*Cries* Well, here you go guys! The last chapter of "Waiting for Spring"! Thank you so much to all who read, reviewed, and favorited this story, it makes me so happy! Thank you to yotzie and MalinChan for being my awesome Swedish/Finnish translators, and to all of you who constantly reviewed! Once again, this story is based off of an Old Swedish Ballad titled "Herr Mannelig " look up the song version on youtube by either "Garmarna" or "In Extermo" for a wicked experience! I DO NOT OWN HETALIA OR HERR MANNELIG! REVIEW AND THANK YOU ALL SO MUCH I LOVE YOU~~~
After the petite little girls had clutched Nikolas's and Tino's hands and led them both into the small grass-roofed hut, each boy sat down on a low set cot with scattered woolen blankets strewn on top. The little girls giggled once more before rummaging around with their chubby little hands, picking up clay pots and weaved baskets filled to the brim with scraps of cloth and red saffron dyed ribbons. One of the girls, the one with the bright golden braids skipped over to Tino and Nikolas, a grin pasted on her freckled face.
She took off Nikolas's coat and ran her fingers over the coarse wool of his tunic, sucking on the inside of her cheek, as if she was concentrating on something. Nikolas simply stared with his neutral blank expression, waiting for the girl to say something, anything.
Tino was not that patient.
"Um...Hello..." He mumbled to the girl in a sheepish voice. The girl immediately turned her crystal blue gaze from Nikolas to Tino. Tino smiled brightly.
"What did that man tell you?" He asked, trying to prod information from her. The girl just giggled and ran her small fingers through Nikolas's hair, her eyes bright and shiny. She came to the small clip in his hair and marveled at the marksmanship of the small accessory, before she turned to Tino.
"'Gør dem temmelig.'"* Was all the girl said before lazily plucking at Nikolas's hair, the silky strands sliding through her fingers. The Norwegians eyes widened with surprise.
"Damn..." He mumbled underneath his breath dryly. Tino raised one of his eyebrows in confusion. The other little girl had sat herself next to Tino and was now ruffling his hair, placing his white beret on his lap. She then began tying light blue and white ribbons onto his small neck loosely. In and out her delicate fingers weaved, doing her best to be gentle. Tino bit his lip.
"What did she say?" He asked, his eyes lingering on the girls plump hands as she focused on tying a perfect knot, letting the leather corded necklace show against his collar bone in a smooth expanse of dull color. She looked at the bear pendant and her eyes widened, her little lips in a plump smile that was ever so sweet. Fingering the small pendant she giggled before combing through more ribbons, all brightly dyed.
"If I can remember my Danish correctly, Mathias told them to make us 'pretty'." He grumbled out. The two girls giggled and nodded, muttering little bits and pieces of Danish themselves. Tino smiled. He knew the village was heavily populated by an innumerable amount of different Scandinavian races, all coexisting together. It was nice, one never got lonely when they lived with people from almost every northern country, they were one big family. The Russian's invasion undoubtedly caused much pain and strife in the village, but they would rebuild. They always had. The villagers were strong and willful, and soon, hopefully, things would go back to being joyful and peaceful.
"Figures the idiot would pull something like this..." Nikolas murmured. Tino smiled uneasily and fidgeted in his seat, his legs still bare and muddy, the dirt flaking on his scuffed up knees.
"It will be fine, I'm sure we're in capable hands, right girls?" Tino asked lightly, looking to the blond and brunette. The two girls nodded vigorously, a smile slipped onto their faces and they both repeated "Ja!" Nikolas rolled his eyes, his hands on his knees. Soon one of the girls took Björt from Nikolas and wrapped the child in a pretty little flaxen chemise, the corners of the over sized tunic dyed a bright blue and red. The little boy giggled and grabbed at the flowers that were placed in the girls hair, making her look like a fairy. Tino smiled with delight.
After a few minutes of the girls combing through the knots in both the boys hair, getting rid of leaves and twigs, a few more excited childre came bursting in though the small oaken door leading an adults hand. The three girls, just as nimble and tiny as the other two, had small flowers peeking up from their stringy locks, goofy smiles on their pink lips.
They were all like dainty and colorful little woodland nymphs and fairies, reminding Tino of the veden väki back home.* Each feathery little child carried a basket full of fresh flowers and a cloth wrapping of something thick and billowy. But it was the male person that was the most...unusual presence.
"Like, hi! I'm here to get you guys all pretty in pink for your wedding!" The Polish accented male smiled brightly at Nikolas and Tino. Both males looked to each other before they gave uncertain looks.
"Like, I'm Feliks, the one that gave you the cute puppy!" He tried again, dragging a big wooden basin next to the two males. Tino blinked slowly before realizing what the man had just said. Instantly a big joyful smile painted his lips and the Finn warmed up to the stranger.
Tino laughed impishly. "Ah, yes, that's right, thank you so much! Shes really a cute little dog." He muttered, shaking the mans hands. The shoulder length hair of the man was golden and gleaming in the small cracks from the chipping mortar in huts walls. Tino stared into those bright and friendly emerald eyes and felt the eyes themselves smirking up at him. It made him smirk himself.
