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Alk are generally monogamous taking only one partner at a time, and they have unique words for their romantic interests. The first stage of an alk’s relationship will be their Wish.
They tend to use the term Wish as a way to avoid people overhearing the name of their crush and, a lot of the time, even the closet friends of the alk in question don’t know the name of their friend’s Wish.
Alk who start relationships will call their romantic partner their Close One.
They will still live separate, with their time spent as Close Ones being used for bonding, learning to compromise, and to make sure they are compatible.
It usually takes at least a year for alk to consider marriage.
When alk get married they refer to their spouse as their Chosen.
The marriage ceremony for alk will change from tribe to tribe and person to person. Generally, though, it will be a very personalised ceremony that seeks to emphasise and combine the most prominent aspects of the two partners. The marriage between a hunter and warrior may focus on displays of physical strength; while the ceremony for a healer and a gatherer may focus on creativity.
It is not uncommon for alk to leave their Chosen, though divorce laws will vary from tribe to tribe. Mostly it will be done by a symbolic severing of their souls from each other; such as cutting a string or burning a tassel made from their feathers.
There is a very special and very important partnership that will be taken by the tribe’s leader. This partnership is not a regular marriage, in which the leader and their Chosen are wed; but is a symbolic connection of the leader to their tribe through their Other partner.
The leader’s Other is a spouse that they are wed to during their leadership ceremony. The term “Other” is used because, though alk are mostly monogamous, it is common for the leader to already be married to their own Chosen and for the Other to be a secondary spouse.
The leader’s Other is usually chosen by the tribe and has a high chance to be someone that the leader has no romantic or sexual interest in. Because of this, it is not uncommon for leaders and their Other to be in open relationships, where the Other may have their own Close One (though they generally cannot marry).
Because of its significance to the leadership ceremony, Other is a term reserved specifically for the spouse of the leader and is not used in any other polyamorous situation.