While Caethir and his small company had fought through the Old Forest and the Barrow-downs, Hobbits in the Shire we all a-stir about something altogether different. Myrlas Lightfoot had returned from his travels and it was rumoured that he and Lamuna Lovelight were getting married! This divided the Hobbits’ opinions – many were put out that they had had no warning and wondered if they were invited. Others murmured about the speed at which it was happening. Some old friends of Myrlas among the Tooks were were simply happy at another excuse to eat.
Myrlas and Lamuna themselves had long been friends, but knew they both wished that friendship had further developed. Lamuna had often wondered whether his calling to help different people groups had taken his heart and focus, wishing that she could be sharing those experiences and not just hearing about them. Myrlas himself had returned the prior year for the annual mid-year festivities at the Party Tree, surprising Lamuna at his arrival. That had set things in motion for him to eventually pluck up the courage to ask her to marry him.
Busy Achieving Nothing
Lobbo Lovelight, Lamuna’s father, was scurrying around their burrow, out into the garden and back in again, mopping his brow as he went. He could not remember being this flustered even for the Farmer’s Faire, where he had commiserated having only won second place in the vegetable competition. Just as he was about to go back indoors for something he thought had forgotten for the umpteenth time, he heard a familiar voice calling out to him.
“Uncle, jus’ stop ‘urryin’ around would ya?” Rubybella asserted.
His niece giggled.
“What’s so funny?” Lobbo frowned.
“You’ve forgotten that Myrlas ‘as already sorted it!”
“What you mean, ‘sorted it’?” he asked
“Well ‘e may be adventurin’ an’ all that, but ‘e often gets paid fer ‘is work. ‘e’s sorted out food at t’Green Dragon. Jus’ relax an’ decide what yer wearin'” Ruby pointed out.
Lobbo took a deep breath and cursed himself for having it slip his mind that he did not have to make or pay for any of the day. That should have helped him to calm down, but then he felt he should be busy doing something so he headed to his room to follow his niece’s advice.
Looking the Part
“Well look at you, all fancy, my love!” Lamuna smirked.
Myrlas picked at his jacket. It wasn’t that he wasn’t comfortable in his “posh outfit” (as Lamuna called it), it was simply that he was not used to it. His normal hunting gear, or supple leathers, or warm furs had all become his ‘second skins’. He only dressed up for special people or special occasions and today was both of those things. On his travels he had learned how to fashion clothing from various cultures and he had selected a blue, Elven piece for the day.
“Just be grateful I’m not turning up in woolly boots from the Lossoth!” he laughed, his calm demeanor partly masking his intense nervousness for the day.
“It’s too warm for that – and we don’t want people’s main memory of the day being your footwear now do we?” she chuckled.
The girl herself was in something she found uncomfortable – a simple red and white dress, with ornate flowers embroidered on the cuffs and hems. But she had chosen it especially from a local tailor. In her hair she wore a circlet of lilies. And, in a break from tradition, a light cloak hung from her shoulders, its leafy design reflected the sun giving her face an aura of light.
“And you, my dear, are just beautiful” Myrlas sighed.
“It’s not very elegant as I didn’t have long, but it doesn’t matter!”
“I’m marrying you, not your wardrobe, Lamuna”, Myrlas pointed out
“Well, you may as well enjoy the wardrobe while it lasts! It’s tunics, trousers and armour after today.”
“And you’ll look amazing in those too!”
Lamuna, who had been trying to tame her wild hair in a mirror, looked over her shoulder at Myrlas and flashed a smile.
“Just don’t let me distract you from, you know, staying alive and all that!”
A couple of hours later, the pair took a pony from Hobbiton to Michel Delving to meet the Mayor. The sky was deep blue and birds chirruped in the trees as they passed. Despite objections that the couple had not followed formalities, those close to the Lovelights and Lightfoots had received formal invitations to an intentionally-short ceremony. Neither Lamuna’s nor Myrlas’ immediate families were large, due to various sorrows of the past. Today, however, what mattered to them both was who could be there, rather than those that could not be.
A Mother’s Sorrow and Joy
“Myrlas, my son, a minute!” called a hoarse voice, belonging to an old Hobbit lady, adorned in a bright pink robe.
“Thanks for coming, Ma” he smiled.
“Nothing could be more important than today. Especially as I know you’re not going to settle down like a good Hobbit” she reprimanded, only partly in jest.
“We go where we’re needed and…I’m needed elsewhere”
Emerose wiped a tear from her left eye.
“You’re needed here too,” she whispered, “both of you” she added casting a mournful glance at Lamuna.
“Neither of us speak empty words, Emerose,” Lamuna said gently, “When we can visit, we will.”
Myrlas reached out a hand and caught his mother’s in his.
