Summary: The Line of Durin had fallen, though only the bodies of Prince Fíli and King Thorin were retrieved from Ravenhill. The youngest Prince was never found and a mystery lay shrouded as to where his whereabouts could be. In the span of a decade, a number of things had changed. Lord Dáin refused the throne and Queen Dís had accepted the mantle of rulership that should have been her brother's. In her grief, she clung to the hope that her youngest son still lived and had set a reward for anyone who could bring her boy back home to her arms.

That is where a rather amnesiac dwarrow comes into play, Alwed, son of no one, had come to the Iron Hills in hopes of finding a future among the dwarves. Having seen the grief of a mother consuming Dís, Dáin wished to offer what consolation he could and sought out as many short humans and young adult dwarrows as he could, promising them a future, hoping that he could find one that resembled the youngest prince so that Dís can finally have her son back, among those who was aiding him was his son and heir.

Thorin III Stonehelm was obedient to his lord father but was cynical of the survival of the youngest prince. And when Alwed had been brought in by a guard who explained that the lad was seeking work in the kitchens, he was willing to grant the request but his father stopped him. He was both displeased and amused at how convenient it was that the young dwarrow had lost his memories a decade ago when he awoke in the home of an elf. It was then that father and son had decided that Alwed will be the one to ease the Queen Dís's grief, he shall be their Prince Kíli.

AUTHOR'S NOTES: So here we have an Anastasia AU with Kíli being the only survivor among those in Ravenhill. And yes, we have Gay!Kíli here. Also, here Thorin III Stonehelm and Dáin are not descended from Durin but Dáin is called cousin by Thorin (II Oakenshield) because they're close friends. Please bear with me here.

CHAPTER I: A Rumour in Arda's Lands

He walked around the streets of the Iron Hills...Urâd Zirnul the dwarves of its land had called it, he looked around curiously as he shouldered past the crowds of dwarves. His hand held on tightly to the axe that he'd carried with him through the decade since he was found by an elf named Itaril. He had arrived there at dawn and was attempting to find the Lord's Halls to apply for a job in the kitchens, he'd heard tell that the Lord's son was currently ruling and was generous and willing to give chances to those seeking a future in the Iron Hills and he hoped that such talk was true.

Stopping in front of a stall selling pastries, he got in line behind to dwarves who were whispering to one another. They are young. His mind supplied to him, younger than he was. And from what Itaril had told him, he should be at least eighty-seven by now. He noticed the excited chattering of the dwarves in front of him grew in volume and he sighed, finding himself unable to ignore them.

"Did you hear that yet another impostor was unveiled today in Azsâlul'abad?" One of the dwarves whispered excitedly, their companion nodded as they pulled a disgusted face.

"To think that they would attempt to fool the Queen Dís." The companion huffed out with a roll of their eyes.

"But you must admit, it would be quite the joyous occasion if the rumours were true because that would mean that the youngest Prince still lives." The first dwarf pressed on, he heard the companion snort.

"Oh aye, if the Queen is willing to listen to what the 'Prince' would have to say." The companion was clearly a skeptic, He'd decided. He'd heard of the rumours, of the gossip and whispers.

He knew he awoke on a battlefield and that he may have participated in a battle known as the Battle of the Five Armies, he'd heard of the deaths of the Sons of Durin and that the youngest' body was never found. He also heard of the Queen's grief and the rumours that the youngest prince still lived. It was a sad but hopeful sort of rumour, one that he hoped to be real for the sake of easing the Queen's anguish.

Before he could hear more of the conversation between the young dwarves, their turn had come up and they had immediately purchased their goods before they scampered off. He watched them go before he shrugged and turned to face the stall keeper to purchase his meal.

Thorin walked through the halls of his lord father's stronghold, his fiery hair and beard braided neatly, his scriptures and texts held tightly in his hand. He sighed and stacked his research upon the desk of his personal study, he had been forced to seek out as much scriptures and text and tones of the Line of Durin so he may act as a tutor. But to what?

A frustrated snarl caused him to run his fingers through his hair, messing up the neat braids he had worked patiently on to tame.

"This is still an order from your lord, Torsten." He growled to himself, using the name he had chosen for himself in hopes that he shall be able to assert authority over his mind and heart. "To ease the grief of the Queen Dís is not a crime." He continued, carefully unrolling the records of all the reincarnations of Durin the Deathless so that he may see if any damage had been done to it in the years it had not been consulted upon, "But falsifying identities, lying to your Queen, those are crimes." He added in, grimacing at the realisation that they truly will be risking their necks with the deceit that his father sought to cause.

The bells rang, indicating the beginning of his father's open court. He sighed, he had been given his father's mantle until they came upon the perfect match for the youngest prince. When ("If." A treacherous part of his mind corrected.) they did, then he shall play the tutor to the one his father had chosen.

