Chapter 23


He was beautiful. Dark hair covered his head, sticking every direction and his ears came to a soft point. I smiled, reaching out for him, wanting to hold him close, but Ithilwen did not move to hand him to me. I frowned, puzzled and tore my eyes away from him and looked up at her. I instantly wished I hadn't, her face was like an open book. Something was very wrong. I realized that the room was dead quiet, and began to panic. I struggled to get up, to get to him, maybe I could do something for him that she could not. I was willing to give anything in the world for him, to give my life for his if it came to it. I could see the pinpricks of darkness starting to gather at the corners of my eyes, and tried to fight it, I had to get to him had to help him. But I was so weak, so tired. I raised my hand out towards him, trying to reach him, but the darkness began to overcome me. The last thing I saw before I slipped out of consciousness was his still, quiet form.

The procession was large and solemn; almost every inhabitant of the mountain was there, the dwarves, like the elves, treated children like a precious gift, and mourned the loss of one deeply. I felt like I was in a dream, everything around me seemed to swirl, but I could not take my eyes from the still bundle in my arms. I could feel the tears streaming down my face and did not care who saw. I felt the steady pressure of Kili's hand on my arm, but it felt like he was a thousand miles away. They had wanted to burry him down in the dark stone crypts of the mountain, but I had refused, as much as he was a child of the mountain, he was also a child of the stars. Sometimes I could still feel him warm in my arms, suckling at my breast, but when I looked his was still unmoving, and cold. We snaked our way up the path to the top of the mountain, for what seemed like hours, a hole had already been dug and a small tree sat there waiting. I froze when it came into sight, not ready to let go of him yet, unwilling to put my precious child beneath the earth, never to lay eyes on him again.

It was a cruel fate that he had been given, to have life snatched away from him before he could even begin, where as I had wasted hundreds of years staying in one place, experiencing nothing. I would have gladly traded my life for his own, given everything I could for him. I had tried, had called out, screamed, but my prayers were unanswered. My feet moved of their own accord, and now I stood at the edge of the hole. It looked dark and cold, and I held the bundle tighter, how could I give my child to the cold clenches of the earth. I looked up at the stars for comfort, but even those had lost their warmth. I remembered what Kili had said once, that now seemed so long ago, "I always thought it a cold light, remote and far away." I turned my face away from the sky, no longer finding comfort in the glow of the stars.

My screams sounded throughout the mountain, and the mountain screamed at me in return. Torches flickered and danced, but I was alone, alone in the fortress I had built around my heart. I felt him come up behind me, "Tauriel" he whispered, his voice was quiet, but I could hear the emotion threatening to spill over. I did not move, nor did I answer. I wished nothing more than to turn to stone, to never have to feel again. I felt his hand on my shoulder; he said my name again, louder this time. I tried to ignore him, but he was persistent. But when I turned to look at him, he began to change in the flickering light of the torches, transforming into our son, fully grown, but the coldness of death in his eyes.

My eyes flew open, and I jolted up. I was in my room; the door to the balcony was slightly ajar, letting a cool breeze swirl through the room. I heard a soft humming coming from my left and turned to see what it was. Kili was sitting in one of the chairs by the fire slowly rocking, a blanket wrapped around him. I dared to look at the cradle next to the bed hoping it had maybe been jus a dream, but it was empty. My whole body felt heavy with sorrow, but I slid out of the bed. Pushing Kili away from me and locking myself away was not the answer. He jumped slightly when I sat down at his feet, leaning my head against his knee. "Sometimes I forget you can be so quiet amrâlimê." He said softly. I did not answer him but closed my eyes, seeking comfort from the smell of him. "You worried me for a bit there." He continued in the same quiet tone when I didn't answer. "Ithilwen assured me that it was your body's way of healing, that you would sleep for days and it would be okay, but I still was worried."

