[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 of the previous installment: 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.
Queen Sulisha and the weaver Magalin found a babe lying in a basket in the nearby woods during their afternoon stroll in the garden of the Iron Hills Palace. Then they remember the Dwarven tapestry skirt prophesy of Queen Sulisha finding something small and taking it to King Thorin. They realize that the baby is the prophesy being fulfilled. So that is what they will do–Queen Sulisha walks back toward the Iron Hills palace, to take the baby girl Laurel to King Thorin. However, King Thorin is also quite busy at the moment.
“Thorin’s Journey: An Unexpected Love”,Ch.8:Wedding Trip Surprises, Part 2
With King Thorin being called away from his guest state bed chamber where he hoped to rendezvous with his wife Queen Sulisha to a meeting this afternoon with the annoyingly quarrelsome King Dain II Ironfoot of the Iron Hills in that king’s Throne Room, the trying to think positively King Thorin has been contemplating the happy circumstance that an Iron Hills tournament in his and Queen Sulisha’s honor provides. The tournament events of skill and daring will also include 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.
Pacing around the map covering the table before them, King Thorin inspects the layout of
events around the Iron Hills that King Dain and his advisors have planned. And King Thorin [(2) right] is not happy–despite all of his best efforts–and not the least of which is because his dress armour under tunic is scratchy. King Thorin looks over at Lord Dwalin, Lord Balin, and his nephews Prince Fili and Prince Kili who have accompanied him as part of his entourage in this meeting and winces. They shrug their shoulders and roll their collective eyes.
King Thorin: “King Dain. Why do you have the exhibit venues in the defenseless areas of the far flung smaller villages outside of the protection of the Iron Hills Palace fortress walls?”
King Dain: “That should be obvious!” Their host blusters.
King Thorin: “Well it is not! Unless you wish to expose my family and our guests to potential raiding Orc attacks hoping to plunder the treasure the exhibits possess. You would do much better to have the exhibit venues within the surrounding Iron Hills Palace fortress. Its fifty foot high walls will protect them from being plundered.”
King Dain: “But inside the fortress walls is where we plan to situate the tournament events of warrior accomplishments.” He whines.
King Thorin: “No!”
King Dain: “No!?! Might I remind you that you are my guest and I will decide what is best for my domain?” King Dain’s advisors smile smugly, but not for long.
King Thorin: “And might I remind you that just last week on our journey here, my Queen and I came upon a nearby Iron Hills village devastated by Orc attacks? You would be foolish to not post the warrior competitors’ tournament events at the outer perimeter of the palace fortress at each gateway point. That way, if an Orc attack comes, the competitors can sound the warning, quickly fight against any surprise attacks, and then our competitors may swiftly enter the confines and security of the palace fortress via the gateways. Those gateways are also the most vulnerable points around the palace fortress walls, and having warriors there to defend them if attacked, is logical and prudent.” And King Thorin thinks silently that King Dain would have to be a moron not to see sense.
King Dain scowls [(3) right]. But King Thorin is determined to act strategically and he moves the miniature blocks representing exhibits to inside the palace fortress’ fifty foot walls, and then he moves the warrior events to outside the fortress walls to the gateway points.
But before King Dain can reply, a herald announces the Elven delegation’s unexpected arrival.
Herald: “His Majesty, King Thranduil of the Elves!” The Dwarven herald intones loudly, while watching the nearly twice his size Elves enter the imposing Throne Room of the Iron Hills Palace Fortress.
Preceded by his son Prince Legolas and his senior noble Lord Elrond, an impressively tall King Thranduil strides into the Iron Hills Throne Room. And King Dain is not able to contain his surprise.
King Dain: “Ahkkk! Thranduil! Ye arrre earrrrly! We did not expect ye until tomorrrrow.” King Dain always resorts to his slightly Dwarvish accent when he is truly upset.
King Thranduil: “No! I am never early, Dain.” He states disdainfully–and using the informal mode of greeting as King Dain did with him, dropping their titles–ennui being King Thranduil’s usual demeanor. “Perhaps it I you who is late. Our usual Waterfall Estate Lodgings were not made ready for us. And that is why I have come to seek redress.”
King Thorin rolls his eyes, tilts his head, and crosses his arms at the tall Elven monarch. This draws the Elven delegation’s attention.
Lord Elrond: Bowing to King Thorin, he greets him cordially. “King Thorin. My felicitations upon your marriage. May you and your bride Queen be very happy.”
King Thorin: “Thank you, Lord Elrond. We are. And my Queen Sulisha will be pleased to become acquainted with your daughter, Lady Arwen this visit.” He states graciously–the Elven noble child of Lord Elrond not having given King Thorin a questionable nickname as she had Gandalf. Her labeling Gandalf the Orchid Wizard when he was in his lilac level of wizardry.
Seeing his king’s displeasure at having protocol breeched by him not giving the first wedding wishes, Lord Elrond tries to smooth over the anger that he sees building in King Thranduil’s eyes.
Lord Elrond: “But I have interjected my congratulations, too quickly. My apologies, King Thranduil.”
King Thranduil: A glowering King Thranduil [(4) right] cooly responds to Lord Elrond, then turns to King Thorin. “Yes, Lord Elrond.” Lord Elrond bows. “So you have married, King Thorin.” King Thorin nods–noting that congratulations have yet to be tendered to him by the Elven King. “It is to be expected, I suppose–for you did not have an heir. Though being a King in Exile as you are, an heir is not required as such.” King Thranduil purses his lips.
King Thorin smiles deviously. He will enjoy besting this Elf on the tournament field. That is, if Thranduil deigns to compete personally.
King Thorin: “Marriage is not always for the getting of heirs, King Thranduil. If my dear wife Queen Sulisha and I do not have a son, then my nephew Prince Fili, here …” Thorin gestures to his blond nephew and Prince Fili stands up straighter. “… will serve as my heir.”
King Dain: “Aye! And my daughter, Princess Bethelwyn is Prince Fili’s betrothed!” King Dain states proudly–him intimating that his daughter will be the next Queen of all of the Dwarves. Whereas King Dain is a minor Dwarven king, King Thorin is king over them all.
King Thorin: Turning to his nephew with a surprised look upon his face, King Thorin asks drolly. “Ah! I believe that there is something you neglected to inform me of? For I must approve any betrothals of my nephews since their marriages possibly affect the succession.”
King Dain fumes at being so slighted with the implication that his daughter, Princess Bethelwyn, is not suitable. Lord Balin steps forward, hoping to broker the peace for all.
Lord Balin: “My King.” He bows to King Thorin. “King Dain, and King Thranduil, Lord Elrond, and Prince Legolas. We are still negotiating the betrothal agreement and await your review of the final document.”
Prince Fili: Forgetting his manners and protocol, Prince Fili speaks up. “But My Beth and I have pledged ourselves to each other. We must marry.” He whines.
And then the impetuous Princess Bethelwyn bursts into her father’s Throne room–her trailing a sample of the palest pink silk fabric in her hand.
Princess Bethelwyn: “Papa! Papa! I found the most divine fabric for my wedding gown!” She races up to her Papa, King Dain–ignoring the assembled prestigious individuals in the Throne Room–who are just the other monarchs and dignitaries to her.
King Dain: Hugging his daughter indulgently, King Dain clasps her little chin between his thumb and forefinger. “Ach! Bethy! What have I told you about knocking first when I am in a meeting in the Throne Room. Do you not see that our Dwarven King Thorin and the Elven King Thranduil are in our presence?” He chastises her gently.
Blushing, Princess Bethelwyn looks around the room at all eyes upon her–including those of her almost betrothed, Prince Fili.
Princess Bethelwyn: “Fili!” She squeals, then dashes over to him. They do not embrace due to the constraints of propriety, but they clasp hands together and gaze longingly at each other.
Prince Fili: “It is a pretty fabric, My Beth! You will look beautiful in it!” He smiles broadly.
King Dain: “Bethy!?!” He raises a bushy eyebrow at her to regain her sense of decorum.
Princess Bethelwyn: “Sorry, Papa.” She shrugs her shoulders sheepishly at her father. Then by protocol, she goes first to stand in front of King Thorin and descends into a deep curtsy, also bowing her head. “King Thorin, we are honored by your presence. I look forward to meeting your wife Queen Sulisha. And I wish you both congratulations upon your marriage.” King Dain smiles and nods at his little girl’s proper voice and manner.
King Thorin: “We thank you, Princess Bethelwyn. And I hear that you and my nephew Prince Fili have grown attached to each other. So my wife and I look forward to getting to know you better.”
Princess Bethelwyn: Rising, she replies. “Thank you, My King.” Then Princess Bethelwyn gracefully walks to stand in front of the Elven King Thranduil and curtsies–but not quite so far down. He is, after all, an Elven King. “King Thranduil, we are honored by your presence again in our lands. And it is from one of your textile exhibitors that I obtained this sample of beautiful silken cloth.” She holds it out to him.
King Thranduil: Smiling graciously, for once, he makes a kind gesture. “That cloth is very beautiful–and very dear.” Meaning its cost is very expensive. “Princess Bethelwyn, will you do me the honor of letting my son and I present you with that fabric as part of our wedding gift to you?”
Princess Bethelwyn: “Truly? You will let me have it?” She looks delightedly at the Elven King.
King Thranduil: “Yes! For though I was blessed with a son, I have no daughter to pamper. So I will be grateful to spoil you.” He smiles again at her. She is a beautiful Dwarven maiden and her spirit has enchanted him.
King Dain: “That is very kind of you, King Thranduil. Thank you.” He says sincerely. King Thranduil nods at King Dain.
Princess Bethelwyn: “Oh Thank you!” She rushes forward and hugs King Thranduil–around his knees, because she is so petite.
Prince Legolas: “Ha ha ha ha ha!”
Prince Legolas bursts into laughter at seeing his father so adorned with the little princess. However, his father King Thranduil shoots him a warning glance and his son stops laughing. King Thranduil gently pats the little princess’ head and she looks up and smiles at him again. And King Thranduil smiles back at her.
King Thorin: “That is very thoughtful of you.” King Thorin acknowledges–however difficult it is for him to see good in King Thranduil.
And then, the herald opens the Throne Room doors once more and announces the next entrant to the growing more crowded Throne Room.
Herald: “Queen Sulisha of Erebor!” She had been directed where to find her husband when she had not found him in their guest staterooms.
All heads turn to the Throne Room entrance to see Queen Sulisha [(5)right] gracefully walk into the Throne Room toward her husband–whilst carrying a babe in her arms. Her demure beauty only momentarily distracting them from the puzzle she holds in her arms. Eyebrows rise in surprise–not the least of which are King Thorin’s bushy eyebrows. Everyone is waiting for an explanation of the baby.
King Thorin: “Beloved?” He quizzically looks at his wife Queen Sulisha. For Dwarven ladies are naturally plump, so it is very difficult to discern when they are with child.
Queen Sulisha: Preferring to state the obvious once, she addresses the room. “This child has just now been entrusted into my and my esteemed husband King Thorin’s care. That is, if my husband agrees.” She does not say if her king agrees, but if her husband agrees. There is a distinction there. Because she is making her request as his wife. She holds out the baby in her arms to her husband, gazing at him imploringly.
King Thorin: “From whence came this child?” He asks as he takes the baby into his arms–the important part being that in doing so he accepted the child before learning of her parentage.
Queen Sulisha: “As stated in a note tucked into her blanket, her name is Laurel and her parents have entrusted her to us because their communities would not shelter her. She is the child of an Iron Hills Dwarven father and a Laketown Human mother.” Queen Sulisha states boldly.
There are several loud gasps in the room from among the monarchs and nobles–except for King Thorin and King Thranduil.
King Thorin: “She is a mixed races child. Ah! And I can see the perfect blendings of both Dwarven and Human influences within her pleasing countenance.” King Thorin does not hesitate. “This child, Laurel, will have my protection both as her King, and as her Papa.” He states equally commandingly. Queen Sulisha beams an adoring smile for her husband’s compassion. Then his voice softens as he smiles down at the sleeping baby. “Perhaps this child will help engender greater understanding between our peoples of the Dwarven and of the Human races. For it is through understanding and mutual awareness of our common interests and respect for our differences that we begin to strengthen and to enhance our communities and our shared endeavors.”
Lord Elrond: “King Thorin, I hope that your prophesy of mutual cultural acceptance comes true.” Lord Elrond remarks sagely with a bow.
And Queen Sulisha startles at the mention of prophesy. For it was part of her prophesy that has already come true with the child being found by her and given to King Thorin.
King Thranduil: “Indeed.” Is all the Elven King Thranduil remarks.
Children of mixed races is not a topic that King Thranduil is ready to address at the moment. When even now, the Lady Constantia–his longtime amour of the past five years–is present among his Elven delegation to the Iron Hills this day, though resting in an anteroom. She is by birth a taller than an average Human who has passed as an Elven lady among his people–though she revealed herself to King Thranduil before their relationship became romantic. But his heart was already hers at that point, as was her heart his. Lady Constantia’s unexpected love, loyalty, and fidelity–along with her gentle chiding–has both endeared her to King Thranduil as well as somewhat softened his more abrasive manner. And Lady Constantia is about to issue forth their first child, which King Thranduil prays is a daughter, whom he can endlessly spoil.
But there is potential for heartbreak between King Thranduil and the Lady Constantia in that Elves are essentially immortals who live thousands of years if injury does not befall them, and humans live at most 100 years. Will their child have her father’s longevity, his immortality? And will King Thranduil once again outlive a spouse? His first wife, Prince Legolas’ mother, was killed by evil forces in the flower of her youthful beauty. And as a Human, the now thirty year old Lady Constantia will die in a mere 70 years if there is no intervention.
At already more than 4,000 years old, King Thranduil could ask the Wizards to transfer some of his immortality to Lady Constantia–but it would give her perhaps only a paltry 800 years more of life, but with her countenance and vigor remaining suspended in the prime of her years so that she and he would enjoy them. Then before her life came to its end, King Thranduil would whisk her away to the Undying Lands [(6)] to live out eternity together, with his heir Prince Legolas becoming King of the Elves.
And though the Lady Constantia is not King Thranduil’s legal wife, yet–she is his acknowledged lady partner among his peoples, them thinking that she is Elven, despite her less than pointy ears artfully hidden by her coiffure. And the birth of their child together will make Lady Constantia the wife of King Thranduil–with fecundity being highly prized among the less prolifically fertile Elves. With Elven individuals living for thousands of years, their population remains stable due to their restrained fertility.
Changing the subject back to the matter at hand and eager to gain support for his earlier layout of the tournaments and exhibits that King Thorin had switch positions on, King Dain poses a question to the Elven king who seems lost in thought. So he gets the Elven king’s attention by reverting to the formal.
King Dain: “King Thranduil, what do you think of the map of the tourney and exhibitions before you?”
King Thranduil: Studying the map closely, ponderingly touching points on the map here and there, King Thranduil remarks sanguinely. “Ah! I see that the tournament’s warrior events are located at strategic points around the outer fortress wall perimeter near the gateways–with the exhibits protectively inside the fortress walls–most sensible given the recent Orc attacks of some of your villages.” Kings Thorin’s and Dain’s eyes widen at the compliment–and King Dain knows that he will quickly have to convey the shift in locations for the venues with the tournament beginning two days hence. “We look forward to the tournament.” He smiles knowingly that his Elven archers are without compare.
With nothing more to be said and much to be accomplished, the Throne Room empties out. King Thorin and Queen Sulisha rest in their state rooms with their new baby daughter, Laurel. Prince Fili and Princess Bethelwyn steal away for a private walk in the Iron Hills Palace garden. King Thranduil and his delegation are shown to their guest staterooms in the palace and he reunites with Lady Constantia as she rests more and more these days due to her with child condition. The young Princes both Elven and Dwarven–Legolas and Kili–separately take tours of the Iron Hills fortress city and meet its peoples and their wares, especially the ladies on Prince Kili’s part. And King Dain commands the tournament arrangements be fixed to the layout that King Thorin proposed.
But it will be the tournament beginning two days hence that will decide who will be the champions, the victors–in more ways than one. And the State Banquet for all of the Dwarven, Elven, Wizard, and Human delegates and competitors the night before the Tournament opening that will yield some interesting revelations.
To be continued with Chapter 9
References for Ch. 8, November 15, 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) Thorin Oakenshield image is portrayed by Richard Armitage in The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies and was found at http://www.richardarmitagenet.com/images/gallery/Hobbit/HobbitStills/album/slides/LATimesHeroComplex-08.html
3) King Dain II Ironfoot of the Iron Hills image is of Billy Connolly in The Hobbit and was found at http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/f6613356d48bf211505d7c67b326ccaf.jpg ; for more about this Tolkien character, visit http://lotr.wikia.com/wiki/D%C3%A1in_II_Ironfoot
4) King Thranduil image is of Lee Pace and was found at https://pbs.twimg.com/media/ByeOMYRIAAIMcl8.jpg
5) Sulisha Weaverdale wedding gown is of Cate Blanchett as Galdriel found at http://images.eonline.com/eol_images/Entire_Site/20090225/425.blanchett.crowe.022509.jpg
6) The Undying Lands is a heavenly place inhabited by Elves as a retreat from life in Middle Earth and information was found at http://lotr.wikia.com/wiki/Undying_Lands
N.B. The previous blog link for Ch. 7 is: