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Borin Baggins and the Ring

Chapter Text

Chapter 1: Prologue

 

There was darkness all around him. His friends were dead, looking at him with accusation in their eyes. He had betrayed them. They trusted him, and he gave the Arkenstone to their enemies. His wife, Bís, her flaming red matched the stain on her belly where their unborn child once was, whose life came to an end before he took his first breath. The ground beneath him was burning, and then, he was falling as the word erupted into chaos.

Bilbo Baggins woke up with a strangled scream. Gasping, he looked next to him where Bís was sleeping soundly. Grief settled within his heart at the realisation that his dwarrow friends still thought of him as traitor and never even bothered to write to him. He longed to see a friendly face, one that he could trust, instead of foes everywhere.

In order to settle his aching heart he cautiously crept out of bed and went into the next room where the nursery was. There he looked in wonder and affection at his son. He was so small and the world was just so dark and full of terror.

How could one small boy bear the weight of the world on his small, fragile shoulders?

He shivered when he remembered the prophecy; what was once foretold is bound to come true. Bilbo swore there and then, with a certainty that only a parent could possess, that his son will be kept out of harm’s way and that he will live, no matter the cost.

 

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Gandalf sighed as he made his way East, sure that the news that he was bearing would hold as much grief as it did in the other Western Lands. Erebor, one of the last dwarf kingdoms of Middle-Earth, stronghold of Thorin Oakenshield, the second of his name. The gates were opened to him without any questions asked and he made his way to the throne room where he was sure the King and most of the former company were.

“All hail his Majesty Thorin, son of Thrain, and grandson of Thror” greeted Gandalf.

“Tharkun” replied the dwarf, dressed in his heavy court robes of Durin blue. “We were not expecting you to grace my halls at this time of year.”

“Alas I come bearing tidings both good and bad,” said the wizard.

Thorin glanced at his sister and nephews all of whom were watching the exchange anxiously.

“Enough of your riddles wizard, just get on with it,” said Dwalin, the Captain of the guard with impatience. Balin rolled his eyes at his younger brother’s lack of tact in diplomacy.

“The dark Lord Sauron has been vanquished,”

There was a stunned silence before cheering were heard at every corner of the room. The dwarves were headbutting and embracing each other in celebration. Only Thorin remained quiet, and assessed the wizard who still looked weary.

“What about the bad news?” asked Thorin with a sense of dread. His deep baritone spread to every corner of the great hall, silencing everyone.

There was a moment of silence were nothing was said, then Gandalf let out a truth that stole his breath away.

“Bilbo and his wife, Bís, are dead. They sacrificed themselves for their only son. When Sauron turned his blade to kill the baby boy, he seemed to have lost all of his power and in his weakened state he fled”

Anguish lodged itself in Thorin’s throat as he struggled to breathe. His friend who he thought was safe was killed.

There was a cry of anguish as Bofur slammed onto the ground and managed to let out a strangled, "how?"

“No one knows, the mystery behind this. He killed so many people and yet failed to kill an infant. We may never know the answer.”

“And the boy?” asked Dis, her maternal instincts rising at full force.

“He is quite safe, he’s with his aunt and uncle, the only family he has left.”

 

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Far away to the west, a child woke up in a dark cupboard and whimpered in fear.

However no one came running, for his parents were not with the living and his aunt and uncle simply didn’t care for they had a precious child of their own.

Chapter Text

Chapter 2: The Party 

 

Everyone across Middle Earth knew about the Company of Thorin Oakenshield; how they bested the dragon Smaug and won back Erebor, and how they fought in the great battle that was later known as the Battle of theFive Armies. Their names were written in history books so that they could pass into legends. Ballads of their great deeds were sung from dawn till dusk.

Yet little was said about the hobbit that was part of the company and close to nothing was said about what happened to him afterwards that is until the downfall of Sauron and the victory of the first war.

As for Bís, well coming from a poor family she was not fit to be wed to a rich Baggins, well that didn’t stop them. Some said that she became part of the Company itself at the journey’s end while others said that she came as part of Dain’s army dressed as a man. The truth seemed to be shrouded in mist and mystery.

One truth was clear as cut glass however, their son managed to stop the darkest Lord of all time, earning only a scar on his shoulder, something that even warriors failed to do, let alone a child still unable to talk in complete sentences. Free folk spoke his name with reverence, as Borin Baggins the boy who lived.

 

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“Wake up! Get up!” shrieked a voice, causing Borin to jolt awake in his darkened room.

“NOW!! Get breakfast prepared I don’t want you to ruin your cousin’s birthday.”

Borin groaned, Lotho’s birthday, how could he forget?

“What did you say?”

“Nothing Aunt Lobelia, I’ll be out in a second.”

Dragging himself out of bed he dressed up in Lotho’s hand me down clothes that were much too big for his skinny body. He then proceeded to squeeze out of the cupboard door that served as his bedroom for the past nineteen years. Just as he walked out he was shoved back into the wall by his walrus of a cousin. Lotho barely passed through the kitchen door these days. All he did as eat and eat even more. He barely walked at spent most of his day complaining and gossiping about other fauntlings and neighbours. Hobbits typically do not receive gifts on their birthday, instead they give gifts to others as a show of generosity and kindness. This wasn’t to Lotho’s liking and so after throwing a huge tantrum, his parents started buying him loads of presents on his special day and gave the cheapest gift possible to the other families. Why last year they gave Borin a sock for his birthday and the year before well...nothing.

“Hurry up get my coffee boy!”

“Yes Uncle Otho.”

“I want everything to be perfect for my baby’s special day,” squeeled Aunt Lobelia as she ushered her son to where the presents were.

“How many are there?”

“36 counted them myself.”

“36, BUT LAST YEAR, LAST YEAR I HAD 37!”

“Some of them are a bit bigger than last year.”

“I DON’T CARE HOW BIG THEY ARE”

“Now this is what we’ll do,” Aunt Lobelia said hastily before things got out of hand, “on the way to your birthday partly before you give those brats their gifts, we’ll buy you two new presents. How’s that pumpkin?”

Lotho seemed to deflate entirely after his mother’s reassurance and was much more cheerful after that.

That evening before Lotho’s birthday party his uncle pulled him aside and said, “I’m warning you now boy any funny business, anything goes wrong and you won’t be having any meals for a week.”

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The party was truly a sight to behold. Being one of the most aristocratic families in the entire Shire had some privileges. True the gifts weren’t anything up to par to the ones that his parents bought him in secret but the food was nothing short of best and if there was one thing that hobbits liked most, it was food.

Borin kept to himself. For one thing his cousin didn’t make it a secret of how much he despised his cousin and ensured that other hobbits did not come close to him, unless they felt like a game of Borin hunting. Lotho was one of the most popular among their peers and no one felt like going against him. Not that he blamed them for not approaching him, he was far too small for his age and too much of a recluse. The only thing that he secretly took pride in was a small white scar that ran across his left shoulder. So he opted to stay at a corner nibbling on some food from time to time. 

“Look it’s Gandalf!!” squealed a young faunt.

“Firework Gandalf, fireworks!!”

And there he was the young wizard making his way up the hill with a cart full of his famous fireworks. Of course he knew who Gandalf was, he heard his name mentioned with respect but there was something else at work it seemed as though he knew him personally, but from where?

From underneath the pointy hat grey eyes met his emerald green ones and he knew that things were about to change and he would be free from this small town that feared change.

Free from his dreadful relatives with whom he has been living for at least nineteen years, ever since the Brandywine River took them away from him. Something in that gaze full of wisdom told him that something new was about to begin and it had nothing to do with that dragon firework that brought down half of the decorations leaving his aunt and uncle red with fury and his cousin hiding under the table.

Chapter Text

Chapter 3: The Truth


Gandalf eyed the young boy, he looked exactly like Bilbo, except for his eyes, they were Bís’ eyes. But of course the boy wouldn’t know any of that.

“Promise me, promise me Gandalf,” was a whisper that he could still hear in his dreams.

He was too late to save his friends, but he could ensure that their son was safe, out of harm’s way. Thorin had long offered to host the boy and to protect him, an act to try and seek amends for his wrongdoings towards the one person that did his best to ensure that his friends would be kept alive. His thoughts were interrupted by the sound of someone clearing his throat.

“Gandalf, I didn’t expect to see you today!”

“I didn’t expect to be here Rallia , I was in the neighbourhood thought that I should just drop by and see how our young dwobbit is.”

Rallia a young dwarrowdam that was like a sister to Bís, one that could kill an orc without any second thought and cried only when she held her sister in all but blood in her arms lifeless. Rallia that begged Gandalf to take Borin and raise him, but had to be refused since they did not share the same blood. She refused to return home to the Iron Hills opting to stay in the Shire and keep an eye on the boy that used to call her aunty as an infant. No matter what others said Bís was not part of the company, she and Rallia disguised themselves as male dwarrow to join Dain’s army. It was after the Battle of the five armies that they met Bilbo and accompanied him back to the Shire.

“Surely this isn’t a mere coincidence Gandalf.”

“Thorin Oakenshield has been asking me for years to host the boy. But I kept refusing him, claiming that he would be better off with his blood relatives.”

“He isn’t,” interrupted Rallia . “Gandalf I’ve seen them abuse the boy and it took real restraint to prevent myself from tearing them limb from limb. He’ll be safe in Erebor I’ll be there to protect him.”

Gandalf was silent for a moment.

“But the blood protection....”

“Both Mirkwood and Dale have to be breached, before Erebor is reached. The Lonely Mountain itself is impenetrable.”

“You’re getting really good at convincing people.”

“We should have had this discussion years ago.”

“I haven’t been here for years.....”

“True, but I have.”

“Your plan is to drag the child across Middle Earth in the wilderness!”

Rallia glared up at the wizard and gave him a look that spoke volumes, clearly questioning the wizard’s sanity.

“Of course not, we’ll send a raven to King Thorin and ask him to send an escort that we can meet at Rivendell.”

Gandalf took out his pipe and took in a deep breath then let out a smoke ring. “Did you have all of this planned long ago?”

The dam smirked and said, “Perhaps.”

The two friends went their separate ways, Rallia to inform an anxious dwarf king of his guest while the wizard had a young dwobbit to introduce himself to.

 

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“The nerve of that wizard, dragon fireworks!!!! What in Yavanna’s name was he thinking,” ranted Lobelia.

Borin said nothing, internally smirking at the image of his pudgy cousin trying to squeeze himself under the table. Lotho never once showed a small measure of bravery.

Borin was walking a little bit behind the aunt, uncle and cousin knowing that he be severely punished if he was caught laughing at them. Lotho and his gang already called him Borin Small Foot, the worst insult to a hobbit. Perhaps he still needs to grow into his feet, he was after all 2 years younger than his cousin.

A shadow fell over them and Borin turned round to see the pointy grey hat of said wizard.

Otho narrowed his eyes and said, “good evening!” in a snappish sort of manner.

“What do you mean? Do you mean to wish me a good evening or do you mean to wish a good evening whether I want it or not. Or do you mean that you feel good on this particular evening. Or are you simply stating that this is an evening to be good on.”

Otho blustered and snapped, “all of them at once.” He turned round to continue down the path an to the hobbit hole that was now in plain sight. Yet Gandalf made to follow them again.

“Can we help you?”

“That remains to be seen. I’m looking for someone with whom I can share an adventure.”

“Ha, I doubt that you’ll find anyone west of Bree interested in adventures,” said Lobelia in her nasal voice.

Gandalf seemed to grow in size and shadows grew around him, “to think I’ve been good eveninged by Otho and Lobelia Sackville-Baggins as though I’m selling buttons at the door, in any case I’m not her to speak to you but to Bilbo Baggin’s son.”

Bilbo Baggins that name struck a chord within Borin. It was a name that at times he heard whispered in the markets, sometimes with scorn, other times with reverence. Was that the name of his father? Did Gandalf know his father?

The grey wizard turned his back on the Sackville-Bagginses and addressed Borin with a smile that was Borin’s only and said, “I’ve waited a long time to meet you Borin Baggins,

I’m Gandalf the Grey snd I wonder if you would like to journey with me far to the East.”

 

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Lobelia made him serve tea and some biscuits as they all sat in the parlour in silence.

“We swore when we took him in that we would put a stop to the adventuring spirit that taints his blood,” began Lobelia shrilly.

Gandalf barely acknowledged her; opting instead to take a sip of his tea. Then he turned round and prepared to address Borin, “Do you know that you’re famous among the free folk Borin?”

“Me? Famous?” exclaimed the young dwobbit.

“A dark lord, Sauron was gaining power, people that tried to stand up to him were being killed daily. Your parents; Bilbo and Bís Baggins fought bravely but no one lived once he decides to kill them.”

“Sauron? But you told me my parents died in a boating accident!!”

At that Gandalf slammed his teacup on the table and with blazing eyes toward over the Sackville Bagginses: “A boating accident?! A boating accident kill Bilbo and Bís Baggins?”

“We had to tell him something,” muttered Otho.

“It’s an outrage! A scandal.”

“Why didn’t you ever tell me? You knew about this all along.”

“Course we knew,” snapped Lobelia putting on a bravado that she didn’t feel, “my prefect cousin being who he was, a warrior. Then he met that dwarf and they had you and we knew that you would be just as strange just as abnormal. Then they got themselves killed and we were landed with you.”

“A dwarf? My mother was a dwarf?”

“Aye and a kind one too, one of the best people I’ve ever met.”

Gandalf gazed at him softly and said, “Borin I promised to keep you safe, I took you to some of your living relatives and expected to see you loved and cared for. I was wrong. A friend of your father’s, Thorin Oakenshield would like to foster you and become your legal guardian.” (he opted not to mention the small fact that he was a king).

Borin didn’t think twice, he had nothing at the Sackville-Bagginses and so without giving Gandalf chance to finish his cup of tea and without looking at his aunt and uncle he asked, “when do we leave?”

Chapter Text

Chapter 4: Journey to Rivendell

Packing didn’t take as long as one would expect; Borin didn’t have much to take with him. Gandalf opted to just glare daggers at his aunt and uncle rather than turn them into toads after he saw the cupboard that was the room of his friend’s son. Borin ensured that he had his father’s ring and some of his cousin’s old clothes and then turned to follow the Wizard. Before he stepped out, he turned back to look at his relatives.

“Bye,” he said and without waiting for an answer he followed Gandalf, ready to face the world ahead.

“Before we make for Rivendell, we need to stop at Bree; there is someone I would like you to meet.”

“Are we going to see the Elves?” Asked Borin, voice tight with excitement.

“You better not sound that excited when you meet Thorin Oakenshield,” said Gandalf amused. “There is some sort of ridiculous feud between the Elves and Dwarves, one that lasted for generations.”

“What is he like? This Thorin Oakenshield.” Gandalf didn’t say anything at first, then he looked down at the youngling and said, “I wouldn’t worry, Borin.

Thorin may appear to be a harsh Dwarf, but he does care for his people and most especially for his kin. He was a good friend to your father even though they had their differences.”

“Are we meeting him at Bree?”

“No, goodness no. You’ll be meeting someone else, dear boy.”

They continued on in silence. It took them about five days to get to Bree. Fortunately, the weather was kind to them and they didn’t have to endure a downpour. Borin could barely speak; he had never been out of the Shire before. There were Men and the Dwarves were huge in stature.

A Dwarf was making his way towards him. His hair was a chestnut color, the same as his beard, and his eyes were a dark brown. The Dwarf smiled softly at him. “It a pleasure to meet you, Borin Baggins.”

Borin jolted in surprise the voice wasn’t harsh and deep as he expected, instead it was distinctly feminine. The Dwarf was a she!

Before he had a chance to react to this revelation, silence descended upon the whole inn and Borin became aware of numerous gases locked solely on him.

“A p-p-p-pleasure to meet you Master Baggins,” stuttered a man whom he had never met before.

“Borin Baggins, Borin Baggins in my Tavern,” said the inn keeper proudly. Borin felt Gandalf’s hand rest on his shoulder.

“Ah, well, perhaps some food for the night and a room to sleep in?” said Gandalf to break the daze that seemed to have settled on the people there. “Rallia, perhaps we can have a conversation in a more private place?” The Dwarrowdam nodded and guided them to a table found in the corner away from the prying eyes of the other people there.

“I believe some introductions are in order. Borin, this is Rallia, daughter of Rartiol, from the Iron Hills a good friend of mine...”

“And of your mother,” she said softly.

“You knew my mother?”

“I knew her very well. I have so many stories that I can tell you of her, Borin.”

“Stories that I believe can be told while we’re travelling on the morrow. We’re all exhausted and we need food and rest. We have a long distance to travel tomorrow; tonight will be the last night where we can enjoy the comfort of a bed, at least for the next few days.”

