[From time to time, I will illustrate my story with my dream cast of: Richard Armitage as Thorin Oakenshield, Cate Blanchett/Liv Tyler as Sulisha Weaverdale, Ken Stott as Balin, Graham McTavish as Dwalin, Dean O’Gorman as Prince Fili, Aidan Turner as Prince Kili, Sir Ian McKellen as Gandalf, Hugo Weaving as Lord Elrond, Liv Tyler as Lady Arwen, Lee Pace as King Thranduil, and Billy Connolly as King Dain Ironfoot, 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: With Gandalf the Grey Wizard and King Dain Ironfoot of the Iron Hills each learning of King Thorin’s marriage to Queen Sulisha, congratulations and felicitations will not be forthcoming. And for Prince Fili to have offered his hand in courtship to the feisty Princess Bethelwyn of the Iron HIlls, is almost more than her father King Dain can bear. But King Thorin and Queen Sulisha are blithely ignorant of the consternation of the Wizard and of Iron Hills king. The Thorin and Sulisa are on their wedding trip–and it will be full of surprises.
“Thorin’s Journey: An Unexpected Love”, Ch. 7:
Wedding Trip Surprises, Part I
Of course, a husband and a wife go on their wedding trip together in order to celebrate their marriage with some special bonding time just for themselves. But when the loving couple is royal, then protocol and etiquette intercede–some might say protocol interferes. However, King Thorin is eager to introduce his new bride Queen Sulisha to his far flung peoples on a month long journey to visit pockets of relocated Erebor citizens for his kingdom in exile.
Each cluster of resettled Erebor province and Dale villagers that King Thorin and Queen Sulisha visit and meet with fete them with banquets, tours of their thriving Dwarven businesses, and modest but meaningful gifts–such as simple homemade offerings of soap, foods, crafts, linens, jewelry, and such. If they were not the House of Durin in Exile, the expensive gifts the royal couple could receive might range from livestock, land, manor homes, to the larger or symbolic heads of state gifts between nations of items unique from that nation. From the Elves, one might receive a one-of-a-kind Sylvan made bow of an alloy of silver and other metals that give it both strength and beauty–or a matched pair of riding moose with hornucopias of antlers on their heads. From the humans–such as those at Laketown–a gift of a very fine boat for pleasure sailing might be presented to the bridal couple.
But apart from the impracticality of having to transport said gifts back to their home in the Blue Hills, King Thorin and Queen Sulisha do not wish to seem as if they are seeking presents from their people. So King Thorin and Queen Sulisha request that no gifts of great monetary value or size be given to them–because they believe that the greatest gift they could ever receive is the knowledge that their people are well and happy and settled in their new lives. Their House of Durin and Erebor Dwarven society in exile might be scattered to the four winds, but they are still a community–honoring the old traditions of being artisans, entrepreneurs, scholars and warriors.
With King Thorin marrying, he is closer to reestablishing his own kingdom–despite the difficulties inherent in being essentially locked out of the Erebor Fortress Palace. And inevitably, King Thorin’s and Queen Sulisha’s Dwarven royal House of Durin must pay courtesy visits upon neighboring Kingdoms–such as the Iron Hills territory under King Dain II Ironfoot, which by happy circumstance will also allow them to forgo the customary wedding trip visit that would have been extended to the kingdom of the Elves, for the Elves will come to them in the Iron Hills.
This happy circumstance is a tournament of skill and daring that also includes an exposition showcasing the cultural goods and services offered by astute business Dwarves and Elves, as well as talent in the arts. So it is that the Iron Hills Tournament of Champions will draw entrants from far and wide to compete for the honors and for the prize rewards of coins. Archery, sword play, horse riding, bucking bull warg riding, strength, agility, engineering problem solving, war tactics, magic, arts and entertainment, and more events that will all have young and old, rich and poor, and friend and foe alike vying for the distinction of being judged to be the best in Middle Earth.
After King Thorin’s and Queen Sulisha’s small entourage of guards, attendants–including people that they collected as official escort representatives from the communities that they visited along the way, with the total number in that entourage now exceeding fifty individuals–are settled into their guest chambers at the Palace of the Iron Hills, they are separated to attend to different private meetings.
Firstly, Queen Sulisha must give an audience to the representatives of the noble Ladies of the Iron Hills and to the representatives of the Iron Hills Dwarven Weavers. This is tricky because neither group particularly esteems the other–the former group having prestige by accident of birth or by fortunate marriage, and the latter group being close to Queen Sulisha’s heart as tapestry artisans with the gift of foresight, as is she herself. So inevitably, those intergroup jealousies bubble to the surface.
Lady Glaretha: “My Dear Queen Sulisha, the ladies and I are delighted to welcome you to the province of the Iron Hills.” The woman looks as obsequious as she sounds with her Dwarven hair braided into an intricate mess and her clothing comprised of a patchwork of silks and satins with an embroidery explosion covering every square inch of fabric.
Queen Sulisha: “I thank you for your gracious welcome, My Lady Glaretha.” A really smiling Queen Sulisha [(2) right] is elegantly adorned in an unornamented monochromatic pale ivory satin scoop necked long sleeved gown overlaid with lace and embroidered restrainedly only along its satin edged neckline with traditional Dwarven cultural symbols representing honor, beauty, truth, and strength.
Then the weavers spokesperson steps forward wearing a gown with a tapestry skirt of her own design that foretells the fate of their people as she sees it. Queen Sulisha becomes temporarily transfixed in gazing upon the skirt–as if several characters within it come to life and act out their stories. There is King Thorin wielding a large sword in fighting someone. Others are also about in a battle she does not recognize. And she sees herself holding something, but she cannot make out what it is. Of course, Queen Sulisha is in a vision trance–whose spell is then broken with the weaver’s greeting.
Magalin Weaverhills: Curtseying with a graceful low bow, the lady weaver arises and stands looking cordially at Queen Sulisha, her understanding that the Queen is also a prophesying weaver. “Greetings Queen Sulisha. I am Magalin Weaverhill. The Women Weavers of the Iron Hills are honored by your presence among us.”
Queen Sulisha: Queen Sulisha nods with a smile, her poise regained after her vision trance. “I thank you for your welcoming greeting as well.”
And then the ladies move about the comfortably arranged room, sitting on cushioned chairs and benches in smaller conversation clusters. Queen Sulisha moves among them, chatting amiably with each smaller group of ladies or weavers. And then she spies Magalin again, and Queen Sulisha seeks a further more private interaction with her–to discuss her dream.
Magalin: Magalin stands out of respect as Queen Sulisha approaches her. “My Queen.”
Queen Sulisha: “Thank you for your respectful greeting, but as one weaver to another might we dispense with protocol and address each other informally by our given names, Magalin?”
Magalin: “As you wish, Sulisha.”
In the corner of her eye, Queen Sulisha sees Lady Glaretha bearing down upon her again, so she guides Magalin to exit to the terrace.
Queen Sulisha: “I feel the need for some fresh air–and to enjoy the lovely formal gardens attached to the palace. Please accompany me, Magalin.”
Magalin: “I will be honored.” The slightly older Dwarven woman nods gracefully at Queen Sulisha.”
The two women walk out of the reception room and onto the terrace. Yet fearing the determination of Lady Glaretha, then they walk a few steps down to the garden level and walk out to a curving pathway around the flower beds where they can have a measure of privacy. They are silent at first, but not for long.
Queen Sulisha: “Magalin, as a Dwarven weaver myself, I am interested in the tapestry design of your skirt. What can you tell me about its symbolism?”
Magalin: “I had woven this tapestry design a few months ago–and it was only this week that I decided to incorporate it into my formal garment for our meeting.” Queen Sulisha nods, and looks at her promptingly. “I had been commissioned to create a tapestry by a great man.” She states confidentially. “However, my silks and wools would not speak to me for that project until this design vision was created.” She gestures to her skirting. “And then my design beckoned to accompany me to see you–hence its inclusion in my skirt panel.”
Queen Sulisha: “As you may have noticed while we were in the reception room, I experienced a vision regarding your skirt tapestry.”
Magalin: “Yes, I thought as much. Though I do not think anyone not a weaver interpreted your gaze as anything but common interest.” She notices that Queen Sulisha smiles. “Sulisha, do you wish to focus upon the skirt tapestry again, to see if you have another vision?”
Queen Sulisha: “I do. But if while I am in a trance, someone comes upon us, please break my focus with your voice–so that I am not caught unawares.”
Magalin: “Of course. You had best sit on this bench in the shade, and I will stand a bit back from you.” She positions herself. Then she begins to chant in a hushed voice. “Gun-run, muh-lay. Gun -run, muh-lay. Gun-run, muh-lay.”
Queen Sulisha: Queen Sulisha’s eyes close as she also chants. “Gun-run, muh-lay. Gun-run, muh-lay. Gun-run, muh-lay” The chant is to the Dwarven spirits, seeking wisdom about their destiny and about their fate.
Then Queen Sulisha opens her eyes again and stares at the tapestry skirt. And as before, she sees King Thorin in the midst of a fearsome battle [(3) right]. But as yet, she does not know if this is a memory of a past event, or if it is the future battle. She is given no clues via Thorin’s attire or age in the vision.
Then she focuses upon another section of the tapestry skirt where she had seen herself holding something. And she sees herself finding something and picking it up, carrying it to King Thorin. At first, she thinks that it is a kitten again–she is excessively fond of kittens. They are small and cuddly. But while this bundle she carries is small, it is not an animal. And yet, Queen Sulisha intuitively knows that it is a living thing. She is puzzled.
But then a crunch of footsteps on the gravel garden walkway alert both of them to someone’s approach.
Magalin: Shaking Queen Sulisha’s arm, Magalin says urgently. “My Queen, a page is looking for you.”
Queen Sulisha: Looking up at Magalin’s face, Queen Sulisha looks perturbed. “My vision was unfinished.”
Page: A boy in a palace servant’s uniform who looks to be no more than ten years old bows. “I am sent to convey King Thorin’s wish for his Lady wife Queen Sulisha to please join him in their guest bed chamber before the evening banquet.”
Queen Sulisha: “Thank you. Please tell my husband King Thorin that I will join him shortly.”
The page bows and leaves to attend to his task.
Queen Sulisha: “I fear that we will have to explore my vision on another day.”
Maglin: “I look forward to it.” She curtsies.
Then the two ladies begin to walk back to the palace by completing the circle pathway around the garden flower beds. The cool breeze brings sounds of buzzing bees, chirping birds, and muffled noises of children playing. As they walk, the sounds fade in volume–only to be replaced but another gurgling sound growing louder. Yet there is no brook or stream nearby.
So Queen Sulisha smiles, but continues on a few paces then she stops. Magalin stops also. They do not hear the gurgling sound quite so loudly. Queen Sulisha retraces her steps until the gurgling sound is louder again. She looks in all directions, but sees nothing. Then stepping away from the path–perpendicular to it–the gurgling sound becomes more pronounced. Queen Sulisha quickens her pace and sees what is making the sound.
A few feet before her is a woven basket. Inside that basket is the source of the gurgling sound–the baby gurgling sound. For in the basket is a baby of perhaps two months old [(4) right]. Queen Sulisha bends down and picks up the baby, nestling it within her arms. The baby is well formed, wearing a clean wrapper, and happy–not neglected.
Whomever left the child to be found, did so only moments before she was found by Queen Sulisha. But there is no one lurking about now. They must have fled after they were certain that the baby was safely found.
Holding the precious child to her shoulder in its blanket, rubbing the baby’s back soothingly as it falls asleep again, Queen Sulisha is at a loss as to who the baby belongs to. Magalin picks up the basket, a note inside reads:
Please protect our child, oh Queen Sulisha. Laurel is the forbidden offspring of a Dwarven father and a Human mother. Neither community will shelter our child. We fear for her safety. So we give her to you to be your ward. With all our love, Laurel’s Parents.
Queen Sulisha and the weaver Magalin look at each other. Then they remember the Dwarven tapestry skirt prophesy of her finding something small and taking it to King Thorin. They realize that the baby is the prophesy being fulfilled. So that is what they do–Queen Sulisha walks back toward the Iron Hills palace, to take the baby girl Laurel to King Thorin.
To be continued with Chapter 8
References for Ch. 7, November 10, 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) Queen Sulisha in court gown is Cate Blanchett as Galadriel_Oct1815viaPinterest-Grati-sizedblur-hairdrkr-sized2
3) Thorin fighting in BOFA tapestry art_Sept1514DigitalSpy–Nov0915GratianaLovelace-crosshatch filter
4) Baby Laurel in basket image was found at babe-baby-in-cradle Oct0511organicfamilycircle
N.B. The previous blog link for Ch. 6 is: