Word Count: 693
Disclaimer: If I owned the hobbit no one would die.
Summary: One of the dwarves practices a less traditional craft.
He had never had a gift for metal.
Whatever music most dwarves heard was silent in his ears so blades turned brittle and horseshoes shattered, farm tools dulled beneath his hands. As a child he was the despair of his parents and as a youth the despair of his teacher.
Finally, he had given up and accepted that metal would never speak to him and so had fallen in with a disreputable crowd. They taught him all the skills a young dwarf needed to live on the shadowy side of the law, and when he had mastered these he said goodbye to his family and left to seek his fortune out in the wider world.
A dwarf traveling alone was met with suspicion in the towns of men and he repaid this suspicion by robbing them for all that they were worth. He made a nice enough living off of stolen bread and baubles until the day that he finally heard a crafting song.
It was a small village, barely large enough to have a market, and he was scoping out targets to hit later on that night. There was little of interest and the dwarf was about to call it a day when he turned a corner and saw a crowd around a tent. As crowds often meant rarities or at least purses to lift, he slipped through to the front and what he saw took his breath away.
There was a man in the tent, grizzled and worn, shaping molten glass on the end of a short clay tube. He blew into one end of the pipe as he rotated it and the molten blob on the other would grow and twist its form in answer.
It was a gradual process, the man pausing often to thrust the material back into his fire for reheating and using a variety of tools to slowly shape it further, but the dwarf was entranced for the glass sang to him as metal never would. It called to him to work it and promised skill and mastery while telling him of all the forms that it could take beneath his hands.
So when the man finished, detaching a small goblet from the pipe and placing it in a chamber to cool, the dwarf walked up to him through the dispersing crowd and begged to be his student. Barathir, for that was the man's name, saw the honest hunger in his eyes and he agreed; if the dwarf would travel at his side and help him with his work, then Barathir would teach him all he knew.
Months passed in travel as the two walked from town to town and the dwarf traded in his thievery for more honest work. Gradually he learned how hot to light the fires, how to hold the glass pipe, the different techniques to change the shape and texture, and perhaps most importantly which items would sell well.
The first time that the dwarf managed to finish a simple piece without a crack or flaw a craftsman's soul woke within him, a soul that had been long denied, and he threw himself even more passionately into his work.
By the time two years had ended their sales were as much the dwarf's as Barathir's and his name was gaining notice among the wealthy folk of the West. He made goblets for the Shire Thain then pitchers for the elves and with the scraps left over he made beads for women tall and fair.
As his mastery over the glass grew, the song it sang kept changing and he followed it to ever greater heights until Barathir could only marvel at his innovation.
The dwarf was searching for his masterpiece when the summons finally came but some calls cannot be ignored and so it was with a sad heart that he bid his friend farewell. There would always be a place for him should he live to claim it and until then he knew his tools were in good hands.
And when the hobbit asked him about the beads strung in his hair, Nori just smiled secretly and hummed a molten song.