|The Discreet Journal of Nori Goldschlager, Dwarfin
Author: The S PM
The story of The Hobbit as told from the point of view of the one female dwarf in the party.Rated: Fiction K+ - English - Fantasy/Humor - Words: 14,536 - Reviews: 3 - Favs: 4 - Follows: 1 - Published: 07-12-03 - id: 1426924
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
I wrote this for a final class assignment. I spent long enough doing it that I figured I would share with the internet universe.
I combed The Hobbit very carefully to make this fit with the original storyline. Still, if any Tolkien nerds out there find inconsistencies, feel free to flame me about my inaccuracy.
Cassandra Claire was an inspiration for the format of this project, but I was in no way trying to rip her off or outdo her.
All the same, I hope this may be good for a chuckle or two.
The Discreet Journal of Nori Goldschlager, Dwarfin
Eighth Moon, Day 8
Cousin Thorin's 300th
birthday. Great party. Until the over-sore
topic of Erebor arose (as it always does with cousin Thorin). It seems he's really bent on undertaking his
fabled quest this time.
Of course Dori and Ori are terribly keen to go. Personally, I say leave the gold to the dragon! Only a fool (and a suicidal fool, at that!) would march off after Dwarfwerks which are currently in the possession of one Smaug the Terrible. There's a REASON no one lives Under the Mountain anymore. It's not just because they decided to pick up and move, one day.
But dwarfers will be dwarfers.
Mother's asked me to go, in the vain hope that I might be able to prevent Dori and Ori from being killed. Big sister to the rescue, as always. I don't see what good it will do; neither of them listen to me anymore. Not since they both outgrew me. Two finger-widths taller. Big deal.
But, as it is my familial duty, I'm bound to setting out after my two brothers, on a fool's errand, dreamed up by a maddwarf.
May the Lady of the Stars guard us.
I'm going to keep this journal of our travels so that, should anything befall us, future generations may know that I objected to all of this stupidity from the start.
Eighth Moon, Day 9
Got to cousin Thorin's apartments this morning just in time to miss the 'wizard' Gandalf. That's just great. It seems cousin Thorin will do almost anything to ensure that this venture will indeed take place.
This does not bode well. Trouble follows a wizard like crows do an army. Why does it take a uterus to endow one with an ounce of common sense?
Eighth Moon, Day 10
It's an old bit of dwarf-humor that all Dwarves are related. It goes that, if you follow a Dwarf family tunnel deep enough, you'll eventually reach the central cavern into which all Dwarf family tunnels open.
I always thought this was a joke. However, as I looked around at the members of this company which have already assembled, and hear the names of the members on whom we await our departure (all dwarfers, I was sad, though not terribly surprised, to note), I suddenly realized I am related in some way to each and every one of them.
I don't know why this disturbs me so much, to consider that an old dwarves'
tale may in fact be true. But it does.
And a sorrier family reunion you never saw. Everything is gloom and glory, as cousin Thorin drones on and on about the lost treasure and our somber quest to be completed at any cost.
I'm starting to suspect this may be his mid-life crisis.
Eighth Moon, Day 11
Cousin Thorin reports receiving
a strange message from the ratty old man about a needful addition to our party.
I don't understand why we have to march so far out of our way just to pick up some baggage this 'wizard' says we need. And what's this talk of unlucky numbers? Is not the number of moons in a year thirteen?
I think the old man must practice some strange sorcerous religion, if it objects to such a natural number. Unlucky to BREAK it, if you ask me.
But nobody ever does.
Eighth Moon, Day 28
Blast this thrice-accursed detour for a lark!
Ninth Moon, Day 2
Mishap #1: Ori fell into a well today.
Don't ask me how. It's Ori. That alone says it all.
Fished him out.
Cursedly inconvenient putting an unmarked well in the middle of pastureland.
Ninth Moon, Day 3
A very kind farmer has fed us and put us up for the night. No one likes this hayloft, however. Where has the GROUND gone?
Even if I wanted to, I doubt I shall get any sleep tonight. On one side of me, Ori is shivering and having nightmares, so far off the solid earth. Dori is pretending he's not bothered by it, but he's hunched together awfully tightly. Across the loft, cousin Thorin and Balin are grumbling at one another about how unpleasant this is and how uncomfortable they are.
I wish they'd just shut up, so that I could at least TRY to get some sleep. But, once those two get started, they'll never stop.
Ninth Moon, Day 3 - later
Dori was so intent on appearing brave, and sleeping far enough away from me that he thought I couldn't tell it was all a lie, that he rolled himself right off of our hayloft.
Of course he's fine. Dwarfers are hard as rocks,
heads and all.
Caused quite a stir, though. I think it scared the life out of the cows.
Once I'd retrieved him and settled everyone down again, I marched over to Thorin and Balin and asked them to kindly shut up for the love of Mahal, so that some of us might get some sleep before dawn. This earned me two particularly nasty looks, but at least it stopped the noise! Now for some rest.
Ninth Moon, Day 4
No, I didn't get any sleep. Not because of the hayloft, but because Dori has always been one to thrash around in his sleep. I'd be happier for my brothers having gotten some sleep at least, if it hadn't been my turn to aid our hosts with the food this morning. The farmer's wife called me 'such a polite young lad'.
I hate Men.
Ninth Moon, Day 7
We officially entered the strange Westron land called The Shire today. Peculiarly, there was no one about, though comfortable curls of smoke issued from every chimney we passed. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw curtains pulled aside in most every window, as the locals gawked and looked disapproving on our party.
What are these creatures called hobbits, apart from judgmental busybodies?
I flicked my beard at more than a few of those peep-windows, before Dwalin caught me and scolded me for it. Something about trying to encourage hospitality. I think he's sadly mistaken if he thinks anything we could do would make these hobbits eager to invite us into their homes.
Ninth Moon, Day 8
All these rolling green hills are making me seasick. We reached Hobbiton this morning. Now our only problem is to seek out this burglar the old man spoke of among all these burrows. Cousin Thorin has magnanimously decided that we should split up into search parties. When I tried to point out to him that this would merely get us lost in smaller groups, I got a sour look. So I told him my group would consist only of myself and my two brothers. I'm sure he thought he was going to come along and get us lost. Then, the way everyone paired up with immediate relatives, Thorin was the odd dwarf out. He got stuck going with Bifur, Bofur, and Bombur. Serves him right, too. I hope Bombur sits on him.
Shortly after we went off on what I'm certain will be the right way, Dori, Ori, and I came across a lovely clear stream downwind of a mill. I told the dwarfers to take a bath, while I scout ahead. After four nights of bedding down with livestock, they smell TERRIBLE. Not that they'd ever notice.
Ninth Moon, Day 8 - late
We were merely the third party to reach the burglar's hole, thank you very much - and that only because Dori and Ori had spent so long cleaning up - tied with Oin and Gloin, who admitted to me they'd spent the last hour hopelessly lost. I'm sure cousin Thorin's party never would have made it at all, if they hadn't somehow met up with that cursed old man on the way.
Everyone seemed very eager to eat our host out of house and home, once we'd arrived. I thought it was terribly rude, and, even though I was quite hungry myself, ordered nothing. But I told them, "If you're going to put him out like this, the least you can do is help him serve the food." Cousins Fili and Kili, who are good young dwarfers who respect their mother, rushed off to help right away, and, after a look from Thorin, Balin and Dwalin went to help as well.
The afternoon sped on rather jovially after that, and, when the timid little creature had decided to invite us for dinner, I organized the cleaning up and stowing of the dishes we'd just dirtied. Oin and Gloin, always the jesters, thought it would be fun to sing a lively song about breaking all of the poor hobbit's crockware, as we cleaned. I of course, was too busy supervising everyone so that not a thing was damaged to join in the silliness, anyway.
Of course neither cousin Thorin nor that dratted old man helped at all. I suppose they feel such a thing is beneath them. That's going to change mighty quick on this journey, let me tell you!
