Carneira is a Malkieri term to denote a person's first lover (NS, Ch. 16). In the Old Tongue, car' is used to represent either chief, or in carei, honour. The meaning of neira is unknown, so the direct translation of the word is uncertain. The Carneira tradition in Malkier dates back a thousand years and is a complex relationship between the two. Men are chosen by their carneira, and women choose theirs. In Lan's case, Edeyn Arrel chose him when he was fifteen and paraded him around until he was given the hadori, the symbol that he alone chooses where to go and when. The woman cuts his hair at the shoulders and he then weaves it into a cord, the daori, which she keeps (NS, Ch. 22). If she wishes, she can request he hand it her and he must do so In token of what I owe to you, always and for ever. (NS, Ch. 22). This gives the woman an advantage over the man until she presents it to his bride on his wedding day (NS, Ch. 22).
Your carneira wears a part of your soul forever (Malkieri saying, New Spring, Chapter 16).
A king is not a king, alone with his carneira (Edeyn to Lan, NS, Ch. 22).