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(Written for the February 2013 LOTR GFIC challenge, "The Dark Side of Love")
Fortinbras' eyes gleamed as he gazed at his bride-to-be, standing at the top of the grand staircase leading to the ballroom, the only such staircase, the only such ballroom in the Shire. She was a handsome lass, her hair the color of wheat, her eyes so dark a brown as to be nearly black, her feet so trim and furry. He couldn't get enough of her beauty. She was witty, too, always ready with a sharp quip and a hearty laugh. They had so much fun! He just knew she'd fit in well among the Tooks. How he loved her!
Lalia's eyes glittered as she gazed around the ballroom, festooned with flowers, the chandeliers glowing, the floors beneath shining, tables draped with fine white linens hanging nearly to the floor, and laden with food: so much food beautifully prepared, by the hands of so many servants. Servants who would be hers to command, for she would reside here. Her bridegroom stared up at her, good-looking and amiable, but most of all he adored her. Soon she'd be wed to the Thain's grandson. One day she'd be the Thain's Lady, esteemed first lady of the Shire. How she loved that idea!
Gerontius' eyes glistened as he glanced down at the marriage contract on the table. In a few minutes seven signatures in red ink would seal his grandson's fate and that of a generation of Tooks. He looked at Fortinbras standing at his right hand, his face filled with joy, his cousin Adalgrim standing witness beside him. He regarded the bride's approach, her face filled with triumph, her aunt Camellia Sackville-Baggins at her elbow. He swallowed his fear.
“I have before me two hobbits who have come with a petition of marriage. Who will vouch for them?”
How he hated this!
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