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War Bride – “How did Your Parents Meet?” (Censored Version)

Daniel Triumph
March 17, 2021
ENGL 4710

Juvinelia: From the Dairies of the Solune King

She appeared, I had thought, near the end of the battle; at the end of the final skirmish of the war. At first sight, my mind was too busy, I could properly comprehend her, appearing like an angel of victory when the final enemy fell.

I blinked the tears and plasma from my eyes, trying to clear my vision. The memory had always been hazy, like I had been seeing her differently from the corner of my eyes for some time. Perhaps the latter half of the battle, while I was giving orders. Now, in plain sight, she seemed slightly altered. I could see she was a woman; a woman dressed in layered white robes, touched here and there with the blood of war.

It was after things settled and the pureblooded Riley retreated to their cliffs that the non-combat portions of the last few hours flooded back into my memory that I realized; I thought to myself, she has been there nearly half the battle…and based on that I wonder; how did she get here? She was not of the Riley; her hair was not black, it was blonde. Her skin was not pale, it was heavily tanned. She was similar to us, but a little smaller, and some of her features were wrong. We took her back to the war settlement; a wide landscape of tents and other temporary housings built on the plain.

The Medilogian said hers was of some other physiology. Some of the older folk had fears. Myself, I had the Medi examine her in my office, as not to get in the way of the wounded. It took some time, but the Medi exited and confirmed; she was of a nation he had never examined. She was not of Sollussa as we were, neither was she of Riley, or even Metch. She was strong, but he suspected underfed. She had two lumps on her upper back and teeth that were a little longer than usual. He also said that she likely did not speak our tongue, but perhaps understood some of it.

“King Rhye, Your Serene Highness, I told her to dress when I left, and that you would be in after,” He told me. “You should take your sidearm with you. She was armed. Perhaps she is a strange assassin or plant of some sort.”

I doubted his suspicions; on the battlefield I would have been a much easier target, or on our way back. Despite this, I nodded and entered the tent.

Here was this one before me, her robes were on the ground, her weapon underneath; she had not dressed. I frowned and watched at her expression. Her manner, alone with a man and without her wearings, was modest in only the barest sense. She watched me with open and intense interest. I examined her face, mostly, and though I could see that her form was slender, there were also clear signs of use; that is, her physique was well exercised. Her arms were stiff with strength, her forearms had the width of a well-developed swordsman. I looked down at the rug beneath her feet, her clothes in a pile around her legs. She followed my gaze, but still did not move. I was looking for anything else that might have been on her person, and I did see evidence, odd forms in the cloth. Yet, I also meant for her to dress, and I motioned from her robes to her eyes with my head. Then, I did it with my arms.

“Alright, that is enough, I can see you are neither of the enemy nor one of us. You can dress now. There. Your robes.”

She seemed to take my cue, and to intentionally feign ignorance. She turned her head and gazed away to the other side of the reinforced tent. She looked past the wooden desk, to the couch I kept for contemplation and fever, and then her sun-worked face reddened. We knew that our tongues were not common, but such a signal was perhaps universal across nations. Yet, I did not know why, or to what she had reacted, so I continued my investigation.

I stepped forward and moved her clothing with my feet and felt something. When she saw that I had found her weapons, she turned a deeper red. I was again fascinated, but not yet done. I knelt down and removed the sword, only to find another with it, and a dagger. I stood and turned aside. She closed her eyes as I checked them. The swords too had me aghast; they were well made, but covered in battlescars, rust, and blood.

“How often do you clean these?”

She did not reply. This woman was a proper warrior. Perhaps I should not have been surprised; she was on the battlegrounds.

I put the two scabbard ends in her hand. She did not grasp them, but did open her eyes. She looked down. I moved the sheathes from her hands and smirked, flipping them over with a bit of style, drawing one, and putting the other in her hand. I used my other hand to close hers around the handle, and then I stepped back, not quite ready for a spar and—her weapon promptly tipped forward and dropped from her hand. I frowned a little, put her other sword down after sheathing it, and then straightened up and looked down on her. She looked back at me with the intense expression she’d had when I first entered. She smiled a little, as if she was goading me from her position.

“Hmm.”

“Ah…”

“What?”

Her voice was fire; heat. She had too much energy. I took her robes, moving her trembling legs out of the way and making sure not to look up. Then I stood and threw them over her head. Curious-like, she watched her own clothing fall over her body. It landed all wrong, but her smile widened as her dressing came down past her neck. I was not prepared for the change in her face; her eyes. I was stunned.

“Yechinnichtchyehhghrhtznnchhehhrthvmnhhehh…” she motioned to her right.

“Oh…yes…of course…!”

At this she laughed—and I died. “Wonderful!” I said. In spontaneous excitement, I touched her cheek with my two righthand fingers.

