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It Would Be Better

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“We will come get you when it’s time.”

The Spriton attendant and her two handmaidens curtsied before they exited the robing room, leaving Deet alone on the padded pedestal she stood on. She took in a breath, smelling the fragrance of the flowers sitting around the room. She shifted her weight before turning to face the large mirror in front of her.

Her tangled hair had been tamed - to the best of the handmaidens’ ability - into a lovely updo. Although she allowed the two gelfling to use a brush, Deet insisted on keeping the braids already formed. A veil, made of a thin Arathim silk, was attached to her hair using a small golden clip. Deet let out a small sigh as her eyes moved down.

The gown she wore was beautiful. Brea had ensured that it be made from Nurloc rump to uphold Grottan traditions. Arathim silk was also used to create a second layer that shone in the three brothers’ light. The dress itself flowed down her body, creating a slight train to follow behind her. Blue stones were stitched in swirls along the hems of the dress, reminding her of the glow moss that grew in the Grottan caves. Not only that, but Rian’s eyes.

Oh, Thra, Rian’s eyes. Deet could gaze into them and never get lost. They were her home. Well, he was her home.

Ever since the battle between the Gelfling and the Skeksis, he had been there. To protect her from the Skeksis. To support her as she gained her strength back from the Darkening. To love her forever and always.

She inhaled deeply and sighed again. It had been two trine since that battle. The Skeksis had retreated to their castle, no doubt withering away without their precious essence. The clans of Thra had come together and were stronger than ever. Trade had increased, relations improved, and more Gelfling were traveling to the capital to meet the All-Maudra. All of this was so wonderful.

But why was she feeling such apprehension?

A sudden knock broke Deet out of her train of thought. Oh… That must be the attendant… I guess it’s time…

“Yes? You can come in.” Her ear twitched upon hearing the handle shift and the door creak open. Expecting the attendant to help her off of the pedestal, she turned to face her. Instead, she saw a pair of blue eyes that called her home.

“I should hope I can come in… I am marrying you, after all.”

“Rian!”

Rian leaned against the door jam and grinned at Deet, his hand still on the door handle. He wore a dark vest and pair of breeches made of the same Nurloc rump her dress was made from. Underneath lay a white tunic made from a thicker silk, its sleeves and collar were detailed with gold embroidery. Deet let out a loud gasp, stepping forward to run into his arms. As she did so, her foot caught on the train of her dress, causing her to trip and fall right off of the pedestal.

“Oh, shit!” Rian lurched forward, his arms outstretched to catch her. He quickly grasped her arms and pulled her up to his level, careful not to wrinkle her dress. She took hold of his forearms in turn, attempting to get her balance back. She angled her head upwards and saw his eyes again, scanning for the injuries she couldn’t possibly have. She giggled.

“Well, that wasn’t exactly the way I wanted to greet you… but it works!” Rian exhaled and smiled back at her.

“I guess so.” The two let go of each other’s arms and hugged properly. She wrapped her arms around his torso and Rian followed suit. He placed his chin atop her head as she buried her face in his chest. Staying like that for a moment, Deet sighed into the fabric.

“You came at just the right time…” Rian lifted his head and looked down at the gelfling attempting to hide in the fabric of his vest. He laughed.

“Why’s that?” Deet snuggled in closer, mumbling something into Rian’s chest.

“I’m sorry, what was that?” He tapped the top of her head with his finger, causing Deet to look up at him a moment later. Her large brown eyes looked irritated and wet. Wait, is she crying? Why is she crying?

“Deet? What’s wrong?” Rian’s eyes studied her face. Her eyes were filled with tears and her cheeks had a slight pink hue to them. He unwrapped his right arm and placed his hand on her cheek, feeling its warmth. He raised his thumb, swiping away a tear that had begun to fall. “Are you alright?”

Deet sniffled and nodded, pulling back from his embrace to wipe her nose on the back of her hand. Seeing this, Rian took her other hand in his, leading her back to the pedestal.

“Then why are you crying? Surely it’s because of this ridiculous outfit I’m wearing, yes?” Deet laughed wearily, sitting atop the pedestal and wiping the excess moisture from her eyes.

“No, you actually look quite handsome in that color.” He chuckled and kneeled beside her, squeezing the hand he was holding. She took a deep breath and exhaled.

“This is nothing of your doing, Rian. It’s *sniff* It’s me. I just… I don’t know. I’m… I’m worried.” Ryan shifted his weight and smirked a bit.

“Worried? About what?”

“About this. Well, no, that’s not what I meant. I’m not worried about this. I want this…” She motioned between the two of them. “I don’t think I’ve ever been more sure about something in my life. What I mean is… are we doing the right thing? We have no idea what the future will hold or what Thra will bring to us-”

“Deethra.”

She stopped after feeling Rian squeeze her hand again. She turned her head to face him. He was studying her face again and smiled, blue eyes meeting brown.

“Deet, do you remember what happened at Stone-in-the-Wood two trine ago?” Deet scoffed in response.

“Of course I do. The two of us waited for the other Gelfling to arrive so we could defeat the Skeksis and when they did, those horrible tyrants ran.”

“Yes, but I remember a certain Grottan telling me to have hope that the Gelfling would arrive.” He placed his head on his fist, raising his eyebrows at Deet. She huffed and crossed her arms, removing her hand from his before smiling back at him.

“I guess I do remember that…”

“You should. It was that hope that helped us defeat the Skeksis. It was that hope that inspired the Gelfling to come together. It was that hope that gave me a reason to fight.” Rian took her hand again.

“When we spoke that day, you said you didn’t think anything would be like it was after that battle. You were worried. Do you remember what I said?” Deet nodded and squeezed his hand.

“You said it would be better.”

“And it was. After that day, the Gelfling were united, the Skeksis were gone, and you and I…” He placed his other hand on top of hers. “We were together. You say you’re worried now about this next chapter of our lives. What’s going to happen? All I can say is the same thing I said two years ago: it will be better.”

“Rian…” Deet lifted her right hand and placed it on his cheek. He closed his eyes and leaned into it, pressing a kiss to her palm.

“I love you, Deet.”

“I love you too.”

Another knock at the door caused their heads to turn. In the doorway stood the attendant and the two handmaidens.

“Oh! I didn’t realize the groom was here as well.”

“Don’t worry…” Rian stood up and brushed the wrinkles out of his breeches. “I didn’t ruin the dress.”

“Yes, well, right this way.” The handmaiden stepped back from the doorway to escort the couple. Rian held out his hand to help Deet up.

“Ready?” Deet took his hand and stood, glancing back at herself in the mirror. Two of her braids had fallen from the updo and her fringe had become significantly more fluffy. She saw Rian’s reflection in the mirror, standing right beside her. She smiled and turned back to face him.

“Yes.”

The two walked together, hand in hand, toward the ceremonial hall. The voices of the couple’s friends and family echoed louder as they grew closer. Deet hummed along the way, knowing that as long as she and Rian were together, it would be better.