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The room Bridgepin held court over was not unlike any other in which a number of trolls may finalize any other contract; warm but linear, comfortable but practical, each item of decor chosen to inspire confidence and decisiveness. At its center was an oblong table, with Bridgepin standing at the head. The wizened troll's robe was embellished by an amulet signifying her as one of the Scholars. However, hers was a role of high standing and import amongst all Houses in Troll society; Bridgepin was a match-maker.
Standing across from her to the left were buxom Cauldron and stout Inkstain. Scholars both, though Cauldron had been born to a pair of Provisionists that Bridgepin's mentor had selected for each other. Arms locked, Inkstain patting Cauldron's hand, theirs was a union which had clearly become incidentally quite affectionate. On the other side, straight-backed Pigment and pear-shaped Gearslip. He a Scholar and she a Tinker, they made a fine and mutually beneficial example of a successful 'mixed' marriage. The four of them were mid-high to high ranked; the outcome of this final meeting would bring status and security to everyone involved.
Years of research, months of interviews, and weeks of parchment pushing had led to this moment. Three signed copies of the engagement certificate were gathered before her, which Bridgepin had stamped with her seal in green wax. Two were rolled and set into their scroll cases. The third was laid out before her. Bridgepin took the open copy in hand and read aloud from it. She began by stating the day's date, and the time. Forwarding on, she spoke in an officious tone. "Let it be set down that on the stated day and time a contract of betrothal was signed an enacted between the parties of Cauldron and Inkstain and the parties of Pigment and Gearslip. Pursuant to engaging upon a marital union of their offspring: Thumbprint, daughter of Cauldron, age twelve, and Slag, son of Pigment, age four. The marriage ceremony to commence no later than one-hundred and thirty years from the time this contract was enacted. For the benefit of the two parties and their families has this contract been made, and in that spirit shall it be carried out. In the name of their future offspring and the great and honorable Houses of Underhaven."
With that pronouncement, it was done. Bridgepin put her copy in its case; soon it would be placed into the official records. She handed the other scrolls to Cauldron and Pigment respectively; the mother of the bride-to-be and the father of the prospective groom. She then led the fortunate couples to a small receiving room where they could chat or carry on a small celebration as they wished. It wasn’t uncommon for one of the pairs to bring with them a small share of spirits. But Bridgepin herself would not be partaking in the social niceties. She excused herself to return to her study, and the materials needed for her next assignment. There was always another young troll to pair off, and years of research, interviews, and parchment-pushing ahead of her.
Author Note: IN-JOKE ALERT: This story is dated to match the original broadcast date of the Star Trek TOS episode “Amok Time.”