Once we'd finished, it seemed to be time to impress our host with Dwarvish music. I wish we'd had a little more notice. Ori's pfife is forever flat to mine and Dori's. However, I don't think the hobbit noticed. His eyes took on a strange look, when we sang. I do not doubt the old man used some witchery on him - I can't think what else could have convinced an obviously timid little creature like him to agree to join our quest.
Gandalf went down several notches in my estimation tonight, for it became obvious early on that this burglar was even less eager to join our party than we were to have him. The old man thinks he has duped both sides, and pulled the wool over everyone's eyes so well that none of us have noticed. Well I have noticed, old man. We'll just see what further mischief and manipulation you can get away with on this journey.
Ninth Moon, Day 9
No one ever listens to me. I was glad when that dratted wizard disappeared this evening. So glad, I didn't even tell anyone about it. As observant as dwarfers (and apparently hobbits) are, no one else noticed for several more hours, when we were ready to make camp.
I told them it would be safer to pitch the tents closer to the road - I've a bad feeling about the territory into which we wandered today. But, as usual, I was vetoed by the almighty Thorin, who thought our tents might stay more dry under this damp clump of trees. I felt very superior when they realized, after some effort, that it's too damp here for anyone to light a fire. Then one of the ponies must've felt somewhat of the danger I've been sensing for some time now, and took off for his dear life. He ended up in the river nearby, and lost a good 2/3 of our food supplies before cousins Fili and Kili managed to fish him out (Mishap #3, mind). With so much of the food we just bought TODAY gone, I'm as cranky as everyone else. What a blasted waste. This would not have happened, if they'd just listened to me in the first place.
Ninth Moon, Day 10
The Mishap to end all Mishaps (#4)
Last night, just when I thought things could get no worse, we were all bagged by trolls. I blame that useless baggage 'burglar'. My two brothers in the sack with me nearly squished me to death, as we lay there in a heap all night long. Ori, as has been his custom since dwarfkinhood, promptly wet himself, when the trolls started to talk of our preparation. So the three of us were quite disgruntled and urine-soaked, by the time our sack was removed this morning.
I suppose wizards are good for somewhat after all.
Dori gave Ori a good ear-boxing for soiling all of our clothes, and sent him back to the river to wash all of them.
I was about to give the rabbit more of the same for getting us all into that mess, when the old man mentioned the possibility of a troll hoard somewhere nearby. Everyone has run off in a tizzy to find what treasure there is. I'll have to write the furry-toed rabbit an I.O.U. for the ear-boxing. Don't think I'll forget.
Ninth Moon, Day 10 - afternoon
The only decent items in that so-called hoard were promptly snatched up by cousin Thorin, that no-good wizard (who I think deserves no treasure whatever, after the way he disappeared on us yesterday), and the rabbit. Perhaps his idea of burgling is to burgle us out of what little treasure we find along the way to our doom.
My time in the treasure chamber was spent sorting through some DISGUSTING troll ideas of food for anything which might not kill us, if consumed. Needless to say, mine was the only time well-spent.
I covet the Elf-blade claimed by the wizard, definitely the best of the three. He carefully neglected to tell us it was a piece of Elvish craftspersonship, when he took it, but I'd know that handiwork anywhere. I've taken many a course on the legendary Elven swordcraft of old, and could probably have even read the runes inscribed on the blades themselves, if only that dratted wizard would have given me a chance. When I tried to bring up the subject, he quickly encouraged the blades to be stowed and made some mysterious remark about discovering more about the nature of the swords later. When I tried to object, he ordered me to go sift through the foodstuffs. I'm sure it is because he can not read the Elvish runes himself, and does not want to be embarrassed when I show him up.
Later, while attempting to study the detail on the handle of his sword, I reached out to turn the blade in his belt to get a better look. The cantankerous old man bellowed at me to kindly keep my fingers out of his trousers. Bah. He wishes.
Sadly, I was sufficiently embarrassed and disgusted at the accusation to lose whatever sharp retort had been on the tip of my tongue. But I'll not forget I owe him one for that. Stupid old lecher. Especially not when he said it loud enough for the whole party to hear. I'm sure much teasing by my brothers will come of it, and already the hobbit cannot look in my direction without blushing. Really! What a filthy-minded creature to believe such nonsense of a lady!
Ninth Moon, Day 11
Last night, I took the liberty of cutting a very feminine floral design into the border of the old man's ratty cloak while he slept. Unfortunately, when he awoke this morning and noticed, he said he quite liked it and wished to thank the tailor who must've lost sleep most of the night doing it. Confound the man. Mother's always said my detail work was too good.
Though the dwarfers know my handiwork, no one ratted me out to the wizard, but I got a stern lecture from Balin just now, and have been sent to bed without the measly supper I would've shared in. Fine. That just leaves my head all the more clear to plot out a suitable revenge on the wizard.
Ninth Moon, Day 14
After a day and half a night's journey, we finally arrived at the Elf-commune of Rivendell last night. I was too tired to examine much of Elvish handiwork then, but I intend to tour the valley and take in as much as I can today. I won't have an opportunity like this again any time soon.
The elves themselves, for all their apparent love of childish tomfoolery and nonsense songs, seem to have surpassed all other species we've encountered on this journey so far in that they recognize me for a dwarfin. They have given me my own room and elf-maids to attend me. I told them this morning that I had need of no servants, but the silly things insisted on helping me dress and perform my toilet anyway. I'm sure my cousin is basking in the royal treatment, but it only embarrasses and annoys me, especially since they keep casting glances at one another and giggling, when they think I'm not looking. Perhaps I will weld the lock on my door closed before I get to sleep tonight.
Ninth Moon, Day 19
Time passes strangely here. Every morning I have set out to survey the craftspersonship of the vale, and every morning I have gotten distracted or side-tracked into some totally vain, all be it relaxing pastime.
This morning, there was an invitation written in delicate calligraphy to tea with the Ladies Celebrian and Arwen this afternoon. I really have no interest in such pleasantries, but perhaps there will be actual talk over tea instead of the knowing looks and giggles I've gotten from all the other elves I've tried to engage in conversation this week.
Ninth Moon, Day 20
Yesterday at tea, the Lady Celebrian asked me if I was not terribly lonely. I thought it a particularly odd and personal question to ask on first meeting, and said as much. After much laughter (on their parts), the Lady Arwen asked me if I'd yet been betrothed. I looked at her as if she'd grown horns.
Elves seem to have very old-fashioned notions about marriage. We dwarfins have been choosing our own mates for millennia. Perhaps that is what comes of sitting around all day, chatting and doing needlework in ladies' bowers, looking wistful and lovely, while dressed in only the most impractical clothing. No thank you.
After an hour or so, I managed to steer the conversation to smithcraft and Elvish carpentry, at which point the Lady Arwen wandered away quite bored. The Lady Celebrian however is ¼ Noldorin, it turns out. She regaled me with tales of her great aunts and uncles and their godlike crafting skills until we were both late to dinner.
I look forward to visiting with her again.
Ninth Moon, Day 21
Today at tea with Lady Celebrian once more, I noticed that the serving elf who's been attending us these three days is not female after all, but male. I only recognized the fact because he'd bound his long black hair today, and the harsh angle of his jaw was much more noticeable because of it. Also, when he bent over me to pour a second cup, he smelled strongly of hibiscus, a gaudy, overpowering scent out of character for the whispy Elvish ladies I've come in contact with during my stay here.
After he left, I asked Lady Celebrian about it, and she explained to me that it was usually quite simple to tell apart the male and female Elven genders by looking at the style of garb each wore. I think it is very kind of them to make that open distinction for outsiders, for these clean-shaven Elves look all the same, and I'd never be able to guess at their gender otherwise. The lady was kind enough not to laugh at me, while she explained the distinction, but she had a strange twinkle in her eye, as she did so. I'm hoping it was just my imagination.
Ninth Moon, Day 23
Today at tea, I noticed that the serving elf's eyes are the particular shade of highest-quality, polished aquamarines.
