An unwieldy stack of printed documents are delivered to the house of Francesco Graves.
The harassed-looking messenger slowly disburdens himself of paper folders, arranging them into stacks according to theme. First is a lengthy document, obviously drawn up by the Cargan family lawyer, listing various (largely unnecessary) protections in the event of the divorce to which both parties would presumably never subject their families. The document is therefore not so much outrageous as it is thorough - though, prominently displayed is a clause assuring joint custody of any resultant offspring.
Second is an even more cumbersome file containing miscellaneous wedding plans: outfit designs both tasteful and hideous, with threats pencilled in the margins of the latter, most to the tune of ‘cross me and I’ll wear THIS’; a list of more or less every known caterer in Acryn other than the ones outlined by Francesco; several sketches of ice sculptures depicting wyverns in various states of distress (beheaded, flayed, crushed by falling debris); and a detailed essay in Armand’s own hand, giving an exhaustive list of the reasons why Francesco’s current design choices fail to align with the real ‘atmosphere’ of the wedding.
It is clear that this must have taken days to devise.
At the bottom of the stack is one final sheet of paper, typed in the distinctive font of the Cargan printing press. It reads as follows:
A List of Additional Terms and Agreements Made Prior to the Marriage Between Armand Cargan and Francesco Antonio-Bartolomeo Graves the Arcane Arbiter, Whose Insistence on Using his Middle Names During Every Introduction is as Pretentious as it is Pointless
1. You will never seek to harm me, unless given my express consent (say, for a Wounding ritual). Same goes for me to you. This can be waived in emergency circumstances where hurting one another is the only way to save one another’s lives - for instance, if an emergency Wounding ritual is required, and I’m unconscious - but otherwise, it stands.
2. This marriage certainly does not entail monogamy. However, we must both agree to keep any affairs discreet. If this is not obeyed, then the other party is allowed to be precisely as indiscreet as the first. Hence, if you decide to bring any shame to my family, you’d better believe I’ll be shaming yours right back, Francesco.
3. When adventuring together, we’ll have each other’s backs. No betrayals.
4. We will never undermine each other politically. Public arguments about trivial stuff like the wedding are definitely unavoidable, but we must always present a united front in public when discussing matters of consequence.
5. Matters of consequence include Penelope. (Say the words ‘Traitor fetish’ one more time, and I am wearing orange taffeta up the aisle.)
6. We’ll support each other in our ambitions. I’m happy to lend active aid to your political goals, via my connections with the nobility and Council, provided you offer the same for me. However, if you’re tempted to use tactics you honestly suspect I’d disapprove of, you’ve got to run it by me first. Same condition applies vice versa, assuming you’re even capable of moral qualms.
7. Stop trying to get members of my family to worship you, you simpering, egotistical freak.
8. Any secrets revealed to one another from here on in will be kept, do you understand? The gods know why I’m including this at all, but I was being sincere when I said I wanted an ally. I need to know you’ll respect my confidence - and vice versa, if it comes to that. Much as it pains me that this is the case, we are stronger working together than apart, and that requires trust.
So. Trust me, and I’ll trust you. Agreed?
Beneath this last are two dotted lines. Armand has not yet signed this last - presumably, not wishing to be overly optimistic.