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The wedding of Cheery Littlebottom and Keen Slatequarry lasted precisely two and a half minutes, which made it by far the best wedding Sam Vimes had ever attended, despite the disturbing abundance of axes and the complete incomprehensibility of Grag Bashfullsson's homily1.

Cheery wore a leather skirt studded with metal, but her beard, even with a ribbon braided through it, couldn't match the magnificence of her new spouse's, which was splendid and red and brushed to a high gloss. In what was apparently dwarf tradition, Keen had had his share of the family gold hammered into something between clothing and armor. As he was a dwarf of considerable prominence, he would have been painful to look at if the ceremony had not taken place well out of direct sunlight.

As well as Vimes could puzzle out the old and highly formal Dwarfish, the grag urged the couple to value one another more than much gold, and to be fruitful and multiply, and then turned to the wedding guests and told them that honor required them to eat and drink their hosts out of house and home. This encouragement was hardly needed by a party of Watchmen in the presence of food and drink that wasn't being guarded by anyone.

Married life seemed to agree with Cheery, to the point where Vimes sometimes walked past her lab and heard her whistling as she worked 2, but she had always been a good-humored sort. It was easy for Vimes to forget, more or less, that anything had changed. Thus, when he and Sybil were invited round to the Slatequarry-Littlebottom residence for dinner and a Happy Announcement, Vimes was a bit surprised even though it was not the least bit surprising.

Cheery, when she answered the door, looked even happier than she had at the wedding. But she did not look at all like someone whose Happy Event was anticipated as soon as the end of Sektober. Vimes squinted down at her midsection, trying to be subtle, and Sybil nudged him with an elbow and said, "Sam."

"Right, right," he said, and handed over the traditional oddly proportioned fuzzy animal.

"Its cunning little wings!" Cheery said, correctly identifying Sybil as the proper person to coo at. "G'hraza'uk3, come and see!"

Keen came slowly into the entryway with both hands on the small of his back. His beard, still red and gleaming, was divided into two tails over a belly that was ... was ...

"But," Vimes said, and then hissed in pain as a sensible low heel came down on his small toe.

"Sam," Sybil said between the teeth of a genteel smile.

"But he --"

"Sam." The smile got more genteel, which meant that the teeth got more visible.

"But what am I meant to say when --"

Sybil took Cheery and Keen by the shoulders and beamed a genuine smile at them. "What you're meant to say," she said, "is, 'Congratulations.'"


1 As opposed to the human weddings he had attended, including his own, in which the homily was only mostly incomprehensible.

2Unless that noise was coming from her chemical explorations of the peculiar mix of salts that Leonard of Quirm used in his Workings Similar To Fire.

3 Dwarfish has a good variety of words and endearments for 'spouse.' 'G'hraza'uk,' which is idiomatically similar to 'better half,' literally means 'lantern carrier.' By contrast, the standard Trollish word for 'spouse' is precisely the same as the standard Trollish word for 'ouch.'