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Codex entry: A Good Marriage

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See also: Avvar

Codex text

In a hold past our own, a man named Virmik Torsen was to wed a woman named Seddra Yildsdotten. They were young, and in love, and made large offerings to the gods asking for happiness. The night before their wedding, Seddra had a dream. The Lady of the Skies came to her and told her to tie her rope-knots so tightly that she and Torsen would only wed a year. She awoke troubled, but did as the Lady asked. Virmik untied only one knot, and they married a year.

The year was hard. Their bows missed game and the winter wind howled through their huts. Virmik and Seddra grew thinner. When their marriage was up, they made large offerings to the gods, this time asking for mercy. The night before the wedding, the Lady of the Skies came to Virmik in a dream and told him to untie a single knot, so he and Seddra would wed only a year. Virmik awoke sorrowing, but did as the Lady asked. He and Seddra married again for a year.

The year was long. The weather was foul and the crops were poor. Virmik and Seddra grew thinner still. When their marriage time was up, Seddra and Virmik both had a dream from the Lady of the Skies. "You asked for happiness," she said, "but I cannot give that to you. You asked for mercy, but the land will not show it. Think carefully what you ask tomorrow."

Seddra and Virmik spoke long into the night and in the morning made an offering to the gods. They asked for strength to hunt and harvest when life was good, and patience, when life was not. The year was good in some places and hard in others, but they grew to know themselves and what they could bear. They became happy, not from the gift of the gods, but from their own deeds, and lived the rest of their lives as one.

—From Stories of the Wild South: A Collection of Tales of the Barbarian Nations of Ferelden by Lady Susanna Ashwell of Ansburg

There are notes at the bottom margin of this page, in different handwriting:

How's a rope tell you how long you marry?

An Avvar groom unties knots on a rope that the bride ties for him. He's got until the end of the wedding-chant. Number of knots he unties is the number of years they're married.

That doesn't make any sense!

Sounds like a good deal to me. See if you like living with your handsome new husband or wife once the bloom's worn off. Maybe you only untie one knot or tie them tight, like in the story, if you're not sure.

I think it's daft.

I think you two nitwits should stop scribbling in the book I've got to return to the library.

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