Ninth Moon, Day 25
Today the serving elf was dressed in buckskin the color of peridot, tight-fitting and ornamented with a complex gold embroidery. They did not look particularly like work-clothes, but Elves seem to have strange ideas about what passes for practical clothing. All the same, he cut a particularly masculine figure in them. Had he been wearing those the first day I came to tea, I'm sure I could have picked him out as male sooner.
Ninth Moon, Day 27
Life in Rivendell passes like a dream. I no longer have any clue how long we've spent here, except that I can turn back in my journal and count the days. I also find that I do not care how long we have been here.
Ninth Moon, Day 28
Today I noticed that the serving elf's hands, though delicate and long-fingered, are callused and hard from the work he does in Lord Elrond's house. I'm not sure why, but I find this strangely attractive.
I think I am going soft in the head from being around Elves so much and eating strange Elven foods.
Tenth Moon, Day 1
Today I asked Lady Celebrian the serving elf's name, after he'd left the room. She smiled and told me to ask him myself. But I can't do that! What would Mother say, me conversing with a strange Elf-man?
I could not find the heart to say much at tea, after that. I excused myself early and wandered about the vale until I came across a group skeet-shooting. Wonder of wonders, one of them turned out to be the Lady Arwen. She's quite a good shot, too. The Elves encouraged me to have a go, but I am no good with a bow and only hit two out of ten. Still, they invited me to a summer ale party tonight, and I think I shall go. These shooting-elves seemed much more down to earth than the other Elves I've dealt with here so far.
Tenth Moon, Day 3
Elvish ale is powerful stuff! Deceptively so, for I'd drunk only several pints of the pale, light-tasting stuff before the lights began to dance more merrily. After that, I do not remember much, nor even how much more I drank. I have a vague recollection of an Elvish song or two, and I think some chickens might have got loose into the drinking hall at one point. Other than that, all I know is that someone got me into my bed, where I slept all of yesterday away.
I wouldn't know that much, but that the serving maids woke me late this morning with several pitchers of water handy and told me so. They seemed terribly amused by the fact I had not been able to return to my rooms alone, though I can't think why. Perhaps Elves do not get drunk.
What an odd notion.
I've just sent to the kitchens for a thin broth, for I don't think I could keep down much more at this point.
It doesn't seem I shall be making it to tea today, either.
Tenth Moon, Day 4
Wonder of wonders, who should come knocking at my door yestereve but the serving elf from our ladies' tea! He came on behalf of the Lady Celebrian, who sent him to ask after my health and tell me that I'd been missed at tea these last two days. She also sent an amazing vase of roses from her private garden.
I am not a great admirer of flowers, generally, but these blossoms were like nothing I'd ever seen; big as my fist, and in shades of METAL. A shimmering white that looked quite silver, a fiery copper, and some a burnished golden hue. I cannot stop looking at them, they amaze me so.
After delivering the gift and his messages, the serving elf became quite awkward. I can not blame him, visiting a lady's bedroom alone after the dinner hour. I saved him the trouble of parting pleasantries by bidding him a swift good evening and shutting the door in his face. After the fact, I was not quite sure whether I had been rude or not. I had not meant to be, but something about him standing there made me nervous.
What on earth is wrong with me? I would never have worried about the propriety of such a thing two weeks ago.
Tenth Moon, Day 5
Lady Celebrian's serving elf came to escort me to tea this afternoon. It was a great shock to see him on my doorstep again. And stranger still that the lady had sent an escort for me, as if she feared I would absent myself from our chats again a third day. The walk to her bower was long and uncomfortable. As we were almost there, my companion blurted out that he had been the one to see me to my rooms that night of the drinking party, and he hastily begged my pardon and told me nothing at all had happened. Well, I should think not!
I was far too shocked to reply, and suddenly we'd arrived.
He was very careful not to meet my eyes at tea today (though he never does), and did not make another appearance, when I took my leave.
What a strange fellow! If nothing inappropriate transpired, why bring up the subject? Perhaps he was afraid my attendants would tell stories on him.
Tenth Moon, Day 6
The serving elf was not at tea today. That is to say, a different servant attended us this afternoon. I wonder what has happened to the strange elf.
Tenth Moon, Day 7
Lady Celebrian asked me today if I was quite satisfied with the service we were getting at tea - it was that foreign serving elf again. I told her very carefully that I was. I wanted to ask what had become of the first serving elf, but I did not think it my business to question her decisions as mistress about which servants attended us and which did not.
After a pensive silence, she volunteered that our first attendant had begged off this particular serving duty. Then she looked at me quite closely, though I can't guess why.
I asked her if it was because he held some enmity against Dwarves, and the lady's mood turned light once more. She laughed and told me it was quite the contrary.
How cryptic. I wanted to pursue the matter, but she quickly changed the subject, and it did not return to my mind until I was walking back to my rooms from dinner tonight.
Why should he beg off his duty if he does not dislike Dwarves? Is it me he found so offensive? Perhaps seeing me drunk that evening gave him a bad impression.
Tenth Moon, Day 8
There was a strange voice outside my window last night. Every night previous, some mischievous band of Elves has sung all night through, only last night, there was a single voice. One which did not sound familiar to the previous ones. I was afraid to look who it might be, and felt it was probably rude, as well, to question one's lullaby chorus. So I forced myself to sleep before my curiosity got the better of me.
Tenth Moon, Day 9
I sent a message that I would not be attending tea today. I do not have the heart for pleasantries anymore, fearing now that I may offend other servants, much less my hostess, without meaning to. I think I shall try once more to take that long walk through the vale I have been meaning to since our arrival here.
Tenth Moon, Day 10
Yestereve, I was concluding my walk through a lovely hanging garden, when I chanced on the clear-eyed servant from our first teas. I came upon him from behind, as he stood at a gigantic ornamental fountain, and, though I recognized him immediately, he did not see me right away. I was just turning to go, as I thought it inappropriate for us to meet alone, after dark, when he heard me. He told me I didn't have to go, that he would leave, if I were uncomfortable. We stared at one another stupidly for a few moments, and I found myself blurting out, "What's your name?"
With all the gentility of an Elven-lord, he introduced himself (his name is Durfindel), so I responded in turn. Afterward, I realized how ridiculous that was, as, no doubt, he already knew everything the elves of Rivendell know about me. But he kindly refrained from saying so or laughing, and merely smiled a tiny, polite smile. Then he offered to escort me inside, and I accepted.
I do not know why, but he chose to do it as the Elves do with one another, by placing my hand on his elbow. This was quite awkward, but not as much as it could have been, for I noticed for the first time that he is quite small for an Elf. When he bid me good night at my door, I compared his height with that of the maidservant waiting to dress me for dinner, and, indeed, they were of similar heights. How unusual!
Tenth Moon, Day 12
What a beautiful evening. I do not think I shall ever be able to fall
I have spent the last day and preceding night in Durfindel's company. I went out to the hanging garden once more the evening after encountering him there in hopes of doing so again. He was not there, nor did he come, though I waited by the fountain until moonrise. Just when I was telling myself what a silly creature I was for caring so much about happening upon a strange Elf, he appeared.
My absence at dinner had been noted by my hosts (no doubt none of my companions noticed at all, being as observant as posts), and he had volunteered to look for me. He met me wandering rather aimlessly back in the direction of my rooms. After explaining all this to me, he paused and looked at me very strangely for a moment. Then he told me a string of shocking things, and we stayed out in the gardens all night, discussing them.
First, he admitted to me that he had been the lone voice outside my window those three nights previous. He said that he'd begged off his serving duty at tea, because it had become too difficult for him to concentrate on his job with me there. And, most shockingly of all, he said I was beautiful! What an odd thing to tell a person.
I was quite stunned. I have never considered myself anything like a gem to look at among dwarfins, much less in comparison with the fair and airy Elven ladies of Rivendell.
