3. 02 - The Lord of Silver Fountains
The Lord of Silver Fountains
Human years - age 5
"Dýr! You beast! You horrible, horrible, wretched beast!" The little dwarf-girl jumped, her hand stretching, attempting to snatch that which the young dwarfling prince held high above her head. Each time she jumped, he stretched higher, keeping it out of her reach.
"You show me no respect, Megin," he laughed. He was joined in mirth by his friends, Dwalin and Reka, among others. "I will be King Under the Mountain someday, right?" He nodded once, sounds of affirmation behind him. "And as you do not so much as give me one gram of admiration, I have decided to burn this miserable orc you love so much!" He looked over his shoulder to his friends. "'Twill serve you ri-OUCH!" The dwarf-prince bent over, dropping the doll, in order to clutch his knee.
"Serves you right, you monster!" The child snatched her doll from the ground and cuddled her close, gently plucking dirt from her hair. "Poor Fagr!" Ensuring her darling was unscathed, she shook a short finger at the heir. "You'll never grow a proper beard unless you learn to be nice. My papa said so!"
His friends gasped at the insult. "Why... why... you..."
She pulled herself to her full height - barely two feet - and put both hands on her hips, her doll hanging limply from one hand. "Forað! 'Tis all you are!" Fury was now causing her to shake, tears finally threatening to fall.
That was the one thing Thorin could not stand. Tears. He really didn't mean it. "Megin, do not cry! I was only teasing because you show no-"
"'Tis Gin!" She brushed the angry tears from her cheek with the back of her hand. "My name is Gin! And why should I bow down to the King of the Boars?" With that last insult hurled, she spun, making her dress fly, and ran from the alcove.
Thorin made to go after her, but a heavy hand clamped down on his shoulder. The young dwarf looked up to see his grandfather looking down at him.
"You disappoint me, Thorin," Thrór, Thorin's grandfather and The True King Under the Mountain, truly did look most disappointed.
The last thing Thorin wanted was to displease his grandfather but more so, he did not wish to be embarrassed in front of his friends. His dwarven pride was already growing to massive proportions. Quickly, he looked around this larger than life dwarf, to where they had been standing not minutes before to see...
"Your friends have left you, it seems," Thrór's voice was not the roar most people would think it would be, especially when it came to his eldest grandson. "Reka and his brothers, at least, have, but not Dwalin." He leaned backwards and motioned. "I see you, Dwalin, son of Fundin, son of Farin. Come from behind the rock and deign to walk with us. We shall talk."
As the young Dwalin slid around from behind his hiding place, Thrór
leaned over to look at his grandson eye to eye. "A true friend will never leave your side," he winked. He waited until Dwalin joined them before leaning over to that one. "A better friend would not hide behind a rock to see if punishment is given."
"Wasn't hidin'," Dwalin grumbled. "I was planning to rescue him if he needed it."
Thrór chuckled, a deep rumbling sound in his chest. "Aye, that you probably were, Dwalin." He held out his hands, taking each youngling in hand. He turned, taking them into the mountain. Dwarves bowed, stepped aside as Thrór strode through the halls dug out beneath the peak. It dawned on both boys that the people paid no heed to them, but to the giant of a dwarf holding them as if they were his.
At least, he was a giant to Thorin.
There was a hidden corridor close to the throne room, the place many - including the great Elven King, Thranduil - paid homage to Thrór and his people - and Thorin's grandfather ushered them through it. He grabbed a torch from the wall nearby and followed them up a winding stairwell, the glow of the small flame lighting their way.
If the climb winded the elder dwarf, he did not show it (although he privately envied the young for their energy) and did not appear to be out of breath when the three arrived to what appeared to be a long, two-sided balcony. Thrór watched as his grandson and heir, along with his friend, raced to the light, looking out over the mountain and into the city of Dale, a city of men. The two had never seen the horizon from this vantage, and he smiled as the two younglings pointed at the colorful flags and foliage seen from such a great height. For a time, Thrór himself was lost in memory: this very skywalk was where he asked his wife to join with him, mate with him, to be his beloved. It had been a cold winter day, the wind crisp with snow in the air and he had her wrapped in his cloak, enraptured by the feel of her soft beard on his cheek.
