Chapter 1: Prologue- Healed by the flame
Prologue- Healed by the flame
Illuvatar had given him back his life and his form as a Maia of Fire…
“You know there were thirteen children of Aüle. You Salmar were the mate of Durin the Blessed. Your children filled those halls first and you were the hands of Aüle to watch over the children of Durin until the loss of your Durin. Then you were captured on your way back to Aule’s Forge in Valinor, after meeting Mairon who gifted you a bracelet of gold to welcome you home. Durin’s spirit has been reforged and lives in Thorin, he is waiting for you Salmar…go to him…”
The word of Eru had returned his memory as well as his form…
The shape of a great bird of flame Salmar followed the straight road of the Eldar from Valinor to Arda.
His heart cried out. ‘Thorin! I’m coming home!’
A voice called into the dark to Gandalf.
“Olórin! Return to us! The task you were give has not been completed! The daughter of Finarfin, the King of the Elves of Valinor calls to you!”
Gandalf returned to himself with a gasp.
That name…the name he had in Valinor…
The reminder of his task brought him out that dark place where Sauron had driven him…
There was a light about Galadriel that reminded Gandalf of her days in the Blessed Land during the Years of the Lamps…
She was the eldest of the elves in Middle Earth save Círdan…
They heard the shrieks of the few remaining Orcs as they fell…
They were surrounded by cold…
Galadriel and Gandalf, bearers of two of the Elven rings of power, felt the shades of the Nine…
Gandalf felt his strength slowly returning…
He rose unsteadily to his feet.
Galadriel’s voice was ice, “You do not think I came alone did you?”
Out of the shadows came Elrond, Lindir, Galadriel’s own Haldir as well as her Galadhrim.
Galadriel’s power away from Valinor was weaker but she had lived among the Valar and the Maiar where she learned much. Even Lúthien’s mother, Melian the Maia, wife of Thingol had taught her much when she lived in Doriath...
She knew how Lady Lúthien had dealt with Tol-in-Gaurhoth.
They had failed with Mordor! She would not fail here!
Galadriel stood tall, “You have no power here!” she held out her hands, “I will do to this place what Lúthien, Princess of Doriath did to Tol-in-Gaurhoth! I will lay waste to the pits! The earth itself will implode crushing all! May the judgment of Illuvatar be upon you!”
The Nine shrieked in rage…
A large eye of flame appeared and spoke in the Black Tongue.
“I, the handmaiden of Illuvatar ask him to aid me here!” Galadriel threw all of her strength both physical and metaphysical into the song. The like of which had not been sung since before the Second Age, her song may have lacked the sheer power of that of Lúthien when she sang the destruction of Tol-in-Gaurhoth but she made up in determination to strike a blow against Sauron who tricked her cousin Celebrimbor, who was the most like his great grandfather Mahtan...
The ground opened up and seemed to swallow Dol Goldur as well as suck power from Sauron and his Nine Ringwraiths.
The Eye of Sauron shrieked in rage before swallowing The Nine and departing towards the East.
Elrond and Saruman were about to lead a retreat when Gandalf held up a hand.
“Be still! Move towards her where it is safe!”
The elves and his fellow wizards obeyed albeit reluctantly.
The earth shook but the pits were ripped open, laid bare and crushed…
When Galadriel collapsed, the ‘ruined’ fortress of Dol Goldur was no more…
It was as Tol-in-Gaurhoth when Lúthien destroyed it after rescuing Beren.
The area where Galadiel’s allies stood was protected from the falling stones of the ruin’s collapse. But beneath it was laid waste…
It was an island in a sea of rubble, it had sunk into the earth and yet it remained.
Galadriel fell when her work was finished.
Haldir cried out, “My lady!”
Gandalf had tried to steady her but he was still weak…
Elrond spoke, “Haldir the battle here is over. Return the Lady Galadriel to Lothlórien where Celeborn can look after her and she can heal. She has spent much of her strength to weaken Sauron. I will take my soldiers and ride to Thorin’s aid. I have sensed that Strider and his Rangers as well as the hobbits will need us.”
“I have need of only Haldir. Take the rest of my Galadhrim.” Galadriel said weakly.
Elrond squeezed her hand, “Rest now. It is my turn my lady. You have proven your strength. Your father would be proud.”
“Perhaps, I have been forgiven for my pride…” Galadriel rasped.
Haldir lifted the Lady of Caras Galadhon and carried her from the destroyed Dol Goldur.
The rest of his score of Galadhrim mounted up with Elrond and his elves from Imladris…
They rode for Erebor…
They hoped to join with Strider and his Rangers as well as Ferumbras and his hobbit army before they caught up to the Orc Horde.
At Galadriel’s insistence, Gandalf had taken her horse since Haldir was taking her back on his.
Gandalf promised to sent it back with her Galadhrim after the Battle…
Provided that both horse and Galadhrim survived this battle…
Chapter 2: Chapter 1- I played my life with a heart of ice while still being connected to the lies I'd devised
Chapter 1- I played my life with a heart of ice while still being connected to the lies I'd devised
The curse of the dragon’s horde had him not that Thorin had any idea of it.
His advisors and companions treated him warily since he’d turned off Fili and banished him and his whore of a meddling hobbit.
“Uncle?” Kili asked with a weary voice. “What shall we do?”
“Defend ourselves! This is ours!” Thorin thundered.
“Half ours.” Glóin glowered.
“Speak not to me of that falsehood cousin or no. Else you will find yourself in the cold with that traitor.” Thorin snarled.
“Thorin be reasonable.” Balin frowned.
“What right have Bard or Thranduil to demand riches of us?” Thorin said in his madness.
“Or Dain to march with his army to claim what is half ours?” Dwalin sneered.
“Half Thorin remember that. You signed a binding contract, a Khazad contract.” Nori scowled.
“I see no dragon to enforce it.” Thorin said moodily.
“He would be gravely disappointed in you.” Balin tossed back.
“I will do what I must to protect my treasure.”
“Do not damn us as the companions of Fram were damned.” Balin growled, “I wished to raise Dori’s child here, I want them to be the first of the new generation born in Erebor. Do not bring us to the brink of war cousin. We’ve lost too many as it is.”
“What do we do Balin?” Kili whispered as they left Thorin in the Great Hall. “He’s banished Fili and Bilbo!”
“There is no reasoning with him in this state. It’s the gold sickness.” Oin said stiffly.
“It is more then gold sickness,” Balin frowned, “Likely the curse of the dragon’s horde it is.”
“He leads us to a useless war!” Dwalin growled.
“We ought to be careful,” Balin chided, “It is treason to speak this way. I wish that Tharkûn or Salmar were here.”
“In the absence of them, brother we must look to you.” Nori sniffed.
“How do we protect our king from himself?” Ori glared at Nori.
Fili and Bilbo had both been banished for life from Erebor.
No sooner had Salmar left, then Thranduil and Bard had sent Elladan and Bard himself had gone to negotiate on their behalf for a share in the company’s riches.
Due to of course Thorin rashly promising some repayment for their hospitality to ensure that they were allowed to leave Laketown after the Master’s Aide accused them of being mercenaries hired to overthrow him…
Bilbo had of course offered his 1/14 share of the company’s reward- their half of the treasury but that could not be divided without Salmar present.
Fili of course had joined voice with Bilbo offering to fulfill his uncle’s promise with his share so that both Thranduil and Bard could be repaid and alliances made.
Thorin had reacted with fury; the very idea of giving money to an alien was abhorrent and accused Bilbo of using sex to turn his heir against him.
Fili had reacted in anger reminding his uncle of the times Bilbo protected them, how he had taken on the Trolls and the Orcs to protect them. How they sent his One into Erebor to face a dragon on Thorin’s orders.
His uncle tore the Durin broach from his cloak and called for Dwalin to throw them out, he had no time for cowardly traitors and that Fili was henceforth banished along with his hobbit whore. There would be no profits for traitors, their shares would be split amoung the rest of the company so their masters would gain nothing.
Fili of course rashly refused to return without a personal apology from Thorin.
They were treated as outcasts by Thorin and no doubt would be treated the same by any Longbeard who knew Fili and saw him without the emblem of the House of Durin.
Which was just fine with Fili, he had no love for Erebor and with the Mountain supposedly claimed by the Durin royal line, Ori and Kili would not only be officially betrothed but Fili would be free of heirdom.
His mother would want to strangle Thorin when she heard but there was that comfortable smial waiting for them back in the Shire.
Hearing their story and seeing them without anything but the possessions on their back, Bard who had little as it was after the assault on Laketown had taken them in.
With an Elven wife of course, who with her cousin Legolas had hunted for them all they were treated as family.
Thranduil had not been pleased to learn of his niece’s family with an Edain. Three children, two of them girls with their mother’s etherealness didn’t make him anymore forgiving. His own son’s complacentness in this business made him all the more wrathful…
Their former companions the sons of Elrond were most unhappy at their treatment…
Especially Elladan, who had become quite close to Bifur, both being the quiet sort he’d taken pleasure in learning to communicate with their companion with the Orc axe head buried in his forehead.
Elladan would often be found looking up at the broken gates with a forlorn look and clutching a ring that he wore on a silver chain.
“Dain’s army will be here at noon.” Fili announced with a heavy sigh.
“You know this how?” Thranduil sneered.
“Nori sent a robin.” Fili muttered darkly.
A lone elf ranger rode in and leapt off his horse, “Bad news!”
“What news?” Bilbo asked shakily.
