It was a warm day. The sound of the waves calmed Bobbin as he worked on fixing the great tapestry. He had long since abandoned his robe, choosing instead to work barefoot in his loose pants and undershirt. His blue eyes were focused intently on the tapestry in front of him, the red fabric glaring angrily up at him. He sighed, putting it down for the time being.
"Bobbin," came an old voice, one all too familiar to him. He turned to see Hetchel enter his tent, her blue eyes tired and drooping, her long gray hair falling out of a lazy bun. Bobbin quickly stood and helped her to a chair. "I've come back from the dead, and still I'm as old as ever," she jokingly complained, pushing her hair from her eyes.
"Is there something I can help you with, Hetchel?" Bobbin asked.
"What, I can't come see the grandchild I raised anymore?" she huffed, though she chuckled. "I have to have a reason to see you now?"
Bobbin smiled at her and shook his head. In truth, though, no one really ever visited Bobbin simply to talk anymore. Whenever anyone came to visit, it had something to do with the guild, or a guest that wished him to go to the mainland, or something else. No one ever wanted to talk about the weather, or ask him to recount his journey before saving them. Nothing. Not even Hetchel visited anymore.
The one exception was his mother, Cygna. She visited him often, almost never leaving his side. They both told stories of their lives, what happened that led them to the Shore of Wonders. Cygna spoke of her husband, who had not returned with her and the guild. She spoke of how she wove a child from the loom because she had lost three already and didn't want to have another, but longed for one in her arms. Bobbin spoke of how he left the island, of how scared he was to be alone. He told her of how the other children used to throw rocks at him when he came to the shore. The two loved playing catch-up with the other and secretly wished they could turn back time, make things right, and have that parent-child relationship everyone else had. Alas, they could not.
Hetchel sighed and patted his cheek. "I am afraid you were right to suspect," she said. "Your friends Rusty and Fleece are getting married soon and wish you to attend the ceremony. I hope you will go, child. You deserve some time away from the island."
"I have so much to do," Bobbin protested. "I have no time to attend a wedding."
"What do you have that is so important you cannot attend the wedding of your best friends?" she asked. "Most of the guild has left the island because of you. There is not much left for you to do now."
"I am still the elder, Hetchel. Just because they don't live here anymore doesn't mean the guild of Weavers is no more. They still look to me for guidance, and they come back here all the time, and-"
"Bobbin, child, your friends will never have a ceremony like this again. It would be rude to deny them your presence. Besides, there will be lots of people there, many of whom I'm sure are single." The old woman winked at her grandchild, who rolled his eyes in reply. Leave it to Hetchel to try and convince Bobbin to marry.
"Hetchel," he sighed in exasperation, "I told you, I don't wish to marry. Not now at least."
"Bobbin, you are nineteen years old, you're not getting any younger!" Hetchel protested. "Find yourself a young woman and have lots of children. You can teach some of them to weave."
"You're the one that did away with that law, Bobbin, a stupid law that deserved to be thrown away, but that's beside the point. You threw it away, now you must show your people the way. You must lead by example. You want them to marry outside the guild, so you must do the same. They won't until you do."
Her words rung true. Though they had left the island, Bobbin had yet to hear of any of the Weavers forming a romantic relationship with those outside their guild. Many had formed friendships, but nothing more. He knew Hetchel was right, but he didn't want to admit it.
But he had to.
"Fine, I will go," he relented. "I don't know marriage traditions, though. Do I need anything?"
"A gift," Hetchel replied. "You should make them something. A blanket for their marriage bed, perhaps."
Bobbin nodded. He turned back to his loom, choosing the colors best suited for his friends before he began to weave them a blanket. Hetchel spoke to him to pass the time. Cygna came in several hours later, bearing food and words from the outside world. The wedding was to be a grand celebration, the first joyful occasion after Chaos' release from the Void, so everyone had been invited.
When Bobbin finished, he had a large black and green blanket in front of him, an abstract depiction of the two people coming together. Cygna ran her fingers over the fabric and smiled.
"They'll love it," she declared. "How could they not? You are a master weaver, Bobbin."
"Thank you, mother," he replied. Carefully, he folded the blanket and wrapped it. As Hetchel and Cygna left the tent, Bobbin saw the dark sky outside and decided to sleep, leaving the tapestry for another day. He would leave in the morning for the Fold.