Shaking his head and remembering his task, he placed the torch in the sconce just inside the corridor, protecting it from the wind. He strode to the balustrade and leaned against it. "Dwalin. Retrieve the step over in the corner. Thorin, come look."
With much grunting and effort, Thorin's friend brought the stool over and set it next to the Dwarven King. Both Prince and friend stepped up so they could see down the mountain, Dwalin making sure Thorin was between him and Thrór. For a few minutes, he allowed the two to take in the sheer beauty of the Lonely Mountain, smell the scent of the summer flowers and foliage that grew between the rocks.
"This, someday," he gestured to the peak, "will be yours to rule, to preside over." Thrór protectively put his hand on the dwarfling's shoulder. "Mahal gave our line the right to rule over the people and the mountain." He felt young Thorin swell with pride. "However," he continued, "there is also great responsibility that goes with it."
"Re-spon-si-bil-i-ty." That was a big word for Dwalin to get out.
"What is 'responsibility'?"
"Responsibility," Thrór repeated. "It means the dwarves of Erebor depend on us, that the people of Dale expect things from us, to protect them. It means we have a job to do. As king, as a prince from the line of kings," he stared at Thorin with a steely gaze, hard as mithril, making the young prince wither, "it is our responsibility to make sure our people are taken care of, kept safe. They respect us, but we earn that respect every day."
"But they should respect us."
"Respect is earned, young Thorin." Now came the lesson. "It is not freely given. It never has been and it never will be. Just because you are of the line of Durin and heir to the throne of Erebor, thought it will be several hundred years before you sit on it, Mahal be praised, does not automatically earn you respect." He waited and watched for that bit of information to sink into both young boys' heads. When Thorin's was sufficiently bowed, he continued. "You will not earn the respect of a young girl if you hold her favorite dolly hostage and threaten to sacrifice it to the fires as an orc." Thrór pursed his lips and shook his head. "And she will remember it when both of you are older and you wish to kiss her."
"EW!" Both dwarflings snarled.
"Why would anyone want to kiss a female?" Dwalin was thoroughly disgusted. Dwalin did not notice his best friend was blushing.
"'Tis dinner time, young Dwalin." Thrór nodded towards the steps. "Best be on your way before your parents come looking for you. Again."
"But you're the king."
"And I have sent you home." He nodded once more. "Go on with you." Quietly, the boy slugged his best playmate in the arm before climbing from the stool and making his way down the stair. Thrór waited until the noise died down before turning to his grandson. "Thorin?"
"I wouldn't have hurt her stupid dolly!" he yelped. "I just wanted her to notice me!" He inhaled before continuing. "She ignores me! Calls me names!" He blinked rapidly. "She called me a dýr, a forað."
Thorin jumped from the step stool and kicked a loose stone around. "She said I was King of the Boars," he mumbled.
"Oh my." Thrór murmured. "That was truly harsh."
Thorin look up. "Really? I mean, really," he quickly agreed, "it was truly harsh."
Thorin hung his head, his attention returning to worry the stone at his foot.
"There are other ways to get a lady-dwarf to notice you, Thorin."
"She's no lady," he grumbled.
"And you are not acting like a prince." Oh, that got the King Under the Mountain a furious look, before Thorin's head bent down again.
"Oh," Thrór had to think hard. How long had it been since he was young and oh so not grown up. "Chase her, pull her braids, but not hard..." Thorin was staring at him in pure disbelief. "Take her flowers, compliment her beard-"
"She doesn't have one, yet," he reminded his grandfather.
"But she will, someday," he chided his grandson, "as will you." Immediately, Thorin's palm went to his cheek, rubbing to see if that elusive stubble had somehow sprouted since he last checked... this morning.
No. Not yet.
Grumbling in the lad's stomach - as well as his grandfather's - brought the lecture to a close. Taking Thorin by the hand, Thrór started towards the doorway. "Tomorrow, you will apologize. I suggest you bring her flowers or bring her up here to show her the mountain. Do not think to push her over the railing."
Thorin snorted. "She'll probably knock me over it herself."
Gin - short for Megin - old Norse for 'Ability'
Reka - Avenge
Dýr - Beast
Fagr - Fair
forað - monster
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.