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Flowers of Yavanna

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Flowers of Yavanna

 

Because the belief that Hobbits grew their babies in a cabbage patch had to come from somewhere. Warning: Gratuitous use of Khuzdûl. Translations provided at end of the story. All of the original characters were stolen from a much longer story that I am currently working on, so if you like this you can check them out in that once I finish the first part of that behemoth. I reread the Gardening Verse by The Feels Whale (Miscellea) a few days ago and I simply had to write this. Please review; I totally welcome constructive criticism and comments that force me to think as they can help make me a better writer. I really hope you all enjoy this!

 

**(+)**

 

“Good morning, Dwalin. Good morning, Tauriel,” Bella greeted with a smile, “I’ve brought raspberry muffins and gooseberry sticky buns, if you know of any captains around who might want some.”

 

“You’re my favorite sibling, sister dear,” Dwalin told her, accepting the plate she handed him with a wide grin.

 

“Don’t let Balin hear you say that,” Bella cautioned.

 

“Eh, he doesn’t care. You’re his favorite sibling too.”

 

Bella laughed, “Here you are, Tauriel. I don’t suppose you know where your darling husband and his elder brother are this fine morn? Dori’s looking for them. They have fittings scheduled for today. They’re supposed to be getting new outfits for the Spring Festival, by order of Thorin.”

 

“Good luck finding them then,” Dwalin interjected around a mouthful of sticky bun, “They hate being fitted for new clothes.”

 

“Kíli was still sleeping when I left our rooms this morning,” Tauriel replied, taking her sweets with a grateful grin, “I am not sure were he would be now. Perhaps look in the Crystal Caverns? They do love sneaking around down there and stealing mushrooms when the guards aren’t looking.”

 

“I blame Nori,” Dwalin said, “He clearly has had far too great an influence on them. I just pray they never find Nori’s secret mushroom stash. Mahal help our Spymaster if Thorin’s sister-sons manage to kill themselves by consuming Nori’s questionably-legal crop. Ori’d never forgive me if I had to arrest his brother… again.”

 

“Neither would Bofur,” Bella added, “I’ll check the caverns, but if they’re not there Dori will just have to reschedule their fittings. I have lessons with Balin in half an hour, then I have to meet Bombur to go over the final menu for the Muhudtuzakhmerag, help Ori translate some new texts he found written in Greentongue, get the Shadow Shield’s weekly report from Nori, and then argue with Thorin some more about why I do not need bodyguards.”

 

“For the record, I still agree with our King about that last one,” Dwalin said, licking glaze off of his fingers.

 

“Yes, I know,” Bella retorted dryly, “Your opinion, and that of every other male in the Company, has been noted. At great length.”

 

“They’ll probably never stop seeing you as a delicate flower from the Shire,” Tauriel interjected with a shrug, “It’s a universal truth that encompasses nearly all men-folk in regards to the women in their lives.”

 

“Yes, well, I am more than capable of taking care of myself,” Bella insisted, “Or have you forgotten that I riddled with a dragon?”

 

“You also laughed at the blasted beast and nearly killed yourself protecting His Royal Gruffness and his wayward heirs from Bolg during the final battle,” Dwalin pointed out, “Which makes us seriously doubt your instincts for self-preservation.”

 

“I killed Bolg, Dwalin.”

 

“After being nearly skewered to death.”

 

“No guards. End of story,” Bella huffed and rolled her eyes, “I’m going to the caverns now. Enjoy the pastries.”

 

“How about just one guard?” Dwalin offered.

 

No,” Bella called back to him as she began walking away in the direction of the Crystal Caverns.

 

“We’ll wear you down eventually,” Dwalin shouted to her retreating form.

 

“Ha!” Bella retorted, before turning her attention to the task of finding her brothers of gold and coal colored hair.

 

**(+)**

 

The Crystal Caverns were massive and, as always, filled Bella with awe as she wasted a few moments to take them in. The walls of the enormous caves were covered with millions of crystals, which ranged from the size of Bél’s fingernail to larger than an Oliphaunt, that glowed brightly in what otherwise would have been an inky dark.

 

The cool caverns, as the dwarves had discovered centuries earlier, were the perfect place to grow hundreds of different types of mushrooms. Mostly edible ones, mind you, but there were a handful of poisonous varieties that Nori and his Shadow Shields carefully cultivated in a hidden grove. Thorin hadn’t exactly been pleased to learn of this latter development, but since Nori’s actions had Bella’s approval, because she was well aware that sometimes subterfuge was wiser than a simple outright attack, he had allowed the Spymaster to continue with them.

 

“Your Majesty,” a pair of guards bowed low as she headed in their direction.

 

“Good morning, Sóir, Han,” Bella nodded her head at them, “Have you perchance seen Their Highnesses, Prince Fíli and Prince Kíli today?”

 

“I have not, Milady,” Han replied.

 

“I didn’t see them, Your Majesty,” Sóir said, “But I thought I heard them not ten minutes ago when I was patrolling over near the Eastern Drop. Would you like us to accompany you over there?”

 

“I appreciate the offer,” Bella said. “But I do know better than to get close to the falls. I’ll be fine.”

 

“As you wish, Milady,” Sóir said respectfully.

 

Bella left the guards behind and walked in the direction of the large three-plunge waterfall christened as ‘The Eastern Drop’. It made sense that her brothers would be around that area, their three favorite types of mushrooms grew in the smaller rooms right by the fall.

 

The first few groves that she checked were void of any wayward princes, but in the sixth area she checked she managed to locate them.

 

“What in the blazes do you two think you’re doing up there?” Bella demanded, hands on her hips, as she caught sight of her two oldest brothers perched up high on two giant glowing crystals and snacking on lilac capped mushrooms that Bella recognized as being Blewits.

 

“Supervising the growth of the kingdom’s greatest mushroom garden and ensuring that the crop is up to snuff,” Kíli said cheekily.

 

“Uh huh,” Bella raised an eyebrow, “Well you’re supposed to be with Dori.”

 

Her brothers visibly deflated at the reminder. “Oh yeah,” Fíli said, “We forgot all about that.”

 

“I’m sure,” Bella replied with an air of disbelief, “But now that I’ve reminded you, the pair of you are going to skedaddle over to the Clothweaver Guild’s headquarters right away, isn’t that so?”

