Hand to Hand: 7. Interior Designs

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7. Interior Designs

Genius . . . has been defined as a supreme capacity for taking trouble.  . . .  It might be more fitly described as a supreme capacity for getting its possessors into trouble of all kinds and keeping them therein so long as the genius remains.

--Samuel Butler, "Genius"

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Sút leaned back with her tankard, grey eyes bright with devilry.  "All this grumbling over your Gunduzahar," she chuffed.  "Elves and Men and the sea--  Will you be returning there, or have you had enough adventure?"

Passing Hlin her wine, Auð sniffed.  "Adventure?"  Sút had best not cast stones, not after that mad sally beyond the doors she had instigated in their youth.  "The greatest peril, once it was plain I need not take an axe to Siggr after all, was the lack of female society.  The delf is very snug," she maintained, pouring another goblet for Makt, "but I missed your company."

So, though her hopes were slim, Auð meant to try to convince at least one of them to join in the venture . . . or perhaps she would not go back west with Veylin and Thyrd.  She had still not found a fit opportunity to speak frankly with her brother about her discontentment in Gunduzahar.  At first, he had been too pestered with settling the disputes that had sprung up here during his long absence: Dwarves were quarrelsome folk, and keeping them peaceable was no simple task.  Veylin was an excellent chieftain, better than their father in some ways because more persuasive--he could explain why the course he advised would be more profitable than another in terms a blockhead could understand--yet it was easier to mend a rift when it was small, and during the three seasons they were in the coastlands, some had widened almost beyond repair.

Then, just as his patience was no longer so tried with shoring up other's bonds of amity and kinship, the desire that he stay in Sulûnduban, or stay longer, grew more audible.  Auð thought the latter an excellent proposal; Súlimë was early to cross the mountains, with a pack train so large as theirs.  Still, she saw he smouldered, silently, beneath such talk: he knew his duty, but a great hoard of flaming opal lay locked in Gunduzahar and his hands must ache to hold it.  Nothing good would come of complaint now, no matter how well-meant.  Perhaps she could mend her dissatisfactions herself, rather than add to his burdens.  She would try, in any case.

"Tell us what the delf is like," Nordri's wife Eigsa asked, taking a slice of plum-cake.  "One never knows how seriously to take the men's brags."

"You needn't fish," Auð assured her, with a knowing smile.  "Your men have made an excellent job of it.  I begin to think a mason must have virgin stone to show his talents to best effect."

"I would not mind hearing something," Makt allowed, with a sigh of appreciation over her wine.  Like Auð, she was a widow, but not so well-provided and finding it difficult to properly support her lad on the slender profits lampwrighting brought.  Gunduzahar already had a lampwright, it was true, but Auð thought Laufir less content there than herself.  "Is it much like here, only smaller?"

"Yes and no."  Auð took up her own wine-goblet and gazed on the warm red sandstone of her parlor walls, the cut faces of the pebbles within providing a gleaming speckle of variety.  How well she remembered the boys fingering them, as they first learnt the different stones!  Thyrd always had to be watched, lest he try to pick out the little piece of needle-quartz in the corner.  "It is delved in basalt, very dark and coarse, though pocked and threaded with copper.  Which," she told Hlin, "is why your husband has stayed so long away."

"Bersi has shown me the metal," she replied, the deep corners of her placid smile betraying her satisfaction.  "He is excused."

"Is there any silver?" Sút asked.

Auð looked to Hlin, who would know better than she.  After hoisting a questioning, sand-colored brow--for Sút was a silversmith--Hlin said, "A little, I understand, from the latest vein."

To take them to safer ground, Makt observed, "If the stone is dark, lighting must be an expense."

Eigsa caught a stray crumb before it vanished in her honey-gold beard.  "Nordri says they have faced the great hall with a lovely limestone from White Cliffs."

"Yes: a fine, pale stone, which takes carving beautifully.  Aðal is almost as besotted with it as Nordri.  The hall is four bays, the pillars a dozen paces high, and space has been left to expand.  The vault and pillars have been left dark, and the floor paved with a grand red pegmatite flecked with black and white.  After some persuasion, Siggr deigned to furnish it in cherry and oxblood leather."

