Baato was restless. He was still in the house of punishment after one day and one night and he was already starting to reek. Did he really deserve this? He did disobey Manika’s orders by joining Cassiel but on the other hand he had been innocent. Didn’t his time with Cassiel make up for his false punishment?
Thinking of Cassiel still hurt. The time with her had been wonderful and Baato knew they could have created a family. They could have made it work… but maybe it was just too much to ask for. He was so grateful for being able to see Yennefer again he didn’t dare want more. If staying in the house of punishment was the only price he had to pay for seeing his daughter, he would gladly pay it.
Then finally, after two days, Baato was released from his grim prison. He felt so good, being able to shower again.
And when he lay down on his humble bed he thought there was no softer mattress in the whole Amazon. The time in the house of punishment had made him appreciate more what he already had and he felt as happy as never before.
After he had slept for what seemed like ages, Baato made some food and was joined by Manika at the dining table.
“It’s good to see you again, Baato. I’m glad you are well. I hope you understand why this punishment was necessary”, Manika said, but Baato had already forgiven her.
“I understand, Creator. I am just glad I was able to see my daughter. It was a great gift and I thank you for making it possible.”
“I am glad”, Manika replied, obviously relieved. “Happier times are coming for all of us. Do you know what day it is?”, she asked sheepishly. Baato nodded.
“Of course, it’s the day of the big wedding!”, Baato enthused.
“Tahia drew a plan and you and Kahio should be able to set up everything”, Manika told him and explained how Nieva and Tahia wanted the wedding area to look like. Baato agreed and got to work quickly. Soon, everything was set up for the big day!
Nieva and Tahia were wandering the grounds after the slaves had finished their work.
“I can’t believe we are getting married today, my love”, Tahia cried out in joy. Nieva smiled.
“You look so beautiful when you are happy.” Tahia blushed at Nieva’s compliment. Nieva had always been the calmer one of the two, while Tahia often wore her emotions on her sleeves.
“The slaves really did a good job”, Nieva remarked and Tahia agreed.
“But that was only because I drew the perfect plan”, she said full of confidence.
Nieva just laughed quitely. “Hey, I heared that”, Tahia playfully poked her soon-to-be wife. They really couldn’t be any happier.
Soon, the hour of the wedding was near. Only selected few people had been invited to the private ceremony. Nieva and Tahia changed into their wedding gowns and exchanged an intimate moment just before the guests arrived.
The shaman was also there.
“I am so glad you could make it”, Manika greeted her happily.
“I could never miss a wedding. They are rare enough!”, the shaman answered and for once her words weren’t mysterious.
Manika walked over to her mother Zaleena who was standing at the bar. Zaleena was already very old and never had a thing for commitment. So it didn’t exactly surprise Manika when she started ranting.
“A wedding? A weeding, I can’t believe it. Back in my days people didn’t get married, they focused on hard work! None of this lovey-dovey business.”
“Mother, your days are long gone, things are different now”, Manika took it light-heartedly. “Are you not happy for them? Working relationships are rare enough in our culture.”
Zaleena suspiciously looked over towards Nieva and Tahia. When she saw the two lovebirds kissing and whispering she couldn’t help but smile.
“Well, maybe you are right. But I never would have done it!”, she grumped.
“I do believe that. Any woman would have been scared off by your intelligence”, Manika joked and Zaleena actually started laughing.
“They sure would have been, they sure would have been…”
Shortly after, the ceremony was about to begin. Everyone gathered around the wedding arch as Nieva and Tahia exchanged their vows.
“Tahia, my love”, Nieva started, her eyes full of love, “I never expected myself to be capable of such emotions I feel when I’m with you. When you came to this tribe I immidiately fell in love with you and wanted to get to know you. You are so beautiful and talented and I could not wish for a better partner. I love you.”
“Nieva”, Tahia then began softly, “I came to this tribe as a humble Scholar, hoping to serve honorably but nothing more. Instead, I found the love of my life in you and I could not be happier at this day. I love you so much.”
The crowd teared up just a bit as Tahia put a ring on her wife’s finger. This was truly a happy day for Tribe Arayeo. Manika thought of Taam but today it didn’t hurt. She thought of how blessed their life was that they got to experience love, was it for a short while or for the rest of their lives.
The brides shared some of the great cake, Baato had made. There was truly nothing that could ruin their day.
“Congratulations”, Manika came over to the newlyweds as the other guests mingled and tasted the great food. “So… when will you give us a tribal daughter?”
Tahia almost choked on her cake and Nieva only laughed awkwardly. Now that was something they hadn’t yet thought about at all.
Also Check out: Bloopers – Part 5