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Unexpected Sunlight

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Rivendell- She had been watching them ever since their arrival at Rivendell- Thorin Oakenshield, King Under the Mountain, and his company of 12 dwarves, a hobbit and of course the wizard, Gandalf the Grey. Ever curious she was as the grey-bearded wizard let them into the kingdom. She could see they were apprehensive, Thorin especially reluctant to get any help from the elves.
Despite his reservations, as pointed out by Gandalf, they needed lord Elrond’s help in order to read the hidden message contained in his map, the map that would lead the dwarves back to their home. As the rest of the company sat to feast, Thorin and Gandalf, along with Lord Elrond and the Hobbit proceeded to try and unlock the mysteries of the map. Adara followed silently, making sure to keep out of sight. The quest to reclaim Erebor intrigued her greatly.
She watched as Lord Elrond talked about the crescent moon that shined upon them, how the Dwarf King was lucky for it happened to be the same moon that shined upon them centuries ago when the map was created. Lord Elrond took the map in his hand and placed it on the table, the rays of moonlight shining down upon the map, revealing the elusive riddle.
She leaned forward slightly trying to get a better glimpse at the map when she suddenly felt a hand on her back. She flinched at the touch and looking over her shoulder she found Lindir.
“What are you doing Adara?”
Adara let out a small sigh knowing she would have to leave. “Nothing. Just curious.”
“Well come, we need you at the feast. Lady Galadriel and Lord Saruman are on their way”
“Really? I take it they do not approve of the quest then?”
“Not at all”.
Lindir placed his hand on her shoulder and led her back. Adara knew the dwarves would try to leave before the elven council could stop them. However, she figured Gandalf would stay as a distraction. She had to prepare herself.
~X~
“Leaving so soon? And here I was thinking you were starting to enjoy our hospitality” a slight smirk covered her lips as Adara leaned against the column, blocking the dwarves escape.
The company looked at her curiously, wondering why she had gotten in their way. Thorin took a step forward, his eyes raking her body, moving up and down trying to size her up. Upon gazing upwards he noticed a strange pendant decorating her uniform just above her right breast, a piece of fiery red hair having gotten caught on the tip of what appeared to be a flame.
“Out of our way Elf” Thorin spat at her gesturing with his hand for her to move over. He walked forward as soon as he saw movement but she only moved to further block his way.
“Don’t think I don’t know what you’re doing, Dwarf. The elven council has been summoned and you intend on sneaking out of here unnoticed.” She presented a challenging tone as she looked down on Thorin.
He noticed her eyes were of an unusual coloring, golden irises crowning her pupil with flecks of amber. She also had a light dusting of freckles covering her cheeks, something that to his knowledge was uncommon amongst the elven kin.
“And what is it to you what my company and I do?”
Just as she opened her mouth to respond, Adara reached behind her head for hilt of her dagger. Thorin and his company immediately placed their hands on their hilts as they prepared to arm themselves for what they assumed was an ambush.
But to their surprise, the elf maiden simply fell to one knee, holding out one of her daggers before him, now looking up at the Dwarfwen king. He looked down on her, a little unsure of what was going on.
“I have come to offer you my sword and bow. I wish to accompany you on your quest to reclaim your homeland” she said, warm amber eyes meeting the icy-blue eyes of the King.
Thorin opened his mouth to respond but he was at a loss for words. Whether the elf was being sincere or not, he could not tell. No elf had ever offered him or his people any assistance, ever. He thought back to the time when he watched his kingdom burn as Smaug darkened the skies with smoke and flames. He remembered as he pleaded for Tranduil and his army to help them. He remembered how the elf King had turned his back on them, just when they needed him most.
Darkness and hatred began to consume the King. Adara could see the flames burning inside him and she thought that he might explode, but instead he simply said “You? Accompany us?”
He scoffed turning around to face his company as a smile began to form on his lips while laughter rose up to his mouth. The others followed their leader, laughing at the elf princess. She arched an eye-brow at him as she placed the dagger back in its place once again, rising up and crossing her arms over her chest in the process. “Even I must admit that is a rather funny joke Elf. Now if you’ll be so kind as to let us pass, we shall be on our way.”
“You find this funny Dwarf?” Adara exclaimed, her tone getting dark and serious. “Because I am being quite serious.”
“Elves are selfish creatures. They do not care about anyone but their own kin. They hide in behind their precious trees and rivers, turning a blind eye to those around them. So why in Durin’s name should I believe you to be any different?”
At that response Adara felt a bit of hurt in her heart. She knew the stories about how Erebor had been lost, the on standing feud and hatred between the elves and dwarves in this land, especially of the Durins. However, she would not let that stop her.
“Let’s just say we have more in common than you might think” she said calmly. Once she saw that Thorin wouldn’t budge she continued “Look, I understand. Given your history you have absolutely no reason to trust me. But despite what you might believe, we elves aren’t all that bad. Some of us do indeed want to help those of Middle-Earth, and I am one of them.”
“But why would you want to help us?” asked Fili taking a step towards them. “What is Erebor to you?”
At that Thorin could see some sadness take over the elf maiden, even if for a brief moment. She quickly composed herself however and said “My reasons are my own. Besides, as long as you know that I am being truthful and sincere, they do not matter. Additionally, given the pac of orcs that seem to be hunting you I would say you could use all the help you can get.”
“Those orcs are long gone,” Thorin growled.
“Those orcs are hunting you and they will be back. You’ll need my help. Killing orcs happens to be my specialty.”
Thorin stared at Adara for a while, thinking about what she had just said. He did not want her to join their company, but it didn’t seem like she would give in.
“I think we should let her join!” piped Kili from behind. Thorin turned over slowly, giving Kili a death glare. “What? She can help us.”
“Balin, Dwalin?”
Balin looked at Thorin with his thoughtful gaze. “Well the lass seems eager and frankly it wouldn’t hurt to have another sword.”
“I don’t trust her, but then again she might just come in handy” said Dwalin is his thick accent.
“Fili?” Thorin asked.
“It seems that she could be a valuable asset Uncle, don’t turn her down.”
Thorin looked over at the rest of the company who seemed to nod in agreement. He then looked at Bilbo who said “I have no problem with elves.”
Thorin then turned back to face Adara, already flashing him a triumphant grin.
“Excellent then it is decided” she said. “Come along follow me.”
Thorin gave a deep exhale as he watched the others follow the elf, Kili especially seeing a bit eager to go and talk with her. He didn’t know what to expect, he certainly didn’t trust her, but despite his reservations, he was afraid she was right about the orcs. If this elf gave them a better chance at defeating those orcs and completing their quest, he knew the right thing to do would be to accept her company, despite every bone in his body telling her not to. But he figured if he said no, Gandalf would very quickly accept her assistance. He always seemed to have a thing for elves.

