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The Hobbit, The Dragon and the Lonely Mountain.

Chapter Text

It began on warm spring morning at the Shire where the Hobbits lived, home to Belle Baggins; a respectable hobbit-maiden with messy chestnut-brown hair that was arranged in a low bun and eyes with the colour of springtime green, she lived in house called Bag End with her adopted nephew: Frodo Baggins, a young hobbit boy with hair as black as raven wings and eyes blue as the clear sky. After they had finished their second breakfast, Frodo went to play on the tree on the roof of Bag End while Belle sat on her garden bench in front of the house reading her book; enjoying their peaceful morning in Hobbiton where nothing unexpected ever happened...until on that fateful morning, a traveller came to the Shire

While Belle was reading her book; a shadow fell across her and she looked up from her book and saw a tall old man with a long grey hair and beard dressed in grey robes and wears a pointy grey hat on his head, in his right hand he held a long staff of brown wood. Belle (who never seen this man before) wondered why this stranger was here at her gate of all places in the Shire, having a quick glance at her nephew (who was still playing in the tree) to make sure he was safely away from this unusual traveller. She greeted him politely. “Good morning, Sir.”

“What do you mean?” The man in grey clarified. “Do you mean to wish me a ‘good morning’ or do you mean that it’s a good morning whether I want it or not?” That was not the answer that Belle had been expecting. Usually anyone who said good morning to someone said good morning back to them. Frodo, who stopped playing in the tree and saw his aunt having a conversation with a tall man that he never seen before. Interested to see what’s going on down at the front garden, he slowly climbed down the tree and made sure he wasn’t seen, lying down on the grassy roof of the house to overhear them. “Or perhaps you feel good on this particular morning.” The man continued. “Or are we simply stating that this is a morning to be good on?”

“All of them at once, I suppose?” Belle answered. The man in grey remained quiet as if he was not satisfied with that answer. Belle puts her book aside next to her on the bench. “Can I help you, Sir?” She asked kindly.

“That remains to be seen,” he mutters to himself and then looked at her in intrigue. “I’m looking for someone to share in an adventure.” He continued.

The word ‘adventure’ caught Frodo’s ears. Whenever his aunt read to him books about adventures, he’s spent most of his time pretending that he was off somewhere else outside the Shire with his aunt on an adventure of their own and he often wondered what it was like outside the borders of the Shire. Maybe he’s about to find out.

Belle on the other hand was astonished by this unexpected request.

“An adventure? Well I don’t imagine anyone west of Bree would have a ridiculous interest in adventures.” Belle replied, stepping up from her garden bench with her book in one hand before heading straight for her post box to collect her letters. “They are such nasty, disturbing and uncomfortable things that make you late for dinner.” She explained while looking through her mail, Belle looked up to see if the man in grey was long gone and on his way to find the person he was searching for. To her ire, he was still where he was. Seeing that he wasn’t going to leave, she decided it was time for her and Frodo to return to the house, and gathered her letters and the book in one hand, before she headed straight for the steps towards Bag End.

“Well…good morning, Sir.” She remarked and bid the farewell to the grey gentleman and was about to call for her nephew, when the man in grey called out to her.

“To think that I should lived to be good morning’d by Belladonna Took’s daughter, as if I were selling buttons at the door!”

This remark made Belle stop in her tracks halfway on the garden steps. How in this good earth did this man know her mother’s name?

“I beg your pardon?”

“You’ve changed,” the man in grey claimed “And entirely for the better, Belle Baggins.” This comment made Belle even more astonished, wondering how he knew her name. She certainly had never mentioned it to him.

“I’m sorry, do I know you?”

“Well you know my name, although you don’t remember I belong to it. I’m Gandalf and Gandalf means…me.” He answered.

The name: Gandalf brought back a memory that Belle had nearly long forgotten: Her Grandfather Took’s annual midsummer’s eve party. Every year, a wandering wizard (who was old friend of the Took family) would come to the Shire and show off his magical fireworks that he made to the party guests, back when Belle was a small fauntling at the time. She couldn’t remember a lot, but she remembered having a little play sword fight with him at the party.

Belle looked upon the grey robed man with recognition. “Gandalf, not Gandalf the wandering wizard who mad such excellent fireworks? Old Took used to have them on midsummer’s eve.” Both Belle and Gandalf laughed merrily at that fond memory. Meanwhile Frodo (who’s still lying on the grass roof of the house) could hardly believe he was hearing. This man before them was a real life wizard like the ones he read about in his books. Without thinking he leaned forward from his hiding place to get a better view of the wizard.

Then Gandalf had notice the young black-haired hobbit boy (who was staring at him with awe) coming out slightly from his hiding place on the roof; he gave the child a warm smile.

“Now who is this young hobbit?” Belle (who nearly forgot that Frodo is with them) looked in Gandalf’s way.

“Frodo Baggins!” Belle scolded at Frodo “some people don’t like to eaves dropped on. Now come down from there before you’ll fall.” Frodo got up from his hiding place and quickly made his way to where his aunt and the wizard are standing. “Come say hello to Mr Gandalf.” Frodo could hardly contain himself with excitement of meeting a wizard.

“Can you show your magic, Mr. Gandalf?!” He blurted out.

“Frodo!” Belle scolded at her over-excited nephew. “Now that’s a bit rude to ask someone without saying the magic word! Now say hello, and properly this time!" Frodo felt a bit ashamed by his behaviour, so he correctly introduced himself and held out his hand for a handshake.

“Hello Mr. Gandalf, pleased to meet you.” Gandalf smiled kindly at this shy boy, and knelt down, and taking his small hand in his huge ones with a gentle grip and shook it.

“And it’s a nice to meet you too, Frodo Baggins.”

Feeling a bit better, Frodo asked him again if he would perform a bit of magic for him and he made sure to say please this time. Gandalf went quiet as he looked down upon Frodo with a glared look that made Frodo stepped back to his aunt, feeling a little timid that he might have upset Gandalf, being a wizard that he might turn Frodo into something unnatural.

Then all of a sudden; a cluster of loud bangs and colourful star like sparks appeared out of nowhere.

Frodo and Belle are surrounded by small fireworks.

They both jumped by this sudden explosion, but were struck with wonder and amazement at the display. Frodo let out a happy cheer as Gandalf looked at them with a delightful chuckle. After everything had calm down a bit; Belle gentle nudges Frodo to say thank you to Gandalf. Frodo (whose bright blue eyes stilled sparkled with such delight) gave Gandalf a big hug.

“Oh thank you, thank you so much, Mr. Gandalf!” Gandalf gave a heartfelt chuckle “You’re very welcome, my dear boy.” And he ruffled Frodo’s raven-black hair with his big hand.

Belle was still flustered, after being startled by these sudden fireworks, but thought it was wonderful.

“That’s quite a remarkable show, Gandalf. You certainly know how to impress the children.” Belle complimented, “I have no idea you were still in business.” This comment made Gandalf look up.

“And where else should I be?” Gandalf challenged with one raised grey eyebrow. Belle hesitated and said nothing, but then he continued. “Well I’m pleased you remembered something about me, even if it’s only my fireworks. Yes well, that’s decided.” Belle was perplexed by this confident confirmation, wondering he meant, she asked.

“I’m sorry but what’s decided?” But Gandalf stilled continued while smiling confidently.

“It’ll be very good for you and most amusing for me.” Belle was getting more muddled until he added “I shall inform the others.”

“Inform who-?” That’s when she realized he’s still on about that adventure request. “No, no, no wait. We do not want any adventures here, not today. Not tomorrow.” As she tried to correct him she pulled Frodo along to the newly painted green front door. “I suggest you try over the hill or across the water so…good morning!” Frodo was sorry that Gandalf had to go so he gave Gandalf a quick wave goodbye.

“Bye Mr. Gandalf, please come again soon.” As he said this, Belle pulled him inside and closed the door. Outside, Gandalf showed off an amusing mischief smile and set to work on a spell.

Meanwhile inside the house, Belle let out a sigh of relief as she locked the door, Frodo looked up to his aunt with unease.

“Auntie Belle, are you alright?” Belle looked down at him and gently smiled tells him.

“I’m fine Frodo my lad, now I need you to go to your room and get your coat. We need to get the market to get some supplies for our dinner.” Frodo was about to walk down to the tunnel when he turned and gave her a longing look on his face and asked.

“Will we see Gandalf again, Aunt Belle?” Belle didn’t want to disappoint him.

“Well… we’ll see.” She finally said. Happy with that answer, Frodo went to his room. As Belle was about to move from the door, she suddenly heard a strange sound. The noise sounded like a small scratching sound against the wood (what Belle was hearing was Gandalf outside of the green door scratching a glowing Rune mark spell on the newly painted door with a nail at the end of his staff.) and Belle went to the small window by her door to look outside.

Without warning, the face of Gandalf appeared outside the window with a quick flash. Jumping away from the small window with fright, Belle hid herself from the window and waited for a few seconds to calm down, then went to her main window that was near the kitchen and saw Gandalf leaving from the gate and going on his way. This made Belle a bit guilty, that she had made him leave after he made her nephew happy with that small firework show, but she felt relieved that there would be no more talk of this adventure nonsense and that was that…

Or so she thought.

Chapter Text

Night fell over the Hobbiton, lamps flickering in the dark as many of the hobbits were trying to get back to their cosy little houses; a delicious supper waiting for them at their tables and a hot blaze from the fire place to keep their lovely homes warm this evening. Most hobbits spent their evenings roaring with laughter and singing their hearts out while having tankards of ale in theThe Green Dragon inn.

In Bag End, Belle was preparing dinner for her and Frodo. As she did this, she thought about Gandalf and shook her head. Adventure indeed!! Unknown to her, however, outside on the door the rune mark glowed in the moonlight.

Belle who was freshly washed, with her hair in lose plait and wearing her nightgown and a patchwork dressing gown, could hear the distant sounds of the hobbits having a great booze-up, cheerful laughter and the loud singing coming from The Green Dragon. The sound always made her smile amusingly as she’s cooked fish for supper while Frodo finished his bath.

At last the fish were cooked, and, while very carefully holding the handle of the frying pan with one hand and a wooden spoon in the other, Belle placed the two fried fish on each plate with chopped carrots, roast potatoes and a small herb salad. The food was placed on the candle lit kitchen table.

“Frodo!” She called. ”Supper’s ready!”

An echo of tiny footsteps came running through the hallway and Frodo appeared through the doorway; clean, dry and in nightclothes. He headed straight to his chair. Belle helped tied a napkin around Frodo’s neck, before she went to her chair and starts to add the seasonings to the fishes.

Just when Belle dripped the lemon juice all over the fish, the doorbell rang. Belle and Frodo stopped what they are doing and looked down the corridor to the front door.

"Who could that be?" She thought strangely, she wasn’t expecting any visitors.

“Frodo, stay here.” She advised him. “I’ll go see who it is.” Frodo did as he was told as Belle got up from the kitchen table and cautiously went to the front door.

She hesitated before opening the door, and there, standing outside, was a fearsome looking dwarf dressed in fur and a travel cloak with with a bristly bushy beard and hair and rune tattoos on his hands and on the bald part of his head, battle scars on his right eyebrow and the bridge of his huge nose.

Belle’s eye widened with surprise by this unexpected visitor.

“Dwalin, at your service!” the dwarf said in a deep gruff voice as he bowed to her.

Belle grew flustered and a bit embarrassed that her dressing gown was open and she quickly tied her dressing gown tightly to cover herself up. “Um… Belle Baggins at yours.” She replied and curtsy.

Dwalin stepped halfway through the doorway, Belle wasn’t sure of having this barbarian dwarf in her home and with Frodo in the kitchen. “Um excuse me, Sir… do we know each other?” she asked him. He looked at her oddly and answered.

“No.” he went into the house while taking off his worn travel cloak, Belle swallowed when she saw that he had two battle axes strapped on his back.

“Which way, Lassie?” He asked her as he searched down the hallway. “Is it down here?”

“Is what down where?”

Dwalin turned to her and simply replied “Supper.” And threw his travel cloak to her to hang up, he walked passed her to find the kitchen himself. “He said there’ll be food and lots of it.” He continued.

“He-he said? …who said?” Belle asked him, confused about what is strange dwarf was talking about, she noticed that he’s heading straight for the kitchen when she realised that her dinner and Frodo are waiting in the kitchen and she rush after the dwarf to stop him.

Frodo was enjoying his dish when heard some very heavy footsteps coming to towards the kitchen and then he saw a dwarf entering the room, Frodo’s eyes widened with astonishment.

“Whoa!” He exclaimed, having only read about dwarves in the books. This dwarf was the first one he had ever actually seen.

The dwarf continued in and saw the small boy sitting at the table looking at him with wide eyes as if he was a giant. He grinned at the little halfling with amusement. “Well hello there laddie.” Dwalin chuckled. “Who might ye be?” Frodo stared, flushed slightly.

“I’m Frodo Baggins, pleased to meet you Master… ?” He held out his hand to the dwarf for a handshake. Dwalin took the tiny hand in a firm grip, being careful not to crush the boy’s hand and shake it.

“Dwalin at your service, Master Baggins.” Dwalin went round the table to sit in Belle’s place where the food was placed and Frodo began to ask him some questions about dwarves and Dwalin grinned at him taking a liking to the boy.

Belle came into the kitchen inhaling sharply at the sight of Dwalin was sitting in her chair and eating her supper. She glanced at Frodo, under disbelief that he would have been scared of the battle worn dwarf, but saw that he wasn’t. In fact he was having a cheerful conversation with the dwarf about his life and where he had come from.

He must have wanted to know about the dwarves he read about in his books.” She thought as she sat at the back, watching Dwalin and Frodo enjoying themselves with her supper.

“This is very good. Anymore?” Dwalin asked, his mouth full. Belle thought this dwarf has no manners and nearly missed what he inquires.

“What? Oh yes, yes let’s see.” She found the freshly baked scones that she and Frodo made early in the day on the window and sneakily took two for her and Frodo, before she placed the plate down in front of her guest. “Here we are, Frodo and I made them this afternoon, help yourself.” She said kindly. As soon as the plate hit the table, Dwalin began to wolf down the scones. Belle thought it might be best to explain to the dwarf that there’s been a little misunderstanding. “Um excuse me… Sir, there seem to be a little mix-up.” Belle tried to explain without upsetting him. “You see the thing is um…it’s just that we weren’t exactly expecting company.” Before she could explain any further however, the doorbell rang again Belle looked up startled and Dwalin gazed up at her.

“That’ll be the door.” He said matter-of-factly.

“Um… would you excuse me for a moment?” She excused herself “Frodo stay with Mr. Dwalin please while I’ll go see who’s at the door.”

“Yes Auntie Belle.” Frodo obeyed and went on asking Dwalin more questions about the dwarves, while his aunt went to open the front door again. Belle sighed before she pulled the door and was baffled at what she saw. Another dwarf standing outside; the dwarf this time was a friendly looking grandfather type, with snow-white hair and long beard that curled separately at each end and he wore deep crimson red robes.

“Balin.” He introduced himself. “At your service, Milady.” He added and he bowed to her.

“Good Evening.” She greeted in puzzlement.

“Yes, yes it is.” He said as he looked up at the starlit night sky. “Though I think it may rain later.” He continued as he went through the doorway. “Am I late?” Balin asked.

“Late for what, exactly?” Belle questioned him becoming even more puzzled. But Balin didn’t answer her; his attention was drawn by the small noise in the living room and saw to his amusement, Dwalin with help from Frodo, who was next to him eating a biscuit, tried to get the rest of biscuits from a glass jar from the mantle of the fireplace.

“Oh ha ha, evening brother.” Balin greeted Dwalin. Dwalin looked up with his hand in the opened jar to see his older brother coming forward from the hall way leaving the hobbit lass by the open door. He handed the biscuit jar to Frodo and went to welcome his brother.

“Oh, by my beard!” Dwalin chuckled. “You’re shorter and wider than last we met.” “Wider, not shorter.” Balin claimed as Belle looked out of the door to see if there are any more uninvited guests. “Sharp enough for both of us.” he teased and gave a wink. They both laughed and grabbed each other’s shoulders as if they about to give a bear hug, Belle came over to them quietly and Frodo looked at them with awe.

And then ‘CRACK!’

Both the dwarves head butted each other very hard with a loud thud that made Frodo and Belle jump. But both the dwarves laughed and don’t seem to be harmed of what they did.

“Um... Doesn’t that hurt?” Belle asked nervously.

“Are you both alright?” Frodo asked with concern.

Balin Looked at Belle. “It’s our people’s way of greeting each other.” He explained and gazed down at the young Hobbit with a friendly smile. “And no it doesn’t hurt us, Laddie because we have very thick skulls.”

“Wow!” Frodo exclaim. Dwalin gave young lad’s hair a ruffle with a chuckle.

Belle couldn’t understand why these dwarves are in her house and Frodo being friendly with them and decided to give them an explanation of this mistake.

“Uh, excuse me, gentlemen?" Belle tried to explain to them. “Sorry I hate to interrupt. But I’m not entirely sure you’re in the right house.”

But they did not even bother to listen to her and ask Frodo if there’s a pantry in the house, Frodo guided them to where it is just across from the dining room.

As Dwalin and Balin began looking through the pantry with Frodo standing by the doorway, Belle followed them. “It’s not that I don’t like visitors.” She continued. “I like visitors as much as the next hobbit. But I do like to know them before they come visiting.”

“The thing is… I don’t know either of you.” Belle carried on as Dwalin threw the blue cheese over his shoulder and across the room; Belle pulled Frodo out of the cheese’s way and looked after it. ”Not in the slightest. I don’t mean to be blunt.” Belle said firmly, “but I have to speak my mind. I’m sorry.”

The dwarves stop chattering and turned to look at her as she clear her voice thinking she made her point.

They paused for a moment and then, “Apology accepted.” Balin simply said.

Belle was taken back, clearly they haven’t listened to a word she said and they carried on talking to each other.

Once again the doorbell rang again, Belle looked in disbelief, and she thought there’d be no more visitors coming to her house. She went back to the door, Frodo following her, Belle opened the door and saw this time not one dwarf but two of them standing outside the door and she gave a whimper.

Oh no not more of them!” She thought. The two dwarfs looked young and were good looking; one was blond with his beard in braids and carried many weapons with him. The other who was dark-haired with a stubble beard carried a bow with arrows in his quiver.

“Fili.” The blonde dwarf introduced. “And Kili.” The dark-haired dwarf presented. “At your service.” They said together, and it was immediately clear that the two are brothers.

“You must be the lovely Miss Boggins.” Kili declared with a grin.

His blunder of saying the wrong surname made Frodo snigger. But Belle didn’t find that amusing because she had enough of dwarves for one night.

“Nope!” She erupted with frustration. “You can’t come in. You’ve come to the wrong house!” She tried to shut the door on them, but Kili stopped it dead and push it back open to stand in the doorway.

“What?! Has it been cancelled?” Kili asked in uncertainty.

“No one told us.” Fili joined in.

Belle was about to respond to them, but Frodo told them without thinking and before Belle could stop him. “No, Master Dwarf, nothing’s been cancelled.” This made Belle put her hands to her face in defeat.

“That’s a relief.” Kili said to the young hobbit gratefully as he heads into the house with Fili following his younger brother and turn to Belle. “Be careful with these, love.” Fili advised Belle as he handed her an armful of his fairly sharpened weapons. “I just had them sharpened.” The weapons in her arms were heavier then she thought and being careful with them she advised Frodo not to go near them or he’d cut himself. Kili was looking round the house inspecting it’s surroundings.

“It’s nice, this place.” Kili complemented. “Did you do it yourself?” Belle turned her head halfway to answer him.

“What? Oh no, it’s been in the family for years.” Belle explained with an armful of weapons that Fili kept piling up from different places on his person. Frodo remained careful as he helped his aunt by carrying the smallest of the weapons.

Belle noticed a scrapping sound and turned to see Kili wiping his muddy boots carelessly on her mother’s glory-box making her gasp in horror of how this idiot could do such a thing to her mother’s box of precious things. “Hey!” She scolded at Kili with a tone to make him jump. “That’s my mother’s glory-box! Can you please not do that?” This made Kili stop what he’s doing by that Mother’s cross tone that made him a bit scared and he immediately obey her command.

Dwalin came into the hallway a few moments later.

“Fili, Kili come on, give us a hand.”

“Mr. Dwalin.” The boys greeted him and Balin as they entered the dining room with Belle and Frodo following them with weapons in their arms, Balin carefully took the little weapons from Frodo so there’d be no danger of injury on the poor lad. Frodo was grateful because they were getting heavy for him. “Shove this in the hallway.” Balin instructed to Dwalin, Fili and Kili as they moved the furniture. “Otherwise we’ll never get everyone.”

