5. 04 - His crown shall be upholden
His crown shall be upholden
Human years - age 6
The sun was down, not that it was ever seen inside in this deep in the mountain. The underground city was winding down, dinner was over, the dwelling of Thráin, son of Thrór, was settling in for the night.
Með, Thráin's beloved, slowly waddled into the main living area and carefully sat in the reclining chaise. She was heavy, large with child, Kveykva swearing this child too, would be a male child; another fine dwarven warrior of Durin's line.
Kveykva had laid hands on many pregnant dwarves and 'saw' the sex, the power, the weaknesses of the child. Her face had darkened for a moment when she laid hands on Með this very morning, but the shade was gone, covered quickly. Með forced herself to dismiss the thought, praying it was only the shadows in the room, playing tricks on an expectant mother.
"What is wrong?" Thráin held a missive in his hands. Whether it was a request from Dale, or another town, a king, a ruler, and elf, or a demand, as the ruling Crown Prince of Erebor, second only to his father, the king, it was his current responsibility to keep the paperwork running smoothly. And a city the size of Erebor accrued more than its fair share of paperwork! "Do I need to send for the midwife or my mother-queen?" Með was close to her time, very close. This babe looked to be as large as his brother, who now should lie sleeping in his chambers.
Should be, but that was another story.
"'Tis nothing." Með sighed again.
Thráin threw his scroll down on the table in ire. "Damn it, lass! Either tell me what bothers you so I can fix it or stop this nonsense! Do I need to send for the midwife?"
"No." She struggled, attempting to lean over to her sewing basket, clothing for the new baby in partial arrays of incompleteness.
Thráin glared, something he rarely did with his wife. Watching her for a few moments, grasping clumsily at the air above her basket, he stretched, seizing the woven tub, bright colorful skeins of yarn, filling the basket. "Where is Groðkona?" Með had no lap to speak of, so the Prince pulled his footstool over to her chair and lifted her swollen feet onto it. Seeing they were quite larger than normal, he lifted them a bit, settling on the ottoman and placing them in his lap, removed her stockings and began to rub.
"I sent Ona home for the evening. She has a family of her own to take care of." Now that the basket was settled on her knees, she lifted the needles from the rounds of yarn, and picked up a partially completed sweater. This babe was arriving in a cold season.
Thráin squeezed a bit tight. "We have discussed this. We have rooms for servants and I do not wish to have to leave you to fetch the midwife when your time comes."
"Tomorrow," she whispered. She was tired, her belly rock hard and even Thráin was aware that this babe she carried wouldn't be much longer coming into the world. "I just wanted one more night of just us before we were invaded again by servants and healers and your mother and father."
Thráin continued working on her toes. "Is that why you are in such a melancholy mood?"
"No," she looked up from her knitting to her husband. "'Tis about Thorin."
This stopped Thráin from his ministrations. "What?" He looked back at her in shock. "Do you think he won't accept this babe? Become jealous?" He sat up, stretching to his full height. "Did he say something?"
Með set her knitting on top of her stomach. "Aye, he said something, but not what you think. Certainly not about his new brother or sister." She smiled wanly. "He is growing up too fast, Thráin," she admitted. "In a few days, he will no longer be my baby, our baby, much less a baby. He will have sudden, new responsibilities and I hurt to see that happen." She dropped her head. "You should spend more time with him. He asked me something this evening when I tucked him in that I couldn't answer. I don't know how to answer him."
"What was it?" Thráin was concerned. This was obviously more than a female's worrying. "What did he ask? What do you wish me to do?"
"I told him you would speak with him. It is a question a male-dwarfling should ask his father." She nodded towards Thorin's chambers. "He might still be awake."
Thráin gently set his wife's feet on the footstool and stood up. "I'll go check on our son. See if he's asleep."
Með nodded and watched as her husband picked up a lamp and left the room. She put a hand to her side and pushed the offending foot back in place. "Just like your brother. You'll have your father's huge feet."
Thráin moved as softly as possible down the hall. He cracked the door to his son's room open, light from his globe spilling gently over the boy's bed. As his wife expected, Thorin lay, both hands behind his head, staring at the ceiling, where glittering gems sparkled like fireflies in the lamp-light. "Thorin?"
"Yes, Papa?" He didn't move as Thráin came into the room, lit his own lamp and pulling the chair on the wall to his bedside, sat heavily in it. He simply watched his father.
