Walking into the grand hall, Anazlyn notices that the room becomes uncomfortably quiet. She leans over to Parin “What is this?”
“Tradition big sister.”
“I don’t understand.” Anazlyn looks around the crowded room, realizing all of the Zarrokian families are represented in the room. Notices the banquet has been served, but no one is eating. “What tradition?”
Parin grins, then whispers “I guess you’ll have your memory refreshed in a moment.” He nods toward the front of the room, where Kareth stands with a sword in hand. Parin stands a little straighter, stares Kareth in the eyes from the other side of the room, he nods, then takes his sister by the hand and walks her toward him.
“Parin, why wasn’t I included in this?”
Parin whispers never leave his gaze from Kareth. “Because you’ve been avoiding betrothed since they arrived. This was the time, so we planned it for you. Thank you for dressing for the occasion.” Parin fights a smile.
Anazlyn walks down the aisle, holding her brother’s hand, knowing shortly she will be given to her husband to be. Uncomfortable, but not showing it, she maintains the most elegant posture and behavior she can manage. As they arrive to Kareth, he pulls the sword of his family to his face, holding the blade flat against his nose, and then he speaks the words of the ceremony, requesting the hand of his bride. Parin offers it, in exchange for the fee to be paid. Kareth hands Parin the sword, bows slightly and takes the hand of his bride to be. Anazlyn stands watchful through the entire exchange, then holding Kareth’s arm, she walks with him to the head of the table, sitting together, the crowd begins to cheer, the couple smiles and take the first bites of food. Once both have begun to eat, the room follows, and the ceremony is concluded.
As they eat Anazlyn looks at her betrothed, trying to find the most appealing qualities. “Kareth, I must apologize for not being a part of this preparation.”
“It is fine Sonteria. I do not expect you to have much involvement with such trivial matters.” Kareth continues to eat, not looking toward her, but toward the rest of the table.
Hurt by his remark, she puts her fork down, seeing she has neglected a portion of her duties. “Kareth, I am sorry.”
“I am sure you are. I will not debate that with you.”
“Kareth, you are rightfully upset at me. I should be more interactive with you and your team. It has been six months of council and I have been neglectful of my family duties. This is not what I wish to start our future off as.”
Kareth softens his demeanor slightly. “Anazlyn, I know you are busy, and I know the traditions of our people can at times, be difficult to abide by. I have my own reservations at becoming Kolnair in this manner. However, we both agreed to do what is best for our people. That may mean personal sacrifice. I know my duty. Are you willing to do yours?”
She looks at him, then across the room at the plethora of people who attended this very simple, but important ceremony. Then she looks back at her betrothed, Kareth, realizing now why her family selected him. “Yes, like you, duty to our people is crucial. You are correct; I will do what is best for our people as well. My reservations for the process come because I was not groomed or trained to take this role, this was to be my bothers. The war changed that, and …I just haven’t come to terms with it I suppose.” Anazlyn picks up her utensils again and begins to eat. “It feels like accepting this part of the duties finalizes his death, and I guess…I’m just not ready for that yet. I will change my efforts.”
Kareth, puts down his food, and then looks at his wife to be, surprised by her confession. “I am sorry you lost your brother in this. We can’t go back and change things. We move forward, and we do it both for ourselves and our people.” His normal stoic look, relaxes into a calm, tender and thoughtful expression. “We will be married just after your coronation. We will face this together.”
Surprised by the power and kindness behind his words, Anazlyn smiles and says “Thank you, for your kindness and patience. I will make more time to do what is right for our future as it involves our people as well.”
He takes her hand a moment, giving it a gentle squeeze. “We will discuss all of this tomorrow. Perhaps breakfast on the balcony?” She nods and then starts to eat again. “Good, tonight we enjoy the betrothal ceremony and reception. It is always better to celebrate than mourn.” He smiles.
“You are correct.” Anazlyn spends the rest of her evening bragging about how wonderful the night is, and how the surprise was appreciated. Everyone enjoys themselves and as the betrothal party stands to depart for the evening together, the room stands in applause.
Breakfast was lovely the next morning, as they both spoke of things of their past and plans for the future of Zarrok and Cordelia. By the end of breakfast the two are speaking on familiar terms like old friends. The attendants clear the table, and show in his personal assistant. The well cloaked figure enters. She says nothing until spoken to. Kareth continues to talk to Anazlyn as though it were just the two of them.
Anazlyn looks at the cloaked woman. “I know you, don’t I?”
“Is it time?”
“It is not time yet. No.”
“Is that soon?”
“It will be. We will know when.”
“Yes, that I believe.”
Kareth watches the exchange, then looks at Anazlyn. “You understand her cryptic talk?”
“Yes, Kareth. Some things are left said simply.”
“Agreed.” The cloaked figure then smiles under the hood.
A moment later Galk enters to fetch the Sonteria for a meeting. “Kareth, I look forward to breakfast tomorrow.” Anazlyn smiles and follows Galk out the door.