Gimfur was from the ruling family of the dwarves of the Blue Mountains, away North-West, beyond even that Shire where the Halfling lived. They were too far away for frequent contact, but the Ered Luin had been the refuge of the exiled dwarves of Erebor after Smaug destroyed their kingdom, and the hospitality they had given to Thorin the Restorer and his father Thráin would never be forgotten. Dáin was three years old only when the Golden Dragon descended, and he was living with his father Náin in the Iron Hills, but all his life he had grown hearing the tale of the beast that everyone hated but no-one had the bravery to confront. Until one day Thorin Oakenshield decided to take his doom into his own hands and recover what was his. And he did it, but that dream was the cause of his death too, and so Dáin had come to be King under the Mountain.
Three of Thorin’s companions, Bifur, Bofur and Bombur, were from the Blue Mountains, and all three still lived in Erebor, happy and contented. It was to see them that Gimfur had primarily come. And the Black Rider had appeared just then, this very morning, surely not by chance. The more Dáin thought about this point, the surer he was of that. What twisted design lied behind that visit? Did he want to cause division in his realm with that dramatic appearance in front of his gate?
There was a soft knock at the door. ‘Come in!’ It was Oi. Of course, this time he was using the regular entrance. ‘Masters Gloin and Dwalin are here, my Lord.’ ‘Very well, bid them enter.’ ‘And also, sire...’ Oi looked doubtful. Dáin looked at him. ‘Also what?’ ‘Master Froin, my Lord. You did not request his presence, but he has insisted to join ‘this sort of conference’, as he himself put it, sire.’ ‘Froin. Hrmm. I suppose there is no sense in keeping him out now. All right, bring him in too. And, Oi, I will not be needing you anymore this time.’ Oi was surprised. He looked back at the door he had closed behind him and lowered his voice, even when he knew that no sound would go beyond it. ‘Are you sure, my Lord?’ Dáin stared at him, half annoyed, half amused. Oi recoiled, lowered his head and looked at the floor. ‘My Lord, the Records. They will not be complete if I am not allowed to listen. You know how well this precaution has served you in the past, sire. And this matter seems to be of particular importance.’ Dáin pondered the matter for a few moments. ‘You have overrun your shift today, Oi, haven’t you?’ Oi was as still as if carved of stone. ‘Yes, my Lord.’ ‘And you know why I run this system, don’t you?’ ‘It’s the will of our king, sire. I do not question it.’ ‘I do it so that none of the Scribes has the whole information, Oi. Stop staring at the floor. Look at me now.’ Oi looked at Dáin. The king’s glance was stern and penetrating. ‘Lack of tidings is a great evil indeed in these times, no lesser than lack of weapons. Luckily, the house of Dúrin has wisdom according to its years, and we do not need to worry about the latter. But about the former, some tidings are not intended for all ears, do you understand that?’ ‘Yes, my Lord.’ ‘I don't think you really do, Oi. By now, not many of my subjects will be ignorant of what has happened today, but not a few will be desiring that they never learned what they have. That, Oi, is my duty: to tell my people only what they need to know, for their own happiness. If you insist on your counsel, before the next dawn you might know more than you should. After that, you will not have to do anything, oh no. Your task will be more difficult than that: to behave as if today had not happened. Are you sure you can bear that burden?’ Oi stood to his full height and looked confidently into his king’s eyes. ‘Yes, my Lord. Dúrin’s is also my line, and if only a small part of the wisdom bequeathed to you is in my blood too, you will not be disappointed.’ Dáin put a hand on Oi’s shoulder. ‘Good lad. Now, if I know those three outside at all, they will not be very happy standing there in the middle of a corridor. Let them in and fulfill your duty.’ ‘Aye, sire.’ The three dwarves entered the room.