- Death-Minor Character
- Explicit Sex
- Alternate Universe
- Challenge Response
The dwarrowdam was frowning, deep in concentration, a blue light softly shimmering on her skin, as she was making final touches to the statute she started working on this morning. She sanded the marble a few more times to remove small imperfections and she was finished. Narví shook her head to clear it, and the glow vanished abruptly, leaving her bereft of the peace she was imbued with when she communed with the psionic plane.
That damned statute didn’t turn out how she wanted. Mahal was laughing at her. For certain. How else would she manage to make such a strange sculpture? Long elegant features, pointy ears and sensual lips – so dissimilar of the familiar dwarrow faces, but still very attractive in its own way. She didn’t expect such a result when she let herself to sculpt deep in her mediation.
„Hush, Ylva.” Narví rebuked her spirit animal. The she-wolf was curiously observing her work, radiating smugness through their bond. Ylva just shrugged and melted into the shadows her laughter still ringing in Narví’s ears. The dwarrowdam pouted. That little trickster was starting to get on her nerves. She wanted a refund. And a better spirit animal.
Her wolf appeared last week and refused to leave her alone. It made Narví apprehensive about what was in store for her. Last time Ylva was so long with her was shortly after she came into her gifts. She was so young then, barely out of her childhood. It was unheard of amongst dwarrows for gifted to awaken that early. Her parents were afraid she wouldn’t be able to build the shields in time, as not to be permanently harmed by constant emphatic input. Ylva spent weeks with her, shoring her shields when they wavered until she was able to do it herself. After it became clear she mastered her considerable talents, her problems only grew.
Narví was the rarest treasure found in the dwarrow realms. As far as anyone knew, she was never allowed to leave the walls of Khazad-dûm unprotected. She was a very rare combination of a dwarrowdam and a powerful guide. However, it was her position as a cousin of Durin II. that caused she was very sought-after. The dwarrows from all over Arda came to Khazad-dûm hoping to gain her hand. The dam rejected everyone. It was very off-putting to see into motivations of her suitors. And she absolutely refused to bow down to Durin’s Council when they tried to pressure her to bond with someone of their choice. At the end Narví let them think she wasn’t inclined to bond with anyone. It happened sometimes, even with guides. Once it spread she counted herself amongst craft-wed, she was mostly left alone. But it didn’t deter her most persistent suitors. Frothi came to her mind. Narví was just a step away from taking her sword to teach that nuisance a lesson.
Frowning deeply at the thought of marrying someone unsuitable, her eyes were drawn back to her statute. She blushed. Definitely unsuitable.
„Master Narví. Master Narví.” An apprentice rushed into her private workshop, startling her out of her wits. The dam quickly put the bust behind one of her larger unfinished works and covered it with a cloth for a good measure. No need for anyone to see what her unconscious mind was longing for. Not that she was ever going to admit it out loud. An elf. Feh. Never.
The young dwarf bowed to Narví and blurted out. „Master Narví. Forgive me the intrusion, but you are needed in the Audience Hall. There is a delegation of elves and the king is of the need of your counsel.”
Narví cocked her head, considering. Ylva sent a burst of encouragement through their bond. So, that was it. The reason for her wolf’s presence. The dam dusted off her clothes and quickly cleaned her dirty cheeks and brow with a wet cloth to make herself somewhat presentable. Her braids were dishevelled, a lost cause, but she waved that concern aside. If Durin wanted her in the audience hall immediately, he should be prepared to receive her as she was – in her working clothes.
„Lead the way,” Narví instructed the boy and followed after him taking one last glance at the place her newest creation was well hidden.
As she neared the main Audience Hall she started to feel something… someone trying to flirt with her mind. It was a strange feeling. It had never happened to her before. And that’s saying something, because amongst the hordes of dwarrow males, and even a few females, who tried to court her, she never found out anyone remotely attractive to her. The dam tightened the hold on her shields. She had a lot of work to do and didn’t have time for that nonsense.
Narví took a deep breath to steel herself for another of Durin’s unreasonable requests and entered the hall. The first thing she noticed, was a presence of a lot of tall people. Well… The elves, to be precise. The apprentice that came to fetch her was right, no matter how far-fetched it seemed to her. Durin was desperately in need of her counsel, judging by discomfort radiating from him. Suddenly, she felt underdressed, with all those pristine elves staring at her curiously. She stuck out her chin proudly, trying not to show her distress in front of the guests, and marched right through the middle of the room to Durin.
A silver-haired elf nearest her cousin’s throne was most annoying in his persistence to stare at her. She locked her eyes with his and raised an eyebrow in askance. The elf blushed at the tips of his ears and turned his attention back to her cousin Durin. It was adorable.
Then she took a better look at him and stumbled. Izgil. It’s him. How was it possible? Her statute. This elf. By Mahal. She managed to school her features in the mask of polite disinterest as she walked past him, feeling his sudden surprise and interest.
There is something about her. His wolf regarded the dam thoughtfully.
Her, Eirik? Celebrimbor titled his head, staring curiously at the dark-haired dwarf approaching the king. There was nothing feminine about the dwarf at first sight. Not that he claimed to be an expert in such matters.
Yes. Her. The wolf chuffed hauntingly and shimmered out of his sentinel’s view. And you would notice it long before I had to tell you about it if you just used your senses.
Celebrimbor groaned inwardly. Not again.
Yes, again. The annoying wolf just had to have the last word.
The elf lord sighed. He wasn’t going to have that argument again with his spirit animal. Especially not in front of the audience. He buried his senses as deeply as he could centuries ago to be able to function more-or-less normally. His self-preservation won despite Eirik’s protests. He was aware, his decision to suppress his enhanced senses damaged his bond with his wolf. But he had no other choice if he had wanted to stay sane.
