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Old 11-03-2008, 09:27 PM   #1
Desultory Dwimmerlaik
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Narya Tears of Mirrormere RPG

From the quill of loremaster Drok . . .

Here in lies the tale of the realm of Khazad-dűm, and the dwarves, who with Balin, son of Fundin, set out on a quest to drive the Orcs out of their ancient colony in hopes of restoring the colony to its former glory. Before it became a place of dread and the Eldar renamed it Moria: The Black Chasm. The tale that you are about to read is about the final days of Balin's glorious re-conquering of Khazad-dűm and of the brave Dwarves who travelled with him. Among these most notable of dwarves were Oin, brother of Gloin, and Ori, the scribe of the company and Balin’s good friend. Many years before Oin and Ori had travelled with Balin on Thorin Oakenshield’s quest for Erebor. The bold quest has also been answered by the call of many warriors: Loni and Nali, brothers, who were also joined by Frar and Floi, fabled for their skill with the axe and bow. The mightiest of those to answer the call was Tror, lieutenant to Balin on the quest. Many other followers came with Balin, but there number is too numerable to be listed here with due respect, and the heart could not bear the pain to recant what has become of them, but let us not be getting ahead of ourselves.

Let me start at the beginning. My name is Drok, a lore master and once scribe of King Dain. I have been charged with telling you this tale to preserve the memory of my kinsman. This tale took place many decades ago when I was young, a mere scribe in the service of the king. It was many years ago that Balin called together the high council of Erebor, he would not reveal the intent of the meeting but insisted that the it was of the highest importance and that the King call for one to convene at the earliest time possible. So it was late at night, deep under the roof of the mountain that Balin revealed a plan of magnanimous proportions: to conquer, nay, take back the city of Khazad-dűm that Men call Dwarrowdelf and the Elves, Moria. King Dain met Balin’s plan with dismay and pronounced that it cannot be, though the entire council was against him. Through many arguments and rash words Dain reasoned with the nobles and won most of them back on his side, but when the King saw that Balin's will was still adamant, he pleaded with his friend to forget the futile idea. It is worth noting at this moment that it was he, Dain II Ironfoot, who long ago had fought in the great battle of Azanulbizar on the very threshold of Khazad-dűm, and dared to look past the gate into the ancient realm. King Dain had long ago prophesized that another power, greater than the dwarves, would have to come before Durin’s Folk could again settle in the halls of their fathers. However, Balin was unmoved by the king’s words and insisted that it could be done and the threat that had loomed there before had long been gone. Such passion was aroused in the in some of the nobles that Dain dared not hinder them lest the gap between them grow wider. Thus it was that Balin set out from Erebor with a mighty company of dwarves all bound for Khazad-dűm, but without King Dain’s blessing. The king grieved for the departure of his friend, knowing that the quest could not meet any other destiny but ruin.

It was after many days and nights of traveling they came within sight of the hallowed mountains, in ages long past their ancestors had called home. Thus it was that the host came to the Eastern gate, surprised and slew the Orc garrison gathered there. The dwarves rushed into their new home with hopes and anger running high. They swarmed over The Bridge of Khazad-dűm before the Orcs could gather in sufficient numbers to repel them and fought their way, through the First and Second Halls, to the Twenty-First Hall where a great melee ensued. Floi fell in the battle, but so great was the fury and might of the dwarves at his death that no Orc opposed them for long. It was lastly the Goblin Chief sprang from his lair in a desperate attempt to drive Balin out or kill him in the attempt, but Balin proved the better fighter, he was on sacred ground and nothing would drive him from it. So it was that Balin slew the great Goblin Chieftain and a great rout began to take place as the Orcs tried to scatter, no Orc ever dared enter Khazad-dűm again for five years.

It was after this victory that Balin found the Axe and Helm of Durin cast aside in some heap of rubble, discarded by the Orcs in fear of its memory. The relics were handled with the greatest of reverence, steel of the helm was undimmed and the blades of the axe were still sharp, and Balin claimed these for his own. A throne was erected in the Chamber of Mazarbul and it was with the greatest joy that the dwarves proclaimed Balin their King, Uzbad Khazaddűmu, lord of Khazad-dűm!

Balin’s people went to work in the following years repairing the evil wrought by the Orcs. Many chambers and halls were explored and the mines were once again being worked in. The halls of Khazad-dűm shone again with a brilliant light and the grander of days long past had been restored. There it was that delver mined and the mason built, weapons were made and gems were uncovered; but of the greatest of all these delights was the true substance for which Khazad-dűm was known for: Mithril, true silver was once again uncovered.

For years there was great prosperity, the miner worked with joy, the graver renewed the faded words and symbols upon the pillars and gates, and the smith made many weapons of great quality. Many expeditions were sent to explore farther and the dwarves mined in deep shafts that were long forgotten. Thus it was that Oin, son of Groin, made plans with Balin to set out from the Twenty- First hall in search of the armories of the Third Deep. It was not until many weeks later that Oin returned with new that he had driven the last remaining remnant of the Orcs from Khazad-dűm, and he returned with scores of weapons and armour from the armouries of the Third Deep.

It was on November the 10th, in the year 2994 of the Third Age that Balin ushered forth from Khazad-dűm, accompanied by his closest companions, to look upon Kheled-zâram, that Men call Mirrormere, a lake at the mouth of Azanulbizar, the Dimrill Dale. It was at this lake that Durin the Deathless the Father of Durin’s People, looked into the water of Kheled-zâram and saw a crown of stars above his head, and it was he who founded the great city of Khazad-dűm.