“Azog is riding here with an army. They’ll stop because of the sun but they’ll ride all night. Only managed to take out the scouts.” Elrohir snarled.
“Orcs! Elrohir how could you take them on yourself! Arwen will be most upset.” Elladan fumed. “You could have died! What would Lindir say or father?”
“Lindir understands my desire to take all the Orcs down I can.” Elrohir grumbled.
“He would not like to lose you as we did our mother.” Elladan snapped.
“Peace.” Bilbo breathed, “Taking your frustration on each other does no good.”
“I wonder whether my uncle is pleased about cousin Dain’s army or no. No doubt Dain hopes to take the mountain.” Fili smirked. “I wonder how Dain will feel knowing Thorin signed away half the treasury already.”
“I have little trust in your word that you were turned off.” Thranduil sneered.
“We have nothing beyond what we were wearing when Dwalin threw us out.” Fili retorted.
“Dwalin was apologetic, he begged pardon.” Bilbo reminded him gently.
“Matters little.” Thranduil tossed back.
“Oughtn’t we be preparing for defence?” Tauriel said brightly.
“Indeed.” Legolas said ignoring his father.
So Tauriel and Legolas, Captains and Rangers of Mirkwood joined with Fili, Bard, Elladan and Elrohir to plan a defence.
They had already planned for a watch that night but Elladan insisted on twice the number of Elven guards due to the approaching Orc army out of Mount Gundabad and Moria.
Those that could attempted sleep.
A small tent made from an Elven blanket and stoat trees were all that Fili and Bilbo had. After weeks of travel beneath the stars a tent was a luxury and they were properly grateful. Bilbo had fetched pine needles for their bed and topped them with a mat made from weaved rushes. This made a comfortable enough sleeping place but their bedrolls and other belongings including his medicine were greatly missed the day before a battle.
Chapter 3: Chapter 2- This world of endless nights, this calm before the storm
Chapter 2- This world of endless nights, this calm before the storm
They woke to a cold day, windy and grey as if the earth itself were displeased with them.
Balin was quiet, thoughtful and Dori was unsure of himself.
“Mahal is not in our favour…” Balin said almost to himself.
“Thorin has angered him then?” Dori’s voice was hushed.
“He has threatened to ignore a signed contract with a servant of Mahal. I can’t imagine Mahal taking it well…” Balin grumbled.
“Is there anyway that Óin can use his healer rights?”
“Unfortunately dragon’s curse is not on a list of plausible medical reasons. There is no true council to vote for it.” Balin frowned, “Moving against the king is not something I am willing to do. Especially since his heir is One with your brother, as immature as they are I do not wish to mar their future happiness.”
“I don’t want Thorin to damn us all…” Dori scowled.
“We agreed to this fool’s quest and must see it to the finish.” Balin muttered darkly.
“So we prepare for battle then?” Dori’s voice was soft.
“In your condition I wish I could request you to stay back but if your brothers will fight I cannot ask.”
“It would be hard to obey but I would.” Dori said painfully.
“You would resent me for it and I cannot bear that.” Balin sighed, “Therefore I will refrain from such a request provided you fight at my side beloved.”
Dori threw his arms around him, “Thank you. I would promise you anything if you would let me fight.”
“If the battle turns against us, take Ori and Kili escape to the Blue Mountains. Dís will look out for you.”
“If that is your will. Don’t die…I can’t lose you too.” Dori whispered.
“It is in the hands of Mahal.” Balin sighed, holding on to Dori, “I do not wish to leave either of you.”
“Damn Thorin! Now I know how Dori felt when I was being a stubborn git!” Dwalin snarled. “Fili had the right of it! What does he get for his pains? Banishment…I’ll never forgive Thorin for this.”
“Give me permission to loosen their ponies’ ropes. If there be a battle Bilbo will need his healing supplies. The elves encamped outside the gates might be in need of them.”
“As long as you do not make it obvious…” Dwalin said quietly.
“I’m a fleet-footed, sharp-minded, flash-handed thief love. Of course I can do something this simple.” Nori snorted.
“Don’t get caught and banished too.” Dwalin scowled.
“Wouldn’t dream of it. Now that I’ve got you where I want you Dwalin and I’m not going to leave you.” Nori gave him a lascivious look. “Besides you tried to catch me for what thirty years and never proved a thing."
Dwalin shivered and adjusted himself.
“Big tough Dwalin, shield brother of Thorin likes being fucked by a smaller Khazad.” Nori whispered in his ear.
Dwalin moaned, “Damn you…”
“If we had time love, I would enjoy it. Sadly pleasure is not the order of the day.” Nori sighed.
“I’ll go speak with Thorin. Mayhap try to formulate a battle plan.”
The two Khazad left their makeshift chambers.
Bifur looked distraught when he nearly crashed into them.
“You were on guard duty weren’t you?” Dwalin snapped.
Nori held up a hand, his nimble fingers speaking in Bifur’s dialect of Iglishmêk, ‘What news? Why hurry?’
‘Elf One say Orcs come. Army. From Mount Gundabad and Khazad-dum. Elf say come after sun fall. Human and elf encampment ready for battle. Bilbo and Fili stand with them.'
“Orc arrive after Dain army?’
‘Yes, Dain army then Orcs. Damn orcs.’
‘I tell Dwalin.’ Nori turned to his One. “Message from Elrohir. Orc army sighted. Should arrive after sun down.”
“Orcs and Dain? How badly has Thorin offended Mahal?” Dwalin grumbled.
‘Rest. Will take message to Balin. Bofur on watch?’
‘Bofur relieve. Wanted to take message. Trust Elf One with life. No falsehood.’ Bifur replied.
Nori nodded, ‘Go rest. Battle come soon. Dwalin will tell Balin.’
Bifur looked more relaxed, a yawn seemed to relax him.
Night watch was never pleasant and to have such news from a lover who was unfortunately on the opposite side had to be discomforting…
As Bifur left, Dwalin asked, “He is sure?”
“His One told him. They don’t lie to one another. It was quite a risk to try to contact one of us. It was luck that had Bifur on duty rather then you.”
“It was the Will of Mahal. You go about your business I must pass word to Balin.” Dwalin made to turn towards Balin and Dori’s rooms.
Nori grabbed him by the cloak and stole a kiss. “Remember battle or no battle you die I’ll find a way to bring you back to kill you myself.”
“Noted.” Dwalin chuckled.
Reluctantly the lovers separated each with a mission.
Chapter 4: Chapter 3- I will fly to save you; the dawn fades away
The battle proper is set in motion...
Chapter 3- I will fly to save you; the dawn fades away
The moment Salmar returned to Middle Earth proper he felt it…
Sauron’s evil gathering…
He felt for Thorin and felt madness.
Salmar called out to Manwë’s eagles summoning them to fly with him.
The eagles appeared flying behind him.
“Landuil take two eagles and find the skinchangers. King of the eagles get Olórin. The rest of you we have Orcs and other foul creations of the combined depraved machinations of the Dark Lords. We’re going to war! Aüle’s children must survive this battle!”
The Eagles split as he asked.
They seemed to trust him more since he was redeemed.
Salmar was going to purify those misbegotten warped desecrations and send them to Námo to be judged.
Then he was going to find Thorin and figure out how to undo the curse of the dragon treasure. Hopefully he could sex it out of him…
Dwalin knocked on Dori and Balin’s door.
Dori opened it with a frown. “Dwalin?”
“We’ve got to talk.” Dwalin groused.
Dori opened the door farther to let him in.
Dwalin entered their apartment.
“What’s happened?” Balin blinked.
“Bifur told us that he heard from Elladan. The army outside our gate are readying for war. War against the Orcs who follow Azog. Yet here we are skulking in the mountain! If I’m the General of Erebor I have to be out there fighting…”
“If the King can’t lead us, then it’s up to Kili.” Balin sighed.
“Who thought we’d be relying on that rascal…” Dwalin shook his head. “Nori’s going to release Fili and Bilbo’s ponies so they have all their supplies. Bilbo’s a healer of sorts.”
“Find everyone! Meeting in the armoury.” Balin said gruffly.
The three of them went out to find the others.
Fili was no long a Prince, no longer an heir, but he was still a Khazad!
Knowing that an army was coming from Gundabad and another from Moria yet his dragon-cursed uncle clung to his mountain stronghold.
When Dain rode up on his warboar, Fili shouted wanting to wake his uncle from his madness.
“Khazad brothers, I stand before you a mere child of Mahal. I am Fili; son of the Princess Dís. Our war with orc filth is not over! They are coming! Out of our sacred homes Gundabad and Khazad-dûm! I’m asking you in the name of Mahal to raise your axes with me! Let us avenge our fallen at Azanulbizar! Azog and Bolg still live! Dwalin, one of our greatest warriors saw Azog with his own eyes and lived! Bolg and his raiders laid waste to Laketown! Fight with me my brothers!”
“Where is your Broach of Durin?” Dain snorted.
“I ask for your axes as a child of Mahal, not a Durin!” Fili thundered.
“What’s the point of following a fallen Durin?” Dain sneered. “You have no right to rule if you’ve been thrown from the House of Durin!”
“What my crime is has little to do with this, tell me Dain are you so desperate for the Kingship that would turn on your kin? You would side with filthy Orcs, the likes of Azog and Bolg?” Fili spat.
“Fili! Long live Fili, son of Dís! Fili! Fili!” the ranks of Khazad-dim foot soldiers shouted.
Just then, the sound of an explosion reached them and strange mutant worms burst through holes in the hills. Then the sound of the expected orc horde reached them coming from the gaping maws in the hills behind Dain’s ranks.