Sometimes, Thráin was jealous of his father, Thrór. At times, it seemed the boy's grandfather, the King Under the Mountain, had a stronger, closer bond with his son than he did. Of course, he knew this was not true, but there were times, he wished he could leave off a day of work to spend time with him. Thrór never seemed to worry about slipping out, to look over his grandson and heir, catch him pulling pigtails and threatening or saving a little dwarf-girl's doll, taking him out in the early spring to see the wildflowers grow and bringing him back, soaking wet. Thorin would talk about those escapades with his grandfather for days afterwards and Thráin wanted some of that bonding for himself. As he settled into the chair, he promised himself, he was going to take that time, time he and Thorin would need, time to reassure him that even with the new babe, he was still important to him and his mother. He was old enough now to take fishing, hunting, time he learned to set a snare for a rabbit...
...tell the difference between bear-spore and warg-spore... and what the stench of an Orc was.
"Papa?" Thorin's voice was a bit stronger. "Is something wrong?"
"Oh," he replied with a bit of forced jovialness, "just wanting to talk to you We don't spend enough time together, you and I." Thorin looked at the tall dwarf earnestly. "We need to go fishing soon. Hunting. Spelunking strange caves." He pumped his fist. "You know, Dwarf stuff."
Thorin nodded. "Aye." His eyes brightened up. "When?"
"In the spring." He noticed Thorin's look of disappointment. "But we will find things to do together during the winter. With the new baby coming-"
"Mama will be too busy for me."
Thráin's eyes closed. Með's fear was justified. "Aye, she will be busy, but she will still love you. So will I." Seeing that Thorin was not believing what his father was telling him, he added, "Being a big brother is an important job. You'll have to teach him things. You know, things like-"
"Grandmother's honey oat cakes and sweet nuts!"
Thráin smiled. "Aye. And making tents under the covers. We will go talk to your grandfather and see if perhaps you can come with me during the day. We'll find some mischief to get into!"
Now Thorin grinned. If anyone knew anything about mischief, it was his grandfather! "Tomorrow?"
"Aye! Tomorrow!" Thráin stood up and tucking Thorin in a bit tighter, he sat on the edge of the furs. "Thorin. What... did you ask your mother earlier?"
"You mean the question she said I should ask you?" Damn, if the dwarfling's eyes weren't starting to get heavy.
He blinked rapidly several times, the irises changing to a steel gray. ""Tis nothing."
He thought for a moment. "Well, I asked her..." his voice wandered off.
Even tucked in, Thráin could see his son steeling himself. He had a look in his eye. "I want to know why my dangly stands straight up when I think about Gin. Or when I see her."
Thráin gasped for breath. Oh, this was much too soon to be discussing this... "Well... your... dangly is just happy to see her."
Thorin's brow furrowed. "Happy? But it hurts!"
Thráin's hand was up. "Yes, I know, but trust me. It's just part of... you being happy to see her."
Thorin's brow creased further, anger now on the child's face. "Happy? Then I should cut it off as I don't like her a bit!"
Thráin winced. "Oh, I think you do like her a little bit." He leaned forward, his thumb and forefinger a hair apart. "Perhaps just a wee bit."
His son sank down in to the furs, his fingers peaking over the edge as he pulled them up to his chin. "Maybe a little," he agreed reluctantly. Thráin pressed the issue, his fingers pushed a bit closer to his son. "A little," the child finally agreed. "So, should I tell her my dangly is happy to see her, even though I am not?" One side of his mouth lifted in a snarl. "She doesn't like me, maybe she'll like my dangly."
"Noooo." Thráin shook his head. "Say nothing. Just keep this a secret between you and your dangly." Thorin began to yawn and nodded. He rolled over to his side as his father yet again tucked the furs around him closer. "Close your eyes, Thorin, burr innan minn hugr. Mahal is sending his sandr-dwarf to make your eyes heavy." He blew the child's light-globe out and stood in front of the door as his child began to nod off. He slid the door open, ready to ease out.
"Does your dangly get happy when you are with Mama?"
Thráin swallowed hard. "Go to sleep, Thorin." He eased from the room, closing the door behind him. He stood there for some minutes, lamenting that yes, his son was growing up, growing up fast and curious about the things about him. He was jolted from his musings when his wife's voice and shadow fell across the passageway.
"Thráin? Did you speak to him?"
Thráin pumped his fist. "YES! That's my boy!!!!"
Með's smile was pained. "I am glad you are so proud." Thráin stopped his merriment at the strained sound in her voice and bringing the lamp down, he saw her dress was wet below her waist. "Do you think you can stop for a moment and go get the midwife and your mother?" She inhaled sharply. " 'Tis going to be a long night."
burr innan minn hugr - Son-of-my-heart (Son within my heart)
sandr-dwarf - Sanddwarf
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.