Rokey, a disgrace to the Dwarven ranks, read the flier with relish and doubt. One voice in his mind said," This is it, if you retake Moria, Khazad-Dum itself, no one will ever mock your bumbling in the forge again! Let's see them laugh when a hero hits his thumb over the anvil..."
Another voice, however, was less hopeful, "It's only wishful thinking Rokey, this kind of thing just isn't a job for you. You had better face it, you're hopeless. Everyone is kind enough to you most of the time just because you're Bokey's son, and he made the throne for the King Under the Mountain. You should send word to your brother about it, he was the one that rescued that Gondorian prince from those trolls. Besides, this is going to be extremely dangerous. They finally banished you from the forge two months ago to prevent you from hurting yourself anymore, the best thing to do is just stay in the kitchen where it's nice and safe..." Whatever came after that was drowned out by the sound of Rokey running home down the crowded subterranean hall to pack his things.
"This is it," thought Rokey, standing up twice as tall as he usually did. He was walking quickly up the corridor now, towards the enormous hall where the Iron Hills Dwarves dined as a community every morning for breakfast. He passed the door to this hall and entered the one beyond it. As he turned the corner he muttered "Just don't look at it!" unassuringly in Dwarvish.
The room was a kitchen. Rokey had been sent there, he felt he had been banished, for his own good after he narrowly avoided being burned to death in the forge. He had been leaning to close to some bits of metal he was working on, it was his first major commission. Anxious to do well, Rokey broke his longest string of accident free days ever when he reached out an arm to support himself while patiently waiting for his fetal door-knobs to reach the right temperature. His hand landed right on the forge-bellows and his face was engulfed in flame. Panicking, Rokey dashed across the forge, screaming and slapping at his fiery face. His perfect brother was the one who saved him. Everyone else was too shocked to do anything, although they were all truly concerned for Rokey, who was not a bad dwarf, just annoying and clumsy. Tackling him to the ground, Rokey's brother shoved his massive, gloved hands into Rokey's face. Rokey was almost too embarassed to get up. The other Dwarves were crowded about. Finally, Rokey managed to stand up by forcing himself to hope that no one had noticed. His eyes were sealed shut, but he knew his brother had saved him beacuse he recognized his voice.
" Are you alright Roke?" his brother had asked with genuine concern. As soon as Rokey, eyes still shut tight, nodded affirmatively, everyone burst into loud laughter. Rokey opened his eyes and saw nothing but the door as he walked out silently. The only thing that could have been worse was if he had cried, which he had been too ashamed and embarassed to think to do. He entered breakfast the next day to a dozen re-enactments of his accident and a roar of laughter.
"I'm leaving," said Rokey timidly to the lady-dwarf that ran the kitchen he worked in.
"They've let you back to the forge!" she said cheerfully, she had been the only person kind enough to give Rokey a job.
" N-no..." began Rokey, fingering the edge of his newly re-grown beard," I-I have to go west!"
"Blue Hills?" she asked.
Rokey was looking desperately for something to say that didn't have the name "Khazad-Dum" in it. He opened his mouth...
"I have cousins in the Blue Hills," she stated as she turned back to some eggs she was frying. Rokey was so relieved that she hadn't waited for an answer that he forgot not to look up from his boots, which his eyes had been fixed on the entire conversation. He saw it. There in the corner to his right was the trash despository, piled high with broken dishes that had last been whole in his hands. He felt sick.
Yelling "Good-bye!" to the female dwarf over his shoulder, Rokey pretended not to hear her inquireries as to the length of his absence as he headed for the exit of the mine.