Chapter 1: Chapter 1: The Unexpected Guests
Chapter 1: The Unexpected Guests
Bilbo, could not help but feel excited. This was going to be the first time that he was going to head away from Ered Luid, in a really long time. Not that it was easy. Neither Thorin nor Dís wanted him to go, but both of his Dwarrow brothers were going and he could not stay behind. So after lots of pleading and wide eyed stares he finally managed to convince them to let him go.
"All ready Bilbo?" said Kíli, as he bounded into his room, he may be approaching his 80th year but he still acted like the small Dwarf that he grew up with most of the time.
"All done," grinned Bilbo as he strapped the sword that Thorin had forged for him around his hip.
Dís was waiting for them with her eldest son. "I want you all to look after each other, the wild is a dangerous place," she said her eyes watery. She was against this adventure of her brother. She wanted to keep all of her boys safe but she could not go with them, she had to lead her brother's people in his absence.
"We will do so Amad. I'll look after these two reckless idiots," laughed Fíli.
"Oi!" protested his brothers, in mock protest.
"I'm serious Fíli, you all take care of each other. Don't take any unnecessary risks and look after each other and most importantly, listen to your uncle."
seeing her getting more distressed they sobered up and embraced her tightly. Bilbo was really going to miss her. She became the mother that he had lost and she treated him as if he was one of her own.
"We'll be safe aunty. I promise," said Bilbo.
"Oh Bilbo, here take this," she handed his a stone with a marking in Khûzdul. "It's a rune stone, to remind you to return to me with your brothers," she said gently, knowing that Bilbo tended to be the more reckless, even more than her youngest son and that was saying something.
She stayed at the doorway watchng as her sons and her nephew disappeared in the distance. She longed for the days where they were living in the Shire. It was a simple life but so peaceful that she would not have traded it for anything.
"Why are we meeting uncle in the Shire?" questioned Bilbo.
"Don't you want to see it for one last time before heading so far East?" grinned Fíli.
"Yes but won't it be out of our way?"
"Uncle still had to attend that meeting with the other Dwarf Lords," said the younger brother, "besides don't you want to see Hamfast's reaction when Beg End becomes invaded with all of us Dwarrow," he laughed.
Bilbo grinned weakly, he has not been to the Shire since that horrible day when he lost his mother. He missed those green fields and running around without a care in the world.
It was not long before they reached the land of his childhood. The Shire looked the same, just like it was in his memories. It was as though that winter never happened.
"Are you feeling fine, Bilbo?" questioned Fíli, looking at him in concern.
"Just fine," hummed the Hobbit.
It was night time by time that they reached Bag En. They heard voices, one of which probably belonged to a panicked Hobbit.
Fíli knocked on the door and waited with his brothers. The door opened to reveal a flustered Hobbit.
" Fíli, Kíli and Bilbo at you service," they chorused.
"Bilbo," gaped Hamfast.
The Hobbit grinned, knowing that he must look so different with his hair long and braided and a sword strapped to his hip. Even after the Fell Winter, Hobbits sill refused to arm themselves.
"What are you doing here? And what are all of these Dwarves doing here?"
"It's Dwarrow, not dwarves," grumbled Kíli.
Bilbo laughed and pushed his way into his former home.
"I think you've got the wrong house, Bilbo" hissed Hamfast.
"What has it been cancelled," gasped the younger Dwarf.
"No one told us," agreed Fíli
"No nothing's been cancelled."
"Well that's a relief," grinned Kíli.
The blond Dwarf dumped all of his weapons on Hamfast's arms while his younger brother scraped his boots on what Bilbo assumed to be his mother's glory box. Bilbo rolled his eyes in exasperation and offered him an apologetic look. He hen turned to greet the Fundin brothers who were already there and were moving tables and chairs to accommodate each and every Dwarf that would turn up that night.
Soon enough the house was over flowing with Dwarrow and one grey Wizard who had opted to join them as well. Hamfast was running himself ragged trying to keep his house whole.
"Can you not do that, you'll blunt the knives," he hissed hoarsely, in frustration.
"Ohhhh did you hear that lads," grinned Bofus, as he jumped up on the table and as was his custom he broke out in a song.
Blunt the knives, bend the forks
Smash the bottles and burn the corks
Chip the glasses and crack the plates
That's what Hamfast Gamgee hates!
Cut the cloth, tread on the fat
Leave the bones on the bedroom mat
Pour the milk on the pantry floor
Splash the wine on every door!
Dump the crocks in a boiling bowl
Pound them up with a thumping pole
When you're finished, if they are whole
Send them down the hall to roll
That's what Hamfast Gamgee hates!
The Dwarrow broke out in boisterous laughter, while Hamfast almost fainted at the site of his cutlery being thrown around. However they were all silenced at the sound of three strong knocks being pounded on the door.
"He's here," said Gandalf, with a serious expression on his coutenance.
There at the doorway stood Thorin Oakenshild, who looked every inch of the king that he was.
"What did the Dwarrow from the Iron Hills say? Is Dain with us?" questioned Dwalin, while Thorin ate some of the food that was left.
The King sighed and said, "the will not come they said this quest is ours and ours alone." The groans of disappointment struck him harder than he expected. He hated letting his men down, especially these brave men that were willing to face a dragon with him.
"You're going on a quest?" asked Hamfast, looking confused.
Gandalf coughed and asked the Hobbit to bring more light. The light shone on the map of Erebor and Bilbo could not help but feel awed. Thorin had told them stories about Erebor and Bilbo could not wait to see it with his own eyes. Oin was speaking about signs and portents urging them to go beck to the mountain.
His thoughts were interrupted with Hamfast's question regarding the beast in the mountain.
"I'm not afraid," said Ori, "I'll give him the taste of Dwarfish iron right up his jacksie."
"Sit down,~ snapped his eldest brother, annoyed at his enthusiasm. Dori wished that they could have left him behind but his youngest brother was much to curious and did not want to be left behind.
Hamafast was trying to calm everyone down, but to no avail. The Dwarrow were a loud bunch.
"Shazara!" shouted Thorin. The silence was sudden.
"If we saw these signs, don't you think others haven't seen them to? Our vast wealth now lies unprotected do we sit back while others take what is rightfully ours? Or do we seize this hance to take back Erebor? Du bekar! Du bekar!"
"You forget that the front gate is sealed," said Balin, silencing the enthusiastic shouts of his kin.
Gandalf cleared his troat and insisted that that was not completely true ad he handed a key to Thorin claiming that it was once in Thrain's possession. Thorin took it reverently and his eyes glazed over in remembrance.
Bilbo rolled his eyes about his brother' statements that where there was a key there must be a door and that there was an other way in. honestly his brothers really had the ability of just state the obvious.
Hamfast prepared beds for them to spend the night. The would be leaving early on he morrow.
"Are you sure that you don't want to live here, Bilbo?" asked Hamfast in concern.
"Yeah, the Dwarrow are my family," grinned Bilbo. His friend embraced him tightly, "well if you ever change your mind, know that you always have a home here."
Thorin sang the song of the Lonely Mountain that night, his strong baritone echoing in the hallways.
"Far over the Misty Mountains cold,
To dungeons deep and caverns old,
We must away, ere break of day,
To seek our pale enchanted gold.
The pines were roaring on the heights,
The wind was moaning in the night,
The fire was red, it flaming spread,
The trees like torches blazed with light."
Bilbo joined in the humming feeling more than ever that he was one with this company, his brothers on either side of him promising to keep him safe.
At dawn the next day they were already riding out, away from the green fields. Thorin and all three of his nephews woke up a bit earlier to visit Bella's and Bungo's grave to put some asphodels as a sign of respect. Thorin himself muttered a small prayer and a promise that he would protect their son as he had done for all of these years.
Bilbo turned round, not knowing if he would ever see the land of his birth again. He left Hamfast a note thanking him for his hospitality. He then faced ahead, when he heard his brothers calling for him to keep up and he was ready to venture the wilds with his adopted kin.
Chapter 2: Trollshaws
A surprise encounter with trolls.
Chapter 2: Trollshaws
Bilbo did not know that travelling could be so boring. Nothing interesting ever happened; the only thing that changes was the landscape. Fíli and Kíli seemed to share his point of view as well. Bilbo preferred walking to riding on ponies, he was allergic to them than again most Hobbits were. At least he remembered to bring his handkerchief with him.
The Hobbit listened quietly to the hum of conversation. Dwarrow where not a quiet bunch but they were not being as rambunctious as usual either, being away from the walls of Thorin’s Halls in Ered Luin seemed to have made them more cautious.
