The next morning, I awaken to my girlfriend — wait, make that my fiancée — giving me a gentle kiss on the cheek. She’s already up and dressed, and there’s a scent of warm apples and herbal tea in the air. I blink confusedly and struggle to sit up.
“Good morning, my patron,” she smiles. “It’s a glorious day outside. I’ve taken the liberty of making your breakfast, and now I’m on my way to the temple to look after any last minute arrangements.” She kisses me again and heads out the door. “See you at the wedding!”
The smell of the food is making me hungry, so I throw on a robe and track down my breakfast. A pot full of apple porridge is simmering over the fire, and on the table is a platter of bread and cheese with a flagon of lavender tea. I smile to myself, dish out some porridge, and start in. Everything tastes delicious.
Perhaps some other girls might be too nervous to eat breakfast on their wedding day, but although I’m excited, I’m not the least bit anxious. The priest seemed competent enough, and so the ceremony is likely to go well — but even if it doesn’t, who cares? As long as Jenassa and I will be married by the end of the day, that’s all that matters.
After breakfast, I rummage through my collection of clothing to see if I can put together a decent wedding outfit. After some time trying and discarding several possibilities, I finally find something that makes me feel like a bride.
Breakfast over and bridal wear sorted, I head outside. Jenassa was right — it is indeed a glorious day. The birds are singing, there’s a soft breeze whispering through the trees, and the sun is shining brilliantly in a clear blue sky. I mount up and ride straight to Riften.
I’ve put away my bow and arrows as they don’t exactly suit my bridal wear, but Riften is hardly the safest city in Skyrim, so I decide to bring Dawnbreaker along for extra insurance. I enter the city gates and head to the temple, and for once I’m not accosted by random townsfolk. Even the guards merely nod as I pass by. As I reach the temple, I pause to savour my last few moments as a single lady.
I enter the temple, and see Jenassa already standing up at the altar with the priest. There are several people in attendance, including my housecarl Lydia, and a few others I don’t recognize. Word apparently travels fast. The priest announces my entrance, and everyone turns as I walk up the aisle. Guess they couldn’t start the wedding without me. Go figure.
As I approach the altar, the priest starts the ceremony. He makes a lovely speech about Mara being the Creator and Divine of Love, and then moves right on to the important part. I approve of this priest — he has an excellent sense of priorities.
There’s an expectant hush in the temple as the priest takes us through our vows. Even though the ceremony isn’t very long, there’s a certain gravity to his words, and my nervousness dissolves into a deep awareness of the solemn pledge that both Jenassa and I are undertaking. I can feel my individual self shift like light passing through water, remaking itself into something new, becoming a part of our union. I welcome the transformation. It just feels right.
After the ceremony, we’re approached by several well-wishers, offering their congratulations. Jenassa and I walk around the room, thanking our guests, the priest, and the temple attendants who were also present.
We make a donation to the temple, and head out to meet some of the other guests at the Bee & Barb inn for an impromptu wedding reception. On the way there, we pause for a moment just outside the temple doors. We look out over the city for the first time as a married couple, then we smile and squeeze each other’s hands. Married. It doesn’t feel like I imagined it would before I met Jenassa, but it suits me — and I’m happy.
On the way down the temple stairs, I glance at my new wedding ring. Jenassa has its twin on her left hand, both given to us by the temple priest. It’s a simple band of gold enchanted with a minor restoration spell, symbolizing our bond blessed by Lady Mara.
Several of our wedding guests are already waiting for us at the inn, and we’re offered a variety of specialty drinks in honour of our marriage. I choose one called a Cliff Racer. It’s pretty strong and I can tell it’s infused with some kind of enchantment. I’m told that one of the Argonian employees makes it, and I’m intrigued. I’ve never tasted anything like it, and I used to run a tavern, so I head over to talk to him.
After he explains how the drink is made, I ask him what brought him to Riften and how he came to be working at the inn. After looking around, he quietly admits that he’s been in love with the innkeeper ever since he met her.
He goes on to explain an Argonian tradition that dictates the prospective groom must present the bride with a wedding band, requiring three flawless amethysts. The guy seems like a real sweetheart, and I’m feeling generous, so I offer to keep an eye out for the appropriate gems so that he can eventually propose to his lady-love.
In the meantime, Jenassa has found a table for us, and the innkeeper has offered us a modest wedding meal on the house. As we dine, some of the other townsfolk, hearing that we’ve just been married, approach our table to introduce themselves and offer their congratulations. I have to admit, some of their stories are pretty interesting.
Our meal takes awhile to finish as we keep stopping to talk to everyone, but in the end, I feel like I have a much better idea of Riften and its inhabitants. And although I hardly thought it was possible, after talking to the other residents, I’m finding that I dislike Maven and the Black-Briar family even more than I did before. Fortunately, I’m now in a better position to do something about it. I may not be able to fix everything, but I can try to tip the scales just a little.
As the last of our visitors leaves, I lean over and quietly ask my new wife if she’s ready to start our honeymoon. She raises an eyebrow, giving me a questioning look.
“Will it be a long trip, my love?” Jenassa inquires.
I grin mischievously. “Not right away,” I reply. “But afterward, I expect we might want to leave Riften far behind.”
She finishes her drink and smirks. “I can tell you have something planned, so I won’t ask and spoil the surprise,” she says roguishly. “I just want to know if this will be a working honeymoon.”
“If by working, you mean adventure, danger, and generally getting into trouble — then I would say there’s a high probability,” I tell her, walking around the table and offering her my hand. “Shall we?”
She flashes me a radiant smile, takes my hand, and stands up to strap on her weapons. “Darling, it sounds wonderful. I can’t wait!”