“Khazad-dim to me! Bilbo stand with the archers!”
“No Fili! My place is with you!” Bilbo protested.
“I need you with Legolas and Elladan to lead the archers! Elrohir, Bard, Thranduil and Gandalf with me! Khazad fight with us! We’ll all have to have to fight together or we’ll all die separately!”
“Where is Thorin? Have you betrayed your king?”
“Thorin tamed Smaug! Thorin is King under the Mountain! I have never betrayed him! The bond between uncle and sister son is too strong! I would sooner spill the blood of my One! Fight with us Dain! Never let it be said that Dain would not stand before the horde that took Khazad-dûm and our holy mountain Gundabad from us!”
“My brothers of Mirkwood, I am Elrohir son of Elrond who will fight these misbegotten creatures?”
“I Legolas, son of Thranduil fight with thee.”
“I am Bard, husband of Tauriel, leader of the men formerly of Esgaroth! Stand with me men of Laketown!”
“Who will protect the refugees?” Thranduil snorted.
Bard smirked, “Our eldest Sigriel and Bain were trained by the Lady Tauriel, they maybe young by your reckoning but they are strong enough to lead a home defence.”
The sound of the Orc Horde drew closer…
“Positions!” Fili yelled, “Archers fall back to the mountain! Take the high ground! Warriors form lines!”
To Bilbo’s pride, even Thranduil the Shirker followed Fili…
Bilbo reluctantly went along with the archers but he had a horrible feeling about being separated from his Heart…
Kili was nervous…
The look on Balin face’s set a chill of realization through him.
“You need me to take command like Grandpa Thrain…” Kili whispered.
“Your brother is leading Dain’s army against Orcs. We can’t hide in here. They’ll need us. You’re the next in line with Fili banished.”
“What am I supposed to do?” Kili muttered, “What would Fili do?”
Then he realised it…
“Nori sharpen your knives. Dwalin climb to where you can see the battlefield. Figure out a strategy. Dori you’ll need Nori’s war mace. Ori will need Dwalin’s Battleaxe. Armour up if you know how to fight in it. If not, we’ll just fight the way we know how.” Kili ordered. “If you know how to use a weapon well and you didn’t travel with it, you have my permission to take from the armoury.”
“I’ll go try talking to Thorin first. If that doesn’t work then we’ll follow you into battle.” Dwalin said with a clearly anguished heart.
“I think we’ll leave Bombur and Dori to guard Thorin….” Kili said.
Dori growled, “I’m not even very pregnant!”
“That’s not why.” Kili sighed, “Its because I trust you to stop Thorin if he goes on a rampage.”
In Bombur’s case, it was because he was the slowest and the clumsiest…
Not to mention his weapons of choice were a spoon and ladle, because Bombur was no warrior …
Dori sighed, “If he chooses to follow you into battle then I may fight as well?”
Kili grinned, “You can rip all the Orcs to pieces that you want.”
Dori nodded, rescinding his objection. “As you wish!”
“Fili! My own nephew! My heir! How could he betray me? Stealing the Arkenstone could be no worse a betrayal!” Thorin pounded his throne chair’s arm.
“I’ve been loyal to you all my life Thorin but my faith in my king has been shaken. Fili would die for you! He was willing to pay to allow you keep your honour!” Dwalin snorted, “Fili was my student and Balin’s too. He’s Nori’s friend, Kili’s brother. Gimli’s cousin and Óin delivered him! He’s still a part of this company! He’s family and so is Bilbo! Bilbo’s saved us just as often as Nori has! They went into this mountain on your order and what thanks did they get? You’ve turned on your loyalist subject! When Dís learns you’ve banished her son and for what, you’ll wish that you were dead! You can sit in here and play king of an empty mountain but I’m your general and as the general of Erebor my duty is to be on the battlefield, not cowering in a mountain like Thranduil the Shirker!”
“How dare you speak to me like this?” Thorin snarled.
Dwalin growled, “Who else will? Balin doesn’t dare! Óin won’t because removing you for being driven mad by the curse of the dragon’s treasure isn’t part of the accords of Erebor! If it were gold sickness we could help you but this is something he can’t heal or treat. Azog is coming, Bolg too and you’re hold up here in the throne room!”
“Has Dori too turned his back on me?” Thorin spat.
“Dori is with child and he would do nothing to embarrass Balin. He is mad as a bear but he wants to rip the Orcs at our door limb from limb. Our company is armed for battle Thorin but not armed against our King. Come back from madness Thorin and we’ll follow you into the fray. Fili has rallied our brothers in Mahal’s name, he is fighting not as a Durin but as a child of Mahal and they follow him still. That is how great the respect for your line is. Fili would rally them in your name if only you would enter the battle…” Dwalin lectured.
“Get out before I kill you!” Thorin snapped.
Dwalin growled, “You have one hour to join us in armour at the gate. After that we will leave you with Dori and Bombur at Kili’s order. I will defend Erebor from outside the gate. You have already damaged our honour as of late and I will not let Dain call me coward because you want into the treasury when you and Balin signed a Khazad contract swearing that none of the company would enter in until Salmar’s return.”
“Speak to me not of dragons.”
Dwalin sighed, “I came with you because I am both friend and shield brother. You were my king even when you were merely a Prince of Erebor, you promised on your sword once Thorin that you would not be another Thrain. You said that your people would come before gold. Mahal have mercy on you cousin for you have lost your way.”
Then Dwalin left Thorin to his wild thoughts, praying to Mahal that his words harsh though they maybe would have some chance of saving Thorin from the curse of the Dragon’s treasure.
Chapter 5: Chapter 4-Longing for something that hides in the emptiness
Unsought reinforcements, small in number but mighty in heart draw near.
Chapter 4-Longing for something that hides in the emptiness
When the Dúnedain Rangers of the North contacted one of Ferumbras’ Tookaborough rangers he wrote to the Master of Buckland, Gorbadoc ‘Broadbelt’ Brandybuck.
As his father’s heir, Ferumbras had some authority…
He called up all of the reserve Rangers the ones who had served their time but kept up the training, especially those with farming experience.
They had planned to leave in spring but with the word from the North that a great Army of Orcs was coming out of a former Orc stronghold, then Ferumbras believed that his Heart Bofur was in terrible danger.
They rode ponies; all his rangers could ride and use short swords they bought off Khazad traders and elves as well as bows.
They joined a Dúnedain Ranger party of seven, meeting a host of Elves out of Rivendell and they rode for all they were worth.
Now they were just behind the Orc Horde that was nearing the sound of a great battle.
“Rangers and Militia bowmen with the Elven and ranger archers. Swordsmen, follow me! We ride to reinforce the Khazad! We stand with our brothers the sons of Mahal!” Ferumbras thundered.
“My Elven brothers we ride to the aid of our cousin Prince Legolas and my sons! Lindir, lead the archers! May Eru Illuvatar watch over us! To battle!” Elrond said as he joined their cavalry.
Legolas and Bilbo climbed to higher ground to rain arrows on the Orc Horde with the rest of the archers, man and elf.
There were few Khazad archers for it was seen as an Elf skill…
The elves were taking cover amid the broken battlements of Erebor.
Bilbo climbed as high as he dared and put himself in a tiny crevasse that few could enter before he hefted his bow and pulled out his first arrow. He smiled sadly it was a gift of welcome from Kili, it was the perfect size for him and had been gifted to him before they left Beorn’s Carrack.
Kili was still within the mountain.
Why would they not fight?
Thorin’s madness had grown worse hadn’t it?
Heart in his throat, Bilbo watched as Fili joined Bard, Thranduil, Elrohir and Dain at the head of their combined army.
Chapter 6: Chapter 5- With a piercing gaze, I'll protect you
Fili debuts as a general? Salmar draws near. The Battle of Five Armies truly begins...
Chapter 5- With a piercing gaze, I'll protect you
“We are?” Fili thundered
“The Hammer of Mahal!” the army of Dain yelled.
“Who shall have songs sung in their name?”
”Beware the Hammer of Mahal!” Fili yelled, “Remember the Battle of Azanulbizar!”
Thranduil the Shirker rallied his own army from atop his moose.
Bard shouted, “Remember the fire and death of Laketown! To arms men of Dale! To arms!”
Fili held onto his pony with his knees, his twin swords clanged flat to flat.
Out of the Khazad line came a roar not unlike the fire of a great forge.
Bard, Thranduil and Elrohir held out their swords.
The Khazad foot soldiers ran forward slamming their interlocking shields into the ground and above their heads with long spears poking between the shields like thorns growing on a wall.
At that signal, the arrows flew over the Khazad line cutting down the first ranks of the orc horde.
After the first volley of arrows, the Elven swordsmen leapt over the Khazad line to cleave the still advancing Orcs in twain.
The Khazad foot soldiers allowed the Orcs to spear themselves on their spears before they grabbed a shield and leapt back into the fray; swords, maces, axes and iron clubs slicing, hammering and tearing at the Orcs.
Fili, Dain, Bard, Thraindul and Elrohir rode for the advancing line of Orcs on wargs.
Steel met steel.
Iron gaze met iron gaze.
Fili wished for Nori and Dwalin!
Why would the remains of the company not ride forth?
Gandalf was picked up by the King of the Eagles; the eagles also had three skinchangers Beorn, his son and another. Gandalf was only slightly surprised when the Eagles were led by Mahal’s Hand, Salmar who flew as a bird of flame that he called a phoenix.
