4. 03 - Shall Come into his own
Shall come into his own
Age Equivalent - 5 years
The following year, in the spring, Thorin, desperately seeking some peaceful time alone, wandered outside the Lonely Mountain, sitting quietly among the blooming daffodils and irises, taking in this very different, but beautiful landscape. The Great Elven-King, Thranduil, had come to pay homage to Thorin's grandfather and he had brought his son, Legolas. The Elf-king's son acted as if he feared he would grow a beard or sprout body hair and muscles if he got too close to any of the dwarves, something that amused Dwalin to no end and infuriated Thorin. So truth be told, he sought out the mountainside to calm down and gentle his heart against the not much imagined slight of the elven prince.
"Watch this, Thorin." Thrór sat down next to him, still in his kingly Let's-impress-the-elven-company armor and robes. He leaned over and plucked a blade of grass from the hill. Placing it between his thumbs, he gently blew, causing it to whistle forlornly. Thorin sat enraptured while his grandfather played somber music on the sliver of greenery in his hands. When he finished, he pointed to the ground. "Pick one, Thorin. You try."
It took many tries, which left the young dwarf prince frustrated and fussy, but his grandfather was patient and observant, gently coaxing, teaching the youngling until finally, the music between his thumbs sang sweet. The boy puffed up with much pride. Laughter trickled down the peak, the King Under the Mountain and his grandson and eventual heir enjoying each other's company. It ultimately escalated into a tickle war, which Thorin, quite naturally, won. Thrór lay back into the grass, his grandson straddling him, enamored by the silver chevrons in the elder dwarf's beard. Gently, he fingered them, enthralled by the heaviness. "Someday, I will have a beard just like yours."
"Aye, that you will." Thrór grasped Thorin by the thighs. "And someday, you will be King under the Mountain."
"But, not anytime soon, thank Mahal!" Laughter broke out again between the two. Eventually, Thorin slid to his grandfather's side and laying on his back, began to finger the happy daffodil next to him, his mind wandering. After some minutes, Thrór pointed, the long train of Elves marching at the top of a hill on the other side of Dale, Thranduil, the Elven King, on his great antlered moose, his son, loping along by his side.
"The Elven Prince upset you."
Thorin snorted. "A little."
"A lot," Thrór corrected.
Now the young dwarf snarled. "Snotty. Thought much of himself."
"As do you."
This brought Thorin down a few pegs. "I would not be so rude."
"Oh, I think you would be very rude." Thrór smiled. "You have much of your father in you."
"Funny," Thorin blurted, "Papa says I am just like you!" Realizing what he had said, he popped both hands over his mouth, ready to apologize.
Rather than growl at his grandson, Thrór laughed. "Aye, your papa is most correct! We are much alike. Perhaps too much alike!"
Which set off another tickle war, which again, Thorin won. Settling back down into the clover, Thorin asked a question he had been dying to ask for some time; at least two or three seasons. "Why are the elves so uppity?" He lazily watched the clouds, great puffs of fluffy smoke drifting across the sky. "They act as if they are so much better than us." He pointed. "Look. A dragon!"
Alarmed, Thrór squinted into the sunlight, before breathing a soft sigh of relief. "Aye. That cloud looks like a skinny firedrake!" He thumped his head against his grandson's. "Pray to Mahal, you never encounter one."
"I think they are a made up story Papa tells me to make me behave."
"No," Thrór whispered. "They are very real. Their cousins, the cold-drakes," with this, he spoke from experience, "are equally dangerous. And," he spoke up, much brighter, wanting to leave the reality of a dragon behind him, "Elves are uppity."
Thrór nodded his head. He had had this same talk with his sons, with Thorin's father. He had hoped Thorin would ask Thráin, rather than him, but...
"'Tis a long, long story."
"I have time."
"Aye," Thrór mumbled. "The young have all the time in the world." Taking a deep breath, Thrór began. "It began with Ilúvatar, the Supreme Being, when he created the world."
"I thought Mahal was supreme."