Bobbin awoke to the sound of the gulls cawing. They were loud and unusually close to his tent that morning, and one even barged into his room. He glared at the offending bird and huffed out a "Rude" before standing, shooing the beast out so he could pack.
He took a spare robe with him, one that shined in the sunlight, and debated taking his elder sash with him, deciding to do so, to show he was of a prestigious position. He didn't doubt that would be important.
He carefully packed the gift in his bag, not wanting to ruin the perfect wrapping.
The boat ride to the mainland was long and boring. Without a sense of urgency pushing him forward, Bobbin found the trip lonely and tiresome. He tried to remind himself that he would soon be seeing his friends, but that wasn't enough to brighten his trip.
When he finally made it to land and docked his boat, he made his way to Crystalgard. He hadn't visited since he saw Master Goodmold die two years prior, feeling guilty that he couldn't save the man, even if he didn't want to be saved. He had heard that the new elder, Master Pane, had done a good job at leading the guild through the mourning process and got everyone back into the swing of things quickly enough. The man was young, but it was clear why he was chosen, and that was what the glassmakers favored above all else: clarity.
"Hello, Master Weaver!" the man greeted, throwing out his hand in a grand gesture of welcome. Bobbin smiled and approached him.
"Aren't the dramatic antics best left to the guild of actors?" he asked, moving to shake Pane's hand. The man laughed and clapped has back before wrapping an arm around Bobbin's shoulders.
"Indeed, my friend," he agreed, "though I can't say I'm unused to such antics. My mother was an actress, so her antics were passed to me. Now, what can I do for you?"
"I just wanted to see how Crystalgard was faring after Master Goodmold's death," Bobbin explained. "I had heard you all had recovered well, but I wanted to see it for myself."
"A noble man, you are," Master Pane replied. "I had heard as much, but without having met you, I couldn't know for sure."
"You're very different from Goodmold," Bobbin commented. Master Pane had a head of thick blonde hair and bright green eyes, fitting for his boisterous attitude. Admittedly, though, Master Goodmold had been quite an animated man, but nowhere near as much as this new elder. No wonder he managed to get the guild back on its feet in a matter of months.
Master Pane waved his arms about grandly and spoke in an exuberant voice as he led Bobbin through Crystalgard. Bobbin couldn't help but chuckle from time to time. The man was sneaky, slipping in a few advertisements from time to time, trying to goad Bobbin into buying something.
"Perhaps you need a pair of glasses?" Master Pane suggested, grabbing a pair and slipping them on the Weaver's face. Bobbin protested, and when they were on, found he couldn't see a damn thing. He stumbled, throwing out his arms to try and balance himself, before ripping the offending glass spheres from his face.
"They are unnecessary," he said, handing them back to the glassmaker. "I can promise that my eyesight is impeccable."
"Of course, of course, a wizard can always fix his eyesight!" Master Pane exclaimed. "How foolish of me. Come, I have something you may find interesting." Bobbin nodded, though he was a bit hesitant, and followed Master Pane.
The two found themselves in the upstairs area where the great Scythe Chaos had stolen was. In its place was a glass replica of said scythe, glinting in the setting sunlight. Bobbin was drawn to the replica, remembering how Goodmild had died because he refused to allow his guild to use such a weapon against Chaos. He ran his fingers across the glass, ignoring Pane's protests. He felt his breathing pick up as he was reminded of that day, of the horrors of dealing with Chaos. He wanted to pull his hand away, to ring the bell and go back to the main floor, but it was glued to the glass, stuck like it was an extension of his arm.
He was brought out of his revere when he felt a hand on his shoulder. His head snapped around to look at Pane, who sported a concerned look on his face. Bobbin ripped his hand from the glass scythe as if he had been burned, bringing his hand to his chest. He closed his eyes for a moment and took several deep breaths, calming himself from the nightmare he'd experienced.
"Are you alright?" Master Pane asked.
"Yes," Bobbin replied. "At least, I will be."
He wasted no time in walking over to the teleportation bell and rang it, barely giving Pane enough time to get close enough to be engulfed in the bell's light. When they were back on the main floor he felt like he could breathe again. He took several deep breaths before turning back to Pane.
"I'm sorry, but please, don't ever take me up there again."
Pane nodded in understanding. He led Bobbin outside to speak with the apprentices and look at their works. One of them, a young female, handed him a glass swan she'd made. "It's beautiful," he told her, turning it over in his hands.
