One day, nearly out of the blue, Inakil found himself asked a question he truly never had expected to hear.
"Will you marry me?"
As a Weyrbred man, he hadn’t ever expected, or truly even considered it, even with all his reading of romance in poetry or the few marriages that had happened since Solange’s and Ma’lek’s marriage that was quite the talk at the time due to being the first marriage between dragonriders. The fact that the question had come in the middle of drinks with another dayhandler didn’t matter to Inakil though. His heart had fluttered at the question and promises of devotion from the man he also hadn’t expected to ever consider marriage.
"Yes, I want to marry you. I want to be with you forever. I love you."
The answer had come easily, and since, Inakil hadn’t regretted those words. However, those words had been spoken long ago now. Losses had been suffered, multiple in fact, affecting both Inakil and Naji at different periods in different ways. One had almost broken Inakil entirely, the loss of his closest brother. That had been a dark time in Inakil’s life, and even after he had started getting out of bed again, he had still had his own healing to go through. He’d continued to have a rough time, even having nightmares about the loss and about his past trauma in the midst of it. For a while, he had forgotten all about his and Naji’s promise to one another while he had focused on healing.
Inakil improved through, things started to feel normal again, life moved on just as Naji had said it would. Then, one day, Inakil realized how much time had passed. Turns had passed since the time Naji first asked him those words asking for forever. His heart sank and broke in that moment of realization. He looked through a journal filled with notes and ideas and discussions he and Naji had had. And then, that evening, he cried to Naji.
“I’m so sorry. I can’t express how much I regret this taking so long. Please know I love you, I still love you, and I still want to marry you. I just got lost and I’m so sorry,” he had cried, begging for forgiveness he didn’t truly need, but felt he needed to earn.
Time passed again, this time with plans being made and dates set. They wouldn’t put it off anymore. All the dayhandlers were invited to the event, as were their friends and families outside of the dayhandlers. Everyone knew when and where now and what to expect, so there was no way they would let it go any longer now. Inakil made sure to corner himself about this, so nothing else could come up and get him lost again. He wouldn’t make Naji wait any longer.
The night before their big day Inakil found himself “captured.” Separated from Naji, he was brought to the Dining Hall for the festivities. First though, he had to wait for Naji to come and “rescue” him. It had been a Walled tradition they had heard and read about, and it had sounded like fun so they had agreed and gotten some friends in on the game. So when Naji arrived, drinks and food were offered to the “kidnappers,” and he was freed from his bonds by his love.
Alcohol, of course, was involved, and a table of small bubbly pies present made Inakil laugh as he sipped at a drink.
“Never going to live that night down am I,” he questioned playfully, remembering the night he had gotten drunk at a hatching feast while trying to keep up with Naji’s drinking. He held that night dear, however, because while at the time it had mortified him when he was sober, now it felt like the beginning of the lives they were going to promise to one another for good.
Inakil wanted to go home with Naji that night, his mind alight with ideas for a fun night in private thanks to the alcohol and the ropes against his wrists earlier in the night. However, J’in, Naji’s pewterriding brother, had other plans as he swept Naji away for one last hoorah with him. He was sure he had heard something about “making the wedding night count,” in a mischievous tone as J’in took Naji away as the party died down for the night. Inakil wouldn’t be left alone in his and Naji’s shared cabin though. Instead, Inakil crashed at his father’s apartment, passing out on the couch after getting a good drink of water in him.
The next morning, his father’s weyrmate Eloine woke him up with some more water, klah, and breakfast to help any hangover he might have had. Luckily, Inakil, still being on the younger side, wasn’t as regretful of the night before as someone a few turns older. His head wasn’t necessarily happy, but the water helped as did the food. Then, quickly, he was being swept away back to his cabin to get ready. Naji was probably at J’in’s apartment getting ready there.
Innel was there to help Inakil, and while he appreciated the lad’s help and company, it made him choke up for a moment, requiring him to take a moment of privacy in his room. Kinali should have been here for him, he couldn’t help but think, and in that moment of hurt he wished Naji was there with him.
Dolcekil asked with concern, but Inakil mentally assured her.
*It’s ok, I’m fine.* And he was. While still sad, he was able to shake the wave of grief off and get back to the day at hand instead of lamenting again over what should have been.
Before he knew it, he was standing at the stage outside of the dining hall. Chairs were set out and an aisle created using one of the beautiful carpets set out for a feast or other big event. Inakil waited at the front of it all with his family sitting at the front as support, though he stood alone. He knew it could have asked I’li to stand up here with him, but he hadn’t really wanted to since he didn’t have a strong relationship with the aging bronzerider, nor anything against him either. The person he was closest with who should have been standing up there with him couldn’t be there though, but Inakil wouldn’t let that overtake him again. He had given himself the few moments in privacy to mourn that before. The day wasn’t for mourning what was missing, he reminded himself.