Borin wanted to protest, to tell the Wizard that he wasn’t tired and that he wanted to stay awake to hear what this Dwarf had to say about his mother, but he believed that he would still have lost that argument and he didn’t want to complain while the Wizard was doing him a favour and taking him away from the Shire.

 

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“Did my mama really steal that noble’s clothes?” Rallia laughed,

“She did indeed, while he was bathing in the public baths, back in the Iron Hills. You can imagine his embarrassment at having to run back home naked.”

“But Gandalf said that my mother was kind!”

“Oh she was. But this noble was working to increase the taxes on the poor and Bís wouldn’t stand for that. So she decided to get back at him.”

 

The next day, Borin almost threw a fit when he saw that he was meant to get to Rivendell on pony and insisted that he could walk, sending Gandalf in a choking fit as he recalled Bilbo saying the exact same thing. To cheer the disgruntled Dwobbit up, Rallia engaged him in more conversation about his mother, causing him to quickly forget his discomfort. He learnt about the mischief that Bís had enjoyed getting in, back in her younger years, and that she was just in her judgments. Apparently, her weapon of choice had been an axe, just like many of the other Dwarves, and her favourite colour had been green. They had been on the road for some time. The rations were meagre and the ground was hard, uncomfortable to sleep on. Yet, Borin was happy, far happier than he had ever been in the Shire.

However, all things must come to an end in Middle Earth and the peace did not last for long. On the fourth day of travelling, howling could be heard in the distance.

“Was that a wolf? Are there wolves out there?” asked Borin nervously.

“Wolf? No, that was no wolf!” said Rallia, her voice tense. She gripped Borin’s reins and urged the ponies in a gallop.

“Warg Scouts! Which means an Orc Pack is not far behind!” exclaimed Gandalf.

Borin felt ice cold fear wash over him. He never met an orc but he heard stories about them. Rallia didn’t spare the Wizard even the briefest of glances, her sharp eyes trained only on the road ahead. Suddenly, an enormous Warg cut across them, one that Rallia dealt with without a single moment of hesitance.

“How much further is Rivendell?” inquired Borin in panic.

“Not much farther, but they’re gaining on us!” answered Gandalf.

The ride seemed to take forever, for no matter how fast they urged the ponies to go, they couldn’t seem to reach the Hidden Valley, at least not in time. Orcs and Wargs surrounded them. Rallia and Gandalf pushed Borin behind them, both ready to defend him till the death. Borin, seeing that all hope was lost, whispered a short, quiet prayer to Yavanna and tried to control his fear, to be brave, like his parents had been.

“Baruk Khazâd! Khazâd ai-mênu!”

This was the only warning, before the Dwarves, for that was what they were, burst into the clearing, brandishing axes and swords and… was one actually carrying a bow?

The tables turned immediately after this unexpected arrival and, from that moment on, the Orcs didn’t stand a chance. The majority of them were dispatched easily and the few survivors ran away, like the cowards that they were.

Rallia cleaned the blood on her axe off with a piece of cloth, caring more for the weapon than she did about the black blood that was smeared on her face.

“Gandalf!” exclaimed one of the Dwarves.

“Master Kíli,” Gandalf greeted, “We were not expecting your arrival to be so soon, but it is welcome, nonetheless.”

One of the Dwarves stepped forward then. He looked as though he was an important Dwarf. He had ebony black hair with streaks of grey that shone like silver. His striking blue eyes assessed Borin and the young Dwobbit could not hold his gaze for long.

“Is this the boy, Tharkûn?”

“Borin, this is Thorin Oakenshield and he has graciously offered you free protection in his mountain.”

“His mountain?” questioned Borin, when he could find his voice again.

“Er… yes, I may have forgotten to mention one tiny detail, old man that I am. I think I may have took it for granted, but—”

“Gandalf!” Borin cut in through the Wizard’s babbling.

“Thorin is the King of Erebor, where you will be staying.”

Oh!

Chapter Text

Chapter 5: A Respite 

 

There were so many questions that Borin wanted to ask- why was the King of Erebor willing to protect him? How did he know him? Why was he so far away from his kingdom?

“Your Majesty!” exclaimed Rallia.

She placed her arms securely around the Dwobbit to offer him a measure of comfort. Thorin Oakenshield’s sapphire eyes settled on the dwarrowdam and a foreign feeling settled in her gut. Something she had never felt before.

“I believe that you were informed that the boy was to be escorted to Erebor,” said Thorin Oakenshield his deep baritone causing her to shiver.

“We did not expect you to come yourself, Majesty.”

Thorin didn’t answer her, instead he looked at the Dwobbit and he was struck by Borin’s resemblance to Bilbo. His eyes however were emerald green and not Bilbo’s hazel shade.

“Borin Baggins,” said Thorin his eyes softening and a smile making it way onto his countenance.

“Y...Your Majesty, I......I wasn’t expecting...”

“I’m no king to you, Master Baggins. Call me Thorin.”

“As intriguing as this conversation is, I do believe that we had better make our way to Rivendell before any other orcs come our way,” cut in Gandalf.

Thorin’s look hardened again and he nodded in agreement. He turned around and barked out an order in Khuzdûl and then they were off, making haste in the hope that they would avoid any further attacks.

 

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The ride to the Hidden Valley was like a blur. For all of their heavy armour, the Dwarrow were natural sprinters. The Dwarrow couldn’t deny a sense of relief when they saw the Valley of Imladris. No orc had ever been known to pass through or breech the borders of Rivendell. The need to get the young Dwobbit to safety far exceeded the prejudice that the Dwarrow felt in regards to the fair race of Elves.

“Mithrandir!”

“Ah, Lindir, is Lord Elrond here?”

“My Lord Elrond is expecting your presence and that of your companions. Come, allow me to escort you to my Lord.”

Lord Elrond was waiting for them in the Hall of Fire. Out of the dwarves that accompanied their King, only the Princes, his Captain of the Guard and his Chief Adviser were presented to the Elf Lord along with Gandalf, Rallia and Borin.

“The last time I greeted you here, Thorin Oakenshield, you were in the company of another Hobbit and today I do not only have a Hobbit in my presence, but one that has Dwarven blood as well. The Boy Who Lived. Borin, I am glad to welcome you into my House; your father was a dear friend and I am honored to offer protection to his son.”

Borin looked briefly at Thorin while the Elvin Lord was speaking and saw a flash of grief appear on his face, but it passed so quickly that he thought that it was a fragment of his imagination since any emotion was hidden behind his kingly face.

“Thank you, My Lord,” said Borin, his manners that were drummed into his after all of those years raised by Hobbits kicking in. “Rest while you’re here, Borin, and regain your strength. You are welcome to stay for as long as you like.”

 

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 Rivendell was breathtaking. Though Borin, in true Baggins fashion, hid away in the library and buried himself under books that told tales about the history of Middle Earth.

“Your father had a love for books as well.”

Borin looked up in surprise and found two of the Dwarven companions who had followed the King leaning in the doorway.

“He would lock himself in here and wouldn’t come out until one of us came and dragged him out for lunch or dinner,” said the dwarf with the funny looking hat. “You were friends with my dad?” The Dwarrows exchanged a look and then stepped forward:

“Bofur-” spoke the one with the funny looking hat.

“And Ori,” said the other with the scarf.

“At your service,” they finished simultaneously.

“Your father accompanied us on the Journey to Erebor, so we did know him a little,” said Ori.

“I’ve been reading about Smaug the terrible. Is it true that you killed the dragon?” asked Borin eyes widened in awe.

“Bard the Bowman did. Well....he’s King Bard of Dale now, I suppose,” answered Ori, ever the scribe and scholar.

Borin looked down, not used to being talked to as such and more accustomed to being sneered at and scorned. All of the other Hobbits looked down on him and other Fauntlings were warned to stay away from him.

“Can you tell me about my father? Rallia told me stories about mum but she didn’t know much about dad and my Aunt and Uncle never even spoke his name.”

Bofur and Ori exchanged a dark look that was then erased as they turned to look at the Dwobbit.

“We do not know where to begin, lad, we only knew yer dad when he joined our quest. Though perhaps we may tell you about the incident with the trolls,” mused Ori.

Bofur barked out a laugh and said, “Perfect story to make Bilbo look the hero and us like half-wits.”

Ori ignored him and explained,

“You see, the Company of Thorin Oakenshield was making its way to the Misty Mountains. The days were pouring rain and after a day’s travel the King ordered us to stop for the night and camp next to a rundown building, where a farmer once lived with his family....”

“Oh, not that one. He's infected.”

“- Huh?”

“- You what?”

“Yeah, he's got worms in his tubes.”

“- Eww!”

“- Aah!”

“In fact, they all have. They're infested with parasites. It's a terrible business. I wouldn't risk it. I really wouldn't.”

“Parasites? Did he say "parasites"?” asked Óin.

“We don't have parasites. You have parasites!” shouted Kíli.

“What are you talking about, laddie?”

A thump was heard, that was followed by a period of silence, until- “I’ve got parasites as big as my arm.”

“Mine are the biggest parasites.”

“I’ve got huge parasites.”

“- We're riddled.”

“- Yes, I'm riddled.”

“Yes, we are, badly.”

 

At the end, Borin couldn’t contain his laughter. “Seriously? Parasites?”

“Ori,” whined a voice from the door way, “Couldn’t you have told him about our bravery during the Battle of the Five Armies, instead of the incident with the trolls?”

“Just giving him an idea of the companions with whom his father travelled with Kíli,” teased Ori.

The raven-haired Prince huffed while his brother rolled his eyes in amusement. “Anyways, why weren’t we invited to the story telling?” asked Kili, puffing up in annoyance.

“Because you were with your uncle for the whole afternoon, planning the route were are to take to get back to Erebor.”

“That was what is called a rhetorical question, Ori.”

Fíli laughed at their bantering, then turned to Borin and announced, “We plan to leave in a week’s time, after re-supplying. The sooner we leave, the sooner we can arrive to Erebor.”

Borin nodded in agreement and tried to mask his disappointment. He was enjoying his time in Rivendell and for the first time he had his own room that was not a cupboard. However Fíli had spent nearly his entire life looking after his younger brother and he wasn’t fooled by Borin’s facade. Stepping forward, he put his hand around the Dwobbit’s shoulder and said, “My children and brother’s children will enjoy spending time with you. They’re about your age.”

Something foreign blossomed within him. He had never had friends. He had never even hoped of having any.

“You’ll have fun in the training grounds with them, Borin. And you’ll get to meet my wife, the lovely Tauriel,” sighed Kíli dreamily.

Fíli snorted and started to escort Borin away, “Don’t mind him; even though I’m married, you won’t hear me mooning over Sigrid in the same way.”

Shaking his head, Borin followed after the Dwarves. Things may just be starting to look up after all; perhaps going to Erebor would be the best thing that had ever happened to him.

Chapter Text

Chapter 6: The Journey to Erebor

 

The day when they had to resume their travelling dawned faster than expected. Borin was reluctant to leave the comforts that Rivendell offered, yet he ensured that his Dwarrow companions remained oblivious to what he was feeling. However, he wouldn’t change their companionship with anything. He enjoyed spending time with Bofur and laughing at his jokes, or spending time in Library with Ori and the snowy-haired dwarf, Balin, who treated Borin like a grandson. He looked forward to the afternoons that he spent sparring with Fíli and Kíli, since they had decided that it was time for the Dwobbit to start his training. Borin even managed to find common ground with the gruff Dwalin, especially after the Dwarf started taking over his training lessons; since Fíli and Kíli usually decided to spend their time rough housing instead of actually teaching Borin how to hold a sword.

The only Dwarf that he had a difficulty getting close to was the Dwarf King himself. Thorin, did not speak much to Borin; there were times, however, when the Dwobbit caught the Dwarf looking at him with sadness mingled with guilt.

 

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“Why must we leave so early again?” yawned Borin rubbing his eyes.

It was still dark and yet Rivendell was already behind them; they had travelled swiftly after bidding a brief farewell to Lord Elrond.

“For the last time, the sooner we leave, the sooner we get to the gates of Erebor, by covering more distance during daytime,” said Balin chuckling with fondness when Borin let out another yawn.

“You better get used to waking up early, Borin. Why, in Erebor, we had to wake up every day at the crack of dawn to start our training,” said Kíli, laughing when he saw Borin’s wide eyed stare looking at him horrified.

Hobbits are not used to walking on mountain paths. Even with his Dwarven blood, Borin could not help but stumble as they made their way over the Misty Mountains.

“Mind your step, lad,” gruffed out Dwalin as he reached out to help to steady the Dwobbit. Regaining his balance, Borin offered the Dwarf a smile and said, “Thanks, Master Dwalin.”

“It’s just Dawlin, lad.”

“Indeed, calling him ‘Master’ would only inflate his already fat head even more,” teased Glóin.

Dwalin shoved the ginger haired Dwarf roughly, and he would have been sent toppling over were it not for Óin, who steadied him.

“Sometimes, I wonder who the youngest in our company actually is,” Balin remarked, shaking his head.

“Are there any goblins around these parts?” asked Borin curiously.

“Ha! Let’s hope that we won’t run into any this time,” Nori replied, as he popped up next to the Dwobbit.

“Ay, last time we were caught unaware. But they won’t ensnare this dwarf so easily again, I have the ear of a fox and the eyes of a hawk.”

“Is that why we were then captured by elves?” snorted Óin.

Glóin grumbled something, which didn’t sound at all flattering, under his breath towards his brother. After days of travelling over the Misty Mountains, Borin felt as though he had enough of mountains to last a life time. This was when he reminded himself that he was, indeed, going to live inside a mountain. Borin was by no means tall. He was small and skinny for his age, yet compared to the man who was waiting for them at the foot of the mountain, he felt absolutely tiny.

“Borin, this is Beorn; he is a skin changer. Sometimes he takes the form of a big bear,” said Gandalf, gesturing towards the enormous man.

“So this is the Hobbit,” Beorn grumbled.

“Dwobbit…” interrupted Borin, “I’m a Dwobbit.”

The skin changer assessed him and finally his stern demeanour cracked and a smile broke through is facade as he laughed, “It is good to meet you, laddie, you look like a smaller version of your father, when he came here all those years ago.”

 

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The first impression that Borin got when they finally arrived at Beorn’s house was that everything was so peaceful. It was also strange and abnormal to be served by animals. There was no meat on the table and Borin soon realised that anything that had to do with meat-eating was a sensitive subject for the skin changer who was their host. Even the Dwarrow ate their honeyed bread without any complaint.

“When are you planning on leaving?” Beorn inquired, eying the Dwarf King.

“We won’t be delaying. We’re planning to leave in two days time; King Thranduil has assured me that he will send an envoy to escort us through Mirkwood.”

The Company was scattered during those two days, Bombur, the Company’s cook made sure to restock their food supply. Dwalin and Nori spent their time sharpening their weapons while Ori kept busy by burying himself behind a book and refusing to come out. Some of the other Dwarrow took advantage of their spare time by sparring with each other, entertaining the others who were watching them with avid interest. There was nothing that Dwarrow enjoyed more than a good fight. Borin, being part Hobbit offered to help Bombur; the rotund Dwarf had everything under control, of course, but still welcomed a helping hand.

“Do you have any children, Bombur? I heard Bofur mention that you’re married and it just had me wondering,” asked Borin returning to his usual curious self.

The brown eyes of the Dwarf softened as he revealed, “I have five; it is a rare blessing for a Dwarf to have so many.”

“So Dwarflings are rare?”

“It may be strange to you lad, I can remember that your father once mentioned that his mother had eleven siblings, but, alas, for us Dwarrow, even one child is considered a blessing.”

Borin felt a stab of pain in his chest- his father had a large family and yet he was left at the mercy of an aunt and uncle that considered him a burden and only treated him with cruelty. Bombur didn’t notice that his companion wasn’t paying true attention to what was being said and just kept on talking with fondness in his voice and a proud gleam in his eyes that a father will reserve solely for his children, a gleam that Borin had never found directed at him.

On the eve of their departure, Borin was preparing to turn in earlier than usual, when he was approached by Dori.

“Here, Borin, I made this coat for you. The weather will not be forgiving as we approach Erebor. You should be prepared for the cold.” Borin gaped as he admired the beautiful craftsmanship of the coat.

“Thank you, Master Dori.”

“I made it Durin blue so that no one will question your position within the royal quarters.”

“Royal quarters?” Borin echoed, feeling nervous.

“Why, of course! They were originally meant for your father, if he ever had the opportunity to visit us, but they are yours now. Did you think that Thorin would keep a hero of Erebor in the lower stations? All of the members of the previous company are housed in the upper levels of the mountain.”

Borin was left starring at the Dwarf with his head spinning at what he just heard. He knew that the King was a friend of his father, but he never once thought that he would offer him a room so close to him and his kin.

 

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“You will always be welcomed here, Borin,” said Beorn as he shook the Dwobbit’s hand and then engulfed him in an embrace.

Just like he had when the Dwarves were on the quest to Erebor, Beorn supplied them with ponies that he ordered to be returned to him before they ventured into Mirkwood. They rode with haste and at last the green, darkened forest of Mirkwood came into sight. They followed all of the instructions that were given to them by the skin changer.

“Where will those pointy-eared, tree-huggers meet us?” Dwalin asked Thorin lowly.

“They didn’t say, but only insisted that we keep to the path,” muttered the King, causing Dwalin to snort in annoyance.

Borin felt a daze of sickness wash over him even before he set foot in the forest and he couldn’t help but put his hand in his pocket to finger the golden ring that he kept there. He didn’t know why, but it seemed to give him comfort.

“The forest is sick,” he murmured. “It’s as if there is disease upon it.”

Rallia placed her arm around the Dwobbit and said, “The darkness of Dol Guldur spreads like a disease. It was before known as the Greenwood, but those days are long gone.” Rallia failed to mention that even though the Dark Lord was defeated he hadn’t been vanquished. He would return and may Mahal help them when he did. However, she didn’t want to frighten her charge with dark words.

Borin didn’t say anything at first, then with a determined voice, that a young Dwobbit, not even twenty years of age could possess, he said, “Perhaps those days will come again.”

Borin was placed in the center, with guards surrounding him on all sides.

“The spiders have been increasing in numbers. Even after the downfall of Sauron,” said Gandalf as he approached the Dwarf King, who was found at the lead.

“King Thranduil didn’t mention his struggles at the last council meeting.”

The raised eyebrows of the wizard were enough to tell him what he needed to know. The Elven King would never beg the Dwarf King for any help.

The Elven delegation that met them was led by the King’s son himself. Legolas nodded his head at Thorin and said, “All hail Thorin Oakenshield Son of Thrain, son of Thrór. My father sends his regrets as he is unable to meet with you as he has matters of the Kingdom to attend to.” Though his tone was courteous, Borin could still detect a hint of annoyance when the prince referred to his father.

“Gandalf, why are the Dwarves so cold towards these Elves?” asked Borin as he regarded the cold stares and the Sindarin and Khuzdûl that was floating around over his head. Rallia, who was walking next to him, couldn’t help but let out a snort of laughter and, before the Wizard could answer, she explained, “We Dwarves can hold a grudge for ages and can even pass it on to our children.”

“What about you, Rallia? Do you hold a grudge as well?” asked Borin.

“I fought with Elves in the war, Borin; Prince Legolas himself fought alongside me.”

“Indeed, I did,” came a voice that caused Borin to turn round in surprise.

“I see that you still have the ability to pop out of trees,” said Rallia, looking at Legolas amused.

The prince grinned at her smugly and then turned to get a better look at Borin. “You look very much like your father, except for your eyes of course, you have your mother’s eyes.”

“I’ve been told that already, numerous times, I might add.”

“I think you’re spending too much time with Dwarves. They have the tendency of making you forget your manners.”

“Prince Legolas,” cut in a voice.

“Prince Kíli,” he replied in a bored voice that he seemed to use only with other royalty.

Kíli puffed out his chest to make himself look taller, “Will you be accompanying us to Erebor? I’m sure my wife, Tauriel will be happy to see you.”

Once Legolas may have felt pain at hearing such a statement, but he had long gotten over his fancy towards his former captain of the guard. “I’ll make sure to drop by then.”

The journey through Mirkwood was tedious, but at last they approached the end of the forest and it was there that the solitary peak of the Lonely Mountain became more visible and Borin hoped that at last they would reach journey’s end.

Chapter Text

Chapter 7: Erebor at Last

 

King Bard welcomed them warmly when they arrived in New Dale. Although King Bard was very protective of his eldest daughter, he did not object to the marriage between Sigrid and Fíli, though he had threatened the Dwarf Prince with a painful death if he harmed her. After Fíli’s and Sigrid’s marriage, relations between Dale and Erebor had increased drastically, even more than between the Elves and the Dwarves. When Kíli and Tauriel were married, King Thranduil had turned up briefly for the ceremony, but then he left without even offering the newlyweds any words of congratulations.

“Do you think that Borin will adapt to living in a mountain?” asked Bard.

“Why shouldn’t he? He’ll have full access to the entire mountain, besides, he has Dwarven blood,” replied Thorin.

“He is also part Hobbit. You remember Bilbo and how much he relished sunshine.”

“His quarters were once meant for Bilbo, do you think that I would have forgotten about Hobbits and their love for growing plants? I have a garden prepared for him to quench his Hobbit desires.”

“And what of your people? Will they accept an outsider?”

“I am the King, they wouldn’t even dare to object,” said Thorin with an air of finality in his tone.

 

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The next day, they finished the final stretch of their journey to the Lonely Mountain. Legolas tried not to feel too uncomfortable- being the only Elf among Dwarves. This part of the journey was lost on Borin. Being told, for as far back as he could remember, that his parents had died by drowning had instilled a deep fear of the water within him.

“You do know that we’re in a boat right? Most of the Men of Laketown and Dale are fishermen, if they don’t build sturdy boats, no one will,” said Nori, eyeing the nervous Dwobbit.

“I’ve never been fond of water,” muttered Borin.

“Well, we’ll have to remedy that,” laughed Bofur.

“You’ll need swimming lessons as well as combat training.”

“Here we are, Master Baggins. Welcome to Erebor,” Thorin announced, resting his hands on Borin’s shoulders. Borin was in awe. Now that he was so close to the Mountain, he noticed its grandeur and he understood why the Dwarves took pride in their homeland. The great doors opened and they were allowed in.

“Brother!” said a strong voice and a Dwarrowdam dressed in Durin Blue approached them.

“Ah, Dís! We’ve made it back earlier than expected.” Thorin then beckoned Borin over and said, “Sister, this is Borin Baggins. Borin, this is my sister, Dís.”

“A pleasure to meet you, My Lady.”

“There is no need for any formalities, dear.”

“And this is Rallia, formerly from the Iron Hills,” continued Thorin.

“Formerly?” asked the Dwarrowdam.

“I’m now a wanderer, My Lady.”

“Well, you may put aside your wondering days for as long as you like, for you are more than welcome here.” Dís then turned toward the silent Dwobbit and said, her eyes softening as she spoke to the young orphan, “Come, Borin, you must be weary after such a tedious journey, I’ll show you to your room.”

Legolas watched as the Lady ushered her charge away.

“Legolas, come, I sent a letter to Tauriel from Dale and she’s expecting you,” said Kíli.

 

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His room was more like a whole smial, maybe even bigger. It was huge. Borin stood openly gaping from the doorway.

“This door leads to the garden and you have your own bathroom. Dori should be preparing some warm clothes for you to wear; you’ll need them as winter becomes even colder. You can ring this bell and a servant will come to assist you in anything, may it be food or drink or even to draw you a bath.”

“I…I…I think that this is too much, I don’t need so much room,” said Borin. “Nonsense, this is less then you deserve. You should see my brother’s room.”

“But your brother is the King. Back in Hobbiton, my room was a broom cupboard and I fit in that just fine.”

“A cupboard?” her tone had a dangerous edge to it and Borin seemed to have recognised his slip. Dís seemed to have sensed his unease as she stood up from where she was sitting only moments earlier and said, “I’ll leave you to your rest, my room is just down the hall. Call me if you need anything.”

After offering him a soft smile, she left the room with her dress swirling around her.

 

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Dís did not even bother to knock on the door of her brother’s room. She simply marched in and sat down on one of the chairs with an angry frown marring her countenance.

“Something the matter?” asked Thorin, eying his sister.

“That child should have never been placed in the care of his so-called aunt and uncle,” She snapped with narrowed eyes.

“It was for his protection,” said Gandalf.

“They made him sleep in a cupboard!!” exclaimed Dís.

That caused Thorin to choke on his wine.

“I never said he was perfectly taken care of,” muttered the Grey Wizard.

“I told you that I could have looked after him,” said Rallia, sounding annoyed.

“For the last time, he needed to be with his kin.”

Dís opened her mouth, no doubt to retaliate, but Thorin cut her off and said, “We cannot change the past, but we can ensure him a better future. He’ll be safe here.”

A gentle knock sounded on the door, breaking through the conversation. At the door stood the two Ereborian princesses, with their children and accompanied by Legolas and Kíli. Legolas and Tauriel were both bearing smiles indicating that any awkwardness between them had been quickly overcome.

“I wonder why you didn’t come to visit me upon your return, husband,” said Sigrid with a dangerous tone, causing Fíli to gulp.

“Adad! Adad!” exclaimed her children running to embrace their father.

The Line of Durin had endured hardships in the past. The Battle of Azanulbizar had taking Thorin’s grandfather, father and brother. Dís’ husband was also killed later in a mining accident back when she was still pregnant with Kíli. Yet, Mahal finally smiled onto the Line of Durin when Tauriel had born Kíli two children, Frerin and Vanya, while Sigrid had also given birth to two other children, Víli and Darelle. Having two females born in the same generation was considered a blessing.

“I still can’t believe it,” exclaimed Frerin, “Borin Baggins is really here, in Erebor”

“Does he have that scar on his shoulders?” continued Víli.

“My son, we didn’t ask him to remove his shirt to gape at his scar,” admonished Fíli.

Thorin turned towards the Elven Prince and said, “You are welcome to spend the night here.”

“As much I would love to, Your Majesty, I shouldn’t be away from my kingdom for too long. The days are growing darker.”

“Then, I bid you farewell and luck on your travels.”

“Will you not bear Borin farewell?” asked Rallia.

“Alas, it is best that I slip away silently. Farewell my lords and ladies.” With those final words Legolas left the room, no doubt heading towards the front gate.

“Now, I expect you all to be welcoming to Borin, you will be meeting him this evening as he’ll dine with us,” said Thorin eying his grand-nieces and nephews.

“Of course, uncle,” said Vanya, while Darelle jumped with excitement next to her.

“Do you think that they’ll get along?” Dwalin muttered in Thorin’s ear.

“There is no reason why they should not.”

“Want to put a little wager on this?”

“You’re on,” laughed Thorin.

 

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Dwalin hated loosing, but he was an even sorer looser when he lost to Thorin. His King just smirked at him and counted his winnings.

The young princes and princesses seemed to have just gravitated towards Borin.

“So, do you remember anything from that night, Borin?” asked Frerin eyeing the Dwobbit curiously. That particular comment caused him to be slapped over his head by Thorin and glared at by his parents and grandmother.

“Don’t mind him, Borin, my son seemed to have forgotten his manners,” said Tauriel angrily.

“Er...well....”

“And do you really have the scar?” asked Víli, oblivious to what was happening around him.

“Víli!!” snapped Sigrid, “That’s enough.”

“Ignore my brother and cousin,” said Vanya, “But, tell me, what’s your weapon of choice?” Vanya, like her mother, opted for a bow and dual knives.

“I’m training with a sword,” said Borin.

The only one who wasn’t speaking was Darelle she seemed to occupy herself by looking at the Dwobbit and blushing deep crimson.

“We need to take you on an official tour around Erebor,” said Víli enthusiastically, taking command as he was the oldest. Borin felt a sudden burst of warmth spreading within him- this was what having friends felt like. They did not consider him different because of his mixed blood.

“Children, don’t suffocate him. He’s spent days on the road,” admonished Dís.

“Yes, Gamil Amad,” said Víli, feeling downtrodden.

Dís rolled her eyes, affectionately and told the Dwobbit, “My grandchildren can be quite a handful. Why they even surpass their fathers’ mischief, back when they were children.”

“Gimli was worse than us,” pointed out Kíli.

“Was not!!” answered the Dwarf mentioned, annoyed.

“How old are you lads again?” questioned Balin.

Kíli opened his mouth to answer, but his brother hit him over the head before he could say anything and told him, “It was a rhetorical question, idiot.”

“Adad, if I called my sister or cousins that I would have been slapped over the head,” said Víli.

“I’m older than you, I may call my brother whatever I like.”

“Fíli!!” said Sigrid disapprovingly, causing him to look at her sheepishly.

“You know, I’ve never heard of a couple that argued more than Bilbo and Bís did,” said Rallia. Borin looked at her in surprise. A smile of remembrance crossed her features and she said, “Indeed, your mother was young for a dwarf and her immature ways got in the way of Bilbo’s more serious nature.”

“Bilbo was never that serious, there were times when he used to prank us,” said Kíli.

“The war changes people, my prince, but Bís, she was never one to stay serious, not even in the middle of a war. I should know; the number of times that I served as a mediator in one of their argument, especially before their marriage.”

“But Bilbo never argued, we never once heard him raise his voice,” said Thorin looking baffled.

At the dam’s raised eyebrows he amended his statement and said, “Except when one of my nephews’ pranks went wrong, that used to set him off.”

“Bilbo agreed to go out and court Bís after she matured a little bit, though they’ve been friends from the start.”

“Hasn’t anyone ever told you about your parents, Borin?” asked Dís.

“Not really, my aunt used to say that my dad was a drunk, that was what caused the boating accident and she never used to mention my mother’s name.”

A heavy silence settled over the table as Thorin forced out of his clenched teeth, “Your father wasn’t a drunk and they didn’t die in a boating accident.”

“Thorin!” cut in Gandalf, “I told him what happened, now come, it’s late and I’m sure on the morrow the young princes and princesses will be most eager to show him around.”

“That’s right, there are the training grounds, the library.....” started Frerin cutting through the tension.

“The markets and the mines....”

“Víli, you are not go anywhere near the mines.”

“Yes, mother.”

 

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Later that evening, Thorin stood on the battlements staring to the West.

“The lad is asleep,” said Dwalin, as he approached him.

“Teach him how to use a sword properly, Dwalin. He needs to learn how to protect himself. I fear that the war has only just begun.”

Chapter Text

Chapter 8: Exploring, Troubles and an Unpleasant Encounter

Waking up in a bed that was larger than his own room back in Hobbiton was a relief. Getting up, he walked towards the window, opening it, and gazed at the splendour that was Dale. The room faced west; towards the little place that he had once called home.

The silence was broken when the door opened with such force that it slammed into the wall, causing Borin to turn around in surprise.

“Morning,” exclaimed Frerin, a wide grin plastered over his face.

His sister and cousins followed him, rolling their eyes.

“Forgive him, Borin,” said Vanya, “My brother happened to be dropped on the head when he was but a babe.”

Frerin scowled and nudged his sister in the ribs.

“What my cousin wanted to say was that we have a busy day today. There are so many places that we want to show you. Perhaps, if Amad allows it, we may even visit the markets in Dale.”

“Bombur also wishes to introduce you to his family. Since he didn’t have time to do so yesterday, since it was late and all,” said Darelle, smiling shyly at the Dwobbit.

“Come on, they are waiting for us for breakfast,” said Vanya, “So hurry up and get changed.”

Borin found himself being dragged out of his room before he could even try to tame his curly hair.

“Ahh, Borin! Good morning,” said Dís as she looked up from the armchair close to the fire where she was reading.

Sitting next to her were two Dwarrowdams that he didn’t see the night before.

“Borin, allow me to introduce you to Bumbur’s wife, Bamira, and Gloin’s wife, Givola.”

“Borin, it’s a pleasure to meet you,” said Bamira. “My children are waiting for us, alas, they have their father’s love for food and I couldn’t keep them from the breakfast table for long,” she related in annoyance.

“Not like my Gimli, he was up at the crack of dawn training,” Givola boasted, “Forgive me for not greeting you yesterday with my darling son, but I was feeling slightly under the weather.”

“Both Givola and Gloin, praise their son at every turn. You’d better get used to it,” whispered Dís.

“Where are Amad and Adad?” asked Frerin.

"They’re waiting for us at the breakfast table already, agyâdê,” said Dís, as she placed her arms around the Dwobbit and started to lead him towards the adjoining room.

“Look who decided to join us,” exclaimed Kíli as he caught sight of his mother, children and their companions.

“Borin, I mentioned my children when we were at Beorn’s and here they are, this is my eldest Bothur, these young lads are Dodur, Gilur, Glorur and this is my youngest gem, who joined us well after we settled in Erebor, Bandura. She was a surprise for us, that’s for sure,” said Bombur.

“A pleasure,” replied Borin.

“Yes, well, now that the niceties are over, can we please get a move on we want to show him around and the sooner we start the better,” said Víli, with his mouth stuffed with food.

“Shouldn’t you let Borin eat something first, I’m sure he is hungry,” said Thorin, with raised eyebrows.

Borin, seeing the young royalty’s impatience took an apple from the table and said, “This is all I need, Your Majesty.”

Thorin assessed him and then ordered, “You will go to the kitchens if you get hungry before lunch time.”

“Yes, yes, okay uncle, can we go now?” Vanya asked.

“Run along now,” Tauriel acquiesced, “May I suggest that you take Gimli with you, at least?”

“We don’t need anyone to look after us, naneth,” Frerin huffed in annoyance.

“He will be going with you if you plan on going into Dale,” Sigrid insisted, sipping on her coffee.

“Adad, may I join them?” asked Bandura.

“Of course you can, âzyungel,” answered her father.

“I wish my heirs spent more time with your children, Bombur, perhaps they would have learned some manners,” sighed Thorin.

 

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“These are the training grounds. Remember when I beat you in sparring, namad?” stated Víli.

“Indeed, you would remember, since it was the only time that you ever managed to beat me,” said Darelle annoyed.

“Feel like a sparring session, Borin?” interrupted Frerin, knowing that if he did not a quarrel would erupt between his cousins.

“You’re on,” grinned Borin.

A few minutes later Frerin found himself apologising repeatedly while Borin was nursing a bruised forehead.

“I’m so, so sorry,” repeated Frerin.

“You clumsy oaf,” snapped his sister, “You were meant to train him, not bash his head in.”

“Do you want me to go and fetch Óin,” fretted Darelle, while Bandura was touching his forehead as though she expected that he would actually have a fever or become ill all of a sudden.

“I’m fine, really. It’s just a bruise.”

“I think there shouldn’t be any more sparring sessions until you improve your skills, Borin,” muttered Víli.

That caused him to endure a scorching look given by the annoyed Dwobbit.

“I think it’s best to visit the library, that shouldn’t result in any accident,” muttered Vanya.

That caused Borin’s eyes to light up. He however stood up faster than he was suppose to and a sudden surge of light headedness would have caused him to slam onto the ground if Víli and Frerin hadn’t caught him just in time.

“Are you sure you don’t want to visit Óin?” asked Darelle, in concern.

Borin offered her a smile, causing her to blush, and then he waved off her concern.

“So,” Víli questioned as they were making their way to the library, “Do you really have the scar?”

Borin rolled his eyes at the prince’s incessant questions regarding his scar. “Oh that, I do have it.” He slowly pulled down his collar to reveal the white scar running down his shoulder.

“Do you remember how you got it and survived?” asked Víli awed.

“I don’t remember much, I was only a year old.”

“Nothing...” edged on Vanya, looking slightly disappointed.

“All I can remember is a white light, nothing more”

“Mahal....a white light, don’t you know what it was?”

“I’m sorry Borin, we shouldn’t speak of this,” said Darelle, cutting off Frerin and sending her kin a warning glance ensuring that they dropped the subject.

“Do you enjoy cooking?” asked Bandura, talking for the first time since she joined the young royalty and the Dwobbit. Much like her father, she hated being the centre of attention and so her sudden question startled the others. “My father never stopped praising Hobbit cooking.”

“I’ve been responsible for cooking ever since I could walk.” Bandura looked at him in surprise and said, “Adad never let me approach a frying pan when I was younger.”

Borin recalled the early days and the frequent burns he suffered and the slaps he received if he burned the food instead.

“Ah, here is the library,” exclaimed Frerin, cutting in the awkward silence that seemed to have settled over them.

The moment that Borin saw the library, he knew that he would have to be dragged out of here. There were so many books, the library in the Took smials didn’t even compare. It was even bigger than the library found in Rivendell.

“So what do you think?” asked Darelle eyeing him curiously.

“It’s brilliant,” he breathed.

 

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“You said that you had something important to tell us Gandalf,” said Thorin, rubbing his forehead.

“I’ve been noticing distressing signs. The nine seemed to have been awakened again.”

“The nine?” asked Balin, his eyebrows furrowed in thought.

“The Nazgûl. They are searching for something, I’m not sure yet. There is also a darkness spreading from Dol Guldur. I’ve been trying to warn Thranduil about this, but he still ignores my council,” said Gandalf an annoyed look on his face.

“The Elvenking has never been one to take care of lands that are outside of his boarders. That’s why I ended up disobeying his orders,” said Tauriel.

“And that was very brave of you, amralime,” said Kíli affectionately.

“Thranduil is indeed blind of the dangers that are arising. The peace that has settled in Middle Earth is ending. Sauron will rise again soon and he’ll finish what he started,” said the Grey Wizard.

“What of our children?” said Sigrid in concern. Fíli seeing his wife’s distress placed his arms around her, trying to keep his fears at bay. “We fought to give them the peace that we didn’t have, was it all for nothing?” asked the golden haired heir.

“The world was never truly at peace lad,” said Dwalin. “We still fought orcs in these last nineteen years, they were less in numbers but it was still war.”

“There is also something that you should know, Thorin,” sighed Gandalf, “Your Grandfather’s ring has been found.”

Thorin dropped the goblet that he was holding in shock, “Where is it?” he demanded.

“I have it. I believe it should be kept in vault deep within the mountain, never to be used and never to be found.”

“Why shouldn’t it be used? Wouldn’t it be useful against the enemy?” questioned Dori. “That ring is one of the rings of power, but it is also known to enhance the curse on the line of Durin.”

“The goldsickness,” muttered Balin eyeing his king who paled and looked sickly at the thought.

“I don’t want that ring anywhere near my kin,” snapped Dís, looking furious at the thought.

“I’m afraid it’s the only place where it could be kept safe,” sighed Gandalf in resignation.

The Dwarrow, Tauriel and Sigrid looked uneasy. Erebor was a strong kingdom, but it couldn’t withstand a siege for long, should the orcs opt to plan an attack to regain the ring of Durin. They also didn’t want to endanger their children. “Gandalf, this is a dangerous move,” said Thorin.

“You chose to protect Borin Baggins and yet you don’t want to protect one of your family’s heirlooms.”

Thorin slammed his fist on the wall in anger, “That was different, Gandalf. You know that it was- he is the child of a dear friend, not a mere trinket. But I will not put aside your warning and against my better judgement I will heed your advice, the ring will be kept in one of the deepest vaults where no one would be able to come close to it.”

“Thorin, you can not be serious,” protested his sister.

“I’m afraid I am, Dís, it is our duty to protect anything of our ancestors from the Enemy.”

More discussions were carried on about extra protection that would surround the ring of Durin.

Sigrid turned toward her husband and asked, “Should we really take this risk?”

“Don’t worry, Ghivashel, uncle knows what he’s doing. You know that he wouldn’t put our family at risk.”

Smiling at her golden haired prince, she rested her head on his shoulders and felt herself calm down. Her husband always knew what to say to ease away any of her worries.

 

******************************

 

Permission to visit the markets of Dale wasn’t granted until Gimli agreed to go with them. Víli felt highly annoyed that he wasn’t trusted to look after his younger companions and that instead they needed to have an ‘adult’ to accompany them.

“Come lads, we should not tarry,” said Gimli.

“If he tells us to hurry up one more time, I’m going to bash him over the head,” grumbled Frerin.

“Manners, brother,” muttered Vanya, “What would naneth say if she heard you?”

“More like, what would she do? Imad can have a really terrible temper,” laughed Darelle.

The market was bursting with people. Gimli had barked at them to remain close to each other in case they would get lost.

“The draperies here will one day make your ceremonial clothes, my prince, when you will be presented as the second in line to the throne,” he said, smiling at Víli proudly. The young prince looked excited at the thought, eager for the time to come, a time where he would be able to prove himself to both Fíli and Thorin.

“Well, what do we have here?” came a nasal voice from behind them, interrupting any further conversation. There behind them, was Alfrid, once loyal to the former Master, who was killed when Smaug attacked Laketown. He claimed that he always trusted and followed King Bard but he was too afraid to show his true loyalty to the former Master. Not that anyone believed what he said.

“Well, well we’re entertaining royalty,” he said looking at the Erebor royalty in distaste. He then turned towards Borin and said, “And if it isn’t Borin Baggins, the one who vanquished the Dark Lord.” His voice reached the surrounding folk and then there was silence.

“By the Valar, could it be Borin Baggins? And close to my store too,” said a woman her eyes open wide in awe. The Dwobbit was then surrounded protectively, each of his companions looking weary at this sudden attention.

“A pleasure to meet you, Mr. Baggins,” said one.

“Master Baggins, such an honour it is,” said another.

Borin’s head was left spinning as people were speaking from every angle and he couldn’t keep up with what was being said.

“Famous, Borin Baggins, can’t go anywhere without being the centre of attention,” snarled Alfrid.

“Leave him alone, he doesn’t want any of that,” snapped Darelle.

“Well, well, Baggins already found yourself a love interest?” That caused both Darelle and Borin to flush a dark shade of red.

Gimli approached the man threateningly, with his axe posed threateningly in his hands.

“Alfrid, that’s enough,” came a sharp voice.

“Uncle Bain,” sighed Víli in relief not enjoying the sudden rise in tension.

Alfrid glared at the prince of Dale but he knew that he couldn’t say anything towards his prince.

“Are you all alright?” questioned Bain, after the oily haired man left, looking at them softly. “Try to avoid Alfred, he’s never been the most pleasant of people.”

“Thank you for being here, uncle,” said Darelle.

“Will you come home with me? I’m sure my father will be more than willing to host you all for tonight.”

“As much as we would be honoured my lord, we should be returning back to Erebor before they send out a search party. No doubt they will have heard what just happened here.”

“Very well then, I’ll join you till you reach the gates of Erebor, where I can make sure that you won’t encounter anymore disagreeable people.”

Bain then turned towards the Dwobbit and asked, “You sure you’re okay, Borin?”

Borin nodded in reassurance.

Feeling someone’s eyes upon him, he turned round and his emerald eyes met a pair of dark ones. A sudden pain spread through his shoulder, almost causing him to gasp out loud.

“Borin?” questioned Vanya, looking at him in concern.

“Don’t worry, I’m fine.”

When he turned round again, those dark eyes were gone.

Chapter Text

Chapter 9: A fight and a new blade

Borin had settled in quite splendidly in Erebor. He did feel annoyed, being stopped wherever he went by other Dwarves asking him about his past or just to shake his hand. Dwarves were never discrete in their actions and he was aware of the whispers that followed him everywhere and fingers being pointed at him.

His aunt and uncle never bothered with his education, stating that they were spending enough clothing and feeding him and they didn’t feel like spending even more for a tutor. Balin was appalled when he learned of this and decided without any hesitation to tutor him personally. He was a natural in his studies. He knew the story of the last alliance, how Isildur fell to the power of the One Ring and failed to destroy and how Sauron fled back to Mordor when his army was defeated by Elves and Men, yet he continued his search for the One Ring. He was surprised to find his name mentioned in some of the history books. Balin laughed when he expressed his surprise. He told him that it wasn’t everyday when a baby managed to survive the darkest lord in all of history and ensure his downfall.

He was also informed that he didn’t need to use any form of formality with them, aunt and uncle would do just fine. This was something that took some time getting used to. He even called his blood aunt and uncle, ‘sir’ and ‘madam’.

“Move yer feet lad,” ordered Dwalin during one training lesson, “standing there won’t help you to avoid being hit.”

Borin nodded and readjusted his grip on his sword. Yet it was no use, one hit from Dwalin’s sword made him loose his grip on his weapon again.

“This is hopeless,” grumbled Borin. “I’m no warrior.”

Dwalin let out a small sigh and said; “laddie yer being too hard on yerself.” The Dwarf eyed him carefully and then asked, “Is something the matter? It’s not like ye to just give up.”

“You’ve only known me for a few months; perhaps I just give up easily.”

“Lad the first time you came here, we spend a whole afternoon here, because you wouldn’t leave until you mastered how to hold a sword, if that’s not dedication than I don’t know what is.”

“I don’t seem to be getting any better.”

“Ye just need practice. No one learns how to fight overnight. We’ll make a worrier out of ye.” Borin smiled at Dwalin’s encouragement and picked up his sword with renowned determination.

“That’s more like it,” grinned Dwalin, slapping him on the shoulder that would have sent him sprawling if he hadn’t a firmer grip on the ground.

By the time they were finished Borin was red faced and completely out of breath.

“I think ye deserve to get some rest, lad. No doubt the princes and princesses will be asking after you and you’ll need as much energy as you can muster to be able to keep up with them.”

Borin took his leave and made his way to his room. On the way he passed by Thorin’s study and could help but slow down when he heard voices behind the closed door.

“Are you sure it will be kept safe there, my Lord?” came Balin’s voice.

“No one will be able to make it to the lower vaults, past all of the guards.”

“Thorin should the ring fall into enemy hands...”

“But it won’t. You have to trust that I know what I’m doing.”

At the mention of the ring, Borin couldn’t help but put his hands in his pockets where his golden ring was. Sometimes he could hear it whisper in his ear and when he removed it he felt lighter and any doubts he seemed to have would vanish. What ring were they referring to?

“Thorin this ring is known to enhance goldsickness. Surely you remember what happened the last time.”

“Of course I remember but the ring of Durin belongs in our family and it’s our duty to protect it and prevent it from falling into enemy’s hands.”

Hearing footsteps he continued hurriedly down the corridor but he didn’t head into his room.


******************************


“It sounded pretty serious,” said Borin, sitting on the chair closest to the burning firewood.

“Adad did mention something about the ring of Durin,” said Víli, rubbing the small stubble on his chin.

“I thought that it was lost with our great-grandfather, Thrain,” said Vanya , her brows furrowed in thought.

“Then Gandalf must have found it in Dol Guldur,” said Darelle, “What other explanation is there?”

“None that I could think of.”

“What is the goldsickness?”

The young royalty exchanged looks nervously, not sure what to say. While they knew what happened during the quest of Erebor, little was said about what happened before the Battle of the Five Armies.

“Adad never told us what happened after the fall of Smaug. He described the battle briefly but nothing else,” said Frerin.

“They always gave the impression that it was bad, especially when we see the look on Uncle Thorin’s face,” said Vanya.

“Don’t you think we should ask Thorin?”

“Ask my brother what?” questioned Dís as she walked into the room.

“Nothing!” said they all chorused, in panic, Borin turning slightly red.

“Gamil Amad, knock on the door next time,” protested Víli.

The princess raised her eyebrows suspiciously. Her grandchildren were known to have a talent for mischief; she wondered what they were bringing Borin into. The Dwobbit was very well mannered and he wasn’t one who liked searching for trouble, but she didn’t know how he would turn out after spending a substantial amount of time in the presence of her grandchildren.

“Come children, you’re late for your lessons and Víli, Frerin, don’t you think of skipping.” Dís then turned to Borin and said, “come dear, Balin can hardly contain his praises when it comes too you. He says that you’re learning at a faster rate than most of his students.”

Borin couldn’t help but beam with pride; it wasn’t every day that he was praised for his work. Balin couldn’t help but mention that he was like his father when comes to learning. The wizened Dwarf always told him that Bilbo Baggins was an exceptional student and he enjoyed exchanging cultural views during their travels.


******************************


Borin was not one who liked starting a fight. Yet when he was roughly shoved in the middle of the corridor by a smirking Dwarf, he could not back down especially when it was his pride at risk.

“Not so tough are we Baggins,” he sneered.

“Get out of our way Dralgur,” snapped Frerin as he and Víli helped Borin up.

“How dare you speak to me you filthy half breed bastard,” he snarled looking at the prince in distaste.

“What’s your problem,” Borin snapped as he brushed himself and stared down at the offending Dwarf attempting to look intimidating.

“My father is one of the most powerful Dwarves in this kingdom Baggins; you should be making friends with the right sort.”

“King Thorin Oakenshield is the most powerful Dwarf in Erebor.”

“How long do you think the Line of Durin will reign?” questioned Dralgur with narrowed eyes.

“Longer than your father will have a seat in the counsel that’s for sure,” replied the Dwobbit as he was being restrained by the two princes.

Dartur looked at him with scorn and said, “Careful Baggins or you’ll end up just like your parents.”

That did it. Borin in a fit of anger punched the Dwarf straight in the nose, a feeling of satisfaction filling him. His pleasure was short lived as his opponent flew towards him and slammed him back onto the ground.


******************************


“I hope you know that what you did was beyond reckless,” said Thorin as he saw Oin fretting around the Dwobbit tending to his bruised and cut face.

Borin didn’t say anything and instead opted to admire the floor rather than look into the King’s eyes.

“I think that we should talk about this tomorrow morning it is getting rather late,” said Dís gently.

“What were you doing out of your room so late. I thought you three had more sense than walking down the corridors of Erebor in the dark. We may not have found you if by sheer coincidence Nori hadn’t heard you tumbling about so close to his chambers,” snapped Thorin.

“Well to be fair, Dralgur started the fight, Borin just finished it,” muttered Víli, though he stopped talking when he saw his uncle turning red.

Nori looked at the scene indifferently, he had just returned from escorting Dralgur to his family chambers, he more likely dragged him roughly to his room, but he chose to omit that detail.

“I’m keeping the lad here, just for tonight,” said Oin, causing Borin to look even more annoyed.

“Víli and Frerin, both of you head off to your rooms,” sighed Dís. The two princes muttered a quiet good night and hastily left the room, eager to get out of range of their uncle’s anger.

Borin felt anxious fearing that he was about to end up being sent back to the Shire.

“Borin, Dralgur son of Anur is not one to cross. His father managed to worm himself in my council and he is one of the wealthiest Dwarrow in all of Erebor.”

“He is an......”

“Arrogant, self-cantered bastard, yes I know,” said Thorin, ignoring his sister’s mutters bout the use of language in front of the young. “The point is Anur sees no wrong in his only child and no doubt he will come over tomorrow to demand recompense. So I need to see how to smooth everything over with him tomorrow.”

“I think you should let Balin do the talking, lest you end up insulting him even more.”

The Dwarf Lord rubbed his forehead wearily. He wished that he could change most of the Dwarrow in his council but most of them were present during his grandfather’s time and there would surely be a revolt if his council was made up of mostly miners. He nodded in farewell to his sister and the Dwobbit and left the room.

Dís frowned at her brother’s retreating back and after bidding Borin a quick good night she hurried after her brother and cornered him in his study. “Now why did you that?” she asked in exasperation.

“Do what?” asked Thorin, perplexed.

“Walk out on Borin like that. He’s just a child and if I remember well you were part of a fist fight during a council meeting. Grandfather was furious.”

“I wasn’t angry with him. Mahal knows Anur gets on my nerves more times that I can count. Borin has only been here for a few months he cannot afford to get into any fights.”

“Come now my King surely you can’t deny that a fight and there makes a lad stronger,” said the amused voice of Rallia, causing both of the Durin siblings to jump in surprise.

“From where did you come from?” questioned Dís, since her brother seemed to have lost his ability to speak for a moment.

“I just heard what happened. It came as a surprise that such a well mannered boy could land such aa punch. I heard that Anur’s boy was whimpering in the end,” she smirked.

“If only he shows that same enthusiasm during his sword training,” muttered Thorin, uncorking a bottle of wine and pouring himself and his companions a cup.

“You know,” said Rallia, after taking a sip of wine, “it would be nice if you decide to spend some time with Borin.”

“What?” asked Thorin, completely taken aback.

“I quite agree,” said Dís, “get to know him, after you did accept him as your ward. I’m sure that the people will be more welcoming towards him if they see him in the presence of their king.”

“Now that that’s settled I think I’ll go to bed,” said Rallia smirking, leaving a laughing princess and a gaping Dwarf Lord.


******************************


The young Durin royalty refused to leave Borin’s side after the incident. Vanya and Darelle were furious when they heard what happened, though in Vanya’s case she was slightly disappointed that she missed the confrontation. She wanted to land a punch and break a couple of Dralgur’s bones.

Oin let him out the very next day, late in the afternoon. He appreciated the Durin’s concern, put really their incessant questions were enough to drive him mad.

“Are you sure you don’t need to lie down,” questioned Darelle, as she hovered around the Dwobbit.

Borin rolled his eyes and was about to assure them for at least the hundredth time that day, but approaching footsteps cut their conversation short.

“Uncle Thorin!” exclaimed Frerin, in surprise.

The King smiled at his kin affectionately and ruffled Darelle hair, causing her to protest in annoyance and she skipped away from Thorin’s reach.

“Borin, I was wondering if you could accompany me. I could do with some time away from my royal duties and I won’t be opposed to some company.”

The Dwobbit was lost for words; the King was always welcoming towards him but he never spent time in his sole company. However Borin nodded his head in acceptance and gestured to the King to lead the way after bidding a short farewell to the young Durins.

“I apologise for being hard on you Borin,” sighed Thorin, looking highly uncomfortable, he was never one for apologising. They were walking in the lower levels shadowed by the ever loyal Dwalin, the bulky Dwarf threw a fit when he noticed his King without an escort of guards and had insisted of tailing after them.

“You weren’t my lord, I should have known better.”

“You don’t need to be so formal lad, you are my ward. I may have not made it clear before but this is your home.”

Borin felt touched at the King’s acceptance, he had thought him coarse but now he could clearly see the loving uncle that he was to his nephews and great-nephews and nieces.

Thorin lead him to one of the stores and a small dagger caught his eye, he never trained with real weapons, Dwalin always had him train with wooden swords. He has never been to the armory, Frerin once tried to take him there and he received a harsh scolding by both his mother and grandmother. Both of the Dwarrow looked at Borin in fondness.

“Do you think we should buy the lad a sword,” muttered Thorin.

“You mean a letter opener,” said Dwalin as he looked at his King in amusement at the old joke told among the members of the company.

“May I get you anything young sir,” said a voice causing Borin to turn round in surprise.

“Ah Master Ovond, we were wondering if we can see that blade of this young lad,” said Thorin, causing the white bearded Dwarf’s eyes to swivel to Thorin. It was amusing to see his eyes widening in shock when he realised that he was talking to his King.

“Y...Your Majesty, I......I,” he stuttered.

“At ease,” said Thorin, trying not to show his annoyance at not being treated like a normal Dwarf anymore.

“The blade,” Dwalin reminded him. The aged Dwarf brought Borin the blade, one that was no more than a dagger for a grown Dwarf, put it was just large enough for him.

“You don’t need to...”Borin started to protest.

“You’ll need a blade anyway,” said Thorin.

“Now Master Baggins let me see how the blade will fit you,” said Ovond.

“Fit me?”

“The blade chooses the wielder young one,” said Ovond.

Borin picked up the sword but it felt strange and heavy in his hand.

“If you would allow me My Lord, may a suggest what I think will be a more suitable blade.”

Ovond headed in the back of his store a came back with another blade, “here lad, try this.”

The moment the sword was place in his palm, he felt one with it. He didn’t know how to explain the comfort he felt, this blade will be his protector, at least for a time.

“Curious,” said Ovond.

“Excuse me sir but what’s curious?” asked Borin.

“I remember every sword I made Master Baggins, I remember a dagger cast from the same iron as this one, that was stolen from my store a long time ago, back when I was still living in Ered Luin. A sword that was then bewitched with dark magic and it is rumored to be that same blade that gave your scar,” he said as he gestured to where his scar was hidden underneath his clothes.


******************************


They barely said a word as they made their way back to the royal quarters. Dwalin and Thorin were shooting him concerned looks, both of them aching to cast away his sword and forge him a new one.

“Ahh there you are?” said Dís, as they entered the sitting room, looking at them with a forced smile on her face.

Borin took in the fierce look found on Rallia’s countenance and the annoyed frown found on Gandalf’s face. That brought his thoughts to a halt.

“Gandalf what brings you here?” asked Borin in surprise.

The wizard had left soon after he settled in well in Erebor and they haven’t seen him again. He wasn’t even informed about Gandalf’s visit.

“Borin I just found you another tutor,” said Gandalf.

“Tutor? What tutor?” asked Thorin, looking suspicious, “Balin is teaching him.”

“And he is doing a marvellous job, teaching him, about Dwarrow culture, but he needs to learn about to world of Elves and Men as well.”

The Dwarrow all bristled in anger, but Gandalf ignored them and gestured to a hooded person who was sitting in the corner of the room, Borin couldn’t say who it was for he did not see him before. The hood was lowered and the feminine features of the elf were viewed causing Borin to look even more surprised.

“Borin this is Salabel and she will be teaching you along with Mister Balin.”

“Well, well if it isn’t Master Baggins our new celebrity.”

Chapter Text

Chapter 10: Borin son of Bilbo

“The Elf hates me,” groaned Borin.

His friends exchanged looks. They were not prejudiced towards Elves, Tauriel was greatly loved by her whole family and any one that attempted to insult her honor was met with swords at their throat. Salabel was a different story however. She favoured Frerin and Vanya while scorned the others. She was especially awful towards Born, critising all of his effort, mocking him at every turn.

“I don’t get why Uncle Thorin accepted her in his mountain in the first place,” said Darelle, a frown marring her countenance.

They were lounging in the water gardens. The king had made them especially for his nieces-in laws since they were not used to spending all they under stone.

“Perhaps she won’t stay long,” muttered Vanya as she fiddled with her arrows.

“No she will,” muttered Víli, “Tharkûn insists that she stays on and that she’s trustworthy.”

“Complaining about her won’t solve anything,” said Frerin as he stood up and ruffled his hair, “come let us go to the training ground, I’m sure some sword fighting will make us put that Elf out of our minds.”

Borin stood up with an irritated huff but his sensitive ears caught the sound of movement. He stopped and turned round and looked at the entrance with narrowed eyes.

“Borin?”

The dwobbit turned round in surprise and saw his friends looking at him in concern, with Darelle’s hand on his shoulder.

“I thought I heard something,” he muttered Borin.

The young Durins frowned in confusion.

“Borin, there’s nothing there,” said Vanya.

But the Baggins didn’t listen to her, he rushed forward and ran, ignoring the shouting of the others. It wasn’t possible that there was an intruder; there were guards at almost every entrance. He stumbled out of the gardens and into the hallway. He then went down the hall and out in the courtyard. His ears picked out a sound on the other side and he felt dread creep up on him. He unsheathed his sword and walked towards the entrance that lead to the dungeons. He has never been here, he was not even allowed to be here, but something told him that he had to go and see if there was someone there. He expected a Dwarf or perhaps an Elf, but for sure he was not expecting a troll.

“Great Mahal......”

 

******************************

 

Darelle was going mad with worry. Borin seemed to have run off and they had no idea where he was.

“I think we should tell our parents or Uncle Thorin, or someone,” gasped Vanya, they have been running for some time.

“We’ll get him in trouble,” snapped Frerin.

“I rather he is in trouble then hurt,” hissed Darelle.

“Looked there’s Uncle Thorin with Balin and Dwalin,” said Víli, “come on.”

 

******************************

Borin was scared...ok he was actually terrified. He rushed into danger without even thinking. His mind was blank; everything that Dwalin taught him was forgotten. He took a deep breath and tried to calm his breathing. He remembered Balin telling him a story about his father. How Bilbo, had managed to trick the trolls and made them argue till the sun rose and then they turned to stone. Where was he suppose to get the sun? There was nothing else to it....he had to fight. The Dwobbit crept forward, and tried to stay hidden, the troll was enormous, how in Mahal’s name did he manage to get in here? Borin clutched his sword and in one swift movement stabbed the troll in the legs. The troll roared in pain and jerked backwards.

The young Baggins stepped aside to prevent himself from being crushed against the wall. Being small of size came an advantage cause the troll couldn’t see him and even if it could, it wouldn’t be swift enough to catch him. Borin slid behind him and stabbed it again however the troll turned round and Borin was unable to slip away as easily. He grunted in pain as his head crashed against the stone wall. His short hands were not going to be of much use, he shook his head trying to ward off a ward off a wave of dizziness that came over him. He ducked underneath the monster and grabbed a bow and an arrow that decorated the wall. He notched the bow and arrow and drew the string, then released, but the arrow flew right pass it. The troll growled and marched closer to the dwobbit, finally catching sight of him. Cursing himself Borin snatched up another arrow and fired finally hitting the beast. The troll launched again at him, Borin ducked again but wasn’t as fast enough, he was foolish enough to focus on the joy of actually hitting his target. Borin cried out in pain as he felt his ribs crack. Borin wheezed and tried to crawl away, but the troll caught him and raised him up in the air.

“What are you?” growled the beast.

Borin thought fast, trolls were suppose to be stupid and he must have some sense to outwit it.

“I’m a burglahobbit,” said Borin, remembering the story that Balin told him.

“What’s a burglahobbit?”

“We’re ones that can walk unseen if we wish. Some also know us as the luck wearers.”

Clearly the troll wasn’t one who enjoyed being made a fool of and with another roar slammed the boy against the hard rocks again. Borin groaned in pain, his ribs are either very bruised or at least broken.

“BORIN!!!!!” screamed a familiar voice from the doorway.

There standing fully armed were Throin, Balin, Dwalin, Kíli, Fíli and Rallia, with the young Durins standing behind them.

“Barûk Khazad! Khazan ai menu,” roared Throin, his face twisted in a furious scowl.

Kíli shot an arrow shooting the troll directly in the eye. The troll roared in pain and clutched his wounds causing Borin crash down on the floor. Before he could fully comprehend what’s happening Borin was dragged away by Balin a concerned look marring his features, “come lad, I’m taking you to the healing rooms.” He sounded weary and his tone was strained.

Borin turned round just in time to see Dwalin slam his axe in the troll’s legs, bringing him to his knees while Thorin slammed his sword in the troll’s chest.

 

******************************

 

“WHAT IN MAHAL’S NAME WERE YOU THINKING?”

Thorin was not angry, oh no, he was trembling with rage.

“I didn’t know that there was a troll,” said Borin wincing as Oin bandaged his chest, “how did he manage to get in here?”

“The lad makes a good point, Thorin,” said Balin.

“And I have an answer,” said Nori as he entered the room. “There had to be someone who helped him from within these walls.”

“But who? Who would betray us like this?” said Thorin, frustrated.

“We don’t know, Thorin, we can only guess.”

Rallia had been quiet at that point. She had fought the troll with the King and his kin. She had rushed to the healing wards to make sure that Borin was not terribly injured but she had not screamed at him, she did not scold him. She remained quiet like the princes and princesses who stayed close to their friend, feeling guilty that they did not accompany him.

“I think that Borin fought very well,” she said finally.

“You should not encourage him,” snapped Thorin.

“I’m just saying he seemed to have inherited Bilbo’s impulsive streak.” She winked at him and strode out of the room.

“As much as I like you laddie I prefer not to see you in the Healing quarters so often. Now, out, the boy should get some rest,” ordered Oin.

Thorin pushed the physician aside and asked, “Oin how is he? Is he badly hurt?”

The grizzled dwarf sighed and said, “it could have been worse. He only has 2 broken ribs and a small concussion. Though his mother’s dwarven blood might have helped him by having a hard head....not that Bilbo wasn’t hard headed,” added Oin as an afterthought.

Without knowing why Thorin strode into Rallia’s chambers. “I would have thought that you would discourage your shield-sister’s only child from engaging in battle,” he snapped.

“We cannot just keep him shielded forever,” she replied quietly.

“We’re supposed to protect him. And we did the opposite of that today.”

“You truly care about him?”

Thorin rubbed his eyes wearily, “his father is the reason why we’re here and I betrayed him. Looking after his son is the only way how I can repay him.” His voice broke at the end.

“I love him just as much as you do, but we have to let him get out there and fight. We can’t hide him from the world Thorin.”

The dwarf lord snorted, “You know the first creatures that Bilbo fought were trolls. Like father, like son I suppose.”

Rallia laughed and he could not help but admire how lovely her laugh was. Then he shook his head, he did not have time for such thoughts. He had a kingdom to look after, traitors to catch and a special boy to protect.

Chapter Text

Chapter 11: The Clues Start To Add Up

News travels fast around the mountain. First whispers followed him since he was the boy who lived, now he heard dwarrow whispering ‘troll-slayer’ behind his back.

“I didn’t even kill the troll,” said Borin in exasperation.

“But you held him there till the King and the guards arrived,” Darelle replied awed.

“Stop being so modest, Borin, just embrace being popular” said Frerin, throwing his arm over Borin’s shoulders.

“Well, well is our celebrity already gaining even more fame,” a cold voice interrupted them.

They turned just in time to see Salabel approaching them. She assessed them with her dark eyes. “You better not be late to your next lesson Baggins, some people are wondering if you’ll ever get used to the ways of this mountain.”

“We’ll be there,” the Dwobbit replied coldly, his emerald eyes narrowed in a glare. Something flickered in her eyes. But then any emotion that would have been expressed remained hidden behind her usual emotionless facade. She glared at them one more time and then left to her rooms ignoring any grumbling of the other Dwarrow.

“Remind me again, why uncle Thorin just does not throw her out of the mountain,” muttered Víli.

“Because he has no choice, Gandalf forced her on us,” said Vanya, with an angry scowl.

“We still have something important to figure out,” muttered Borin. His friends looked at him in confusion. “Who let the troll into the mountain and past the guards?”

“I think you’re thinking too hard about this Borin,” said Vanya, flipping back her long red hair.

“I’m just concerned. There may be someone here who can be working against us.”

The royalty rolled their eyes, they knew the theory that Borin was about to come up with.

“Why is it so hard to believe that it may be Salabel?”

“Because Gandalf would not have brought her here if she was working for Sauron,” said Frerin.

“But there’s something off about her.”

Realising that they were getting nowhere with him, the others decided to leave him be. They knew that they were not going to change his mind. Borin was very stubborn; Rallia insists that he got it from his mother. The Dwobbit could not help but feel annoyed that none of his friends believed him. There was something about that elf. He did not trust her, his scar stung whenever she was close to him. He did not tell them this because he knew that they would worry over him. Borin went to his room and took out his new blade. He has not used it yet; King Thorin insisted that he use only a wooden sword, unlike his kin. He was younger than them in age but his hobbit blood made them close to their age. This was so unfair; he did not need to be protected all of the time. Apparently facing down a troll was not enough to prove himself, since his guardians became even more protective over him. Dwalin seemed to shadow his every move, his friends refused to leave him alone except when he was in his room. He suspected that King Thorin even posted guards outside his room during the night. He was not willing to let this all go, he had to find out who let the troll in. With or without his friend’s help.

 

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Borin did not spend as much time in the library as he wanted. There were very few Dwarrow scholars, since most of the Dwarrow preferred to bash each other’s heads. Yet Ori, the royal librarian was different. He was the calmest Dwarf in the mountain in Borin’s opinion, but if someone endangered his beloved books the Dwarf changed into a raving lunatic. He already slapped Víli and Frerin over the heads when they started arguing, loudly, in the middle of the library.

Book after book, he still could not find anything about a certain ring. Maybe he was thinking too much into this but Thorin sounded pretty serious when he was talking about that ring and then the troll incident happened a few time after this conversation. There could be something between these two incidents. From the books that he read he found out that one of the rings of power belongs to Thorin’s family, but it was lost with Thrain. Could this be what Erebor’s enemies were after and used the troll as a distraction?

“Found what you were looking for Borin?”

The Dwobbit, jumped in surprise and looked up to see Ori smiling at him apologetically.

“I was wondering if there are any books about.....the rings of power.” Borin cringed as soon as he said this, he really was not discreet. Ori seemed to freeze from where he was arranging some books. “The King ordered some books to be removed to his private library, no one is allowed there,” Ori looked at him apologetically, “I’m sorry, lad.”

“Oh, okay,” said Borin feeling slightly downcast, “well, thanks anyways Ori.”

“But here this might interest you,” said the Dwarf and handed him a thick book.

“The Last Alliance?” questioned Borin.

“One of the most famous battles in history, I’m sure that you’ll find it interesting Borin.”

The Dwobbit nodded his head and after taking the book, left the library. He needed to get to Thorin’s private library. Which is going to be really hard, with all of those guards, not to mention that his rooms are empty. He is going to need back-up, which is a problem since all of his friends idolised their uncle. They would never go behind his back like that. His suspicions were proved true when he brought up the subjects with his friends.

“No way! There’s no way that we’ll do that to Uncle,” protested Frerin.

“I’m not asking you to be the ones to snoop around, just distract the guards; I’ll look around his office.”

The young Durins exchanged looks; they knew that Borin was going to do this with or without their help. But going behind their Uncle’s back was not something that they enjoyed doing. But if Borin got caught he would be in big trouble.

“And we could not ask Thorin for the book because....?” asked Darelle.

“Because he had them removed from there for a reason.”

“Fine,” said Vanya in exasperation, “What do you want us to do?”

 

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“At least there are only two guards,” muttered Víli.

“Now remember you only have 10 minutes before Thorin returns from court,” said Darelle.

The Dwobbit nodded and fingered the golden ring around his neck and watched as Víli and Frerin head towards the guards, while Darelle and Vanya stayed as look outs. Borin sneaked behind the guards, and slipped on the ring while everyone was distracted with their task. His world immediately darkened and became hazy. He never told his friends about the ring. Something made him keep it a secret. He opened the door and entered the King’s office. He’s never been here before. The room was decorated with Durin blue and the cackling fire filled the room with warmth. Borin rushed towards the King’s library.

His eyes skimmed from one title to another, he cursed when he found that the titles where mostly in Khûzdul. He understood some of the words here and there, but he had just started learning. Even though he really disliked Salabel, he understood Elvish history and learned Sindarin much faster. A rushed knocking on the door made him snatch one of the books that caught his attention and he ran away from the library just as Thorin Oakenshield himself came in.

“Why do you want me to me to tell your parents to skip your lessons and why were you talking to the guards? They were on duty.”

“We just think that we should focus more on our training. I mean why do we need to know about the line of Kings while we can spend it in the training grounds?” asked Frerin, hurriedly.

“You mothers won’t be happy with your sudden interest in sword fighting,” said Thorin as he turned round to hang his fur coat on the hanger.

“Wait...” protested Víli.

But as Thorin turned round there was no one......

The king raised his eyebrows at his two gaping nephews.

“What we mean is, we should probably go back to our rooms and continue reading our history books,” said Frerin, his eyes darting around the room.

“We’ll leave you now uncle,” said Víli as he dragged his cousin out of the room, leaving a confused Dwarf Lord behind.

Borin was waiting for them with Vanya and Darelle and he looked very pleased with himself. The youngsters gathered in Borin’s room and locked the door behind them.

“You two make the most awful look outs,” said Frerin, pointing towards his sister and cousin.

“How where we suppose to know that Uncle dismissed council early and took the other corridor to get to his room. Let’s just never do this again,” muttered Darelle as she flicked back her copper hair.

“I hope that you found something Borin,” said Frerin, “We really don’t like lying to Uncle Thorin.”

“I grabbed the first book that I found with a few words that I actually understood,” said Borin.

“The Secrets of the line of Durin,” said Víli as he wrinkled his nose whilst translating the sentences.

They skimmed through the book, stopped and went for lunch, not to raise any suspicions and continued after.

“This would be easier if one of you payed attention during history lesson,” muttered Borin as he gave up trying to understand what was written and decided to leave it in the hands of those who have been studying Khûzdul for most of their lives.

“Here this seems to be important” said Vanya, “it says: Sauron presented the ring in the Hall of Stone to Durin III, the ring increased his life span but he was corrupted by Sauron.”Vanya looked up at her kin and friend in worry.

“But the ring was lost with King Thrain,” said Darelle.

“I think that it’s here in Erebor,” said Borin.

“So you were right, the troll was not here by accident...It was just a distraction,” said Frerin.

This was not a game anymore. They were getting involved in something dangerous and having the ring here can put Erebor as a target for Sauron minions. They had to find the traitor and who lead the troll in, hopefully without alerting any of the adults. The youngsters copied some of the text on the book and then returned it to Thorin’s office. They had to make sure that no one is on their case. This was one thing that they had to do by themselves.

 

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Borin did not recognize when the preparations of Yule celebrations began, he was more set on finding who let the troll in, who will be the same person that is after the ring of Durin. He was mostly suspicious in Salabel and he was even cautious of Dralgur. The Dwarf became close to insufferable, after the troll incident. He was far from happy when Borin’s fame increased. Borin chose to try and avoid him since he did not want to cause any more trouble to Thorin with his council. His friends had his back and though Dralgur hated the Dwobbit, he was not stupid, he would not dare to cause any trouble with the Durins involved. Thankfully Dralgur and his father were to travel to the Iron Hills during Yule time.

The decorations were exquisite and Borin could not help but be awed. Yule time in the Shire was always a cause for celebration, however they were not so for Borin. His aunt and uncle always left him behind while they went for family dinners and he was never given any gifts. That changed this year; all of his guardians gave him gifts, ranging from armor to jewelry to books.

“Have something to drink, Borin,” said Dís, red faced, a wide smile gracing her face.

Borin nodded his head in thanks, most of the Dwarrow were slumped over drunk, but since he was underage he was not allowed to drink alcohol. His friends were not suppose to either, but he saw them sipping some drinks that were most definitely not water. Seeing that everyone was busy with their drinks or immersed in a conversation, Borin slipped out of main hall and headed towards his quarters.

“I’m watching you Dwarf, I don’t care that no one else is suspicious,” snarled a voice that sounded like Salabel.

Borin put on the ring, curiosity getting the better of him. He sneaked forward and caught a glimpse of Salabel cornering someone. But he could not see who it was. He didn’t dare go any closer.

“I don’t know what you mean, Elf.”

“Oh I think you do and unless you want me to breath a single word to the King, you better keep yourself in line. No one is suppose to know about the ring of Durin after all.”

There was silence and a sudden shuffling then a pair of dark eyes were looking straight at him. Borin felt nervous he was wearing his ring; no one is supposed to see him. The Elf walked towards the entrance and he saw a glimpse of a dark beard before the door was closed in his face. Borin stumbled back in surprise and he felt even more confused than before.

Who was Salabel threatening and why? He felt even more suspicious than before when it came to Salabel. He needed to tell someone, but who no one would believe him. He was just a child in their eyes. Even his friends were not convinced in his theory. So Dralgur is out of the suspicion list, while his suspicions in Salabel were increasing. His scar hurting when she was close by could not be a coincidence and the way that she was acting seemed to convince him even more. He was going to keep a look out on her and follow her. An Elf in a mountain of Dwarrow was already strange and she was acting even stranger these days. She was acting harsher with Borin, criticizing his efforts and handing out more work. Perhaps with this new piece of information she can finally leave from his new home. Once and for all.

Chapter Text

Chapter 12: Through The Trapdoor

“No Master Baggins,” snarled Salabel, “that’s gwedh and it means bind, you mixed it up with gwaedh that means bond.” The elf glared at him then she stalked away muttering something that sounded like ‘just like his mother,’ causing his friends to glare at her heatedly.

Borin could not even concentrate; he stayed thinking what was said, over and over again. When he told his friends about what he overheard, they took him far seriously than he anticipated. But then again Erebor is their home. They would do anything to defend it. They voted against telling any of the grown-ups about this new piece of information. They followed Salabel whenever they saw her acting suspicious, though the young royalty put their foot down and refused to sneak in Salabel’s room. If they were caught in there they would probably be killed. That elf was not one to cross. She increased their work load and they could barely find the time to try and find out who the person that Salabel was threatening. They also knew that the ring was somewhere in Erebor, but where they could not say. Borin wanted the ring to be found, but his friends insisted that it was safer lost. Borin was so immersed in his thoughts that he did not notice where he was going until he accidentally bumped into someone.

“I’m sorry Master Baggins,” wheezed a familiar voice.

Borin opened his mouth, to offer reassurance. But he stopped, he never saw this Dwarf before but there was something familiar about the voice of the Dwarf, he did not know where he heard this voice before.

“It’s fine, I’m sorry I should have seen where I was going,” said Borin.

“I’m Lofar, at your service,” said the Dwarf grinning brightly at him.

Borin then realised where he saw this Dwarf, he remembered seeing him in the training ring with Dwalin. He was always sitting in the corner and had to be literally forced to hold a blade. He refused to hit anyone. He was one of the quiet ones and barely said anything during practice. “It’s nice meeting you Lofar. I’m preparing for practice. Will you be in the training room?”

“I actually cannot be there today; I have some work to attend to.”

"I guess that I’ll see you around then, Master Dwarf,” said Borin with a grin.

Borin did not see the smirk that spread across Lofar’s face as he headed away from him.

None of his friends trusted Lofar that surprised Borin. He grew close to the Dwarf ever since that small encounter that he had with him. However the young Durins remained cool and aloof when they met him. Yet he felt as though he had some sort of connection with Lofar, he had told him that he lost his parents when he was very young, they were killed by orcs. He also enjoyed spending time in the library and unlike most Dwarves he was not prejudiced against Elves. But the Durins, they did not like him. Not one bit. They were going to check who this Lofar really was and whether he was just taking advantage of Borin’s kind nature. But they could not find anything about him, there was no record about his family. They even talked to Thorin about him but their Uncle just laughed and said that Borin was allowed to be friends with others and not just with them.

Borin was exhausted after a day’s training. Dwalin was drilling them so hard, he seemed to have forgotten that Borin was a half Hobbit and he was not as strong as any of his friends. While the Durins preferred focusing in their studies, Borin preferred searching for that ring and focus solely on following Salabel around. His work was suffering and he could see that his Dwarrow guardians were getting concerned. Last time even Thorin wanted to spend time with him and tutor him in Khûzdul instead of Balin. Yet Salabel was starting to act even more suspicious than before he seemed to find her lurking in the darkest of places. Since his friends were not being very helpful, he started enlisting Lofar’s help. He still could not find out who it was that Salabel was threatening. He did not know where he heard that voice before, it was so familiar yet he could not put his finger on where he heard it.

Borin could not understand why Dwarves were so into banking or why Gloin seemed to be determined on teaching him. Knowing that Gloin seemed to really dislike Elves, Borin decided to try his luck with him.

“How long will Mistress Salabal be staying here?”

“The Wizard seemed intent on keeping her for some time. You just have to hang in there lad.”

“But there is something about her. I believe that she let the troll in.”

The Dwarf sighed and said, “Look lad I know that she’s one of the worse of her kind, but the Wizard seems to trust her and so we have to give her the benefit of the doubt.”

“But what if she turns against the King?”

“Look lad, even if she’s after something, no one is able to get into the deepest vaults. Even Gandalf added more spells to protect that place.”

“The vaults?” Gloin froze all of a sudden, then hesitantly said, “never mind lad, run along I think that that’s enough for today.” Then he left muttering, ‘I should not have said that.’

Borin could have slapped himself on the head. Where would Thorin put a very valuable item if not in the vaults?

He caught sudden movements from the corner of his eyes. The Dwobbit cursed and took off after the intruder. He could have strangled himself, he should have made certain that no one is within earshot before he started questioning Gloin. He was not noticing where he was going and almost collided head on with Salabel.

“Watch where you’re going Baggins,” snarled the Elf, glaring at him furiously. Borin could not speak. Salabel overheard what he exchanged with Gloin. She knows where ring is. He did not even stutter an apology but took off again. He had to find his friends. This will end now. They had to find the ring before Salabel. They had to stop her. Before it’s too late.

 

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They knew that going to confront someone unarmed will be foolish. Borin strapped his sword against his hip, and watched as his friends were doing the same. They really did not want to get involved, but after the troll incident they did not want to leave him on his own again. Sneaking out of the royal wing, in the dead of night, was going to be difficult. Borin would just have to distract them with what they called ‘Hobbit Magic.’ Borin still did not tell them about his golden ring.

Slipping out of the room, Borin went past the guards and lit the torches, he watched as the guards approached confused about how the torches, that were supposed to be out, were alight in flames. The Durins took this opportunity and ran out of their rooms away from the royal wings. Borin left as well and went to meet them in the courtyard. They had to get to the vaults.

“What kind of spells do you think that Gandalf put on the vaults?” questioned Frerin.

“I dunno, I guess we’ll see when we get there,” grinned Víli in excitement.

Vanya gripped one of the torches and they hurried over to the vaults. They pushed open the heavy door and Borin knew that after all of this was over he was going to have a huge bruise. Pushing himself against heavy wooden doors were not one of his best ideas.

“So in which vault is it?” asked Darelle.

“That’s easy little sister, it’s the deepest one here,” said her brother.

“Thankfully that we arrived here before Salabel,” said Vanya. Yet when they opened the deepest vault there was nothing, leaving them all gaping in surprise.

“I thought that you said that it was here,” said Frerin, ruffling his hair.

Borin did not know what he could say. Gloin would not lie to him. But this vault did not even contain a single coin and it was impossible to check all of the others. His eyes trailed to the ground and they caught something.

“No,” he muttered, “it is here. Darelle move aside please.”

The young princess did as she was told and Boring gripped the torched and pointed it towards the ground where she was before. There they found themselves staring at a trapdoor.

 

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They opened the trapdoor and were left staring at nothingness.

“We’re not seriously thinking about jumping down there right?” said Víli.

Borin did not even answer him. Instead he took in a deep breath and jumped down, ignoring their protests. Borin landed on something hard and he resisted the urge to groan. He had only managed to get back on his feet before he ended up on his back again as the Durins chose that moment to jump down the trapdoor.

“Ow....” groaned Borin.

“Sorry mate,” said Frerin, grinning at him.

“Did you bring the torch Vanya?” The following silence answered Darelle’s question.

“Come on perhaps it’s not as dark as we expect it to be,” grumbled Borin as he rubbed his arms. They were feeling overly cautious. But it was Gandalf who was responsible for the protection of this place. Getting to the ring was not going to be easy. They walked quietly, making sure to stayed close to each other. Borin took deep steadying breaths, he wondered if it was wise jumping head first into danger without telling anyone else about this.

They came to abrupt stop when they saw a giant suit of armor blocking the door. They exchanged looks and they made to move towards the door. However before they could walk through the door the suit of armor blocked the entrance with a large ax, causing all of them to jump in surprise.

“Ok, I think that we have to fight this.....armor?” said Frerin, his voice trembling.

“Well, how hard can it be?” grinned Vanya, with confidence. They drew out their swords while Vanya made her first strike by releasing her arrow, missing him only just slightly. Borin ducked and just avoided from being decapitated by an axe, fortunately the blow was deflected by Víli.

“How are we supposed to get rid of this thing if there is no one beneath that armor?” panted Darelle.

Borin rubbed his shoulder, his arms exhausted after lifting his sword for so long. He looked around and realized that Darelle was right. Even with five of them, there was no way that they could defeat this suit of armor. He looked around, desperately looking for a plan. He heard Frerin cry out in pain and Borin turned round in panic. He saw the young prince clutching his leg that was twisted in a weird angle. Borin felt himself going pale. He had to get Frerin out of here and get this armor out of the way. He clenched his sword tighter and pushed himself forward, lunching himself to knock the armour aside, he grunted as he felt his ribs being bruised. He blocked the axe, preferably without lobbing any of his fingers off. Borin knocked the ax away. He backed away until he was back to the wall. The armor approached him and he found no way of escape. He closed his eyes hoping that if he was going to die it would be painless, when he shouted athrid, that meant leave in Khûzdul, so that his friends would not loose their lives because of his foolishness, and this caused the armor to drop the ax and become a pile of lifeless metal. There was silence and Borin just kept on staring then he looked up to see Vanya with her bow drawn looking just as surprised as he was.

“So...that’s it? All we had to do was say some sort of password,” muttered Darelle, from where she was sitting next to Frerin. Borin would have kept on wondering what happened for a while longer, but instead he hurried forward to see how badly hurt Frerin was.

“Frerin you need to go back,” muttered Víli, still shaken.

“I agree all of you go back and alert the King about what’s happening,” said Borin.

“And leave you all alone here? Not bloody likely,” muttered Vanya.

Víli seeing that an argument was about to break out, decided to take over here, “Vanya, Darelle, take Frerin out of here and inform the King, I’m going on with Borin.” His sister and cousin opened their mouths, no doubt to voice their disapproval; however Víli reminded them that they needed backup while Frerin needed medical attention.

They watched as the three of them made their way back out of the trapdoor and taking a deep breath the two of them moved on to see what other challenges they had to face. They did not say much as they made their way from one room to another that is until they came across a massive Sphinx. The two friends exchanged weary look and tried not to look so surprised when the sphinx started to speak, in a deep rasping voice.

“To pass through this door you need to answer a riddle. If you guess them wrong you both die, if you and the riddle correctly only one of you may pass.”

The two friends exchanged looks. Borin could not help but wish that Lofar was here. He was very good when it came to riddles. But everything became so rushed and he could not find his new friend anywhere.

“Very well, go ahead,” said Borin, trying to look confident.

"This thing all things devours:

Birds, beasts, trees, flowers;

Gnaws iron, bites steel;

Grinds hard stones to meal;

Slays king, ruins town,

And beats high mountain down."

Borin’s mind came to an abrupt halt. Víli kept on blinking and his expression said that he had absolutely no idea what the answer was.

“Oh...er.......”

Borin was literally wracking his brain. He could see the sphinx getting impatient. Beads of perspiration appeared on his brow.

“Come now youngling, give me the answer. I’m getting hungry.”

“Yes..yes I just need more time.....” said Borin, he saw the sphinx stiffen.

“Wait that’s it, the answer is time.”

He saw the sphinx sullenly moved aside. Borin turned round to face Víli. They knew what was going to happen.

“Víli.......”

“I know. You have to go.” T

he prince then embraced the Dwobbit tightly.

“Goodluck, brother.”

 

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Borin hated feeling alone, but at least his friends were safe.

As he entered the final chamber he realized that he was not completely alone. But there was no Elf there. It was not Salabel.

It was.......

“Lofar?”

Chapter Text

Chapter 13: The traitor

Borin lost his ability to speak. Lofar was his friend, he could not be the one after the ring.

“You? But Salabel....”

“Yes she does give that impression doesn’t she,” Lofar sneered. His voice was far from the friendly one he once had.

Borin’s hand clutched his sword, “you traitor,” he snarled, “I trusted you and all of this time you’ve been working against me, against your own King.”

“Befriending you was easy, you trust others too much,” scoffed Lofar.

Borin felt his head spinning, all of this time he thought that Salabel was the one after the ring.

“That blasted Elf went after me ever since the troll incident, though how she knew that I let the troll in.”

“You let the troll in?”

“Finally catching up Baggins? Yes I let the troll in but after that the tree-lover was on my case and I could hardly sneak around all that much. I thought that that troll would kill you but then Salabel went to inform the King about the troll.”

“Wait, Salabel told the King about the troll? But I thought...”

Lofar laughed loudly and it echoed around the chamber. “Those royal brats would not have made it in time to inform the king you would have been dead by then. No it was the Elf, who reached the King and his guards first.”

As much as Borin wanted to ponder over the thought that Salabel actually saved his life, he could not let himself be distracted. He needed to make sure that Lofar does not take the ring.

“Now that ring is somewhere here and I need to give it to my Lord.” Borin knew that he was not referring to King Thorin. “But where is it?” The Dwarf turned round, ignoring the Dwobbit. Borin could not understand how staring at a blank wall was going to help him find the ring. Lofar spun round to glare at Borin again and snarled, “Boy, come here.”

Borin approached the deranged Dwarf cautiously. Lofar moved forward and snatched his arm. Borin then found out what Lofar was staring at. This must be Gandalf’s final test. There was a small mirror on the wall and he almost missed it. Above it was a writing in Sindarin that said: “Only someone pure of heart can access the treasure within.” Borin translated the words mentally, knowing that Lofar could not read Sindarin.

“Let’s see if you can pass your hand through the mirror Baggins.” Borin glanced at Lofar’s hand and saw that it was burnt. So if his heart was not pure enough, he could end up with a burnt hand. He closed his eyes and imagined his family, he never saw portraits of his mum and dad but Rallia always described them to him. Taking a deep breath he reached towards the mirror and gasped in surprise as his hand went through. It felt like cold water and his hand reached what he was sure to be the ring. He had to think fast he could not give Lofar the ring. He pulled his arm from the mirror and quickly slipped the ring into his pocket before turning round to face Lofar and said, in a strong voice, “There’s nothing there.”

Having been distracted glaring at the mirror, Lofar failed to notice when Borin slipped the ring into his pocket and hearing him say that caused him to roar in anger and slam the Dwobbit against the hard, cold wall.

“There was nothing there,” gasped Borin as he was searching for air, which was a bit difficult considering that Lofar has his hands wrapped around his neck. The Dwarf then threw him across the room causing Borin to rub his bruised neck in frustration. He was not ready for combat no matter what Dwalin said. Borin pulled out the sword that Thorin had bought him, just in time to block Lofar’s axe and Borin felt this arms buckle.

“Unless you want to end up like your miserable parents Baggins, I suggest that you hand over that ring,” snarled the Dwarf. He hoped that his friends had gone to Thorin or any of the others because he did not know how long he could hold Lofar off. The Dwarf was stronger than him and there was no way how he could escape unscratched, even his speed would not be enough. He ducked and stepped aside managing to slash Lofar in his thigh causing Lofar to roar in pain. The Dwarf turned round and when he started to speak his tone turned placating.

“Borin I do not want to fight you...”

“You have a funny way of showing that,” snapped Borin.

“Don’t you want to see your parents again? The Dark Lord can make that happen. All you have to do is to hand over that ring.”

Borin hesitated. He knew that nothing could bring back the dead. But the Dark Lord Sauron was powerful. Borin snapped out of his musings. He did not know what came over him all of a sudden. He glared again at Lofar and shouted, “You liar!”

The Dwarf roared in rage and ran directly towards him; Borin was able to block his axe again but could not stop Lofar from wrapping his hands around his throat again. Borin tugged and kicked, trying to escape from his grip. His vision started to darken. He thought that he heard hurried footsteps but he could not be sure because he had already lost consciousness.

 

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Borin did not know how much time had passed. All he knew that he was not dead, for sure, because he assumed that death would have spared him the sore throat and all of the aches that he was feeling. He opened his eyes and then blinked since the light was too bright. He was surprised when he found himself surrounded by boxes of sweets and chocolate.

“Your friends were conserved that you will be starving once you woke up,” said an amused voice. Borin was surprised to see Rallia approaching him. He had not seen her since the troll incident and thought that she was avoiding him. He assumed that she was angry with him for being reckless. Well he was proving her right in this case. She sat down next to him and embraced him tightly, putting a stop to all of his doubts. “I think that we should start locking you in your room. Perhaps this way we’ll manage to keep you away from trouble or trouble away from you,” she said ruffling his hair.

“Indeed, perhaps that way you would stop ending up in the Healing wards so frequently,” said Thorin in exasperation, from the doorway, rubbing his forehead wearily.

Rallia stood up and said, “I’ll come and visit you later Borin.” She then left the room, not before nodding and muttered a ‘Your Majesty,’ in respect.

“The others? Are they.....” Borin felt guilt welling inside him. They took him in and he re-payed them by endangering their kin.

“They are fine; driving their parents mad because they are desperate to see you.”

Borin felt weak and a large amount of relief came surging in. Then he wondered about the other thing that was worrying him. “What about the ring? Lofar he was the one...”

“Peace, young one. The ring has been destroyed.”

“Destroyed? Why?”

Thorin scoffed and his face scrunched up in distaste, “Because it was always more trouble than it’s worth. I don’t need it to corrupt any more of my people.”

Borin did not know what to say. The ring was an heirloom of his family. He did not know that he would ever consider destroying it. “What about Lofar,” he questioned in a small voice.

Thorin did not answer immediately, but then in a heavy voice he said, “He’s dead. Kíli shot him before he could strangle you to death. I am sorry Borin but his actions were still considered treachery.”

Thorin looked tired and Borin knew that Lofar’s death was weighing heavily on his mind along with his treason. “I should leave you to get some rest; we can only keep those nieces and nephews of mine away for a certain amount of time. You should rest while you still have the time,” he said as he smiled down at him.

 

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His friends came to visit him the very next day and they sat down nibbling on the sweets that Borin did not eat yet.

“I thought that we were going to face some major grounding but amad and adad were actually proud,” said Víli, with a bright grin stretched across his face.

“How is your leg Frerin,” asked Borin, eying Frerin’s bandaged leg.

“I’m not allowed out of bed till Oin says so. This could take days and even adad is not trying to sneak me out of here,” he groaned in annoyance. His sister and cousins laughed at him and even Borin cracked a smile. It felt like he had not laughed or smiled for days. He was so concerned with finding the ring that he could not think of anything else. Betrayal was hard, he trusted Lofar, but he consorted with Orcs. He had to choose the people whom to trust.

Borin was finally allowed out of the healing room. Frerin was released a day before him and he could hobble about easily after Bofur whittled him crutches to keep his leg elevated.

Dwalin never failed to praise him at every chance that he had and kept on boasting that it was his student that defeated a servant of Sauron, though Borin really was not looking forward for the new training exercises that Dwalin told him that he will start drilling him with.

Salabel did not change her attitude towards him and she brushed him off when he went to thank her for saving his life. He guessed that some things just never change, though he will give her the benefit of the doubt next time. Yet just because she saved his life, does not mean that he had to start liking her. They could just go back to glaring at each other.

 

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His first birthday at Erebor was the best one he could remember. Thorin had a feast prepared in his honour nd he even invited Legolas. Thranduil could not come and Borin almost laughed out loud when he saw the relief etched all over Thorin’s face.

Bombur certainly out done himself since the food was absolutely delicious. But the best surprise was when he saw Gandalf. Borin ran towards the old Wizard and embraced him tightly.

“Borin Baggins, it’s so good to see you my boy.”

“And you Gandalf? Where have you been?”

“I came as soon as I heard about you little adventure. I was held up at White Council meetings.”

Gandalf could not tell him that he was held captive. Saruman had betrayed them and held him captive in Isenguard for a long time. He had only escaped recently. He could not believe his ears when he heard about Borin’s adventures and how he managed to get past his traps. Gandalf was impressed if not nervous when he heard what happened. Thorin himself strongly ordered that he was not going to protect any artifacts that can attract Sauron’s attention or corrupt any other of his people.

“Here I have something,” smiled Gandalf and handed him a thick book. Borin opened it only to find portraits of his parents.

“I cast a spell on them to enable them to move in the portraits.” Borin looked up at the Wizard, his eyes shining with unshed tears.

“Thanks Gandalf,” he said hoarsely. He never saw portraits of his parents. His aunt and uncle never even mentioned them, let alone have any painting of them. This was perhaps the best gift anyone could ever given him.

“I’ve written to all of you parents’ friends. They helped me with this,” said the Wizard gruffly. Borin embraced his gift tightly and then looked at the portraits again. He saw his parents smile and wave at him. He wondered if they would be proud of him. Both Thorin and Rallia insisted that if they were here they would scold them for allowing him to end up in danger but they would probably boast about him with every person that they would meet.

Borin thought back about these previous months and in spite of the danger, they were probably the best months of his life. He made friends and had people who truly cared about him and here he was celebrating his birthday for the first time. Normally only Lotho’s birthday was a cause of celebration, while they conveniently forgot his.

Now that the ring was destroyed he could finally live in peace since Erebor should not be targeted by Sauron’s minions.

Yes he did believe that the worst was behind them.  

Chapter Text

Chapter 14: Strange tidings

So much time has passed since Borin had arrived in Erebor that he almost forgot what it felt like to be excluded. His guardians made sure that he had everything he needed. After he exposed Lofar’s treachery, he endeared himself even more to the Dwarrow of Erebor. However there were still those who regarded him with suspicion and Dralgur seemed intent on making his life miserable. Not that he cared about what they though, King Thorin had long ago accepted him as his ward and no one dared to speak against the King. He carried on training with Dwalin and sometimes even Fíli and Kíli took time to train with their children and with him.

Yes, life in Erebor seemed to be treating him well. There were no more hand me down clothes and he was receiving n education, something that his aunt and uncle were not keen on paying. He even started tolerating Salabel.

After a long day of training Borin made his way to his chambers to clean himself up before the evening meal, as he did routinely. When he opened the door he was met with what looked like a raven fluttering around his room.

“What.......?”

The raven finally settled down on a perch and bowed. “Master Baggins, such an honour it is.”

“Who are you?”

“Oh! Sorry Sir, the names’ Carc sir. Carc from Ravenhill.”

“I see. Not to be rude or anything but what are you doing in my room?”

“Oh yes sir. Carc understands sir. It’s just, Carc has come here to tell you....it is difficult sir.... Carc wonders where to begin.”

Borin sighed in frustration. He really did not feel like listening to talking ravens at the moment.

“Why don’t you come closer and sit down with me.” The raven blinked at him and suddenly burst into tears.

“S-s-s-it down? Never has Carc been asked to sit down by someone else, like an equal.”

Borin panicked then. He did not want the others to hear loud noises coming from his room. No doubt that they would worry that he had an interuder in his room. Which he did, in a way.

“Shushhh it is okay. I’m sorry I did not mean to offend.” The raven then fluttered his feathers and approached the Dwobbit. “I’m not used to being treated like this sir. The family that I serve is not kid to me sir.”

“The family that you serve? Don’t you serve the king?”

“Not the King sir, but one of his counsellors. I am bound to serve that family for life. If they find out that I’m here....” the raven shuddered in fear. “But I had to come. I had to come to warn you about the terrible things that are about to happen.”

“What terrible things?”

“Carc...can’t...say” said the raven as he fluttered around nervously.

Borin felt like screaming, this bird really was not being helpful. He came to warn him that his home may be in danger again but he would not go into any details. The bird seemed afraid and nervous. Every few moments the dark eyes of the raven would flutter around the room as though he was expecting someone to pounce on them at any moment.

The Dwobbit approached the raven slowly, cautious not to scare away the bird, “tell me more please. I need to know.”

“Master Baggins should leave Erebor, while he still has the chance.”

“I cannot, Erebor is my home,” hissed Borin.

They heard footsteps approaching his room and Borin turned round hurriedly. The raven ruffled his feathers and issued a last warning, “Save youself Borin Baggins for you are not prepared for what’s about to come.” The raven took off and was gone before he could even blink.

His door was opened and there stood Rallia smiling at him with her usual soft smile that was only reserved to him, though there was a simmer of concern under her countenance. “Who were you speaking to Borin?”

“Nothing,” said the young Dwobbit hastily. “I was just speaking to myself.”

As he said this he turned round to gaze out of the window wondering if he was ever going to see that raven again and pondering about his words.

