Sephara's door was made of several, wide, thick pieces of wood lashed together. The frame was of stone bricks offset from the stone walls. There were decorative metal hinges holding the door fast against the frame. The door opened and her face peered out smiling warmly. Teancum stood in the doorway. He pulled a single flower from behind his back and offered it to her.
She smirked and looked at his token offer. It was clear she was surprised and amused, but had also politely hoped for something a bit more grand. Teancum then pulled his other hand forward and revealed an abundantly large bouquet of wild flowers. Sephara blushed and laughed. She took the flowers. Teancum offered his arm. She set the flowers down in a vase by the door and followed him out.
The two spent the day doing many things together. They strolled through the city square teasing vendors, went for a walk through the rainforest that surrounded the city on three sides, and stepped on rocks to cross a gentle river. They sat on the bank together and passed the time, just enjoying being in each other's presence. The breeze was gentle and warm. The ground was soft and inviting as they sat leaning back on a 100-foot tall, ancient rubber tree. Time seemed to stand still.
~~~ - ~~~
Moroni, Lehi, and Helaman were again in the war room. They were pouring over maps and in the middle of a discussion when the door opened quietly. Teancum entered, obviously trying to hide the fact that he had rushed to get there. He attempted to join them without drawing attention to himself. He failed, however, as Moroni and Lehi could not help looking at each other. Moroni did a better job of hiding his smirk.
Lehi could not resist a comment, "I understand you've taken Captain Moroni's council to take some time to relax, to heart," he jabbed.
Teancum walked fully into the room shifting uncomfortably, but trying to fend off any hint of his new romance.
"Yes, well, it was good advice," he acknowledged.
Even Helaman added, "And, it's nice you've seen fit to make our visitor from the city of Morianton feel more at home."
Helaman and Lehi were having a terrible time holding back their smiles. Teancum looked up quickly at Helaman. Before he could comment, Moroni interrupted.
"I think this is a fine thing. If anything it makes me realize how long it's been since I've seen my own, sweet wife."
Teancum took heart at Moroni's encouragement and tacit approval. This meant much to Teancum who looked up to Moroni as a mentor.
"Thank you, sir," Teancum stated.
"Now, if we're done with this inquiry, I'd like to get back to Lehi's report," Moroni changed the subject, much to Teancum's relief.
Teancum stepped up to the map table. Lehi gave him a hearty slap on the shoulder. Teancum smiled then focused on the map. Lehi shifted and also turned his attention back to the map.
"As I was saying before our relaxed friend entered, the latest fortification efforts have focused on these three cities -" Lehi began.
~~~ - ~~~
Sephara stood outside the building where Moroni's strategy meetings were held. She waited for Teancum. Teancum walked into her view. She smiled and held out her hand. Teancum took it eagerly and they walked together. Teancum walked quickly, but not overly rushed. It was evident from his gait that he was simply trying to get out of sight of Lehi, before taking more ribbing about their fledgling romance. As they walked, Teancum led them around a couple of corners to ensure there were no accidental meetings with his comrades in arms.
"Well, how'd it go, was it as bad as you feared?" Sephara asked.
"You make it sound like I went in there to resign my commission," Teancum commented.
"You're the one who acted so paranoid about what they were going to say about us," she countered.
"I know, I know. I admit that it was a bit embarrassing at first," he said.
"An embarrassed warrior? I'd like to have seen that!" Sephara smiled.
Teancum stopped and smirked at her sarcasm, but then looked deeply into her eyes and added. "Yes, well, it's all worth it to ensure that we can be together."
"Nice come back!" Sephara added with more than just a slight bit of teasing.
"I mean that, Sephara," Teancum stated with bold seriousness. "You're the best thing that's happened to me in many years - in my whole life. I feel like my life has been a waiting period, waiting for when I would meet you and find completeness. I want you to know that in a very short time, you've become very important to me."
Sephara was moved by his words and unable to continue her shield of sarcastic and teasing words. "I know. I feel the same way about you. I've never experienced anything like this. I've never had anyone actually care about me before."
"I find that hard to believe," he said with earnestness.
"That's because you've never been a maid servant. That's all they'd see, the little servant girl. ‘Maid, come here! Do this! Do that! Fetch me this! Fetch me that!' No one ever saw me for anything beyond that, just the servant. Just the object who could make their life so much easier. But, you - you don't ask for my service. You give to me. Your time. Your undivided attention. Your presence -" she paused, fearfully stumbling on words that crept from her heart in an unaccustomed manner.
"My love," Teancum completed her words for her and confirmed her innermost desire.
Sephara blushed and looked downward.
"It's true, Sephara, I love you. You've completely stolen the heart of this ‘embarrassed warrior'."
Sephara continued to look down. Teancum became concerned. He reached out and gently held her chin with his index finger and pulled it upward. Sephara looked down and then to the right, avoiding eye contact. Teancum determined to find out the cause of this reaction.
"Sephara, what is it?"
"Oh, Teancum, it's just that no one's ever said such things to me before. I - I don't know what to say. I don't know what to feel."
"Just feel what's in your heart, Sephara. And know this, I love you. I don't understand it, but I have a feeling of love for you that is stronger than any force I've ever felt in my life. The time I spend away from you feels like an agony of wasted years, leaving me longing for your gaze, your voice, your sweet perfume, the touch of your soft hands, your very presence calls to my heart. I live to be with you," he declared.
Sephara was overwhelmed and suddenly wrapped her arms around Teancum, with tears streaming down her face. Teancum quickly returned the embrace.
"Oh, Teancum! I love you so!" she cried.