“Cvchchchhehhghrhtz!” she replied, taking my hand in her smaller hand, putting my thumb on her cheek, and using my hand to move her head around.

I looked at the rest of her hand to her chest with my left. With her index finger gently touching her chest, right below the collar and throat, I said, “Your name is…?”

She looked down in reply, and placed her other hand over mine. I sort of gave up, and left that situation as it was. I moved my hand to my own chest.

“Rrchhehheychhehh,” she said.

“What… was that? Again please.”

She moved the hand she had lain on mine and pulled it back, making me jab at my chest again. She said, “Rrchhehheychhehh!” and then laughed again.

“Yes, Rhye. That is my name. You have quite the accent. Ah!” she slipped my hand around so that, for the first time, we were palm to palm, and in hand. “Now tell me yours?”

“Mcha…Gvchhehhnchimn.” And she shook our hands up and down once.

“Gv…Gvkhenchime?”

At this she laughed harder, even though I am certain her rendering of my name was far worse. “Eeeyahhachehh!” She said, reddening again. “Eeeyahheyettchvch.”

“Oh, uh…”

At this, once again she laughed and pulled my hand again, and then her clothes fell off her shoulder. I was starting to blush like her. I fixed her robes, which she did not seem to appreciate, and I took her to the couch and moved to leave her in the study.

Touching the latch, I looked back. Her entire manner was shifting, darkening as she watched. She looked into my eyes, communicating for a moment, and then she stared at the green rug at her feet and went pale but for a touch of red in her face. She was distant, remembering something, and then, engriefed. A tear; pearl fell down her face’s left side, and a new one pooled on the right. Wherever she had come from, she must not have liked it. I pulled the latch and exited. I needed to talk to someone.

The Medilogian was waiting outside. He said, “She is not dangerous, then.”

“She could be, to someone. She was a lone party on a battlefield. Her two swords—two—are well used. But she wouldn’t use them.” I told him that it seemed to me her situation was thus: she did not know where she was, and perhaps had likely fought the Riley, not alongside us, but on her own. There had been no reports of any soldier fighting against her, but there was some vague and unsure fanfare about an angel or giant on the battlefield. Likely, it was her, distorted by the dusk that rolled in as we were graced with victory.

“You were in there a long time.” I told him that she refused to dress, so I dressed her. He continued. “Do you know what a war bride is?”

I shook my head. “Are you somehow referring to my mother? I consider you like a second wisdom, but you need not bring my heritage into this.”

“A war bride is a woman who, after the war, marries into the opposing side. I’ve read of it happening. What will you do with her, King?”

“She wants everything, I think. Perhaps I will give it to her; a whole kingdom. When we have found a safe land and all of us can settle.”

“A stranger?” I said nothing. He said, “For now, I’ve posted a guard outside. A woman to guard outside.” He motioned with his head then moved to leave. “If you have not yet touched the outsider as you said, and you do intend to move forward, ensure that you hold to the customs.”

I nodded and turned back to the tent.

When I entered, I was suddenly flustered; frustrated by the uncertainty. I said, “Why are you here? Where have you come from? Who are you?”

She looked at me with glassy eyes, and then a slight smile moved across one side of her lips. Confused and in fervour now, I offered her one of the two crowns around my neck; a plain gold band with a silver-blue pinwheel on the front. She gazed at it for a while and then looked up in anticipation, her mouth open a little. Roughly, I placed it on her forehead, then sat beside her on the couch to lock the clasp. It was a little loose.

“Touching the crown is a form of agreement; acceptance. If you touch it then—”

She fixed it, moving it to just under her hairline.

“…you would be mine. That belongs to you now.”

And she stuck out her tongue.

“You do understand a little here and there….” Flustered, I continued. “…object, oath, time alone, and then there is marriage.”

“Chtechtmnhhehh.” She smiled and flushed with emotion.

“All that is left is an oath, and the…consecration.”

She laughed. “Mnhhehhyech oechth,” she said, and held out a hand.

“Mnhhe…oecht…oath. ‘My oath.’ Your oath?”

She nodded, and I took her hand. She gave it a single shake, up and down. I found the motion odd. “This shake is an agreement, then.” I nodded, and she nodded back. “This, we already did though.”

She bared her teeth in a grin and tilted her head to the side, staring at me with an almost obstinate expression. She was moving at a higher speed in this, it seemed, a step ahead.

“Chviehchhehherchechtenhhehh, mnhch?”

“Soon, I…think.”

“Oechth chenhhehhyehmn?” She said, pushing her robes off both shoulders and shimmering up beside me, topless now.

“Soon.” My brow went cross, but I tried to keep the rest of my features loose; positive for the sake of communication or perhaps for her sake. She repeated the word back to me, but with twice the syllables. It seemed that her tongue was an inefficient one, lacking many vowel sounds. All words in a sentence seemed to come out as one long interconnected sound. However, it seemed that the longer we talked, the more her speech came to be like mine. She is intelligent.

“Soon…” Still sitting, I took the small waterskin from my side. It was filled with a partially refined sweet sticky sap, water, and a little alcohol for purification. She moved behind me, snake-like in half her robe, and looked over my shoulder as I warmed the bottle in my hands. Then I turned and watched her fix the crown on her forehead. This time, she pulled it up past her hair and wore it like a headband.

“Impressive.” I nodded, then stood. I returned the look she had given me a minute ago, smiling with mischief and tilting my head. We looked at each other for a few moments. She held onto the robes at her waist in anticipation. I planned my next moves carefully, then finally said, “I will have to show you what ‘soon’ entails,” and stood. She stiffened, fear touching her expression. Then I opened the vessel and poured the fluid across her collar and down her back.

“Ah!”

This time, I laughed quietly, and pulled the robes back up her body, forcing her arms where they should be and sticking her to the garments. Then I took my innercoat off and pulled it on over her robes. Then I lifted her and spun her a little so that the robes twisted around; like a bedroll, but with a woman inside. I lay her back down. Finally, she seemed to have some sense of the situation.

I moved to leave again, and again I looked back. She pushed my coat to her face and breathed, staring at me. Then she rummaged around, somehow pulling a hand through the bundle and lifted five fingers. “Cheyehhehhye—” she glanced around and then back at me, adding, “Mnhhehhrhieghe Cheyehhehhye sch…schoon?”

“How long is soon…” I thought, then held up an open hand and pulled in one finger, then a second. “Four, maybe three days. Perhaps.” For the first time, she looked surprised. We looked at each other for perhaps too long, but eventually she gave up and lay back. I stared at the heavy fabric door and listened for a little. It seemed she did not yet sleep; though neither would I. She likely lay in contemplation, but I would have business to attend to. I opened the door, seeing her close her eyes, satisfied, I left.

Outside The moon was bright in the sky. I nodded to the guard, closed my eyes and breathed in the dark. I felt like I had woken from a feverdream. Someone nudged me. I opened my eyes. The Medilogian, a small man, appeared before me.

“We made an oath.”

“You do not have your second crown.” We started moving away from my office tent.

“An object of worth.”

“Then,” he said, “all that is left is a marriage.”

“Mhhehhrhiaghe, yes…” He gave me a look but understood. I continued. “I told her three or four days.”

 “And she understood everything?”

“Yes. We will make sure in the coming days.”

The Medi squinted. “Do you not find it strange that she knows more about our language than we do hers? And her body is alien? The mystery seems only to go one way.”

“To some extent. We will have a few days to attempt communication and verify matters.”

The Medilogian scoffed. “And if she does kill you?”

I shrugged. “I have brothers, heirs.”

We stopped walking and he looked me up and down. “You may be older than me, but you seem as naïve and as young as you look.”

“Are you really worried?”

“As your primary advisor, yes. Personally, not quite. I think she’s about as naïve as you. A match made in the heavens…or perhaps right here, on a battlefield.”

“We will see what the real adults say in the morning, I suspect soon there would be a Solune Queen”

We separated, and I wandered back through the temporary settlement of tents and huts. The weight of the finished war was settling me, and the weight of a future kingdom was joining it. I dared look on her again. Her eyes opened right away, and she had a quite serious expression, but it softened when we looked at each other for a bit. She was still spun up in my clothing.

I exited and told the guard to cover her. As I returned to my own dwelling, I wondered about her culture. Where had she come from? Did she know more than us about this new land we found ourselves in, or less? Questions that could not be answered until the language gap was closed and some would remain unanswered longer. I lay down and closed my eyes. Morning would come soon.

Daniel Triumph.

The Solune Sovereignim: Table of Contents

APPENDIX

An (early) Index on Ciender/Condor Language
Assembled by King Rhye and others
(Incomplete)

Sound clusters Notes
Available Ye, Ch, Cht, Gh, Mn, Rht,
Rh   Rare Thv, Tz  
Chunks / Words (?) hhehh = positive Eyeh = positive Chvch = unknown Mnhch = “no” Ye__ = if it is a prefex, the sentence is a greeting. Inside a word string, it implies positivity.A very inefficient language. (Some say this could imply longevity.)Some consonants are only available if attached to others. (e.g.: Mn)Usually an entire sentence is spoken in a single long word string.Two vowels, e and i. Very rarely, they are used together and/or in chains to make new sounds. Usually done while communicating across languages or in namesNote: a is also used, rarely.Common sound clusters: Ch, Hhe__The letter t could imply agitation or excitement. It may act as verbal punctuation similar to the “!,” especially when in groups.
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