“I’m bored,” whined Kíli for what seemed like the hundredth time. His brother and Bilbo rolled their eyes in exasperation; Kíli would not be pleased unless he made use of his bow and arrow. Whilst Bilbo agree with his brother’s sentiments he would rather avoid even a small skirmish. He still did not feel completely comfortable using the sword that Thorin had forged for him, though he would never admit to that, he was trying so hard to prove that he was more than capable of joining them on this journey. He did not want to be sent back home, he was old enough to make his own decisions.
At night fall they camped at a small outcropping, hidden from sight. Most of the Dwarrow were already drifting to sleep. Howling broke the silence causing Bilbo to look around in surprise, not noticing the mischievous looks on his brothers’ faces.
“Wargs and Orcs. There will be dozens of them down there, the low lands are crawling with them,” said Fíli.
“They’ll sneak up on you creak and quiet, without making a sound. Just lots of blood,” continued Kíli.
Bilbo’s vision whitened and for a moment he felt as though he was once again in that winter, the howling and the screams and when he learnt of his mother’s death. He shook his head to clear in and was about to snap something at the young Durins when he heard them snickering. But he could do so Thorin approached them.
“You think that that’s funny don’t you? You think that a night raid by Orcs is a joke?”
“We did not mean anything by it,” said Kíli, remorsefully.
Balin then came and retold the battle of Moria.
Ah Moria, Bilbo always felt awed and fearful whenever he was told that story, though his admiration towards his uncle Thorin always increased. A hand on his shoulder made him start from his musings and he saw Thorin, who gestured for him to follow him.
“How are you feeling?” he murmured watching him in concern.
“I’m fine uncle, truly.”
“I may have to be you leader and not you uncle on this journey but you come to me if you’re struggling.”
Bilbo gave him a small grin and nodded. Thorin than embraced him tightly and ordered him to go and get some rest, claiming that it was going to be a long day ahead on the morrow. When Bilbo saw the overly apologetic looks on Fíli’s and Kíli’s faces, he let go of his previous anger towards them. He snuggled between them and drifted off to sleep, exhausted after a long day travelling.
The weather, the next day was awful and pouring. It rained all morning and the Dwarrow were in a really foul mood. Travelling in the rain made them all miserable and they could not wait to camp beside the warm camp fire and dry off their clocks.
“Master Gandalf, can you do something about this deluge?” said Dori.
“It is raining Master Dwarf. And it will continue to rain until it stops. If you want to change the weather perhaps you should find yourself another wizard.”
That caught Bilbo’s interest, “are there other great Wizards?” Gandalf than started explaining about the blue wizards, whose names he forgot and the greatest wizard Saruman and he finally mentioned the brown wizard, Radagast.
“Is he a great Wizard,” grinned Bilbo, “or is he more like you?” He could hear his brothers snorting in amusement, while Gandalf looked affronted at this and muttered something about him being a great Wizard, in his own way.
“I think you managed to upset our resident Wizard,” grinned Kíli, as he threw his arms around him.
The company approached a rundown farm house and Thorin ordered them to set camp here for the night. Bilbo watched as Thorin and Gandalf, walked away whispering furiously to each other. Bilbo was curious and wanted to sneak next to them to listen into what was being said but he was helping the rest of the company unloading the ponies and was about to start helping Bombur with dinner while his brothers had to go and look after the ponies, Thorin’s punishment regarding their comments the previous night, though Bilbo would be joining them later. Bilbo’s thoughts were interrupted by Gandalf storming away.
“Gandalf?” questioned Bilbo, in surprise, but the Wizard ignored him and the Hobbit looked at Balin in worry and the Dwarf simply gave him a look of exasperation.
It was nightfall and the Wizard still did not make an appearance. Bilbo finished giving all of the Dwarrow their dinner and he could not help but voice his thoughts to Bofur.
“He’s a Wizard,” laughed the hated Dwarf, “he does what he chooses. Here take this to yer brothers.”
With a sigh Bilbo took the two plates and headed off to where Fíli and Kíli were. He handed them their food by they ignored him. Bilbo was about to nudge them when they both turned to look at him with worried eyes.
“What have you done?” asked Bilbo.
They gave him an annoyed look, “what makes you think that we did anything,” said the dark haired Durin. He then hesitated and exchanged a look with his brother.
“We were supposed to be looking after the ponies,” he said finally.
“Only we encountered a slight problem....” continued his brother.
“We had sixteen...”
Bilbo let out a groan of frustration and put the dinner aside. Together the three brothers crept forward to where the tree where uprooted. A source of light caught Bilbo’s attention and he gestured for the other two to follow him. They heard rumbling and mocking laughter and an awful smell that Bilbo never encountered before.
“What is it?” he questioned in concern.
“Trolls,” said Fíli in disgust. Turning to face him the eldest Durin said, “Bilbo go and tell uncle about the trolls. We’ll hold them off but we need help.”
Bilbo was about to protest, he did not want to leave them here, it was not in his nature to leave them behind. But he saw the urgent look on his eldest brothers face and in spite of his hesitation he turned and left.
Bilbo ran so fast that when he arrived at the camp fire he was completely out of breath. Someone grasped his shoulder and he looked up to see Thorin’s concerned gaze.
“Trrrolllls...” he gasped, “Fíli and Kíli are there.”
Thorin’s gaze hardened, he barked an order in Khûzdul and the other Dwarrow scurried to pick up their weapons.
“Bilbo, you stay here,” he ordered, “we’ll be back soon.”
Bilbo was about to protest again but the look that Thorin gave him silenced any other objections that he might have said. Bilbo watched dejectedly as he watched his companions disappear in the shadows of the trees.
Time passed and no one came. Bilbo was getting impatient. Finally fed up, Bilbo grabbed his sword and followed the trail that the other Dwarrow took.
Thorin did not know how it ended like this, all of them bundled up in sacks while some Dwarrow were about to be roasted alive. When one of the trolls grabbed his youngest nephew he did not hesitate to lower down his sword. He wondered if Bilbo was doing fine and that he was wise enough to stay away.
“We better finish cooking this lot up before sunrise. I don’t fancy being turned to stone,” said one of the trolls. His companions snorted in agreement. Thorin felt himself getting frustrated. It could not end here, the quest has barely begun.
Then a voice that he dreaded came from the trees.
“Wait you are making a terrible mistake.”
Bilbo appeared through the trees looking incredibly calm for someone awfully small facing tree fully grown trolls.
“What are you?” said one of the trolls.
“I’m a spirit of the forest,” he said glaring at them, “and you really should be cooking these Dwarrow.”
“He’s right. Nothing wrong with a bit of raw Dwarf,” said another, grabbing Bombur, “nice and crunchy.”
Thorin watched as beads of perspiration appeared on Bilbo's brow.
“Not that one he’s infected. He’s got worms up his tubes. He’s infested with parasites, they all are.”
Protests rose from every corner as the Dwarrow voiced their anger at what Bilbo said. Thorin however saw what Bilbo was getting to and kicked his companions, silencing them. They turned to look at him and finally understood what was happening. Bilbo was buying them time, till it was sunrise.
They then started shouting about who has the largest parasites while the trolls looked at them in suspicion.
“I know what you’re doing,” sneered one, “this ferret is taking us for fools."
“Ferret,” cried Bilbo in offense.
“The sun will take you all,” shouted Gandalf, appearing out of nowhere.
The trolls turned round just as Gandalf broke the stone and the sun rays entered turning them to stone.
Thorin watched as Bilbo collapsed next to him with relief and started to unbound him from the sac.
He really was going to talk to that boy about following orders.
Chapter 3: Looking for Sanctuary
Chapter 3: Looking for Sanctuary
“Of all of the reckless stunts that you pulled Bilbo Baggins, this has to be the worse.”
The Hobbit flinched at Thorin’s words. He knew that he disobeyed his orders but he honestly had no other choice. He was not going to cower while his family was in danger.
“Did you even think? No of course you didn’t. You could have been hurt or even killed.”
His eyes frantically searched him looking for any wound that he might have hidden. Luckily Gandalf at that time approached them and Bilbo was spared anymore shouting. He could not help but feel frustrated; Thorin couldn’t help but treat him like a child sometimes, or most times. He trusted his brothers but why can’t he just trust his abilities to take care of himself.
He was in a frustrated mood all morning and ate the breakfast that Bombur prepared in silence. His brothers tried to talk to him but he was not feeling in a talkative mood. Thorin, Dwalin, Gloin, Nori and Bofur went to search the troll cave but the stench was too awful and so he preferred to eat quietly in the open air with the rest of the company.
A shadow came over him and he looked up to see his Uncle holding a blade.
“Here this is about your size.”
“I already have a sword,” mumbled Bilbo.
“As much as I resent them this sword is of Elven make, so it will glow blue when Orcs and Goblins are near.”
