- Work in Progress
- Discussion - Other Trigger Topics
- Alternate Universe
- Fix It
Chapter Two B
“What’s that room there?” Bilbo asked as they passed through their bedchamber; the white oak doors on the western wall were unadorned and firmly shut.
“The Carven Stone Nursery,” Thorin revealed. “It’s barren, at the moment, because I had all the décor my grandfather selected stripped out. It was… disquieting, to say the least. I did not wish to do ant further redecoration without your input.”
Bilbo leaned his head against Thorin’s arm in a silent display of gratitude, “I love you.”
“As I love you.”
Thorin kissed his head and then they exited into the parlour – to find the whole of the Company waiting for them.
“Idadith!” Kíli exclaimed and then Bilbo’s arms were full of a sobbing Dwarf prince, Kíli clinging to him with all his, not inconsiderable, strength.
Bilbo held on to his nephew tightly, perfectly cognizant of the fact that Thorin’s quick reaction and sturdy presence at his back was all that was keeping the pair of them upright, “Kíli!”
“I’m so sorry,” Kíli wept, visibly trembling.
“What in the Green Lady’s name do you have to be sorry for, Little Raven?” Bilbo questioned in bewilderment.
“Word came from Gondor an hour ago,” Fíli spoke, prompting Bilbo to look up at the pale face of his elder nephew, “A letter from King Aragorn, detailing a very dangerous journey that was undertaken to destroy Sauron by one Bilbo Baggins of the Shire.”
Which rather explained why Bilbo’s Dwarven kin looked so shaken and distraught. Many of them seemed to be holding back tears of their own – Nori looked murderous and Óin practically apoplectic; Dori and Bombur appeared to be on the verge of nervous fits. Their reactions were certainly not what Bilbo had been hoping for, to say the least.
“Is it true,” Ori asked, fiddling with his Collar – platinum and a rainbow of gemstones designed to mimic ink splotches – with one hand and holding onto Dwalin with the other.
“The ring I found in the Goblin tunnels was the One Ring,” Bilbo confirmed in a calm voice that was entirely calculated, “And I did cast it into Mount Doom. I won’t lie and say it was easy, but I survived and now I’m back.”
“You were alone,” Kíli cried, “We should have been with you.”
“No,” Bilbo retorted at once, sharply enough that it got Kíli to look at him directly. “No, Kíli, you should not have been. I knew that all of you were safe and far, far away from Sauron’s touch. If I hadn’t known that… I would have failed. You were exactly where you needed to be, ensuring that I had a home and family to return to. So there’s no need to be sorry or feel guilty.”
“Your parents went after you,” Kíli pointed out, the words a shade petulant, “And your grandparents and siblings and Gandalf.”
“Facts that I was blissfully unaware of until all was said and done,” Bilbo rejoined. “In any other circumstances, I would have been bolstered by your presence, Kee. But, with the Ring… having to fear for your lives would have been a torment that I could not have borne. Do you understand?”
“I think so,” Kíli hiccupped and then added tetchily, “You’re not allowed to leave again.”
Bilbo nuzzled Kíli’s nose, “I don’t intend to. I’m properly sick of travelling and, besides, you promised it would take a decade to show me all the wonders of Erebor. My schedule is rather full for years, I should say.”
Kíli’s grin was blinding, “You’re going to love everything, Idadith. There’s so much to see.”
The rest of the Company were starting to seem marginally happier as well, so Bilbo figured that he ought to continue steering the conversation away from his escapades in the south.
“You accepted Tauriel’s Collar,” Bilbo gestured approvingly to the interlocking Ithildin arrows that perfectly ringed Kíli’s neck and were studded with hundreds of tiny grey and black diamonds in a color-sliding pattern.
The Collar practically radiated protective Elven magic – Tauriel had to have expended a great deal of energy to fashion the Ithildin into a solid and permanent shape for Kíli. Bilbo had only seen non-liquid Ithildin a few times before and always in the hands of very powerful Elves.
“A few days after the Battle. I thought Uncle would protest, but he just sighed at me and named Tauriel a High Lady of Erebor,” Kíli announced shamelessly, eliciting a huff from Thorin. “Yes, Uncle, just like that. He said we cannot start Courting until we’ve been together for a year, which I don’t think is fair because Fee gets to marry Sigrid and he hasn’t Collared her at all.”
