The Legacy of the Mountain

This is by no means a tale of love, romance and trust which is so easily –and foolishly- thrown away. Instead is a tale of courage, defiance, a war to change a nation and a legacy that will be passed on through the dwarvish dynasty for centuries to come.

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2. The King, the Scribe and the young Dwarcish Prince

One
The King, the Scribe and the young Dwarvish Prince

 

 

Our story begins inside a small space deep inside a mountain. It was by no means a cave, instead, the rock-walls were smooth and highly polished – only those who were incredibly gifted stonemasons were capable of creating something so beautiful.

Elegant furnishings of wonderfully carved marble lay scattered around the room - a desk lay in the far corner its surface littered with countless piles of paper, ink, quills, and abacus. A small chair, also carved from the smooth stone was neatly tucked underneath, a soft, grey cushion was perched atop and looked nothing short of worn.

Resting, tucked up against the longest wall lay single bed, crafted much from the same material as the other furnishings with runes etched into the bedhead, decorated with copper. The bed itself, surprisingly comfortable for one made of hard marble was complete with a soft, goose-feather pillow and piles of thick, woolen blankets to ward off the never-ending chill.

This was far from any sort of cave you would stumble upon in the wilderness. It was a room; a bedchamber, to be precise, and one of hundreds that were sculpted into the inside of the Lonely Mountain. This particular room, unlike the rest of the carved spaces that littered the hallways of Erebor like a marble labyrinth (on and on the bedchambers wound, twisting and turning – branching off into washrooms, drawing rooms and simple rooms just filled with chairs where Erebor's occupants could laugh and drink) was home to a figure one would not expect to see in a Dwarvish kingdom.

The room was home to Esrëndal, a Half-elven – Thror's very own scribe. A very odd site it was indeed to find an elf living underground; odd as it was, however, the scribe had taken a liking to Erebor's warm hearths and bustling, friendly environment.

A small lump draped with woolen blankets began to stir, arms fighting against the thick, tangled material to surface. A small head followed shortly after and the figure sat upright – her long, curly blonde hair fanned out over her shoulders as she straightened herself up. Lacing her milky fingers together, she flexed them out in front of her – her back arched, her shoulders rolled backwards.

Swinging her legs around over the side of her bed, Esrëndal could feel the coldness of the stone floor – even through her mismatched knitted bed socks-creeping up through her lower body. Shivering slightly, and with the aid of the low temperatures in her bedchamber, the elf felt her body wake up, fluid movement returning to her arms and legs.

As Esrëndal got to her feet, she quickly crossed the cold floor to the large wooden wardrobe, blackened with age, her long, milky fingers making quick work of the latch and the doors swung open. There, in front of her hung a dozen knitted, long sleeved dresses of varying colours – each one, hand sewn, complete with their own unique embroidery and lace, for the dwarvish females were, along with most crafts, incredibly skilled tailors.

Shrugging out of her nightdress, Esrëndal stepped away from the warm fabric – her body being enveloped by the chilly air. Quickly wrapping her fingertips around a moss green dress, she pulled it from its hanger and stepped into it, her body beginning to warm as the half dozen thick layers of fabric wrapped around her. Quickly fastening the brass buttons on the dresses' bodice, Esrëndal quickly moved back over to her bed to relieve her feet from the cold floor.

Taking a seat on the comfortable surface of her –still warm, and very inviting- bed, she leant over the side, her hand disappearing into the darkness beneath, returning a few short moments later with her soft leather boots.

In a few moments, the warm leather shoes were on the elfs feet and she was halfway down the carved hallway, beginning the particularly long journey through the twisting network of corridors to the dining hall.

Thinking of nothing more than a nice cup of tea and perhaps a delicious seed-cake, Esrëndal picked up her pace as she made her way through the hallways, now bustling with dwarves who were, much as she was, very eager for their breakfast.

"If ye don't hurry up now, lass," a particularly gnarled dwarf called to her as he headed down the hallway as fast as his short legs would carry him, "all the sausages will be gone!"

Esrëndal offered the dwarf a small smile as he scuttled away, his beard wagging this way and that as he went. She didn't really care for sausages of any kind and, whenever possible –which was quite difficult, especially in Erebor- didn't eat meat Cakes were as good as it got for her, or cheese and fruit of any assortment. However, as most of Erebor's dining consisted of countless courses of meat… She'd grown mildly fond of pork-belly pie.

The inviting warmth of the dining hall wafted down the corridor towards the elf and she breathed in deeply; a mix of aromas, lamb, beef, sausage and bacon hung quite prominently in the air, but as did the delicate scent of tea leaves, brewing away in the great iron teapots of Erebor's dining halls.

