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The Story of Aule's Firstborn  by Ellynn

Bundushathûr = 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.

"Bundushatûr," 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.

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