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“From this point on, we are in the wild,” Thorin said, as he stopped ahead, letting the others pass as he rested his arms on top of his axe. “Balin, you know these parts well, lead the way.” Balin walked towards the front of the pack, and Thorin’s eyes soon rested on Bilbo, who seemed to be getting acquainted with the new member of the company.
“Master Baggins, I suggest you keep up,” he said a bit abruptly. Adara looked over to meet Thorin’s gaze, icy blue eyes momentarily stopping her in her tracks.
“Now, now, Master Dwarf, there is no need to be rude, we were simply getting to know one another,” Adara said, as she walked over to Thorin. They stared at each other for a few seconds, Adara measuring the height difference between them. He was rather tall for a dwarf, he actually seemed to be the tallest out of the 13 dwarves, but Adara was still a head taller than him.
Thorin broke the silence first as he said “this is not the time for socializing.”
“Seeing as I will be traveling with 14 companions, I thought it would be best to actually know their names, especially since according to you being an elf means we don’t appreciate anyone outside of our own kin, so really it’s the least I could do.” Adara noted that although the dwarves seemed to have agreed to let her join them on this little journey, they were still a bit hesitant. Master Baggins was the only one who actually took the time to introduce himself to her.
Thorin simply bowed his head slightly, in a rather sarcastic way Adara noted, as he began to turn around. He found that the others had stopped and were watching their leader and the elf maiden intently. Balin was the first one to step over and say “I’m sorry mi ’lady, we’ve been rather rude. Allow me to introduce ourselves. I am Balin, this is my brother Dwalin. Over here we have Nori, Ori and Dori, Bofur, Bifur and Bombur, Oin, Gloin, the young princes Fili and Kili” at that Adara watched as the two princes bowed in unison and said “at your service” to which Adara responded with a small smile and nod of her head, fighting to contain her happiness.
“Then there is our burglar whom you’ve already met, Gandalf the Grey who will joining us soon, and of course, our leader to which you have already been acquainted to, Thorin Oakenshield.”
As Thorin was introduced Adara looked over, but Thorin simply stood, resting on his axe seemingly unamused.
He said something in Dwarfish to the others, a joke it seemed as some of them laughed along with him. Adara looked over to Balin and asked him what he had just said.
“He said I shouldn’t’t have wasted my time introducing ourselves because surely you won’t remember our names at all,” Balin shrugged. “If you don’t, I don’t blame you lassie. I’ll admit we take some getting used to.”
Adara saw Thorin looking at her, a smirk playing on his lips. “I thought as much,” he said as he began to turn around. “Let’s keep moving, give the elf some time to recollect her thoughts.”
“Hold on” Adara said as she walked to the front of the group. “Master Balin I would like to thank you for your kindness. Masters Ori, Dori, Nori, Bofur, Bombur, Bifur, Oin, Gloin, Dwalin, Fili, and Kili and Baggins, it is very nice to meet you.” As she said each of their names Adara made eye contact with the corresponding faces, some which seemed to be a bit dumfounded.
She turned over to Thorin, a triumphant smile shining back at him as she told Thorin in khuzdul “I know that you despise my people but I am here for a reason and I would appreciate if you weren’t’t such an arse.”
Awe and confusion formed on the King’s lips as he said “How in Durin’s do your lips dare speak the language of my people?”
When he saw her lips move he hoped that she would answer his question, but instead she simply smiled at him and said “Master Balin, after you.”
She held on eye-contact with Thorin until Balin surpassed them. She then quickly broke the connection and began following Balin, Kili a step behind her. As he passed Thorin he whispered, “she’s a feisty one isn’t she?”
While Kili seemed to be a bit taken by the elf, Thorin’s suspicions only seemed to grow stronger. How could an elf know how to speak khuzdul, he thought to himself.
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The sky had darkened significantly since the company had left Rivendell. They were now climbing the Black Mountains, a raging storm of thunder clamoring over them. The path they walked seemed to only get narrower as they continued in a single file line.
Suddenly they felt a rumbling and another strike of lighting fell from the sky. The company stopped for a second before continuing on. Just then a giant rock was seen heading towards them with Dwalin yelling up ahead “Watch out!”
The rock smashed into the top of the mountain just above them, forming a shower of black stone that fell upon them. “Take cover!” shouted Thorin.
Adara wrapped her arms around her head, trying to protect herself. As she looked up she saw a Stone Giant rising from its place holding another giant piece of stone, preparing to throw it.
“Well bless my britches, they are real,” Bofur said as he looked upon the giant.
“What’s real?” asked Bilbo, a little quiver in his voice.
“Stone giants,” answered Adara looking down at Bilbo and then up again.
“Thorin we must find shelter,” Balin screamed, as the Giant threw the stone at the top of the mountain once again.
“There should be a cave nearby, we must get to it quickly before our own giant awakens,” Adara screamed.
“What do you mean our own giant?” asked Oin from behind.
Just as Adara was about to answer they felt the earth quiver beneath their feet. The mountain seemed to be moving upwards and splitting apart as half the company moved to the right and the other to the left.
Adara saw that the giant had awakened and they seemed to be on top of his knees as he rose in order to defend himself. She then heard Fili scream Kili’s name as he leaned forward to grab his brother, but Thorin quickly took a hold of his shoulder and stopped him.
They all watched as the other dwarves clung to the rock as the legs of the stone giant moved. He attacked his enemy quickly by throwing a giant rock, slicing its head right off. But the stone giant fell forward and fell onto the giant they were standing upon. They screamed as the giant’s legs moved forward, seemingly crushing the others against the stone wall. She heard as the dwarves screamed, worry and terror over their fallen companions taking over.
She also heard Thorin screaming Kili’s name, showing Adara that despite his icy attitude towards her he indeed did care about the others.
They all looked on, gasps escaping their lips when the stone giant’s leg moved back with no dwarves upon it. The company moved forward to see where they had gone, and a chorus of relief could be heard from each one as they saw the rest of their companions were indeed safe.
She moved with the others to help them get up, helping Nori up and seeing a small blush overtake his cheeks.
“Where’s Bilbo?” she heard Bofur ask, as they all suddenly looked around to try and find the Hobbit. They then heard Bilbo scream and saw that he was clinging to the edge of the path, desperately trying to hold on. Bofur reached down and grabbed Bilbo’s arm, pulling him up as Dori and Nori held on to Bofur in order to help.
Bilbo placed his foot upwards in an attempt to pull himself up. However, his foot slipped and Bofur lost his grip on the Hobbit. Adara moved forward to try and grab him but before she could get there she saw Thorin grabbing the Hobbit and pulling him up.
Adara let out a sigh of relief seeing that Bilbo was ok, but as Thorin moved to pull himself up he also slipped. Adara quickly reached down and grabbed his arm, saving the King from a most unwelcome fall.
She quickly pulled him up, clenching her teeth a little bit at the weight. She saw Dwalin grab Thorin’s other arm and helped him up as well.
Once Thorin was on his feet she let go, looking at the King. But he did not look back, he was looking at Bilbo instead.
“We thought we almost lost ya there lad,” Bofur said to Bilbo.
As Bilbo thanked him for saving him, Thorin said “He’s been lost ever since he left that shire of his. This is no place for a hobbit. You almost got yourself killed.”
He then turned around and faced Adara. She could see that there was still a gleam of anger in his eyes, but he nodded to her, thankfully, not being able to say the words himself.
Adara nodded back in acknowledgement and let him move ahead.
They quickly found a cave opening and went inside.
“We’ll rest here for tonight. Get some rest, we move at first light,” said Thorin.
“I’ll start a fire,” said Ori.
“No, no fires,” Thorin commanded. “Caves in the mountain are seldom unoccupied.”
Adara felt an ominous presence within the cave, a certain heat seemed to emanate from the walls.
“Perhaps it would be best if we move on, I sense a strange presence here,” she said looking over at Dwalin and Thorin.
“In case you didn’t notice lassie, there are stone giants out there which nearly killed us” said Dwalin.
“We will camp here for the night,” Thorin said once again, in an authoritative tone.
Adara simply nodded and headed over to one of the corners to sit.
“Bofur” Thorin said. “Take the first watch.”
Adara watched as Bofur took his spot, while the other dwarves laid down to rest. Adara remained where she was. She knew she should get some rest, but with the irksome feeling she figured it would be best to stay awake, just in case.

