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22. Erebor: refugees
The Return of the Kingdom
Quietly, reverently, Thorin moved through the passages and halls of his childhood home. He’d been born here, here in Erebor. These had been his grandfather’s rooms, and his parents’ had been there, across the passage. He ran his fingers gently over the chipped carvings of the hammer and anvil, the crown and pattern of stars known as Dúrin’s Crown that had marked Thror as the heir to the rule of Khazad-dûm as well as being the King-under-the-Mountain.
Refugees! That was what they’d been when they’d come here to the Lonely Mountain, fleeing the influx of evil creatures that had broken into their ancient city and capitol under the Misty Mountains and slain the greater number of their folk. Here they’d founded a new stronghold, far, they’d thought, from the reach of enemies. But they’d reckoned without the malice of the Necromancer, far too close in Dol Guldur. And how was anyone to appreciate then that the Necromancer was the ancient Enemy of all of the Free Peoples, Sauron the Great, Sauron the Deceiver, Sauron the Betrayer?
The door to the King’s Chambers had been crushed to rubble by Smaug, and nothing remained, it proved, of Thror’s furnishings. The dragon’s claws had gouged the floor, and the smoke of its breath had stained the walls and ceilings. Gems that had studded the walls had been gouged away; the King’s drinking horn no longer stood in its niche; his crown was nowhere to be found.
The Dragon had come here, summoned probably by Sauron himself; and the destruction of Khazad-dûm had been reenacted. This time there had been so few survivors to flee north to take shelter in Dáin’s realm in the Iron Hills, or to make their way westward once more, petitioners at the doors to their distant kindred’s halls in the Blue Mountains. The sons of kings—reduced to the rank of beggars and tinkers!
“We shall be refugees no longer!” he growled to himself. “Erebor shall be rebuilt, and once more shall Dúrin’s line rule here, here under the Lonely Mountain, and, I vow, one day also in Khazad-dûm!”
And with his dreams of ancient glory enflamed by his visit to the King’s Chambers, he turned about with purpose, going to find the others and to order the building of a barricade across the entranceway. No more enemies would ever enter here again, seeking once more to drive Dúrin’s folk out into the wilderness!
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