It felt to be good to be heading east. He had been a long way from home for a very long time, and even though his time amongst the dwarves of the West had felt like a home-away-from-home after half a lifetime living amongst humans, he yearned to return to Dale.
Not, he realised, that much reason remained for him to call the river town home… The passing of his mother 9 months earlier had spurred him to make his deathbed promise to her to take his toys to all the races of the world. She had given him the confidence to travel the farthest he had ever been from his workshop’s front door.
He couldn’t complain either, his pack, easily the same size as he was, was now stuffed with parts, demonstration toys, prototypes, and even a few intriguing inventions from the race’s he’d visited, but it was the full coin purse he did not begrudge weighing him down. People liked his toys, Mama was right, they really did!
For the dwarves it had been wooded figures of the heroes in the songs, wooden axes and hammers and shields, not mere practice weapons but fine replicas of Orcrist and its like.
The Hobbit lands had filled him with joy, it wasn’t just hobbit children that loved toys but their parents as well! Dolls, of course dolls sold well, but puzzles! They had bought every puzzle and skill toy he had carried, the yo-yo especially fascinated, and by the time he’d left their Shire, they could do more tricks with it in short months than he could in the years he’d been making them. Their biggest delight however, were fireworks! He had only made crude paper bangers before, but always one to follow the local market, boy had he learned to amaze and delight with colour and fire and explosion, and quickly too! He had a bag full of some of the powders he’d developed in waterproof skins.
He had not been surprised that the sons and daughters of the Men of the west liked his toys as much as the children of the towns around Dale had. For them it was his articulated wooden toy warriors, kings, queens, and dragons, everyone secretly loved having their very own dragon!
Which had only left the Elves. Never had he met an elf, but he knew they were beautiful and wise, appreciating fine craftsmanship. Long lived too, that meant long childhoods filled with many more years of toys than mortal men. That had been the way his logic had run anyway.
He couldn’t convince the locals at the Inn in Bree he’d stayed at however, they had laughed at him, saying no elf would ever find anything dwarvish to be beautiful or clever. They had laughed, yes, but he had found as the nights had worn on, that they didn’t hold their drink well, and once he’d dodged the ones that became violent, he could question those who became his ‘best friends’.
Indeed, they had even told him where he might find elves. East, the last patch of forest before the mountains… where a river runs through.
Well they had seemed amused enough about the prospect, but as he drew up to the outskirts of this daunting ancient forest, Kivi found he was not. He clutched the articulated wooden elf-doll in hand like it were some blessed holy artefact, and peered through the mist and shadows, split apart as they were here and there by slowly shifting rays of brilliant silver.
He dropped two lenses in place in his engraver’s eyepiece, ideally it made the near-but-small much larger… he had found however, with the right combination, it made the large but far, much nearer.
So with one eye on the horizon, and the other on the here and now, he pressed forward.
It had been half a day’s travel before he had any cause for alarm, he’d resigned the elf-toy from protective embrace to loosely held at his side, and he idly snapped one of his yoyo’s in graceful arcs and sudden lashes. That is, until the whistle of bow-shot severed the line and pinned his other arm by the sleeve to a tree.
“I’m very sorry sir, or, o’course madam, I cannie tell am afraid, not that am, I mean, what ah mean ta’ say is: I’m no after any trouble, am just a toy maker! Ah mek toys! Fur tha wee ones!”
He went to show the doll to the shadowy figures that now crept from the darkness of the treeline, but that arm was pinned. He reached back to pull another doll from his pack, but found his hand lighting on the hilt of the two wicked-sharp crafting knives he kept in his belt.
“I dunnie ken yer language friend, but let me start: I’m Kivi, I sell Kilison Toys, I’m nay a threat here, ah just mek things.”
At this a flash of silver described it’s arc towards the young drawf’s throat, but as quickly as it had come it was halted, the merest chime of blade on blade.
“That name, speak it again!”
“whut? Kivi? That’s me aye”
“Not that name, the other, who are you, of what line?”
“Ohh ye mean Kilison Toys? Have yeh heard of me…. Or… had yeh heard of me pappy? That’s it isn’t it? I’m Kivi, Son of Kili who followed Thorin Oakenshield to great adventure…”
The young dwarf had meant for the end of that declaration to sound proud and defiant, but his heart had betrayed him and It had sounded sad and defeated instead.
To his surprise the elf gave a sudden chuckle, slapped his kin on the arm and joked:
“had you been a few inches to the left you would have shot the very man we were sent to find!”
“That’s no man!”
“It’s no elf either, but we shan’t hold that against him…. Master dwarf! Do keep up, it’s only the Lord of Rivendell himself that seeks your audience after all!”
The tall lean pair turned and took an easy stroll away up the leafy path, it was all the son of Kili could do to wrench the arrow free and trot after them.
He stowed the arrow, well, it was good reference, and… you never did know.