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Of Durin and Kibil-nâla: 1. Of Durin and Kibil-nâla

When Durin awoke from the sleep the Maker laid him, the world was still young, and the light unsullied. Durin walked under the starlit sky, gave the names to the mountains and dells, and loved what he saw. Spring was on the earth, and bliss was in Durin's heart.

He longed to see the other Fathers, laid to sleep in his mountains far away; and his six brethren came to him from east and west. But upon seeing his brethren, unquiet came on Durin, and he knew peace no more. For with each of the other Fathers came a Mother, yet Durin still walked alone.

Now after he came to Khazad-dûm, Durin went often to walk under the stars; and it chanced on a time that he came upon an unknown stream, and followed it upwards. When he walked, his ears were filled with a song that he never heard before, like the sound of the stream and yet not alike, a song which filled his heart with joy and desire. He took his golden harp to join in the music, and, desiring greatly to learn of its source, hastened his stride. And Durin came at least upon the small valley when the stream broadened into a mere, and upon a waterfall over the mere. Yet the song was not of the water alone.

A strange woman stood there, fair and tall as a marble column, with hair shining in the stars as a vein of silver, and it was her voice which mixed with the song of the stream. When Durin's foot moved a stone, she stopped singing and turned in fright; yet when her eyes fell on him, strong and broad-shouldered, with seven stars crowning his dark head, there was no fright left in her eyes. They looked on each other with wonder, for neither of them had ever saw any of their kind before.

And with more than wonder: with love and desire. No words fell between them, but no words were needed, when her voice and the harp of Durin joined in one music. And Durin understood why he alone was laid to sleep without a mate. And she knew that not by chance she had strayed far from her people, the folk of the stars, as they journeyed from the East to the Western Sea.

That is how a Dwarf and an Elf first met. And that is how it came to pass that she who the Khazad call Kibil-nâla, Silverlode, became the queen of Khazad-dûm, and the mother of the Sigin-tarâg, the Longbeards. For Kibil-nâla never returned to her folk. She stayed with Durin as his mate; her voice filled the halls of Khazad-dûm; and when she sang, Durin laboured with the strength of hundreds, and no evil could approach the mountains.

Kibil-nâla bore Durin two sons. Their true names are their own, but in the songs the Khazad call them Dwerging and Alfing, son of the Dwarf and son of the Elf. For the elder, Dwerging, was like Durin in looks: sturdy, broad-shouldered and with stout legs; yet Alfing grew tall and slim, akin to Kibil-nâla in all but one thing: his beard was as one of the Khazad. And only in that were the brethren alike, for the beards of both had the silver hue of the hair of Kibil-nâla.

Dwerging had the wisdom and strength of Durin, and the grace of the Maker was with him. No one, save Durin alone, could surpass him in the lore of metalwork, and in hewing of the living stone. Upon Alfing, the Maker also bestowed many gifts, but not of the same kind. Never did two pieces of wood come apart after Alfing joined them, and no wave could roll a boat he made.

Dwerging loved the underground caverns and streams, veins of precious ore and gems, and all that the Maker made at the beginning of time. Yet Alfing's heart was in things different from those which delighted the Dwarves. Alfing loved the stars under the open sky and running streams, he listened with yearning to songs of the wind, and his eyes always followed the birds flying west. And Durin and Kibil-nâla understood in their hearts that the fate of their sons would not be alike.

When the time was ripe, Dwerging took the kingship from Durin, and ruled Khazad-dûm wisely and for many years. He lived longer than the other Dwarves, little shorter than the Deathless, and so did his children and children of his children after him.* They filled Durin's vast halls with many things of beauty and value, and the glory of Khazad-dûm spread east and west in Middle-earth.

Love between Elves and Dwarves is small nowadays, but people of Khazad-dûm still remember of what kin their Mother came.** And still in the line of Durin silver-haired Dwarves are born,*** and still many of the Sigin-tarâg love songs more than food and drink.

But Alfing's fate is bound forever to his mother's kin. When he came of age, he could no longer withstand the unquiet; he bade with sorrow farewell to his parents and brother, and departed from them. He journeyed west over the Blue Mountains seeking the Elves, and they took him as one of their own. In after days his wisdom and lore won him renown and leadership. And through he became estranged from his father's kin, never was blood split between Alfing's people and the Khazad: not even when the people of Tumunzahar**** waged war upon a kin (a brother, some say) of Kibil-nâla, Elu the Greymantle, and the rift never to be sealed came between Dwarves and Elves. And one of the customs of the Khazad Alfing kept: to these days, none, not even his elven kin has heard his true name from him. Among the Elves he is known only as the Shipwright, Círdan in their tongue.

Durin lived long, longer than any Dwarf after him, yet not for ever: all Dwarves are fated to die. The fate of the Elves is different, yet Durin and Kibil-nâla could not suffer to be parted. And Kibil-nâla loathed to wait until grief after her mate wasted her, as chances with her kind. So when Durin became weary of life, and his spirit was ready to depart, they laid themselves to sleep in the valley when they first met, and their spirits fled them together. It is said that Kibil-nâla, alone of the Elves, passed by the leave of Mandos to the halls prepared for the Khazad, and sits there on Durin's right, while Dwerging sits on his left. But Alfing will not join them until the One bids the Maker to summon the Khazad after the Day of Doom.


* Dwarves of different 'breeds' vary in their longevity. Durin's race were originally long-lived... (The Peoples of Middle Earth)
** Longbeards were kindred most friendly to the Elves (The Silmarillion).
*** Balin, son of Fundin, is described in The Hobbit as grey-haired, in spite of his relatively young age (178 years old).
**** Nogrod (Khuzdul)

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Last Update: 23 Nov 05
Stories: 9
Type: Reader List
Created By: Dwimordene

Thanks to the marvel that is the mp3, there's rarely a perfectly silent moment in my conscious life. Whether it's someone else's annoying iPod or my own stuff, there's pop music aplenty and much repetition. This is where the trite and the literary meet. Read on, while I date myself (child of eighties and nineties), display my musical tastes for good or ill, cause cognitive dissonance, and perhaps recommend some stories.

Created for the HASA Playlist Challenge.

Why This Story?

'The Laugh and the Kiss', by Maddy Prior. Key Lines: "The laugh and the kiss they join heaven and earth The laugh is a treasure, the kiss is a birth. These points of meeting in the eternity Unite us in our humanity."


Story Information

Author: Mantida

Status: Reviewed

Completion: Complete

Era: Time of the Trees

Genre: General

Rating: General

Last Updated: 04/04/04

Original Post: 03/26/04

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