Dwalin made his way down the well-trodden path through the forest to the Lady Dís’ house, perturbed about what he’d find there. Balin had sent him an encoded letter three months ago, saying that the princess had given birth to a son on the first of Âfhumryanj, and only now was the warrior able to visit them. Going off the instructions his brother had given him, should he have wanted to visit, after stabling his pony Dwalin entered through the back door, which led into the kitchen where Balin and the Queen Sigriđr were poring over various papers.
“Morning brother,” He said by way of greeting, “My lady Queen.” He bowed, making the Queen smile slightly.
“Nadadith!” Balin beamed, ignoring the scowl that word caused (Dwalin hadn’t been little for decades now, thank you very much), “I’d feared you’d never gotten my letter.”
“Nah – the Rangers are slower than you give them credit for.” Dwalin grunted, “How’s the lady?”
“My granddaughter is resting,” the Queen told him, her cultured tones a sharp contrast to his own…less cultured ones, “The babe, it seems, is as stubborn as his forefathers considering he refused to come out for a good day. Óin was all for using his scalpel until the Lady Surthi threatened to use it on him…but now we have one very healthy prince to add to our line.”
“Can I see them both?” Dwalin asked carefully. It wasn’t usual for those outside of the mother and child’s direct family to see them before the child was first taken outside when they were a year old, and anyway, Dwalin was only a cousin so many times removed and didn’t have the luxury of being one of Thorin’s closest advisors like his brother was – the princess probably didn’t want to see him.
“Of course, Dís wanted you to be here, I think it was only the after effects of the struggles of labour that stopped her from writing the letter herself.” Sigriđr clucked her tongue sympathetically, something Dwalin had never known her to do before now, “Come, leave you weapons here and I will take you to her.” Quickly Dwalin removed his axes and various knives fumbling slightly over the buckles, to his brother’s amusement. Sigriđr smiled to herself as she led the young warrior down the hallway to the door to the front room – which had been changed into a bedroom for her granddaughter and great-grandson’s use, as it was the warmest room in the house. As the Queen pushed the door open slightly and bobbed her head through the gap to talk to the inhabitants, Dwalin brushed down his tunic down and smoothed his hair briefly. He should have gotten changed before coming here, he probably still stank from travelling, which is something no lady should be subjected to.
“You can come in now Dwalin.” Sigriđr pulled him out of his thoughts, smirking like her granddaughter, she knew she’d caught him off guard. The warrior swallowed and followed her inside. He was shocked by the warmth and the darkness of the room, an obvious attempt to recreate the birthing room in Erebor. A large bed was in front of the fireplace and a crib was next to it, closer to the fire to keep the babe warm.
“Dwalin.” A voice from the bed caught his attention, “You came.” If Dwalin hadn’t known it had been Dís who had given birth, he would’ve thought the woman a stranger. The princess was much paler than she had been last he saw her, and so much gaunter.
“Dís.” He breathed, a grin stretching his face. When she flapped her hand at the chair near the bed he was quick to sit in it, trying to keep her happy, “Y-You look well.”
“That’s a lie,” Dís snorted quietly, “I can see it in your eyes.” She told him when he went to disagree, pointing a finger at him. Dwalin caught her hand and pressed a kiss to it gently, looking into her eyes and pulling away with a smile, ignoring the gasps of some of the ladies from where they were sewing at the table behind him.
“Where’s the little lad then?” He asked eagerly, making her laugh.
“In the crib. Give me a second and I can-”
“It’s alright Dís, I’ve got him.” Surthi, Glóin’s new wife and a distant cousin of Dís’ husband was immediately out of her seat at the table and walking around the bed to lift a large bundle of blankets out of the crib, shushing it gently when it made some grumpy sounding noises. A swish of her skirts later and she was stood in front of Dwalin, muttering quietly to Dís before moving out of the way again to reveal the princess now cradling the bundle. Thanks to his new vantage point Dwalin could now see soft looking golden curls and small fingers that were trying to catch Dís’ own.
“We’ll leave you both be my dear.” Sigriđr spoke up and before either could react the ladies had already gone. Dwalin snorted and shook his head, inching the chair closer to the bed.
“Well then? Aren’t yeh goin’ to introduce me?” he asked teasingly, earning another laugh from the lady.
“Lord Dwalin,” Dís smiled impishly, knowing how much he disliked his title, “May I present to you Fíli, son of Dís, the First Prince of Durin’s Blood and heir of Thorin Oakenshield.” Dwalin smiled to the babe, nudging one of his little hands with a finger, catching the young one’s attention.
“Hello little lad,” He said softly, chuckling as Fíli tugged at his finger, “He’s got a strong grip, tha’s good.”
“He’s taking to you better than he did Thorin,” Dís told him, watching the pair interact, “He took one look at my brother and nearly screamed his poor little heart out.”
“Ah, he knows an ugly bugger when he sees one then, that’s good as well,” Dwalin jested, but “Thorin’s seen him then?” He asked more seriously Dís hummed.
“He visited two months ago, stayed for only three days and left again,” She told him, “But it’s better than his father. I’ve not seen nor heard from him for…eight months now? Yes I think it’s that long…” Dwalin gritted his teeth. He knew Firebeard men had a tradition of not being around whilst their wife was in confinement (Surthi had informed them all of that when Víli first disappeared, when he and Thorin were secretly planning a manhunt to bring him back), but Víli could have at least visited or have sent word to let Dís know that he was alright, or to ask after her and Fíli’s health.
“I’ll stay…” He told her, sounding far too serious, “I’ll stay as long as you need me to.” Dís caught his hand and pressed a kiss to it, dark eyes swimming with tears.
“You might regret that offer.” She told him shakily. Dwalin shook his head, moving to gently poke Fíli’s cheek – earning a happy sounding babble.