I inhaled deeply, but something was off about his smell, and I couldn't quite place it, he had continued talked while I was lost in thought, and only caught the end of his sentence. "Of course it breaks with tradition but I wanted to wait until you were awake." The warmth from the fire was beginning to spread around me, trying to lure me back to sleep, back away from the pain, but I knew the nightmares would only come again. "Wait until I was awake for what?" I asked quietly, drawing my strength to speak from him. "Present Dalamin to the people of Erebor. It's supposed to be done right after he was born, but he was such a small fragile thing and since you were in a deep healing sleep that I insisted that we wait." My head snapped up like I had been struck by lightning. "I hope you don't mind that I named him without you…" He said mistaking my reaction for anger, "You had only talked about it being a girl and girls names… so I named him after my father." He said with a small smile.

I sat frozen, my eyes locked on his chest where a small lump protruded that I had missed before and as I watched, it moved slightly. Kili looked down, chuckling slightly, "He's getting hungry again, it's been a little awkward trying to feed him while you were asleep, and I'm sure you want to hold him, now that you're awake." He moved slightly and the blanket fell from his chest, revealing our child, the frizzy mess of dark hair on top of his head, breathtaking and very much alive.

I couldn't stop the tears that fell from my eyes as I reached out for him, and Kili gingerly placed him in my arms. "He's got some fight in him." He said with a tinge of pride in his voice, "Mother jumped in when the others didn't know what to do. I was a little surprised when she ordered me to take of my shirt but she placed him on my chest with instructions to keep him warm and let him listen to what a strong heart beat sounds like and the rest would be up to him." I listened intently, but only had eyes for the small child in my arms. His tiny face scrunched up in annoyance at the change in positions. "Is this a dream?" I asked quietly. I felt Kili move so he sat on the floor across from me. "No." He said softly reaching out to brush the tears from my face. I felt the weight lift from my heart. It had all been just a nightmare, and because of the deep healing trance, it had all seemed real to me.

The babe nuzzled against my breast searching for his meal, and I moved slightly, allowing him access. He latched on and proceeded to contently suckle as I continued to cry. Kili rose up to his knees and brought my forehead to his lips, making comforting noises. "I dreamed we had lost him Kili." I said softly, the words pouring out of my mouth. "I dreamed we had to bury our child." I felt his strong hand on my chin and he turned my head up so my eyes met his. He was my rock, my stronghold, but his eyes held a deep tenderness. "It was just a dream, Tauriel. He's alright. He's already grown much in the week that you've been healing."

I could see now that his shoulder was wrapped in a thick bandage, and I reached out and gingerly placed a hand on it. He winced slightly but did not move away. "It didn't hit anything major… just going to be a little tender for a while." My eyes flicked back up to his own, "Who did this?" I said with an ice cold steel in my voice. "Aodhan." He answered, and spat on the ground beside him. "Who?" I questioned, already working out a plan to make him pay for what he had down to my family.

"The one who threw the sticky bun at you" He answered, and seaming to read my mind he placed a hand on my arm. "You were lightning fast when you threw your own knife back at him, hit him right in the throat. I don't think he even saw it coming." He sighed, standing up, "I almost wish you had missed him so I could have killed him myself." He shook his head, moving across the room. "I knew he didn't like you or elves in general, but if I had known he would go to such lengths…" I stood slowly, carful to keep the babe still in my arms and moved to follow him, kissing him on the forehead. "There was no way for you to know. You saved me, you saved our son, you did everything you could to protect us." He sighed, running a gently finger across the baby's cheek. "What did you say you named him?" I questioned. I smile played at the edges of his mouth, "Dalamin, after my father."

"Dalamin." I said softly, and his little eyes flitted open to look up at me. His eyes were a soft green that matched my own. "I think the name is perfect." I said, running my finger over the small pointed tips of his ears.

