There is a bead in his hair that no one will see, hidden as it is beneath carefully crafted peaks. A token that he will admit to no one, for to admit it is to admit to an intimacy that few would even think possible. Sometimes, when he has the privacy to brush his hair on his own, comb it out completely rather than swiftly shape it as it must be, he takes the bead out to study it. Mithril, and tiny, but with unmistakable marks that would tell anyone who looked from whom it had come.
It also remembers a fact that no one remembers save a few, most of them close kin to the one who had worn the bead originally. He's avoided all of them for quite some time, because who is he to become close to one who is more noble than any other he's met, high-born or low? Even if all that is, often enough, is his slipping into a forge still heated by the day's work, after the shop-front is closed, and spending a stolen hour or two in the quiet dark.
Nori snorts, shaking his head, and reaches up to rebraid the bead into his hair where it belongs, hidden by peaks and by being at the very top of his head, where few might see. Now will be the time to keep it more closely guarded than before, when he goes to join Thorin on his mad fool quest to take Erebor back from the dragon.
He's not sure if he really wants the quest to succeed, at the moment, but that's probably the part of him that wants the peace of knowing he doesn't have to worry about his enemies catching up with him for a few hours. The part that knows he won't ever be able to have that again if they win against the odds, because he is a thief and a liar and a bastard and never able to stay still even if he didn't have enemies everywhere. Because the one who gave him the token will not have the privacy of a forge on the outskirts of town.
Because Thorin will not be seen to have a consort, neither khuzdûn nor khuzdinh, not since Azanulbizar, not since he became Melhekh. He has heirs in Fíli and Kíli, and he has loyal nobility in Balin and Dwalin, and Óin and Glóin. And Dis. Nori mustn't ever forget Dis, who is the only one who knows the secret of the forge evenings.
It doesn't matter, though, because there is nothing to be done if they win. At least if they fail, Nori will be dead, and he won't care if they find the bead afterward.
He draws in a deep breath, reaching over to pick up his mace, and to sling his pack over his shoulder. No matter what happens, he will follow his âzyungâl into danger, because he is a fool, as well as a thief and a liar and a bastard.
A fool, but Thorin's fool.
âzyungâl = lover
âzyungâlh = lovers
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.