Carpet shop

The Prophecy

The sight of the Lonely Mountain in the distance jogs Bard’s dormant memory of the name Thorin. Since it has been decades that the mountain has been unoccupied by Dwarves, and the name of Durin long bereft of importance in these parts, it is no wonder a bargeman could not instantly link the name of the Dwarf in his home with the one of legend. With surprise and fear, and out of breath, Bard rushes into the tapestry shop in the market. 

An old tapestry

Salesman: “Hello, Bard. What you after?” 

Bard: “There was a tapestry! An old one! Where’s it gone?”

Salesman: “What tapestry you talking about?”

Bard: “This one.” 

Bard frantically searches through the tapestries hoping to find one he had already once seen. As he finds it, the name of Durin suddenly becomes clear. The tapestry is that of the Durin lineage that includes the names as well as a depiction of the rulers’ heads. Thrór leads to Thráin, which leads to Thorin, the Dwarf currently inhabiting his house. 

The surprise and fear, however, do not come because of Thorin’s kingship or Bard’s inability to behave in a way that befits a man standing before a King. It is with a purpose that the Dwarves have left their names out of the equation when they sought Bard’s help. They were desperate to cross the Long Lake but not at the expense of giving their names away, which in the Dwarf world means giving the power over to the one the name was told to. 

The rumor grows

Hilda: “They were Dwarves, I tell you. Appeared out of nowhere. Full beards. Fierce eyes. I’ve never seen the like.” 

Man1: “What are Dwarves doing in these parts?”

Man2: “It’s the prophecy.”

Man3: “The prophecy?”

Man2: “The Prophecy of Durin’s Folk.” 

Bard: “Prophecy. Prophecy.”

The older generation of Lake Men remembers the prophecy with which the name Durin is associated. Though the newer generations cannot fathom what Dwarves would be doing in their town or in this part of the world, the older ones keep calm and tell the tale of the prophecy to those who have not heard it yet. 

The Master’s spy

Man4: “The old tales will come true.” 

Woman1: “Vast halls of treasure!”

Girl1: “Silver and gold and jewels beyond measure.” 

Girl2: “Can you imagine?”

Woman2: “Can it really be true? Has the lord of silver fountains returned?”

Among the folk in the streets, there, in disguise, hides Alfrid. As the eyes and ears of the Master of Lake-town, it is his “duty” to spy on his own people to see or hear if there is something to worry about or if the people were preparing for a putsch. What he hears though is not something he had expected.

Not having seen the Dwarves himself, it is all hearsay, still, a rumor of an oncoming event that would bring them all fortune and treasure entices Alfrid, for he, like the other common folk of Lake-town, has been bereft of any fortunes for a very long time. Surviving rather than living. 

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The Dwarves leave

Bard: “The lord of silver fountains. The King of carven stone. The King beneath the mountain shall come into his own! And the bell shall ring in gladness at the mountain King’s return. But all shall fail in sadness and the lake will shine and burn.” 

Bain: “Da, I tried to stop them.”

Bard: “How long have they been gone?”

As Bard remembers the words of the prophecy surprise slips from his face and fear and terror overtake it. Though the coming of Thorin comes as a blessing to others, Bard is convinced that all it will bring them is trouble. While everyone else would praise the King for fulfilling the prophecy, Bard runs toward his house to stop and face the King with the reality of the consequences his quest might bring to the rest of the world. 

The setting sun of the day leaves the sky painted in orange and red, reflecting it on the surface of the lake, bringing the prophecy almost to fulfilment, if only in image. 

Bard reaches his home only to be told by his son that the Dwarves have taken off ignoring Bard’s plea to wait for the cover of night to leave the town. 

Breaking and entering

Bilbo: “Can you see anything?”

Óin: “Shh! Keep it down.” 

Thorin: “As soon as we have the weapons we make straights for the mountain. Go, go.”

Dori: “Go, Nori.” 

Thorin: “Next.” 

Having left his home, Bard no longer takes any responsibility for the fates of the Dwarves. They have been properly advised but have chosen to ignore common sense. Instead, they put their own plan into motion, breaking and entering and robbing the city armory. They have found a way to enter it via the window on the first floor.

Thankfully, there are enough of them to form an ascending bridge, or rather a ladder, with their bodies so that half of the company can enter the building and take as many weapons as they can carry. Bilbo oddly enough is one of them. Not being a warrior he is rather inexperienced with weaponry, leaving us only to conclude that he was there to lend a strong and young hand to carry it all outside. 

A new hope

Master: “Prophecy? Who dragged up that old nonsense?”

Alfrid: “People, sire. They’re gathering in the streets. They’re saying that a king will return to the Lonely Mountain and that the rivers will once again run with gold.” 

Master: “Rivers of gold? Poppycock.”

Alfrid: “As you say, sire. But people will believe what they want to believe. It’s been a long time since they’ve seen any riches. The old tales offer them hope.” 

Weighing his own gold coins and hoarding his own treasure there is no need for the Master to believe in some old prophecy some old bitties have decided to talk about again. He has and will always have his treasure right under his nose.

Alfrid, being one of the people, chooses to believe, as others do, in any positive piece of news he hears. Where there is only desolation, poverty and hunger, people are willing to believe anything that might resemble prosperity. 

The Master, however, hearing that the people have hope in their hearts again feels fear, for when the people are given a morsel of something they crave from someone other than their Master, they are then inclined to believe and follow those that offer them a better reality than the one they are living. This, naturally, brings uncertainty into the Master’s comfort of life that he had created for himself.

If the people rise loud enough to demand a change or worse have the Master replaced, it would mean prosecution and poverty for the Master, something he isn’t inclined to simply let happen. 

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Featured image by Marvin Meyer on Unsplash.

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