Haldir had accompanied his mistress with a score of her Galadhrim, just as Elrond himself had come with Glorfindal and Lindir.
Only Haldir had rode back with his mistress who was nearly spent from her tearing the Necromancer’s stronghold to ash. Her work was a reflection of Luthien’s giving nowhere for the spawn of evil to hide.
Haldir, Glorfindal and Lindir fought the Orcs who had remained in the citadel…
Leaving Saruman, Elrond, Gandalf and Radagast to fight with the returned Ringwraiths and the shard of Sauron.
Even with three wizards and two high elves, they merely trounced their adversaries rather then destroyed them.
Then again, without the One Ring it was impossible to destroy Sauron…
The Witch King of Angmar could not be defeated by any man so the key to his destruction was beyond them…
Thorin paced in the throne room of Erebor…
Fili, Bilbo and Dwalin’s words echoed in his head and raked his conscience…
His honour besmirched because of his pride…
His disownment of Fili…
His accusation of Bilbo seducing Fili’s heart from him…
Dwalin’s cruel but pained comparison of his broken vow not to be like his grandfather…
No! He would not be Thor…
He was Thorin Oakenshield! Thorin the Reclaimer…
Thorin, mate of Salmar…
His heart warred with his dragon-cursed addled mind…
Fili, his sister’s son was fighting…
Where was he? Skulking in a mountain, driven mad because he was kept from the treasury…
Thorin was going to war…
Yes, against the true adversary:
Chapter 7: Chapter 6- Scoop up the light in your hands
Chapter 6- Scoop up the light in your hands
“Why should we listen to you? You’re just children.” Alfrid sneered.
Sigrid smirked as she played with her bowstring, “Didn’t I tell you? My mother is an Elven Captain of Mirkwood.”
Bain nodded, “She brought us our weapons and taught us to fight. Remember it was mama and her kin who fought the Orc raiders, you were likely too busy cowering.”
“A pity she didn’t teach you respect for your elders.” Alfrid snorted.
“We respect our parents, Uncle Legolas and the King of Mirkwood.” Tilda piped up.
“Knife sharp Tilda?” Sigrid asked.
“It’s sharp, mama made sure.”
“You got enough arrows Sigrid?” Bain frowned.
“Mama gave me a whole quiver before she rode out with Uncle Legolas.” Sigrid smirked.
Their papa was part of the village militia as well as the tradesman with the Elven Kingdom of Mirkwood.
Mama had befriended him ages ago when she guarded Uncle Legolas when he met with the Master of Laketown.
Dale had been abandoned when Smaug the dragon attacked their livestock and ate it. He’d also burnt their fields so they would abandon their homes…
“We’ll be alright. Just because the men went off to fight doesn’t mean that we can’t defend ourselves…” one of the woman protested.
Bard’s eldest spun, “Mama?”
“I was scouting, there is a second army coming and they are heading here. Ingrid lead the women and children back to the Great Hall. Barricade yourselves inside.”
Their former landlady frowned. “Lady Tauriel what will you do?”
“My children and I are going to defend this city. I saw reinforcements coming behind the Orcs. We just have to hold the line until they come. Sigriel we’ll find you a safe place to fire from. Make sure every shot counts. Those are the only arrows you’ll get.” Tauriel snapped.
“What about me?” Bain said sternly.
“You’re going to be my fighting partner. We’ll fight together.”
“And me?” Tilda pouted.
“Guard the outside of the Great Hall. That’s an important job. No Orcs must get close.”
It was quite clear that Tauriel was indeed a captain.
Her children spread out without complaint.
Tauriel pointed out a clock tower.
Sigrid proved her Elven blood by climbing to the top of the tower nearly as gracefully as her mother’s cousin Legolas who had taught her the bow would have done.
Bard maybe fighting out there with the men of destroyed Esgaroth but his children and his wife would fight for his people.
Kili was about to lead his company out onto the battlefield…
When Thorin appeared clear-eyed and shame-faced.
“Fili and Bilbo as well as Dwalin were right…I ought to have listened. I have failed to lead you properly and briefly became the very thing I hated…I see that you are going to war…may I join you?”
Kili was the first to kneel, “Uncle you are our king. I was only trying to do as you would have…it is not in my blood to skulk in a mountain and let my brother fight while I stand by and do nothing.”
“Were I sane at the time I would have joined the battle sooner for it is not in mine either. If you are all ready, we should go. Ori, Nori, Dori knock this wall down.” Thorin thundered. “Óin prepare for injured. Bifur, Bofur retrieve our fallen brothers. Bombur watch Óin’s back.”
The cousins nodded, even as Óin flew into the gatehouse as if he meant to turn it into a a battle healer’s tent.
The Ri brothers ran forward, “With pleasure.”
The three gave one great heave and then another…
The barricade fell with a clatter of stones that flung themselves into the battle.
Fili turned at the sound of falling stone.
Thorin stepped into the open gate of Erebor on his pony.
“The King! Rally my brothers! The King of Erebor rides war!” Fili shouted.
A great war cry rang out…
If their men and Elven allies had realised how they fought for Fili, their mettle was five times that now.
Dori, Nori and Ori went after the cave trolls.
“Eyes! They are near!” Bilbo’s shout came from a crack in the mountain. “Aim for the trolls’ eyes. Nori!”
“Hamstring the bastards I know!” Nori yelled back.
There maybe a small number of the company that joined the battle but they were among the best that Thorin could command…
Ferumbras was riding as close to Elrond, Strider and Gandalf, the other leaders of their phalanx.
“Ready? Swords out…” Gandalf shouted as he held up his staff and drew his sword.
There came the hiss of steel being pulled from sheath…
“Archers take a high position or stay to the back of the ranks.” Elrond ordered.
“You heard Lord Elrond!” Ferumbras snapped.
His hobbit archers fell back and joined up with their elf and human counterparts.
Then they went to war…
Hobbits hadn’t ridden to war in generations…
But the Tookaborough Rangers and Buckland Militia believed in self-defence, it helped that the Thain and Master of Buckland insisted that all persons serve at some point in their lifetime. They would show those orc bastards that they hadn’t forgotten the Fell Winter of 2758 when the Orcs invaded…
Bilbo had cheered when their friends had joined the battle.
Yet soon after he ran out of arrows…
So he clambered down, his Elven made sword flashing blue as it sliced through the enemy.
Furious when that didn’t thin the enemy enough, Bilbo pulled out his first sword- a knife that Fili gave him on Party Hill for his first swordsmanship lesson. He had lessons from Fili before on how to duel wield, yet this was first time he would do so in battle.
Bilbo leapt back into the fray, fighting his way to Fili. He’d done what he could as an archer using Mam’s lessons, now it was time to show what he’d learned from his Heart…
‘For Erebor and the Shire!’ Bilbo thought as he sliced his way towards where he sensed Fili was…
Thorin felt humbled when Dain’s army rallied because of him…
He saw Azog’s form in the light mist, Bolg at his side perched up on a stony outcrop that they were using to watch the battle…
“Dwalin to me! Nori, Dori, Ori take out those trolls. I have vengeance in mind…”
“What’s the plan Thorin?” Balin frowned as he hacked at the enemy.
“We’re going to cut off the head of the snake.” Thorin smirked.
“Who is going with us?”
“I’ll come uncle…” Fili volunteered.
“I need you to keep our brothers fighting strong.” Thorin snorted.
“Keep him shooting, it’s the best thing for him. His greater skill has always been the bow.” Dwalin shrugged.
“You’ve always used us as scouts!” Fili fumed.
“I’ll go.” Came the silky voice of Legolas.
The deeper voice of Elrohir echoed the sentiment.
The four riders: two sons of Durin and the sons of Elven lords rode for the outcrop…
“Where are they going Fili?” Nori asked.
“To find Azog and kill him.” Fili grumbled.
Chapter 8: Chapter 7- The moonrise casts a lonely shadow
The Ri brothers take on the trolls, the Orcs incur Salmar's wrath, the first of the company falls, Bard's family clashes with Bolg's army and Ferumbras goes in search of his Heart....
Chapter 7- The moonrise casts a lonely shadow
Nori’s first target were the trolls, which he darted between their legs to hamstring them, tossing knives at their eyes and left Ori and Dori to kill the disabled hulk of stony flesh.
It was smartest to send the strongest Thorin had against the trolls, the sons of Ari had always been stronger then their peers.
In Dori’s hand, Nori’s long handled mace shattered shoulders and even hands leaving the trolls weaponless except for their size.
Bookish Ori using a huge war axe was far stronger then he looked, his axe sliced off limbs and then once he could reach he would behead the pain-mad troll.
They were a well-matched three-Khazad team even if Ori didn’t have a good word to say about either of them at present…
Nori leapt on one troll corpse after another retrieving knives to go after the next…
Once they had finished the trolls on the battlefield that they could see, Nori took one look towards the ruined city of Dale.
They were storming the walls…
Nori yelled, “Ris to Dale!”
Dori followed his line of sight, “Oh Mahal…women and children are in there…”
“They aren’t defenceless, I left Sigrid in charge…” Bard said gruffly.
Nori leapt on the back of Dori’s pony, “They’ll need us to deal with those nasty trolls.”
Dori, Ori and Bard rode for Dale, leaving a captain of the Esgaroth miltia, Ardif to lead the men of Esgaroth.
They were going to leave the battle here and deal with the more dangerous foe…
Salmar grew more furious and his flames burned hotter…
These monsters thought that they were going to attack his Thorin?
Salmar the phoenix dove into the Orc Horde, setting them afire as he flew through their ranks.