It had been nearly five years since the dwarves drove the Orcs out of the halls. Everything was as it was in the days of Durin, but it would be short lived. The Orcs of the Misty Mountains had been stirred by rumors of wealth that the dwarves had accumulated during their stay; an army had been mustered and was marching on the Eastern gate that very day. Yet something far more fearful had been aroused in the depths of Khazad-dűm’s mines, Durin’s Bane was aroused and his anger was great.

May it please you gentle reader to hear now the recounting of Balin, son of Fundin, and the brave dwarves who accompanied him. Draw closer to my fire and harken to the tale of my kinsman and how they gave their last full measure of courage in the halls of Khazad-dűm.

~ Groin Redbeard

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Old 11-30-2008, 01:11 PM   #2
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A cold wind sent Nali’s green robe flapping. He stood beside his brother Loni; both were staring in wonder at the sky. So focused were they on the heavenly event that they had not noticed that Balin had been gone for some time. The Two globes in the sky were mere minutes away from colliding, or at least looked like they would.

Both brothers were startled at an exclamation of horror from Tror and before Nali knew the cause of the cry Tror and Frar had sprung to the vanguard of the group and were soon followed by Loni. It suddenly appeared that orcs were scrambling down the slopes to where Balin was, but Nali did not see the figure of his lord sprawled out on the ground. Ori and he stood motionless as the group went forward, Nali Finally regained his senses and grabbed Ori by the shoulder and shook him roughly.

“Come my friend, why do we linger? Our leader hath need of our help!” Resolution came back into Ori’s stature and they both sprang down the rocky slope with greater recklessness than their four companions had.

They overtook the orcs and helped with fending them off. Twice Nali intervened on behalf of his brother, though outnumbered, the dwarves put up a stout fight. The fiercest of them was Ori, he flung himself at the orcs with reckless fury so that the strong arms of Tror and Frar had to twice help him. Nali lifted his huge mace and smashed helm and shield alike, he placed himself directly over Balin’’s body alongside his brother.

Once he was flung from his lord while parrying a blow and the orcs laid their cruel hands on Balin and sought to make away with him, but every time he was flung back Loni cut the hands of the orcs that held Balin and they fled in terror.

With the last of the orc s slane, Nali dropped his mace and sunk to his knees. Gingerly he and Loni turned him so that they could see his face. Loni held him in his arms, Nali was weeping beside him, Balin’s face was ghostly white, his eyes were closed and a look of pain was written upon his face.

Suddenly Balin’s chest heaved in an agonizing sigh; his eyes opened and looked around as if bewildered and unsure. As an exclamation of joy rang from companions the realization came into his eyes and a smile crossed his lips.

“My lord!” exclaimed Tror; Ori sprang next to Balin, clasping his friend’s hand in his and burst into joyful tears.

But the lord of Khazad-dum just looked at his friends and gave a nod, as if to say, “thank you.” Then there was a long sigh and Balin lay limp in Loni’s arms, at perfect peace with his fate.

Nali buried his head in his hands and wept heavily next to his brother. The whole company was immersed in grief. Tror clenched his fists and bit his lip, but no matter how hard he tried the tears still flowed from his eyes and stained his beard.

“Alas,” cried Nali after long moments of weeping, “now two great leaders of Durin’s house have fallen in this dale.”

Thus it was that Balin died at the moment of the sun and moon crossing each other’s path. Nali no longer held it as a wondrous occurrence; he cursed and shook his fist at the sky. It was an ill omen that their lord should fall on the day of Durin, Nali couldn’t help but feel that ill times awaited him and his friends.
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Old 11-30-2008, 03:34 PM   #3
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It was very late when Lóni actually realised what Balin's state really is. At first, he has not given it much thought, he saw the immediate threat and acted, and only in the furthest corner of his mind he had the worry that Balin's wound may be serious. But now, as he stood at the edge of the dark lake among the fallen enemies and silent friends, he realised the truth which was far more terrifying than he originally dared to think. With the shadow of Durin's stone next to him, Lóni once again thought of the dwarven heroes, but now from a completely different perspective. The living and the dead were once again together, and Lóni felt just how thin the line between the former and the latter was. The heroes of Khazad-dűm, those who died in its halls and in front of its gates. Durin, Thrór...

The sun and moon were together in the sky and the water of the lake was dark and chill.

Balin, their lord, the one whom Lóni always admired and respected as a honourable dwarf of his age, and as somebody close to him, was dead.
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Old 11-30-2008, 05:33 PM   #4
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Kénan had remained at the gates of Moria. He had not been close to Balin and therefore was not one of the party to go down with him. Yet he had followed them at a distance, but only to the gates. There he stood on the threshold under the mountain looking out on all that passed from a great distance. He did not see Balin fall, but he saw the routing of the orcs and their flight from the valley. His brows drew together, resembling a thundercloud gathering together before the storm.

He knew that in the inhabited halls above, the dwarves would be gathering for the great celebration of Durin’s Day. His two grandchildren would be there. He should be there with them, but his deep sense of loyalty to his lord, Balin, had induced him to follow.

Soon he realized that he had not followed far enough. In time, he saw the small group of dwarves drawing up the path below him, and they bore on their shoulders a body of one of their number.

Kénan stepped forward out of the shadow of the gatepost into the light of the dying sun. He heard the voices of the dwarves in lament. Then he recognized Balin to be the one they carried. He lifted his hand and pulled the hood away from his head, and thus bared, the gray head bent and he stepped back again to allow the body to pass.