"So, like, I'm gonna' need you two to sick your feet in this tub, please!" The man breathed out, hiking his skirts up...skirts? Skirts? Tino took an uneasy glance to Nikolas, who was beyond functional from the look on his bewildered face.
The man was indeed wearing a dress, a light green flaxen one that made his eyes show even more brilliant against his pale and snow-like face. Little stitches of a faded pink decorated the neckline of the dress, and a small pink quartz necklace dangled from his feminine neck. This man looked utterly harmless, like a timid little child's pony. Tino, calming down a bit form the mans display of clothing, did what he was told, slipping his sore and scratched feet into the ceder lined bucket, smelling the pine sap that had longed since dried against the wood to seal in the cracks.
The Polish man nodded before heaving up a bucket of steaming water. One of the little girls, the one that had spoke Danish, lightly nudged Nikolas's shoulder. The Norwegian shifted his eyes to the girl, a board look on his face The girl pouted before bending down and smacking his feet into the wooden trough. Tino giggled while Nikolas grumbled, the other little girls covering their mouth from laughter.
Then the Polish man bent down on his knee, his skirts hiked up with a bit of sinewy twine. Tino and Nikolas watched with mild curiosity as the man, a smile on his lips, took a clay jar from the wall and dipped it into one of the many buckets of warmed spring water. He held up the jug and lightly sprinkled the water in the basin and over the two men's feet. Tino sighed into the sour smelling air in the hut. The warm water felt so wonderful on his poor tired feet. The water stung a little bit on his blisters and the mild cuts he received on the horse, but other than that it was perfect, heavenly, and oh-so-lovely.
Tino turned his head to see that Nikolas too looked to be enjoying this special treat, his weight leaning on his elbows, his legs stretched out with ease. The tension between the Norwegian's eyes seemed to relax a bit, a small, hardly noticeable smile wedged onto his lips.
Soon, once all the water was placed in the bin, Feliks collected a small piece of squared cloth. He held it out to one of the girls, and she nodded and scurried around the hut, looking for something. A few other girls had their fists full of freshly picked wild flowers that had not been destroyed by the fire. Each little handful bent over the water and scatted the flowers into the tub, making the water smell like fresh spring water after a cleansing rain.
The little girl, a handkerchief wedged on top of her hair, handed a small flask to Feliks, the metallic color dancing off of the small bottle. Feliks smiled and set the girl to work over one of the bundles of clothes. In an instant, The brunette and the girl with hay colored braids had heaved off Nikolas's coat and undid the backings of Tino's dress. Tino let out a squeak that made the small girls giggle.
"No peeking!" Feliks warned playfully to the little girls, wagging his finger back and forth. They all nodded diligently, cheeky smiles on their pinkish faces. They all turned around and exited the hut for a brief moment, allowing Tino and Nikolas to disrobe, giggling as they left.
After a quick wash of their backs and legs, aided by Feliks, both men felt cleaner and better than ever before.* Splashed with cold water the boys legs numbed theirs worries if only for a second. The dust and grime of today was nice to get off their backs, especially the feeling of Ivan's caresses on Tino's clothed body. The Finn let out a low shudder of disgust at remembering the Russian's touch. But now that was over and done with. General Winter had given his word that that would be the last Tino ever saw of the Russian knight. That thought alone helped to calm down Tino's stomach, yet something else set it stirring again.
Tino was to be married. Married to a Troll. He let out a sharp intake of breath, his hands gripping to the sides of the tub. Nikolas, shuffling a new bright blue tunic over his arms and torso looked to his now pale and nauseous looking companion.
"Tino? Tino, are you alright?" The Norwegian asked, placing his hands delicately on the Finnish mans shoulders. Tino laughed nervously, feeling the butterflies in his stomach hatch into a multitude of feathery light caresses to his gut. He quickly slunk down to the bed and took a deep breath, in through his nose out through his mouth. He shut his eyes tight.
"Ni-Nikolas...I'm going to be married..." He mumbled out, his eyes watering with either joy or fear, he couldn't decided. Nikolas sighed lightly and sat himself closer to Tino on the bed, Feliks busying himself with the metal flask in his petite hands, trying not to impose.
"Tino, I know, I'm scared too. I'm marrying a stupid Dane, how do you think that makes me feel?" Nikolas asked, his voice doing its best to sound feathery and joking. Tino sniffled and wiped his nose. He braved a small smile and looked up into Nikolas's opaque eyes.
"I guess marrying a Troll won't be so bad as everyone says..." Tino mumbled, his face regaining its peaceful luster. Nikolas craned his head back in confusion, his eyes clouding like a humming storm, soaring and climbing against the sky. He touched Tino's shoulders, making the Finn face him.
"Tino...You know Berwald isn't really a Troll, right?" Nikolas asked, his voice doubtful and a bit skeptical. Tino tilted his head to the side, his eyes peaked and interested, mouth slightly parted.
"What do you mean?" He whispered. It was Feliks turn to break the silence with a girlish giggle.
