Disclaimer: The Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings and all characters therein are the property of the Tolkien Estate and Wingnut Films. This story is for entertainment only and the author is in no way profiting from it, nor exercising any claims to The Hobbit or Lord of the Rings.

Historical Note: What follows is a true transcription of the original text in Khuzdul, as told to Ori II, Scribe of Erebor by the participants. For ease of reading, all comments have been translated to Westron no matter the language spoken. However, spoken Westron is denoted with "" speaker marks, while Iglishmek (the Dwarven sign language) is denoted with '' speaker marks, and Khuzdul is in italics. Also, the proper plural of dwarf, 'dwarrow', has been replaced with the modern usage common in the Shire, Gondor and Rohan, 'dwarves'.

Ori II, son of Nori, Scribe of Erebor

The Legend of Durin

King Under the Mountain

Thorin Oakenshield's last memory was of dying.

The bitter taste in his mouth was not only that of blood, but of the deepest failure he could know. To have been on the edge of triumph at last, to walk once more the majestic halls of his grandfather's kingdom, the corridors where long ago three royal dwarf children played… And now, his life ebbed from him with each labored breath, his sister-sons and heirs cold and still, waiting not to take their places beside him in Erebor's halls, but in its royal tombs deep at the heart of the mountain. This is what his pride and greed had brought him to, brought them all to, leaving the heritage of his ancestors to the coward, Dain, his cousin who'd refused to aid, calling the quest folly. Folly it had been, but it was not facing a dragon that had been so impossible, but thinking himself immune to the sickness he had seen take his grandfather and father. The House of Thror would never again rule under the mountain, nor would the prophecies come to pass.

The faces of those at his side began to fade as his heart gave up its struggle at last, breath exhaling to be drawn no more. Loyal, patient Balin, his steadfast companion for so many years, fierce Dwalin, crying at last in his failure to defend the heirs of Durin, Oin and Gloin, his other cousins, silently standing guard over the bodies of their younger kin, and Bilbo Baggins, their reluctant burglar who had so proved his worth…

Darkness descended, but as if through a fog, a silent wraith watching over those he'd left behind, Thorin saw his body tended, dressed and groomed for burial as rightful king. Next, Fili and Kili were carefully prepared as well, faces forever young. Fili, like Thorin himself, had taken many small wounds until bleeding out from an arrow to the shoulder. He had probably lived long enough to know he'd failed to protect his kin, a bitter cup for one so young. Kili, however, had taken a sword thrust through his lung and heart, most likely dead before he ever knew he was in mortal danger. Those tending the body were forced to wind long cloths around the torso before dressing the youngest heir of Durin.

A long, mournful line proceeded slowly to the depths of the mountain, and then the tomb, fit for the rightful king, though he'd sat his throne for so short a time. Thorin was placed in a tomb hued into the bedrock of the mountain itself, two lesser tombs on either side holding the young princes, their weapons with them. Fili's twin swords still glittered in the torchlight with dark orc blood, testament to the fierceness with which he'd defended his fallen kin to the last. Kili's bow was snapped in two, mute testimony to how any orc had gotten close enough to the skilled archer with a blade. Suddenly, a soft exclamation in elvish broke the stillness, and the silver haired young prince of Mirkwood stepped forward to kneel by Kili's side. A graceful bow of the elven kindred, white wood gleaming, and a quiver of arrows thatched in the blue of Durin's heirs were placed gently on the dwarf's chest, then the elf moved back respectfully. Thorin felt himself bristling, though without body to give voice to the heresy of laying an elven bow with his sister-son. One of the still living members of the Company, however, was not so handicapped, a growled insult in Khuzdul making the elf's head snap up to glare at the offender.

"I give honor where it is due, Master Dwarf, whether you approve or not. His skill with a bow and unwillingness to see even forced allies fall saved my life during the battle. He is worthy of carrying such a weapon to the Halls of his Fathers."

Fuming, Thorin then noted the young one's father, the hated Thranduil, dare to step forward, Orcrist in his hand. The Elf King took the blade forged by Thorin himself, casting it to the side before replacing it with Orcrist, a glare daring any to make a sound of protest. None dared. The man, Bard, then laid the Arkenstone upon his body, cold hands moved to clasp the Heart of the Mountain. The spirit of Thorin reeled, for he could almost feel the heat of the stone in a hand that no longer existed for him. Nearby, Dain scowled, no doubt believing the Arkenstone to now be rightfully his, but made no move, unable to claim what had now been given to the dead. Softly, a dwarf priest began the final rights, the ancient Khuzdul echoing in the small space, as old and powerful as the core of the mountain. Suddenly, the words altered, leading a gasp to ripple through the dwarves in attendance. Power seemed to fill the chamber, deep and frightening, and blue lightning danced upon the stone walls.

"Be watchful, Durin's Folk, for he shall soon stand forth, kin to one newly crowned, Durin the Deathless, the seventh and last. In the days when the Shadow flees shall the ancient kingdoms be reclaimed, the glory of old renewed."

Words died into faint echoes carried by the stone, as if from beyond the land of the living, ere one of the company dared to speak. Predictably, it was the practical, stolid Dwalin.

"Ech…priests. Come. We must secure the legacy they died to defend."

One by one, Thorin watched all leave, until at last only Bilbo Baggins remained, gaze switching sorrowfully from the young princes to the king he'd defied to save. Reaching out one hand, the steadfast hobbit laid it atop Thorin's cold one on the Arkenstone.

"I wish you'd lived to know true peace, my friend, and to truly see your home once more. The darkness Gandalf feared growing in Dol Guldur has fled to Mordor, I fear none of us may know safety now, even my Shire. Good bye, King Under the Mountain."

Thorin faded into the darkness, content to be with his kin deep under the kingdom he'd reclaimed at last.

And so it came to be that Thorin Oakenshield and his sister-sons, Fili and Kili, were laid to rest. Then was Dain Ironfoot proclaimed both King of the Iron Hills and King Under the Mountain. The Khazad wondered at the words of prophecy spoken at Dain's coronation, foretelling the last return of Durin the Deathless as kin to Dain, and looked to his right, where Thorin Stronghelm, his young son and heir, stood, but that one did not have the look of Durin as six others had before. It was not he who was foretold, but he was watched, for he must take a mate for the Line of Durin to continue.

Taking the fall of the Fortress of Dol Guldur to the White Council as a sign, Balin, Dwarf Lord of the ancient line of Durin, assembled a company to reclaim the ancient kingdom of Khazad-dûm, but they disappeared into the depths, to be heard from no more, and the power of Mordor stretched forth over the lands of Middle Earth, searching endlessly for the least of all things, a ring in the hands of a hobbit. At last, Dain took council from the mistakes of the past, sending forth a small delegation to the elves, though not to the hated Halls of Thranduil, but to the hidden valley of Elrond. There, they beheld this trifle, truth pulled from the Deceiver's lies, hope where they believed none left, but that is another tale, for there are powers in Middle Earth more ancient than the evil of Sauron and Rings are not the only things with a will of their own.