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Old 11-30-2008, 07:06 PM   #5
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Kórin expertly filled mug after mug from large barrels of ale, pausing in her work only to take a drink of her own or to chat with a friend or friendly face. She paid no heed to whether or not she was refilling this dwarf’s mug for the fourth or fifth time, nor if the two mugs that dwarf carried were both for him or not. Today was Durin’s Day, and they were celebrating the fifth such day in Khazad-dűm, home and stronghold of their ancestors, reclaimed once again.

Kórin, who had never excelled at any craft she had been instructed in, largely because she had no interest in them, was among those who took up brewing (once again, for some) since Balin’s people had settled in and restored the Twenty-first Hall to a comfortable neighborhood. And most of them had been storing more than they had been offering for months, in anticipation of this day. For five years now dwarves once again dwelt in Khazad-dűm, relighting some – if only a fraction – of its forges.

The gathering area in the middle of the hall – a sort of town centre now – was filled with people, laughter, music, delectable smells, and the smoke of pipeweed. Kórin sang along with a nearby group who played on fiddles and flutes and sang:

“The world was young, the mountains green,
No stain yet on the Moon was seen,
No words were laid on stream or stone,
When Durin woke and walked alone.
He named the nameless hills and dells;
He drank from yet untasted wells;
He stooped and looked in Mirrormere,
And saw a crown of stars appear,
As gems upon a silver thread,
Above the shadow of his head.

The world was fair, the mountains tall,
In Elder Days before the fall
Of mighty Kings in Nargothrond
And Gondolin, who now beyond
The Western Seas have passed away:
The world was fair in Durin's Day...”

Kórin let the others continue without her when she caught sight of two familiar faces amongst the crowd, and called out to them, “Good day, Master and Missus Silverfist! Isn’t it your Tív and Tíva’s birthday today, too? What a party they’re gettin’! Tell ‘em I wish ‘em a good one! I don’t suppose I should offer them a full pint, but what about yourselves?”


Kór had not been back to get another ale from his sister after she had shoved one at him when he helped her roll barrels into the centre of the hall. He had barely touched his ale, as since then his hands had been busy upon his harp’s strings. He played mostly familiar tunes today that those celebrating could sing along to, such as songs about the Lonely Mountain – both the dragon’s coming and the return of the king under the mountain. It was hard to believe that it was five years ago now that there had been another such glorious return – and one that Kór himself had witnessed.

Kór heard some lively flutes and strings from across the hall, and when he heard them strike up the tune of Durin’s song he began to play along with them. Though only pieces of the words echoed to where he sat, garbled at this distance, he filled in the rest without thinking, running the words through his head as he played, absorbing their meaning and pouring that out through his fingers. It certainly felt that Durin was alive this day, and though he was not, Kór played to awaken him.
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Old 12-01-2008, 11:56 AM   #6
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Iari tugged at Kéni's sleeve, dragging him along to the feast. She hated the thought that they might be late for Durin's Day celebration. All that wonderful food not being eaten, just sitting there, or worse it could all be gone and only the worst was left. It would be a travesty

"Hurry, hurry," She pulled harder, but now Kéni was resisting. His feet were planted in the ground, refusing another step. "We're going to be late."

"We will be fine. The food will still be there and there will be plenty for us, even if we're late. We should have waited at home for Grandpa anyway."

"He said he would meet us there. Now come on!" Iari was pulling harder, but her older brother had weight and height on her. Kéni took Iari by the arm and hoisted her up, slinging her over one shoulder.

"Because of your impatience we are returning home. I am sure Grandpa will bring us something to eat when the celebration is over."

"No, no!" Iari cried, beating her fists on Kéni's back as he started walking. It was unfair. Just because he was older did not mean he had any right to deprive young Iari of the Durin's Day celebration feast. The day before Kéni had been as excited as she and now he was carrying her back to their home and missing all the fun.

Kéni laughed as his sister beat her tiny fists into his back. He drew closer to the feast and knew it was time to settle Iari. What would their neighbors think if he brought her in screaming and abusing him? "Best be quiet or no one will give you anything." Kéni placed Iari down and pointed her toward the feast.

Her eyes lighted and she clapped with joy. Kéni took her by the hand, leading her toward the food.

Last edited by Kitanna; 12-03-2008 at 09:13 PM.
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Old 12-01-2008, 12:22 PM   #7
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She was left alone for some time with her thoughts, humming to herself and slowly turning the roast. But her thoughts were disturbed by the patter of little feet and the excited shouts of little voices. She smiled to herself and went on with her duty. Presently she felt the little hands suddenly seize her and begin to tickle, she jumped in pretend surprise and then turned on the little Tiv and Tiva and began to chase them around the makeshift kitchen catching one up in her arms and then the other. The little kids laughed with her as she carried them back to her stool.

"My my, you kids are getting heavy. I wonder, could it be that today is your birthday?"

"Yes yes, it is!" the children shouted excitedly.

"Then that calls for gifts, but they must be special gifts for today is Durin's Day and it is not every year that you may celebrate you birthday then."

The Kids held their breath as Nisa reached under her stool and lifted up two packages of stoat skins and handed it to the children she looked on with delight as they opened the pouches and displayed the contents in the light of the fire. One of the packages contained a some wooden figures in the shape of a bird with a sharp beak, they examined it for some time but soon had to ask her what they were.

