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Sigrdrífa the Priestess

Wedding of Storjarla Æsileif of Stormark and King Arkadius III of Batavia

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Wedding of Storjarla Æsileif of Stormark and King Arkadius III of Batavia


Arm in arm, the two pairs solemnly moved through the misty Godsgrove towards the altar and each other.

Captivating music, lute and pipes and drum, called them to the altar, while wisps of fog stirred round their legs. The drum was as tremulous as a maiden's heart, the pipes high and sweet and beckoning. Up above the treetops, a crescent moon was floating in a dark sky, half-obscured by mist, like an eye peering through a veil of silk.

They walked a snowy path which was lined on both sides by an honour guard wich was composed of alternately women wearing the Bunad and carrying the flags of the Traditional District they hailed from, and members of the various branches of the High King's Hird such as Huscarls, Norman Knights, the Old Sea Companies, Valiant Vixens, and Musketeers from the Alexandrian Guard. The mists were so thick that only the nearest trees were visible; beyond them stood tall shadows and faint lights. Candles also flickered beside the wandering path and back amongst the trees, pale fireflies floating in a warm grey soup.

One of the pairs was formed by High King Harald and the beaming bride, his daughter Storjarla Æsileif. The other pair was formed by the happy groom, King Arkadius III of Batavia, and Storjarla Ærinndís, sister of High King Harald, widow of the groom's uncle King Arkadius I of Batavia, and closest living female kin of King Arkadius III of Batavia.

High King Harald wore light blue Imperial Viking garb and an ocean blue cloak with gold lining and the Imperial Arms of Stormark engraved upon the back, fastened with a gold pin with the coat of arms of the House of Ettlingar Freyu. The cloak being a gift received at his own wedding with High Queen Sigrid almost three years ago. Storjarla Æsileif was dressed in a bridal dress of Valtian Silk trimmed with lace. Her sleeves and bodice were sewn with freshwater pearls. She wore a ancient bridal crown which had been worn by countless brides from the House of Ettlingar Freyu since times way beyond the memory of man.

 

King Arkadius III was dresssed in regal robes made of cloth of gold in the style of the ancient kings of 's Koningenwaarde as well as an ermine cloak. On a gold belt adorned with precious stones the King of Batavia carried the Imperial Sword of Gascony, known as since time immemorial by the name of Pureté. The sword was a gift from High King Harald which he had received last year at his coronation as King of the Batavians. Storjarla Ærinndís wore the Bunad of the Mysterian Traditional District of Kjøpsvik, the place where she was born and raised.

The altar stood in the center of the largest of the thirteen Godsgroves of the Vanadísarhall, the official residence of the High King of Stormark as well the seat of the Imperial Government of Stormark. Behind the altar stood Lady Sigrdrífa the Priestess of the House of Vanadís, Archsister of the Daughters of Freyja, Stormarksgythia, and Priestess of the Temple of Love, the Temple of Motherhood and the Temple of Youth.

 

The Lady Stormarksgythia was dressed in the magnificent silk ceremonial dress the Daughters of Freyja, completed with a cloak of pure Cashmere wool to protect her from the freezing cold. The priestess, however, could have done without the cloak, the excitement caused by this wedding would be more than enough to keep her warm. The guests, from all over the High Realm as well as from abroad, who stood at some distance behind her were in similar high spirits.

The music stopped, the pairs had halted on opposite sides within hearing distance of the altar.

Lady Sigrdrífa the Priestess turned to the west. "Who comes?", she asked, "Who comes before the Gods?"

The High King replied. "Harald Freyjugjöf the Generous Giver of the House of the Descendants of Freyja, of the Ancient Blood of Long Lost Valtia and of the Most Sacred Blood of the Lady of the Vanir before that, Sacred Consort of the Most Gracious and Most Generous Ladies Divine Frigga, Freyja and Idunn, by Conquest, Popular Acclamation and the Indulgence of the said Fulltrui and Sacred Queens, High King of Stormark, Sovereign Lord on all Continents; and Æsileif Haraldsdottir of the House of the Descendants of Freyja, Stórjarla of Stormark, Imperial Chieftainess of Borgarrike, Lady Imperial on all Continents, Princess of Ravaria, Hereditary Jarla of Lögleysafjørður, Heir to Klædaská Rock, Duchess of Mauzburg."

