To Elanor daughter of Samwise, called Fairbairn, Warden of the Westmarch
Though we have never had the pleasure of meeting, our fates are intertwined through the quests of the One Ring. As you and your kin are the keepers of your people's history, it seems meet that this journal entry of my kinsman Dwalin's be included in your records as well, and therefore have I undertaken the labor of scribing it.
Would that I had the skill to imagine such events! Alas, only the scribing and translation of this entry is my poor work. I hope it is pleasing to you.
At your service,
Furlin son of Bofur, Loremaster Under the Mountain
Long has been the journey and hard the way, and though I stand beside my lord and cousin Thorin in all things as ever, I fear some of my companions have begun to doubt the wisdom of our quest. I know full well that not all among us are of Durin's Folk, and the Lonely Mountain is not in their blood, yet I had hoped that they would be made of stuff as stern. Some have begun to speak fondly of the halls they abandoned for this journey, though they are the halls of exile, and not suited to our people.
Our Burglar, too, this Halfling Tharkûn has entrusted to our keeping, grows restive and looks often towards his home. I can't truly say I have no pity for him, but yet I wonder why the wizard chose such a strange, conflicted creature to play such an important role in our quest. Surely there is some greater design at work.
As I write this entry around the fire we must keep small for safety's sake, I can hear the talk, and it pains me that even my own kinsmen sound as if they wish to return as failures from this quest. This is not the way of the dwarves! The places that are ours must be claimed and rebuilt, for how else are we to prove to Elves and Men, and even to our maker, that we remain worthy of a place in Arda?
To these blameless pages that will speak no word of shame, I will confess the doubts that not even my brother can know. I know in my bones that we must fulfill this quest, yet I fear more than one of us will fall in the doing of it. All our hopes seem pinned on the slim chance that our Burglar can find his way into the Worm's hoard and- but then what? Would Smaug be such a fool that he would keep a talisman that could destroy him within reach?
If such a plan is to succeed, we must have the complete attention and skill of the Halfling, and that means he must not be distracted by thoughts of home. Either we must soothe him so that he has nothing to fear, or we must strengthen him so that he no longer fears. We have little time for either, as we draw ever closer to the Lonely Mountain, but the decision has been taken out of my hands by the youngest members of our party. Fíli and Kíli have struck up a conversation with him, and they are ever eager to hear of new lands, for few enough of our folk have passed through the Halflings' Shire.
And he is more than happy to speak of his home. 'Oh! It's the most beautiful place in the world- well, maybe not as nice as Rivendell, but more- natural, I suppose you'd say. In the spring, all the fields are green, and as far as the eye can see there are bright golden strips of daisies like sunshine on the grass, and bluebells along all the roads from Michel Delving to the Buckland, and the trees are in bloom like new life!
'And in the summer, all the little hobbit lads and lasses- oh, at Lithe, how they play and celebrate! It's enough to stir your heart to wanting a family, seeing them run after each other. And my grandfather, my mother's father, the Old Took, would have fireworks from Gandalf on the first night of Lithe, and they brightened the night sky like the noon sun, all red and green and blinding white- magnificent! Splendid!
'Autumn's my favorite time of year, though. That's when all the crops come in from the fields. My birthday's then, too. The feasts that month are stupendous! It stretches my mind every year what presents to give everyone- we hobbits give other people presents on our birthday, you must understand, it's one of our traditions for good luck and getting to know our neighbors. And we get the queerest things from them too, but it's all in good fun.
'Then there's the winter snow, and it gets so very quiet that you can hear everything for miles around. I like to stay in and bake- treats for Yule, bread and cakes for the months ahead- like those seed-cakes we had for tea so long ago at Bag End, I made those months before we left and stored them in the cellar. It's the most wonderful time of year to curl up by the fire with a book and peek out your window at the snow.'
He let out such a sigh as I feared the fire would blow out, and looked away into the distance. 'If only I could be back there again!' he said. 'I miss it all so very much, you know. There's nowhere quite like home, and nothing like traveling to make you know it.'
'That's true enough,' I heard my brother agree. 'You describe a nice enough scene, and I think more than a few of us wish we had something like that to come back to. But we've spent too long in exile to have such a cozy little home behind us if we turn away from our quest. Those halls lie far ahead of us, under the talon of the Worm. Only when we've driven out- or far better, slain- Smaug, can we show you how the dwarves make their home under the mountain!
'There will be singing, of course. We are not nearly as laughing a people as the Elves can be when they get to celebrating, but we have our sagas that stretch back to before the rise of men. Smoke will rise from the Lonely Mountain as the forges of the dwarves roar back to life and we return to the crafting that ever was our pride and joy. No more will we have to mine or hammer out pots for farmers' wives as we travel the roads.
'But we must defeat the dragon before we can do any of this, or else he will burn us all to ash, and all that we have, and all that we love as well. It's said that dragons have a sharp sense of smell, and a temper long and hot. Never do they forget an offense, and once angered, will follow the trail of their enemy to its very end to lay waste to all they can find.'
I could see, even in the dim light of the pathetic fire, that my brother's words had struck home with the Halfling, and his shoulders squared. 'Well, then. Nothing for it but to go forward. The Road goes ever on, I fear. O! does it go on!'
And as the fire burns low so that Glóin must coax it back to life, that simple sentiment lodges deep in my heart. The Road does go ever on... yet we must follow it to its end, for revenge and to take back what is rightfully ours.