I had wanted nothing more than for Kili to hold me in his arms and to marvel at our child, and he obliged me for a long while. But after some time when by he moved and stood up, "I promised I would let everyone know when you woke. I have been a little selfish in hogging you and Dalamin all to myself." He said with a sheepish smile. I smiled back at him, moving to sit in the chair and wrapping a blanket around myself and Dalamin since I had lost Kili's body warmth. He gave me a warm kiss, and kissed our son gently on the head before he slipped out the door. I sat there rocking slowly, watching as Dalamin slept. I was so sure that it was going to be a girl. Maybe that wasn't a vision after all; maybe it was just a dream. I wished I could ask my mother, but of course that was impossible. I heard the door open quietly, and looked up, surprised that Kili was back so quickly. But it wasn't Kili who stood in the door; it was his mother, Dis.

I smiled welcomingly at her, unsure where we stood. "Kili just went to go…" She closed the door behind her, waving her hand. "I know, I passed him in the hall." She came over and sat in the chair across from mine. I had never been alone in a room with Dis and was unsure of what to say to her. She sat quiet for a moment and then leaned forward her eyes on the child. "He looks very much like Kili did as a babe." She said softly, I sat quietly as she continued. "I was pregnant with Kili when his father went off with my brother and the other men to protect our town from a band of orcs. I remember waiting by the front door every day for them to return safe to me. Two men walked away from my doorstep, and only one walked back." She reached out, brushing a finger across the fuzz of his hair.

"I had run to my brother, overjoyed to see him home safe. I had moved to look around him, and Thorin had held me to him, but I had seen. Even though they had covered him with a sheet, I knew his shape, I knew his long shield they carried him on. I collapsed in my brothers arms, screaming." She shook her head, "I think it was the shock of it that made him come early, probably for you as well. He was such a tiny babe, Kili was. He could have fit easily into Thorin's hands. I thought I was going to lose a child and a husband all in one day, but lucky for me the midwife did not give up so easily. She made my brother strip down and nuzzle little Kili against his chest, and wrapped the two of them up with blankets." She laughed quietly at the memory. "My poor brother had sweat dripping down his face in minutes but he didn't move. Kili was a fighter though, and made it through."

Her eyes met mine and I could see the emotion in them. "I'm sorry." She said softly, "I'm sorry for everything I had put you through." I reached out, placing a hand on top of her own. "All is forgiven." We sat for some time before Kili returned. Dis regaled me with stories of Kili as a child, and I couldn't help but laugh. Even as a child Kili seemed to have a knack for finding trouble. "The best punishment I could find for him." She said as Kili came back through the door followed by Ithilwen, "Was to sit him down on a chair in front of the window and make him look outside, but forbid him from going out." I laughed as Kili made his way to my side and took the baby from my arms, peppering his face in kisses. "And a mighty cruel punishment that was." He said with a rueful smile. "Everyone is waiting outside, I said they had to wait until Ithilwen was done with you" He asked with a small wink.

Ithilwen was thorough in checking me over, but I knew there was nothing to be worried about. When she was finished, she uncharacteristically gathered me up in her arms and held me in a close embrace. She did not say anything but she did not have to. She had been deeply worried about me, but had not shown it until now. She finally pulled away, holding me at arm's length, "You are my most treasured friend." She said in Sindarin, and I responded "And you are mine." She nodded and moved to Kili, and took the baby Dalamin from his arms.

"Would you allow me the honor of bestowing the elven blessing on him?" She asked in her soft voice, "I didn't want to do so before asking your permission." The blessing of the child was reserved for the person closest to the mother, usually her own mother, and was ordinarily done right after the birth of the child, but I couldn't think of a better person to fill those shoes than Ithilwen. I nodded slightly and she began to sing softly.

"There is a song in man. There is a song in woman. And that is the child's song. When that song comes, there will be no words. Do not ask where they are, just listen to the song. Listen to it. Learn it. It is the greatest song of all. May the sun bring you new energy by day. May the moon softly restore you by night. May the rain wash away your worries, and the breeze blow new strength into your being. And all of the days of your life may you walk gently through the world and know its beauty." She gently kissed his forehead as she handed him back to me.

