Oh! You've made the cut right across your palm – so I guess you actually haven't done blood brothers with anyone before, like you said you had? It's just that anyone who's ever become blood brothers knows that you never cut your palm to do it....it's sort of like an unspoken rule, or maybe even a shibboleth, among blood brothers, that you never cut across your palm to get the blood, since it is pretty much the very first thing you do when you become blood brothers.
I mean, it will still count! Technically. We've already started, so there's no point in stopping now. We'll definitely still be blood brothers. It's not very auspicious to start being blood brothers with a lie, obviously, but I can see how you probably just wanted to make a good impression.
As I'm sure you can understand, the problem with cutting your palm is you need to be able to use your hand for pretty much everything a blood brother needs to do...handshakes, carrying a sword, scaling a wall, passing a draught of water to your blood brother in battle, hoisting a flagon of wine while toasting your victories with your blood brother after a successful mission, et cetera. So now every time you do one of those things, it's going to re-open the wound, and it'll start bleeding again...you can see how difficult it's going to be to stop using your palm long enough for the cut to heel. Whereas a similarly-sized cut on the back of the forearm, like I've done here – right, you can see immediately how much easier it will be to staunch.
You have staunched a wound before, yes? I know you said you had experience with staunching earlier, but I'm just wondering now...If you were actually already blood brothers with someone else like you said you were, you would have known that. It's just the kind of thing you learn right away about being blood brothers, if you've ever done it before. Obviously some of this is on me! I should have asked more questions up front. You did say you'd done this quite a few times before – I'm not misremembering that, right? That's what I thought. Do you remember why it seemed like a good idea to say that at the time?
Yes, it'll keep going like this for a while. That's another reason why we don't like to cut across the palm. Can I ask where you got the idea from? Like, what made you think it was the right thing to do? That's not meant to sound like a "gotcha," I'm just trying to help. No, keep the hand elevated, and keep pressing on it – you have to keep it higher than your heart. Like that. Okay.
Okay, here goes. Not to belabor the point, but see how I've just nicked myself here, above the back of the wrist? That's how – if you ever decide to do this again, that's how you should do it. Okay, through the sealing of your blood with mine, I bind my life to yours; I pledge to share my wealth, my labor, and my arms with you, and beg that you should do likewise. Do hereby swear to hold all enemies in common, to avenge thy death even at the cost of my own, to bury all insults and gratitude between us, just as the right hand never thinks to thank the left, but acts always in accordance with it, as is natural and meet. In blood and peace I swear fidelity without shame or thought of myself; in blood and peace do you swear it too. Here is my heart's own blood to stand in pledge.
Should we add a line in here maybe about telling each other the truth, or do you feel pretty good about...?
That's it! It's done. It's not how I would have liked to get things started between us. But I guess there's nowhere to go from here but up. I just ask that in the future, if you've never done something before, just be honest with me, even if you feel embarrassed about it. It's going to be rough going if I can't trust you to tell me the truth. But it'll be fine.
Oh! I guess, happy first blood brother ceremony to you. At least now you can say you've done it and mean it!
[Image via Wikimedia Commons]