"These," she explained holding the two figures in her hands, "are raven callers. It was said that in the days of old our folk could speak to the ravens of the hills and call on them for aid. Alas, all too few of us know the language today, even my cousin has endevoured to learn it and failled, but with these you mearly have to blow in this end and a ravens call will pertrude out of it, watch." Nisa placed one to her lips and blew, a sharp caw rang out across the hall and the Tiv and Tiva immediately began blowing on them.

Tiv was handeling an object in the second pouch, they were richly adorned belts of gold studded leather. Tiv's was dark green and sparked when shown in the light; it was adorned with a small jewel on the front. Tiva's was of light blue, but hers did not shine in the light, but instead sparkled and glowed when in the dark, a special kind of "magic worked by Bain who she had purchased them from. Both of the artifacts were well wrought and valuble possetions, but she was a wealthy dwarf and spared no expense on this special day.

However, though the children were pleased with their gifts and thanked her over and over for them she was filled with an emptiness. She had not yet fulfilled her duty and produced an offspring. Nisa wondered how happy Tiv and Tiva's parents were, and how richly they had been blessed to have two little darlings such as these.

"Now you two," she said after the children had fastened their new belts on and stored their raven callers in a pouch, "you best be getting back to your parents. I still have work to do and lord Balin will be back soon."

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Old 12-01-2008, 01:22 PM   #8
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Tív and Tíva

The twins were agog at the gifts Nîsa had given them. Tíva buckled her new blue belt about her waist and twirled about, cocking her head this way and that as she tried to catch a glimpse of herself on the side of one of the bigger cooking pots.

‘Oh, I am puh-rit-teeeee!’ She skipped back to Nîsa and flung her arms about the woman as far as they would reach. ‘Thank you so much, Nîsa – I love it!!’ She skipped away again to stand in the dark shadows at the end of the hall, where her belt glimmered out about her.

Tív’s attention was focused on the raven-call. He recalled times outside the caverns with his father, when they’d gone to chop firewood in the forests that carpeted the mountain sides. High in the branches of the tall firs he’d seen the large black birds gliding from one tree’s branches to another and calling out in the still air. Their hoarse, croaking Kaughs and the variations of that call echoing across the little valleys. It was almost as if they spoke, Tiv had thought. His father, noting they boy’s interest in the ravens, had told him stories of how many of the older Dwarves he’d know as a boy insisted there was indeed meaning in those various sounds.

If a raven caws above your head - you will have company
If she says GRAW!” it will be unexpected company
If she says “GEEWAN!” it will be unwelcome company
If she says “BEECAH!” it will be a lover come to call
If she says “GRACE!” it will be someone coming to collect a debt

Tív grinned at Nîsa and blew a series of calls. He was soon joined by his sister, and as soon had tried on his own belt.

When Nîsa let them know in her gentle way that she had best return to her business of turning the roasts for the feast, they put away their calls and bid her good-bye. ‘Thank you!’ they called aloud again, waving their hands at her as they made their way back into the crowd.


Lys and Vitr try Kórin’s brew

‘You have the right of it,’ Lys said, accepting a mug of foaming ale from Kórin. ‘It is the twins’ birthday She took a small sip and rolled it about in her mouth. ‘Very tasty!’ She furrowed her brow, catching a taste of something unfamiliar. ‘What is that? Something new you’ve added this year.’ She cocked a brow at Kórin. ‘A secret, I suppose?’ she asked, smiling. ‘Well, whatever it is, I think it definitely deserves further investigation.’ She downed the remainder of her mug-full and held it out for a refill.

Noting the sly grin tipping up the edges of Vitr’s mouth, Lys winked at him. ‘Come now, husband mine! Kórin’s offered a taste of her newest brew.’ She tipped her chin toward her own barrel. ‘Let’s give her a taste of mine.’ She nodded at Kórin. ‘You’ll want to try Vitr’s spirits, too. Smooth, but with quite a kick to it!’

Last edited by Lilly; 12-03-2008 at 02:27 PM.
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Old 12-01-2008, 03:41 PM   #9
Groin Redbeard
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Something died with Tror as he saw balin's eyes close for the last time. It was nothing new to him, he had seen dwarves die before, even important dwarves such as Balin yet he did not cry for them. As best he could, Tror held back the flood of tears that wished to brake his dam of pride that held them back. This was not the way for a beloved leader to die: killed by an assasin's arrow, and with him the dream that he held. It was Balin dream burned with a fire of its own when he was around other people, it was he who could inspire the populace to do great things, would his dream die with him?

Tror no longer felt like crying, he wanted to fight, he wanted to hit something to vent his frusteration out on an object. His eyes fixed on the arrow that pierced the dwarf lords back, Balin hadn't even worn his armour that day.

"Take it out," he growled in a low voice at Loni (it was he who was holding Balin), "take it out, take the shaft out!" he said in a loud voice after Loni looked up at him confused.

Loni did as he was told, Nali took his robe off and wrapped the dead lord in it. Even in death Balin was a kingly sight.

"Come my friends," said Tror in a gentler voice, "we must not linger. The people will be expecting the return of their lord."

Together Tror,Loni, Frar, and Nali lifted the dead lord on their shoulders. Tror had excluded Ori from this task on purpose, the death of his dear friend had only moments ago happened and the grief might still be too great. Slowly the dwarves walked in step up the rocky slope back to the Eastern-Gate. Tror was never any good with words, yet he sang a durge in a deep voice.

