Marriage Among the Elves, Volume 8 (book)

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Marriage Among Elves

Volume VIII: The Bone Clan

-An Investigation by Simon J. Bright

Bone Elves tend to be extremists. They are the only clan in which the male reigns supreme over his household and in which inheritance rights pass from the father to the son.

Although there are many conflicting rumors concerning the mating rituals of the Bone Elves, there are precious few facts. Most information needs to be gleaned from interviews with those who profess to belong to this clan, supplemented by ancient traditions it is said are honored. With this regrettable disclaimer, for I feel my information is far from complete, I offer the following summary of the Bone Elves marriage traditions.

It is commonly known among other Elves that Bone Elves eschew all traditional forms followed by the other Elven Clans, with the exception of using the torque about the neck to signify the married status of the couple. Even this knowledge is not completely accurate, since there have been documented cases of Bone Elf weddings where the usual Bile Janis oc Hul Haizeani was used with some variations.

Marriage by bridal abduction from other clans is not only allowed but encouraged. Young men seek wives from other clans with families reputed to be of higher than normal intelligence and clever skills that would be a boon to their own families. Much time is spent in plotting how best to acquire the chosen maiden and return her to the groom's stronghold in the speediest fashion.

If the abduction proves successful, the marriage headdress of leather liberally decorated with carved bone and arcane symbols is fastened over her head, effectively blinding her to her upcoming fate. With great haste, she is taken to the home of the young man, where his family awaits her arrival.

Before the house, sacks of grain and straw burn as offerings to the gods to appease any anger they might feel at the girl's abduction. Still blindfolded, she is forced to step over these smoldering piles before entering the house for the first time.

Once in the home of the groom's family, she is made to sit, and his relatives place a basket of salted fruit in her lap, signifying the tears she will shed over the loss of her birth family and the fruit they hope will come of the union. During that night, she is not allowed to sleep, but made to listen as the groom's relatives instruct her regarding her new responsibilities in the household.

At dawn the following day, the bride is fed crystalline sugar before being draped in a long cloak with carved bone buttons and taken to the place of joining. Here, the cleric who will join the couple in marriage asks the groom if he wishes to be joined to this woman. When the groom announces he does so wish this woman as wife, the cleric places a carved bone oidanto about her neck and the mate to it around the neck of the groom to signify the bond.

The groom takes his wife in his arms and carries his prize back to his home. Other members of the community line the street on either side as they throw seeds, salt, and ash before the couple. There is neither music nor song to wish the couple a happy beginning, nor is any marriage feast prepared.

Once the couple has returned to the home of the groom, the marriage headdress is finally removed and the bride is allowed to see the face of her groom for the first time. She is not allowed to leave the house until the groom feels convinced she has become resigned to her fate and she consents to send a letter to her family stating she had chosen this marriage of her own free will. Parchment and quill are speedily supplied and the scroll sent off with all possible haste by courier to her family.

Despite such traumatic beginnings, many of these marriages are successful. The wife is well aware that her husband has risked much to bring her into his household and will care for her to the extent of his abilities. Most brides acquired in this fashion are prized in the community for the intangible assets they bring as dowry, raising their status to a high level.

Bone Elves swear their wives are faithful and love their husbands more than do the wives of the other clans. In support of this claim, they offer evidence of the many stories of onceabducted brides who seek vengeance upon any who injure their husbands in the slightest way. It is well known that if one does not fear the Bone Elf warrior whom one is facing in battle, it would be prudent indeed to fear the wrath of his wife!

It is also commonly believed jan puscen occurs more often among the Bone Elves than other clans for both the husband and wife. It appears once joined together, they are bound in a more intimate manner. Other scholars have speculated the isolated existence most Bone Elves lead causes the married couple to rely more on each other to supply their emotional needs to the point where they become essential to each other for their continued existence.

As well as marriage by abduction, the older, more established Bone Elf families also intermarry to increase family holdings and wealth. Marriages arranged in this manner sometimes use a token abduction as part of the wedding ritual, but more normally consist of the groom traveling to the home of his bride on the appointed day and demanding she be released to begin her new life with him.

With a show of great reluctance, the father binds the maiden's arms behind her and escorts her from the house to her groom.

The groom places the wedding headdress over her head and carefully carries her to the place where the cleric awaits.

Bone Elves do not have festivities on the wedding day, for they believe this is a private matter between a man and woman. On the first anniversary of the marriage, a fine dinner is set forth and guests are invited to join the married couple as they break their evening bread. Each guest brings a favorite dish to the celebration to share with the others. Although there is no music and no dancing, there is gaiety in the air as animated conversations and laughter last far into the night and torches burn bright.