"Why have you come?", the priestess asked.

"My sweet daughter Æsileif, a woman grown and flowered, comes here to be wed and ask the blessings of the Gods", High King Harald answered.

Lady Sigrdrífa the Priestess turned to the east. "Who comes?", she asked, "Who comes before the Gods?"

Storjarla Ærinndís answered. "Lady Ærinndís of the Houses des Vinandy and Ettlingar Freyu, Storjarla of Stormark, Imperial Chieftainess of Snæland, Lady Imperial on All Continents, Princess of Batavia; and Antonius Frederik Karel of the House des Vinandy, King of the Batavians, Duke of Gascony, Count of Vinandy, Count of Bourbon."

"Why have you come?", the Lady Stormarksgythia asked.

"My beloved nephew Antonius, a man grown and ripe, comes here to be wed and ask the blessings of the Gods", Lady Ærinndís replied.

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Lady Sigrdrífa the Priestess turned to Storjarla Æsileif. "Æsileif Haraldsdottir of the House of the Descendants of Freyja, have you come here of your own free will?"

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The bride was on top of the world. Shortly she would marry her handsome and gentle knight in shining armour, Antonius des Vinandy, King of Batavia.

 

"I, Æsileif Haraldsdottir of the House of the Descendants of Freyja, do hereby solemnly declare that I, solely of my own free will, have come here to wed Antonius Frederik Karel of the House des Vinandy", she beamingly said.

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The groom is a little bit nevious.

 

"I, Antonius Frederik Karel of the House des Vinandy, do hereby solemnly declare that I, solely of my own free will, have come here to wed Æsileif Haraldsdottir of the House of the Descendants of Freyja", he strongly said.

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The music started to play again. With her arms highly upraised against the dark sky, Lady Sigrdrífa the Priestess sang, powerfully and enchantingly.

 

"May the Nornir witness what is spoken here today.

May this blessing weave itself well into the threads of wyrd

And shine as a beacon in memory’s hall."

 

"From the peaceful world of Helheim, may you be blessed.

May your ancestors rejoice in your union

And bless you with their collective wisdom."

 

"From the icy world of Niflheim, may you be blessed.

May the winds of change smile upon you

And may you always find clarity in communication."

 

"From the dark world of Svartalfheim, may you be blessed.

May the dwergar grant you a craftsman’s skill,

And may you create a marriage equal to an artisan’s masterpiece."

 

"From the fiery world of Muspelheim, may you be blessed.

May your marriage be one of passion for each other

And may that passion never waver."

 

"From the tumultuous world of Jotunheim, may you be blessed.

May your commitment endure growing stronger

Even in the midst of disagreement."

 

"From the joyfully complex world of Midgard, may you be blessed.

May your marriage grow strong, enduring roots

And may those roots give you both wings to soar."

 

"From the bounteous world of Vanaheim, may you be blessed.

May your marriage bring you abundance,

And may your home be one of joy."

 

"From the glittering world of Alfheim, may you be blessed.

May you never feel the need to wear masks with each other,

And may you seek the truth of your hearts together."

 

"From the mighty world of Asgard, may you be blessed.

May pride bow its head before the grace of compromise

And together may your marriage thrive."

 

"Let wyrd witness what is spoken here today.

May Mani guide you,

May Sunna shelter you,

May Frigga, Freyja and Idunn smile upon you both

All the days of your life,

And may those days be filled with all good things."

 

The music stopped playing, save for the soft tones of a single flute which played an ancient romantic tune.

 

"Æsileif Haraldsdottir of the House of the Descendants of Freyja and Antonius Frederik Karel of the House des Vinandy, come to the fore and seal your marriage!", Lady Sigrdrífa the Priestess said.

