Axe & Bow Archive Entry


A tale about friendship

by Dís Thráinsdotter

Title: A tale about friendship, Part 1/33
Author: Dís Thráinsdotter
Rating: Overall rating: R, for violence and orctorment. This chapter: PG
Summary: A group of children are told the tale of their friendship with the dwarves in general and the Folk of Durin in particular.
Warnings: The overall rating of this fic is R, as parts of it deals with violent battle and torment. There are also Original Characters in the fic, but no Mary Sues. Unbetaed, all mistakes belong to me.
Disclaimer: I don't own any one of Tolkien's characters, never have, and never will. The only ones I own are the people you have never met before.

Chapter 1, Friends meet and tales are told

One May morning, some years after the Battle of Five Armies, Melian daughter of Edrahil was walking towards the Gates of Erebor. She was the daughter of Edrahil son of Amlash and Morwen daughter of Imlash, and like her mother, she was a healer of both Dale and Erebor. She had come the day before to help a woman in labour. It was the first time the woman gave birth and when her husband understood something was wrong he had sent a messenger to Dale, asking Melian to come quickly. The gate guard laughed when he saw Melian approaching with her pack of medicines and instruments. "I wish you were as quick to come when WE need your aid," he said, and Melian answered "I do, but most often you go to my mother or sister". But there was no insult either meant or taken in this, which was shown when the gate guard said to the messenger that he hoped that everything would be all right and the messenger agreed with him.

As soon as Melian came to the couple and examined the mother to be, she found out why it had taken so long. "You are expecting twins," she said smiling and after a while, and with a hand from the husband, two strong and healthy boys had entered the world. After they had been washed, clad and fed the two new additions to the population of Erebor rested in the cradles, one of them had been borrowed from a next-door neighbour until the father could go to Dale and buy another one the following day. The happy parents and Melian sat speaking about good names for the boys, when suddenly the father said, "what do you think about Fili and Kili? Do you both think that they would be good names for them?" Melian smiled, even as tears formed in her eyes and she answered, "if they grow up to become like the Fili and Kili I knew, then they will become most valiant". The parents looked at her with surprise in their eyes and the father asked, "did you know Fili and Kili, the sister-sons of Thórin Oakenshield?" "Only for a short time" Melian answered, "they were very valiant and fiercely loyal to their uncle. I am glad that I made friends with them." By then it was late, and Melian went to a guestroom that Dáin Ironfoot had given her when she started to work as a healer in the Mountain. Both Dáin and king Bard of Dale agreed that it was best if she didn't have to go back to Dale in darkness as one couldn't be sure of who might lie in wait for unsuspecting people.

The following morning Melian had breakfast, and then went to the mother and children to check on them. After finding that both mother and children were well she promised to come the following day. Then she went towards the Gates but found the going slow, as she met many former patients who showed her how injuries had healed. She spoke with each one of them, feeling happy to see that they had recovered so well and finally she had the Gates in sight when she heard running feet behind her and a voice calling out "Melian, wait for us!" Turning she saw that Dáin Ironfoot and Balin were fast approaching and she bowed before them, saying "Balin, Uzbadi". "There is no need to be formal," Dáin answered and Melian replied that some politeness could be useful at times. No one was surprised to hear the conversation, not even the fact that it was in khuzdul surprised anyone overhearing it. It was common knowledge in Erebor that Morwen, her daughters and granddaughters spoke khuzdul fluently. "I heard that you received a message from king Bard yesterday" Dáin continued and Melian answered "I did. The Kings message said ´we would like to meet you tomorrow at the Inn, The Inn to be precise'." "Could we go with you?" Balin asked and Melian answered "By all means, but the first round is on me". "No, it is on me" Balin answered and Dáin said "I am quite certain that it is mine".

The three of them went through the Gates and onto the road to Dale, still speaking about who of them had taken the last round the last time they had been to the Inn and who should take the first round this time. Suddenly Melian laughed and said, "Who would have thought in the days when things looked as black as black that we would be walking together like this?" "Who would have believed that we would" Balin answered, "fortunately our worst fears didn't come true". He then looked at Melian, who had tears in her eyes, and said quietly to her "you still miss him, don't you?" Melian nodded and answered "I do. I still wake up at times, thinking about what could have happened if I had given him other medicines or treated his injuries differently. But such buts and what-ifs are in vain" she said shrugging. "I told mother afterwards how I had treated him and she said that I couldn't have acted in any other way. The Orcpoison was slowly overcoming his heart. But that is a part of being a healer, it keeps me from becoming overconfident." Melian dried her tears and they continued to Dale.

Even though there were four large Inns in Dale everyone meant one Inn when they said The Inn, the Inn named Thórin Oakenshield. It's sign had a picture of Thórin Oakenshield made by a wandering wood Wright according to the description given by Melian, a description she was encouraged to give as her father feared that she would in her grief do something rash, and the description was so accurate and so lovingly given that the wood Wright said afterwards that he had had the feeling that Thórin stood there, looking at Melian while she described him. This meant that when the sign was unveiled the Dwarves present said that it was a lifelike image of their fallen King.

It didn't take long for the rumour to spread around Dale that there was more to the Inn sign than met the eyes. Customers sometimes swore that he had stood in one pose when they went into the Inn, and in another when they left. Some people had the feeling that they had eyes upon them and when they turned around no one was there but still they heard a voice giving them warnings. The night guards in Dale used to tell about the time when they had arrested two Men who had planned to rob a merchant but the person turning the corner hadn't been the expected merchant but a Dwarf, axe in hand, who had asked them what they were up to. King Bard found it very hard to keep a straight face when he confronted the would-be robbers the following morning. From their description he knew who it was and he simply told them "you have been warned. Next time he sees you doing anything like that he will not be so merciful." Needless to say, the would-be robbers had stopped robbing people and become carpenters instead, which they were far more suited for. But they could never pass the Inn sign without shivering.

As the three companions approached the Inn, they saw a large group of Men standing outside the entrance, another Man was fleeing inside followed by the jeer of the onlookers. As Melian saw one of her brothers in the group, she went to them and asked "Boromir, what is going on?" "Nothing in particular" Boromir answered, the response from Melian being a snort and a suspicious "nothing?" Boromir then said "We met a Man from some strange place who was making boasts about his valour. As that couldn't be tolerated, I simply showed him my handless arm and asked ´where were you the day I fought alongside Thórin Oakenshield, his companions and kinsmen? ' It stopped his boasting." One of the onlookers then said "It did, particularly when Boromir said that he would have given an arm and a leg if it had meant that Thórin Oakenshield, Fili and Kili had been rescued. He looked even more astonished when we all agreed with him." "I am sure you did" Dáin answered, looking at Boromir with amusement, "it must have been a shock for him to hear it".

At that moment the Innkeeper came out and said, as he saw the three of them "you are expected in the second room to the left in the corridor. You'll be wanting Ale I doubt not, I will bring it there in a moment." They then went to the second door to the left in the corridor that left the Common Room, knocked and entered. As they had expected, king Bard wasn't alone in the room but king Thranduil and Gandalf joined him. "My Lords" Melian said bowing in Dwarf-fashion as was her habit and Thranduil laughed. "You were not so polite to me the first time we met," he said and Melian answered "I wasn't," adding to Balin "I was barely polite to the King in those days". "You were more polite to him than I was when we first met" Balin said, "for I wasn't polite at all". Thranduil smiled when he heard it and said "It wasn't one of your best days, not one of my best days either". The Innkeeper came in, gave the three latest guests their Ale and then left. A few seconds afterwards, there was a commotion in the corridor, a voice asked the Innkeeper "is mother here?" and Melian said to all of them "what is going on now?" "The second door to the left" the Innkeeper answered and soon afterwards there was a knock on the door. "Enter" king Bard told the person knocking and the children of Melian entered the room. "You had better introduce yourselves," Melian told them and they did, standing in a row. "Thrór at your service, and Thráin, and Thórin, and Frerin, and Dis, and Fili, and Kili, and Náin, and Fundin" each of them said in turn. "You named a son after my father?" Balin said, looking very astonished "I am most honoured". "You speak my thought also," Dáin said, and Melian told them that the names had simply come to her when she has looked at them for the first time. "What did your father-in-law say about it?" Bard asked and Melian said that he had asked her if the Dwarves she named the children after were worthy of that honour. She had told him that they were indeed and he hadn't said anything further about it.

"But now I would ask you, what on earth or under it is going on?" Melian said, glaring at her children, and Frerin answered "you have spoken at times about the friendship between our family and the Dwarves in general but the Folk of Durin in particular, but you have never told us how the friendship was forged, who did it and so on and further. We would like to know and we are sure that they would aswell" Frerin moved his hand in a circle, indicating all of the persons present "so we think we have you cornered here". "Do you know what Dwarves do when they are cornered?" Melian asked them and when they said that they didn't know, although their voices showed that they knew, Melian said to them "they fight like mad". Balin then said to her "You are in no better position to fight than we were in the Mirkwood glade, save that you aren't spider poisoned". "Spider poisoned?" the children said, looking most astonished and Thranduil told them about the Great Spiders of Mirkwood that had been driven away the year Smaug fell and that it was the hope of the people of Mirkwood that they would stay away. "But we don't know if they will stay away from us" he ended his description and Gandalf agreed with him that no one knows anything about the future.

Chapter 2, A journey to Iron Hills

"I would like to hear about it" Bard said and Gandalf said "A bond that can't be broken, even by my fire magic is something I would like to hear about" but Melian still hesitated. Finally Dáin told her "I am sure that if my cousin had been here, he would have said ´if you don't tell them, I will' and Melian nodded. "I am certain that he would," she answered, and looking at her children she said, "you had better sit down, because this is a long tale and parts of it are horrible. I must also ask you not to tell anyone, other than your future children when the time comes, about what you will now hear. Because what I will tell you now I have never told anyone before, the story of what we did in the war our foremother named ´the war of vengeance', the war that made Dáin and Thórin Oakenshield renowned." "The War of Dwarves and Orcs" king Bard said amazed, "you mean that there were Men involved?" "Men" Balin said, "they were children when the war started but they grew up soon enough. People grow quickly in wartime." The children looked astonished as their mother began her tale.

"It began with my maternal great-great-great-great-great-grandmother who was named Morwen daughter of Túrin. She married Huor son of Húrin for two reasons, the first reason was that they had loved each other since they were children and the second reason was that she was a skilled healer and Finduilas daughter of Amandil, the mother of Huor, had no daughter to pass her craft and lore to. But when she heard about the love between Huor and Morwen she was relieved, knowing that the village would still have a healer of great skill when she passed away. On the day of their marriage, Húrin asked his son and daughter-in-law to go to either Dale near Erebor or Iron Hills to purchase arms and mail from the Dwarves living there. ´In these places live the Folk of Durin' Húrin told them, ´and what they don't know about smithying isn't worth knowing'. They discussed where to go and finally decided to go to Iron Hills." "Why there and not to Dale?" Bard asked, and Melian answered that in her foremother's book the decision was explained in the following manner, "It was the name that made us decide to go to Iron Hills, because we had the feeling that it was where the best Iornore was found". So it was a coincidence that made them go to Iron Hills and consequently it was by coincidence they were rescued from the Dragon. "The Dragon?" the children said shivering, and Melian answered "the Dragon, Smaug the Golden. I saw him the night he attacked Esgaroth and king Bard felled him from the sky. I had never before felt such fear" Melian shuddered at the memory, "and I have only been so afraid once after that. But that will come later so I say no more about it now." "He was frightening when he came as well" Balin said and there was great fear in his eyes. "But do say on Melian" he added.

"As I was saying," Melian continued her tale; "Huor and Morwen went to Iron Hills with a group of people from the village, one of whom was her sister named Rian. At the time Grór son of Dáin was Lord of Iron Hills, and Morwen describes him in her book as a noble and kindly lord. ´I would follow him anywhere if he asked me, even if the road led through a Dragon's Den' she wrote. Her memory of their first meeting was that he had her laughing with his stories about people he had met. Huor and Grór discussed the agreement while Morwen and Rian shared their knowledge with the healers of Iron Hills. One day when Morwen was gathering herbs for medicines she saw groups of Dwarves running towards Iron Hills. She could see that many of them were injured so she called out to them, named herself and offered to help them. They were shaken but when she lay down her dagger as a sign of her peaceful intentions towards them, they dared to come to her. Many of them were scorched and blistered and Morwen asked what had happened to them. They told her that a Dragon had come to their Mountain and taken over it, as well as turning Dale into a heap of rubble. She asked them if they knew what had happened to the Father of their Folk, and they told her that they were unsure of the fate of their Father and his son, his grandchildren however were safe as they had left the Mountain with their friends the same morning. Morwen treated their injuries but she had only small amounts of medicines and pastes with her. She did however have more in the camp they were living in so when her supplies ran out she asked those who hadn't yet been treated to come with her. One of those who had already been treated said that he would stay and tell those who came after which way to go and Morwen said that she would send a friend to him with food and drink. When they came to the camp the villagers were shocked to see them and immediately gave them food and drink. They were also given beds in the tents so they could rest.

Those who had been treated went to Iron Hills and according to Huors recollections their arrival caused a clamour. When the Lord heard what had happened he was very worried for his brother and kin. When he was told that more persons were in the camp, he went there with Huor and found the people being treated and fed. He asked if they knew anything certain about his brother and nephew but got no news and he felt sad, but Morwen told him to wait awhile before he tore his beard for them, as it was likely that they had escaped the Mountain through some other passage.

The Dwarves who came to Iron Hills recovered quickly and the day came when Huor payed for the arms and mail that had been made for them. Grór paid Morwen and Rian for their care for the Dwarves from Erebor, a payment they were loath to accept but finally they did so, having been told that they did deserve it. Morwen was then given a dagger to replace the one she had with her that had been broken. She was most thankful to Grór and promised that it would become an heirloom in her house. She also promised that she would seek for his kin and send word if she heard anything about them. They left for home, feeling most worried and wondering what they could do to help."

Dáin nodded as he heard it. "Grandfather was very worried for his brother and nephew and he had heard nothing about them at the time the people of Huor left. Fortunately he did receive word later that they had made it out of the Mountain and were safe. He was very relieved when he heard it."

Bard said to Melian "the dagger you speak about, is it the one you are wearing?" "Indeed it is" Melian answered, took the dagger off her belt and handed it to the others. Dáin looked at it and saw clearly his grandfather's handiwork in it. All of them were amazed at the quality of it and how it had been treated with care through the years.

Chapter 3, Searching for Thrór son of Dáin

"The journey back to the village was uneventful, save for one incident that shook all of them even though they were certain nothing would be able to shock them any more. One morning they were going through a forest when they suddenly heard the clang of weapons and Orchowls. Huor sent the riders ahead while the rest of them came with the wagons. ´Whoever is under attack needs our aid' he said to them as Orcs are the enemies of all, and it didn't take long for the riders to come to a clearing where a hoard of Orcs had attacked a group of travelling Dwarves who were hard pressed to keep the Orcs at bay. The riders were skilled at firing their arrows from running horses and immediately attacked the Orcs. Between them the two groups made short work of the enemies and although a number of them were injured none was killed, to the great relief of all." "Orcs, are they truly real?" Thrór asked, and as the others looked at him in amazement he added, "I thought that they simply were something to scare naughty children with". "They are real" Thranduil answered "horrible creatures made by the great Dark Lord in mockery of Elves. We Elves have always been at war with the Orcs and will be, as long as one Orc is still living." He described the Orcs to the children who gave a glance to Balin and Dáin, who simply nodded in agreement. "When the rest of the group came with the wagons all Orcs lay dead on the ground and while the women treated the wounded under the supervision of Morwen and Rian, the Men and Dwarves piled all Orcs in a heap and burned them. Huor then turned to the chief of the Dwarf group, who named himself as Bivor son of Bavor and asked him about the attacking Orcs. ´They simply came at us in the early morning and took us by surprise. Your aid came none to soon' he answered and gratefully accepted Huors offer to go with his people to their village which was only three days journey away.

When they came to the village Húrin looked at the Dwarves in astonishment and asked Huor if some of the people of Iron Hills had come with them. Huor then explained what had happened to his father who shrugged in a 'now I have heard it all'-manner. He then told Bivor that it was a pleasure for him to house them all in the village for as long as they needed to stay. When Bivor asked how they could pay for bed and board, Húrin asked them to teach the children who were interested about smithying, and Bivor and his people agreed to do that. They stayed for one month and when they left they were given many parting gifts and the promise that their people would always be welcome in the village." Gandalf added "I met them later. I was visiting their city at the time and was speaking with the Father of their Folk about a trading group who were missing, ´they should have come back at least one month ago' he said when suddenly a clamour was heard in the passages and the group arrived. Some of them wore garments in their proper colours but in strange weavings. ´What on earth or under it happened to you? We have been worried' the Father, named Sarin Elfmallet asked, and Bivor told him that they had been attacked by Orcs but that a group of travelling Men had aided them. They had spent one month in their village, while the injured recovered. Sarin then said ´the people who aided you shall always be welcome here' and Bivor answered that the people of the village extended a similar welcome. They showed all in the city the parting gifts they had been given by the children who had been their pupils, and everyone agreed that they had been made with love and fondness."

"Morwen fulfilled her promise to Grór, where ever she went she always sought tidings about any Dwarf groups that had been seen and whenever travelling Elves or Men came to the village they were asked about any Dwarf groups that they might have met on the roads. At times Morwen was quite angered at the Elves she met. ´Elves are strange people. They know a sparrow from a finch one league off but they can't see the differences between two Dwarves, even if they are standing a mere three feet ahead of them' she wrote in her account, and there are several references to that notation in the book." The children gave a glance to Thranduil who simply shrugged eloquently. "In spite of all her efforts, she had no tidings about what had happened to the people of Thrór for many years. In the meanwhile she had a number of children, of whom Melian was the second daughter and the fifth child. It was Melian who finally gave her the tidings she had been seeking for so long.

Melian daughter of Huor was a warm-hearted and kind person and it was clear to all who saw her, even in her earliest years, that she had the makings of a great healer. She was treating patients at the early age of ten, and at twelve years she was considered a qualified Healer. And if that wasn´t enough to marvel at, there was her great strength to consider. No child her age was able to even lift the loads she could carry with ease, and also many adults found it hard to handle them. It gave the village great renown but it also arose the envy of a neighbouring chieftain, named Beleg son of Beren but better known among their people as ´the Half dragon'. He had long been seeking a way to hurt Morwen because he had also proposed to her, being forced to do so by his father, but she had turned down his advances since she knew of his temper and disposition. He now started to spread rumours among the people that Melian was in fact the eldest child and named Grór or Bivor as the father. The matter finally came to the attention of the Council of Chieftains and Morwen was able to prove that Huor had fathered all her children. ´You aren't only insulting me but the named Dwarves as well, if you think that they would ever force anyone to break their Oaths of Marriage, the Dwarves consider such Oaths to be so sacred that they only marry once in their lives' she said to Beleg who was fined for the insults. Melian had never regarded him with any greater kindness, not since she learned what kind of person he was, but this event made her feelings for him even colder.

The following year, one month before the Council of Chieftains was due to take place in the village of Huor; Melian went into the forest around the village to gather herbs for medicines. Huor went with her because he wanted to be able to speak with her about a birthday present he planned to give to Morwen without the youngest children listening. They were good children but they were simply unable to keep a secret, anything they heard was known all over the village in the time it takes to say ´Elf'. As Melian gathered the herbs that should be harvested that season, she and her father discussed suitable birthday presents as her skilled hands and eyes meant that she was able to divert part of her attention to that matter.

It was midafternoon when they heard the sound of running feet approaching them. At first they looked worried and both of them drew their weapons, Melian wore ´the dagger of Grór' as it was named that she had been given when she started to go out on her own to gather the herbs she needed, but after a while Huor said to her that he could only hear one set of feet and Melian agreed with him so they sheathed their weapons and waited for the runner to approach. They were quite surprised to see a Dwarf coming into the clearing, looking very determined to get to a certain place. Melian called out to him, naming herself and asking him if she could be of any assistance. The Dwarf then halted, as he hadn't seen either her or her father until then, bowed before them and named himself as Fundin son of Farin. As Melian wrote in her book of her life ´He asked me if I was a healer and when I answered that I was he asked me to come with him to another glade not far away. Father and I went with him and came to a glade where a group of Dwarves were gathered. As soon as Fundin came to the others he told them that he had found a healer and named me to them. It was then I saw that one Dwarf lay wrapped in a couple of blankets and as close to a fire as he could possibly get without being in it. I went to him, bowing before him and lay my sheathed dagger at his feet as a token of friendship. With the aid of my father I was able to examine him and found that he had caught pneumonia. As Dwarves rarely become ill, according to what my mother told me, I found it strange that this Dwarf had become ill in the first place.

Father asked me if I thought that the ill Dwarf would be able to walk and I answered that he was unable to do it in his condition, so father said that he would go to the village to get some men and a litter. At that moment a fairly young Dwarf came to us, asking what we intended to do with his father. When my father told him he looked at me with amazement and also with a good deal of doubt, but then the ill Dwarf asked what was the matter and after listening to both his son and me declared that they should go with us. Before father left to organise everything he reminded me that I should consider what I said before I said it, to which I answered that if I had been able to speak politely with the Half dragon then I would also be able to speak politely with the Dwarves. I also advised father that the litter should be set so that the ill Dwarf could sit up on it in order to ease his breathing. Father simply laughed at my answer before he left, leaving me alone among them. '"

Thranduil looked at Melian with amazement. "So your forefather left his child alone with a Dwarf group? Wasn't he afraid then?" and Melian answered "He regarded it as unlikely that the Dwarves would treat her harshly unless she acted haughtily towards them, the reason he reminded her of her manners in the first place. He also remembered that the peoples of Grór and Bivor had treated Morwen and Rian with respect and so was completely calm when he left in order to get to the village, prepare the litter and make sure that the guesthouse was prepared to receive the guests."


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