Most people play games on New Year’s Eve, I’m told, and so did Irina and I. And lots happened.
(CW: mention of incest/rape, at the end)
That morning, Hylti and Arni’s rooster woke us up betimes, right there on the attic rail. I think that Arni might’ve smuggled him in, despite all her protests, since she was grinning when she yelled at the rooster she would make fricassee of him for dinner. In any case, we were up early and bright and after the quickest of washes and gossip with the neighbours across the street, we went out to the Thirsty Queen, where lady Lysna lives.
Before we arrived, I stopped, faced Moyri, and told her that really, apart from my reputation as an easy girl, I really had nothing to be ashamed of. That I had no dark secrets, and had never done anything she would have to be ashamed of. I guess that what I really wanted to tell her was if I’d have her, only have her, I really don’t need to have other bed-partners, but I’m not sure she really understood that, because since then she’s told me again that she wouldn’t mind — but sleeping around was my way of showing — myself, I guess — that I was free and Valdyan. And you cannot get more Valdyan than having a Valdyan wife, can you? There’s one thing I do miss, a bit, and that’s the taste of a man’s seed, but then again, I can go without, just like I can go without mushroom dumplings.
She was waiting for us already, and she had borrowed a donkey cart from the inn-keeper. With a big grin, she motioned us to clamber into the cart, and of we went! It was quite the distance it seemed, and she told us, if it had been winter, it would’ve been the ewer for us, like it had been for Arni and Hylti.
Though that was also because when Arni and Hylti wanted to get married they were in a fearful hurry because Arni’s brother had been despatched by her mother to fetch her back from that dangerous adherent of the Nameless, Hylti! Given that nobody writes anything down about marriages, and there are no witnesses except for the old lady performing the ritual, I wonder how Valdyan people can prove they’re married, but Moyri tells me not to worry, Valdyan people just know!
(Gods… Gods are weird. Later on we had a long discussion about the Gods, how the One made us, as amusement for the Mother, and how now the Gods are changing, and that’s because the people are changing, and that changes them. Like I said, it’s weird. But it’s great to have a wife and two apprentices and friends you can discuss that sort of thing with!)
Lady Lysna chatted a lot with us, wanted to know all about us, and told us some things from her life as well. And then we arrived at the wellspring of the little stream that we had been following. There were words, and promises, and at the end mama Lysna said, “so, it seems the Goddess had words for the two of you as well, so kiss me, then kiss each other!”
We are married!
I’ve got a wife!
It sort of feels like I’ve become real — I feel all confused about it, and I cannot express it, but I feel like I’ll never have to face anything all alone any more.
And that’s also what I promised Moyri. No more facing problems, tasks, duties all alone. I’ll be with her, protect her, support her, stand next to her for always.
I think we’ve both been lonely? It feels weird.
Moryn… Moryn had made two enormous flower garlands for us! Apparently, some of the girls in his hide-out made those to sell for weddings, and he and Maile had gathered flowers, and he’d made the garlands, and he was waiting for us to put them over our shoulders. I so love my apprentices!
When we came back to the Thirsty Queen, everything was ready to get the party started: breakfast, music, dancing, wine, people I realize I love… There was a decorated bench set outside, the weather was still great, and we were put down there, and people came to congratulate us — and I just couldn’t keep my tears in!
It made my make-up run, and it made Moyri worry, but it was purely happiness, relief and joy that made me cry! If I’d been able to catch the tears and put them in a bottle, it would have been the strongest specific against melancholia ever! I was so happy I was in fact feeling really queasy to my stomach, I felt like I was happier than I should be allowed to be!
Moyri took me inside, and we had a real bath, to wash off all the runny paint on my face. She is so nice… And then, when she got up to get out (of the bath, I mean), I put my face between her legs and made her cry, or yell, with happiness, too. Just to show that while I was tongue-tied enough that I couldn’t really explain why I was crying, my tongue was dexterous enough to do that!
(Oh dear, that’s a superfluity of exclamation marks, isn’t it? Well, one doesn’t get married more than once, does one?)
After that, there was dancing, and I danced with everyone, and food, and wine, and lots of people to cherish, and — it wasn’t a three-day wedding feast like they have in Gralen, but it was so very, very good. Rava’s old master told us “now you really belong here! Three Hills will always be one of your homeplaces.”
And he was right!
