Disclaimer: All people and places were created by J.R.R. Tolkien, and rights therein belong to his Estate; Bilbo Baggins is probably also a registered trademark of New Line Cinema. This is a work of fanfiction written for nonprofit motives of entertainment and speculation.

The Emblem You Chose

Gold gleamed around the chamber that was become the final resting-place of Thorin Oakenshield, son of Thráin. While the Elvenking Thranduil had been crossing the distance from his encampment, some Dwarf had hastily cleaned and lit the pendent lamps, choked by years of dragon-soot. The treasures of Erebor, begrimed as they were still, were kindled into life as so many lesser lamps around their lord's bier. Light gleamed redly also in the links of Thorin's gilded mail-shirt, and the gems at his belt, as he lay within a high casket of stone that had been carved by the surviving companions of his journey.

Those ten Dwarves, their coloured hoods familiar to Thranduil from another meeting in lamp-lit halls, were ranged beside the tomb. With them stood Bilbo Baggins, the surprising Halfling, and Dáin, Thorin's kinsman and his heir. Dáin was newly master of the wealth of Erebor, but two things he had refused to take from his elder: the golden chain that had marked Thorin's heritage during his years of exile, and the Arkenstone, for pride of which Thorin had stood defiant on his mountain in the hour of war, heedless of risk or counsel. Bard, the Man of Esgaroth, now placed the great jewel on Thorin's breast, and folded the Dwarf-lord's cold hands across it. Alone among all the treasures in the room, the Arkenstone did not take on the ruddiness of pitch flame; it shone as ever marble white through Thorin's fingers, as though he had reached up in sleep and pulled down a fragment of the moon.

Bard and Dáin now braced their arms against a slab propped at the foot of the tomb. The reverberation of stone grinding stone dislodged dust from the ceiling as they pushed closed the lid. Inch by inch, the slab and its leading edge of shadow covered Thorin. The glitter of his mail was slowly quenched. The silver rays refracted from the Arkenstone winked out one by one upon the farther wall. Stone groaned once more, and with a final effort, Thorin's face was shuttered from sight; returned to the earth from which Aulë had made his fathers, or else despatched to some distant hall known only to Ilúvatar. The Dwarves cast off their hoods in grief. All in the chamber bowed their heads, and were for a moment silent.

Stepping forward, Thranduil lifted the cloth-wrapped bundle that his messenger had carried with all haste from the palace of Mirkwood. As he unveiled Orcrist and held the short sword before him, a new glitter entered the room, of jewels set by an Elven-smith in fallen Gondolin; green fire flickered along the rich chasing of the hilt and scabbard. He drew the blade from its sheath. The finely tempered steel shone; by someone honed and polished while it had lain in his own armoury, it was a fitting weapon for a lord, as fine as had it never been in profane hands. He laid the sword on the lid of the tomb, and the scabbard beside it. The emeralds of an Elven house glowed as a blazon against the rune-carved stone.

The king of Greenwood drew his own blade in salute, whereupon Bard, and Dáin, and Bilbo drew theirs likewise. "Fare you well," he said, "King under the Mountain." And an answering nod passed around the dim and smoky hall.

Author's notes

The title of this vignette is taken from a poem by Richard Aldington, 'A Grave':

No name, but wild flowers
And the emblem which you chose
And now is yours forever...

Orcrist as a 'short sword': This represents a stretching of canonical information about the sword, done partly because of the unlikelihood that a Dwarf like Thorin would have been able to wield a full-length Elven sword, partly because it suited my theme for Thranduil to have a different perception of the weapon. The 'stretching' was thought justified as not outrightly contradicted by Tolkien (Orcrist never being explicitly described).

Many thanks to all reviewers for your generous and insightful comments. Any and all criticisms are welcomed.