield at the ready should any disturbance occur. But that contingency wasn’t on the minds of anyone other than the knights and soldiers at that moment. The people were just interested in catching a glimpse of the storybook couple as their coach trotted on by.

And while the palace was to be the center of the celebration, the royals and their powerful guests weren’t the only ones to be partying on this day. No, a good-sized part of the planning and financial outlay for the celebration had been about making sure that every brewer, every baker, and all other providers of food were fully stocked and able to feed anyone and everyone on this day; the party was going to fill the streets well into the night.

One thing the happy couple noted as they rode along was how the bells of every church in the city, both large and small, began to ring in response to the cathedral bells. In a matter of minutes, the entire city was being flooded with the joyous sound. While Liz and Max wove their way along their prescribed path through the city, to make sure as many people saw them as possible, the wedding guests filed into their coaches and carriages for a more direct ride to the Winter Palace.

By the time Liz and Max’s gilded coach reached the palace grounds, there was a line of guests’ coaches backed up from the palace itself almost all the way back to the main gate, a distance of almost two miles. That was accounted for in the plan though as the driver of the royal coach headed around the perimeter of the walled grounds and entered through a side gate normally only used for supply deliveries.

While the reception guests were arriving in the sprawling courtyard, Liz and Max slipped into the palace virtually unseen through a service entrance. Once there, she was whisked away to change out of her unwieldy wedding gown and into another white gown more suitable for a party. Max, meanwhile, was checking with a palace steward to make sure all of his and Liz’s belongings were packed and loaded onto wagons. That wagon train was scheduled to begin the trip to their new home the next morning under heavy guard.

When Liz stepped out of the room that had been commandeered for her use as a temporary changing room, Max was waiting for her. True, as her husband, he could have insisted on being inside the changing room, but now was not the time for that; they both wanted to save that unveiling for bedtime, when there would be no one to witness but they themselves.

What Max saw right now was more than enough for him: not only had Liz gotten rid of her wedding dress and its attendant hassles, but her hair had been let down to flow down over her shoulders and onto her back in silken waves, and while her new dress was a close fit, he could tell she had taken off the tight-fitting corset. As for the dress itself, it was royal white, with a bodice that was heavily brocaded with the same thread-of-silver that had been used on the train of her wedding gown. And this time, instead of pearls studding a long, heavy train, she wore a triple strand of perfectly matched flawless pearls around her neck and down onto the ample skin exposed by the dress’ deep, square neckline. The intent of the royal dressmakers was to echo elements of the wedding gown in this somewhat simpler dress, tying them together in the minds of everyone who saw her. Liz knew of the design philosophy and heartily approved of it, but at this moment, all she cared about was Max’s reaction to what he was seeing.

She didn’t have to wait long.

Max stood a few paces back and blatantly stared, taking in every exquisite inch of her from head to toe. He then gestured with one hand for her to turn for him, and when she did, he gave a low whistle of amazement. Liz was facing him once more before he looked back into her eyes and spoke.

“How is it that you become more and more beautiful every time I lay eyes on you? Just the sight of you in that dress makes me want to skip the reception and…” Words failed Max at that moment, but the heated look in his eyes said what his mouth could not.

Liz’s shy smile was all the answer he would get, but when he saw the smoldering look in her eyes, he pulled her into a heated embrace and pillaged her mouth with his tongue like he‘d always wanted to: letting it slide along her teeth, dancing with her tongue, and probing the depths of her mouth.

As for Liz, she quickly slipped her hands up Max’s chest, across the sides of his face and sank her fingers into his chocolate locks to hold him securely against her. And while her chambermaids stood by and pretended nothing was going on, the only sounds that could be heard were wet lip smacks, heavy breathing, and soft moans.

When they finally pulled back for a breath, they shared hungry-eyed gazes as Max said, “I have been dying to get you alone for what seems like hours, all so I could kiss you just like that.”

Liz smiled knowingly, but said, “Well, we did kiss in the coach now and then.”

“Not like this.” Max’s voice was heavy with emotion, with desire, with a man’s need for his new wife.

And just before their mouths came crashing together again, Liz murmured, “Not like this at all.”

One of Liz’s chambermaids leaned over and chuckled, as she said, “It’s a good thing the guests will be coming in for another half-hour at least.”

“True,” another maid replied, “at this rate we’ll need every one of those minutes to drag our princess and her prince away from each other’s lips and to the State Dining Room.”

That’s almost what happened, as Max and Liz found that no longer having to worry about her reputation was more freeing than either one of them had expected. They ended up taking every opportunity during their walk to the dining room to stop for more heated kissing.

