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"Durin is the name that the Dwarves used for the eldest of the Seven Fathers of their race, and the ancestor of all the kings of the Long-beards. He slept alone, until in the deeps of time and the awakening of that people he came to Azanulbizar, and in the caves above Kheled-zβram in the east of the Misty Mountains he made his dwelling, where afterwards were the Mines of Moria renowned in song." (LotR Appendices, Of Durin's Folk)
Thanks to curiouswombat for beta-reading. *hugs*
Parents shouldn't view their children differently, Aule knew. And yes, he loved very much all seven of them; they were part of his own soul. No matter the fact that he created the whole of Arda all its foundations and interior, all the rocks down to the smallest one he considered that the seven dwarves were his greatest and most important creation. They were his children.
However... the first one, the oldest, his firstborn somehow he was in his thoughts just a little more often than the others, and his fatherly heart would beat a little quicker at the thought of him. And he felt that child would be special. He was absolutely sure about it. No, he couldn't see all the events till the end of world and time like Namo; and he didn't know about all Iluvatar's hidden intentions like Manwe. But he didn't need to. His children were a part of him, and he could feel everything related to them. So he knew that his firstborn would do great deeds with the same certainty as he knew that the stars shone in the sky.
Durin. A child of his heart. He slept in a very deep sleep, just like his other sons. Aule closed his eyes, and images filled his mind. Most beautiful caves, richest mines, greatest underground kingdom of the whole Arda. Yes, all that lay far away in Middle-earth and just waited for his son to discover it.
Perhaps I could help him a little bit...
He directed his thoughts towards his firstborn.
For most of the time, he was in a complete darkness, and nothing happened. The sleep was a long one lasting for many centuries.
Occasionally he saw his father and brothers in his dreams. All the dreams were nice: they were filled with images from the days when their father had taught them to speak, and then gave them his knowledge about the world, rocks, and depths of Arda. Those were happy moments and the strongest, the most distinct feeling from that time was the love his father had lavished them. Each of them realized how important he was to their father.
Time was passing. He slept. And then one day came a dream different than all previous ones. He didn't see his father nor any of brothers. He stood alone at the foot of a mountain range so long that it stretched both north and south as far away as his eyes could see, and so high that it seemed like the mountains tried to reach the sky. Right in front of him there were three highest peaks. Highest, most impressive, so magnificent that the other peaks although high looked almost unremarkable.
They were covered with snow. Above one of them there were clouds. The slopes of the other were reddish like rust or blood. The third had a peak so pointed and shining that it looked like a silver spear.
The voice was barely audible, but clear. It came from all directions at once and filled his soul. The voice he would recognize in every moment in his life.
The most beautiful voice that ever existed and that will ever exist.
Not a single word more was uttered, and the pictures from the dream slowly dissipated. And that was not the only thing that vanished; darkness also started to recede and turn into grey, and his conscience started to wake. Slowly, very slowly, he started to be aware of his surroundings. The ears heard murmurs, and the nostrils discerned scents of the world around him. Finally, he opened his eyes and saw the vault of the cave where his father had laid him to sleep very, very long ago. And he knew what he had to do.
I must find three peaks and the lake.
In the description of making the Dwarves, there are only "Seven fathers". The starting point of the continuation of this series is the premise that Aule, after the Seven, created many more dwarves (of both sexes) and laid them to sleep in different caves in the Misty mountains, as well as in other places in Middle-earth. We have, after all, the whole people, divided into seven clans (each of the Seven fathers became the leader of his clan). The whole people couldn't arise from seven males; and even if in the beginning we had seven pairs, the whole clans couldn't arise from one single pair.
Thanks to curiouswombat for beta-reading.
The world was... vast. While travelling, Durin thought that was the best word to describe it. Yes, father told them about huge spaces on the surface of the world about big plains, long rivers, giant forests, high mountains but it was one thing to just listen about them, and quite another to see them with his own eyes. The mountain range he travelled along and the river he saw in the distance seemed to have no end, and the plains east of the mountains spread as far as he could see.
And it was beautiful. The stars shone and lit his way. The slopes were covered in thick forests, and their tops covered in snow reflected starlight and glistened in the night. Stars twinkled on the surface of the rivers too, dancing on their waves. Wherever he looked, marvellous shapes lit by silvery light filled his view. He kept going forward feeling knowing that he'd find more splendours, and he knew that the most beautiful things he'd find under the surface, which was the ultimate goal of his journey. Because he was made for living in the underworld, and he'd always feel best there.