Hlin snorted and gave her head a wondering, indulgent shake.  "You Firebeards and your passion for red."

"It pleases Veylin, and Rekk does not care.  As you know, I prefer green, and they have found me a granite that color, to face my suite."

Sút, who found such talk tedious, leaned forward for another currant biscuit and murmured, low as scandal, "Is it true that there are Men at White Cliffs, who are ruled by a woman?"

"Ruled by a woman?" Makt exclaimed, shocked.  The other two, who had surely heard of the Lady from their husbands, merely looked to Auð, silent, eyes lit with furtive fascination.

Auð took a considering sip of wine.  She would not deprive her friends of such titillating gossip, but she must take care not to disturb them overmuch, or they would never accompany her.  "Yes.  She has come to Gunduzahar to trade."

"She has come to Gunduzahar?" Eigsa gasped, meaning an outlander had passed its defenses.

"She has come to Gunduzahar?" Sút gaped, meaning the woman had gone abroad.  Hlin's lack of astonishment told Auð much of the confidence between her and her husband, and Makt was chewing perturbedly on her chestnut whiskers.

"And I have met her, thrice.  She is quite strange," Auð said candidly.  "Eccentric even by the peculiar standards of Men, it seems, but well-mannered and a shrewd woman of business.  All her kinsmen save two youths were slain by the fiends, and so she has taken their affairs into her own hands."

"There are no men of fit age at all?" Makt murmured, near sympathy.  She knew the grief of loss and the labor of managing without a partner.

Auð was not clear on this point herself.  "You have heard that there are different kinds of Men, some high and some low, and the lower look to the high as if they were their elders?  The Lady is of the higher kind, descended from the Kings of the North.  There are men of full age among her charges, but they are of the lower kind, and it seems Men consider it fitter for her to rule."

"She has no distant kinsmen, who dwelt in other mansions?"

"Men do not live in mansions," Eigsa reminded Makt.

Makt chuffed.  "Elsewhere, then, wherever that might be!"

"Yes, their chieftain sent men to bring her and her charges to their fastnesses beyond the Lune, but the Lady believes them safer beside the sea, in the hall Nordri delved into the cliff for them, and the land richer.  Also," Auð concluded, to tip the balance, "the Lady has come to appreciate Dwarves as neighbors."

"I should hope so, if they give her a sound hall to dwell in," Sút said.  "That was your brother's doing, was it not?"

"To repay her for his life and leg, yes."  Would that Thekk had not been rent beyond repair; Auð would have given more than a few chambers cut in stone for the salving of her love.  "Those trades, and others since, have established a confidence between them, which is why the Lady is welcome in Gunduzahar . . . and willing to venture there.  Her own hospitality is, I understand, generous indeed, and the men did not wish to get behindhand."

"But . . . do we not hear our men constantly grumbling about the untrustworthiness of Men, of their ill dealing and disrespect?"  Makt's husband had been a traveling blacksmith, no great craftsman but hardworking and stouthearted, willing to take his skills to settlements others passed by.  From the little his kinsmen had found when, long overdue, they sought him, they believed Orcs rather than Men were to blame for his death.

All the women nodded or murmured agreement, for who could not repeat a dozen tales of bad faith, broken promises, and scorn?  "Although," Sút allowed, "some of the Longbeards speak well of the Men of Dale, who dwelt hard by Erebor, their trade enriching both."

"It would be pleasant, I think," Hlin mused, "to have a good market on your doorstep, so the men were not so often, nor so long, away."

"That is what Veylin hopes for, Nordri says."  Eigsa shrugged.  "Yet the Men at White Cliffs are very poor and very few, and though they work hard to improve their fortunes, even our grandsons are not likely to find much profit there."

Sút gave an amused snort.  "Not yours, perhaps, but Hlin's and Auð's may do very well in the coastlands, whether the Men prosper or not."  She eyed Auð's new belt with pointed appreciation.  "That is handsome fire opal."

