Marion had always thought the uniforms of the Chancellery Guard, Gallifrey’s army or police force, whichever it was, looked silly. They put her in mind of Roman soldiers with capes and crash helmets.

But today, in the DRESS uniform they looked even more insane. The dress uniform meant a heavier, embroidered cape and even more brass and a helmet with multicoloured plumes so that they each seemed to be wearing a chicken dressed for a wild party on their heads.

Chancellery Guard in full dress uniform, including hedonistic chickens lined the wide, high corridor from the room where she had been dressed in her wedding gown to the great Panopticon where the wedding was taking place. When she and her retinue of bridesmaids appeared they all stood to attention and raised ceremonial swords to form an arch.

“My goodness,” Marion managed to say about them.

“No less honour is due,” answered Lord de Lœngbærrow, Kristoph’s father as he took her arm and led her past the guard of honour. They moved slowly along the corridor and into the ante-chamber of the Panopticon. Their path across the cool marbled floor was marked by more of the guards. Marion briefly wondered whether there were any on duty in the Capitol in case of any crime that might happen today.

According to Gallifreyan ceremony the retinue went into the Panopticon first and then the door was closed symbolically. It gave her a half a minute respite to gather her breath and prepare for the moment when everyone who mattered on this planet would be looking at her. Lord de Lœngbærrow said a kind, encouraging word to her as the music began to swell inside and the commander of the guard smiled warmly at her before turning, very formally and knocking on the great door with the pommel of his sword.

Standing before the great Seal of Rassilon, Kristoph carefully breathed in and wished the last moments would pass swiftly and the ceremony could begin. He longed to see his bride. The possibility that she could have become so scared by all the pompery, especially the Chancellery Guards in their plumes, haunted him. He turned and looked at his brother, standing beside him in robes of the Prydonian Chapter, scarlet and gold, with the huge collar and headdress that made him a half a foot taller. He was wearing the same. The President was in dark blue and gold of the Arcalian Chapter, and around them, every seat in every gallery was full of the same splendour. The choir and orchestra were dressed for the occasion, too, and Kristoph knew that Marion was going to be stunned by the sight of them, assembled to perform the music of the ceremony.

The Panopticon, a grand hall that could compete with some of the finest temples and cathedrals in the universe, looked especially fine today. The marble floor was strewn with silver leaves, actual leaf shapes cut from sheets of wafer thin silver. Winter roses, force grown under glass spilled out of urns embellished with silver ribbons that glinted in the natural light that came through the glass roof high above. Later the crystal chandeliers would be needed, because it would be dark before the ceremony was over.

The guests, the groom, the president, the very room they stood in looked magnificent. But they all waited to be put in the shade by the bride.

A fanfare heralded the arrival of the retinue. First the very youngest, Hillary’s little ones, Kaye in a white dress like a frosted cake, and Cam in a pale blue page’s outfit walked through the door carrying between them a basket from which they threw white silk rose petals that fell among the silver leaves. They looked very small in the midst of this grandeur, but neither seemed to notice that. And they positively revelled in the attention they were getting. Haollstromnian extroverts already.

Lily came after them, and Kristoph drew breath as he looked at her. She was in a simple, figure hugging gown of pure white with silver flecks that glinted in the light. She had roses in her silver-white hair and carried a small bouquet of lilies. For a brief moment Kristoph looked at her and had a vision of how it might have been if he had married her when they were both young and the white hair was red. But that chance had gone and this was no time for regrets. He smiled warmly at her as she came to stand in her appointed place, ready to play her part in the proceedings.

She was followed by the elder children of his old friend. Brandon and Drew both soaked up the attention, having already disconcerted the Chancellery Guards with their pheromone-laden charms.

Then the chief bridesmaids. Three ladies of Gallifrey, Isolatta, Calliope and Hesthor, three beauties of this world, as well as Hillary, a beauty and a jewel wherever she was. Another of the ‘might have beens’ of his life. She must have been exuding those Haollstromnian pheromones, too, because like her daughters she raised smiles from the normally lugubrious Chancellery Guard as she passed.

Then the door was closed ceremoniously and a hush came over the assembly. There was the knock and then a resounding fanfare and the door was opened wide. Kristoph was aware of the music. He was aware of everyone standing in honour of the moment. But all he really saw was his bride. She, too, brought smiles to the Guard, but this time it was no pheromone trickery. They were genuinely delighted to be in her presence.

