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Dancing, spinning wildly, her hair flaring out around her as her brothers strummed and picked at their guitars and banjos, while her sister was hitting the small lap drum that she had fashioned from a small bit of a fallen tree, Elly felt alive.
Her hair had leaves of sullen red, ember orange, golden amber like ale of apple and honey, and crisp tinted spark yellow braided into various plaits the hung about the back of her head. She herself was a vision of the Harvest. No, she was the vision of the Harvest; and how fitting too, as they were performing at the biggest Harvest Wedding this side of Juelly County, one half days ride by wagon over the Divide, which was two days from the town of Leads.
She looked better that the bride, which wasn’t much to say. Her youngest brother would have made a better looking bride, and for half the price it had cost the groom to wed his “blushing virgin”. Oh, Elly had no doubt that the cow was still intact, as nobody would truly want to bed her lest they had to, and at a dangerous expense to their genitals. The unlucky groom had to.
It wasn’t that the bride was fat. She was indeed plump, and pimply, but she homely, and wouldn’t have looked out of place in a field with the cows. Indeed Elly could definitely imagine her in an ugly mud brown over dress with a simple cotton large chemise under it, herding the cattle home from pasture. This was of course supposing there were any pastures near enough for her to be in.
Really Elly wasn’t being fair. She was hurt. The groom had courted her only the year before, but when he’d heard the money purse jingling with a big dowry for whoever would wed the pox-curst dingbat, he ran to it, and repented ever courting Elly.
She knew she could do better than him, and indeed was. The son of Duke Greyon would announce at the toasts that Elly was his betrothed. There was just one thing that Elly wanted to know though. Why had Pyetoir left her as he had, turning his back, walking away, pretending that everything was okay? The damn fool had even tried to sell her to slavers! A Gypsy girl who could wield a broadsword better than most men she knew, and who carried on herself at least ten knives and two daggers always, and he had tried to sell her!
At least Freyter won’t try something stupid like that, she thought to herself as she landed a particularly difficult spinning jump. He loved her for who she was, and the Duke wasn’t at all opposed to his son, nay his heir marrying into a Gypsy family. Indeed Elly and Freyter’s families were good friends. I’m better off alone than to be with Pyetoir. Even after I threw diamonds at his feet… Pox-curst, oxen-brained, b******!
“Elly!” cried Pyetoir, as he emerged from the wood after relieving himself, obviously shocked.
“Hello Pyetoir” Elly sang, her body trilling at the sound of his worry. Her eyes shone as she watched him squirm, under the gaze of her family. Turning into a series of spins and dips, in which she closed her eyes to focus on the language of the movements, making them as precise as possible, the positions of her hands, arms, legs, and feet intricate and lovely, she didn’t notice, no she couldn’t see Freyter walk up to Pyetoir and clap him on his shoulder, while taking a piece of rolled parchment from his tunic pocket and waving it in front of Elly’s old courter.
When she heard the unmistakable sound of feet running and trunks being thrown open she turned back to the audience and saw that Pyetoir was rummaging through a trunk that Elly’s family had given him. A look at where her lover, Freyter was standing, and Elly knew what was happening; nay the twinkle in Freyter’s eyes and the lust and anger in the bride’s own, as well as Pyetoir’s frantic searching told her what was happening.
Freyter is making sure to get back the diamonds that I gave to Pyetoir. That cheeky devil! Only he or his father would do something so diplomatic at a wedding, Elly thought to herself as the last cords were strummed, and her dancing ended. With the last twirl of her body, and the light placement of her right foot back on the ground, Pyetoir ran up to the stage and dropped the bag of diamonds on it, his hand pulling back as soon as he had, as if they were cursed.
“Thank you, Pyetoir. My family no longer has to worry about where out diamonds went to” Elly said as courteously as she could.
“If it wasn’t for your man I’d not have given them back.”
“How lucky for her then,” Freyter said as he walked up to the stage and hopped onto it. It was a low stage after all.
“Your pardons, good friends, but I have an announcement to make. I do not wish to delay it any longer. I would have you know that I and Elly Boiko were to be wed next Spring, but however, seeing her as she is now I would have no doubt that she would much rather prefer a Harvest Marriage. We would like to ask you to come. I know this is not the way things normally are done, especially not at a commoners Harvest Wedding, but, I could not contain myself any longer.”
At this the bride grew angry and ran off into the woods, the groom and her family ran after her, and the people at the wedding in the crowd all grew happy and even more festive with cheers and ale passing through the crowd. A year from now, there would be a Harvest Marriage, and their Duke’s heir would be wed to the vision of the Harvest before them. The peoples were ecstatic.