A few words by Nath

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"I've seen much of the riches of Erebor, and heard many more tales," the Elf-King said, staring at the floor. "But this… I never even…" He gestured to take in all of it. "When did Thrór have this put in?"

"This was not done by Thrór," Dain replied curtly; as little liking as Dain had for what Thrór had become in his lust for riches, he liked the Elf even less, and Dwarves stuck together, even – especially? – when the other Dwarf involved was both mad and dead.

Not put off by Dain's brusque reply, the Elf asked again how the floor had come to be put in then if it had not been one of Thrór's over-grandiose plans. "Surely, the dragon did not take it upon himself to redecorate?"

"Well, not as such…" Dain shrugged. He might as well let the story out. Dwarves might stick together, but that should not get in the way of a good story.

Retelling the whole tale made it even clearer that the plan could never have worked, and as he had done before, Dain wondered what Thorin and his companions had been thinking. Starting by coming close to collapsing the cavern that had been the dragon's lair when they started to lure it to the furnaces had been bad enough, but the almost explosive lighting of the great furnaces and the sudden fierce heat of the dragon's fire had caused cracks in numerous places, and it would take months to get the furnaces cleaned out and back into proper operation. That however paled into insignificance by the idiocy of the underlying plan to kill the dragon by drowning it in gold. Certainly none of the surviving members of the company had been able to give him any explanation that went deeper than that they had thought it might work and had seemed like a good idea. At least Balin and one or two of the others had had the decency to look embarrassed when Dain spoke to them.

"I see," Thranduil said when he was done. "But even if it was not meant as such, surely it looks magnificent. Is it not to your liking?"

Dain grimaced, not even bothering to hide his irritation. He had tried calculating how much work it would take to clear the gold from the hall without causing any more damage than had already been done. Well he remembered the proud banners that had hung here, and the intricate workings on the support columns. The banners of course had been lost when the gold poured over them, and more supports had been broken by the dragon than he cared to consider, and not just here. The great hollows inside the mountain were still, mostly, structurally sound, but to restore them to their former glory would take much work.

"To my liking?" he finally replied. "No, not at all. As you undoubtedly know, gold is soft, and such a floor, if it saw regular use, would wear out quickly; and that's without half the passers-by attempting to take a souvenir home with them."

The look the Elf gave him at that was worth its owner's weight in, well… gold, Dain thought and he smiled inwardly. Unlike the Noldor, most of these Wood-elves had very little skill in the working of metal and stone, and it was good to keep in mind their ignorance of such matters – even if by all accounts Thranduil's palace had been well-built – also with a view to future business between the two realms.

"It'll have to come out of course," Dain added, somehow managing not to laugh as Thranduil nearly stumbled in shock.

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