Still, they managed to make it to the anteroom where the wedding party was staging. When Max and Liz entered the room, everyone except Alex and Isabel either bowed or curtseyed and held that position until Max signaled for them to rise. That was the first time Liz had been honored like that by other nobles, and it made he feel a little bit weird. These people were all family, friends, and acquaintances of hers, and several of them had outranked her until Max placed the coronet on her head. But once everyone rose, things were back to normal as the girls excitedly gathered around Liz to congratulate her, admire her coronet, and draw out every single detail of how she felt.

Max was similarly surrounded by the men, who were somewhat more subdued in their reactions, until they saw a lip print on his face right next to his mouth.

“Jeez, Max,” Michael said, “I know you’re anxious, but don’t you think mauling your new wife can wait until after the reception?”

The other guys chipped in with more good-natured ribbing, until Max ended it by turning to where Liz was holding court, nodding toward her as she looked up and smiled at him, and replying, “Can you blame me?”

Finally, the king and queen entered the room, which meant it was time to go, but not before Phillip and Diana got to meet with Max and Liz to offer their personal congratulations. The king started by shaking Max’s hand, before pulling him into a wordless bear hug. Diana, on the other hand, held Liz by the shoulders and warmly welcomed her to the family before starting to babble about how beautiful she was and how well the day was going.

Phillip wasn’t quite sure when Diana was going to stop talking once she got going, so as soon as he quit hugging his son, he stepped in behind her and squeezed her shoulders. “Diana dear, let Liz go for now; it is time to go. The guests are finally all seated.”

That got everyone to line up, after which Phillip and Diana led the procession from the anteroom to the huge State Dining Room itself. The seneschal stood just inside the doors to announce the king and queen as they entered. And as they did, everyone in the room stood. The center aisle was just wide enough for two people to walk side by side, with the rest of the rows of tables being very closely spaced so the many, many guests could be seated.

All eyes were on Phillip and Diana, until they reached the gently curving head table that graced the front of the immense dining room. Instead of taking their usual places at the center of the table, they left those center seats open and instead took the seats on either side of the center ones. Once they were seated, the guests sat with them, and the seneschal announced the first pair of Max and Liz’s official escorts.

Just like at the cathedral, each pair made it halfway to the front before the next pair was introduced, until only Max and Liz were left. And just like at the cathedral, they were held back until everyone else was in place. All the escorts were seated and everyone was waiting expectantly, when a trumpet fanfare was played from the four corners of the room. Then the seneschal said, with a booming voice, “Your Majesties, princes and princesses, lords and ladies from all over the world, it is now my great honor to introduce to you, in their first social engagement since their marriage, the Crown Prince and Crown Princess of Alemania, Lord Maximilian and Lady Elizabeth Evans.”

While Max and Liz had been waiting, she had been admiring the opulence and immensity of the State Dining Room, while he had been openly staring at her. Crystal-and-gold chandeliers glittered high overhead, sending shimmering sparks of light into every corner of the room, and golden, torch-filled sconces with mirrors behind them hung on the walls, bathing the celebrants with light. Tall, narrow white marble columns along the walls, golden silk wall coverings, and huge white marble mantels in front of the six massive fireplaces lining the sides of the room never failed to awe her.

As Max and Liz walked into the room, Phillip and Diana stood once more, and everyone stood with them and cheered the newlyweds. The whole spectacle was breathtaking, especially for Liz, who still considered herself to be a small town girl at heart, no matter where she was currently living.

Once Max and Liz reached their seats, everyone sat and the twelve-course meal began. The food and wine were sumptuous, and the meal took all of four hours to serve and consume, but Liz and Max could barely taste anything served to them, and the time just seemed to fly by, as they spent most of the meal feeding each other, gazing into each other’s eyes, and playing footsie under the table.

Before they knew it, they were being asked to lead a procession outside into the palace’s torch-lit courtyard for the dance. The use of the courtyard for dancing was a tacit admission that not even the Grand Ballroom was large enough for the number of guests at the palace this evening. And once everyone was present and pressed back on all sides, Max bowed to Liz, who curtseyed back to him, before they opened the dancing all by themselves. After that, Liz danced with Jeffrey and then Phillip, while Max danced with his mother and then with Maria, who was standing in for Jeffrey’s long-dead wives.

“We have come a long way from you beating the crap out of me, Maria,” Max said, once their dance started.

“True,” Maria said, with a smile creeping across her face. “You know, I do not have to do that to Michael.”

“Why not?” Max asked, curious to see where she was going with this.

“Because, he lets me cross swords with him, even if he does take it easy on me.”

Max smiled at her calm self-assurance, and danced with about every female relative he had, including Grandma Irilta, before getting another chance with Liz. He sighed the moment her butter-soft hands touched his. “Ah…bliss.”

