He was perhaps one of the youngest to receive a warrior’s name, and Dís still resented him for it; rarely apart in whatever they did, Frerin’s decision at Azanulbizar made it impossible for them to reunite. “The Sunset Prince,” they called him, for his coppery-gold colours. “Keeper of Kheled-zâra” he was better known, and both Dís and Thorin kept this name close to their hearts.
For hadn’t he been one of the three four-dwarf teams of stonemasons who’d courageously pressed onward to the side of the doomed mountain, even well before the heat of battle, to try to break (and repair, in some areas), the ancient hidden dwarrow-doors that would lead into Khazad-Dûm? Hadn’t he, the gem of Grand Master Anûl, wielded arrow, bow, and shorsword when the pincer strike from Azog’s forces came upon them, defending his fellow masons’ bodies and his fallen master’s? And, with his last breath, managing to crawl at last to where Thrain’s and Fundin’s forces would be waiting for them, delivered the secret riddle of the dwarf-doors to his cousin Balin (who would, in turn, enter these many decades later, in his own quest)? For he did.
The Sunset Prince would never fulfill his dream of tunneling through the vast expanse of Middle-Earth. He would never connect all the dwarrowlands through his series of clever subterranean tunnels, at the service of his father, then his brother. Dwarrow-doors were known for many intricacies after all, and sometimes it takes long seasons to unpuzzle one entirely.
But if he hadn’t bravely stayed to finish unlocking the ancient extra protections secured in several side-entrances (leaving them, at least to a dwarven stonemason, more vulnerable and easier to break into), the Creature in the Water would have taken the life of the Ringbearer centuries after his fall (that particular exit was one of those he and his team had nearly stripped of all security, save for an embarrassingly easy password).
Perhaps the Keeper of Kheled-zâra did not, in fact, cut through Middle-Earth for the good of dwarrowfolk, but cut through time, for all the good left in the world at all.
a madness shared by two