Sophia and Xaeron get married!
"Cooperative games are something I've learned to adore - you succeed or you fail, but as a group."
12:01am, Tuesday, June 2nd, 2020. Sophia awakens to find Mab trying to decide what hat to wear the next day at the wedding; Braum and Kyoko find Xaeron going over his vows, trying to find a way to "keep his head" when he sees Sophia.
The morning of wedding dawns at The Spark, bright and beautiful, and Sophia hears a tapping at her window: it's her old friend Peeps! He is invited to stand at the front with the wedding parties, which makes him quite happy, and informs Sophia that her family will be attending too. Her father Gerald arrives, congratulating her on all of her success, and making sure that she has "everything she needs for all her adventures".
As Patches relieves Zistor at the door, the wedding guests begin to arrive! MacAllistar takes Braum aside to ask him about Patches' upcoming trial to join the Golden Braid, and also mentions the need to assist Cog with his "P.R. problem" in regards to his disparity with High Queen Lenore. Jigg Grifter arrives with Millicent and a young boy in tow, telling Patches that he wouldn't miss this for the world: he and Sophia are, after all, members of a "very exclusive club" (a draconic one!). And speaking of dragons, Millicent hints that the boy may not be quite as human as he appears….
As the ceremony approaches, Talus appears at the altar, looking brilliant in the sun, wearing nothing but a kilt. Sophia makes her way down the aisle, led by Mab, spouting flowers and followed by Patches, Kyoko, and Countess Weyer. Xaeron, for his part, is flanked by wedding party: Braum and his two sons, Aidan and Gus. Sophia is resplendent in a long white gown which springs to life when she reaches the altar, blossoming into the blue and silver of House Liam. Talus tells the assembled crowd that he "knows a lot more about love" than he has any right to, and that he knows that what he can see between these two Kithain is a shining example of it. Sophia speaks her vows to Xaeron, saying that by listening to and honouring himself, he truly is brave. Xaeron names Sophia as the reason he rid himself of the "cowardice" of anxiety around losing love, and the two swear an Oath of True Hearts. At that moment, Patches unveils a brilliant projection of flowing water that morphs into a strong, rooted tree, surrounding the audience.
Duke Granville makes his way forward with a sceptre, asking Sophia to kneel. She swears an oath of Guardianship to the County of Cross' Shadow, and arises as its Countess! Her first act is to have her Count, Xaeron, swear an Oath of Fealty, as she pledges to uphold the Escheat. After the ceremony, many of the guests sweep forward to congratulate the couple and to swear fealty to their new Countess. Among them is Ser Kent ap Balor, sent on behalf of the Baron Velan, who regrets not being able to attend, but pledges his fealty nonetheless.
At the reception, Countess Weyer makes a big show of thanking Talus for his beautiful words, encouraging others to do the same (and normalizing him in the Kithain community). Meanwhile, Aidan and Gus ask their father about myths surrounding Patches: "Is it true she made a shot over 5000km away?" Gus switches tacks, asking Braum whether Sophia and Xaeron will stay married. "Countess Weyer says not all married couples only stay with each other. Have I missed my shot?" He then marches off, determined to propose marriage to the new Baroness. But upon arriving, he only bows deeply and congratulates her on her magnificent day.
As Patches and Helena chat, Sophia and Xaeron have their first dance, and Braum checks his text messages. Strange… four messages from an unknown number. "Isn't this adorable? You can tell she's telling the truth. Ain't love grand? I'm so happy to be able to see this…." Braum calls, thinking it may be a trick, but a familiar voice answers. Mazer offers his sincere congratulations to Sophia, telling Braum that as of tomorrow, the two will have to meet. "I have to get out of all this," he says, promising that nothing will happen that night. Suddenly, a red dot from a sniper rifle trains on Kyoko's back, joined by dozens more. Braum tells Mazer that they will meet, but that it's dangerous to threaten a desperate man. Exhausted, he tells Mazer to fuck off, and returns to the celebration. He tells his motley mates, promising that they can at least enjoy one night of peace….