Thursday, August 12, 2021

House of Worms, Session 235

The day of the wedding of Nebússa hiTéshku of the clan of the Golden Bough and Lady Srüna hiVázhu of the clan of the Iron Helm arrived at last. The nuptials themselves began just after sunset, with a procession, as is the tradition in Béy Sü. Such a procession would normally begin at the clanhouse of the groom and make its way to the clanhouse of the bride. However, the Iron Helm clan has no presence in the capital, so the Golden Bough temporarily "converted" their clanhouse into that of the Iron Helm, dressing their servants and slaves in the livery of that venerable clan of Méku. Nebússa, his closest family and friends – including his comrades in the House of Worms clan – assembled near the Palace of the Realm, along with his own litter-bearers, musicians, guards, and a panoply of servants. After all, weddings in Béy Sü are public affairs and the Golden Bough hoped to impress the entire city (and show up their rivals, the aristocratic clan of Sea Blue). To an outside observer, they certainly seem to have a good effort!

Upon arriving at the "Iron Helm" clanhouse, Nebússa and his party were directed toward the clanhouse's great hall, while others, depending on their station were directed to other locales in and around the clanhouse. Locals of lesser station would never set foot in the clanhouse itself. Instead, they would go to various "satellite" celebrations in courtyards and open spaces on the grounds of the clanhouse – or even in the streets outside. The great hall itself was lit was torches, candelabra, and hanging lamps of various sorts. All throughout the hall were daises on which attendees and guests are directed, based on their social status. Determining exactly who goes where relative to everyone else is a delicate matter and one of the reasons that the preparations for the wedding took so many weeks. Upon the highest dais of all was a representation of the Seal of the Imperium, which everyone ritually reverenced before taking their place on the appropriate dais.

In Béy Sü, weddings are an entirely secular affair, with no religious associations. Likewise, the wedding ceremony itself is a simple one: the exchange and consumption of a slice of dná-grain bread taken from golden plates by the bride and groom. This Nebússa and Srüna did, to the approbation of all the attendees (and much finger-snapping, as is the Tsolyáni custom). With this completed, food and drink in copious amounts was served to all. It was at this time that many of the guests were able to take in the guests who had come to this grand affairs. There was Tíkuru hiTlakotáni, clanmaster of the non-imperial lineage of the emperor's own clan; Jijékmu and Khámiyal hiSayúncha, both former governors of Béy Sü, along with their sister, Khámra; Elué hiDlarútu, "the Belle of Béy Sü," and Churmegásu hiTlélsu, the Grand Adept of the Temple of Sárku for the eastern Empire. And, of course, there was the mighty general, Kéttukal hiMraktiné and his "nephew," Kágesh (actually Prince Eselné, traveling incognito) – a veritable who's who of the good and the great of Tsolyánu's capital.

Once the meal was done, guests could mingle more freely with one another, meeting old friends and acquaintances, as well as being introduced to those whom they'd not yet met. Side rooms off the great hall were given over to all manner of entertainments, from singers of epic poetry, gambling games, mimes and drama, as well as gladiatorial and athletic competitions. This provided plenty of opportunity for conversation, networking, gossip, and, of course, plotting. Aíthfo decided to take full advantage of this by circulating amongst as many powerful and influential guests as possible. Though planning to return to Linyaró, he was also looking to the future. He had already made plenty of contacts in Béy Sü, contacts on which he intended to call when he returned to the capital. 

Aíthfo sought out Elué hiDlarútu, who had previously warned him to watch out for attempts by the Temple of Ksárul to assassinate him, lest he return to Linyaró and foil their plans there. When he met her, she smiled and told him that he had obviously taken her warning to heart, as he was still alive. She continued, asking Aíthfo if he still intended to head south. Aíthfo obfuscated, in the hope that he might be able to trick Elué into revealing more about her own intentions. Unfortunately, she remained cryptic as they exchanged pleasantries. She then excused herself and glided elsewhere into the party. Not long after, Aíthfo made his way in the direction of Kéttukal, who was outside, watching his "nephew" engage in a wrestling match with a huge N'lüss gladiator. Kéttukal received Aíthfo gladly and told him that he had heard "a little" about his exploits in the Achgé Peninsula. After some more small talk, Aíthfo then asked the general to come with him to meet his uncle, Grujúng, whom he described as an "admirer" of the Kéttukal's.

The general agreed, inducing anxiety in Grujúng, who did not feel worthy to speak with the general. The two men met and got on quite well, with Kéttukal inquiring into the military engagements in which Grujúng had engaged on the Southern Continent. Eventually, the general inquired into Grujúng's plans. When told that he intended to return to Linyaró with his clan mates, Kéttukal expressed some sadness. His reason is that he had a need for a commander for the third cohort of the First Legion and would have been very happy to have Grujúng take the position. Despite the temptation, Grujúng declined the offer. Kéttukal said that he understood the decision before bidding his farewell and heading outside again.

Nebússa and his new wife circulated throughout the great hall. Over the course of their mingling, he found a great deal of interest in his plans for the future, with many people expressing the hope that he would not return to Linyaró. Some even went so far as to offer him sinecures in Béy Sü and other similarly well remunerated positions in the capital. Like Aíthfo, Nebússa gave no clear indications of his intentions. Later, when he met up with his comrades in the House of Worms and shared information about their experiences, Znayáshu opined that it looked as if someone (or several someones) was attempting to break up their group and prevent them from returning to Linyaró. Nebússa concurred and suggested that everyone be on guard against more attempts to suborn them.

The wedding celebrations continued.


  1. It's really fun to read about social functions like these, and how they reflect the alien societies of Tekumel.

    1. I had a great time, as did the players. So many of our sessions these days are just roleplaying social situations rather than anything more "adventure-y" and they're some of my favorite moments.