Durfindel told me he'd never imagined that he could have found a Dwarf attractive, and I, feeling the same sentiment about Elves, could not fault him for the admission. Then he told me how lovely my beard looked (I have spent the last two weeks conditioning it with herbal soaps until it has become quite luxurious and curly), and how my eyes held the slow burn of a sunset, and many other stomach-turningly sentimental yet wonderful things.
After talking all night, neither of us were tired at all, so he gave me a guided tour of the vale, pointing out everything a Dwarf might find interesting, though I'm sure it was all very tiresome to an Elf. Before dinner, we parted, so that I could freshen up and dress, and he could retire, after three days and nights without sleep.
I shouldn't, but I hope to see him again tomorrow.
Tenth Moon, Day 13
I spent the entire day with Durfindel, and we talked about everything, from the loftiest topics to the most trivial. He told me that his name means 'dark-haired' in Quenya. What an obtuse way Elves have of naming their children! In their defense, he did tell me that hair of his hue is unusual among his people. Thinking about it, I realized it to be true. In fact, I think the only elf I've seen in Rivendell approaching his shade of hair is the Lady Arwen. Even her father's hair is quite a light auburn, like oak leaves in autumn.
We talked about language quite a bit after that, he teaching me words in his Sindarin tongue (which was somewhat like a refresher course for what I'd learned in my Elvenworks classes back home), and I teaching him some Khuzdul. I'm not sure if such a thing is forbidden, but I decided that, if it was, he was taking as big a risk in teaching me his language as I was in teaching him. It seemed fair.
All in all, the day was wonderful. The best I've ever spent without working gold or gems.
Tenth Moon, Day 14
Cousin Thorin informed me today that we shall be departing Rivendell the morning after Midsummer. He started to comment on how I have recently been spending my time, but I was too crushed by the news to stay and listen to what was probably a warning to keep better company.
How can we be leaving this place, when I have only just begun to feel at home here? I have not thought on our suicidal quest for weeks, and it does not take its place at the front of my mind again readily.
Tenth Moon, Day 16
We left Rivendell this morning, and I couldn't stop crying.
I spent my last two nights and the intervening day with 'Findel, and he even escorted me to the Midsummer feast last night. How I miss him! Parting was terrible. For me, at least. He seemed surprisingly serene. Perhaps it is the Elvish way. All the same, I feel our departure pleased him no more than it did me.
He gave me some lovely ornamental beard clasps - just like the ones I wear at home, but with clever Elven designs - which he had made himself. I did not know he was versed in metalcraft! He told me they were to keep him in my thoughts on my journey, though I hardly need accessories for that, and I told him so. The last thing he told me was to return to Rivendell one day. I want to. But I fear it is a promise I shall not live to keep.
On the road today, my brothers found it opportune to start teasing me about having a male-friend (though I am relieved that they overlooked the fact that he happens to be an Elf). I was too bogged down in my own sorrow to care much what they did, until they tried to snatch away my beard ornaments (of course I was wearing them). I gave them each a sound thumping for even trying. The rabbit looked at us as if we were all mad. He probably thought dwarves were always somber and grave up till today. Shows what he knows.
Tenth Moon, Day 18
Apparently, at the Midsummer feast, when I was far too distracted with my companion to notice, Lord Elrond enlightened Gandalf and cousin Thorin as to the noble origins of their Elf-blades. Well la-dee-dah. I suppose it takes a thousands-year-old elf for them to listen to anything. When I told Dwalin, who was relating the story to me, that I'd already known that, he smiled at me kindly, in the way one does at a very small dwarfkin who has just announced he can fly through the air. It annoyed me to the point that I did not stay riding abreast with him and learn what they found about the key that night, though he seemed eager to fill me in on whatever mystical wonders they'd learned. I'll get it out of Ori later.
Tenth Moon, Day 21
Travelling through the mountains is tiresome. We keep having to stop and wait for Mr. Baggage to catch up. He must be the most unfit burglar I've ever met. When I declared as much this morning, as we were pausing to wait on him AGAIN, Gandalf scolded me and rattled off something about shorter legs. I neglected to mention to him that my legs are shorter than all the other dwarves', and yet this does not slow ME down one bit.
Tenth Moon, Day 26
No one's going to be able to sleep in this storm. Some shelter Gandalf has found us tonight. I feel worse for the ponies, drenched as they are outside the overhang. Cousin Thorin and the old man are currently arguing about our state here. As if arguing ever solved anything. Perhaps I'll just scout around the turn in the road a ways and see if I can find better shelter. I can tell Dori and Ori are not about to move any time soon. I bet I can convince cousins Fili and Kili to come along, though.
Eleventh Moon, Day 1
A brief review of Mishap #5 (the worst yet):
On the evening of the 26th Day, after we'd all bedded down in the lovely dry cave Fili and Kili and I had found, we were captured by orcs! I'd waited for everyone to go to sleep, so that I could finally wreak my revenge on the old wizard. Just as I was bending over him to stick some of Ori's chewing taffy into his beard, I heard the rabbit squeak, and suddenly scores of orcs were upon us. We'd lain down for the night right on their doorstep!
I thought we were all as good as dead, when Gandalf proved of some use once again, showing up out of the dark to slay the Great Orc. Then followed a terrifying game of cat and mouse through the orc-tunnels which seemed never to end. Mr. Baggage proved true to his name, as he could not keep up with us, even when his life depended on it. Dori took pity on him, and carried him along, so as not to slow our flight. He lost the useless baggage, however, when he was attacked from behind by a particularly swift orc. We (my brothers and I) discovered this right away, after freeing Dori from said attacker, but decided it would do no good telling the wizard, as there was nothing to be done about it, and we were in fear for our lives at the time.
Now that we have finally cleared the orcs' back door, the old man is giving all of us a good tongue-lashing for having lost his precious baggage. If you ask me, the wizard is lucky we carried his baggage as far as we did. If anything, Dori is to be commended for having tried to save him. It's a pity the little thing was lost, I do not wish him the end he will no doubt come to at the hands of the orcs, but there's no use crying over it now. Most of the party feels, as I do, that the loss is just as well. He never did us any good on this whole trip, and now he will no longer slow our progress. Gandalf is unwilling to listen to reason, however. Bother the old man. If he misses his baggage so much, he's welcome to tramp back to the orcs and retrieve him.
Eleventh Moon, Day 2
We find ourselves in the aerie of a giant eagle this morning, having survived Mishap #6 last night.
If you ask me, we wasted far too much precious time yesterday afternoon, sitting around and listening to the burglar's ridiculous tale of his adventures since we'd lost him. By the time Gandalf suggested we move out, it was already too late. We weren't ten miles away, when we heard the first sounds of pursuit. Some brilliant idea the old man had of climbing into trees for safety and then shooting off sparks at our attackers! It almost got us all roasted!
I'd told Dori to mind our burglar again, as it might avoid further outcry from the wizard. I think he did a much better job this time, though he tells me his ankles are terribly sore this morning from the rabbit's hanging onto them during our escape flight last night.
I don't see Gandalf scolding the eagles for almost having left his baggage behind. Perhaps because they are the stern sort of folk who don't look as if they would tolerate scolding from a puny mammal. Come to mention it, their beaks do look awfully sharp. I only hope they do not have a taste for Dwarf-meat.
Eleventh Moon, Day 3
Everyone has taken my advice and stopped to BATHE, now that we are once
again on solid ground.
The wizard has threatened to leave us soon, and I was almost as reluctant as the rest, just on the principles of safety. Then, however, the old man made a snarky remark about my moving down-river to bathe alone. Something about an unnecessary show of propriety a bit too late. I think he is just disappointed I refuse to disrobe in front of him, the old lecher. Now I shall be glad when he leaves us.
Eleventh Moon, Day 3 - late
I'm not sure how I feel about our host. He's so LARGE. I'm sure Gandalf thought he was very clever, insinuating us into his invitation two by two. I think it's probably best NOT to over-impose on hosts who happen to be mountainous and foul-tempered. But that's me.
