PROLOGUE: Muses Musing at a Rooftop Wedding

“The best stories always begin with weddings. I’ve recently been cataloging several archives of famous legends from at least seven isolated cultures from both core and fringe dimensions, and the most referenced stories always include a ceremony of partnership. In those old stories, the gods would appear at those weddings. They must have been great parties.”

Paul Kuvallan told this youth before he took back a deep sip of wine from his glass. The young man to whom he spoke to listened distractedly as he tapped a tablet screen while kicking his feet. Paul only stood slightly taller than the young boy, his shoulders barely reaching the linen tabletop as he leaned against it. His lack of height was not due to being what one would consider a typical Kuvallan–he was not, in fact, Kuvallan at all–but instead due to other circumstances of Paul’s design.

“I feel the best thing about weddings though is that it is a celebration of a human connecting in what way that is rare for its existence. Everything about being alive is accidental and inevitable–but the connection of marriage, that is always an intentional thing by more than one party that brings two parts into a whole. The localism of ‘tying the knot’ to describe it is so metaphorical and beautiful. ”

Paul lowered his glass, burped.

The boy sitting next to him let out a rebuke.

Paul patted his chest, pressed his head back, and responded with a deeper, guttural burp. His round human-like ears wiggled.

The youth giggled. His cherub sized wings stretched out from the jolt of amusement. His mother motioned for him to stop fidgeting while at the same time she conversed with a green scaled priman she once lived with years ago.

“I hope my kid isn’t bothering your friend too much,” muttered Clara as she glared at her child to behave. William shrugged, then gestured at the fleshy robot dismissively.

“Oh, Paul here eats this stuff up. He may not look it but he’s the avatar of multi-planetary AI supercomputer collective. Manages a lot of the interspecies divisions at Diamond. He’s a good guy and sort of my boss. I didn’t have a plus one so I’m just brown nosing.” spoke the priman.

Mr. Kuvallan grinned. “Life excites me. And Will claims he’s brown nosing but I see him as a good friend, even outside of work. Sorry, my manners escape me–it is a pleasure to meet you Clara. How do you know the bride and or groom?”

“Oh, friends with the bride from college. We both work public relations. She’s committed to a company and I’m more agency work. Right now I’ve been contracted with the ole’ Grand Army to pitch some ideas for a trans-dimensional installation about space, or some sort of concert, or both. Been talking to arts all week and this is a great break from that!” the woman spoke, pressing her palm on the table excitedly.

“Ah, zee arts. They are a great unifier, no? Be it from Scande to Esper, if zee masterpiece a piece is sheet, they will tell you its sheet, eh?”

This was said by another guest at the table, a gaunt-looking man with a thick mustache that stretched ear to ear. He sat crossed legged, his thick muscular calves seemed to contradict his sunken chest.

“To very true! Perhaps you know some upcoming artists? Dino was your name?”

The man swirled his wine in his glass, his fingers tugged on his mustache.

“Ehh… no. None fantastic. Pardon, my expertise is in cycling, not zee arts.”

“Your mustache is like a cartoon!” cried the boy.

William pointed to the man, speaking over the child “Oh, you’re Dino Lafayette! Didn’t you just win the Mido Invitational a few months ago?”

Dino raised his glass, grinning with a set of bright pearly white under his thick black mustache. “Ah! Zee Tasnican has heard of me! Yes, but I must add that there was an… flu? Illness? That I was fortunate to not receive where my tour companions were for fortunate. Alas!”

“Tour companions…?” asked Clara. She squeezed held her son’s hand as leaned across the table, her head tilted slightly.

“Ah yes! There was a fellow from that great old city of Kupopolis, a demon from New Lemele, a fellow from Canto, a lovely gent from zee Choras suburbs in Guardia, and a fellow from parts unknown in Carrion! Many many people on zee tour across the plains of Mido to zee mountains of Darunia and back. Many peoples enjoy a good grand Tour!”

“Huh. maybe I should purpose a Grand Tour then.” She said suddenly lost in thought on the slightly chilly wedding night. Strings of lights garnished the rooftop of an old Trianable tower, now circled by a taller, modern skyline of glass and light.

“Maybe Diamond could help sponsor that. I don’t think we do bicycles, but we do have athletic gear.” spoke Paul, turning to William, “What do you think will?”

The priman folded his arms, leaned back in his chair, and looked up at the night sky. “Well, depends on the timing. Diamond is a big beast that is slow to move. Unless it’s about giant robots or space, the Big Boss doesn’t really jump on it.”

“You should do a space race then! THAT WOULD BE AWESOME!” cried Clara’s child.

The scaly fish person in a suit and tie sat back up, and looked at the kid with wings, then looked at the woman with wings, then to the robot with skin. Paul nodded.

“I agree with the kid, a space race would be pretty cool,” spoke Paul Kuvallian.

“Well… yeah. It should be fun. The Diet is next week. It’ll be my turn to speak. I’ll do a write-up and bring it up then.”

“I think Zion will really like this,” said Paul, pantomiming a rocket blasting off from the table, much to the boy’s amusement.

“YEAH! SPACE! Vrooom!!”