Title: Pride and Prejudice – Dwarrow Style Author: laurethiel1138 Note: Originally written for TheOneRing.net's February Rewrite Tolkien Contest, which imposed the theme of Jane Austen as a nod to Valentine's day. While I didn't win, I still thought to share my offering with you. Also, I have taken some liberties with Dwarven genealogy here, Frór being canonically Thráin's uncle, not his brother. Disclaimer: Regretfully not mine, for greater minds than mine had the original ideas first. Word count: 1485 *_*_*_*_*_*_* It is a truth universally acknowledged that a bachelor Crown Prince destined to be in possession of a kingly treasure must be in want of a Princess. Therefore, when word got out that Prince Thráin was finally of an age to be thought of as marriageable, all the noble dwarrow households, from the Blue Mountains to the Iron Hills, were atwitter as to who the lucky lady would be. From that day onwards, there was a veritable procession of eligible ladies in Erebor, as any dwarrowdam neither too old nor too young felt they must make themselves known to the Royal Family. Amongst such similarly interested households was the one of Lord Bíni and Lady Lara, of the Iron Hills. Lord Bíni would have much preferred to remain ensconced in his well-appointed library, but his Lady had pestered him until he gave in, as she had reminded him that, blessed though they were to have had five daughters, their chief duty was still to marry them, and marry them well. With so many handsome Lords to choose from in the Lonely Mountain, who was to say that they would not be wed all at once? And since their second eldest had been so uncouth as to refuse her cousin when he had so kindly asked for her hand in marriage, failing in her sacred duty to insure the family’s fortune, then they must needs seek other matches elsewhere, must they not? So it was that Lord Bíni and Lady Lara, along with their daughters Iána (the pretty one), Lísi (the witty one), Lídi and Kíti (the gay ones), and Mara (the oft-forgotten one) set out towards Erebor. They were received handsomely enough, though Lady Lara felt that the rooms they had been assigned were just slightly below their consequence. But seeing that the Mountain was overflowing with guests, Lísi promptly reminded them all that their quarters were not nearly so cramped as they could have been. It was thought by everyone that, if there was one amongst the daughters who could catch the Prince’s eye, then it would have to be Iána, for she was all that was ladylike, with a calm demeanor in every situation. Lísi didn’t mind, for as soon as she had seen the Prince she had found him quite overbearing, and swore she would never have the patience to stand next to the dwarrow for the length of her life. Surely, Iána’s sweet disposition would suit the Royal heir more than her own often acerbic comments. What no one could have planned, though, was the way Iána and the second-born Prince, Frór, would take to each other, and indeed they could often be seen together looking at the stars from the crenellated walkway atop Erebor’s mighty gates. Nor did anyone remark the way Thráin’s eyes followed Lísi’s graceful moves whenever she took to the dance floor during many of the soirées held in his honour in this unofficial courtship period. He yearned to take her to dance himself, but tradition and protocol dictated that he only did so with his betrothed, so singling any Lady out this way would have been tantamount to declaring himself to the world. As it was, he was still reeling from the dismay of knowing his sentiments, and of realising that he could not excise them, conscious though he might be of the inferiority of her connections, and ashamed of her two younger sisters’ oft shameless behaviour with the officers of the Royal Guard. And so it came as somewhat of a shock to Lísi when Thráin found her in Erebor’s Royal Library one day, as she was attempting to escape the unceasing din of the ongoing celebrations in a quiet corner, and declared himself then and there. As she was so very much removed from imagining his feelings were thus engaged in her favour, she had certainly not looked into her heart to see if she could be similarly inclined towards the Prince. Moreover, his proposal had consisted solely of damning her relations with faint praise, taking to task all in her family but sweet Iána and herself, so that in that moment she could not have accepted him even had she wanted to. A dwarrowdam had some pride, she said, and she would not stand there and let her sisters and parents be slandered so. The following events, however, would only prove him right, to her deep mortification. Not much time later, Lísi found a note from Lídi, laying carelessly on the dining room table, in which she said that she had eloped with one officer of the guard, named Captain Wika, as, she explained, he had declared his love for her, and no one else but him would do on her part. To the shame of her elopement was added the scandal associated with the unprecedented event of a Guard forfeiting his post, bringing a double blame upon the distraught family of Lord Bíni. There was no help for it, then, he decided. They would have to remove themselves from Erebor and go back to the Iron Hills. Lísi was outraged, and concerned about her younger sister’s fate, but none of the family was more heartbroken than dearest Iána, who had to say a tearful farewell to Prince Frór, knowing that Lídi’s misbehaviour had cost her every chance for her own happiness. She was inconsolable on the way home, and, try as she might, Lísi was unable to lift her spirits even by just a minute fraction. And then they had received the visit of Lídi and her new husband, who had managed to obtain a post in the Blue Mountains as a garrison officer, as it was felt that a stronger presence in the ancient dwarrow domain was necessary. Lídi had babbled, as she was wont to do, and had revealed that it had been Thráin who had found them, Thráin who had brought all his royal powers to bear to make Wika fulfill his promise of marriage, even going so far as to purchase him his new post to give their union all the appearances of a lawfully sanctioned match. It was forcefully brought to Lísi’s mind how dreadfully she had misjudged the Crown Prince, and she could not help but bitterly regret her hasty words in the library. Oh! How quick had she been to judge him, disregarding how his very upbringing might have made him naturally reluctant to consort with the likes of Lídi and Kíti (Mara, she had decided on the way back home, could be persuaded to change for the better, once out of Lídi’s disastrous sphere of influence). So it was with a heart quite thoroughly changed that she received the impromptu visit of the Queen, who had come to lay down the law. There was a very suitable dwarrowdam who would be ready to marry her son, she said, and so she had come to extract Lísi’s promise that she would never entertain the thought of uniting her fate with Thráin’s. Under the circumstances, Lísi was forced to admit that she could not offer such an assurance, and that she would be obliged to the Queen not to run interference in what she deemed was a private matter between the Prince and herself. To say that the Queen had borne the news with equanimity would be to lie horrendously, as she had turned back in a majestic bout of anger, furious that her plans for insuring her son’s future had been so spitefully thwarted. Lísi had not expected to hear from any of the Royal Family ever again, thus she was pleasantly surprised one day to espy the standards of the Princes’ retinues approaching the Iron Hills, when she was out on one of her customary walks. She made haste to get back home, but she still arrived too late to welcome them, though not so late that she missed the sight of her dear Iána with tears of happiness in her eyes, Frór having returned to her at last and made his intentions clear. It would have been enough for Lísi, but her surprises were not yet at an end. When Thráin had asked her to take a turn in their small garden, she had not expected anything from him, and most certainly not for him to propose anew, though he asked her to be his wife with such an earnest expression in his face, and so tender a regard in his eyes, that she could not do aught but say yes. So it was that Lísi and Thráin danced at last together, showing all in Erebor that true love could indeed flourish through adversity. And then, when some years later the princes Thorin and Frerin were born one after the other, with their sister Dís following closely behind, even the Queen was forced to admit that their union was indeed blessed by Mahal.