Chronicle of Atys
(Questions to a future marauder bride, end of 2582.)
Marauder Wedding: Where Wedding is Synonymous with Challenge
An ordinary evening at the camp in Hidden Source. Around the fire the marauder guards sent from the Old Lands mix with the young marauders recruited on the New Lands. One of them asks:
Do you also get married, in the Old Lands?
Of course. A wedding celebrates the fact that two people have found and can always rely on each other. By getting married, each has to demonstrate to the other, along with their family and clan, that they are worthy of belonging with them.
How do they prove their worth?
Ah, the marauder love ritual! Long before speaking of marriage, each one takes the time to test the other with various trials and small challenges. But it's when the question is officially made that the real fun begins. The engaged couples lay down a challenge to each other that they must complete or not return. It is a very delicate time, since of course you don't want to send the one you love to their death, but if the challenge is too simple, you put them to shame... So you've got to find something that pushes them to their limits, without going overboard. It's also sometimes a way to get rid of a clingy suitor! My dear Lokiukas had sent me fighting a renowned kirosta with my bare hands and I thought for a moment that she no longer desired me... But she got it right. I brought back the kitin's sting as wedding gift for her. As for me, I asked her to tame a wild varinx. She arrived at the wedding riding on the back of the terrifying beast... *has a tender look*
And if the challenge was meant to get rid of an undesirable, and they are still successful?
There's nothing for it but to make yourself understood by way of arms! But it's rare. And it's only the beginning of the ordeals...
Only the beginning? What happens after that?
It's now up to our family, our clan, and our guests attending the wedding to make sure that we'll remain close in the battle! Each wedding offers the chance for new challenges. Usually, both fiancés have to fight several teams in a tournament. It is said that the longer they stay on their feet, the longer the wedding will last! The ordeals are also more or less harsh depending on the way the entourage consider this union. Here again, whatever happens, no pain is spared to them, they have to prove what they're really worth! At each succesful fight, the defeated team offers a weapon and a piece of armour, or sometimes rare materials to craft their gear afterwards. In some clans, it is also the opportunity to organize a great hunt for prestigious creatures, and the loot is offered to both lovebirds.
Indeed, if after all this they're still alive and in love, they should spend their lives together! But how does the wedding itself take place?
We don't bother much with chitchat. Someone reputed in the community, often the leader of a clan, gives a quick speech on the importance of being united in the face of adversity, then asks them to confirm their will. The married homins seal the agreement by drinking from the same goatskin, a way of expressing that they will share everything from now on and that they trust each other. Generally, the master of ceremonies has filled the goatskin with brandy and the party begins.
Are there things to do or not to be done during a marauder wedding?
Hey, we're marauders! If you do something stupid, you're either strong enough to take responsibility for it, or you'll feed the Bark! But regarding the customs, the married-to-be often wear red, or at least one piece of their outfit is red, symbolizing the blood shed together. And after a day of tournaments and hunting, most attire are in shades of red and black... Some also exchange rings, a custom from before the First Great Swarm, but it's a bit dated and has lost all of its meaning.
And after the ceremony?
After? We drink, we laugh, and it often ends up in a general fight... out of friendship of course. As for what the newlyweds do at the end of the evening, it does not concern you, but be sure that a little runt such as you won't be invited to that part!
Everyone bursts out laughting, while the chat moves to other topics.