"Isn't it?"  Auð sat up straighter: the gold and opal blended nicely with her beard, but the splendid clasp-emerald should not be obscured.  "Come," she wheedled, "cannot I convince some of you to keep me company, even if only for a season?  A share in the venture is not inconsiderable.  Hlin, Eigsa--your husbands and sons will be there . . . and if a brother is this grateful, how much more will they be?  A new delf, Makt, needs more lamps than one well established.  And you, Sút--you are not afraid to venture outside the mansion, I know!"

Her lifelong friend laughed, but the raven beard that looked so well beneath her silver jewelry did not hide all her blush.  "Will you not allow that my wisdom has grown with age?"

"You are serious?" Hlin asked, soberly.  "This is not a jest?"

Auð met her gaze.  The Broadbeam was not a dear friend, nor one of her own finding; Veylin's friendship with Bersi had brought them together.  Yet while Hlin was not a merry soul, she had a great store of patience and made little fuss.  "No, I am in earnest.  Will you come to Gunduzahar?"

Hlin dropped her eyes to the lees of her wine, lips pursed.  "I will consider it."

"I can ask no more," Auð, replied, taking up the flagon beside her.  "Except . . . more wine?"

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"That is not," Thjalfi rumbled, halting before Girni, "what Rekk heard you say."

Girni, perched on the edge of the bare oaken seat, glanced uneasily at Rekk.  The umber-bearded waterwright stared back, arms crossed and eyes flat, waiting to be called a liar.  "Your wassail was very good this year, Thjalfi.  I may have drunk more than was wise."

Bogi, in the chair beside him, shut his eyes in disgust, breath hissing out as if he were cold-quenching his anger.

Stung by the speechless rebuke, Girni snapped, "I told you no good would come of Narvi's workings!"

Keeping silent in the corner settle, Veylin rubbed his thumb over an already smooth knot on his cherrywood stick.  No, no good had come of them.  He doubted Girni would get much credit for his sagacity, but Narvi would be relieved to hear that the gravest of the remaining claims had crumbled.  As Bogi began recriminating his wife's brother for drunken garrulousness, Veylin stopped listening.  He had heard too many squabbles lately, and this one was no longer his responsibility.

Thankfully, the dispute with Narvi had not come to such backbiting among his own people.  Hyr, a forger of chain and the only injured party of their line, had suffered worse than the others, who were Thjalfi's folk: Nordri and Narvi and Bunir together were still puzzling over the best way to stabilize his ceilings.  Nordri thought granite would have to be brought in, a heavy expense for the modest craftsman.  Yet it had taken no more than two pints of good beer in the sanctum of his office and heartfelt though baffled commiseration to draw out Hyr's shamefaced admission of falsity.  Knowing Narvi's skill, the chain-maker had thought nothing of nodding, the request and permission alike no more than neighborly courtesies.  But then ruin befell, just as Dyr secured the affections of Fastir's daughter, which meant marriage settlements, and when the other two laid charges . . . .

Veylin made Hyr feel that he had tarnished his character, but he also offered him kindly terms on such assistance as he might require with repairs.  What Dwarf was not grasping, when pinched?  He must teach them to come to him, however, rather than over-reach, especially amongst themselves.

Thjalfi, meanwhile, was hammering at the flaws in his own children.  "Why do you do these things, Bogi?  It is not as if you cannot afford the repairs--"

Girni muttered, "Laun never liked that vaulting, anyway."

"Now you grumble," Thjalfi growled, sparing the cobbler a furious glance.  "Fool, to hold your tongue for someone you think stints your sister!  If you--" he included Bogi "--suspected malice on Narvi's part, there might be some excuse for sharp dealing, but still it would have been better to bring your complaints to me.  Instead," his fellow chieftain flung a hand in Veylin's direction, "you have shamed me before Thrir's Line, who have been nothing but obliging.  Out!" Thjalfi bellowed, slamming a fist onto the scarred oak of his desk.  "Get out of my sight, and let me see if I can salvage anything from this botch!"