“I know what you mean,” Liz replied happily. “I danced with a few distant relatives of yours that I had never even met before tonight.” Liz pulled Max close against her and leaned her head against his chest. “I wish it was just us, Max.” She paused a moment, but he waited for her to continue. “I mean, this has been the most amazing day…but it has been non-stop, wall-to-wall people from the moment my carriage left the grounds of Father’s mansion this morning.”

Max absentmindedly ran the fingers of one hand down the length of Liz’s silken tresses, even as he considered what she had said. It only took him a few moments’ consideration before he said, “Your slightest wish, my lady, is my command.”

Liz barely had time to look up at him and voice a surprised, “What?” before he had taken one hand and was leading her through the throng of dancers, and toward one of the many refreshment tables spread around the perimeter of the courtyard. Once they’d reached the relative calm of the edge of the crowd, he led her to the wide tunnel that connected the courtyard to the palace gardens, the surrounding park, and the gravel path that led back to the city.

A number of people saw the prince and princess go, but thought little of it until they stopped and the prince called for quiet. Once he got it, he said loudly, “Liz and I thank you from the bottom of our hearts - one and all - for coming to visit the Kingdom of Alemania and to honor our wedding with your presence. But now, it is with some regret that we take our leave. The hour is late, and we must go if we intend to keep our schedule.”

Phillip, Diana, and the rest of their families and friends already knew the young couple was going to leave the party early, though none of them knew about Max’s secret plan to outdistance any possible pursuit. That was mostly because he wanted that part of the plan to be something secret, something he shared only with his wife, but it also had a practical component, as he wanted to avoid the age-old practice of shivaree.

A shivaree is where a large crowd of family, friends, and others take it upon themselves to harass the newlyweds in a friendly way on their wedding night. As long as no one knew what he had planned, no one would be able to keep up with their coach and try to bother them and interrupt their most personal celebration of their love. Having taken their leave of the party, Max looked down to Liz and asked, “Ready?”

“Oh, Max…” Liz pulled him down for a ferocious kiss and tasted every corner of his mouth before she let him go. “I think I was born ready to go with you.”
"In the Name of the King"
-----Winner, Round 15 - Favorite Lead Portrayal of Liz Parker
-----Winner, Round 15 - Best Use of a Supporting Character (Jeff Parker)
-----Winner, Round 15 - Best New Fic
-----Winner, Round 15 - Best Period Fanfiction

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Re: In the Name of the King (AU/CC/Mature) Ch 108 7/11/12 p1

Post by Cardinal » Wed Jul 18, 2012 8:55 pm

And now I earn my 'adult' rating...sort of.

* * * * * * * * * *
Chapter 109

Forever Tonight

Max and Liz linked hands and turned to walk through the tunnel and under the south wing of the palace. A minute later, they popped out the other side of the tunnel just as their coach rolled to a stop in front of them. It wasn’t as large or as ornate as the one they’d used to parade through the city streets this afternoon, but it was still larger than any coach she had ever been in before today.

Two chests of clothing for their trip were strapped onto the roof of the coach, a liveried driver and footman were sitting on the driver’s bench up front, and two more liveried footmen were standing on the back. A footman held the door to the coach wide open, while another one placed a small set of steps in place for their use. Max handed Liz up inside, and since this dress had no train to get in the way, he followed her up inside and sat by her side as the footmen prepared the coach for travel.

One glass-and-gold lantern hung on each corner of the coach, and a little of that light seeped into the coach’s spacious, well-appointed cabin. The light wasn’t needed though, nor was it particularly wanted by the cabin’s two occupants, who quickly drew heavy curtains over the windows before going back to what they had started doing the moment Max had sat down…namely kissing. Neither of them really noticed the moment the coach was set into motion, but a nearby officer of the Royal Household Guard did and led his troop of knights into position to protect the royal couple and to guide them on a slow, winding path through a horde of drunken revelers, out of the city, and on their way to Borussia.

Their blissful ignorance ended quickly. As soon as the coach made it out of the city, it started to pick up speed, which was noticeable even on the relatively smooth surface of the royal highway. Still, knowing they were out of the city and caring about it were two different things. It wasn’t until the coach pulled to a stop an hour later at a well-appointed inn, that Liz thought to ask what exactly was going on. Not having given her the specifics yet, Max was more than happy to fill her in on the plan.

“Everyone at our reception knows we left and are headed for Borussia,” he said. “I fully expect a number of them to give chase in the hope of standing outside of our window and shouting at us all night long. After experiencing what Maria and Michael had to go through at their wedding, I had no intention of allowing something similar to happen to us, so while you and Mother were working on the wedding, I made a few special arrangements of my own. Our driver is under direction to run our horses fairly hard to make things tough on any pursuers.

“But will that not wear out the horses?”

“It will,” Max acknowledged, “but it will also make I hard on anyone following us.” He paused then and gave his new wife a very smug grin. Liz knew Max didn’t get smug very often, so she wondered what more he had planned. “Unlike those others, we have a change of fresh horses awaiting us here, and at two more stops along the way. Anyone who tries to follow us will ride their horses into the ground well before they reach our destination.”

