TIME-SCALE: The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, though she is too old to take part in The War of the Ring.
AGE: 201 (approx)
YEAR OF BIRTH: TA: 2740
PLACE OF BIRTH: Erebor
OCCUPATION: Blacksmith, Warrior
MARITAL STATUS: Single (unlikely to be interested.)
PARENTS: Veig (mother), Nidi (father)
SIBLINGS: Hredimar (brother)
SIGNIFICANT OTHER: None
WEAPON(S) OF CHOICE: Battle-axe and sword
PersonalityMany of her stronger personality traits she picked up from her shield-maiden mother. She is adventurous, feisty, and does not lack for courage. She also fosters an independent personalty, (a consequence of having to care for herself from a young age,) and she is very resilient, and somewhat rebellious, but this does not mean to say that she has been left un-scarred by her experiences, because she has. Her life experiences weigh heavily on her shoulders and at times threaten to break her spirit. She mistrusts dwarrows (dwarf men) because of the way her Uncle treated her as a child and is unwilling to be be married. She fears being controlled and treated like a servant or a slave and wonders if marriage will be like that. She uses her craft in blacksmithing as a shield against her fears and her skills as a warrior as a force to fight them. Despite her unwillingness to marry, she wants to pass on her skills and knowledge of blacksmithing and her own child would be an ideal heir for that, if she could find that One who could allow her to trust again. Due to the maltreatment she received from her Uncle after the loss of her parents, she is afraid of leather straps, belts, whips, anything which could be used to beat someone with. Before the loss of her parents, her main aspiration was to follow in her mother's footsteps to become a shield-maiden. Later, when she started to learn the craft of the hammer and anvil, her ambition there was to become the best smith that she could.
Other Important Information:
Before the Sack of Erebor:
Bild is the youngest child of the guard Nidi and the shield-maiden Veig, who served King Thror in the years before Smaug attacked and drove the dwarves from their home. Her older brother, Hredimar was born a few years earlier, in 2736 of the Third Age.
As a child, Bild was very much in awe of her mother's profession, which was even more of an interest to her because a shield-maiden in the Ereborian Guard was an unusual occupation for a dwarrowdam. She would dress and pretend to be a shield-maiden herself, using the war paint her mother used to make her look more fearsome, wear dwarfling-sized arm rings and carry mock weapons and shields. She would often try to get Hredimar to braid her hair in the way that her mother wore, but this was too complicated for him to replicate and often failed. Some of the dwarfling boys thought that she was comical, and would bully her in the ignorant way that children do because dwarfling girls were so few in general, and she alone was interested in being a guard. Bild, being a rather feisty dwarrowdam anyway, was able to stand up for herself pretty well against these bullies and their fathers, once knowing of the situation, put a stop to it.
Nidi, though he would have preferred his daughter to pursue other interests, could not really dissuade her because of the influence of her mother. Veig encouraged her daughter and, as Erebor was peaceful and prosperous (despite the dragon-sickness that the King was increasingly descending into), at the time her mother thought that there was no danger in allowing her daughter to follow in her footsteps. A dwarrowdam becoming a warrior was almost unknown - not because of prejudice similar to that which existed in the world of Men - a dwarrowdam would have a dwarrow's guts for garters if they were that disrespectful, but because there were so few dwarf women to take up such a role and there were many other crafts and professions that a dwarrowdam could devote her time to. In addition to this, because there were so few dwarf women, many of the dwarf men had to take up tasks and occupations which in other races would be more or less restricted to gender so hardly any task is seen as 'dwarrow's work' or 'dwarrowdam's work'.
Life was good for the young dwarfling and it seemed as if nothing could ruin the happiness of Nidi and his young family. However, all that was about to change.
The Sack of Erebor and the journey to Dunland
As the wealth and prosperity of Erebor grew ever more vast, so did its fame, and as a result it drew the attention of those with a greedier nature than that of the dwarves. (Head canon - Dwarves have a liking of gold, gems, silver, mithril and other metals because aside from themselves, they consider these to be the greatest works of their creator Mahal (Aule), and believe that they honor Mahal the most by collecting and crafting great items from them. For most dwarves, the act of crafting and creating is enough - but some become overly possessive of their works and discoveries and it is this where their greed springs from.)