“Yes, it was. Lamuna is right, though. We don’t often use the word promise but we are Hobbits of our word.”
Emerose pulled herself up and straightened her back, with visible effort.
“Go on both of you, the Mayor’s waiting and he doesn’t like waiting.”
The Hobbit Families of Light
Myrlas chuckled and embraced his mother again.
“Walk with us, not behind us, then?” he asked.
“Hey! Don’t leave us out!” Ruby’s voice called out from seemingly nowhere.
This time it was Lamuna’s turn to take a sharp breath.
“Cousin! You look stunning!”
Ruby had pulled out all the stops in a matter of days. She had had made a long, rich-green, flowing dress. Over her shoulders were some white feathers and in her hair she had woven some ears of corn.
And with that she gave Lamuna a huge grin and a hug. Even Lobbo had found an old jacket and trouser set among all his farming and merchant gear.
It was clear that he was not at home in them, but this was difficult for him too.
“Today I lose my daughter an’ niece,” he sighed shaking his head, “If ‘obbits keep leavin’ t’Shire, it’ll be empty soon!”
Lamuna put a comforting arm across his shoulders.
“See it as gaining a son,” she suggested gently, then catching herself she looked over at Myrlas, “if that’s okay?”
Myrlas swallowed and blinked a few times, before he managed a croaky reply.
“A father would be lovely,” he managed, “but why are you losing your niece too?” he asked, to move the conversation on.
“I’ll explain later,” Ruby answered on her uncle’s behalf.
“Come now, Lobbo,” Emerose said, steeling herself, as Rubybella joined her at her side, “Let’s not get too soppy. ‘obbits are good at looking af’er themselves but we can get too selfish. Today ain’t about what we lose.”
“The ‘obbits of Light are comin’ together – Lightfoots an’ Lovelights!” she giggled, “Jus’ promise me you won’t mek yer family name the Lovefoots!”
That set them all off laughing and, as one, they turned their backs on sorrows to go meet the Mayor.
The Joining of Hearts
Once assembled for the formal part of the wedding, Lamuna and Myrlas positioned themselves directly in front of the Mayor.
“Glad you could finally make it,” the Mayor began, “it’s been an hour since I ate and I am quite faint with hunger. That and with no time to prepare, you know…” he trailed off.
A few moments later he gathered his thoughts.
“Anyway, to the task at hand. This is rather rushed, but I understand you’ll be travelling together soon?”
“Indeed we are Mister Mayor,” Lamuna confirmed, “but no need to rush your words, unless you’re so light-headed, getting dinner in five minutes earlier matters?” she grinned.
“Oh! In that case, let’s begin!”
The Mayor gave a small speech about the importance of families in Hobbit life and how lovely that another couple were going to promise their lives to each other. Despite his best efforts he could not regale the small gathering with the in-depth history of the Lovelights or Lightfoots, neither being very well documented. Though it was revealed to some for the first time, that Myrlas’ birthname was “Meredoc” due to his birth home being near the stream that runs into Rushock Bog. That raised a few chuckles.
“You didn’t send me any mail, but I suppose you’ve got promises to make?” he asked looking from Lamuna to Myrlas and back again.
The two turned to face each other and held both hands together, between them. Myrlas’ were visibly shaking.
We vow to be of one heart, when even minds disagree.
We promise to share everything, over breakfast, dinner and tea.
Together we stand, together we fall.
For without each other, we can’t live at all.
I don’t expect perfection, I just want you to be you.
Loving no other, we promise to be true.
Our life will not be easy, outside or in The Shire,
But in the order of things, no one else is higher.
I promise to you, to both listen and talk,
As through these great lands we fight and we walk.
I’ll love you forever, how long that may be
Now let’s go and laugh, and make merry.
Before we depart we’ll raise up a flagon
Friends, now support us and let’s go to the Dragon!
Whether the crowd’s cheer was for the wedding, or the vows ending with a call to the Inn, it wasn’t clear. But no one minded. Lamuna wrapped her arms tightly around Myrlas then pulling back slightly she looked at him, her eyes shining.
“Well done!” she whispered.
The Mayor cleared his throat.
On to the Dragon
“And for those worried about whether this was all official-like, the papers have already been signed, copied three times and stored in the appropriate records. So Myrlas and Lamuna, you’re now both Lightfoots. Congratulations! We will now all make our way to Bywater and the Green Dragon!”
Emerose and Lobbo glanced at each other, each discerning the other’s thoughts.
“Time to ignore your vegetables for the rest of the day Mister Lovelight,” Emerose insisted.
“And you can ignore your garden for a day too, erm, Missus Lightfoot”
The old lady smiled and the two of them joined the procession to Bywater.