He was no stranger to differing crafts. To perform the role of leader, tutor, scribe, healer, and warrior was no problem for him.

But he did not condone to playing the tutor to a fraud.

The bell rang again. A knock on his study door was sounded and he sighed, he was getting aggravated. He must not allow too much frustration at folly be clear to his father's people. Adjusting his tunic and overcoat, he fixed his belt's position and ensured that his weapons were all accounted for before leaving his study. He greeted the varying Lower Lords that he had passed, ignoring the excited whispers of female courtiers who eyed him eagerly and climbed the steps leading to his father's seat. Upon reaching the seat, he gestured for the doors to the Main Hall be opened and he sat down, ready for the throng of dwarrows, dwarrowdams and travellers to come in and speak their minds to him.

All the requests and petitions had been given to him for approval, he listened to spats and squabbles that he had resolved, to complaints that he accepted and words of thanks he waved off, to marriage proposals that he had rejected and to insults that he received gracefully. It was the moment that the Captain of the Guards walked in, guiding someone along with him that the heir of the Iron Hills stiffened in his seat and sat up immediately.

Was it a criminal? If so, then what offence could it be that the Captain would seek him out and ask for his judgement when they would usually just be rotting in a cell until his father came to sentence them?

But the moment the Captain reached the front of his seat and a salute was given to him which he had returned, the Captain only grunted and jerked his head to the figure standing before him.

Thorin turned to look at the figure and raised a brow at the sight of the...youth? before him. The figure was a short human - or a short-bearded dwarf - dark hair and eyes, looking anywhere and everywhere as much as possible, eyes wide. He wore a dirty blue tunic, dark brown trousers and beaten leather boots, his hair was wild and tied back into a simple tie that reminded him of a horse's tail. All in all, he was unremarkable, a face that could be lost in a crowd. He was certain that to human women though, he would be quite the catch to their eyes. But to him and to dwarrows and dwarrowdams, he was not memorable. He noted how none of those present in court looked at the silent figure twice.

"Captain Aage, who is this that you bring? A criminal? A spy?" He asked calmly, running an eye over the quiet lad.

"He wanted work in the Lord's kitchens." The Captain gruffly said, russet eyes glancing swiftly at the lad who shifted uncomfortably shifted his weight from one foot to the other, Thorin glanced between the lad and the Captain before he raised a brow at the Captain.

"Never in my life, Captain, had you ever escorted someone who sought for work in my father's Halls." He commented, eyeing the Captain with inquiring eyes.

"He had no clue how to approach you, my Lord, he feared that he would get lost and end up trespassing a forbidden part of the Halls." Thorin held back a chuckle at the grandfatherly voice the Captain adopted for the explanation.

Rising from his seat, Thorin beckoned for the lad to approach him, "What is your name, lad?" He asked gently when he noticed the fearful expression on the lad's face.

"Alwed, milord." The lad answered, his voice low. Thorin nodded.

"Fortunate." He translated simply, he looked at Alwed curiously before gesturing for the Captain to leave, "Fetch the Steward and have Alwed sorted out. I shall introduce him to my father when he returns from his errands."

Alwed looked at him in surprise before a large smile graced his lips before throwing his arms around the young Lord who stiffened before awkwardly reaching up to pat the lad gently on the back. Captain Aage smiled at the young Lord in amusement before shaking his head and leaving to fetch the Steward of the Iron Hills.

"Thank you, miord!" The lad had practically shouted in delight, Thorin sighed and smiled gently. He noticed that the lad was about to speak once more when he saw the Captain returning with the Steward by his side.

"No thanks are necessary, Master Alwed." He murmured, pulling away from the tight embrace. "For now, just go to the Steward." Nudging the lad off to the Steward, he nodded.

"Drill him on our routines and ensure that he shall be provided with a new change of clothes." He cast an eye over the lad's clothes and frowned mildly, "Search for a blue tunic." He chose not to mention that the lad looked good in blue.

By the time his lord father had returned, the sun had already set and Thorin had holed himself inside his study to read over his research material to see if he must mend or alter anything that might be out of date. He furrowed his brows in concentration as he read through a history book on Khazad-Dûm. He had had to alter and adjust a few parts of some history books that had been ridiculously outdated and he had to request the royal historian to write the entire direct Line of Durin so he may further memorise who would be the false Prince's family.

Many had heard the late King Thorin refer to his lord father as cousin, Thorin chuckled softly, they were close friends and had opted to calling each other "Cousin" due to that. But of course, the Men immediately assumed that they were cousins the moment that title left the late King's lips.