He didn't hurry he observed, soaked, learned, memorized.
Occasionally, he stopped and laid his hand on the ground. And when he closed his eyes and ignored all other senses murmurs of wind, scent of grass and focused his whole being on the rock beneath his hand, he could feel father's spirit in it. In those moments images of creating the world would form in his head: his father standing in all his magnificence, and his tremendous power being channelled. And he saw rocks formed from it, and more rocks, and more, until the whole Arda was formed... until this little rock in his hand was formed too.
He was far from father now, and he knew he'd never see him again; the new life in the new world awaited him. But the possibility to feel him this way, to get just a little closer to him, gave him a big joy and comfort.
A touch of stone under his hand provided another kind of joy too. His father created the dwarves unbreakably bound to the fabric of Arda. To be in touch with rocks, to be under ground, would always fulfil their spirit more than anything else. He couldn't wait to find himself in the deep caves their father created for his children.
For a long time, he journeyed alone; and then he met the others. He was happy to find company and to be among them. He told them his story, and listened to theirs. They too slept for a long, very long time, as he found out, and now they awoke. But one thing was different, he discovered. They fell asleep immediately after creation; they hadn't spent a single moment awake. They didn't meet father they only saw him in their dreams. Only the Seven he and his brothers had the privilege to spend some time with father and learn directly from him.
He felt sorrow for the others; he thought they had been denied a wonderful experience. As they sat all together after hours and hours of travelling before going to sleep, while stars shone above them, he told them about father. About his virtues, his love for creating, his wish to pass his knowledge. About his strength, skills, power. About how he loved all his children.
And every single time before lying to sleep, he put his palm on the rocks beside him.
Bundushathϋr = Cloudyhead; Barazinbar = Redhorn; Zirakzigil = Silvertine; Kheled-zaram = Mirrormere
The journey continued. Durin led, and his people followed him. He observed mountaintops, awaiting for the moment when he'd see the ones he was looking for.
When he first spotted them, Durin recognized them at once, even though they were no more than tiny faraway dots on the horizon.
Two days later and several tens of miles closer, they turned into impressive giants just like they were in the dream.
Three more days later, when he reached their base and observed them from up close, he realized that they weren't like in the dream at all.
They were so much more magnificent. So high that it seemed they touched the sky. The translucent misty cloud above one of them was bigger than in the dream, the slopes of the second even more vividly red, and the top of the third even more jagged and more brilliant than he remembered it.
He lifted his arm and pointed towards the first, the easternmost one.
"Bundushatϋr," he uttered.
Then he looked towards the middle one, the northernmost peak.
And finally he turned to the one in the west.
Like an echo, the others around him repeated the names he just gave them the names that would last to the end of Arda.
He still had to find the lake, because he was sure that it was important too. His father wouldn't have shown it in the dream if it hadn't been so.
He looked down from the tops and let his gaze roam over the slopes. But he didn't see them he didn't see the forests, nor the canyons, nor the precipices. His spirit stretched further and deeper than the surface in that moment, and in his mind he saw wondrous caves just waiting to be discovered.
He told the others to wait, and he started to climb. He slowly progressed, looking around him all the time. The three peaks continuously attracted his gaze. The snow in the upper parts shone in the night, in contrast to the dark sky in the background. Standing among three giants that rose over him on three sides, he felt very small.
Finally, the slope he climbed abruptly flattened and the valley opened before of him. And in its middle there was the lake. His heart beat faster. He found what he had been looking for.
He approached the lake and looked at it. The name formed in his mind even before he thought about it consciously: Kheled-zaram. Because the black, completely calm and smooth surface reflected the stars perfectly clear. There were so many of them and they were very bright so bright that in the next moment he thought that the lake was the place where they really lay, and that the sky was just the reflection. He observed the surface and recognized some of the groups he had seen in the sky, but he also saw some new ones. And the shape that seized all of his attention shone in the very middle.
Seven stars. A crown.
The crown he would wear one day and which would be the symbol of his House.
The brightest star was in the highest and foremost point of the crown, and while looking at it, he suddenly realized it was important. His heart paced; his eyes traced the direction it was pointing, unaware that he was holding his breath. His gaze crossed over the surface of the lake and continued along the direction shown by the crown, towards the upper parts of the mountain. And up there, high on the slopes, a black opening came into his view an opening hidden until that moment by surrounding protruding rocks.
His heart sang. He knew.
