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The Disaster of Mirkwood

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Mirkwood was a murky place, just as its name hinted. Light could barely pass through the thick canopy above and it wasn't long before the company, confused by the gloom, lost itself. The path they had previously been following was no longer anywhere to be found and Bilbo had the horrid feeling that they were being watch closely by predators. Though he did have the best sight amongst all the Dwarves, he couldn't find a trace of the eerie presence looming about.

"Hey..." he whispered, but most of the company ignored him. "Don't you get the feeling someone's watching us?"

"Folly," Bofur said, "Mirkwood has lost all of it's wildlife long ago. That's why this place is so creepy and depressing."

"I don't think so..." Bilbo insisted, "I'm almost sure there's someone or something around that shouldn't be there..."

And suddenly, the presence Bilbo sensed appeared before them. A massive hairy spider with big red eyes and large snappers dropped from the branches above and blocked their path. The company shrieked in fright and immediately scattered in different directions. The spider hesitated for a moment, debating on which little group to follow, before dashing in a certain direction which, thankfully, wasn't Bilbo's.

Nonetheless, the frightened little Hobbit ran through the thicket before him, slashing his face and feet as small branches whipped against his unprotected skin. Fright had overcome him and it was a long time before he could stop running. In fact, he wouldn't have stopped if it wouldn't have been for the violent tug on his backpack that caused him to fall on the ground. He sat there for a moment, letting the adrenaline rush from his body and allowed fear to settle in its stead.

Slowly, he turned to see who had caught him as he fled and he prayed to the gods for a merciful creature and not a terrifying giant spider. He sighed in relief and thanked the gods once he saw Thorin, glaring death at him. The Dwarf King was most likely angry about how Bilbo had forced him to chase after him as to keep him from losing himself any further in the Elven forest. However, in the process of doing so, Thorin merely got lost along the way as well and was now stuck with Bilbo in a dangerous place.

"I'm glad to see you and not some nasty beast!" Bilbo admitted, allowing a smile to spread on his face.

But Thorin was far too angry to return it, "Keep quiet, burglar!" he hissed, "We don't know if there are any more of those things around and I am in no mood to repeat what just happened again!"

"Sorry..." Bilbo muttered quietly.

Thorin rolled his eyes and, with a grunt, pulled Bilbo to his feet. As Bilbo jumped to an upright position, Thorin noticed a faint gleam in the dark. It was a golden object of the sort that had seemingly flown out of Bilbo's pocket. Entranced by his discovery, he walked to the area to which he thought the object had landed, but all he saw was a pile of death leaves covering small roots. It was as he pivoted to leave that his eye caught sight of the small golden gleam again.

"Thorin...?" Bilbo asked as his hand mindlessly wandered to his pocket.

But Thorin didn't answer. He reached down and took hold of the Ring just as Bilbo came to the chilling realization that he had lost his most precious treasure the same way Gollum had. With wide eyes filled with terror, he gazed at Thorin who held the Ring close to his face and stared at it in wonder. Bilbo could almost see a sparkle of admiration - or rather adoration that Thorin held in regard to the golden piece of jewelry.

"Thorin..." Bilbo said slowly this time as he moved slowly, his hand subconsciously landing on the handle of his sword.

"What a marvelous Ring..." he commented, "Rather simple, admittedly, but beautiful, enchanting and elegant..."

"It's...it's mine..." Bilbo hesitated and he stretched out his hand as if to demand it's return. "Give it back."

"Is it now?" Thorin asked, and there was something horribly unsettling about his tone. "I think it rather belong to me..."

"B-but it's mine!" Bilbo insisted, and he was surprised by the amount of anger in his voice.

"Not anymore..." Thorin stated, and closed his hand on it, "It said it wants to belong to me! It said it! And It said that It would help me kill Smaug if I returned It to its master afterwards! This Ring is powerful Bilbo!" Hysteria became evident as Thorin began flailing his arms around, "This is a Ring of power! If you held on to It all this time, why haven't you mentioned it!? This Ring is useful to return me to my throne! Didn't you say you would help me return home!?"

"It's not a Ring of power!" Bilbo shouted, "It's an ordinary Ring and it belongs to me!"

"Liar!" Thorin accused, "How dare you keep this from me! Are you secretly conspiring against me!? Are you alining yourself with the Elves to stop me from returning home!? From regaining everything that rightly belongs to me!?"

"Thorin! This is madness!" Bilbo retorted and desperately tried to be understanding, "That Ring is ordinary! Your anger is idiotic--"

"And now you insult me!?" Thorin snapped, grabbing Bilbo by the collar of his shirt with such a tight grip that the Hobbit began to choke. "I called you brother! You saved me and now I learn it was all for an ulterior purpose!?" He shoved Bilbo away violently, causing him to fall on the ground and cower as Thorin approached menacingly, "You've betrayed me in the most horrendous way Bilbo Baggins and I cannot forgive you so easily." He threatened strangely calm.

"Thorin! Please! I--" Bilbo tried to reason but his words had become useless. The madness that had overtook Thorin in regards to the Ring of invisibility Bilbo had acquired was too powerful to be stopped, fueled by the Dwarf King's rage.

"Enough!" He interrupted violently, and Bilbo's blood froze as he unsheathed his sword, "Treason is punishable by death and it's all you deserve now Bilbo Baggins."

"Thorin! Stop it!" Bilbo begged; he considered defending himself with his own sword but Thorin was undoubtedly a better swordsman than he and it would inevitably make no difference. "I don't know what's gotten in to you but it needs to stop!"

"You lied to me, Bilbo!" Thorin growled, "You lied! And now I know your words are only poison! I no longer have a use for you now that I have the Ring!"

And Bilbo felt Death creep upon him as Thorin raised his blade high above his head, madness evident in his eyes. How had it come to this?

"Please..." Bilbo begged in that final instant, "Don't hurt me..."