Stubborn As Stone |
Summary: Gimilís mother wonders about the changes in her son.
Hlin walked slowly down the hallway heading toward the spiral stairs that led to the floor above. The walls of the Fifth Deep were comprised of greenschist, glittering faintly in the dim light of the lamps set in scones every ten paces. Hlin did not need them; she could have made her way from the top of the mansion to its depths blindfolded. The Lonely Mountain was delved with seven levels, an auspicious number. She intended to go up to the Third Deep to purchase some gold broidery wire from Freyr so she might compete the tunic Dwalin had commissioned her to create.
Dwalin was her husbandís cousin, a prosperous pigment trader who a variety of craftsmen contracted with for rare and exotic colors: painters, dyers, glaziers and enamellers. Hlin was pleased to have the custom of such an august Dwarf as Dwalin. She was determent to craft the perfect brooch to demonstrate her skill as a broideress. Hlin let her feet guide her up the staircase to the Forth Deep where the Gate of Erebor that was the main entrance to the Kingdom under the Mountain led into the massive Great Hall.
One could not tell that the grand hall had once been a dragonís den.
The six bays were formed by columns inset with mosaics and gold plated chandeliers hung from the groin vaulted ceiling that rose more than twelve body lengths overhead. The floor was paved with flags of green marble while the once blackened walls were faced with ashlar courses three body lengths high. The pale green sandstone had been quarried in the Iron Hills and imported at great expense. The veneer pleasantly offset the dark floor and upper walls which were a grey-green granite hornblende that comprised much of the upper mountain.
The hall was near empty this early in the morning.
Hlin walked by the archways that led to the galleries where tradesmen sold their wares to Men and Elves as well as to their own kindred. As she passed by the Great Chamber of Thrůr, Hlin could smell the food that was being prepared in kitchens. Towards the back of the hall were the lavishly appointed chambers for the emissaries and traders from Dale, Esgaroth and Mirkwood to stay. Gimli was there, sharing a suite with the son of Thranduil rather than in his room in their apartment. Hlin hesitated, seized by a sudden desire to see if her son was yet awake.
They had quarreled last night; Glůin had pleaded for calm but she and Gimli had been in no temper to listen.
Why would her son wish to petition the aldermen to allow an Elf into their quarters in the Sixth Deep? Even when the galleries had been brimming with Men during the siege last spring, none had been allowed to venture past the Forth Deep. Such a thing had not happened since the gemsmiths of Khazad-dŻm were friendly with the Noldor of Ost-in-Edhil in the Second Age. Gimli had stormed out of the parlor, declaring he would rather spend the night with his friend. Her son had inherited Hlinís obstinacy as well as her auburn hair.
Her father was a gemsmith; perhaps that was where Gimli had received his love stone, though he was more interested in marble and slate than in Mahalís jewels. Hlin had seen this love of when they had dwelt in the Blue Mountains before reclaiming Erebor. Gimli had ben but a child yet he had loved to watch the masons split stone with plug and feathers then dress it with hammer and chisel. Glůin had ensured Gimli was apprenticed to the best stonemason among Durinís folk as soon as he came of age. Her sonís skill was great and his passion for his craft was as admirable.
Yet she never though he would forsake his kin for such a love.
Not only did Gimli desire to bring an Elf deep within the Mountain, the boy wanted to leave the mansion to found his own delf in some mountain far to the South. Listening to Gimli describe the Glittering Caves, Hlin knew her sonís heart was taken. Still, she had reminded Gimli of his duty. He was a direct descendant from Durin the Deathless and in line to be the King under the Mountain. King Thorin III had named Glůin his heir the day his father, King Dain Ironfoot, was slain before the gates seven months past. For Thorin had a young daughter but no son as yet.
Hlinís greatest disappointments in life were that she and her husband had not been gifted with more children and that Gimli had yet found no wife. It was not for lack of suitors. As the son of an alderman and prosperous silversmith, he had no dearth of admirers. Yet her son had not found his heart stirred by any. She and Glůin had even encouraged Gimli to ply his craft in the Blue Mountains for a time, dwelling in the mansion of the Firebeards, in hopes that he would find a wife as his father had long ago. Yet he had returned after a decade in the Ered Luin still a bachelor.
How was he to find a wife founding a delf hundreds of leagues away from any mansion?
Hlin had been wroth when Glůin and his apprentices had returned from Rivendell without Gimli. Laying in their bed at night, her husband had confided to her the truth about the journey her son had undertaken. She had been so proudÖ and terrified. For what chance did such a quest have of succeeding? Then, in the months after the Battle of Dale when they knew that Sauron had been defeated, she had stoically endured the lack of news as to Gimliís fate. When envoys from Gondor had delivered the messaged that her son yet lived, Hlin had wept with joy.
Yet, now it was as if her son had returned a different person. He was prepared to neglect his duty to his people. And he was good friends with an Elf! The son of the Elvenking, no less. His quest had changed him, somehow. Hlin decided that she would speak with Gimil again today. She would remain calm and attempt to bring her son to his senses. Yet, as she made her way up the staircase to the Third Deep, Hlin knew in her heart that Gimli would not relent. There was one aspect of her son that had not changed: he was still as stubborn as the stone he loved.