Celebrimbor was used to be alone. As the last heir of the Fëanor’s direct line, he was an undesirable mate for an elvish guide. His damned family and those cursed stones were at the root of his plight. For hundreds of years, he lived with a gnawing hole in his soul, desperately longing for his mate. But he lost any hope of finding his guide a long time ago.
In recent times, ok… maybe for as long as last hundred years, his wolf was getting more and more insistent for him to unlock his abilities. Sometimes, he was even tempted to throw caution in the wind and do it. Like now. It would be a great asset to have an insight into the dwarf king’s frame of mind.
„Your majesty.” Her voice reverberated through him, touching something deep inside of him. He snapped his attention back to the dwarf, Eirik was certain was a female. He stood by his first impression of her. She didn’t look very feminine. Maybe he was too used to the elvish finery and soft pampered elleth’s bodies.
Observing the dam Celebrimbor came to the conclusion she was clearly of the direct descent of Durin’s line. The king and her sported similar black hair and crystal blue eyes. Her clothes were masculine and she didn’t deign to clean up properly before she was summoned to appear at the court. The dust was still clinging on her clothes, her brow was smudged with dirt and her braids were dishevelled.
„Narví.” Durin acknowledged her in heavily accented Westron. „I am in need of your expertise.” The king motioned at the elf delegation and continued in Khuzdul. „These Firstborns came to me a few hours ago refusing to leave until I hear their request. They want to establish a trade route between their new capital in Eregion and Khazad-dûm. I would like you to perform the Ritual of Truth. I need to know their intentions and if they are genuine in their desire to ally with us.”
Narví glared at her cousin and launched into a tirade. „Cousin. I am not bonded. You know perfectly well it is dangerous for the guide of my abilities to perform that ritual without the stabilising influence of their bonded sentinel. I could lose myself in the currents of the spirit world.”
Durin sighed heavily. „I know. I know, Narví. But we don’t have much choice. Since the end of the War of Wrath, there was no sign of Morgoth’s apprentice. I heard some disturbing news from the east. It seems he had resurfaced and gained some kind of influence there. I fear we are standing at the precipice of another war. Therefore I need to be certain these elves don’t mean us harm.”
Narví nodded. „Very well, my king. I shall aid you in this endeavour. But I will need some help in getting to my quarters after I perform the ritual. And Durin.” The dam glared at her cousin. „This is the last time I’m doing something like this for you. I mean it.”
Durin frowned and acquiesced. „We have an accord, cousin.”
Narví bowed to her king and turned to the delegation, speaking haltingly in Sindarin. „My king wishes to know if your intentions are pure. I will perform the Ritual of Truth.”
The elves blanched collectively. They weren’t aware the dwarrows had a guide amongst them powerful enough to do the ritual. Even most elf guides weren’t strong enough to perform it without a heavy drain of their strength. The silver-haired elf lord grimaced and reluctantly explained. „My elves have no problem with the ritual. Even considering the invasive nature of the ritual.” The dam nodded. „But I am obligated to warn you, master dwarf… I am fairly strong unbonded sentinel. I am not sure it is wise to allow you into my mind.”
Narví only raised her eyebrow at the elf and smirked. „Let it not bother you, Lord Celebrimbor.”
The elf was taken aback. How did she know his name? And was able to pronounce it perfectly in Sindarin. He was fairly certain they weren’t introduced because she wasn’t present when he came in Khazad-dûm. His mouth dropped open unceremoniously when her power hammered down on his shields, causing them to waver under her onslaught. Not wanting for them to shatter Celebrimbor opened a small window for the dam and allowed her a brief glimpse of his mind.
Narví dropped most of her shields. The sheer amount of her strength flooded the entire hall, touching everyone in a matter of few moments. The elves wobbled under the power of Narví’s empathic presence. The dam brushed against their minds in quick succession, not finding any deceptiveness amongst them. Then she turned her attention to the elf lord. His shields were formidable. She didn’t want to hurt him but if he would continue to deny her access she would need to unleash all of her power to subdue him. She didn’t want to do it since she was fairly certain the elves weren’t their enemy. At least according to the information, she managed to glean off the others. Finally, the elf lord relented and allowed her inside.
His mind was beautiful. Narví could have lost herself in the vastness of it. Before it could happen she was unceremoniously thrown out. She staggered. All of her power snapped back into her suddenly. She turned to her king and said clearly in Westron. „I detected no malicious intentions towards the dwarrows of Khazad-dûm.”
And then she collapsed.
„Asta. Eire.” Durin snapped out. „Escort Lady Narví back to her chambers.”
Celebrimbor stared at the body of the unconscious dam the other two females carried away. He angrily turned to Durin when he realized what happened. „She is unbonded. Her mind could have been irreparably damaged if even one of us resisted the ritual.”
„That may be, Lord Celebrimbor, but I had a need of her talents and she agreed to do her duty. The dams will see to Narví’s comfort and will stand in her defence until she wakes up.” Durin dismissed elf’s concerns offhandedly. „Let’s continue with the negotiations in the private. Your companions are welcomed in the dining hall down the corridor. Follow me, please.”
The king stood up and turned right into a hidden passage right behind the throne. Celebrimbor was torn. His long-dormant instincts rebelled at a thought of an unconscious guide at a mercy of the ungifted dwarrows. With a sigh Celebrimbor wrangled his instincts back under his control and with a warning glance at his elves to make them behave, he followed after the dwarf king. His uncles never told him the dwarrows were so suspicious of the other races. Maybe the events of the First Age soured the friendship the Noldor cultivated with them. In this darkening world, it made a sense to renew the alliance.
With one last sight at the retreating trio of dwarrowdams, Celebrimbor slipped into the passage following the dwarf king.