Belle was horrified by Balin unexpectedly mentions ‘everyone’. No surely not more of them were coming to her house at this time of night?

“‘Everyone’?” Belle asked in alarm of having more dwarves in her peaceful home. “How many more are there?” Just after she asked this question, the doorbell rang for the fourth time and this was the last straw for Belle Baggins, as she looked down the hallway to the door, she had just about enough of this poppycock.

“Oh no. No, no, there nobody home!” She called out to the door in frustration, with Frodo following her at her heels as she headed to it and she recklessly threw down the weapons in the corner, picking up a frying pan on the way to make these intruders leave. “Go away and bother somebody else! There’s far too many dwarves in my dining room as it is!”

She and Frodo almost at the front door once again. “If this is some Clot-head’s idea of a joke?!” She continued and laughed sarcastically as she reached the door, Frodo stepped back from his aunt, never having seen her losing her temper like this before and was a little bit nervous of her.

“I can only say; it is in very poor taste!” As she opened the door, with a frying pan in her hand up and ready, a bundle of eight dwarves tumbled over through the doorway and into a jumbled pile on the floor. Frodo and Belle were dumbfounded by these many dwarves that are having trouble untangling themselves.

Their eyes were now drawn to another figure behind the dwarves; a very tall figure bent down to the level of the door and they saw who it is.

“MR. GANDALF!” Frodo cried out happily of seeing the wizard again, climbed over the pile of dwarves and leaped to hug Gandalf, Gandalf laughed merrily as he caught Frodo just in time and gave the little fellow a hug in return, before his gaze rested upon his aunt who, in contrast, did not seem happy.

“Gandalf.” Belle groaned, who now understood who was behind of the dwarves coming to her house.

Chapter Text

Gandalf came into the house with Frodo in his arms, while his aunt who lowered the frying pan to her hip. The dwarves for their part, tried to straighten out themselves out from the floor they had fallen and once they managed to get themselves sorted and back to standing, Gandalf introduce them to the hobbits.

The first two dwarfs are Óin and Glóin who were brothers, the oldest: Óin who is a fortune teller and healer of dwarves. He had grey long hair, a hawk nose, his beard is braided in the middle and split and curled at each end like ram horns but upside down.

His younger brother Glóin, in contrast, had flaming red hair with small cylinder beads woven in his red beard and a bulbous nose

The next dwarves were two brothers; Bofur and Bombur and their cousin, Bifur. Bofur was a dwarf, who worked at mines, and wore a funny-looking hat with a goatee beard and a long curled moustache. His brother: Bombur was a dwarf who loved food and cooking, and it showed in the girth of his stomach with his beard braided in a loop like a hairy necklace.

Their cousin: Bifur, was a toy making dwarf who had an Orc axe embedded in his forehead and only spoke Dwarvish, possibly from the accident on his head.

The last three dwarves were all brothers. The oldest of them was Dori who was a silvery greyed haired dwarf with multiple braids in his hair and a small braid woven in his beard.

The second brother was Nori; a light-brown haired dwarf with his beard braided into three parts, reminiscent of a starfish.

Finally, there's Ori, who was the youngest of the brothers and was a gentle kind dwarf who skills are knitting and sketching.

"We are all at your service." They all said together as they greeted Belle and went to find the others that had arrived before them, with Gandalf and Frodo in his arms following them.

Belle had no choice but to let them in and go and change out of her nightwear, for it wasn't respectable to wear such attire around guests. When she came back into the hallway; wearing a light tan blouse and tying the laces of her brown corset dress, she couldn't believe her eyes. All of the dwarves were busy chattering away while raiding her pantry of the food stored in there.

"Excuse me, that's my chicken," Belle exclaimed as Bombur walked passed by with the chicken. Then she caught Bifur with a ceramic churn of wine in his arm. "If – if you don't-. " She called out as she stopped him. "That's my wine, excuse me!" When Bifur turned to her, he started speaking Dwarvish to her as he pointed the axe in his head. But she couldn't understand what he's saying,

"He's got an injury," Óin explained it to her.

"What you mean the axe in his head?" Belle asked him.

"Dead?" He misheard as he held up his ear trumpet to hear her. "No, only between his ears, his legs work fine." She groaned in response turning back around to try and stop them.

More and more dwarves kept going past her with more food from the pantry and into the dining room. "Put those back, put that back!" She kept telling them as they walked past her. "Put that back!" She called a bit louder. But they just kept on going without listening to her.

"Excuse me. Excuse me. It's a tad excessive isn't it?" She enquired after seeing Bombur went past her with an armful of three round wheels of cheese. "Have you got a cheese knife?"

"Cheese knife," Bofur asked as he went by her. "He eats it by the block."

"Ugh," Belle exclaimed with disgust. Then she saw the other dwarves coming into the dining room with some of the antique chairs that belonged to her family for years.

Meanwhile, in the dining room, Gandalf was helping the dwarves arrange the plates on the dinner table with some help from Frodo who showed them where the plates, tankards and serving dishes are kept.

"Excuse me Mr Gandalf?" Dori asked politely carrying a pot of tea on a tray with two mugs.

"Yes," Gandalf inquired as he turned to Dori.

"May I tempt you with a cup of chamomile?" Dori offered as he poured the tea.

"Oh no thank you, Dori," Gandalf declined politely. "A little red wine for me, I think."

Dori went off to find some, while Gandalf entered the hallway, nearly knocking into the dwarves and knocking his head on the candle chandelier on the ceiling.

"Ah, Fíli, Kíli," He found them going past him carrying a barrel of ale into the kitchen with Frodo guiding them.

"Óin, Glóin, Dwalin, Balin," Gandalf continued to count as they got by and trying to remember the ones who are here. "Bifur, Bofur, Bombur, Dori, Nori and…"

He paused for a moment trying to find the twelfth and found him with Belle trying to take back her prize-winning tomatoes she grew in the garden from him. "Ori!"

Then Bifur came up to Gandalf and spoke to him in Dwarvish and patted his left arm. Gandalf, who understood the dwarvish language, he knew exactly what Bifur was talking about. "Yes, you're quite right, Bifur, We appear to be one dwarf short."

"He is late that's all," Dwalin explained while nursing a tankard of ale. "He travelled north to a meeting of our kin. He will come."

Once again Dori came up to Gandalf holding two glasses of red wine. "Mr Gandalf?" Gandalf turned to him. "A little glass of red wine as requested." He presented the small cork-size glass goblet to Gandalf. "It's got a fruity bouquet."

Gandalf gladly accepts the glass. "Oh, cheers." And drank the whole tiny glassful in just one sip.

All of the food that was in the pantry was now on the dining room table. The dwarves were having an entertaining feast, cheering loudly as Bombur caught food thrown at him. They even started throwing food at each other and making such a mess.

Belle looked at this obnoxious party and went to look at her pantry that was now completely stripped of all the food that's stored in there for the whole year, now gone and nothing left.

Back in the dining room, Belle watched as Fíli with no care for the dining table walked over the food passing tankards of ale to each dwarf. And the count of three they all gulped down the ale dribbling down their beards to who will finish first. Then they went to burping contest and Ori seemed to be the winner.

"That's Disgusting," Belle thought with annoyance and felt like tearing up her hair as clearly these dwarves had absolutely no table manners.

Then she felt a pull on her skirt and looked down to see Frodo smiling with the two scones in his hands that he found in her dressing gown and gave one to her. Belle smiled sweetly at her nephew for his thoughtfulness and took her scone and they both have a quiet little feast of their own.

After everyone finished their banquet, they began wandering around the house. Belle caught Nori about to wash his goblet with her doily as she and Frodo followed him into the kitchen.

"Excuse me, that is a doily," Belle clarified to Nori and snatched the doily from him, "not a dishcloth."

Bofur, who was also in the kitchen standing by the fireplace with Dwalin sitting with his boots on the kitchen table while they drank their tankards of ale, watched them and took a look at the cloth in her hand.

"But it's full of holes," Bofur remarked.

"It's supposed to look like that," Belle explained to him as she showed him the cloth. "It's crochet."

"Oh, and a wonderful game it is too" Bofur said incorrectly mistaken the knitting for a ball game, "if you got the balls for it."

"No, no, crochet, Mr Bofur," Frodo clarified to Bofur to make him understand, "not croquet, crochet is a sort of type of knitting."

Belle felt like she's about to explode by the vulgar of these dwarves.

"Be bother and confiscate these dwarves!" she raged under breath as she went to place the doily on the kitchen dresser.

Then Gandalf came into the kitchen to see Belle under deep stress.

"My dear, Belle," Gandalf asked with concern. "What on earth is the matter?"

"What's the matter?" She asked sarcastically to Gandalf. "I'm surrounded by dwarves. What are they doing here?"

"Oh, they're quite a merry gathering," Gandalf said with amusement. "Once you get use to them."

"I don't want to get use to them!" Belle protested through her clenched teeth.

"Look at the state of my kitchen. There's mud trod on the carpet." Belle complained as she directed him back to the hallway between the pantry and the dining room. "They've pillaged the pantry. I'm not even going to tell you what they have done in the bathroom; they all but destroyed the plumbing. I don't understand what they're doing in my house!" Belle shouted, and then let out a long sigh as she put her hands to her face in frustration.

Frodo felt sorry for his poor auntie Belle of what she's going through and gave her cuddle to make her feel better. Belle lifted Frodo in her arms to return the little hug, with Gandalf watching them with a little bit of pity.

"Excuse me, I'm sorry to interrupt," Ori said politely as he came up to Belle with Frodo in her arms in the hallway. "But what should I do with my plate?" He asked her showing his plate.

"Well, at least this dwarf has some manners." Belle thought she was about to tell him to put the dirty dishes in the kitchen sink. But Fíli came in.

"Here you go, Ori. Give it to me." He insisted as he took the plate from Ori, then without warning he threw the plate at Gandalf's way, who moved out of the way and Kíli who was behind him caught the plate in mid-air and threw it like a discus to Bifur in the kitchen and caught it and started washing the plate.

The other dwarves in the dining room started throwing the plates, bowls and other dinner sets to Fíli to pass on to Kíli and then to Bifur. Belle was shocked by this irresponsible handling the pottery and was worried that they might drop them. Frodo couldn't believe his eyes of seeing such amazing skill with the pottery.

"Excuse me!" She called to them to stop them. "That's my mother's West Farthing pottery." Then the dwarves started kicking the bowls about like football.

"It's over a hundred years old!" Belle squealed with panic as Kíli kicked the bowl high in the air and into the kitchen. Fíli used his elbows to bounce the bowl and throw them to his brother.

In the dining room, Belle heard a rhythm of chink, chink and a stomp, stomp sounds and saw, to her dismay, that dwarves were clashing the knives and forks at each other, stomping their feet under the table and banging their fists on top of the table.

"And can you not do that?" She asked sternly with displeasure to cease this hullabaloo. "You'll blunt them!"

"Ooh, do you hear that lads?" Bofur cheekily teased as they carried on chinking and stomping. "She says we'll blunt the knives."

The stomping of feet and chink of the cutlery gained such rhythm music the dwarves started to sing as they tossed the dishes.

Blunt the knives and bend the forks,

Smash the bottles and burn the corks.

Chip the glasses and crack the plates.

That's what Belle Baggins hates!

As they sang this obnoxious song, Bifur got out a tub to wash the rest of the dishes with, while the others handed over Ori a handful pile of plates, dishes, bowls and a tankard, making the pile turn into a tower of dirty dishes, while they kicked the rest of the tankards to Nori to pass to Bifur to wash up.

Cut the cloth, tread the fat,

Leave the bones on the bedroom mat,

Pour the milk on the pantry floor,

Splash the wine on every door!

Ori very carefully made his way to the kitchen with the towering dishes in his hands while Belle and Frodo watched with mouths wide open.

More and more dishes, bowls, mugs, cups and cutlery are thrown, tossed, kicked and tumbled into the kitchen by the dwarves, Kíli threw a large fork at Bifur that made Frodo and Belle gasp in fright; luckily he caught it just in time.

Dump the crocks in the boiling bowl,

Pound them up with a thumping pole,

When you've finished, if any are whole,

Send them down the hall to roll!

Bombur was in charge of cleaning away the scraps of food from the plates and eating them, all the rest of the dwarves carried on with throwing the bowls and plates as they sang they even got the instruments out to play music.

Balin helped too with the plate tossing with Fíli catching them in the background as they went.

Gandalf watched with amusement as he smoked his pipe making shapes out of smoke as the bowls went past him. The dwarves played their musical instruments with Bofur with his flute and Óin playing with the teapot as they bounced the plates and dishes. Then they kicked the last of the dishes into the kitchen.

Then all of the dwarves head for the kitchen with Belle and Frodo following behind them, Belle was getting furious and goes to the kitchen expecting the dishes to be damaged.

That's what Belle Baggins hates!

As soon as they finished the song, Belle pushed past them and saw to her astonishment; the plates, bowls, mugs, cups and cutlery are all safe washed and not a chip or crack in sight.

All of the dwarves and Gandalf roared with laughter at the look on her face, they had gotten her all worried for nothing. Belle didn't find it very amusing, crossed her arms and shook her head at them.

Then all of a sudden, three loud knocks were heard from the door. This made the dwarves go absolutely quiet as they all look towards the front door in silence. Even Belle and Frodo looked at the door with curiosity.

"He's here," Gandalf said in a serious voice.

"Another one?!" Belle cried out. "Oh no." she groaned and hid her face in defeat as Frodo and Ori comfort her.

Chapter Text

Everyone gathered round the front door as Gandalf began to open it, Belle and Frodo tried to see who was at the door, but the dwarves were blocking their view, but soon after they heard his voice.

“Gandalf.” The stranger greeted Gandalf in a gruff voice. “I thought you said this place will be easy to find.” He came into the hallway and greeted his fellow company as they bowed slightly to him.

“He must be very important person.” Belle thought as she observed the dwarves in front of her as they bowed.

“I lost my way… twice.” He told Gandalf as he takes off his travel cloak. “I wouldn’t have found it at all had it not been that mark on the door.”

What he said caught Belle’s attention.

“Mark? There’s no mark on that door.” She claimed as she pushed past the dwarves to get to her door with Frodo at her heels and tried to look at the door for the so-called mark.

“We painted it a week ago.” But Gandalf closed the door before Belle could take a proper look.

“There is a mark.” Gandalf admitted as he turned from the door to face her. “I put it there myself this morning.” Belle looked upon Gandalf with aggravation as she crossed her arms, finally realizing what caused the scratching noise on the door this morning. Frodo went next to Belle to get a closer look at the new dwarf.

“Belle Baggins,” Gandalf announced. “Allow me to introduce the leader of the company: Thorin Oakenshield.” Belle turned to the latest guest to see him clearly.

This new dwarf was different from the others; he was more of a majestic sort of dwarf. Quite tall and dressed in deep blue tunic with a belt with buckle that look like a diamond symbol and a travel coat trimmed with dark grey fur and on each hand bore silver rings. Long slightly wavy dark brunette hair that reach his shoulder blades with a few strands of silvery grey hair and a few braids, close cropped beard and pale blue eyes of a wolf.

“How do you do, Mr. Oakenshield.” Belle politely greeted him as she curtsies.

“So…” Thorin said in a deep and baritone voice as he looked upon Belle. “This is the Hobbit.”

The sound of his voice sent shivers down Belle’s spine; she couldn’t help but feel a little intimidated by him.

“Gandalf, why didn’t you told me that our burglar would be a woman?” Thorin demanded before spotting the small Black-haired hobbit boy with bright blue eyes next to the lass. “And not to mention she has a son.”

“Frodo Baggins is her nephew, Thorin.” Gandalf clarified to Thorin. “The reason why I didn’t tell you that Hobbit is a woman, is because you would have refused to hire her. Also I didn’t know Frodo was living with her until this morning.” Gandalf explain as he looked down at Frodo who was in awe of this warrior-like dwarf. Thorin looked displeased.

“Tell me Miss Baggins?” Thorin questioned as he started to circle around her as he inspects her, inspecting her. She felt as though she was the rabbit being hunted by a wolf. “Have you done much fighting?”

“Pardon me?” Belle asked not sure if she heard correctly.

“Axe or sword?” He continued, coming round to face her. “What’s your weapon of choice?”

“Weapons?” Belle thought with disbelief. “Who does he think I am; a warrior?”

“Well I do have some skills with my frying pan, if you must know.” Belle answered suspiciously, causing some of the dwarves snigger. “But I fail to see why that’s relevant.”

“Thought as much.” Thorin predicted and turned to his fellow company. “She looks more like a housekeeper than a burglar.” Thorin smirked and the dwarves laughed at the remark.

“I BEG YOUR PARDON?!” She exclaimed out loud. “What did you just call me?” But Thorin didn’t answer her; his company led him towards the dining room, leaving Belle, Frodo and Gandalf in the hallway in silence.

“Such rudeness.” Belle thought with infuriation and her arms crossed as watched the company with Mr. Pig-headedness. Then she noticed how late it was from the clock on the fireplace.

“Gandalf, I’m just going to put Frodo to bed.” Belle informed Gandalf as he was about to join the others. “I’ll be right back.”

“But I want to stay up, Auntie Belle.” Frodo begged, looking up at Belle with pleading eyes.

“No, Frodo.” Belle ordered with a gentle tone. “It’s late and I’m not sure how long these dwarves will be staying, but we’ll find out in the morning. Now come along, Frodo it’s time for bed. Say goodnight to Gandalf.”

Frodo went up to Gandalf and gave him a goodnight hug and Gandalf headed for the dining room to join the dwarves, while Frodo went with Belle to his room.

Frodo hopped into bed and Belle tuck in the covers around him and sat with him for a while and stroked his soft curled hair.

“I’m going to join our guests.” Belle whispered to Frodo. “Now go to sleep. Good night, Frodo.”

“Good night, Belle.” Frodo murmured under the covers as Belle gently kissed his forehead and blew out the candle on the night stand by his bed, then she stepped out of the room and closing the door lightly behind her.

As soon as he heard the door clicked, Frodo leaped out of bed and headed towards his bedroom door, slowly tiptoeing out of his room and following his aunt behind her in the shadow as she heads to the dining room. He hid outside both the pantry room and dining room and started to listen to the conversation going on in the dining room.

Belle headed back towards the dining room where everyone and Gandalf are everything had calmed down now and the table lit by candles and each dwarf including the wizard had a tankard of ale. She just got there when she heard them discussing something.

“What news from the meeting in Ered Luin?” Balin asked Thorin, sitting at the head of the table eating stew the dwarves managed to save for their leader along with a tankard of ale. “Did they all come?”

“Aye.” Thorin answered with satisfaction. “Envoys from all seven kingdoms.”

The dwarves gave a little cheer of such news.

“And what did the dwarves of the Iron Hills say?” Dwalin asked. “Is Dain with us?”

Thorin gave a long pause; he didn’t want to disappoint his company the bad news he got from the Iron Hill dwarves.

“They will not come.” Thorin answered with regret. “They said this quest is ours and ours alone.” Thorin concluded.

“A Quest?”That word caught Belle attention, remembering the conversation with Gandalf from this morning. “Was this what he meant when he was talking about adventures?”

Even Frodo became more interested when they mentioned quest. He moved a bit closer to the doorway to get better hearing and made sure he stayed hidden in the shadows.

“You’re going on a quest?” Belle asked and all eyes turned to her.

“Belle, my dear girl, let us have a little more light.” Gandalf requested.

Belle immediately went to the pantry to find a candle and a tinderbox to light it. When she came back Gandalf was opening up a piece of parchment paper.

“…Far to the East, over ranges and rivers.” Gandalf was remarking he placed the unfolded parchment on the table in front of Thorin. “Beyond woodlands and wastelands, lies a single, solitary peak.” He continued as he pointed the images of the parchment.

Belle leaned forward, looking over Thorin shoulder to see what they’re looking at, being careful with the candle trying not to catch Thorin’s hair. The parchment was a map, written in westron and in ancient runes and showing a mountain with a drawing of a flying red dragon on top of the peak.

“The Lonely Mountain.” She read slowly out loud, Thorin looked over his shoulder to see her and he gently took the candle from her and as he did so, their fingers brushed against each other.

Belle felt the roughness of his callused fingertips brushing against her in a seductive way that she couldn’t help but shiver by the contact. It was the same with Thorin; never had he felt such soft skin. But they quickly shook the moment off and pulled away Thorin putting the candle on the table as Belle made her way back into the pantry to put away the tinderbox. Gandalf and Balin witnessed the moment and shared a secret smile as Gandalf lit his pipe by a magic flame from his forefinger, listening to the dwarves discuss about the Lonely Mountain.

“Aye, Óin has read the portence and the portence say it is time.” Glóin reported.

“Ravens have been seen flying back to the mountain as it was foretold.” Óin continued what his brother started. All the dwarves gathered round to hear “When the birds of Yore return to Erebor, the reign of the beast will end.” Óin recited.

Belle paused in the pantry when she heard the word ‘Beast’; she turned to the company in the dining room with a look of anxiety. Frodo perked up, intrigued when he heard the term beast revealed in the conversation.

“Um… What beast?” Belle asked with unease.

“Oh, that would be a reference to Smaug the Terrible; chiefest and greatest calamity of our age.” Bofur explained rather agitatedly as Belle moved closer to the group in dread of what Bofur’s revealing. “Air born Fire-breather. Teeth like razors, claws like meat hooks.” Bofur continued. “And extremely fond of precious metals...”

“Yes, I know what a dragon is. Mr. Bofur!” Belle interrupted quickly to stop him going any further.

“A Dragon?!” Frodo thought with terror and excitement at the same time.

Suddenly Ori stood up. “I’m not afraid, I up for it! I’ll give him a taste of dwarvish iron right up his jacksie!” He said in confidence and the dwarves cheered for him. “Ori, please, there is a lady present!” Dori scolded and Dori pulled him down back on the chair.

“The task would be difficult enough with an army behind us.” Balin spoke. “But we numbered just thirteen. And not thirteen of the best nor brightest.” He critically added.

The dwarves started to argue about Balin remark on them being dim, until Fíli spoke out with pride. “We may be few in numbers, but we’re fighters. All of us, to the last dwarf!” He invigorated as he slams his hand on the table.

“And you forget we have a wizard in our company.” Kíli joined in optimistically. “Gandalf would have killed hundreds of Dragons on his time.”

“Oh well I would say I…”Gandalf was about to disagree about that statement when Dori cut in.

“How many then?” he asked Gandalf. “How many dragons have you killed?”

All of the dwarves round the table had their eyes set on the wizard, including Belle who was curious too. But Gandalf stayed quiet as he pretended coughing out smoke in awkwardness.

“He hasn’t killed a dragon in his life!” Belle thought in dissatisfaction.

“Go on, give us a number!” Dori induced and a loud uproar argument broke out amongst them. Belle tried to force them to be quiet or they would wake Frodo, but they didn’t bother listening to her and carried on.

“SILENCE!” Thorin thundered in dwarvish as he stood up. The sudden roar made Belle jump out of her skin with fright, and immediately the others obeyed him and gone quiet. “If we had read these signs, do you not think others would have read them too?” Thorin declared with resilience. “Rumours have begun to spread, the dragon, Smaug has not been seen for sixty years.”

As he continued, such of power and encouragement united into his words to his brave company that decided to join him on this quest.

“Eye look to the East assessing, wondering, weighing the risk. Perhaps the vast wealth of our people now lies unprotected.”

“Do we sit back, while others claim what is rightfully ours?” Thorin confronted his men to decide. “Or we seize this chance to take back Erebor?!”

Dwarves gave a big cheer as Thorin called something in dwarvish making the dwarves cheer more. Belle blinked and glanced at Thorin, moved by his speech. Frodo, who was hidden, was moved as well.

“You forget though, the front gate is sealed!” Balin announced. This made the dwarves go quiet again and Thorin sat back down in defeat.

“There’s no way into the mountain.”

“That my dear Balin, is not entirely true.” Gandalf confirmed and to everyone’s surprise in his hand, he held up a dwarvish iron key.

“How did you come by this?” Thorin asked in a deep gravelly voice with surprised when he recognized the key.

Belle’s eyes were fixed on the key; and glancing at him, could tell this a meaningful moment for Thorin.

“It was given to me by your father, By Thrain.” Gandalf informed him. “For safe keeping, however it’s yours now.” He handed over Thorin the iron key. The company realized at that moment there was still a chance on this quest.

“If there is a key…” Fíli grasped. “Then there must be a door.”

Gandalf nodded at him and pointed to the runes on the left side of the map with the pointy end of his pipe. “These runes speak of a hidden passage to the lower halls.”

“There’s another way in.” Kíli said as he grasped his brother’s shoulder excitedly.

“If we could find it we could get in, but dwarf doors are invisible when closed.” Gandalf informed them and looked down at the map again. “The answer lies hidden somewhere in this map and I do not have the skill to find it. But there are others in Middle Earth who can.”

Belle unconsciously crept closer behind Thorin to get a look at the map.

The dwarves looked up at Gandalf with uncertainty; even Thorin raised his eyebrow on where this is leading. “The task I have in mind will require a great deal stealth and no small amount of courage.” Gandalf continued as he gave Belle a look which puzzled her. “But if we’re careful and clever, I believe it can be done.” He confirmed.

“That’s why we need a burglar.” Ori came to conclusion.

“Hm. And a good one too.” Belle agreed while looking at the map, having no idea they meant her. “An expert I’d imagine.”

“And are you?” Glóin enquired looking at her.

Belle looked up from the map to see everyone staring at her expectedly; she looked at them in confusion and turned round to see if they meant someone behind her, but saw no one there and went back to them.

“Am I what?” She questioned Glóin.

“She said she’s an expert!” Óin chuckled enthusiastically, mishearing her.

Now Belle finally realized what they meant.

“Me?!” Belle cried out in shock. “No. No, no, no. I’m not a burglar. I’ve never stolen a thing in my life!

“Well I’m afraid I’ll have to agree with Miss Baggins.” Balin said looking at her with uncertainty. “She’s hardly burglar material.”

“Nope.” Belle agreed with him.

“Aye.” Dwalin nodded. “The wild is no place for a lady or gentle folk who can neither fight nor fend for themselves”

Belle, even though was a bit offended by that remark, couldn’t disagree with him. Then all of the other had started chatting amongst themselves on whether to she was good enough for this journey.

All of a sudden the dining room was getting darker and Gandalf stood up with his nearly hitting the ceiling.

“ENOUGH!” Gandalf boomed in a deep loud voice that made everyone jump back in fear. Frodo peered from his hiding spot in surprise and shock. “If I say Belle Baggins is a burglar!” Then slowly the darkness was fading and Gandalf voice returned to normal. ”And a burglar she is.”

Belle was gobsmacked by the announcement from Gandalf.

“Hobbits are remarkable light on their feet; in fact they can past unseen by most if they choose.” Gandalf continued as he informed the company. “And while the dragon is accustomed to the smell of dwarf, the scent of a Hobbit is all but unknown to him, which gives us a distinct advantage.”

Belle grasped on what Gandalf and the dwarves are intended on why they want a burglar on their quest.

Gandalf sat down when he saw the doubt look on Thorin’s face. “You have asked me to find the Fourteenth member of this company, and I have chosen Miss Baggins.” Gandalf settled.

Belle could hardly believe what she was hearing and she hope that Thorin would say no on hiring her as a burglar.

“There’s a lot more to her then just being a woman or appearances suggest.” Gandalf carried on as look round the company and then directly to her. “And she got a great deal to offer then any or you know, including herself.”

Then Gandalf looked to Thorin for confirmation. “You must trust me on this.” He persuaded.

After a very long pause Thorin gave his answer. “Very well, we’ll do it your way.” The dwarves cheered agreeably, getting excited on what has been decided. “All right, we’re off!” Bofur praised in a good mood.

Belle was alarmed by this answer. “No, no. Please!” she begged them to reconsider. But they wouldn’t take notice of her pleads.

"Give her the contract.” Thorin ordered Balin, Balin search through his coat and pulled out folded layered parchment paper, binded with a thin length of leather.

“It’s just the usual, summary of out-of-pocket expenses.” Balin informed Belle as he held it out the contract to her. “Time required remuneration, funeral arrangements, and so forth.”

“Funeral arrangements?” Belle paled, and then Thorin thrust the contract to her “Hey!” Belle yelped and gave him a look of irritation at him as she clutched the contract at her chest. She went out into the hallway and unravelled the contract. “Oh dear.” She grumbled, noting its length.

While she was reading the contract Thorin moved closer to Gandalf. “I cannot guarantee her safety.” He whispered. Gandalf nodded to him “Understood.” “Nor will I be responsible for her fate.” Thorin added. Gandalf hesitated thinking of what might happen to her if she come. But there’s no choice. “Agreed.” Thorin bowed with that settlement.

“Terms: Cash on delivery, up to but not exceeding one-fourteenth of total profit, if any.” Belle read out loud to herself. “Hmm. Seem fair.” She muttered to herself. Gandalf watched her in satisfaction as he and the dwarves waited her to finish reading the contract.

Frodo hid himself from plain sight as he spied on Belle out of the dining looking up the long parchment, while he listened to find out more information, watching her with curious eyes.

“Present company shall not be liable for injuries inflicted by or sustained as a consequence therefor, including, but not limited to lacerations…?” Belle read the last bit slowly. She then glanced up at them.

“Evisceration?” She continued in confusion and flips an extra page to finish the last sentence and what she saw made her blanched with dread. “Incineration?” She questioned the dwarves with her eyebrows raised and her face went pale.

“Oh aye.” Bofur replied. “He’ll melt the flesh off your bones in a blink of an eye.”

Having heard that statement, Belle felt suddenly numb and light headed and let out a whimper of fright.

Frodo, sitting in his hiding place, when he heard what Bofur said sent a sudden fear welled up into his heart; the thought of his aunt face a very dangerous dragon. If his aunt wanted to go, he might never see her again, like his parents.

Balin, likewise looked at her with concern about her state, as well as the others. “Are you alright, Lassie?” He asked.

“Huh? Yeah.” she muttered as she bends down, feeling dizzy and taking deep breaths. “Feel a bit faint.”

“Think furnace with wings.” Bofur said “Flash of light, searing pain.”

“Air, I need some air.” She said breathlessly, fanning her herself with the contract. She wanted Bofur to stop.

He carried on, not getting the hint. “Then: Poof! You’re nothing more than a pile of ash.”

She gave a long and agonising silence, the dwarves fixed their eyes on her waited anxiously to hear on whether or she would choose to be their burglar.

Frodo peeked through the doorway to see his aunt standing there saying nothing, waiting nervously to hear her answer.


“Nope!” She squeaked and then she fainted, Thorin quickly dove forward, catching her in his arms before she hit the floor.

“Oh, that’s very helpful, Bofur.” She heard Gandalf say sarcastically before she welcomed the darkness, the nightmares of furnaces with wings dancing over her eyes.

Chapter Text

Everyone in the dining room started to move, Frodo moved quickly from his spot and headed towards the chest near the front door and climbed inside, quietly closing the lid behind him before anyone had seen him…or so he thought.

Gandalf came into the living room first, followed by Thorin carrying unconscious Belle in bridal style, placing her gently in her armchair by the fireplace.

Slowly Belle regained consciousness, the last thing she remembered was having dwarves and a wizard came into her house uninvited, bombarding her with a mad job of stealing from a fire-breathing dragon that lived in a mountain. When she opened her eyes and looked around, however, the first thing she saw was Gandalf smoking his pipe and the dwarves in the kitchen wondering around.

“So I really do have dwarves and a wizard in my house.” Belle thought discouraged. “I thought I was just having a nightmare.”

Dori then came from the kitchen with a cup of steaming hot chamomile tea and kindly handed the cup to Belle.“Are sure you’re alright Miss Belle?” asked Dori with concern.

“I’ll be alright.” Belle answered shakily as she accepted the cup from him. “Just let me sit quietly for a few minutes.”

Dori headed back to the kitchen to find his brothers as Belle clutched the cup to her chest, steadily drinking the tea as Gandalf walked over to her.

Frodo lifted the lid of the chest a little and listened to his aunt and Gandalf having conversation in the living room.

“You’ve been sitting quietly for far too long!” Gandalf protested.

Belle looked up at him appalled as he paced about the living room.

“Tell me when did dollies and your mother’s dishes become so important to you?” Gandalf questioned. “I remember a young Hobbit-girl who was always running off to search for elves in the woods! Who would stay out late and come home after dark trailing mud, twigs and fireflies.” He added with a chuckle.

Belle smiled a bit of her childhood memories as she looked into her steaming cup. “Yes. But I was just a child back then.” She justified.

“Yes, but an adventurist child who would have liked nothing better than to find out what lies beyond the borders of the Shire.” Gandalf replied as he pointed at the window with his pipe.

Belle looked up to him from her cup with uncertainty.

“The world is not in your books and maps.” He said and then gestured towards the window. “It’s out there.”

Belle looked towards the window and the world out there with inquisitiveness, but suddenly shook it off with determination.

“Gandalf, I’m not that child anymore, I’ve grown up and I can’t just go running off into the blue.” Belle said steadily. “I’m a Baggins of Bag End.

“True but you are also a Took.” Gandalf specified.

Belle sighed and placed her hand on her forehead in frustration.

“Did you know that your great-great-great-great uncle, Bullroarer Took was so large that he could ride a real horse?” Gandalf questioned her as he pointed to the portrait of her ancestor.

“Yes.” Belle acknowledged.

“Yes well he could.” Gandalf confirmed. “In the battle of Green Fields, he charged the Goblin ranks. He swung his club so hard, it knocked the Goblin king’s head clean off and it sailed 100 yards through the air and went down a rabbit hole. “And thus, the battle was won.” Gandalf concluded. “And the game of golf invented at the same time.”

Belle gave an amused smile at the last bit. “I do believe you made that up.”

“Well, all good stories deserve embellishment.” He said with an amused smile as he sat on the chair opposite her. “You’ll have a tale or two of your own when you come back.”

Belle had showed a small smile and looked up at with hesitation. “Can you promise that I will come back?”

“No.” Gandalf replied. “And if you do, you will not be the same.”

“That’s what I thought.” Belle signed. “I’m sorry, Gandalf I can’t sign this.”

Belle stood up from her armchair. “I’m afraid you got the wrong Hobbit. I just can’t leave poor Frodo, not after what he been through when he lost his parents, so good night Gandalf.”

“Good night then, my dear.” He replied with a sigh. After that, she left.

Balin and Thorin watched as the Hobbit lass made her way down the hallway towards her bedroom.

“It appears we have lost our burglar.” Balin sighed sadly, disappointed that the young lass would not be joining them, even though she had the young lad to think about. He knew that she was a very capable woman who would do anything to keep her nephew safe.

Thorin on the other hand was quite relieved.

“Having a gentle and helpless woman like her on their journey would lead to nothing but trouble.” Thorin thought to himself. “She would be a burden and she would not survive in the wild.” She would be nothing but a distraction to him and his company, even though he thought she was quite pretty for a Hobbit.

“Probably for the best, the odds were always against us.” Balin continued as he gestured towards the dwarves down the hall. “After all, what are we? Merchants, miners, tinkers and toy-makers. Hardly the stuff of legend.”

“There are a few warriors amongst us.” Thorin said with a smile.

“Old warriors.” Balin countered with doubt.

“I will take each and every one of these dwarves over an army over the Iron Hills.” Thorin declared with a voice of bravery. “And when I called upon them, they answered; loyalty, honour and a willing heart. I can ask no more than that."

Balin looked upon his leader, his king and his old friend knowing full well of the dangers ahead of this quest and was not willing of putting any danger upon him or the company.

“You don’t have to do this; you have a choice. You have done honourably by our people.” Balin reminded Thorin with reassurance. “You have built a new life for us in the Blue Mountains, a life of peace and plenty, a life that is worth then all the gold in Erebor.”

But Thorin knew that it wasn’t enough for him or his people.

“From my Grandfather to my Father, this has come to me.” Thorin proclaimed with determination lifting up his iron key from his pocket and presented it to Balin as a symbol of hope. “They dreamt of the day when the dwarves of Erebor would reclaim their homeland. There’s no choice, Balin. Not for me.”

Balin accepted his answer. “Then we are with you laddie, to the very end.” And he pats Thorin’s arm in recognition. “We will see it done.”

Meanwhile when Belle left the room, Gandalf turned round and cast his eye on the chest near the front door.

Frodo froze where he was inside the chest when saw Gandalf looking straight at him and started walking straight towards him. Suddenly scared of being discovered he quickly and quietly shut the lid. He kept very still and held his breath waiting silently for Gandalf to go passed. “Maybe he hasn’t seen me.” He thought hopefully. Then he heard three loud thumps on top of the lid of the chest.

“I know you’re in there, Frodo.” He heard Gandalf’s muffled voice through the wood of the lid. “You can come out now, no one will see you.”

He guilty lifted the lid and looked up at Gandalf sheepish.

“Come along; follow me to the living room.” Gandalf beckoned Frodo.

Frodo quietly climbed out of the chest and Gandalf making sure no one’s watching guided him to the living room. As soon as he sat down on the chair, Frodo looked down at his small hairy feet with shame.

“I’m sorry Mr. Gandalf, I didn’t mean to snoop.” He apologised.

“You’re just a curious lad, I understand that.” Gandalf said gently. Then he noticed Frodo has a troubled look on his face.

“My dear Frodo, what’s the matter?” Gandalf asked.

“Do you think Auntie Belle would really go on this adventure?” Frodo asked with dread.

“I’m afraid she will, my dear boy.” Gandalf confirmed.

Frodo looked up at Gandalf with alarm, after when he heard Aunt Belle asked if Gandalf promised that she would return and he could not promise that. The thought of his Aunt going out into the unknown and not knowing if she’d come back alive or dead made Frodo shudder in fear.

Knowing what he must be thinking, Gandalf gently consoled him.

“I know this journey may be dangerous, but we’ll do all we can to make sure she’s safe.” He assured him. “But, now it’s long past your bedtime, come along I’ll lead you back to your bedroom.”

Gandalf secretly led Frodo back to his room when no one was looking.

“Thank you, Mr. Gandalf.” Frodo said quietly as he entered his room. “I just wish I could come with all of you.”

“I know, my dear boy.” He replied as he watched him closed the door. “And so you shall.” He quietly said showing a secret smile.

All of the dwarves gathered in the living room and Gandalf was in the kitchen as a low hum began to fill the room; the air was thick with the scent of smoke from their pipes, Thorin, standing by the fireplace began to sing in a low and baritone voice.

“Far over the misty mountains cold,

To dungeons deep and caverns old.

We must away ere break of day,

To find our long forgotten gold.”

The dwarves’ song travelled through the rooms of Bag End. Belle laid in her bed, wide awake as she listened to the song. The deep and low melody touched her beyond words; so much longing on return to their homeland and memories of what had been are never forgotten. She could not help but feel guilty of refusing to accompany on this adventure. Although she knew it would be very dangerous, these dwarves are only trying to get home after being separated from it after so many years.

Frodo too regarded the song as he lay in bed wishing with all of his heart that he could something he could do to help these poor homeless dwarves on their quest, but what could a small hobbit child do?

Back in the living room all of the dwarves now joined in song with Thorin.

“The pines were roaring on the height,

The winds were moaning in the night.

The fire was red, it flaming spread,

The tree like torches blazed with light.”

On that last verse, Belle and Frodo drifted into a deep sleep.

As the dwarves were getting ready for bed, Thorin, Fíli and Kíli were the last to go.

“Thorin!” Gandalf called out softly so not to wake everyone. Thorin turned to him with a look of inquiring of what the wizard wants now. “I would like to speak to Fíli and Kíli privately, if you please?”

Thorin’s eyebrow rose at that strange request, but he nodded “Very well then.” Then he called for his nephews. “Fíli, Kíli, you are needed, Gandalf wants to talk to you.”

The boys obeyed their uncle and followed Gandalf into the living room.

“What is it, Gandalf?” Fíli asked first as he entered.

“What did you want to talk to us about?” Kíli asked next following after his brother by his side.

Gandalf didn’t say anything at the moment as he made a last minute look round down the hallway to make sure there was no one else around to listen.

After making sure the coast was clear, he gathered Fíli and Kíli closer so they could talk quietly.

“I don’t any of the company and Thorin to know on what I want you to do at the moment.” Gandalf whispered. “But I want you both to keep an absolute secret, do you understand?”

They both nodded and listened further.

Satisfied, Gandalf showed off a mystery smile. “I got a very important job for you both.”

Both the boys’ eyes widen with curiosity.

It was early in the morning, with the sun peeking into the bedroom of Belle Baggins, the bright light slowly awakening her. She stretches her muscles as she yawned and then she noticed something; the house has gone strangely quiet except for the sounds of birds.

Confused, she got out of bed and crept out into the hallway, down into the tunnel towards the kitchen. There was no sign of any of the dwarves or Gandalf in any of the rooms.

“Hello!” She called out to see if there would be an answer, but there was nothing but silence.

Suddenly she felt so glad and nearly cried out with joy. Those obnoxious dwarves and that meddlesome wizard are gone. Never had she felt so relieved that never again would she be involved in this adventure rubbish and she and Frodo could return to normal.

But after a few minutes, she began to realize how lonely she had been without any company making such liveliness in her home; never had she had such a party like that.

As she entered the living room, she wondered if she made the right decision on not going on the quest, when something caught her eye. On the foot stool of her armchair was the contract they’d showed her last night, lay opened. And she saw two signatures written at the bottom of the contract.

The first signature was signed, Thorin son of Thrain. Underneath the first signature was Balin son of Fundin signed as a witness. But on the third line where it said burglar, it was blank space that had yet to be signed.

At that moment, a strange new feeling came over her. A Tookish feeling she haven’t felt in years since her parents died. With this new found energy she made her final decision. But first she must write a letter to Frodo.

What a strange sight met the Hobbits of Hobbiton, as the respectable Miss Belle Baggins of Bag End; ran across the fields, jumping over fences and large pumpkins in a wheel barrow, wearing beige trousers, a green waistcoat with brass acorn buttons and a burgundy coat that once belonged to her father.

She arranged her chestnut-brown hair in a long practical braid and on her back was a rucksack fill with essential supplies and in her hand she carried long piece of paper that waved in the wind as she ran.

Many of the Hobbits shook their heads at such abnormal behaviour.

Belle ran as fast as she could to make a stop at the Gamgee’s house, to talk to Hamfast Gamgee where Frodo often came to play with their son.

At last she had arrived and found Mr. Gamgee in his garden digging up weeds.

“Mr. Hamfast!” She called out breathlessly after the running she had.

“Oh! Hello there, Miss Belle.” Hamfast greeted her as he lifted his straw hat in a gentlemanly way. “How are you this fine morning?”

“I’m quite fine, Mr. Hamfast.” Belle replied still out of breath. “But I actually came here to ask you a favour.”

“Oh what is it?” Hamfast asked.

“Well I’m going on a very long journey, a very, very long journey.” Belle explained “And I wondered if you would please look after Frodo for me while I’m away?”

“Oh course I will, Miss Belle.” Hamfast reassured her. "Frodo can come and stay with us; he and my son can play every day, he’ll want for nothing. Where is young Mr. Frodo?”

“He’s still asleep when I left him.” Belle clarified as she remembered seeing the shape of Frodo under the sheets fast asleep when she went to check on him. But she didn’t have the heart to wake and to say goodbye to him. It would be too much for them and she knew that if she had taken him with her, the journey would be very dangerous for a young boy. “And if you be so kind to past this letter on to him when he wakes, it will explain to him where I have gone and who would look after him.” She finished as she handed Hamfast the letter.

“I understand. You can rely on me, Miss Belle.” Hamfast promised as he tucked the letter in his apron pocket.

“Thank you Mr. Hamfast.” Belle thanked. “Well I can’t stop now, I’m already late!” And with that, she started running again towards the exit of the Shire.

“Late for what, Miss Belle?” Hamfast called after her.

“I’m going on an adventure!” She shouted as she left the shire.

Belle had no idea how long she ran, but she caught sight of the company riding on ponies with Gandalf riding in front of them along with Thorin leading the profession. Without hesitation she raced to catch up with them.

The company were chatting up on whose bright idea it was to have a hobbit on this adventure, let alone a woman. A woman, who has no idea on how to fight, set up a camp or to climb up the mountains.

Until they heard a shout behind them that made them stop.

“Wait!” Belle called as she rushed to catch up to them. “WAIT!”

The company had to stop their ponies and saw to their surprise; Belle Baggins dressed in traveling clothes racing towards them and they waited for the Hobbit lass to reach them.

Thorin also turned his pony; he could not believe that the hobbit actually came after all.

“I’ve signed it!” She called out breathlessly as she showed the contract to them and then she came up to Balin and handed him the contract.

Belle scanned over the company and found Gandalf show a joyful smile.

“Everything appears to be in order.” Balin said satisfyingly. “Welcome Mistress Baggins to the company of Thorin Oakenshield.”

Everyone gave a cheer that she had become their burglar, all except Thorin who seemed not please about her joining them, but it can’t helped, he must accept it.

“Give her a pony.” He ordered as everyone was getting ready to move on.

“No, no, no no! That won’t be necessary, thank you.” Belle protested in alarm; for she had never rode on a pony before. “I sure I can keep up. I’ve done my fair share of walking holidays; I even got as far as Frogmoton once- Aaahhh!”

Belle cried out in alarm, she was cut off when she was snatched by two dwarves from behind on each arm and they lifted her high into the air and she was placed on the saddle of a chestnut pony named Myrtle. She saw that it was Fíli and Kíli who grabbed her they turned to her and gave her a cheeky smile.

As the company trudged on, Óin called from behind. “Come on Nori, Pay up!”

Nori fished out a small pouch of coins and threw it at Óin to catch it. Then all of the dwarves started throwing pouches of coins to each other, Belle noticed this and turned to Gandalf riding by her side.

“What was that about?” she asked him.

“Oh they took wagers on whether or not you’d turn up.” Gandalf revealed “Most of them bet that you wouldn’t.”

She looked up at him wondered if had betted on her or not. “What did you think?” she asked uncertainly.

“Well…” he began and then he caught a pouch that had been thrown at him, Belle quickly looked to see who thrown that and caught Thorin who had turned rather grumpily.

“So Thorin Oakenshield lost the bet.” Belle thought amusingly.

“My dear girl, I never doubted you for a second.” Gandalf chuckled as he stuffed the pouch in his pocket.

Belle was a bit touch by his faith in her. “Belle my dear, what made you change your mind, what about Frodo?”

“I asked a friend of mine to look after him for me for a while.” Belle replied “Also I wrote a letter to him to explain why I couldn’t take him with me. I don’t know what I would do if anything happened to him. But knowing Hamfast Gamgee, I’m sure he’ll be safe.”

“Yes I’m sure he’ll be quite safe.” He muttered to himself, he turned to Fíli and Kíli who looked at him and he gave them a wink.

Fíli and Kíli understood what he meant, but said nothing and carried on.

Then Belle gave such a sneeze. “Bless you, my dear, Belle.” Gandalf said politely.

“Thank you, Gandalf.” Belle answered in sniffled voice. “It’s all this horse hair, I having a reaction.”

Then she started searching through her pockets and her eyes widen as she realized what she had forgotten to pack.

“Oh no, no, wait, wait, wait. Stop! Stop!” she called to the others as they came to a halt. “We have to turn around.”

The company and Thorin were getting annoyed by this sudden break.

“What on earth is the matter?” Gandalf inquired.

“I forgot my handkerchief.” Belle spoke regretfully.

Bofur, who was ahead of them, ripped a piece of his tunic. “Here use this.” He suggested merrily and threw the cloth at Belle.

She caught it, but she didn’t want to use it, she doesn’t know where this cloth had been or when it had last been washed.

The dwarves gave a chuckle of laughter at the expression on her face.

But Thorin had no time for such silly lady things like handkerchiefs; he wanted to continue on their journey without distraction.

“Move on!” He commanded and they marched on with Belle still holding the cloth but away from her.

“You’ll have to manage without pocket-handkerchiefs and a good many other things, Belle Baggins, before we reach our journey’s end.” Gandalf tells her as they rode on their way. “You were born to the rolling hills and little rivers of the Shire, but home is behind you, the world is ahead.”

Belle made a quick stop to look back at the shire for a final look and thought about Frodo, he must be missing her by now.

“I will come back to you Frodo.” Belle thought to him, even though he won’t hear her from a far. “I promise, no matter what it takes, I will come home."

Chapter Text

After many days of travelling over hills, through woods and crossing rivers, the company decided to camp out for the night at the edge of the cliff, they got off their ponies and began to set up camp.

Fíli and Kíli had got their equipment from the saddles of their ponies; Thorin was next to them helping out when Kíli almost dropped his saddlebag while he was removing it from his pony and it made a strange muffled ‘Ow!’ when it landed on the ground with a thump.

The sound made Thorin turned to Kíli with a puzzled look on his face.

“What was that noise Kíli?” He questioned Kíli with a raised eyebrow.

(Fíli looked up at his brother alarmed.)

“That was me, uncle, Sorry.” Kíli said quickly and made a pained face as he clutched his foot. “My pony just stomped on my foot as I was getting my saddlebag.”

(Fíli secretly breathed a sigh of relief.)

Thorin narrowed his eyes at Kíli with suspicion as if he didn’t believe him.

“Just be careful next time. Fíli go help your brother.” Thorin ordered.

Fíli came to help his brother with his saddlebag and they set up their place near the camp fire.

Thorin then walked over where he’ll keep watch for the night. He went past Belle who was struggling to get off her pony Myrtle from her saddle, but hasn’t quite got the hang of it.

Belle was slightly high from the ground on her pony; and she struggled to reach the floor and then she felt hands gripped around her waist and lifted her off the pony and lowered her on the ground. Belle turned round to see who helped her down and saw to her surprise that it was Thorin, and then suddenly Belle’s springtime green eyes met an intensive ice-blue gaze.

Not knowing how long they had stared at each other’s eyes, Thorin realized that his hands were still around her, feeling embarrassed he quickly pulled away, leaving a warm imprint from his hands at Belle’s waist and he turned round about to walk to where his bedroll was.

“Thank you for helping me. That’s very kind of you.” Belle said shyly, Thorin stopped where he was but didn’t turn round.

“I’m just saving you the trouble of breaking your ankles.” He said in a proud gruff voice. “I’m not having you slowing us down.” And he went to his bedroll.

“There goes the most insufferable dwarf in the world.” Belle thought with irritation and began to her camping spot.

After the company had eaten Bombur’s and Belle's delicious hot stew, they settled on their bedrolls and went to sleep, except for Thorin, Fíli, Kíli and Gandalf who were keeping a watchful eye over the camp.

Belle tossed and turned on her bedroll on the hard ground, trying to get some sleep. But a very loud snore was keeping her awake. She sat up from her bedroll and saw Bombur in his sleep was breathing in live moths into his open mouth that were fluttering above his head and when he exhaled they flew out of his mouth alive.

Belle wrinkled her nose in disgust and stood up from her bedroll. Since she can’t sleep, she decided to wander about the camp for a bit.

Thorin who was resting against the rock, secretly watched Belle rose up from where she was resting and walked over the sleeping dwarves and headed towards the ponies.

She slowly crept up to Myrtle, ever since the start of their journey Belle had grown fond of sweet Myrtle and in secret she gave her pony treats.

“Hello girl.” Belle greeted Myrtle as she petted her soft velvety nose. “Who’s a good girl?”

She looked around to the sleeping dwarves to make sure no one was looking and from her pocket Belle produced another treat for Myrtle; a shiny red juicy apple.

“It’s our little secret, Myrtle.” She whispered and fed the apple to her pony. “You must tell no one. Shh, shh.”

From where he was resting, Thorin watched the scene with a scowl. “Oh all burglars, I get a kind one who steals apples for a pony.” He thought to himself as he rested his head against the rock.

Suddenly, a faint blood curdling screech echoed in the night. Belle looked up in alarm, she stepped back away from the edge of the cliff and turned to where Fíli and Kíli sat by the camp fire, they tensed up when they heard the shriek. Fíli felt the saddle back next to him jump and kept his hand on to and made sure no one saw that.

“What was that?” Belle asked in terror as she pointed out into the misty night.

“Orcs.” Kíli answered

“Orcs?” she asked startled, Belle quickly rushed back towards the safety of the camp fire.

Thorin jerked awake when he heard Belle said ‘Orcs’ and looked out to the edge of the cliff.

“Throat-cutters, There’ll be dozens of them out there.” Fíli said vividly. “The lone-lands are crawling with them.”

Belle began to quiver with dread and Kíli made it worse when he joined in.

“They strike in the wee small hours, when everyone’s asleep.” Kíli whispered ominously. “Quick and quiet; no screams, just lots of blood.”

Belle looked out into the night as she wrapped her arms around her and shivered with fear of the thought of what was out there in the sinister night.

Fíli and Kíli looked at each other and started to chuckle at Belle’s discomfort, Belle turned to them and realized they were making fun of her, she crossed her arms in front of her and shook her head at them; she was clearly not amused by their little gruesome joke.

“You think that’s funny?” Thorin’s voice growled at Fíli and Kíli that made them stop their childish sniggering.

Belle looked round to Thorin who walked up to his nephews with a scowl look on his face.

“Do you think a night raid by Orcs is a joke?” Thorin asked harshly.

“We didn’t mean anything by it.” Kíli said regretfully; looking like a boy who looked down sheepishly as he had been reprimanded by his furious parent, that Belle couldn’t help but pity him.

“No, you didn’t.” Thorin muttered bitterly to his nephews. “You know nothing of the world.” He went past Belle and Gandalf who was smoking his pipe, as he headed out to the edge of camp.

Belle’s eyes followed him, she couldn’t help but notice there was something an emotion in his voice; like he had a horrifying experience with Orcs.

“Don’t mind him, laddie.” Balin reassured the boys as he went over to them. “Thorin has more cause than most to hate Orcs.”

The boys gazed up at Balin with attention; Fíli had a quick glance at Thorin lost in his thoughts as he gazed at the misty night sky.

Even Belle was curious to find out about Thorin’s hatred towards Orcs, she sat down near the camp fire and wrapped her arms around her knees as Balin began to tell his story.

“After the dragon took the Lonely Mountain,” Balin started. “King Thror tried to reclaim the ancient Dwarf kingdom of Moria. But our enemy had got there first.” Thorin listened as Balin tells his tale; he remembered all too well of that journey to Moria…

“Moria had been taken by legions of Orcs,” Balin narrated, “led by the most vile of all their race: Azog the Defiler.”

A fearsome battle between the Dwarves against an army of Orcs sprung upon the mountain side outside the mines of Moria; the air was thick with the smell of smoke and blood and the sounds of war cries and swords and axes clashed together roared out.

Among the dwarf warriors, young Prince Thorin, who was covered in dried blood and sweat, dressed in his Orcs’ blood stained armour, with a dwarven sword and shield in his hand, fought fearlessly as he battled the Orcs that crossed his path; fighting along with his grandfather, King Thror, his father, Prince Thrain and Balin and his brother Dwalin when they were younger.

While battling against an Orc solider, something caught King Thror’s attention. A giant Orc; who was taller than an average man, with skin as white as death and battle scars marked on his face, his arms, his back and chest. The giant pale Orc with a powerful battle mace in his right hand had fatally swung his mace at his best dwarven warriors knocked them away like flies. Then the pale Orc and the dwarf came face to face and begun their brutal combat.

“The Giant Gundabad Orc had sworn to wipe out the line of Durin.” Balin said gravely.

Belle sat where she was in complete silence, she looked to where Thorin stood staring out to the foggy valley. She felt quite uneasy as she listened to the story, she could easily imagine such a terrifying war full of violent bloodshed.

“He began… by beheading the king.” Balin continued grievously. Belle gasped with her hand to her mouth.

Prince Thorin heard a loud roar and turned to see Azog holding up the bloody severed head of his grandfather as a sign that king of the dwarves is dead.

His whole body felt suddenly numb with shock, he couldn’t believe what he saw and watched Azog roughly throw the amputated head and rolled on the ground towards Thorin’s feet.

“NOOOOOOO!!!!!!” Thorin cried out in anguished.

“Poor Thorin,” Belle thought in sympathy towards Thorin “To have to watch someone you love murdered before your eyes must had been painful.” Belle knew exactly what it was like to lose loved ones.

“Thrain, Thorin’s father was driven mad by grief.” Balin said painful of the memory of what happened. “He went missing, taken prisoner or killed, we did not know. We were leaderless; defeat and death were upon us.”

“That is when I saw him.” Balin smiled and looked at Thorin with admiration. “A young dwarf prince; facing down the pale Orc. He stood alone against this terrible foe.” Balin said dramatically. “His armour rent, wielding nothing but an oaken branch as a shield.” Balin increased his tale.

Thorin driven by his anger, he ran towards Azog, he raised his sword high and shield ready to fight the pale filth. Azog caught sight of Thorin running straight at him, he knew that Thorin was part of the line of Durin, and just when Thorin was about ready to strike, Azog spun round and round and then swung his mace club at Thorin’s shield and with collision, the shield was knocked away. Azog struck again and this time Thorin’s sword was thrown away, as Thorin lost his sword had tumbled down a rocky ledge with Azog followed close behind him.

Weapon less, Thorin looked round to find a new weapon, but Azog was coming in fast with his heavy mace ready to strike. Desperate Thorin grabbed a thick oaken branch that lay nearby. Thorin rolled out of way before the mace could hit him, he got up just in time for Azog swung his mace and block the hit with the oak branch like a shield. Azog swung again and again and each time Thorin blocked his attack.

On the forth blow of the mace it knocked Thorin flat on his back, when Azog was about to deliver that fatal blow, Thorin found his sword on the ground where he fell, he gave a loud roar as he swung his sword hard and his aim was true; his sword sliced Azog’s left arm. Azog gave off a loud painful cry as his ink-black blood spilled out of the stump of what was left of his arm and kneel down in agony.

“Azog the Defiler, learned that day,” Balin concluded, “that the line of Durin would not be easily broken.”

Fíli and Kíli looked up at Balin with awe when they heard of their uncle’s victory against the pale Orc. Even Belle was amazed; she looked to where Thorin’s bedroll was and saw the oaken branch lying among his weapons.

“Is that why he has that oak branch there?” Belle asked pointing at the branch.

“Yes, lassie,” Balin replied with a smile twinkled in his eye, “and that’s why he was known as Oakenshield from that day.”

Azog was pulled back into the fiery entrance to Moria by his minions as Thorin gathered the rest of his army and gave the order of command in dwarvish and lead his men in the charge against the Orcs and collided with them with a slash of their sharp swords, the smash from their tough shields, the swung of their heavy axes and fought with all their might to the bitter end.

The battle was over and the victory belonged to the dwarves, but with a great loss of many lives. The dwarves who survived look among the wounded and the dead to look for more who lived but they were only a few, some of the survivors grieved of the death of their friends and families.

“Our forces rallied and drove the Orcs back,” Balin declared, “our enemy had been defeated.”

Then Balin looked down melancholy of the memory of what happened after the battle. “But there was no feast, nor song that night, for our dead were beyond the count of grief. We few had survived.” Balin remembered with sadness.

Balin and Dwalin shared their sorrow over the loss of many lives that been taken from in battle, Balin looked up and saw in a ray of sunlight Thorin with his oaken branch shield in hand helping with the others to look for any survivors and observed him with awe and respect of new noble leader and their new hope for the dwarves.

“And I thought to myself then, there is one who I could follow.” Balin said as he looked towards Thorin with respect. “There is one… I could call king.”

When Balin finished his tale, Thorin turned back to the camp and looked upon everyone who was wide awake; they had heard the tale of their great leader and gazed upon him with wonder. Even Belle could not believe that their leader of the company would be royalty; she thought he might be a lord but never a prince that would be king when he takes back his homeland.

Thorin gazed upon his companions with dignity and made his way back to his bedroll.

But something was lurking in the back of Belle’s mind.

“But the pale Orc?” Belle questioned Balin when he had finished. “What became of him?”

“He slunk back to the hole whence he came.” Thorin answered in a low for her as he went past her. “That filth died of his wounds long ago.”

But Gandalf and Balin exchanged a look of doubt when Thorin said that.

Belle settled herself back to her bedroll as she looked up starlit night sky and thought about her home and most all Frodo. She missed him very deeply, but she knew he would be safe at the Shire with the Gamgees’.

“Sleep well tonight, Frodo.” Belle wished in her thoughts and slowly went back to sleep.

Unknown to the company, on the opposite side of the cliff, in the darkness they were being watched by a pack of Wargs and on their backs were Orcs who spied the camp fire across the valley.

“Send word to the master.” the Orc leader ordered his Orc scout in black speech. “We have found the dwarf-scum.”

The next day on their journey, the rain began to pour down upon the company as they trudged on; they got completely wet that Bofur had to pour the water out of his pipe; Belle shivered from the cold, that rain plastered her clothes to her skin, soaking her through and began to sneeze, she couldn’t stop shivering until felt something wrapped around her and saw that someone gave her a fur trimmed travel cloak, she wondered who gave it to her and noticed Thorin had rode past her not, bothered by the rain. She was astonished that Thorin would do something nice for her. But she was touched by his little kindness.