Bilbo took the blade and nodded his head gratefully. Thorin hesitated and looked as though he wanted to say something else but instead he turned round and left him to his thoughts.
“Someone’s coming,” shouted Dwalin, suddenly. Bilbo rushed forward with the rest of his kin. But it was only a Wizard, the brown Wizard to be exact. The Hobbit could not help but think that Radagast looked crazy and did he have bird droppings on his head? Both Wizards went aside and started to whisper quietly to each other. Bilbo watched in disgust as a stick insect appeared out of his mouth, his brothers were laughing at the Wizard and Bilbo tried to kick them to silence them, the last thing that they needed was an angry Wizard on their hands.
Bilbo tensed, a feeling of dread went down his spine. A howl sounded and Bilbo’s hand instinctively went to his sword. A warg rushed out of the bush and would have torn Ori’s throat if Thorin’s newly acquired blade Orcrist did not run it through. Kíli then shot a ward that was about to jump onto Thorin.
“Warg scouts,” grunted Thorin, “which means that an Orc pack is not so far behind.”
“Who did you tell about this quest beyond your kin?” questioned Gandalf, looking furious.
“No one,” replied the eldest Durin.
“Who did you tell,” roared Gandalf, looming over him.
“No one, I swear,” said Thorin, looking just as angry, “what in Durin’s name is going on?”
Bilbo felt fear grip him at the thought of being hunted. He has not been so close to wargs since the Fell Winter and even then he mostly heard them from a distance. His eldest brother grabbed his shoulders tightly and dragged him close to him. Fíli always felt over protective over his younger siblings. He felt so useless when Bilbo faced those trolls alone, but unlike Thorin he understood, he would have done the same in Bilbo’s place. But he knew his uncle, he knew that his uncle reacted in anger when he was worried.
Before they knew it, they were running across the planes. Radagast has offered to draw them away from them but it was only a matter of time before the Orcs and wargs caught their scent. Bilbo was at a disadvantage, Dwarrow were natural sprinters, unlike him.
They hid behind a boulder and watched as Radagast and the Orcs rode past them. However one of the Orc riders must have caught their scent. Thorin nodded his head at Kíli, smiling grimly at him. taking a deep breath, the young Dwarf notched his arrow. He hen surged forward and shot the Orc. The warg and it’s rider fell forward, only to be met by another Dwarf’s axe. However thy could not have killed him soon enough as its dying screams gave away their location.
“Run!” roared Gandalf, “run!”
Bilbo’s lungs felt like they were on fire. He was so tired of running, the ground span around him and it was only Fíli’s firm grasp around his wrist that kept him from tumbling onto the ground.
They were now in the wide open planes and the Orcs were closing in on them.
Looking round Bilbo realised that Dwalin was right, the wizard was nowhere to be seen. Panic began to rise within him, he was clutching his sword so tightly that his knuckles turned white. From the corner of his eyes he saw Kíli shooting down one Orc after another. Bilbo could not help but feel proud of his brother’s abilities, even given the circumstances.
“This way you fools.”
Gandalf appeared out of a hidden passageway and Bilbo felt relief soaring into him. Gandalf was here, everything was going to be alright.
The Dwarrow ran to where Gandalf was and slid down the passageway. Bilbo hesitated and looked back to see that both his Uncle and brother well still there. Fíli was beckoning him to follow him, but then he saw a warg about to leap at Kíli. He did not think, he did not hesitate, he only ran. Kíli did not hear Thorin shouting a warning at him.
Bilbo’s sword slit the warg’s throat but before he could let out a sigh of relief at seeing his brother still standing tall a severe pain spread through his side and with a cry he collapsed to the ground. An Orc appeared over him and he thought that this was the last thing that he would ever see.
Orcrist cleaved the Orc open in two and Thorin was there lifting him into his arms. Thorin cradled him close to his chest and ran his fingers through his hair in a soothing manner. The Dwarf ran to the pathway opening where a pale faced Kíli was waiting. Thorin ordered him to go down and he followed him as he shielded his youngest nephew from further harm.
Bilbo gasped in pain as Thorin unintentionally pressed on his wound as he tumbled down the slope. How he was still conscious he did not know.
“Oin,” roared Thorin, “he’s losing a lot of blood.”
The hard of hearing Dwarf shuffled close to the Durin family, who formed a protective circle round their wounded member.
An Orc fell through the opening and Thorin pulled out the arrow that felled him, “Elves,” he spat.
A gasp of pain caused him to focus his attention back on his nephew, who had gone alarmingly pale with a greyish tinge.
“Oin?” questioned Thorin, trying to keep his voice steady.
“The wound is deep Thorin...”
Thorin read the hesitance on the elder’s countenance. “And...” he pressured, trying to assess the severity of the situation.
“It’s poisoned Thorin.”
Those words caused his blood to freeze all over. He knew that Orcish blades were often laced with poison but he hoped that this one wasn’t.
Beads of perspiration appeared on Bilbo’s brow and he was losing consciousness.
“Thorin, Rivendell is not far from here. The Elves can help us.”
Anger over came his grief and Thorin strode over to him, his face turning red. “I will not go near that place,” he sneered.
“Do you think that the Elves would help us? They never did before.” “Thorin Oakenshield swallow your pride,” thundered the Grey Wizard, “and think about your nephew.”
“I am, he would not be in this state if you did not leave us. We would have moved on before the Orcs would have reached us and would have avoided the Trolls.” And avoid shouting at him for nothing, he thought remorsefully.
“Thorin your nephew is dying. The Elves are your only hope”
The truth of the situation crashed down on his shoulders. He strode back next to Bilbo, where both Fíli and Kíli were looking pale and drawn, trying to sooth their younger brother’s cries of pain.
Thorin lifted his nephew back into his arms and nodded his head at Gandalf, beckoning him to lead the way.
Thorin hated Elves, with their towering nature and superiority complex. But they were his only hope. Bilbo was getting paler and paler and even his breathing was getting shallower.
Elrond was not there when they arrived but then he came back after him and his company of warriors disposed of the Orcs. One look at his ailing nephew caused him to skip the greeting pleasantries and take him to the healing wards.
Thorin and his nephews wanted to scream in frustration when they were told that they were not allowed next to him.
They were showed to their rooms and offered food. But none of them could stomach any food.
“I should have never let him come,” said Thorin.
Balin, who was next to him eyed him cautiously. “If you did not we would have been killed by Orcs and maybe young Kíli will not be even standing here.”
“What if we lose him?” Thorin never showed any weakness except when it came to his nephews, especially Bilbo who for him always remained that young hazel eyed boy whose smile lifted everyone’s spirits.
“He’s under the care of the best healer of Middle Earth. You need to learn to trust in his abilities Thorin, he’s not that little boy anymore.”
Thorin knew that but he was finding it so hard to let him go, harder than he ever expected.
They stayed in the dark about Bilbo’s condition for three days, before finally Elrond made an appearance.
He walked into the room gracefully and scanned the room’s occupants. Thorin approached him cautiously, wondering what news he was bringing.
The Elf face broke into a smile and said, “he is going to be fine. We removed any traces of the poison and his fever has gone down. He is still unconscious but I assume that you want to see him.”
His nephews did not bother to say anything they just rushed out of the room and rushed towards the healing ward.
The Dwarf King was more contained; he nodded his head gratefully at the Elf and strode out of the room, after his nephews. He wondered what his sister would have done in this situation; she was always more composed in such situations. She wanted to come but his people needed a leader and he trusted no one other than her. He promised that he would return all her boys back to her and he did intend to keep such a promise.
With a sigh he rubbed his calloused hand over his face. The quest can wait; right now, he was not a king leading his people.
Right now he was an uncle who would stay beside his nephew until he woke up.
Chapter 4: Rivendell
Chapter 4: Rivendell
The first thing that Bilbo noticed was that he was lying on something warm. The pain that he felt was now reduced to a dull ache. He remembered protecting his brother. He slowly blinked his eye open and was at first blinded by the whiteness of the room, however when his eyes began to settle he was aware of someone next to his bed side. It was an Elven woman and his first thought of her was that she was beautiful and graceful.
“Where am I?” he questioned eyeing her wearily.
“You are in Rivendell, Master Hobbit. You were brought here after you were injured,” her voice was musical and it only served to enhance her beauty.
“Who are you?” he asked, trying sit up in bed but he hissed in pain as his wound was strained.
She smiled at him and gently pushed him back to rest, “my name is Arwen, I am the daughter of Lord Elrond.”
Bilbo nodded his head at her respectively; he never had any problem with Elves, unlike his uncle which was why he was so surprised that he woke up here.