Girni promptly complied, pausing only for a conciliatory bob in Veylin's direction; Bogi went more sullenly, giving Rekk a resentful glare.  The waterwright repaid him with an openly contemptuous curl of his lip . . . yet Rekk's uncompromising honesty might stir up trouble for him, again, if the tile-maker put it about that he was unfaithful to his kin.

"You, too, Rekk," Thjalfi said, dropping into his seat with an angry huff.

Rekk seemed unperturbed by the brusque dismissal, but when the door had closed behind him Veylin ventured, "You are not angry that he did not speak to you first, I hope."

Thjalfi shook his head.  "What use would that be, with you two so close in each other's counsels?  No; I am grateful you are allowing me to handle this quietly, rather than exposing those two before all comers in court."  Taking up his tankard, he made a face before drowning the ill taste of the proceedings in stout.  "I would be more grateful still if you could persuade Narvi to settle with Skap before then.  We both know, I think," the older chieftain said, dark chestnut brows low over his seasoned gaze, "that he was not guiltless there."

Veylin grunted and reached for his own mug.  While the mason had been cleared of neglect on the other counts, the third seemed likely to stick, and Narvi resisted attempts to bring him to candor, dismissing Skap's claims as trivial and turning any discussion to the genuinely pressing repairs.  It was true that the candle-maker's damages were slight--the cracks in his southern vault were unsightly rather than dangerous, and even Bunir agreed that mortar and plaster would do all that was required--but his outrage was far out of proportion.  When Veylin had visited him, he came away with the impression that Skap was both leery to the edge of trepidation and sensitive to imputations of faintheartedness.  An awkward combination . . . so it was difficult to believe that one who now looked on his fathers' roof with such suspicion would have consented to anything that might weaken it.

Having gotten permission from the others, Narvi might have scorned the unreasonable fears of one--and be reluctant to admit it, now that they had been realized.  The mason might trust that the court would require him to make no more than the necessary repairs, even if Skap did not withdraw his charge and exposed himself to ridicule on the day.  Certainly court would take less of Narvi's now over-taxed time than striving to reach agreement with one so extreme in his demands.  But whichever way judgment went, someone's reputation would be injured, and Dwarves cherished grudges as though they were gold.

The problem was much on Veylin's mind as he made preparations for returning to Gunduzahar.  Supplies of coal and lamp oil, wheat and oats; he must look for a brewer, if one able to share the kitchen peaceably with Bersa could be found, as well as a blacksmith willing to do a bit of farriery for Maelchon and Halpan.  At least Rekk had undertaken to find the plumber for the baths promised to Auð: they would arrange the freighting of the weighty lead.  With the Men's herds prospering, they would not need so much salt beef.  Salt . . . the sea was salt.  Was there a way to take salt from the water?  He doubted it would be the equal of rock salt from the North Farthing, but that was dear and the freight heavy.  Saelon might know: he would ask.

Sitting over the drawings of Gunduzahar with Nordri one evening, planning how to expand the habitation levels--Nordri had taken on two new prentices; Bersi was finalizing contracts with three miners and intimated that his wife thought of joining him; and Aðal had persuaded Vígir, a Longbeard who had prenticed alongside him, to join them--Veylin sighed and set his wine goblet down on a corner of the roll that threatened to overpower the chunk of garnet schist already weighting it.  "I wish matters were so simply arranged here.  Narvi could set his prentices to delving Skap a new suite with an unbroken roof, and be done with him."

Nordri snorted.  "If Skap insists on an unbroken roof, he will have to remove to the Fifth Deep, or out of the mansion entirely!  This sandstone--" he gazed fondly at the mellow maroon of the wall "--is old, and intricately faulted."

Veylin had consulted Regin's plans of the mansion, to understand where Narvi had gone wrong, and seen the network of fine lines that marked breaks in the stone, those that were still colored in shades of saffron and those that shifted in scarlet.  Tilting his head to consider the scroll before him, he asked, "Does Gunduzahar lack faults, or have you not drawn them in yet?"