Chapter Text

Chapter 3: Full of Ice and Embers
Adära remained seated in the corner, intently watching as the dwarves each took up a spot and laid to rest. Bofur sat on the far end of the cave, watching over them all as he lit up his pipe for a smoke. Adära had her two daggers in her hand, sharpening them as the others tried to sleep.
A smirk formed on her lips as she saw Thorin stir in his spot a little bit. She figured he would tell her to shut up soon.
“Must you do that now elf?” he grumbled. Right on cue, Adära thought to herself.
“What? Does a little sharpening bother you dwarf?” she said. “I’m simply readying myself for danger, you never know. We are in the wild, as you had said.”
“Bofur is on watch, I can assure you we will be fine for the night,” Thorin said, a bit annoyed.
“Bofur should get some rest, I can take the night watch,” Adära said.
She heard Thorin scoff, his back still to her. “As if I’d let an elf take over the watch while the rest of us sleep. You’ll probably stab us in our sleep with those daggers of yours.”
“Now why on earth would I do that?” Adära said, a bit more serious now. Thorin was entering some dangerous territory.
“Surely that must be why you are here. You were probably sent by one of your elven scum to kill us, so they can stop us from claiming what is rightfully ours,” Thorin said spitefully.
Adära inhaled deeply, trying to remain calm. She had half a mind to go over there and give him a bit of a scare with her daggers, but she decided against it, she was in no position to give anyone a reason not to trust her.
Instead she simply put her daggers away and muttered to herself “Ego mibo orch thaur anfang” in Sindarin.
“What did you say?” Thorin said, this time getting up from his spot and facing her.
“I said you could go kiss an orc you abhorrent dwarf!”
“Well I rather kiss an orc than a filthy elf! Khagun menu reliku pembu rukhas!” (Your parents populated an orkish village)
Thorin’s blood began to pulse even harder in his veins. After his insult had been spoken, he saw Adära flinch a little, hurt taking her eyes for a quick second. But then it was replaced by anger. He had struck a nerve. It was Balin who spoke next, trying to keep the peace.
“Now, now, let’s not get hasty, let’s all just take a deep breath and rest,” said Balin, as he walked over to Thorin, trying to have him move back to his spot.
Adära watched as the two dwarves left, letting out a small sigh. She was starting to second guess her decision to join the company.
On the other side of the cave, Thorin begun to pace back and forth, trying to let out some steam. He noticed that everyone but Bofur and Adära were asleep, or so they pretended to be. He was sure they had heard them.
“You need to cut the lass some slack Thorin. She did save your life after all. She has given us no reason thus far not to trust her,” said Balin.
“The fact that she’s an elf is reason enough, Balin” Thorin said softly.
“Thorin, I understand your ill feelings toward the Eldar, I really do,” Balin began saying. “But taking them out on her doesn’t do anyone any good. Please try to do better, if not for her sake, than for ours, for yourself. I have a feeling she might have a bigger role in this story than you might think.”
Thorin let out a loud moan, to which Adära looked up to see what was going on. She and Thorin made eye-contact for a brief second before he looked down.
Adära soon followed but the dwarf King’s eye’s couldn’t’t help but find their way back to the elf maiden. He noticed that she had something in her hand, a small object made of metal.
“Why don’t you apologize to the lass Thorin? Try and make amends,” Balin told him.
Thorin nodded slightly, walking over to his friend. He placed his hand lightly on his shoulder and said, “get some sleep Balin. We leave at first light.”
Balin was a bit apprehensive at first but he nodded back at his King and went back to his bedroll. Thorin walked back to his bed roll and sat, glancing over at Adära once more, who was still toying with the item in her hand.
He looked over at Bofur who was wide awake in his spot. He shared a nod with Thorin. Thorin got up and walked over to Adära, who did not glance up once as he approached her.
She still had the item in her hand and though he didn’t want to ask, curiosity got the best of him.

“What’s that in your hand?” he asked as he crouched down to sit across from her. Adära didn’t look at him, she simply stopped her hand movements.
“I would tell you but I’m afraid you would just insult me in khuzdul. Or maybe you would just take it throw it thinking it will curse you or something,” Adära tried to sound sarcastic, but Thorin got the impression she was being quite serious.
“Look um I’m…I wanted to…” Thorin tried to apologize to Adära but his stubbornness was getting the best of him. He couldn’t believe he was about to apologize to an elf. He looked over at Bofur who gave him a stern look as if to say he should get on with it. Thorin let out a small sigh and turned his head back to Adära who was looking at him intently.
“I believe you were about to apologize, dwarf so…” she gestured with her hands to get him to keep talking.
Thorin chuckled to himself, trying to suppress a smile that was beginning to form on his lips.
“You really are something else,” he said to himself, but of course Adära heard him. She kept staring at him, waiting patiently for what he would say next. Thorin looked into her amber eyes which were full of embers and flames. But his icy blue eyes saw something else- warmth and something else, hope, he thought?
He wasn’t sure but there was something bright and hopeful looming in her eyes, but there was also a deep sorrow buried underneath, one he thought he might recognize. He broke eye-contact quickly and looked down at her hands.
“I, uh… I wanted to apologize for my behavior. I am grateful that you saved my life, even if you are…an elf,” he said a bit reluctantly.
Adära chuckled to herself and Thorin looked up to meet her gaze, a bit of confusion taking over his face.
“I’m here apologizing and you’re going to laugh at me?” he said.
“Sorry I just, you say I’m something else but you my dear Dwarf King, you are quite the piece of work,” she said looking up at him.
“Well I’m glad we can bond over our personality issues,” Thorin said jokingly. Adära laughed and to his own surprise, Thorin did as well. He couldn’t believe he was actually somewhat bonding with the She-elf, although they had almost been at each other’s throats just moments ago.
Adära glanced over at Bofur who was smiling to himself. After the laughter stopped she felt some tension building between the two of them again. Adära was the first to break the silence.
“Nárë,” Adära told him, prompting more confusion on his face. “It means flame, it’s a symbol of my…. people.” Adära’s voice broke a bit when she said “people”.
She took the broach and handed it over to Thorin, her slender hand brushing lightly past the King’s gruff ones.
Thorin took the broach in his hand and examined it. It was smooth, the silver flames running smooth across his fingers. He noticed there was a small amber jewel as well hanging from the upper flame. The broach was quite beautiful. “Your people you say? And who would those be? From what I can tell you’re not of Middle Earth.”
“What makes say that?” Adära asked curiously. “Are you an expert on elven kingdoms?”
“I know my fair share. As for the signs, for one there’s the color of your hair, it’s unusual coloring- this fiery red, like flames with just a hint of blonde running down. Then there’s the freckles, which until I met you I thought it wasn’t a feature held by the elves. And there’s your eyes golden and warm.”
“I didn’t realize you paid so much attention to my features dwarf” Adära said jokingly. “Anything else? Are you going to say my ears are bigger than any other elf you’ve seen?”
“Well, now that you mention it, your ears do look a bit too big,” Thorin said jokingly, eliciting a smile from Adära. Her smile was quite lovely he realized. He dared not to even explore why such a thought would appear in this head. She was an elf after all.
“To be honest your broach struck me as quite odd and yet somewhat familiar when we first met. I feel as if I have seen this symbol before, many long years ago.”
At that statement he saw Adära tense slightly. He handed her the broach back to which she quickly took, closing her fingers around it, holding on to it as tight as possible.
“Where are you from?” he asked softly.
“We met in Rivendell therefore that’s where I’m from,” she said, not daring to look at him.
Thorin shook his head lightly. “I do not think so. As I said, you are not of Middle-earth.”
Adära shifted slightly and placed the broach back on her chest. With a sort of sadness and calm she said “That Master Dwarf, perhaps is a story for another time.” As she said “time” her eyes moved up to meet his where they lingered for a few moments. They moved slightly, left and right, as if searching for something, for an answer in his own eyes.
Seeing that the elf maiden was getting a bit uncomfortable, he decided not to press any further. He got up and bowed slightly as if to say goodnight.
Adära nodded in acknowledgement, watching as the dwarf King returned to his bedroll to rest.
Surprisingly Adära found herself stirring from her sleep as she heard whispers. She opened her eyes slowly, surprised that she had found sleep at all.
She noticed Bofur and Bilbo talking. Bilbo had his backpack slung on his back, along with his walking stick. She Bofur say “You can’t turn back now. You’re part of the company, you’re one of us.”
“I’m not though am I?” Bilbo told him. “Thorin said I should never have come and he was right. I’m not a Took, I’m a Baggins, I don’t know what I was thinking. I should never have run out my door.”
“You’re home sick, I understand,” Bofur countered.
“No you don’t understand, none of you do. You’re dwarves, you’re used to this life. To living on the road, never settling in one place, not belonging anywhere.”
At that she saw sadness overtake Bofur’s face and Adära herself felt a pang of hurt hit her heart for she too knew what it was like not to belong anywhere.
Realizing what he said Bilbo quickly apologized. “Oh I’m sorry I didn’t-“
But Bofur was quick to forgive him saying “No you’re right. We don’t belong anywhere. I wish you all the luck in the world.”
Bofur placed his hand on Bilbo’s shoulder and bid him farewell, understanding where the hobbit was coming from. Bilbo nodded in acknowledgment and started to turn the other way.
Adära quickly got up and started to walk towards them but stopped when she heard Bofur say “what’s that?”
She saw Bilbo look down at this sword. They all looked on as Bilbo took it out of its sheath. It was glowing blue, meaning that there were foul things lurking about.
Adära quickly reached Bilbo and Bofur, daggers in hand and said “We need to go now.”
She turned to go and wake the others but stopped in her tracks. The floor was beginning to shift, a big crack appearing, opening up the ground beneath them as the sand began to descend into the darkness that laid beneath.
She heard Thorin get up and yell “Wake up! Wake up!”
The others got up, dazed and confused. But it was too late, the floor had cracked upon, throwing them all into darkness as they fell.
She heard the dwarves screaming as they fell, tumbling down winding tunnels, rock and stone scratching their bodies. They finally hit a flat surface, Adära one of the first to hit the ground, falling on her right shoulder. She let out a loud grunt as Bombur fell on top of her, letting out another gasp at the dwarf’s enormous weight on her. Soon they were all piled up against each other.
Suddenly they were surrounded by big and gruesome goblins, horribly disfigured creatures clawing and grabbing them anywhere they could. She heard one of the dwarves yell “look out!” but it was too late. The goblins were everywhere, growling and grunting as they grabbed all of them and led them down a rocky path.
They all tried to escape their grasp but it was too late. Adära felt the slimy goblin hands over her body, grabbing her wherever they could, pushing her forward with the others.
After what seemed to be forever they finally stopped. Adära’s mouth was wide open as she saw the thousands, perhaps even millions of goblins that surrounded them, high up in their various caverns, torches of light illuminating the great abyss.
She then heard a deep and rough grunt coming from nearby. She looked ahead to see what appeared to be the goblin King, sitting high and mighty on his throne of stone. The creature was even more grotesque than the others, an enormous figure with a huge flopping body weighing it down. He held a staff and on his head a crown of bones crowned his head.
He got up and approached them, stepping on much smaller goblins who acted as his foot rest. The goblin King stood before them, enormous and deadly, his bulging eyes wandering from one dwarf to another. “Who would be so bold as to wander armed into my kingdom?” he asked. “Spies? Thieves? Assassins?”
“Dwarves, Your Malevolence,” one of the smaller goblins answered.
“Dwarves?” the King asked.
“We found them on the front porch.”
“Well don’t just stand there, search them!”
The goblins began to search them and as one was about to touch Adära she quickly took its hand and twisted it around, eliciting a scream from the goblin.
That quickly got the King’s attention. “Stop!” he said, turning towards Adära. “What do we have here?” he asked. Adära tensed but she stood firm, holding her ground against the goblin King.

