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Tri’lea Polgonz, Ceciri Ariadust, and Ucron Dro: I Belong In Your Arms

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((Balcony, Joint Expedition Hub – Idrustix Colony))

There was a moment of quiet between the father and daughter, the only sounds the wind and the distant noise of machinery. But they couldn’t linger in silence forever. After all, Tri’lea’s time was limited – and she had a great need to speak her mind, which only made the ticking clock feel more urgent.

Polgonz: Atda, I’ve made a decision. One which will surely be a most unpopular one… But I believe it is the right one. For myself and for Ceciri… My mind is nearly set on it. It would mean the world to me, though, to have your blessing.

She turned to look him in the eyes as he gestured for her to continue.

Polgonz: I’ve thought about this, long nights tossing and turning, and while I am happy to devote my life in service to the mother world, and to have my marriage represent a bond between Betazed and Cygnet, this moment shall be mine and Ceciris and no one else’s. I have booked passage back to the Alpha Quadrant for both of us… and planned a private ceremony, in seclusion… 

Dro: Seclusion in the Alpha Quadrant? A quaint idea.

Tri’lea chuckled lightly – almost as though a weight were being lifted off her for a moment, freeing the joy within her. Her father always had a way of making her laugh, even when she felt as far away from laughing as the Alpha Quadrant was from the Delta.

Polgonz: Yes, well… As secluded as one gets, I suppose.  ::Her face growing more serious again::  But I mean compared to what awaits us up on Amity. Mother Seri’s plan, Aunt Lohani’s media circus… Atda, they made commemorative novelty garments.

She believed, already, that he probably understood where she was going with all this – but, out of respect for the process of unfolding her thoughts, the conversation continued.

Dro: The pomp and circumstance becoming too much? Or is there another reason for the change of heart?

Polgonz: There’s been no change of heart, Atda. Only a shift in focus. I don’t intend to tell anyone else of mine and Ceciri’s departure. With luck, we’ll get ahead of the other slipstream vessels and nobles’ yachts and be safely…  ::a slight smirk:: secluded… before anyone knows where to look for us.

Dro: I can see what I can do to delay them. Is there a reason you want to avoid them? Besides their personalities?

Polgonz: It’s not their personalities that trouble me – it’s that I feel I am meant to be a carbon copy.

With the worst of it off her chest, Tri’lea turned once again to the open air in front of her and the great fields and forests beyond. She leaned her hands on the railing of the balcony, taking a deep breath of the Idrustixian air.

Polgonz: It will be our wedding. Just for us. Not for anyone else…  Of course, once it’s done, we’ll return here and continue our work. Or at least, I will. Ceciri will need to remain for a while, working things out with her own family’s interests. 

She paused, biting her lip apprehensively.

Polgonz: Do you think Mother Seri will forgive this obfuscation?

Dro: Oh she was wed for two months before they had their ceremony. ::turning toward her:: Besides I do understand and approve.

Polgonz: I suppose it wouldn’t change my mind either way… But I’m glad to know your heart in the matter.

She moved to him and wrapped her arms around him, resting her head on his chest.

Polgonz: ~~Thank you, for your endless support, Atda. ~~

Dro: ~~ As long as the stars shine.~~

((Weeks Later -- Forest of Devoted Sacrifice – Cygnet  XIV, Beta Quadrant))

The forest was dark, quiet, lit only by the silent flames of the many lanterns which hung in the trees lining the old worn path to the Gates of the ancient fortress, and by the stars that glistened in the evening sky above. Two figures stood in the glade, faint starlight reflected on them by the gentle cascading waters of the nearby falls. Between them was a stone altar, built long before any of them existed even as distant thoughts, but which would now bind their fates.

Ceciri looked at Tri’lea, who was wearing a set of armor and had the traditional knotted rope of flowers around her, like Ceciri was. The armor was a cobalt-bronze, with a printed imprint of the clan symbols of Ariadust and Polgonz, and various star and flower designs. Unlike Ceciri’s slightly more covered armored skirt, a concession to Betazoid’s garb was made to make it more revealing, to show the truth of the person. In Cygnetian culture, the armor represented the connection forged between the people being married, and more importantly, the bridge between two people, then donned to overlay the person inside. It was one of the two traditions, from Ceciri’s clan, but many preferred the more modern one of wearing less. Ceciri just wasn’t a huge fan of that.

The stars weren’t those of Tri’lea’s home – and yet, they were familiar now, beginning to take on the comforting reliability of one’s second home. She brought her eyes down from the heavens, focusing her attention on Ceciri. She looked regal, beautiful, and so strong it was hard not to gasp. In her ceremonial garments – ornate armour, draped in cloth bearing traditional symbols of strength and unity, a sword at her hip – lit by the flickering flames and the soft starlight, she looked almost like a figure out of a storybook. Lea pursed her lips, taking a deep measured breath of the thin Cygnian air, before she smiled at Ceciri.

(( Flashback – 2399 from JP: The Forest of a Distant Star (Part 1Part 2) ))

Polgonz: It’s hard to imagine that, at one time, you were just a name on a scroll to me… In fact, sometimes I forget that we’re ‘supposed’ to be married entirely. Things just feel different now. ::Smiling::  Do you think that’s silly?

Ariadust:  I don’t think so. I mean, getting to know you .. ::Ceciri looked at the slightly shorter woman with a broader smile:: .. I’ve enjoyed it.

Lea turned back to the gate and stared up at its pocked surface.

Polgonz: Do you miss it? Cygnet, that is..

Ariadust: I do, as I have not been back in .. 24 standard years now.

Polgonz: ::Turning to face Ceciri::  That is a long time… I suppose you and I are both of a kind. Our home is among the stars. All the same, I find myself longing for Betazed now and again. There’s something special about the ‘mother world’ I suppose.

Ceciri nodded. She had been a spacer from the age of a bit past 9, in Cygnetian years , and she was not sure she could settle down on any planet, even the homeworld.

Ariadust: ::nodding:: For better or worse, it has molded us, and it is what our soul calls to, I feel. I’ve been in space since I was 12 standard years, on merchant ships, or as a Starfleet officer, and .. it’s my home now. But I still want to walk the planet of my birth, sometimes.

Lea stepped closer and took Ceciri’s hand again. The lantern light bounced off the nearby waterfall, scattering in a brilliant shifting pattern that lit up the two women and the walls surrounding them. She spoke softly, but with conviction, getting closer so that she could be heard over the sound of the falls.

Polgonz: If that’s what you want, then we’ll make that happen. We don’t need to let anything stand in our way. If there are hurdles, we’ll overcome them.

(( End Flashback ))

That memory seemed like an eternity ago now – but the promises they’d made then had now borne fruit.

Polgonz: Ready?

Ariadust: Always.

Ceciri smiled softly, speaking to more than this, before she turned to face a third figure, emerging from a hut nearby, carrying a candle in one hand and an old bound tome tucked under her other arm. As the priestess reached the glade, she set the candle atop the altar and brought the ornate book out from under her arm, holding it in front of her, clasped against her chest.

Priestess: Ceciri Ariadust, c'Ariadust, Warden of the Gates of The Fortress Where The Innocents Sheltered, Bloodied Daughter, Lieutenant of Starfleet, Master of Planetary Terraforming, Daughter of Cygnet, Lady of the Court of the Stars, Champion of Blade and Speed, Daughter of Ksharian k'Larian s'Ariadust and Fairioni; You come before the Honoured Matron of the Forest Altar, under the eyes of the fairies, prepared to invoke the binding of your soul to another…

Ariadust: In faith and deed, I do.

Priestess: Tri’lea Doyoxo Polgonz, Daughter Ascendant of the House of Travellers, Twentieth in number of the Houses of Betazed, Daughter Ascendant of the House of Wealth, Ninth in number of the Houses of Betazed, Child of Oxeania, Gatekeeper of the Delta Quadrant, Daughter of Idrustix and Ucron; You, too, come before the Honoured Matron of the Forest Altar, under the eyes of the fairies, prepared to invoke the binding of your soul to another…

Tri’lea did her best to steady her pounding heartbeat, her obsidian eyes shifting from Ceciri, to the elaborately-dressed Priestess, and back again.

Polgonz: Yes. With all my heart, I do.

There was a moment of silent pause, the only noise the gentle rustle of the leaves in the breeze.

Priestess: No others have come to bear witness to this joining. Is that so?

Ariadust: None other need witness our binding, none but the fairies, the stars, the forest, and the Matron.

Ceciri kept to the traditional wording, the words passed down from the first Ceciri k’Ariadust, many centuries ago.

Polgonz: ::To the Priestess::  By our choice.  ::To Ceciri::  Our love is no spectacle.

The older woman nodded solemnly, and opened the tome, beginning to recite a rite in the language of Cygnet. Tri’lea did her best to follow along, relying on her studies to fill in the words spoken to quickly for her to hear. It was, as was so much of Cygnetian culture, a story known by all – a cultural touchstone which only the most devoted of ‘outsiders’ could come to understand. A tale that told of the first binding, between two great warrior women, whose love could not be contained by any force, terrestrial or celestial.

Priestess: ::Finishing the story::  …Ceciri and Tri’lea, what evidence do you bring that your love cannot be contained?

The two women took each other's hands.

Ceciri: Even though the gates of gold and silver beckoned, even through the path of burnt lava and obsidian, we stand here today.

Lea recalled her own fierce determination. The agreement between her late mother and Ceciri’s aunt had been the document which set in motion their marriage – but it had been their decision to go forward with it, despite the trials they would face, and to do it in their own way, for nobody but themselves. From those who disapproved of their arrangement, to those who sought to prevent the alliance of their Houses, nobody – no force – could stand in their way.

Tri’lea: ::Smiling proudly::  Some have tried to hold us back. Even the Matriarchs of great Houses. And they have failed. Before our families, before our birthrights, our commitment is to respecting each other. That has never wavered…

(( Flashback - 2399, Amity Outpost from JP: Certain First Steps (Part 1Part 2) ))

Polgonz: If we are to marry, it should be because we want to, not because of some contract…

Tri’lea laughed nervously as she turned to look out to the stars beyond the end of the Terminal.

Polgonz: It’s only respect for my mother’s legacy that keeps me from tearing that thing up.

Ceciri laughed a bit, but it was a little strained. Tri’lea understood, sensing the delicate balance of emotions in k’Ariadust, and recognizing them as a reflection of her own strained feelings.

Ariadust: Personally, it’s the indirect threat there that hasn’t caused me to react more harshly. ::Ceciri looked at the stars also:: And I think my great aunt will learn to regret the lever she chose to use.

A short silence passed between the two women as they stared into the cosmos, considering their fates and the choices before them.

Tri’lea mulled it over. Outright refusing to comply would bring shame upon her branch of the family, draw attention to a divide between her mother’s will and her own that might call into question the validity of her ascendancy to a Daughter of the Twentieth House. But to go along with it meant giving in and doing as she was told, rather than forging a path for herself.

Polgonz: Perhaps the best thing, then, would be to find a way to make this arrangement work for us. ::Turning to look Ceciri in her striking blue eyes:: Perhaps, somewhere between relenting and fighting back, there is a third option – one that might allow us to make the most of the situation in order to strengthen our own positions.

Ariadust: A third option?

Ceciri was certainly willing to listen to any possibilities here. She wasn’t sure how to get out of this situation, either.

Polgonz: I won’t lie, Ceciri. I like you – and not just because I must – but we do not really know one another yet. Not deeply. I’d like to spend more time together, to see if we might be compatible… but beyond my personal inclinations, I think we ought to help each other. Work together. This needn’t be all business, but it also needn’t be all romance, either.

Ariadust: That makes sense.

Ceciri had the distinct sense that this was going somewhere.

Polgonz: They attempted to manipulate us, but we are stronger than that. Together, I see us as being more powerful than either of us on our own.

And there it was. Ceciri would need to think on this some more, but it was clear that Tri’lea was far more dedicated to the idea... but not without proper cause. And had far more to lose if this didn’t go through. 

Ariadust: I can’t disagree with that.

Polgonz: Then let’s consider our potential marriage as an opportunity to claim our own destinies. To empower each other so that we might be more than pawns in someone else’s game. We deserve as much, don’t you think?

Ariadust: Well. I think it’s worth consideration. ::Ceciri smiles:: Definitely worth it, yes.

Tri’lea smiled rather impishly at the idea.

Polgonz: Whatever we decide, when the time comes, it will be whatever is best for the both of us.

Ariadust: Agreed.

(( End Flashback ))

The Cygnian Priestess smiled upon them, then set the tome down upon the Altar. Stepping forward, between them, she held out her hands – palms towards each of them. Her left, she placed upon Ceciri’s breastplate, and her right, she placed upon Tri’lea’s chest. 

Priestess: Your determination flows through you, ceaseless as the river…  I am convinced. You may draw your blades.

She stepped back, clearing room between the two intendeds.

Ariadust:  In the sight of the fairies, I draw my blade. With this blade, I commit all that I am, or will ever be, or may ever be, to fight for my wife, to hold her honor as mine, to hold her wants above mine, to fight for our future. 

Tri’lea followed suit, drawing the ceremonial sword from the sheath at her hip, worn and wielded in the style that Ceciri had taught her. The blades crossed between them, reflecting the glittering light of the falls, little stars dancing across each of their faces.

Polgonz: ::Reciting::  With this blade, I commit all that I am, or will ever be, or may ever be, to fight for my wife, to hold her honor as mine, to hold her wants above mine, to fight for our future. 

Priestess: Then, under the watchful judgment of the faeries, the Honoured Matron of the Forest Altar, acknowledge your sworn oaths and hereby do pronounce you bound as one and bid you seal your vows.

Lowering the sword, Tri’lea stepped forward, caressing Ceciri’s – her wife’s – cheek tenderly. Their union had taken its time in the coming, but now already it began to feel too long past, and she wanted nothing more than to wrap herself in the fearsome warrior woman’s strong embrace.

Polgonz: There, you see, Imzadi?  ::Small smile::  Nothing can stand in our way. Now, nor ever again.

Ariadust: Never again. ::Ceciri smiles, a bit.::

Closing their eyes, and sealing their vow with a kiss, the two shared in a moment which felt almost prophesied years ago…

(( Flashback – 2399 ))

Polgonz: The more I learn about you, the more I get to know you, the more thrilled I am that fate has brought the two of us together. I don’t think we ever would have met under normal circumstances, but I can’t imagine a more interesting.. worldly..  ::struggling to find words with enough value to communicate her meaning::  ..talented and.. wondrous person.

Ceciri would have liked to respond, but she was too fiercely blushing to respond as she fought to find words that fit the moment. Lea could sense Ceciri again now, their feelings mixing in the space between them, pulling them together. Their faces already close, Lea could see the blue light of the sea reflected in Ceciri’s eyes – enticing pools drawing her ever closer. Before there was time to think, emotion took over, and they shared a brief but unwavering kiss that was hard to part from. 

Polgonz: ::Blushing and breathing heavily, her heart pounding::  Yes… most wondrous.

Ceciri just nodded, leaning against the slightly shorter woman as she tangled their hands for a moment. She.. could not remember her first kiss, but she knew it and her last kiss before that had been .. decades ago. And at the moment, she was still swept up in the emotions swirling between them. If she could have moments like this more often.. She could learn to love having more of her telepathic and empathic abilities. Even with the frustration they brought.

Polgonz: ::Sensing Ceciri’s thoughts::  Me too…  ::Caressing her ear and cheek::  Your mind, your spirit, is just as beautiful to me.

Ariadust: ::softly:: Same.

(( End Flashback ))

Priestess: And now, Ceciri c’Ariadust and Tri’lea c’Ariadust, I bear witness to and avow that you are forever bound in matrimony. From this day, until the end of all things.



((OOC – The song that inspired the title of this sim: Chairlift - I Belong In Your Arms))

((OOC – Also special shoutout to this song that I listened to extensively while writing this: Enya -  Book of Days))

Tri'lea Doyoxo Ariadust (as played by @Robin Hopper)
Daughter of the Twentieth House of Betazed


Lt. Ceciri Ariadust (as played by @Nadeshiko)
Helm Officer, Amity Outpost


Ucron Dro (as played by @Cassian Iovianus)
Son of the Twentieth House of Betazed

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