“Here Mr. Gandalf!” Dori called out to the wizard who rode a head of them. “Can’t you do something about this downpour?”

“It is raining, Master dwarf and it will continue to rain until the rain is done.” Gandalf told Dori. This remark made the dwarves and Belle quite disappointed. “If you wish to change the weather of the world, you should find yourself another wizard.”

This made Belle wonder about something Gandalf said.

“Are there any?” she asked out of curiosity.

“What?” Gandalf probed on what was Belle’s question.

“Other Wizards.” Belle inquired.

“There are five of us,” Gandalf responded “the greatest of our order is Saruman the White. Then there are the two blue wizards… Do you know I’ve quite forgotten their names.”

“Well that’s ashamed, I would love to know.” Belle thought. “And who is the fifth?” She interrogated.

“Well that would be Radagast, the Brown.” Gandalf returned.

“Is he a great wizard or is he more like you?” she teased, this made the dwarves muffled their laughter, even Thorin secretly showed off a smirk.

Gandalf was slightly a bit offended but he answered “I think he’s a very great wizard, in his own way. He’s a gentle soul who prefers the company of animals to others.”

This made Belle smile at thought that the Brown wizard sounds like a sweet soul who loved animals very much.

“He keeps a watchful eye over the vast forest lands to the east.” Gandalf continued. “And a good thing too, for always evil will look to find a foothold in this world.”

Chapter Text

Days had passed by since Belle had run out of her door, and the company trudged on their long and weary way. It wasn’t long before the company came upon the ruins of what used to be a farmhouse.

“We’ll camp here for the night.” Thorin announced to the company. They got down from their ponies and set to work to set their camp sight. “Fíli, Kíli look after the ponies.” Thorin ordered. “Make sure you stay with them.”

The boys obeyed their uncle’s command and went to gather the ponies, after they helped Belle get off hers.

Gandalf meanwhile went to inspect the old farm house ruins, and by the look of the place; it looked like it had been destroyed recently.

“A farmer and his family used to live here.” He observed and was clearly disturbed it’s wreck.

“Óin, Glóin, get a fire going.” Thorin ordered as he made his way to Gandalf.

“Aye, right ye are.” Glóin nodded and set off to collect firewood.

Gandalf overheard them and has no intention of camping here; who or what destroyed this farmhouse is very likely to come back.

“I think it would be wiser to move on.” Gandalf advised cautiously to Thorin. “We could make for the hidden valley.”

Thorin gave Gandalf cold hard look; he was not pleased to hear that.

“I have told you already.” Thorin said stubbornly. “I will not go near that place.”

“Why not?” Gandalf asked in frustration. “The Elves could help us; we could get food, rest and advice.”

“I do not need their advice.” Thorin growled firmly.

“We have a map that we cannot read.” Gandalf convinced. “Lord Elrond could help us.”

“Help?” Thorin intensified. “A dragon attacks Erebor, what help came from the Elves? Orcs plunder Moria desecrate our sacred halls. The Elves looked on and did nothing.” Thorin replied as he gazed up at Gandalf with eyes filled with fiery rage.

“And you ask me to seek out the very people who betrayed my grandfather.” He accused with a pain in his voice. “Who betrayed my father?”

“You are neither of them.” Gandalf confirmed firmly. “I did not give you that map and key for you to hold on to the past.”

“I did not know that they were yours to keep.” Thorin answered back with an infuriated glare.

Filled with silent anger, Gandalf turned and stormed away from the stubborn Dwarf.

Belle was helping Balin with his equipment when she noticed Gandalf with an angered look on his face and was storming away from Thorin. She knew something was wrong.

“Is everything alright?” Belle asked uneasily, noticing that he was leaving she started to panic. “Gandalf, where are you going?”

“To seek the company of the only one around here who’s got any sense.” Gandalf answered in annoyance.

“And who’s that?” Belle questioned.

“MYSELF, Miss Baggins!” Gandalf yelled as he walked away towards his horse. “I’ve had enough of Dwarves for one day.” He muttered.

“Come on Bombur, we’re hungry.” Thorin ordered Bombur to get the food started; obviously he was not bothered by Gandalf’s sudden departure.

But Belle felt more worried as she watched helplessly at Gandalf as he rode away from the company.

“Is he coming back?” Belle asked fretfully when she turned to Balin. But he shrugged with uncertainty which troubled her even more.

By evening, the company; apart from Belle, Fíli and Kíli, had all gathered around the camp fire and helped themselves with Bombur’s and Belle's hot stew.

Belle was keeping a look out to see if Gandalf might come, but there was no sign of him in the darkness. She got up from where she sat and made her way to and company and the warm camp fire.

Bofur who was helping Bombur serve the stew and handed them to the company, took notice Belle coming over to them with a face that was full of worry.

“He’s been gone a long time.” Belle said to Bofur.

“Who?” Bofur inquired as he was filling up two bowls with stew.

“Gandalf.” Belle clarified.

“He’s a wizard, he does as chooses.” Bofur said casually, clearly he’s not at all worried about the wizard’s sudden disappearance. “Here, do us a favour, take these to the lads.” He handed to her the two bowls of steaming stew.

With a sigh, Belle reluctantly took the bowls and set off to where Fíli and Kíli are with the ponies. As she went she spotted Thorin near the ruin farmhouse smoking his pipe. She can’t help feeling annoyed by him for driving Gandalf away. So she silently went past him, she was unaware Thorin was staring after her as she left.

Belle headed towards the ruin of what was once a stable, which was where the company placed their ponies. She eventually found the boys and came up between them to give them each their bowls, but they didn’t take them from her; she noticed a state of shock look on their faces.

“What’s the matter?” Belle asked with concern.

“We’re supposed to be looking after the ponies.” Kíli answered in anxiety.

“Only we’ve encountered a slight problem.” Fíli said uneasily.

“We had 16.” Kíli explained.

“Now there’s 14.” Fíli concluded as he showed her the rest of ponies that are left. This alarmed her.

Soon, both she and boys looked around the ruins; counting as they went to see which ponies are missing.

“Daisy and Bungo are missing.” Kíli discovered.

Belle followed them around, still holding their bowls of stew.

“Well that’s not good.” Belle said timidly. “And that’s not good at all, shouldn’t we tell Thorin?”

“NO!” Fíli called out in a sudden panic, but quickly calmed down a bit. “No, let’s not worry him. As our official burglar, we thought you might like to look into it.”

Belle hesitated for a moment, but went to investigate to find clues of what could had happened to the missing ponies. Then she noticed some fallen trees with their roots that looked like it had just been pulled from the ground hours ago.

“Well… it looks like something big uprooted these trees.” Belle inspected at the fallen trees.

“That was our way of thinking.” Kíli agreed.

“It’s something very big.” Belle said nervously as she examined the wreck. “And possibly quite dangerous.” At that moment, she thought it was best to tell Thorin and secretly wished Gandalf was still with them.

They looked through the wreckage of the trees until Fíli spotted something.

“Hey, there’s a light.” He alerted to them in a hushed voice. They gathered round the fallen tree trunk to see what he spotted. “Stay down.” He warned at his sibling and their burglar, they crouched down behind their hiding place. “Over there.” He pointed at a faint fiery glow between the woods and then they heard a low and gluttonous laugh in the distance.

“What is it?” Belle whispered to the brothers.

“Trolls.” Kíli growled in a low voice and then in a flash the two brothers rushed towards the light. Not knowing what to do, Belle decided to follow them; she nearly forgotten the bowls and went back to get them and set off after the dwarf brothers.

The quietly raced through the woodland towards the light that was getting a bit brighter as they ran, Fíli and Kíli reached some large overgrown roots of a tree and knelt down for cover to spy on where the light was coming from.

As Belle caught up with them, she suddenly heard thunderous thuds of footsteps coming from her left side, she gave a small gasped at what she saw and ducked for cover behind a tree near the where the boys were hiding. She peeked out and saw a very big, grey bulky figure stomping through the woods and in each of its arms were a couple of frightened ponies and she recognized one of the ponies in horror.

“He’s got Myrtle and Minty!” She whispered in shock at the boys as they watch the giant creature headed to the light. “I think they are going to eat them. We have to do something.”

The dwarf brothers looked to her.

“Yes, you should.” Kíli suggested and walked up to her and took his bowl from her. “Mountain trolls are slow and stupid and you’re small they’ll never see you.” She stared at him.

Belle didn’t like this idea at all and tried to tell them she refused to go along with this stupid insane plan, but they didn’t give her a chance to reply.

“It’s perfectly safe.” Kíli assured her. “We’ll be behind you.”

Before she could give them her refusal, Fíli began to push her towards the way where the troll had gone.

“If you run into trouble, hoot twice like a barn owl and once like a brown owl.” Fíli instructed to her as he took his bowl of stew from her, then they backed away to their hiding place.

Belle faced to where the troll, the ponies and light are as she muttered to herself the instructions Fíli gave her.

“Twice like a barn owl, no twice like a brown.” She muttered to herself as she was getting ready. “Or was it once like a... Wait a minute; Barn owls don’t hoot, they…” Belle realized as she turned to correct the boys but she found they were gone.

“…Screech.” She finished, she turned back to the direction of where the troll gone, she gave a deep sigh of defeat.

“Why do I have a feeling that this plan isn’t going to work?” Belle thought miserable to herself.

But she had no other choice, those ponies need help. Taken a deep breath, Belle set off quietly towards the Troll’s den.

From a distance, Fíli and Kíli watched cautiously at Belle as she sets off on her own through the woods.

“What would happen if she discovers that he’s there?” Kíli asked his brother with anxiety.

“I’m more concern about his safety from those trolls.” Fíli countered with concern as he looked towards where the trolls camped. “I just hope the trolls won’t discover him before she does.”

Fíli finished as they continued to watch their burglar.

Meanwhile Belle got a little bit closer to the where the light of the fire was, she kept herself hidden amongst the bushes and then she overheard rough and gravelly voices.

“Mutton yesterday, mutton today.” Belle heard the first gruff voice complained. “And blimey; if it don’t look like mutton again tomorrow!”

“Quit your griping!” The second voice scorned at the first voice. “These ain’t sheep, these is fresh nags.” He argued.

At that moment; Belle parted the bushed in front of her and saw to her horror; two huge trolls sitting by the fire; one troll who wore an apron, named Bert was cooking something in a small cooking pot hanging over the flames, the other troll sitting next to him named Tom was slightly a bit thin with a dribbled nose that hasn’t been blown properly and the third one called William looked bigger that the other two, walked towards where the missing ponies are kept and joined the two ponies he had taken with the herd and went to join the others around the camp fire.

She read about trolls in her books but never had she seen one up close; their skins are so wrinkled and grey that look like they had never been outdoors in their whole life, their teeth are rotten but still intact, their face were big with a little deformity shown on their complexion and from the smell they hadn’t had a bath in days. She spotted the scared ponies in a small troll made fence and under cover of bushes she slowly and quietly made her way towards them.

“Oh I don’t like horse, I never have.” Tom fussed as he looked at the nervous ponies. “Not enough fat on them.”

“Well it’s better than the leathery old farmer.” Bert said as he stirred the revolting stew. “All skin and bone he was. I’m still picking bits of him out of my teeth.” When Belle heard that comment she felt sick of what happen to that poor, unfortunate farmer and his family.

But when got she round near the trolls she saw Tom sneeze straight into the stew. That repulsing moment made her feel queasy.

“Well that’s lovely that is; a floater.” Bert said sarcastically as looked at the snot floating in the stew.

“Might improve the flavour!” William mocked.

“Ah there’s more where that came from.” Tom assumed stupidly and was about to snort more snot into the stew but William stopped him by grabbing his nose to block up his nostrils.

“Oh no, you don’t!” Bert shouted and shoved Tom back to his seat. “Sit down!” Tom nervously sat up and took out a dirty handkerchief that hasn’t been washed in years.

At last Belle finally got the ponies and tried to untie the rope that was keeping the ponies locked in, but the rope was too tangled up and thick to break free.

Just then Tom turned towards the ponies and Belle quickly hid from sight.

“Well I hope you’re going to gut these nags.” Tom inquired as he was examined the skittish ponies. “I don’t like the stinky parts.”

Bert have had enough of his complaining and hit on the head with his ladle.

“I said sit down!” he ordered.

After making sure that they’re not looking, Belle went back to try to free the ponies but still she was not successful.

“I’m starving, now are we horse tonight or what?!” William complained.

“Shut your cakehole!” Bert argued. “You’ll eat what I give you.”

While they were busy arguing; Belle spotted behind tom’s back a long curved sword that once must had been an elven sword but now it was nothing but a troll’s knife, but it was still sharp.

“That knife will help free the ponies.” Belle thought as she slowly and quietly sneaked up towards the back of the snot dribbling troll.

“How come he’s the cook?” William continued with a grumbled face. “Everything tastes the same, everything tastes like chicken.”

“Except the chicken.” Tom added. “It tastes like fish!” William finished.

Belle tried to pluck up the courage to come nearer but as soon as the troll moved an inch and slowly walked back towards her place near the ponies to try again.

“I’m just saying; a little appreciation would be nice…” Bert justified.

Just then one of the ponies spotted Belle and gave a thrilled whinny. Then trolls thought they heard something and went suddenly quiet to listen. Belle quietly afraid to make a sound hid herself by the ponies and shut her eyes tightly shut and held her breath; hoping that she won’t be discovered.

A few seconds of silence past by until…

“’Thank you very much, Bert.’” Bert continued. ”’Lovely stew, Bert,’ how hard is that?”

Belle silently breathed out a sigh of relief. Just to make sure she doesn’t get caught; she crawled towards the trolls. The ponies were trying to get her attention. But she placed her fore finger to her lips to them.

“Ssshh, I’m here to save you, please be quiet.” She whispered to them.

Then her hand fell on a strange object, she lifted it up to her look and realized that it was a blood stained bone. Quickly she put it down in repulsion and saw to her dread that she was surrounded by litter of bones of the unfortunate animals or people that crossed the path of the trolls. But she knew that she must be brave she have to rescue the ponies.

Suddenly a large troll hand loomed over her head and she stayed perfectly started to panic a bit that she was caught, but the hand didn’t grab her instead it wandered away from her to grab a barrel like tankard. She calmed herself down a bit and carried on her task.

“Just needs a sprinkle of squirrel dung.” She heard Bert said as she was nearly almost there to Tom’s back.

Bert spotted Tom about to drink his brew. “Here, that’s my grog!”

Tom must have realized he had picked the wrong one and looked up at Bert in fear.

“Sorry.” He apologised but Bert hit him again with his ladle.

Tom fell backwards nearly squished Belle but luckily got away before he landed on her; he doesn’t seem to noticed her and went back to his seat again.

Bert tasted his stew to see if it was ready.

“Ooh, that is beautifully balanced that is.” He offered the spoonful to Tom. “Wrap your laughing gear around that, eh? Good isn’t it? That’s why I’m the cook.”

While Tom was busy sipping the revolting stew, Belle finally managed to get behind Tom’s back and his knife. But she realized there was a problem. “How on earth could I get this knife from this thing without him noticing me?” She thought with frustration.

While she was trying to figure out how to take the knife from Tom’s belt, then she felt Tom started to sat up, she crouch down and saw to her nauseate was Tom scratching his filthy, stinky bottom.

“That’s disgusting!” Belle thought with a scrunched face.

She quickly got back to work to figure to unattached the knife as she overheard one of them talking.

“Oh me guts are grumbling.” William complained. “I got to snaffle something. Flesh, I need flesh.”

Just when Belle managed to nearly unravelled the knife, when suddenly she was grabbed from behind and next thing she knew she was face to face with one of the troll and gave her a huge snotty blow from his nose.

Never In all her life had something revolting like this happened to her by a troll using her as a handkerchief and now her clothes were covered in snot from head to foot.

“Aaahh!! Blimey, Bert, Bert! Look what’s come out of me hooter!” Tom cried out in shock of what he thought came out of his nostrils. The other two trolls gathered round to look at the strange, petrified little creature.

“It’s got arms and legs and everything.” Tom shrieked.

Bert took a closer look. “What is it?”

Belle shook out of her stunned state and started wriggly about trying to get away from the trolls hand.

“I don’t know. But I don’t like the way it wriggles around.” Tom screeched and dropped poor Belle down to the ground.

Fíli and Kíli who were keeping an eye on Belle had watched the whole scene and when they saw that Belle had been discovered they immediately set to action.

“Kíli I’m going back to the others to get help.” Fíli instructed to his brother. “You stay here and if anything else happens; just run in there and bring them both back safe, do you understand?

Kíli nodded as his brother set back to their camp sight and slowly drawn his sword and headed towards the trolls.

As soon as Belle hit the ground, she got into a fearful panic and tried to get away but Bert and Tom had blocked her way out, she ran the other way, but there was William and he took out a sharp jagged knife and pointed at her.

“What are you, then?” William asked the terrified Hobbit. “An over-sized squirrel?”

“I’m a burglar- uh, Hobbit.” Belle blurted as she corrected herself in terror.

“A Burglar-hobbit?” Tom said in confusion.

“Can we cook her?” William inquired sinisterly, Belle did not like the sound of that and start to quiver with fright.

“We can try.” Tom suggested.

They tried to grab her but she was too quick for them and made a quick escape, but was blocked by Bert and his large ladle spoon.

“She wouldn’t make more than a mouthful.” Bert criticized of the weight of the Hobbit. “Not when she’s skinned and boned.”

He pushed Belle back towards where the campfire was. Now the trolls had completely surrounded her.

"Perhaps there are more Burglar-hobbits around these parts.” William indicated. “Might be enough for a pie, grab her!”

Belle did not want them to know about the company she was with back at the old farmhouse.

“If can just escape from them, I must warn Thorin and the others.” Belle thought and began to take her chance.

Bert and Tom were too busy trying to catch the fast little Hobbit but they were a bit slow to catch her.

“She’s too quick!” Tom whined as he tried to get hold of her.

Belle managed slip away from them and seized her chance to escape.

“Right, come here you little-!” William called and caught her by the legs and held her upside down.

“Gotcha, now are there any more of you little fellas hiding where you shouldn’t?” He interrogated to hanging Hobbit as he pointed his knife at her.

“No.” She lied quickly as she felt the blood rushing to her head.

“She’s lying.” Tom suspected.

“No, I’m not!” Belle strained felt uncomfortable of dangling upside down by brutal trolls.

“Hold her toes over the fire, make her squeal!” Tom suggested menacingly.

Bert and William were about to agree with Tom’s idea when he gave sudden yelp and grabbed his left leg like he was injured and Belle saw to her delight and relief that it was Kíli who came to her rescue.

“Drop her!” He shouted at the trolls when he saw Belle hanging helplessly in the hand of the troll.

“You what?!” William bellowed rudely at the intruder.

“I said, drop her.” Kíli demanded as he held up his sword at them.

Belle felt Tom give a huge big swing of his arm and let go of the Hobbit straight at the foolish dwarf, Belle let out a scream as she went flying over the fire and landed on Kíli, who dropped his sword aside and caught her just in time and fell to the ground.

Swiftly just as they fell down, the whole company burst out of the bushes with their weapons raised and begun their battle against the three trolls.

The trolls were a lot bigger than the dwarves; they only did a lot of damage to the troll’s legs and only when they crouch down pain did the dwarves battle their faces. Trolls keep tossing up the dwarves in every direction but that doesn’t harm the dwarves for they were tough. Thorin and Dwalin fought the hardest against each troll and many others battled hard and well.

“Get the sacks!” William shouted to Tom and Bert. “Stick them in the sacks.” But they were too busy battling rather catching the dwarves.

Belle managed shake off the dizziness off been tossed around like a rag doll, she and Kíli got up and he went to fight with the other dwarves. Belle dodged the swish of the swords and weapons of the dwarves and the heavy arms of the trolls to avoid the fight and saw that ponies are still trapped in the fence prancing wildly to get free.

This was her chance to free them she looked to where Tom was fighting with Kíli and Glóin and spotted the knife on the ground where it fallen and made a bolt for it. She got the knife and ran towards the ponies and started to cut the rope.

Moments later the rope had been cut and Belle stepped out of the way as the ponies raced out away into the darkness of the forest; Belle hoped that they made it back to camp.

William heard the ponies’ whinny and turn to see the ponies had escaped and saw who was responsible. In anger he stomped towards Belle.

The dwarves kept on fighting until they heard a scream and beheld to their horror their burglar held captive in the hands of the trolls.

“Belle!” Kíli shouted as he tried rush to help her.

“Stop.” Thorin ordered as held him back to stop him from putting his nephew in the same danger.

William and Bert held Belle by the arms and legs and faced the dwarves.

“Lay down your arms, or we’ll rip hers’ off!” William threatened; to confirm their threat he and Bert squeezed Belle’s arms causing her to cry out in pain.

Thorin and the other dwarves flinched at the sound of her pain and the scared look in her eyes; they had no choice but to obey to the trolls command, Thorin was the first to lower his sword into the ground and the rest of the company threw down theirs to with Ori the last to throw down his slingshot.

A few minutes later the trolls made a wooden spit over the camp fire and tied up six dwarves, Dwalin, Bofur, Bifur, Dori, Nori and Ori on the spit and the rest of the dwarves and the Hobbit were tied up very tightly in the sacks.

The dwarves on the spit cried and struggled from the heat of the fire as William turned the wheel of the spit along with Bert and Tom just helped by putting more logs on the fire.

“Don’t bother cooking them.” Tom grumbled as he put the logs on the fire. “Let’s just sit on them and squash them into jelly.”

“They should be sautéed and grilled with a sprinkle of sage.” Bert recommended as he sprinkled the seasoning over the dwarves that made some of them sneeze.

“Oohh. That does sound quite nice.” Tom agreed.

The dwarves in the sack and the hobbit were struggling to get free but it was just too tightly bound.

Belle blamed herself for getting herself and the company caught, now she’ll never see the Shire or Frodo again.

“I wish Gandalf was here.” Belle thought miserably, thinking there was no hope for them, until something caught her attention.

“Never mind the seasoning, we aint got all night.” William said in irritation. “Dawn aint far away, let’s get a move on. I don’t fancy being turned to stone.”

When Belle heard this, a plan formed in her head and knew exactly what to do.

“WAIT!” Belle called to them to get their attention. “You are making a terrible mistake.”

The dwarves tried to stop her putting herself in any more danger.

“You can’t reason with them, they’re half-wits.” Dori cried from the spit.

“Half-wits, what does that make us?” Bofur inquired when he was turned on the spit.

Belle managed to get up from the others in her sack and hopped over near the camp fire.

“I meant with the seasoning.” Belle clarified to the trolls hoping her plan will work.

“What about the seasoning?” Bert questioned the little Hobbit.

“Well, have you smelt them?” Belle suggested as she pointed at them in her sack. “You’re going to need something stronger than sage before you plate this lot up.”

The dwarves could not believe what they are hearing. In their outrageous anger they called a traitor and other insults. Belle heard them but did not heed them knowing that her plan was their only way of saving them and hope that they will forgive her for this.

“What do you know about cooking dwarf?” William asked her, clearly did not believe her.

“Shut up.” Bert silenced William and turned his attention back to the hobbit. “Let the flugabur bur hobbit talk.”

“The secret to cooking Dwarf is um…” Belle began hesitantly trying to come with something to stall time for the sun to come. “It’s, uh…”

“Yes? Come on, tell us the secret.” Bert asked impatiently.

“Yes, I’m telling you.” Belle said in a rush. “The secret is….”

Everyone leaned closer to hear her answer.

“…To skin them first.” Belle answered but later regretted it.

The dwarves were outraged by her response and threatened her to make her pay for her treachery.

“Tom, get me filleting knife.” Bert instructed Tom.

“I won’t forget that.” Dwalin threaten her from the spit. “I won’t forget that.”

“What a load of rubbish.” William said in suspicion. “I’ve eaten plenty with their skins on, scarf them, I say boots and all.”

Belle started to panic, the plan wasn’t going as it should and tried to think of something and something caught her eye, she caught a figure running very quietly amongst the bushes dressed in grey and was holding a wooden staff, it was Gandalf, he came back.

Belle was now filled with hope, he came back to rescue them after all. She turned her attention back to the trolls knowing that everything was going to be alright.

“He’s right, nothing wrong with a bit of raw dwarf.” Tom agreed and went over to the dwarves in the sacks and took hold of Bombur from the pile and held him upside down in the air towards his mouth. “Nice and crunchy.” Tom opened his rotten mouth about to eat poor whimpering Bombur.

Belle had to think fast and said the first thing that came out of her mouth.

“No not that one! He’s infected!” She called out quickly to stop him.

“Huh?!” That definitely got Tom’s attention from eating Bombur.

“You What?!” William asked rudely.

“Yeah he’s got worms in his…tubes” She invented rather in a stupid way she thought.

But as Tom immediately threw Bombur back with other dwarves, Belle knew it had worked.

“In fact they all have.” Belle carried on. “They’re infested with parasites, it’s a terrible business I wouldn’t risk it, I really wouldn’t.” She said convincingly.

The trolls looked a bit hesitant for a moment until the dwarves open their mouths in protest.

“Parasites, did she say parasites?” Óin asked Kíli next to him to make sure he heard correctly.

“We don’t have parasites!” Kíli shouted at her unaware of what she was trying help. “You have parasites.”

“What are you talking about, lassie?” Óin asked her also.

Belle rolled her eyes of their stupidity. “The idiots.”

But Thorin caught up on what Belle was up to and kicked Kíli’s head to shut him up. They all went silence as they looked up to him and they finally realized on what their burglar was trying to do was save them.

“I… got parasites as big as my arm” Óin bragged.

“Mine are the biggest parasites, I got huge parasites!” Kíli boasted the most.

Then every dwarf was saying that they got infected with parasites and other such diseases, and then Belle shrugged at the trolls to show that she was right.

The trolls were a bit put off of what they said. Even the dwarves on the spit joined in.

“We’re riddled!” Nori announced.

“Yes, I’m riddled!” Ori joined his older brother.

“Yes we are, badly.” Dori he told the trolls.

“What would you have us do then?” William asked suspiciously as he walked closer to the Hobbit. “Let them all go?!”

“Well…” Belle said hesitantly and looked up at the sky to see if the sun is rising but it was still getting a bit lighter, they need more time.

“You think I don’t know what you’re up to?” William sneered at her while poking her with his finger and went back to the spit. “This little shrew is taking us for fools.”

“Shrew?!” Belle appalled.

“Fool?!” Bert asked in disbelief, wondered if William insulted him.

“Hey! How dare you called us fools, you big oaf!” shouted a voice that sounded like Tom’s.

“Who are you calling an oaf, Tom?!” William demanded at Tom who looked at him innocently.

“But I didn’t call you an oaf. Honest William!” Tom defended.

“Don’t you dare lie to me, you stupid imbecile!” William raged at Tom by grabbing him by the neck.

“Not as stupid as you are simpleton.” A voice uttered that sounded like Bert’s.

This enraged William even more and looked at Bert who was busy turning the spit.

“What did you say?!” William shouted at Bert, he was confused at why William is shouting at him.

“I didn’t say anything.” Bert said, not having a clue of what was going on.

“I’ll deal with you later.” William threatened tom and tossed him to the ground, He headed straight to Bert.

“You just called me a simpleton, why did you call me that?” William inquired Bert in the face.

“I did not call you that!” Bert insisted.

“You did so!” Shouted the Tom-like voice.

“I did not Tom, you liar!” Bert accused at Tom.

“You did so!” Shouted the voice that now sounded like William’s

“DID NOT!!!” Bert shouted at both of them felt really angry now at this stupid game they seemed to be playing with him.

“Why did you just called me a liar, you bunch of nitwits?” Tom’s voice yelled.

Both the angry Trolls’ head turned to Tom with red in their faces, Tom face went white with fear.

“That wasn’t me I swear!” Tom claimed, but they didn’t believe him.

The dwarves and the hobbit looked on at the trolls in confusion, the voices they kept hearing sounded everywhere that made the trolls have a go at each other, while they were too busy arguing and fighting each other; Belle noticed that the sky was getting brighter and lighter, the dawn was coming and then all of sudden.

“THE DAWN WILL TAKE YOU ALL!” Gandalf called out as he appeared on a rock that the light was coming from behind. Everyone including the trolls looked at him in confusion and bewilderment.

“Who’s that?” Asked William.

“No idea.” Answered Bert.

“Can we eat him too?” Tom asked idiotically.

Then with the power of his staff Gandalf cracked the giant rock he was standing on in half and the bright light of dawn came shining out.

The light spread over the camp site and when the light touched the troll’s skin they suddenly gave a yell of great pain as if the light was burning them, rapidly their wrinkled skin started to turn solid, they tried to block the sunlight but it was too late and in a matter of seconds the trolls had stopped moving and stood still until they were nothing more but solid stone statues.

Belle stood there in amazement of what just happened; she and the dwarves gave a cheerful cry of laughter for Gandalf for coming to their rescue, they were very glad that he came back; she even caught a glimpse at Thorin who cracked a real smile that Belle thought he looked quite handsome when he smiled.

“Oh get your foot out of my back!” Dwalin complained uncomfortably from the spit.

Later everyone was helping each other out the sacks and the spit and even apologised to Belle for the things they said and she forgave them, while Gandalf looked around the troll statues and gave a whack from his staff in satisfaction.

“Where did you go to may I ask?” Thorin inquired as he made his way over to Gandalf.

“To look ahead.” He simply answered.

“What brought you back?” Thorin asked.

“Looking behind.” Gandalf responded rather teasingly.

Thorin smiled a bit glad to have the wizard back.

“Nasty business.” Gandalf observed at the troll statues and the company. “Still you’re all in one piece.”

“No thanks to your Burglar.” Thorin blamed on Belle’s foolishness.

But Gandalf smirked at him.

“She had the nous to play for time, none of the rest of you thought of that.” Gandalf remarked.

Thorin felt a little bit ashamed as he looked towards Belle, He secretly admitted that she was very clever and was quite brave to save the ponies and tried to save the company too.

He turned to Gandalf again. “Well that little show you did with the voice saved our lives too.”

Gandalf gave him a mysterious smile. “Oh, but I wasn’t the one who did those voices.”

Thorin looked confused. “Then who…?” he asked.

Just then Bofur and Bifur were helping Bombur back on to his feet when he gave a yelp and tumbled backwards over the troll’s cooking pot that lay abandon and hit a tree behind him that shook and then something small fell out of the tree and landed on Bombur large belly as a soft landing.

“Lads look!” Bofur pointed at the small thing that was covered in a green cloth, it slowly moved to untangle itself and slowly lifts the cloth to reveal what it was that surprised the company and gave Belle a shocking gasps.


Chapter Text

In the early hours of the morning, Frodo was shaken awake from his sleep. As he opened his eyes the first thing he saw was Gandalf kneeling down by his bed. Frodo nearly let out a yelp but Gandalf put his large hand against his mouth to stop him from waking up the whole house. He put his finger against his lips to silence the little hobbit.

“Ssshhhh. It’s alright Frodo, it’s only me.” Gandalf calmed the startled Frodo. “Follow me, and keep very quiet.” He instructed as he beckoned his finger for Frodo to follow him.

Quiet as a mouse; Frodo got out of bed, put on his dressing gown and tiptoed after Gandalf into the living room and found the two dwarf brothers, Fíli and Kíli with Gandalf. Gandalf looked down the corridors, making sure that no one else is awake. Satisfied that no one was up yet, he came back to the dwarves and the little hobbit.

“Now Frodo I want you to listen very carefully to what I have to say.” Gandalf instructed.

“You do understand that your aunt will have to go on this Journey to help these dwarves to take back their homeland?” He asked Frodo.

“Yes, Gandalf.” Frodo replied in sorrow.

“This journey may contain many dangers ahead and very possibly there will be no return, you know that.” Gandalf told him in seriousness.

Frodo was hesitant at first; he knew too well that some journey came be very dangerous. “Yes, I do.” He miserable answered looking down to the floor.

“So you will need a few people to protect you if you are to come along on this journey in secret.” Gandalf resolved with his secret smile.

Frodo looked up at him in sudden astonishment.

“You mean…?” Frodo asked in disbelief.

Fíli and Kíli were surprised that they are going to have another hobbit as part of the company.

“Yes, Frodo Baggins, you may come.” Gandalf answered. “If you promise you do exactly what we tell you to make absolutely sure of your safety while going on this journey?”

“I promise I will.” Frodo assured him eagerly. “Thank you Gandalf.”

Gandalf was contented with Frodo’s pledge; he turned to Fíli and Kíli.

“Fíli, Kíli.” He informed them as they stood to his attention. “Do you solemnly swear to guard young Frodo here in secret on this journey and protect him if anything happens?

The boys looked at each other with uncertainty; they never kept a secret from their uncle before. They were loyal to him, ever since they joined the company to take the Lonely Mountain they knew full well of the dangers ahead and it would too much for such a small boy; but they didn’t want to anger the wizard or upset Frodo who had such hope in his blue eyes.

If it had been their mother who would have gone on this adventure wouldn’t they want to come too?

“Alright, I swear by my beard I will protect him with my life.” Fíli swore.

“And by mine too.” Kíli vowed equally.

“Then it’s settled.” Gandalf said confidently “Frodo welcome to the company.”

Never had Frodo been this happy, he was coming on his adventure with his aunt, Gandalf and the dwarves.

Full of happiness he gave Gandalf a big hug and thanked him; he even gave Fíli and Kíli a hug too and thanking them over and over, this made the brothers very fond of the exciting Hobbit.

Then Frodo stopped when he remembered something.

“But Gandalf how can I come along on the adventure without Auntie Belle and the others seeing me in secret?” He asked.

“Well this is my plan…” Gandalf began as he gathered Fíli, Kíli and Frodo into a huddle and explained his plan on how they going to sneak Frodo out.

When everything was prepared and Gandalf walked Frodo back to his room after he said goodnight to the brothers and help him get out his traveling clothes and his rucksack to be reading when it’s nearly sunrise.

After wards Frodo went back to bed and Gandalf left his room, promising he’ll wake him when it was time.


As promised Gandalf woke him up “Right we’ve got no time to lose, the rest of the company will be waking up soon.” Gandalf said urgently. “You better get ready and go straight outside. Also leave this note in your bed; it will explain everything to whoever comes in here to find you gone.” He instructed as he handed over the envelope and then left the room.

Frodo did as he was told he put his brown travelling clothes, his green woollen cloak, and his rucksack. Before he left the room and arranged his bed to make a dummy of himself asleep using his pillows and pyjamas and he left a letter just as he was instructed.

Now everything was set, and he went quietly out of the house to meet up with Gandalf and Fíli and Kíli with a couple of ponies, as Frodo heads straight towards them he hesitated for a moment looked back at the house with worry.

“What if Auntie Belle doesn’t come along on this adventure?’ Frodo thought troublingly "What if she discovers the dummy in bed first?”

Gandalf noticed Frodo’s face looked troubled.

“Is something wrong, Frodo?” He asked.

Frodo looked up at Gandalf and hesitantly he asked. “Gandalf what if Aunt Belle doesn’t come and what will happen if she discovers that I’m gone?”

But Gandalf smiled tenderly at the Hobbit boy. “Don’t you worry Frodo, your aunt will come. I’m sure of it and besides if she did find that you have gone then she’ll come running to the company by then it will be too late to turn back.” He said confidently.

Before Frodo could question him even further, they suddenly heard a noise that made turn their heads to the house; faint thuds of footsteps were coming from inside the house. The company have awoken and Frodo began to panic.

“Hide!” Gandalf muttered softly to Frodo in order as he looked towards the door to make sure Frodo wouldn’t be seen.

“Quick, hide in here!” Kíli whispered to Frodo as he held out his saddlebag, Frodo quickly ran up to the dwarves. Fíli picked him up and carefully placed him inside the bag.

“You must be quiet!” Fíli commanded Frodo in a low voice, as he pulled over the flap of the saddlebag, not too tightly but just enough for Frodo to see what was going on…

The first dwarf to come out of the house was none other than their Uncle Thorin.

“You two are up early?” Thorin inquired the brothers when he noticed them already prepared to go.

“We just wanted to make sure that we got everything ready, Uncle.” Fíli quickly interrupted while he and his little brother saddled up their ponies.

From inside the bag Frodo observed the dwarves that came out of Miss Baggins’s house, and began their way towards the Green Dragon inn where they left the rest of the ponies.

And he watched Thorin marching on ahead of the others to walk beside the Wizard.

“Shall we not going to wait for our burglar then, Thorin?” Gandalf probed.

“I’m not having a helpless and naïve woman as our burglar!” Thorin declared, fixed a glare at the wizard with annoyance. “She doesn’t even have the skills to be a burglar!”

“Is that so?” Gandalf asked sceptically like he knows better. “I remembered when she was a child at her Grandfather Took’s party that she used to pinch some of the guests’ handkerchiefs just for fun. But she always gave them back especially when her mother gave her the look.” He chuckled in remembrance.

Thorin glanced up at him in doubt.

“Well I think she made a very wise decision on not coming.” Thorin said with determination. “As Dwalin said the wild is no place for a lady, especially a sheltered one.”

“What makes you so sure she will not come?” Gandalf asked in a cryptic voice. “I know she will come.”

“She would have to be mad if she did.” Thorin scoffed. “But I don’t think she will.”

Gandalf paused in his steps for a moment “How much you care to wager?” He challenged.

Thorin stopped and turned to the wizard.

“50 gold coins.” He named his bet with a smug impression.

“You’re on, Master Oakenshield.” Gandalf accepted with the gamble.

The company overheard them and then they too were putting bets on whether or not their Hobbit will be joining them, when they are quite far away. By the time the sun shone over the hills, the company collected their ponies and began their journey.

Meanwhile from inside the saddle bag, Frodo very carefully lifted the flap a little to see where they are; so far he can see they’re travelling through the woods outside the Shire.

He heard the rest of the company started to criticize about his aunt and how ridiculous it seemed to have a woman-hobbit on their journey when it seemed clear that she was not going to come after all.

What he heard from them had made him doubt about what Gandalf said to him back at the house.

“What if they are right?" Frodo thought with doubt. "Auntie Belle won’t come after all and what would happen if she finds out that I’m gone? What if-“

Before his thought could finish that last sentence he heard a sudden cry that was coming towards them.

“Wait!” the voice that called to the company. “WAIT!”

“Auntie Belle!”

Frodo was secretly overjoyed that she came after all, he felt Kíli’s pony halt and glimpse his aunt running up to the company dressed in travelling clothes, a rucksack on her back and a long piece of paper fluttering in her right hand.

“I signed it!” she announced breathlessly while Frodo watched as she came up to master Balin to hand over the paper.

“Everything seemed to be in order.” He heard Balin stated with satisfaction. “Welcome Mistress Baggins to the company of Thorin Oakenshield.”

Frodo heard nearly everyone cheered that they have their burglar. Inside Frodo was giddy with happiness; Gandalf was right that his aunt had decided to come on this adventure.

“Give her a pony.” Frodo heard Thorin ordered and by the sound of him, he might be provoked.

While Belle protested on riding a pony and that she preferred to walk; Frodo realised that Kíli’s pony and Fíli’s pony were trotting near where she was, he quickly withdrew his hand on the flap and stayed still and quiet until it was safe.

“… I even got far as Frogmorton once- Aaahhh!” She screamed when she was cut off, Frodo felt Kíli made a sudden movement on his saddle.

“They must be helping Belle get on a pony.” Frodo thought with amusement, but he didn’t dare to giggle out loud.

With Belle in their company, they finally began their journey. As they trudged on Frodo heard one of the dwarves call out, “Come on Nori, pay up.” And something whizzed past over their heads and landed with a ching sound.

“What was that about?” He overheard Belle’s voice when she asked; carefully he lifted the flap of the bag and spied Belle riding besides Gandalf’s tall horse.

“Oh they took wagers on whether or not you’d turn up.” Gandalf’s voice explained “Most of them bet that you wouldn’t.”

"Of course the bet they made earlier."

“What did you think?” she asked uncertainly as she looked up at the wizard.

And as soon as she asked him a purse came flying at Gandalf and caught in a flash, Frodo looked ahead to see Thorin turned away quickly with a grudge.

“I bet he didn’t like to lose to a wizard.” Frodo thought with a smirk

“My dear girl, I never doubted you for a second.” Gandalf chuckled as he stuffed the pouch in his pocket. “Belle my dear, what made you change your mind, what about Frodo?”

When Frodo heard his named been mention he opened the flap a bit, but not too much to be seen to hear what they are saying.

“I asked a friend of mine to look after him for me for a while.” Belle replied “Also I wrote a letter to him to explain why I couldn’t take him with me. I don’t know what I would do if anything happened to him. But knowing Hamfast Gamgee, I’m sure he’ll be safe.”

“If only you knew Aunt Belle.” Frodo thought.