“Which is?”

“That brings us to the second part of my plan.” Max paused long enough to plant a string of soft, sweet kisses along the side of Liz’s neck from her collarbone up to the lobe of her ear before he said, “There is no way we are going to consummate our marriage in a roadside inn.” He ran the fingers of one hand along her thoroughly tangled hair, while she snuggled in tightly against him. “Instead, I have made arrangements to use Baron de Grasse’s estate for a couple of days while he is in the capital for our wedding festivities.”

Liz smiled happily until she remembered the guards who were protecting them at that very moment. Gesturing toward them, she asked, “What about their horses? Will they not also need fresh remounts?”

“They will,” Max agreed, “if they were going with us to the baron’s estate. Instead, when we make it to the next stop, the men of the Royal Household Guard will be replaced by knights from our own army, complete with fresh horses for the last two legs of the journey.”

And so it was.

It took another four hours – including time to get fresh horses twice more – before the royal coach came to a stop in front of Baron de Grasse’s country manor. Max hopped out of the coach first and then turned to assist his new bride as she stepped down to join him. They were quickly surrounded by a flurry of liveried servants, who took care of their luggage and offered them anything they might want or need. After Liz declined their services, saying she just wanted to get to bed, Max gestured to the estate’s steward and asked him to show them the way to their suite.

Arm-in-arm, the newlyweds followed the solemn steward into the manor and up the staircase to the second floor, followed as discreetly as possible by a few of the Borussian knights. Once there, they headed down a long corridor to an open pair of intricately carved walnut doors. The knights stationed themselves outside the door, and once the royal couple shut and bolted it, no one else was going in or out of that set of rooms unless the prince or princess ordered it.

Alone at long last, the two stopped in the anteroom and stared. There was a decent-sized fire in the room’s fireplace, giving them more than enough light to see each other. They’d spent hours together in the coach, much of it spent kissing, but this was different, and it was beginning to show in Liz’s face.

“What are you worried about what, My Heart?” Max asked.

“About what awaits us in there,” Liz replied, as she nodded her head in the direction of their bedroom. “It is what we are expected to do, what I want to do, that is bothering me.”

“It is what I want to do, too.” Max brought his hands up and lightly stroked the tops of her fabric-covered shoulders. Liz smiled as his thick, strong fingers caressed her, before he asked, “What about it?”

“I am worried that when…” Liz closed her eyes, took a deep breath, and then let everything out in a rush, “…thatwhenmyclothescomeoff, I will not please you.”

Max’s eyes were about to bulge out of his head; for him, the very idea that Liz wouldn’t please him was ludicrous, but he kept listening and continued to stroke her shoulders as she went on. He wasn’t about to make fun of her insecurities, especially not now.

“Will not please me in what way, Dearest?” Max asked. He figured an extra endearment right now wouldn’t hurt a bit. “Because I am just as inexperienced as you are.”

“I know that,” Liz said, as she favored him with a small smile, “it is just that I know what other women look like, and I know that compared to them I am…I am small and skinny.”

“Ah,” Max said, as understanding flooded his mind, “you think I might prefer large breasts and round hips to what you have. Is that it?” Liz nodded her head ever so slightly. “There are a lot of things I could say or do to prove you wrong, Liz. But none of them are as likely to get through to you as this one. Give me your hand.”

He reached down and took one of her arms gently by the wrist and guided it below his waist, brushing her hand along the front of his uniform pants. She was curious as to what Max had in mind, until she felt…something…something surprisingly stiff.

“Is that…” Liz began to ask, as her eyes grew wide, “…what I think it is?”

“Yes, it is.” Max held her hand there, wondering what was going through her mind. “And what it is, is proof of just how much I want you. A man can lie about many things, but not about this.” He chose that moment to flex his hips and grind against the palm of her hand.

Liz could almost see his eyes glaze over with lust as he spoke; she no longer had any doubts about his reaction when their clothes came off, and she was chiding herself for ever having entertained those doubts in the first place.

“And as for the size and shape of your body?” Max said, yanking her thoughts back to him where they belonged. “I will take firm, subtle curves in place of overly fleshy ones any day, both because they are yours and I love you, and because I happen to like slender better than plump anyway.”

Max was done talking. He pulled Liz to him, and laid into her with a ferocity she had yet to experience: hard, hot, dominating kisses; hands that roved wherever and fondled whatever they pleased; and a throbbing ache in his pants that demanded to be satisfied.