The door to the healing room burst open and in ran his brothers both looking increasingly anxious, they did not even bother to acknowledge the Elleth, making Bilbo roll his eyes in exasperation. They hesitated for a moment and then they gently leaned forward to embrace him. Bilbo felt them shake with apprehension and fear.
“Don’t you ever frighten us like that again,” muttered Fíli.
He felt Kíli nodding his head in agreement with his brother’s words, “I should have been the one that protected you, you are my baby brother.”
Bilbo shot him an annoyed look, it seems that wherever he went he will forever be deemed as the youngest.
“Master Baggins, will need to stay here for a couple of more days,” said Arwen, ignoring the suspicious looks that the Durin brothers were shooting her. It seems as though the mistrust between Dwarrow and Elves did not seem to fade in the next generation.
Arwen was about to insist that they all leave to let him rest when the door opened again. Thorin walked in and immediately he crossed the room to where Bilbo was.
“How are you?” his sapphire eyes looked on in concern. the Hobbit nodded his head weakly and looked at him in apprehension.
“So the Hobbit is awake,” another Elf walked in. He looked like Arwen, so this must be Lord Elrond.
Thorin shot them a dark look and stood protectively over his nephews. Elrond moved forward to examine Bilbo while Thorin watched him like a hawk, then the two Elves let gracefully, giving the family some privacy.
“You and I are going to have a long talk about putting yourself in danger. Have I thought you nothing?”
Bilbo tried not to flinch at his uncle’s words and failed to notice the disapproving looks that his brothers shot him. Yet they knew better than most that their uncle had to habit of venting his frustration as anger. They saw how pale their uncle was when he held Bilbo’s bleeding form. How his hands trembled and how he refused to touch any of the food until he received any news of him.
Thorin seemed to realise that he was being slightly harsh and he let out a deep breath and sat down next to him and rested his forehead against his gently.
“I promised your parents to look after you. I want your word Bilbo that you won’t throw yourself in any more other dangerous situations.”
“I promise,” murmured Bilbo , feeling really drowsy all of a sudden.
Thorin seemed to realise that he was falling asleep. His eyes softened and finally at ease knowing that Bilbo was on the mend, he stood up and urged him to go to sleep. They stood over him like sentinels watching him rest.
Elven healing was quite renowned and Thorin had to grudgingly accept that such rumours were true. Not that Thorin would ever admit this to everyone. Bilbo regained his strength far sooner than any-one expected. Elrond refused to let him out of bed for a couple of more days. But by the end of the week he was actually allowed out of the healing wards.
His companions were a constant presence while he was confined in bed. When he was finally released, Elrond invited them to dine with him. While Bilbo as happily eating, his companions were looking at the food with distaste.
“Try it,” said Dori, trying to coax his younger brother to eat, “just a mouthful.”
“I don’t like green food,” mumbled Ori.
“Where’s the meat?” grumbled Dwalin.
Bilbo turned his attention away from the grumbling Dwarrow to his elder brother who was eyeing an Elf in interest. Trying to be discreet Bilbo kicked Kíli under the table, causing him to jolt in surprise. Bilbo raised his eyebrows and gave him a smirk. Perhaps not all of his companions were against Elves.
“Not too fond of Elf maids myself,” he whispered, not to gather anyone else attention. “They’re too thin, with high cheek bones and not even a bit of beard. Although that one there is not bad,” he ges-tured to an Elf who was playing a harp.
Bilbo tried to restrain his laughter and then said, “that’s not an Elf maid.” The Elf turned round and his masculine features were revealed. His brother turned red while Bilbo ended up thumbing Fíli on the back since he choked on his wine.
“This is Glamdring, the Foe-hammer” said Elrond eyeing Gandalf’s sword in interest. Due to the Wizard’s glare, Thorin handed over his sword, hesitantly. “This is Orcrist,” continued the Elf Lord, “the Goblin-cleaver. These were lost in the Fall of Gondolin, forged by the High Elves, my kin.”
Thorin nodded his head in gratitude when the sword was handed back to him.
Bilbo unsheathed his own small sword in interest. Did it have a name? He was contemplating wheth-er to show it to Elrond or not, when Balin’s voice drew his attention. “I wouldn’t bother laddie,” he said, jovially as always. “Swords are named after the great things they did in war.”
“You mean my sword has not seen battle?” he questioned, trying to quell his disappointment.
“Not sure that it is a sword. More like a letter opener,” he continued chuckling at Bilbo’s annoyed look.
Unlike his companions Bilbo was in awe of this Elven city, though he was careful not to show it to any of his kin. While they mocked and ridiculed the architecture, Bilbo enjoyed explored the hallways and was even thinking of visiting the library, though he would have to take someone with him since Thorin did not want any one of them to go wondering on their own in ‘enemy territory’. Perhaps Ori would be the best candidate; he was the quietest of them all and the only one who shared his love of books.
However while Bilbo took comfort in the beauty of Rivendell, the Dwarrow were counting the days until they departed. Bilbo knew that Thorin took Thranduil’s betrayal harshly, but the Lord Elrond was kind, not that he would ever tell the others any of this. Bilbo couldn’t help but feel annoyed at their destruction of the furniture. Having enough of Dwarven stubbornness, Bilbo went to search for the most sensible one of the lot. Since he was banned from training like his brothers, he would ta-ther spend the afternoon in the company of books.
“Ori,” he said quietly not to startle the doe eyed Dwarf. “Do you want to join me in the library? I heard that it is massive.”
The brown eyes of the Dwarf shone in excitement. He looked at his eldest brother, literally begging to let him go. Dori hesitated but then with a sigh he said, “Don’t stay out too late and you need to rest Bilbo.” The two youngsters nodded their agreement and they left in search of the library.
The library was massive. It was single handily the most beautiful sight that Bilbo had ever seen. The one in Ered Luin did not even compare. Even Ori looked amazed and awe struck. Bilbo went through book after book ones that recorded the history of Middle Earth. History always held his interest un-like his brothers. His interest lingered on the book depicting the Last Alliance and Isildur’s failure to throw the One Ring in the pit of fire.
“I was there that day,” said a quiet voice causing him to jump in surprise and Ori to stiffen in mistrust.
Lord Elrond strode towards them and his eyes misted over as though he was remembering days that were long ago in the past. “Men showed their weakness that day.”
Bilbo who recalled the bravery of the rangers of the north was about to protest, however the Elf who saw his annoyance continued speaking before he had a chance to voice his protest, “do not think that I view the race of mortal men as being less than us. But the weakness of one man prevented a victory that was hard fought for.”
“I don’t believe that there are weak people and strong people, bad people and good people. I believe that there is a bit of everything in every creature of Middle Earth.”
The Elf smiled at him and said, “wise words Master Baggins. It is in the nature of Hobbits to try and find the good in everything and everyone.”
Bilbo did know whether that was a compliment or an insult. “I heard that it was unwise to seek the council of Elves because they answer in both yes and no.”
Elrond raised his eyebrows and Bilbo for a moment feared that he overstepped. Then he smiled and said, “You are welcome to stay here for as long as you like,” giving his shoulder a tight squeeze. Ori narrowed his eyes at that and scurried closer to him, giving the Elf a cold look.
Rolling his eyes Bilbo nodded his head at the Elven Lord and allowed him to drag him to join his companions. He hoped that his friend did not mention this exchange to anyone. He had enough of suspicious Dwarrow to last a life time.
When Oin deemed him well enough he was finally allowed to join his brothers in training field but was strictly forbidden from roughhousing. He realised that his skills were quite rusty and so he preferred to get some extra practice while his brothers were off causing some sort of mischief. His uncle was against this claiming that he should rest and recover. But he was tired of resting and sleeping.
He huffed when his arrow went past the intended target......again. He was a fair archer, not as good at his brother, but it seemed as though luck and skill was not on his side that day.
“You need to draw your bow further,” said an amused voice behind him causing him to turn round in surprise. There behind him, leaning on the tall archways were two identical Elves.
“Allow us to introduce ourselves, I am Elladan and this is my brother Elrohir. We are the sons of Elrond,” grinned one of them. “We were curious when we heard that there was a Halfling accompanying a hole company of Dwarves,” continues his brother.
“I’m not half of anything,” snapped Bilbo annoyed, really is it so hard to call his race a Hobbit instead of a Halfling?
“Our apologies young Master,” said one, he was finding it hard to distinguish them from each other. “Do you require some assistance young Master?”
Bilbo hesitated, knowing his uncle would not be pleased, but Elves were known for their skill with a bow. He nodded his head slowly and gestured towards the target.
“Keep your back straight and your arms steady.”
“And draw the string of bow till your ear.” They both of them possessed the ability to finish each other’s sentences, just like his brothers.
They kept giving him advice, correcting his stance and aim. When he watched them demonstrate he realised that they made shooting an arrow look graceful, Bilbo could not help but feel so in-experienced next to them. But they did not laugh at his inexperience; they were really patient and so kind. In a way they reminded him of his brothers. Their mischief was to the same level, Bilbo feared for Middle Earth if they were ever to meet.
When the sun was beginning to set he realised that he should probably start thinking about heading back to his companions. He nodded his head in gratitude and left the courtyard.
Rivendell was so peaceful, so different from what he was used to. As he walked past the fountains and the beautiful scenery he could not help but feel saddened that he would be leaving soon. He knew that he belonged with his kin but the serenity of this valley was contagious. He heard his companions’ loud laughter and pushed aside some thoughts from his mind. Lord Elrond seemed to have enjoyed his company. Perhaps he will visit sometime in the future, when Erebor’s throne was secure in the hands of the line of Durin.
Chapter 5: Moon Runes
Chapter 5: Moon Runes
Dwarrow did not understand his love for nature. They were carved from stone, but he was from the Earth. The gardens of Rivendell were like a sanctuary for him holding only peace and tranquility. The fact that his brothers were not there ensured that it was even more peaceful.
He was in the process of making a flower crown, something that he had not made ever since he was still a young fauntling, before that awful winter. Ever since he left the Shire to go and live in Ered Luin, the lack of flowers and gardens prevented him from doing so. Even after all of those years he still found it hard to fully endorse the customs of the Dwarrow. Those that did not accept him and saw him as an outsider frowned even more at his lack of ability to smith and forge. It even took him long-er for him to learn how to sword fight, not that Thorin or Dwalin ever criticized him. His brothers got into a lot of fights, protecting him from those who bad mouthed him or when there were Dworow who were going to get physical with him. Dwarrow were stronger than him and so his brothers did not let him wonder around by himself. It tended to get frustrating but after losing his parents he did not complain about their over protectiveness.
Feeling someone’s eyes upon him, he turned around and his eyes widened. There standing behing was the most beautiful woman that he ever saw. She was clad in a dress of blue and white and her golden locks of hair tumbled down her back and seemed to glow in the light.
“Welcome Bilbo Baggins of the Shire,” she said her voice melodic and she smiled gently at him.
“Who are you” he questioned in awe.
“My name is Galadriel and I have waited a very long time to meet you, young Hobbit.”
“How do you know me?”
“I know many things, things that have came to pass and things that are yet to come. You have been chosen for this journey for a reason.”
“What to you mean?” he said confused, “I’m on this journey with my kin. There is no other reason.”
She did not answer his question, instead her pale blue eyes seared through him and he felt as though she was reading his mind.
Her lips did not move but her voice filled his head and said, “be brave Bilbo Baggins you will find your courage along your travels.”
And then she was gone.
Bilbo did not know why Thorin wanted him to accompany him to read the map. His eldest brother he understood, Fíli was the heir after all. But here he was following his brothers, uncle and Balin to the chamber where they were going to meet Elrond and Gandalf. Thorin had his fist clenched and Bilbo knew that he was not pleased that they were going to discuss the map in the presence of an Elf, even Balin looked annoyed and he was much more tolerant than his king. Dwalin had raged in anger at not being there to protect the line of Durin but Thorin had ordered him to stay with the rest of the company and Bilbo had to refrain from rolling his eyes. It was a good thing that he kept his encounter with the sons of Elrond and with that mysterious Elf a secret. He did not want to think how his family would react if he told them that he was taking combat advice from Elves. As for Galadriel, he did not know what to think. She seemed to know a lot about him, maybe even more than he knows about himself. He shook his thoughts away from that Elleth and focused on what was being said at that moment.
“Our business is no concern of Elves,” said Thorin harshly.
“For goodness sake Thorin show Lord Elrond the map,” huffed Gandalf.
They have been at this for quite some time, neither of them backing down.
“The legacy of my people is mine to protect.”
“Save me from the stubbornness of Dwarves,” growled Gandalf, “we have a map that we can’t read. Show it to Lord Elrond.”
Clenching his teeth, Thorin handed over the map, halfheartedly, ignoring Balin’s protests. Bilbo glanced at his brothers discreetly noticing Fíli serious expression and his younger brother’s bored one. He knew that Kíli would have preferred if he was elsewhere rather than listening to this tense discussion.
“Of course, moon runes,” chuckled the Wizard, “an easy thing to miss.”
Bilbo shook his head realising that he missed a small part that was said.
“Moon runes can only be read at the time and shape of the moon that it was when they were written.”
“Can you read them?” questioned Thorin, looking hopeful.
The Elf nodded and graciously gestured at them to follow him. He led them to an adjoining chamber and when the light of the moon shone on the map. Words appeared on the map that left Bilbo gaping in surprise.
“Stand by the grey stone when the thrush knocks and the setting sun with the last light of Durin’s day will shine upon the key hole,” read Elrond.
“Durin’s day!” muttered Thorin, in alarm.
“We still, have time,” comforted Balin, “we just need to be at that exact spot at the exact moment.”
“So, this is your motive, to enter the mountain.”
“What of it?” questioned Thorin, narrowing his eyes. Bilbo felt his brothers tensing beside him; they have been silent, letting their uncle do the talking. But they were ever eager to defend their uncle if need be.
“There are those that may not deem it wise,” the Elf continued, departing to leave them on their own.
“What did he mean by that?” huffed Fíli.
“It means that he may try to stop us. Now be alert we may need to depart immediately. So prepare your bags just in case,” said Gandalf as he turned to follow his Elven friend.
Bilbo did not believe that Elven woodwork was weak no matter what his companions say. He was also sure that his brothers did not accidently break the furniture by tripping. But this was the price for some cooked meat that the Dwarrow had not eaten in ages. He could not help but wince when he saw the bench where Bombur was sitting break in two. Not that the rest shared his concern because they burst out in loud laughter.
Looking around Bilbo realised that there was one Dwarf missing, Thorin was nowhere to be seen. Bilbo sneaked away from the merry making to go in search of his uncle, he knew that Thorin tended to over think and he hated leaving him on his own especially when he was in his brooding mood.
“I do think that you should trust in what I’m doing,” said an exasperated voice, that sounded awfully like Gandalf.
“It’s a risky move, Gandalf.”
“Whether you want it or not these Dwarves will march to the mountain. Erebor is Thorin’s birthright, what is it that you fear?”
“A strain of madness runs deep within that family. His grandfather was mad, his father fell to that same sickness. Are you sure that Thorin Oakenshield will not also fall?”
Bilbo narrowed his eyes at the Elf’s words and stopped trying to listen to what was being said. he heard about the madness of the late King Thror, he knew that Thorin feared it more than the dragon itself. He turned around and his heart sank when he saw that Thorin was standing right behind him. it was futile hoping that he did not hear what was said. For outsiders Thorin was very difficult to read, his face conveyed no emotion, but he knew this Dwarf since he was a child, he knew him. he could see the hurt in his eyes and even the fear of what he could become. At that moment he could ot help but feel furious anger towards the Elf Lord, who was he to talk to his uncle in that way? Thorin strode away and jolting himself from his stunned silence, he ran after him.
“Thorin! Thorin!” he gasped as he finally reached him. “You know that none of us believe that.”
“Shouldn’t you be with your brothers?” he questioned, sighing heavily.
“I came to look for you.”
“I’m fine Bilbo. But the Elf is right, madness runs deep in my blood.”
Bilbo would have gaped in surprise that Thorin was agreeing with an Elf and appearing so vulnerable, if he was not in deep denial. “No uncle, he is not. I know you and I know that when the time comes you will make a great King.” In a rare moment of affection, Thorin embraced his nephew tightly.
“Uncle, I think that we should leave.”
Thorin looked at him in confusion, “I thought that you are enjoying your say here.” He smiled at his look of surprised and continued wryly, “you think I did not notice. Your brothers were concerned that you would chose to stay here instead of continuing the journey with us, especially after you saw that library.”
Bilbo smiled sheepishly at his uncle but then he turned serious and said, “Gandalf is worried that Elrond will try to stop us. You heard him uncle.”
The Dwarf looked at him proudly and nodded his head. Together they went to where the rest of the company were, determined to head towards their destination. The Lonely Mountain.
They sneaked away in the middle of the night and prepared to cross the Misty Mountains. The other Dwarrow were more than eager to leave ‘enemy’ territory behind. Fíli and Kíli stuck close to him, knowing that the journey was about to get much more dangerous and always ready to protect their youngest brother, especially after what happened and him almost dying.
Thorin took the lead flanked by Dwalin and Balin, his eyes periodically glancing back at his nephews especially Bilbo since his Hobbit physique made climbing mountains harder for him. but he was keeping up as ell as the rest. These mountains must be crawling with Goblins and Thorin hoped that they would cross easily without any mishap.
Bilbo turned around and glanced at the beauty that was Rivendell when he heard Thorin calling his name to keep up. Rolling his eyes at his uncle in exasperation he faced the road ahead, ready to confront any sort of danger with his kin. Dwarrow were used to the ways of the mountains. What was the worst thing that could happen?
Chapter 6: Goblin Town
Chapter 6: Goblin Town
The rain he could handle. But stone giants were a different story. He honestly did not think that it was going to be hard to cross the mountain. Bilbo was following close to his brothers when he felt the ground shudder beneath him.
“What’s happening?” shouted Bilbo, over the roaring wind.
Some rocks collapsed from over head and Bilbo felt Thorin pressing them tightly against the mountain, away from the edge.
“This is not a storm, this is a thunder battle. We need to find shelter,” shouted Thorin, his loud baritone carrying over the storm.
Bilbo tried to quench his fear, he hated heights and he was doing everything in his power not to look down. The ground moved suddenly, and he would have gone toppling down if Dwalin did not grasp his shirt and pull him back.
“By my beard,” gaped Bofur, “the stories are true. Giants, stone giants!”
Bilbo felt like thumbing Bofur over the head. He would have been awed by stone giants if he was not standing directly on them. The ground cracked and suddenly Bilbo felt himself being wrenched away from his kin.
“Bilbo grab my hand,” Fíli was shouting but the only thing that the Hobbit could do was cling tighter to the mountain. He felt Dwalin grasp his shoulder. “Brace yourselves,” shouted the balding Dwarf.
Time seemed to slow as he saw the mountain getting closer and closer. Then they were colliding and Bilbo struggled to hold on to anything that might ground him. He sighed with relief when he found himself on solid ground. Out of the corner of his eye he saw the rest of the company approaching. Then suddenly the ground underneath him gave way and the last thing that he saw was Thorin’s horrified expression.
The pulps of Bilbo’s fingers were thorn as he grasped for anything that might halt his fall. Finally, his descent stopped and he finally opened his scrunched up eyes and saw that he was hanging in mid-air, holding tightly onto the mountain. He heard voices from above, but he could not look up, to see how far below he was from the rest of the company. The rain was making it difficult to hold on and his hand slipped just when he thought that he was going to fall to his death a vice like grip grasped his hand and halted his fall.
Finally looking up his hazel eyes locked with the wild sapphire ones of Thorin and he was finally being hauled up into the outstretched arms of his brothers. Bilbo’s heart almost stopped when he saw Thorin slip, but he was caught and pulled up by Dwalin. Then the Dwarf King was grasping them all in a tight embrace.
“I’m going to tie you to me with a leash Bilbo Baggins,” he said hoarsely, looking shaken by the whole experience.
“Thorin, I found a cave, we checked it and it’s empty,” said Dwalin as he approached them.
Seeing his youngest nephew looking so shaken he lifted him up gently and gestured for Dwalin to lead the way.
Being on dry land after that massive storm. Bilbo, Fíli and Kíli took comfort in the presence of each other. “I think Thorin is right,” whispered Fíli, looking pale, “we should tie you up to make sure that we won’t lose you.” Kíli snorted in agreement, “Yeah before you turn uncle’s hair grey,” he muttered.
Bilbo could not help but give them a small smile, trying to still his pounding heart after everything that happened.
“Bofur, take first watch,” ordered Thorin, sounding weary. He settled down next to them for the first time in years, they sought the comfort of their uncle.
After some time, Bilbo drifted off to an uneasy sleep. His dreams were haunted by monsters closing in on him. smirking and leering over him. His eyes snapped pen and ones and he relaxed when he saw his family sleeping soundly around him. He turned around and saw that Bofur was still on watch so he must not have been sleeping long.
A blue light caught his attention. Looking around he saw that it was coming from his sword. He remembered Thorin’s words not too long ago. This sword is of Elven make, so it will glow blue when Orcs and Goblins are near. He jumped up in shock and shouted, “Wake up! Wake up!” his companions got up groggily but before they even had the chance to recover, the ground gave way beneath them. For the second time in a short while Bilbo felt his stomach drop as he tumbled down the mountain. When he landed on the ground with a sound thud he was just grateful that he landed on top of the Dwarrow and not the other way around because he was sure that he would have ended up bruised all over otherwise. Goblins were crowding around them and Bilbo felt himself being pushed, he tried to fight them of, but they were just so strong. He ducked to avoid himself from being manhandled by these creatures. He curled into a ball and scrunched his eyes shut.
Breathing silently, he realised that silence had fallen around him. he opened his eyes and looked around him and saw that he was left on the platform all alone. His hands searched for his sword which was still strapped to his side. He guessed there was one good think about having a small sword, it was able to pass unnoticed. He stood up and feeling determined he was going to follow the path where his companions were taken. But before he manged to make two steps a Goblin leapt out from behind him causing him to turn around and yelped in surprise. the Goblin jumped onto him and he struggled underneath its weight. Blindly he walked backwards until he lost the feeling of the ground. then he was falling again, he did not know for how long, but when he slammed onto the ground his vision went black.
Goblins. Of all the creatures they had to encounter it had to be Goblins, thought Thorin furiously. They let their guard down and now here they were, surrounded by these creatures.
The Goblins were jeering at them, mocking them and the Dwarrow king glared at them heatedly. Ever since he became king in exile he was used to mockery but that did not mean that he was going to bend the knee to these foul creatures.
On a makeshift throne stood an enormous Goblin, Thorin grimaced at his appearance. The Great Goblin stood up and said, “who dares to walk into my kingdom? Spies? Assassins?”
“Dwarves your malevolence,” said one as they were shoved forward. “We found them on the front porch.”
“Dwarves?” growled their king.
Thorin felt his frustration grow, they should have crossed the mountains by now, instead they were stuck here.
“What are you doing in these parts?” questioned the oversized Goblin.
Thorin moved forward ready to take the lead when Bofur stepped forward. He wished to slap his head on his forehead as he dreaded what was going to be said.
“If you’re looking for some information than I’m the one to talk to.” The hatted Dwarf swallowed nervously when he realised that the Goblin’s sole attention was on him. “Well you see we were on this road…well it was more of a track…actually it was more of a path. Anyway we were on this road like a track, like a path and then we weren’t.” The Goblin raised its eyebrows at Bofur’s ramblings.
“And why were you on this….path?” growled the creature.
“W-w-w-well, we erm we were…”
“Visiting distant relations,” cut in Dori.
“Yes some cousins on my mother’s side—”
“Shut up,” shouted the Goblin, causing both Dwarrow to cower back in fear.
“I have had enough of this, bring out the bone breaker. Start with the youngest,” he sneered, pointing towards Ori.
Thorin could not take it anymore, it was his duty as King to look after his companions especially the younger ones. “Stop,” he growled, stepping forward and pushing his nephews behind him, making sure to hide them from view.
“Well, well, well. Who do we have here. Thorin, son of Thrain, son of Thror, King Under the Mountain. Oh but I forget, you don’t have a mountain, so you’re not a king which makes you, a nobody really,” he sneered.
Thorin heard his companions growl lowly, under their breath, in indignation on his behalf. He brust away such insult and instead glared defiantly at the Goblin.
“I know someone who would pay a pretty price for your head,” he continued, “the white Orc astride a white warg.”
Those words caused Thorin to freeze. It couldn’t be, he fought him at Khazad Dûm, he cut off his hand, that injury was fatal. “Azog the Defiler was destroyed,” he hissed, “he was slain in battle long ago.”
The Great Goblin snickered in mockery and said, “so you think that his defiling days are at an end?” He then proceeded to turn to one of his subjects and ordered him to send word to the Pale Orc proclaiming that he found his prize.
Thorin was still in denial and he could not believe him. Why would he? A Goblin says anything to try and distract him. But then he could not help but recall Balin’s cynical look whenever he retold the story of the battle of Azanulbizar to his nephews and for the first time in years doubt began to settle within him. What if he believed a lie for all of these years?
While the Dwarrow had left Rivendell, Gandalf had to attend the White council. it seemed that both Elrond and Saruman were both against the quest. Galadriel was a different story, she had stayed quiet throughout most of the meeting and she understood the threats that Middle Earth was going to face. Having Erebor, the strongest of Dwarven kingdoms on their side would strengthen their defences in the East. The shadows were deepening, and the days seemed to be growing darker. After so many years of peace it seemed like the darkness of Sauron was spreading again.
Shaking his head Gandalf removed these thoughts from his head his thoughts wondered to that company of Dwarrow and he hoped that they were doing find. He was going to leave the valley of Imlardis to follow them.
