Answering questions in the only socially acceptable form of schizophrenia
For today’s jaunt into the character lounge, I’ve invited Pate, an expert in Isander law to sit down with us:
Kate Kearney searched: [In an inter-clan marriage] Who joins which clan? Do they get a new wristband?
Pate: According the Isander articles, the couple may choose to join either clan, accepting the societal status of whichever person was a preexisting member of the clan. Most inter-clan marriages occur between members of the aristocracy, and most of them migrate to the clan where they have the highest holdings.
Most of the clans carry this same ruling, though there are a few who deviate: the Desmos require that you bring your spouse back to the Desmos and remain in Clan. The Memnen require that you leave with your spouse. The Redneirs, a neighbor of the Memnen demand that you bring your spouse back to the Redniers… if you marry a member of Memnen. [smiles sheepishly]
Kate Kearney searched: Can a person return to their old clan if their spouse dies and, if so, is it a choice?
Pate: The Isander, and most of the clans, allow the remaining spouse to make their own choice about whether they will stay or go. If there children involved, any child over the age of ten may make their decision independently. If they are under ten, they must continue on with their remaining parent.
Kate Kearney searched: Who performs wedding ceremonies?
Pate: [confused] The couple? I don’t know who else could play the roles…
Me: And the person necessary to officiate the wedding?
Pate: The couple.
Me: And the person who makes all the official statements?
Pate: The couple.
Me: And the person who pronounces them husband and wife?
Pate: [glares]The couple.
Me: [raises hands innocently] Just making sure that I got the point…
Kate Kearney searched: Are arranged marriages acceptable?
Pate: Yes. The parents on both sides, as well as any older siblings the couple may have, may decide to arrange a marriage, so long as the decision is unanimous. Arranged marriages are the only marriages that require an official announcement of both the engagement and the wedding.
If a decision is made with which either member of the couple is unhappy, there is an old recourse if you dig far enough back in the books: on the day the engagement announcement is made, he or she may run away from home.
Me: [raises eyebrows] You don’t say…
Pate: [smiles indulgently] If he or she remains away for a full two weeks, without contacting any member of their family during that time, they may return home and the engagement is no longer binding. No member of the family is allowed to chase them in any way during that time.
Kate Kearney searched: Are weddings generally a public or private affair?
Pate: By law, weddings must be public. The announcement is made and anyone who wants to attend, may attend. Promises like these are not meant to be made in the dark, hidden from anyone. The couple has no power to bar anyone from attending.
However, since the law also requires that every wedding attendant must give their approval for the marriage to be valid, the bride and groom may each appoint their friends to the Warrant. The Warrant, as a whole or as individuals, may remove any attendant at their own discretion, so long as they do it before the approval count is finished. As such, the Warrant are often the most rowdy guests. And also the most honored.
Kate Kearney searched: Are there vows?
Pate: Yes, both the bride and the groom deliver vows of fidelity and love, though the exact words they say is not mandated and often differs from one family to another.
Kate Kearney searched: What rituals are performed?
Pate: Well, the law only requires the marriage vows and the approval count…
Me: But there are others.
Me: [motions for him to continue]
Pate: They have nothing to do with the law…
Me: Are you saying you don’t know?
Pate: Of course not. There’s the groom’s arrival, the bride’s arrival, the first meal, the breakings, the first dance, the blessings, and probably a thousand others if you visit every clan and island.
Me: [moves right along to the next question]
Kate Kearney searched: Are gifts given to wedding guests or the couple?
Pate: There has never been, nor is there likely ever to be, a law that demands gift giving.
Me: And traditionally?
Pate: Traditionally, weddings are not a gift giving occasion!
Kate Kearney searched: Are there colors traditionally worn at a wedding?
Pate: Now that has nothing to do with the law!
Me: I know.
Pate: So then why are you asking me?
Me: Are you saying you don’t know?
Pate: [blinks and tilts his head peevishly at me] There are no traditional colors. The bride and groom choose a color and the attendants wear something of that color. If they don’t, the Warrant will rob them and give their profits to the bride and groom.
Me: [nods, satisfied]
Pate: That will only work twice…
Kate Kearney searched: Are there are any superstitious traditions regarding weddings?
Pate: Why are you asking me?
Me: I have my reasons.
Pate: There must be someone better.
Me: Nope. You’re the best man I’ve got.
Pate: [stunned silence]
Pate: The bride and groom aren’t supposed to speak to each other the whole day until they say their vows. It’s bad luck. So is borrowing your wedding shoes. And having leftover wine at the end of the wedding.
Me: [whistles] I guess you hope you have thirsty friends.
Pate: Or you don’t order much wine.
Me: Two types of people, I guess. [smiles innocently] Anything else?
Pate: The groom can throw one of his jacket buttons into a river on his way to the wedding, and get a wish in return. The bride can get any wish by whispering it to any member of the Warrant during the wedding.
Kate Kearney searched: Do the Sea Clans have a honeymoon tradition?
Pate: Why me?
Pate: Why me?
Me: Because if I ask any of my love birds, I will have to sit through their entire wedding plans – with decoration decisions, and plans for gowns, and vow rehearsals, scheduled mooshy gushy compliments – before I get anything useful. Believe me. I’ve been trying for months.
Me: Would you like to know how many times you can say “baby boo boo baby bear” in three months?
Pate: No. No, there’s no honeymoon tradition.
Kate Kearney searched: What are the usual tokens exchanged between courting couples?
Pate: Most of the time its something small, that won’t last long: food or flowers or a song. The first permanent gift is usually the engagement necklace. After that, they gift each other anything they like.
Me: Thank you.
Pate: Is that it?
Me: For now…