Rix waves her hand nervously. “Hi. If marriage is for the community, then who doesn’t get married and who isn’t allowed to marry?”
Jaco bows from a sitting position, politely, buying time to think about the question. “Sons normally get married off as benefits the family they were born into.” He shrugs a bit. “Sometimes a son shows a particular spark for the military or the university, and then he goes there, instead. Sometimes nobody wants him, and the family can’t arrange a marriage.” He jangles his chains. “It doesn’t happen often. Most women can find some use for a junior husband, especially if they can seal a deal by taking him off his mother’s hands.”
He flips through the new questions, not looking at the audience. “All right, I can handle two of these at once. This guy wants to know ‘what happens to all the poor women who don’t get husbands?’ and this lady would like to know what the proportions of men and women in the population are.” He looks up at the audience. “There aren’t any women without husbands. There are maybe four men to every woman, and no woman doesn’t get married. Some of them, they join two households and bring all their husbands together, sharing husbands, but none of them ever don’t get married.”
He looks down at the cards. “I don’t know what happens if they try, so don’t ask, okay?” He coughs and looks at the questions again. “So, the Treaty. That’s this, this big thing. It seals everything, and I’m not supposed to talk about it. We’re really only barely supposed to know about it — that’s part of the Treaty, too. We, our country, signed it, and we, Husbands, we don’t know about it. Maybe Onter does, maybe First Husbands do. Me? I do what I’m told, or, uh,” he jangles his chains again, “mostly I don’t.”
This time, when his eyes scan the gathered people, he’s defiant. “Anyone else got anything?”
Part III: http://aldersprig.dreamwidth.org/1159258.html
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