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Old 12-05-2008, 08:02 AM   #10
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"Lord Balin...dead!? How is this possible?" Gror began studdering, "I mean I know it's possible, of course it's possible, but how did it happen?"

"He was shot with an orc arrow in the back."

"Cowards!" grunted Gror, and anger swept through him. "No good, rotten, Orcs! They know any dwarf could easily dispatch one of them in melee, I bet someone like Balin could take on ten orcs! So, they have to -..."

"What is your business here in Moria?" Gror was cut off by Ori. You're doing a fine job, starting on the right foot with everyone today Gror. You embarrass yourself in front of Oin, and now you're making another respectable looking dwarf impatient because you're rambling. Now get on with it...

"I was sent by King Dain to gather news about the Moria colony. However, I fear only more woe will come to you before the end of the night. There is more pressing news and I must speak with the commander of the colony."

"Anything you have to say to Tror, you can say to me." Ori replied.

Gror nodded to try to make up for his ridiculous behavior earlier - if father were here he'd probably pretend he didn't know you. "A large Orc army is coming up the Silverlode. They will reach the East Gate by night fall. I don't know their numbers, I didn't think it important to find out, but there is a great host of them. I came across a dwarf, Oin he said his name was. He told me to hurry, warn Balin, and he went to check out the enemy himself."

"Tror is now in command. He went inside, with a precession, to announce Balin's death to the colony. Tell him this news immediately! He should not be hard to find. I will make sure the guards let you in."
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Old 12-05-2008, 12:40 PM   #11
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Bain had gone to the feast in high spirits. He had already persuaded himself that day was blessed and nothing could go wrong. He could hardly wait to tell Lord Balin he had finished his work. He wanted him to be the first to know. Well, Onli had been the first to know, but no one did beside him and no one should before lord Balin. That was what he was feeling before the message came, before the world seemed to turn upside down.

When he had first caught sight of Tror, Bain had assumed the latter had come to announce his lord’s arrival. He shifted in his chair, eyes glinting. So the moment had come, he thought.

But he had been wrong. The only thing that had come was a dreadful announcement, one he had never expected to hear, one he had never even imagined to be possible. Lord Balin was dead! He was dead and-how strange!-the world seemed unchanged, going on as if nothing had happened, as if such a death was not reason enough for all the lights to fade and darkness to fall over all. Bain barely understood the rest of Tror’s speech. It seemed to be coming from somewhere far away, a different world, perhaps.

Balin’s body was brought in and Bain entered the line of mourners so that he too could have one last look at his lord. He saw that many of those around them had tears in their eyes. Others were too stunned by disbelief to think of weeping. Bain felt the same way too. As he looked at his lord’s white face, Bain’s thoughts went suddenly to his forge and the now finished helmet that lay there. He shook his head, feeling tears in his eyes.

“He’ll never know now.” he mumbled. “And I thought he would be so pleased…”
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Old 12-05-2008, 10:08 PM   #12
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Ignoring his aching thumb, Dalin rushed to his quarters and changed into fresh linens. There was a celebration on hand at the Twenty First Hall, and he was missing it! The flustered dwarf only hoped that some of his favorite malt beer would be remaining upon his arrival. Essentially tripping over his own short legs, Dalin stumbled out of his room and hurried down rough hewn passage. As he neared the supposed festivities, however, a thought struck him. There was no shouting; in fact, he couldn't hear anything at all. Parties, and especially this feast, were generally boisterous, cacaphonous and the like. But on this occasion an eerie silence hung throughout the darkened corridors, as if all the mines had been hushed into quiet submission.

Dalin couldn't help but feel a little uneasy; it was becoming clear that something wasn't right. A creeping sensation tickled the hairs at the base of his neck, growing stronger by the second. Heart racing, he neared the large double doors with a mixture of blind dread and inquisitive curiousity. What could have happened? Had there been an attack? Were orcs invading the mines? Dalin paused as he reached for the handle; one way or another, he was going through that door. The dwarf took a heaving gasp of air, gathered his nerves, and pushed inward against the heavy stone frame. Responding to his reluctant touch, it creaked open, revealing the tragic scene beyond.

As he broke down in heavy sobs, Dalin couldn't help but fancy that he'd have given away both thumbs if only to avoid this horror.

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Old 12-06-2008, 02:27 AM   #13
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Tív and Tíva shrank back from Trór, seeking the shelter of their mother’s skirt. A flimsy barrier at best against the piercing glance that had been aimed their way. Yet, they took comfort in the fragile protection it afforded them from his attention and his words.

'A generation that our leader gave his life to protect' they had heard Trór say '. . . a generation whose children will dwell in these halls after our bones have turned to dust . . .'

‘Why did he die for us? We did not want him to do that,’ they whispered into the soft dark folds of material. ‘It wasn’t our fault, was it Mami?’

Their Great Lord was dead. They understood that . . . impossible not to. There lay his body, still as stone, resting upon the shoulders of the bearers. His face seemed carved cold as it passed by; his sightless gaze cast up through the great mountains which arched up above it.

‘But it wasn’t our fault,’ Tív whimpered.

Vitr ushered his little family away from the procession. His own emotions were raw from this awful news of Balin’s death. Anger twined with deep grief at the manner and fact of his Lord’s death. He pushed these feelings aside for now, wanting to first deal with the more pressing need of his children for reassurance, for explanation.

He shepherded Lys and the twins to a quiet corner of the hall. The children huddled near their mother still, one hand each still grasping onto her skirt. Tív and Tíva’s eyes were wide as Vitr knelt down on one knee so that they were on a face to face level.