Chapter Text

Chapter 4: Out of The Frying Pan and Into the Fire
The Goblin King stood before Adära, his mighty and gruesome form towering over her. He leaned forward to meet Adära’s gaze.
Adära had seen plenty of gruesome creatures during her long years on this earth, but the Goblin King was something new to behold.
The Goblin King examined Adära, his hungry eyes trailing over her body. The company watched on with either concern or anger, fearing for their elf-maiden. Thorin in particular could feel his hands clenching into fists.
“You’re a pretty thing, aren’t ya?” the King said, lightly trailing a finger on Adära’s cheek. Adära stood her ground but shivered slightly at the Goblin King’s touch. His finger was cold and damp. “Are you a dwarf too?”
“No, my malevolence, we believe she’s an elf,” the small goblin said.
“An elf?” the King questioned. “Interesting; a beauty like you would fetch quite the price on the black market.”
Adära’s heart began to beat quicker at the horrifying thought at being sold off like some rare good. But then again, she was a rare good wasn’t she? The last of her people. Should her life end at any point, her people and her kingdom will be nothing more than a myth.
The Goblin King then turned his attention back to the dwarves and said “What brings you around these parts?”
When no one answered the Goblin King said “Very well. If they will not speak, we’ll make them squawk! Bring up the mangler. Bring up the bone crusher!”
The dwarves began to resist, trying desperately to free themselves.
“Start with the youngest!” the goblin King ordered. Adära’s eyes quickly went towards to Ori as the goblin King pointed at him.
Adära tried to break free of the goblin’s grasp on her to get to him but it was no use.
Suddenly she heard Thorin’s deep voice yell out, “Wait!”
He stepped forward, everyone shifting their attention to him. The Goblin King, upon recognizing him gave Thorin a mock bow.
“Well, well, well. Look who it is. Thorin, son of Thrain, son of Thror. King Under the Mountain!” Adära heard as some of the goblins began to chuckle, but Thorin held his ground.
“Oh but I’m forgetting you don’t have a Mountain,” the goblin King continued. “And you’re not a King, which makes you nobody really.” He paused before continuing on with his sinister guise. “I know someone who would pay a pretty price for your head. Just a head really. Nothing attached.”
Adära watched as Thorin became a bit uneasy. He was toying with him she thought, but Thorin didn’t seem like the kind of man to let it show.
Fear started to breed within her, for she worried she knew exactly who the Goblin King was talking about. She had a feeling the others did as well, but they didn’t want to admit it.
“Perhaps you know of whom I speak,” the Goblin King went on. “An old enemy of yours; a pale orc, astride a white warg.”
“Azog the defiler was destroyed,” Thorin said in a calm but edged voice. “He was slain in battle long ago.”
At the sound of those last words being spoken Adära sensed the desperation in Thorin’s voice. Deep down he knew that Azog was still hunting him, his family, but he didn’t want it to be true.
“So you think his defiling days are done do you?” asked the Goblin King. The Goblin King then turned to a much smaller goblin who was sitting on a square piece of wood attached to a rope. Some sort of telegraph device. With parchment and ink in hand the small goblin wrote down his King’s message.
“Send word to the pale Orc. Tell him I have found his prize.”
The small goblin then flew down the caverns in the contraption, cackling as he went.
Adära watched as the small goblin flew down, worried for all their fates. She then glanced back at the dwarves, eyes searching for…someone.
Thorin saw Adära’s eyes looking around and he followed her gaze trying to see what she was looking for.
His gaze then met hers and a look of terror consumed her face. She mouthed the word “Bilbo” and Thorin immediately understood. The hobbit wasn’t with them.
~~X~~
The Goblin King began to dance in front of them as he sang “Necks will be shattered, bones will be wrung. You’ll be beaten and battered, From racks you’ll be hung! You will die down here and never be found! Down in the deep of Goblin town!”
Just as the Goblin King finished up his song a clank was heard. Orcsist fell to the ground. The goblins stepped away in fear as the Goblin King screamed “I know that sword! It’s the goblin cleaver! The Biter! The blade that sliced a thousand necks! Slash them! Bite them! Kill them! Kill them all! Cut off his head!”
The goblins each took a hold of each member of the company. Adära struggled, trying to escape their grasp, her shoulder searing in pain. She watched as her companions struggled to break free. She then saw four goblins jump on Thorin, bringing him down to the ground. She watched as he struggled to break free, with one of the goblin’s grabbing their weapon.
“Thorin!” Adära screamed as she tried to push forward to save him. Suddenly, a burst of white light filled the cave, knocking everyone off their feet. A few seconds later Adära lifted her head up, and out of the darkness came the grey wizard- Gandalf.
She let out a sigh of relief and started to get up. The others followed. Gandalf walked over to them and said, “Fight you fools. Fight!”
And with those words they were all fighting as the dwarves threw weapons at each other, each one arming the other. Adära fought off the goblins, daggers slashing skin. They fought and ran, moving as fast as they could knowing that there were too many for them to defeat. They continued on, fighting and killing every goblin that came their way.
The Goblin King charged towards them. Adära took her bow and arrow and aimed at the Goblin King, an arrow flying right past his left shoulder, giving the Goblin King a minor flesh wound. Not her best work, Adära thought to herself.
“Is that the best you got elf?” Thorin yelled at her, as he came up beside her. He charged at the Goblin King with his axe. Thorin’s axe collided with the Goblin King’s staff, the friction sending both of them in opposite directions, as the Goblin King fell against his throne, breaking it and falling down.
They ran as fast as they could, feet hitting the floor boards of the bridges underneath. Adära ran behind the rest of them, making sure that they were all accounted for. She panicked a little when she saw that Bilbo still was nowhere to be seen.
She then saw Dwalin and some of the others grab a wooden pillar that had been lying on the floor, using it to charge against the goblins up ahead, pushing them off the side as they came at them. Thorin and Adära fought and ran side by side, devouring anything that came in their path.
She heard Thorin scream “cut the ropes” as some of the dwarves did just that in order to prevent some more goblins from coming at them. Suddenly they were thrust into a detached wooden bridge that began to move back and forth. Some of the dwarves jumped over to solid ground, while Adära and some others swung back to the other side. More goblins came on as they began to swing back, Adära beheading quite a few with her daggers. Once they were all in the same place, they cut the ropes and continued to run forward, running down long and winding steps.
They pushed an enormous rock that was up ahead and it rolled down the stone path as they continued to run. Suddenly they were ambushed by the Goblin King who rose from the ground, breaking the wooden barrier that lay between them.
Gandalf stopped just in front of him, causing everyone else behind him to bump into the next, with Adära’s body coming in last, slamming against Thorin’s back. The Goblin King attacked them with his staff, pushing Gandalf back. He screamed at them, challenging them, asking them how they were going to get out.