Thrór made a mock scowl. "Who is telling this story? Me or you?" He waited for his impetuous grandson to settle back down. "Ilúvatar or Eru is 'The One', from who everything came. Ilúvatar created the world, the heavens and the stars. Mahal, or Aulë the Smith as the Elves call him, is one of the Aratar, the eight greatest of the Valar. He created the land, rocks and planted metals and precious gems deep in the earth. He knew Ilúvatar was creating beings - children - to walk the earth. So, in his wisdom, he fashioned seven children of his own, those he would delight in teaching the skills and crafts that he loved so much; mining and metal-working. "
"But only Ilúvatar can breathe life into any creature and he waited until after he breathed life into his own - the Elves and Men. But he did," with this, he pointed his finger at Thorin, stopping his burgeoning rant, "breathe life into the Seven Fathers of the Dwarves."
"And we are descended from the eldest, Durin the Deadless!"
"You know what?"
"I have the smartest grandson in all of Middle Earth!" Thrór chuckled at Thorin's delighted squeal. "Mahal created the pick and the anvil, and he taught his children to take pleasure in the treasures he hid for us to find."
"Hide and seek with Mahal?"
Thrór had to laugh at the thought of the mighty and powerful Mahal playing hide and seek with one such as his grandson.
"But why are the Elves so uppity?"
Thrór's laughter died away. "They have resented us for a long time. They argue that we, the Dwarves, are greedy. But they do not see the weakness they claim we have within themselves." The King Under the Mountain's thoughts drifted like pollen in the wind. "Long have the Dwarves and the Elves not seen eye to eye about many things."
"They act as if we are beneath them." It was spat, so much vehemence coming from one so young.
Thrór thought hard for a moment; how to explain thousands of years of mistrust to a small dwarfling. "Mahal created us to be brawny and strong. He made us private and stubborn because he knew we would not dwell with the Elves in their Aman. We had to be physically powerful because our home here at the time of our fathers' births was still under the dominion of Melkor, whose chains were eventually made by Mahal himself." Looking into the blue sky, he murmured, "It was a dangerous time to live. Our ancestors had to be strong enough to survive it."
Thorin digested all the information his grandfather had told him. He thought perhaps he should be grateful to this Ilúvatar for sparing Mahal's children, the Dwarves, as well as thankful that Mahal had made them sturdy and tough.
"They have their Aman," Thrór continued, "their Undying Lands. I say, let them have it, so long as the mountains, the mines and the very earth itself are left for us."
"I still think the Elven Prince is snobby."
Thrór now stood up, brushing the grass and leaves from his stately robes. "I think you are still correct in that." He held out his hand, a large, powerful, steadfast grip, that Thorin found great delight in holding. "Come. Your grandmother was rolling out honey-oat cakes this morning." Thorin began to bounce, as only a young child could - his grandmother's honey-oat cakes were the best tasting in all of Erebor. "I would think they have cooled on the racks by now." Thrór leaned over to whisper conspiratorially. "I will bet you my mithril crown that she would not miss one before dinner." He didn't tell his grandson that Kveykva would smack her husband for snitching a honey-oat cake, but she could deny her only grandson nothing.
As the two made their way back towards the entrance of the mountain, they heard grunting, followed by a splash and a yelp. Thorin was faster than his grandfather and he crashed through the bushes to find a sight that made him laugh.
The snow had been melting for a week or two from the top of the mountain and the small stream that meandered on the side was swollen. Much to his amusement, Gin was pulling herself up, soaked to the bone, and looking around for something on the banks, in the water, uncaring that her hair lay dripping about her soaking-wet dress.
She had been difficult to apologize to the previous year, when Thorin had threatened to sacrifice her doll to the orc-gods. Of course, he was teasing and didn't intend to do so, but that was meaningless. He asked for forgiveness (his grandfather's order), brought her a fist full of dandelions (that was Dwalin's idea), offered to share honey-oak cakes with her (his grandmother's suggestion)...
He had flatly refused his mother's suggestion of offering to carry her disgusting doll for a day. Goodness! He'd never hear the end of it from his friends - especially Reka, who was starting to get on Thorin's childish nerves.
