: Songs To Be SungFandom
: The HobbitCharacters
: Balin, Dis, Balin, Dain Ironfoot, Gandalf, Bilbo BagginsRating
: I own nothing.Summary
: Balin has a headache – Thorin's Company and Dwarves from the Iron Hills cannot agree on anything. He's extremely glad when Dis arrives at the Mountain.
When it was announced that Dis, Princess of the Blue Mountains, had been sighted nearing Erebor, Balin breathed a sigh of relief. It did not last long. Dori began seeing to the royal rooms, which predictably caused no end of arguments about taste and the right of the Iron Hills Dwarves to be equally involved in such matters. There had been so many violent accusations and subsequent brawls concerning who had taken pipe weed from the paltry store they all had to share for now that Barlin hadn't used his pipe in days. He could feel a headache approaching, especially when arguments about what music should be played at the welcoming feast and what food should be cooked began to rise also. It was not for the first time either.
No, these sorts of arguments had been sounding off of Erebor’s walls since the Iron Hills’ Dwarves and Thorin’s Company had begun living there together. It was enough, Balin often thought, to explain why Thorin was still in a healing sleep. How the Men of Dale and Elves of Mirkwood would laugh if they witnessed such moments – fiercesome Dwarves preoccupied by infighting about who got to choose the decor for royal chambers and what songs should be sung.
Of course it didn’t help that many from the Iron Hills made it clear that they wanted Dain Ironfoot to hold Erebor’s throne. Well, the Company weren’t going to have that. Still despite the loud noise and arguments for the throne, Dain wasn’t making any kind of move towards claiming himself King Under the Mountain, not while his kin still lay in the healing rooms, breathing strong. Was it only a matter of time though? Balin had never had reason to believe Dain was greedy for the throne but times could change a Dwarf, especially if Dain’s council kept clamouring for the rule of the Mountain and all of its cursed gold.
There was the loud noise of something being thrown – a book, if Balin was not mistaken, followed by indignant horror from Ori and the furious sound of his catapult – and that was the start of another almighty ruckus. Balin’s headache was getting worse. Dis could not arrive soon enough. Not that Balin was supported in such a reasonable view by his brother. Dwalin always had something to say to Dis, little of it complimentary. Much to Dwalin’s irritation, Dis always got the final word.
Balin ambled purposefully away from the fight that was increasing in insults and items thrown and locked himself away in his quarters, thanking the Valar for the providence of Dis and wishing that he'd thought to pass the kitchens first for a piece of that seed and cheese cake that Bombur made most Tuesdays.
Once the tenor of shouting beyond his door changed to the kind that had always accompanied Dis' sure arrival anywhere, Balin left his quarters and joined everyone else inside the great hall, cleaned up well after the fight that had doubtless gone on until very recently. Dwalin joined him, looking entirely thunderous. Doubtless he’d been involved in the noise and rancor that had ruined the hall and increase Balin's headache in the first place. Balin shook his head.
“She will still arrive, brother.”
Dwalin made only a sound not words and it was not an agreeable one. Nothing could be done though because Dis had indeed arrived, with great ceremony and hopefully with at least a few barrels of pipe weed. There were drums and trumpets being played loudly, songs that Balin hadn’t heard in too long. Ah those were the songs to sing, no fight needed. Balin smiled, watching the Blue Mountain Dwarves march in, singing lustily, many with a sheen of tears in their eyes as they gazed around Erebor at last. Yes, it was a sight, wasn’t it?
The singing and playing stopped when Dis came to a halt, almost in the centre of the hall. She wore a thick circlet of gold, designed with whorls and studded with gemstones that matched those threaded through her beard and hair. She was clad in armour, a sword in one hand, her arrival one of a formidable beloved warrior, a leader. It was very well done.
Dain’s followers didn’t seem overjoyed but Dain himself grinned widely and was the first to approach her.
“Cousin! Or what's left of you. Have the Blue Mountains starved you?”
Dis laughed, “Dain, you old bastard. I’m surprised your knees still work.”
They embraced heartily. Dwalin looked somewhat sour beside Balin, without reason seeing as he’d spent many hours beating several of Dain’s folk in sparring and drinking. But there was always very little reason behind Dwalin’s interactions with Dis.
“Ah, it’s a fine day,” Dis declared as she and Dain parted. “Here we are, family reunited in Erebor!”
There was a great roar of approval; the stones themselves seemed to shake. It was a remarkable and wonderful feeling. And it was good to see Dain’s council so muted, perhaps things would continue smoothly now that Dis was here. She had the right to the throne while her family healed.
“Balin! Make yourself know.”
Balin smiled into a bow, “Your Highness, you’re a more glorious sight than all the treasure in Erebor.”
“You are gold-tongued and too formal to the last,” Dis retorted, her gaze twinkling before settling on Balin's brother. “Dwalin.”
“Dis,” was Dwalin’s terse response, he didn’t even manage a bow.
Dis didn’t bother addressing him for any longer than necessary. She turned to her people. “Right, no standing on ceremony. There's rooms to be filled.”
“Aye but there’s much rock to be cleared from many of them first,” Balin cautioned.
Dis nodded as though the news was expected. Balin wouldn’t have put it past her. “Fill what rooms you can then. Your folk are clearing and mining, Dain?”
“Aye, they’ll be glad of company and extra hands.”
“They’ll have it and we shall all feast tonight. Ovak, get to the kitchens. Bombur will have the run of it. Gilund, see what can be done in the libraries and storehouses. Herund, see that the rest assist in excavating. Runbar, keep me informed.”
The Blue Mountain Dwarves moved quickly. Only a couple remained with Dis, a married pair, if Balin remembered correctly, who’d been Dis’s honour guard and protection since her very youngest days. They rarely left her side, as Dwalin rarely left Thorin’s. Dwalin wasn’t much keener on them than he was towards Dis.
Dis smiled widely, “Now, I shall see my family before we unroll all expanses of news. You’ll join me, cousin?”
“Family together, what could be finer?”
“Gladly, Your Highness.”
Dis unbuckled some of her armour as she walked but did not remove it. She talked to Dain of the sights she’d seen on the road, the Wargs and Orcs, the Eagles circling high, the great bear that had become a man (“he was a friendly soul and supped with us before returning to his home. I’ve a promise to keep to him still – tales of the Mountain and my family. A valuable ally.”).
Dwalin and Balin accompanied the cousins into the healing rooms. The Durins were being tended to in a pair of adjoining spaces – Kili and Fili in one while Thorin occupied another. Dis seemed to slow and sag greatly when she caught sight of her sons, borrowing a moment before immediately aiming for their bedsides. Oin was the only healer attending, seeing to one of the cuts on Fili’s leg. He bowed towards Dis.
“It’s the stillest they’ve lain for me in years,” he commented to her.
Dis laughed fondly, not at all offended by the dark humour and speaking a little louder than she did for everyone else, “And when will they begin moving again?”
Oin checked Fili’s pulse before answering, “Not long now I’ll wager. Their sleep is not as deep as Thorin’s. They’ve broken bones, hurt inside and spilled a lot of blood but they will return to us soon enough.”
Dis smiled widely and wrapped strong fingers around Kili’s hand, kissing it before repeating the same action with Fili. She spent several moments drinking in the very image of her sons, her eyes unashamedly bright with tears, because her family were restored to her, thank the Valar. It was a miracle, Balin had shed tears enough himself.
Eventually Dis released her sons with reluctance but strode through the open adjoining door to visit her brother who was still sleeping deeper. Bilbo Baggins wasn’t present, though he haunted the room more than even Oin most days. Knowing that Bilbo had already had plans to see King Bard and his family, Balin had encouraged him to keep them, not break them for Thorin’s sake. It was good for a Hobbit to see the sun, especially this one. Balin was sure.
Dis looked carefully at her brother, “You kept your promise, brother, though not through lack of trying. How is he?”
“His wounds were grave,” Oin reported, he never believed in delivering news in a state less than honest. “But he is recovering, it’ll take some time, mind. If Bilbo wasn’t here, well, I don’t know how much longer it would take.”
Dis smiled at this, her gaze lifting, “Ah, the Halfling. I’m told he lives here now.”
Of course. She hadn't been told by Balin though, the messages he and Dis had exchanged by raven once Erebor had been reclaimed had been few. But Dis had always possessed an exceptional network of loyal spies, even Nori who worked brilliantly and innocuously as Thorin’s own spymaster didn’t know the identity of most of them. Balin was quite certain Dis had a spy amongst Dain’s people too.
“He’s visiting Dale, Your Highness,” Balin supplied. “He has friends there, particularly the new King and his family, and building relations with those that can support or hinder our trade and supplies, it appeared more than prudent.”
Not everyone agreed with that assessment. It’d been the cause of many ridiculous and tiresome fights. Dis smiled though, seeming to agree with Balin, thank the Valar.
“Have him sent to me once he returns. I’d hear more about the creature who has done so much for the Mountain, despite my brother’s best efforts.”
Dwalin made a rebellious noise from beside Balin and sure enough, Dis did not ignore it. “Sleeping or awake, Thorin Oakshield remains hard-headed and a pain beyond imagining. It did not cross your mind that he could have kept the Mountain and a great many allies without locking the doors and upsetting and angering everyone he spoke to once the gold overtook him?”
“He kept the Mountain, with honour,” Dwalin all but growled.
“It was a glorious battle,” Dain agreed with a grin of remembrance.
Dis matched her cousin’s grin, “I’ll hear of it once I’m clean and settled from the road. The feasting awaits us.”
Dain offered her his hand which Dis took without hesitation, the two of them linked together as they left the room. Balin shook his head at Dwalin’s expression.
“Some lessons are worth learning, even if it does take years.”
“The Mountain holds.”
Balin shook his head, his headache pounding once more, “If she has you thrown in the dungeons, I’ll not argue it.”
The feast was loud and glorious. Dis and Dain sat side by side in pride of place near the throne. Dis would not sit on it while she ate – “it'd only give me indigestion,” – and spoke to all who addressed her. She made sure her pair of guards ate too, though their eyes were always alert to movements within the room. Bofur led singing throughout the meal until Dis hammered a fist to the table.
“Now let’s hear songs from the Iron Hills. It’s been too many years.”
There was a triumphant shout and several Dwarves quickly left their seats to perform. It was a canny move that worked well – no one dared argue with Dis. She was doing a difficult job with apparent ease, ensuring the Iron Hills and Blue Mountains were given equal weight. She'd have to smelt them together until such separation was indivisible. Balin reckoned she'd do it too, she'd always listened during his lessons. He ate well beside Dis and offered the sort of information she might be interested in. Dain did the same from her other side, Dis asking questions now and then, never wearing less than a smile. To everyone else, it likely seemed she was enjoying mere conversation with two old friends.
Eventually Dis knocked her fist to the table again and there was quiet somehow among the enormous amount of merry Dwarves filling the hall.
“I thank you for the welcome and for your fine work in restoring Erebor to her glory.”
There were cheers and toasts then that Dis raised her goblet to before continuing, “My family are healing and I am united with my cousin once more. It is a glorious day!”
The music started quietly again and a Dwarf approached Dis and Dain, carrying an official-looking notebook, “Princess, account is being taken of the treasure within Erebor. Many of the pieces known by name have been accounted for, except for the Arkenstone.”
“Good news indeed, Runbar,” Dis pronounced firmly. “The King of Dale holds the Arkenstone and long may he do so.”
There was much expected unrest at her words. That had been one of the biggest arguments – Balin had been one of the few who'd desired the stone to stay away from the Mountain. Every other Dwarf was loud in wanting the jewel returned. Balin's headache thumped again as Dain said, “It’s the heart of the Mountain, ours by bloody right, stolen from us.”
“In an attempt at peace,” Balin quickly pointed out.
Dis was resolute, “Should my brother have possessed it...I do not think so many would be gathered here in this place now. It is ours, yes, the Mountain's, yes. But I will not see Dwarven blood corrupted, destroyed, like that again, or too far from our sight, in hands we cannot trust. So the King of Dale shall hold it for now, before those that have heard of our gold come begging. Who would look in Dale? We'll set the story away from those Men of course. I will meet him soon to talk on such things. Runbar, have those white gems been recovered?”
“They have, Princess.”
Dis clapped her hands delightedly, her face bright with mischief that invited others to smile too, as she rushed on from the subject of the Arkenstone, nimbly distracting the hall of Dwarves. “We shall return them to the Elf King and give him no more reason to camp at the foot of our Mountain!”
Framed like that, such unpleasant news – of Dwarven jewels being given to an Elf - could not truly be argued. The gems would be a small price to pay for the absence of King Thranduil, one that all Dwarves could agree on. His continued presence had been one all Dwarves were united against. The question of the Arkenstone would likely frequently return and Dis knew it even as she lifted her goblet in triumph.
“To the retreat of the Elves,” she toasted, which gained an almighty cheer.
Very well done indeed. Not even a fork had been thrown in anger. It was at that point that Gandalf made his reappearance in Erebor, for the first time since leaving after the battle, with Bilbo Baggins close behind. That brought something of a hush over the hall, even with all the ale flowing. Gandalf seemed as inscrutably confident as ever when he stepped forward to address Dis.
“Hail to Dis, Princess Under the Mountain.”
Dis eyed him with some amusement, “Gandalf the Grey, I have you to thank for the return of my kin.”
Gandalf shook his head with a hand to his chest, though he was clearly pleased, “Ah the great Eagles themselves turned the tide, my lady.”
“And asked only for food in return. That was a hunt, let me tell you.”
Gandalf’s brow pinched, “I’m sorry, my lady?”
Dis looked even more amused now, “The eagles, wizard, they paid their respects and we provided them with dinner. And the man who walks as a bear, a melancholy soul, keen for us not to make a meal of his friends, but he could run.”
