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State of the Union (Chapter Cover)

Chapter 25[]

State of the Union - Book 3[]

Part Five - Arc-Royal

At the heart of the city there is a
Building that looks down over all there is.
And the man in the tower controls
It all without raising a single fist.
It's like they gathered up the City,
they sold it to the devil, and now
It's gone to hell and they wonder how.

-Light Up The Night - Protomen, Act II

Tharkad City, Tharkad
Donegal Province, Federated Commonwealth
December 3rd, 3067

Yvonne was vaguely aware of a conversation comparing her wedding to her parents’ as Tancred escorted her to the head table of the reception. Lisa Steiner and her sister-in-law, Jacqueline Brewer, dropped the subject as soon as they realized she’d arrived.

“I’m sure if mother was here to attend, we wouldn’t be scoring points off each other over the respective guest lists.” she whispered to Tancred as he seated her.

Her husband - her husband! - leant over and kissed her on the cheek, triggering some impromptu applause from the other guests. “If you’d like, I can set my mother on them.” he offered.

“Let’s keep her in reserve.” she decided.

As if on cue, Tancred’s parents approached and offered their congratulations. In the flurry of small talk, Yvonne didn’t realize that Peter and Catherine had arrived until they slipped into the seats next to her.

Despite Yvonne’s fears, Catherine had obediently worn a gown befitting her position as maid of honor rather than turning up in some fashion disaster. And Peter had been smiling - for almost the first time since he returned to Tharkad - as he escorted her down the aisle. He’d looked enough like their father earlier that she had had to look twice to be sure Hanse Davion hadn’t returned from the grave for the occasion.

“Thank you for putting up with this.” Yvonne murmured to her brother. “I know you’re overworked as it is.”

“I wouldn’t have missed it for the galaxy.” he assured her. “I’m only sorry not everyone could be here.”br>

Victor had the excuse not only of military duties but also that if he attended then he’d have had to spend the time avoiding his children - Arthur, in particular, was too young not to blurt “Papa!” at times - which would make it hard to keep the media present from bursting the carefully maintained deniability around that relationship. And while Yvonne knew that Peter had offered to cede his role of giving her away to Morgan Kell - she hadn’t been as close to their paternal cousin as her older brothers were. It would have been nice, but perhaps it would have added to the comparisons being made, since he’d filled that role for their mother when she wed.

The dictates of being married on Terra had meant that her parents’ honor guard had been a few officers of the Davion Guards, armed only with ceremonial swords. In contrast, brightly painted ‘Mechs of the Fourteenth Federated Commonwealth RCT and three of the four Royal Guards RCTs had escorted the wedding procession from the Triad to the National Cathedral in Tharkad City and then back to the grand dining hall of the Triad. Rather than a carriage, Yvonne had ridden a sleigh, with several roads specifically not cleared of snow in order to ensure enough depth to support it. Almost a hundred ‘Mechs had done a pretty good job of removing the snow in their passage anyway, she’d noticed.

“I was hoping Terias would come along for the honor guard.” she noted. “You brought enough of the Fifth Royals with you.”

Peter gave her a sidelong look at the mention of Terias. “She and Lucy Davion flipped a coin. She won. Or lost, I’m not sure.”

“Idiot.” she said affectionately.

“Am I?”, asked

“You know she’d have come if you asked.”

Her brother gave her a look. “And if she didn’t? I still have to work with her.”

“Tancred, tell my brother he’s an idiot.”

“You’re an idiot.” the Duke of Robinson’s heir dutifully told his feudal lord and master. “Sorry, Peter. Higher authority has spoken.”

“I will accept the diagnosis, on the grounds that no one gets to win an argument with the bride on her wedding day.” Peter’s lips quirked. “Welcome to the family, by the way. There is now no escape.”

“That’s been the case for a while.”, Tancred told his new Brother-In-Law

Tancred sometimes said the sweetest things, Yvonne thought.

"At least you probably won't be asked to wear high heels." Catherine murmured. "The things I do for love."

Peter hid a smile. Yvonne glared at him, then reached over and put one arm around her sister's shoulders. "I appreciate your immense sacrifice."

"Oh well that's alright then."

The dining hall was a riot of colors, with banners representing various prominent guests along the walls - there had been discussion of setting them above the appropriate tables but the decision to mix the nations’ seatings had complicated this. There was a certain amusement to seeing Capellan officers and Lyran magnates bemusedly sharing a table with the equally baffled Khan Bjorn Jorgenssen.

The flags above the head table were representing Donegal and Robinson rather than any national flags, to avoid more inflammatory comparisons.

After the soup course, there was a pause so people could circulate. In some cases this meant people returned to their national contingents to compare notes but in other cases there were conversations across national lines. One example of this was Omi Kurita crossing to the head table on her elder brother’s arm.

“It’s a lovely ceremony.” she assured Yvonne. “I hope that you and Tancred are very happy together.”

“I think we will be.”

Hohiro offered his hand to Tancred. “I hope that we can have a more amicable relationship than our fathers.” he offered. “I know it’s a low bar, but we can try.”
Yvonne’s husband - her husband! - accepted the hand and they shook hands briefly. “Well, I suppose I’ll need to change my wedding gift now, but since you’ve asked so nicely…”

The two Kuritas paused at that suggestion and then laughed after a moment to decide that it was just a joke. Yvonne elbowed her husband. “He’s not serious. He’s not allowed to give me Dieron - where would I even put it?”

Catherine waited until the moment had almost passed before suggesting: “Addicks PDZ, presumably.”

Yvonne had just sipped some water and had to fight not to spit it up. “Catherine!” she protested.

“Well it’s there or Skye, and who wants Kelswa-Steiner involved?”

Hohiro smiled. "If Addicks were offered up as a wedding gift for me, I'd put it in Dieron District so that's probably fair." At least he wasn't taking offense.

"Don't hold your breath." Peter told him with a sigh.

After the main course, there was another circulation while the wedding cake was brought out. Isis Marik had to step aside to make way for the. “You probably made the right decision not to have worlds on the dishes.” she advised. “It’s probably not the best comparison.”

“Thank you.” Yvonne agreed, as if she hadn’t thought of that.

Tancred’s sword was brought out for the first cut - although after this, the waiting staff would be cutting the cake with proper knives. The newly-weds held the sword together, cutting directly through all five layers of the cake before drawing the sword back and out - which took more effort than the cut and for a moment Yvonne was afraid they’d tear the cake open.

Still, the staff then proceeded to disassemble the cake with practiced ease, carrying sections away to be cut into portions at each table. The top layer was for the head table and two plates with the first sections were presented to Tancred and Yvonne as the sword was carried away to be cleaned.

“My love.” Yvonne declared once all the cake had been handed out. “In honor of this special day, I have endowed Robinson Academy with the financing to expand their campus and add a full medical school to their establishment.” It would be for military doctors at first, given that the academy was more properly Robinson Battle Academy - and her dead brother Arthur’s alma mater.

Tancred patiently let her feed him the slice of cake and wiped his lips with a napkin before taking up the other plate.

“Yvonne, words cannot express my happiness that you’ve agreed that we can spend the rest of our lives together.” he announced. “I know many have suggested that I should offer you a princely gift, as your father once did your mother, but I believe I am better served in emulating his grace, the late Duke of Donegal.”

The doors opened and on a small rolling platform, three of the staff wheeled in a large desk. As it came closer, Yvonne realized that it was made of Donegal oak, a highly prized and expensive export of her adopted homeworld. While not in any way as costly as her own gift, it was certainly not cheap or easy to come by. And it was in the same style as the desk that graced the Archon-Prince’s office, handed down from Katrina to Melissa and then to Yvonne’s brothers. (Katherine had never dirtied it by using it).

Her husband waited until it was before her before resting his free hand upon the varnished upper surface. “I hope that the work of my hands will support you and your labors as long as we remember this day.”

Tancred lifted the cake to her lips and Yvonne bit into it, happily. He always knew what she wanted.

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