“You’re getting married?” Bilbo turned to Fíli in delight, noticing the Courting and Betrothal Beads in his golden hair for the first time.
Ten bright orbs, which must have been Ereborian Cave Pearls, were connected by an intricate net of fine gold chains on the left side of Fíli’s head. Displayed proudly in front of these was a crystal disk with a thin braid of gold inside – a lock of Sigrid’s hair, Bilbo realized. Hair was sacred to Dwarrow, so Sigrid gifting Fíli with strands of hers was a bold promise that Bilbo thoroughly approved of.
“In two weeks, on Durin’s Day,” Fíli confirmed.
“Oh, how marvelous!” Bilbo exclaimed, pulling him into a hug. “I’m so happy for you, Little Lion. I’ll have to find you both a proper present.”
“You’re here,” Fíli replied, tapping his forehead against Bilbo’s with all due care, “That is the best gift I could hope to receive, Idadith. You’re really here.”
Fíli’s words acted like a catalyst, dissolving the lingering melancholy and bursting open a dam of raucous cheering. The next several minutes of Bilbo’s existence consisted of an abundance of heartfelt embraces and a charming cacophony of ‘welcome home’s and ‘I missed you’s and the reaffirmation of the kinship betwixt him and his Dwarrow. Surrounded by the family he had chosen, Bilbo felt the last of the shredded bits of his soul start to knit themselves back into place.
He was finally home.
“Yer so light,” Glóin commented, setting Bilbo back on his feet after spinning him around.
“I may have lost a bit of weight.”
“A lot of weight,” Thorin corrected, but mildly, “He needs to eat.”
“Aye, and he’s to go straight to the Healing Halls after Luncheon for an examination,” Óin declared.
Bilbo, rather wisely, chose not to protest.
“This is yours, by the way,” Bofur announced, passing Sting over to Bilbo with a smirk.
Bilbo grimaced in understanding, “You lot went to Thorin’s study first, didn’t you?”
“Yep,” Nori said, popping the ‘p’ and grinning like a Fauntling who had managed to sneak away an extra plate of sweets.
Which meant that the Company knew exactly how Bilbo and Thorin had spent the first half an hour of their reunion.
“I don’t know what the two of you have to be smug about,” Bilbo spoke in mock haughtiness, “After I caught the pair of you in-”
“La la la la!” Nori interjected, covering Bilbo’s mouth hastily with both of his hands.
“Right, sorry,” Bofur said loudly, “We’re sorry! No need to dredge up old memories.
Thorin laughed – something that startled all the Dwarrow in the room – and wrapped an arm around Bilbo waist, kissing his ear, “You ought to know better than to provoke our Burglar.”
“It’s not many who can outwit a Dragon,” Dwalin agreed.
Bilbo blushed, “I distracted Smaug. There’s a difference.”
“Not from where we were standing, Laddie,” Balin said.
“Either way, I never would have managed to strike him down if not for you,” Thorin concluded, “Though I would prefer if I never saw you in such a position again.”
“I promise, Khaeluh, that the next time we’re forced to slay a Dragon, I shall let you do the insulting,” Bilbo told him in as dry a tone as he could manage.
“I appreciate the concession,” Thorin replied wryly, “I’ll be sure to keep it in mind if ever we venture to the far north.”
The doors to their apartment slammed open then and a sturdy Dwarrowdam marched inside, a scowl firmly affixed upon her features. A circlet of gold and pinkish-orange sapphires rested on chestnut hair that, even thickly braided, went all the way to her knees. Her dress looked like a sunset, but far more interesting was the inking that encircled her neck – a tattoo of silver and gold Ravens.
“Here you all are!” she huffed in exasperation. “For Mahal’s sake, Thorin, Amad is having a proper fit. Why can’t you ever be on time?”
“How bad is it?” Fíli asked.
“Your mother and Frerin are doing their best to calm her down,” the Dwarrowdam answered irritably, “But your Uncle Marrin is being his usual unfortunate self and undoing all of their bloody work!”
“Peace, Namadith,” Thorin spoke, “We’re coming now.”
“Good and you better have an excellent excuse this time because… oh!” She gasped as she caught sight of Bilbo. “Oh, Nadad.”
