“For all that we’ve displayed you naked to the city, Minis,” Gan said. “We can’t take shameless advantage of you yet.”
Ky and Fara giggled. “We need to do that alesinafien,” they both said.
“Oh, please let me at least wash this stuff off before you try and stuff me into armour. Do I have to? I’m not really a warrior.”
They looked at each other and giggled again. “It’s Jitz. Why don’t you sit naked?”
I rolled my eyes. “I will if you will.” That stopped them.
At least for a moment. “He’s right,” Fara said, and Gan started laughing. “No, no we can’t do that to our Ky not...” He stopped.
Kyriala, regal even with cake in her hair had let go of me, nodding. “Yes. If you are naked I will be too. It’s not as if our family will be able to say anything about it. It is Jitzmitthra. But our royal guests... the Enchians might be offended.”
“Offended by my wife’s near perfect in the Goddess’s eyes breasts?” The smile she threw me was both shy and very pleased.
“I didn’t even know you could say such things, Minis, you’ve been so very proper!”
“It’s proper for me to be crude in Jitz. So I’ll pull out my Yeoli training –“ and I yipped and shut up as Gan poked me in the ribs.
“Robes. How about bathing robes? Is that backwards enough?” They’d walked me into the Lesser Baths that were full of servants.
“Armour would be very strange for you and that would be proper,” Gan said. “We planned for armour.”
“It’s my armour from when I was with the Mahid. Even repainted it still stinks like real armour.” I shouldn't have left it to the last moment.
“Robes it is. We can fix that.”
I scrubbed the remnants of oil and sugar and crumbs out of my hair gladly in water warmer than the fountain outside. There was nothing in any of the laws that forbade my wife from having an alesinas. Mostly because my ancestors probably couldn’t conceive of a woman wanting one. Why make a law against something so obviously impossible? So Gan and Fara -- who were going to go through a joint Yeoli/Gybir wedding party -- were going to swear to us as alesinae jointly.
Arko would consider me supofras to Gannara and him as alesinas to me. Neither of the two women would be anything but our wives. As Gan said, it was as legal as we could get to a proper four in Arko, at least for now.
Skorsas had everything in perfect hand so when I threw my request at him and my own chamberlain that I dispense with the traditional armour, he exclaimed that it was a ‘fashion faux-pas’ of the first order and he would certainly never live it down, but then proceeded to make the adjustment with no sign of the change at all. It was as if it had always been planned this way.
Our guests had come in from the square and we were in the Grand Aviary, right near the waterfall. The colony of nesting hummingbirds on the same wall were as bright as the jewels on Reknarja’s wife’s throat, or Klaimera’s gold sequins on gold silk. Virani-e was talking to Kalaepo and Niku chatting with Reknarja when we came in. The seats had been arranged in the seating area where the canopy roof was renewed daily, even in Jitz, since the birds dunged with no regard to delicate human sensibilities.
Ky and I had our wet hair towelled and combed and we stood in our robes and Gan and Fara both came in barefoot. We were all in matching gold spider silken robes and scrubbed clean. Ky and I were barefoot and bare-handed and Gan and Fara knelt to offer us their oaths to honour and cherish.
Ky and I accepted them. Then to shocked gasps, at least from the Arkans present, we knelt so all four of us faced each other on our knees, with our oaths to honour and cherish. Ky and I traded turns feeding Gan and Fara the traditional oysters and they took turns to feed us their ritual ring pastries, unhidden by any curtain, our four hands knotted together. Then Gan and Fara offered up the fine gold chains on their wrists, and I took Gannara’s and Kyriala took Farasha’s and instead of putting them around our own necks we draped both over our four joined hands.
Radas and Narilla and Virani-e and Niku and then Kallijas and Skorsas began applauding as we stood up. Cheers and whistles followed. We four were as married as we could be; the rest was feasting and gifts.
Ili wanted to get his flying shoats for the aviary but we convinced him that they would be happiest in a stable all their own. My mother was the first to come up, with Tesha, to congratulate us and Grandfather was right behind.
Virani-e flung his arms around me and then Gan and then his wife-to-be and my wife. “You did it. You’re married now.”
“We’ll do the public walk-through to make it witnessed and the Imperial family book will be having the pages illuminated already.” I couldn’t stop grinning. And I had to sit down on my cushion on the floor or I would shamefully tent out my robe again. My loves' hands were warm and strong in mine and I could only hope that mine were the same for them. “I don’t want to let go... someone is going to have to feed me if they would be merciful!”