"Like, awww, that's so cute! The little Finn actually thinks Berwald is a Troll!" He chuckled lightly, opening the small flask and circling it around with his wrist, letting the syrupy clear liquid fall down into one of the buckets of water. Feliks took another scrap of cloth and dipped it into the pale of water that was now beginning to smell of some exotic flower. Tino watched the water hungrily seep up the cloth.
"What do you mean? He is a Troll! He lifted up that Ash tree the first time we met, his sword is huge, he glares like a beast, and he is as strong as any creature I've ever known!" Tino cried out. Nikolas laughed low in his throat, shuffling a new pair of beige trousers on his legs, Tino doing the same, tying the pants to his waist with a bit of leather and buckle.
"Did it ever occur to you that he's just like, really buff n' junk?" Feliks asked, patting the cloth on his delicate wrists.
Tino frowned. Berwald wasn't a Troll? But...Tino was so sure! Well, there were some disproving facts about the Swede. He didn't have any long donkey-ish ears, and he certainly didn't turn to stone in the sunlight, nor did he have a tail...* Well, as far as Tino could tell. The little Finn blushed madly. If what Nikolas had said was true...Then Tino had made a huge mistake! Oh how Berwald must be so angry and frustrated with him! Tino bit his bottom lip and wriggled his shaking hands into his newly fitted tunic, the flaxen fabric rubbing harshly against his skin.
"Its nothing to like, get so worked up about! So what if you're a little dense, it's nothing to be ashamed about! I'm sure like, Berwald will understand!" Feliks waved his hands around, trying to calm the little Finn down. Tino, his eyes down cast, swallowed thickly.
"You really think he doesn't hate me?" Tino whispered out, his breath as weak as the sun during the harsh winter months. Nikolas gave a rare sympathetic smile, hugging the Finn round the shoulders.
"Tino, the man offered to be your husband, I'm pretty sure he doesn't hate you..." Nikolas murmured, wiping a few stray wisps of hair from the smaller males face. Tino rubbed the heel of his hand into his shoulder, giving himself and excuse to hold himself up. Nikolas was right. Berwald it seemed had already forgiven the little Finn for his error, being such a sweet and loveable man he hadn't even brought it up. Tino furrowed his brow and sighed heavily. Well, no use weighing on the past, he would just have to fix his mistake.
A few seconds passed in silence before the soft patter of footsteps could be heard entering the low ceiling hut. The little girls from before slowly entered the straw thatched shelter, noticing that something had upset the young Finn. One of the girls, the brunette, crawled up to the cot, holding the corners of her skirt like a billowy apron. She sat on her legs and nudged her skirts forward, something fragile and pretty embedded in the rough swaths of her skirts. Tino looked up at the girl and saw that her eyes were sparkling. She rummaged her hands through her apron like skirts and pulled out two grass woven crowns, one with ringlets of dark blue flowers with white flakes of bergfrue cascading in between the strands of twisted grass.* The other crown was of the same weaved grass, but with lily-of-the-valley peeking up between the strands of wild meadow grass, dots of morning glories also accenting the crown.*
The little girl shifted on the uncomfortable cot before reaching up and placing the crown of small bell-shaped lilies onto Tino's head, the other crown delicately adjusted onto Nikolas's pale hair. The little girl stepped back and giggled with delight. The other girls began to crowd around now, all of them decorating the two stunned and blushing boys.
Chubby hands here and there began to weave beautiful child-like works of art such as daisy chains, clay beads, and brightly dyed ribbons into the boys short locks, tying, pinning, weaving, till the little girls, proud of their work, stood back in awe.
Feliks giggled before handing a small dish of water to them, the bone colored clay bowl acting as a small mirror for their stunning reflections. Tino and Nikolas both peered into the soft metallic like surface of the water, the curiosity of their appearances getting the better of them.
Tino's eyes met with a beautiful and a bit frighting sight. Someone, a woman perhaps, was looking at him, her violet eyes wide, pink lips plump like a summer plum, and her hair adorned with the soft and joyful colors of bright Spring flowers. The woman blinked when Tino blinked, opened and closed her mouth when Tino did, and even made a small shriek when Tino shrieked.
"Tha-thats me!" Tino stated into the cramped and now sweet smelling air of the small house. He looked down at his startled reflection and back to Feliks, who was grinning from ear to ear.
"Pretty, don't you think? I'm sure your husbands will love it too." He giggled, dipping the washcloth into the heavily scented pale once more. He dabbed a healthy helping onto his wrist and shoved his pale hand towards the Finn, inviting the Finn to take a whiff.
Tino sniffed his wrist and smiled. The mixture smelled like the rolling green hills of Finland after the thunderstorms are split open by Thors hammer and the wind and rain scatter across the meadow grass, leaving all the flowers and sweet alfalfa hay drenched in cleansing rain.* Tino sighed happily. It smelled like home.
Feliks took a deeper smell of the scent on his wrist before smiling brightly, like a freshly waxed candle just being lit for the first time. "Like, its done!" He squealed.
Tino and Nikolas looked at the squatting man who was grinning wildly, his eyes sparkling. Feliks crawled up to the two Nordics and held out the slightly dripping cloth close to Nikolas's nose. The stony eyed Norwegian took a whiff and immediately a small smile graced his lips. He seemed to agree with the scent as well.
"That smells wonderful! What is it?" Tino finally asked, shuffling a light blue over tunic top onto his head, tying the folds of the tunic skirt with a white sash that was laying next to the cot. Feliks, eyes smug and mouth curled into a grin, lightly pressed the cloth to Tino's neck, right below his ears. Tino squeaked as the hot liquid was gingerly pressed to his flesh, making his ears tint a bright red.
"Its like, an old Polish recipe for perfume making. Its basically rain water, a bit of musk, and some crushed flower buds." The man mumbled, pressing Nikolas's own share into the Norwegian's skin. The man winced at the temperature but allowed the perfume to sink into his skin. Feliks smiled before wiping both their necks down with a dry cloth before standing up and dusting the hay and dirt from his skirts. He placed his hands on his hips before grinning to the two brides-to-be.
"Like, ready?" he asked, a goofy smile set onto his pink lips. Nikolas and Tino both looked to each other, a scared yet anxiously giddy look on each boys pale face. They took a deep breath and held each others hands, giving it a tight squeeze. Nodding silently together, they allowed Feliks to open the door for them, the little pixie-like-girls following after them, throwing wild heather and daisy petals from their bundled skirts, their smiles bright and clumsy, feet jumping up and down. Nikolas balanced Björt on his hip, the little boy humming and laughing, playing with his ribbon crown atop his feather like hair. Tino and Nikolas smiled. It was time.
The first thing the boys saw when they entered the square, was an array of colors. It seemed that in the little time the brides spent in the hut, the entire village had transformed. Fresh cut alfalfa hay was littered all across the burned or damaged huts, enveloping them in a promising green and a flurry of color. Five startlingly beautifully decorated Icelandic ponies were tied next to a hitching post, their coats gleaming in the now shining sun, ribbons braided into their manes and tails. Each one had flowers and colorful swashes of cloth tied onto the strands of bristly forelock hair, ropes of greenery weaved into the saddle blankets for good luck and fortune. One of the ponies was hitched up to a low cart, hay on the wooden planks to softened the floor for the piles of wedding gifts that already seemed to burden the small wagon.
Flowers, in bloom and dried from summers last days, were all bright and fragrant, dangling from tree boughs, heaved into bouquets, or just weaved into bright and colorful grass ropes, strung and nestled against the stout longhouses and barns. Flowers were everywhere, in women's hair and scattered all across the floor in a welcoming daze.
Along the edge of the clearing against the low set wooden planks of the animal fencing stood a huge ash tree, its limbs bowing low to the earth, as if its heavy laden arms were greeting the two males with joy and humbleness. Scrawled on the tree trunk with chalky white paint was a spiraling drawing of the Goddess Freyja, seeming to smile at them and embrace them.* Tino sighed, as breathless as ever.
A melody of birds sang, from the simple cluck of the barnyard hens picking at the thawed off earth, to the exotic and triumphant songs of the petite crested Lark. Huge thick ribbons had been sprawled all across the Ash trees bows, the ribbons of sapphire blue, ember red, verdant green, and snow white all jostling in a maddened dance betwixt the invisible fingers of the wind. Tino clutched Nikolas hands tighter, taking it all in, the sight of the colorful ribbons and wild flowers, the smells of the baking bread dappled with raw honey, and the noise from the people chattering and the birds singing. Well, it was just too much!
Tino brought his hands to his face and began to fan himself desperately, trying to get enough cool air to his flushed cheeks. But ultimately it was the sounds of the cheering people that brought Tino to immediate attention.
He whirled his head around to glance back to the mighty ash tree trunk to see what all the cheering had been about. All of the sudden his violet eyes blinked not once, but twice.
Now standing near the ash tree stood the most handsome man Tino had ever laid eyes on. Berwald. Clad in a decorative navy blue tunic edged with a dull yellow stood the man of Tino's heart and affections. Berwald's hair had been washed, still a bit wet in sharp tuffs, his face had been scrubbed, leaving his high cheek bones clean and pale, his eyes still as bright and glaring as ever. But looking back into those eyes they seemed to soften upon seeing the little Finn. Tino's cheeks began to burn with a vengeful red and he was forced to look down at the floor, not trusting his heart to stop beating so furiously.
Berwald sighed happily. His wife was as cute as ever, dressed in a light blue tunic that draped over his body almost like a dress, wildflowers sewn into his hair, ribbons tied into delicate knots on his pale and slender neck. Berwald felt his heart speed up with the ferocity of a dozen birds at flight.
He looked down at his own clothing, the tunic he had borrowed from Mathias was a bit too small for him, and reeked of the stupid Dane, but he didn't complain much. He also didn't complain when a flurry of little girls stormed up to him and pinned a bright white and yellow daisy to his woolen tunic, the dangling of blue and yellow ribbon trailing for behind the petals of the flower. Berwald didn't mind it at all, in fact he was ecstatic, willing to keep his face neutral, blank. But in an instant his gaze had snapped, for when Tino walked out from that hut and stared right at him, the inklings of a blush on his cute little face, Berwald lost it. His happiness skyrocketed and blasted into the sky, a sweet and soft smile pressing onto his lips. He was happy, as happy as he'd ever been in a long time, and it was all thanks to Tino.
It was Tino that made Berwald's heart beat like a freshly tuned drum, it was Tino that made Berwald's chest tight, and it was Tino that made Berwald's eyes, glaring and intimidating, soften like the warm ocean after a horrific storm, calm and soothing.
Tino, feeling Nikolas nudge him forward, felt the butterflies in his stomach explode into a flurry of sparks, all scrambling and pushing against his stomach and rib cage in an attempt to take flight. The little Finn feared he was going to be sick! It was only when Nikolas held his hand in his once more that Tino began to calm down and slowly and timidly walk with the Norwegian to the two proudly standing males.
Already a huge swarm of villagers had conjugated in a sweltering mass along the little walk way that led to the ash tree. People were waving, smiling, speaking bits and pieces of their own language as their eyes watched and followed with watered brightness the timid steps of Nikolas and Tino. A few of the little girls from before were trailing behind Tino and Nikolas, like little fluttering dogs at their heels, grabbing fist fulls of flower blossoms and petals and showering them through the air like little flower girls. Even the tiny white dog was running and barking happily alongside her new master, a cute red bow tied to her neck.
Flowers and hay had been scattered along the muddied ground, making it easier for Tino to walk on with his newly acquired boots that Feliks had been kind enough to lend him. Tino sighed with anxiousness before feeling his heart quiver with determination and fire as each step brought him closer to his destination, closer to Berwald's arms. Already the little Finn could feel the warmth of the Swedish mans. Tino felt his chest grow tight and his lungs grow heavy with warm air. Then come tonight...In the safety of the Finn's long house, well, they would consummate their love for one another, wouldn't they? Tino blushed furiously at the thought, already fidgeting with his hands, squeezing Nikolas's soft fingers with his own.
Nikolas sighed into the claustrophobic and sweet smelling air. He turned and saw Feliks, who was motioning to take the little boy in his hands, a sweet smile on his face. Nikolas smiled back and handed him the giggling little Icelander, the child looking around a bit timidly, clutching his stuffed Puffin toy, a smile on his face none the less. Nikolas beamed. He looked forward and saw his soon-to-be-husband grinning at him, a twinkle in his sky blue eyes. Nikolas sighed and smiled softly back. Yes he loved the Dane, there was no denying it. No matter how stupid, selfish, troublesome, annoying, idiotic, egotistical, rampaging, lunatic... Oh well, all that matters was that he loved the moron, right? Nikolas smiled. Right.
Once Tino and Nikolas finally made it to the great opening of the clearing, tall meadow grass and yellow and white yarrow decorating the trunk of the magnificent tree, Tino and Nikolas both moved slowly towards their partners, both males nerves on end.
Berwald was the most handsomest thing Tino had ever seen, and when the giant mans soft yet calloused hands reached out to hold Tino's to his chest, well, the Finn just about lost it. His face heated up like a summer lit torch and his whole body began to shake and shiver. Tino, staring through perfect blonde lashes timidly looked up to Berwald and saw that the man was just as nervous, if not more. The Swede's face was a powdery red and his eyes were a tangible soft sea green that melted Tino's drumming heart.
Berwald lightly leaned in to Tino, brushing his lips against his ear, his nose touching against the Finn's cheeks with a warm shiver. Tino blinked madly and squeaked into the Spring air, feeling the butterflies erupt once again.
"Ya look be'ut'ful..." Berwald mumbled, his gentle and warm lips ghosted over Tino's red tipped ears. The Finn smiled softly before squeezing his hand in Berwalds, turning his head to give the Swede a light kiss on the cheek, to which Berwald grunted in embarrassment and rubbed the back of his head. Tino's lips drew into a loving smile that was only meant for his husband.
Soon, hesitantly, Tino's heart began to calm down enough so that Tino could actually hold Berwald's hand without squeezing the life out of it, and just in time too, because soon a woman began to walk towards them to stand near the tree, a wooden box tucked underneath one hand, a jug in the other. The woman greeted the four with a tender smile, all around them the villagers already grinning and humming with happiness, looking forward to the joyful occasion that the wedding would bring.
The two little girls from before timidly walked up to Tino and Nikolas, and, looking sheepish, both handed them a small bouquet of wild flowers freshly cut and tied with red saffron ribbon. Both males said thank you and kissed the little girls atop their heads, leaving them fit with giggles.
Then it was time of the wedding to begin. With bated breath, Nikolas and Tino, Mathias and Berwald, all stood proud and tall, their hands intertwined into their partners fingers. The woman, dressed in a simple olive woolen dress smiled, her brown chocolate colored hair waiving in the wind, a beautiful flower seeming to be pinned in her hair. She grinned and held out her hands for Tino and Nikolas to take.
"Hello. My name is Elizabeta, you must be Tino and Nikolas?" She said, her voice as soft and sweet as her face. Both boys nodded, a nervous smile on their lips, even Nikolas's eyes had opened up to shine a magnificent blue.