"It's not perfect," she replied, a slight blush coloring her cheeks. "There are some flaws in the glass."
"Are there?" he asked. "I couldn't tell."
Pane led Bobbin away to another apprentice. "She's embarrassed by praise," he explained.
"She does excellent work," Bobbin replied. "How long has she been studying?"
"Not long. She started her apprenticeship about six months ago."
"Such a fast learner. What's her name."
Bobbin nodded. She lived up to her name well, with bright red hair that fell like fire across her shoulders and hazel eyes with bright streaks of orange. A fitting name for a passionate girl.
"Has she been commissioned yet?"
"Not yet. She doesn't feel she's ready yet."
"And what do you think?"
Master Pane looked over at Cinder, running a hand through his hair. When he turned to Bobbin, he shrugged. "She's good, but I agree, she still needs to improve before working for others."
"Well, when she's ready, let me know. I would like something from her." Pane nodded at Bobbin's request. "Will you be attending the wedding?"
"Rusty and Fleece's wedding? Yes, I will. They were kind enough to extend an invitation to me even though we don't know each other. I'm quite excited. We need some joy in our lives after everything that's happened in the past couple of years."
"Yes, that's what I was told," Bobbin agreed. "I just can't wait to see them again, and meet the elders of the other guilds."
"Yes, you must not leave your island much. I will make sure you meet as many elders as you can. There are quite a lot of them, old and new, and many I'm sure you will find quite interesting."
"I'm sure I will," Bobbin agreed, though he didn't feel so confident. "I should be on my way. I'm sure Fleece will be expecting me to show up before everyone else. In fact, she's probably cursing my name for not being there already."
"Of course, of course. You should arrive around nightfall. The woods are scary at that time of day, would you like someone to accompany you?"
"I've dealt with horrors worse than the woods at night, I can assure you. Please, don't trouble anyone with accompanying me, I will be fine." Bobbin took his leave before the glassmaker could protest, pulling his satchel onto his shoulder as he did.
The trek through the woods was long, yet not nearly as lonely and boring as the ride across the sea. When he finally reached the edge of the Fold, he stopped to speak with the shepherd who took watch there and petted some of the sheep.
"She'll be happy to see you," the man declared. "She's been talking about you non-stop. Rusty might be a wee bit jealous."
"He doesn't miss me?" Bobbin asked in a joking voice. The shepherd chuckled and shook his head.
"Aye, he does. He's just not as vocal about it. I think he might be a wee bit upset about the dragon still."
"I'm a wee bit upset about the dragon still," Bobbin shot back, laughing tersely. The dragon had been a nightmare for all three of them, with her stealing Fleece's sheep, taking Bobbin hostage when she mistook him for a sheep, and eating Rusty while he slept, not to mention how she managed to make everything worse whenever she got involved with something when they were trying to get Chaos back into the Void.
"Go now, wizard," the shepherd insisted, "she'll want to see you. Best not keep the lady waiting." Bobbin nodded and said his goodbyes, going further into the heart of the Fold.
When he arrived, the only house with any light spilling from its windows was the largest one, the one that housed Fleece and, now, Rusty. Tired from his long day, Bobbin dragged his feet as he walked, but he made it to the house. He knocked on the door, just loud enough that his friends could hear but wouldn't wake the rest of the village.
"Ugh," he heard Rusty complain, "more people to congratulate us."
"Hush," Fleece snapped, "they didn't have to come at all. Don't be rude to them."
Bobbin heard light footsteps approach the door, so he straightened up, trying not to look as tired as he felt. He was glad that his face had to remain hooded so that they couldn't see the full extent of his fatigue.
The door opened to reveal a slightly disheveled Fleece, her dark hair frizzy and tangled, and her blue eyes tired, but she smiled widely when she saw her guest. "My goodness, Bobbin, you're here," she cheered, pulling him into a tight hug. Rusty stood when he heard her and rushed over to them.
"Well aren't you a sight for sore eyes?" he commented, pulling him into his own hug. Bobbin laughed softly, tiredly, and allowed himself to be dragged to the kitchen table. He took the offered cup of tea from Fleece when she handed it to him.
For a moment they all sat in serene silence, just basking in being together once again. It had been too long since they had sat together, and something about it just felt right. "How've you been?" Rusty finally asked, breaking the silence.
"Tired," Bobbin admitted. "It has been hard, running the guild. The others, they aren't used to change."