“Yes I’m sure he’ll be quite safe.” He muttered to himself, he turned to Fíli and Kíli who looked at him and spotted Frodo eyes from the saddlebag, he gave them a wink.

Fíli and Kíli understood what he meant, but said nothing and Frodo silently placed the flap back as they went towards borders of the Shire. Through the gap at the bag he could see that Shire had fallen far behind, this was the farthest away from the Shire he had ever been.

“This is it,” Frodo thought with excitement, “our very first adventure together.”

The first time they set up camp after they had dinner, Fíli and Kíli managed to smuggle some food for Frodo and they picked up the saddlebag and they were about to head off to a secluded place, when they heard their Uncle Thorin.

“Where do you think you two are going?” He asked them firmly.

They stopped in their tracks and turned to him. “Um… we were just to go and practise our Training, Uncle.” Fíli explained first.

“And we need plenty of space.” Kíli quickly added.

“Do you need sparing partners, I can be one if you want or I could send Dwalin …?” Thorin asked.

“NO!!!” They both cried out in panic. Their outburst surprised Thorin, he wasn’t expecting that.

“I mean… we are fine with just the two of us.” Fíli said when he calmed down a bit as he tried not to look too suspicious.

Thorin was a bit suspicious of their unusual behaviour, but thought nothing of it he thought it was best they start training, who knows what sort of dangers there were out there.

“Alright you can train.” Thorin agreed. “But remember don’t wander too far away or your mother will shave my head if anything happened to both of you.”

The brothers looked at each other in agreement; they knew how scary their mother could be when she was mad.

“We will, Uncle.” They promised and set out to the secluded place not too far from the camp site.

When they made it to the place, they quickly scouted the area to make sure they wouldn’t be seen or heard by the company.

Satisfied that it was safe they placed the saddlebag to the ground.

“It’s alright Frodo, you can come now.” Fíli reassured him.

Frodo obeyed and step out of the bag and began stretched out his legs and arms. Riding inside a saddlebag was quite uncomfortable for such a little Hobbit.

Fíli and Kíli fed their young charge the food they saved for him and when he finished the meal, the boys thought it was best to let Frodo know on another task that Gandalf gave them.

“Frodo now that you too are in the company, Gandalf has given us a task to make sure you are aware of the dangers that lie ahead on this quest.” Fíli began to explain to him.

Frodo looked up at him with intent.

“There are many things out there apart from wolves and Goblins. So we must be fully prepared when the time comes. Do you understand?” Fíli inquired.

Frodo gave a nod with confirm to show he did understand what he might be in for.

“So Gandalf wanted us to begin training you.” Kíli revealed to him.

Frodo’s eyes widened by the information.

“Train me, like for battle?” Frodo asked uncertainly.

“That’s correct.” Fíli confirmed as he pulled out three wooden swords from his pack. “We will start teaching you the steps and blocks first for the night.” He began as he gave swords to his brother and Frodo.

And thus they began Frodo’s first night of training.

From that moment on, whenever the company had stopped to make camp, Fíli and Kíli would take Frodo to a secret place and train his sword skills. Lessons were long and slow, Frodo started out very wobbly with his blocks, thrusts and the movement of his feet. But each night they helped him practise, he kept improving every night, occasionally Gandalf came to join them to help him work out too.

Frodo began to gain confidence in his swordplay, with a couple of bruises as price of his hard work.

Then there was one night when they nearly got caught, it happened when Kíli and Fíli were unpacking some equipment from their saddles with Thorin helping them.

Frodo was inside the saddlebag when Kíli was untying from his pony when suddenly he felt the bag began to fall and his bottom hit the ground with a thud.

“Ow!” Frodo yelped in pain.

“What was that noise Kíli?” Frodo heard from outside in alarm, he quickly put his hands on his mouth, he realized his dreadful mistake. He was supposed to keep quiet; silently he listened outside as he began to sweat with dread.

“That was me, uncle, Sorry.” He heard Kíli answer. “My pony just stomped on my foot as I was getting my saddlebag.”

There was a silent paused which made Frodo very nervous.

“Just be careful next time. Fíli go help your brother.” He heard Thorin ordered them and heard him walk away. He silently breathed out a sigh of relief.

He felt himself being carried by Fíli and Kíli and settled near something that felt warm.

“I must be near the campfire.” He thought to himself. “I better keep quiet from now on.”

He sensed Fíli and Kíli nearby to keep guard, and sure enough in a few hours he began to feel sleepy, beginning to doze but kept get waking up due to one of the dwarves snoring quite loudly.

Suddenly a chilling screech echoed through the air, the sound made Frodo jump out of his skin and moved the bag a bit. A comforting hand of one of the brothers gentle patted the outside of the bag to try and calm poor Frodo down.

“What was that?” He heard Belle’s quivering voice nearby outside from the bag.

“Orcs.” Kíli’s voice was heard.

“Orcs?!” Frodo can hear Belle’s voice sounded alarmed and her footsteps coming towards their campfire, Frodo made extra sure to keep himself very still.

“Throat-cutters, There’ll be dozens of them out there.” Fíli’s voice was heard. “The lone-lands are crawling with them.”

“They strike in the wee small hours, when everyone’s asleep.” Kíli’s voice joined in. “Quick and quiet; no screams, just lots of blood.”

Frodo was quite scared there for a moment at what the boys just said filling his head with such horrid imaginations. Then he heard them giggle and realized they were just having fun with his aunt.

“You think that’s funny?” The sound of Thorin’s brusque voice made the brothers stop their laughing. “Do you think a night raid by Orcs is a joke?”

“We didn’t mean anything by it.” Kíli voice sounded regretful of what he had just said.

“No, you didn’t.” Thorin’s voice sounded grave. “You know nothing of the world.” And the sounds of his heavy shoe walked away from their campfire.

Then Frodo heard another voice that joined them.

“Don’t mind him, laddie.” Balin’s voice echoed. “Thorin has more cause than most to hate Orcs.”

Balin began his story about the battle against the Orcs at the Mines of Moria and the death of Thorin’s grandfather by having his head chopped off by Azog the pale Orc and had a battle with Thorin with his oaken branch he used for a shield and ended up losing his arm to Thorin who won the battle against the army of Orcs with the remains of his army.

Frodo could easily imagine the battlefield; the sounds of swords clashing together the war cries of the dwarf warriors. The image of what the giant pale Orc sends a shiver down his spine. Yet, he hoped that he would meet out there on their journey. He felt really sorry for Thorin, both he and his aunt knew what it was like to lose someone you love.

“… And I thought to myself then, there is one who I could follow.” Balin’s voice continued to finish his tale. “There is one… I could call king.”

There was silence of respect for a few moments that all Frodo can hear.

“But the pale Orc, What became of him?” he heard his aunt asked.

“He slunk back to the hole whence he came.” Thorin’s voice answered her curiosity. “That filth died of his wounds long ago.”

And that was the end of the long evening; it was not long before Frodo fell into a deep dreamless sleep.

The company travelled for many days and nights in rain and sunshine; it was the same routine for Frodo travel in the stuffy saddlebag and got wet from the heavy downpour, when they make camp Fíli and Kíli would let him out of the bag to continue his training.

Then one day, something happened that made the evening a complete difference.

After the disagreement between Thorin and Gandalf and Gandalf’s sudden departure, the company began to set camp as usual, Fíli and Kíli had gathered the company’s ponies and took them to a ruins that used to be a stable, as soon as they settled the ponies, Kíli walked up to his pony and looked around to make sure the company weren’t nearby as he lift up the flap of his saddlebag.

“Gandalf’s going to be away for a while. We’re just going to scout the area to find a place to practise.” He whispered to Frodo in the saddlebag.

“Do you think he’ll come back?” he asked

“I don’t know, Frodo.” Kíli answered uncertainly. “But we’ll see. So stay inside the bag until we come and get you, OK?”

“OK, I understand.” Frodo answered as Kíli replaced the flap and left with his brother, Frodo settled himself back into the bag and waited for a few hours until he began to feel bore and decided to doze for a little.

A sudden jerk shook him awake, he felt himself flying through the air, at first he thought it was brothers who came back for him and then he could the whinny of ponies and giant thundering footfalls.

Then he realized in horror, that he was carried away in the saddle bag with Kíli’s pony by something big. Carefully he peeped through the flap to see what it was that had stolen them away from the company and their campsite, what he saw made him gasp in terror, he and the two ponies had been taken by a big ugly troll.

He heard many stories about mountain trolls, but never thought he would actually see one. He began to panic, he maybe miles away from the company, his aunt and the boys, they must be terribly worried about him that he and their ponies had been taken.

“Oh no, what am I going to do?” He thought in fear and looked to where the troll was going.

He saw a dim light deep in the woods and was getting closer and closer to where it was. When they got near he saw two more trolls gathered round a campfire, this made his panic triple and saw behind them a couple more ponies that must have got stolen were trapped in a troll made fence.

The Troll that was carrying them had dropped them in the fence with the other ponies, and went away to get more. Seeing that the other trolls weren’t watching the ponies, this was Frodo’s chance to escape. He slowly lifted the flap and climbed out of the bag, he was quite a long way up from the ground; but since was good a climbing trees back home, he could easily jump down.

Once he landed he was surrounded by a pile of bones that made a clunk noise, cringed with panic he looked to the trolls to see if they heard him; but luckily they didn’t seem to notice. He silently breathed out a sigh of relief but it was short lived as he saw the first troll that took him away was coming back with two more ponies in a state of panic he hid in the pile of bones.


“Mutton yesterday, mutton today,” One of the trolls from the campfire started to complain, “and blimey; if it don’t look like mutton again tomorrow!”

Frodo peeked out from the pile of bones to observe the trolls, to find a way to make his escape.

“Quit your griping!” The troll that took him away rudely said at the others as he made his way to the fence. “These ain’t sheep, these is fresh nags.” He said as he placed the ponies with others and went over to sit with his fellow trolls.

Frodo made sure that the troll weren’t looking, quietly making his escape towards the bushes. Finally he made it behind the bushes for cover, now he had another problem; finding his way back to camp.

“Maybe if I follow that trolls wreckage I may find my way back to others.” He planned. “I’ll have to be very careful.”

Quiet as a mouse he crept through the bushes while he could hear the trolls mocking and arguing to each other. Until one of the ponies let out a sudden whinny and the Trolls stopped talking, Frodo stopped in his tracks and stayed absolutely still, in silence he wondered if the troll had detected that he was near.

But the trolls just shrugged and carried on about their argument. Frodo let out a breath and slowly crawled up to a tree, as he was nearly past it he heard one of the trolls gave a shout.

“Aaahh!! Blimey, Bert, Bert! Look what’s come out of me hooter!” It exclaimed “It’s got arms and legs and everything.”

Frodo hidden behind the tree looked round and saw in shock his Aunt Belle in the hands of the trolls and covered in troll bogeys.

“Oh no, Aunt Belle!”

“What is it?” The troll with apron asked as he examined the hobbit who was trying to get down.

“I don’t know.” Answered the troll that had her in his hand. “But I don’t like the way it wriggles around.” Disgusted he dropped the poor hobbit to the ground.

All Frodo can do is watch helplessly as he watched his aunt trying to get away from the trolls but they surrounded her.

“What are you, then?” The troll knows as William asked the terrified Hobbit. “An oversized squirrel?”

“I’m a burglar- uh, Hobbit.” Belle blurted as she corrected herself in terror.

“A Burglar-hobbit?” The troll known as Tom said in confusion.

“Can we cook her?” William inquired sinisterly, Frodo gasp with dread at the thought of his aunt being their dinner.

“We can try.” Tom suggested as they began to try and catch her but she was too quick for them and she saw an exit and made a bolt for it, but they blocked off her escape route.

They pushed her back to the campfire and trapped her.

“Perhaps there are more Burglar-hobbits around these parts.” William indicated. “Might be enough for a pie, grab her!”

But the other trolls had failed to catch her, so William grabbed her by her legs before she could get away.

Frodo placed his hand over his mouth as he watch in disbelief that his aunt had been captured.

“Gotcha, now are there any more of you little fellas hiding where you shouldn’t?” William interrogated to hanging Hobbit as he pointed his knife.

"No.” She lied.

“She’s lying.” Tom suspected.

“No, I’m not!” Belle strained felt uncomfortable of dangling upside down by brutal trolls.

"Hold her toes over the fire, make her squeal!” Tom suggested menacingly.

Unable to take it anymore, Frodo looked around for something that could help him and his aunt, but then he heard Tom gave a shriek of pain and saw Kíli had come to the rescue.

“Drop her!” He shouted at the trolls.

“You what?!” William bellowed rudely at the intruder.

"I said, drop her.” Kíli demanded as he held up his sword at them.

Frodo kept watching as Tom, in anger, threw his aunt at Kíli, but luckily he caught her. Then out of the bushes the rest of the dwarves came into the clearing and started to battle the trolls, the trolls tried to catch them to put them in sacks but the dwarves just kept fighting.

But during the fight, Frodo heard a scream and watched the company suddenly stopped fighting to look up to his and their horror Aunt Belle caught and held captive by the trolls with their hands on her arms and legs.

“Belle!” Kíli shouted as he tried rush to help her.

“Stop.” Thorin ordered as held him back to stop him.

“Lay down your arms, or we’ll rip hers’ off!” William threatened; to confirm their threat he and Bert squeezed Belle’s arms causing her to cry out in pain.

When Frodo witnessed of what the trolls were doing to his Aunt, as the dwarves threw down their weapons in defeat, he was filled with a deep and horrible rage.

Frodo climbed up the tree he was hiding until he came to a branch that he could see over the Troll’s campfire. He watched helplessly as the trolls had half of the dwarves on the spit over the hot fire and the other half including his aunt all tied up in sacks.

The trolls started to argue among themselves about how to cook the dwarves; like putting all of them on the spit or just sit on them one by one to squash them all into jelly. They came up with all sorts of cooking ideas which made Frodo shudder as he watch the dwarves and Aunt Belle struggling to get free, but their bonds were too tight.

“Never mind the seasoning, we ain’t got all night.” William said in irritation to put a stop to their arguing. “Dawn ain’t far away, let’s get a move on. I don’t fancy being turned to stone.”

When he heard that he tried to think of a plan. As he was trying to think, Aunt Belle’s voice cut through his thinking.

"WAIT!” Belle called to them to get their attention. “You are making a terrible mistake.”

“Aunt Belle no, what are you doing?” Frodo thought to her in disbelief at the scene.

“You can’t reason with them, they’re half-wits.” Dori’s voice cried from the spit.

“Half-wits, what does that make us?” Bofur’voice shouted when he was turned on the spit.

Belle managed to get up from the others in her sack and hopped over near the camp fire.

“I meant with the seasoning.” Belle clarified to the trolls hoping her plan will work.

“What about the seasoning?” Bert questioned the little Hobbit.

“Well, have you smelt them?” Belle suggested as she pointed at them in her sack. “You’re going to need something stronger than sage before you plate this lot up.”

While the dwarves shouted out at her in anger of her so-called betrayal, Frodo immediately knew what she was doing.

“She’s trying to buy them some time.” He thought with pride of his clever aunt. “That’s it Aunt, just keep them busy.”

“What do you know about cooking dwarf?” William asked her, clearly did not believe her.

“Shut up.” Bert silenced William and turned his attention back to the hobbit. “Let the flugabur bur hobbit talk.”

“The secret to cooking Dwarf is um…” Belle began hesitantly trying to come with something to stall time for the sun to come. “It’s, uh…”

“Yes? Come on, tell us the secret.” Bert asked impatiently.

“Yes, I’m telling you.” Belle said in a rush. “The secret is….”

Frodo kept watching as everyone leaned closer to hear her answer.

“…To skin them first.” Belle answered but later regretted it.

The dwarves were outraged by her response and threatened her to make her pay for her treachery.

“Tom, get me filleting knife.” Bert instructed Tom.

“I won’t forget that.” Dwalin threaten her from the spit. “I won’t forget that.”

“What a load of rubbish.” William said in suspicion. “I’ve eaten plenty with their skins on, scarf them, I say boots and all.”

Frodo looked down at his aunt with concern and notice she looked over a distance he followed her gaze and saw Gandalf run past some bush.

“He came back!” He thought with gladness to see him

“Come on Aunt Belle.” Frodo thought to her desperately. “Keep going.”

“He’s right, nothing wrong with a bit of raw dwarf.” Tom agreed and went over to the dwarves in the sacks and took hold of Bombur from the pile and held him upside down in the air towards his mouth. “Nice and crunchy.” Tom opened his rotten mouth about to eat poor whimpering Bombur.

Frodo couldn’t bear to watch this gruesome act and shut his eyes very tight.

“No not that one! He’s infected!” Belle called out quickly.

“Huh?!” That definitely got Tom’s attention from eating Bombur and Frodo opened one eye when he heard her.

“You what?!” William asked rudely.

“Yeah he’s got worms in his…tubes” She made up uncertainly.

But the trolls seemed to buy it and Tom immediately threw Bombur back with other dwarves.

“In fact they all have.” Belle carried on. “They’re infested with parasites, it’s a terrible business I wouldn’t risk it, I really wouldn’t.” She said convincingly.

This made Frodo laugh a bit with his hand over his mouth.

And the parasite idea seemed to be working; the trolls looked a bit cautious for a moment until the dwarves open their mouths in protest.

“Parasites, did she say parasites?” Óin asked Kíli next to him to make sure he heard correctly.

“We don’t have parasites!” Kíli shouted at her unaware of what she was trying help. “You have parasites.”

“What are you talking about, lassie?” Óin asked her also.

The stupid dwarves were giving the game away; Frodo groan in frustration as he put his palm on his forehead.

But then heard a thud and looked up as the dwarves looked at their leader who kicked them to shut up; finally they realized what going on.

“I… got parasites as big as my arm” Óin bragged.

“Mine are the biggest parasites, I got huge parasites!” Kíli boasted the most.

Then every dwarf was saying that they got infected with parasites and other such diseases, and then Belle shrugged at the trolls to show that she was right.

The trolls were a bit put off of what they said. Even the dwarves on the spit joined in

“We’re riddled!” Nori called from the spit.

“Yes, I’m riddled!” Ori joined his older brother.

“Yes we are, badly.” Dori he told the trolls.

“What would you have us do then?” William asked suspiciously as he walked closer to the Hobbit. “Let them all go?!”

“Uh oh!” Frodo thought with alarm that the trolls caught on and looked at the sky to see if it was getting lighter. “Sun hasn’t risen yet we need more time!” He then looked towards his aunt and then he thought up an idea to help them buy some time.

“Well…” Belle said hesitantly.

“You think I don’t know what you’re up to?” William sneered at her while poking her with his finger and went back to the spit. “This little shrew is taking us for fools.”

“Shrew?!” Belle appalled.

“Fool?!” Bert asked in disbelief, wondered if William insulted him.

It was now or never and Frodo got into action.

“Hey! How dare you called us fools, you big oaf!” he called out imitating Tom’s voice and hid himself from sight.

“Who are you calling an oaf, Tom?!” William demanded at Tom who looked at him innocently.

“But I didn’t call you an oaf. Honest William!” Tom defended.

“Don’t you dare lie to me, you stupid imbecile!” William raged at Tom by grabbing him by the neck.

“Not as stupid as you are simpleton.” Frodo called out again but this time imitating Bert’s voice.

He quickly hid in leaves of his branch as he watched with amusement.

This enraged William even more and looked at Bert who was busy turning the spit.

“What did you say?!” William shouted at Bert, he was confused at why William is shouting at him.

“I didn’t say anything.” Bert said, not having a clue of what was going on.

“I’ll deal with you later.” William threatened Tom and tossed him to the ground, He headed straight to Bert.

“You just called me a simpleton, why did you call me that?” William inquired Bert in the face.

“I did not call you that!” Bert insisted.

Inside his mind, Frodo was roaring with laughter as he continued to call out.

“You did so!” He shouted in a Tom-like voice.

“I did not Tom, you liar!” Bert accused at Tom.

“You did so!” Frodo shouted in a William-like voice

“DID NOT!!!” Bert shouted at both of them felt really angry now at this stupid game they seemed to be playing with him.

“Why did you just called me a liar, you bunch of nitwits?” Frodo finished off with Tom’s voice as he laughed quietly behind his hands.

Both the angry Trolls’ head turned to Tom with red in their faces, Tom face went white with fear.

“That wasn’t me I swear!” Tom claimed, but they didn’t believe him.

“How stupid can they get?” Frodo thought when he looked up at the sky as the Trolls started to beat each other up, the sun started to peek from the distant hills the only problem was that a rock was blocking the way to the troll’s camp, until Gandalf decided to make his big entrance.