One of those of a greedier nature than the dwarves was Smaug, whom upon hearing of the great wealth of Erebor, decided to take the treasure for himself. Smaug attacked Erebor one day in 2770 of the Third Age. On this day, Bild and Hredimar, were in the market place, under the care of a friend of their mother's while Veig and Nidi were at their posts. When the dragon attacked, Nidi and Veig went out with the other guards to engage the threat. They knew that their likelihood for survival was minimal, but they knew their duty and wanted to distract the dragon long enough for Erebor's non-combatant population and the King and his family to escape. They had no chance and died honourably in battle.
Their deaths were not in vain, however. for although the dwarves suffered many losses, either through the first engagement with the dragon at the main gates, or later, when Smaug hunted dwarves through the corridors of the mountain (those that could fit his immense bulk, anyway), their sacrifice allowed the King and his family, along with other dwarves to escape.
Also in the market place at the same time was Lord Fundin and when the dragon attacked, he acted quickly - getting out as many of the dwarves as he could. Without his assistance, neither Bild nor her brother would have got out. They did not know the fate of their parents and had become separated from their care-giver in the chaos and it is thought that they were lost.
Being with Lord Fundin was fortunate for Bild and her brother for it meant that they stayed with people who could take care of them. The following days revealed the extent of the losses the dwarves had suffered, and Dale burned in dragon-fire. Though they were not completely certain, both Bild and Hredimar believed their parents had departed for the halls of Mahal. A secret hope of Bild's was that they had escaped and gone to the Iron Hills but in her heart she knew that her parents were too loyal to be separated from their King and too devoted to their children to abandon them so that hope grew dimmer as they days passed and they failed to appear.
was no aid at all from the elves, either to help them fight the dragon, or give the refugees aid and shelter, something which, even as young as she was, Bild would never forget for the rest of her life and caused her to harbour a resentment towards elves that differed from the ancient rivalries.
It appeared that Bild and her brother were alone, until one miserable rainy evening, the one before Thror decided that they must begin their travels to find a new home the following morning, that Fundin discovered a surviving relative. In some ways, this was a stroke of luck for the siblings - it meant that they had someone who would look out for them. A good number of the dwarflings who had survived had no one at all - their parents and relatives either missing or dead. In normal circumstances, (if there could ever be a normal circumstance for this!) parent-less dwarflings were cared for, as despite their obsession with treasure, a dwarf's true treasure is their children, even when they are not of their own, but the sacking of Erebor had changed this. Many dwarflings finding themselves without a relative were left to fend for themselves, the dwarves around them too traumatized, or too focused on their own problems to notice the theirs.
The relative whom had survived and stepped forward to take responsibly for them was Hanar, their uncle, and Nidi's brother. Hanar was a blacksmith by trade, a dwarrow given over to his craft. He had never married and viewed his new found charages with a degree of awkwardness. He had lost his tools and his forge, and only had hunting skills that would be of use until he could set up shop again. His relationship with his niece and nephew was cold one as he didn't have a clue on how to handle children, and he viewed them as trouble-some burden, but his sense of honour and duty to his brother prevented him from simply abandoning them.
Next came one of the most difficult times of Bild's life - gone was the wealth and comfort of Erebor. Now, she faced a long journey through a difficult landscape with very little food, inadequate shelter and the possibility of enemies at every turn.
Life in Dunland
Eventually, Thror brought his people to Dunland, an unwelcoming place for the most part, its people wild and often at conflict with each other and the Rohirrim. The dwarves discovered a tribe that was more amiable than the rest and settled near them. On the journey, Hanar swore fealty to Lord Fundin, in part because of his rescue of his brother's children and because he knew that one of the best ways of getting back on his feet and providing a future for Bild and her brother was to attach himself with one of the Durins. He became his official blacksmith.
Once they were in Dunland and built a house for himself and his family, Hanar set about rebuilding his stock of tools and his forge. This took quite a while and although they had stopped traveling, they were by no means living comfortable lives like Hobbits in the Shire. It was a dangerous place, for the more aggressive Dunlending tribes didn't restrict themselves to just raiding the other Dunlendings and the Rohirrim - the dwarves were an acceptable target for them too.
Bild was still keen on learning fighting skills, though Hanar did not want her to - he needed her to look after the home while he rebuilt his business - though he worked for Lord Fundin, he still took on all the work that came his way for money was hard to come by. Bild, being willful and feisty, and used to her parents encouraging her endeavours rather than discouraging them, argued with him and refused to do the work he requested. He warned her, telling her in no uncertain terms that she should do as he told her. The next day, while Hredimar was out hunting rabbits for the pot in the hills, and Hanar was away gathering stone he needed to complete the forge, she snuck out of the house to see if she could persuade one of the other young dwarves to practice sword-play. She lost track of time, and arrived home just has Hanar returned. An argument ensued because she had gone out without his permission and because the chores that he'd expected to be done weren't completed. Hanar, having grown harsh in his outlook and impatient in his temperament, snapped, and grabbed the first weapon he had at hand - a goat whip he used on the stubborn goat they kept as a beast of burden when it was being disobedient, took her inside and used it on her. Shortly after, Hredimar arrived home and learned what had happened - resentment towards his uncle began to grow in him, and he took to skinning the rabbits he'd caught for preparation for the pot rather reluctantly. After the beating, Bild, cowed but still fierce, complied with their uncle's wishes.
The more aggressive Dunland tribes continued to be a threat and a month or two later, as dusk approached, a group of Dunlendings attacked and murdered a widowed dwarrowdam as she was returning home from visiting one of the Hobbit farms nearby. (Dunland is home to a tribe of hardy Stoors who lived and worked in the Dunland hills. The dwarves had a friendly relationship with them and would trade with them for the supplies that the dwarves lacked. Being 'little folk' there was a natural trust between the two races and since their arrival, an unspoken pact lay between them where they would help defend each other when needed.)
When Hanar heard about the incident, he began to reconsider his objections to Bild learning to fight. They lived no longer in a protected, safe mountain - (In reality, how safe had it bean?) - but in a land that was harsh on its inhabitants, where the people were savage and brutal, and held to a different set of rules regarding behaviour and conduct. Bild, as with all the dwarves who were able, needed the skills to defend themselves. He brought the matter up with his Lord and arranged for combat lessons, real ones, for the lass. Hanar held on to the belief among dwarves that while they could be harsh on their children, no other was allowed to harm them. He hoped that Nidi would approve.
Bild was delighted with this and took to the combat lessons with great enthusiasm - she would be a shield-maiden like her mother. She felt like she was carrying on her mother's legacy. The relationship she had with her uncle was still frosty, and mostly affectionate - he still insisted that she be the house keeper and the sight of the goat whip always made her flinch when she saw it, but the combat lessons gave her the strength she needed to bear it.
Hanar finished the forge, and completed his set of tools, fashioning those himself which he couldn't obtain through trade, including obtaining an anvil which he had to pay an arm and a leg for. The stone for the forge itself he had obtained through gathering stone from the local landscape in the same way that the Hobbits built their walls of stone.
Work came in thick and fast, mainly commissions from the Dunlendings who had few blacksmiths that were as skilled as the dwarves. Hanar considered training Hredimar in the craft when word had got around that his work was of high quality and he began to have difficulty keeping up with demand. Hanar's demands on Bild increased, too and he gave her work in the forge, in addition to her other duties. This was mainly fetching water, giving clients their goods when they came to fetch them, taking money or other goods in payment for their services and book-keeping. Hanar arranged for Bild and Hredimar to learn writing and mathematics from the dwarrow who taught Lord Fundin's sons their lessons in academic studies - in comparison, it was simple things, but the skills were essential in running the business.
Life was more comfortable than it had been since the sack of Erebor, but it was by no means easy. Hanar kept up discipline among his charges, something he thought was necessary considering their circumstances and knowing that the goat whip had worked once to get obedience, he wasn't afraid of resorting to it again if needs required it. He was intolerant of laziness and pushed them hard, only allowing them a day off when they were ill (or unable to work because he'd been too harsh on them.), or if there was a planned celebration such as Durin's Day. Mistakes he tolerated, as long as they were not too costly, but disobedience or missing money he would not. Hanar never punished without a reason, however, so in his mind, he was strict but fair.
The family hardly ever wanted for anything - they were usually fed, warm and well-clothed, but there was no love between Hanar and his niece and nephew. His coldness, physical punishments and demand for obedience saw to that. The only affection that did exist in the family was the bond between brother and sister.
During a particularly bad winter in 2778 of the Third Age, a fever ran through the villages of Dunland. Hredimar was struck down with it, meaning that there was no one to assist Hanar properly at the forge. The combat lessons had made Bild quite strong and seeing this, Hanar decided to see if she had the aptitude to work metal. He had a number of minor jobs that needed completing, simple ones he would have carried out easily had he the time, and the commissioners were beginning to get impatient with him. Bild had watched him work many times and on this particular day she was going about her usual duties in the forge - keeping the floor tidy, ensuring that the tools were in their proper place when not in use, and bringing in buckets of water (or rather, ice, which needed to be melted) to cool the metal after it had been shaped. A bitterly cold wind was howling outside, driving flurries of snow and sleet across the settlement. There had been few visitors all morning, the dwarrows taking to shelter in their homes or the mead hall, so Hanar thinking that it was unlikely that Bild would need to speak to any customers, beckoned her over and told her to make a simple knife. She did this well, though there were minor imperfections in her first work. That earned her some rare praise and he put her to work on the simpler items he had on the list of things to make. Hanar was pleased with her efforts and after the day's work, he saw her value as more than just a house keeper and skivvy.
Once Hredimar had recovered, Hanar gave him more freedom to work in the forge on more complicated projects while he taught the basics of smithing to his sister. Bild showed a natural talent for the work and she enjoyed it. Hanar's coldness towards them began to change in small ways as he began to see that they were of use to him rather than the burdens they had been on the exodus from Erebor. As he had more practice, Hredimar proved to be more skilled than his sister and Hanar moved him on to making weapons, while Bild as given the task of making simple tools. Their relationship with their uncle was not one of guardian and wards, but more of a master in charge of servants.
When Bild reached the age of 40, she swore fealty to Lord Fundin as her uncle and brother had done before her. She was young, but necessity meant that some customs which had existed in the confines of Erebor were pushed aside and she was accepted into the guard, as her brother had a few years earlier. This meant that her combat training was intensified and that she was required to fight with the other dwarves if Dunlendings raided their settlement.
Bild's first taste of real combat was in the late autumn of that year - the harvest had been poor, which meant that competition for resources that would enable them to survive the coming winter was intense. They were attacked by the settlement that had been giving their allies trouble for a number of years, and Bild, though inexperienced and frightened, made her first kill - not that of an orc or goblin, but a Man whom would have run her through had she not landed her blow first. After this experience, her uncle's beatings (which had lessened over time because he saw value in her skills as a blacksmith which he could exploit) seemed more tolerable. Guilt gnawed at her because Men were supposed to be one of the 'Free races' and part of her regretted it.
Thror's Death and the War with the Orcs
In 2790 of the Third Age, when Bild reached her 50th year, King Thror, with a companion named Nar, left Dunland and traveled to Moria to see if it could be retaken. Thror was killed by Azog and for the next three years, Bild, Hredimar and Hanar prepared for war, both in terms of honing their fighting skills and forging the armour and weapons that the dwarves needed. In 2793, the host was ready and for the next six years Bild, alongside her brother and uncle, fought in the war that ensued between the dwarves and the orcs. It ended with the Battle of Azanulbizar where Lord Fundin and many other important members of the King's family lost their lives. The death of Lord Fundin brought shame to Hredimar as he felt that he should have saved him.
Hanar was also slain in that battle, bringing relief more than grief to Bild for she was now free of his tyranny. Due to her time under Hanar's control, the prospect of being a wife, to come under the control, as she saw it, of a dwarrow was not something she could bring herself to do even though a young dwarrowdam would normally have sought out a husband if her father or guardian had died. Her uncle had been a dwarrow who should have protected her from harm, but instead of doing that, he had only harmed her himself. The only positive thing he'd done for her was give her her craft, and one that, as an alternative to a dwarrow, she 'gave' her heart to.
During the battle, Hredimar had been injured and was found by Svarri on the battle field as she and her sheepdogs searched for survivors. It took a long time for Hredimar to heal and during that time, Hredimar and Svarri fell in love. Bild was happy for her brother, but her heart was heavy, too, knowing that it was unlikely that she would ever find her One - the mistrust of dwarrows is something that laid within her deeply and it would not be easily set aside.
Hredimar, due to his failure to protect his lord was reluctant to go north into the Blue Mountains with the rest of his people. He recalled a village of Woodsmen near Rhosgobel whose inhabitants had assisted them and thought that they'd be welcome there, or the prospect of the Iron Hills looked attractive to him and Svarri. Bild had three choices - she could return to their home in Dunland - a miserable prospect at best. Their home was there, but it had never really felt like home to her, with the hard time with her uncle, the raids and the prospect of dealing with that alone made her sick to her heart. Going with Hredimar and Svarri didn't feel quite right, either - she would be a third wheel, so in the end her only option was Ered Luin. Before parting ways, brother and sister returned to their home in Dunland to see if there was anything that could be salvaged from it, but it turned out that there wasn't for Dunlendings had raided it during the years of their absence and taken everything of value before razing it to the ground.
Life in Ered Luin
Hredimar accompanied Bild to Ered Luin, for their trip back to Dunland had delayed them and the dwarves where far ahead of them. Hredimar and Svarri stayed with Bild while she got settled and then went on their own travels.
Bild made a good life for herself in Ered Luin, but it was never anywhere near as prosperous as it would have been if Erebor had not been sacked. It was lonely, too, with her brother away and no husband to share her life with. The loneliness began to bother her, but her fear that a husband would be cruel and dominating kept her from allowing a dwarrow to court her.
From time to time she received word from Hredimar about how he and his wife were doing and though no doubt it was months out of date, such news brought comfort and delight to her. Some time in the year 2821 of the Third Age, she received the news that Svarri had given birth to a son, whom they had called Regin. She received news once again in 2831 that they had another son, Fafnir. Fafnir's birth was followed in 2836 by a third and final son, whom they called Ottr. Bild thought this was the end of it, as it was very rare for a dwarrowdam to have more than three children, and rarer still for a dwarrowdam to have more than one daughter, but two daughters followed Ottr's birth, the first, Lyndheid in 2841 and the second, Lofnheid in 2851.
As time wore on, she wondered what she would do to pass her skills as a blacksmith on to the next generation - she had no sons or daughters of her own and Hredimar was so far away. She informed her brother of her concerns and he agreed to send Fafnir her way when he was of age, but that was still a long time off so she began to look at the young dwarrows close to home. Andvari came to her attention and in 2859 she took him on as her apprentice.
Bild was still in co-correspondence with her brother and in 2891, he, Regin, Fafnir and Ottr visited her in Ered Luin. Svarri was unable to come because Lyndheid and Lofnheid were considered too young to travel (Hredimar had wanted to leave Ottr at home, but the young dwarrow insisted that he come along and his parents relented.) It was agreed then that Fafnir would take up his apprenticeship with Bild in a decade's time, when he was of age.
After they returned home, Bild received no further news and in 2901 Fafnir failed to show up as expected. A search party went out as far as Bree, but there was no news of him at all. Bild sent a message to her brother that Fafnir had failed to turn up and waited for a response, but got nothing at all. So many things could have happened to Hredimar and his family and Bild began to worry. In 2941, Thorin and company set out on the quest to regain Erebor and Bild became determined to find out what had happened to Hredimar and his family and reunite herself with them if they lived. Because of the quest, she finally had a chance to return home.