Stroking his amber beard with a show of pompous complacency, Nordri assured him, "Gunduzahar is faultless," then chuckled.  "Well, nearly so.  The basalt was lain down during the last great cataclysm, and has not been tried as the older rock has.  There is a slight crack here--" he pointed to a section near the back door "--and another here--" through the storeroom level "--but I am sure we will find more as we delve deeper."

Into, most likely, stone such as this, whereas here the Fifth Deep was cut into the foundation of the world, gneiss tempered to toughness on some inconceivable forge.  "Does Narvi hold any suites in the Fifth Deep?"  He might well: there was little new delving in the mansion these days, but what there was was on that level.

"Perhaps."  The mention of his cousin cast reserve across Nordri's face.  "He did at one time.  I remember him complaining that no one was interested in the freehold, but that was some years ago."

"Would you find out if he still has any?" Veylin asked, taking up his goblet again.  This had the ineffable savour of a profitable idea, but one must not be too sanguine, lest fortune take offense.  "And whether he would be willing to trade one for Skap's in the Fourth Deep?"

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"The Fifth Deep?" Skap exclaimed, glaring from Veylin to Narvi, beard bristling with offense.  "Why should I want to dwell down there?"

"Thjalfi, would you be so good as to weigh down that corner?" Veylin asked, passing his fellow chieftain one of Regin's enameled marble weights.  "I have given your complaints much thought, Skap, particularly your concern for the security of your vault.  That is why I asked you to meet us here.  Have you ever seen the king's plans of the mansion?"

The candle-maker gazed across the great roll with mingled reverence and suspicion, as if he harbored lurking doubts about the authenticity of the intricately drawn and vividly inked drawings.  "No."

"Gjarn," Veylin turned to the king's senior draughtsman, who stood protectively near his charge, "could you point out Skap's chambers, and explain the different colors to him?"  Skap did not trust him, let alone Narvi, but surely he would not argue with Gjarn's authority.

Or fervor.  Capturing the complexities of solid stone on flat parchment was the draughtsman's passion, and by the time he came to the elaborate system for depicting the different kinds of faults, and the markings to show their movement, he was demonstrating emphatically with his hands how the breaks crossing Skap's suite might shift.

"Narvi's work has done all that?" Skap cried at last, unable to bear more.

Veylin scowled as the sullen mason rolled his eyes at the candle-maker's ignorance, but fortunately Gjarn took the question to himself, with a deep belly-laugh.  "No, no.  This one here--" he placed the long nail of his forefinger on a bright yellow line "--was the one that did the mischief, and I must overmark it in red.  Bunir and I have carefully surveyed the damage: Narvi opened no new faults, and the others still slumber."

Skap stared at the five lines across his chambers.  "But they, too, might move, if some other fool undertakes works that rouse them?"

That was beyond Gjarn's craft, and he shrugged.  "Who can say?  Rock has a will of its own."

"Having heard your complaints and seen the plans," Veylin leapt in, "I wondered that the bracing of one fault would content you--"

"Narvi did nothing to disturb the others," Thjalfi interrupted sharply, as Skap opened his mouth.  "You cannot require him to secure them."

"--and that is why my mind turned to the Fifth Deep," Veylin pressed determinedly on.  "The gneiss is tougher than these sandstones and grits, and less broken.  Here, let us look at the plans--"

Neither of the two suites Narvi still held were cut by faults, and very little more talk was necessary to persuade Skap to look over the chambers on offer.  Considering the number of stair-flights down and trusting that Thjalfi could better lead his man the remainder of the way, Veylin waved them off with the greatest good will, then sank into one of the well-upholstered chairs.

"Would you watch over this one while I fetch my pen and ink?" Gjarn asked, rolling up the Fifth Deep and slipping it into its tube.  "Since it is already spread, I ought to recolor that fault."

