Kili's Journal, 4th Entry (Translated from Dwarven Runes)
Continued from last entry.
The mead hall was bustling with activity when we arrived. In one corner was Gloin's wife, Gloa, who was sat with two other dwarves - the oldest of which was Nori's mother, Skafid and Dwalin's wife, Vif. Skafid as usual, was engrossed in her knitting. Gloa was busy with the spinning wheel, turning the pile of wool at her feet into useful thread for Skafid to use in her knitting, and Vif was tending to her newest baby, sharing gossip with them whilst keeping an eye on her three year old son and five year old daughter, who were playing nearby. The hall seemed to have an unusual air of feminity about it, probably because most of the dwarven men were still elsewhere.
We saw Balin talking with Dori by the great chair which my uncle sat in when presiding over matters related to the running of the kingdom, or when attending the feast days held in the hall. It was empty, and it seemed that no one presumed that they could sit in it in his absence. It crossed my mind that Fili could soon be sitting in it if Uncle Thorin was indeed lost, as we feared.
Balin broke off his conversation with Dori when he saw us approach. "Hello lads. It's good to see that you are back," Balin said. "Is your uncle around?"
"Then he is not back yet," I said.
"I'm afraid not," Balin replied. "Why is he not with you?"
Fili explained what had happened to Hilda's farm.
"Terrible news, that. In fact, it is what I need to speak to your uncle about," Balin said. "The orcs are getting bolder, their attacks more frequent."
A look of concern passed across Fili's face. "You don't think Thorin's Gate could be at risk, do you?" Fili asked the question that had been preying on all of our minds for a while.
"It is unlikely," Balin said, glancing at Dwalin's young brood. "But we shouldn't rule it out. I will speak to Dwalin about reinforcing the defenses, just in case."
"The late supply caravan was found?" Fili asked. That had been the business which the other dwarves had been on when we had gone out searching for the orc party that had been reported.
"They turned up yesterday." We had been starting to think that the caravan had been a victim of the orc pack, and I was surprised that they had managed to get through.
"It's a miracle then, that the orcs didn't come across them," Fili said.
"Aye, that it is," Balin said. "The men will be staying until we know for sure that the orcs have been dealt with."
"A wise precaution," Fili remarked.
"Here, lads," Dori said, handing Fili and myself a goblet each which he had just filled from the barrel. "You look like you could both do with a drink. I was just showing Balin what we've brewed for the coming festivities. It's the latest batch of ale for Yule."
I tried mine, and almost gagged. "It's got a great kick to it."
Fili drank his. "This should go down well," he remarked.
"Thought it would," Dori said. "Of course, we've also got a good selection of wine, ciders, lagers and meads."
"Nori's in town. We met him on the road," Fili said.
"Is he? I don't know if this will please or upset mother," Dori said. "Not up to his old tricks, is he?"
"Sadly, yes," I said.
"He's down at the inn," Fili said.
"I'd best be going, then," Dori said, heading over to speak to Ori who was sat with Gloin, going over the accounts to decide what the caravan men were owed.
"We'll talk, later Balin. I need to discuss a problem we encountered on the road with Gloin," Fili said.
"That's alright, laddie. Now, Kili, you look like you should get sommat down thee."
I didn't need telling twice because I was starving. While I was making my way to the table, I saw Hilda and went over to her, with the ever present Trotter at her heels. Trotter wagged his tail at me as I approached.
"You settling in alright?" I asked.
"Yes. Your mother was very helpful. She said that I could get something to eat here, and that she will be coming over shortly."
"I am glad," I said as we walked over to the table. There were no other dwarves sat at the table, as dwarf women were still bringing platters of food to it. We sat down at the top end on the bench and I became a bit self conscious as a middle age dwarf woman looked at me, and then at Hilda and then at me again with disapproval. It was starting to get a bit tiresome that everywhere we went, people assumed that we were up to something unseemly. I did think about saying that we should kiss so that they actually had something to complain about, but I thought better of it. Instead, I poured us both a mug of mead each.
"Well, will tha look at that!" said one of the dwarf women, her hand on her hips glaring at us. "Young 'uns, nowadays have no sense of discretion."
"No respect all," said another of the dwarf women. "A beardless woman and the king's youngest nephew."
It felt everyone's eyes were on me and I wished that the ground would open up and swallow me. Fortunately at that moment, my mother arrived took them aside to explain the situation. Also, at that moment, there was a thunderous shout from Dori - Fili must have told him about Nori's pilfering, which also drew attention from us.
"Look's like Fili has told Dori about Nori," I said.
Fili and Ori joined us. "That was brilliant," said Ori, in reference to the dwarf womens' reaction to me pouring Hilda a drink.
"It looks like you're making quite a reputation for yourself, brother," Fili said as he sat down on the opposite side of the table from us.
"Scandalous," Ori said.
"I don't get it," said Hilda.
"You tell her Fili," I said.
Fili explained to Hilda about dwarf women only shaving their beards if they had been widowed.
"But I'm a hobbit," Hilda said.
"They just like pulling Kili's leg," Ori said. "They make a sport of it."
"I'm glad someone finds amusement at my expense," I said.
"And mine," Hilda added.
"I take it what you had to see Gloin and Dori about went down well?" I asked.
"As well as could be expected," Fili replied.
I watched Dori and Gloin walk over to Ori's mother. After listening to what Dori had to say, she put aside her knitting and stood up. As the trio were heading towards the door, Dwalin entered the hall and Dori gestured for him to join them.
"That doesn't look good, does it?" Ori commented.
"Do you think Nori's been telling people down at the -" Fili began to ask.
"People shouldn't take much stock in the tales of thieves," I said, forgetting for a moment who I was talking to. Ori looked at me darkly.
"Are you calling my brother a thief?"
Fili tried to diffuse the situation. "I know he's your brother, Ori, but Nori caused us quite a lot of trouble on the road."
"Trouble we could have done without," I added.
We ate in silence for several minutes. After the meager offerings at the inn, I was glad of something good.
Ori cracked open the book he had brought to the table with him and said to Hilda "Do you mind if I draw your portrait?"
"Maybe later, Ori. Give her time to settle in," I said.
"You can have it when I am done," Ori said.
"I don't mind, but maybe some other time. I really don't feel my best at the moment," Hilda said.
Ori proceeded to make sketches regardless, in between swallowing and shoveling food into his mouth, managing somehow not to get food all over the sketches he was working on. When he finished, he pushed it across the table.
Hilda smiled, one of the few ones I had seen on her face since meeting her. "I like it. Thank you." He had also drawn a sketch of me next to her, and Hilda's dog in one of the corners.