The Orcs screamed in rage and pain…
The flames would make those easy targets to be dispatched by either the swordsmen or the archers he saw.
Manwë’s eagles dove for the trolls outside the ruin city of Dale, three of Thorin’s companions were fighting them. One was Nori…
There was far more beneath that Khazad’s rocky exterior then one realised…
Elrond’s army would deal with the Orc Horde from behind.
The middle of the Gundabad Orcs had three skinchangers dropped in like angry missiles and they shifted mid-drop landing as very angry massive bears that tore the Orcs that came to hand to pieces…
Half of the Orc army out of Gundabad had headed for Dale…
The rest was marching up a steep mountain towards a watchtower…
That was where Thorin was…
Salmar flew up after the marching Orcs, setting them afire as he went…
A Maia was nearly immortal and Salmar wasn’t going to leave this place without his Heart…
Bilbo saw an Orc closing in on Kili…
He shouting, “Fili! Kili’s in trouble!”
He darted around sparing pairs, trios and more… his two swords slashed out with a vengeance if anyone got between him and Kili.
Bilbo sensed Fili was right behind him, yet he ran on…
Bilbo screamed in protest as he saw a black iron studded club smash into Kili’s arm, the arm he shot with…
The healer in Bilbo was appalled, he saw the club smash right into the arm with such force the entire arm must be broken.
Bilbo leapt on the orc, Fili’s roar of fury filling his ears.
The two of them tackled the orc to the ground, four blades lashing out and the orc was finished.
Kili cursed, “Oh Mahal that hurts… Óin’s tending wounded inside the gatehouse.”
Fili grabbed his pony, “Kili you’re going with Bilbo back into Erebor.”
Kili was furious but with his dominant arm out of commission he was useless and his presence on the battlefield would hinder their army.
“What about you Fili?” Bilbo demanded.
“I’m going to pay them back for Kili…”
Fili may not be Thorin’s heir any longer but he had the bearing of a king…
Bilbo felt as though he was both proud and unworthy of such a noble creature…
Fili tossed Bilbo up on the pony, “Hold onto the reins with Kili, steady them both…”
Bilbo nodded, “Come on Kili, let’s go check in with Óin.”
“Stay with Óin, you’re the only other healer we have…” Fili ordered, “I need you both safe.”
Then Fili launched himself back into the fray with renewed vigour…
Bilbo and Kili directed their horse back to Erebor, where they met Bifur and Bofur carrying injured Khazad-dim between them.
Óin had cleared the entrance and the guardhouse of rubble and was tending the injured with two other healers who were both elves.
Thorin might be furious but the wounded had to be cared for…
Two other lightly armoured elves were carrying in their own injured.
“Bilbo that you?” the elderly healer asked gruffly, “We could use the extra hands. Who’ve you got with you? Kili?! Oh Mahal help us all…”
“Fili is still fighting!” Bilbo yelled so that the near-deaf Khazad healer could hear him, “Dwalin and Thorin went after Azog with Legolas and Elrohir!”
“May Mahal have mercy on us…” Óin raised a fist as if clutching a hammer and raising it to the sky.
Bilbo tied Fili’s pony up and then leapt off the pony to help Kili…
“What happened to the dwarf?” one of the Elven healers he’d met in Mirkwood that Bilbo remembered was Kaliel which mean the other was likely her brother Kalder.
Though Bilbo couldn’t remember exactly how he met them…
“An orc hit him with a large metal headed club with spikes.” Bilbo reported.
“Black metal?” Kalder asked.
Bilbo nodded, “Yes, why?”
“It’s crafted and coated with poison.” Kaliel frowned.
“If only we had kingsfoil…” Kalder murmured in Sindarin.
“I do!” Bilbo said quickly, pulling his healing kit off his waist by untying the thong that held it there. He pulled out a small piece of oilskin that kept plants moist as in fresh but unlikely to mould or mildew.
“We’re not royal blood but we can use this to prevent and fight the infection…” Kaliel murmured.
“Where did you find this?” Kalder asked.
“In Beorn’s garden on his Carrack…” Bilbo frowned.
“Do you know what it is?” Kaliel asked awed.
“I know that hobbits keep it for pig feed but mam said that it was a healing herb. A gift of Eru to the line of Elendil…” Bilbo shrugged.
“He carries gold and knows it not…” Kalder chuckled.
Bilbo handed the plant to Kalder, “Please save him. If Thorin falls, this is the King of the Line of Durin…”
“Had he not a brother?” Kaliel asked.
“Fili is not an heir because he accepts me as his One…” Bilbo mumbled before joining Óin in treating the injured.
He may not be as good as Mam, Elrond Óin but Bilbo was good at judging the injured.
He used Elvish symbols for colours; black for the dead or dying, red for difficult cases, yellow for those who could ‘wait’ or he could treat with difficulty and green for those who needed little help before throwing them back into battle.
Bilbo treated those he could, the yellow marked Khazad-dim he helped but who were still too injured to return to battle he charged with finding more blankets and food in Erebor for the injured and their healers. He was wary of them but he felt that they wanted to be useful as well and Bilbo gave them explicit directions to where they had moved said stores. One Bilbo sent to the armoury to fetch him more arrows…
Once the healers released Kili, Bilbo sent him to watch over those who were fetching food and blankets.
He boiled water for healing teas and other medicines on the fires in the braziers as well as relit the torches that one of the last watchers must have replaced to give Óin and the Elven healer twins more light.
Bilbo maybe only a hobbit but he was Fili’s One and he would do what he could for Fili’s people…
Fili sent him here and Bilbo would be useful…
Sigrid made every shot from her bow count, she would not waste an arrow nor would she embarrass her teacher…
When Sigrid was out of arrows she heard the sound of Elven horns close by…
She had seen the Trolls begin to fall and knew they were not alone.
She sped as if on winged feet to the street below, snatching up a sword that seemed the least weird and ran to join her mother and brother defending the city.
Sigrid didn’t have Bain’s innate skill with a blade but she had Elven blood and she would not cower now.
Sigrid ran up Orc backs, swinging her procured sword and beheading their attackers before leaping onto the next Orc.
She found her mother fighting back to back with Bain in an open courtyard they were perched on a fountain, both were covered in black orc blood but they were alive as they rained down blows from above.
Sigrid gripped her sword in both hands and leapt driving it into the heart of the orc fighting her brother before flying at the next one.
Bain let out a whistle of appreciation before shoving the orc corpse away.
Soon after the streets were full of elves, men and…were those hobbits?
“Sigrid! Bain! Tilda!”
“Da!” Sigrid shouted back, “We’re in the market!”
Bard, their father ran towards them hewing Orcs as he came. “Where is Tilda?”
“Tildiel is guarding the rest of the refugees…” Tauriel replied as she fought without looking in their father’s direction.
“We have re-enforcements…” Bard announced. “Elves out of Rivendell, rangers and more hobbits…”
“Kin of Elrohir and Bilbo likely.” Tauriel observed dryly.
“The tide turned once Thorin joined the battle.” Bard told them.
“A people will fight harder if their king is with them.” Tauriel growled. “How are Thranduil and Legolas?”
“Thranduil leads Mirkwood yet, Legolas went with Elrohir to go after Azog and Bolg.” Bard said as he cut down more Orcs between him and his family.
Once the four of them stood together, the pure hearts of a joining of the Eldar and the Edain shone.
When Ferumbras reached the city, he found Ori, Dori and Nori finishing the Trolls outside the walls lessening that danger.
“Where is Bofur?” He yelled over the din of the battle.
“Thorin tasked him with pulling wounded from the field. He’s likely been going back and forth between the field and the mountain where the Healer is.”
“Archers! If you’re out of arrows come with me, we’re going into that battle. We’re looking for our Khazad kin; if they breathe we’re taking them to the mountain. Swordsmen cover us! Move out!”
For a Took trader, Ferumbras had trounced his share of thieves and robbers. He was the Thain’s son and leadership had always come easy for him.
Not all of his Rangers and Militia would stay to build a colony here but they’d prove their worth that was for sure. When day dawned, no one here would question the valiant hearts of a hobbit.
Chapter 9: Chapter 8- Take the darkness that burdens you along for the ride
The battle against Bolg and Azog begins, Elrond leads in reinforcements and the Ris' take out the last troll...a company member vanishes?
Chapter 8- Take the darkness that burdens you along for the ride
Thorin’s madness that was due to a curse on a Dragon’s Treasure was nothing to his single-minded desire to kill Azog the Defiler.
This was his battle, let Fili and Kili defend Erebor. Thorin was going to kill Azog to avenge his grandfather Thor and Dwalin…
Dwalin just wanted pay the Orcs of Khazad-dŭm back for whipping his back to the bone…
Elrohir was glad for any reason to rid Middle Earth of Orcs…
He knew they were to blame for his mother’s death and the only good Orc was a dead one…
Legolas maybe a prince but like Elladan, he was a younger son and no heir to his father’s leadership. He had elder siblings a few centuries older, who would come first…
They too were captains but Harduil and Thrandir were more involved with the government of Mirkwood’s Silvan population…
Being half Silvan, Legolas felt more apart of his mother’s people then his father’s.
They left their horses and ponies tied to a stand of scrub trees and proceeded on foot.
Elrohir and Legolas going ahead to scout…
The Elven princes found the ruined watchtower full of restless Orcs.
They pulled knives and slew unwary Orcs callously dropping them from the windows so not to clutter the narrow corridors.
