Lokkir Hrodvar Vardaskr
First Prince of Hudvalr
First Prince of Hudvalr
For a day that was supposed to be one of rampant celebration and wanton jubilation, a day that was supposed to be one of the happiest of Lokkir's life, had been anything but. A momentous occasion to be sure, but to call it anything more would have been unjust.
The first problem had arisen early in the morning when the Glorious Brotherhood of Dragons of Paragon Askr in Hudvalr (or the Royal Dragonknights to those who spoke with any amount of common sense) had loudly announced the royal presence of the house Vardaskr to the entire town of Caenfleur, as they were often wont to do. Lokkir had advised not bringing along the Foppish Fraternity of Dragons of course, but seeing as how today was supposed to be the first official public gathering from both nations, his father, the king, had all but demanded so as a show of force. To be fair, it was supposed to be more as a reminder to those who still opposed the peace in the Kingdom of Hudvalr just who was still the highest authority in the land.
Regardless of whatever reason it may be however, the resulting panic that spread throughout Caenfleur should have surprised no one. Dragons were a rare sight in Hudvalr, rarer still if one did not live near the Royal Palace. In fact, the dragons who chose to ally with Hudvalr often only ever allowed the royal family to ride them (with very rare exceptions), so despite the name even the Pompous Party of Dragons could be seen more often riding with a company of wyverns than true, actual dragons. Thus the only ones who were actually used to a dragon's presence were either already riding in with them, or were more used to the death and destruction that were left in their wake. Considering the Treesong War had only just ended a scant eight months ago and the infamous Burning of Etanclif only two months prior to that, it was understandable then why the city below seemed to freeze before erupting like a drowning anthill with the sudden appearance of not just one, but three dragons alongside a veritable devastation of wyverns.
Luckily, important figures from both kingdoms had been slowly trickling in throughout the month, and with them usually were their own personal guards, many of whom being well-storied veterans of the recent conflict. Thus with the security put in place earlier in anticipation for the wedding and the help provided and led by the nobles already in the city, the situation was put under control before it further spiraled, which was further mollified by an earlier start to the donations of food and drink by the more altruistic merchants than was scheduled.
That still led to the streets being congested much earlier than expected, but in a different way. Of course, riding on a dragon allowed at least the royal family and their personal guard to avoid all of the traffic, but most of their retainers had to be left behind, as they had no choice but to go around the city and towards the manor that lay on its far outskirts.
And then no sooner had Lokkir's feet touched the ground was he whisked off deep inside the bowels of his new home in preparation for the rest of the day. Hair had to be done, bindings had to be set properly, clothes had to be organized, and an innumerable host of other issues had to be taken care of before the ceremonies could even start. Lokkir was thankful that at least the traditional Hudvalr wedding attire was loose and allowed for some breathing room, unlike all the tight clothing with all its belts and cinches that was steadily becoming the regular fashion lately. An influence from their new allies, and a reaction for all the fighting men who could fight no more perhaps, Lokkir mused, as his body was pulled this way and that.
The only respite he received was when he was thankfully allowed to at least put on his own undergarments. The only person who was in the room with him, and the only one of his sisters that dared speak to him despite their father's strict orders, was Alfi. She was the youngest of his elder sisters, being only a year older than him, though out of all their siblings she was the tallest. They stood silent for some time as she helped Lokkir tie everything into place until she asked the question that he had been anticipating the entire time: "So what are you going to tell her little Loki," she said flawlessly in the language of their new allies.
"I don't know yet, little Alfi. I shall move-, I will venture-, ... I'll decide when I reach that point," he replied in a much more accented tongue. She breathed a little huff, gave one last pull, and then turned him around to look at him with a critical eye. He could never meet her gaze whenever she did that.
And then she pulled him into a tight hug. "You'll always be family," she whispered in their native Hudvalri. Lokkir could only autonomously nod and give her a weak embrace in response before she pulled them away from each other. She gave him an affectionate tousle of his head that he swatted away with much less of his usual annoyance before she left.
After that, the nonstop preparations began once more.
Of course behind all this, the meetings between the two nations continued behind closed doors, the negotiations between them still nowhere to be finished. The king sometimes came in to check in on Lokkir and sometimes he'd be happy, other times he looked furious, but he always had a drink in hand. No different than the people already celebrating, Lokkir supposed.
