Thorin opened his eyes. How long had he spent reminiscing of the past? How long had he abandoned his watch? He rose from his place and cast a quick survey throughout the camp. All members of the company slumbered with the reassuring snores passing through the air. Thorin eased himself against the large boulder once more. He reached for the forged pendant around his neck. The last remembrance of Vali that he possessed.
In the aftermath of Moria's battle, after the Orcs had fled and the dead had been honored, Thorin had returned to the Iron Hills. His burdens had been grater since Moria. The death of his grandfather at the vile hands of Azog, the disappearance of his father, and the slaughter of his people weighed heavy on his mind. But heavier still was the knowledge that the fate and future of his people laid with him now. He was King. Though much lay ahead of him, all of Thorin's thoughts lay upon the safety of his family. But he had not prepared for the unimaginable. Validhreniel had never reached the Iron Hills. Word was sent through Dwarf colonies throughout Middle-Earth, and every venture about the world, Thorin searched, but he never found a sign of his wife.
"You did not come to wake me for watch, uncle."
Thorin opened his eyes. He turned his head from the open plains ahead to find his young nephew some paces beside him. Kili stood tall, baring his bow and quiver of arrows for watch.
"Did you plan to let me sleep?" Kili asked.
Thorin could hear a slight annoyance in his nephew's voice. for many years now, Kili had been trying to prove himself to those who believed against him. "Not this time, Kili."
Kili's stance shifted at his uncles word. "Are you well?"
Thorin shook his head and rose from the boulder. Another night he would have taken Kili's watch out of stubbornness. Balin's tale had triggered a chain of memories and clouded his mind. His watch had been spent in reminiscence of the tale, rather than protecting the company. He was no good any more, not with his mind and judgment so clouded. "I am fine. Merely the day travels weighing on my mind." He walked from the boulder past Kili. There was no denying he could do nothing more on watch tonight.
"Is that a parting gift from mother?"
Thorin turned around toward Kili. His brow furrowed in confusion at his nephews question.
"The pendant." Kili explained. "I have yet to see it before tonight. Was is a gift?"
Thorin looked down at the exposed pendant. "It was, indeed a gift." He took the pendant between his thumb and fingers and tucked it back beneath his tunic. "But it was not from your mother."
Kili appeared confused by the new knowledge. "I...I don't-"
"It was from my wife." He answered solemnly. Thorin turned from his nephew toward camp.
The moments that followed were silent. Thorin knew his nephews hesitance when it would come to delicate topics of discussion; his father, grandfather, great-grandfather, and his aunt. Kili had never known those of his family. Thorin could respect Kili's natural curiosity to learn of those he never met, but there were times where merely asking brought back great pain that had once been buried for so long, so deep.
"Do you believe she's still out there?" Kili's voice called out.
Thorin turned toward his nephew.
"Vali." Kili replied. "If she is still somewhere in Middle-Earth, perhaps reclaiming Erebor will bring her back."
Thorin lowered his eyes to the ground. "There was a time where I believed that, Kili. But I have no time for foolish notions of hope. Not with the fate of our people in our hands and a dragon's wrath ahead of us." He turned from Kili one final time and returned to camp. He strode past Balin and a snoring Bifur and settled on the ground. Thorin tried to let his mind ease into slumber, but the tale and memories still clouded his mind. He looked up to the sky, reaching for the pendant.
Nights on the Lonely Mountain, staring out at Dale in the winter season filled his thoughts. Her scent caught in the cold wind, her stray golden curls dancing around her face. The look of complete awe at Dale's winter glow. Thorin thumbed the pendant once more. "Quel du Melamin."
so what did you think?
Quel du Melamin- Good night my love.