[From time to time, I will illustrate my story with my dream cast of: Richard Armitage as Thorin Oakenshield, Cate Blanchett as Sulisha Weaverdale, Ken Stott as Balin, and others as noted, etc.]
Author’s Content Note: “Thorin’s Journey: An Unexpected Love” is a story of romance and intrigue set against the backdrop of JRR Tolkien’s Middle Earth. As such there will be some passages in this story involving heartfelt love scenes (S) and some passages involving highly dramatic moments (D). I will label the maturity rating of those chapters accordingly. Otherwise, the general rating for this story is PG or PG-13 due to some tense situations and topics. If you are unable or unwilling to attend a movie with the ratings that I provide, then please do not read the chapters with those labels. This is my disclaimer.
Author’s Recap from the previous installment: Thorin Oakenshield went to collect his bride to be Sulisha Weaverdale at her weaving studio that he had constructed for her outside of their cave home–in order to give her plenty of ambient light for her weaving work–and he found her deep into a vision dream. And when he awakened her with a kiss, she was not able to discern the meaning of all of the symbol elements in her dream. So she hopes to ask her father Sulbek about them when she and Thorin head out to her family’s engagement dinner party for them tonight.
“Thorin’s Journey: An Unexpected Love”, Ch. 3: Rules of Engagement
As Thorin and Sulisha had earlier walked down the country lane toward her parents home where she used to live until she and Thorin became engaged–an engagement agreement constituting one aspect of the marriage pact between two persons–they held hands and smile sweetly to each other. As they pass various Dwarven peoples, they received bows of respect and Thorin nods respectfully back at them. He is accustomed to being King Under the Mountain of the House of Durin–even if he does not have even a toe hold in the Erebor Mountain Fortress and Palace at the moment.
However for Sulisha [(2) right], she is still shy about her impending new role as their future Queen. And she does not know quite how to respond to such displays of obeisance to her. And tonight’s engagement dinner at her parent’s home will be a family celebration but with several key House of Durin, Council of Erebor nobles present and several of the Erebor people for the before dinner reception. Not even Sulisha seeing the gray kitten of her vision dream nestled into the basket of kittens inside her parents home’s foyer–and subsequently adopting it–lessens her unease.
Sulisha’s life will be very different as Thorin Oakenshield’s wife. She will be Queen to his King. She is not so much interested in that title for herself, but she wants to do her very best out of her deep love and respect for Thorin. And Thorin will help her in whatever way she needs. He thinks that her acclimation to becoming his Queen should be a smooth one, since without them residing in the palace fortress of Erebor, the usual court protocols will be relaxed. That is, save one.
As Thorin and Sulisha enter her family’s sitting room, it is filled to capacity with Dwarven peoples seeking an audience or merely a glimpse of their King and his soon to be Queen. And being upon the cusp of entering the married state, King Thorin and Queen Sulisha are obliged to attend to their people. Though King Thorin had asked old Lord Balin as Chancellor of the Council of Erebor to please keep the pomp and display to a minimum, Thorin is a King of the House of Durin, soon to be married–several days hence, on Durin’s Day. And Lord Balin will see to the proper protocols befitting his King and future Queen.
Lord Balin steps forward and greets King Thorin and the Lady Queen Sulisha with great respectfulness–she will lose the Lady appellation when she and King Thorin are finally wed. Lord Balin also bows low, which sees the tip of his long beard brush the floor. Then he guides King Thorin and Lady Queen Sulisha to one end of the room where a large chair serves as Thorin’s throne. Alternatively, a more diminuative cushioned seat with no back is placed to king Thorin’s side for Lady Queen Sulisha to sit upon. And once they are wed, she will have a throne chair as well. It seems that one distinction of royalty is having a chair with back support. As it is, Lady Queen Sulisha’s graceful posture has her sitting comfortably at her Thorin’s side–at least, initially.
The first supplicant approaches with a nod from Lord Balin. This person has been carefully selected by Lord Balin for the appropriateness of his request–though King Thorin has not been told what that request is. The Dwarven man is a farmer who wishes a different future for his son–a more Dwarven future. Bowing deeply, the elderly Dwarven man with a frightfully unruly and bushy brown beard steps forward.
Gurman: “My King. My Lady Queen. I am Gurman.” He stands erect, though not above four feet five inches tall. Thorin is five feet two inches tall–a giant amongst his Dwarven peoples.
King Thorin: “Welcome, Gurman. What is it you seek?” King Thorin asks interestedly.
Gurman: “I am now a farmer–not fit for anything else in my elder years. But I was once a Dwarven Miner of Erebor of some reknown.” He states pridefully.
King Thorin: “Gurman. Hmmm. I thought I recognized your name. Of course.” King Thorin smiles a benevolent smile [(3) right]. It is not that he remembers every name of the hundreds of Dwarven Miners. But King Thorin is delighted to have such a man standing before him now. And he is happy to acknowledge the man before those assembled here.
