Ori knew Lady Dís well enough. He had often spent time in her house with her sons in the Ered Luin and now, after Erebor had been retaken, he saw her even more often. He ran across her frequently at both the council meetings and when the company and their families met.
She had often encouraged his friendship with the princes, claiming he had a calming influence on them. Ori couldn’t quite agree with her on that. More often than not, Fíli and Kíli just dragged him into trouble with them.
This visit was another matter entirely. Ori’s hands were sweating as they clenched the bouquet of flowers. Why had he even decided on getting her flowers? Even though Lady Dís had spent most of her life above ground, she had still been born in the Lonely Mountain. What if she saw flowers as an insult like some of the old deep-downers did?
“Kíli, perhaps we should wait…”
The door opened and Lady Dís’ blue eyes swept over Ori and Kíli. She lingered on Ori clutching the flowers with trembling hands and shifting from one foot to the other. She took in the way Kíli’s grin was even wider than usual. Lady Dís broke into a smile.
“Well, that was about time. I don’t think I could have watched you two dance around each other for much longer.”
Kíli’s grin slipped into disappointment.
“You knew? But how?”
Lady Dís shook her head at him fondly and tapped their heads together.
“I’m your mother. And you have never been the most subtle of dwarves.”
She ushered Kíli inside and smiled at Ori.
“Come, Ori, I suppose we are as good as kin now.”
Lady Dís crashed their heads together in kin-greeting. Ori tried his best not to stagger and resisted the urge to rub his hand across his smarting forehead. Her greeting for Kíli had looked much less painful….
But Lady Dís merely gave him another smile and waved him inside as well.
“Are those for me?” She asked, nodding towards the flowers in Ori’s hand. “Corn flowers are my favourites.”
“Oh, uh, yes! I nearly forgot about that, Lady Dís!” Ori handed them over with a small bow. “Kíli mentioned that you liked the blue ones, but I wasn’t sure….”
“Thank you, I’ll get a vase for them. And you should probably start just calling me Dís. Go ahead into the parlour. I made biscuits and the tea also ought to be ready in a moment.”
Ori breathed a sigh of relief as he entered the parlour. Kíli grinned at him around a mouthful of biscuits.
“See, that wasn’t so bad, was it? I don’t know what you were so nervous about. She’s just my Amad and you know she likes you.”
“I couldn’t be entirely sure she approved of this new development though, could I? And you aren’t too keen on facing Dori either.”
“That’s because he’s overprotective and probably thinks nobody will ever be good enough for his innocent little Ori.”
Ori couldn’t help but snort at the mention of innocence and Kíli had to laugh as well.
“Oh, he’d bash my head in with that horrible mace of his if he knew….”
“That’s why you are not going to tell my brothers all the lurid details, thank you very much. I don’t care if you tell Fíli enough to make him start screaming and want to scrub out his brain but not my brothers.”
“Don’t worry, I value my life far too much for that,” Kíli said and swatted at a fly that had tried to land on his biscuit.
Dís returned, a vase with the flowers in one hand and a teapot in the other. She set the vase on the table and poured tea.
They sat down on the comfortable chairs, warmed by the fire in the hearth. Ori’s tension soon disappeared entirely as Dís asked him about the reconstruction of Erebor’s library. They discussed the dwarves still streaming in from all over Middle-Earth now that there was a king under the mountain again as well as the newest trade agreements with Dale and Dorwinion.
Before long, the biscuits were almost gone.
“Kíli, do me a favour and get us some more from the kitchen,” Dís said and Kíli did as he was asked with only a small amount of grumbling.
There was a moment of silence in which Dís fiddled with her orc-tooth necklace and Ori watched the fly sitting on some crumbs on the table.
“Kíli seems to be very happy with you.” Dís paused and looked up at Ori. “Make sure it stays that way.”
“Of course I wi-“
She gave him a toothy smile, reached towards her belt and within a second, a knife was stuck quivering in the table, the fly neatly skewered on its end.
“Good,” Dís said as Ori choked on the last bite of his biscuit. “That thing has been opposing me all day.”
She flicked the fly into the hearth where it turned to ashes with a soft hiss.
Kíli returned with the replenished plate of biscuits, humming as he walked. He stuck a biscuit into his mouth and held the plate out to his mother, who took one as well. Ori shook his head when he was offered one.
Kíli looked at him in surprise.
“You seem pale. Is everything alright?”
Ori nodded hastily and made sure not to look at Dís.
“We were just talking about the poor dwarf who fell to his death from the raven tower the other night,” Dís said. “Thorin says they will probably never be able to say if the fellow merely lost his balance in a drunken haze or was pushed. The thought that such accidents can happen so easily is enough to make anybody pale. Still, you really should take another biscuit, Ori. I promise they aren’t poisoned.”
Ori laughed nervously and quickly took one. No matter how much he chewed, it felt like sawdust in his mouth. He washed it down with tea as Dís and Kíli began making plans for the court’s next hunting expedition into the closest woods that hadn’t been scorched by Smaug.
“Well, that was a fun afternoon. I told you it would be alright,” Kíli concluded when they left Dís’ quarters. He bumped Ori’s shoulder with his own and grinned.
“And she didn’t even try to threaten you.”
Ori swallowed. “Yes, she was all smiles and charm. Wouldn’t even harm a fly.”