A soft breeze alerted him of a presence and there behind him was the Lady Galadriel, looking as beautiful and as graceful as ever.
“You plan to follow them,” she said, her voice as gently as ever.
“I must, they are depending on me. I have to go and help them.”
Her clear blue eyes studied him and then she questioned, “Mithrandir, why the Halfling?”
His thoughts wondered to that Hobbit child, raised by Dwarrow and wielding a small sword. Truth be told he did not know the answer. “I don’t know,” he confessed, “Saruman believes that it is only great power that keeps he darkness at bay. But that is not what I found, I found it is small things, every day deeds of simple folks that hold the darkness away. Simple acts of kindness and love, characteristics found in the children of Yavanna. Why Bilbo Baggins? Perhaps it is because I am afraid and he gives me courage.” A simple Hobbit was willing to face a Dragon for his chosen family, his love towards them was able to overcome any darkness that is approaching.
Galadriel approached him and held his hand. She did not need to use her mouth to speak. Her voice entered his thoughts.
Do not be afraid Gandalf, you’re never alone.
He did not know that he had his eyes closed and when he opened them she was gone.
Looking at the horizon he was determined to find those Dworrow. He hoped that they had managed to stay away from trouble.
For some reason he was seriously doubting that.
Chapter 7: The Escape
Chapter 7: The Escape
Consciousness was returning to him slowly and with it came the aches and pains of a long fall. He did know how much time had passed but he had to force himself to wake up. He pushed himself up and looked around him in confusion. Where was he? He looked above and realised that climbing was out of the question, he was too far down.
A sudden noise caused him to turn round in surprise. He crouched down warily and then he saw a creature just jump up grap the Goblin that toppled down with him and drag it away. Swallowing down a feeling of nausea, he cautiously stared following this strange creature.
A trinket caught his attention and focusing his eyes on the ground he saw a simple golden ring. He picked it up and for a moment seemed mesmerised by it. He placed it in his pocket and continued forward.
Someone was watching him. He had always had sensitive hearing, one that rivalled even that of an Elf. He turned around and drew his sword just in time to halt a skulking creature from jumping on top of him.
“Bless us precious,” it hissed, “what is it? What is it?” Bilbo did not know what know if it was some sort of Goblin, nor did he understand what it was saying, all he wanted was to find a way out of here and find his kin.
“My name is Bilbo Baggins,” he said, trying to sound braver than how he felt.
“Bagginses? What is a Bagginses?”
He contemplated about what he should say, Thorin would not be pleased with him talking to the enemy. “I’m a Hobbit from the Shire.”
“Hobbitses? We tried Goblins and fishes but we never tasted Hobbitses before. Is it sweet? Is it juicy?”
The creature crawled towards him and Bilbo swung his sword forward, feeling as though he was a child. “Stay back, just stay back. I’m warning you, I will use this if I have to.”
“Is it lost, precious?” mumbled the creature, cowering back to avoid his sword.
“Yes,” he breathed relieved, “and I would like to end up unlost, as soon as possible.” “Oh we know, we know safe places in the dark.” He then turned serious and just mumbled a small shut up, leaving the Hobbit in an even more confused state.
“Look,” he snapped, trying to quench his frustration, “I don’t know what game you are playing……”
The creature jumped up and down in excitement, “Games? We like games? Gollum, Gollum.” It squealed in childish excitement.
“What has roots as nobody sees,
Is taller than trees,
Up, up it goes
And yet never grows.”
The Hobbit blinked at this creature that he was about to start calling Gollum and without thinking gave the answer, “the mountain.” Bilbo felt like strangling him he was getting nowhere. He hesitated for a moment then an idea struck him, what if he can use this to his advantage.
“What if we play a little game, a game of riddles, just you and me. if I win you show me the way out.”
The creature seemed to contemplate about this. “And if it loses…..well precious if it loses we eats it whole. Gollum, Gollum.”
Bilbo did not even hesitate before accepting, he really needed to find a way out of here. Bilbo was always good at riddles, he used to win every competition held in the Shire and his brothers always tried to find a riddle that he wold not be able to solve, but so far failed to do so.
“Thirty white horses on a red hill,
First they champ,
Then they stamp
Then they stand still.”
Wanting this game to end quickly, Bilbo really hoped that Gollum would not know the answer. But his hope was short lived as his opponent jumped up and down and said, “teethses.” Bilbo could hear Dwaln’s voice berating him in his head in that moment. Really who ever heard of a Dwarf fight a battle of riddles instead one of one with swords.
As time passed, Bilbo was getting even more nervous, he wanted to put an end to this. However Gollum was just as good as him when it came to riddles.
“This thing all things devours,
Birds, beasts, trees, flowers,
Gnaws iron, bites steel,
Grinds hard stones to meal,
Slays king, ruins town,
And beats high mountains down.”
Beads of perspiration appeared on his brow. This was one riddle that he did not know the answer to. Gollum seemed to gloat at his lack of answer and he could see saliva dripping from its mouth. In his panic Bilbo stumbled backwards, he just needed more time, just a bit more…….time.
“The answer is time,” he breathed almost fainting in relief. Gollum grew serious and with narrowed eyes he hissed out, “ask us one more question.”
Bilbo was fingering the ring in his pocket at that time and as though in a trance he said, “what do I have in my pocket?”
Stripped out of his weapons, Thorin really felt defenseless. He assessed the area around him trying to find an opening. He ensured to keep his nephews behind him, willing to protect them from anything. He could not see Bilbo, but since his youngest nephew was so small he could be behind any of the other Dwarrow.
The Great Goblin was singing some sick song about torture, causing him to clench his fist tightly. His thoughts were consumed by Azog, the Orc that once swore to wipe out his line. Out of all of his kin only Balin seemed wary. He never believed of his demise. The price for his head…..was Azog behind it?
A Goblin screeched in terror. Thorin turned round and saw that Goblin had unsheathed his sword, Orcrist.
“He wields, the Biter, the Goblin cleaver,” gaped the King in terror.
Then they were upon them. Thorin tried to fight back but there were just so many of them. A Goblin gabbed him by the neck, its king’s screeching to kill them echoing around them. The creature raised its rusty blade. Time seemed to slow and he saw the blade approaching before a blinding white light washed everything away. The Goblin was blown away and with a gasp he turned round.
There was Gandalf, with his usual impeccable timing.
“Fight! Fight!” he bellowed with his usual dramatic voice.
Thorin forced himself up and while the Goblins were still stunned he and his companions grabbed hold of their weapons.
Like all of his previous battles, what followed was a blur. The Dwarrow were used of fighting in a group. the forced their way through the tunnels following Gandalf’s lead, hoping that the Wizard had an idea here they were going. He was far better at navigating underground, but these were Goblin tunnels and the stone was not in the best conditions and it hindered his stone sense. It was a wonder that the bridge did not collapse beneath them.
The Goblin King jumped in front of them and the ground trembled. “You thought that you could escape me? No one leaves without my permission.”
Gandalf looked at him in disgust and slashed his sword across his tummy, almost lazily. The Goblin groaned in pain and collapsed on his knees, then the wizard cut his throat, the great Goblin was dead before he collapsed on the ground.
Before he could relish the feeling of victory, for the second time that say the ground gave way and they were falling. They collapsed on each other with a groan and Bofur’s ever optimistic voice floated over them, “well that could have been worse,” he claimed.
And the great Goblin collapsed on top of them.
“You’ve got to be joking,” muttered Dwalin, in annoyance.
“Gandalf!” shouted Kíli, in alarm and turning round he could see why.
The Goblins ere rushing towards them.
“Out! Get out!” ordered Gandalf, leading them towards the outside of the mountain, Goblins despised the sunlight. They were almost free, at last.
Bilbo honestly did not know were the question came from and it seems as though Gollum did not like it either.
“It cheats, it cheats,” he wailed.
“No I’m not cheating, you told me to ask you a question and I did. I will give three chances to get it right.”
Gollum hissed in frustration and started pacing here and there.
“Handses?” it hissed.
Relieved that he stopped fingered his ring, he answered with a no.
Snarling in anger, the creature started muttering options to himself before settling on a knife which Bilbo was able to answer with a satisfied wrong. Looking even more angered Gollum snarled, “string or nothing.”
Suppressing a satisfied laugh Bilbo said, “those were two answers and both are wrong.”
Gollum let out and angered howl and then looked at him suspicious, “what has Bagginses got in his pocket, precious?”
“That’s besides the point,” said Bilbo dismissively, brushing away Gollum’s comments, feeling defensive. Understanding seemed to dawn on him and in sheer panic he started splashing in the water and looking around.
