Chapter 20 - The Scent of Love

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Everyone wore their best. Daniya stood between Mack and Majira. Wes was ... somewhere. The remainder of the team were seated on either side of a hall. It wasn't a separation by friends or relatives of the bride or groom. Rather, it was a separation by gender. With a gender that split the difference, Grosk waited to see which side was less crowded, and ended up sitting on the distaff side, next to Lakeisha.

Daniya whispered to Mack, "I have never been to a Daranaean wedding."

"Me neither. And now we're in one. I guess we follow Crita's lead although honestly I haven't a clue."

"Shh," Majira said. "Here they come."

It was an enormous entourage, all wearing identical gray tunics, except for Senjarus, who was in white. First were the groom and his two wives plus the bride, then a number of Daranaean females who were either Crita's sisters or cousins, perhaps both. This included Crita's mother, Linatella, in a place of honor. The next groups of Daranaean women were most likely the kinswomen of Senjarus's two preexisting wives, Prime Wife, Thayla, and secondary, Salena. The last one in the back turned to face them as the entourage passed, and beckoned to them.

The three women followed the rest of the entourage to one side of the room as every female in the room was also made to stand on that side. It was family, friends, guests, team members, everyone and that included Grosk.

Then the groom circled back and was followed by a number of Daranaean men who were probably Senjarus's family and then families of his two preexisting wives and after that any Daranaean males who were related to Crita but not to Senjarus. The first of those men was Seramus, Crita's father. All of the Daranaean men, just like the groom, were now in identical white tunics. Then following them were Wes, Tag, and Xo from the team. The male entourage stood at the wall at the other side of the room and the male guests and other family members, including the men from the team, joined them.

Workers connected with the hall discreetly moved chairs away so that the two groups were facing each other with no impediments in between. Two Daranaean men, possibly brothers to Senjarus, held him by each arm as a third – his father – blindfolded the groom. The two brothers then brought Senjarus to the distaff side. Everyone was perfectly still and quiet as he sniffed the air around each woman. It was a tradition which was a little unnerving to Mack. When Senjarus and his handlers got to Daniya, she smiled a little. Knowing that Daniya could call upon Orion hormones from half of her heritage, Mack gave the pilot a look. But Daniya just smiled, and the groom and his handlers moved on.

There was the subtlest of gestures when the three were in front of Crita. Mack realized the brothers were squeezing Senjarus's arms, probably a necessary hint among so many females. "It is she!" he called out. They released his arms and he removed his blindfold to find Crita, who smiled at him shyly.

The blindfold was passed to Linatella and the two preexisting wives each took one of Crita's arms as the blindfold was again applied. Mack realized she had lost track of Senjarus, and that was most likely the idea. As before, the three carefully passed by every male on the other side of the room until the group of three stopped in front of the groom. "It is he!" Crita called out.

Senjarus removed the blindfold from his bride's eyes. The two of them joined hands and the two preexisting wives joined hands in a circle around them, joined by the bride and groom's parents. Then another circle was made by the rest of the Daranaean kinsmen and women. That one was huge.

Two kinswomen broke ranks and brought over four small Daranaean children and Mack remembered, they were Senjarus's with his preexisting wives. Another kinswoman came over to where Mack was standing with Majira and Daniya. "Come with me."

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