‘No need to be frightened,’ he told them softly, inviting each into the comforting embrace of his arms. ‘It wasn’t your fault. Not at all. It was one of our foe, a foul Orc and his fouler arrow which slew Lord Balin.’ The pinched, pale faces of the twins relaxed a little. Still their dark, deep-pooled eyes stayed fixed on their father’s face.

‘Orcs! Here?’ Tív asked, hastily wiping at his eyes and nose with the sleeve of his tunic. ‘Will they get us, too, Papi?’ Tíva’s tear glistened eyes flashed fearfully as she waited for her father’s response.

‘Not in here, not in the halls,’ Vitr assured his son. He drew his daughter in, hugging her close against him. ‘There were only a few, or so I understood from what Trór said. Outside the mountain. And they were swiftly taken care of. They cannot harm us any longer.’ Vitr looked up at Lys, his eyes clouded with concern. Where there were one or a few Orcs, they both knew, there would surely be many more as yet unseen.

He stood up, taking one each of their little hands in his larger ones. ‘Come,’ he urged them. ‘Let’s go back to our home. I’ll see you to the hallway and you can walk with Mami then to there. I should go back to the hall . . . see if there is anything I’m needed to do.’

The children walked between their parents until they came to the hallway leading to their home. Vitr kissed them each on the cheek as he left them to their mother’s care. And kissed Lys, too; a quick brush against her cheek and a few words murmured in her ear.

‘You make sure Mami gets home safely,’ he charged the twins. ‘I’ll be back very soon . . . before you go to sleep. I just need to take a little time to pay my last respects to Lord Balin.’ Vitr ruffled their hair affectionately.

‘And remember . . . don’t you worry about anything.’ He smiled and nodded as he spoke. ‘Papi will take care of it . . .’

Vitr watched a little while as the trio walked away from him. With a heavy heart he turned away and made his own way toward the chamber where Lord Balin was now laid. Grief trumped the previous anger that had vied with it. Tears threatened at the corners of his sad, downcast eyes as he trudged along. And as he drew near the empty shell of his Lord, those tears escaped, sliding down his cheeks unbidden, wetting his beard.

‘What will we do now . . . without your direction and your steady hand?’ Vitr murmured as he gazed on Balin’s face. ‘How will we keep our homes and hall secure? And my family, my Lord . . . how will I keep them safe?’

He shook his head sadly, knowing there would be no words of reassurance to allay his own fears. Vitr reached out his right hand and touched the sleeve of his dead Lord’s tunic. ‘Always your man, my Lord . . .’ he whispered, and then passed on quietly as another stepped up to take his place.

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Old 12-06-2008, 02:44 PM   #14
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"Our lord, and mighty ruler, Balin has fallen!"

Kéni was among those who issued forth a roar of disbelief and horror. Balin dead? It hardly seemed possibly. He had been strong and full of life, a just and mighty dwarf. Kéni wanted to call Trór a liar and a power hunger miscreant. But that wasn't true or fair. Trór would not do anything to harm the colony or Balin.

“Of my friend I can say only this: of all the kings I have served, of all the dwarves I have known, he was the most...worthy!”

Kéni felt Iari clutch his hand. She squeezed it as hard as she could. Kéni looked down and saw his sister staring ahead, fear reflecting in her eyes. Balin's body was being led in, Kéni was not sure this was something little Iari needed to see. "Iari, do you want to go home and wait for Grandpa?" Iari shook her head slowly and allowed Kéni to lead her into the line with the other mourners.

Dead. Iari remembered that word very clearly from her early years. That was what they had said her father was. Now Balin was dead too. If those as strong and brave as her father and Balin could die who was to say one so weak and young as herself could survive?

Kéni held her hand all through the line. Upon seeing Balin at the foot of his throne Iari started to cry. That was how death looked? Though Balin wasn't twisted in agony and his eyes were closed as though sleep had taken him, there was something terrifying in his cold look. Kéni stroked Iari's hair and gently led her away so other mourners could pay their respects and so the little girl would not have to be exposed any further to the dead body of their fallen lord.

Kéni knew it was time to seek out Kénan. He was dying to know what had happened and if their grandfather knew anything. He also wanted to Iari home and as far away from Balin as possible.

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Old 11-24-2008, 04:19 PM   #15
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It was Durin's Day and the sun was slowly descending in the sky. Its light was almost as cold as the ascending moon's, and neither of them could light the surface of the waters of Lake Mirrormere. It remained as dark as always, absorbing all light to its unknown depths.

There was no wind, but still a shiver ran through Ori, and he draped his cloak, grey as ever, more tightly around himself.

”Better to go soon, my friend,” he said to the white-bearded dwarf beside him.

The other man nodded, but the usual warmth in his eyes had been replaced by a slight uncertainity. Then he took a deep breath and closed his eyes, and when he opened them again, the fire had returned and his companions could recall that it was indeed the Lord of Khazad-dűm that was standing in front of them.

”I will go now, and I will go alone,” Balin said, raising his hand to silence the protests of his young second-in-command, Trór. ”For long I have known it is today that I have to look into the depths of Mirrormere and I also know I am to do it alone. And I have already explained that to you. You, my friends, may stay here and guard my back, if it pleases you.”

He added a small, comforting smile to the few trusted ones he had allowed to accompany him this far. Their faces remained serious, only Ori who had shared innumerable perils with Balin was able to return even a shadow of a smile.