“Ghivashel, this is the second of my sisters, the Princess Trísi, Maven of the Bâhzundushel Malmezel,” Thorin introduced, “Trísi, this is my husband and Submissive, Prince of the Shire and Erebor, the Arch Consort of Carven Stone, Bilbo Baggins.”
“It is an honor,” Trísi graced Bilbo with a smile and a shallow curtsey, “The people of Erebor owe you an enormous debt, Your Highness.”
“No, no debt,” Bilbo rushed to correct, “None at all. And, please, do call me ‘Bilbo’. It’s lovely to meet you.”
Trísi’s eyes widened at that, “It would be exceedingly rude of me to refer to you by your given name, sans an honorific, until we have known each other for at least seven weeks.”
“It would?” Bilbo blinked at her and then turned to Thorin, “How badly, exactly, did I insult all of you, then?”
“We realized fairly quickly that you didn’t know,” Ori supplied, when Thorin hesitated, “And Gandalf told us that Hobbits don’t really use titles, especially those who are related to the Thain.”
“There are no strangers in the Shire,” Bilbo admitted, “Everyone knows everyone, just about. I’m terribly sorry.”
“Ach, don’t worry,” Bofur dismissed, “We knew by the time you saved us from the Trolls that we were gonna keep you.”
“You’re our dear little Hobbit and no one else can have you,” Nori teased, bussing his cheek.
“I’m not little,” Bilbo huffed.
“Kunjâlmuzmith,” Bifur said proudly.
“Very funny, Bifur.”
“You called Thorin by name when you met and he didn’t tell you off for it?” Trísi inquired in surprise.
“Uncle forbid it,” Fíli remarked with a wink in Bilbo’s direction, “A conversation which revealed that Bilbo was his One.”
“And also that, if we left things up to him, Uncle would muck everything up terribly,” Kíli divulged. “Admittedly, our plan to have him swoop in heroically and rescue Bilbo from the Trolls didn’t quite pan out as we hoped.”
“You two planned that?” Bilbo half-shrieked, even as Fíli smacked the back of his brother’s head.
“Er… no,” Kíli lied, very, very badly.
“We nearly ended up cooked into pies,” Bilbo scolded.
“But we didn’t and I, personally, think that’s the most important aspect of the entire situation,” Kíli said. “Also, everybody learned a valuable lesson.”
“Not to argue with you when you tell Trolls that we have parasites, because you’re probably doing so for a good reason.”
“You should feel privileged,” Trísi announced, “They only almost accidentally kill people whom they like, Prince Bilbo. And we should get going before Amad really loses it.”
“Lead the way,” Thorin requested, taking Bilbo’s hand.
Bilbo only caught glimpses of the rest of the Royal Wing as they quickly navigated a maze of hallways, ensconced within a circle of Dwarrow as he was. Eventually, the ground beneath his feet changed to a silver-blue brick and Bilbo deduced that they had left it for the more public parts of the Mountain.
“We’re sorry about the Trolls,” Fíli offered as they walked, “The plan was poorly conceived. We just… Uncle was miserable, and we didn’t stop to wonder if you had a reason for not acknowledging him. Kee and I felt awful when we realized that you didn’t know anything about relationships with Dwarrow.”
“It never occurred to us that you didn’t know you had to acknowledge him,” Kíli added.
“I forgive you,” Bilbo said easily, “But don’t do it again.”
“Course not,” Fíli grinned.
“We never do the same stupid thing twice,” Kíli assured.
“Scamps,” Bilbo accused fondly.
“I’m still irritated with you two,” Thorin disclosed, “You put all of us in terrible danger.”
“Oh, but, darling, they didn’t mean any harm,” Bilbo defended, “And they only did it because they adore you so.”
Thorin sighed, “I’m only letting it go because I’m in too good of a mood to punish you both for it, and you can thank Bilbo for that.”
“Yes, Uncle,” the boys chorused.
“Do you have any idea what time it is?” a new voice hissed out and the Company parted just enough for Bilbo to see a group of richly-garbed Dwarves and an Elf standing just outside an open set of gilded doors.
“Bilbo!” Tauriel gasped, moving forward at once, “Thank the Valar! We have all been so worried about you.”
“It’s good to see you again, Tauriel,” Bilbo took her hands into his own and murmured a Sindarin greeting.
Tauriel repeated it tearfully, “You saved him, on Ravenhill, when I couldn’t. I feared I would never get to thank you.”
“You need never thank me for protecting our family, Starling,” Bilbo replied, patting her cheek.
“As you can see, Amad,” Thorin told a Dwarrowdam with silver hair and all-black clothing and jewelry, “Things have much changed since I saw you last. Proper introductions will have to be held off, we’ve kept the people waiting long enough.”
Thorin led Bilbo past his mother and the others, through doors that were covered in depictions of all kinds of hearty food and drink, and into the largest dining hall that Bilbo had ever seen.
Opalescent floors were paired with golden tables, chairs, and benches, with room enough for forty-nine thousand – as the Mountain had once been home to so great a figure. Much like the doors, the walls were covered in portrayals of all types of good things to eat.
“The Hall of Plenty,” Thorin informed him quietly, “Where no one is permitted to go hungry.”
There were, perhaps, three thousand Dwarrow inside – only nine thousand had survived Smaug and less than half of that had eventually made it to the Blue Mountains, after the Battle of Azanulbizar. Thorin had told him how his people had slowly been vanishing whilst living in King Ginnar’s domain, how a person would disappear and never be seen again, how reclaiming Erebor had been the last hop the Longbeards had of surviving.
All quieted as they began to take note of the Hobbit at their King’s side; the silence became almost deafening as everyone stared. Bilbo did not enjoy the attention, but he would be damned if he allowed himself to be cowed by a room full of strangers after all he had gone through.
At the highest of the tables, two chairs sat alone at one end, both marked with the Crest of Durin. Thorin led him to these and, once everyone else had been seated, he spoke, “My sincerest apologies for being late today, but before we eat, I must pronounce these glad tidings. After nearly a year, my husband, who together with me slew the worm, Smaug, has returned to Erebor to take his place as the Arch Consort of Carven Stone. He has not been idle in his absence, though dearly missed was he, for while we have been rebuilding our home, he was ensuring that it would not be stolen from us again. With the purity of the All-Mother’s light guiding him, he alone marched into the heart of Mordor and cast the One Ring into the fires of Mount Doom, vanquishing Sauron once and for all!”
The reaction to Thorin’s proclamation was deafening, to say the least, and Bilbo really could have done without his husband making it. The shock in the room morphed into awe and blatant admiration, which was irksome, because Bilbo was hardly a hero. He had done as he had to save his family, not for any selfless reason.
Eventually, everyone began to settle back down and harried servants lifted jeweled covers off of giant dishes so that Luncheon could properly commence. Thorin served the food for them both, as Bilbo would not have been able to lift the heavy utensils, ladling thick venison stew into their bowls and loading their plates with choice cuts of beef, crispy potatoes, hunks of brown bread, and links of sausage. Mulled wine was poured into their goblets from the several enormous bottles set on their table.
It felt strange, to eat because he wished to and not because he knew he had to – and then Bilbo felt discomfited because it was strange to him.
Only when Bilbo’s plate was more than half-cleared did Thorin deign to make introductions of any sort, “Bilbo, to my direct right is my first brother, Maven of the Khael Malmezel, the Prince Frerin.”
Like Trísi, Frerin had a tattoo ringing his neck, though his had wolves instead of birds.
“It’s a pleasure to meet you, Prince Frerin,” Bilbo acknowledged.
“Likewise,” the Dwarf returned genially, his violet eyes warm, “And may I offer my thanks for saving my brother and nephews? Your rescue of Fíli and Kíli from Azog’s grasp has already become legend, along with your slaughtering of Bolg to enrage the White Orc.”
“Beside Frerin sits my first sister, the Princess Dís and the Chief of the Crystal Carvers Guild,” Thorin continued, nodding to a Dwarrowdam who could have been his twin, save for her slightly softer features and much longer beard. “And the Dwarfling she’s scolding is her daughter, the Princess Líra, who believes that turning thirty means she knows everything. The twins, Princess Míra and Prince Míli, are next and then there’s Dís’ husband and Submissive, the Prince Consort Víli.”
Where Líra had the golden blonde hair of her father pinned up in elaborate loops, Míra and Míli had bluish-black locks that just touched their shoulders in a waterfall of braids. All three wore coronets of silver and sapphire.
“You need not be concerned about using honorifics with the children,” Thorin assured, “It’s quite acceptable for you to call them by their given names. Beyond my brother-in-law, you know everyone until we come to Gimli, Glóin’s son and a Captain in the Guard, and next to him is his mother, the High Lady Gélaní. Beside Óin is his wife, the High Lady Glorís and then her younger sister, Lady Florís. Glorís runs Dori’s tea shop, the Silver-Winged Raven, and manages the tenants of Pearlbrick Lane. Florís and her wife, Rannvá, both run Nori’s tavern, Dragonsbreath, and handle the shops and stalls on Blackgold Street.”
“Erebor has streets?” Bilbo questioned. “I mean, that makes sense, of course, I just never thought about it.”
“It is a kingdom, Khajmel, it would be chaos if there were not streets,” Thorin told him. “Pearlbrick Lane and Blackgold Street are, respectively, the smallest and largest of the Royal Bazaar’s seven heptagon-shaped streets. Blackgold Street has the largest quantity of storefronts, while Pearlbrick Lane is considered the most exclusive place to have a business. Nori and Dori purchased the rights to the two from the Crown. Glóin owns Rubystone Way, in addition to serving as the Master of the Treasury, which Gélaní is in charge of. Bifur’s wife, High Lady Lechí, manages Silverock Road for him as well as the Toy Treasury, a shop Bifur and Bofur co-own. Ori owns the street next to Dori’s, Diamondust Path, and is the Master Scribe of Erebor, in charge of the Mekebel. The other streets, Jacinthstone Road and Peridot Path are not currently open, due to, well, due to lack of available businesses.”
“They will be again,” Bilbo said confidently, “It’ll just take a bit of time.”
Thorin nodded, “I dearly hope so, for my people’s sake.”
“Time,” Bilbo repeated.
“Beside you is my third and youngest brother, Prince Itharin-”
“Finally,” Itharin interrupted, “You took forever, Nadad-”
“I’m sorry, I forgot how impatient you are.”
Itharin stuck his tongue out at Thorin and then focused his silver eyes on a spot near Bilbo, “I’m very pleased to meet you, Your Highness. Don’t worry at all about the seven-week rule, the time shall fly by and we will be good friends – anyone who can make my dear eldest brother sound less of a grump is surely worth knowing.”
“Itharin is the High Divine of Erebor. He and the other Divines tend to the Alters of Mahal and protect the Rock Creche.”
“I may have been born blind, but my Stonesense is the best in the Kingdom,” Itharin said cheerfully, “No one gets past me. Not that there’s anything to guard right now.”
“What do you mean?” Bilbo asked.
“The Rock Creche is where Dwarrow Carve their children into being,” Thorin explained, “Only it is currently utterly barren.”
“A lingering side effect of the Dragon, but his taint will not last forever. In time, the Rock Creche will be as bursting with children, as it ever was,” Frerin reassured.
“And you can Carve a child of your own,” Itharin said to Thorin and Bilbo.
“No,” Thorin denied firmly, “Our children will be grown saturated in Bilbo’s magic, not mine. I will not risk the spread of the gold-sickness to our little ones.”
Bilbo frowned, “Darling, that’s-”
“I will not argue this point with you,” Thorin stated stubbornly, “My mind is made up and shall not be swayed.”
“Alright,” Bilbo conceded, because it did not actually matter to him whether their babies came about due to Mahal’s blessing or Yavanna’s, so long as they did, in fact, come about. Thorin’s self-reproach was far more concerning, but it would not have been appropriate to tackle it then, “Do continue providing me with names, please.”
“Trísi you’ve met, but next to her are my third and fourth sisters, the Princesses Krísta and Frídda,” Thorin said, with a nod toward the two Dwarrowdams whose white blonde hair matched Frerin and Itharin’s in color, though their eyes were dark brown. “They’re both Submissives and are the Chiefs of the Goldsmiths’ Guild and the Silversmith’s Guild. Next to Frídda is my mother, the Dowager Queen Marís, and after her is my second brother, Prince Marrin.”
The derisiveness in Thorin’s voice at the last name caught Bilbo’s attention and he looked closer at Marrin. The Prince, dripping in diamonds and rubies and gold, was unabashedly drunk, despite the hour, and was doing far more leering at the Subs leashed to his person than eating – four Dwarrow with silver-purple hair and shimmering paint on their bodies in lieu of clothing lounged on pillows around him.