"And you changed a lot I hear."
"I did." Bobbin took a sip of his tea. It wasn't a drink he had often, not liking the flavor, but he would drink it when offered; it would be rude not to. He inhaled deeply before he spoke again. "I did away with the inter-guild marriage law. I'm afraid it's the only way we can survive."
"You did the right thing," Fleece promised, placing a comforting hand on top of his. "They should marry whomever they love." Rusty nodded in agreement.
"I can't imagine not being able to marry Fleece simply because she's a shepherd and I'm a blacksmith," he said. Fleece smiled at him and he smiled back, the couple having an intimate discussion through their eyes alone.
Bobbin felt a pang of jealousy. He had never felt love, at least, not that kind of love. He could list hundreds of songs bards sang about it, how wonderful it was, and yet it never seemed to find him, no matter where he went. It was part of the reason he didn't leave his tent often, and why when he did, he almost always went to the Elder's tent or his cliff. He always felt so out of place when he saw others share those intimate moments with their lovers, and never really understood what they were talking about when they told him how they felt.
Still, even though he was jealous, he was happy his friends were happy.
"It's late," he said, "and I've had a long day. May I rest for the night?"
"Of course," Fleece replied. "We chose a nice guest room for you to stay."
Bobbin followed Fleece out into the open field, across the way, to a smaller house. She explained that he would be sharing with the elder of the guild of Seamstresses once she arrived. That was fine with him, it was simply a place to sleep. He didn't intend to be inside much.
"Remember, whoever wakes me must knock," he instructed. "I don't sleep with my hood up."
"Understood," she replied. "Sleep well, Bobbin."
"Sleep well, Fleece."
Chapter 2: Chapter 2
The next morning, when Bobbin awoke and left his room to have some breakfast, he found many of the other guild elders arriving. Some had brought apprentices with them, others had brought important guild members along to meet the others in attendance. Bobbin was the only person that hadn't brought someone else along.
"Master Bobbin!" a familiar voice boomed. Master Pane approached him with a female, probably an apprentice. "This is my apprentice, Soffietta." Bingo. Bobbin looked the girl over. She had the same red skin the Glassmakers shared, her hair was jade green and her eyes pale brown. She held herself with the same confidence of her elder, a sign she would make a good leader when he was gone.
"It's a pleasure to meet you," she said, bowing her head slightly.
"The pleasure is mine," Bobbin replied, bowing in return, though using more of his body than just his head. Thinking she had done wrong before, she quickly bowed to him fully, her body parallel to the ground.
"Soffie," her master said, "why don't you go and speak with the others. You will need to learn to introduce yourself to others if you want to lead the guild someday." She nodded and walked away, shyly approaching some other people. Master Pane wrapped an arm around Bobbin's shoulders and led him away.
"Now, you need to get acquainted with the other elders as well," he told Bobbin, who simply nodded and allowed himself to be led away. It was the truth, after all; he would need to get to know the elders he would be working with.
"Master Pane!" a woman with dark purple hair exclaimed and approached them.
"Master Vin!" Pane exclaimed and embraced her. The woman's burgundy eyes danced with amusement as she spoke with the Glassmaker momentarily before looking at Bobbin. "We haven't been introduced," she stated, extending her hand. "I'm Master Vin, elder of the guild of Vintners."
"Bobbin Threadbare," Bobbin replied, taking her hand in his own, "Elder of the guild of Weavers."
"I thought as much," Vin said, "The robe gave you away." They shared a chuckle at the statement. "I must say, I've never actually met a Weaver before. How do you bear to be isolated on your island?"
"Well, by now that's all we've ever known," Bobbin replied nonchalantly. "We're used to it."
"I can't imagine being isolated like that. Then again, we make our living off of selling our product to other people, so it would be pointless to isolate. Of course, I understand why you did. The Clerics can be awful people, though I hear the new elder is much better than Bishop Mandible. I wonder if he'll be here." She continued to ramble on, but Bobbin couldn't keep up with her.
A sudden gasp from Vin made Bobbin snap to attention. "There's Piper!" she squealed and rushed over to a man with shoulder length blonde hair in a green outfit. Pane chuckled and was about to follow her, but he stopped when he saw someone else.
"Tailor!" he exclaimed as a new woman approached them. She was in an elegant silver dress with beautiful embroidery and red gems. As she came closer, Bobbin could see that the gems acted like eyes and red wasn't the only color used, it was just the one that stood out.
"Morning, Pane," she greeted, pushing a strand of her brown hair from her face. She turned her hazel eyes to Bobbin and curtsied. "Good morning, Master Weaver," she greeted.
"Good morning," he greeted in reply. "My name is Bobbin Threadbare."
"Ah, the Savior," she said and smiled at him. "We owe you quite a bit."
"For sending Chaos back to the Void? No, I was only doing what was right."
"I'm afraid that, while you're right, I was unable to join you in the fight. We Seamstresses aren't fighters."
Bobbin could see the sincerity behind her words. "You did what you could, I'm sure," he replied. "We can't all fight. Hiding, too, knows its place in battle." She smiled and nodded at his words.
"Tailor, my dear," Pane said, reaching out and placing a hand on her arm, "your dress today looks lovely. Another masterpiece!"
"I can't take the credit for this one," she replied, "Patch made it." At this, a young girl, about eleven years old, moved from behind her elder nervously.
"Well, my dear," Pane said to the girl, "you've done remarkable work. You have a great teacher though."
"She works hard," Tailor protested. "She works day and night, improving her embroidery and stitching. She's even been commissioned by several guilds already."
"That's an impressive accomplishment for someone so young," Bobbin complimented. "You should be proud of yourself."
"Thank you," she muttered softly.
"Patch, darling, why don't you let our hosts know we've arrived and the dress is in our room," Tailor suggested. The girl nodded and scuttled away, her elder watching after her intently. "Pane, I think Ranger's looking for you."
"Then I take my leave!" he declared. "Can you introduce Bobbin to everyone else?"
"I think I can manage that," she replied. He left with a bow, leaving Bobbin and Tailor alone.
"Do you know everyone here then?" Bobbin asked, a bit unsure of himself.
"I do," she replied and wrapped an arm around his, leading him away. "As the head seamstress, I have to meet with essentially everyone at some point. It's a stressful job, but I wouldn't give it up for the world. Have you eaten yet?"
"No, it's actually what I was going to do before Master Pane found me," Bobbin replied. Tailor laughed and explained that that was how the man was, which wasn't always a good thing. Bobbin had to agree.
"Bobbin," Fleece said and hugged him. "Did you sleep well?"
"Yes," Bobbin replied, his eyes crinkling as he smiled. "The bed is surprisingly soft." Fleece laughed at the statement, and Bobbin couldn't help but think that it was the best sound in the world. Sure, it was hard to find someone that wasn't laughing, but he had seen how much Fleece had gone through during the war. She deserved to laugh.
"You must be Fleece," Tailor said, holding out her hand.
"Yes," Fleece replied. "Tailor?"
"I'm so sorry I had to over complicate things by not being able to meet with you myself. I hope you had an easy enough time with my dress."
"It is easier to make garments with the person who needs them there, but not impossible. I would like for you to try it on, though, in case I need to make any adjustments."
Fleece agreed to meet with Tailor later that day for adjustments and let them go eat. When the two elders were alone again, Tailor laughed. "It seems everyone here doesn't want us to eat," she joked. Bobbin couldn't help but join her.
"It would seem this story is all about us getting breakfast."
"I see it!" Tailor pointed out the food tent and rushed over to it. She spoke with the cook, who handed her a plate of mostly fruits, but there was some bread, cheese, and sausages. She convinced the cook to make another plate of the same breakfast for Bobbin.
"Thank you," he whispered as she ushered him away. She smiled devilishly as they went to sit down.
"He's a good friend of mine," she explained. "Stick with me and you'll get the best food." She popped a green grape into her mouth while she scanned the crowd. "I wonder where Patch wandered off to."
"She's probably with some of the other apprentices," Bobbin replied, taking a bite of his own food.
"I hope so," Tailor admitted. "They're going to need to know each other, since they're the future of our guilds rests in their hands."
"Deep words so early in the morning," Bobbin commented.
"I'm my deepest in the early hours of the day," Tailor admitted. "Everyone tells me they're scared for my future husband. They seem to think that I'm going to wake him up in the wee hours of the morning to tell him some deep bullshit I came up with."
"I'm sure your future husband will enjoy having you wake him up in the middle of the night to tell him your deep bullshit," Bobbin assured, but Tailor scoffed, shaking her head.
"It's hard to find someone who doesn't mind being awoken in the middle of the night."
Bobbin shrugged, since he couldn't disagree. They spent the rest of their breakfast talking about their friends, giving the other tips on how to approach them and talk with them. Bobbin didn't think a meal could be so enjoyable, but his unexpected friendship proved him wrong.
Chapter 3: Chapter 3
The Fold had never looked so grand before. All of he Shepherds had spent every hour the day before the wedding preparing. They set out the tables and chairs, strung the lights, hung the flowers, set the stage, and many more tasks. The more restless members of other guilds helped where they could, but they were for the most part politely asked to leave the work to the hosts.
In her room, Tailor was making last minute alterations to Fleece's dress. The most difficult part of the entire outfit was the sash that depicted Fleece's life. With all the gems used and the heavier fabric she had chosen, the sash made it difficult to walk, but there was no time to make a new one. With Patch's aid, the two tried many techniques to make the sash more manageable, but they were finding it difficult.
"I may have to stitch it to the dress once you're in it for good," Tailor finally declared in defeat. "I shouldn't have used so many gems."
"I think it's quite alright," Fleece replied. "I can manage. It isn't much of a walk, and I can get help walking over to the veranda. I will just take my time."
"Of course. I think I can take a little off the end, though." Tailor lifted the sash and measured out how much she could take off of each end before cutting off about six inches from each side and re-hemming it. Each stitch was made with extreme concentration and focus Fleece actually thought Tailor's head might explode if something broke her concentration.
Once the sash was done, Fleece found it noticeably easier to move. She wasn't sure how a single foot less of fabric could make such a difference, but it did.
"What do you think?" Tailor asked, moving out of the mirror's line of sight so Fleece could admire herself.
"It's beautiful," Fleece replied, checking every angle she could, her eyes lit up with joy and her mouth slightly agape in awe. "I've never seen something so elegant before."
"Shepherds need clothes made for durability and work in the fields instead of elegance," Tailor explained. "I hardly need to tell you that, though, you know it yourself. The more elegant garments are used mostly by the artsy guilds. But, that makes these moments even more special."
Fleece nodded her agreement. Having such a beautiful piece of art created for her, someone who wore plain work clothes, made the moment even more magnificent.
"Fleece," an older shepherd called, opening the door to the room, "they're ready for you."
"Will you need us for anything else?" Tailor asked. When Fleece shook her head, the seamstress excused herself and her apprentice to go and join the rest of the guests. They had done all they could. The rest was up to Fate.
Tailor and Patch quickly found their places at the front of the venue. She was seated next to Bobbin, who was wearing his own embroidered sash, a sign of prestige among the Weavers.
They didn't have time to exchange greetings before the music began playing and everyone stood to face the aisle. This was it. The moment everyone had been waiting for.
Fleece stood at the end of the aisle, all of the gems shimmering brilliantly in the rising sun. She looked stunning. There really was no other word to describe her in that moment. Her movements were graceful, so completely unlike the image of the shepherds, who were constantly chasing sheep and chasing predators away from them. She walked with an elegance unseen from a shepherd, but it felt so right on a woman as beautiful as her.
Bobbin stole a glance at Rusty and had to force himself not to laugh. The smith was so smitten his mouth had fallen agape as he watched his soon-to-be wife walk toward him. No doubt he'd never seen such a work of art before. Admittedly, it was hard to find Fleece without dirt on her face and twigs in her hair, covered in sheep's wool, but never had that meant she looked ugly. No, this polished Fleece was simply more stunning than she usually was.
When he could see his friend made no attempt to make himself more presentable, Bobbin nudged him and motioned for him to shut his mouth. It was embarrassing, and Rusty was glad no one was watching him. He quickly closed his mouth and straightened up.
When Fleece finally made it to the stage at the front and stood with her soon-to-be husband, the new elder of the guild of clerics, Bishop Peter, began to speak. "Gathered friends," he boomed, "we come to witness the birth of a new beginning to two people who are prepared to begin a new life together. Together, they have faced many foes, many hardships, many friends, and many happinesses. And together they shall face even more foes, hardships, friends, and happinesses. No longer will their lives be two separate lives, but one combined life. You may now speak the words."
Fleece and Rusty put their hands together, one on top of the other, and began to speak.
"From now until the end of time, we are one." As they spoke, Bishop Peter wrapped their hands in a white silk ribbon with the markings of the Clerics. "From now until the end of time, we will be together. I am yours, and you are mine. Forevermore, we are bound to and in our bodies, hearts, and spirits."
