Segimli had an impatient nature so he instantly answered with pride.
“The Mithril content of the Mines of Moria is unlike any other in Middle Earth. The ore veins rewarded on Skifz Ascûd may be rich, but even 10 of them combined cannot compare to a major ore vein in Moria.”
Sheyan nodded his head. His second question was very sudden and seemed to have no relation to the first question at all.
“The Gimli tribe should be a pretty big Dwarven tribe, correct? How many Dwarves are there in the tribe?”
Segimli looked even prouder as he exclaimed.
“The size of our tribe ranks at least top 10 among the Dwarves. We number over 10,000.”
A Dwarven elder yawned and wiped his eyes as he said.
“If that’s all, then I’m going back to sleep. We still need to move tomorrow.”
He turned and walked towards the exit. A few Dwarven elders followed his lead prepared to leave. But Sheyan’s third question rooted them to the spot.
“Then how many Dwarves are there among Durin’s Folk?”
Durin was almost a god-like existence to the Dwarves! The leader of Durin’s Folk had always adopted the name of Durin. The current king of the Dwarves of Durin’s Folk was Durin VII. Even now, he remained the lord of Erebor and Iron Hills. One can imagine the status of Durin’s Folk among the Dwarves. It was akin to the Han among the Chinese, maybe even more prominent!
Segimli hesitated for a moment before he answered.
“Those Dwarves have always been arrogant. Even something as important as Skifz Ascûd was hosted by them. I don’t know the exact figure, but there should be hundreds of thousands of them….maybe more.”
“From what I understand, Khazad-dûm, or Moria as it is known today, has always been the royal capital of Durin’s Folk. They persisted here for a long time before the Balrog appeared. The Balrog’s abilities were the bane of the Dwarves. Durin’s Folk had no choice but to move to Erebor and the Iron Hills after the Balrog killed Durin VI and slayed his son, Náin. Am I right?”
Complete silence fell over the room. Melody who was sleeping on a soft couch suddenly woke up. She rubbed her eyes, looked at the crowd in front of her in confusion, and finally laid down on Sheyan’s thigh to continue her sleep.
Everyone there was used to the Twilight Elf, Melody Sunstrider’s reliance on her Protector, so they didn’t even bat an eye. After a prolonged silence, the old Gimli finally said with difficulty.
“Seaman, my friend, you were completely correct.”
“The news of you inhabiting the Mines of Moria will inevitably spread. What do you think Durin’s Folk would do after they hear of it? Maybe their king is a magnanimous person and would leave Moria in your hands eh.”
Another prolonged silence ensued. Segimli vehemently said.
“If that person is magnanimous, how could our Mithril accessory fail the preliminary elimination?”
Sheyan had revealed a cruel truth in the face of the Dwarves. With only a few words, he had smitten the Dwarves from heaven to hell! They feeling almost made them cough up blood!
Obviously, the only way to prevent retaliation from Durin’s Folk was to voluntarily offer Moria to them. But! But! How could the Gimli tribe stomach that?! For the Dwarves, there were only 3 things they cared about in their long lives: beer, mining and smithing.
Old Gimli suddenly stood up and saluted Sheyan.
“Since the Lord Protector pointed out the problem to us, I believe you should have a solution to the problem.”
Sheyan smiled and replied.
“Of course. Anyone who wants to inhabit the Mines of Moria has to respect the will of Lady Melody, because if we can capture the Balrog, we can naturally release it. Besides, we have Holy Beasts that can control the flow of water. If we are angered, then we might completely flood the Mines of Moria. As far as I know, no one has the ability to mine underwater yet. ”
Old Gimli’s eyes lit up at Sheyan’s words.
“Our cooperation has always been pleasant. I hope we can continue our relationship. ”
Sheyan revealed a difficult smile as he replied.
“The basis for a pleasant cooperation lies in how much both sides are willing to offer. If Durin’s Folk are willing to offer more….”
Sheyan looked over at Annenia Cyathea. The Elven elder’s jaw had almost dropped to the ground, but he quickly picked it up and supported Sheyan with his own righteous remarks.