 

“Of course we are,” Fíli assured, “After we finish eating our mushrooms.”

 

“And the rest of the ones in the whole of the caverns, right?”

 

“Namad!” Fíli exclaimed with a hand over his heart in mock sadness, “You truly have such little faith in us?”

 

“I have great faith that you two will do whatever you can to get out of going to Dori’s” Bella retorted, “And that apparently includes trying to exploit my care for you.”

 

Fíli and Kíli looked suitably chastised at that.

 

“Fine,” Kíli sighed, “We’ll go, but if we die from lockjaw because we get excessively poked with those awful needles, you’ll miss us.”

 

Bella rolled her eyes, “If you two didn’t wiggle around so much during the fittings then you wouldn’t get pricked. Besides, there isn’t a trace of rust on Dori’s needles.”

 

“Not on the needles he uses when you’re around,” Fíli argued, “When you aren’t there he brings out ones that are practically made of rust.”

 

“Go, Nudûduh, and I shall make meat pies to have with your breakfast tomorrow and strawberry strudel for a snack.”

 

Fíli and Kíli took off immediately, making Bella grin in triumph. There was nothing she couldn’t get them do when she bribed them with their favorite foods.

 

As she made her way out of the glowing caves, Bella rounded a corner and nearly ran into the Ladies Duruta and Durita. They were siblings, although Duruta was nearly a century older than her younger sister, as evidenced by her thick silver hair and beard. Durita’s were still mostly ebony in color, although a few streaks of grey were visible when one looked at her sideburns hard enough.

 

“Your Majesty,” Duruta greeted coldly.

 

“Good morn, Lady Duruta, Lady Durita,” Bella replied, “Are you feeling well today?”

 

“We are, Your Majesty,” Durita answered, “And you?”

 

“Yes, I’m doing just fine,” Bella said, “Thank you.”

 

“I beg your pardon, Majesty,” Duruta spoke up before Bella could say anything else, “But my sister and I are in a hurry.”

 

“Yes, of course!” Bella nodded at them, “Have a good day.”

 

The pair of ladies murmured a hasty response before moving away as fast as they could. Bella sighed at the sight of their retreating forms.

 

‘Try to make friends with others in the court,’ Balin had instructed months ago, ‘The goodwill of those in the Lower Council is worth far more than any amount of gold in your pockets.’

 

Well Bél had certainly tried, but the lesser Lords and Ladies of the Court, save for Lords Móin and Bróin, (who were Óin and Glóin’s distant cousins and therefore didn’t really count because they would do anything for the approval of their favored family members), had little interest in becoming her friends.

 

Despite her family’s many attempts to keep her in the dark about it, Bella knew well what many members of Thorin’s Court thought of her. Not because they would ever speak badly about her to her face or even when remotely near a member of the High Council, (not unless they wanted their tongues removed), but because of Bella’s ring.

 

Her brothers and Thorin had the ridiculous notion that Bella should never leave the mountain without a proper escort, (if at all), which was a polite euphemism for having twenty guards, five Shadow Shields, and at least three members of the Company stalking her. It was a rather annoying arrangement, so Bella had come to the decision that sneaking out of Erebor with her magic ring on her middle finger was the only way that she was going to keep her sanity intact. Thorin didn’t agree with her solution, but no one wanted a repeat of the ‘Epic Fight to End All Epic Fights’ that took place when he tried to forbid her from doing it (it had made the Arkenstone incident look tame in comparison), so he kept his mouth shut about it and only occasionally sent looks of extreme disapproval her way when he found out she had been in Dale or the woods by herself.

 

It was when she was returning from one of these trips that she first heard the nasty things many of those Lords and Ladies, who were fairly embittered at not having Thorin’s trust and goodwill like they would have if Smaug had never come, were saying about her. They had implied, and not with any sort of subtleness, that she was a whore, having slept her way into the favor of the King and was sleeping with the Princes behind Thorin’s back. She was apparently also a witch planning on enchanting all the dwarves of Erebor to do her bidding.

 

She had refrained from telling Thorin or any of the others what she had heard. Despite what they believed, Bél was perfectly capable of handling problems on her own. Besides, telling them would only stir up trouble in the Court which Erebor didn’t need to have to deal with. The Kingdom was still undergoing reconstruction from Smaug’s rampage. Plus, especially considering that the great hostility between Erebor and the Woodland Realm was already making people nervous, dissent taking place within the Mountain could be dangerous.

 

Bella sighed for a second time before continuing on her way to Balin’s, deciding to put her concerns about the Lower Council behind her for the time being.

 

“Ah, there you are, Bella,” Balin said she entered his study a few minutes later, “Do sit down so that we may begin.”

 

After Bella complied he continued, “Today we are going to focus on the proper way to structure Khuzdûl verbs.”

 

**(+)**

 

Once her Khuzdûl lessons ended, Bella headed straight to the Royal Kitchens to eat lunch and to make sure that Bombur had finalized the menu for the Spring Festival. She was greeted by her brother shoving a piece of venison into her mouth.

 

“Do you like it?” Bombur asked in excitement.

 

“It’s wonderful, Bombur,” Bella told him once she had swallowed the small hunk of meat.

 

“I based the recipe off of the venison dish you fed us in the Shire,” Bombur revealed, “I marinated the meat in high quality red wine,” he held up a half-full decanter for her to see before leaning in to whisper, “It came from the Woodland Realm. Don’t tell Thorin, but the elves really do have excellent taste in wine.”

 

“Don’t worry,” Bella winked at him, “It’ll be our little secret.”

 

“Here, try this!” Bombur set a bowl of thick soup on a nearby table and ushered her into a chair.

 

“Mushrooms!” Bella exclaimed after taking a spoonful, “Oh, Bombur, this is heavenly. You used Almond Woodwax and Amethyst Chanterelle didn’t you?”

 

“Yes,” Bombur confirmed happily, I chopped them up fine and combined them with white cheddar cheese, diced bacon, and the broth from the venison.”

 

“This is the best soup I have ever had,” Bella praised.

 

“Thank you. Oh,” Bombur said, “Dip these biscuits in the soup,” he set half a dozen golden scones next to her, “They’ve got Swiss cheese and basil in them.”

 

Bella moaned in delight after taking a bite.

