The Story of Axilles and Astrogarde - Part 8 – The Wedding and Love's medicine
And then the wedding day came and it was grander and greater on the surface than any wedding or even any battle had ever been.
The two long,white uniformed processions; the ranks of the bride and the ranks of the groom; marching to the love airs of Lovingian pipes and drums, moved past cheering crowds towards the sacred field where the high temple stood and no one besides angels and demons would have guessed that, beneath the shimmering veil of ritual and spleandour, there was no true love; that it was the worlds greatest,most magnificent and most hollow diamond that glittered before them. No one who witnessed the prince and his bride link arms and smile before the golden altar would have imagined how much gloom filled up both their hearts as, within the ear of god, they knelt and pledged their eternal love.
And,after the white silk wedding had melted away and the banquet was a heap of bones and cores inside a sows trough, Onya spoke to her family in secret about marriage and love.
“Don’t you think”, she asked her father, “That love is a necessary ingredient of any marriage?”.
“Oh love”, he replied smiling, “When I was a child I waited to catch a glimpse of the blue unicorns that appear only during the full autumn moon and when I was a young man I waited for love but now that my hair is mostly gray or gone I can honestly swear that I have seen neither unicorns nor true love and I have lost my faith in both of them”.
But Onya was unsatisfied with this answer and so she asked her mother the same question, “Do you believe that a marriage has any worth without love in it?”, she asked.
“Oh well”, she said, “As they say, ‘A crown with a missing jewel is still a crown’ and, when one has wealth and comfort,security and title then it eases the burden of what is missing. Besides, you will have children to bathe in your love and”,her mother said winking and sipping wine, “some wives, whom I shall not name, find that, if the marriage bed is lumpy then they can always find a good nights rest elsewhere.”
But Onya was only further unsatisfied by her mothers reply and so she turned to her
older sister, Chryssoma and asked her question a third time, “Sister, please, let me hear some reason. Is it not wrong to enter a marriage where there is no love?”.
“Ahh but”, said Chryssoma, “There are secret passageways into a mans heart; secret ways of wooing that have been passed down as part of the centuries old wisdom of women. I know an old peasant woman of low Constan that makes remedies from herbs and wild flowers; merrydock and lovendil and other powerful plants with fanciful names,and she has mixtures in her bottles that can turn a mans heart upon its head; turn fear into courage, sadness into joy or hate into love and, if lovelessness is what blights your marriage then one of this old woman's potions is the cure you need”.
“If you were not a noblewoman you would have made a fine salesman, Chryssoma. Please, do talk to this old woman of yours”, asked Onya, “and get from her whatever marvelous medicine can heal my husbands heart to mine”.