Lenay is still a pretty stupid place! We had to sort of sneak through, and hide Athal, Raisse and the children in one of the Order hidey-holes! We did manage to quickly visit the wine guy, and he did marry Aunt Aine! That was awesome, and we got our wine, and even nice, white linen clothes, all embroidered for the wedding, too! Apart from that, Lenay went from stupid to utterly stupid! The next morning, the Harbour Master wanted to peek in aunt Raisse’s luggage, so I picked him up and dropped him the water, and we left.

Mum said that that wasn’t polite and might give them trouble next time they come through Lenay, so I wrote a letter to Baron Aldin, I’m sure he’ll understand and talk to the harbour master, after all, he’s his boss, and he’s nice, too. Baron Aldin, I mean. And otherwise auntie Halla will tell him.

By the time we arrived in Tilis, uncle Athal was really fit again — my prescription totally worked! Hard work on a boat, day in day out and the most battered King will be better!!! And, as predicted, gran was delighted that we’d brought guests from Valdis, especially when she figured out who she was having in the spare bedstead. The boys and Alyse had disappeared even before we had properly moored the boats, they’d found little Orian, who was mud-larking. Orian brought them to our place around dinner-time, all of them very muddy and very happy. Radan had shown Orian how to catch a fish with bare hands, he’s getting good at that. It was a pike, and those are good eating, too.

We spent most of the next day preparing for the wedding, of course, getting the pig slaughtered, getting a bullock and getting that slaughtered… Helping Ferin ferry beer from the inn to Mud Row. We’d decided to celebrate there, not in the inn, not in the castle, even though the baroness had offered us the castle courtyard, which besides is where most weddings happen, but we really wanted to celebrate here, where I grew up and which is my home. We did borrow the castle’s lanterns, though.

That night I had an attack of the qualms… Would Fekemme really want to spend the rest of his life with someone who’s as big and ugly as me? but he held me close and made the qualms go away. It didn’t help though that when he was asleep, Fikmet took me out and put the qualms back, telling me she was sure I wasn’t sure I wanted to be married to Fekemme. That was wrong of course! I am really sure I want to be married to Fekemme, I just wasn’t sure he should be married to someone who is a bad-looking as me! After all, he is the handsomest boy I’ve ever seen! Even Imri is impressed and now that she knows the King and Queen are visiting us, she’s even being friendly!

I didn’t get to sleep a lot in the end.

The next morning, gran took me and Fekemme to the spring — it’s the place where water bubbles up out of the ground, just like that, and then flows through the reedfields to the Rycha, it’s where everyone got married. And she put on the Mother, took our hands, and poured water over them, three times, every time telling us that we now belonged together and would have to take care of each other. And I promised Fekemme that I would be there to marry our grandchildren. And he promised me… But that’s private, I’m not going to write that down!

And then it was time for celebrating! In Tilis, we take three days to properly celebrate a wedding — unlike, say, Ryshas, where they are done in a day! Three days of singing, dancing, making music… Fikmet and Fekemme had made, with their own hands, a sleeve-fiddle for me!!! A real, tiny fiddle that fits in my sleeve! That was where they went for work in Valdis! And out of Aunt Raisse’s luggage, there came not just beautiful clothes for the wedding and a big fiddle (well, normal-sized), and that was Athal and Raisse’s present for our wedding! And a drum for Fekemme, too! Both are really old and have a wonderful sound.

And in the middle of the evening, we had more guests! It turned out that Athal’s sister had heard that Athal was in a really, really bad way and she had come all the way from Solay, where she’s Queen, with her wife (who used to be baroness of Lenay) to Valdyas to see Athal at least one last time… But when she got to Tilis, the baroness told her that Athal and Raisse were here! So they came to our wedding, too, and she was really relieved when she saw how fit Athal has become!!! And she had a lot of people in her retinue, and there was a half-Khas, half-Sithi boy, and he is as gifted as Fekemme, Fikmet or me, and he’s one of lady Raith’s apprentices, and Fikmet will travel with him when they go to Lenay, lady Raith wants to see Lenay one last time and talk to the baron and so on.

What with all the dancing and all the music we made, it was really late when Fekemme told me, with semsin kisses, that he wanted to, um, retire… So I asked Ferin whether we could have the Khas bedroom again, and he grinned, and said yes, sure. Only, I’d visited the midwife with aunt Raisse (who is pregnant again!) and she said, I was too late to start drinking the tea to be safe in time for my wedding night, and since it was just ten days since I last bled, it was also exactly the right moment for me to get pregnant…

So we just kissed, and cuddled, and kissed some more, and then did some Iss-Peranian tickling and kissing… And then we cuddled up and slept.

But the next morning I was really dumb, and before Fekemme had properly woken up, I cuddled on top of him and when he woke up, he was, well, already inside me. And now I have to hope we didn’t make a baby yet, but how can I know? It’ll be a month at least before I know! And it isn’t even like I can blame Fekemme, it was me who was being as dumb as Imri, only dumber.

So the next two evenings we made sure to sleep in gran’s house, in our corner behind her bedstead, in an Ishey blanket nest with Fikmet, that would prevent me from being stupid again I thought, and it did.

Saying goodbye was the hardest thing! Fekemme and me, we’d take uncle Athal and his family to Veray in my boat, and Fikmet, she’d join Ayneth’s troupe and travel north, back to her mum. She’s also taken Wolf, there’s much more hunting to do in the Khas camp than there would be in Sarabal. Wolf didn’t like us leaving at all! I’ll miss her a lot, and you know what? Wolf is going to have puppies! Why couldn’t she have had puppies a month or two, three before, so Fekemme and me could’ve taken a puppy with us…