“THE DAWN WILL TAKE YOU ALL!” Gandalf called out as he stood on the rock that was blocking the sun. The dwarves and the hobbit looked up with bafflement of his return.

The trolls who were in the middle of a fight, looked up at the wizard in puzzlement.

“Who’s that?” Asked William.

“No idea.” Answered Bert.

“Can we eat him too?” Tom asked stupidly.

With a mighty blow of Gandalf’s staff, the rock that block the sun suddenly split in two. And the blinding light of the dawn shone through.

Frodo watch from the branches in amazement as the trolls began to turn to stone. The company down below began to cheer for the wizard for perfect timing. Frodo could hardly believe it he and his aunt saved the company from being the trolls’ dinner.

After Gandalf helped free the dwarves from the spit and everyone began to help each other out and asked Belle for forgiveness for what they said, as he watch Gandalf and Thorin talk, Frodo began to wonder how was he going to slip away without anyone noticing?

Then the most unexpected thing happened, he saw Bombur who his brothers’ were helping him out of the sack when he tumbled over the cooking pot that the trolls left and began to rolled down heading straight for his tree.

Frodo watched in horror as Bombur hit the tree with a big shake and with that, Frodo gave a yelp and tumbled out of the tree and landed on Bombur’s large belly like a big cushion. He took his cloak covering his head off and saw the whole company looked at him in bewilderment and shock.

“Frodo?” Belle gasped at him.

“Uh oh, I’m in big trouble now!”

Chapter Text

"Frodo?!" Belle gasped in disbelief, "What are you doing here? I thought you were at home with Mr Hamfast?!"

"Um… Well, you see…" Frodo stammered nervously to his aunt as he got off of Bombur to straighten himself out, while thirty pairs of eyes were all fixed upon him, especially the eyes of the furious, as well as shocked, leader of the company.

"MISTRESS BAGGINS!" Thorin thundered at Belle, making the Hobbit jump. "What is the meaning of this, why did you bring that child with you?! You were fully well aware that this quest is very dangerous and this journey is certainly no place for a small boy. That was very careless of you!"

"Excuse me," Belle spluttered with outrage. "I didn't bring my nephew along; I didn't know he was with us! I left him at home with Hamfast to look after him; I don't know how he came…" She stopped when she realized something, and slowly turned to Gandalf who seemed to be disinterested with the situation while he was cleaning out his pipe. "Gandalf, did you have something to do with this?" Belle severely asked him with an upcoming wrath.

"Maybe," Gandalf teased with a crooked eyebrow.

"Gandalf?!" Belle snapped harshly.

"Well, let's just say I had a little help in bringing him along with us." He hinted suggestively.

Both Belle and Thorin turned to the company with suspicion and in fury.

"Who among you had been mad enough to smuggle this boy all the way out here?" Thorin demanded loudly. "Did you two bring him?" He asked Balin and Dwalin first.

"No," Dwalin denied.

"We were unaware of the boy's existents," Balin answered.

"Did either of you bring him?" Belle asked Óin and Glóin.

"What, did we string him?" Óin asked in confusion as he pulled out his ear trumpet. "Why would we string him?"

"No Óin, she asked if we brought him along with us!" Glóin said out loud for his brother to hear. "And no Mistress Baggins; we have nothing to do with this."

"Did any of you three?" Thorin questioned Bofur and his brothers.

"We wouldn't do anything that absurd!" Bofur replied while his brothers shook their heads in denial.

"Was it one of you three?" Belle asked Dori along with his brothers.

"No, we know nothing of this," Dori spoke for his brothers. "Unless…?" Both he and Ori looked towards Nori with a stern look on their faces.

"Oi! I have nothing to do with this, Dori!" Nori shouted outraged by this accusation. "I may be a pickpocket thief, but I would never kidnap a child. Honest!"

But then they all knew, the company turned their eyes on Fíli and Kíli who stood there in silence and looked very nervous; Bella was horrified at them and their uncle was furious.

"BOYS!" Thorin thundered, the boys flinched at his voice. "Were you the ones responsible for bringing him here?!" he asked as he pointed at Frodo, who looked up sheepish.

"Yes, Uncle, we smuggled him secretly with us on Gandalf's behalf," Kíli confessed with his head down, "we brought him with us in my saddle bag and sneaked him some food along the way."

"So that's what happened to some of the spare food," said Bombur.

"But when we had discovered that our ponies were taken by the trolls; we realized that they must have taken Frodo with them too," Fíli admitted with guilt.

Belle's eyes widen with deep shock.

"What, what did you say?!" she asked in a demanding tone.

"But we didn't mean to put him in danger," Kíli quickly insisted, "or you Mistress Baggins, honest!"

Thorin breathed in slow, sharp but steady breathes with fury in his eyes. Belle's body shook with uncontrollable tremor.

"So let me get this straight, Gandalf; you recruited these two to bring my nephew far away from the safety of his home," she hissed at the wizard with rage in her voice and then turns to the boys, "and you two dragged him straight into danger?!"

The boys looked at each other briefly in nervousness.

"Well, strictly speaking…" Fíli uneasily began to explain.

"STRICTLY SPEAKING!" Belle raised her voice to cut him off. "You each deserve a big wallop from my frying pan, which I would gladly ask Bombur for his since mine is in absent!"

Fíli and Kíli were a bit alarmed of her reaction, even the company were quite surprised; how could such small and gentle lady Hobbit display such a fiery temper?

Then Frodo stood in the way in front of Fíli and Kíli.

"Please Aunt Belle, Mr Oakenshield; don't punish them for what they've done, I'm the one who chose to come with them." Frodo defended, the brothers were astonished that the small lad stood up for them. "I made a dummy in my bed before I left; so it would look like I was still sleeping, I also left a letter that Gandalf wrote to explain to everyone in the Shire where I had gone."

"I have every right to be angry, young man; what were you thinking coming all the way out here on your own?" Belle scolded him, "Confound it all Frodo; this adventure is not like the books you've read, it's very dangerous and you could get yourself killed!"

Frodo felt her words gone straight into his heart and lowered his head down in shame for his foolishness.

"Calm yourself Belle Baggins," Gandalf spoke gently to help soothed the poor exasperated Hobbit as he placed his hand on her shoulder to console her.

"How can I be calm, Gandalf," Belle snapped at Gandalf, she had never been this furious, "Frodo was not supposed to be here, this journey's not safe for children, I'm taking him back home, right now!" She was about to take Frodo's hand to drag him all the way back to the Shire, But Gandalf stopped her.

"I'm afraid it's too late for that, Belle Baggins, Frodo was perfectly aware of how dangerous this journey will be when I told him," Gandalf explained to her to justify Frodo's decision. "But Frodo wanted to come with you; because he was worried that if you go on this quest, you might not come back alive."

Belle was astonished from Gandalf said and looked upon her nephew; she could see tears were forming in his blue eyes, her anger fade away. To be truthful she kind of understood why Frodo wanted to come with her after he lost his mother and her father so tragically in the river; he couldn't bear it if something would happen to her as well and he would be all alone.

"Oh, Frodo."

Moved by his uneasiness and his need, she went up to pick up Frodo in her arms in a hug of comfort and softly reassured him that she wasn't angry with him; she was just concerned for his safety.

Frodo wrapped his small arms around her and wept quietly on her shoulder.

The whole company was touched by this display of affection; a mother and son love.

"Well, this is certainly an unexpected predicament." Balin duly noted, "But what shall we do, now that we have this young lad with us?"

"We are not having the boy with us on this quest!" Thorin furiously protested; the company immediately turned their heads to their leader; including Belle's. It was clear that Thorin had enough problems with this quest, now he will have to deal with two troublesome hobbits.

"On our way the next village or city we come to, we'll leave the boy in the care of some family." He bade his companions, but Belle looked horrified by this scheme.

"What? No, absolutely not!" Belle cried out in disbelief with her widened eyes fixed upon him.

"I forbid you to even think of using that despicable suggestion!" Belle shouted at him in sudden rage. "How dare you! Do you think that for one minute that I would have nephew left alone in the hands of complete strangers while we're on our merry way? Well, you're completely wrong because I'm not leaving him! I don't care how dangerous this hare-brained adventure will be; I will protect him even if it means my death!"

Thorin was astonished by her outburst; never in his life that a woman had ever deified his command.

Even the dwarves were equally flabbergasted by her fierce protectiveness of her boy.

"Very well, we'll send him back home to the Shire, his parents must be very worried about his disappearance; one of us must go and send the boy back to his parents immediately." He ordered his men.

But an uncomfortable silence hung in the air at that moment.

"Perhaps it would be for the best for his safety…" Balin began; thought it was a reasonable idea.

"I'm afraid that's not possible either, Master Balin," Belle spoken solemnly, her face expressed with a sorrowful emotion.

"And why is that not possible, Mistress Burglar?" Thorin asked scornfully.

"Because he has no home and no family left, Master Oakenshield," Belle answered gravely. "I'm all he has."

Thorin and the dwarves were thoroughly confused.

"I don't understand, Miss Baggins." Thorin inquired. Then Frodo turned his head to look up steadily at Thorin from Belle's arms with tears from his blue eyes.

"My parents had died, Sir," Frodo explained with a quiver in his voice. "They're in heaven Sir; my aunt took me in when they passed away years ago, drowned in the river."

"Forgive us, laddie, we didn't know," Balin begged as he looks upon the grief-stricken hobbits. "We're so sorry for your loss."

Frodo uttered softly a small thank you and Belle hugged her boy.

"We have only one choice, my friends," Gandalf astutely advised to the dwarves and the hobbits. "We'll have to bring him with us on our journey."

"But Gandalf, he's too young, how could he possibly be able to defend himself from the dangers out there?" Belle asked him with concerned eyes. "And who will protect Frodo if something happens to me?

"Actually, Miss Belle; he can." Fíli clarified when he caught her attention. "You see, Kíli, Gandalf and I had been training him how to use a sword in secret every time stop to make camp."

Belle and the other dwarves were flabbergasted.

"You've been training him?!" she shrieked.

The boys both nodded in admission. "Yes, because that was how we lost the ponies, we were off to find a secret spot to continue his training," Kíli answered.

"Yes, but he still has a lot more to learn." Gandalf simplified. "So he'll need more practising on the way."

Then in a few moments, Dwalin stood up next to Fíli and Kíli.

"There are other swordsmen's skills the wee laddie will need to know, so I'll help them train the boy, Miss Baggins." Dwalin pledged to her, because while he was at Bag End; he already took a shine to Frodo.

"Don't you worry lassie, we'll guard him with our lives," Bofur promised along with Bombur and Bifur who vowed in the dwarvish tongue.

"If by our lives or our deaths, we will protect him." Dori and his brothers devoted themselves. "We will."

Then the rest of the company pledge themselves to offer Frodo's protection.

Gandalf turned his head towards Thorin; who was still in deep doubts about the situation.

"Would you all excuse us for a moment if you please?" Gandalf requested to the rest of the company. "We need to discuss on whether Frodo is joining us or not."

"Thorin, Balin, come," He called to them.

He took them aside so they wouldn't be heard, while the dwarves and the hobbits wait in agonising silence to hear what the result is going to be.

"Well, it seems the others are willing to guard the boy." Gandalf lowly uttered to Balin and Thorin.

"But why bring him Gandalf?" Balin questioned him. "It is a risk of bringing such a small boy out into the big world, it might be dangerous out there."

"I don't doubt that Balin," Gandalf answered. "But I have to make sure that his Aunt does come along with us whether or not she discovers him missing."

"So you would use him as bait to lure her here?" Thorin suspected.

"Bait or not. I'm merely giving the boy a chance to help his aunt on this quest," Gandalf answered. "After all, he did help you along with Belle; if I hadn't brought him with us, you all would have been Trolls' dinner."

"Aye, he's a bright wee clever lad," Balin admitted with a fond smile. "We owe her and her lad our lives."

"But I still think the boy should go back to him home." Thorin insisted. "He's only an innocent boy; he has no idea of the horrors of bloody battles."

Gandalf looked at him thoughtfully; he gave him a small warm smile.

"So you do care about him too," Gandalf said considerately.

Even though Thorin wouldn't admit it, but deep down in his hard heart knew what it felt too lost a family he loved; first his Grandfather taken by a sickness and by the hand of the pale orc. His Father and his little brother, Frerin; whose lives were stolen in the battle to reclaim the Mines of Moria.

He felt a bond with the boy's tragedy.

"I'm only concerned for his safety and of the company's welfare, that's all." He claimed with a stern expression. But Gandalf looked not convinced; for he knew better.

"You have no choice Thorin, whether you like it or not; Frodo will have to come with us." Gandalf persevered. "With his and Belle's help, you can take back your homeland."

"I'm afraid Gandalf is right Thorin," Balin said rationally, "and anyway it's too late now if we do send him back; we'll lose more precious time to get to the mountain."

"Young Mr Frodo has no choice," Balin confirmed, "he is, as of today, a fifteenth member of the company."

After considerable thought, Thorin slowly nodded his head in agreement.

"Very well, but let the burglar must decide for herself," Thorin testified "the boy is her nephew after all."

The dwarves, Belle and Frodo waited in an unnerving delay until they spotted Gandalf, Balin and Thorin are returning from their conversation.

The look on Thorin's face showed that clearly, he's not happy with the arrangement. Then Gandalf spoke.

"Well, Belle the decision is up to you now; on if you want Frodo to come on the journey with us or not," Gandalf stated to her. "What is your decision?"

Belle looked around to the dwarves who gazed were fixed upon her, waiting for her answer. Then she looked down to her nephew in her arms; his eyes were pleading for her to let him come with her.

She gave a big sigh and gave her decision for everyone to hear.

"All right Frodo, you can come along," Belle admitted in defeat. "But remember, you have to do exactly what we say. Do you understand?"

Frodo's face lit up with joy and wrapped his arms around her in gratitude.

"Oh thank you, thank you, Aunt Belle." Frodo cried with joy. "I promise I will."

Balin looked up at Thorin and he, in turn, gave back a nod of confirmation.

"Well, lads," Balin announced with a smile as he gazed upon Frodo, "it looks like we have ourselves a fifteenth member of the company."

The company gave a cheer for this conclusion and went to congratulate Frodo and thanked him for saving their lives.

Belle looked up towards Thorin who stared back at her and she gave him a small but gentle smile of appreciation. At that moment she smiled at him for the first time; he felt like a light has lit up in his hard heart. He never felt this way about anyone.

Then he felt a slight nudge from Gandalf that snapped out of his thoughts. The Wizard gave a respected smile for the decision that was made. But in secret, he noticed his attention towards Belle and couldn't help but felt pleased by this effect. Things are getting very interesting.

Gandalf and Thorin wandered back to the stone trolls; Gandalf began to observe the horrid trolls.

"They must have come down from the Ettinmoors." Gandalf examined.

"Since when do mountain trolls venture this far south?" Thorin questioned as he looked at the statues.

"Oh not for an age, not since a darker power ruled these lands," Gandalf said uneasily.

Thorin felt a spine-chilling dread run through his body.

'He doesn't mean…?' Thorin thought in unease, 'that's not possible.'

But Gandalf changed the subject.

"They could not have moved in daylight." He pondered.

"There must be a cave nearby." Thorin speculated and went off to gather the company to search for it.

The company followed the trail the trolls left until a foul stench reached their noses; they came to a small hill of rock and found the entrance down below near the ground.

Some of the company wanted to stay outside in the fresh air and they sent Ori, Bifur and Dori back to their campsite to gather their supplies and ponies.

Gandalf and Thorin, along Dwalin, Bofur Glóin and Nori who volunteered, they lit a touch and went into the cave. As they descended down into the darkness, the disgusting odour was unbearable, it made them wanted to gag and cough.

"It's a troll-hoard," Gandalf said. "Be careful what you touch, you don't know where these trolls have been." He warned.

The flame from the torch had lit the whole cave there were so many things that the Trolls either found or stole like old farming tools, furniture, parts of a wagon and most of all, treasure.

Bofur's eye gazed down greedily on the glittering pile of gold.

"It seems ashamed just to leave it lying around." He broods over as his boot touched the shiny gold coins. "Anyone could take it."

"Agreed," Glóin thought so too as he opened a small chest full of treasure, he turned to Nori who was next to him, "Nori, get a shovel."

While they were gathering some treasure, Gandalf and Thorin were still exploring further into the cave. Thorin took a keen interest in the collection of weapons that were covered in cobwebs and were gathered in a box, especially at the swords. He took out the longest one out and a second one that was just about his size to inspect them; like from his days when he worked as a blacksmith.

"These swords were not made by any troll." He examined, they were too fine a smith's work to be made by a clumsy and stupid troll.

He handed the longest sword to Gandalf for an analysis. The Wizard lifted the sword from his scabbard to look at the blade.

"Nor were they made by any smith among men." He agreed as he blew away the dust, as he studied the design of the blade, he discovered where they came from and the people who made them. "These were forged in Gondolin, by the High Elves of the First Age."

Learned that the sword was made by Elves; disgusted he was about to put the sword back where he found it when Gandalf stopped him.

"You could not wish for a finer blade." He spoke sharply.

Curiosity got the better of him and unsheathed the sword to examine it, the blade was skilfully made he had to admit it and the balance was perfect and begrudgingly tied it to his hip.

"Let's get out of this foul place," Thorin ordered he and Dwalin made their way out of the cave. "Bofur, Glóin, Nori!" He called to them and they followed him out.

Gandalf who was behind them walked towards the exit when his staff hit something metal on the ground. He looked down to the where his staff hit on the floor of moss and rotten leaves; he used the end of his staff to brush away the moss and leaves and saw another elven blade but smaller and he knew just the person to have this blade. He picked up the blade with its scabbard and went out of the exit to join the others.

But as he left the cave, he was unaware that a pair of eyes was watching him from the darkness of the cave and then a smell of cooked meat reached its nose; slowly it followed the wizard and the smell towards the exit.

Outside of the cave, the rucks and supplies were brought back to the company it was just the matter of gathering the ponies. Bombur was cooking everyone's breakfast; Belle was sitting outside the cave entrance; eating her breakfast sandwich as she watched Frodo helping himself to a sandwich with bacon and sausages.

Then Gandalf appeared out of the cave.

"Belle," He called to her, Belle got up from where she sat and walked over to him. "Here, this is about your size." He handed her the small elven blade, Belle took it from him, but she was not sure on whether she will use it.

"But Gandalf, I can't take this." She said doubtfully.

"The blade is of Elvish make," He informed her, "which means it will glow blue when Orcs or Goblins are nearby."

Belle realised that this information would be useful to her and Frodo if they are in danger, but she did not know how to fight in a battle.

"But I have never used a sword in my life," Belle told him.

"And I hope you never have to." He expressed, and Belle glanced at him in confusion. What could he mean? "But if you do, remember this: True courage is about knowing not when to take a life, but when to spare one."

Belle didn't know what to say by these words of wisdom. Before she could ask him what he meant; Frodo came over to her, dragging her backpack in one hand and his breakfast sandwich in the other.

Gandalf went over to talk to Thorin who was with Dwalin and Balin, along with Fíli and Kíli.

"Here Aunt Belle, here's your rucksack," He puffed out of breath, and then he noticed the sword. "Wow, is that sword yours Aunt Belle?" He asked her.

"Well,…" Belle began as she looked at the sword in her hand.

"Can I see?" Frodo asked excitedly.

She signed in defeat and withdrew the blade from the scabbard to let Frodo have a look at it. Frodo was in awe, this was the first to see a real sword and in a hobbit-size too.

As Belle was putting away her sword; she heard a strange noise, like something rustled through the leaves, she looked round to see where the noise was coming from. Frodo noticed his aunt looked towards the cave and followed her gaze.

The strange sound was coming from the cave's entrance; Belle narrowed her eyes in the darkness to see what it was that was making the sound.

Then she saw something moved in the darkness of the cave.

"Gandalf," She called to him in a low voice, Gandalf Thorin and others turned their attention to her.

"Something moved in there." She pointed towards the cave, Gandalf tried to see what was, and then slowly he crept towards the cave.

Beside him; Thorin unsheathed his new sword just in case, Balin, Dwalin, Fíli and Kíli did the same with theirs. Then Gandalf saw too that something was moving in the dark.

"Get back." He ordered Belle and Frodo and turned to Thorin along with the others. "Get ready." Thorin nodded and raised his sword as the Balin and others raised their weapons.

Belle withdrew from the cave entrance; clutching Frodo securely in her arms as she looked nervously at the cave.

Then Gandalf cautiously raised his staff into the cave; he muttered a spell and made the cave lit up.

And there what he saw made his eyes widen…