IN MY DREAMS
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: Thanks for the support and for reading this story! Here's chapter two!
CHAPTER II: In My Dreams
Thorin had sat their new kitchen boy down on one of the seats and had rang the bell calling for a servant to whom he requested that their meals be brought into the war room as well as some additional foodstuffs and ale. He had a feeling they may take longer than he wanted and he figured that they may as well be comfortable whilst they worked away on listening to what Alwed had to say.
The moment their food was brought in, Thorin had thanked their servant before handing a tankard of ale - he should have requested for a tamer tasting alcohol or even just water but he knew that he, Alwed and his father may be in need of something stronger - to Alwed who looked nervously at him then his lord father.
Seating himself in his usual chair by his father's side, he looked at his father inquiringly who nodded with an encouraging smile, "Go on, lad," Dáin coaxed gently, "tell us what you recall from when you had awoken."
Alwed shifted uncomfortably in his seat and looked down inside the tankard, a concentrated frown on his face as his lips moved soundlessly as if attempting to speak about how his tale had begun.
He had noticed how the lad looked so frightened, and he made to speak reassuringly to him when Alwed had decided to speak, his voice naught but a whisper.
"They said I was found at the side of a hill," Thorin raised a brow at Alwed and looked at his father. They? Who was this they he spoke of? Hill? What hill in Aule's name was the lad talking about? "there was blood all around, it had recently snowed." Alwed took a sip from his tankard,
"In the light of the new dawn with the wind flying wild," He had nearly whispered the words out, Thorin held his tongue and had attempted to refrain from rushing the lad in his story. "a dwarf was found with no name, bleeding out," Alwed's voice cracked and Thorin felt his heart clench, moving to comfort the lad only to be stayed by his father who shook his head, "and he woke with no memories," Alwed then proceeded to tap the side of his head looking up at them with shining brown eyes, "but the ones he has now."
"I could recall the snow beating upon a white canvas roof, terrifying healers whispering overhead." The young lord had to prevent himself from inquiring where Alwed was found, figuring that the lad would answer his questions when all was said and done, "I recalled bloodied sheets upon makeshift cots." Alwed practically whispered out, eyes glazed, almost as if memory had decided to pull his gaze away from the present. "I heard the healers say to one another, 'Call the boy Alwed, give the boy a weapon," He chuckled softly, Thorin turned to his father and signed his question.
Have you seen the weapon he speaks of?
The answer was a shake of the head.
"I-I don't recall a thing before that." Alwed bit his lip, "Throughout my time, I had travelled far and wide, from an elven realm to Bree and then I had ventured back here."
"So you have had lodgings throughout your travels?" Thorin inquired, relieved to know that Alwed was safe during his wandering days. Alwed shook his head.
"I had slept in the woods most of the days and when I'd saved enough, I had purchased a tent for myself, it was small and thin and rain soaked through it oftentimes but it was still what I would consider shelter."
There was a short pause before Alwed had continued, his drink still untouched, "I had only ever taken what I would need, the tent was my shelter and I would sell or barter my services. I would offer my protection in exchange for food or coins, and I worked when my body was able," Alwed smiled faintly, "the fact that I was still recuperating from battle was not ideal for moving about but I had no choice."
Thorin had found himself leaving his seat to come upon Alwed's side whom he gave a reassuring pat on the back, an awkward smile on his freckled face. Alwed returned the smile with the same amount of discomfort as Thorin's. After an awkward pause, Thorin nodded and had seated himself beside Alwed.
His father had elected to remain at the head of the table, Thorin nearly laughed at how his father was now seemingly the one to follow propriety.
"I had to keep courage," Thorin looked at Alwed who had spoken once more, his head bowed, the fiery haired dwarf lord found himself wanting to reassure the kitchen boy that all will be well, that his courage had paid off. But Alwed had looked up, gave him a small smile and bowed his head, "it was a foolish thing to do, but it must be done to get through the day."
The dark haired dwarrow seemed to lose his voice for a moment and took a small sip of the ale that undoubtedly had been forgotten to be in his possession. "It is in the night I had to cling onto my courage the most," Alwed whispered, "when my dreams come and I've none but the moon and the woods as company."
Thorin frowned, he wanted to ask, to know what Alwed had meant, but the unfocused look in Alwed's eyes may be speaking of the fact that he did not have to ask.
"My dreams are all the same, I would see shadows who beckon to me, calling out to me, laughing with me," Alwed had spoken, voice soft as if he was struggling to speak of such things, "it is like I was in darkness. As if I still am shrouded in darkness," Alwed looked at him, dark eyes no longer wide and frightened but there was a steel like hardness to it, "and then I hear the shadows and a light comes to life in the far end of the darkness that is my mind."
Thorin felt unease coiling in the pit of his stomach when his father looked to be thinking through what the kitchen boy had said to them. He knew that his father was keen to put an end to the Queen's grief but if Alwed had not a single memory to recollect then he was to be an unassuming victim. If he was found out to be an impostor, then he will die not knowing what he'd done wrong.
Thorin had shut his eyes tightly the moment the image of Alwed being decapitated or tortured came to mind.
"My dreams would often fade away a moment too soon," Alwed continued, his voice a welcome break from the silence and from Thorin's mind hissing and whispering all the consequences for deceiving their Queen, "it is only small parts of the dreams such as these I am telling you that remain."
"What else do you remember, lad?" Dáin had asked, Thorin looked sharply at his father, he knew his glare would go unnoticed but he had to attempt to tell his father to leave the lad's mind be. But to his surprise, Alwed soldiered on.
"I...I could recall dreaming of a kingdom beyond all compare," Thorin wanted to stop the lad, he saw the difficulty Alwed had with describing what he did remember, a traitorous part of him however wished to hear more, and it was that traitorous part of his mind that he'd followed, "a kingdom with mountains of gold, with gems and jewels scattered round like wildflowers." The disturbed expression Alwed had on his face as he described that part of his dream - was it a dream though? A part of the young dwarf lord's mind hissed at him - made the coil of unease in Thorin's stomach tighten even further.
"A-and I remember that I dreamed of a voice, it would whisper softly that she will meet us when all is said and done," Alwed looked at him once more. The tears threatening to fall from the lad's dark eyes had made Thorin move on instinct to wipe away those tears that had no right to be present on someone who'd gone through enough grief. Alwed looked at him, and Thorin found that he cannot blame the dark haired dwarf for that. After all, no one knew that he had a tendency to wish to offer comfort where comfort was needed. He smiled encouragingly - albeit a bit tightly as well - and Alwed took a shuddering breath and nodded, "the voice had whispered a promise that we shall see one another again in..." Alwed paused, lips moving mutely to mouth out the name, "Azsâlul'abad." Thorin reared back slightly before turning to look at his father before looking back at Alwed.
Nay, he cannot truly be the lost prince. That...that was painfully clear. He should know better than anyone, he was no fool after all. Alwed must have been a resident of his namesake's Halls and was on his way to an apprenticeship before the Company had left for the Quest for Erebor when his kin promised him that they shall meet in Erebor when all is said and done.
"Azsâlul'abad..." Alwed had repeated softly, "it is Khuzdul for the Lonely Mountain, yes?" Alwed asked for confirmation, Thorin nodded. Alwed smiled, "Erebor." He repeated softly.
His father cleared his throat loudly, Alwed turned to look at him and Thorin had immediately placed a hand upon Alwed's shoulder in hopes of offering comfort when he felt the tenseness in the kitchen boy's posture. "Anything else you can remember, lad?" Thorin had wanted to speak up against his father's questions, he wanted to demand a reprieve for the lad, a breather so the lad will not be overwhelmed but he held his tongue and settled for glaring at his father.
"Anything else that could perhaps enlighten us a bit more?" Dáin pressed on, almost sounding as if he was suggesting something.
Alwed looked at the dwarf lord for a moment before he spoke quietly, "You don't know what it's like, milord." His brows furrowed together in aggravation when he spoke, "The frustrations of living, not knowing who you are," Dáin had settled calmly on his seat, deep russet eyes looking at Alwed with a curiosity Thorin wished to shield the kitchen boy from, "of living in the shadows, of traveling far and wide but belonging nowhere." The anger and frustration had flowed from Alwed's lips, Thorin had known that it would do no good to whisper empty comforts and had opted to simply squeeze the shoulder he had put his hand upon, hopefully reminding him that all would be well now, "I see light reflecting from steel weapons, I hear the echoes of anguished screams, but through those dreams I have a glimpse of who I had been before."
Alwed looked at the two dwarf lords who were having a silent conversation and it felt like an eternity before Thorin spoke. "And what was the name of the hill from which you were you found, Alwed?" The fiery-haired dwarf lord asked, Alwed bit his lip.
"Raven...Ravenhill, milord." Was the short response, Thorin nodded and looked at his father, trusting his father to speak of their plan.
"And if we were to help you gain your identity once more?" His lord father asked, a neutral tone in his voice, though the hopeful glint in his eyes betrayed him.
Alwed looked confused and frowned, "But how could you do that?" He asked, confused.
Taking his chance, Thorin gave what he hoped to be an encouraging smile to the lad, "Come back to these rooms tomorrow morn and we shall tell you." His father nodded before gesturing the table with their untouched - and now possibly cold - food.
"But for now," Dáin rumbled, "we must eat."
Alwed nodded, confusion still on his face. "Very well, milord."
AUTHOR'S NOTES: So what do you think? Please tell me what you think of this chapter, it helps motivate me in writing!