Liz was stunned for a moment by Max’s unbridled passion, but then she let loose, fighting fire with fire, as she unleashed the ‘bad girl’ she had suppressed since childhood: every un-acted-upon impulse she had ever had was poured into her response as she matched Max kiss for fiery kiss; her fingers sank deep into his soft brown locks, allowing her to tilt his head and achieve just the right angle for better kissing; and while his hands were roaming all over her, driving her wild with their touch, she was unconsciously rubbing her body against his, causing him to moan into her mouth more than once.

The two lovers kept going until Max swept Liz off her feet – literally – and carried her toward the open doors leading into their bedroom. Long before, when he had been making plans for their wedding escape, Max had given some instructions for Baron de Grasse’s manor staff. All of those instructions involved this night and had to do with these very rooms. Now it was time to see how well the staff had responded. Max kissed Liz once, then carried her into their bedroom, before kissing her again and setting her down.

As duchess, Liz would normally have a bevy of chambermaids to prepare her for bed, but tonight, the maids had finished their preparations hours ago. Like in the anteroom, a small fire in a fireplace in the far corner of the room provided the only warmth and light. But the light

But the small fire didn’t supply much light, and she so wanted to see Max, especially as he got undressed. She’d had any number of erotic dreams about him, especially after seeing him shirtless a time or two, and if the rest of him was even half as delectable as his chest, she wanted to see every single inch. But as she stepped out of his arms, a series of strategically placed candles flickered to life on all sides of the bedroom when Max snapped his fingers. By the time she realized what had happened and turned back to him, his hand was already back at his side.

“Wha…? How did you know those candles were there? I did not even see…” But before Max could answer, Liz answered the question herself. “You knew they were going to be there…you planned this.” Then she looked up at him hopefully. “What else do you have in store for us?”

Max turned from Liz just long enough to close the bedroom door - a symbolic way of closing them off from the rest of the world - before turning back to her, and saying, “Over in the sitting room, there should be a light meal set out for us, just in case you are hungry, since I was not sure how much you might eat during the banquet.”

Liz stepped in close to Max, close enough that his arms automatically enfolded her, just as she said, “The only thing I am hungry for…” she looped her arms around his neck and pulled him down for a long, slow, heated kiss, “…is you.”

That was the last thing either one of them said for a while.

Liz dove back into kissing Max, brushing her mouth against his, before sliding her tongue out to taste him. And when he groaned into her mouth, she slipped her tongue between his open lips to pillage the warm, wet cavern of his mouth.

Flushed with excitement, Max’s hands fumbled aimlessly on Liz’s back for the buttons to her dress, but his normally dexterous fingers weren’t even able to find the buttons, much less unfasten them. Unable to wait a moment longer, his hands moved around to the front of her dress, got a firm grip right in the center of the dress’ square neckline, and pulled apart hard, ripping the bodice of her dress from neck to waist.

The top half of Liz’s expensive dress was shredded, utterly ruined, and she couldn’t have been more thrilled. Mere minutes earlier, she had been worried Max might not like her body, and now, he was so overcome with desire that he was ripping her clothes off like a madman.

Once started, Max couldn’t be stopped; Liz’s shift was in tatters seconds later, and he pushed the entire ruined mess over her hips, before allowing it to fall to the floor. She still had on her stockings, and somewhere in the middle of that pile of ruined fabric she wore bejeweled slippers, but at that moment she was completely bare everywhere that counted.

Author’s note: this is a link to the song I listened to as quite a few times as I wrote this part. Check it out if you want to, it helped set the mood for me. It's not an exact fit, but it's close enough.

Few things could cut through the fog Max was in at the moment, but the sight of her creamy white skin – skin that saw sunlight only in his fevered dreams – slowed and then stopped him in his tracks. He looked into her eyes first, seeking permission to look longer, to stare in fact, and when she nodded her head, he returned his eyes to her chest and allowed them to feast.

Liz blushed a fiery red then, as the sincere appraisal of his lust-filled eyes affected her much more than being undressed by him had. And when Max realized he was still fully clothed while she was on display, he ripped off his white and gold jacket, tossed it aside, before shredding his starched white shirt and the undershirt beneath it.

“There, that is better,” he said, distractedly, his eyes never once having left her skin.

Liz took in a shuddering breath as she eyed Max’s chiseled arms, bulging chest, and serrated abs. He was just as delicious as she remembered; only now, she didn’t have to hold back. “It sure is,” Liz whispered, as she licked her lips. “You look…delicious.”

From there, things went more slowly, almost reverently, as each one removed the remainder of the other’s clothes. Breathing was hard for both of them by now, and for Max, so was something else, and it was harder than ever.

“Dear God…you are more beautiful than I had dared to dream,” he breathed.

As for Liz, she saw so many things that pleased her eye, that she hardly knew where to start, but before she could close in on Max and choose, he moved in carried her once more, this time taking her to bed, where they immediately began to kiss once more. They had the kissing part down pat; it was going beyond kissing that was going to take some figuring out. Each knew the basic mechanics of the sex act, but actually doing it, and doing it together, was the problem.

