"--- But still the sunken stars appear
In dark and windless Mirrormere;
There lies his crown in water deep
Till Durin wakes again from sleep."
On the tenth of November Balin, lord of Moria, went alone to look in Mirrormere. This lake is sacred to the Dwarves of Durin's folk; it has been told that during the Years of the Trees, Durin the Deathless wandered south to Dimrill Dale, and he looked down in it and saw a crown above his head, being the reflection of stars above, despite the fact it was day and the stars should not have been visible. Taking the crown as a sign, Durin founded the great city of Khazad-dûm beneath the mountains that surrounded Mirrormere.
A pillar called Durin's Stone was placed along the banks of the lake to mark the event. But many centuries without repairing and maintaining hadn't left without marks. In Balin's day Durin's Stone was cracked and weather-worn, and the faint runes upon its side could not be read anymore.
None knows if Balin saw Durin's crown from the reflection of that deep water, for he was ambushed; an orc shot him from behind a stone. Guards that were too far weren't able to aid Balin before he fell, but they slew the orc; but many more came up from east up the river...
So ended Balin's reign in Moria; and his death was a prologue to the horrible end of his expedition.
Graphite pencil work, about 4 hours. I couldn't find a proper way to illustrate this kind of sceneries, so this is a graphite pencil attempt.
Seventh illustration to my "Balin, Lord of Moria" -serie.