Gandalf quickly got to his feet and poked the Goblin King in the eye, making him stammer back. He then took his blade and pierced the belly of the Goblin King who finally fell to his knees, Gandalf finishing him off with a slice to the throat.
The bridge then collapsed, as they all fell once again into darkness, wood and stone colliding. They finally landed on the rocks, Gandalf getting up quickly.
Adära heard Kili say “that wasn’t so bad” as they started to get up. Just as Adära was pushing herself up the Goblin King’s body fell on top of them, to which Dwalin responded, “you got to be kidding me.”
Adära continued her efforts to get up from the rubble but her shoulder was throbbing in pain once again. It also didn’t help that her foot seemed to be stuck under the rubble, pain shooting up her right leg. A small moan of pain escaped her lips as she tried to get up, but it was no use. She then felt a strong hand grab hers, pulling her from underneath the rubble.
To Adära’s surprise it was Thorin pulling her out, with Dwalin providing a hand as well. They pulled her a bit violently at first, until she let out a pained groan which made them realize she might actually be injured. They then proceeded with a bit more caution.
Once she was out she stood in front of the two dwarves, a silent gaze of gratitude and understanding being shared by the three of them.
Adära then heard one of the dwarves, Kili she thought, shout Gandalf’s name.
“We can’t fight all of them,” he said as he looked on with horror at the thousands of goblins that were heading towards them.
Adära’s heart began to race once again knowing that they had to get out of there and quick.
Gandalf spoke, pulling Adära from her thoughts as he urged all of them to run for their lives. She felt Thorin’s hand brush lightly past her lower back, urging her to move forward.
But Adära remained where she was, staring at the incoming mob of goblins. She saw terrible figures before her, moving seemingly at the speed of light. But she also saw fire, burning hot and bright as it moved towards her.
And suddenly she was taken back to that dreadful day when she lost everything. Her breath started to rise and fall quickly, a panic attack seemingly starting. She heard Thorin call her name, but it just a bunch of muffled sounds in her head. She knew she had to run, she had to follow the others but she couldn’t’t. It is as if her feet were planted to the ground.
She then felt a hard tug of her arm, pain shooting up her shoulder once again. She was practically being dragged when she turned her head to see Thorin running forward, pulling her with him as they ran.
She saw as they passed the rocky halls of the cave, light shining at the end, showing them their exit.
Soon the bright light of the sun was shining upon them, illuminating the sky. They stopped once they felt they were within a reasonable distance of the cave.
Thorin quickly let go of Adära’s arm and turned around to face her. His eyes were seemingly burning with his own fire that crept deep within his heart.
“What in Mahal’s name is wrong with you?” he shouted at her drawing closer until his face was but a mere few inches away from her. She could feel his hot breath on her lips. “Are you trying to get yourself killed?!”
Adära looked in Thorin’s eyes, but it is as if she wasn’t even there. Thorin noticed the blank look in her eyes and stopped, back up slowly. She looked like she had seen a ghost he thought.
Gandalf finished up his head count, noting that Bilbo was missing. “Where’s Bilbo?” he asked. “Where’s our hobbit?”
“Curse that halfling, now he’s lost?” Dwalin spoke.
At the mention of Bilbo’s name Adära seemingly snapped back to attention.
“I thought he was with Dori,” Gloin responded.
“Well don’t blame me!” Dori said.
“Well where is he?” Gandalf asked once again.
“I think I saw him slip away when they first collared us,” said Nori.
“And what exactly happened?” Gandalf asked again, getting impatient.
“I’ll tell you what happened,” Thorin spoke, his eyes still on Adära. “Master Baggins saw his chance and he took it! He’s thought of nothing but his soft bed and his warm hearth since first he stepped out of his door. We will not be seeing our Hobbit again. He is long gone.”
After their King’s words the other dwarves seemed to fall into certain sadness, disappointed at the thought of Bilbo leaving them.
Just as Adära let out a small sigh, her eyes still fixed on the King Under the Mountain she heard his voice.
“No. He isn’t,” Bilbo said from behind them. At the sound of his voice a smile formed on Adära’s lips as she turned around to see the young Hobbit standing there.
She let out a grateful sigh and shouted his name. “Bilbo!” She walked towards the Hobbit and stood beside him, greeting him with a familiar nod.
She saw as Gandalf too had a smile forming on his lips. The other dwarves gathered around and seemed to be happy to see their burglar as well. Adära then looked over at Thorin who was standing beside Dwalin, leaning on his axe, a look of disappointment overtaking his rugged features.
It was Gandalf who broke the silence. “Bilbo Baggins. I have never been so happy to see anyone in my life!”
Kili then spoke saying “Bilbo! We had nearly given you up.”
“How on earth did you get past the goblins” Fili then asked.
At that question, Adära noticed Bilbo hesitate slightly and she then saw his hand move into his pocket, seemingly dropping something in it. He didn’t answer the question and she noticed that Gandalf too had noticed something odd.
“How indeed?” Dwalin then asked.
He simply brushed it off however, saying “Well what does it matter? He’s back.”
“It matters. I want to know.” Thorin spoke drawing Adära’s attention. “Why did you come back?” he asked, a bit of pain in his voice.
“Look, I know you doubt me. I know you always have,” Bilbo spoke. “And you’re right I often thing of Bag-end. I miss my books. And my armchair, and my garden. You see that’s where I belong. That’s home. And that’s why I came back. Because…you don’t have one. A home. It was taken from you. But I will help you take it back if I can.”
And with those beautiful words all the dwarves smiled at Bilbo, grateful for his courage and his compassion.
Adära herself felt illuminated by his little speech, but a deep sadness also overtook her, thinking about her own situation with her home.
Thorin gave Bilbo a small nod of thanks, to which Adära admitted she felt herself a melt a bit afterward.
She then saw Gandalf move forward, a proud smile on his lips. His eyes shifted from Bilbo to Adära, seemingly acknowledging her for the first time.
“I didn’t realize we had taken on a 15th member of the company,” Gandalf spoke.
Before Adära could respond, Bilbo spoke for her. “Gandalf, this is Adära! We met her in Rivendell. She is helping us in this quest.” As Bilbo spoke he looked at Adära with a certain gleam in his eyes.
“Well Lady Adära, welcome to the company of Thorin Oakenshield,” Gandalf said. “I’ve heard quite the stories about you. I am sure you have already proven to be quite the asset.”
At those words both Thorin and Adära looked at the wizard with confusion overtaking their eyes. How could he possibly know who she was, Adära thought to herself. Did he know where she was from? What had happened all those years ago?
Just as she was about to ask she heard the howl of wargs fill the air. Growls and howls surrounded them at the black speech filled the air. “Azog,” Adära said to herself.
“Out of the frying pan,” Thorin began with Gandalf completing the well-known phrase. “And into the fire. Run!”
They all began to run further into the woods. There seemed to be no end to the perils of the journey.