Gurman: Beaming to be so favored, with Gurman thinking that the King had indeed heard of him before, and remembered him, Gurman continues.“I wish for my youngest son, Gurfor to be trained in the old ways, the ways of Erebor Dwarves–in mining and metal working.” The son being referred to stands next to Gurman. He is of middling height and stout like his father–but much younger than his siblings as a child of Gurman’s and his wife’s later years.
King Thorin: “And tell me young Gurfor, is it your wish to become a Dwarven Miner?” Thorin’s eyes test the resolve of the young Dwarven lad of only 40 years–Gurfor is a mere adolescent.
Gurfor: “I wish …” His vocal pitch screeches upward as he croaks out a response. “ I wish… to honor my ancestors who were all Dwarven Miners.”
King Thorin: “That is admirable.” King Thorin ponders the request for a moment. “And you shall have your wish. I am in need of a helper at my forge. I would be pleased to have you apprentice with me and learn the art and skill of metalworking.” King Thorin states simply.
But the reaction to his largesse is far from simple as both father and son fall to their knees.
Gurman: “My King, you grace us with your patronage! We are humbled by your beneficence. You have our deepest thanks.”
King Thorin nods his head with a small smile and the father Gurman and son Gurfor stand up. Lord Balin hovers nearby, eager to move the audience line along so they may get to the dinner portion of the evening–while the food is yet warm.
Lord Balin: “I will record the request and King Thorin’s gracious proposal.” For there will be logistics to be worked out, and that will fall to Lord Balin.
The request’s and grantings of them goes on for another hour. Sometimes the person or family merely wants a blessing, other times a more tangible outcome is desired. And King Thorin deftly and graciously handles them all–with Lord Balin’s help in some instances.
Lady Queen Sulisha wonders how her Thorin is able to promise so much with so little of his own reserves? Do the the people not realize the sacrifices that their King makes upon their behalf? For King Thorin foregoes worldly accoutrements that might be purchased with the products of his toil as an artisan metalworker, and instead, he sets that aside for the work of his Erebor Kingdom in Exile in helping his peoples. And yet Sulisha surmises that King Thorin does not see his personal austerity as a sacrifice–but rather, as a fulfillment of his Kingly obligations.
Finally, Sulisha’s parents Sulbek and Ganisha are the final supplicants–as engagement dinner party tradition dictates–and they stand before their future son-in-law, King Thorin. Their wishes are not for themelves, but for their daughter, Sulisha.
King Thorin: “Sulbek, Ganisha.” King Thorin nods his head to them, even as they bow to him. “And what may I grant you?” As their soon to be son-in-law, tradition requires that King Thorin must acquiesce to whatever they ask of him.
Sulbek: “My King, we seek only the happiness of our dear daughter, Lady Queen Sulisha.” He gestures and smiles fondly at his daughter.
King Thorin: “Happily, our interests and goals are as one.” King Thorin smiles at his future father-in-law, then he sneaks a glance hat his beloved Lady Queen Sulisha to see her charming blushing smile.
Ganisha: But a mother’s love is more practical, as Lady Queen Sulisha’s mother has her say. “My King, I would ask of you further that you do not place your being King above your being my daughter’s husband. And I seek your promise never to neglect her to tend to others, nor to leave our daughter behind–even for the people of Durin.”
Sulisha darts a glance at Thorin, worried that he might think that she has asked her mother to make such demands on her behalf. And only long wed Dwarven ladies have developed the gall to make demands.
Thorin: His brow furrowing, Thorin replies curtly. “Madam, our lives now are such that the only trip I would undertake will be our wedding trip to greet our people. And were I to be called away for some statecraft in the distant future–or worse, for a battle–I will let Sulisha decide if she wants to travel with me.”
As her mother opens her mouth to speak again, Lady Queen Sulisha–silent up until now–silences her mother by raising her hand. Then Sulisha speaks with great respect and tenderness, wrapped in a firm resolve.
Lady Queen Sulisha: “My Dear Mother, I am gratified by your and My Dear Father’s requests for my future happiness and well being. But you must also acknowledge that upon my and King Thorin’s marriage, it will be he and I together who will determine the course of our lives. And if we deem that our people of Erebor come before our own considerations, that is our choice.”
King Thorin smiles at his future wife, Lady Queen Sulisha’s adroit handling of this most delicate situation with poise and grace.
King Thorin: “Well spoken, My Dear.” King Thorin gazes lovingly at his future bride, his voice fairly purring in a deep hum. Then he turns back to look upon his future in-laws the Weaverdales, and he asks politely–but in a challenging Kingly tone. “Any questions?”
There being none, they all go on to have a lovely dinner.