 

Once she had finished her meal and tried forkfuls of several different desserts at Bombur’s prompting, Bél made her way from the kitchens to the Great Library. The place was aptly named, especially once you considered its massive size and the thousands upon thousands of books that it sheltered within its walls. Ori had cried the first time he had seen it. Bella could understand his reaction.

 

The Library was so big that it actually had two parts, the Mekeb-farak and the Mekeb-faham. The former was, as its name suggested, toward the southern side of Erebor while the latter was toward the northern side and slightly elevated above the other, requiring a patron to ascend a steep flight of stairs to reach it. It was far greater that even the exalted libraries of Rivendell and Gondor.

 

Ori and his Scribes were fiercely protective of the books that filled the enormous chamber. Many of them were one-of-a-kind and had to be handled with extreme care. The fact that they had all survived Smaug’s desolating occupation of the Mountain had been an unexpected boon when it was discovered. Ori was bound and determined to ensure that they continued to last, which meant he had spent many long hours restoring fading passages and reinking discolored pictures and paintings.

 

There was no one alive who could tell the returned people of Erebor just what literary treasures the Great Library contained, so every day, even nearly five years after the Lonely Mountain’s reclamation, Ori and his Scribes found something new to marvel at. There were countless rare texts penned in Khuzdûl, Sindarin, and Quenya amidst those written in Westron, but what currently had the Scribes of Erebor in a tizzy was the recent discovery of a hidden room, found a few weeks earlier when Bella had tumbled through a seemingly innocuous empty bookcase while climbing it to reach what she thought was a book on wildflowers.

 

Bél had tugged on the purple book’s spine and realized that it was not actually a book at all when the book shelf she was perched on gave way to reveal a large room filled with hundreds of new texts and lit by thousands of tiny glow crystals. Her startled scream had brought all of the Scribes, dozens of guards, and half of her brothers running toward her, cementing her suspicion that she really was being followed everywhere she went.

 

“Bella!” Fíli had cried, racing to help her stand back up, “What happened?”

 

“I, um, fell,” Bella had told him, allowing him and a fretting Dori to brush off the dust that had settled on her, “But look, I found more books!”

 

Ori and the Scribes had been ecstatic at the find, and then awestruck when they realized that all of the scrolls and books and heavy stone engravings were done in Greentongue.

 

The language of Hobbits was as much of a sacred secret as Khuzdûl, perhaps even more so considering the fact that very few non-Hobbits even knew that it existed. It was the language of a Hobbit’s heart, given to them by Yavanna to cherish and was the source of all Hobbit Magic. They weren’t taught how to speak and read it, they were simply born knowing how to do such things, which made teaching it to others an extremely difficult task.

 

Fortunately, Ori and his Scribes were all incredibly intelligent dwarves and that made Bella’s significant undertaking a tad less troublesome. So it was that most days following luncheon, she met the bookish group in the Mekeb-farak to help both translate the new texts and instruct them in how to read and speak Greentongue.

 

“Bella,” Ori called out when he caught sight of her walking in their direction, “What does ‘Blodyn Hud’ mean?”

 

“Flower Magic,” Bella answered as she sidled up next to him, “Why do you ask?”

 

“We found this beautiful scroll,” Vëga, a studious young dwarrowdam, said in reply from the other side of the table that the Scribes were gathered at, “It has a complex design of rainbow swirls printed around the text, I’ve never seen so many colors on one document before, and it’s been coated with some form of wax to protect it from water and oils.”

 

“We think it’s beeswax,” Ori added.

 

“I didn’t know that Hobbits had magic,” Nëga, Vëga’s younger sister remarked.

 

“Mmm hmm,” Bella hummed before saying, “We have a penchant for growing things that eclipses the attempts of every other race, except perhaps the Ents when they truly put their minds to cultivating,” Bella shrugged, “It’s not like we use spells or anything, it’s more that we pour our hearts and souls into the things we grow. Some Hobbits are better at it than others.”

 

“Oh,” Vëga said disappointed, “The words on the scroll looked like a spell.”

 

“Show me.”

 

Ori moved aside so that Bél could take in the document that was spread out on the table. Like Vëga had said, there was an extraordinary medley of colorful hues that wove around one another in a mosaic pattern. At first glance it seemed like just a pretty design but the more Bella looked, she realized that she was seeing an abstract depiction of a flower garden on paper.

 

“It’s a poem!” Bella realized, “About the flowers of spring,” Bella pointed to the second stanza, “Here it talks about the blessing that flowers will bring a family.”

 

“Can you translate it for us?” a male scribe named Rói requested.

 

“Of course,” Bella smiled widely at them all, “Let’s see. The first line goes…”

 

**(+)**

 

Bella dropped as a dwarven assailant came unheralded at her from the shadows. She spun her legs and knocked him to the ground, simultaneously flipping a knife out of her sleeves. Another second and she had him pinned, with the flat of her blade pressed to his throat.

 

“Well done,” Nori praised, “But you should be pointing the sharp end at me.”

 

“But I knew it was you,” Bella objected, standing to allow him to get back up.

 

“Well one day it might not be me,” Nori told her, “And if that day ever comes you cannot hesitate like you do now. A true assassin could have killed you ten times over from the moment you left the Mekebel.”

 

Bella took that statement in and then sighed, “I don’t like the idea that I could accidentally hurt you, Nadad.”

 

“You won’t,” Nori’s expression softened, something that only happened around Bél, Ori, and Bofur, “I’m a bit more proficient than your usual run-of-the-mill attacker.”

 

“Very well,” Bella bit her lip, “Your report?”

 

“There is some discord between the Platinum and Bronze Smithing Guilds. Apparently, some of the dwarrows in the guilds decided to challenge one another to a drinking contest three days ago. The bronze workers won, and got quite a pretty amount of coin too, but the platinum workers accused them of cheating the next morning. The bronze smiths took such a claim as slight upon their honor and there have been several brawls since then,” Nori disclosed, “The shields have been forced to step in a few times to prevent anybody from dying. There’s a threat of an all out feud.”

 

Bella frowned, “Why is the Platinum Guild so sure that the bronze smiths cheated?”

 

“Because they did,” Nori announced, “But there’s no way they’ll ever admit it.”

 

“How do you even cheat at a drinking contest?”

 

“One of the bronze workers was standing in as a bartender in the Black Gold Tavern that day, for his older brother. He watered down the ale he served his fellow smiths and served ale with shots of Firemead to those in the Platinum Guild.”

 

“Send each of the platinum workers involved in the contest two bottles of Rose Butter Ale and suggest that they stay away from the bronze smiths for a few weeks,” Bella instructed, “Hopefully the distraction of the Spring Festival will help them put this behind them.”

 

“They’re dwarves,” Nori pointed out, “We’re very good at holding grudges, but the alcohol may indeed soften their tempers.”

 

“That’s better than nothing,” Bella said, “Is there anything else I should know?”

 

“Not regarding Erebor,” Nori hesitated a moment before saying, “There are whispers coming from Esgaroth. The new Master of Laketown is supposedly just as corrupt as the previous one and is causing problems for King Bard. One of those whispers was of a potential threat to the bowman’s life.”

 

“Bard is our ally, Nori,” Bella chastised, “And a threat to him and Dale is a threat to this kingdom as well.”

 

“That’s why I took out the threat yesterday.”

 

Bella shot him a look that plainly stated that she didn’t want the specifics, “You need to warn Bard that he and his children may still be in danger.”

 

“But then he’ll think that we like him.”

 

Nori.”

 

“Alright, alright, I’ll send word to Bard,” Nori conceded to her.

 

“Thank you.”

 

“Your Majesty! Lord Nori!” a young dwarrowdam came rushing up to them then. She was wearing the silver and blue tunic that marked her as a servant of the Royal Family, but Bella didn’t recognize her, meaning that girl was most likely a new hire since Bél made it a habit of knowing the names all of the dwarves she came into regular contact with. It was simply good manners.

 

The girl curtsied clumsily before explaining, “An emergency session of the Court has been called to begin in an hour’s time. The King has commanded that all those in the Higher Council attend.”

 

Bella and Nori shared a brief look of alarm.

 

“Thank you, Raylís,” Nori he inclined his head toward the girl, who quickly scampered away, before turning to Bél, “There have been no whispers about an unscheduled meeting. I don’t like this.”

 

Bella knew that his lack of knowledge had to be irking him immensely, “Have the Shields conceal themselves in the wings,” she instructed quietly, “If something bad has happened then they shall need to be aware of it sooner rather than later.”

 

Nori nodded before fading away into the shadows. Bella herself marched toward her chambers, mentally replacing ‘argue with Thorin’ with ‘dress for an unanticipated and frankly undesirable assembly’ on her list of things she had to do today.

 

**(+)**

 

Court was held every single Mersday without fail, and usually only on Mersdays. An emergency session being called on a Highday could only mean trouble, big trouble. Nervous anticipation boiled in Bella’s gut, but she took care not to show her unease to anyone.

 

Bella glided swiftly into the Council Hall, looking every bit the Queen of Erebor in her blue silken, sapphire-laden gown, Sting strapped to her side, diamonds woven into her braids and clipped into her hair and a crown of mithril and sapphire atop her head. Her mithril and gold marriage braids framed her face perfectly and her wedding ring and band glittered from their place on her third finger when the light struck them at the right angle.

 

She got quite a few looks as she took her place in the dual seat, a smaller and less ornate version of the thrones in the King’s Hall, at her husband’s right side on the raised platform at the end of the hall. Some were of appreciation and pride, directed at her by Thorin and the High Council, made up of her brothers, sister, and Dís. A great deal more, however, were composed of barely-concealed contempt, all coming from the further end of the hall, where those that made up the Lower Council sat.

 

Sadly, Bella had quite a bit of practice ignoring such looks. She had gotten them often enough in the Shire before she had run off on a mad quest with thirteen dwarves and a wizard.

 

“What is going on?” Thorin spoke after everyone had settled into their seats, “Why have you requested this unscheduled audience?”

 

“It’s terrible!” Lord Bombi fretted fearfully.

 

“Simply awful!” Lord Rombi agreed.

 

“What has happened?” Thorin demanded again in alarm.

 

“Völuspá has gone missing!” Lady Blini cried out in despair.

 

There was a very long moment of silence that had Bella wanting to bury her face in her hands. To her dismay, queens had to show decorum in all things and that included this.

 

“If you all have actually called an emergency Meeting of the Councils about a wayward poet,” Thorin said through gritted teeth, “When I have a hundred actually important tasks that require my attention right now, I am going to throw each one of you in the dungeons.”

 

Thorin,” Dís hissed.

 

“You are all well aware that Völuspá tends to go off by himself every once in a while to ‘enhance his creativity’ and that he always turns back up,” Thorin continued, “He knows when the Festival of Spring is and I have no doubt that he will return in time for it. So someone had better tell me the real reason why this meeting was called.”

 

There was a moment of silence before Lord Kril stood up, “There is another issue that needs to be addressed immediately, Sire.”

 

“Sit down, Kril,” Lord Bróin snapped in trepidation.

 

Kril ignored him, “It has been nearly five years since you reclaimed our homeland, Sire, and almost as long since you married. Those of us who lived in Ered Luin are well aware of the fertility of Hobbits. As your queen has not yet given you a child, it has become clear to us all that Dwarves and Halflings are not meant to mix.”

 

Bella felt all the blood in her face drain away.

 

The fertility of Hobbits. If only that were true of her.

 

Bella had grown as every other female of her race, developing lovely curves and breasts, with one glaring exception to her otherwise normal puberty. While her female cousins and friends had all found themselves dealing with Bloodmoons, like their mothers and grandmothers before them, once they entered into their tween years, Bella had not.

 

Bungo and Belladonna had, for a time, insisted that she would get her first Bloodmoon when her body was ready for it. But as her coming-of-age grew nearer and nearer and there was no sign of her cycle starting, Bél’s parents decided to take her to see one of the Shire’s herb-witches. After several long embarrassing hours of being examined naked, the herb-witch, Hazel, had given Bella and her parents the worst news a Hobbit woman could ever receive.

 

Bella was barren.

 

The shame of his only child being incapable of creating new life was far too harsh of a reality for Bungo Baggins to take. He had died six months later. Bungo’s loss took its toll on Belladonna, and she passed on less than a year later, leaving her daughter alone and broken. At least until that fateful day when a wizard descended upon Bag End with an offer of adventure and excitement and a chance to no longer be an outcast for something Bella could not control.