Chapter Text

They ran deeper into the forest, the howls from the wargs getting closer and closer. Adära ran behind her companions, watching as the sun began to set, darkness beginning to embrace them.

They ran as hard as they could, Azog and his legion of orcs right on their tail. They ran until they could run no more, as they reached the edge of the cliff. Tall but slender trees lay before them proving to be their only possibility of escape, or at least to buy them some time.

She saw as Gandalf began to climb one of the trees, with the eager dwarves right after them. She waited for all of them to be up, climbing right after Bilbo, but opting for a branch a bit higher up than the one the hobbit chose. They looked back, seeing the wargs approaching them.

Pretty soon they were howling up at them, claws scratching and teeth gnawing at the trunks of the trees, desperately trying to reach them.

Adära could feel the fear overtaking her, not quite sure how they would get out of this one alive. They were completely surrounded after all.

Suddenly she saw something fly right past her, a bright yellow light which fell to the ground and began to burn. She looked up to see where it had come from and saw Gandalf using his staff to make fire, which he then used to light the pinecones to throw at their enemies.

Adära looked on as he continued to throw more, a ring of fire beginning to create a barrier between the two parties. She smiled softly to herself, a hint of pride overtaking her as she saw the element that her people worshipped being used to protect them.

She then heard Gandalf call out her name as he threw a lit pinecone in her direction. Adära caught it, the light of the fire illuminating her pupils, making her amber eyes burn even brighter.

Bilbo watched as the She-Elf seemed to be hypnotized by the flames, the flickering light seemingly dancing across her beautiful features.

“Naurril,” he heard her whisper in her native tongue. She then looked over at Bilbo, a smile playing on her lips. “It means flame,” she told him, taking the burning pinecone and placing it next to Bilbo’s, the fire catching in order to light the hobbit’s pinecone.

Adära threw her pinecone right at Azog’s warg, causing the foul beast to release a loud whimper, which didn’t sit well with Azog. The She-Elf saw how Bilbo’s pinecone leaped from his fingers as he tried to get a hold of it without burning himself in the process. He was finally able to throw the pinecone away, aiming it at their enemies.
A ring of fire began to form on the ground, red and gold flames burning brightly creating a barrier between the company and their enemies. She heard the others screaming and hollering, seemingly proud at the barrier they had just created.

But their excitement didn’t last long. Adära heard a creaking sound nearby and suddenly the entire tree started to move forward, the base of the trunk splitting in half and bringing them all down with it.

Adära heard the dwarves scream. She held on to her respective tree branch as tightly as she could. She saw Bilbo struggle to get a hold of his branch, but luckily he was able to loop his arms around the branch in order to keep himself up. Adära let out a small sigh of relief knowing that the hobbit was safe.

She noticed Gandalf desperately trying to get a hold of Nori who was holding on to his staff, Ori holding on to Nori’s feet as they had fallen when the tree came down.

Adära then turned her eyes towards Thorin who was lying near the end of the trunk, his eyes on Azog. Her eyes then moved over to Azog as she saw his face contort in disgust and anger as he was looking at Thorin.

His face then changed to a sort of pleasurable smile, a proud grin overtaking his face, his eyes shining in the darkness. Adära began to feel her heart racing in her chest. Azog’s look could mean only one thing. Thorin was challenging him.

She then looked over to the Dwarf King himself, who was slowly getting up from his spot, eye contact never breaking with his enemy. He reached for his sword and a shield made of oak bark, the very one that gave him the name “Oakenshield.”

They all watched with terror as their King got up. He might have been a Dwarf, and therefore not as tall as men or elves, but in that moment Adära could swear that he was the tallest man alive.

He rose with such grace and power, movements majestic and dangerous. He truly was a King, Adära thought to herself.
They all watched, the world seemingly falling still around them as Thorin began to walk towards Azog, his pace quickening with every step.

Thorin’s long brown locks floated in the wind as he raised his sword and put his shield in place, his battle cry piercing the cold night sky.

He raced against smoke and flames as Azog remained unmoving, his smile growing ever bigger with every step Thorin took.

Then Azog lowered his body, urging his warg to prepare to charge at the Dwarf King. The warg began to run, jumping off the small cliff that he was once perched on, flying in the air until her landed on the ground, his long legs knocking Thorin to the ground in the process.

The Dwarf King fell to the ground, weapon and shield leaving his hands, a pool of brown locks seeping into the ground.

They all watched in terror at their fallen King, but it was Adära’s voice that could be heard piercing the night as she said “Thorin!”

The Dwarf King heard Adära say his name, and for some reason he felt a quick ache in his heart, knowing that that was the first time the elf-maiden had ever called him by his name.

Adära watched as Azog began to turn around, preparing for another charge at the King. She silently chanted to herself “get up, get up, get up”.

She heard Ori and Nori whimper in the background as she turned her head to look. Nori’s hands were slipping from Gandalf’s staff. She feared they might not be able to hold for much longer.

But her eyes darted back to the battle ensuing in front of them. She saw Thorin grab his sword and get up once again. Azog and his warg charged once again and once in close proximity, Adära watched as Azog’s mace slammed into Thorin’s chest, causing the Dwarf King to fall to the ground once again.

This time it was Balin screaming out “No!” Azog snarled as his warg opened his wide mouth, jaws clamping down on Thorin’s side, biting down on his arm and back as Thorin screamed.

Adära then watched as Bilbo got up and walked towards the battlefield, the white warg still biting and chomping at Thorin. Thorin finally raised his sword and hit the warg’s nose causing the warg to cry out in pain, releasing Thorin.

But Thorin then was left flying through the air, landing a few feet away, a heavy moan of pain escaping his lips. Azog snarled proudly at his supposed victory. He then turned to one of his other mercenaries, ordering for the dwarves head in black speech.

The orc stepped down from his warg and slowly walked towards Thorin. Adära began to get up from her spot in the trunk, watching as Bilbo took a deep breath, grabbed his sword and walked towards the battlefield.

She knew Bilbo was going to do all he could to save Thorin’s life. She needed to be there to help if she could.

Bilbo began to run towards the orc, not making a sound. Adära quickly followed behind him. The orc placed his sword over Thorin’s neck, an evil grin forming on his lips. Thorin’s hand desperately reached for his sword but was out of reach, frustration and anger overcoming his face.

Suddenly, just as the orc was raising his sword to bring down upon Thorin, Bilbo threw himself at the orc, knocking him down and away from Thorin. Thorin watched as the small hobbit took down his enemy, a look of astonishment on his face.

He then saw a flash of red as Adära flew past him, taking her sword and bringing it down onto another orcs chest which had charged at them as soon as he saw Bilbo.

Bilbo struggled with the orc he took down but was able to roll on top of him, taking his sword and stabbing him in the chest. He then moved to stand in front of Thorin, his sword aimed at Azog, determined to protect his King.

Azog watched in confusion and surprise at the elf and the hobbit. Adära watched as the hobbit took his stance, and then looked over at Azog.

Azog’s evil grin begun to form once again, his warg taking a couple of steps towards Bilbo. “Kill him!” he ordered in black speech.

Bilbo swung his sword blindly at Azog, touching nothing but air. Adära moved to stand beside him, the two forming a barrier between the King and the orcs as they slowly approached them.

Just as the pac of orcs approached them she heard the others yelling, a mini-army of dwarves running towards them, weapons ready as they clashed with the orcs.

The battle ensued as they fought, metal clashing with metal, red and black staining the ground and everything around them.

After a few minutes they begun to realize that they were a fighting a losing battle. However that didn’t stop the dwarves from defending their kin. If they were to die, they were to die together.

Just when things begun to look bleak a screech from the sky was heard; large golden eagles flew towards them, picking them up one by one and taking them away from the battlefield, providing them with a much-needed escape route.

Adära made sure that all the dwarves had been gathered by the eagles, keeping a keen eye especially on the eagle that had picked up Thorin with its talons. Once Bilbo was on board his eagle she ran towards the cliff, jumping off and landing on her own eagle, which then followed the others to safety.

Adära saw that all eyes were on the Dwarf King, his eyes closed and body unmoving. After what seemed like forever they finally reached the top of a great mountain, and the eagles slowly descended leaving them one by one.

Thorin’s eagle dropped him gingerly, placing the sleeping King on the ground. Adära’s eagle let her down soon after as she came to stand next to Bilbo.

Once Gandalf stepped down from his eagle he quickly ran to Thorin, checking the King to see if he was still alive. A dark magic seemed to weigh over him as Gandalf quickly placed his hand on his forehead, chanting some spell in another tongue.

They all gathered around to watch, hoping the King would awaken once more.

The words “Till Durin wakes again from sleep,” kept playing over and over in Adära’s head. She watched as Gandalf’s hand hovered over Thorin’s face, seemingly awakening the King as his eyes fluttered open.

Adära let out a sigh a relief seeing that he was all right.

“The halfling?” Thorin asked.

“He’s all right,” Gandalf responded, a smile overtaking his face. “Bilbo is here. He’s quite safe.”

Bilbo let out a sigh of relief knowing that Thorin was all right. Adära stood behind Gandalf, watching as some of the others helped Thorin get up. Thorin shrugged off the other once he was on his feet and looking at Bilbo said “You!”

Adära stiffened and looked over at Bilbo, unsure at the Dwarf King’s reactions.

“What were you doing? You nearly got yourself killed.” Thorin began to slowly walk towards Bilbo, who was suddenly a bit stricken in place.

“Did I not say you would be a burden?” Thorin continued. “That you would not survive in the wild?”
Adära saw as Bilbo let out an exasperated sigh, thinking “not this again.”

“You who have no place amongst us,” he paused as he looked into Bilbo’s eyes. And then he surprised them all as his hands gathered around Bilbo, pulling him into a tight hug as he said, “I have never been so wrong in all my life.”

Adära smiled, happy to see Thorin finally coming to his senses and finding some amusement at Bilbo’s baffled facial expression.

The others begun to cheer in the background, finally happy to see Thorin and Bilbo putting their differences aside. A smile begun to form on Bilbo’s face. Then, Thorin pulled away from the hug, his hands still on Bilbo’s arms.

“I am sorry I doubted you,” Thorin continued.

Bilbo shook his head saying “No I would have doubted me too. I’m not a hero, nor a warrior. Not even a burglar,” he said looking up at Gandalf.

Thorin and the others smiled at the hobbit as the eagles then began to flutter around them, heading home.

Bilbo glanced over at the eagles as they flew away, while Thorin’s lingering eyes moved towards the horizon.

He suddenly seemed to stop in his steps, his mouth opening slightly as he looked ahead, mesmerized by what he saw. The others noticed as well and began to look.

Bilbo turned quickly to see what they were looking at and asked “is that what I think it is?”

Thorin then began to walk forward, the others following soon as they gazed upon their journey’s destination.

A look of pride showed on Thorin’s face. But it was Gandalf who spoke next.

“Erebor. The Lonely Mountain. The last great dwarven kingdom of Middle Earth.”

“Our home,” Thorin said proudly, letting out a small breath.

Adära walked forward, mesmerized by the view. It was even more beautiful than she had remembered seeing it, the lonely mountain standing alone far away on the horizon, the sky filled with hues of orange, blue, pink, and yellow as the morning sun awakened.

A twitter twatter pattern was then heard as a small black bird flew past them. Oin said “A raven! The birds are returning to the mountain!”

“That my dear Oin, is a thrush,” Gandalf corrected.

“But we’ll take it as a sign, a good omen,” Thorin said as he gazed happily at Bilbo.

Bilbo nodded in agreement saying “You’re right. Yes I do believe the worst is behind us.”

Adära let out a small sigh. “If only it were that simple,” she thought to herself, looking over at Thorin. “We still have a long journey ahead.”

Chapter Text

The company continued down the path towards Erebor. They followed Gandalf as he led the way, everyone seemingly happy that their King was still alive, and grateful for a little peace as they seemed to have gotten away from the orcs.

Adära walked behind the company keeping a watchful eye on their surroundings. She was startled when she heard someone clear their throat next to her. The she-elf looked down to see Bilbo glancing up at her, a sweet smile on his face.

“Glad to see you’re all right my dear hobbit,” Adära said, smirking to herself as she saw Bilbo look away, a hint of pink flush overtaking his cheeks.

“Well partly thanks to you. If you hadn’t come jumped in and taken out that orc, I might not be here,” he said shyly.

“I wouldn’t sell yourself short, Bilbo,” Adära told him. “You did escape the troll cave by yourself after all.”

Adära watched as Bilbo sheepishly nodded, turning his head away from the she-elf. She then noted how Bilbo’s right hand immediately went over his right pocket, his fingers hovering tentatively.

“How did you do that exactly? You never really said anything?” Adära asked slowly, knowing Bilbo would be a little nervous.

He looked at her from the corner of his eye but as soon as she made eye contact with him he turned away, embarrassed.

“It’s ok Bilbo, you can tell me,” Adära said, an encouraging smile on her face.

Bilbo hesitated for a moment before stopping, concern overtaking his face. Adära took a few steps forward before she realized the hobbit had stopped. She turned around and faced him, kneeling down so that she could meet Bilbo eye to eye.

“Is everything ok Bilbo?”

“I-uh, I found some….” He took a deep breath and looked around, as if wanting making sure no one was within ear sight. When he was sure that they were safe he said softly, “I found something in the goblin tunnels.”

Adära looked at the hobbit with a stern gaze. “What did you find?”

 

Bilbo stared back at Adära for a few moments before looking down. His hand went to his right pocket, grabbing something small from the inside. He pulled out his hand slowly enclosing something in his palm.

He then slowly turned his hand so that his palm would be facing Adära. He slowly opened his hand to reveal a golden ring with a smooth round band.

Adära looked at it closely, a little confused as to why Bilbo was showing her a ring. “This is what you found? A ring?”

“It’s not just a ring Adära. It’s a powerful and dark ring. You put it on and…it makes you disappear,” Bilbo said a bit hesitantly.