The roar of laughter and many voices echoed from every corner of the great city during meal times – quite lively events they were and, of course, dining with well over six hundred dwarves was certainly eventful.
Ducking flying tankards as she walked the length of the enormous table, Esrëndal breathed out a contented sigh. There, in her usual spot was a seed-cake, still steaming, a large, tea-filled tankard sat next to it.

Quickly stepping over the wooden bench, the elf sat down, smiling around at those of whom she had grown quite acquainted to. Gloin, the King's treasurer grinned at her as she adjusted herself on the bench, quickly reaching for the seed-cake.

"Thought yer'd miss out on breakfast," he said, several small chunks of bacon rind clung in his beard. "So, we saved yer some cakes and tea."

"Thank you," Esrëndal said with a nod of her head before she launched into conversation with the treasurer and secretary. As the kings own, they got to sit a lot farther up the table than most others who worked in the mountains heart, mining away.

Pausing from conversation to take a long sip of her hot tea, Esrandal glanced up to where the King was situated – his booming laugh echoing above the rest of those in the dining hall- several smaller chairs surrounding him.

On his left sat his wife, a young dwarf with the most glorious beard – long and braided elaborately -and his son, Thrain. On his right sat his two brothers, Fror and Gror, who hooted enthusiastically at one another as they gulped down their tankards of ale, burps ripping forth from the pairs throats.

Breakfast, as wonderful an event it was, ended soon enough. Grabbing for the last –now cooled- seed-cake from a metal platter, Esrëndal tucked it away in her dress pocket for a tea-break, before making her way to King Thror, Gloin at her side.

As she and Gloin bowed before him, Thror's lips tugged upwards into a smile before addressing them both.

"Gloin," he said, his voice was loud and hearty, "yer'll be coming with me. We've got some expenditures to discuss."

"Right yer are Milord," said Gloin. Quickly, he dipped his stubby hand into his coat and pulled out an abacus and a roll of parchment. "Shall we get to it then?" he asked.

Thror nodded once before turning his gaze to his Scribe, Esrëndal.

"Yer'll be with my son Thrain,"said Thror, giving a brief nod in the direction of his –relatively tall, for a dwarf- son. "There's certain things the two of you need to document."

"Yes," Esrëndal said with a quick curtsey, tugging the layers of heavy purple fabric out to her sides as she did so.

Quickly moving to the young dwarf Prince's side, she offered him a small smile – one of which he returned.

"Come," said Thrain simply. "I need you to chart something for me."

Charting? So that was what Thror was referring to?

Esrëndal followed Thrain silently out of the dining hall and through the twisting network of carved hallways. They'd climbed a good deal of stairs and Esrëndal was quite tired by the time they'd reached the great library, panting heavily as she forced herself to trudge along after the unphased Thrain (who seemed rather amused about the elf's detest for stairs).

Leading her through several rows of packed bookshelves into the center of the circular room, Thrain halted aside a particular desk. Shuffling through a pile of –well-read and slightly crumpled-parchment, he froze, grunting at a particular sheet. Setting that aside, he went about sifting through them again, occasionally muttering things to nobody in particular as he worked through the stack.

After several minutes of the same action, he took a seat at the desk and spread the parchment out in front of them, side by side.

"What do you see?" asked the dwarf Prince.

Taking this as her cue to start reading, Esrëndal keen eyes scanned over the pieces of parchment, her lips moving but no sound coming out. Thror glanced up at her and he knew, by her astounded expression that she, too, had reached the same conclusion as he.

"It can't be," Esrëndal murmured, ripping her gaze from the parchment and fixing them on Thrain. "Are you certain?"

"Would the documents lie?" replied Thrain darkly. "No, they would not. Tell me – what do you see?"

Esrëndal fell silent once more, glancing over the parchment once more.

"Reports," said the elf. "Accounts of… Dragon pillaging." She felt a wave of panic wash over her as she read of an account from a particular village beside an all too familiar fjord. Her old home – incinerated.

"Exactly," said Thrain. "And do you know what else they read?" Esrëndal chose to remain silent and, after half a second, Thrain continued, "they show how the dragon is moving north through Rhovanlon, unchecked, killing at will."

"But that means-!" said Esrëndal, she began to feel ill, her stomach churned. She knew all too well.

"That's right," said Thrain dryly, brushing his small beard backwards in contemplation. "The dragon could come here. One never knows where a dragon is headed – all they know is where it's been… And the trail of desolation it leaves behind."


 

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