I'm hoping that, if our host does turn out to be grumpy about this imposition, he will eat the wizard, first.
I could sleep through almost anything right now, and very glad for a bed on solid ground I am tonight.
Eleventh Moon, Day 4
Our host is curiously absent today. So is the wizard.
The old man didn't look like he'd make a full meal for such a large creature, but I suppose we should count our blessings.
I'd like to leave NOW, before our host returns for another meal. None of the others will hear of leaving without their precious Gandalf, however. So I suppose we shall wait here forever, or until they figure out the wizard will not be coming back. Forever will probably come first, knowing these ironheads. I told them not to come crying to me, when they woke up to find themselves eaten tonight. That earned me some strange looks.
Eleventh Moon, Day 4 - later
Bother. The wizard wasn't eaten after all.
He's prattling on about bear tracks, now. I have no idea why this was an important way to spend his day.
Eleventh Moon, Day 5
Our host has returned. Confirming my suspicions, the first thing he did this morning was comment happily upon how plump our burglar is getting. I'm glad Dwarf-meat tastes no good.
After verifying our story and killing many more orcs and wargs (bless him), Beorn is now definitely our friend. However, I still feel it's a good idea to leave before our new friend gets hungry.
Eleventh Moon, Day 6
On our own once again, I feel much safer, in spite of the distant threat of our enemies behind.
Eleventh Moon, Day 7
Things are so peaceful out here in the grasslands. I wish we did not have to pass through so quickly.
This morning, Dori accused me of snoring loud enough to wake him up last night. I told him I don't snore, that either it was the wizard and his huge nose making the noise, or some sort of wild animal. Ori looked very scared at the thought. What a couple of whiny infants my brothers are.
Eleventh Moon, Day 8
Everyone is so eager to make it to the forest that we will not stop to make camp tonight until well after dark. I think perhaps my travelling companions have forgotten all the tales about Mirkwood, to be rushing so fast toward that darkness. But, as always, I'm stuck following them to their doom, whether I will or no.
Eleventh Moon, Day 9
Does anyone else notice how disturbing and WRONG these trees look? They just
don't feel natural to me.
While everyone else was arguing with Gandalf about his and the ponies' departure, I took the liberty of striking the fire and then made my brothers help me curry the beasts, so that they do not look so much the worse for wear, when they return to their owner. Ori complained like cold bellows, but I know he enjoyed it. He has really bonded with his little mare.
I like these ponies. I didn't have to thump Dori for doing a poor job out of spite; after two bites and a kick from the steed he was working on, he was much more respectful.
Eleventh Moon, Day 10
This morning, our burglar, who has become baggage again, chose his time to question the wizard about whether this is our necessary path. Well thought, Baggage.
Now cousin Thorin is arguing with Gandalf about his impending departure. Let him GO, for Mahal's sake! What can he do for us in the forest but set the trees about us aflame again? Good riddance to him.
Eleventh Moon, Day 11
What a horrid, gloomy trek this is. It should NOT be this dark in the forest. It disturbs me that we can so rarely see what is making the noises around us, as we walk. And the nights are worse. If it weren't for the fire, I wouldn't be able to see enough to write anything at all.
Eleventh Moon, Day 12
The eyes...the eyes! Bats big as a Man, flapping above us, and everywhere around us, the eyes. Watching us. And waiting.
Even when it is not my watch, I can't sleep knowing they're out there.
Eleventh Moon, Day 23
I have not been able to write for days, due to lack of light. The majority voted against lighting fires at night, as if they could convince themselves that they eyes aren't out there, merely because there's no light by which to see them. I think they're daft. Many a time in the night, I wake to feel insect legs on me, and must bat them off, sometimes even threatening with my knife or tools. If the dwarfers and Mr. Baggage can really sleep through that, I pity them.
Four days ago, Mishap #7 occurred: Fat Bombur fell into the river we'd been expressly warned NOT to touch. Not only that, but he lost our boat, which lost us a fine hart cousin Thorin had mortally wounded with the last of our arrows. Unfortunately, Bombur did not die. He merely fell into the deepest of sleeps, in which we've had to lug his corpulent mass around with us for the last four days. I voted to leave him by the stream, but Bifur and Bofur wouldn't hear of it. I say THEY should be the ones to carry him day in and day out, then.
Just now we have come upon a hypostyle hall of beeches, which have allowed for a thinner canopy to withhold our light. Surely we are approaching the perimeter of the forest at last.
Eleventh Moon, Day 25
The trees have not ended yet, though the landscape has changed from beech to oaken pillars. Thorin has talked our burglar up a tree, so that he may spy out how much further we must go, before this dreadful forest ends. May it be soon.
Eleventh Moon, Day 26
Mishap #8: We lost the path.
Bombur awoke this morning, only to incite the dwarfers into a frenzy with his talk of food dreams. Now we have quite lost our way in the vain hope of sharing in an illusory Elven feast. Blast dwarfers and their stomachs. We just ate the last of our food yestereve; it is not as if we have been days without it.
On the good side, our lighter diet paired with the exercise of hiking has reduced my weight a stone or two. I'm looking quite good, but of course there's no one here worthwhile to notice.
Eleventh Moon, Day 28
Mishap #9: We were captured and poisoned by giant spiders.
Our burglar rushed in to save us from them just in the nick of time. He was quite a sight, the tiny thing, blazing dagger slicing this way and that, disappearing in and out of the masses of spiders surrounding us, as we tried to escape.
It seems there was a great deal he omitted about his adventures in the Misty Mountains, after Dori misplaced him. He found a ring of invisibility, and something about a riddling contest with a foul, amphibious monster. Oh, I am too tired to listen. All I want now is some nourishing food and a nice, long sleep. As there is no food to be had, I shall partake of the latter. I only hope Mr. Baggins has done quite enough to keep the spiders from pursuing us again any time soon.
Twelfth Moon, Day 12
Mishap #10: We have been captured by Wood-elves.
I have not been able to write all these days for fear that our captors would confiscate my journal as they did our tools and weapons. Their king seems to be under the impression that we are in the forest on some shady Dwarvish business. I have a bad feeling about him.
Worse than our capture, when we recovered from our spider-poison, we realized cousin Thorin was missing! What a gruesome end for the grandson of Dain I - food for insects.
Sad as this makes me, I am more worried about those of us that remain right now. It has been good to have a long rest with food provided after all we have been through, even given our inhospitable surroundings. I feel we may soon gain enough strength to attempt an escape, if we are canny.
Twelfth Moon, Day 15
Sleep last night became impossible, as the despair of our isolation has finally become too much for Ori, who began yowling from the next cell. He never could stand to be alone. I told him to shut up before he gave the Wood-elves any ideas of torture. I don't think they really would, but it did quiet him down.
Twelfth Moon, Day 16
Oin and Gloin are apparently in the cells down the corridor from ours. I have no idea where Dori is being kept. I hope he did not get it into his head to do anything brave before we could formulate a group plan.
Twelfth Moon, Day 17
These dark-elves are nothing like those in Rivendell. Their language is different, harsher, less friendly. Though most of them are dark-haired, like my 'Findel, none of them have his gentle temper or demeanor. If what Lady Celebrian told me about gender and clothing still applies to these elves, there are no females here. Or, if so, I have yet to see one. This seems a bit suspicious, if not twisted. Actually, that's not a bad word. These Wood-elves seem as twisted as their forest.
Twelfth Moon, Day 18
I tried to talk to one of my jailers, when he brought my evening meal tonight. In answer, the cur spat at my feet. Lovely fellow. I miss 'Findel. Terribly
Perhaps I shall attempt to chisel a portrait of him to keep me company here in this musty cell.
Twelfth Moon, Day 19
Ori has started to go mad from his isolation. He will do nothing in the night but scream and cry for hours on end. So I have taken to telling him stories to calm him down.
On the up-side, the dark-elves are still feeding us, and we have not been tortured for whatever information the elf king seems to think we have.
Oin and Gloin appear to be keeping in good spirits, tossing pebbles back and forth between their cells as a game to pass the time.
