Dresses and Dancing
I am making bold to write to you first and extend my thanks to you and your family for having me to dinner. It was a most enjoyable time. If life was different and you were not a prince and I was not a daughter of the Lord of Dale, I believe we would be good friends and I would find no trouble in writing to you. As such, we do have our titles and I'm not sure if propriety allows me to write you anything less formal. I will be writing a letter of thanks to King Thorin and Lady Dis. I was unsure if I should write Prince Kili, but I have the feeling he would be upset at being left out, so I will send him a letter as well.
I realized once I got home that I had just purchased cloth from a dwarven merchant. I didn't know your people did anything other than metal working and jewels. Are there spinners and weavers among your people? I guess you must do more than metal work as your friend Bifur made fantastic toys from wood. I hope I have not offended you. I am realizing I know so little of your culture.
My sewing is going well. I spend all of my free time making new clothes for my family. Da's new shirt is complete and now I'm working on Bain's. They need new clothes more urgently than Tilda or I do.
If I have over stepped my bounds upon writing you a friendly letter before you have written, please forgive me. Just burn the letter and I will not bother you again. Give Milly my love.
Your friend always, Sigrid
* * * * * *
Dear Lady Sigrid,
I was delighted to receive your letter. If any rules of etiquette were broken, I'll never tell.
Thorin, Kili and Mother received their thank you letters and they were very pleased. Especially Kili. From now on, we write as friends, for that is the way I think of you.
As to your questions about our way of life, I am not at all offended. I'm rather pleased you are interested. I hope I do not bore you now. We dwarves love metal working, it is true. Most of us are trained in some area of metals. There are of course, miners, whom without, we would have no raw materials to create with. There are all the different kinds of smithies and there are the dwarves who work the great furnaces. I could write you a book on all the different jobs there are in order to create something as simple as a kitchen knife. But, I will not. If you are truly interested, there are books in the great library of Erebor that you could read. I'll leave that to you.
So yes, we dwarves love metal crafts and anything having to do with jewels, but dwarf cannot live by gold alone, so we have many who work the other trades. We do have spinners and weavers. We also have masons, toy makers, wood workers and carpenters. The only things we really do not do are raise livestock or farm. That is simply because Erebor has nowhere to do these things. My childhood home in the Blue Mountains was different. We had small gardens and some dwarves raised goats, sheep and other animals.
Here in Erebor, we trade a lot of raw material for raw material - ore for wool or grain. Erebor is still young in its rebuilding, but someday it will be in its full glory, as will Dale. Trades will be established and neither the dwarves of Erebor nor the people of Dale will be in want or need of anything. Thorin will see to that and if he cannot or does not, I will.
I'm glad your sewing is going well. I'm happy I was able to help you find what you needed. Don't neglect yourself, though. I hear word that your father's next formal diplomatic dinner will be in about six weeks time. I expect you to wear your new dress. I don't know that I will be invited, but I expect you to wear your new dress all the same. I will have Tilda write to me and tell me if I have too.
Milly sends you her love back.
Until next we speak or write, your friend, Fili.
* * * * * *
The letters went back and forth every week between Fili and Sigrid. They were full of the news of their people and their families. Sigrid continued to ask about dwarven culture and Fili happily explained it in as easy ways as possible. Some of their cultures and traditions were very foreign to her.
Sigrid worked on her dress in secret. Not even Tilda knew about it. Sigrid planned to surprise her Da with it at the upcoming dinner. She had been delighted to learn Fili and Kili were invited as well as the elvish ambassadors from Mirkwood. Sigrid was more grateful than ever at Fili's insistence of her having a formal gown.
During their correspondence, Sigrid had sent the last of the coins she owed Fili. Having that debt paid off gave her more enjoyment with her new gown. When the night of the dinner arrived, Sigrid asked one of the ladies in waiting to help her with her hair. She took Sigrid's hair and twisted it all into an elegant bun, except for a small bit of hair at the base of her head, she curled and let hand down over her shoulder. Around her neck, she wore the necklace that Fili had given her. Never in her life had she felt more elegant. When she first entered the dining hall used for the formal dinners, her Da about fell over in shock.
She greeted each guest as they arrived, but she was eager to see Fili. Even though they had written many letters, she missed him. She missed his smile, his voice, his jokes, his stories and the way the beads in his mustache would swing as he moved his head.
