[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, Julia Ormond as Mistress Ella, Claire Forlani as Lady Constantia, and Henry Cavill as Captain Laurad, 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: At the Iron Hills banquet in honor of King Thorin and Queen Thorin the night before the Tournament of Champions and booths open, baby Laurel makes her debut sitting in a basket at Queen Sulisha’s feet. This prompts a discussion of Elven children–who are not seen until they are grown up. Yet seeing his Lady Constantia’s pleading eyes after their baby kicked in her womb and she placed his hand there so he could feel it, too, King Thranduil relented somewhat. And King Thorin requested that King Dain’s personal guard Captain Laurad accompany them home–under the guise of training King Thorin’sguards, but really to reunite the Captain with his wife Eleanor (Mistress Ella) and their baby daughter Laurel. Though King Dain does not grant King Thorin’s request, all is not decided, yet.
“Thorin’s Journey: An Unexpected Love”, Ch. 11: Husbands
As guests of the Iron Hills King Dain, repair to their state guest suites and rooms after the tournament eve banquet, the Iron Hills Palace becomes even more of a hive of comings and goings before its inhabitants take their daily slumber.
King Thranduil and his very pregnant soon to be Queen the Lady Constantia return to their guest state suite to rest since she is experiencing the baby kicking for the first time. Removing his spikey crown, King Thranduil feels a lightened burden, but he still retains his regal bearing as he worriedly gazes [(2)right] at his Lady Constantia. And though King Thranduil had been a husband long ago before he was widowed when his son Legolas’ mother was killed by evil, he is rusty at performing the niceties of being a husband. So Lady Constantia has to help guide him in that regard.
After their attendants help them change into their night clothes–consisting of thin pants for King Thranduil and a silken sleeveless shift for Lady Constantia–the couple lies in each others’ arms in bed chatting.
King Thranduil: Concerned for Lady Constantia’s and their baby’s well being, he asks solicitously. “Are you well, my dear? Has the baby stopped kicking within you?”
Lady Constantia: With a bemused smile, she replies. “Yes and no.” She places his hand upon her rounded and expanding belly once more and King Thranduil feels the baby kick.
King Thranduil: He smiles, then frowns. “Is this baby movement unusual? Should I send for a physician, My Love?” He asks worriedly.
Lady Constantia: “It is usual, I am told. But given that this child is of royal Elven blood, perhaps he or she is expressing their wish to be pampered and worshiped and regarded with awe.” Lady Constantia teases.
King Thranduil: “Awe? Do you think that is my goal, My Lady?” King Thranduil pouts.
Lady Constantia: “Perhaps not. But then, you achieve it with your naturally awe inspiring presence.” She smiles in sincerity.
King Thranduil: “Hmmm.” King Thranduil nods appeased. Then he reconsiders. “But what of your charge of royals being pampered?” He charges
Widening her eyes and burrowing her gaze at King Thranduil as she leans across his bare muscular chest, Lady Constantia smirks with mirth.
Lady Constantia: “My King, you have a person dedicated to maintaining the lustrously silky appearance of your long blond locks. Is that not the very definition of pampering?” She flicks King Thranduil’s long single braid that he wears to sleep at night and prevent tangles.
King Thranduil: “I am King and, therefore, keeping my appearance at my best is my paying my respects to our people.”
Lady Constantia: “Yes, of course, Sire.” She nods with a shy smile. But the framing of his response–our people–renews her worries.
King Thranduil: “And yet, I sense that you did not like my statement?” He queries with a bemused smile.
Lady Constantia dissembles, because it would not do for her to appear weak before him. He is King and she is his Consort–with all of the protocol and etiquette that status requires.
Lady Constantia: “It is not my place to like or dislike your reasoning, Sire.”
King Thranduil: “Woman, you will drive me mad, if you do not clarify your remarks.” He is slightly annoyed that he must ask her to tell him her innermost thoughts, since she does not do so readily. Everyone else speaks to him with concise and direct replies. With her, he must cajole and elicit. Such is the way of lovers, he thinks to himself with a small smile.