Then Balin nodded, turned and started ascending the remains of what had once been one of the most beautiful streets in the realm of Dwarrowdelf. His friends watched as his figure grew smaller, but he was still close enough to be seen well even if he hadn't been wearing his majestic red cloak. They saw him reach Durin's stone, halt by the ever-loved Kheled-zâram and admire its beauty. Ori held his breath as Balin lowered himself nearer to the unmoving surface and looked in the dark water.

He seemed to stay there, still as a stone, for ages. Only the fact that the sun and the moon had not moved betrayed that only some moments had passed.

Out of the still air a light wind emerged. The grass swayed in a hypnotic dance and the always so unruffled surface of Kheled-zâram seemed to break in a small wave or two. Ori moved his weight from one leg to another. He grasped his left wrist with his right hand and moved his fingers nervously. Now, come back Balin, you've seen it... His old friend lifted his head reluctantly, as if he had heard Ori's thoughts, but did not look away from the depths.

Even there, higher up the slope, the dwarves could hear the sharp whisper of the bow and the whistle of the arrow. Balin fell without a cry. He lied unmoving on the grass beside Mirrormere, the ugly black-feathered shaft of an orc-arrow sticking from his back.

“Attack! Kill him!” Trór boomed, his voice almost breaking with grief and rage. Dwarves around Ori were clasping their weapons, crying in sorrow and fury and hurrying down to the lake. But Ori stood unmoving, numb, staring the body of his old friend and the Lord of Khazad-dűm. In the twinkling of an eye, a laugh and a wisdom forever lost, a great ambition and a shared dream shattered, the first drumrolls of doom and destruction echoing loudly in the cold autumn air...

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Old 11-24-2008, 09:59 PM   #16
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Drum beats of another sort....

‘A drumroll, please!!!!!!’

Tíva’s hands made a quick pitter-patter of beats on her thighs as her brother’s voice rang out. Tív, for his part, marched into the room a small cloth flag waving from the broom pole he held before him. Once round the room that served as his family’s kitchen he tromped, grinning from ear to ear. At the end of his circuit his sister joined him and with a flourish and a bow to each other, they secured the makeshift pennant in the middle of their mother’s barrel of dried beans.

‘What’s this?’ asked Lys as she wiped her hands on her apron and drew near the duo. The little banner was dark blue, a piece of that old raggedy wool blanket she’d consigned just a few days ago to the rag basket. And there in the middle of it was sewn a sort of round, sort of greyish circle. Another rag she recalled – Vitr’s old, torn tunic, the one he’d stained so badly on the front with oil and grit. Along the right rim of the circle was a thin sliver of sparkly crystal dust running from top to bottom, affixed with the glue from her leather-glue pot, she had no doubt.

‘Oh, mami! You know what it is!!’ Tív’s eyes danced with excitement.

‘Yes, mami! You remembered....didn’t you?’ Tíva glanced about the kitchen, a hopeful look in her eyes.

‘Remembered?’ Lys stood for a moment, her brow furrowed as if she could not fathom what the twins were going on about. Seeing their faces begin to cloud up as they considered the possibility she had indeed forgotten, she cocked a brow at them and broke into laughter. ‘Of course I did, my, make that my big beetle-bugs.’ Lys gave them each a quick kiss on the cheek.

‘It’s Durin’s Day!’ Lys pronounced, making her way back to toward the cupboards just above the long marble counter. Tív and Tíva narrowed their eyes at her, looks of expectation still on their faces.

‘And........?’ they prompted.

‘And.....’ Lys continued, opening one of the cupboard doors and removing a small platter covered with a rough-spun napkin. ‘Why it’s a very important day, now isn’t it?’ She turned round to her two children and whisked off the cloth, revealing a heaping pile of honey cookies studded with nuts and bits of dried fruits. ‘It’s your birthday!!!!!! Seven years!!!’

She meant to admonish them that they should wait ‘til their father returned from his workshop. That then they would celebrate. But who was she to say “no” to the birthday girl and boy.

‘Right, then, one each.’ She nodded at Tív. ‘And ladies first, please.

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Old 11-25-2008, 02:04 AM   #17
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‘Ah, last one . . . for this day, at least!’ Vitr ran his hand over the top face of the granite block, nodding his head in approval at the smooth surface that flowed beneath his fingers. It would be but one of many of the blocks which were to line one of the cavern chambers he and the other masons had begun working on. Wiped clean of dust, polished a bit, it would reflect the lights from the filigree lamps which were to hang from the tall ceilings of the room and it would glimmer softly in the reflected light from the gems and crystals to be fitted here and there about the chamber. Tomorrow, he and others working on this project would load up the blocks they’d finished and transport them to the area in the wall where they were needed.

But for now, he was finished with his work and his thoughts turned toward home and family. The twins had no doubt been pestering their mother all this day. He was surprised, in fact, that she had not sent them to see him just to get them out of her hair. Or perhaps she had. It was not beyond them simply to take themselves off somewhere to ‘have a bit of fun’. As he dusted off his breeches and brushed off his tunic in preparation to leave he wondered from whom he might be hearing a tale of how one or the other, or more likely both, of the children had pulled some prank or misbehaved in some manner.

‘If it please you, Mahal,’ he spoke softly as he walked away from his workplace. ‘Let me not hear that they have caused some trouble somewhere.’ He chuckled a little to himself. ‘Or if they have indeed gotten into some mischief, the please let the beset upon recall the little follies of their own younger days and take it all in kind.’

Vitr entered his snug little home with a quiet step. He set the leather bag he’d brought with him on the seat of the wide oak rocker and made his way to the kitchen. ‘Smells good!’ he said appreciatively stepping into the room. The welcoming aroma of one of Lys' savory stews made his mouth water; the accompanying scent of fresh baked oat loaves set his stomach to grumbling. ‘Done soon, I hope!’ he added, giving his wife a quick peck on the cheek as she stirred the pot.

‘And what’s this? Sweets before supper?’ he rumbled in a pseudo-gruff manner as he spied Tív and Tíva munching cookies. His eyes took in the nearly empty platter on the table. ‘And more than one, eh?’

‘Oh, Papi! You know mami made more than these. She always does.’ Tív picked up the platter and held it out to his father. ‘Have one! They’re great!’ he added. Tíva came round to where Vitr stood and leaned against him. ‘It’s our birthday, you know,’ she said smiling up at him.

‘Is that so?’ Vitr said, gathering her up in his arms. ‘Well, then, there should be presents, shouldn’t there?’ he said grinning at her. He put her back down on the ground.

‘So, who wants to fetch the leather sack I left sitting on the rocker?’ He had barely finished his question when the two went streaking toward the kitchen door and were through it in a quick blur of pumping arms and legs.

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Old 11-25-2008, 12:02 PM   #18
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“There!” Bain exclaimed on a very pleased tone. “That’s done to!”

With that, the dwarf impatiently brushed his long hair out of his eyes to have a better look at his handiwork. His new creation was a helm on which he had been working for quite a long time. It would have taken him much less, of course, if he had not wanted to make it full of intricate patterns. Some would have said that was a useless feat, but he of course did not think so. “If you have beautiful things in your mind and if you can do beautiful things with your hands, then it would be wrong not to do them.” he would always say to any who cared to listen to him. And anyway, was he not in Moria to make beautiful things for the colony? That was the reason why he had agreed to come with Lord Balin.

“I think he’ll be very pleased when he sees this.” he muttered, holding the new-made helm lovingly in his hands. “He’ll know he had been right when asking me to come.” And to have finished it exactly on Durin’s Day too! That was surely a sign, proof of good things and prosperity coming to Moria. Oh, Lord Balin would indeed be very pleased when he found out the helm had been finished on such a day. He could not wait to tell him.

And that night, of course, he was going to celebrate with any who wished to join him. He was in a good mood, as it usually happened when he finished something. Now all he had to do what to decide what to make next. He had received orders from those of the colony, of course, but he also wanted to do something for himself, that he would make just for the sake of seeing it take shape before his eyes. Perhaps he should start working on a chain. Yes, that would be pleasant. But that could wait. Now the only thing he looked forward to was to announce that he had finished the helm he had been working for so long. He could hardly wait to see the pleased look on Lord Balin’s face when he heard that.
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Old 11-25-2008, 02:01 PM   #19
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"Oh, what a master piece of craft," a voice resounded from behind Bain. Like all too often, Onli appeared seemingly out of nowhere. Standing in the doorway, wrapped in his green cloak and with this large golden belt buckle which was just impossible to overlook, he must have been watching Bain for a while now. Now he moved forth, his big brown boots making a clunking noise, and without much constraints he started to examine the newly finished helmet closely.

"Oh, what a master piece of craft," he repeated, not caring at all whether Bain approves his presence or not. "Such a be-au-ti-ful decorating! And look at this tiny... err... ha, I forgot it, memory does not serve as well as it used to. I know what it is called," he added, as if to prove that he can understand well a smith's work and thus is the right person to evaluate it. He smiled widely, showing the white teeth shining amidst the bush of his short red-colored beard. "Anyway, you sure put much effort into it. Say, perhaps it won't be bad, as soon as you have finished all the other tasks you currently have, to start making these in larger numbers?" he added in a hopeful tone. Then he set on a more educated face and started to speak fast in a mentor-like voice; like an old master talking to a young apprentice - despite he was only some fourty years older than Bain, and definitely not his mentor.

"You must imagine that once this city is fully re-occupied, there will be too many smiths to make competition for your craft. But now you are just one of the few, and this," before Bain could react in any way, he knocked on the helmet, "is going to be a very valuable piece of art in the future. An artifact from the early days of the reoccupation of Khazad-Dűm! But it will be foolish to leave it just like that. One helmet is nice, but why not make more? Since you can do it, and I can see well you can! And if we want to show King Dáin and the folk under the Mountain our progress, such a piece of craft would serve all too well for it! And just imagine how interested many of our kind will be to purchase such a thing..." Onli's eyes gleamed. "A perfect chance for a young craftsman like you to show his worth."

A loud banging sound from a nearby corridor interrupted Onli's dreams of helmet-business (which he would help to organise and distribute). He stopped, raising his wide eyebrows and shaking his head fast so that he resembled a startled red-furred squirrel. But he immediately knew what happened: it was Vriti once again sneaking around in the corners, looking for something to eat or to play with, or who knows what was it that she was doing. Onli smiled. Despite his mind was on business just a moment ago, and you could say that was the only thing that might interest him, he completely forgot about it now. Just for a short moment, though. But Vriti was his only real friend, or that was what Onli would have told you had you asked him. He knew he should go to catch her and feed her, for he was sure she did not find much to eat in the empty corridors of Dwarrowdelf.

Onli turned back to Bain. "Think about it, my good friend," he said, giving the young Dwarf an encouraging look and walked away, as if he did not even expect Bain to reply.
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