Daphne has spent her adult life since the Tokkel invasion fighting for jobs to support herself. With her parents dead, her family consists of one. Desperate to earn some income she takes a position as wait staff at the reception for the Gaian, Tiera MacKenzie and her husband, Tonos of the Nine.
Daphne is trained to be invisible to the members of the Nine who are attending this first cross-planetary event held on Gaia.
After the reception she is desperate for rest but a peculiar interview by the personnel coordinator of the Nine drives her into the woods and a collision with destiny.
Apolan has accepted a position as Ambassador of the Nine on Gaia. The embassy is underway and all he needs now is an assistant. He has just the Gaian in mind if she will simply stop hiding and allow him to offer her all he can.
The first time she heard of a Gaian marrying one of the Nine, she didn’t believe it. Daphne Hallow still didn’t believe it when it was announced that the reception for Tiera McKenzie and a huge pixie named Tonos was going to take place at the hall where Daphne worked.
Now, surrounded by alien warriors from the ship above them, Daphne was finally cluing in that it might be true.
She and the rest of the serving staff were on alert, waiting for the introduction of the couple. Her heart pounded as the gathering filled with beings that were similar to those of Gaia but different in a variety of ways.
They were predominantly male and seated separately from the Gaians. The Nine were in the shape of creatures of myth and legend, from fairies like the groom, to shadows that clung to living flesh.
Daphne and the other servers had been selected after a rigorous security scan to make sure that the incoming Nine would be safe with them. She had never been a high-security waitress before, but she supposed that there was a first time for everything.
They had been through days of etiquette training, practice runs and disaster drills. It was the most intense thing that Daphne had been through since her parents were taken in the first of the Tokkel raids and never seen again.
The facility manager and the etiquette advisor of the Nine passed their ranks with careful attention. All the hair on the females had to be braided and fastened at the back of the skull. Sleeves needed to be long to prevent accidental contact. Trousers were to be loose and a wide sash on the long shirt fastened and flattened everything into a column. The men were dressed the same. They were all completely sexless and lacking any individuality. Perfect.
Daphne had to admit that she was happy to be lost in a crowd. Normally, she needed to exert herself into being ignored, but in this group, she blended into nothing.
The uniforms that they wore were unrelieved black. Normally, the colour would not be considered for a wedding banquet, but this was a special occasion. It was the first celebration between a Gaian and a member of the Nine.
The member of the Nine sent to prepare them was a woman of the Wilding clan. She sniffed the air carefully as she passed, shaking her head at a few of the women, sending them back for another shower to remove all traces of scent from their skin.
That the Nine were scent sensitive was an oddity that made a certain sense to the Gaians. They were picking up their own peculiarities as time went on and enhanced senses were only the tip of the iceberg.
When Daphne was authorized, she relaxed slightly. Her station in life had taken a turn when her family had died, and she had turned from a student of Gaian and Terran histories to a general labourer.
Most around the colony had something that needed doing, and she was excellent at being unobtrusive in her work, no matter what the task was.