The other seats filled with dayhandlers and those that considered themselves friends of either Naji or Inakil. The local Weyrsinger who would perform the ceremony for the two arrived as well and had a last minute chat with Inakil to make sure everything was as was planned. Once confirmed, they awaited the arrival of the other half of the event.
Pewterrider J’in was the only warning as he skittered into his seat quickly from wherever he had been, then, Naji arrived, making his entrance down the aisle as if he were a traditional Northern bride. Inakil smiled, a little bit at the twists they had done with some of the marriage traditions from North and South to suit their relationship, but mostly, because he was happy to see Naji, and he had to hold himself in place to keep from running down the aisle to him.
Soon, Naji joined him on the stage they had set, but it wasn’t quite time, as Inakil and Naji’s gaze down the aisle made everyone turn to look again. This time, they would see Dolcekil and Weisden, each carrying a basket with a pillow inside, and the gentle shine of a ring in each basket. Clearly, the daywhers had been made ringbearers for the event, earning some chuckles from the people present and approval from the daywhers watching on the edges. Once the daywhers stood beside the stage on the respective side of their handlers, the Weyrsinger motioned for the ceremony to begin.
“We gather on this day of summer to bind these two together in matrimony,” the Weyrsinger began, opening up their part of the ceremony, saying some fine words about marriage before the couple would share their own vows. “And now, Inakil of Rose Dolcekil has some words he would like to say.”
Inakil seemed almost startled for a moment that the Weyrsinger had gotten through their opening words so quick, and he fumbled nervously for a moment in his pocket to pull out a folded up piece of parchment with notes on it.
“There is so much I could say, and so much I could talk about,” Inakil began, only glancing down at his notes occasionally to make sure he remembered what he wanted to say next. “I could talk about the ways you’ve been there for me all these turns, even before we were together as romantic partners, but we both know those times. I will say, however, that every one of those moments has been dear to me. Looking back on when I first met you, of who we both were when we were younger, I would have never thought you would have made me a better person, but you have. You’ve given me confidence I didn’t have before, and helped me to finally realize how deserving of true love I am. You’ve helped me through some hard, dark times in my life, and I am excited to give you the rest of my life like this, to show you how much I’ve come to love you and depend on you.”
Inakil took a breath, folding the parchment and placing it back into his pocket to show he was done. He had spent a lot of time thinking of what he would say, but in the end, those words had felt like the best. He could have done something much more poetic, for all the poetry he read, but something a bit more simple felt appropriate here for what he wanted to say to Naji. Of course, it was to go without saying that he had teared up during his vows, and tried to hide a small sniffle, but he couldn’t hide needing to dry a tear from his cheek with his sleeve.
Naji was then given his chance to say anything he wanted. Inakil wanted so badly to just grab hold of Naji, he was almost shaking with the need to embrace him, but he waited, holding himself in place as long as he had to. Soon, the Weyrsinger gestured to the two daywhers aside the stage.
“And now, if our bearers would present the rings,” the Singer announced, giving Dolcekil and Weisden their signal to lift their baskets in their mouths up to their handlers. Inakil reached to Dolcekil, pausing to pat her on the head affectionately, a silent thank you for her stalwart presence, before he plucked the silver ring that he had worked with a jewelsmith to design. The supporting outer rings of the band were in a silver, and inside those two rings were twists of silver, gold, and rose-gold tones.
“I chose the different colors of metal to represent you, me, and the bonds we share together,” Inakil said, being given a moment to explain his design that Naji would be seeing for the first time. Naji was given the same chance, before the Weyrsinger continued with the ceremony.
“And now, Inakil, please take Najden’s hand and repeat after me.” Inakil did as he said without hesitation, not caring if Naji felt his eager trembling in his hand as he took hold of his and looked him in the eyes and repeated what the Weyrsinger led him into.
“I, Inakil of Rose Dolcekil, promise you my love, my loyalty, and my life. This ring represents that promise I make to you, and I hope will serve as a reminder of my devotion to you.” With that, he slipped the ring onto Naji’s finger, relieved that it fit, even if there had been no reason to worry as they had made absolutely sure the rings would be the right sizes.
“And now, Najden, please take Inakil’s hand and repeat after me.” And thus came Naji’s turn to affirm his vows to Inakil and place the ring on his finger. He waited and listened to his love’s words, and watched as he slid the ring onto his finger now. The feeling of it was strange, almost heavy on his finger, but it was welcomed, putting a smile on Inakil’s face as he looked at it and then back up to Naji again.
“With the authority bestowed upon me, I now pronounce Inakil of Rose Dolcekil and Najden of Quartz Weisden bound in matrimony. You may now kiss,” the Weyrsinger announced, and this time, Inakil let Naji take the lead on their marital kiss. It felt the same as every other, but he knew what this one signified for them, and that made it all the more important. At last, thisi moment had come to full fruition. After all the delays, and ever obstacle that had gotten in their way, Inakil was bound to Naji for good in a way he had never expected, and he hoped to never be parted.