84. Chapter 83 - May 1437
He’d asked her father if they could go for a ride alone today and he’d seemed more nervous than usual. Her father had agreed--thanks in part to some pointed glares from both Estella and Éowyn--and after lunch they’d set out on their ride. Pippin hadn’t said much of anything to her since leaving Edoras and it worried her.
When he did finally speak, she startled from her worried thoughts. “This looks like a good spot,” he said and pulled his pony to a halt.
They were next to a small hill, one of countless small dunes that covered the plains of Rohan like waves. They left their ponies to graze at the bottom and Pippin took her hand and they walked through the waist-high grass to the top. The sight of the plains stretching out before her--with no mountains or large settlements to break the horizon--always took Ivy’s breath away. She closed her eyes and turned her face into the wind that smelled like sun-warmed grass. If she didn’t love the Shire so much, she’d want to live here. She opened her eyes and found she was facing southeast. Over the trees that lined the banks of the River Snowbourne, she could see the mound of Edoras in the distance.
“It’s beautiful here,” she sighed.
“You’re beautiful,” Pippin said. He brushed windblown strands of hair from her face and kissed her. Ivy smiled into the kiss, until she realized he was shaking slightly. She pulled back to look at him.
“Is something wrong, Pippin?”
He shook his head. “No. Nothing’s wrong. I just...” He took her hand. “Come sit with me.”
They sat, the tall grass over their heads now. Pippin leaned back into it, lying on his back to look at the sky. He was quiet for a while and Ivy watched him nervously, wondering what was going on. Because she did think something was wrong. “There is something I want to talk about with you, Ivy,” he finally said.
Ivy frowned, very worried now. He wouldn’t look at her. He was still looking at the sky.
“I want you to know that since you came back from Gondor, you’ve brought a lot of happiness to me. When you were a baby, Frodo had said you were a light in the darkness and I believe you still are.”
But...thought Ivy, her chest suddenly tight with fear.
“We’ve been through a lot. We’ve made some mistakes. We caused your dad some grief. But I’d like to think we’re stronger for it.
But...thought Ivy, biting her lip, trying very hard not to cry. Her mind was racing, panicking. He’s breaking it off, for real this time!
“I’ve been through a lot. After Diamond... well, there were times when I thought I’d be better off alone, to not risk going through that again. But you changed my mind, Ivy.”
He looked at her then. There were tears in his eyes. Ivy drew in a deep breath and just stared at him, as what he was really saying sank in.
“I know this is sudden. We haven’t been courting very long, really. But I don’t want to put it off any longer.” He rolled over to his side and took her hand. “What I’m trying to say is that I love you and I want to spend the rest of my life with you. Will you marry me?”
Ivy just continued to stare at him, open mouthed. Marry? Did he just ask her...? “Yes!” she squeaked. She clapped her hands over her mouth. She was going to marry Pippin!
Pippin grinned and pulled her down, gathering her in his arms and kissing her quite thoroughly. Ivy couldn’t breath, whether from the kiss or the proposal, she didn’t know. He pulled away and looked in her eyes.
“I’ll have to ask your dad, of course,” he said, winking at her.
She nodded, still trying to catch her breath. Then poked him in the side. “Why were you so nervous? Did you think I’d say ‘no’? You scared me! I thought you’d had enough of me and--”
He cut her off with a kiss, rolling them over so that he was half on top of her. He looked in her eyes and brushed his fingers over her cheek. “I’ll never have enough of you,” he whispered. Then he smiled. “And I was nervous because I’ve never asked someone to marry me before. The last one was done for me! And I wanted to do this right! I didn’t want to mess up and--”
It was Ivy’s turn to cut him off.
Her family was all together in the hall when they returned. Ivy was grateful for that, because she didn’t think she’d have been able to keep her news contained while they got everyone together.
Ivy gave Pippin’s hand an encouraging squeeze, then he let go and walked up to her father.
“Could I speak with you a moment, Merry,” he asked. Ivy could hear the nervous shake in his voice. She was pretty sure there was nothing to be nervous about, that her dad was expecting this to happen, but Pippin was still nervous.
“Sure, Pip,” Merry said. He gave Ivy a curious look, but she could only smile back at him. She was afraid if she opened her mouth, she’d reveal what Pippin was going to talk to him about. And she wanted Pippin to be able to do this the way he wanted, officially asking her dad for permission to marry her. Ivy watched them walk outside.
“What’s going on, Ivy?” Estella asked.
Ivy looked at her. Now that Pippin and her father were gone, she figured she could tell everyone else. “He...” She let out a sound between a laugh and a sob and covered her mouth. It still overwhelmed her, that she was really going to marry Pippin! Estella and Éowyn shared a look, grinning at each other.
“Oh, he didn’t!” exclaimed Éowyn. She and Estella both got up and hugged Ivy, who collapsed into the embrace of the two women who were her mothers. Soon all three were laughing through their tears.
“What did he do?” Uncle Éomer asked.
“He proposed!” exclaimed Aunt Lothiriel, shaking her head at her confused husband before coming over to embrace Ivy.
The door opened and her father came in followed by Pippin. Pippin was grinning ear to ear. Her father came up to her and pulled her into a hug. “I’m happy for you, Ivy-lass.” he said.
The hall erupted in cheers from her family.
“Is Ivy going to be my mother now?”
Pippin looked down at Fari’s curious face. He had brought his son out to help with the ponies, just the two of them, in case Fari wanted to talk. This was yet another big change in his son’s chaotic life.
“She’ll be my wife, but if you’re not comfortable calling her your mother, that’s all right, Fari. She’ll understand.” Pippin paused his brushing the pony. “Is this all right with you, me marrying Ivy?”
Fari nodded and smiled. “I like her. Theo and Eomer think she’s a bossy sister, but I think she’s nice.”
Pippin smiled and ruffled his son’s hair. He was glad Fari was happy with this. He hoped it would make up for all the pain in his young life.
Fari gave the pony a few more strokes of the brush, biting his lip thoughfully, then he looked up at his father. “When you marry Ivy, can I have a brother?”
Pippin laughed and bent down to hug Fari. He was hoping for the same thing. He knew Fari longed to have siblings like the Brandybucks and Gamgees. He would love nothing more than to give his son a brother. He looked in Fari’s eyes and winked. “We’ll see, Fari.”
Pippin realized he was holding his breath and let it out in a nervous sigh. He tried not to look at the people in the hall, watching him. He had to pretend they didn’t exist, he just had to concentrate on what he needed to say. He was terrified of messing up and forgetting the oath.
Since they were in Rohan--and Ivy was half Rohirric--they would do the betrothal in the Rohirric tradition. They’d spent the morning negotiating handgeld and brýdgifu and morgengifu. It wasn’t so different from a hobbit betrothal. The handgeld was the same as a hobbit’s bride wealth, the payment to the girl’s family for giving up their daughter. The brýdgifu was Ivy’s dowry--her own things she’d collected for marriage and her share of the inheritance from her father. The hobbits didn’t have an equivalent to the morgengifu, gifts from the groom to the bride on the morning of the wedding. And not just any trifle. A common morgengifu was a tract of land or horses or a substantial amount of gold that would become the wife’s own property.
The prospective groom traditionally approached the girl’s father with friends to back him up for the negotiations. Pippin would have chosen Reg, Everard, Ferdy and Sam for the job, but as they were all far away in the Shire, Faramir took the place of his ‘best man’.
Faramir was standing next to him now, at the front of the hall, as they waited for Ivy.
“I’m going to forget what to say,” Pippin whispered to the man standing next to him. The whole ceremony was on his shoulders. Ivy didn’t have to say a thing. He was the only one who could mess it up.
Faramir chuckled. “No you won’t. I didn’t, and neither will you.” Faramir patted his shoulder and leaned close. “And I’ll be here to whisper the words to you if you do forget.”
Pippin grinned at him and then Ivy was coming in, flanked by Estella and Éowyn. Pippin gasped at the sight. She wore a dress of light green, with a pattern of ivy leaves around the scooped neckline. The women of the hall had quickly sewn and embroidered it for her in just a few days. She wore jewelry borrowed from the Queen, ancient heirlooms of other queens of Rohan. Her hair was loose and framed her face like a golden veil. If there was any doubt that Ivy was the daughter of kings, today that doubt would disappear.
Ivy stood in front of him, smiling at him, and he smiled back. Then he completely forgot what he needed to say, his mind a blank.
He took Ivy’s hand in his--as was required--and shifted slightly to kick Faramir’s shin with his heel.
“We declare...” whispered Faramir.
“We declare,” Pippin said, the words suddenly coming back to him, “ourselves witnesses that thou, Ivy Brandybuck, bondest me in lawful betrothal, and with taking hold of hands thou pledge me marriage in exchange for the handgeld and morgengifu promised, and engagest me to fulfill and observe the whole of the oath between us, which has been said in the hearing of witnesses without duplicity or cunning, as a real and authorized compact.”
He took a deep breath and glanced at the crowd, at Éomer’s nod that he’d done it right, at Merry’s proud face smiling at him, and even Gimli was there beaming at him, having rushed over from Helm’s Deep as soon as he’d received word. Then Éomer raised his cup to toast them, the others following, and Faramir clapped him on the shoulder.
Then he looked back at Ivy and she was smiling at him with tears in her eyes. He didn’t know if it was tradition or not, but he kissed her anyway.
This is a work of fan fiction, written because the author has an abiding love for the works of J R R Tolkien. The characters, settings, places, and languages used in this work are the property of the Tolkien Estate, Tolkien Enterprises, and possibly New Line Cinema, except for certain original characters who belong to the author of the said work. The author will not receive any money or other remuneration for presenting the work on this archive site. The work is the intellectual property of the author, is available solely for the enjoyment of Henneth Annûn Story Archive readers, and may not be copied or redistributed by any means without the explicit written consent of the author.