“This isn’t an Exhibition, why aren’t they wearing anything?” Bilbo whispered, uncomfortable.
“They have Pet status,” Thorin muttered.
“I don’t know what that means, but I already don’t like it.”
“Slavery has never been permitted amongst Durin’s Folk, like it is amongst all the other clans, in varying degrees,” Thorin related after taking a deep breath, “But there have always existed Submissives amongst the Longbeards who prefer to have no say in anything in their lives, they rely completely on their Dominant’s will in all things. They are known as Pets.”
“Yeah, I was right,” Bilbo said faintly, “I don’t like it.”
Thorin cupped his cheek, “It bothers you because, outside of the bedroom, you are on of the least submissive Submissives in all of Arda, Ghivashel, and I adore you for it. But there are many others who require different things to be happy. The range of dynamics in this world is vast.”
“It scares me,” Bilbo murmured, covering Thorin’s hand with one of his own and closing his eyes for a few moments, “The idea of it.”
“I will never let that happen to you.”
“They agreed to the status, Arch Consort,” Frerin said, “They signed legal contracts.”
“Those four have never had an original thought in their lives,” Itharin retorted. “Marrin ordered them to sign their bodies over to him and they did. We all know he purchased them.”
“There has never been any proof of that,” Frerin returned, voice laced with disapproval. “For one thing, he had not the funds to do so when he brought them in.”
“Are there any other… Pets in the Mountain?” Bilbo inquired.
“Six, but only my brother’s are required to remain unclothed at all time,” Thorin said. “Marrin’s Subs are called Kizuri, Norazim, Navraz, and Uzerra. They are allowed to speak to no one but each other and their Dom – legally, they cannot ignore you, but it will distress them greatly to disobey Marrin and he will punish him for it.”
“That’s their dynamic,” Thorin responded. “After Marrin, you know everyone until we come to Bombur’s tykes, all read heads, Balbarí, Halbarí, Terbarí, Norbarí, Chalbarí, and the youngest and only boy of the brood, Rombur. Next to Bombur is his wife and Domme, High Lady Rínalí. She is the Chief of the Architect’s Guild and was the only child of a very affluential Lord in the blue Mountains – which is why she and Bombur are so blessed with bairns.”
“You have to pay to have children?” Bilbo questioned, aghast.
“Not in my kingdom,” Thorin illuminated, “But in others, yes.”
Bilbo did not approve of the other Dwarven kingdoms, “Who are those Dwarrow at the very end of our table? They weren’t waiting outside with everyone else.”
“That’s because they’re not part of Erebor’s Royal Family,” Thorin answered, “They are relations of King Ginnar. His only sister, Princess Grigga, and her Sub, Lord Fó, sit directly opposite us. The four others are their children, the Princes Lógar, Rógar, and Zógar and the Princess Ragóla.”
“They’re all quite terrible,” Itharin volunteered.
“Nadadith,” Thorin and Frerin chastised in harmony.
“I hate it when they do that,” Itharin commiserated to Bilbo, “It creeps me out.”
“My big brothers said that you have magic,” a new voice spoke from Bilbo’s side, and Bilbo turned to see that Líra had escaped from her seat to speak to him. Her little hands were on her hips and she looked entirely expectant, “I want to see.”
“Líra,” Dis called, having realized that her daughter was not where she was meant to be, “Now is not the time. The Arch Consort is eating.”
“I don’t mind,” Bilbo spoke, calling upon the magic swirling in his core with ease to summon a large rose into his palm.
“It’s changing color!” Líra cried out in delight, loud enough to spur her younger siblings and Bombur’s children into scurrying over to the head of the table too.
Bilbo smiled at the innocent display of wonder and then blew onto the flower in his hand, splitting it into a hundred gossamer petals that danced around the Dwarflings and then grew into roses of their own. Within moments, all the children in the hall – all forty of them – were dashing about, jubilant in their play.
“Why do your eyes turn green?” Líra wanted to know, bouncing in place.
“My magic is a divine gift from the Green Lady, from Yavanna,” Bilbo said, “My eyes turn green to denote that I am preforming a sacred art in her name.”
