More Beautiful Than Zircons Ch.05



Rogvier entered the emporium. As he did he was assailed by all manner of scents and aromas. The smells of all the spices, soaps, and beard oils, mingling together into a potent but not unpleasant smell that hung heavy in the lungs. The dim lighting of the shop shone on all manner of mechanic all wrapped in fashionable packages and arranged carefully.

He had not taken three steps inside when he was greeted by one of the employees, who approached him. A Dwarf woman somewhere in her mid 100's, a broad smile showing under her shining, well groomed beard as she said. " Hello sir! Welcome to Skegrym's Spice Emporium! Is there anything I can help you wi…” Her words were cut short as she recognized her employer's son. "OH! Master Rogvier, pardon me! I did not know it was you, it has been far too long." 

Rogvier smiled at her “No pardon is necessary. It is good to know the shop is well cared for. Now where is my father?”

Recovering from the shock of his son's sudden appearance in the shop, Skegrym bowed to the customer. "I leave you in my perfumer's capable hands, Madam." A glad warmth spread through his chest and he hurried to the door - his son was home!

"Rogvier." He grabbed the lad's shoulders, then, overfull with emotion, wrapped him in a mighty hug. He stepped back, smiling. "Welcome to Thorin's Hall! Your mother will be absolutely delighted! We have a new house here, out by the Gondamon road. Zhara's been getting it ready, though of course Askar also has plenty of opinions on things Zhara feels only she should be in charge of, and your poor mother spends half her time resolving their squabbles. Luckily I have the shop to keep me out of their hair! Oh yes, and your sisters -" He broke off, shaking his head. "But I'm babbling! I'm just so glad to see you. There's so much to tell!"

He looked at Rogvier then, really looked at him. Stronger, fitter, with that confident yet casual air that came with experience and success, his weapons in good repair though well-used, his son seemed to have achieved his youthful goal, to become a warrior. "Now, what's brought you here? And will you be staying?"

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Kandral closed the door and stepped toward Byl... apparently the words of Thrandili hadn't yet sunk in.
"Aye, best see with the guard commander as soon as possible indeed", Kandral said to Byl, looking worried, "come let us get our pon.... " he halted for a moment, frozen. Then ever so slowly turned his head toward the door of his house. He clenched his fists, blood rushed to this face. In a fury not know to any dwarf he shouted: "SANAMIYAHU!?!?" (You kissed him?) Then started to breathe heavily... he clutched his chest... fell to his knees, and fell over like a domino.

Byl rushed to him... "Uzbad?!"

Byl rolled Kandral onto his side into the recovery position... He seemed to be having a fit and Byl knew not to restrain him but to ensure his airway was clear.
Buhni came running out of the house to her husband’s side.
"Can you look after him, sister? He's had a fit of some kind." Byl jumped up. "I must go and see the guard commander immediately!"

Thrandili had no sooner got into the house than a roar like a wounded dragon from the garden made her run out again, Buhni at her side. Her father lay convulsing on the stone path. Byl was trying to get him onto his side. He looked up, his kind eyes now fraught with worry. "He's had a fit of some kind!"

Thrandili wailed shrilly as she suddenly realized what she'd done. "I just said - I didn't mean -" She dropped to her knees by Kandral's body and looked at Buhni. "I told him about the kiss, 'Amad...I didn't know...this would happen..."

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Byl strode up to the door of the guard commander’s house and hammered on it. The door shook and splinters flew from the protesting wood.

A small, plump, motherly-looking Dwarf opened the door a crack and peered out fearfully "What is all this noise?"
Byl took a step back. He didn't even know the guard commander had a wife "My pardon madam but I must see your husband immediately!"
She bristled at Byl’s severe tone. "But it's his weekend off, master Dwarf and I won't have him disturbed by you or anyone!” 
"My pardon madam, but I have lost my son... if I could just see him for a moment he might have news of him."

"What's all this noise at my door?" The guard commander himself came to the door looking slightly ridiculous in a dressing gown and tartan slippers, clutching a fire iron in his hand.

"Ah the very man... I am looking for my son... He has gone missing... He returned from a hunting trip and was seen in the halls at the end of the week but his whereabouts are now unknown... Have you any idea of his whereabouts?
The guard commander flushed red. "Um a lad about your build with a black eye and a broken nose?"
"Possibly Commander, I believe he may have been assaulted, yes."
"Let me get dressed, I think I know of his whereabouts."

The door closed and Byl paced angrily around the doorway waiting for the buffoon to put his trousers on.
Dressing gown and slippers in the middle of the day? Byl thought he'd seen everything now.
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Byli groaned... His throat was parched... The water had run out a day ago and his stomach growled in hunger. His nose was sore and blocked with congealed blood and his eye was throbbing.
He heard a rattling of a key in the lock and the outer door swung open.
He saw the guard commander briefly in the doorway then he was elbowed out of the way by a figure he recognised.

"Father" he croaked "Water... please."

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"You did what?", replied Buhni at Thrandili, giving her a look that would have sent a troll running for his life.
Buhni turned to Kandral and fear was in her eyes "Mahal, nê tahliti uduwê!" (Aulë, don't take him from me) she said and trembled, holding her husband in her arms. Kandral's eyes rolled back.

"No!” Buhni cried in a panic, "Get the healer at the market... Broinur is his name... get him here now!" she shouted at Thrandili.

Thrandili ran down the stone road to the market, hair flying in all directions. Passing Dwarrows shook their heads in disapproval - the Uzbad's daughter behaving with such impropriety! Nothing like this would have happened in Duinn's day, oh no.

Eschewing the bell pull, Thrandili threw open the wooden door of Broinur's home and charged straight into the sitting room. Broinur and his family looked up from the dining table, outraged. The youngest child, a maiden, shrank from this wild-eyed apparition. "What's the meaning of -" his wife began indignantly.

Thrandili screamed, her strong voice blasting through the room and making the crystal goblets rattle on their shelf. "My father's had a fit! Come now, right now!" She danced up and down frantically, her face a mask of grief beneath a waterfall of tears, as Broinur jumped up and fetched his bag of herbs and tools. Within moments, they were running back to the Uzbad's house. What would she find there? Thrandili screamed again in frustration. It was all her fault! Everything was always her fault!

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"I showed him...I showed him good! Right on the sniffer... that will teach him! No one touches my sister!" boasted Kandrin as he sat at Rúnulf's having a large frothy pint.
"You sure you have permission by your father for the ale, master Kandrin?" spoke the barkeep as he put another ale on the bar for the youngster. 
"Of course I do! I have ale all the time at home. And even at the military camp... I drink all the time", he replied boastingly. Rúnulf knew it was a lie, but played along, he wasn't going to refuse a few silvers, especially not from a youngster that would tip him extra generously to keep quiet. 

"Right you are!" spoke Rúnulf as he happily pocketed the coins. "Well I asked" he spoke to himself and grinned.

A little dwarf boy ran in just at that moment, wildly throwing his arms in the air and shouting "The Uzbad, the uzbad lies dead in front of his house! I saw it, I did!" 

Kandrin spit out his ale, covering the counter"What?!? Byli! You dirty rat! So you've taken revenge on my father have you? Well, I'll see about that! WAR!!!" Kandrin gripped the axe he had set next to his stool. "The time for punching is over; time for chopping is at hand! Revenge!", Kandrin bellowed and rushed to the homesteads to search for Byli, axe at hand.

"Nice, now I need to clean this bar again," sighed Rúnulf. He looked at the boy who seemed very proud to start a lot of talking at the tavern. "Víli, have you done it again? The Uzbad isn't dead now is he?" 

Víli shrugged and said nonchalantly: "I don't know... he looked dead to me".