Chapter VI: The Fate of Balin
Here follows the account of Burin, son of Balin, begun in the Year 3015 of the Third Age of Middle-Earth.
So it is true. Balin, my father, is dead. A thousand curses upon the orcs who defile Moria, and killed my sire. At our meeting in Rivendell, Gandalf the Grey spoke last. Imprisoned for decades by Saruman the White, now Saruman of Many Colours, he had cause to escape, fleeing north and through Moria. It was there, in the Chamber of Mazarbul, that my father's grave was found.
Seven times I have torn my beard. Seven times I have struck the rock with my axe. Seven times I have sworn vengeance, for it shall be mine. Alas that Durin's folk should be so scattered, so few as the Darkness grows strong and the orcs multiply. The Grey Wizard would not help me; on the woes of men his attentions lie. He has departed with Imrahil of Dol Amroth for Gondor.
Not even Durin's heir will help me retake Moria to see my father's grave. Dain is grown old and cautious. I demand instead a title rightfully mine - Thror's Coomb, a hold to the south of Moria, where King Thror sought refuge, once. I am by rights Lord of all the Misty Mountains, and must prepare to make war as such.
I feel guilt and greed in taking advantage of my name and strength, but my grief is greater. Dain looks little enough beyond our borders, now, and almost seems glad of the burden of the Coomb to be given away. Two years later, however, I begin to see why. Rohan has fallen to Isengard's hordes; Ithilien to Sauron's. Mithrandir, the Grey Wizard, could do nothing to stop them. Rumour has it he was defeated by the Witch-King in battle, and fled into the wild. Evil grows strong, and the White Tower stands alone.
The benefits, however, of our controlling more developed holdings are evident when I am finally able to resettle what was once Goblin-town with our own people.
The rising darkness in the East, and Dain's oddness, have left many of our people moving west. Imlad Thoron, too, is settled under Skalli's direction. In time Khalah-dum will be but one hall of many in the High Pass. Dain, strangely, goes so far as to grant me his last vault in the Misty Mountains - Harndirion. It was but a minor vault in the Coomb, but giving it up is... an odd move from my cousin. I am not sure what my father would say, but not for the first time, I miss his counsel.
A son is born to my own - and the bards, at least, shall not miss a chance for rhyme. As I am Burin, the son of Balin, so my own son Balin has taken to naming his firstborn son Burin after myself. As we feast in our halls to celebrate, one of my guard rushes to my side. A visitor awaits at our door.
My anger that he did not help me avenge my father turns instead to pity. This is not the wise wizard I once saw in Erebor; and he seems lesser now even than the wearied escapee who met us in Rivendell. Gandalf the Grey is almost spent, and when he speaks, I know now why."Burin, I must have your largest and swiftest horse. The Nine are abroad. Nine of the Nazgul abroad on dark horses, seeking one thing: Bilbo's ring. Alas that I was so blind. They seek the Ring of Power."