“They look like green diamonds, with just a hint of golden lightning,” Líra commented, “Like Uncle Thorin’s doorknobs! Does that mean your eyes are lucky? I think they must be lucky! Can you make any kind of flowers? Fee said you made a great forest of thorns during the Battle and whipped Azog in the face with vines.”
“I’m afraid creating roses is the only thing I can do without invoking a spell.”
“I want to see a spell,” one of Bombur’s daughters, Norbarí, declared.
“Me too,” Míli added excitedly.
“Show us a spell!” Terbarí said.
Bilbo raised an eyebrow at them.
“Please, Líra caught on to what he had been waiting for, “Please, please, please!”
“Yes, please, show us a Hobbity spell,” Míra begged.
“Alright, alright,” Bilbo agreed, settling the loud chorus of pleading that the little ones had dissolved into. After a deep breath, Bilbo began to sing, “Mam o fy nghalon, rhowch fi eich gras. Cynortwyo fi amddiffyn y plant o hyn lle. Adenydd y glöynnad byw rhaid gwarchod yn erbyn y tywyll a stopio du hud rhag gadael ‘r nod.”
Butterflies burst out of Bilbo’s palms in a flash of sparkling green and purple and gold light, flittering all around with wings of iridescent blue and bodies of living silver. One by one, they alighted on the middle finger of each Dwarfling, their legs wrapping around the digits to form rings even as their wings turned to crystal. At least a dozen of the little creatures darted out of the Hall of Plenty, to Bilbo’s surprise.
“Are there children not eating?” Bilbo asked Thorin, leaning against his husband a bit tiredly.
“There’s a minor illness going around that keeps them in bed; seventeen of them are sick, I believe,” Thorin said. “I recognized a few of the words. That was a protection spell, yes?”
“You remembered,” Bilbo replied, pleased.
“You need not seem so surprised,” Thorin told him.
Bilbo’s smile widened, “It’s considered a good luck charm in the Shire, one just for children. My grandmother, Laura Baggins, goes around the Four Farthings every year to make new ones for all the babes. They’re not usually those colors, though, mine was green and copper.”
“I’m not a baby,” Líra protested.
“Of course not,” Bilbo agreed, “But you are also not yet of age and so Yavanna has willed that you be blessed with luck. One should never argue with the Green Lady; that’s just asking for trouble.”
“I suppose,” Líra acquiesced, admiring her ring, “I would not want to upset the All-Mother.”
“It’s time to finish eating,” Thorin instructed, “Everyone, back to your seats.”
Begrudgingly, the children obeyed, darting or toddling back to their mothers or fathers or assorted other relatives.
Líra hesitated and then quickly hugged Bilbo, “Thank you for my pretty ring, Idadith,” before returning to her seat.
“Are all Hobbits capable of such things?” Frerin inquired, after a long moment.
“Only Submissives from the three Noble Lines who have entered into covenants with Yavanna can invoke spells,” Bilbo answered, taking a sip of wine, “And there are different levels of each covenant type.”
“How many types are there?” Itharin wondered.
“Three; each of the Elite Pleasure Houses prepares a Submissive to accept a different type of covenant. The House of Roses, managed by the Bagginses, keeps the Defensive Spells. The House of Green keeps the Wild Spells and is managed by the Tooks. The Healing Spells are kept by the House of Sun, managed by the Brandybuck line,” Bilbo revealed. “The more sessions a Submissive completes at an Elite House, the more in-depth their covenant is. A Submissive who completes all three possible sessions at a House is noted by a special distinction – they are known as a ‘Rose’, or a ‘Fae’, or a ‘Sundrop’, or a combination of the three in sporadic cases.”
“Did you complete three sessions at one of the Elite Houses?” Dís questioned.
“Yes, Your Highness,” Bilbo admitted, “I actually completed three sessions at two of them, the House of Roses and the House of Green. I bear the tertiary marks of dual covenants.”
“So, your people would refer to use as a ‘Rose Fae’ then?”
“A ‘Red Rose, Summer Fae’, actually,” Bilbo clarified, “As I’m a Masochist. If I weren’t, I would be called a ‘White Rose, Spring Fae’, Princess.”
“Your devotion to the All-Mother is admirable,” Itharin praised, “Such training denotes a keen mind and a willingness to be taught, which is a refreshing change from the Subs in the Blue Mountains.”
