1. Aulendil, Lover of Aule
The Elf bowed very low to the Dwarf King and then knelt before the Throne. Durin waited to see if he would speak of his purpose in daring to enter the tunnels of the Dwarves, but he uttered no word. Durin nodded and stroked his beard. This Elf was clever; the sparkle in his diamond-eyes conveyed as much. He knew something of the custom of the Dwarves and honored them, unlike the Dark Elves or Men who treated all things Dwarven with scorn.
"Speak, o Stranger," Durin commanded at last. As with all dealings with outsiders, Durin spoke in the Mannish tongue.
"I beg leave to speak with the King of the Dwarves alone," said the messenger.
Durin's eyes narrowed. "There is none here but you and I," he said. The score of Dwarves in the Hall were the Royal Guard and were treated as stone that came to life only to defend the King. The Elf glanced at Dwalin. It was true that Dwalin was not accounted among the Royal Guards, but he was the King's most trusted advisor. "He is my Director General," Durin said. "I will repeat what you say to him in confidence later. What difference is there in his presence?"
"If you choose to reveal to him later what I say to you, that is your choice, but the Dark Lord has agents in the most unlikely of places, and I must exercise the utmost caution."
"Are you suggesting that I might be working for the Destroyer?" Dwalin roared. He drew his axe.
The Elf did not blanche. "I am not suggesting such a thing. I am merely stating the reason for my excessive precautions."
Durin laughed and gestured to Dwalin to put his axe away. "Let the messenger have his way. I, for one, would like to hear what he has to say before the world is rent apart." Dwalin scowled darkly at the Elf before leaving the Hall of the King. "Speak now," Durin commanded.
The Elf pulled his shirt open and prostrated himself before the Throne so that Durin could see the mark on his back. Under his right shoulder was the tattoo of a hammer and an anvil, and though it appeared plain, there was something of that mark that struck Durin to the core.
"I am one of seven of the Lovers of Mahal, Lord of the Smith," the Elf said. Durin's eyes widened in surprise in spite of himself. The Elf was speaking in the secret language of the Dwarves, a tongue that none would teach to an outsider.
"How can it be?" Durin wondered aloud.
"It is a tale long in the telling, and the days grow too short now for its retelling," said the messenger. He pulled his shirt closed, covering the holy mark. "I am Silver-fist, Celebrimbor in my tongue, and I have come as a messenger of the Smith and his brethren. The Lords of the West now wage open war against the Dark Lord Morgoth, whom you call the Destroyer, and I am bidden to ask the Dwarves of Khazad-dum to join in this great battle."
Durin looked thoughtfully at the Elf. The mark of the hammer and anvil was made by Mahal himself, that Durin did not doubt. Could it be true that the Dwarves would at last be delivered from the Shadow?
"I perceive that you speak truly, yet I know little of our Maker. Tell me more of your acquaintance with him," Durin commanded.
"Of the Elf-kind who now dwell in the Lands of the West, only seven were so treasured by the Maker that he admitted them into his holy counsel." Celebrimbor's smile was slight but proud. "I am one. The other six were Mahtan, Nerdanel, Feanor, Enerdil, Maedhros, and Curufin. We alone bear the mark of the Smith. Because of my tie to the Lord of the Smith, I was chosen to deliver the message of war to the Dwarves."
"You were well-chosen," Durin said. "The Dwarves will march against Morgoth."
"I thank you, King Durin." Celebrimbor bowed his head.
"And I thank you in return, Aulendil," Durin said in the archaic form of Quenya that he had learned from the Noldor that refused the summons of the Valar. It was obvious that Celebrimbor understood despite the antiquity of the Quenya. "I look forward to hearing tales of our Creator between our councils of war."
"All the Dwarves from Belegost to Khazad-dum will follow the standards of King Durin, for he is the eldest of the Fathers of the Dwarves," Celebrimbor said to Eonwe upon his return. The War of Wrath had already been raging for years, and the remnants of the Elves of Beleriand had eventually joined the hosts of the Valar in the war against Morgoth.
"I rejoice that you have convinced the Dwarf-kind to join us in battle," said Eonwe, Herald of Manwe and leader of the Hosts of the Valar. "Your service in this matter is duly noted, and you may return now to the hosts of Maedhros."
"I will return to where the Dwarves are marshaling and will henceforth march under the standard of King Durin," Celebrimbor said.
Eonwe raised an eyebrow. "Have you spoken of this to Maedhros?"
Celebrimbor had gone to Maedhros prepared to beg to be discharged from his army. He no longer wanted to be the son of a Kinslayer. He no longer wanted to be the son of a man who had refused to aid his cousin in the fulfillment of an Oath. He no longer wanted to be son of one who had sought to slay Luthien, fairest child of the Elves.
Before Celebrimbor could say any of this to Maedhros, Maedhros had said, "We are both Lovers of Aule, but I am the eldest son of Feanor and must lead the exiled Noldor and the Elves of Beleriand. Thus, it falls to you to look after the Children of Aule."
"He is also a Lover of Aule," Celebrimbor said to Eonwe. "He understood and gave me leave to fight beside the Dwarves."
Notes: This is Durin I, who "died before the Elder Days had passed" (RotK 439). In this story, he supposedly dies in the War of Wrath, fighting against Morgoth. (I decided to spare you the melodrama of Celebrimbor at his death since I didn't have time to properly build up their friendship in this short fic.)
It is said that the language of the Dwarves was secret and not taught to outsiders, but Curufin, Celebrimbor's dad, supposedly learned some of it (XII. 358). Here, I've made the assumption that a similar secret language was used among the smiths of Aule.
Nerdanel's father alone was stated as being an "Aulendil" (XII. 365). The other six Lovers of Aule are my own choice. Mahal is the Dwarvish name for Aule.
It's also said that "[Eonwe] summons all Elves, and Dwarves, and Men, and Beasts, and birds to his standards, who do not elect to fight for Morgoth" (IV. 370). I take that to mean that the remnants of the Elves of Beleriand, like those following Maedhros, and the Dwarves eventually join the hosts of the Valar. Khazad-dum is east of Beleriand, but Morgoth's servants did attack them there, so I assume they'd be willing to travel westward for the Great War.
(Sorry for the long notes. I figured the story would require some justification since it requires piecing together what little is written about Dwarves.)
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