“No one can impose their will on the entire Elven population of Dawn City. Even Lady Melody and Lord Protector can only make suggestions. All decisions must go through the elder council and be announced to the public! No one can damage the interests of Dawn City for personal reasons!”
Old Gimli was instantly thrust into helplessness. He obviously knew that Durin’s Folk could offer anything that the Gimli tribe can, and more. However, this was the best chance the Gimli tribe had encountered for thousands of years. How could he let this chance slip from his hands? He wouldn’t dare let the chance slip.
It was Sheyan’s hint that enlightened them.
“This piece of meat is too big for the Gimli tribe to stomach alone. Why not collaborate with a few other Dwarven tribes? There are as many as 7 major ore veins in the mines, and there should be countless minor veins too.”
7 days later, without paying any heed to the cost, 6 major Dwarven tribes formed an alliance and teleported themselves over. (As to why the Fellowship of the Ring didn’t use teleport formations, it was because the power of the Ring was too great and would interfere with the teleportation. If they had used a teleport formation, they might even be transported to earth due to a malfunction.)
The 6 great tribes totalled over 100,000 Dwarves. They declared themselves the Sunstrider Alliance, and also announced their collaborative agreement with “the mighty and holy Dawn City that captured the evil Balrog”. They then settled their whole population into the abandoned Mines of Moria, and renamed it Lesso-dûm (the land of peace).
(T/N note: dûm actually means mansion but whatever)
Durin’s Folk might be strong, but under such circumstances, they wouldn’t dare make a rash move. They might be large in numbers, but due to the distance, they could only mobilise a force of about 50,000 – 60,000 to Moria. The Sunstrider Alliance had the geographical advantage and wouldn’t be expelled easily.
Furthermore, they were extremely wary of the power that Dawn City was hiding. There was no way Dawn City could lie about capturing the Balrog, because they didn’t kill it, they captured it. That meant the Dwarves could see the Balrog! Durin’s Folk were forced away from the Khazad-dûm of old by the same Balrog, so they fully understood the might required to capture the Balrog alive.
For Sheyan, the reason he chose to cooperate with the Sunstrider Alliance was simple. A divided alliance was easier to control and separate. Even if they wanted to do anything big, they would need a long time to come to an agreement.
More importantly, Sheyan had never given up on acquiring the silver title “One Hand to Cover Heaven’. Melody might be in control of a large faction, but it’s difficult for her to live in another world. It’s not that she’s unwilling. The arachnids have a technology like the wormhole which enabled them to travel through dimensions, but Melody has no such technology.
(T/N note: The details of the title can be found in chapter 435)
A crucial reason Sheyan passed on Durin’s Folk was because their area of expertise was in smithing weapons and armours. Under the guidance of Sheyan, the 6 tribes that formed the Sunstrider Alliance were more proficient in making accessories, enchanting, and constructing formations.
The Sunstrider Alliance wasn’t just another layer of protection for Dawn City, they were also a strong Research & Development team for magic formations!
The weather was fine. White clouds float on a blue sky.
The dry weather was showing its might in this place. The sparse grasses on the ground all showed a deep yellow colour; the sandy soil beneath them fully visible. The leaves of the waxyleaf privets on the roadside were also displaying tints of yellow while their barks showed signs of being trampled by passing horses that tried to climb up the hill.
The hill was actually not that tall. It merely stood out because of the landscape surrounding it. Sheyan unmounted his horse to check the map, and said.
“We should be within the territory of the Arnor Kingdom. This place should be Amon Sûl, more commonly known as Weathertop, where the Amon Sûl-stone used to be.”
“I’m thirsty. I want some water with ice,” said a clear voice coquettishly. It was the voice of Melody.
Sheyan sighed and said.
“I shouldn’t have let you come. Our trip this time is really dangerous.”
Even though he said that, he still fetched a bottle of water from his personal space and passed it to Melody. Melody cheerfully replied.
“If I don’t come with you, I don’t know when I’ll see you again.”
Sheyan helplessly said.
“I’ve already asked the Dwarves to research on teleport formations. They already have the technology to teleport to other dimensions, but the dimensional storm during the teleportation process could heavily-injure even the Ocean-freak of Moria. I don’t think it will take long for them to solve this problem. You should have a bit more patience.”