The two brides sat in different rooms, connected by a passthrough open to the morning breeze. They were surrounded by their sisters and listened to music. Their heads were shaved, long locks falling to the floor. These were gathered up and burned along with incense and flowers on a copper platter in the middle of the passthrough. Their bodies were washed and bold lines of conductive blue, yellow, and pink were painted on their bare skin by steady hands. The lines were widest on their backs and tapered to millimeter strips that swirled at the fingertips. The paint swirled again around their crowns. Their waists were wrapped in red and blue fabric that trailed out behind them as they walked and their chests and backs remained bare.
As noon approached the music was turned off and the women began to sing. Each sister contributed a verse, and they spoke of the bride's achievements and attributes and the fond memories they had of her. The songs flowed between the passthrough and the brides could hear the songs of the other. Finally at noon, while the singing turned into chanting, the brides ran to the passthrough to meet each other for the first time. Their sisters followed, glowing with anticipation. The brides stood in front of the platter, face-to-face, and touched their noses together briefly in greeting.
"Are you part of it?" asked the brides of each other, together, as was tradition.
They both nodded and cast their eyes down. This sisters hushed their chanting to silence then all knelt down on the floor in a semicircle. There was a separation of a foot between the women of the two once-warring houses and furtive, flirting glances were exchanged.
The brides brought their hands together slowly and touched fingertips. They willed electricity to flow through the conductive paint, each color carrying a different signal. The world faded away to lightness. The brides felt the sensation of being inside the other's body, what it was like to be them physically, recorded over the course of their centuries long lifespans, felt their pains, their ecstasies. They lived each other's memories as well, completely, and spoke aloud of the memories that were most deeply impressed. The last color carried the signal for their dreams and their hopes--the things that had separated their houses for so long--and they finally understood.
In the late hours of the evening they separated, sweating and disoriented. The sisters of both houses who were now lounging and talking with each other slowly broke into applause, and when all the sisters realized the ritual was over, the evening was filled with a roar of approval. The brides hugged and cried for the peace, the love, and the relief they had brought to their sisters.