The room was a blur of people, all of the dwarves from the company, in addition to my new friends I had made during my time in the mountain flooded the room, all wanting to see me and the baby. Dalamin changed arms so many times I was amazed that he did not begin to cry, but only cooed happily at each new face. I talked with each and every person, but was always hovering near the baby, my eyes flitting to him every few seconds. Even when Fili took Dalamin into his arms, gently cooing at the baby and making faces trying to get him to laugh, I could not stop hovering nearby ready to jump in at a moments notice if anything were to happen.

I felt an arm loop through my own and looked to see Athdara standing next to me. "Stop worrying so much, no harm is going to come to him, especially not surrounded by this bunch. He so much as cries and he'll be surrounded." She smiled at me, "Every child is seen as a sacred gift from the gods. Before we regained our kingdom it was rare, but not unheard of for a dwarven mother to take in an orphaned infant from the men of the nearby town when no one else could care for it." She smiled slightly, "My own mother took in such a child when I was small."

"What happened to the child?" I asked curious, but still unwilling to take my eyes off of Dalamin being handed from person to person. "He grew up." She said quietly, and said nothing more. Her arm slipped free of mine as the baby was passed to her. She made small noises at him and he responded with a gurgle. She laughed, bouncing from foot to foot, saying things to him in in a low voice in Khuzdul. Finally she placed him back in my arms, and reached up kissing me on the cheek before departing the room. The others followed suit bidding me and the child goodbye, and leaving so we could rest. Thorin and Dis had stayed behind after everyone else had left, and Thorin moved over to me now. I somewhat reluctantly handed the child over to him, having only just gotten him back in my arms.

Thorin looked awkward with the small child in his arms, the small baby in stark contrast to his hulking form. But he was ever so gentle, rocking Dalamin in his arms, and speaking to him in a low Khuzdul. I realized he was saying the same thing to him that Athdara had, but did not understand the words. Thorin's voice had a lulling effect on the child, and he soon fell asleep. Thorin gently placed Dalamin in his cradle before he and Dis bid me and Kili farewell.


I hadn't slept properly in a week. I had plenty of help in caring for the child, but I had still spent the long nights sitting beside Tauriel and cradling him against my chest, which had resulted in little sleep for myself as I watched over them through the night. As soon as the door shut though I collapsed on the bed, unable to keep my eyes open any longer. I heard Tauriel's small laugh, and felt as her cool lips pressed against my forehead, and then I was out. I awoke some time later to the baby's cries, having become so attune to them. Tauriel was already up and rocking him gently, but he only began to wail louder.

"Bring him here." I said softly, "Let me work my magic." I told her with a sleepy smile. She brought him over, gently sliding into bed next to me, and handed him over to me. "I'm sorry we woke you." She said her hand caressing my cheek. I merely shrugged my shoulders and began to hum, letting the sound resonate low and deep. Dalamin slowly stopped crying, and yawned trying to fight sleep. But sure enough, his eyelids slid closed and his breathing evened out in a deep sleep. I gently handed the sleeping child back to Tauriel and she tenderly put him back in his cradle beside our bed. I opened my arms as she slid back under the blanket, and she snuggled up next to me, letting me wrap my arms around her.

"What was it that Thorin said to Dalamin earlier today?" She asked softly. I was already half asleep, but I answered her question. "It is the dwarvish blessing. The family members and close friends gather together to bless the new child." I said with a yawn. "What does it mean?" She questioned. I pulled her close to me, whispering in her ear as I drifted of, "Little one, may your hammer ring true, your blessings shine like a precious stone, and may Mahal bless you all the days of your life."

AN: SORRY THIS TOOK ME SO SO SO LONG! Honestly, I had multiple clashing ideas on what to do with this chapter, and it took me a while to get them sorted out, and find the time to write. Don't hate me too much for the deception in the beginning of the chapter…. but it satisfied multiple of the ideas that were bouncing around in my head haha. I'll try to be more timely with the next chapter!