"This is insane and possibly offensive. I love it!"
"Balin, surely you're not serious?" It was unbefitting a King to beg, and Thorin fought to keep his voice even and keep his rising desperation hidden. "Bofur's skills as a toymaker are truly remarkable, but is it wise to use them li--"
"Think of all the bored goodwives. The barmaids." Balin leaned in closer, setting his hand on Thorin's shoulder. "All the lusty lads and lasses." There was a twinkle in his eye that usually only very good ale brought out. "The money would roll in."
"It's worth considering."
Thorin looked up, alarmed. Of all the people present, Dwalin was the last person he would have expected to speak up in favour of Balin's frankly harebrained idea. Usually, the brothers were the bright beacons of sanity in the Company, but now it seemed they had quite suddenly taken leave of that sanity.
Dwalin met his gaze calmly. "They're not half bad. Nor do they break easily."
Thorin blinked once, then opened his mouth and closed it again. Finally, he simply leaned his head into his hands and began muttering something unintelligible that seemed to include several repetitions of "thrice-damned" and "Mahal help me" as well as several rather juicy curses in Khuzdul.
"Once for yes and twice for no, isn't it?" asked Balin cheerily. "Well then, time to ask our master toymaker to get to work. Fíli, my lad, you'll write out the advertising scrolls. Get Ori to decorate them, but do that before you write on them, or else Dori will have a fit and accuse us of corrupting the youngest again."
"I'll go tell Bofur," grinned Kíli. "Don't worry, uncle. Balin's idea is terrific!"
The scrolls were surreptitiously passed to barmaids who then passed them on to the farmers' wives who came to sell eggs and to the heartbroken spinsters who would sit nursing their mug of posset long into the night.
Bofur's Bobbing Bunnies: as tireless as Rhosgobel Rabbits, these hand-crafted instruments will make you see stars*. Made from the finest materials available and guaranteed to withstand even the roughest romps, these marvels suit both lads and lasses.
Prices according to size, intricacy and material. Extra flourishes available on request.
Ask for Bofur at the old forge by the West Road. Bring this scroll and receive a complimentary vial of Oin's Finest Lover's Potion**.
*Actual constellations may vary.
**Not guaranteed to aid in amorous pursuits, but does function superbly well as a lubricant.
Thorin woke to the hoarse crowing of a trio of roosters and to the jangling of several purses.
"I told you it would be profitable," beamed Balin. "I'm willing to swear half the women in the village stopped by. And when they'd been, the men began to sneak in! I'd say few if any of them were there to buy gifts for their lady-loves, if you take my meaning." He chuckled. "I'd best be off. Gloin's keen to count the take. Dwalin, go wake the young 'uns."
When Balin had left, Dwalin set his hand on Thorin's shoulder and leaned in close. Thorin caught the briefest flicker of a filthy grin out of the corner of his eye. "I set one aside for you. Mithril-veined, suited for a King."
Thorin found himself quite unable to think of or produce a reply, and only managed a decided un-regal choked noise.
The grin returned, and this time it was accompanied by a chuckle. "Don't worry, my King. As your loyal subject, I'd be more than willing to acquaint you with its many uses."