Stonehaven Cothold - Courtyard
The courtyard is a central hub of activity, protected on all sides by the towering cliffs or sturdy stone walls. Once passing through the iron gate, a brick pathway leads to the main hold entrance at a slight curve, while flat paver stones cover most of the rest of the space. However, much of this area has been given to gardens and a large greenhouse, so more of Stonehaven's food and medicinals can be grown within the shelter of its walls, offering the plants some protection from the harsh winters.
To the left, in the front corner of the courtyard where both walls meet, is a tree whose branches are just beginning to arch over the wall it grows alongside. The tree is now a memorial for those who were piled beneath it on the night of the Laris attack, with some flowers planted at its base and a few benches. There is no plaque or marker, but it doesn't take long for any newcomers to hear the story of that particular spot.
Stonehaven's front door is a sturdy wooden structure, reinforced with iron bands and very strong. To the right of it, at about shoulder height, is a stone that is well worn with time and touch, as the Stonehavens have traditionally touched that spot whenever leaving or returning, for luck.


Mid-afternoon and the cothold is beautiful. Autumn brings with it a chill to the air, but the sun is bright and the stones are warmed. The tree in the corner of the courtyard has been decorated simply with a few ribbons, its fiery hued autumn leaves left alone otherwise, and a space beneath it cleared for the ceremony. Benches and chairs are set out facing the tree in two sections with the aisle down the middle in black and turquoise, with Stonehaven's crest at the end of it, where Ezra and Laurali will stand. Stonehaven members move through the small crowd offering folks drinks or little appetizers to munch on while they mingle and wait for the ceremony to start.

Ezra steps out of the cothold doors looking freshly scrubbed and neatly dressed in his finest clothing. His knot pinned to his shoulder, cufflinks gleam at his wrists, and he pauses on the step for a moment to survey the scene. Reaching up, he touches his hand to the door frame and then moves down into the crowd.

Dtirae is, surprisingly, attending. Though the goldrider is pale, she is here. She is with a small crowd, munching on appetizers as they mingle and wait. Ezra's arrival from the cothold doors draws her attention that way, for a brief moment before her gaze becomes fixated on those she stands with.

Rayathess steps out shortly after Ezra and pauses only to touch that well worn stone before venturing out further into the courtyard. He's dressed in his finest clothing, nothing too flashy but the shades of Harper blue pin him down for his Craft. He has a small thin book tucked under one arm and while he smiles warmly and greets everyone cordially, there's a slight bit of tension in his posture. "Dtirae! I see you made it," Rayathess greets the goldrider rather abruptly. He really should stop sneaking up on her. Ezra will be fine to mingle just a little longer on his own. "We'll be starting shortly. How're you?"

More guests arrive, notably among them being the Weyrleader of Fort. Th'ero keeps mostly to himself, dressed in his formal riding leathers and wearing only his usual dagger. He's brought a guest with him too and it's with her that they approach Ezra to share their greetings and congratulate him before finding their seats.

Anrila's sticking close to Laurali, wherever she chooses to go; she is very much not a mingler, and since the bride-to-be isn't really either, it makes sense as the place to essentially hover around. She doesn't actually look completely terrified, because this is her home, but she's definitely uneasy and a little bit dotingly attentive to the trailing on the bride's dress.

Ezra greets a neighbor before he pauses to accept the greetings and congratulations from Th'ero and Kimmila. Nyalle is there as well, though she takes her seat quickly, not wanting to mingle or take attention from the bride and groom. Ezra drifts around the crowd, clearly nervous but still smiling, until he ends up beneath the tree to wait. And try not to fidget.

And where he is promptly joined by Inri, in her simple-but-elegant dress; the one she is using to try to not upstage everyone else in their fondness for wearing simple-but-elegant. "Hey, you," she says cheerfully. "I'll move as soon as I need to but I had to come say hi first. See if you wanted to vent any last-minute jitters on me."

It is lucky that Dtirae is constantly aware of her surroundings. A small blessing, that. Otherwise, the woman would have likely let out an undignified shriek. Instead, the tension from the goldrider eases just a bit as she offers Rayathess a smile. "Yes." Short, clipped speech. The woman shifts to slightly extract herself from her companions to step closer to the Harper. "I am… As well as can be." She offers in a hushed tone. "How are you? Do you want a bit to eat before you start?" The plate of small tidbits is offered out.

Ezra turns to flash Inri a nervous smile. "Hey," he returns. "I…uh. Yeah, I'm nervous, but I'm excited too. Have you seen Laurali? Is she excited?" She hasn't run away, has she?

Rayathess will accept one of those small tidbits from Dtirae's plate and for the short clipped speech he only frowns momentarily before offering his arm to the goldrider. "I'm alright. Happy!" How could he not be? Even if he's not exactly beaming with joy, he is happy for his brother. There's a glance towards the tree and the rapidly filling benches. Already? "And short on time. Here, I'll lead you to the seats. I think I see Weyrwoman Nyalle and Weyrleader Th'ero and his weyrmate already there. We'll talk more later, alright?" If she accepts, Rayathess will see her seated and then walk up to stand beneath the tree, facing the assembled crowd with Ezra on his left. "And there's the cue. We're starting." Soft music plays. Someone skilled enough on a wind instrument and a string instrument play a soft tune off to the side, a signal for guests to take their seats.

Laurali won't be outside but likely roaming the inside of Stonehaven restlessly, hidden until it's "time" for her to walk out. She's just had a little talk with D'ani (and probably cried a little — not that it's bad!) while she waits with Anrila. When the music begins, that's Anrila's cue to walk out first, technically in the role of 'bridesmaid'.

"She's probably about the same as you," Inri offers, reassuring with a hand to the shoulder, "And yes, I was with her, I'm not just making that up to make you feel better." She's still there, in other words. When it's time to disperse, Inri gives a little finger-waggle and disappears off to sit with Nyalle and Dtirae.

Isn't Anrila nervous! Well. She's terrified, because there are eyes on her now, but she also is not going to make any mess of her brother and her friend's wedding. She keeps her composure, even fixes a tiny-hopeful smile, and walks. In step to the music, even.

Dtirae smiles a touch wider when Rayathess takes a tidbit. The arm he offers is taken without hesitation. "Good. Happy is good. I'm glad." Her gaze drifts towards the filling benches. "You're a busy man." She agrees, but nods once for his offer to lead her to the seats. "I'd love to talk more later." Once she's seated, her gaze is drawn to the approaching Inri. A hand lifts, briefly before her gaze shifts towards the doors.

Ezra takes a deep breath, offering Inri a faint smile before he straightens his posture and stands almost stiffly beside Rayathess. His smile widens when their little sister begins to walk down the aisle, his shoulders relaxing a bit. Then his eyes flick to the cothold doors again. Waiting.

Rayathess will open that small thin book and look up just as Anrila makes her way out. His features brighten considerably towards his younger sister, a wide smile greeting her as she walks up the aisle and takes her place. "You look great," he murmurs quietly to her and looks back to Ezra. "Hanging in there?" Because things are progressing now.

The music slows to a gentle finish before the players pick up a different tune. It's to this that the doors open and out steps D'ani with Laurali at his side, her arm linked through his. She's dressed in an elegant but simple gown of burgundy and cream, the sleeves long and bell-shaped and suitable for the cooler autumn weather. Best of all? She has a hood in place of a veil and she has it up. In her free hand, she holds her bouquet, all wildflowers and herbs (and likely gathered herself). So far, so good as she steadily makes her way up the aisle and D'ani's poor arm might get a little crushed from nerves even though her eyes are fixed solely on Ezra. She can still feel everyone else.

Ezra gapes at his bride-to-be, stunned by the sight of her. 'Wow', he mouths, his gaze fixated on her and nothing else. She's all he sees, and he just /stares/ at her as she walks forward. Walks to /him/. Walks to marry /him/. His cheeks flush with color and he has to remind himself to breathe, a hand reaching out automatically to briefly clutch at Rayathess' arm. Look! Look what's coming their way!

Anrila shoots a flash of genuinely pleased smile up at Rayathess; it's just a flash becuse that's all there's really time for now. Any further attention is totally devoted toward looking between Ezra and Laurali. Until Rayathess starts talking, and then that's all on him. No intimidation here.

Dtirae's gaze falls onto Laurali as she enters, falling in place with the crowd. She is fully fixated on the bride, taking in the scenery and settling her gaze forward and on the scene unfolding. She is utterly swept up in it all.

D'ani is dressed in black on black suit, shirt and tie, walks beside the beautiful Laurali in measured step, mindful to allow her to set the pace. He's got one hand over the smaller one upon his arm, head slightly bowed towards her as if bearing a fragile and precious treasure to his best friend. Their steps take them to the front, before the tree that has presided over so many things of life, death - and empty loneliness in this courtyard over the turns. There awaits her husband-to-be and the brother who will officiate and there D'ani stops, his hand gently squeezes Laurali's before lifting it and placing it in Ezra's. If his friend doesn't reach for hers, he'll nudge the hand and join them before bending to brush a brotherly kiss to Laurali's brow and murmuring something that only she might hear, leans to catch her eyes if he can and smiles warmly into them. Then he steps to stand up there by Ezra. Groomsmen, right. He's not nervous at all.

Th'ero will be silent for the most part, his eyes one of the many who follow Laurali's walk up the aisle with D'ani. It's not until the Weyrsecond has taken his seat that he nods his head in greeting and offering a smile and a slightly curious quirk of one brow. He wasn't expecting that? Belated greetings are also murmured to Dtirae and Inri but he falls silent shortly after that.

Laurali's cheeks colour at the words D'ani whispers to her and the brotherly kiss and a murmured, "Thank you" can be heard in reply. She then alternates between a grin and a sheepish smile as her hand is offered to Ezra and once he takes it, she'll step into place beside him. "Hey," she whispers softly to him, darting a look to Rayathess as well and Anrila too. So far, so good? And then the music stops and Rayathess clears his throat and greets the crowd in a standard welcome. "We are gathered here today…" So it goes and onwards to the vows and the exchanging of rings (which better not have been forgotten!). It's the next step that finalizes everything: the handfasting.

Ezra watches Laurali - and oh yeah, D'ani is there too - come forward, and his hand reaches to hers and he takes it with a wide grin. "You look /beautiful/," he whispers to his bride-to-be, breathless. Then he's quiet, because Rayathess is talking. But he can't keep his eyes off Laurali for long, keeping darting glances back at her and grinning. The rings were not forgotten, either! Simple silver bands for the both of them, with any designs or etchings kept private between the two of them.

Rayathess gives a silent pause, glancing down at the thin book in his hands before he begins, speaking in a steady tone but one full of warmth as he begins the ceremony. "Ezra and Laurali, since you have met, you have had many adventures and your friendship has really blossomed. As you have prepared for this day, you have become aware of your values and expectations. You have clarified your intentions, which will give meaning to both this ceremony and to the marriage itself. Your intentions are that you wish the very best for each other; that you will be kind and considerate to each other; respect each other as the best of friends; that you will grow old together, sharing and caring for each other through whatever may come."

"You know, however, that there will be times when you falter. With this understanding we make clear of your intentions to all present. With open hearts, you are declaring your intentions here today with your family and friends as witnesses and symbolizing your commitment to each other and these ideals by this ritual of handfasting." Rayathess pauses again, just for a heartbeat with his eyes glancing between his brother and his bride-to-be before continuing: "This ceremony, in ways unseen, will greatly strengthen your union. Recall your words and intentions often and let them guide you and support you throughout your Turns together."

Rayathess motions for Anrila to bring the ribbons forwards and once he has them securely in hand, he gives Ezra and Laurali a warm but firm look. Last chance to back out! "Do you wish to enter this ceremony?"

"Yes, we do." Will be the answer that starts it all. With the bride and groom facing one another, they'll clasp hands while Rayathess begins. "Ezra, will you bring suffering into the relationship?" In which Ezra replies: "I may." And followed by Rayathess' "Is this your intent?" And Ezra's answer of "No." The exact same is asked of Laurali and upon her (shyly spoken) answers, Rayathess will bind their wrists with the first ribbon upon saying: "Ezra and Laurali, will you make peace your first priority and, at those times when you forget, be brave and take the first step towards healing?" On which they both answer: "Yes."

And so the ceremony proceeds, with Rayathess going on to ask if they will share each others laughter and joy, to look in the brightness in life and the positive in each other, if they will be present in the challenges so they may grow strong in this union, will they honor each other, respect each other, dream together… It's a very honest and heartfelt ceremony, truthful and not without a moment or two of humor when Rayathess goes on to ask if they'll cause trouble for one another (no, that's NOT the intent!) or cause anger (who doesn't?) and even Laurali will snicker a bit before she controls herself but in the end six bindings are made and the ceremony completed.

"Your union is symbolized by the tying of these ribbons," Rayathess goes on to say. "Your union is formed by your friendship and commitment to the vows you have made and will be enriched by the way you live your everyday lives together. You hold in your own hands," And he gestures to their bound wrists. "And hearts the making or breaking of this union. While we are now going to remove the ribbons, the knot will remain tied, symbolizing two lives becoming one."

"I now present to you, Ezra and Laurali Stonehaven, husband and wife. Ezra… you know what to do." Yes, Rayathess is going to be a little cheeky. It's his "revenge" for having to keep his wits straight through an entire ceremony of his only brother! And while the couple are swept up in the reception line of guests… he's going to sneak away briefly to just — you know — compose himself. Probably best to leave him alone, just for a few minutes.

Ezra works his way through their answers, their vows and the handfasting. Until it's over, and he's flashing his brother a wide grin. Reaching up, his hands touch Laurali's hood. But instead of pushing it back, he pulls it /forward/ so their kiss is mostly private, just for the two of them. Their second kiss though…that one he pushes her hood back for, and even tries to dip her a little bit with a wide grin. "My wife…" he whispers, just for her ears. Holy shit he just got married.

Inri is definitely crying, there's no doubt about it. As soon as she can find D'ani, there's also a little bit of overly emotional latching. He really didn't need that arm, did he?

Dtirae is silent through the entire exchange. There are no tears from her, but, she is smiling a little more widely, more at ease. When it is over, when they are pronounced husband and wife, there is a polite applause from the weyrwoman — hard to say if this is proper for a marriage, but she's not familiar with the rules there. She does see Rayathess flee, but is swept into the activity, at least for a brief moment before she manages to break away, once proper respects and congratulations are given.

There's D'ani, standing nearby, watching the entire ceremony and perhaps at times shakin away the image of a sopping wet Ezra sitting fully clothed in the hot springs amidst a mound of bubbles, making shapes and smashing them flat while pretending not to watch D'ani shave. He beams when they kiss, husband and wife and blinks mantears back. SOPROUD!! He's going to congratulate him later, D'ani-style. For now he endures the wedding party reception line, shaking what seems like too many hands before Inri finds him and latches on. She'll get a warm arm encircling her shoulders, a kiss brushed to the temple and… a joke to make her laugh. "Our Ezra's is all grown up now," he says gravely. Empty nest! Augh!

Laurali's startled look when Ezra pulls her hood forwards for the first kiss is missed but at least by the time it's being drawn back she's laughing. Still laughing too when he tries to dip her down and she'll allow it (awkwardly) but it's all in good fun! Plus her head is a bit fogged, still absorbing the whole ceremony. "Husband," she whispers back and then once righted, she links her arm with his and braces to weather the reception line. Which she ends up handling just fine, even when the Fortian Weyrleaders congratulate them personally. There will be a moment of relief when the guests then scatter for refreshments, giving Ezra and Laurali a scant few moments of time to talk amongst themselves.

And what's a wedding without a reception? As the sun begins to set, dinner will be served! Warmer dishes and hot dishes, given the season and served family style. There's more then enough food to go around, plenty of wine and spirits and of course music to round it all off. Dancing follows, as does a (controlled) bonfire as nightfall progresses and the bravest of the guests celebrate well into the wee hours of the morning. As for the bride and groom? They'll escape sometime near to midnight.