After a long embrace, Teancum backed up and looked into Sephara's questioning eyes.
"I hadn't really planned on doing this now, but -" he began.
"But, what? What?" she asked searchingly.
Teancum held her hands in his and knelt.
"Sephara, would you be my wife?" he nobly requested.
"What?!" Sephara was both shocked and elated.
"Will you marry me?" he restated.
Sephara fell on him hugging and kissing him.
"Yes! Yes! Yes!" she repeated.
The warm jungle breeze eased its way over the city wall, down the city streets and enveloped the two. Its external warmth was insignificant compared to the burning love that both held within their hearts, for each other. For a long moment, they stood embracing. They both appreciated the new found love and devotion the one had committed to the other. Both of them realized they now stood on the brink of a different and wonderful new phase of their lives. In many ways, they felt as if this was not a change, but a beginning of life.
~~~ - ~~~
The breeze continued to lend life to the peaceful city of Zarahemla. The jungle foliage lent a beautiful backdrop to this city of stone and wood. Near the center of the city, an archway was covered with exotic flowers and greenery marking the entry into a square that had been decorated for an important celebration. The archway led into a Nephite church. The church was full of well-wishing parishioners filling the congregational pews.
Toward the front of the church was a sacred altar covered with soft, colored cloth. Helaman stood behind it, facing the congregation. Teancum stood before the altar, appearing both anxious and excited. He was dressed in his finest apparel. His wavy brown hair was neatly combed. His large, brown eyes looked off to the side with expectation.
Moroni entered the room. He stood tall and dignified. All eyes turned in his direction, but none landed on him. Instead, they fell upon the woman he escorted. Sephara had her hand in his arm. She was dressed in beautifully woven wedding attire. Moroni and Sephara paused momentarily as they entered the room.
Teancum and Sephara's eyes met. The electricity of the moment caused Sephara to blush and smile. Teancum swallowed, smiled, and stood taller hoping to be worthy of what he considered to be an approaching goddess.
Moroni continued forward, with Sephara keeping in step. He brought her to the front of the altar and put her hand into Teancum's. He smiled, nodded his approval to Teancum and then turned to sit in a chair beside Helaman. Lehi was already sitting in the witness chair on the other side of Helaman. Helaman nodded to the couple and extended his arms to them indicating that they should kneel.
"Please kneel and join hands," Helaman said as he began the ceremony.
Teancum and Sephara knelt on the padding on either side of the altar. There was an intricately woven, white cloth about six inches wide and 16 inches long, lying lengthwise across the top of the altar. The couple held hands while resting them over the cloth.
"My brothers and sisters in the Lord, we meet this day to witness the joining in marriage of two noble and sweet spirits who are willing to pledge eternal devotion to each other. They have met and shared their thoughts and dreams and now wish to publicly proclaim their love as they begin to share their lives together," Helaman declared.
Helaman leaned forward, toward Teancum. As he spoke, he took hold of the near end of the strip of white cloth. He pulled it upward and over Teancum and Sephara's hands. He held it there in place, not allowing it to fall as he spoke the words of the ceremony.
"Teancum, do you vow to take this lovely daughter of God into your life with a devotion that will outlast the eternities and a love that will span the heavens?"
He looked Teancum directly in the eyes. Teancum turned his gaze from Helaman and looked Sephara directly in the eyes. In keeping with the solemnity of the moment, he attempted to suppress an irresistible smile.
"Yes, I do. Now and forever. Beyond the time when the moon grows pale and the sun grows cold, my heart, mind, and soul will belong to my darling Sephara," Teancum vowed.
Helaman placed the end of the cloth away from him, so that it lay across the top of the couple's clasped hands. He bent forward and grasped the other end of the cloth. As he pulled it upward and toward him, he turned to Sephara.
"Sephara, do you vow to take this noble son of God into your life with a devotion that will outlast the eternities and a love that will span the heavens?" he asked.
Sephara, who had turned to Helaman as he spoke, now turned to meet Teancum's gaze. She made little attempt to hold back a smile that arched across her beaming face.
"Yes, I pledge my life and love to Teancum from now and for always, my love will grow for him beyond the time that birds sing songs and the flowers bloom. Teancum will always be my main concern and my love," she vowed.
Helaman took the two loose ends of the white cloth and symbolically tied them together.
"As I tie this cloth, so I tie your hearts and souls together as one. May the God of Heaven smile brightly upon your lives and futures together and pour blessing upon you beyond your ability to need or want. In the name of our promised Messiah. Amen." Helaman nodded his head in conclusion of the ceremony.
Teancum and Sephara repeated the "amen" then leaned over the altar and kissed each other warmly.
~~~ - ~~~
A lavish celebration feast followed the wedding. Teancum and Sephara sat together at the center of the main table. An archway of exotic flowers towered over their heads. Moroni, Helaman, and Lehi sat at their table, along with many others. Little children danced in the foreground. Sephara pointed at their cute attempts to imitate the adults. Teancum laughed with her. Moroni stood to give a toast.
"Teancum, I didn't think there would ever be a woman so strong, yet so tender as to tame your bold heart!" he stated.
Teancum leaned to Sephara and commented with a smile, "Neither did I!"
"But, it does my heart good to see that it has happened nonetheless," Moroni continued. "Sephara, welcome to your new life. May it bring the fulfillment of your many hopes and wishes. Teancum, take good care of your sweet wife. She deserves nothing but the best from you."
Teancum nodded and added, "She deserves better than my best, but I will try to make her happy!"
"You already have!" Sephara stated.
Teancum and Sephara kissed again, while the guests applauded.
©1999, 2003 by Douglas V. Nufer
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