Shaking his head to clear his thoughts, he looked at the runes once more and nodded to himself. The history book was fairly written, there was no trouble with it whatsoever. Closing the book gently, a knock was heard outside his study. Rubbing his eyes with the heels of his hands, he called for whoever knocked to enter, all the while, he chose a book at random for him to read over.

It was the Steward.

"Master Annbjørg, what is it?" He asked, the Steward entered his study and glanced over at the piles of research material he had dug out from the library with an unreadable expression.

"Your father has come back and had heard tell of the new kitchen boy." They replied, crossing their arms, Thorin nodded with a disinterested hum, at least now he would not need to introduce him. His father is kind to any who deserved his kindness and he was certain that Alwed shall receive that kindness.

"Your father had demanded that we bring him up to you so you three can have a good and proper introduction." The Steward continued, Thorin stilled in his seat and looked up, he caught the Steward's eye who showed a sharp question in their eyes. Thorin ignored that question in favour of standing, leaving the open book as it was and brushing past the Steward.

"Did he tell you why he needs that introduction?" He asked briskly, knowing that Annbjørg would have followed him, the Steward shook their head and pressed their lips in a tight line.

"Though, my Lord..." They sighed, "he seemed far too enthusiastic at meeting the lad." Thorin felt his stomach lurch at the realisation that Alwed might be the false Prince they shall be making use of.

"Very well," Thorin ignored the tightness in his chest and jerked his head to the Steward, "call for Alwed and my father to meet in the war room." It was commonly used for strategising battles and for consulting with the war council but it was not being used as of the moment and he trusted the Steward to keep anyone from entering it while he spoke with his father and Alwed.

He was the first to arrive in the war room, once he was inside, he took a seat at his seat when the war council was called for. He was always stationed on his father's left side while Captain Aage took the place of his father's right. He closed his eyes and sighed, counting the passing seconds.

Then there was a timid knock on the door and he looked at who it was, it was Alwed. He nodded and gestured for him to be seated. "Be at peace, Master Alwed." He smiled reassuringly to the lad, noticing how he looked frightened.

He cannot blame the lad, seeing as the Lord of the Iron Hills did just ask for him to meet with the heir again.

"Did I do something wrong?" Alwed asked carefully, brown eyes wide with fear. Thorin shook his head,

"My father only wishes to ask you a few questions."

The moment he finished his sentence, the war room's doors opened with his father striding in with what he knew to be the youngest Prince's charcoal portrait. He stood up to greet his father who pulled him into a warm embrace before being released so that his lord father can look at their kitchen boy properly.

"What's your name, lad?" Dáin asked gruffly, dark eyes roaming the boy's figure, Thorin grimaced at what Alwed may be thinking of his father's actions.

"A-Alwed, milord." The boy stuttered, Dáin nodded and turned to look at Thorin who only raised a brow at him. Does he match? He wanted to ask his lord father, but those words went unsaid and his father only had that glint in his eyes that Thorin had learned as hew grew older to be a rather positive sign.

"And where did you come from, Alwed?" Dáin continued, circling the kitchen boy who managed to stand his ground.

"From everywhere yet nowhere, milord." Thorin had to bite the inside of his cheek to stop his smile at the lad's answer. The boy has a fair head on his shoulders to answer in such a manner to a High Dwarf Lord.

"Where were you born?" Dáin pressed on, unminding of Alwed's cheek. For a moment the younger man looked unsure before he steeled himself and tilted his chin up at Dáin.

"And why must you know?" He shot back, Dáin paused in his circling to look at the lad before chuckling.

"I must know where each of my workers come from." He explained calmly, Thorin noted the fact that his father was attempting to soften his thick accent and he smiled encouragingly when his father threw him a glance as if to inquire if his attempt was working.

The fact that their accents were different had often caused many people to assume that Thorin was a bastard, he knew he should see that as an insult but he only found it to be amusing.

Their accents really was just based on who they spent most of their time with and for his father, that was with his grandfather and Captain Aage. For Thorin, that was his mother as well as his tutor, Mistress Bergliot, both of whom had been born among the people of Erebor which in turn caused Thorin's accent to be more soft than his father's but it was still there.

Turning his thoughts away from himself, Thorin looked at Alwed and then his father, brows furrowed slightly as they waited for the lad's answer.

It was yet a few more moments before the lad answered and the answer surprised them.

"I-I don't know, milord." He mumbled at last. Dáin looked surprised but there was a mild note of relief in his expression while Thorin's eyes widened mildly before he looked at his father to see if he heard the same answer leave the lad's lips.

"Truly?" Dáin asked, moving away from Alwed to stand by his son's side who in turn took a careful step forward. Alwed nodded, Thorin cleared his throat.

"Then in that case, Master Alwed," He began carefully, giving a small smile to the lad, "will it trouble you if we asked for what you do remember?"