She heard his voice before she saw him as he was shown into the hall by a servant. Her stomach jumped. She hoped he would approve of her dress.
There he was, dressed in royal blue and his hair braids and mustache had matching blue beads that stood out strikingly well against his blond hair. Kili was by his side and similarly dressed, except in green. They both looked very fetching. Fili smiled when he saw Sigrid, but Kili's mouth fell open and he stared for a moment before regaining his princely composure.
"Lady Sigrid." Fili and Kili bowed together.
"You look beautiful," Fili said. Sigrid curtsied.
"Thank you, my Lords, and welcome." They had to move on to allow Sigrid to greet more in the line of guests, but Sigrid caught the wink Fili gave her.
The evening was pleasant. Sigrid was enchanted by the elves. She had never spent much time with them and found them to be much as she expected: tall, elegant, beautiful, and they had a gift for language and speaking.
During the course of the dinner, she would look over to Fili and was pleased to find, if slightly embarrassed, he was usually looking at her, too. After dinner, they retired to the great hall for drinks and talk. Music was played and there was some social dancing. Sigrid was surprised to be asked to dance by one of the elves. He was very tall, extremely graceful and made very pleasant conversation. The next dance was with Kili. He was a good dancer and he went on and on about how lovely Sigrid looked and he told her how Fili was seething while she had danced with the elf. He passed on Thorin and Dis's well wishes. While Kili was not as graceful of a dancer as the elf, Sigrid enjoyed the dance more. Kili seemed to have ten times the personality than the elf. Perhaps it was more fun because he was a closer friend. Either way, Sigrid enjoyed herself with Kili as a dance partner.
Bard pulled his daughter off the dance floor for a while and insisted she spend some time visiting with several important people. The night was passing and she had had no opportunity to speak with Fili. She was starting to worry she would not see him, but she had to put on a show of great interest in the elves topic of conversation. They preferred their home be called the Greenwood instead of Mirkwood. Sigrid promised from that time forward she would call it Greenwood and encourage all she spoke with to do likewise. She felt a tap on her shoulder and turned to see Fili with a formal, polite smile.
"Lady, Sigrid, may I have this dance?" he bowed to her.
"It would be an honor, Prince Fili," she curtsied back and took his outstretched hand. He walked her to the dance floor and held her waist in one hand and her hand in his other.
"Are you having a nice time?" he asked politely.
"Fili," she whispered, "enough with this formality. What took you so long? I've been waiting for you to ask me to dance all evening."
"Have you?" he asked. He seemed genuinely surprised.
"Of course. I've been wanting to talk to you."
"You seemed rather pleased with your elf friends," he said.
"Of course I seemed pleased. It would have been very rude for me to seem otherwise," Sigrid smiled. She wondered if Fili could possibly be showing jealousy.
"You look beautiful by the way," he smiled.
She felt her face get hot. "Thank you. I love my dress. I hope you approve of the end result."
His eyes quickly looked up and down her body. "Most certainly. It is a lovely gown you've made and you look so beautiful in it."
"I have you to thank. I never would have made anything so nice for myself without your encouragement. And I have enough material left over to make Tilda a new shirt."
"I especially like the color. It goes well with my blue, don't you think?" he asked with a sly smile, very pleased with himself.
"Did you plan that?" she asked.
"Of course!" He whirled her around the floor. He had never dance with Sigrid before, but he hoped it would not be the last time. Sigrid enjoyed dancing with Fili. He was more graceful than Kili and the best company she had had all night. She never wanted the dance to end.
"How's Milly?" she asked.
"She's doing well. The first few weeks with her nurse were tough, but now they are comfortable with each other. I wish you could come around to see her more. She seems to grow bigger every day."
"I wish I could see her too. She is such a doll."
"I've missed you, Sigrid. Visits like tonight are nice and I enjoy our correspondence, but it's not the same as sitting face to face, having a nice talk, sharing a story and laughing."
"No, it's not the same," Sigrid blushed again. "I've missed you too. If I knew when we could visit next, I'd have something to look forward too, but I never know."
"Milly's first birthday is coming up. Will you join us for the celebration?" Fili asked.
"I would love to. It’s something to look forward too. Something to count down the days until."
“I will be counting the days until then as well,” Fili smiled something between a loving and bashful smile. Sigrid found it to be completely sweet and she wanted to hug him for it.
The dance ended and Fili walked her back to her father. He lifted her hand to his mouth and kissed her knuckles.