Twelfth Moon, Day 21
Last night, I was much cheered by a bit of news I'm afraid I can not write here in case this journal is discovered by the Wood-elves. Even Ori is in better spirits. Perhaps he can sleep through the night again, finally.
Twelfth Moon, Day 25
There is much commotion in the halls above today. I can feel the vibrations. Whether they are preparing for war or some great Elvish celebration, I do not know. Either way, I doubt it bodes well for us.
Twelfth Moon, Day 26
The elf who brought my food this morning was dressed much more gaily than usual. So I'm guessing some Elvish festival is nigh. Perhaps I shall try to ask him about it tomorrow.
Thirteenth Moon, Day 4
Mishap #11: We were nearly drowned in barrels.
We have actually been in Lake-town and unpacked for some days now, but it has taken this long for my brothers and I to recover from our harrowing journey upriver. I suppose I can not blame our burglar too much for the poor packing job he did with us (and with Oin and Gloin, as well, I hear) under the circumstances. Still, I shall be very pleased to never see another barrel again as long as I live.
Thirteenth Moon, Day 5
Apparently, the Lake-men are under some sort of delusion that our arrival is an omen which portends rivers of gold and lifetimes of prosperity and wealth for the town. I cannot object to the royal treatment we are getting, but I fear the Lake-men are in for an unpleasant surprise. Cousin Thorin, of course, is reveling in all the pomp and circumstance.
Need I remind everyone of the dragon? I should have thought such a large point of order could not be so easily overlooked. There is apprehension in our burglar's eyes as well. Of course he cannot forget what awaits us ahead. He will be the one sent first into the dragon's maw. I do not envy him.
Thirteenth Moon, Day 6
All this feasting and giving of speeches is growing very tiresome.
Also, I've begun my cycle and must ask for supplies, as we came here with literally nothing but the cloaks on our backs. The women looked at me very strangely, when I asked for what I needed. Are ALL Men under the impression that Dwarves are male only? I have some gruesome evidence to the contrary for them, if they care to argue with me right now. I hope that maidservant returns soon, or my white cloak will be much less so.
Thirteenth Moon, Day 7
I feel awful. The dwarfers seem to have sensed this and are giving me a wide berth today. I think I shall eat dinner in my rooms.
Thirteenth Moon, Day 8
Everyone is still avoiding me, curse them.
The women seem still to not have figured out what ails me. The maidservant who empties the chamber pots asked me this morning if I needed to see the doctor again. Is this REALLY so hard to understand?
Thirteenth Moon, Day 9
Bilbo came and kept me company last night. I think he just felt sorry for me, but he claimed to be tired of all the banquets and speeches, as well. He is a very homey sort of person, so I suppose there was some truth in it.
We talked of Elves and Rivendell, and different sights we'd seen there. He told me stories of his time in the caves of the Wood-elves for comparison. We've both decided we prefer Elrond's people, and that we must return to Rivendell one day.
I did not enlighten him on the subject of Durfindel.
Thirteenth Moon, Day 10
Our welcome is wearing thin, as we have yet to produce the golden corpse Lake-town expects of us. So cousin Thorin has wisely decided it is time for us to leave.
Thirteenth Moon, Day 11
Back on the river. The river in
which we were almost drowned. How I despise it.
At least we do not have to row ourselves. Once off it, I hope never to see it this close up for a very long time.
What a gala send-off they gave us. Again, I think it means only ill for us, in the long run. You can be sure cousin Thorin intends to share none of his inheritance with these Men, even if we are not all consumed by the dragon. Though I think it will come as some news to them.
I am not terribly worried, because I'm sure we shall all die soon beneath the wrath of Smaug. It's a shame Bilbo will be the first to go. We were just beginning to understand one another.
Thirteenth Moon, Day 12
Perhaps I should be thinking of putting my affairs in order, so close to my death. I'm having trouble finding the will to care today, however. I think I shall go back to sleep. The motion of the boat is very soothing.
Dori and Ori have begun to bicker in such close quarters. I'm sure their proximity to the water is making them somewhat uncomfortable, too. I told Ori to catch me a fish. That should occupy him for a while. Dori has gone to inspect the quality of the mining tools we asked the Lake-men for.
Thirteenth Moon, Day 13
We have landed at last. Our escort left us very quickly, now that we are practically under the shadow of the mountain. I suppose they could not go on serving us as slaves forever. Too bad.
My brothers are packed in rather tightly on either side of me tonight. No one seems particularly happy to be here now, which makes me wonder once more why we ARE here. But I suppose it would be a shame to turn back now, after all we've been through. Though not as much of a shame as marching into the jaws of the dragon.
Thirteenth Moon, Day 15
Everyone has been very quiet and thoughtful on this leg of our journey. The
same grim thoughts are on all our minds.
Cousin Thorin can prattle on as much as he likes about what this land used to look like. The fact remains, we have crossed into the Desolation of the Dragon. It's obvious no flora or fauna has flourished here for a long time. Excepting perhaps those dreadful crows.
Thirteenth Moon, Day 16
We have reached the foot of Erebor. What madness this seems. Any moment, I expect the great worm to come out on his front doorstep and find us here. Short work he'd make of our party, too.
Balin has led cousins Fili and Kili, along with Bilbo on a scouting mission toward the Front Gate. I'm not sure what reason cousin Thorin might have had for sending them, apart from trying to get them killed. He tells me it doesn't hurt to check for signs of the dragon, just to be sure he still lives and lies within.
It takes no scouting party to place the malevolent presence which lies over the entire countryside, and weighs on the mountain especially heavy. It can be no other than Smaug the Terrible, who may be at rest for the moment, but who is very much alive and well.
I only hope these wretched crows watching us from every crevasse are not his spies.
Thirteenth Moon, Day 17
The scouting party returned safely yesterday, only to bring definite news of the dragon's well-being. Balin claims the smoke and stench issuing from the Front Gate are not irrefutable evidence of the dragon's presence, but no one is trying to argue anymore that he may not be within. We all know it.
So we moved our camp to the western side of the mountain, which is not quite so desolate. The dragon's presence still weighs like lead dross on my mind. At this point, I'm ready to find the hidden door, just so that we'll have some place to hide, should he decide to issue forth.
Thirteenth Moon, Day 19
Still no luck with the door, though no signs of the dragon stirring, either. The dwarfers are occuping their minds by falling into a routine with the searching work. I'm afraid I can't do the same.
Last night, over the fire, my eyes met Bilbo's. They held the same fearful anxiety I've been feeling ever since we got here. It does not comfort me to know I'm not alone in this.
Thirteenth Moon, Day 21
Cousins Fili and Kili, along with Bilbo found a narrow set of stairs leading up the side of the mountain today. Actually, I'm certain it was Bilbo who found them, as his sight is so much keener than even the young dwarfers'. They must be the stairs to the hidden door. Tomorrow, we'll be moving camp again up to the narrow shelf they found. They say it is quite difficult to see from the ground or from above, which sounds much safer than our present camp.
Thirteenth Moon, Day 22
Moved camp today. Cousins Fili and Kili and Oin and Gloin, decided to explore further up the mountain, while the rest of us worked on opening the hidden door. The rest of us excluding Bilbo, that is, who seemed to think he was most helpful sitting on the doorstep and watching all of us break our arms, trying to mine into the magicked door. I told Balin that the shoddy Man-tools we'd gotten from the Lake-men would never be able to make a dent in good Dwarvish masonry. But cousin Thorin commanded that it be tried, in any case, and I found great amusement in watching them try and hurting themselves in the process.
I myself took out a jewel-working glass and examined the face of the mountain with my eyes and hands for any signs of hidden writing, or perhaps the minutest crack. Finding none, I was not so much disappointed as proud of the craftspersonship that went into the making of this door. I'm afraid my companions were much too cross from their fruitless efforts to agree, however. They are more eager to drill their way to the sleeping worm with each passing moment.
