Bonding versus marriage
Rather than a civil or religious contract, partners bound together magically, thus creating a bond between their magics. The strength of such a bond directly depends on the magical power of the individual in question. People without magic cannot create a magical bonding, and their "marriage" is seen as inferior. However, if they have the means to do so, they can buy magical artefacts that will reproduce some of the characteristics of a weak bound when they are worn.
All kinds of relationship are regarded as socially acceptable, monogamous or polygamous, heterosexual or homosexual, asexual, and aromantic. This is because magic bonding is not performed primarily to create children but as an alliance between individuals and Houses. As such, they can even occur without sex or romance, though sexual relationships of many kinds are widely accepted and sex is not seen as a taboo subject. Depending on the Estate
, sex magic and sexual rituals can be practised, and those can be private events for bonded partners or people joining only for the event, or they can be public events to raise bigger amounts of magic.
Lady Oriane Merisse frowned lightly as her soon-to-be in-laws joined her at the centre of the valley that stood between their two Estates. Her spouse was good looking but had a certain frailness about her that made her seem weak. Was the bonding really such a good idea?
Lady Merisse looked back at Lord Danièlie. She had so easily beaten him and his troops, and it was highly doubtful that either his House or the spouse he was offering her would be of any help to the House of Merisse. Iron balls to drag by her feet more like it...
But no matter how much it stung, she needed the alliance for the trade deals. Being the strongest could not solve all problems when she was isolated in her little corner of the empire, surrounded by enemies.