“Where is it? Where is my precious?” he wailed. Then he rounded on him in sheer force and he hissed, “you stole it.”
Seeing the crazy look in Gollum’s eyes, Bilbo backed away slowly thinking that he should break out into a run and soon. With a roar of fury, the creature jumped towards him and Bilbo ducked away, then he ran, hoping and praying to whoever of the Valar were listening to him that he would not encounter any Goblins.
Seeing a small opening, Bilbo squeezed through and in his haste to cover more distance he tripped backwards. The ring slipped out of his pocket and reached out for it.
The world went hazy and looking at his hand he saw the ring neatly on his finger.
The screams of the creature made him back away slowly but the creature just ran past him, leaving Bilbo completely surprised. The Hobbit ran after him and to his relief he saw daylight steaming in and even better his companions were escaping through that exit as well. He found them at last, he wondered how they managed to get there.
He clutched his sword and stared at Gollum, wondering whether he should kill him. He wanted to eat him, but he looked so vulnerable and Bilbo pitied him. He jumped over him and knocked him aside and ran towards the exit, leaving Gollum’s snarls of frustration behind him.
Chapter 8: Out of the Frying pan and into the Fire
Chapter 8: Out of the Frying pan and into the Fire
The Dwarrow stopped running when they realised that they left the Misty Mountains behind them and covered enough distance that could be considered safe.
“Bofur, Bifur, that’s eleven. Ori and Nori, that’s thirteen Dwarrow in all,” Gandalf said doing a quick head count. Then he paused and looked around in alarm and asked the question that made Thorin freeze all over, “where is Bilbo?”
Fíli and Kíli looked around frantically and their hearts sank when they relised that their younger brother was not there. They exchanged frantic looks and the fear that they left him behind festered within them.
“We have to go back,” snapped Thorin, looking as frantic as they were feeling.
“We can’t, the mountains are crawling with Goblins,” said Balin, putting his hand on Thorin’s shoulder. The exiled King let out a frustrated shout and punched one of the nearby trees. He collapsed on his knees. His mind wondered back to his sister back at home. She had not been pleased with him when he accepted to take her sons with him, but she was more against Bilbo going. She had told him that he was far too young and too inexperienced.
“By night time these hills will be swarming with Orcs,” murmured Gandalf remorsefully.
“What about Bilbo? What will happen to him? we can’t leave him behind,” protested Kíli.
Thorin swallowed the bile in his throat, he could not tell his nephews what will happen to their brother once the Goblins find him. He wanted to tear down the mountain and find his nephew but he was not just an Uncle, he was also a King.
“We have to keep moving,” he said hoarsely.
The company turned their backs on the mountain and with heavy hearts prepared to continue on their journey.
The Durin brothers never cried, not when their aunt and uncle died. But this was their baby brother and the only thing that they wanted to do was mourn him and not continue on their journey.
“Wait…wait…” came a voice, sounding out of breath.
A voice that was so achingly familiar made them turn around in surprise.
There making their way towards them was Bilbo, looking bruised and battered but alive. Fíli and Kíli did not think twice, they both rushed forward towards and embraced him tightly.
“Thank Mahal,” murmured Thorin, as he felt relief surging within him.
“Bilbo Baggins, I’ve never been so grateful to see anyone in my entire life,” smile Gandalf, patting him on the back, where he was still being tightly embraced by his brothers.
Smiling at them softly, Thorin approached his nephews. Everything that he was doing, he was doing for them. To give them the future that they deserved. He had just clasped his nephew on the shoulder and was about to embrace him tightly, when a howl sounded in the distance.
“Run!” he roared as he pushed his nephews in front of him.
The only thought in his head was that they were out of the frying pan and into the fire.
The relief that Bilbo felt when he reunited with his family was short lived.
As soon as the howls of the Wargs echoed in the distance, he was being pushed by his uncle and they had to break in a run. Then he was being pulled by all of his family, though he could not feel annoyed by that since he knew that he frightened them these past weeks.
They approached a cliff and seeing no other way, they opted to jump onto the trees. Bilbo needed some help, since he was much shorter than the rest, though Thorin was sticking very close to him and made sure that he was safely perched on one of the branches.
Bilbo felt as though they were trapped. They were too exhausted to fight, after their encounter with the Goblins. The Hobbit looked around in fear, wondering how they were going to escape from this predicament that they found themselves in. The Orc parted ways and there in the center was the scariest Orc that Bilbo ever saw.
He was white as snow and his face was scarred. Instead of a hand he had a rusting blade attached to his forearm. Was this…? Could it be that this was….Azog? But Uncle Thorin killed him, didn’t he? The guttural language of the Orcs emerged from its lips and Bilbo could not understand what was being said, he only felt a shiver go down his spine.
“It can’t be,” whispered Thorin, sounding vulnerable, making Bilbo feel even more worried. Thorin was always so sure of himself, so sure of himself. Bilbo did not have time to contemplate about his uncle’s change in attitude since he was too busy looking around to see if there was any thing that could be used to their advantage.
Gandalf found a pinecone and lit it on fire with his stuff. Catching onto Gandalf’s plan, the company followed the wizard’s lead and threw the burning pinecones towards the Orcs that were beneath them. At first this seemed to work, and Bilbo found himself cheering with his companions, but this this not last long as the trees started giving way due to their weight and since the Wargs were attempting to climb on to the trees and instead were only managing to uproot them causing them to collapse.
Bilbo clutched more tightly onto the branch underneath him. Not that it was any use since the tree was uprooted and they were falling. A scream lodged itself in his throat and he tried not to hyperventilate due to the panic.
They were leaning over the edge of a cliff and Bilbo could not help but shout out in alarm when Ori lost his grip and ended up hanging in the air clutching onto Dori’s leg. They were running out of time. If the Orcs did not kill them then they will most certainly end up staining the rocks below red. He was not the only one that came to that conclusion. He did not realise that his uncle chose to leave the relative safety of the tree to fight the Defiler himself.
He only noticed when he heard that rich baritone that he was so familiar with. His heart jumped in his throat as he saw his uncle run towards Azog. His nails dug in his palms when he saw his uncle being knocked onto the ground.
“Nooooo,” shouted Balin, echoing his thoughts.
“Thorin,” roared Dwalin, he attempted to make his way towards his King, but the branch broke beneath him and he was left hanging to dear life as well.
Bilbo did not think, he did not even bother to look at his brothers to see what they were thinking. He just made his way towards the ground and felt the cinders burn his soles. He let out a battle cry on his own and rushed towards the Orc that was going to decapitate his uncle. He tackled the creature and stabbed it multiple times. With a cry of victory, he removed his sword from the now still creature and took a defensive stance in front of his uncle, trying not to look afraid. The Orc looked at him like he was an insect that needed to be squashed.
The Black speech that followed was surely his death warrant. Before he could contemplate about his next course of action he heard battle cries in Khûzdul and he almost fainted in relief when his brothers and Dwalin joined the fight.
Bilbo slashed the face of the White Warg causing the creature to yelp in pain. The fury that crossed Azog was enough to make everyone freeze in place. Bilbo backed away, glad that at least the White Orc’s attention was not focused on his comatose uncle.
Before he could reassure himself of him imminent death, big talons grabbed him and he was being thrown up in the air only to land on something soft. Looking around he saw great, giant eagles were lifting his companion in the air. In fear he searched for his uncle to see him in the talons of a great eagle. He still was not moving.
He was going to be fine, wasn’t he?
He had to.
Thorin was in shock when he saw Azog, the Great Goblin mentioned him but a part of him was still in denial. He glanced at his nephews, with Azog alive they were in danger as well.
He did not think twice when he tried to engage the Orc in a battle. Though in hindsight it was not his wisest moments.
As he was lying on the ground, fighting against unconsciousness, he was resigned to accept his death. his only regret was that Fíli was going to become a King when he was so young. He hoped that his heir would continue what he started.
Darkness was closing in and the last thing that he saw was a mess of brown curls and then nothing. He did not know for how long he was unconscious.
He only felt himself being pulled out of the darkness. Sunshine entered his vision and he blinked his eyes open to see Gandalf next to him. His mind wondered back to his would be executioner and only one thought entered his mind, Bilbo.
“Bilbo. Where is Bilbo?”
“It’s alright Bilbo is here, he is quite safe,” reassured the Wizard.
With a grunt he got up back on his feet and looked at the young Hobbit, he looked bruised and exhausted but was alive.
He did not need to say anything he just surged forward and embraced him, knowing the fear that he must have faced to come to his rescue.
The mountain was visible in the distance. But at that moment the boy in his arm was much more important since it was because of him that the journey was still possible.
He and his brothers were worth more than all of the gold in that mountain.