Thursday, May 16, 2013

“I’m aging.” Declan said simply. “My wife isn’t.”

(Excerpt of Sororate Chapter Four)

Just then all of the Tribal Elders stood up, which prompted the bridal couple to stand too, as did everyone else.

“You have the blessing of the Lokoti Wolf over your union. You may leave us to start your new lives together. Go with the blessing of your Tribal Elders.” Chiron announced.

Declan held me close, as we stood back and waited for everyone to finish congratulating the ‘newlyweds’ before we could.  I caught an expression of longing on his face, as we watched from afar the dressed-up couple greet the tribe together.  I started to wonder if it wasn’t just that he missed out on having a Joining Ceremony, but maybe it’s because he still felt like an outsider sometimes?   

My mate stuck out with his blonde hair and blue eyes against the majority of the Lokoti, with their black hair and brown eyes. There were a couple of members of the tribe who had black hair but whose eyes weren’t brown because they weren’t full Lokoti; like I wasn’t either.   

I inherited my dark blue eyes from my maternal grandparents.  My English grandmother had wavy, chestnut brown hair and bright blue eyes.  My grandfather was three-quarter Lokoti, as his grandmother had also been Caucasian; so he had the strong Lokoti Werewolf build and black hair, but he too had blue eyes.   Although there was a multi-cultural element to our tribe, Declan’s blonde hair still stood out.

Smilingly, I turned to my tall, strong, blonde-haired mate. “You look very handsome by the way, in your suit.”

“Really?”  He looked on, pleasantly surprised.

“Yup.”  I grinned. “A fancy black suit, suits you.”

“Yeah well, too bad my wife won’t let me wear a tie with it.”  He jested.

He was referring to the fact that every time he tried to put on this fashion accessory, I was quick to remove it.  With his thick neck thanks to his muscle bulk, it didn’t look right.  I also told him to keep his top button undone because if he didn’t, he could look like he had no neck in a collared shirt.

“You didn’t need a tie baby,” I leaned in to say in a sultry voice.  "You’re all man, so much so that the tie is jealous of you.”

A snicker escaped before he growled playfully, “Keep talking like that and you may find you won’t need clothes anymore, either.”

“Ah here we are, Uncle Declan and Aunt Bianca.”  A male voice interrupted.

The middle-aged but strong appearance of Wade Elm, came to stand before us.   He was a Lokoti Werewolf like his late grandfather, Stuart Elm had been.   I was close to the Elm family, not just because I was once married to one.  But because Grant’s older brother Ian, had been best friends with my father. 

He complained, “Look at you two; your relatives are born, marry and die of old age and you continue to look like you belong in a fitness commercial.”

“Wade.”  My mate greeted curtly, as he didn’t appreciate the Elm family humour.  “Why aren’t you dead yet?”

Hastily, I moved along, "How’s it going, Wade?”

“Oh you know…” he sighed tiredly, “…my wife is elderly and my kids are having kids of their own and turning me into a grandparent.  Just as I think I’ve got one set of childrearing done, my kids hit me up with looking after their own.”

“It’s a hard life.”  I joked along.

“Tell me about it!”  He rolled his eyes. “Meanwhile, look at the two of you. You’re both still strong as the youthful couple everybody envies, as Mr. European Werewolf and Mrs. Circulator.”

“I’m aging.”  Declan said simply. “My wife isn’t.”

“Yes and isn’t it convenient that she just happens to be YOUR wife, Uncle Declan?”   He ribbed. “When we’re on the hunt you don’t like to share your kill.  And it just so happens you've also claimed the forever young female of the tribe.”

“Who said he picked me?”  I joked back.  “Maybe I picked him?”

“Hmm, let’s see...”  Wade pretended to think about it, “…Aunt B has her pick of anything natural or supernatural in the world, let alone the tribe, and who does she choose?  The meanest Werewolf both has to offer.  Admit it Aunt B, he clubbed you over the head and dragged you back to his cave.”

“I’ll frickin’ club you, in a minute.”  My mate snarled, bad-temperedly.

Wade laughed in good humour as he came to stand beside as he too, watched Maia and Forrest thank their well-wishers.

He spoke again, “Tell me, what’s it like seeing that 21 year old girl whom you helped raise with your endless babysitting duties, now embark on one of adulthood’s greatest trials such as marriage?  Do you look on and think that in nine months, she could be enlisting your services to help her raise her kids?”

I watched the 19 year old Brandon, shake Forrest’s hand before he kissed his older sister on the cheek.  He behaved so maturely, it felt surreal to see.  Mind you, with his girlfriend standing nearby, I wondered if it would be his turn next?

“They grow up so fast.”  I sighed sadly.

Declan agreed, "It seems like only yesterday we cooked for them, cleaned up after them and broke up their fights.”

“Maybe that’s where you went wrong?”  The aging Werewolf mocked.  “If you had just stepped back and let them kill each other; you wouldn’t have to worry about them reaching the age of procreation.”

Right at that moment, Wade’s grandkids Stioux and Maxine, ran in front of us and ceremoniously pushed the other onto the grassy ground.

“You see?”  He shrugged.  “I could break them up or I could save myself the grief.  By letting ‘em kill each other before it’s too late, they’ll never grow up and produce litters of their own.”

Next, we saw a tired Julie walk over and pull up her kids by the scruff of their necks.

“Dad, a little bit of help, please?”  She glared, before she chastised her children, "Look at the two of you!  You’re getting dirt all over your good clothes!”

Wade let out a sigh as if this was asking a lot, before he looked our way; “thank fate that you don’t have any kids…really.”

With that, the grandfather tiredly walked after.  He took hold of his grandson, as Julie dragged his granddaughter and all four of them rejoined the Elm clan. 

Declan and I exchanged raised eyebrows as we both thought the same thing.

“OK…” we shifted uncomfortably.


Saturday, May 4, 2013

Declan and I did get a Housewarming but he never got his Joining Ceremony.

(Excerpt of Sororate Chapter Four)

We were a little late because the bridal couple was already at the front of the gathering, along with their families.  Declan half pushed and half excused our way through the throng of people, until we were standing with the Sabres and the Riverclaws.  They stood before the Tribal Elders, whom were behind a campfire which was burning in front of the Sacred Totems.

I halted as soon as I saw the bridal couple in the traditional ‘skins’ of our ancestral costume.   Made from either caribou or moose hide, Forrest wore suede pants, shirt and a jacket, which was decorated with tassels and beads.  Maia wore something similar, but instead of suede pants it was a long, suede skirt with moccasins on her feet.

I was hit by the strongest sense of déjà vu… I swear I was looking on Grant and I, standing before the Tribal Elders when it was our Joining Ceremony. 

Both Forrest and Maia had their long, black hair either tied back or plaited in the traditional way.  Their faces were painted with the ‘claw mark’ of the Lokoti Wolf, as were our Tribal Elders whom were also wearing the Lokoti clothes of old.  In the background, we could hear the traditional drum beat which was played at many of our tribe’s ceremonies.

The 24 year old groom led the 21 year old bride by the hand, to stand before the Tribal Elders.  The council moved to sit in a half circle around the fire, which prompted the couple to lower themselves to the ground and then so did the rest of the tribe.  Declan sat down first before he helped me because I felt awkward in my high-heels and cocktail dress.  Once I was seated, I repositioned my woollen coat over my legs so not to give anything away.

“You have the council of Tribal Elders convened here for you today.  What do you ask of us?”  Chiron as one of the Elders, asked the couple.

Forrest spoke clearly for all to hear, “I have come to ask for the blessing of the Tribal Elders as the Guides of the way of the Lokoti Wolf, to take this woman as my mate.”

Declan squeezed my hand as we watched what took place.

“And do you have the permission of your family for this union?”  Meadow as another one of the Elders, enquired.

“He does.” Stone Riverclaw answered.

“And do you have the permission of the woman’s family for this union?”  Hazel Elm asked, another Elder.

Suddenly my mate spoke up, “He does.”

Oh that’s right, sometimes I forgot that Declan was the head of the Sabre family.  He had been the older brother of Derik whose progeny lived on, which meant that my mate was the longest living member of the Sabre clan. 

“He does.” Julius Sabre said after him, whom was Maia’s father.

As the ceremony proceeded, I noticed in the corner of my eye Declan’s solemn expression as he watched the ritual.  I sensed inside of him, a touch of envy when he observed Forrest and Maia drink from the sacred Lokoti Tribal Cup, which looked like a small, wooden, painted bowl.  As we observed the ceremony play out with reverence by our people, I felt his fingers fidget with my wedding ring.  I sensed that in a way, he was wishing this could have been us.

I recalled long ago, something he said on the day he moved in; “but don’t you think that I would have liked a Joining Ceremony?  Wouldn’t it be nice if the whole tribe threw us a Housewarming too?  But instead, we have our one-person celebration squad, of only my Mom supporting our relationship.”

In a small way, Declan and I did get a Housewarming but he never got his Joining Ceremony.  

This made me wonder, does he still wish that we had one?  It was such an antiquated notion to me, these days many Lokoti preferred to have just the Housewarming.  I was surprised when Forrest and Maia declared that they wanted a Joining Ceremony as well. 

As I snuck many a glance towards my mate, I began to see that he saw differently. Declan was such an old fashioned romantic, more so than anyone ever suspected; including myself.  The more I thought about this, I could see many similarities between his romanticism when compared to his faith. 

Before World War Three, his parents had followed Catholicism.  Afterwards, Declan was brought here to be raised on tribal lands in much the Lokoti way.  However, his family did celebrate Christmases and Easters with mine, who also followed Christianity.  Maybe there was a Catholic part of him that desired ritual and ceremony and pomp?   There were many aspects about his life which were Catholic, aside from the gold crucifix he wore around his neck which used to be his human mother’s.