Adära looked up at him, concern in her eyes. “How is that possible?”

“I’m not sure, but it’s true,” Bilbo said.

“How exactly did you come across this?”

Bilbo took a deep breath before answering the she-elf’s question. “I was able to slip away from the goblins when we were captured, but I ended up falling into a darker part of the cave. After getting up and looking around, I found this on the ground. I picked it up quickly. It seemed to call for me, beckoning me to come closer. I also encountered a….a creature of some sorts. When he found out I had the ring he went nuts, he tried to kill me. The ring’s power is really the only reason I was able to escape.”

Adära looked down from Bilbo to the ring. Something seemed off about the object. It seemed to hum in Bilbo’s palm, emitting a sensual sound for those who hungered for power. Adära wondered if it could be the long lost One Ring forged by Sauron all those years ago.

“Bilbo, you have to hide this ring and keep it a secret,” Adära told him, moving her fingers towards Bilbo’s hand, closing his fingers into a fist. “No one can know you have it.”

“Why? What is it?” Bilbo asked.

“I’m not sure, but I have a feeling it might be something very dangerous,” Adära told him. “For now however, you need to keep hidden in your pocket. All right?”

“All right,” Bilbo nodded as he placed the ring in his pocket.

 

“Come on, we better catch up with the others,” Adära told Bilbo, squeezing his shoulder reassuringly as she got up from her crouched stance.

They walked forward catching up with the others within a few minutes. Adära hoped that the others wouldn’t have noticed they had been gone.

She spaced out for a few moments, thinking about the ring that Bilbo had found. She was then startled as she heard someone clear their throat next to her.

She looked down, surprised to see the King under the Mountain’s icy blue eyes staring into her warm amber irises.

“Master Dwarf, I didn’t realize you were here.”

“So what were you and the hobbit talking about? I saw you sneak off into the woods,”

Adära quickly turned her gaze away from the King, feeling a little embarrassed as she wasn’t quite sure what to say.

After taking a deep breath she said “Bilbo and I were just discussing how happy we were that you were still alive, thanks to us of course.”

Thorin looked up at his elven companion. She seemed to walk with an air of entitlement after saying such things. But at the same time he saw a sense of nervousness overtake the she-elf. He noted her posture wasn’t as perfect as it usually was, her shoulders slumping slightly. Her eyes seemed to wander around, searching to look at anything that wasn’t him.

While this made him apprehensive, he quickly shook his head of such thoughts. “Why in Mahal’s name am I even noticing such things?” he thought to himself.

Then he thought back to the battle grounds, how Bilbo had charged over to where he was, defending him and saving him from the dreaded orc. He then remembers how Adära had swiftly followed, protecting both himself and the hobbit.

If it wasn’t for them, he would very well be dead. Despite having finally seen that there is more to Bilbo than meets the eye, his elven companion still troubled him.

There was so much that Thorin wanted to know about the she-elf: where she came from, why exactly she was helping them. But she kept these secrets locked up inside of her.

He knew he would have to earn her trust in order to get inside, but he wondered if it would be worth it. He hated elves after all, always has, a never ending blood feud between both races.

But something about Adära made Thorin believe things might be different.

He was taken out of his thoughts when he felt the she-elf nudge her elbow over the top of his shoulder. It was his time to be startled now.

“Are you working up the courage to say thanks? Or are you still so shocked at the fact that an elf and a hobbit saved your life?”

Thorin opened up his mouth to respond, but he had no words.

“Has the King Under the Mountain been silenced by an elf?” Adära said jokingly. “I think we might have to commemorate this day.”

She smiled down at the Dwarven King, her amber eyes shining bright. “No, but in all seriousness, it was really Bilbo who saved your life. I simply went to back him up.” She paused for a moment, taking a deep breath. She then said in a softer voice, “I am glad you are ok. Without you there is no quest. Without you I’m not sure we would be able to reclaim your homeland.”

“Is that concern I hear? An elf concerned for a dwarf? Perhaps this day should be commemorated,” Thorin said. A snide smirk formed on his lips.

Adära’s cheeks reddened slightly. She dared not to look at him now.

“Can I ask you something? And this time I would really appreciate if I could get a straight answer from you,” Thorin said in a serious tone.

He noted how the she-elf quickly straightened up, inhaling deeply.

“Ask away my King,” she said in as calm a voice as she could manage.

“Why is this quest so important to you? Important enough for you to risk your own life. Twice I might add. And for what? To save a bunch of dwarves you hardly know. So why is it so important?”

Adära stopped and quickly turned to face Thorin. Her amber eyes met icy blue, and as Thorin looked into her eyes, he could see the light that had illuminated them just moments ago fade away slowly. Darkness crept in, and red embers seemed to burn with hatred.

She opened her mouth to respond but as she spoke her first words the air was overtaken with a foul screech.

The orc pack was not far behind.

 

Thorin let out a small curse in khuzdul. They heard the others scrambling somewhat up ahead and they walked towards them.

“The orcs, they’re back!” Kili had said as he walked over to where his uncle was.

“We have to get out of here,” Bilbo then said.

“Bilbo my boy, I need you to scout the area, see how many orcs are still around and be careful,” Gandalf told him, pushing the hobbit forward.

Adära looked around as the others scrambled, trying to think of a plan. After a few moments Bilbo had returned, telling them that Azog and his orcs were getting quite close. They had to get out and soon.

“There was something else,” Bilbo said. “It was big and it seemed to change shape.”

“What form did it take? Like a bear?” Gandalf asked quickly.

Bilbo looked at Gandalf with surprise. “Yes. Yes but much bigger.”

“There is a house up ahead. We might be able to take refuge there. But we must hurry,” Gandalf told them, urging them to move forward.

Adära stood in her place however, still looking behind them. Bilbo noticed the she-elf wasn’t moving and called out to her.

At the sound of her name Thorin quickly turned around, wondering why the she-elf wasn’t moving.

“Adära?” Bilbo said again.

“I can lead them away,” she said softly, barely a whisper.

“What?” Bilbo asked.

Adära then turned around to face her companions. “I can distract them and lead them away from the path while you guys head for safety.”

“Adära you can’t its too dangerous,” Bilbo warned her.

“I’ll be fine Bilbo, don’t worry about me,” she told him reassuringly. “I know my way around these parts. I can lead them away and trap them somewhere. I can’t kill all of them, but I will certainly take pleasure in trying. You can get to the house safely, and rest there.”

 

“But what about you?” asked Bilbo. “No, I’m coming with you.”

“Bilbo, I’ll be all right. I need you to go with them, I have to do this on my own. You’re way too valuable to this mission.”

“And you’re not?” everyone was surprised as they heard Thorin utter the words. The Dwarven King looked up at the she-elf, a scowl on his face. “We may have had our differences, but I would have to be fool think that you weren’t valuable to this mission.”

Adära’s heart sank hearing Thorin’s words. She couldn’t believe he was showing concern for the she-elf.

“I appreciate the concern from all of you, but this is a better solution than having them chase after us as we fight to get to safety.”

“If we have to fight then we’ll fight. Durins folk don’t run from a fight,” Kili said proudly.

“I know. It is one of the many qualities I admire of your people. But we just had a confrontation with them not moments ago and Thorin is still hurt. You need to get to safety. I promise you I will be all right. Just please go.”

“We don’t have much time,” Gandalf spoke. “Adära you lead them away, I will make sure they get to safety. Come now!”

Adära watched as her companions began to flee behind Gandalf. Bilbo and Thorin lingered for a moment, but followed shortly after. As Thorin left behind Bilbo, he looked back at the she-elf one last time.

Adära gave him a small nod of encouragement, before turning around and running in the opposite path.

“Mahal be with you,” Thorin said to himself, as he watched the fiery threads of the she-elf’s hair dance in the distance.