 

Storjarla Æsileif and King Arkadius eagerly stepped forward, their eyes sparkling and their hearts pounding. Tenderly they took each other's hands and looked deeply into one another's eyes. This was the moment!

 

"High Ones, hear their vows, together they stand, united by love and joined by hand, their family with them, their ancestors near, they take their vows with goodwill and cheer. Mighty Lords and Ladies Divine, witness their troth, as they seal their bond by oath, walking together, side by side, lend them strenght and be their guides!", the Lady Stormarksgythia called unto the Gods.

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"I, Æsileif Haraldsdottir of the House of the Descendants of Freyja, with the Gods and all gathered here as witnesses, take as my husband, Antonius Frederik Karel of the House des Vinandy, with all the duties and responsibilities to state of marriage attached. And I shall love, honour and cherish my husband, so long as the fire burns, the wind blows, and the waters flow to the sea; so long as the sun shines, and the soil yields harvest; so long as a mother nurtures her child, and men tend the fields; so long as fires flame, ships sail, and the sun melts the snow; so long as people live in midgard, and the heavens turn; so long as the fir tree grows, the fish swim, the stag runs, and the falcon flies in the long day of Spring; and the straight winds may ever bear up her wings. And with my kiss I shall seal this marriage!"

 

Storjarla Æsileif pulled King Arkadius close and kissed him long and deep.

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"I, Antonius Frederik Karel of the House des Vinandy, with the Gods and all gathered here as witnesses, take as my wife, Æsileif Haraldsdottir of the House of the Descendants of Freyja, with all the duties and responsibilities to state of marriage attached. And I shall love, honour and cherish my wife, so long as the fire burns, the wind blows, and the waters flow to the sea; so long as the sun shines, and the soil yields harvest; so long as a mother nurtures her child, and men tend the fields; so long as fires flame, ships sail, and the sun melts the snow; so long as people live in midgard, and the heavens turn; so long as the fir tree grows, the fish swim, the stag runs, and the falcon flies in the long day of Spring; and the straight winds may ever bear up her wings. And with my kiss I shall seal this marriage!"

 

King Arkadius then kissed Storjarla Æsileif.

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"Æsileif Haraldsdottir of the House of the Descendants of Freyja and Antonius Frederik Karel of the House des Vinandy are one flesh, one heart, one soul!", Lady Sigrdrífa the Priestess solemly declared. The wedding guests roared with joy!

"Facing the challenge of our life, from now as husband and wife, truthful and honest we shall stay, and share our measure of work and of play", the couple chanted in unison after the crowd had fallen silent. The couple took each other's hand, husband and wife kissed one more time, then they turned around, and hand in hand Storjarla Æsileif and King Arkadius started running. Loudly cheered by the wedding guests the couple ran into the mists, speeding towards a ditch filled with logs poured over with inflammable liquid.

Two assistants of the Lady Stormarksgythia appeared and quickly paced to the priestess. One of them was carrying a bow and a quiver, the other one a torch. Lady Sigrdrífa the Priestess took the bow and an arrow from the first assistant, and nocked the arrow to the bowstring. The second assistant held her torch to the oil-soaked rag behind the arrowhead, and hungrily licking the flames went up. The Lady Stormarksgythia lifted the great bow, drew the string to her ear, and let fly. With a deep thrum, the arrow sped upward.

Breathlessly the crowd watched the flames trailing through the air, a pale orange pennon. Storjarla Æsileif and King Arkadius had vanished in the mists. Falling, the flaming arrow was swallowed up as well . . . but only for a heartbeat. Then, just before the couple reached the ditch, the wedding guests saw the red bloom flower. The logs took fire, a wall of flames roared upward, licking at the sky with their blazingly hot tongues, and the fog glowed pink and orange.

And side by side, hand in hand, the newlywed couple leapt over the flames, straight into their new life as husband and wife.

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