When I started writing this piece I had certain ideas in my head, and wished to give some insight into how life would have been for Balin's followers, because Balin's story is an area of Tolkien's work just begging to be expanded upon. In particular I wanted to give a feel of how life in Moria would have been. Once I got started, however, I quickly realised as Allyssa noted, the subject deserves to be a novel in its own right.
Writing short stories is new territory for me, and as all my previous works have tended to waffle along to their natural conclusions, I was determined to keep this piece short. It did mean me missing out several of the ideas I had originally toyed with, however, such as Oin's death to the Watcher in the Water (which may become a story in it's own right given time), Balin's death, and also more of a "feel" of what it would be like to a dwarven miner or smith to use the smithies built by their forefathers.
Cathol-linn commented in an e-mail that she was a little disappointed that I'd dismissed the dwarven women to some extent. It is a valid point, but one that I thought about and did deliberately. Tolkien makes very little reference to the dwarven women, who the dwarves are said to guard jealously. This lack of information lends them a mystique that I did not wish to shatter. I made reference to them to highlight the fact that I believe Balin's expedition was not a small adventure, but would have been quite a large migration with the intention of creating a permenant settlement. Beyond that, I wished to keep the mystery that surrounds their lifestyle. Thanks for your comments though, Cathol, and to the others who have written to me. I find such comments useful and will try to bear them in mind when writing future stories.
As I mentioned in another thread somewhere, if anyone else wishes to read this story contact me at Valedhelgwath@tolkienfan.net