At that moment the chandelier's crystals chimed in a wave from the centermost crystal outward to the perimeter, producing a shimmering descending arpeggio. Through the doors to the deck an orchestra was heard to begin playing at a medium tempo. Their music was so beautiful that for a moment it captured Mark's entire attention.
Then the enormous crowd was heard to gasp collectively, and some politely clapped their hands in applause.
"Here we go." Theramin said as Yzell tucked her hand under his arm, and they stepped to the door leading downstairs. "First us, then the groom's party, Mark first, Dilimon being behind him and to his left. Then the bride's party, Talia first, then Yazadril and Nemia, then Alilia behind them."
They lined up behind him and Yzell as he'd described. He took a deep breath and let it out, then opened the door. "All right. We go forth with dignity." he said, and led the way down the stairs.
As they followed the stairs down and to the left, Mark quietly asked Dilimon over his shoulder;
"What were they oohing and aahing and clapping about out there?"
"Until that moment, all the decorations were invisible, and they were revealed as the ceremony began." Dilimon discretely answered.
The stairs emerged at ground level within a great hall, and they made their way across it until Theramin and Yzell stood before a great double doorway, the doors opened wide. The rest lined up behind them, keeping their formation.
The doorway faced straight down the aisle, which was marked off by white ribbons hanging in gentle curves between gold stands. Adorning the stands were bouquets of white-petaled flowers with gold centers and leaves. To either side of the aisle stood the thousands of attendees, wearing an eye-dazzling array of colorful finery. The mighty trees around them were decorated on the lower sixty feet of their trunks with white and gold flowers, and ribbons placed in fanciful designs, about four white ribbons to every gold one. In the air above a similar collection of long, flowing ribbons danced to the music as if they had life of their own, most of them concentrated over the podium, forming three-dimensional drawings of flowers and butterflies, fawns and unicorns, and other pretty things, each picture dissolving after a moment to soon form another.
The aisle was hundreds of feet long, and at the end of it was the podium, in the center of the clearing. The podium was like seven great disks of gold-veined white marble stacked atop one another, each one foot thick. The top one was eight feet wide, the second one eight feet wider, the third eight feet wider yet, and so on, forming steps with risers one foot high and treads four feet deep. The orchestra was arrayed in a circle on the lowest tier of the podium, which was fifty-six feet wide, the aisle passing between them marked by bouquet stands without ribbon between.
They could see the bridesmaids and groomsmen slowly making their way in couples up the aisle to the third highest tier, where groomsmen went left and bridesmaids right, until they stood in an even circle.Next, the assembled leaders of the elven nations, with their spouses or escorts, moved with stately pace into the aisle from either side at the base of the podium, then up to the fourth highest tier, until they stood in couples in a circle on it.
All eyes then turned to the doorway.