The metallic stomping of dwarves began to echo through the Woodland Realm early in the morning, reaching the ears of Thrandiul likely during his morning tea. However, it was not until the beginning of dusk that the dwarven host could be seen from the gates of the Woodland Realm. The loudness of dwarves and silence of the forest simply made their approach obvious from many hours before.
The bridgeway into the entrance was one that was not foreign to Dain. He had been in the halls before, however it had been many years. Since the Battle of Five Armies at the footholds of Erebor, relations had thawed between woodland elves and the Sons of Durin over many years. It was a friendship, however there was longstanding unease and competition between the two races that would likely never fully be erased.
Lines of dwarven guards stood on the edges of the bridge, each dawning the iconic iron armor from the eastern Iron Hills. In unison, they pounded their spears into the ground and let out a chant in Khuzdul, the ancient dwarven tongue.
The Iron Guard
"Here comes King Dain, King of Durin's Folk, Lord of the Iron Hills, The Ironfoot!! Azog's Bane, King Under the Mountain!"
After their dwarven yelling, they pounded their spears one more time as if to place a period at the end of their exclamation.
As they finished, an elderly dwarf began to cross the bridge. His beard was a whitish gray, and upon his head sat a crown. It was a traveling crown, given that his usual spectacle was unfit to travel outside of Erebor without risk. However, it was not without the usual dwarven luster. It was made of pure gold, and his linens jingled with golden, gem-studded trinkets as he approached. He was not wearing armor, but rather a red robe lined with black wolf wool. The entrance was clearly not one of war.
King Dain II
With him marched a battalion of five hundred dwarven soldiers. However, only about a hundred came with him into the city.
"I request council with King Thrandiul!" His presence was a powerful one, for he was a dwarf of untold riches and battle-tested glory.
He was granted council with the King. He was, among the dwarves, one of only a handful that were easily granted such a presence. Although friends, dwarves and elves still liked to keep their homes typically rid of the other.
His gaze hardened, and he waved off his men with a nod. "Treat my men to food, wine, and ale. We stay for one night only, lest you worry for the depletion of your reserves."
He coughed loudly as he approached the Elvish throne of the Wood King. Clearing his throat, he stood tall... For a dwarf... Before the King.
"The air here is too clean. It bothers my throat." He grunted. "I set march for one reason originally. However, I now come before you with two. This was not my intention. The first is a simple matter. Our people have traded for many decades, since shortly after the battle at Erebor. Typically, trade has been conducted through the conduit of Laketown. Some of my finest architects - dwarven architects are without question the finest in Middle Earth - have constructed a new docking bay at the foot of Erebor along the River Running. Thousands of barrels a day can be extracted, stored, and distributed into the mountain from this dock. We simply need the barrels filled with Elven goods - carved woods, rope, and furs - to flow down the river, and my kin will do the rest."
"A simple matter. The other matter, however, is of more complex composition..."
Proposal:Establishment of trade between the Silvan Elves and Dwarves Proposal: A second proposal is being discussed behind closed doors... To be updated to the public domain eventually
The arrival of the Dwarves was observed for days by the scouts of the Woodland Realms. But long forgone was the trepidation and hostility of old. While the scouts maintained their distance, and indeed kept communications with each other only in assorted bird calls, they made no effort to hide themselves from the encroaching Dwarves, And so the host made it's way to the capital in a lukewarm, but not at all uneasy, peace.
And so it was that royal host entered the city, welcomed and accommodated more cordially (though not without prejudice) by the servants and bureaucrats than the solemn scouts. The Lord of the Iron Hills would have his council.
King Thranduil, evermore haughty and arrogant than he had been in youth, did not rise to greet the Dwarven King, they did not require such formalities. Instead he nodded from his throne as if to acknowledge the presence of one of few admirable dwarves before him, listening in a polite silence.
Thranduil spoke in a voice that bellowed not from the strength of his own fortitude, but from the grandness of the hall in which the King was received.
"Old friend..." he said in polite jest "There is wisdom in what you say. You have no doubt noticed that there are whole caravans of elves departing from this realm, and I will admit that many of our own would lavish the mementos trade would afford in the journey ahead of them. Consider yourself fortunate, I will grant you the trade that you have come all this way personally to acquire." He manages a soft chuckle, attesting to an eccentric sense of humour developed by centuries of arrogance and prejudice.
"As for your second proposal..." he dismisses his servants from the room. "I would hear what you have the audacity to believe so important to entreat to my ears in secret."
Dain grunted at the Elven King's typical, haughty behavior. "So I have heard. When you all have departed from this Kingdom in the woods, I have no doubt my ancestors will enjoy turning it into a nice vacation home. Or perhaps a brewery."
"But you have all not left just yet." From his overly massive robes, he withdrew a leather satchel. He tore it open, not bothering to unbuckle it, and dumped the contents onto the floor. The items were of obvious nature to both present in the room. They were the weapons, swords and arrows, of goblins.
"A scouting party on the road from Erebor. Surely, your scouts have been alerted of their descent as well. Each day, the little gremlins inch closer to Erebor. I will not stand for it."
He stood square before the King's throne. "My chapter as King of Durin's Folk is nearing its end. It will not be many moons before my son, Thorin, wears the crown of Erebor." He grinned beneath his untrimmed mustache. "And that will be a rough day for your kind, because he is much more fiery than I."
"I would like to show him that his old father is not yet finished. A last campaign. I shall march upon the Grey Mountains, where my ancestors once ruled. I will beat any goblin that stands before me to a bloody pulp, and then I will boil their bodies into a broth..."
"I will then take the surviving goblins, and I will dump them into this broth until they burn alive. I will continue to kill their ilk until the Ered Mithrin are completely rid of their stench."
Everything was said as if it were a simple matter of fact. "You are welcome to join me, Thranduil. The only thing a goblin fears as much as a dwarven hammer is perhaps an elvish arrow. The little buggers are encroaching upon the Woodland Realm as much as they are the Lonely Mountain. Regardless of your answer, I will set out with my men and reinforcements from Erebor in the morn."
The Rider from Rohan is delayed an undue time. The chaotic city in the forests, maintaining a logistical nightmare of both a fresh deployment and massive emigration, new trade with the Dwarves, and the absence of their leader in Thranduil. By the time the rider is received, the whole realm is already familiar with the proposal, and the diplomats, apologizing profusely, finally manage to accept the trade deal as proposed with their friends from Rohan, and offer the Rider Lambas Bread and silks for his trouble.