“…my friend, I wish I could persuade you to come here and see for yourself that what we accomplished together was not wasted in idleness. We have done much good since the slaying of the Dragon and the liberation of the Lonely Mountain. The splendour of our works far surpasses Thorin’s grandest dreams of what we would accomplish, back when we were planning our little adventure.

To think that almost five years have passed! You might say that we didn’t think much of you at the time. Now I miss very much our days together, and I would readily forfeit my peaceful life for one of dangerous adventure. Quite astonishing, I know, but I feel that sleeping under the stars with a sword at my side would ease my troubled mind.

I do not know precisely what troubles me, but disquiet weighs heavily upon my heart. The scourge of Smaug has been vanquished, the Necromancer has been driven out of his forest stronghold and, after the Battle of the Five Armies, the goblins are afraid to leave their mountain holds. We have every reason to look forward to a new age of prosperity!

But something is wrong. I am not the only one to perceive it. A shadow, felt but unseen. The presence of a nameless threat that forbids people to rejoice fully in the hope and confidence that should follow the return of the light.

Nonsense? Possibly. I am an old dwarf after all, and those who hearken to me are but a few. For every voice that dares to whisper words of warning, far too many answer that our recent victories have earned us a respite. Despite my nagging sense of unease, complacency is rife.

Dearest Bilbo, deep inside of me I feel that we should remain vigilant and warn others against the risks of self-congratulation. Everyone around us seems to look inwards instead, to their own concerns and the goings-on right in front of their noses. Soon I will confer with Gandalf upon these matters, and possibly come to visit you in the kindly West."

- From a letter from Balin, son of Fundin, to Bilbo Baggins, Esq.

Leaf and Land

Leaf and land