They found Azog and Bolg on the upper ramparts surrounded by other Orcs still giving orders to their subordinates. Unlike their Elven, human or Khazad counterparts clearly they weren’t fighting on the battlefield.
They spoke in the Black Speech…
“What do you mean we were attacked from the rear?”
“Elves, men, and stunted dwarves Lord Bolg.”
“Have you slaughter the refugees yet?” Azog snarled.
“No Azog, an elf and two humans are defending the ruins.”
“They were joined by those who attacked the rear of the Gundabad army.”
“Azog! A firebird, eagles and bears have come from the sky!”
“By Sauron’s mace I am surrounded by imbeciles. Who has seen Durin’s spawn?” Azog spat as he beheaded the messengers.
“ He was seen riding here with a large dwarf and two elves… ”
“Then I shall go met him.” Azog sneered.
They crept back the way they had come, hurrying to rejoin Thorin and Dwalin.
“Azog knows we were riding here and so he’s coming to meet us.” Elrohir reported.
“Then we will go fight him.” Thorin growled.
Dwalin smirked, “My axes thirst for orc blood…”
The party ran up the mountain, blades and axes in readiness for battle.
Legolas still had arrows and he climbed to a place where he had a good vantage point to take out the guards that would surely be accompanying the likes of Azog and Bolg…
Legolas chose a lesser watch tower that overlooked Erebor rather then Dale to use for his air assault…
Leaving Elrohir, Thorin and Dwalin the ground…
Elrond led the Rangers of the Dunedain and his own solders of Imladris, proven warriors all who had fought the forces of darkness for eons to clean the ruins of Dale of Orcs. For in Imladris were the remnants of the kingdoms of the Noldar. The refugees of Doriath had fled to Galadriel, Círdan or to Thranduil.
Elrond was aware when the former guests of his; Dori, Ori and Nori launched themselves at the Trolls…
Just as he was aware of the Eagles arrival…
There was smell of burnt flesh…
A bird of pure flame flew through the Orc army setting it on fire and driving them mad…
They fought on, slicing the Orc Horde to ribbons…
The visible Trolls fell outside the walls and then the Ri siblings stormed into the city with the men of Dale behind them.
Elrond and his army fought their way to Dale.
They would spill more blood then they would loose…
Between the eagles, the skinshifters and the bird of flame they more then made up for the smaller numbers that Elrond rode with.
Tauriel and Bard along with their two eldest stood on corpses of their fallen enemy, yet they fought on…
Then the sound of elves and men reached them…
But the first to arrive were Dori, Ori and Nori covered in the blood of trolls…
They were following the trail of a troll that stumbled into the marketplace.
Before Tauriel could leap, the three Khazad leapt at it.
Nori drove two bloody knives into its eyes even as his brothers beat it with a long handled mace and a huge axe.
The troll crashed to the ground with the middle Khazad brother riding it down.
The brothers then turned to attack the Orcs instead.
“Where are the women and children?” Dori called out.
“In the Great Hall with Tildiel guarding them.” Tauriel replied.
They were soon surrounded by a mixture of Imladris elves, Rangers of the North and the rag-tag army of the refugees of Laketown.
Tauriel bowed, “Lord Elrond.”
“Captain Tauriel…” Elrond looked from Tauriel to Bain to Sigriel to Bard, “I see you have chosen as my grandmothers did…”
Tauriel stiffened, “I regret it not…”
“There may come a time when you do…” Elrond said quietly. “I watched many of my brother’s descendants pass to the Hall of Mandos…yet I remain.”
“For now I am content…” Tauriel said quietly.
“I wonder Tauriel what the choice your children shall make…” Elrond murmured.
“What choice will yours?” Tauriel asked in return.
Elrond seemed shaken by the off-hand remark.
Lindir knelt before Elrond, “The Orcs have been routed. There are few remaining who fight.”
“Slaughter them to last.” Elrond said harshly. “They are twisted creatures, the bastard children of Darkness…may Mandos and Illuvatar have mercy on their souls.”
Lindir inclined his head in acknowledgement of the order before rising.
“Edain, there is the look of King Girion about you.”
Bard stood tall, “I am Bard, the grandson of Girion, the last Lord of Dale.”
“How fitting that there should be an alliance between Mirkwood and Dale. Thranduil’s niece to the new Lord of Dale.” Elrond smirked, “There is even an heir to the kingship already…”
Bain stood tall; the mixed blood of the Edain and the Elder ran true through this one.
Elrond truly wondered whether Bain and his sisters would chose the immortal life of the Eldar or the mortal span though lengthened of the Edain. While there was no longer a Númenor, this Bain might be as wise a leader as his brother Elros…
“While we have not the skill with stone that the sons of Durin have, we will give you what aid we can. Let it not be said that Elrond comes not to the aid of those who need it most.” Elrond said with a kindly air.
Bard bowed, “We would be grateful for any aid you can offer but we have little to give in return.”
“I am sure that when the time comes Bard, Dale will answer the same call as I have.” Elrond said with the air of great wisdom.
“I do not feel as if I would be a good king…” Bard said awkwardly.
“The best leaders are like that. When Gil-galad made me his heir I was unsure of myself, there were many elves older and wiser at the time. Yet I have proved in centuries past that I was worthy of his trust. The niece of Thranduil would not have placed her heart in the hand of one unworthy. The blood of Girion is in you, you will lead Dale back to greatness.” Elrond said seericly.
With most of the Orcs who had invaded Dale perished, Bard ordered that the corpses be taken from the city and piled to be burnt. The fallen Laketown refugees would be buried with honour…
How the fallen elves, dwarves and hobbits would be remembered was yet to be seen…
Thorin, Dwalin and Elrohir were rushed by the Orcs who roared into the courtyard where they were.
They attacked with sword and with axe.
Legolas from his watchtower cut down Orcs as well making everyone of his dwindling arrows count.
When Bolg appeared, bracketed by lesser Orcs.
Bolg and his minions attacked Thorin, Dwalin and Elrohir with a vengeance.
Blades sang through the air even as they sliced through tortured, scarred and twisted flesh…
The Orcs attempted to overrun them but swords flashed and axe hacked cutting down the Khazad as they attacked.
After Bolg warding off a third arrow with a shield, Legolas stopped trying to shoot him dead.
He still wanted him dead of course but wasting arrows was abhorrent…
Before Thorin or even Dwalin could call out a challenge to the son of Azog, Azog himself called out a challenge which honour demanded that they answer.
Immediately, Bolg fell upon Elrohir with a vengeance. His father’s hatred for the Khazad was not as strong in him as his innate hatred of the Eldar.
It was a hatred long a part of that accursed race, dating back to the Years of Stars when the Black Foe, the first Dark Lord, Morgoth began his sundering of the Eldar.
It was he who frightened the Eldar during the days following the rising of the stars, haunting their steps with evil riders to poison them against Orome, the Hunter of the Valar and dark whispers. The Moriquendi, the Dark Elves were the first to fall and be twisted into servants of the Dark becoming the Orcs. For neither Morgoth nor Sauron could create in truth, they could only mar the light and promise that shone in the Children of Illuvatur.
Even Mahal of the Khazad-dim, Aüle as the Eldar and the Edain call him, could not truly give life because his creatures while aware with emotions had no soul or independence. They were tied to the will of their Maker; only by gifting them to Illuvatar did the Adopted Ones become fully conscious beings with souls and free will.
Because of the Eldar, the Valar made war with Morgoth and he never forgot, he never forgave. That hatred passed unto his servant Sauron…
By the time Bolg launched himself at Elrohir, Legolas was out of arrows and was making his way down to his kin.
Legolas could have pulled his full-size sword but like Fili, the Elven prince was partial to his long knives that he wielded like duel swords.
Elrohir and Legolas were spritely as opposed the lumbering of Orcs.
Between the two elves’ pure hearts and boundless courage, Bolg fell.
With his loss, his army lost its confidence but Elrohir and Legolas joined Dwalin in slicing down the orc filth before they could return from whence they came…
Neither Elven warrior realised that they had lost sight of Thorin…
To their worry, they found Dwalin unconscious with a bloody head wound.
Elrohir didn’t know the land as well as Legolas, so he took Dwalin back to be examined by the healers.
Chapter 10: Chapter 9 - You can't put back the card you pulled out, searching for a reason to live
Chapter 9 - You can't put back the card you pulled out, searching for a reason to live
Fili’s anger was hot as flame; Mahal thought he was angry when Thorin turned on him…
Kili’s injury while not fatal at all was disabling and would prevent his brother from using a bow or likely creating any of his jewellery designs.
His swords were dulling but the force he used kept them slicing his enemies…
Ferumbras finally found Bofur and ran forward to wrap his arms around the bubbly Khazad.
“Ferum?” Bofur gasped.
“You’re alive…are you uninjured?” Ferumbras asked nervously.
Bofur hugged him, “How did ya come ta be here?”
“Heard Orcs were coming this way. I had to come to make sure you were okay…” Ferumbras mumbled shyly.
An Orc tried to attack them.
Before Bofur could react, Ferumbras leapt and his sword lashed out cleaving the Orc’s head from its shoulder.
As soon as Bofur recovered from the shook, he kissed Ferumbras so hard that the hobbit’s knees shook.
“I’m lucky to have you watching my back. It’s hard to help the injured back to the mountain and hold my mattock…” Bofur admitted embarrassed.
“I brought my hobbits with me to help carry in the wounded. Sure we’re only rangers and militia but we’re well-trained.”
Bofur rubbed that back of his neck, “We’ll be glad for the help. I haven’t seen so many bodies since the battle of Azanulbizar…I’m hoping with those pointy eared folks that we’ll save more then we lose Mahal willing.”