And why wouldn’t they be? She looked magnificent. The dress that had taken so much time and effort was a credit to her. It was white satin, in a quite simple style, cut to show off the curves of her real figure, long, slender sleeves but off-the shoulder so that an expanse of smooth white flesh was adorned by nothing but a necklace of red and white diamonds set in silver. From her waist the skirt fell to her feet with just enough fluting to allow it to flow as she walked. Diamonds, singular and in clusters, were sewn in apparently random patterns all over the dress, and they glittered in the lace veil that was held in place by a tiara. But the bulk of the diamonds he had given to her as her dowry, to be displayed before the cream of Gallifreyan society, were sewn onto the huge train that fanned out behind her as she walked. There must have been ten or more yards of satin in it and it shone with the jewels that must have made the seamstresses hands bleed in the great effort. Four of the Guards broke formation to lift it as she came through the door and walked on silver leaves and silk rose petals towards her waiting groom. She carried a bouquet of white roses as she walked on his father’s arm. The veil hid her face, but Kristoph knew she was smiling. He felt that she was. And when his father finally brought her to him and he reached and lifted the veil he was right. Her eyes were as bright as any of the jewels on her and her carefully made up lips were set in a truly happy smile.

“I love you,” he whispered as her chief bridesmaid took her bouquet and he took her hand. They both turned towards the President. The assembly remained standing as the National Anthem of Gallifrey stirred and inspired them. Kristoph and Remonte and their father all placed their left hands over their breasts as did all the men and women born of that world. Marion did, too. It was HER National Anthem from this day forward. Not only did she become a wife and a Lady, but she became a Lady of Gallifrey, with all the rights and protection of a citizen of that world.

Then Lord de Lœngbærrow took his place with his wife and the chief guests as they all sat and the ceremony began with the Lord High President reading the sacred and binding laws of Alliance that meant they were bound from this day until eternity.

The laws took a full hour to read. They were, in effect, two edicts, to love and cherish each other and never dishonour the Alliance with adulterous acts. But they were so embellished with elaborate wording that they took that long to read. When it was over, the bride and groom were allowed to sit while the orchestra and choir performed a whole act of the Pazzione Gallifreya, then the string section of the orchestra played quietly while Marion knelt before Kristoph and recited, in carefully pronounced High Gallifreyan, the words of a love poem incorporated into the ceremony millennia ago when Time Lords mostly married for love, not politics. When she had done her part, Kristoph knelt and said the second part to her, then they knelt together, hands clasped and said the final part in unison.

Another short musical interlude followed before one of the key portions of the ceremony. Here, the mother of the bride was required to kneel before the groom and pledge her loyalty to him and his house. For a long time it was expected that this part would not be included, since Marion was an orphan. But in the quiet evenings she and Lily had spent together in the drawing room of Maison D’Alba they had talked about it and found an obvious solution to the dilemma.

Marion sat, with the yards of satin train billowing around her as Kristoph stood. Lily stepped forward and knelt gracefully before him and said the pledge of fealty as her ‘adopted’ mother who had cared for her since she came to live on Gallifrey. Kristoph had been disconcerted when they told him the plan, but could see no reason why it could not be that way.

Marion thought about her mother as she watched Lily take her role in the Alliance ceremony. Her memories were scattered. She remembered holidays and Christmas, birthdays. She remembered being loved by her mother, who did her best to raise her in difficult circumstances. For the first time in many years she wondered briefly who her father even was, and what he might think about all this. Then she cast him from her mind as she always did, as completely irrelevant to her. And she knew that her mother would be proud and glad to see her today.

Her hand touched the diamonds on her neck. She was wearing diamonds everywhere. There were earrings that matched the necklace, diamonds in the tiara, some threaded into thin braids in her hair beneath the veil, bracelets on her wrists, and beneath the skirt, garters at the top of the sheer white stockings. Hillary had lifted her skirt and put them in place for her, and told her with a knowing smile that they were for Kristoph’s pleasure later. She had wondered if garters with diamonds in them would make a noise when she walked. When she did walk she had been too aware of other sensations to notice, and she put aside all thoughts of Kristoph’s pleasure later. That felt a lifetime away yet.

Covered in diamonds, showered with luxury. She wondered if her mother ever dreamt of such fortune for her. If she did, then it was a dream come true. But as fantastic as it was to be wearing more precious jewels than the Queen of England on a State occasion she knew it was not the money and possessions that mattered to her, and she was sure her mother would be delighted only that she was marrying a good man who would love her for all of her life and care and protect her.

