It was a warm summer’s night, far into the established relationship of Lead and Malina. Malina was walking back from her leisurely stroll in the forest with a hand basket full of herbs and flowers she had picked. Suddenly, her shoulder brushed something solid and her fist shot out reflexively. Her closed hand was caught easily by a bigger one. The former Valkyrie relaxed when she realized the thing that brushed her shoulder was in fact her dear friend Cú. Malina regarded him skeptically when he released her. The giant sized grin on the demi-god’s face was off-putting; he must know something she did not. He was also unusually well dressed for so late in the evening.
“How dare you sneak up on me! Your skin is so blue it fades in with the night! Are you just going to stand there and flash your teeth at me or are you going to explain yourself?!” Malina scolded though she couldn’t help the smirk that started to play on her lips. Cú’s smile was contagious.
“I wanted to see how close you could get before you saw me. Apparently it’s very close. Regardless, come with me you’re desperately needed.” He replied, escorting her by the arm into the settlement.
Malina hesitantly obeyed. Her confusion worsened as they got closer to the center of their encampment. No one was around and all the lights were lit. Every single torch, lantern, and candle was crowned with a welcoming flame. The whole settlement was washed in an umber glow. This was highly unusual. Typically the Berserkers of Jomsburg only put out enough light for the inhabitants of their camp to see by at night as to not alert unwelcome visitors to their location. Malina followed Cú, wary but curious to see what had him all excited.
He led her to the center of camp where a large, white canvas, pavilion style tent had been erected. This was also strange. The vikings were spending their early summer undergoing a pilgrimage, this tent was only to be set up once they reached their destination. Malina furrowed her brows in contemplation when Cú stopped her just short of the tent’s entrance. He held up a finger, instructing her to wait, and she rolled her eyes. Cú disappeared between the flaps of the tent’s entrance leaving Malina by herself outside.
Almost immediately, Lead emerged. His smile matched Cú’s though his was more coy. He, unlike Cú, was not as finely dressed. Only adorned with simple brooches and clasps but he did holster a sword that Malina didn’t recognize. Malina took a step back to properly take in her partner’s unusual appearance.
“Good evening my love.” she offered, still confused about what was going on.
“Well met.” Lead quipped with a sparkle in his eye as he closed the gap between them. He gently relieved his partner of her handbasket and took her hands in his. Malina exhaled shortly through her nose, finally fed up with the air of secrecy.
“My darling, what is going on?” she asked in her sweetest voice to try to coax the answer from him.
“A marriage.” he replied simply.
Malina quirked a brow. “Who is marrying?”
Lead saw his opportunity and took it, performing the most romantic thing Malina had ever experienced to date. He fished around in Malina’s basket until he gathered enough long stemmed flowers and herbs to make a fragrant bridal crown. He worked expertly with the precision of a surgeon to weave the plants together in a thick braid. After he was satisfied with his work, he gently placed it upon her head. “We are.”
Normally, Malina would have been offended that Lead kept a secret from her, however they both knew this was the one exception. Her thoughts must have spread across her face because Lead began to grin again. Malina blushed and tried, unsuccessfully, to hide her joy. With a nuzzle of their noses, Lead shooed Malina away to prepare for the wedding.
The preparation was rushed and untraditional since neither Lead nor Malina had families that could take part in the celebration. Most of the ritual of viking marriage involved both the bride’s family and the groom’s. Lead’s was nonexistent as far as he knew and Malina didn’t have parents in the traditional sense since she was born out of the Crucible of Life. Lead had obviously already completed his groom’s task of retrieving the ancestral sword (though Malina wondered whose ancestor the sword belonged to if it were not his) so all that was left was for Malina to ceremonially wash her body, adorn her hair, and bring a gift for the groom.
Traditionally the groom presented his ancestral sword to his bride, which she kept for any future sons they might have. The bride then gifted the groom a sword of her ancestors, symbolizing a transfer of a father’s protection of the wife to the husband. Malina didn’t have such things. Her weapon has a valkyrie was an extension of herself and thus could be summoned upon her will. After Freyja separated her primordial spirit she could not summon her ethereal spear. Malina wracked her brain furiously until finally she decided on the perfect gift.
The bridal procession was large and heartfelt. All of the Berserkers attended. The wedding ceremony had most of the traditional occurrences such as the appraisal of the gods, the blessing of the bride’s womb for the hopes of future offspring, the drinking of wedding mead (it was not considered a successful wedding ceremony if the bride and groom were not drunk) and of course the exchange of gifts. Lead presented his sword and Malina offered a small vial of water from the lake that Lead had rescued her from the night she fell. Lead graciously accepted his wife's sentimental gift without a second thought. Both cried. It was a beautiful ceremony.
After the celebration had ended at noon the next day, the newlyweds were escorted by the attendees to their shared bed where a select few would post watch outside as the marriage was consummated, such is viking way. In an attempt to save any virgin eyes reading this, we will not go into detail about that. Let us instead just say that it went well and the couple then slept for a considerable amount of time in each other's arms. Overall, the marriage of Lead and Malina Rotinn was a whimsical and enchanting event that barely anyone remembers due to the copious amounts of wedding mead consumed.