He had whispered she was beautiful. He had heard his Papa tell his Mama that many times and that always made her sweeter and smile. Sadly, Gin looked at him as if he were a warg and informed him he better not attempt to kiss her. Kissing was disgusting!
He then prayed to Mahal that she wouldn't tell anyone.
So it was with the manners his mother insisted he have, that he swallowed his giggling (not well) and rushed to the young girl-dwarf's side. Helping her from the stream, he realized that she was looking around, becoming more and more distraught by the moment.
"Fagr! I dropped Fagr!" She didn't seem to be aware of who pulled her from the stream, as she turned back to look, desperation on such tiny features. In Thorin's young eyes, Gin was obviously terrified her beloved toy was washed away. Gazing about, Thorin saw the bright cloth of the doll's dress caught in a branch on the other side of the stream, completely submerged under the water and tangled in a fallen branch. The little dwarrow made for the water again, before being taken in hand by the King Under the Mountain.
Not really making sure she was steady on the bank, much less realizing she was well in his grandfather's hold, Thorin used the visible rocks to carefully make his way across and over the creek. Several times he stumbled, arms waving, stones wobbling, causing the dwarf prince to bobble franticly before managing to steady himself. He leaned precariously over, clinging unsteadily on to a low-hanging branch and plucked the little rag doll Gin loved so much from the water. As he raised the thing from its trap, the rock he was perched on shifted, causing him to leap into the stream. Frigid cold water overflowed into his boots, which made him scream and Thorin ran as best he could through the knee - high water to the bank.
"You saved Fagr!" Gin's respect and admiration of Thorin was immediately elevated from forað - a monster - to her forða - her savior.
Thorin basked in the immediate glow of her smile, bouncing in his boots, causing them to squish and bitter water to ooze over the tops. Holding up the doll, he saw that it was soaked clear through and heavy with fluid. In an attempt to dry it out, he squeezed and to Gin's horror, began to wring water from the waist of the doll.
"NOOOOOOOO!!!!" With a lurch, she jerked from Thrór's grasp, and grabbed the doll from a shocked Thorin. "You'll hurt her!" Young emotions went from one extreme to the other for both young dwarves, as Gin sadly inspected her soaked, injured Fagr and Thorin looked at his grandfather in distress.
Thrór shook his head. Females. Who would ever understand them? He certainly didn't and Mahal knew he loved his wife. There were times hunting orcs was preferable to dealing with her. "Come. Both of you are cold and soaked to the skin." He opened his outer robes, beckoning to both children. "Off with your boots and onto mine."
Thorin knew what that meant! Quickly, he toed his boots off.
"Woolens as well."
Gin was watching Thorin with a scowl. "What are you doing?"
He sat down to pull off his stockings. "Taking off my boots and woolens." He snarled back. "Like the king commanded you to!" He stuffed the socks down into the wet boots.
Thrór shut his eyes and shook his head. 'These two are starting off as badly as my beloved Kveykva and I.' He forced a smile and spoke gently, his voice a soft rumble. "As your king has requested, young Megin." Funny, Thorin noticed, she didn't bristle when his grandfather called her by her full name. "You are both blue and wet and I would wrap you in my outer robes, let you ride my boots back to Erebor so you would not catch cold, least either of your mothers declare me a bad parent and a worse king." He shook his coat, the fur on his regular clothing now looking warm and inviting. "I say we go to the kitchen and roar like a three - headed beast and just take the honey oat cakes!"
Which they did, much to the amusement of the dwarf lords and guards along the entrance.
Kveykva rolled her eyes at the sight of her husband in his state chain mail and robes, invading her kitchen, with two young dwarves, their heads peering from his bejeweled and armored coat, riding his boots and growling and bellowing like a three - headed cold - drake. She did the only thing a Dwarf Queen could do when threatened by such a wretched beast. She threw her hands up in mock horror, begged for mercy and offered them freshly baked sugary cakes to appease their terrible temper. She then let them stuff themselves with the sweets as she knew it would be a losing argument if she tried to stop them.