Ferumbras nodded, “We lost a large number during the Fell Winter of2758.”
The odd couple returned to pulling the wounded from the battlefield with the Hobbits guarding the unarmed retrievers like Bofur and his elder brother Bifur.
Bofur recognised Elladan who had clearly run out of arrows a long time back and like Bifur was pulling elves from the battlefield…
Kili knew that Bilbo had the walking and carried wounded under control so he took the already treated that like himself were too wounded to return to the battle.
They carried wood, adding to the fires, fetched blankets and clean cloth for bandages from the Hall of Healing.
Oin must have been bored because it was spotless in there…
They helped those too wounded to help out to the Hall of Healing to rest.
Bombur disappeared a while back and returned with three helpers and some stew to go with Bilbo’s teas and tinctures.
There was a spring in the Mountain and Kili saw to it that barrels of fresh water were rolled it as well as a few forgotten barrels of ale and strong spirits. He knew from having a mother as a healer that alcohol could sometimes clean a wound better then plain water…
Kili might not be much of a leader, he might not see things the way people like Nori or Dwalin did, he couldn’t heal people like Bilbo but he’d learned on their quest that he was a good listener and he enjoyed thinking about what was needed.
Kili was the Durin in Erebor and it was his duty to uphold the family honour…
Thorin stood on a rocky outcrop and exchanged blows with Azog the Defiler who was mounted on his white warg….
Thorin had one goal to avenge his grandfather and see Azog fall for good this time.
Their battle would have been the stuff of legends but there were none to watch it…
Then Azog’s mace hit Thorin in his shield arm’s shoulder essentially numbing it even though it wasn’t even a direct blow.
Thorin’s shield arm hung limp at his side but he fought like a creature possessed, mad with rage.
Thorin’s Orcrist and Azog’s blade replacement for his lost hand clashed loudly over and over.
Thorin was stabbed in the chest, the force of Azog’s pulling his blade out of his chest ripped Thorin off his rocky outcrop and he found himself falling.
To his horror the warg’s full weight came down on his legs and Thorin let out a pained scream.
In the distance he saw a flame shaped like a bird flying towards him, Thorin’s last thought was that he wished he could have seen Salmar one more time…
It was a shame he’d never had the pleasure of being in Salmar’s arms or felt his kiss…
The warg reared and came down on his legs again and the pain sent Thorin into the darkness.
He found Thorin, the reincarnation of Durin the Deathless at the hands of the merciless Azog. His legs crushed by the great white warg of Azog, there a deep wound to the chest that may have very well spelled his death but for the blessed arrival of Salmar. Of course the near decapitation at the hand of Azog did not help Salmar’s fury.
His flames had never burnt Durin, nor could they Thorin…
Salmar as a phoenix landed on Azog burning him beyond ash in an instant, sending his tortured soul to Námo in his Hall of Mandos to be Judged. Then clutching Thorin in a gentle cradle of flame, Salmar flew with hope and fear to Erebor.
His appearance there was frightening, Oin saw him with Thorin and knew him…
Oin together with Kalder and Kariel of Mirkwood put forth all their strength and the greatest healer of the Longbeards put aside his distrust of the Eldar to save the life of Thorin the Reclaimer, King under the Mountain.
Chapter 11: Chapter 10 - I refuse to give up my desires
Chapter 10 - I refuse to give up my desires
The battle was over…
Fili stood surrounded by orc corpses…
He had sliced so many that Fili knew the swords that his own hands had crafted were dull…
Bilbo, he hoped he’d obeyed and stayed with Kili in the gatehouse to tend the sick.
“Where is Thorin? Has he fallen the battle?” Dain spat.
Fili snarled, “I know he went to take the battle to Azog.”
“How is it fallen Durin that you bear no sign of battle then exhaustion?” Dain sneered.
Fili raised his swords, “I’ve hewed so many Orcs that my swords are dull and you say I haven’t any sign of fighting? You are just jealous that you were not the one to lead us until Thorin join the battle. I can’t help it if Mahal gifted me with charisma and leadership; so that your soldiers chose to follow me into battle.
Fili looked over Dain’s head and saw a bird of flame flying towards them, as it drew closer to Erebor Fili gasped. In its ‘talons’ was his uncle…
“Mahal no…” he whispered.
Dain followed his eyes and then said gleefully, “That Thorin? Looks dead.”
“I doubt that Salmar would be flying that way if he were. He’s heading for Oin.”
“There maybe a kingship for me yet.” Dain murmured as he rubbed his hands together.
“Even if my uncle did end up given to the stone, there is one who comes before you.” Fili retorted.
“Not you.” Dain sneered.
Fili coughed, “Of course not, even if the people would follow me regardless of my supposed disownment. My brother Kili is Thorin’s heir…”
“What that child?” Dain snorted, “Surely our people would want to be led by a proven leader.”
“Like me? I never sought the kingship; I never wanted it. I was named Thorin’s heir when I came of age and so was Kili though it was understood since Frerin died at Azanulbizar that I would be his heir. I was always conscious of my duty, I wanted to do what I could for our people but I never wished to be king. For me to be king of Durin’s folk would mean that my beloved Uncle was dead and given to the stone. I am content with who I am. I could march into Erebor and call myself king but I won’t. I won’t enter into Erebor, I will support Kili as Regent as least until Thorin’s life is returned to him or despaired of.”
The men, elves or Khazad-dim still standing were finishing off any orc still found to be breathing and were carrying or calling for someone more able to carry their fallen away.
Fili was stunned to see a bloody but determined troop of hobbits carrying stretchers made from blankets and Khazad pikes. He spotted Ferumbras Took carrying a stretcher with Bofur.
Elves were also searching through the fallen and carrying them to the gatehouse of Erebor.
Fili walked stiffly away from Dain heading towards the bridge.
Bombur ran out, “Fili!”
Fili was hugged tightly but the overweight Khazad, “Bombur…”
“Thorin lives but he is near death. I’ve been sent for Tauriel and Elrond. Oin says that the injuries are beyond him…we have two elf healers fighting to save him.”
“Kili and Bilbo?” Fili asked nervously.
“They are both well, Kili’s arm is wrapped and it was shattered. Bilbo has been taking care of those he can treat with his claimed meager skill but he took charge in there. He sent some of us for food, blankets and healing supplies; Bilbo really is a healer and a leader in a pinch. He cried when he found someone beyond help…I must find Elrond and Tauriel…”
“Elrond was clearing Dale of Orcs.” Ferumbras offered. “I believe I saw an elf maiden called Tauriel fighting with young ones.”
Bombur was not a fast one by any means but he was hauled up on a pony that belonged to a hobbit and sent off towards Dale.
Fili sheathed his swords and joined Bofur and Bifur along with their hobbit allies carrying injured Khazad-dim to the gatehouse…
Bilbo ran out kissing him after his third trip with an injured Khazad, “Fili oh Fili you’re alive…”
“How is Kili?”
“He’s overseeing the removal of supplies and leading the way to the Hall of Healing. He’s got Balin helping as well. That’s where Oin told Salmar to take Thorin. The elf healer twins followed, they are going to fight for him.”
Bilbo reluctantly let go, “I must go, Oin still needs my help for the less serious cases. I’ll come as soon as I can…”
“When you see Salmar next, tell him I must speak to him…” Fili said pressing Bilbo’s hand before letting him go.
Bilbo promised before scurrying back in to his patients, following pairs of hobbits and Khazad-dim who carried in injured.
Fili knew that the injured were in good hands as he turned to go searching for Dwalin, Nori and Dori. They were who Kili needed to protect him...
Before he left the gate of Erebor, he ordered Bofur and Bifur along with Ferumbras to guard Bilbo, Balin and Kili with their lives.
Dain still made him uneasy; Fili knew he did not fight for Thorin’s sake or for Erebor aside from the possibility of claiming its riches for himself after they did all the work.
Fili was going to make sure that despite Kili’s youth that his brother would remain the nominal head of the ancient family of Durin.
With Balin, Dori, Dwalin, Nori and Salmar supporting Kili as well as himself, Fili believed that Kili’s authority would be solid.
The sooner he had Balin, Dori, Dwalin and Nori in Erebor, the calmer Fili would be…
Fili leapt on one of the hobbit ponies, “I’ll be back!”
He rode first to Dale because it was closer…
Dori and Nori had an uneasy feeling once they were finished clearing the streets of living Orcs…
Bombur hurling towards them made them both uneasy.
Dori called out, “Why are you here? Aren’t you supposed to be with Oin?”
Bombur called as he rode up to them, “Where are Elrond and Tauriel?”
“What’s going on?” Nori snapped.
“Kili’s got a broken arm and Thorin’s on the brink of death.” Bombur snapped, “Now where are Elrond and Tauriel?”
Ori flinched, “Kili? My Kili’s hurt?”
Dori snorted, “It’s war Ori. What about Balin?”
“He got knocked out, Bifur brought him in, said he got hit by a shield. They carried him in just to be safe.”
Dori whistled for his own pony and rode off, “I’ll show you where they were headed.”
Nori stole Ori’s pony, “I’m going after Dwalin! If Thorin’s badly hurt I’ve got to see if Dwalin is alright.”
“I want my pony! I want to see Kili.” Ori pouted.
“Kili’s only got a broken arm, he got out of this relatively unscathed. He was lucky…” Nori muttered. “Kili’s in charge with Thorin hurt. He’ll need Dwalin and me to watch his back. Sorry Ori but Kili comes first with me and he needs Dwalin.” Nori rode back towards the nearest hole in the walls of Dale.