Thirteenth Moon, Day 28
A week without progress on this dreadful door. I'm both relieved and annoyed. The dwarfers, having completely exhausted their wits on the issue (a fairly easy task with dwarfers) have taken to bickering amongst themselves. Dwalin, ever the trail-blazer, had the clever idea of blaming all of our misfortunes on poor Mr. Baggins (who, to be fair, hasn't done much to avoid such accusations this past week by sitting around on his arse day in and day out). Many of the other dwarfers quickly joined in the blame-fest, and I am only glad little Bilbo was not around to hear it.
This is ever the way with dwarfers. They never blame themselves. Perhaps a non-Dwarvish scapegoat was what the old wizard had in mind, when he insisted on our 'lucky number'. If he were not along, their blame-game would surely fall on me, and yet I've lived with dwarfer childishness and stupidity my whole life. I think I can bear it a bit more than the little hobbit can.
At least I can say that Dori and Ori proved their better breeding in that they did not join in the blaming with the others. Or perhaps I'm giving them too much credit. Perhaps they did not for the soul reason that I am here to box their ears, if they do.
First Moon, Day 1
Durin's Day -- Year 2942 TA
After yesterday's frustrations with the door, everyone has decided to take a break from attempting to open it. Finally!
Ori has gone down to help Bifur, Bofur, and Bombur tend the ponies. He does seem to have a soft spot for equines. Dori has gone off exploring the mountainside with the twins.
I'm for a bath. A week without is quite long enough for me! And nothing ushers in the new year like cleanliness. I think I shall take all of our clothes with me for a good rinse.
First Moon, Day 7
Well, I'm blessed. Who would have thought we'd still be alive, after having wakened the dragon's wrath? More amazing still, Smaug himself is dead, though not by our hand. Bilbo is to be greatly commended in both his successful burgling of and dealings with the dragon, and in the good common sense he has shown since. A common sense cousin Thorin seems more inclined to LISTEN to than mine, and I can only be grateful for the fact.
After huddling, frightened for our lives, in the secret tunnel passage for a day and a night, we were all (reluctantly) led down into the treasure chamber by our brave burglar. Oh, the glories of the works of dwarves long dead I could sing, after having seen that miraculous place! The sight washed all fear of the dragon from our minds, and we would probably be there still if the hobbit had not brought us back to reality and the danger at hand of the dragon's imminent return. Cousin Thorin proved useful for once in that he remembered the old ways of his kingdom that never was, and led us out to the Front Gate, where we were once again able to see the light of day. From there, Balin suggested we follow him to an old watchpost he once knew, from whence we could keep an eye out for the dragon's return (or not, as the case was) from a safe distance.
There we stayed for a night, until an old raven, still learned in the arts of Khuzdul, brought us news of the worm's death at the hands of the Lake-men. Our joy was short-lived, however, as he also told of a great Elvish army marching on us from Mirkwood. Those dark-elf bastards! We shall never be free of them, it seems.
And so we returned to Erebor with great haste, and have spent the majority of yesterday re-exploring the old entrances and making sure all is secure but the Front Gate, which we are endeavoring to seal up as I write this.
I do not know how long our siege can last, even if cousins Fili and Kili return with the last of our missing ponies and what supplies they may bear. Still, I am actually siding with the dwarfers in this case. There is no way those foul Wood-elves are getting any of our cultural heritage which rests in the dragon cavern below. If my anger were a weapon, I could smite them all for the way we were treated when they found our party half-dead in the forest.
First Moon, Day 10
I have left the masonry-work on the front gate to the dwarfers these last three days, as they are my superiors in the craft (though in metalwork and detailing I still outshine all ten of them put together). Instead, I have spent my time providing proper burials for the sad party of corpses in the chamber of Thror. Mr. Baggins was kind enough to help me in this task, though it was quite a gruesome and depressing one, in spite of the fact that there was little but scattered skeletons left after two centuries of lying naked to the elements and the dragon's passing.
May they feast well in the halls of waiting.
First Moon, Day 11
Cousins Fili and Kili returned today with all three of our remaining ponies, and a much larger portion of our supplies than we could have hoped to recover. I feel a bit more secure now, even though we've just heard those horrendous Wood-elves have teamed up with the Lake-men in marching against us. The wall the dwarfers have erected in the Front Gate is sturdy and functional, if not pleasing to the eye. With this new addition of food and water from the River Running, I think we may be able to last a good portion of the winter. It's amazing how much endurance a dwarf can come up with where there is family treasure involved.
First Moon, Day 14
Tonight Balin spied the fires of our enemies' camp down in Dale at last. There are even more of them than I had imagined. I'm frightened, but I stand firm in my resolve to weather what lies ahead.
First Moon, Day 15
A scouting party of our enemies was quite surprised to find us not only very much alive this morning, but well-fortified within our Dwarvish halls. I suppose they expected they'd simply be able to walk right in and help themselves. Not likely!
Shortly after the sun reached its zenith, Elvish music began to drift up to us from the valley below. Though haunting, I cannot call it beautiful, still remembering well the different sound of the pure harps in Rivendell (and the honest voice of my beloved). The songs of the Wood-elves have a dark and twisted enchantment about them that belongs better winding among the trees of their horrible forest than glancing off our Erebor in the brisk, sunny air.
I am the only one who remembers the difference, though, it seems. I can see by the wistful expressions on the twins' faces, and those of my brothers, and especially that of the hobbit, that they are having second thoughts about this siege. If dark Elvish enchantment is all it takes to sway their hearts now, how will their loyalties fare when our food runs low once more?
First Moon, Day 16
A nondescript Lake-man I do not remember came this morning to parley with us. Apparently, it is to him we owe our thanks for the dragon's demise. Though I agree with cousin Thorin that the Lake-men have no right treating for the Wood-elves as well as themselves, I believe he is being unfair in denying the debt we owe to the Lake-men. His words to them on the matter were hardly political, and they left in quite a huff. Perhaps I can talk some sense into him before they return.
First Moon, Day 17
I had some faint hopes of avoiding a siege yesterday, when, after the first treating party left us, the young dwarfers and I were able to convince cousin Thorin to allow Balin to speak for us the next time our enemies returned. Balin is, after all, Thorin's senior in years, and much more level-headed over all. Unfortunately, when the messenger came, he launched immediately into their terms for division and distribution of our precious heirlooms. These words put cousin Thorin into such a mad rage, he'd grabbed a bow and shot an arrow at the poor Man before Balin had time to even think of a response.
The first day of our siege passes slowly. Nothing much to do but wait.
First Moon, Day 20
To keep our minds from wandering over our dwindling food supply again and again, Thorin has ordered an inventory of the dragon hoard. He seems to think of nothing but the Arkenstone these days.
Second Moon, Day 1
All this time wading through precious art and artifact, and still no sign of the Arkenstone. I fear the dragon may have swallowed it into his craw. It would not surprise me if he had wasted such a precious gem in a basic part of digestion, vain, selfish creature that he was. I have yet to mention this possibility to cousin Thorin, however. His mind and temper unravel hourly.
Bilbo has learned to avoid him like the rest of us, and looks positively miserable, finding no comfort in the treasure cavern, as we do. I think he would leave us, if he could.
Second Moon, Day 5
The ravens brought news to us this morning that cousin Dain is a mere two days away. I agree with Roac that this does not help our situation a great deal, but it is comforting to know we shall not be the lone Dwarves among Men and Elves anymore. I hope they are not all slaughtered before we may see our own Dwarvish banners flying once more. Living in these dead halls is making me strangely homesick.
Second Moon, Day 6
This morning a runner came to ask our permission for a third parley. Cousin Thorin is convinced this is due to nervousness on their part about the approaching Dwarvish reinforcements. But I have a strange feeling about it. First of all, I do not think Elvish folk of the kind we have seen up close and personally would be so intimidated by a measly and exhausted platoon of Dwarves. Secondly, they must have known the size and nature of our approaching reinforcements for some time already. Why parley now?