"By the power given to me by the gods, I pronounce you husband and wife," Bishop Peter declared. Everyone clapped as Rusty and Fleece kissed before they turned to the crowd and walked down the aisle, hands still bound by the ribbon. Once they had made it down the aisle, everyone followed them, some of the others helping carry Fleece's skirt.
Bobbin and Tailor walked silently together behind the rest of the crowd. They admired everything around them, from the decorations to how the trees looked in the afternoon light, to how the sheep grazed the field away from the festivities. Together, they admired how perfect the day was.
"It almost feels as if something bad is about to happen," Tailor commented after a time. Sadly, Bobbin nodded his head. "It goes to show just how far we have to go before we feel comfortable again."
"Sadly," Bobbin agreed. "That time feels so long ago, and yet, it feels like it hasn't yet ended. I still find myself waking from nightmares where all I see are her eyes, or the dead bodies of my loved ones around me, or worse."
"I'll never forget Chaos," Tailor softly declared. "She almost took Patch from me. Every night I dream that I wasn't able to save her, and I cradle her dead body in my arms. It was hard enough losing her parents years ago, I can't stand the thought of losing her, too."
Bobbin placed a hand on her shoulder, a gesture of understanding. Taking deep breaths, they placed smiles on their faces and returned to the party, where Fleece and Rusty were having their first dance as husband and wife. Fleece had removed the sash and was no able to move freely, as well as let her skirt sway in the wind.
It was the first time Bobbin had seen Tailor act distant and unhappy. He held out a hand to her as everyone started piling onto the dance floor. She raised an eyebrow at him, but took his hand and allowed herself to be pulled onto the dance floor. He twirled her around and then pulled her close like all of the other pairs.
"You've been oddly quite today," he said, placing his hand hesitantly on her hip.
"Have I?" she asked. "I hadn't noticed."
"Are you feeling alright?"
"Just a bit...reminiscent." She cast her gaze over to Patch, who was dancing in a group with the other apprentices. She was laughing and clapping her hands before linking arms with the others and spinning around.
"She's more than just your apprentice, isn't she?" Bobbin asked.
"She's like my daughter," Tailor replied. "I took her in after her parents died of the plague. I promised them I would care for her if anything happened to them, and then they were gone. She was so little she doesn't even remember them, not really. It was hard, taking care of her, but I've done my best."
She smiled softly over at her, but it fell quickly. "I was an apprentice then. That was six years ago."
Bobbin was in shock. She adopted a child when she was only thirteen years old.
The song ended and everyone started clapping. Tailor and Bobbin joined in, the two of them unable to keep from laughing as they did. Bobbin admired her smile and when the next song started, they danced together again.
In the middle of the dance floor, Fleece motioned for Rusty to look and they both smiled when they saw their friend looking happy. "Looks like he got chummy with her pretty quickly," Rusty commented with a large smirk on his face.
"He deserves to be happy," Fleece replied.
"And so do we," Rusty replied and kissed her. She giggled and allowed her husband to dip her down.
With each song, Tailor became a little more like the outgoing Tailor Bobbin knew. By the time the sun set, the pair had not only danced to basically every song, but they had also drunk quite a bit of wine, courtesy of Master Vin, who incidentally was the one refilling their cups.
This led to the two of them being pretty tipsy. They sat at a secluded table and talked, a little louder than usual, but no one paid them any mind. Everyone was having a great time talking to their own little groups of people.
Once the sun had finally set and the lights were turned on, Patch wandered over to the pair and pouted at Tailor. Immediately, Tailor snapped into mom mode and was asking her a million questions.
"I don't feel good," Patch told her. "I think I ate too much."
"Oh, my poor baby," Tailor replied. Patch scrunched up her face when Tailor pulled her into a tight hug and petted her hair like a kitten. They moved to go back to their room for the night, so Bobbin stood to walk with them.
"You don't have to come," Tailor said.
"It's fine," he replied, "it's getting late and I'm getting tired. I'll walk back with you two."
Tailor nodded and wrapped her arm around Patch's shoulders protectively. The walk to their residence was quiet, save for Tailor's occasional cooing. Once they got there, Bobbin said goodnight to Tailor and Patch before going to his own room. Once in his own, he collapsed on his bed and fell asleep instantly.