(Ula's side...)

My uncle, Kind Dain II Ironfoot, felt I should get out to see the world and brought me along on his journey to the council of the dwarven kings. Our traveling contingent has arrived at the House of Durin. Uncle leads me past the feast hall, and I see a burly dwarf playing with his nephew. I'd heard of him from my uncles stories of the Battle of 5 Armies.

Fili lifts his nephew into the air helping him pretend to fly. They must be reenacting an adventure. His face is so animated as he retells the young lad the adventure, and the lad is hanging on his every word.

Uncle's voice interrupts my quiet observations and I respond, "Coming!" I didn't even know I'd stopped. As we continue, I see what I know of him.

- He's the son of a king. I'm the niece of a king. Check.
- He's rich to be sure. Check.
- He's a very capable warrior and brave. Knowledge from my uncle. Check.
- He's respected. As evidenced by all around him. Check.
- He's good with children. Just verified. Check.
- He's of marriage age. I think so.
- He's honorable. Sounds like it, but I want to see this for myself.
- He's handsome. Ah, yes. Those blue eyes that I could just fall into. His constant smile. That stylish blonde beard with the braids just so. His barrel chest and strong arms. And... sigh.

Oops. I'm digressing. Where was I now?

I'd not intended for this to be a husband hunting trip. But it might just be turning into one. It makes me feel foolish and hopeful all at the same time. It's difficult to find someone suitable when you're royalty. And as a woman of royal birth, I'm expected to choose a husband - to keep the royal lines. There's the added pressure to do my part to keep dwarven kind from vanishing from the earth. Our numbers dwindle by the year. It's the kind of pressure that makes relationships difficult. What if he's not the one? Get a hold of yourself girl, and just enjoy the fact that he's pleasing to the eye.

(Fili's side of things...)

The Council of Kings has been called to discuss trade, alliances, and rumors of goblins.

I see the parade of stately kings coming through the feast hall as I entertain my nephew, Connach. My brother and I do not "perform" for others. We are what we are. I do not care what they think of me as I raise the little lad above my head and help him feel what it was like as I recount our escape with the great eagles. But I do notice a lady staring at us following King Dain. She's pretty enough. But, I've met too many husband hunters wanting to marry into a royal family. She'll be gone once she sees that we aren't pompous and proper as expected. Or that we grew up in much more humble circumstances. Or that we have an outsider married into our family. Or the dragon sickness that runs in our family. Or... gah - so many things scare them away from Uncle and I. I don't think marriage is worth the bother anymore.

(songs to go with this chapter: Misty Mountains with the Dwarf Cast from The Hobbit Soundtrack)
Author's note - Ula is pronounced "OO LA".