Last night, I dreamed a heavenly body rose from our carefully ordered treasure down below and floated up through the halls until it moved right past us and through the Front Gate. The vision seemed nonsensical, but I felt a very palpable loss, when the starry presence left me behind. A profound grief, as if my mother had just died. I know not what this dream means, but I fear it portends ill for us. I hope Mother is well back home.
Second Moon, Day 6 - late
Mishap #12: Our friends have become our enemies.
When the negotiating party arrived, all of us were apprehensive to see the Elven king himself with them. But none of us could have predicted what happened next. Casually producing the Arkenstone of Thrain, the Lake-man who slew the dragon demanded gold and silver as ransom for it. While the rest of us wondered, Thorin went absolutely mad. He would have killed us all until he'd found out how his birthright had come into their hands, but Mr. Baggins bravely took the blame before it came to that. I thought surely that was to be the end of him, when Gandalf appeared below to distract Thorin long enough for Bilbo to escape into the waiting arms of our enemies.
All of us but Thorin were sad to see the hobbit go, especially without hearing the whole story of how and why he came to burgle the Arkenstone.
I was even less happy to see the old man this time than I have ever been in times past. Knowing that he is aiding our besiegers, I can draw no more comfort from our friends approaching from the Iron Hills. We are all doomed, if Thorin will not meet their demands. And he will not meet their demands. Even for the Arkenstone. He will have it all his way, or die trying. Unfortunately, he is dragging the rest of us down with him.
If I had known both Gandalf and Bilbo had sided with our enemies, I should have climbed over the wall last night, as well. Ori has begun to cry in his sleep again. I should go wake him.
Second Moon, Day 7
Early this morning, we were awakened by trumpets from the camp of our enemies. A great commotion announced the early arrival of the Dwarvish forces, who must have marched themselves to exhaustion to get here so soon. By noon, battle was ready to be joined, when, of a sudden, dark clouds loomed from the north. All we could see through our peepholes was that the three armies seemed to pause for a moment, before darkness engulfed the valley below. Though we could see nothing for quite some time after that, the bloodthirsty howls of wargs told us everything we needed to know.
It pains me to sit here and helplessly watch while these fiendish forces hack away at our cousins and friends below. Balin assures me cousin Thorin intends to lead us into battle - once the majority of the treasure has been secreted away in various hidden chambers in far corners of these halls.
Disgusted at the delay, I have been left here to keep watch, while the others set about this last task. Though there is little to see, and night fast approaching, I should not be writing this entry now, all the same. I think it shall be my last, however, as I intend to join the battle in the morning, whether Thorin will or no.
To whomever finds this journal, I would like my mother to know that we love her, Dori, Ori, and I. I did the best I could to do what she asked of me.
Second Moon, Day 10
I do not believe a mishap is appropriate to take in the full scale of what we have been through these last two days. I think we fought well, especially our twin cousins, Fili and Kili, who stuck by Thorin to the death. He was targeted most acutely by the enemy, and we surrounding him should all have died if Beorn in his bear form had not come charging to our rescue and back again at the last possible moment.
Thanks to the were-man's kindness and battle prowess, cousin Thorin survived one last night, enough time to put what affairs he could in order, and say his good-byes to the ten of us that remained.
Bilbo was found yesterday, and it wrung my heart to see what grief he bore at the death of our sometime king. I believe he really did feel all the harm he did us was in our best interest. Tragic how the best intentions are not always enough.
It will be some days before Dori will be up and about. I was very proud of him in battle, fighting at my back as he did, valiantly, until well past dusk, by which time the enemy was on the run.
Ori we lost track of early on, and we feared the worst. He was found yesterday, however, as our forces sorted the dead, and Dori and I lay mending in the tents of the Elves. Apparently, he had been pinned underneath a fallen warg of particular size early on, and remained overlooked for the rest of the battle. Just like Ori to do such a thing. All the same, I'm glad for his safety. Because he fared so well, I have put him in charge of attending cousin Dain on behalf of our family, and making certain our shares of the hoard are not overlooked in the negotiations taking place.
Second Moon, Day 11
Dori and I left our sickbeds for the first time today in order to attend cousin Thorin's interment. May he feast merrily at Mahal's side in the halls of waiting.
I know it does his spirit good that they laid him to rest with the Arkenstone. Better acquired late than never, my father always used to say.
Second Moon, Day 14
Cousin Dain seems to be doing a very fair job establishing the new Kingdom Under the Mountain. He has distributed large shares of the treasure to all of us who remain (though not as much as we were originally promised, as much has had to go to the Men and the Elves for the sake of good inter-racial relations). Moreover, he has offered each one of us positions of some importance in his fledgling court. Perhaps because I am the only dwarfin in this grand company which will go down in history, cousin Dain took me quite by surprise last night with a proposal of marriage. I should have told him to get stuffed - does he not think dwarfins are as suited to politics as dwarfers? - but I'm afraid I was struck dumb by the sudden and utter nonsense of it all. Of course I told him no, once I'd recovered my voice. Mother will understand. My father, however, is stamping his feet in death, I'm sure.
As for the positions Dain has offered my family, I told Ori to thank him most deeply, but say we could cement nothing until the head of our family, our mother, arrived.
For my own part, I cannot stay. My heart is not in any of this, though I have earned it (Of course I shall not be leaving completely empty-handed. On our first foray into the dragon's hoard, I spent my time seeking out the choicest jewels, while the dwarfers merely stuffed their pockets with whatever was close at hand. These jewels I have kept with me this whole time). Moreover, after cousin Dain's proposal last night, I fear things would only become uncomfortable, were I to remain.
Second Moon, Day 15
I have decided to leave with the company travelling west. It's too soon; I should wait for my mother to get here, but I feel this will be the safest method and time to make the journey. In two months, who knows how much the orcs to the north will have recovered?
The hardest part will be telling my brothers. I know they do not guess how much of an impact our time in Rivendell had on me, though they will receive my reason for going much better than Mother will. Which is another good reason to leave now.
Perhaps, one day, when 'Findel and I are wed and settled, and she can see granddwarfkin (or should that be elfkin?) on the way, she will come to accept it. I can only hope. Either way, as of today, I no longer live for my family. This journey has paid off more than a lifetime of debt to them. And, though I shall always love them, I feel justified in living for my own happiness now.
Second Moon, Day 16
I cannot part with my brothers. I cannot explain all of these things to them, for, in attempting to do so, I know I shall lose my resolve. The westward travelers leave in the morn, and I will be with them, though I fear accompanying them openly. I think Gandalf would send me back, if he found out, and I do not trust the Wood-elves to treat me kindly. I only hope that, if Bilbo's sharp eyes spot me, or Beorn's keen senses pick me out behind them, they will say nothing.
I'm going to hide this journal in our apartments, in hopes that my brothers will find it, though not too soon.
Please understand I had to do things this way, and know it was not because of you but in spite of you and the great love I bear you both.
Dori, I am pleased to leave you as head of the family after Mother. You have already done our ancestors proud, and I know you will do the same for the generations to come. Marry that gem-cutter you're always acting such a pudding around, would you? She's been waiting years now for you to pull up your bootstraps and propose. It shouldn't surprise me if she accompanies Mother to Erebor without your requesting her to.
Ori, stonekin, take care of yourself. Always remember to take an extra lamp when you go mining, and mind your bootlaces. And, whatever Mother says about our proud family traditions of goldsmithing, go into masonry. You're one of the best lintel sculptors I've ever known. If she objects, well, remind her you're the youngest, and it's your privilege to rebel.
Both of you, please know you will always have a second home in Rivendell with me. I'm going to keep in touch, and you'd better, too!
I leave you the dubious honor of passing on all this information to Mother. My recommendation is to simply hand her this journal and leave her to it with a large barrel of Dwarvish ale close at hand.
Once the storm dies down, pass on my love to her.
I leave you now, for what I hope will be a happy ending. Whatever may become of me, make the most of yours.
All My Love,
Second Moon, 16th Day