Fire, death and ash.
Why was it always fire, death and ash he saw whenever he closed his eyes? He didn’t want to see any more fire, death and ash. So, he simply opened them.
There was a ceiling above him, with an elaborate metal chandelier. He stared at it, unblinking for a moment trying to puzzle out why the chandelier looked so familiar and yet not at the same time. Where was he? Was this his room?
Finally blinking his eyes, he groaned as he lifted himself up on his elbows, trying to get his thoughts into some semblance of order, struggling to remember where he was. What had happened to him? He looked about the room, trying to place it. His memory was fuzzy.
A year. Why was that the only phrase spinning about in his mind? A year. He only had one year. That was the only thought that was very clear in his mind. He just had the one. Or rather a near full year. 'One year to do what?'
Never mind that, he couldn’t even remember what he had done yesterday. He shook his head confused. What had he done yesterday? He frowned for a moment. ‘Yesterday. Yesterday. Yesterday,’ he tried to bring up his memories as he flopped back down on his back.
Oh. That’s right. He died.
“What in the name of Mahal?” he yelped as he jerked upwards in surprise. Blankets tangled about his legs and he went rolling over the side of his small, but humble and rather lumpy bed just as a knock came at the door.
“Brother? Was that you?” The door poked open, and his younger sibling peeked in and frowned at him. “What are you doing on the floor?”
“Checking for cracks,” he muttered.
“What was that?” the voice at the door went sharp.
Thorin finally pulled himself up and sat back on the floor, looking at his sister for the first time since he left her with her sons behind him on what was thought to be such an impossible undertaking. She looked the same as he remembered her… absolutely chilling as she narrowed her eyes at him and entered his room without so much as a by your leave, shutting the door behind her.
“Is this about your meeting with the others?”
He tried to look nonchalant as he started untangling his legs from his blanket. “Hmm?”
She shifted. “I know that you are worried of what our kin think of us Thorin, but I believe in you and of this quest. I would not let my sons go with you if I did not.”
Thorin looked back down at the blanket and forced himself to fold it to keep himself from wincing as an image of them filled his vision.
Fíli and Kíli.
He snapped the blanket shut and set it back on his bed as he finally stood up. “We will be fine sister,” he assured her, even as he tried to keep the guilt from showing. “The line of Durin will not fail.” ‘Not this time.’
She let out a snort and finally turned back towards the door. “Best have breakfast then before you go. The boys are so excited they can barely sit still.”
“Hopefully they’re packed this time,” Thorin mumbled.
“What?” He looked back up at her. “Can I get dressed now or was there something else you needed?”
She raised an eyebrow, as she looked him over from head to toe before she gave a small huff and exited. Thorin let out a sigh of relief as he went to looking for his pants. Whose idea was it to have sleeping naked before embarking on a quest a tradition? True they would be stuck in armor and traveling gear for long enough, but really, whoever it was never had a nosy sister - or female relations of any kind.
Finally finding his breeches, he quickly shoved his legs into them, his mind whirling. A year. He was back a year before the battle at the base of the Lonely Mountain.
He had a year to save them. That’s what the voice told him while he had been lost in the darkness. “You may have this year to try again. One year to change their fate and save them.”
Save them. He could save his nephews, and anyone else who may have died in that horrible bloodshed. He could change things, hopefully for the better and not for the worse. He would do what he could this time around and this time…
He sighed as he pulled on his tunic. He would do right by his company. All of them... even the smallest.
Shaking himself out of his melancholy he finished stamping his boots on and stood. He had much planning to do and little time to do it in.
But he wasn’t going to get to do anything if he didn’t get to the privy first.