Every place they put a hand or ventured to kiss was a new experience for both of them. They quickly discovered that the give-and-take of learning each other’s body, learning what and how much and how fast, was going to be an ongoing process. There were many awkward moments, times when Liz wasn’t comfortable with what Max was doing, or times when she wasn’t quite understanding what he wanted, but they got past those moments with the most important tool of their relationship, both now and in the future: they talked and listened…they communicated.

And soon enough, the two first-time lovers found ways of pleasing each other. Max discovered several spots on Liz’s body that she loved to have kissed and stroked. She, in turn, discovered that a gentle, steady hand pressure up and down his manhood could make him beg like a child. And after a long, slow buildup, both lovers were panting and covered with a light sheen of perspiration, when Liz gave in to her growing need and asked Max to take her. As he positioned himself between her slender legs and prepared to join them together physically, he was careful, and asked Liz if she was sure she was ready.

“Please, Max,” Liz squealed, as he unintentionally dragged his manhood up and down the length of her entrance, “nowwwwwwww!”

He waited no longer, pushing in gently, allowing her body to adjust to his and then easing in some more. Liz knew Max was taking things slow, but there were still moments when it felt like she was being split in half, causing her to cry out and making a nearly panicked Max stop in his tracks. It was a long process, but once they were fully joined and her body had adjusted, it felt to her like the most natural thing in the world.

As for Max, the only reasons he had lasted so far were the start and stop nature of their joining, and the fact that he had been more focused on her pain than on his own enjoyment. But once her pain faded and they started moving together, he didn’t last long though, as he was just as much a virgin as she was. The friction of being inside of her combined with his emotions to quickly overwhelm his control, and he spilled his seed deep inside of her. He groaned gutturally as he reached his climax, and then spent the next five minutes or more apologizing to Liz for being so selfish.

While she hadn’t reached her peak yet, she didn’t mind. The idea that Max was so excited to be with her that he couldn’t control himself, when added to the crazy look of animalistic lust that had been on his face as he lost control, was enough for her…this time anyway. For if there was one thing Liz knew about Antarians, it was this: they had healing powers, which should be able to give them more than enough stamina to go all night long. And she wasted no time in telling that to Max.

“Do not worry about it, My Love,” she said, as she stroked the side of his face.

“Why?” he asked, with a puzzled look on his face.

“Because, this was just our first time tonight.” Liz smiled when a look of comprehension slipped over his face. “We will have all the practice we need to get it right.” And when Max gave her a feral grin, she became more than confident that she would reach her climax.

After all, practice makes perfect.
"In the Name of the King"
-----Winner, Round 15 - Favorite Lead Portrayal of Liz Parker
-----Winner, Round 15 - Best Use of a Supporting Character (Jeff Parker)
-----Winner, Round 15 - Best New Fic
-----Winner, Round 15 - Best Period Fanfiction

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Re: In the Name of the King (AU/CC/Mature) Ch 109 7/18/12 p1

Post by Cardinal » Thu Jul 19, 2012 8:36 pm

Chapter 110

The Glory of Love

Days later, Max and Liz finally reached their new home. They arrived late in the evening and had a light meal in their quarters and then had to decide whether to spend the night in his chambers or hers. They settled on hers, and once ensconced in her bed, wasted little time getting in a little more ‘practice.’

The next morning, Liz woke in stages. The candles from the night before had long since burned out, the fireplace was filled with logs but remained unlit, but the heavy black curtains that had been covering her windows and balcony door had been swept aside, allowing the morning light to flood into the room.

At first, she wasn’t quite sure where she was. Then, as the fog in her brain thinned out and her body checked in, she realized she was sore again…in places she had only recently begun feeling soreness. And then she remembered why she was sore and smiled the biggest, most self-satisfied grin of her life, as most everything else from the night before came flooding back to her.

That, in turn, made her realize Max wasn’t in bed beside her where he ought to be. She ran a hand over the spot on her feather mattress where he had been sleeping and found it was still warm; that meant he hadn’t been up long. Just as she was wondering if she should get up to find him, he walked into the room carrying a carefully balanced silver tray before him.

Her bed was huge, but so was the tray; it was specifically designed and built in the palace’s workshops to be used with the beds in the bedrooms of the duke and duchess. Max held the tray high over the bed and used his power to unfold the support legs on each side of the very wide tray without spilling anything. The weird thing was that Liz ended up having to sit up very, very straight to have proper access to the tray’s serving surface. Puzzled by this she looked up at him with a questioning look on her face as he eased a couple of folded-up pillows under her butt to raise her up a little bit higher.