"Of course."  May his courtesy keep fate sweet.  The quarter-court was in two days, and he would not find another solution in so short a time.  Once the draughtsman had disappeared among the scroll-racks, Veylin set his stick on the bookstand beside him and stretched out his game leg, grimacing more in disappointment than pain at the grinding within his knee.  He had hoped for some improvement before he clambered back on his pony, but it seemed time and rest had done all they could.

"That was well done."

Abashed to be caught fretting over his lameness, Veylin let his foot drop as Regin came over to join him.  "A pleasure to be of service, sire," he said, bowing his head.  The praise of the Reawoken was praise indeed.  "Thank you for the use of your plans."

"They are kept to dampen dispute," Regin said, taking the nearest seat, "so you are welcome to them, whenever else you might spare us all a tedious time in court!  When did you think to leave for Gunduzahar?"

"Provided this is truly settled," Veylin replied, as matter-of-factly as sudden uneasiness allowed, "shortly after the quarter court."  His ealdormen had been pressing him to remain; had they spoken to the king?

"So soon?  The ways across the mountains will be buried deep, with all this snow.  Would it not be better to wait until the thaw?"

"And the mud that will follow?" Veylin posed.  It had been a stormy winter, but if they cut north, there was only Erne's Pass, which the gales usually scoured clear.  "Some of the passes are reportedly open, and the climate is milder beside the sea: snow rarely falls there.  It is easier to prospect when the greenery is withered.  Also, if the Elves mean to spy, I doubt they will expect us so early."

Regin nodded sagely.  "Sound reasons.  Still, we will miss you here.  Since Lindon now knows where you house, would it reveal much if you were to come home more often?  It would be good to have you here for the quarter sessions . . . or," he smiled, "somewhat before, so they are over sooner."

"That had been my intention."  His hands were restless, without something to occupy them, but he locked them together rather than take up his stick.  "Yet I now find long journeys a trial."  That was an excuse as lame as his leg.  He was ready enough to go to the coast, where his opal lay.

"I noticed the corrosion of your temper as we returned from Barazdush."  The king's tone was no rebuke.  "Does the leg improve, so such journeys grow easier?"

Veylin shook his head.

Regin sighed.  "You bear up as a Dwarf should, Veylin, so we are apt to forget how much you endure.  Yet surely you see how your folk have lost by your absence these last two years.  How do you plan to offset that?"

"I have not yet found a way to my satisfaction."  Prospects kept changing, in ways that could not be predicted.  Gwinnor's appearance stifled his search for stones; a tempest laid bare the strike of a lifetime.  If the Noldo continued to lurk and finds were as meager as last year, more time here would be little sacrifice.

But how could one dyke be rich, and its brethren bleak?  Focused on the fire opal, unwilling to alert Gwinnor by his attention, he had not yet examined the others as he ought . . . and there were more dykes south of White Cliffs, as Saelon had said.

"Your work is elegant," Regin acknowledged, "and clever.  Still, stopgaps have their uses.  I understand Vitnir is withdrawing from Gunduzahar.  Have you considered deputizing him to act in your stead, while you are absent?"

"Yes."  Did he truly believe Vitnir's meddling would be an improvement, or was the suggestion a lever to bring him into line?

"You know your folk best," the king allowed.  "Now, may I divide your attention further still?  I have been thinking of a new chain of office, and greatly admired the fire opal your sister wore at dinner the other day.  What could be more appropriate for a Firebeard?"

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Súlimë: Westron/Common Speech (from Quenya), March.

Needle-quartz: a term of my own invention for rutilated quartz, a transparent variety of quartz containing golden to dark needle-like mineral inclusions.

Pocked: spotted (originally, as if with smallpox scars).  Much of the basalt in the tableland where Gunduzahar is delved is amygdaloidal, full of little cavities that were once gas bubbles, now infilled with other minerals.

Bay: the section of a building between a set of columns or supports.  Since the hall has three pairs of pillars, there are four bays.

Pace: I have estimated a dwarven pace as 22 inches (56 cm).  When you add the height of the vault above, this makes the hall at least three stories high.

"granite that color": actually, this would be a green amphibolite or epidiorite.

Biscuit: in the British sense; what Americans call a cookie.

