See an example of the ritual in A Warrior's Heart story. The following article has been reproduced directly from Scarred Lands forums.
People; Albadian Betrothal Ritual
Well, as I'd mentioned in some other thread, my current game has seen an oddly high occurrence of romance. Love is in the air at Rancho Moonduck, I guess. In one case, the two principles are a female paladin of Corean from Darrakeene (PC), and her Barbarian turned Vigilant paramour from Albadia (NPC party member). The player of the paladin is a wonderfully thoughtful lady and a great friend of mine, and I decided that I wanted to put a bit more work than usual into this relationship. Also, as the CG Albadian stresses her LG paladin endlessly, I figured she was due the extra work as reward for putting up with him, as well as great role-play.
I looked at the poortrayal of Albadian society in the Ghelspad book and decided that a society that is basically matriarchal (without any hint of emasculating its' males as strong matriarchal societies are sometimes known for), tends towards chaotic alignments, and has a brutal lifestyle should have some differences as to its' betrothal ceremony.
I started by setting down the courting rules, informal on purpose. Young men and women are equally capable fo instigating relationships, as is found in modern life. They begin an informal courtship to sort of feel out the other person. Each party then asks the mother of the opposite, and then their own, for permission to officially court. Courtships officially begins with each side discussing such things as household duties, repsonsibilities, what each party brings to the marriage, etc. Once agreements are made, the betrothal/marriage can occur after a set time.
Given that Albadia is not know for formality, and that circumstances can change with great rapidity in nomadic peoples, I decided to forego the betrothal/engagement period common to modern cultures and simply combine the ceremony into one. The marriage ceremony itself is simple and no onus exists to perform it in front of witnesses or priests, the reason being many, including privacy issues, no loss of face if refused, trust that the marriage was witnessed by the gods, etc. The ceremony is followed by a feast to celebrate the marriage and full adulthood of both parties.
Note - I decided a while back that Albadian males, given the nature of the society and it's pseudo-matriarchy, would not be considered fully adult until they were married. Until marriage, they live at home, tied to mother's apron strings (an insult used amongst Albadian's in my game). As they have neither tent nor herd animals of their own, they have a distinct lack of social standing beyond a tacit lack of full adulthood. Brevity forces me to not include some of the background for this, my apologies.
What follows is the text of the ceremony. The man initiates it by making proclamations and then asking. The woman, by tradition, refuses three times by refuting the first three proclamations, then begins to accept and attain her own full adulthood by claiming hearth right and ownership of the tents, etc. The use of "thee", "thy", "thine", etc is meant to indicate the use of formal, older-style language by tradition. "People" is intentionally capitalized, and should be considered a formal first/third-person plural. The man begins this kneeling at the woman's feet as a supplicant. When she reaches the last line, she brings him to his feet. A Display of Affection normally follows.
"I lay my sword, <*insert name of sword here*>, at thy feet. I fight only for thee, in thy name, from this day on. Without thee, there is no hand to guide my blade and ever will it miss the mark."
" I lay my shield and mail at thy feet. Naked and defenseless, I will stand in thy stead. My blood for thine, from this day on. Without thee, there is nothing for my shield to guard, or my mail to keep hale."
" I lay my herds at thy feet. Hungry and ill-kept, they need the hand of woman to keep them well. Without thee, they will wither and die, as will I."
" I lay my tents at thy feet. Cold and under clouded skies, from this day on. Without thee, my face is ever to the wind and I can know no comfort."
" I lay my heart at thy feet. Alone and bleeding, from this day on. Without thee, my heart has no meaning and will ever be lost."
" I offer, and I ask, from this day on. Without thee, I am nothing."
"Take up thy blade, warrior, for the People have more need of it in thy hand."
" Take up thy shield and thy mail, warrior, for the People need thee hale and hearty."
" Take up thy herds, warrior, for the People need their fat and skins."
" Leave thy tents, warrior, and I shall be thy shelter and thy comfort."
" Leave thy heart, warrior, and I shall guard it in thy stead."
" I accept, beloved. From this day on, for I need thee as do our People."
The text was cooperative work on the part of myself and the player (she's been seen around these parts). There's a story from the game about all this, but she can post it if she wishes. I post this only because I liked the brutal yet beautiful view I have of the Albadian people, and I tried to reflect it in the language of the ceremony. I think that little details like this help make the world that much richer.
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