 

Thorin and her brothers, although they did not yet call themselves such, had found out about her fruitless womb fairly early in their quest. The dwarrows had worried that the Orcs chasing them might smell Bella bleeding and therefore find their party easier and Bella had been forced to tell them why such a fear was unfounded. Because there were many dwarrowdams who suffered similarly, the Company hadn’t seen Bél’s infertility as symbol of inferiority, which was a welcome change from how people had acted toward her in the Shire. They had simply shrugged at the news and carried on.

 

“Bél is half of nothing!” Kíli bellowed, drawing her attention back to the present.

 

“You will not refer to our Queen in such a derogatory way,” Dwalin snarled.

 

“But, everyone calls them Halflings,” Lady Oddvá said in confusion.

 

“Well they shouldn’t,” Bofur spoke up, “It’s an insult to their entire race.”

 

“As I was saying,” Kril interrupted loudly to draw everyone’s attention back to him, “Is that it would be in everyone’s best interest for you to sire a child, Your Majesty, with someone who is capable of carrying it.”

 

“What Lord Kril is suggesting, Your Majesty,” Lady Durita clarified, seeing Thorin’s stormy expression, “Is that you take a mistress, one who can birth you a child.”

 

“Exactly,” Kril agreed, “Surely your Queen understands the importance of continuing the sacred line of Durin.”

 

“And why couldn’t the line of Durin continue through me?” Fíli challenged, “Or my brother?”

 

“You are the offspring of a female,” Lord Kálvur retorted haughtily, “And your brother’s dalliance with that she-elf is a taint upon this mountain! The line of Durin would surely wither if it depended on the pair of you!”

 

Tauriel was forced to hold Kíli down to keep him from drawing a blade across Kálvur’s throat in response to that grave insult.

 

“Silence!” Thorin rose in anger, “My sister-sons are my heirs and always shall be, even if I were to be theoretically blessed with a child. The blood of my sister is in no way inferior to that of my own and you shall never imply otherwise again. Furthermore, the Lady Tauriel is a cherished member of my household and outranks most of you sitting in this room. If I hear any more murmurings against her of any sort, so help me Mahal, I will throw those incapable of holding their tongues in the dungeons for a month!”

 

Everybody looked at him, too stunned to say anything in response to their King’s outburst. Dís and Tauriel wore matching expressions of surprised gratitude.

 

“This farce of a Court Session is over,” Thorin resolved, before storming out.

 

“Well that went well,” Dwalin said sarcastically, making Balin sigh, “You all are idiots.”

 

Bella rose demurely, gave the Lower Council an icy look that left them all chilled, and then left the hall to seemingly follow her husband.

 

The moment she was in the clear, Bella slipped on her magic ring and took off running.

 

**(+)**

 

The large garden on the Secret Terrace was, in Bella’s opinion, the greatest gift Thorin had ever given to her. She had spent uncountable hours transforming the charred piece of land and the crumbling stone into a blossoming courtyard filled with herbs and fruits and vegetables and all manner of flowers. Thick green ivy covered both sides and the top of the safety wall, spilling over it on one side to dangle hundreds of feet in the air and providing a soft cushion for Bella to lean against on the other.

 

That was where Thorin found her, several hours later, slumped over with her face buried in her hands.

 

“Everyone missed you at dinner,” Thorin began, moving close to her, “Bombur was quite disappointed that you weren’t there to try his new recipe, a rather delicious paste made from chickpeas that is meant to be spread on flattened garlic biscuits.”

 

“I wasn’t hungry,” Bella said dejectedly.

 

“Because of what that bastard, Kálvur said at the council,” Thorin guessed, “I ordered him thrown into the dungeons for a fortnight for his insolence once I calmed down. He’ll miss all the revelries of Muhudtuzakhmerag.”

 

“Because of the unchangeable reality that what he said is true!” Bella replied, “I can’t give you children, Thorin!”

 

“Which I was well aware of when I married you,” Thorin pointed out before taking his distressed queen into his arms, “You have given me your love, Bella, and that it a far greater gift than any other and far more than I deserve,” Thorin nuzzled her nose in affection, “You are my Ughvashâ, my Sanâzyung, and the true Kurdu Mizim ‘Abadaz, not the Arkenstone.”

 

After another moment, Bella relaxed into his arms, “The Lower Council will never be pleased until you give them an heir.”

 

“I have an heir, two of them in fact,” Thorin reminded, “Their names are Fíli and Kíli and they take great delight in turning my hairs silver.”

 

Bella huffed a laugh before sobering back up, “Maybe you should-”

 

“Absolutely not.” Thorin stopped her resolutely, “Don’t even suggest it.”

 

“You have no idea what I was going to say.”

 

“You were going to propose that I take a mistress like Kril advocated for earlier,” Thorin contradicted her assertion, “And I’m telling you right now that such a disgusting proposition shall never come to pass. With Mahal as my witness, I swear that to you and I shall swear it before the whole of Erebor if I have to.”

 

“I will have no other lover save for you, Melekunuh,” Thorin finished, “Not even should time itself come to an end.”

 

Bella suddenly felt very warm indeed as a lustful heat spread through her, causing her cheeks and neck to flush, “Prove it.”

 

And so Thorin did.

 

**(+)**

 

Bella felt far better the following morning as she woke to Thorin trailing kisses down her body.

 

“Mahzâyung,” She requested in a half-sleepy murmur of Khuzdûl and Thorin was more than happy to oblige her supplication.

 

Their love-making was filled with far more tenderness in the light of a new day, not the frantic couplings that they had shared the previous evening. They eventually ended up curled together in the oversized platinum tub in Bella’s bathroom, rubbing mint bath oil into each other’s skin.

 

A sudden pounding on the bathroom doors made them start. “Breakfast is nearly ready you two, so you had better hurry up,” Dís adjured, “You both have places to be today!”

 

Thorin glared at the door so fiercely that Bella feared he meant to incinerate his younger sister with sheer force of will.

 

“We’ll be out in a few minutes,” Bella called back, grabbing a nearby golden pitcher so that they could rinse the soap of their bodies and out of their hair.

 

“She’s infuriating,” Thorin communicated to his wife through the waterfall of warm liquid cascading down upon him.

 

“She’s you sister,” Bella quipped, “It’s her job.”

 

They finished in the bath fairly quickly and then pulled on the clothes that either Dís or Dori, who were confident that their King and Queen were hopeless at dressing themselves, had set out for them to wear.

 

They then made their way into Bella's Sitting Room where their large family was congregated for the Sterday morning meal, a tradition that had been started immediately following the Battle of the Five Armies and had been kept religiously ever since. The family also ate dinner together every Highday, Sunday, and Hevensday, rotating between Bella, Bombur, and Dori’s chambers like clockwork. Dinner on Mersday and Trewsday nights were eaten in the Great Dinning Hall with all of the citizens of Erebor present, as was tradition, while Sterday and Sunday suppers were reserved for the smaller units that composed their large family. All lunches, save for on Trewsday when they all marched outside for a picnic on the mountainside, and any other meals, were taken wherever they happened to be, at work or play.

 

“What’s on your wrist, Bella?” Tauriel asked from her place at the dining table when Bél walked past her, nodding toward Bella’s right side.

 

Bella frowned and looked down at her right hand and then her mouth fell open in shock. Printed on the inside of her wrist, directly underneath her palm, plain as daylight, was a circlet of lily-shaped blossoms connected by an emerald green vine.

 

“When did you get an inking, Bél?” Kíli remarked from over her shoulder, furrowing his brows as he took in the wreath of gold and silver flowers on Bella’s delicate wrist.

 

“I didn’t,” Bella breathed out harshly, “This isn’t a tattoo.”

 

“Then what is it?” Glóin demanded despite his mouth being full of sausage, “And why have you gone so pale?”

 

Gala hit the back of his head, “Manners.”

 

“It’s… it’s the mark of Yavanna Kementári,” Bella managed to say despite her own astonishment.

 

Everybody in the room froze at that revelation regardless of whether they were sitting at the breakfast table or attempting to wrestle on a pair of pants. Gimli falling over, his legs tangled up, would have been highly comical in any other situation but this.

 

“Um…” Ori bit his lip, “What does that mean?”

 

“It means that Thorin and I are going to have a baby.”

 

Nori choked around a mouthful of oatcake, forcing Bofur to pound on his back hard.

 

“I’m confused,” Thorin admitted after a very, very long moment of stunned silence, “I thought that you said that you couldn’t have children, that you were… well, barren, Ghivashel.”

 

“I am,” Bella agreed, and for the first time that harsh truth does not bring sadness to her countenance, instead she smiled “But I meant that we are going to have a child in the other way.”

 

“Other way?” Fíli asked, “What other way?”

 

“I suppose it makes sense that you wouldn’t know of it,” Bella said thoughtfully, “After all, it is technically meant to be a secret, but a great many people of other races have alluded to it so often that I assumed that they actually knew.”

 

“Knew what?” Bombur inquired from the doorway to the kitchen, a platter of over-easy eggs in his hands.

 

Bella smiled at them all, “You lived in Ered Luin. Didn’t you ever hear anyone talk about Hobbits being grown in gardens of some sort?”

 

“Well, yeah,” Kíli said, “But they were just joking…” Kíli trailed off and then his eyes widened considerably, “Wait, are you saying that Hobbits really are grown in cabbage patches?”

 

“Not normally, and not in cabbage patches either,” Bella illuminated, “But sometimes, on very rare occasions, Yavanna’s flowers will bloom on the wrist of a Hobbit. It means that he or she will be able to create a very special type of seed with the help of their spouse which will, after about twelve weeks’ time, blossom into children.”

 

“Are you sure?” Dís questioned incredulously, “Because that sounds a mite bit insane, growing children like crops.”

 

“Yes, I’m sure,” Bella huffed, “I do think I know a tad more about Hobbit magic than anyone else in this room, or the entire kingdom of Erebor for that matter.”

 

“It’s not that mad sounding,” Ori defended his sister, “We dwarves have our secret lore as well. It has happened on a few occasions in our history that Mahal blessed certain dwarves with the ability to carve children out of stone. It hasn’t happened for many centuries, but it still occurred.”

 

“Elves can sometimes sing a child into being by using our voices to manipulate the light of the sun, moon, or stars,” Tauriel added, “Although only the wisest and most powerful are usually capable of such a feat.”

 

“Zigrel,” Bifur murmured in Khuzdûl.

 

“Bella,” Thorin’s voice had a hint of urgency in it, “I need to speak to you about this… alone… now.”

 

He didn’t wait for her to answer, putting an arm around her waist and pulling her swiftly into the gold and green bedroom that she never actually used anymore.

 

“What was that about?” Bella demanded.

 

“This is truly happening?” Thorin asked without preamble, “Yavanna has truly granted us this blessing?”

 

“I wouldn’t lie to you, Thorin, especially about something like this,” Bella answered.

 

Thorin kissed her then, pulling her body so close to his own that nothing could pass between them.

 

“I take it that you’re pleased with this new development, Yâsûnuh,” Bella said in a bit of a daze after the passionate kiss came to an end.

 

“You amaze me more with each day that passes, Âzyungel,” Thorin told her, nuzzling her button nose with his larger one.

 

“I knew you greatly desired children.”

 

“I do want children, but only if they are given to me by you,” Thorin asserted firmly, “You, mizimuh, are my heart of hearts, sankurdûh, zâyung zu.

 

“Zâyung zu, Khaeluh,” Bella kissed his nose.

 

Thorin stiffened a few moments later.

 

“Thorin? What’s wrong?” Bella could feel tension rolling off of her husband in waves.

 

“There is a… danger in deciding to do this,” Thorin admitted.

 

“As long as evil exists in this world, there will be danger,” Bella reasoned, “But by choosing to accept this gift we can bring forth lukhudel to chase away the shadows and the monsters that lurk within them.”

 

“You are right, Ghivashel” Thorin responded, relaxing marginally.

 

“I usually am,” Bella teased, “Now, I do believe the big question is: where are we going to grow our future offspring?”

 

Melhekhinhaz Buzn?” Thorin suggested.

 

“It’s our garden,” Bella said with a fond smile, “And yes, that will be the perfect place. It gets plenty of sunshine and rain, not to mention it is one of the safest places in Erebor simply because very few know that it even exists.”

 

“Then that is where we shall plant the seed.”

 

**(+)**

 

“Why wasn’t Mahal the one to grant this blessing?” Dís asked a few minutes after Thorin had all but carried Bella back into the Queen’s bedroom.