"You two must be Berwald and Mathias?" She asked, moving her eyes over to the two taller men. Both of them nodded, taking their partners free hand into their own. Elizabeta smiled.
"Well then, shall we begin?" She asked. All four of them nodded, sheepish and loving gazes weaved onto their faces like a chain of heather. Elizabeta let go of Tino and Nikolas's hands and looked the smaller males straight in the eye, her smile never faltering.
Early one morning before the sun did rise...
"Sirs, please take out your husbands swords..." Elizabeta asked, her green eyes sparkling to Nikolas and Tino.
...And the birds sang their sweet song...
Berwald and Mathias moved their hands to their sides as their brides fluttered their fingers over the males sword sheaths before pulling out their partners swords and holding them upward. Elizabeta then spoke, her voice ringing like a bell in the verdant opening.
The mountain Troll proposed to the fair Squire...
"Hand your husband's swords to them, hilt first and say these words...'With this sword, will you promise to protect me, through life and limb, danger and destruction, always?' Husbands answer as you will..."*
He had a true and loving tongue...
Tino took a deep breath, and with Nikolas they both repeated what the woman had said, waiting with a bit of anxiousness as to what their soon-to-be-husbands would answer with.
Sir Mannelig, Sir Mannelig won't you marry me?
Mathias grinned and took the sword, raising it high he looked into Nikolas's eyes and his grin grew wild and fierce with love. "I will, for all my life my bride." He said and knelt down before Nikolas, placing something small on the hilt of the sword, still bending down he waited.
For all that I'll gladly give you...
Next it was Berwald's turn. The little Finn handed the giant his sword, hilt first and waited, his lips quivering, breath coming out in small pants. Berwald's lips twitched up into a smile and he grabbed his wife's hands with a gentle touch, running his thumb over Tino's delicate fingers. Tino's heart sped up wildly, like a forest fire, but he begged his eyes to look upwards, to meet those sea green orbs that stunned him in his place. Berwald bent down and, still holding Tino's hand, kissed it lightly before mumbling out the words Tino had been dying to hear. "I l've ya w'th all m' heart... I'll do anyth'n' ta' pr'tect ya, m'w'fe..." He mumbled into Tino's warm hands.
You may answer only yes or no...
Tino felt a small joyful tear graced his cheeks. He squeezed Berwald's hands tight, till both their knuckles were white, but neither of them cared. All that mattered was the moment, the time in space were they just looked into their eyes and felt the love glow between them. It was magical.
Will you do so or no...?
Elizabeta smiled and motioned the men up. She smiled at the tall men once more before instructing them to stand before their soon-to-be-wives. Each man did and held out the hilt of the sword to their partner. Elizabeta's voice rang once more through the whispers and grins of the villagers. "Brides, do you wish to marry the man standing before you? If so, take the ring offered, may the Goddess Freyja grant you a long and health marriage." She said happily. Tino and Nikolas, with shaking fingers both slipped their hands along the hilt of the sword to retrieve the wedding bands of smelted silver, a small moon white quartz embedded in each ring. Slipping the cool metal onto their ring fingers, they marveled at the way the simple yet sacred stone glowed.* Both males looked into the eyes of their love and whispered with weak and sweet voices that they whole heartily agreed to marry the man before them. "Yes, I love him." Tino said once again with a sheepish smile. Berwald's glaring face was swept up with joy.
Gifts such as these I will gladly receive if you are a great man...
Elizabeta pressed her wooden box to her hip, opening it up with expert ease. She pulled out eighteen long strips of ribbon, each a different color, dyed bright with plant pigment and minerals. The brunette woman slowly took each partners hands and placed them on each others swords, Nikolas and Mathias on theirs, Tino on Berwald on their own. Once their hands were clasped firmly together, Elizabeta wrapped nine ribbons around their hands each, making braids and patterns, weaving them in an out to create a rainbow of colors that engulfed their shaking fingers. Once it was complete she raised her hands and in a joyful voice spoke loud against the branches of the ash tree.
I know you are a mountain Troll, from the spawn of Ymir and the frost...*
"By the power of the Gods..." Elizabeta took a bowl of water and a hlaut-teinn from her box and lightly dipped the branch in the water, then, flicking it over the two couples, she regained her voice with a joyful clarity. "I now pronounce you, husband and wife!"* She cried out happily. The two younger boys looked into their now husbands eyes and grinned.
The mountain troll stood by his bride...
Mathias and Berwald wrapped their arms around their wives waists and heaved them up, up, up, almost to the heavens before lingering their eyes on the beauty of their brides before them. With swift shouts and cheers and the tossing of flowers and the ringing of bells, Tino smiled down at his husband. Husband. How that word made his toes curl and his eyes sparkle and his lips caress into a loving smile. He did love Berwald, he absolutely did. More than anything in the world. Nothing could change that.
His heart wailed and shrieked so loudly...
Berwald and Mathias stood up and let Elizabeta comb her fingers through their bound hands, untying the strands with great care and diligence. Once the ribbons were free from their knots and tangles, Elizabeta threw them into the air, as well as Tino and Nikolas throwing their bundles of flowers into the sky, watching as little girls and even some boys dove for them, laughing and smiling as their hands picked at the pretty spray of flowers and colored strands.
I have that handsome squire...
Both males looked into each others eyes and smiled sweetly, feeling the love they had for one another seep and settle into their hearts in a warm humming feeling that sent their smiles ablaze and their hearts filled to the brim with this wonderful emotion called love. Then, with no uncertainty, no anxiousness, no uneasiness, they crashed their lips together in a long and heated kiss, tasting each other and feeling both of their hands cling into each others shoulders.
From my torment I will be free...
Something warm and soft slid between Tino's pink lips, and within a moment the young Finn was moaning into the velvety and sweet mouth of the Swedish giant. Berwald and Tino's tongues battled for a mere moment before Berwald decidedly took control and ran his more dominate tongue against the Finn's claiming and ravaging what he had wanted for a long time. With the screaming of breath, the shiver of skin that baked in the warm sun, and the sweet smell of blissful flower petals they reluctantly broke the kiss for some much needed air. Their lungs were burning and gasping for oxygen by the time their eyes met again, a love so pure and shimmering that it seemed to drip from their eyes like Freyja's tears.*
Sir Mannelig, Sir Mannelig won't you marry me...?
Then, within a flurry of smiles and colors, Tino and Nikolas were both heaved up bridal style into the strong arms of their husbands, their dyed tunics fluttering in the wind, the sounds of the birds sweet songs trailing behind them. Tino clung to Berwald's neck tightly as the giant of a man carried him over to the patiently waiting ponies. Berwald set Tino down on a pretty docile little tan pony that nudged its leathery muzzle into Berwald's shoulder. Berwald patted the horse on its neck and untied the flaxen reigns and placed them over the stout ponies neck. He squeezed them in Tino's hands before walking over to his own horse and mounting it with ease. The animal gave a small buck before neighing loudly, the rest of the horses following suit, restless and aching to run.
For all that I`ll gladly give you...
Tino clutched the reigns in his hands before he felt something tug at the edge of his trousers. Looking down he saw the bright white little puppy nipping and barking at his heels, running in and out from the ponies legs. Tino chuckled and leaned down from the ponies short height to scoop up the puppy in his arms. The dog barked happily and snuggled into the Finn's lap.
You may answer only yes or no...
Once they were all settled into the saddle they held their reigns high, all smiling, the sounds of the villagers clapping and wishing them luck, they all clicked their tongues and dug their heels lightly into their mounts sides. The horses and ponies, laden with crisp flowers and jingling bells raised up on their hind legs and pawed at the spring air, the five Scandinavians whooping with joy. Mathias raised one of his hands and shouted into the boiling air a cry of laughter, Berwald followed suit, his deep voice shaking the very leaves from the trees, Nikolas and Tino cried out with joy, their horses picking up their feet and galloping full speed.
Will you do so or no...?
Nikolas held tightly to Björt and the lead reigns to the cart pony, his smile never leaving his face. Tino beamed in the sweet smelling air, feeling the wind caress his face and body, feeling the surging power of the horses strife and gallop, reveling in the new feeling of being a bride, a wife. He clutched the wildly barking dog closer to his chest and grinned with jubilation.
Tino looked to Berwald whose eyes were still strict and taunt, but the smile on his lips washed it away. He nudged his cantering horse closer to Tino's and did his best to reach over to kiss the Finn without falling from the spirited animal. Tino giggled and tightened the reigns, bringing the horse to a break neck speed, Berwald's horse following suit. Soon the two husbands and brides had gone their separate ways, Mathias, Nikolas, and Björt to their own long house up north near the hills, and Tino and Berwald to their little cabin hidden near the fir trees and rocks.
After slowing the horses down to a sluggish walk, Berwald's hands sheepishly clutched Tino's, rubbing his thumbs against Tino's thin and warm fingers. Tino smiled happily, his eyes hiding behind his shadow of eyelashes. It was only once they rounded the front of the cabin that they reluctantly slid their fingers from each others hands and dismounted the sweaty animals. Tino, skipping and giggling, grabbed his husbands arm and, without any awkwardness kissed him deeply and meaningfully. Berwald smiled against the kiss and wrapped his arms around the Finn tightly.
After much needed air, the kiss was ended with a small bit of laughter and the lazily sensation of breath returning to starved lungs. Tino and Berwald led their tired horses to the small paddock that flanked the cabin before giving the horses a quick rub down and a handful of hay. The little puppy scampered happily into the barn for a much needed nap, her little ears drooping over her cute little face.
As soon as Tino shut and latched up the paddock gate he felt strong and cuddly bearish arms lift him up and hold him bridal style in the air. Tino made a small squeak of shock before he was pressed to the solid and warm chest of his husband. Husband. How that word sent wonderful shivers and delightful feelings through his slender body. He loved Berwald, he really did. He loved him even when he thought he was a Troll, and even now that he is a man. Tino could not be happier, could not be more joyful or content. He has his Spring husband now, and nothing could ever take that away from him.
Berwald, smiling lightly to his bride, strode over to the slightly ajar door frame that has been crushed by Ivan's persistence. Tino, seeing the scowl shift over Berwald's face, quickly nudged his lips over to his husbands cheek and kissed it gently, wrapping his arms tighter against the strong Troll-like body. Berwald, rigid shoulders relaxing, fitted a true smile on his lips before standing before the threshold of the house.
Both males took a deep breath before looking into each others eyes. Violet glassy iris's met with an emotion filled sea green glare, and for a moment, they just stared. Taking it in, drinking their love with parted lips, feeling it ease down their throats like sweet honey and seep and soak into their hearts. It was amazing, like the flurry of wind before a heated storm, warm and caressing. It was like the shimmer of an emerald green dragon fly's wing shining against the sky. It was like the sight of a new born foal balancing on gangly legs for the first time, proud and triumphant. It was like...Nothing they had even experienced.
They sighed happily through delicately parted lips and walked through the threshold with bold and elated steps. No hesitance was needed, no second thoughts or worries. Through that doorway they went, through the doorway that would begin their new lives together in perfection and happiness, like a dream sewn of the purest of silks. Like a fairytale that ends happily ever after, they slipped into the dream of love.
Herr Mannelig Herr Mannelig, trolofven i mig för det jag bjuder så gerna. I kunnen väl svara endast ja eller nej Om i viljen eller ej?
The Sve Troll and the young Squire, together at last, wove their final fairytale.
Oh man I'm gonna' cry... I'm sorry for those of you don't like the ending. I tried, I really did. I hope you all liked this story, it warms my heart to see that its made so many people happy. Well, now its done and over, the Sve Troll and the little Squire are together at last, and nothing will ever tear them apart again.
(Yes I tweaked the original Ballad A LOT, so just to let you know)
-"'Gør dem temmelig.'"* -"Make them pretty" in Danish.
-"They were all like dainty and colorful little woodland nymphs and fairies, reminding Tino of the veden väki back home.*" - A "veden väki" was a Finnish water Elf who deals with healing powers.
-"After a quick wash of their backs and legs, aided by Feliks, both men felt cleaner and better than ever before.*" - As well as cleaning them up, the Brides in Viking Scandinavia would go into a sauna to be cleansed of their old life in order to get ready for their lives as wives.
-"He didn't have any long donkey-ish ears, and he certainly didn't turn to stone in the sunlight, nor did he have a tail...*" - Trolls are often described as having big floppy ears, tails, and that they turned into stone when they came in contact with sunlight.
-"She rummaged her hands through her apron like skirts and pulled out two crowns, one with ringlets of dark blue flowers with white flakes of bergfrue cascading in between the strands of twisted grass.*" - Bergfrue is Norway's national flower.
-"The other crown was of the same weaved grass, but with lily-of-the-valley peeking up between the strands of wild meadow grass, dots of morning glories also accenting the crown.*"- Lily-of-the-valley is Finland's National flower.
-"The mixture smelled like the rolling green hills of Finland after the thunderstorms are split open by Thor's hammer and the wind and rain scatter across the meadow grass, leaving all the flowers and sweet alfalfa hay drenched in cleansing rain."*- Thor was a major God in Scandinavian lore. He wielded a huge hammer and when he brought it down, it was the cause of the lightning in the sky.
-"Scrawled on the tree trunk with chalky white paint was a spiraling drawing of the Goddess Freyja, seeming to smile at them and embrace them.*"- The Goddess Freyja is one of the most widely worshiped Goddess in European Pagan society. She is the patron mother of love and fertility and is still widely worshiped around the world.
-""Hand your husband's swords to them, hilt first and say these words...'With this sword, will you promise to protect me, through life and limb, danger and destruction, always?' Husbands answer as you will..."*"- The sword bearing was an important part of a viking wedding ceremony, as the rings were placed on the sword hilt and then taken by the bride and slipped on her finger. The sword was always passed down from one male to the next.
-"I know you are a mountain troll, from the spawn of Ymir and the frost...*"- In Norse mythology the Frost giant Ymir was responsible for all the Trolls and giants on the earth. When he slept, more giants were created from his sweat.
-"Slipping the cool metal onto their ring fingers, they marveled at the way the simple yet sacred stone glowed.*"- I'm not so sure about Scandinavian Pagan religion, but in the Celtic religion, the white quartz was the stone of the moon and the Goddess.
-Elizabeta took a bowl of water and a hlaut-teinn from her box and lightly dipped the branch in the water, then, flicking it over the two couples, she regained her voice with a joyful clarity. "I now pronounce you, husband and wife!"*- "Hlaut-Teinn" was a small branch of a plant used in ceremonies.
-"Their lungs were burning and gasping for air by the time their eyes met again, a love so pure and shimmering that it seemed to drip from their eyes like Freyja's tears.*"-Freyja was the Norse Goddess of fertility, and she was so distraught.
-Herr Mannelig herr Mannelig trolofven i mig för det jag bjuder så gerna. I kunnen väl svara endast ja eller nej Om i viljen eller ej?* - "Sir Mannelig, Sir Mannelig betrothed to me for what I offer so willingly. Ye can well answer only yes or no if ye will or not?" in Swedish.