Last he saw Dwalin he was heading off with Thorin, Legolas and Elrohir…
Nori was going to find Dwalin, Mahal help the soldier if he was gravely injured because he would not be pleased.
Chapter 12: Chapter 11- I will fly to hold you, light flutters down on us
Chapter 11- I will fly to hold you, light flutters down on us
Fili felt more at ease when he spotted Nori looking relatively unharmed, aside from being covered with what was likely Orc and Troll blood, riding towards where Uncle Thorin rode off with Dwalin. He spurred his pony faster, calling out as he neared Nori, “Nori! Is Dori alright?”
“He’s taking Bombur to find Elrond and Tauriel. Thorin that ill?”
“He looked bad Nori, really bad…there was blood on his chest that looked like his own because he was stabbed there, his head looked half pulled off and his legs were flattened."
Nori flinched, “Oh Mahal…how can he be alive…”
“Sheer nerve likely.” Fili muttered darkly, “We need Dwalin in Erebor with you to watch Kili’s back. Until Thorin’s dead or healthy, Kili’s in charge temporarily. We both know Dain would do nigh anything to be King of Erebor but he can’t be allowed to kill Kili or Thorin to do so.”
”What about you?” Nori pressed.
“Me? I never wanted to be king in the first place.”
“You’d be a damn good one.” Nori snorted.
“But I would never be free.” Fili said absently, “Free to make my life mine. To bond to my One and live closer to the land and not in a Mountain…”
“I can understand not wanting to live in a mountain…” Nori mused, “Dwalin is enamored of Erebor but I am not. I came because I wanted to ensure Ori’s happiness but he seems to think that mine is not important. Perhaps, that is my fault…I spoilt him. Always bringing him gifts, paying the most of the cost of his apprenticeship to Balin. He is a child in the body of a Khazad grown to adulthood.”
“A pity, Kili needs someone strong. Ori is not used to hardship unlike the rest of us. He was pampered both by you, Dori and Aman…”
They were growing close to where Thorin had led Dwalin with Elrohir and Legolas
To Nori’s slight relief he saw Dwalin on a pony but Elrohir was leading it towards them.
Dwalin looked weary, he was bloody but it was hard to tell that that distance whether he was injured or how badly.
Nori urged his pony faster…
Dwalin rasped, “Thorin?”
“We sent for Elrond and Tauriel…” Fili sighed.
Legolas nodded, “Both are fine healers.”
“I couldn’t get to him…” Dwalin coughed, “Tried but I was surrounded, then I was hit in the head and went down…”
“Bolg?” Fili asked.
“Dead. Legolas finished him off. We both fought him but Legolas finished it. We managed to clear the watch hill.” Elrohir shrugged. "Though most of that was done by a fire bird."
“I’ll take you to the Gate of Erebor where Oin and Bilbo can get a look at you.” Fili said as he turned his borrowed pony towards Erebor.
“Kili?” Dwalin rasped.
“Broken arm, I’ve charged Bofur and Bifur with protecting Bilbo and Kili. Kili is regent until Thorin recovers or is given to the stone. Dain is furious but Kili is Thorin’s heir and he must be protected.” Fili said fiercely.
“Thorin is near death, Kili has a broken arm and you are unharmed.” Elrohir frowned.
Fili shrugged, “Perhaps, Mahal needs me whole for other reasons.”
Nori took the reins of Dwalin’s pony and rode beside his One as they made their way back to Erebor.
Given Dwalin’s size, it was easier to let Elrohir and Legolas lift him from his pony even if it embarrassed the soldier.
Nori then helped Dwalin into Erebor with Legolas and Elrohir with them.
When Fili returned his borrowed pony, he was grateful to see Dori and Bombur returning with Elrond and Tauriel…
Dori was anxious to return to Erebor to protect Kili but with Thorin’s life in the balance it was imperative that Elrond and Tauriel be brought to Erebor.
They found them in the Market place, which was being cleared of Orc corpses.
Dori called out, “Lord Elrond!”
The Master of Imladris turned, “Master Dori, what is the matter?”
“It’s Thorin…he fought Azog…he’s clinging to life. Kalder and Kariel are treating him. They sent Bombur to find you.”
“If Thorin passes to Mandos…” Tauriel whispered.
“Then Kili is King under the Mountain, he is young just barely having reached Adulthood. He was not prepared for it from childhood like Fili…” Dori sighed. “Dain is king if both fall.”
“Dain is a fool.” Elrond snorted, “I would not like to see him King under the Mountain.”
Tauriel and Elrond leapt onto their horses.
“Mama?” Sigrid frowned.
“Any serious cases send to Erebor but treat what you can. We have a serious case there. I will return when I can.” Tauriel informed her daughter.
“Lindir you’re in charge. Halduin and his remaining Galadhrim can search for an appropriate burning place for the Orc corpses. Any too injured for the daughter of Tauriel, bear them to Erebor. We’ll have to see to the dead defenders as well.” Elrond ordered before following Dori and Bombur out of the Dale marketplace.
Fili waited for Dori to bring Elrond and Tauriel…
He maybe righteously angry with Thorin but he had no desire to see an ill-prepared Kili King under the Mountain.
He knew that Bilbo’s skill with healing as meagre as he claimed it to be was needed…
They were going to be apart for some time because Fili would not enter Erebor for any reason…
Fili returned to searching the battlefield for his people, wanting to give any that still lived a chance at a few more years before being given to the stone…
Fili had known too many to perish…
Unkindly, Fili wished that Dain had numbered among the fallen…
If only to know that danger wouldn’t be hanging over his brother from that quarter…
Bilbo was exhausted; he’d been treating injured Khazad-dim, elf and even the rare hobbit for hours...
He treated those he could and called Oin if the injury was beyond him…
Those who had no hope, Bilbo had tired hobbits sing of the Shire to comfort them as well as fires to warm them.
Many had fallen today and more might follow due their injuries.
Bilbo was entirely too forgiving, unlike Fili who was determined to stay mad at Thorin. He hoped that Thorin survived because Eru knew that Kili was too young and unprepared to rule…
He had been up nearly two days when he realized that he’d helped treat all of the injured who had come in.
Oin clasped him on the shoulder, “Go find Fili and rest. We’ve done what we can. It’s up to Mahal now. If I need you I’ll call.”
Leaving Oin to look after all of their injured upset Bilbo but he was tired…
Ferumbras and Bofur caught him as he sagged.
“Bilbo lad, you need food and rest. It’s off to Fili with you now.”
Ferumbras climbed onto a pony and Bofur lifted him up.
Bofur squeezed Bilbo’s hand, “We’ll never forget how hard you worked to heal our brothers.”
Ferumbras held onto an exhausted Bilbo…
They found Fili in a tent made from a blanket talking to Salmar and Gloin, they were all three seated on a bed of pine.
Ferumbras whistled when he neared the tent.
Fili slipped out, “Bilbo?”
Ferumbras lowered Bilbo into Fili’s waiting arms, “Worked himself in quite a state. A bit of food, plenty of sleep and he’ll be right as rain.”
“We’re agreed?” Salmar asked.
Fili nodded, “You can repay Bard on behalf of the refugees of Laketown and Thranduil the stupid jewellry he wanted, I’ll take our share and use mine to buy food from Thranduil and Elrond to see both our people through the winter. I’ll stay long enough to be sure that Bilbo is recovered and Kili is safe then I’ll take what I can”
“I will inform Kili that repayment will be made.” Salmar said rising. “It will be too cold soon for the refugees to remain in ruined Dale. They will have to be moved into Erebor with the hobbits and the surviving Khazad-dim.”
Fili nodded, “The sooner the better.”
Then Fili carried Bilbo into their makeshift tent to tend to his One...
Chapter 13: Chapter 12- Drift in the mist
Chapter 12- Drift in the mist
Yet the ground was too hard to bury those who fell on the plain between Dale and Erebor. The Orcs were burnt far off, the elves carried their dead away with reverence but the humans from Esgaroth had been forced to burn their dead.
Such a sacrifice was praised by those Khazad-dim who relations had to been burned because the number of their fallen brothers and sisters at Azanulbizar and there was no way to give them all to the stone, many said with reverence that so-and-so was burnt there.
The bodies of the fallen Khazad-dim from the battle as well as those whose corpses had lay in Erebor for decades untold were to be prepared to give to the stone. There were many but it must be done…
That and finding accommodations for not only the Khazad-dim who survived the battle but also their prospective hobbit and human guests had to be arranged.
Bilbo after sleeping for a whole day bid a reluctant farewell to Fili and returned to the Hall of Healing to assist Oin.
Soon after Fili left with Legolas and Elrohir to negotiate with Thranduil and Arwen for food…
They had to eat and since Fili was not longer considered a Royal Durin or a prince, he had no need to be too proud to ask for help from elves. Besides, he had money and while Thranduil had seen the only Elves to fall were among his people he had received his jewelry.
Whether the lives were worth the cost in Elvish blood was debatable…
Fili would miss Bilbo but he knew that food and supplies were needed, he had to move quickly before winter sent in to stay…
Kili was Regent Under the Mountain but with the likes of Balin, Dori, Dwalin, Nori and the others as well as Salmar, his brother would be safe…
Fili doubted that any of the Elven Healers would let any Khazad near Thorin until his was healed or dead…
That was good because that meant that he couldn’t be assassinated while he was between life and death…
Mahal look after his friends and family…