 

“The Valar work in mysterious ways,” Balin reminded them all, “Besides, Bella is a Hobbit. Yavanna had just as much right to provide this gift as Mahal.”

 

“I do not doubt that, cousin,” Dís said quietly, “What I fear, Balin, is how certain members of the nobility are going to respond to this new development. If Thorin and Bella choose to have children this way, the backlash from those who already resent Bella being here could be terrible.”

 

“Those naysayers will keep their mouths shut if they want to keep their tongues where they are,” Dwalin growled.

 

“Durin himself took a queen from lands’ afar,” Nori spoke up, “And what records we have prove that she was almost certainly one of Yavanna’s children. Definitely not a dwarrowdam at any rate.”

 

“Yavanna is the wife of our Adadel and she is our Amadel. To reject such a gift from her is just the same as rejecting the will of Mahal. Remind the nobility of that if they start to murmur against our King and Queen,” Bofur said.

 

“And if they do more than just mutter?” Dori worried, “What if they do not listen to reason and attempt to harm the little one?”

 

“I’ll kill them if they so much as breathe wrong in his or her direction,” Glóin swore, hefting his axe onto his shoulder for emphasis.

 

“Aye!” Nearly the entire company, Dís, Gimli, and Gala agreed.

 

Kíli looked at Tauriel, who had remained silent.

 

“I wouldn’t kill them,” she said with a shrug as she examined one of her throwing knives, “I plan on doing something much, much worse. If several barrels of hot oil go missing from the battlements, you shouldn’t be alarmed.”

 

Âzyunguh ana zu tursiki uhrus magh Mahalul gabil khubûb, Sangimlilukhuduh,” Kíli murmured in awe.

 

Mâ akhùthuzhur zurkur ze, Sanûlukhlukhuduh,” Tauriel answered.

 

“Do you two have to be so sappy in front of other people?” Fíli demanded.

 

“You’ve thought her Khuzdûl?” Dís asked weakly, “Oh, who am I kidding, of course you have.”

 

“Thorin said I could, amad,” Kíli protested his mother’s tone.

 

“Of course I did,” Thorin chimed in, making everyone turn to see their King and Queen hovering in the bedroom doorway, “Tauriel is your betrothed, and she needs to know how to speak our language.”

 

Dís frowned but didn’t argue with her older brother’s assertion.

 

“So?” Óin asked hopefully, “Are we going to be hearing little feet any time soon?”

 

Bella nodded with a bright smile adorning her face as Thorin wrapped a possessive arm around her shoulders.

 

Whoops of joy filled he air.

 

“This calls for a celebration feast!” Glóin decided, “And lots of ale!”

 

“We’re going to have a baby cousin, Fee!” Kíli cheered.

 

“Cousins,” Bella corrected, “A seed from Yavanna blooms seven times, usually with a year or two in between each blossoming.”

 

Bella hadn’t thought that it was possible for the others to become any more excited. She was wrong.

 

“Did you all hear that? There are going to be seven hobbity dwarflings!” Bofur exclaimed.

 

“Or is the correct term dwarfish hobbitlings?” Fíli mused

 

“Fauntlings,” Bella informed them all, “Hobbits usually call our little ones fauntlings or just faunts.”

 

“Shulukkhuzdinh kunjâlmazâm!” Bifur declared.

 

“Ha, ha,” Bella said to him, “Very funny, Bifur.”

 

“I’ve got an even better word!” Kíli crowed, jumping up and down.

 

“And what’s that?” Thorin asked in amusement.

 

“Dwobbits!”

 

“You made that up just now, didn’t you?” Dís accused.

 

“No,” Tauriel disagreed with a mock-sigh, “He made it up months ago, on the same night he came up with the word, Dwelf.”

 

“Shall I make an official announcement, Thorin?” Balin inquired.

 

“Not yet,” Thorin shook his head, “We need to be sure that the seed will take in such foreign soil first.”

 

“Course it will,” Nori assured.

 

“Nonetheless,” Thorin decided, “Give us a few weeks before you start shouting the good news from the battlements.”

 

**(+)**

 

The very next morning found Bella and Thorin on their Secret Terrace, discussing what needed to be done in order to bring a Dwobbit, because the word really was catchy, into the world.

 

“Jewels?” Thorin asked as he watched his wife flutter around their garden, choosing a startlingly colorful array of blossoms that she planned to weave together in order to create the bed that their seed was supposed to rest on.

 

“Yes,” Bella confirmed as she examined the lavender blooms with far more dedication than Thorin thought was healthy, “Small ones, mind. Hobbits don’t typically create the seed’s pallet out of anything but plants, but our children are half-dwarf so… we need gemstones to tuck between the gaps in the flowers. Little jewels of as many colors that you can find and maybe some tiny chips of gold and silver.”

 

“Right, I can do that,” Thorin said without much confidence, “Only… what if I don’t choose the right ones? This is clearly extremely important. What if I mess this up? What if I pick the wrong gems and our child ends up crazy or ill or…,” Thorin swallowed hard, “Dying, because of I made the wrong choice.”

 

Bella looked up at him in surprise, “Oh, Thorin,” she placed her flowers to the side, stood and cupped his face in her petite hands, “Kurdûh, that’s not going to happen. The seed bed is a tradition more than anything else; it doesn’t really have much of an impact at all on the children that grow from the seed. Now, why don’t you tell me what really brought this sudden lack of confidence on?”

 

“There is nothing in this earth that can ever cause me to forget my actions when I was under the haze of gold-lust,” Thorin whispered, “I hurt you and you may have forgiven me, but I shall never forgive myself. What if I can’t control the sickness if it comes upon me again, what if I harm our child?”

 

“If I even suspect that the madness might be returning, I shall hit you over the head with a frying pan,” Bella promised, “After all, a knock in the head worked once.”

 

“What if I’m a terrible father?”

 

“Boys, do come out and explain to Thorin why he doesn’t need to worry about such a thing,” Bella called over in the direction of her blueberry bushes.

 

Thorin turned to see his nephews sheepishly crawling out from behind them, having evidently been snooping around for a chance to see how a Dwobbit baby was grown. They also had apparently been enjoying the first of the berries as their mouths and fingers were lined with purple juice.

 

Thorin raised an eyebrow, “Boys?”

 

“We were curious,” Fíli defended.

 

Bella cleared her throat and gave her brothers a significant look.

 

“You don’t need to worry, Uncle,” Fíli quickly said, “You practically raised Kee and me and we’re still alive and healthy and relatively sane.”

 

“Yeah,” Kíli agreed, “So you just need to do everything you did last time over again. Except, maybe you shouldn’t try to teach the baby to swim by throwing them into a river. It didn’t go so well the last time you did that, and this baby will be a Dwobbit whose mother is an abysmal swimmer in the first place.”

 

Fíli hit his younger brother over the head, “Not helpful, Kee.”

 

Bella rolled her eyes.

 

“Aren’t you supposed to be with Balin?” Thorin remembered, “To discuss the importance of tariffs?”

 

“Um… no,” Fíli tried.

 

“Scoot, both of you,” Thorin ordered.

 

“But we want to see you plant our baby cousins,” Kíli protested sadly.

 

“Then you ought not have made so much noise that it was impossible for me not to catch you,” Bella replied, “You two eat much too loudly.”

 

Fíli and Kíli pouted but trudged back inside the Mountain.

 

“See, you already are the perfect father with two sons who worship the ground you walk on. Now, go,” Bella shooed, “You have a job to do.”

 

**(+)**

 

“I’ve got the gems, Ghivashel,” Thorin announced upon his return two hours after lunch.

 

“I was beginning to worry that you had gotten lost,” Bella teased him, “It’s after midday.”

 

“I had to make sure the stones I chose were flawless,” Thorin defended, “And that took time. Here,” He held his hand out to her so that she could see what jewels he had ardently picked out.

 

In Thorin’s outstretched palm were over a dozen chips of gold and silver and a lovely mix of miniature emeralds, rubies, topaz, sapphires, amethyst, diamonds, opals, and…

 

“Are those pearls?” Bella asked in astonishment.

 

“Yes,” Thorin answered, as if throwing two of the extremely rare and precious orbs was no big deal at all.

 

“Alright then,” Bella said, taking her cues from her husband’s nonchalant attitude in regards to burying such treasures, “Let me see them.”

 

One by one, Bella wove the gems into the flowers until finally she was finished. The end result was a thick braided circular pallet of soft petals and glittering jewels with a middle that dipped down just slightly, a perfect cradle for their seed.

 

“Now what do we do?” Thorin asked, marveling at the small bed that Bella had managed to weave.

 

“I dig a hole,” Bella said, picking up her small golden trowel, “I place the pallet at the bottom and then, then we create the seed.”

 

“How do we do this?” Thorin inquired once the bed of flowers and gems had been tucked down into the six-inch deep hole and he was kneeling before her, his knees touching hers.

 

Bella cupped her hands together, “Put your hands around mine.”

 

He obeyed and then began to feel a strange tingling in his palms and fingers not a minute later, “What is that?”

 

“Open your hands and you’ll see,” Bél smiled.

 

Together, they cracked their hands back open and Thorin inhaled sharply as he caught sight of the most beautiful gem he had ever seen, nestled in his wife’s hold like a pearl sat in an oyster. The seed was red-gold with swirling streaks the color of mithril. It wasn’t a perfect orb; instead it had the appearance of two halves of a sphere having been pressed so tightly together that the middle began to point outward. Almost like a walnut but smoother and with a glassy sheen.

 

“Ghivashel,” Thorin said in wonder, “It’s beautiful.”

 

“It is,” Bella agreed, before moving over to the hole. With all due reverence, she set the seed down into it and atop the pallet.

 

Together Bella and Thorin covered the seed ever-so-carefully with soil until it was completely hidden away. Once the finished, Bella gave the top of the mound a soft peck.

 

“Now comes the hardest part,” Bella admitted, “Waiting.”

 

Thorin pulled her into his lap and kissed her soundly. A moment later he looked back at where they had planted their gorgeous seed, “Bella!”

 

Bella twisted around to see that a goldish-green had already sprouted up, forming a protective circle around the small mound, “It’s working,” she said in delight, leaning back against Thorin’s chest, “When the vines turn a light blue, it means that the flower is about to come up. That should happen in about two months.”

 

“What color will the flower be?” Thorin asked.

 

“It depends.”

 

“On what?”

 

“On whether our fauntling is a boy or girl,” Bella raised her right wrist so that Thorin could see it, “The seven lilies on my wrist are both gold and silver; that is Yavanna’s way of telling us that we’ll eventually have both boys and girls. If they were all gold, we’d be having all boys, and if they were all silver, we’d be having all girls. There are five gold flowers and two silver, see? That means that while we will have more than one daughter, we will mostly have sons.”

 

Thorin felt remarkable giddy at that revelation, “You are astounding, mizimuh.”

 

 

 

 

Please note that my grammar may not be perfect, I am still very much learning how to use this beautiful language, but here are the translations for the Khuzd û l words and phrases I used:

 

  •          Muhudtuzakhmerag- Spring Festival
  •          Namad- Sister
  •          Nudûduh- My Brothers
  •          Mekeb-farak- South Library
  •          Mekeb-faham- North Library
  •          Mekebel- Great Library
  •          Ughvashâ- Greatest Treasure
  •          Sanâzyung- Perfect Love
  •          Kurdu Mizim ‘Abadaz- Heart Jewel of the Mountain
  •          Mahzâyung- Make Love to Me
  •          Zigrel- Great Magic
  •          Ghivashel- Treasure of all Treasures; Beloved
  •          Yâsûnuh- My Husband
  •          Âzyungel- Love of all Loves
  •          Mizim- Jewel
  •          Mizimuh- My Jewel
  •          Sankurdûh – My Perfect Heart
  •          Zâyung Zu- I Love You
  •          Khaeluh- My Wolf
  •          Lukhudel- Great Light
  •          Melhekhinhaz Buzn- The Queen’s Garden
  •          Adadel- Great Father; Father of All Fathers
  •          Amadel- Great Mother; Mother of All Mothers
  •          Âzyunguh ana zu tursiki uhrus magh Mahalul gabil khubûb- My love for you burns hotter than Mahal’s great forges.
  •          Sangimlilukhuduh- My Perfect Starlight
  •          Mâ akhùthuzhur zurkur ze- We will be forever as one.
  •          Sanûlukhlukhuduh- My Perfect Moonlight
  •          Shulukkhuzdinh kunjâlmazâm- Baby Bunnies

 

Interesting note: Google Völuspá, seriously, J