King Braden looked at his future wife lovingly. Alexandra returned his stare with a smile, her blue-grey eyes shining. So caught up was he in the beauty of Alexandra that he almost missed what the man before them said.
"King Braden, hold out your right hand and maiden Alexandra, hold out your left hand" the priest ordered. After they complied, the priest blessed a jug of oil before pouring a little on each of their upturned wrists. The oil was cold, meant to numb their wrists for the next part of the marriage ceremony.
A knife was brought forward, and priest took it, blessed it, and handed it to Braden, who took it with his left hand. Slowly, with practiced ease, he slit his wrist, not enough to kill, but enough for the ceremony.
"Now say: voveo vovi votum, adamo, admitto." As Braden said these words, he cut himself again creating a small, bloody cross on his wrist.
The priest took the knife from Braden and wiped it clean before again blessing the knife and handing it to Alexandra, who took with slight hesitation. Braden watched as her hand holding the knife shook, remembering how hard he had practiced cutting himself with his left hand and he smiled. Still hesitating, she looked up at Braden, at his smile. Neither of them turns their gaze away. Still looking at Braden, she slit her wrist, their stare finally broken when she flinched from the pain.
"Maiden Alexandra, say: voveo vovi votum, advenio, aeternus eternus." Again, she looked to Braden, but she did not look away as she cut herself again.
The knife is taken away as a long white cloth is brought forward. So close, only one more thing until Braden could claim Alexandra. He had waited patiently before, but now he shifted uneasily as the old priest slowly took the white cloth and said the ancient and unbelievably long prayer. Braden let his mind wander, thinking about the future: Tonight, when he would claim her, the nights afterward, and the eventual possibility of kids. He truly wanted a son, an heir to the throne, and he knew Alexandra wanted a daughter. He wondered how many kids they would have. He wanted two, but Alexandra wanted three if not more. Many questions flooded his mind too: What will the children look like? How many will we have? Am I going to be a good father? Worrying replaced the impatience. How will I raise my children? What if I raise them badly? What if my children hate me? That one thought echoed in his head. What if my children hate me? What if my children hate me? What if my children hate me? What if-
The endless cycle of that single thought was broken when he felt fingers intertwine with his own and warm liquid mixed with the blood on his wrist. Braden looked up at Alexandra, who smiled and tightened her grip on his hand. It was a simple gesture, but it melted away all of Braden's fear, worry and impatience.
"Thank you," Braden whispered. Alexandra looked confused, but smiled.
The priest had finished the prayer, and he cleared his throat. Braden and Alexandra looked back the priest.
"Your majesty, are you ready to continue?"
The king nodded in answer. The priest blessed the cloth one more time before beginning the tying of the knot; the final part to make the marriage complete (well except for him claiming her, of course). The tying of the knot is when the priest binds the hands of those getting married. It forces the two to share their blood, and be bound together for eternity.
The priest wrapped the cloth around their wrists once, twice, three times before tying the final knot. Already red stained the white.
"Definire," the priest pulled his hand way, making the sign of the cross over their hands.
"Definire," Braden and Alexandra answered in unison.
"King Braden, maiden Alexandra, forever you two are bound together. Seal this everlasting bond with a kiss."
And with that, Braden embraced his love Alexandra in a passion filled kiss. The cathedral erupted with the excited cheers of the loyal subjects. King Braden led his new queen out of the cathedral to the waiting carriage, rose petals falling everywhere, white doves flying above. More people waited outside for the appearance of their beloved king and his new queen.
King Braden and Queen Alexandra, stepped into the gold carriage, waving with their free hand to the cheering crowds. Again they kissed as the carriage began to move, slowly moving toward the castle, to the King and Queen's future.
"Alexandra, I love you," Braden mumbled into the kiss, smiling against her lips.
"Me too, love. Forever, I promise."