Blood And Bondage: A Very Hopper Wedding

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Written By Daiyu Tang and Joanne Steel
Photographs by Daiyu Tang

What you are about to read is abridged from the many, many notes I have written with the second half of this story written by my colleague Daiyu Tang as I had lost my notes by the time I returned to town to finish writing this story. There are other journalistic factors too partly because I have no idea how to explain what I saw, partly because we were late, and it’s hard to walk the streets of Hathian blindfolded with some crazed lunatic shouting, “Naw we’re goin’ dat way” at you without specifying if they mean left, right, forward, back, around the corner or up the steps and therefore I missed the start of the ‘ceremony’ but mostly because even a rag like the Hathian Observer has standards, and so I am unable to describe a lot of what I saw and both myself and my colleague, Daiyu, who I asked to come with me (safety in numbers and was taking photos), are still unsure what the hell happened, so let us start at the beginning.

I ran across one of the Hopper Family, a familiar tall, big looking man carrying a sports-type bag (who I would later learn was called Lucas), and we had a brief conversation, surprisingly after everything he seemed, well, friendly, or at least less smash you over the head and drag your unconscious ass away to God knows what fate. It would seem that I am lucky enough to be trusted by the family that I’m (relatively) safe and was given an invitation to attend the wedding in a few days’ time. I was dubious but a story is a story so I agreed. He was actually very obliging, and agreed that I could bring a colleague with me to act as a photographer, and take photographs and I contacted Daiyu, one of our best new reporters to accompany me.

We arranged to meet a family member by the Wheel Of Hathian ride on the pier, and both of us were blindfolded and taken to a secret location somewhere in Hathian I suspect given the length of time we were walking and how quiet it got were ended up somewhere in Batterie, but then it may have been Vodou, I have no way of being certain all I do know is our NPC guides, still, unnamed members of the extended Hopper family got frustrated at the confusion when they gave instructions leading us to be late for the beginning of the wedding ceremony.

The ceremony was between Lucas Hopper, and his bride the soon-to-be Kali Alma Hopper. When I removed my blindfold the first thing that struck me was the smell, it was clean, like a hospital or mortuary type of industrial-strength, kills every germ deader than Dillinger type antiseptic smell, however the further in you got there was the familiar coppery smell of blood, and the smells combined were a very potent mix. I could see Lucas standing over a woman tied to a table (that is the limit of the bondage, but the headline got your attention and you have read so far so you may as well read on). He was resplendent in it has to be said a very nice white suit and certainly looked the part of the groom. Stood near to him the blushing bride in her wedding dress, she would not have looked out of place in a church or registry office.

The woman on the table was subject to some strange ritual. Lucas uses different sharp knives to carve her stomach. We saw him use the woman’s blood to draw symbols over her body and then he addressed her:

Lucas Hopper would then explain for the benefit of us both, that.:

“These runes, they are making that which is inside you Hoppers. For the length of your pregnancy, you will be under our protection but when they are ready to be born, they will eat their way out as it is the Hopper way. IF you survive, the Hoppers will come to claim their own once it is weened off your breast”

It was thus apparent that the woman on the table was pregnant and that some attempt was being made to increase the Hopper family. I should note that there were two other women present with the Bride and Groom and it was the case that we were almost attacked by one of them for reasons unknown. The other then proceeded to knock the attacker out and it proved to be a very strange wedding which now turned to the vows which were said after Kali Hopper used the blood of the woman on the table to smear across her lips and then kiss Lucas.

Things would then return to a much more traditional feel as the Bride and Groom exchanged their wedding vows:

Lucas Hopper: “I take thee Kali to wed to become my wife and my life, to promise to hold your health and interests above my own, to avenge wrongs done to you and to honor you until the end of days, so a Hopper vows”

Kali Hopper: “I take thee, Lucas, to wed to become my husband and my life, to promise to hold your health and interests above my own, to avenge wrongs done to you, and to honor you until the end of days, so a Hopper vows.”

After these vows were exchanged, Kali instructed that the woman on the table be freed but not before Lucas apparently had forgotten a ring. It was a ‘good’ thing that he appeared to have a hand grenade close at hand (exactly where we had a horrible idea, but won’t print here). He pulled the ring and gave it to Kali and we felt that everything was going to end…. explosively, but it didn’t and the bride ended up with a grenade pin ring. Lucas and the bride left quickly… to do whatever it is newly wedded Hoppers do.

Once the woman on the table was released she ran and we had to exit quickly as the two wedding guests looked a little dangerous, but before we did, we spoke with one of them, identified as Lyla who had assisted the Hoppers. She was quick to suggest that the woman on the table was partially at fault for the situation, apparently having somehow hurt Kali. This sounds like a story for another time, that of the woman on the table and Lyla



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