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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.
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