We came home.
My people call me king. I have a crown I shaped it exactly as I had seen it on the surface of the lake. But I don't feel that I am above them. I am one of them, different only for the fact that I am a little older than everyone else. I consider myself their older brother, and I will always protect them. I will always be the one who will enter first into a dangerous new cave, the one who will first pass through an unsafe tunnel.
Each new day is joyful. We explore, dig, learn, create. Everywhere echo blows of pickaxes and hammers. Halls are filled with the light of torches, song and laughter. We celebrate life.
Each morning when I wake up, I wonder what miracle will we discover today? Which new jewel? Which new mineral? Every day I get up with a smile, and I head towards the new joy.
Ever since the first day that we entered our home that we now proudly call Khazad-dum wondrous sights opened before our eyes: spacious halls, giant stalactites and stalagmites, abysses, bridges, colourful minerals. We found rocks white as snow, jewels green as grass, red as blood, dark purple like the surface of Kheled-zaram. I often think that there is no end to the miracles hidden in the depth.
Tunnels are long, mines are deep. And no matter how many of them I have already seen, and how many miles I have passed, they leave me breathless again and again. The deeper I am, the more delighted I am. I look at rocks. Rocks. The fabric of Arda. Father's creation just like we are his creation too. And in a way, we are one. We are a part of Arda, and it is in us.
I work. I smile. My heart sings.
Sometimes I wondered what is most beautiful? Gold, whose glow reminds of a fire? Or silver, whose glimmering looks like that of the stars? Or jewels, in all their colorful splendour? I never knew... and then came the day when I got the answer to my question. I will never forget it.
A hit of a pickaxe, and the rock in front of me split in two. And in its interior I discovered the most beautiful metal I had ever seen. Its colour is like silver. But I wasn't deceived, not for a single moment this wasn't silver. This one is more radiant than gold and most beautiful gems; it shines like no other it was as if a beacon shone in front of me in that moment. This metal looks like it captured the very light of the stars.
And when we started to work with it, we discovered it was even stronger than steel. A perfect metal.
Sometimes I watch items made of it... and while I forget to breathe, I have a feeling that I could observe its beauty for hours or even days, and that I would never grow tired of it. Elves, Men they all want it. All kings crave it.
We continue to work and to explore the depths. Sometimes we go out from our home for hunting or trade, for example. I'd lie if I said that the surface world wasn't beautiful; ever since the very first day when I woke up and started my journey, I saw that there were many beautiful landscapes on the surface of Arda, and I will always be the first of our people to admit that.
But none of them can compare to the wonders of our underground world.
Durin was confused.
Seemingly, everything was just like before. He dealt with all his duties from mining to governing just like he did until now. But at the same time, everything was different.
Sometimes, he stopped in the middle of the sentence and his thoughts wandered off, and he didn't know any more what he wanted to say. He smiled much more often than usually. Even the food didn't taste the same. He couldn't focus on anything not even on exploring the depths of Khazad-dum.
What was happening to him? He just couldn't understand.
And when the evenings came, when across the hall filled with songs and laughter he looked at her eyes and smile, his knees were shaking and dozens of butterflies were playing in his stomach.
And he wondered is it possible? Is it possible that she was the reason for all that? Can the world really change so much because of just one person?
So tell me, dear readers... can it really change so much? :)
The midwife appeared through the door.
"You can come in now, your highness," she said and moved aside.
I jumped on my feet and rushed into the chamber. My beloved lay on the bed. I immediately saw she was exhausted, but as she looked at the wrapped bundle in her arms, there was a broad/wide smile on her face. I sat next to her and looked at him.
I watch this small face and tiny hands. My son. Beautiful. Perfect. I take him into my arms, hold him to my chest, and close my eyes.
All that was most important until now ceased to be. All that I considered the most beautiful now faded. The centre of the world and of the whole universe has just changed.
I watch him. I smile. He peacefully sleeps. I'll tell him stories, one day. I'll teach him. I'll tell him all I know.
And thinking about it, thinking about all we'll do together, I suddenly understood. Now I know how my father felt.
I hold my son, and for a moment, I see much further. I don't see just him, but all the others who will come later. My son will also have a son, and so will he. In front of my eyes many faces flew.
I blinked and everything became normal again; I am here in the present moment, with my beloved and my son. I am happy and dontent. Because I feel that, no matter how many millennia will pass and how much the world will change, no matter all the ups and downs that will happen, our line will endure until the end of Arda.
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