That look just made Max laugh out loud. “Forgotten last night already have we?” he asked rhetorically. When that reference didn’t clear things up for her, he elaborated. “We broke the legs of the bed last night. Remember?”

Liz flushed a brilliant crimson as the memory came flooding back into her mind. She wasn’t embarrassed because they had broken the bed, not much anyway; she was mostly embarrassed because of how they had broken it. They had been on their last go-around of the evening and she had been chasing her second climax. Max had done most of the work up until that point, but this time, she had been straddling his hips and riding him hard and fast.

Neither one of them knew if the bed had broken as a result of something specific she had done, if it was just the accumulation of a night of lovemaking and sexual exploration, or what, but what was not in dispute was that the four bed legs had cracked and shattered within seconds of one another, allowing the heavy bed frame to fall to the floor with Liz still on top of Max, riding him as if nothing untoward had happened.

“Do not worry,” Max smirked, as he made adjustments to the height of the tray. “We will get the furniture maker to use steel legs next time.” Once the tray was ready, he took off his luxurious robe, then pulled the tray back on his side of the bed and climbed in next to her, before bringing the tray back into position. “Now, what do you want to sample first?”

“Breakfast in bed,” Liz murmured appreciatively. “You are just full of surprises.” Then she lifted the lids of various silver trays and bowls. In them were a wide array of fresh fruits, breakfast meats, pastries…everything they could possibly have wanted to eat. The palace’s head chef normally didn’t work in the morning, but with the duke and his new duchess coming to the palace to live, he had come in extra early to personally oversee each and every item as it was made. Nothing was allowed to go wrong, not today.

After perusing her choices, Liz gestured at a tray that was stacked high with hot, flaky croissants. Max set that tray’s lid aside and held it out for her to make a selection. Once she made a plateful of breakfast choices, Max chose food for himself. But it wasn’t long before they were playfully feeding each other, stuffing bites of flaky pastries or juicy fruits inside the other’s mouth. That led to delectable pieces of food being smeared on cheeks and jaws, followed by eager licks and nibbles all over in an attempt at cleaning things up.

They were gone from the moment of the first lick, so much so that they quit trying to eat their food and concentrated on where they could smear it next. The fruits and the dish of clotted cream quickly became their favored toys for that. It didn’t take long for them to become sweet, sticky messes from head to waist. Max was just about to see what he could do with the last of the cream below Liz’s waist, when she pulled him down onto her, kissed him thoroughly, and asked, “Before we get carried away, could you do something about my soreness from last night?”

A moment’s healing was all it took for Max to wash away any soreness Liz might be feeling. He pulled her into his arms and nuzzled the wild tangle that was her hair. “Feel better?”

She pressed the side of her face against his chest, and smiled contentedly. “Better.”

Max grinned, and reached down just enough to give her buns a quick but firm grope. “So, Mrs. Evans…your husband is thinking he wants to have his way with you.”

“My husband is not the only one having…‘thoughts.’” Then she regretfully pushed herself away from just a bit. “But I am feeling really icky at the moment. Would it be possible for us to have nice, hot baths?”

“Of course. Anything you want.” Max leaned down to place a kiss on her forehead. “And while we are getting scrubbed clean, the chambermaids can clean up in here.” He looked at Liz’s messy bed and then at the gorgeous form of his naked wife. “Of course, we are just going to mess everything up again anyway.”

“True,” Liz giggled, “and hopefully before lunch.”

True to their words, Max and Liz took standing baths. They were in separate rooms for the baths, since he had no intention of allowing his manservants to see her naked, while she wouldn’t let any of her chambermaids see him naked. Having to bathe separately irritated Max a lot, causing him to march downstairs after the bath and order his steward to have a bathtub constructed large enough for himself and his lady wife to use together, and do so while sitting down.

And once that tub is built, there will be no more servants doing the damn washing, Max thought. Liz and I can enjoy a long, hot peaceful soak that way.

Once that was out of the way, Max and Liz realized it was getting to be a little too late in the day for more marital fun…before lunch anyway. They worked in one more real pleasure in their morning though, as Max ruthlessly took the job of brushing out Liz’s freshly clean, but still seriously tangled hair, from her maids.

“Do you remember the last time I did your hair?” Max asked.

“Of course I do,” Liz smiled. “It is one of my most treasured memories. It was the day before I received my knighthood back in the Winter Palace. You took it upon yourself to braid my hair right before the ritual bath and my all-night vigil. It was such a sweet thing to do.”

Max stayed quiet for a moment as he concentrated on working a couple of knots out of her thick mane of hair. “I wanted to do something for you, Liz. I just wanted so desperately to be a part of your knighting ceremony in some small way.”

“Well, you were, and I loved it.”