Finally, at the zenith of the afternoon, with the sun burning high above them did the ceremonies begin. It had been decided that the two nations would hold two ceremonies so that each nation could observe their own customs, with each nation wearing their own traditional garb. The purpose was to promote cultural sharing between the two nations was the official reason, but really it was probably more because neither side really wanted to learn the other's traditions, with the only people expected to know being the bride and the groom, although the fact that it also allowed for double the reason to drink was probably a bigger contributor.
Lokkir for his part was dressed in a multicolored robe reaching down to his feet of layered reds, purples, yellows, and greens that represented his family history. Overlaid that was a loose black jacket, his hair similarly dyed to show purity and singular devotion. A single braid along his shaved scalp tied off with an aetheric ash bead served as one further reminder of his royal lineage. The ceremony itself mostly consisted of a recitation of vows and oaths, the tying of the knot, an aetheric light show to show the proof of the gods' favor, and ending off with a kiss. There was also the gift of the shawl, made with aether thread and dyed similarly to his robe and given to the bride to show that she was a part of his family now. All the guests had to do for the most part was to stand quietly, dress nicely (with most of the Hudvalr guests dressed in their furs), perhaps aid in the aetheric light show a bit, and then drink heavily afterward.
There was a brief respite allowed between the two ceremonies to allow for all the guests to relax and breathe before the next one started, though Lokkir remembered very little of what went on during the second ceremony.
What was memorable however was the after party. There was of course much fighting to be had with feats of strength and magic being a popular pastime for the Hudvalr, wrestling both with physical bodies and animated dolls being one of the most favored. There was also a number of fights to be had between the two nations that promised to be much less amicable, but luckily all of them were prevented before they could become an international incident. Between playing host and mediator and all the drinks that lay in between, it was a wonder that Lokkir and his new bride stayed on their feet as long as they did before everything started to slow down and everybody started retiring into the manor, the new couple not excluded.
However, there was still one last thing that Lokkir had to do with his bride before they could get their much-deserved rest. The king of Hudvalr likely wouldn't let him sleep otherwise unless he gave a satisfactory performance anyway, and Lokkir knew his little wyrmlings would be listening.
Still, it was something that he didn't look forward to, and it seemed his newfound bride was of like mind as they slowly padded their way through the manor. He took this time to try and appreciate the new manor in which they'd be living in, but the more he examined it the more uncomfortable he felt. The manor itself was large and spacious enough, true, but everything about the architecture just seemed to be... wrong. There were parts were he recognized and seemed almost familiar to him: the large sweeping hallways and doorways, the open space with the small intricate detailings, the spirit motifs and the stories carved into the wood. But then there were some parts that almost looked like if someone had reached into Lokkir's memory of what a building should look like and then tweaked it just a tiny bit to where it was still recognizable, but clearly not Hudvalr. There were some parts of the manor that seemed completely alien to Lokkir entirely.
What he disliked most of all however, was the energy that flowed through the building. It hummed yes, positively thrumming with power, that much was evident by how it lit and spread warmth throughout, but that was it. There was no life to it, no soul, no history to tell like the aether he wielded, that he practically swam in back in Hudvalr. The energy was like a homunculus, a pale imitation of the real object that could only follow strict orders and nothing outside of those.
The feeling stayed with him up all the way until the new couple reached the room, upon which it was replaced with an entirely different uncomfortable feeling. As Lokkir opened the door to let his new bride in, his sister's words flashed again inside his head as he walked in after his bride and closed the door, letting it slowly click into place. Taking a deep breath and only hesitating for just a moment more, in her native tongue he said "Before we do anything, I need to show you something. Don't say anything until I'm finished." And then almost as an afterthought, he added, "Please."
And then slowly, nervously, he began to strip off his clothing. One by one, the pieces began to fall down onto the floor until all that was left was his underwear, and the cloth that had covered his chest and held in his shame. Then that too, came off.
With arms wrapped tightly around his breasts as if still trying to hide them, and a gaze that would look at anywhere but his bride, it was then he realized just how cold it was inside their room.