Cold-quenching: the abrupt cooling of hot iron by plunging it into a cold liquid.  For details on quenching, see the Dûnhebaid Dictionary.

Marriage settlements: among Dwarves, I have hypothesized that men must endow their brides in a way that assures them and their children a decent standard of living if their husbands die prematurely.  So large a sum would require substantial investment on the part of prospective grandparents.

"kindly terms": a low interest rate.

Thrir's Line: the sept Veylin is chieftain of.  I have given the Firebeards four septs; Thrir's is third in order of precedence, after the royal Regin's Line and Nidr's Line.  Rekk and Veylin's nephews belong to Nidr's Line, and Thjalfi is their chieftain.  See the section on Dwarves in the Dramatis Personae for more details.

North Farthing: of the Shire.  When the British began to search avidly for coal in the late seventeenth century, they discovered rock salt in Cheshire; this was later exported throughout the British Empire.  This seems to chime well with the "early modern" milieu of the Shire, and would help explain where the silver spoons and mirrors in upper-class Hobbit households come from.  For a discussion of the economic value of salt, see the Dûnhebaid Dictionary.

"the last great cataclysm": Adaneth!Dwarves (and Noldor) interpret evidence of dramatic geological events as a record of the strife between Aulë and Melkor during the formation of Arda.  (An understanding of stratigraphy would allow them to deduce their chronological order.)  Barring recent glacial erosion, the last "earth-shattering" episode in what is now Scotland was an outbreak of volcanic activity across the Inner Hebrides 70-60 million years ago.  The basalt tableland Gunduzahar is delved in and the dykes Veylin finds so lucrative have been modeled on features created during this period.

Erne's Pass: a feature of my own invention.  An erne is an eagle, especially the white-tailed sea eagle (Haliaeetus albicilla).  If you look at the map of northwest Eriador, you will see a mountain that looks remarkably like Suilven and its trailing ridge at the head of the Lune--that is Sulûnduban.  Northwest of this, there is only a single line of peaks; Erne's Pass is to the left of the smallest.

Reawoken: "Dwarves asserted that the spirits of the Seven Fathers of their races were from time to time reborn in their kindreds" (HoME XII: The Peoples of Middle-Earth, "Last Writings: Glorfindel").  As an aside to a discussion of Elvish reincarnation, Tolkien provided some tantalizing details on the Dwarvish variant.  All the Durins who were kings of the Longbeards were the same person: at the end of the usual lifespan, he would "fall asleep, but then lie in a tomb of his own body, at rest, and there its weariness and any hurts that had befallen it should be amended.  Then after long years he should arise and take up his kingship again," memories intact.  One wonders what such a resurrection did to the succession . . . or was it a convenient way to "restore" the line if there was no near heir?  In any case, I have conjectured that this Regin is the fifth of that name.

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.

Story Information

Author: Adaneth

Status: General

Completion: Complete

Era: 3rd Age - The Stewards

Genre: Drama

Rating: Adult

Last Updated: 03/24/11

Original Post: 11/28/08

Go to Hand to Hand overview


WARNING! Comments may contain spoilers for a chapter or story. Read with caution.

Hand to Hand

Elrûn - 10 Feb 09 - 4:30 AM

Ch. 7: Interior Designs


thank you for this new chapter! It sheds light on some intricacies of dwarven life - and yet much more remains to be explained and written about...


Hand to Hand

Adaneth - 13 Feb 09 - 12:30 PM

Ch. 7: Interior Designs

--and yet much more remains to be explained and written about...

Indeed, Elrûn!  And so the story continues, with a new chapter just posted.

Thank you for your comments!



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Playlists Featuring the Story

The Dûnhebaid Cycle - 5 stories - Owner: Adaneth
Dúnedain and Dwarves--and oh, yes, some Elves--on the northwest shore of Middle-Earth, not quite a century before adventures first befall Bilbo. Rampant Subcreation and Niggling in the margins. The ever-lengthening saga, in order.
Included because: Dûnhebaid V: the romantic and political ramifications continue . . . .

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