“I love to learn,” Bilbo replied, “Emel calls me her Parfhên, her Book Child.”
“Bilbo trained at the Premier Pleasure House in Rivendell as well,” Thorin said proudly.
“I only did one session at the Silverbow House; I’m not an Elf, so completing more would have been utterly impossible,” Bilbo spoke.
“It’s still an impressive feat,” Trísi interjected. “Few non-Elves have managed the same. How did you come to be raised by Lord Elrond and Lady Celebrían, may I ask?”
“They, my Mama, and my Papa formed a Quartet,” Bilbo told her, causing her eyes to widen with blatant shock. Bilbo did not blame her for her reaction, as such groupings were exceedingly rare, “Two Doms and Two Subs… I have always had four parents, Princess Trísi. When the Fell Winter claimed two of them and my infant sisters, I went to live with Ada and Emel in the Valley and didn’t go back to the Shire until I came of age.”
“To train,” Trísi deduced, empathy flashing through her eyes.
Bilbo nodded, “I spent eighteen months at each House in total.”
“Are Exhibitions common in the Shire?” Frerin wanted to know.
“Very much so,” Bilbo confirmed, “There is always at least one scheduled on any given night just in Hobbiton alone. Are they here?”
“The Exhibition Theatres are not finished being rebuilt,” Thorin said, “Nearly everything else took preference. I imagine they shall be much used once construction is complete, however.”
“Did you participate in many?” Frerin questioned.
“Only Collared Submissives are permitted to be Exhibited in the Shire, but I was in several in Rivendell and Lothlórien.”
“None of your own people ever tried to Collar you?” Trísi asked, “With your level of training, I imagine you would have been coveted.”
“They tried,” Bilbo speared a potato, “They were vehemently denied. For a multitude of reasons.”
Thorin wrapped an arm around his shoulders, pulling him a bit closer, “Masochists are singular amongst Yavanna’s sons and daughters and, likewise, so are Sadists. Bilbo’s dynamic did not mesh with any of the Hobbits who offered him a Collar.”
Thorin’s siblings accepted the explanation easily; dynamic mesh was of the upmost importance to Dwarrow, Bilbo knew. If only it had been so highly regarded in the Shire.
“I have only ever worn Thorin’s Collar and I will never willingly wear another’s,” Bilbo said, matter-of-factly.
Bilbo would sooner drive a knife into his heart, but that was inappropriate Luncheon conversation and so he did not bring it up.
“Are all the Mavens of Erebor Submissives?” he questioned instead.
“Aye,” Frerin replied, “By the decree of Durin I. Every Maven has a Collar tattooed around their neck as a sign of loyalty to their House. Even those who have Doms must put the good of their Houses first in their lives.”
“Most Doms don’t appreciate that,” Trísi added.
“It’s just as well for me,” Trísi shrugged, “I quite enjoy the variety that comes with ‘here then gone’ partners. It spices things up.”
END CHAPTER TWO
- Lasl Hurmâl – The Rose Consort
- Kurduejùzêr – Heartchains
- Khaeluh – My Great Wolf
- Ghivashel – Beloved
- Lasleluh – My Rose of all Roses
- Baruf – Family
- Ûrzudel – Sun of all Suns
- Madtithbirzul – Little Golden Heart
- Khajmel – Gift of all Gifts
- Habanûrzudaz – Gem of the Sun
- Idadith – Little Uncle
- Amad – Mother
- Nadad – Brother
- Nadadith – Little Brother
- Namad – Sister
- Namadith – Little Sister
- Bâhzundushel Malmezel – Greatest Raven Pleasure House
- Kunjâlmuzmith – Little Bunny
- Khael Malmezel – Greatest Wolf Pleasure House
- Mekebel – The Great Library
- Nórui – Sunny (Bilbo has a tower suite in Rivendell, where he spent most of his childhood)
- Emel – Mother
- Parfhên – Book Child
- Ada – Father
- Mam o fy nghalon, rhowch fi eich gras. – Mother of my heart, grant me your Grace.
- Cynortwyo fi amddiffyn y plant o hyn lle – Help me protect the children of this place.
- Adenydd y glöynnad byw rhaid gwarchod yn erbyn y tywyll, a stopio du hud rhag gadael ‘r nod. – Butterfly wings shall guard against the dark, and stop black magic from leaving a mark.