The Lord of the Rings: Shadow of the East
King Under the Mountain
The King Under the Mountain is a wise and learned Dwarf. He wears his long, gray beard forked and braided and tucked into his wide leather belt. He likes to smile, and happiness seems to be his constant companion. This belies the deep wrinkles that crease his face and brow, furrows etched by long days and nights of concern for his people. Still, this is a side that the King rarely shows. To most, he is simply a gracious sovereign.
Considering the warlike nature of his people and bloodline, he is remarkably kind, always tempering his justice with mercy. He is firm in his belief that only in peace may his people truly prosper. Bain holds that the life of each of his subjects is a sacred trust, and he has been charged with its care. In his kingdom, none go hungry or unclothed. All hands are busy, and in the respite from the constant wars that seem to plague the stubborn Khazad, the arts have truly flourished.
While the halls of Khazad-dûm have grown more beautiful under Bain’s guiding hand, the stature of the military has dwindled in the eyes of some. This is true only insofar as it has not been excessively prized by the Dwarf-king, who is lavish with his praises when presented with the beautiful works of his people.
Bain saw enough of war in his youth, and the thought of thousands of Khazad marching off to their doom sickens him. Were the need to present itself, he would take up Durin’s Axe and lead his people in defense of their hearth and home, but he has worked long and hard to ensure that such a thing shall not come to pass. Some take this as a sign of the King’s weakness, but it makes him an excellent ruler, one who always puts the welfare of his people before all else. He is well loved by the general populace.
Unfortunately, some of the noble families fail to share this love. They question Bain’s status as the rightful heir of Durin’s spirit. Among the younger sons, there is a feeling that, by refusing to lead them to war, Bain has robbed them of the opportunity to win honor for themselves and their lines. What bards will sing of their deeds if their lives are spent at home, sharpening their axes on whetstones rather than on the skulls of Yrch?
Bain generally ignores the whining of such fools. Under his hand, the Khazad have flourished. The halls of Moria ring with the sound of Dwarven hammers, and with Dwarven voices raised in hearty song. He is happy with his wife, whom he loves very much, and he is pleased with his children and their progress.