Epilogue: In Which a Mountain Burns
Pairings: Azog/Fíli & Smaug/Kíli/Bilbo
Word Count: 2587 (20,796 total)
Disclaimer: If I owned the hobbit no one would die
Summary: Fíli and Kíli are soul-mates, but have different names over their hearts.
In Which Mahal Makes a Choice
In Which Soulmates Are Not Lovers
In Which Flowers Are a Language
In Which Defiling is Done
In Which a Dragon Finds His Heart
Over the years that followed, Erebor became known far and wide as a kingdom in which you could prosper, if you were only brave enough to try. For along with the rumors of wealth and riches there were the other rumors, the ones that made respectable dwarves shudder and travelers lose their nerve.
It was whispered that Smaug the Terrible still dwelled within the Lonely Mountain and ate dwarves as a sacrifice for his protection, that orcs prowled the kingdom's deepest halls and that the entire royal family rode on the backs of wargs. Yet despite this cloud of suspicion, Erebor's population swelled with new arrivals for many found that the lure of wealth outweighed any rumored danger and the odd were always looking for a place where they'd belong.
Those dwarves who came to find new lives discovered that King Thorin accepted any who were loyal and hard-working and that his heirs were just as strange as gossip claimed, bound by Mahal twice over as no dwarf had ever been before.
The elder prince was rarely seen without his pale white shadow, the Defiler striding at his side, and few were truly comfortable beneath Azog's yellow stare. In turn the younger was married to a hobbit who seemed to be a soft and useless creature until one made him angry and the couple spent their nights sleeping by the dragon's side.
However, one could get used to anything eventually and as the years passed the people of the Lonely Mountain stopped thinking of their princes and their karûdulganaz as any weirder than the rest. It became normal to see Smaug flying from the battlements, Bilbo and Kíli often mounted on his back. No one blinked when Azog laughed or leaned down to kiss Fíli's teasing mouth, though many of them still trembled when he grinned.
As the princes were still together more often than apart, the guards would just wave when they rode out to hunt in the replanted forest, warg pack running at their side. These wargs were perhaps the most difficult creatures for many to accept since most dwarves rarely encountered Smaug or Azog, but were always in danger of turning a corner to see glowing yellow eyes.
Yet it was hard to remain afraid of the wargs when the royal advisers played with them like pets and the beasts treated the dwarves' children like their own cubs. No one forgot that the creatures had been bred for death and destruction, but as long as they protected Erebor the mountain's residents were glad to have them and indeed nothing aided difficult negotiations like the warg snarling at Thorin's feet.
All of this became ordinary and soon any visitor that balked was corrected firmly by the dwarves of Lonely Mountain. Their King had done quite well by them and they'd hear no word against his kin especially not when Mahal's blessing marked them clearly.
While the Valar's choices were odd, none could deny that Thorin's heirs were happy and few wished to challenge this pillar of their faith. Thus those dwarves who refused to accept the princes' relationships as valid soon found themselves run out of Erebor, and any others with doubts quickly learned to hold their tongues.
So life went on and it was good for many years. After the rout of the goblins, Bard of Laketown found his courage and asked permission to rebuild the ancient city of Dale at the Lonely Mountain's feet. While the men had been hoping to see the dragon slain, they had already lived in Smaug's shadow for generations and many of them decided that the chance of wealth was worth the risk. Thorin granted this request for he recognized the need for allies and before long another kingdom was rising from the ashes of its destruction. Even Thranduil eventually relented and while he would not visit the mountain when Smaug was there, trade with the Mirkwood was soon booming once again.
Meanwhile the five who caused such consternation among strangers rarely paid it any mind because they were busy with their own lives. The princes and their consorts fulfilled their royal duties well, holding court next to their uncle as they learned the work of ruling and soon learned to take advantage of Azog's toothy smile when resolving tense disputes.
During their free time, the small company went hunting and exploring across the land, either on the backs of wargs or on the dragon's wings. When the weather was nice, Bilbo dragged Kíli out on picnics and let him show off his archery, while Fíli spent hours forging his orc a gleaming mithril hand.
Every year or two, Azog took his warg pack and went traveling, looking for others of his race who wished to choose a different path. Although his success was limited, over time he gathered followers and so there were a few orcs now working in the deeps of Erebor. During these trips, Fíli remained behind as necessary and he'd curl up next to his brother and his mates, the warm presence of his umùradulganaz helping to pass the lonely nights.
Kíli did the same when Smaug and Bilbo flew back to the Shire so that the hobbit could reclaim Bag End, sleeping wrapped around Fíli as he had when they were children until the day that his karûdulganaz came home.
In the end, the hobbit was glad that he made the trip despite the difficulty of this separation because Bilbo could not bear the thought of his family home in the hands of the Sackville-Bagginses and they were close to claiming it when he arrived. So with Smaug's aid the hobbit kicked his relatives out and gathered up the heirlooms that he most desired before asking the Thain to hold Bag End in trust for the next fauntling orphaned young. Before leaving again, the hobbit also placed a small chest of gold in the cellar and at the fire-drake's request, he tossed his magic ring on top.
While something within Bilbo revolted at the idea of letting the ring slip through his hands, Smaug said that it smelled of foul sorcery and in his heart the hobbit knew that he was right. For as soon as they left the mountain, nightmares had come to haunt Bilbo's sleeping mind, dreams of conquest and destruction which whispered that the hobbit could rule the world with his dragon burning at his side.
Yet he had seen enough of blood and so despite the struggle it took to remove it from his pocket, it was actually a relief to leave the ring behind. Besides Bilbo had a much greater treasure waiting for him back in Erebor and his actions made Smaug happy; the hobbit would have paid a much greater price than one small ring to keep that peace.
For not even Mahal's Blessing could stop the group from fighting now and then and the bonds between their karûd often just made their words cut deeper. Yet eventually they learned to deal with it, to resolve their arguments before they went too far and the fire-drake torched another hall.
When it became too much to stand, Fíli and Kíli would spend some nights away from the mountain to fight and vent and just be brothers, and they were always much happier when they returned. Their lovers in turn got quite good at pinocle and talked out their issues over vicious hands of cards which Bilbo always seemed to win. Azog was sure that he was cheating somehow and he gained great admiration for the bravery it took to deceive a dragon.
However, they huddled close together within Smaug's protective claws when the worst shock came, the day they realized that all of them were aging at the dragon's glacial rate. This was both miracle and disaster because while the thought of surrendering their karûdulganaz to time was far too much to bear, neither of the dwarves wanted to rule on in perpetuity as all they knew was lost.
Yet how could they step down and let Dáin claim their family's kingdom? Dáin who still dreamed of being named the Dragonslayer.
The group held these worries close to their heart while they struggled to find an answer for they did not wish to make others share their burden. But they came no closer to an solution because neither Smaug nor Azog could accept another touching what was theirs. So the day Thorin announced that he had decided to remarry in a political alliance, his nephews were filled with a wary hope and they cheered with the rest when he chose a proud dwarf woman whose umùrad was as broken as his own.
Everyone knew that this was not a love match but Mahal blessed their lonely hearts nonetheless and Thorin's lady bore a son marked with Dwalin's daughter's name. The celebration lasted for a week as the kingdom rejoiced that the line of Durin would go on, and the princes were the happiest of them all for now they were free to leave when the weight of time demanded.
Yet though it seemed that this new golden age of Erebor would last forever, this was not the case and they watched as a darkness appeared to spread across the land. While this evil did not yet dare to challenge the Lonely Mountain, tales came from their far kin that spoke of foul creatures in the deeps and war upon the land and Thorin warned his nephews that they could not stand alone forever.
Thus, when Rivendell called the free peoples of Middle Earth together, the Lonely Mountain answered and the Council of Elrond was interrupted by a late arrival.
“We may not be able to walk into Mordor but we can fly, and I would defy even Sauron to keep us from Mount Doom.” A deep voice said and everyone turned to look at the dwarf striding down the steps, an armored hobbit at his side.
Many eyes widened in recognition but not all, and it was Boromir of Gondor who frowned down at them and scoffed. “And who are you to promise such a thing? I have seen the might of Mordor and it should not be so easily dismissed.”
“Kíli, son of Jíli, at your service. This is my kurdulganaz Bilbo Baggins and we are here to represent the King Under the Mountain. We would have been here yesterday but we were unavoidably detained. Did you know that there was a balrog in the depths of Khazad-dûm?”
“There was a balrog?”
“Yes. It seems that even shadow and flame can be burned by dragon fire so Durin's Bane has slunk back into the dark to lick its wounds while Balin son of Fundin is now crowned Lord of Moria.”
These words caused a great hue and cry among the members of the Council as those who knew of the couple muttered and those who didn't wondered just what was going on. However, eventually Elrond and Gandalf raised their voices together and got the din to cease.
“We will discuss the situation in Moria later, but today we are here to speak of the Ring. Kíli, I believe you had something to add?”
“Yes, he plans to magically grow wings and fly over Sauron's defenses as though they were not there.” Boromir interjected sarcastically, but the dwarf just grinned as the hobbit leaped to speak against this slight.
“I see that you haven't heard of us. Are the Stewards of Gondor taught so little now or are you a special case?” The man sputtered angrily as Bilbo continued in a slightly softer tone.
“Nevertheless, I suppose we can forgive your ignorance since there are so many rumors of our lives these days, and the truth can easily be dismissed if you have not seen it for yourself. But while we do not take Mordor lightly, we also do not lie. If this Council will allow it, Kíli and I will fly my old ring to Mount Doom so that it may be destroyed and the evil of Sauron be wiped from Middle Earth.”
Despite his words, the men did not lose their disbelief and the argument continued to rage on until Kíli finally lost his temper and called Smaug to make his point. The dragon dropped from the sky and landed delicately in the clearing without damaging house or flower as he wrapped possessively around his living hoard. He had only grown over the years and at the sight of him crouching there, mithril armor gleaming on his chest, all objections died.
“Let us take the high road to strike swift and sure at the heart of our enemy before Sauron knows that we are there. My brother waits outside Rivendell with Azog and his pack and they will travel low with any who will join them, sweeping East to protect the people and end Saruman's choking hold upon the land.
We do not have time for old hatred and divisions anymore and if you choose to look only to your own defenses then each of your kingdoms will fall in turn as the might of Mordor overwhelms your people. Your lands will run red with the blood of your slain, unless we break Sauron's power now.”
No one could argue with the truth of Kíli's words and so the next morning a fellowship left Rivendell to act as a decoy to draw Sauron's watchful eye. The elder dwarf prince and his warg pack met the companions at the border and traveled by their side.
While many of the fellowship were wary of this alliance, the beasts appreciated the exercise and Azog found great joy in proving himself superior to Saruman's fighting Uruk-Hai. In truth, the pale orc and the warg pack saved their companions more than once and so by the time the last foe fell, there were stranger friendships formed than that between Legolas of Mirkwood and his dwarf.
However, while the War of the Ring was a war in truth, it was not one that devoured kingdoms for its most important battle was fought on dragon wing. When Nazgul met fire-drake in the skies above Mount Doom, the clouds blazed as the dark knights of Mordor finally met their match. The battle raged for hours as the Nine fought One and his karûdulganaz, but when the last body fell it was Smaug who roared triumphant in the end.
So the Ring was returned to the mountain from whence it came and its destruction buried Mordor beneath the fires of Mount Doom. Its bearers became the stuff of history and of legend, as did all those who stood against the darkness to fight for the fate of Middle Earth. But only the dwarves knew the truth behind the myth and remembered two young princes who had the courage to choose the harder path and look past their old hatreds to find an unexpected love.
Only the dwarves knew that this courage was what made them heroes, not their name or blood or some forgotten virtue, and it was the bonds of kurdu and umùrad that gave them the strength to confront the source of evil and with Mahal's Blessing triumph.
But only Durin's Folk, the Sigin-tarâg, knew that the Princes of Erebor still lived, spending out their days in happiness and laughter with the ones who made their hearts complete.
umùrad/umùrâd - soul/souls
kurdu/karûd - heart/hearts
umùradulganaz - soul of god's origin
kurdulganaz - heart of god's origin