There was a cheerful sort of noise around the hall at that, as Dwarves from the Blue Mountains remembered such an occasion and explained it to those around them. Balin had heard part of this story while feasting, Dain had already proclaimed that he was eager to take part in such a hunt soon. Dis had declared it would make good sport to see in the next season, perhaps to celebrate her family’s healing. It would also, incidentally, bind together such allies; the Mountain and the forest. Balin hid all hint of a smile in his beard.
Gandalf for his part looked profoundly confused and disbelieving, “The eagles have spoken with you and Beorn has hunted?!”
“Without desire to harm his friends so it was more a fiercesome run. Don’t think he’s run with anyone for many years. Now, wizard, my family lies healing, the Elf King will leave the Mountain once he has the gems that steal his sense, the King of Dale stays our ally. We will see Erebor restored. You will join us for a drink and food of course.”
Gandalf’s eyebrows appeared to be in danger of losing themselves in his hairline but he accepted the full goblet someone handed him. Before he could speak though, Dis spoke first.
“Bilbo Baggins, come forward.”
Bilbo looked taken aback but hesitantly obeyed, his hands neat behind his back. He bowed deeply, not a courtesy Gandalf had extended. Dis looked at him carefully, a warm smile on her face, as though amused by the little creature’s very existence. Balin thought it a great pity that Bilbo was no longer dressed in the fussy fine clothing he had worn the very night he’d met the Company. That would only have increased Dis's amusement.
“Your Majesty, thank you, for welcoming me back to your Mountain.”
Dis’s smile broadened, “Thank you, Mr Baggins, for doing your best to get my fool brother to see sense. For that and more besides, in this hall of my ancestors, I formally break your banishment. You’re welcome in Erebor, if you leave the pretty stones alone.”
It was a sharp jest to make (in truth it was not entirely a jest) and Bilbo looked more than a little unnerved amid how overwhelmed he was. But he did smile shakily and bow again.
“Thank you, I...thank you. Truthfully, I’d give all the gold in Erebor for a pocket handkerchief.”
That was not as true as it once was, Balin was sure, so maybe Bilbo's words were more a little joke to spread the good cheer. Balin and Company laughed accordingly. Dis seemed quite charmed by him while Dain seemed as though he was still trying to work out what he thought of Bilbo. Dain hadn’t spent much time with Bilbo yet, seeing as Bilbo spent most of his time in the healing rooms.
“I have a gift for you, Your Majesty. It's not, well, it's not gold and I couldn't find all the flowers I would normally, not here, and meadowsweet is always so difficult. Anyway it's a gift and I hope you like it.”
Bilbo stepped forward a little more and brought his arms out from behind his back to reveal a wreath of flowers. Where had Bilbo found enough blooms for that? There weren't enough in Dale. The blossoms were somewhat straggly but they were bright enough. There was a murmur amongst the Dwarves, most didn't know what to make of it – flowers and plants weren't usual gifts among Dwarven folk.
Dis looked pleased though and touched by surprise. She motioned for one of her guards to bring the flowers forward. Bilbo explained in the meantime.
“It's a flower crown. In Hobbiton we make and give them as gifts during times of celebration.”
Dis smiled widely as she looked at the flowers, “A fine crown, Mr Baggins, from a Hobbit to a Dwarf. You must have searched hard to find so many flowers.”
Bilbo nodded, “It was very good exercise, and pleasant to gain that not running for my life again.”
There was heartfelt gratitude and more self-deprecation in those words and more laughter from the Company. Dis slipped off her circlet to don Bilbo's flowers. They suited her well, her twinkling smile and the deep jewel tones of her clothing, the glints of armour. Dain laughed heartily.
“Oh, Princess of Flowers now?”
Dis laughed in unison with him, “And of Stone and Mountain, cousin. To the strengthening of our people and the Mountain!”
Goblets were raised and cheers filled the room. Bilbo looked awkward but did not leave as Dis beckoned to him, “Come, Mr Baggins. I would hear of Dale and its King that slew the dragon.”
A chair was found for Bilbo, complete with a cushion so that he would be at a height to meet a Dwarven gaze comfortably. It was all as though it had been planned. Gandalf was far from the head table and while Balin had no doubt that the wizard could ensure Dis's full attention if he truly wished it, he seemed content that Bilbo had her ear for now. Wizards, Balin had observed, were extraordinarily tricky. Just where had Gandalf been since the end of the battle?
Balin was quite sure that if he asked, the wizard would not give a full answer. Wizards. No doubt Dis thought similarly, though she also knew of their usefulness which was why she'd made it clear Gandalf was welcome. For now.
Bilbo was talking quite freely with Dis, she'd clearly put him at ease. That was good, as was how Dain was also part of the conversation, looking amused maybe but not patronising, not too much anyway. There was some contentment, well-worked balance and a Durin wearing a crown. Balin, well, he felt relaxed enough at last to reach for his pipe.