Once they were dressed, they headed downstairs for lunch. The reason lunch was downstairs was the same reason lunch had interfered with any additional sex for them this morning: Max and Liz had only one official duty during their first week of married life, and that was an informal welcoming lunch with the entire palace staff. The meal was served buffet style so that everyone in the palace could sit down and eat together once the food was in place.

Part of the reason for the meal was to let everyone see the duke and his new duchess in a relaxed setting before they all had to adjust to the faster-paced life that would be happening now that there was a duke and duchess in residence. The main reason for the meal, however, was that they had decided weeks ago that she needed to establish that she was going to be the one in charge of the way things ran in the palace. To that end, Liz had a short speech prepared which she planned on giving right after the meal.

So, as it became more and more apparent that everyone had eaten their fill, Max stood and made sure each and every servant could hear him, as he said, “Thank you one and all for being here to share this delicious meal with us, and now that the meal is complete, I would like for everyone to be introduced to my love, my wife, the Duchess of Borussia, Lady Elizabeth Evans.”

Liz stood and waved, while the servants clapped politely while craning their necks to get a better look at their new duchess. After a brief discussion, Max and Liz had decided that she would project a stronger image if she didn’t have him standing behind her while she worked to establish her control, so once she stood, he left and headed back to their rooms.

The moment the door clicked shut behind him, Liz faced the servants, and launched into her brief prepared remarks. “Hello, everyone, and thank you for that kind welcome.

“As Max’s wife and the new duchess, I have a number of responsibilities, not the least of which is running the household and its staff. With the help of the Lord Chamberlain and his able assistants, the Head Housekeeper and the Head Chef, I intend to make sure everything runs the way it is supposed to, as the ducal palace enters this new era of greatly increased use.

“While we are about to become the social hub for the duchy, I will not be making any big changes until I, the chamberlain, and his assistants have had a chance to evaluate the current procedures and staff.

“Please remember, as the guests start arriving in the next few days for the duchy’s own celebration of our marriage, that everything you do reflects upon the Duchy of Borussia, the duke himself, and upon yourselves. Keep that in mind, and I am sure that we will make a great impression upon my husband and our guests. Thank you.”

By the time Liz reached the entrance to their rooms, Max was already undressed and back in his bed, as the household staff had yet to make repairs to hers. She turned left into his suite, and as soon as she reached his bedroom, she was a blur of arms and legs as she undressed and then launched herself into his arms.

“No more official business?” she asked, as she smothered him with kisses.

“Nothing more that requires clothes anyway.” He raised an eyebrow at her once she pulled back a bit.


“Mmhmmm. From what I have been told, you and me in bed doing what we are about to do sort of qualifies as ‘official business.’” Max laughed and snorted as he said it, which made Liz giggle along with him.

“In that case, I am going to be giving you ‘the business’ for a very…long…time.”

The young lovers did manage to work in a late afternoon horse ride around a small part of their huge estate, followed by a private dinner in Max’s quarters. Then they snuggled together in front of a low fire and took the time to reflect upon their wedding and their first few days together as husband and wife. As they neared the end of their reflections, Max said, “I wonder how long it took our families and friends to discover we had given them the slip after the wedding.”

She leaned her head back against him, and murmured, “I do not know, but I do know just how much I enjoyed having them nowhere near us.”

“I know. I was nervous enough about trying to please you without having to deal with that sort of distraction.”

Liz twisted in Max’s arms and tilted her head to look up at him. “Wait…you mean to say that you were worried? Why did you not say anything?”

“Why? It just would have taken your focus off of what we were doing. My worries might have made you so anxious to be pleased, that actually being pleased would have been more difficult.”


“I know you, My Love,” Max leaned down and brushed Liz’s forehead with his lips. “You are so caring, so loving, so giving, that you would have worried about my worries.”

“I am giving, huh?”

“Yes, you definitely are.”

Liz pulled Max’s face down to her level for a heated kiss. “How about we go back to that sturdy bed of yours and see how much I can give to you tonight?”

He didn’t say a word, and instead chose to scoop her off his lap and into his arms before walking them to his bedroom. She didn’t wait to get to the bed to start the kissing, which in turn made Max’s straight walk into more of a drunken back-and-forth weave. But they got there, and then fell onto the bed in a tangle of arms and legs, each of them eager to show their passion and explore their love, that day, and every day thereafter.

Author’s Note: This is the song I’m thinking about as this story ends. It’s really been the theme song of the entire fic. It’s been in my mind from almost the very beginning.

So there it is, the story of how a filthy squire and a grubby stable girl came to meet, fall in love, become the talk of the kingdom, and marry, against all odds.
The End
"In the Name of the King"
-----Winner, Round 15 - Favorite Lead Portrayal of Liz Parker
-----Winner, Round 15 - Best Use of a Supporting Character (Jeff Parker)
-----Winner, Round 15 - Best New Fic
-----Winner, Round 15 - Best Period Fanfiction