Slipping into the water, Sarah sighed. It was not as full as it had been at her betrothal, but it smelled lovely and it made her skin feel soft and luscious. Moyther Magdalene helped Sarah to scrub and as she did so, Magdalene spoke.
“There are four rules to marriage, follow them and your union shall be bright and happy more than it is ever dull and sad.” The woman poured a bit of water over Sarah’s head. “The first rule, is that you must not stray in mind, body or soul. You must be clear in your commitment to him. Do you understand this?”
“Be faithful,” Sarah smiled, “don’t think I’d ever consider not being so.”
The Grand Moyther ladled water over Sarah’s head before continuing.
“The second rule is that you shall indulge in the pleasures of the flesh. It is not a chore, but a reward of your Marriage. Do you understand this?”
Water splashed as Sarah wriggled around to look at the Grand Moyther. “So after telling us to abstain during Tri-Luna you say we are to indulge during marriage?”
Grand-Moyther Magdalene chuckled. “Yes child, the abstinence sweetens the wedding day. But you will remember that indulging in pleasures of the flesh, without considering it a chore is a way to strengthen your marriage.”
“I think I might be able to manage that.”
Sarah sank back into the water. Once more, she prayed she wouldn’t freeze as she had often done with Edward. Despite being engaged to him, they had never fully consummated their relationship. Magdalene remained silent for a while, before she poured another ladle of water over Sarah’s head.
“The third rule is that you continue to mold yourselves to each other so that your household continues to function as one no matter how things are done.”
“That’s the,” Sarah furrowed her brow as she tried to remember, “compatibility part from Tri-Luna right?”
“That is right,” the Grand Moyther affirmed pouring more water on her. “The fourth and hardest rule is that you must love the children that the Gods bestow upon you, by birth or adoption and show no favor to any one of them, nor to your husband, such that you all remain equal.”
Sarah had no clue how to answer that one, but the Grand Moyther prompted her with a, ‘Will you?’ Taking a deep breath Sarah responded, “By the will of the Gods I will.”
“Now,” The Grand Moyther poured another ladle over Sarah’s head, “are you ready to proclaim your willingness to follow these rules to all who have gathered here today?”
“Ready as I’ll ever be,” Sarah grinned.
The Grand-Moyther chuckled covering the sound of what ever hit the tub. But, Sarah felt the vibrations in the water before it drained out, leaving her naked and cold.
“Rise and be clothed in the manner of the Gods that you may enter this marriage pure of mind, body and spirit.”
The Grand Moyther helped Sarah from the tub and clothed her in an outfit very similar to the one she’d worn for the betrothal. Once the long jacket was tied, Grand-Moyther Magdalene stepped beside Sarah and smiled as her hand rested upon the doorknob.
“And thus every woman entering her wedding ceremony is clothed, for all are equal in the eyes of the Gods.”
Closing her eyes to the bright light as the door opened Sarah took a deep breath. She was actually getting married, to Jason, the guy she thought she’d made up. It was a bit astounding when she put it all in perspective. Her eyes opened and she saw Moyther Magdalene holding out her hand. Taking it Sarah was led outside, before the silent crowd. Led by Fayther Jesus, Jason exited the opposite hut. The moment his eyes caught hers a grin spread across his face. Sarah couldn’t help but grin back.
“Come and be Wed before the Gods!” The Grand-Pairents called out as the couple stopped before the water filled Gods' Cavern.
Sarah faced Jason, eyed the water, then raised her eyebrows at him. He gave a gentle shake of his head as he took her hands. Right hand clasped right hand and left clasped left so that they made an x. Their ‘closest relatives’ still flanked the Godwood tree, but it was the tree the Grand-Pairents were clearly addressing.
“Today is a glorious day,” they spoke in unison.
“Today we join Scout Sergeant Phoenix, Lordling Jason Borguez, son of Lord Robert Borguez, Duke of Laville and Lady Abigail de Borguez Duchess of Laville” said Grand-Fayther Jesus.
“And Sarah Ann Smith ward of Demetrioso de Arenima, King of Vervell and Lord of the Areni Plains and Princess Allmarah, heir apparent to Vervell and Lady of the Areni Plains,” said Grand-Moyther Magdalene.
“In the holy ceremony of Marriage,” They completed.
“They have lived as husband and wife,” she spoke.
“Sowing the seeds of marriage,” he spoke.
“Now their Tri-Luna has passed,” she continued
“And their Marriage may begin,” he continued
“And they may reap the fruit they have planted!” they completed.
There were a few whistles and catcalls from the crowd behind them. Sarah nearly burst out laughing when Jason waggled his eyebrows at her. A splash brought her attention to the water and she saw a stick, clearly from the Godwood, upon the surface. And then, with a strange glow, it sank.