The Goblin King was singing again, his horrid voice dreadfully off key and filled with unholy glee as his goblins brought up devices that made Billa’s blood turn cold. Around her, the dwarves pressed ever tighter together, faces full of scowls and glares, even as hands grasped at relations and friends. Fili and Kili were the only ones whose hands did not touch, but they stood shoulder to shoulder, pressed so close that they could have been mistaken as one dwarf from a distance were it not for their different coloring. Billa could feel herself shuddering and not even Balin’s warm hand on the small of her back, or Dwalin’s low growl near her ear could bring reassurance. The goblins around them pushed and shoved, ready to grasp the first dwarf of the King’s choosing. Suddenly, a great wail came from the goblins and more than a few fled from the front of the group, as their King stumbled back, eye rolling with fear.
“I know that sword!” A grubby finger pointed towards a blade, Thorin’s Orcrist, the Hobbit realized, as she shifted to peer over the Durin sons’ shoulders. “It is the Goblin Cleaver!!”
The goblins shrieked, hissed and spat, and even more fled from the wooden platform in wild terror, all too eager to get away from the blade that had slaughtered thousands of their kind in the past. In their fear, some began hitting and lashing out at the Company with short whips and Billa flinched away from the sharp cracking sounds as the Goblin King continued on about the blade, scrambling to get as far away from it as possible.
“Slash them! Kill them! Kill them all!!”
The goblins were more than eager to follow the orders of their king and before Billana knew it her dwarves were being pushed and tackled to the ground, one by one each fell beneath two or three of the creatures as they gnashed their fangs, biting arms, and tearing at legs with clawed hands. Behind her Bombur fell onto his back while Dwalin struggled, throwing one goblin after another even as he was pushed back and away from his lode. In the last brief moment where Billa met his eyes, she saw a flash of fear as he looked at her before she screamed as a heavy, nasty smelling body slammed into her from behind.
Above the din and her attempts to keep teeth from sinking into her neck, the frightened little Hobbit heard the Goblin King order, “Cut off his head!”, and without knowing it she called out the dwarf’s name, her voice high in protest for surely this could not be the end. Lashing out with large feet she slammed them into the goblin, forcing the beast off her. Crouching she spotted where the royal dwarf was pinned to the ground, a ragged knife about to descend upon him, and with hardly a thought Billa lunged, grabbing her brightly glowing sword from the ground as she fought to get to the dwarf on time. In the same moment, her sword unintentionally sliced into the goblin about to kill Thorin, a strong blast pulsed through the air, sending the pair tumbling off the edge of the platform.
As one Billa and the goblin screamed, only to know no more when her back slammed into rock followed quickly by her head.
A game of riddles with a strange creature later, Billa was once again running for her life, bravely ignoring the twinging protests of her ankle, in favor of navigating dark and dank pathways of the mountain's depths. One day I will laugh about this, Billana wildly thought as she raced through dark tunnels to get away from the crazy thing that chased after her. One day this will be nothing more than a memory and I will laugh at it and regale my children and- The thought was cut off before it could finish as she slammed herself into the small crevice, trying to force her greatly thinned body through the opening that was beginning to look like it had been made for vastly emaciated hobbits only.
The thing- Gollum- hacked out another eerie scream of her family name and Billa scrabbled against the stone, begging Mahal with gasping breaths to please help, for surely if he was looking after the children of Durin he would be looking after her too for the time she was a part of the Company. Gollum’s screams of ‘thief’ and ‘Baggins’ were growing steadily louder and recalling the large eyes filled with malicious intent, she grunted, forcing either the wall or her body to give way in her increasingly desperate attempts to get away.
At last, something gave and the buttons on her coat glinted in the dim light as she fell onto the ground. The Ring too danced into the air and, by some miracle, as she reached up to catch it, it slipped onto her finger. Barely a moment later Gollum pounced through the same hole, large eyes searching as he snarled and screeched for his ‘Precious’. For a moment Billa thought herself doomed when the creature looked right at her but found it very odd when he took off down the path, his wretched screeching taking on notes of desperation and hysteria....it was almost as if it -he- hadn't seen her at all...
She glanced down at the golden glow, surely it couldn’t be… How odd…How enthralling… Billa could feel the Took in her well up in excitement, but the Baggins blood in her seemed for a moment to shudder in revulsion as she began to notice how hazy the world around her had become. Was it The Ring or had she really rattled her head that badly on the way down?
Unconsciously she reached up to touch her head where, what had once been a cut, now seemed to be far larger and much worse now- if the trail of blood was any indicator. By all that was good and green in this world, Oin would surely slather her hair in that awful smelling poultice once he saw her! An all too familiar cry that would surely haunt her dreams in the coming days rent the air and drew her attention away from the glowing Ring and her self-examination. Gather your wits Baggins; she thought shaking her head, now is not the time to be dawdling off in your thoughts!
Clutching her elven blade tightly the hobbit hobbled forwards, carefully following the Gollum’s cries, until a dim glow began to grow brighter. It took a moment for the copper haired woman to recognize the familiar glow, but her little heart soared at the familiar sight. Lurching forward she headed for the familiarity of the warm glow that all of Yavanna’s children thrived off of; easily passing the creature and paying him no more heed. And by the time the darkness was completely gone she was sprinting, toes curling joyfully in the dry dirt as her button nose eagerly inhaled the scent of pine trees and the scent of a world on the cusp of the arrival of autumn- chasing away the stench of goblins and blood.
The Ring was nothing but a hindrance now and she was quick to remove it, as Billana wanted nothing more than to rejoice in the feel of the earthen magic beneath her being and the smell of nature, and yet nonetheless she was careful to ensure that it was tucked safely away in her pocket, before her mind wandered too far upon the joyous reunion of Hobbit, sun, and earth. It was in the process of her feeling the rough bark of a tree she was hugging in all too vivid relief that her thoughts jolted from the Green Song and turned back to the Company- and in particular her dwarf, her flower. Fear speared through the core of her being and a hand quickly reached up to press against her ear, the location of her flower, praying to still feel the slightly raised skin of Dwalin's true name and the decorations around it, even as her hurting feet turned and hurtled her back toward the mountain entrance.
The feel of her flower was only barely reassuring, and the Hobbit slipped on The Ring without a thought, before unsheathing her elven blade as she pressed on back towards the darkness of the Goblin caves. She would leave none of those dwarves behind. But just as she was about to step back into the caves, her heart still craving for the sun’s touch, she heard a terrible roaring scream. One that sounded far too dwarvish and too frightening to contemplate- and once again her feet raced ahead of her mind, turning and taking her back into the light and towards the direction of her Company, hoping that they all yet breathed.