Lady Constantia: “Ohhh! It is just that when you refer to the Elven people–our people–I feel … left out, because I am not Elven.” Her face droops, despite her best efforts not to let him see her sadness.
King Thranduil: Embracing her more tenderly, King Thranduil kisses Lady Constantia’s forehead. “Your not being Elven is not an impediment.”
Lady Constantia: “Yet, we do not reveal my true Human heritage for fear that your people, the Elven people, will not accept me and censure you–and ultimately, deleteriously affect our blended races child yet to be born.”
King Thranduil: “I have no qualms about what my brethren Elves think of me. I am their King and they will bow to my commands. I am only concerned for your contentment and for your safety, My Love.” Then he adds ominously. “Yet, there are forces which might seek to exploit our union to their own nefarious advantage. I will not see you distressed by it.”
Lady Constantia: “The point will be moot in twenty years or more anyway–when I age in my appearance. Whereas you, will remain young and vigorous looking as you are now.” She says sadly as she searches his 4,000 year old face for traces of aging–and finds none but the silver distinguishing his bushy brows.
King Thranduil: “My Love, I told you that when the time comes five years from now, we will undergo the transference ritual–and I will gift you with 800 years or more of life with only a minor imposition upon my own mortality.”
Lady Constantia: She shakes her head in incredulity. “I cannot fathom living that long. Surely, you will tire of me after fifty years of marriage –or at least by 100 years of marriage.” She shakes her head.
King Thranduil: “Nay! Never! You are my precious wife–more dear to me than all the stars in the heavens.” King Thranduil gently kisses her lips as she smiles contentedly. Then laying his hand upon her rounded belly, he smiles and then he leans over to speak to his child in her womb. “You must not distress your Mama so. For it is the only reason that I can think of for her not wanting a measure of immortality. Now be a good girl and sleep for your Mama.” He pats their baby in Lady Constantia’s six months pregnant belly once more, then he smiles back at his Lady with such a winning smile that her concerns are washed away.
Lady Constantia: “So you proclaim our coming child to be a daughter?” He nods with a knowing smile. “Is there some magic that you possess–the gift of sight, perhaps–foretelling our futures?”
King Thranduil: “Partly … and partly because we royals like to have our own way.” He smirks. “And as you know, I already have a son in Prince Legolas, I would now like a daughter.”
Lady Constantia: “And you say that you are not pampered nor coddled.” Her eyebrow raises in mock contempt as mirth curls upon her lips.
King Thranduil: Rolling Lady Constantia to her side in their bed, King Thranduil kisses her tenderly. “I may be pampered, but I am not coddled.” His kisses move down to caressing her neck, and then he kisses her mouth again as she eagerly clings to him in their passionate embrace.
Lady Constantia: “Hhhhh! A fine distinction, to be sure. Hh hh hh!” She pants with longing. “And what pampering are you requesting this night?” She smiles coquettishly.
King Thranduil: “That you allow me to adore you.” King Thranduil’s voice and gaze smoulder lovingly at her.
Lady Constantia: “And who am I to deny you your wish? Adore away, My Love. Adore away.” And Lady Contantia gives herself up to her beloved’s loving ministrations this night.
In the Dwarven wing of guest state suites this night, another royal couple confers. Before placing a now sleeping baby Laurel in her crib in Mistress Ella’s guest room in their guest suite, King Thorin and Queen Sulisha cradle the baby in their arms whilst sitting by the fire on a plushly cushioned settee.
King Thorin: “It is a blessing that baby Laurel’s feedings put her to sleep. Her wailing would keep us up all night if it did not.” King Thorin observes ruefully. He has not the experience of babes that other Dwarven men of his age do. Even when his nephews Prince Fili and Prince Kili were babes, he only saw them at their happiest and most content.
Queen Sulisha: “Laurel is a baby, Thorin. Her wailing is the only way she knows to get attention. She is not so dissimilar to your bellowing in that respect.”
King Thorin: King Thorin jumps up from the settee and paces the room. “Bellowing? I am not a bellower! When have I ever bellowed?” King Thorin bellows as he huffily walks back toward her [(3) right] . The sight of him is arresting–all muscular definition that isonly enhanced by the soft glow of the firelight.
Queen Sulisha: “I will have to ponder that.” She smiles to herself. “Now may I tell you of my recent vision?” She is at pains to redirect his focus.
King Thorin: “Yes, of course.” He instantly sits next to her again. “I did not realize you had another vision. Was it about the tournament? Will our Dwarven competitors trounce our opponents?”
Queen Sulisha: “That I do not know. The visions I have are not so specific. They foretell of possibilities–not necessarily what is ordained to come. You are still the controller of your destiny. I only saw you in a fierce battle and then also me bringing a small bundle to you.” Queen Sulisha lifts baby Laurel in her arms. “I believe that baby Laurel fulfills part of that prophesy, though I do not know to what purpose the baby will serve. But I worry for your safety in battle or even in the tournament games.”
King Thorin: “I am not engaged to compete in the tourney starting tomorrow.” He looks at her quizzically. “Yet King Dain also mentioned a looming battle. To what do you each refer, My Love?”
Queen Sulisha: Closing her eyes, she sees the vision again that was sparked by the weaver Magalin’s tapestry skirt. “I see, … I see old enemies clashing. It is life and death–not play sport.”
King Thorin: Taking umbrage at that characterization, King Thorin bristles. “Honing our battle skills with training and tournaments is a serious endeavor. We must be ready to fight in war–for if we do not fight, we will die.” King Thorin intones portentously.
Queen Sulisha: Clapping her right hand to center upon her forehead, Queen Sulisha quickly admonishes. “Do not speak of death so blithely. To ignore the foreboding of my visions could have disastrous consequences!” She appeals to him urgently. “Please, please, please be safe! I can not bear to lose you now.”
King Thorin: “Nor can I bear to lose you now, Beloved.” He soothes. “I will heed your warnings. If war can be avoided, we will do that. But we will not shrink from our duties should a war become imminent.”
Queen Sulisha: “But you said, yourself, that you did not see a war looming upon the horizon. And with Dwarven and Elven, and even Human peoples getting along for the tournament, what could divide them so to cause war.”
King Thorin: Wanting to soothe her fears, but also not wanting to condescend, King Thorin, reveals. “It is not a war between Dwarves and Elves or Humans that I fear. It is a war with other malingering entities that have lain dormant for far too long. Their evil absence has perhaps made us complacent. We should not be so. But remain ever vigilant.”
Queen Sulisha thinks upon what her husband has said as she returns baby Laurel to her mother, Mistress Ella for the night. Then Queen Sulisha returns to lie beside her husband–who is not at all sleepy, to her and his delight.
As Mistress Ella gazes at he sleeping baby now lying in her crib after Queen Sulisha placed her there, a large hulking figure moves stealthily toward them in their darkened bed chamber down the hall from the Dwarven King Thorin and his Queen Sulisha. Sensing the presence behind her, she is just about to turn to face it when a hand clamps over her mouth and bids her to be quiet. He speaks firmly, but quietly
Captain Laurad: “Eleanor, it is I, Laurad.”
Kissing his palm now moving away from her face, Mistress Ella–Eleanor–turns a smiling face to her husband and responds in a hushed whisper so as not to wake their baby.
Eleanor: “You have come at last! I knew you would.”
Eleanor gazes upon her handsome husband in the dark nightfall of her bedchamber [(4) right] –their baby sleeping in her crib. They fall into each others’ loving arms, kissing and embracing–eager to reunite as husband and wife. And for a time, their words are not needed as they undress and tumble into Eleanor’s bed and make love. But then afterward as they cuddle together in bed, they give voice to their hearts’ yearnings.
Captain Laurad: Kissing his wife’s dear forehead, he marvels. “I could not believe it when I heard that you had so boldly offered our baby to Queen Sulisha and King Thorin for her protection.”
Eleanor: “I was desperate! As I told Queen Sulisha, my village’s elders were determined to punish us for not being full blooded Dwarven. I had to get Laurel to safety. And I hoped that providence would shine upon us if I brought her to you. Then when I heard of the royal visit by King Thorin and his bride Queen Sulisha, my plans altered to take a chance upon their benevolence. They are truly kind and just.”
Captain Laurad: “It was a masterstroke! You and Laurel will be safe now, always.”
Eleanor: “And what of you, My Love? Can you not come with us to King Thorin’s Erebor Court in Exile?”
Captain Laurad: “King Thorin had broached such a scheme to King Dain–under the ruse that I would escort them safely home and then stay some months to train their guards.”
Eleanor: “And?” She asks hopefully.
Captain Laurad: “King Dain dismissed the request out of hand–him claiming to King Thorin that my loyalty to him extended even to me forgoing have a family.” He relays ruefully.
Eleanor: “But you have a family–the baby and I. Surely King Dain would not begrudge you having our family, when he so dotes upon his own daughter, Princess Bethelwyn.”
Captain Laurad: “Sadly, he does not see it that way. Dain is King here. I do not have a say in what direction my life will take. It was selfish of me to marry you in secret–then not give you the life that you deserve.”
Eleanor: “Do you regret us, Laurad?” She asks warily. Though her Dwarven weaver adopted father’s vision foretold that their baby would bridge the gap between the Dwarven and the Human peoples, that has yet to come to pass.
Captain Laurad: “Never! Never do I regret loving you both. You are my two joys! But I wish that I could be a proper husband to you. It is I who should be your and baby Laurel’s guardian–not King Thorin and Queen Sulisha. Though, I am very grateful for their extending their protection to you and to baby Laurel.”
Eleanor: “Perhaps King Thorin will try again to convince King Dain to loan you to him.”
Captain Laurad: “Perhaps. But though being apart from you is a torment, my constant hope is that you both remain safe and well. If I must love you from a distance to keep you safe, that deprivation I will gladly endure.”
Eleanor: “And my hope is that we can one day be a true family.” She tears up. The strain has been had on her.
Captain Laurad: “That is my hope, as well, Beloved. Now let us sleep a few hours before I must away to my duties.”
Eleanor: Clinging to him, she pleads. “Laurad, please do not leave me without saying goodbye.”
Captain Laurad: “I will not leave like a thief in the night. I will waken you.” He smiles tenderly at her.
Eleanor: “And will you come to us again before we must leave here with King Thorin and Queen Sulisha?”
Captain Laurad: “If it is in my power to do so, I will.” He promises. “Come, let us sleep, My Beloved.”
Eleanor sleepily nods her head as she rests it upon his bare muscular chest. If they have only tonight, then they will cherish their meager time together. And in time, they will also cherish the coming of their son that their love has conceived this night.
And somewhere in the Iron Hills Palace garden, a young and impetuous Dwarven Prince and a beautiful but brash Dwarven Princess are taking an unchaperoned and unauthorized midnight stroll. Their purpose is romantic, yes, but also of inevitable practicalities–such as where they will live as a married couple. Prince Fili and Princess Bethelwyn are speaking upon all manner of subjects as they get to know each other better as a potentially betrothed couple. And he will compete in the Tournament games upon the morrow, and she will cheer on her champion.
To be continued with Chapter 12
References for Ch. 11, December 12, 2015 Gratiana Lovelace (Post #843)
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) King Thranduil is Lee Pace found at pinterest at https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/236x/91/11/78/91117870d62f898d2a7cefaacbcc4ad6.jpg
3) King Thorin drawing (Grati decreased blue to simulate firelight) is by the talented artist Aegileif and was found at http://www.deviantart.com/art/Thorin-410300632
4) This image is a composite of: a) Captain Laurad in leather image is that of Henry Cavill as Charles Brandon in The Tudors –courtesy of the Heny Cavil Fan Page and Showtime network, found at Pinterest at https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/236x/81/d2/b2/81d2b26bb893588c2077fcab772dc920.jpg ; and b) Ella’s Iron Palace bed chamber with crib for baby Laural was found at https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/0/04/2008-04-12_Freilichtmuseum_Detmold_%2811%29.jpg
N.B. The previous blog link for Ch. 10 is: