The Lion & the Rowan

And so it was that the lion of the east and the rowan of the north were wed at the heart of the world, in Havnor. The crowds cheered, and waved flags, and threw rose petals from bridges and balconies, and if anyone said anything untoward about the looks of the bride, not to mention all those veiled women in the carriage with her father—were they really his wives? all of them?—then the clamour of the royal trumpets surely drowned the words out. Besides, there was feasting and fireworks every night for a week from the royal purse, and nobody could complain about that save the street-cleaners, and who pays any heed to them?

And in the morning, the High Princess of the Kargad Lands awoke the Queen of All the Isles, and yawned, and stretched, and turned over to greet her husband the king. And for all the gossip of the goodwives across that great city—is she pale all over, do you think? is her hair down there, y'know, the same colour as that stuff on her head? do Kargies even do it the same way?—what they did then is nobody's business but their own.