Grand-Moyther Magdalene laughed at Sarah’s suggestion. “Goodness graciousness, no child. Moythers and Faythers may be married but it is a celibate one.”
“Oh?” Sarah raised her eyebrows.
“The Gods believe that the toughest marriage is one in which there is Love, but pleasures of the flesh are denied.”
“Yeah.” Sarah nodded, remembering her two years of celibacy despite her dating and then engagement to Edward.
“And that is why all couples must stand the test of Tri-Luna before their marriage can be sanctioned.”
“Tri-Luna?” Sarah asked, remembering Jason had mentioned it, as had the King. “So what exactly is that?”
“Tri-Luna is a test of compatibility. It is about learning to be together, through all of each other’s moods. You will live with your betrothed in the same house. You will eat your meals together. Thus living together as husband and wife to practice the art of being married before you are married; however,” the Grand-Moyther paused for emphasis, “during Tri-Luna you must refrain from engaging in pleasures of the flesh.” She looked into Sarah’s eyes. “I presume you are aware of what that means?”
“I think so,” Sarah pondered the words, “but, um, where does kissing fall into that?”
“It will depend upon the kiss.” Grand-Moyther Magdalene smiled at Sarah’s dismay. “You are not a stranger to pleasures of the flesh are you?”
“Nope.” Sarah shook her head.
“Does Lord Phoenix know?”
“Yep.” Sarah gave half a grin. “Probably more than he’d like to. He’s been my best friend and confidant since I was eight.”
“Truly?” the elderly woman looked surprised. “I did not know the two of you had known each other for so long. That would explain much.” Her face then sobered. “You will then have to trust his judgment for what can and cannot be done during Tri-Luna as it has all been explained to him once before. I do not think this is a union he would care to jeopardize.”
"Me neither,” Sarah sighed. “He is all I have left.”
The Grand-Moyther patted Sarah’s knee. “I think you will find, should the Gods forbid, something happen to Lord Phoenix, you have more left than you think you do.”
Sarah nodded. It wasn’t hard to see that Magdalene was right. At a minimum, there was Griffon’s offer of cooking for his household and helping Martha. Ryan had a few years before he left the house to start a family of his own. Thinking of the boy made Sarah smile and she hoped he was doing well. Still, she brought her thoughts back, I wouldn’t want to do anything to jeopardize my union with Jason.
“Now,” Grand-Moyther Magdalene set her teacup down, “it is getting late, and you ought to be getting some rest. Per tradition you will be spending the day with Lord Phoenix’s family once Lord Robert arrives.”
The Grand-Moyther stood and Sarah followed suit. When they got to the door Sarah noticed the ridiculous hat hung there, on top of a simple cape. Grand-Moyther Magdalene donned a cloak of her own.
“The cape under the hat is yours,’ she informed Sarah.
Sarah put on the cape, but hesitated with the hat. She knew she ought to. It looked like someone had embellished the hat she’d worn to market with a plethora of cloth flowers.
“Ridiculous things aren’t they?” Sarah looked up to see the Grand-Moyther smiling. “I have to agree, but Princess Allmarah loved them and so every woman who can wears them as a tribute to her. May the Gods keep her safe from harm and return her soon.” The woman shook her head slightly. “But, enough of depressing things on what should be a happy time for you. Let us at least put on the cap to hide your lack of hair. It wouldn’t do to scare Madame Vivian before we had a chance to explain things.”
Grand-Moyther Magdalene pulled a white strip of fabric from the hat. It looked like one of those hats with the ears and strings. Only there were no strings and the ears, once the cap was on Sarah’s head, fell to below her waist.
“Now, we just twist it up like so,” Magdalene talked as she twisted, “and then we...” She stood on tippy toe. “Goodness me child you are tall.”
Sarah suddenly realized that she was taller than the Grand-Moyther, just as she was taller than Lady Abigail. Bending her knees, Sarah lowered herself.
“Ah thank you. Now we will pin these up here.” Grand-Moyther Magdalene removed a pin from the hat and used it to secure the ends of the ‘ears’ to the cap that sat on Sarah’s head. “There that should hold it for now and you can carry the hat. We don’t have far to go.”