However after the dinner party before leaving for her cave home with King Thorin, Sulisha takes her father to a quiet corner of the room–with King Thorin and Lord Balin in conversation at the opposite end of the room–and she asks her father the meaning of the symbols of her vision dream earlier.
Sulbek: “As you know, Sulisha, creature symbols–be they kittens, eagles, or even spiders–might portend a direct involvement with them. Or, they could be allegories of what those creatures represent or what their abilities are.” He states sagely.
Sulisha: “Eagles fly and nest high up in the mountains, spiders weave webs. But kittens, what of them?” She asks cuddling her new gray kitten in her arms.
Sulbek: “True. As for the kittens, they are plentiful–you may take more than one with you.” He hints strongly.
Sulisha: “Papa! Had you placed the kitten in my dreams in hopes of ridding yourself of mouths to feed?” Some weavers have the sight–and some like Sulbek, also have the power of telepathic suggestion.
Sulbek: “Not intentionally.” He winces sheepishly.
Sulisha: Her face drooping into worry, Sulisha haltingly asks her father. “And the colors, the red, the white, the grey. Are they as I fear? Bloodshed, Elven entanglements, and the grey symbolizing an uncertain future?”
Sulbek: “Yes, that is possible.” He nods somberly. “But I also hear that King Thorin met recently with the wizard Gandalf the Grey. Perhaps Gandalf is to figure in King Thorin’s future.” He raises a busy Dwarven eyebrow.
Sulisha: “Yes, I fear so. Thorin says that Gandalf will return in two months time.” Sulisha bites her lower lip fretfully. “I know that I must be patient and accepting as Thorin’s wife and future queen. It is just that …” Her voice trails off.
Sulbek: “You wish you had your husband to yourself–and not have to share him with his people?” He guesses.
Sulisha: Her eyes widen at her father’s accurate statement. “Am I being churlish and selfish?”
Sulbek: “My Dear Daughter, s-elfish you will never be.” He grins cheekily at her, puncturing her distress.
King Thorin slowly walks toward his father-in-law and his future bride, leaving a nodding but not altogether happy looking Lord Balin to ponder what he said.
Thorin: “Shall we return home, My Dear?” Thorin holds out his hand and Sulisha clasps it. “Thank you, Sulbek and Ganisha, for our engagement dinner party.” Thorin smiles graciously.
Sulbek: “It was our pleasure.” He smiles. Then noticing his wife’s scowl, he nudges her.
Ganisha: “You are welcome.” She states simply.
The engaged couple stand looking expectantly at her parents. The moments tick by. Then a hollow in the burning log on the fire pops and the spell is broken.
Sulbek: Sulisha’s father raises his hands over her and Thorin’s heads. “And we give you our blessing for a long and happy life together.”
It is done. The second aspect of the marriage pact is gained–the parents’ blessing. This first aspect of the marriage pact being the private relationship commitment between Thorin and Sulisha–as evidenced by them living together.
Now all that remains is the third and final hurdle for Thorin and Sulisha to wed as royals. And that will only be granted if Lord Balin can persuade the Council of Erebor in exile to acquiesce to the royal marriage–since Sulisha is not of royal blood, nor of a bloddline with advantageous aliiances. For Thorin will have no other for his bride than Sulisha Weaverdale–no matter the advantages to his kingdom that might be gained were he to marry the Iron Hills Princess Bethelwyn.
To be continued with Chapter 4
References for Ch. 3, October 16, 2015 Gratiana Lovelace
1) Revised: My “Thorin’s Journey: An Unexpected Love” story cover art I created is comprised of two images:
a) A cropped and masked head shot of a beautiful portrait drawing of Thorin Oakenshield by the talented artist Yanagoya of Thorin holding the Arkenstone found here http://rebloggy.com/post/the-hobbit-yana-art-thorin-arkenstone/41711190148 ; with the Thorin portrait face being in the image (cropped and masked by someone else, unknown) is of the talented actor Richard Armitage who portrayed Thorin in The Hobbit trilogy of films.
b) A cropped section of a screen cap of the Elven cave that I made from the first trailer for THDofS serves as the background image.
c) story cover image link for Wattpad: https://gratianads90.files.wordpress.com/2015/10/thorinsjourneyanunexpectedlove-storycover_oct0815gratianalovelace-256×401.jpg
2) Sulisha Weaverdale image is of Cate Blanchett as Maid Marian in Robin Hood (2010) and was found at http://content9.flixster.com/rtmovie/65/53/65539_gal.jpg
3) Thorin Oakenshield image is portrayed by Richard Armitage in The Hobbit trilogy of films and was found at the Gallicka THAUJ screen caps.that were originally referenced at the Heirs of Durin sit by Darkjackal found at http://thorinoakenshield.net/2013/03/06/the-hobbit-an-unexpected-journey-screencaps/
N.B. The previous link for Ch. 2 is: