Keep Memory Alive by Zdenka

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Back to Middle-earth Month 2016 Participant

A WIP finished for B2MeM 2016. Prompts from the 2012 Bingo Bash: "Rare Characters: Dís Daughter of Thráin" (N39) and "Landscape: Mountains" (B2).


There were many mountains in the world: some higher and some lower, made of red rock or brown or grey or a combination, with sharp peaks or gentle sloping sides. Each one was different, as every stone was different from another. But the Mountain always meant the Lonely Mountain, far away to the East. The Lonely Mountain was theirs.

Dís barely remembered the Lonely Mountain; she had been a child when the dragon came. Her brother told her she would see it again, the mountain and the deep halls built by their forefathers. “We will take back what is ours,” Thorin swore; and Dís believed him. Thorin always accomplished what he set out to do, no matter how long delayed.

And so Dís spoke to those who remembered the Lonely Mountain, those who had survived the dragon and the war against the Goblins, and she gazed at their sketches on parchment and their works in metal, until she too could draw the mountain’s slopes from every angle and had memorized the order of its halls. She put a part of it into everything she made; sometimes only a line sketched out, sometimes the proud peak engraved in intricate detail. The folk of Eriador to whom they sold their goods thought it was only a pretty view of a mountain. But what did they know?

And she drew the dragon: she drew him in mockery, fat and round and harmless as a kitten, or deadly and terrible with open jaws breathing fire. She engraved him too on cups and plates, the round backs of mirrors and the metal fittings of chests. Thorin frowned when he saw it, but Dís continued, until she felt she knew the dragon from nose to tail. Destroyer of her home, her people’s bane; she shaped him again and again, in defiance and in hope that he would be conquered.

What she learned from others, she taught to her sons, until they too saw the Lonely Mountain clearly before their mind’s eye. And always she sang to them the songs of the home they had lost. “Someday,” she promised them, “someday you will stand beside Thorin in the great halls of Thráin, and you will sing these songs there.” But until that day came, she would keep them alive in memory, and so she sang to them in her deep voice: “Far over the misty mountains cold . . .” and let the sound lull them to sleep.




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