She didn’t think her mother would mind that he was a man who came from another planet. Just so long as she was happy.

And she WAS.

Lily’s pledge was three hours long, and again written in ancient and complicated words that dressed up a simple proposition. When it was over, she stood and Kristoph kissed her on the cheek before she returned to her seat. Then he and Marion sat once again for another musical interlude. She smiled as she heard the choir and orchestra performing some of her favourite songs, the music and words given to them by Kristoph well in advance of the ceremony. Across The Universe seemed to have become her own theme tune and what was already a beautiful and haunting song now sounded even more beautiful sung by this Gallifreyan choir. Especially when they sang the last verse and chorus again in Gallifreyan.

Then the Lord High President was the centre of attention again as he recited the duties of the new husband and wife to each other. Kristoph was required to provide for Marion’s every spiritual and physical need, to protect her from hurt or harm, and never to neglect her feelings. Marion was required to love and honour her husband, to give succour to his spiritual needs and submit willingly to his physical desires. She was to keep a household that honoured his position in society and she was to dutifully and uncomplainingly bear his seed to fruition in the fullness of time. This, of course, having submitted willingly to his physical desires. When she first read these duties in the Gallifreyan book of etiquette she wondered how she was going to hear them read without giggling. But now they were she didn’t feel like giggling. That duty was still one she couldn’t think about yet, not even when she felt the diamonds in the garters pressing against the bare flesh of her thighs beneath her dress.

A Gallifreyan love aria followed, the music swelling the hearts of the two lovers and preparing them for the last part of the ceremony. Marion realised with a shock that nearly eleven hours had gone by. And now they began their pledges to each other, page after page of beautifully poetic language in which they promised to be each other’s comfort and shield and source of inspiration in the trials of their life together.

Then the President drew himself up to his full height and looked at the two of them as they faced him, hands clasped together.

“I am bound to ask you now, before you make the final vows and bind yourselves to each other, if there is a slightest doubt in your mind. The Alliance of Unity once made cannot be unmade except by death.

He paused as custom required. Marion felt herself tremble under his gaze as he fixed upon her. Did he see a doubt in her mind? Would he halt the ceremony after all? Then she gasped as the great man, the most powerful on all Gallifrey, smiled at her and actually winked. Though if she had told anyone else on the planet he had done so she would have been called a liar, and rightly so. But he HAD done. And she knew there was nothing to fear.

The President glanced purposefully around the Panopticon, at the assembled guests.

“I am bound to ask the company present, if any one among them has a doubt as to whether this Alliance of Unity should be made?”

There was a silence that was very nearly the opposite of noise, not merely the absence of it. Even breathing seemed to have stopped for a moment. Nobody moved. Nobody gave the slightest hint of having a doubt about this Alliance. When the pause was over, though, and the assembled Gallifreyans breathed again, Marion thought she saw, out of the corner of her eye, Orianna, Kristoph’s sister, shifting in her seat, and either side of her, Thedera and Aineytta moving their arms away. It was just possible that she had been held down by them for the length of that interminable moment.

“Then make your vows to each other,” The President said to Kristoph and Marion.

“Chrístõ Mian,” Marion said. I give you all that I am. I love you to the end of my days, never thinking of any but you. Wife and soulmate, bearer of your children, ever by your side. My life is yours. I am a planet in your solar system, a galaxy in your universe. I am yours.” She paused and drew a breath and spoke his full name. “Chrístõdavõreendiamòndhærtmallõupdracœfiredelunmian de Lœngbærrow, Time Lord of Gallifrey, I give myself to you, body and soul, heart and head, and take you as my Lord and my husband for all eternity.” And she took the gold ring from a velvet cushion held by the Commander of the Chancellery Guard whose plumes would have put a peacock to shame. She took Kristoph’s left hand and slid the shining ring onto his finger, wondering if the glow it seemed to have was some Gallifreyan ‘magic’ or just her imagination. It was the same ring she had placed on his finger in the Earth wedding, but this time it seemed imbued with even greater significance.

Then he took her hand and spoke the solemn words of his own vow.

“Marion, my Earth Child, as you consent to be my wife, I promise to love you to the end of my life, to treasure you in my hearts, to bless each day we have to share. I give you my own hearts to do with as you will. I beg you to treat them with care and with love. I will protect you from all harm, and strive to make you happy every day of your life.” Then he took a deep breath before the final words he had to say. “Marion Natalie Horsley, Child of the blessed planet, Earth, I give myself to you, body and soul, hearts and head, and take you as my Lady and my wife for all eternity.”

Then he slid the diamond engagement ring from her finger and placed it safely on the velvet cushion before taking the second gold ring and putting it on her hand. He replaced the diamond with it and kissed her fingers. And she was sure now, it was not her imagination. The ring on her finger was glowing and she felt a delightful tingle as if there was an energy in it.

She had no time to think about it yet, though. There were a few more important parts of the ceremony. The Guard Commander stepped back with his velvet cushion and took up instead a great, heavy book that he bore manfully on his gold-breast-plated chest. One of his subordinates stood beside him with a rectangular plate of gold on which a fountain pen and ink rested. Kristoph reached for the pen and inscribed his name in full in the Register of Alliance. Marion did the same, her name seeming very short beneath his. Then the Register and pen was taken away. The President stepped forward and took the hands of the newly married couple and turned them to face the assembly.

“Let it be known, to all within these walls and within this hearing,” he said. “That these two have been joined this day in Alliance of Unity. Let them go forth from here as one soul in two beings, in love and in duty and in honour.” He put their two hands together and said the final words of the ceremony before he stepped back.

“I present to you the Lord and Lady de Lœngbærrow of Gallifrey and Earth.”

Marion smiled as she saw the assembly stand and then bow to her and to Kristoph in their honour. Then as they continued to bow she felt Kristoph’s arms around her shoulders and she forgot to think about anything else as he kissed her fully on the lips. She forgot that those hundreds of bowing people were watching that intimate moment. The universe contained just the two of them for a long, long moment.

Then the page and the flower girl were urged forward again. They had spent some of the day in a side room with a maid looking after them, giving them milk and biscuits and telling them stories to keep them quiet, letting them sleep for a while so that they would be ready, at the end of the twelve hours, to play their part again. Rose petals were again strewn upon the floor of the Panopticon, below which was the Matrix that was the repository of Time Lord wisdom. The retinue followed in the same order as before and then the newly married Lord and Lady de Lœngbærrow, hand in hand, their hearts swelling with joy, stepped forward. The Commander of the Guard barked out an order and his men raised their swords in honour once more. They walked together between the guard through the ante-chamber that echoed with their footsteps, and up a grand flight of stairs that brought them to the great State Dining Room where the most important banquets and dinners took place.

The wedding reception for Marion and Kristoph took place here now. They were at the highest table, decorated with silver ribbons and white roses. They were in the place of honour and Kristoph’s parents and brother and his two sisters were next to him. Lily and her bridesmaids were at Marion’s side. At the other end of the hall was another high table at which The Lord High President and the High Council sat. Between them stretched tables for the rest of the guests as they poured in, chatting happily. Soon everyone found their places and the banquet began after a word of welcome from Kristoph. Marion ate some of the finest food she had ever tasted, and she enjoyed the meal. She enjoyed sitting at her husband’s side. She enjoyed calling him that. She felt at last that it was his proper title. And she WAS his wife. Their future together was assured. Twelve hours of ceremony and she was his. Nobody could separate them.

She looked at him as he turned from speaking to his father and he smiled and kissed her tenderly. The wedding guests all appreciated the gesture. Marion appreciated the firmness of his hand on her thigh under the table. He caressed her leg through the satin dress and noticed the rough feel of the garter.

He smiled all the more widely as he thought about how lovely she would look when he loosened that beautiful dress from her in a few hours time.

“I must be patient,” he whispered to her. “There are speeches to be made, and a wedding cake to cut. Did you ever wonder why it is that the tradition of wedding cakes is common to our two planets? So is the tradition of throwing your bridal bouquet. Try to aim in Calliope’s direction if you can. I think she and the Hadandrox heir might be the next big romance of Gallifreyan society.”

Marion looked around and saw her bridemaid had moved from the top table to sit with a young man who wore a dark blue dress uniform that looked very much smarter and more wearable than the Chancellery Guard.

“He’s an officer in the Gallifreyan space fleet,” Kristoph told her. “At least until it is time for him to take up his own responsibilities as Patriarch of the House of Hadandrox. She could do much worse.”

“She couldn’t do better,” Marion whispered. “I have you, now.”

There were speeches. Remonte as Best Man spoke at length about marrying for love and how it had much to recommend it and toasted the two lovers. Everyone in the hall knew, of course, about his own bitterness. Idell was one of the few people not invited to the Alliance. Having been officially set aside by Remonte she could not have come even if she had wanted to.

But he toasted true love and Kristoph did the same when he spoke about how it had taken him such a long time to find it.

“We don’t set enough store by love,” he said. “Perhaps we would be a happier planet if we did. But for myself, I have found it and I invite you all, my friends, to join me in wishing every happiness to my Lady, Marion, who has made me the happiest man in the universe.”

And everyone did. Because those who might have wished her otherwise weren’t there. Idell was not the only absentee. The Ravenswode House was not represented, either, and Lord and Lady Oakdaene had sent apologies, claiming they had pressing business offworld. It was true that Lord Oakdaene had business to attend to, but it was unusual for his wife to attend. Orianna, who, having married her brother, the Heir of Lessage, was Madame Oakdaene’s sister in law, represented that branch of Gallifreyan aristocracy and she had spent much of her afternoon talking about the weather, since it was the only safe topic among so many wellwishers.

There was a wedding cake that almost defied cutting, it was so large. And then there was dancing in the ante-chamber where the orchestra had been set up again after their efforts of the day. Of course the bride and groom danced together. And while the floor was theirs alone the great train of her dress wasn’t too much of a hindrance as Kristoph led her around in a soft, romantic waltz. When other dancers joined them she paused for a few moments while Hillary and Lily helped her to do what she had fully intended to do at this point. The train was unfastened from the dress leaving her free to dance. Folded up the yards of satin with such a treasure of jewels in it was protected by the Chancellery Guard. Not that a thief, should there have been one, could have got very far. But unencumbered by it Marion enjoyed dancing in her husband’s arms for what remained of the night. And she didn’t mind a bit when Remonte and her father in law in turn danced with her while Kristoph led Lily and Hillary, his two former lovers. He came back to her afterwards. And then they helped fix the train to her dress again for the last dance as the hour turned towards midnight, thirteen on a Gallifreyan clock. The party would last much longer, but it was time for the bride and groom to depart. A hush came on the proceedings as the Lord and Lady stood by the door of what looked like a large grey cabinet, adorned with silver ribbons and flowers. It had stood there all through the day and had been ignored, as it was supposed to be, for a low level perception filter was on it. It was unusual for a TARDIS to be allowed into the Panopticon. Usually it would only be one that was recalled for some offence against the Laws of Time that the Chancellery Guard wished to deal with directly. But in this instance it was merely the carriage by which Marion and Kristoph would leave for their honeymoon. At the threshold Marion turned, holding her wedding bouquet. She sought out Calliope in the crowd and when she threw, she threw it in her direction. Calliope caught it deftly and the young man of the House of Hadandrox put his hand on her shoulder with a meaningful smile. They had danced together all evening so far and would doubtless continue to do so afterwards. But Marion and Kristoph had other plans.

They had talked of many places where they would spend their honeymoon. Exotic places on Earth came to mind. So did the Eye of Orion. Hillary had offered the lighthouse on Haollstrom as a place of guaranteed peace and privacy, and there were many other lovely places they had visited together, and some Marion had not yet seen. In the end, though, they decided that the only thing that mattered was that they were together, alone, and in comfort and they could get that at the Lodge.

“We’re taking the scenic route though,” Kristoph said as he brought Marion to the Cloister Room where, years ago, he had proposed to her during a voyage around the solar system of Earth. “You have never properly seen Gallifrey from orbit.” A chilled bottle of champagne was in a bucket by the low, silk covered bed where they could look up at a ceiling that transformed into a view of that orbit. Marion detached her train again and folded it safely. Then she sat, taking a cool glass of champagne from Kristoph and quietly watched the view.

It WAS a beautiful planet. The strange atmospheric content that made the sky yellow-orange from the surface made it look very red from space. Even the largely uninhabited side where the great ocean covered all but a few tiny islands and archipelagos looked reddish-green, a contrast to the blue of the Pacific on Earth. The Red desert was red anyway, although now it was nightime on that part of the globe and it was more like a deep brown with lights around the edge where the Capitol was.

It was dark on the southern continent, too. The TARDIS followed the line of the B?rrow river as it completed its journey, coming to rest in the pre-programmed landing place outside the Lodge. Kristoph poured another glass of champagne. Marion wondered if they were going to go to the Lodge yet.

“Not yet,” Kristoph said. “We have plenty of time for the Lodge. We have a whole honeymoon together. But it begins tonight, here, where I first asked you to be my wife.” And at that he kissed her lingeringly, the taste of champagne and the spicy taste of his cool, alien lips exciting her as she realised this was the time she had tried not to think about for so long. He put down his empty glass and reached to caress her through the satin dress. Then slowly his hand reached to unfasten it. She breathed softly as he pulled the dress off her and set it aside in a rustle of satin and lace that seemed to have a significance of its own.

“Ah,” he said with a smile as he looked at her in the fine lace basque and silk knickers with stockings and suspenders. The basque had also been adorned with diamonds and sparkled in the moonlight that shone from above. His hand traced her figure from her breast down her side to her thighs were he touched the diamond garters.

“Hillary said they would be for your pleasure,” she said. And he nodded and smiled and just looked at her like that for a long time, dressed purely for his pleasure. His two former lovers had a hand in choosing the lingerie, he was sure. Lily loved to wear sheer stockings and suspenders, and Hillary would be thrilled by a diamond basque. They had both anticipated his desires.

He left her lying that way while he undressed himself. He had already discarded the heavy and elaborate collar as she had discarded the veil and tiara of her headdress. Now he divested himself of the golden mantle and the deep red robe and Marion was startled to see that he was naked beneath that except for a few pieces of soft leather that were, she thought, more ceremonial than practical.

She gasped softly as he stood before her, his strong, masculine body exposed to her fully. Strong shoulders, a firm chest and trim stomach… Her gaze dropped lower as he dispensed with those superfluous scraps of leather and she remembered the last time they were at the lodge, their passionate embrace in the sauna. She had told him then “I’m a lucky woman. And she was. But she was a nervous woman, too. It hit her fully for the first time in a long while, that her husband, the man who meant to make love to her now, WAS of a different species to her. One with a reputation for being mentally and physically superior to humans.

And it was true in the physical sense, she realised with a shiver of anticipation.

Kristoph, I AM scared,” she told him. “I have dreamt of this moment for so long. I have looked forward to it. But now…now it is here… the moment…I DO feel scared. You… you’re so…”

“There is nothing to be afraid of, my dear,” he assured her as he moved closer. The diamonds in her lingerie and in her hair glittered in the reflected moonlight that shone down from the ceiling. “Look up there,” he said as his hands caressed her body with increasing passion. “Look at the sky. In a few minutes the moon, Pazithi Gallifreya will be eclipsed by the shadow of the planet. It happens once every ten years. All over this hemisphere of Gallifrey amateur and professional astronomers are waiting in anticipation of a very beautiful and natural event. And you and I are going to experience something beautiful and natural, too. Just look at the moon, Marion, my love, bathe in her light as she, too, prepares for her wedding night.”

Marion looked at the moon. It was so much bigger than the Earth moon, but just as silvery bright. She had seen it before, of course. But now she looked at it anew. She felt herself spellbound by it, almost hypnotised as the eclipse began, a portion of the moon falling into deep red shadow. As she watched she was aware of Kristoph slowly removing the last of her clothes, the garters that he slid sensuously down her stockinged legs, the stockings themselves as he caressed her thighs, the basque, and the knickers that were as little practical use as the leather he had worn. She was naked before him and under the moonlight. It wasn’t the first time, of course. She had swum in the pool and he had watched her and enjoyed watching her. But now it was different. Now she lay there as his prize. His reward for all the years of patient forbearance and there was a hunger for her in his eyes as his hands held her thighs and his head bent to kiss that naked flesh in ways he had never kissed her before.

She felt her body responding to his sensual caresses, and as the moon was gradually swallowed by the shadow of the planet, she was aware of the insistent pressure of her husband’s body on hers, an urgency in his caresses. She gasped with pleasure as the moon was fully and completely eclipsed and she, herself, was fully and completely eclipsed by his powerful masculinity. She was not afraid any more. She WAS Pazithi Gallifreya, the silver moon possessed and consumed by the planet she orbited, her own red corona of joy radiating from her as she gave in to the passionate consummation of a love that spanned a galaxy of moons and planets and stars.

It was nearly four hours before the eclipse of Pazithi Gallifreya was completely over and her silver light shone again. Marion sighed and stretched herself and smiled.

“Oh, my Lord, my husband,” she whispered.

“My Lady,” Kristoph said to her in reply. “Sleep now, my Marion, my wife.” He kissed her lips as she relaxed on the silk pillows and he pulled the silk sheets around their bodies. Sleep came easily for her after the exertions of these first hours of their married life. It came a little more slowly to him. He lay for a long time looking up at that bright moon that shone down on his home world, satisfied with his lot, and with an immediate future he had reason to be happy about.