D: Get him to feed you instead
“Well take it off.”
It seems like a simple enough request, but your husband shakes his head and speaks with such a note of finality in his voice that you’re a little taken back.
There’s a pause, an awkward silence where you try to think of what else happens at weddings. Cat clatters a little with her plate on the ground beneath you, tipping the edge of it in her enthusiasm to gorge herself.
“You could feed me some things from my plate? Usually the bride and groom would share drinks, feed each other things.”
There are plenty of small bits and pieces on the feast table. Even a small plate of candied fruit. Your husband turns his head to look over the spread, his head tilts again as he picks up a small plate. Cakes of some kind, you’re uncertain of their flavour but the tops are shining and egg washed.
“This is a strange tradition.” He murmurs, holding out one of the small cakes for you. He leans closer when you don’t immediately take it from him.
“I think…it is a symbolic thing. To show that we will take care of one another. Now that we are wed.”
His great height over you, even when sitting, is as pronounced as ever as his head tilts. The dark feathers surrounding the mask lift then settle again.
“I don’t think you need me to take care of you.” He hands the cake to you, long fingers encircling your palm.
“But you needed to take me.” You reply. It isn’t a question to your mind, but it does deserve some kind of explanation. Blood had been spilled and now your cousin is dead. You’re suddenly aware of her ribbons in your hair, her crook in the hall that now lay unused.
Silence stretches out and you put your hand over your husbands. Over the cool of the flat scales covering his skin there is a subtle warmth that tenses at your touch.
Finally, he takes a deep breath and his feathers rustle as he speaks, “It would not have stopped there, unless I had done this.”
“I don’t understand.”
Where there had been frustration and anger before at your family’s blithe disregard for your well being, there is only confusion now. To your eyes he doesn’t seem blood thirsty. There are great talons on his feet that you are doing your best to ignore but he could easily split you in two if he took the fancy. If he wanted a woman to bed, again it seems to you that it would be easily done with force but so far he mostly appears to want to conduct a wedding.
“Please, I don’t-”
Your words are interrupted by a solid slamming of the long hall doors. A gaggle of young men have booted the door open. They are rubber necked and red faced, wobbling inside with the haughty, drunken gait of lost geese. You recognise young men from your village, at least one of your brothers and some cousins.
You suspect that there had originally been two kegs for your wedding feast, where now there is only one.
Now full of high spirits, they seem to have found their courage and some weaponry as they make their way into the hall.
“Hoi! Here you…you beast!” One voice pipes up, a club gesturing to your husband.
Your husband sits upright in his chair. Then as he spies their intention in their walk and their scowling faces he leaves his seat beside you and rises.
- A: Let your husband handle this
- B: Tell the drunken crowd to leave
- C: Tell them they are late and to sit down and eat
- D: Take a club and start cracking heads