A Sturdy Dwarf

by Laiquendi

'Well, here we are, and here we must pass another night,' said Boromir. ‘We need sleep, and even if Aragorn had a mind to pass the Gates of Argonath by night, we are all too tired - except, no doubt, our sturdy dwarf.' FOTR, Chapter IX: The Great River

Sturdy! Hmmph! He obviously can’t feel the cold fingers that are even now dancing erratically up and down my side. The sharp, stabbing pains that erupt across my chest every time I shift position. The dull throbbing in my knee that feels like it is by now twice its normal size. Sturdy indeed!

It’s a wonder I am able to sit down, and I am more than sure that I won’t be getting up anytime before the morning. Thank Mahal that they decided to stop here and not continue on, although it looks like that ranger had other ideas.

I still think traveling by water was a bad idea, not that anyone asked my opinion on the matter. “If Mahal had intended for us to go in the water he would have given us fins.” Or at least, that is what my father used to say. He seems to have a rather unnatural dislike for water, more so than any other Dwarf in our Halls. He would never say why, of course, although rumour has it that it’s something to do with barrels. Old Frólin once spotted him smashing several empty ones in the larder, shouting something like, “Never again!”

I’m not sure Father would approve of the way this quest is turning out. It seems to have gone from one bad decision to another. Freezing snow and ice, trapped by wargs, monsters in the waters, the devastating massacre of Khazad-dûm, the great loss of Balin, the death of Gandalf, hunted by orcs, captured by those simpering Elves. It wouldn’t surprise me if this river is infested with some sort of giant octopus too, poised to pull us to our doom once we are all asleep. Now that would be an interesting story to explain to the Seven Fathers, “My glorious death came at the slimy hands of a river monster, that took me in my sleep and ate me for tea.” I can just picture their reactions now.

And if the pain in my chest gets any worse I will be meeting them sooner than that! Remember, don’t move, just sit here and make little shuffles and hope they don’t notice. It must be the scar from the attack on Bundushathûr acting up again. The one from that rather impolite Orc that just refused to die, even after both his legs had been chopped off. The creature's vicious blade had proved sharp enough to slice through mail, and unfortunately, Dwarvish medicine is not the best in Middle-Earth. The pain occassionally flared up at inappropriate times, like now. Must grin and bear it.

We Dwarves have a reputation to uphold! The stone-warriors they call us! It wouldn’t do to start complaining about old war wounds, the cold and damp, or even the rather unpleasant odor that ranger is giving off. No, no! Wouldn't want to appear week and feeble! Remember the honour of Dwarves...especially amongst these sorts of people.

Now why is everyone staring at me again? Oh yes, sturdy Dwarf and all that. I think my jaw is starting to sieze up, so I’d better just nod in agreement and hope they get their act together fast enough to have that fire going.