The next morning we set out for Turenay. We had a decent map of the way we’d have to take to find the road from Valdis to Turenay, but from there to Turenay, no decent maps existed. Everyone knows that if you’re on that road, you’ll arrive, right? But I saw an opportunity, and I gave everyone, including Moyri, a lesson in practical cartography in the two weeks it took us to reach Ilenay.
Before we got there, we spent two days with the Priestess of Naigha Aldan and I’d stayed with on our way to Essle. She was still old, and since our last white-washing, nobody had done that for her. So Maile and I prepared her garden for autumn, the pots and jars for pickling and preserving, cleaned the kitchen, while Moyri and Moryn cleaned, white-washed and blue-washed the temple and the outside of the building. It was good to work with our hands again!
Plus, a good chance to take Moryn aside, and make him an official Guild of Anshen apprentice. And I taught him his centre and strength, and then told him to whitewash with his mind awake, present and active. Do nothing without anie, and everything will be well done, that’s my motto.
In Ilenay, we had to stay for a day extra, because all our horses had various problems with their feet and shoes. No big matter! We met a very nice widower, Geran, with four children, and some nice duyin, too, who were going to Turenay for the fencing matches. This was the first moment when I really had trouble with my marriage vow; Geran was so alone, and his children so nice that if I had been alone, I’d offered myself to him there and then. But I’m not my own to give away all the time any more, and in fact, I’ve started teaching Maile how to keep books and when to stop me giving away too much, more than we can afford.
While waiting for the horses to be shod, we had some nice fencing and wrestling matches, and for the first time in ages, I actually fenced with Moyri! I kept getting distracted by the sweat pearling beneath her cuirass, where I knew her breasts would be, though, so she won.
I was pretty pissed off with the host, though, who kept giving us spoiled wine, stale bread and short measures. Well! Her ladyship the baroness of Selday, she shouldn’t have to settle for that! So I was very curt and sharp, which did make an impression on our apprentices, you bet it did! And we did get decent wine, good enough food and fresh bread. We only had one room to share with the four of us, and even though I’m confidently expecting Maile and Moryn to start experimenting within a week or two, we didn’t want to give them a life lesson then and there, so we only held each other closely under the linen, those two nights.
We were quite a nice, big, group entering Turenay two, three days later. As soon as I could reach people, I started warning them. Ferin, it’s, me, Khushi, coming, please prepare a bed? Lady Rava, I’ve got news. Lord Vurian, I’ve got things to tell you. Queen Asa, it’s me, Khushi. (She immediately wanted me to gallop to the Ishey house!) Doctor Cora, me and my wife and apprentices, don’t worry, we’ve got some news. And so on.
I also warned Jeran, Moryi — the duyin too — that my Father and his friends might make things difficult for us, but fortunately, we didn’t have to go through the Sithi quarter on our way to the down town. I think that’s the part of Turenay that’s going to be most fun to be in the coming years, and that’s what I told Jeran, who wants to start a leather worker’s shop in Turenay.
And Rava! Rava, who fucked me silly, and whom I fucked silly, in Three Hills, when we were on our way to Essle and Selday, she was there as well, but she was busy with Arni… Even from a distance, it looked like that had “taken”.
And then I was holding my mother, my sisters, Rava, Arni, Ferin, Ashti, everyone in my arms, and introducing my wife, our apprentices — I was so happy I had to cry again, until I realized that Moyri had never seen Ashti naked, except in my mind, so I said, Ashti, drop those clothes! And then Moyri saw her, and took off her shirt, and looked at the Flame of Anshen, painted with ink under the skin of her upper arm, and she said, I want something like that, too. And then Rhinla and Lesla arrived — it’s quite a family here, in Ferin’s home!
Moryn had a hard time believing that that young giant was only fifteen years old! But so he was, and we had a long and cosy and chatty evening, though it was clear that with all these women, Ferin and Moryn would have to keep each other company.
Moyri wants to take part in the fencing matches — she has warned me I shouldn’t, because I cannot help fighting dirty — and I have so many people to give news. Tomorrow is going to be interesting.
I cannot sleep — I’m wondering whether I should warn my Father that I’m going to tell Lord Radan that my father has raped me regularly, so he has fifteen minutes to pack and flee, or whether the chance that he’s going to get another wife and do the same to her and her daughters in another place is like so bad that I should go to Lord Radan first. As a newly created sheriff, I should ask the sheriff first? But that’s Lord Radan.
My mother never knew, about that, I mean.