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The Story of Aule's Firstborn  by Ellynn

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.

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