 

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Borin did not know whether he should tell his friends about what had transpired between him and that raven, though he was worried that they would think him mad. He was warned about danger by a talking raven. He knew that the Dwarrow communicated with other kingdoms using ravens but he has never been o Ravenhill. He, along with his friends, were warned to stay away from that hill. They say that the ghost of Azog still haunts that hill. So considering that he has never been there, had never seen any of the great ravens.

However he knew that he could never hide anything from his friends. They realised that something was wrong with him. When he told them about Carc, their reaction was completely surprising. They didn’t dismiss him as he expected them to. Instead they appeared concerned. The recent experience with Lofar thought them that they should never underestimate the power of evil.

“Talking ravens have been here ever since the time of Durin the first. Though the fact that they approached you even though you’re not part of the royal family,” said Vanya, flicking her flaming red hair in annoyance.

“The last time that I talked to a raven, I almost had my finger bitten off,” grumbled Frerin, “how come you were even able to speak to one with all of your digits attached?”

“That’s because he’s a more likable person than you,” teased Darelle, laughing when she saw Frerin sticking out his tongue at her.

“Considering the trouble we managed to land ourselves in after Lofar’s treachery shouldn’t we just inform Throin about this,” said Víli, ever the responsible one.

“That would most probably be wise,” murmured Borin. The young Durins turned to look at him in astonishments. Borin never wanted to get anyone else involved. His first impulse is to act alone to try and solve the problem without getting others involved. Seeing their looks of disbelief, Borin rolled his eyes and said, “I learnt something from our last adventure you know.”

 

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When Thorin heard about what transpired, he was understandably concerned. The ravens were supposed to speak directly to him. Borin was afraid that he would dismiss them, but then again the King never treated them like children. He listened to them without interrupting. He then looked the Dwobbit in the eyes and said, “and nothing was said regarding the sort of danger that we should be expecting.”

“No he just kept on raving about it like some sort of lunatic.”

The dark haired Dwarf Lord rubbed his face wearily. He really wanted to have some peace and quiet, but it seems that trouble seemed to follow him around everywhere. But why did this Carc seek Borin out. He was going to keep both of his eyes trained on the boy and assign Nori to look after him, in case he would not be able to do so.

“I don’t want any one of you to concern yourselves about this. I’ll have guards posted at every entrance.”

His great nephews and nieces nodded their heads in reassurance and even Borin looked like he had a burden lifted off his shoulders. They turned to leave his study, when Thorin said, “Borin, if you could spare a moment with me.”

The young Dwobbit turned round curious about what the King wanted to talk about. Thorin poured himself a glass of wine and beckoned Borin to step forward and to sit down next to him.

“Borin I want you to promise me something. Promise me that you won’t go looking for trouble.”

Borin could not help but feel indignant at this, “I do not go looking for trouble. Trouble is gaining a habit of finding me.”

The King could not help but laugh out loud. He heard a similar phrase before, a long time ago. “You have no duty to protect this kingdom yet, you are still a child. It is our duty to protect.”

“But Dwalin says that I’m getting really good.”

“That doesn’t mean that you’re ready to go to fight any battle yet. What you did took courage but you could have died and that is something that we cannot bear to happen.”

Borin sighed knowing that there was no way that he could change his mind. Everyone thought that the king was cold and aloof from everyone else, but those who really knew him that he really cared about his kin and all of those who were close to him, so Borin nodded to ease his worries and nodded his head in submission.

Thorin eyed the young Dwobbit wearily. He was going to speak to Nori to make sure that he would shadow his every move. Mahal Bilbo’s son was really hard to protect.

 

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Nori’s time as a thief was over. After the quest of Erebor he became one of the richest Dwarrow of the kingdom. He did not need to steal to ensure his brothers’ survival. However the King recruited him as his spy-master considering that he was the stealthiest and he had the King’s complete trust.

When Thorin asked his to keep a watch out for Borin Baggins, Nori accepted at once. He had failed to notice the snake that Lofar was. He had raged at himself for days, when Throin carried Borin to the healing rooms, he looked so small, so weak. They thought that he was dead. But then Oin said that he would make a full recovery. Nori had employed even more Dwarrow to increase his spy network.

His brothers were very fond of the boy. Dori fussed over him for weeks and took pleasure in knitting warm clothes for him, while Ori beamed with pride at the interest that Borin seemed to take in books, though this did not really surprise them, Bilbo loved reading as well. The star haired Dwarf sharpened his daggers. He had to be on his guard, his King seemed concerned about the warning that Borin received and so was he. Ravens could only be understood by members of the Line of Durin. He needed to find this Carc and hear him for himself. He needed to make sure that there was nothing big that they needed to concern themselves with.

 

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While his friends preferred sparring lessons, Borin enjoyed his history lessons even more. He would enjoy his Elvish lessons as well but Salabel was a pain so it was a bit hard to do so. Borin could not understand why out of all of the Elves in Middle Earth, Gandalf just had to choose her. True she did save his life but that did not mean that he would end up liking her.

He snapped himself out of his musings just in time to block Fíli’s blade.

“Keep your shield up,” said Fíli, “or I’ll ring your head like a bell,” grinned the blond Dwarf, ruffling his curly hair.

“Perhaps we should stop for today,” grinned his beautiful wife, who was watching at the stands, while his brother and Tauriel were practicing archery with his daughter and niece.

“Just a few more minutes, amad,” said Víli, from where he was, panting and wiping his sweaty brow.

Before his parents could answer, the loud ringing of bells could be heard from the citadel.

The good cheer and peace that surrounded came to a sudden halt. Turning round to face his kin and the Dwobbit, Fíli said harshly, “Tauriel, Sigrid, take the children to the royal quarters. Now!”

“Kíli come with me,” ordered the crown prince. The two royals hurried back t the citadel where the King was awaiting them. Bursting through the door of the throne room the two princes found their uncle and their mother in deep conversation with Dwalin and some other guards.

“What is it? What happened?” gasped Kíli.

The brothers did not like the look on their uncle’s face. They did not like it one bit.

 

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“What did the message say again,” whispered Frerin.

Vanya was gazing at fire in their room, they had gathered in Borin’s chambers to discuss what transpired earlier. “The time of the beast will come again. Enemies of the flame beware,” said Vanya.

Darelle shivered and her brother put his hand around her. She looked very scared, though all of them looked disturbed.

“The message was written in blood,” murmured Frerin. Borin was only half-listening to what was being said. The message written on the walls of Erebor’s halls shocked him.

This all happened before the first disappearance occurred. The wailing of the councilor echoed around the room. His missing son was found, though he was barely recognizable since his face was completely burnt off.

“What does this mean?” murmured Rallia as she looked at the pale face of the King.

Looking at her in the eye, Thorin said, “It means that Erebor is not safe anymore.”  

Chapter Text

Chapter 15: A Visit to Dale

Life in Erebor continued normally. The dead body was returned back to stone and his family were left to mourn in peace. There was no sign of that raven that brought Borin that message of doom. the Dwobbit did not let it get to him so much. He was found in a mine and mines were not known to be exactly safe, so they ruled the death as an unfortunate accident. The message on the wall was the real cause of concern. Thorin increased the number of guards patrolling the ground and the royal chambers as well.

Having a guard trailing their every move was annoying. Even the young Durins found it extremely annoying and they were royalty, they were supposed to be used to guards trailing their every move.

“Why can’t uncle Thorin order them to stay at away? We don’t need guards following us everywhere” snapped Frerin in frustration.

“Uncle just wants to do what’s best for us,” sighed Víli, “we should not take threats lightly.”

“I’m sure it would not be much of a problem if we go and visit our grandfather in Dale,” said Darelle, looking beseechingly at her brother.

“We have to inform our uncle. We’re not going to Dale without telling him first, unless you want to have a search party after us.”

“Ok fine, let’s just tell our family that we’re going on a small excursion,” said Vanya, ever the impatient one.

Thorin did not take it well, to say the least. “You want to go gallivanting around while a threatening message was found in our halls. Are you out of your minds?”

“Thorin, will you calm down,” scolded his sister.

The Dwarf King sometimes wondered whether Mahal wanted to test his patience by making him deal with his kin. He knew that even if he refused to allow them to go to Dale, they would still find a way to escape from Erebor, at least they had the common sense to ask him before they attempted their little escapade.

“Fine, against my better judgement, I’m going to let you go. So long as Dwalin goes with you.”

 

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Borin always considered himself to be a quiet, reclusive sort of person. Growing up he never had much people to talk to. Howver Dwalin took silence to a whole new level. He did not even utter a world while on guard duty. They might as well forget that he was there. His eyes kept darting all around them as he assessed whether there was any trace of danger.

To their surprise they came across Bandura with her elder brother Bothur in the markets.

“Bandura? What are ypu doing here?” questioned Víli in surprise as he ruffled his blond hair, giving her a lopsided grin.

The Dwarrowdam turned round and gave them a welcoming smile. Borin had barely seen her in recent days since she spent most of her time in the kitchen, helping her father.

“We came here to buy some ingredients for Adad,” replied Bothur, in her stead, wrapping his arm around his younger sister.

A small gathering at the side of the marked caught their attention.

“What’s going on there?” questioned Borin, his curiosity getting the better of him, as usual.

“I’m not sure. I think there’s some big head that enjoys being the center of attention,” said Bandura.

“That’s Flói, he enjoys nothing more than attention for his so called heroism,” rumbled Dwalin. Indeed there was the blond haired Dwarf signing, what looked like books. No doubt that they told tales of his heroism.

“He’s so handsome,” sighed Bandura, causing Víli to splutter in annoyance, “I doubt that those so called heroic tales are even real,” he said with a huff, causing his kin to look at him in surprise. “What? Our parents fought a dragon and in the Battle of the Five Armies, yet you don’t see them boasting about it.”

Flói raised his head from where he was signing a book of one of his new found admirers and his eyes caught Borin’s emerald ones. The Dwarfed gaped at him, then he gave him an arrogant smirk and said, “Well, well, well, if it isn’t Borin Baggins.” The Dwarrow surged forward, griped his arm and pulled him towards him, causing Dwalin to grip his axe and growl in frustration. “Come Borin, let this good sir paint our portrait together and I’ll have it signed for you,” grinned the pompous Dwarf.

“That won’t be necessary,” said Dwalin, as he pushed Borin behind him, “we’re on a tight schedule and we don’t want to keep King Bard waiting.” The Dwarf pushed his charges in front of him, along with Bandura and Bothur, whom Dwalin offered that they accompany them and then return to the mountain with them.

The youngsters made their way out of the crowd of people only to be met by the unpleasant sight of Dralgur. “Haven’t you got enough fame yet Baggins,” sneered Dralgur.

“Leave him alone,” snapped Darelle, glaring at the Dwarf. She was not one who usually spoke out of turn, being the youngest she always preferred to have others speak for her.

“Would you look at that Baggins, you just got an admirer,” laughed Dralgur. He was cut short when an older Dwarf approached them. He looked as though was an older version of Dralgur.

“Now, now Dralgur play nicely,” the Dwarrow’s cold grey eyes settled on Borin, “Master Baggins, I do not believe that we have properly met.” Anur extended his hand; as if he was offering to shake Borin’s but instead touched Borin’s shoulder and traced his scar. Borin withdrew at his touch as though he was burnt.

“Ah, forgive me but your scar is a legend, as is the warrior that gave it to you.”

Borin glared at Anur and said, “Sauron killed my parents. He was no warrior; he had no honour and was nothing more than a common murderer.”

The silver haired Dwarrow narrowed his grey eyes.

“You’re very brave to speak his name, or very foolish.”

Dwalin finally approached them after managing to escape the crowd that surrounded Flói. His scowl deepened further when he saw Anur and his brat talking to his young charges. The captain of the guard placed his arm tightly around Borin. Gruffly he stated that they must be on their way, while Anur should probably return to Erebor since he may be at risk of missing out on the next council meeting.

 

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Bard welcomed them with open arms. He embraced his grandchildren tightly and admonished them that he does not see them often enough. It was refreshing to be away from Erebor. Borin was half hobbit he enjoyed the outside air more than the others. Managing to steal a mug of ale, Borin sat quietly drinking, ensuring that he would not attract Dwalin’s attention, who would not be pleased to see him drinking. He watched as his friends danced with some of the members of King Bard’s court, who held a feast in honour of the alliance between Erebor and Dale.

Dwalin made himself scarce and gave the youngsters some space, knowing well that their main reason for leaving Erebor’s walls. He wondered how Thorin was dealing with the members of the council. He knew that his King could barely stomach the mere presence of those power hungry Dwarrow. But he could not replace them, as much as he wanted to, otherwise he would have to fight off a revolt, if he replaced them with ‘peasants’.

“I’ve heard about what happened inside the mountain,” said Bard, disrupting Dwalin from his train of thoughts. The Dwarf grunted and took another swallow of ale. He knew that Bard could be very reasonable but he would not take it well if his daughter and her children were put in danger.

“It’s nothing. I have my best guard guarding the royal quarters. Your kin are quite safe.”

“I don’t doubt your abilities Master Dwarf. I just worry about my grandchildren’s ability to stay away from trouble.”

The Dwarf snorted at that. He knew very well they attracted trouble especially Borin. For someone who claimed that loved a quiet life he really found himself in one tight spot after another ever since he arrived in Erebor.

“You can rest assured that the King has the safety of his kin as his top most priority,” said Dwalin, as he shifted his stance. Bard nodded in assurance. He did not see his daughter as much as he wanted to. This was not what he had wanted from her. He would have rather had her marry some noble lord from Dale and live close to him. But he could not stop her from falling in love with that Dwarf Prince. His gaze strayed toward where Borin was, his youngest granddaughter was trying to pull him away from his quiet corner. He could not help but laugh when he saw her bright red face, but her lips turned in a determined frown.

“He looks very much like his father, doesn’t he?” said Bard as he gestured towards Borin.

Dwalin felt his throat tighten, he never thought about Bilbo Baggins. Not because he never cared, but he had failed that Hobbit. He did not protect him from Thorin when he was so caught up in his madness. But he did not. He just stood there and watched. When they received news of Bilbo’s passing, he wanted to march out and kill every orc that he could lay his hands on. Instead he had to make sure that that his boy avoids danger, not that he was making it easy for them.

“Borin is not his father. Though they both seem to like getting into trouble,” he replied.

And neither is he bound to his father’s fate, he added mentally.

 

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It was a quiet party that made its way to Erebor. Thorin and Dís were waiting for them at the gates. Even though they knew that there was no real danger and that Thorin was just acting his normal paranoid self, they could not help but worry. Another burnt body was found and the King was hoping that the last time that he saw such a sight was the desolation of Smaug.

Sigrid was suggested that the children live with her father for some time. However Thorin refused such a thing, saying that it would only show weakness. Thorin simply increased the number of guards that patrolled the grounds and ordered his spymaster to report to him if any disturbances occurred.

The Durins and Borin waved farewell at Bandura and Bothur as they went to join their father in the kitchens, while they made their way into the royal quarters. Entering his chambers Borin removed his sword that was strapped on to his hip. He carried it with him everywhere these days especially whit what happened. He felt responsible for his friends after all they were of royal blood, who knew how many attempts on their lives could be made. He had to protect them. After everything that they had done for him this is the least that he could do after everything that that they done for him.

Knowing fully well that Salabel was expecting them early, for a whole lesson of Sindarin, Borin thought that it was better to get an early night. Borin removed the ring from around his neck, for some reason it was getting heavier. He placed it on his bed-side table and an unreasonable sense of relief washed over him. He felt lighter and less burdened. He must be tired and is letting his imagination run wild with him.

Even though he was completely exhausted he could not rest, which was why he was late and failed to attend breakfast. He did not know how much training he could take that day, perhaps Dwalin would go easy on him. He could help but snort at that thought, Dwalin liked nothing more than drilling them with training, which was why he ended up bruised almost every day. Entering the room, he sighed with relief when he saw that Salabel was not already there.

“Borin, there you are,” said Frerin as he waved at him. He was too cheerful for a morning Sinderin lesson, but then again his mother was an Elf so it was not as hard for him.

“Darelle went to search for you, but it’s not a problem, she’ll join us soon,” said Vanya.

Borin opened his mouth to apologise for making them worry, but they waved him away. He forgot that he recklessly left the ring there, unguarded and unprotected.

 

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Darelle knocked on Borin’s chambers. He was running late for Salabel’s lesson and knowing that that Elf had it in for him, she did not want him to get in unnecessary trouble. He also missed breakfast and that was so unlike him that she could not help but worry. She seemed to act such a fool in front of Borin. She could not help but hope that one day he would view her as more than just a sister.

“Borin?” she asked, when no one answered her knocking.

She opened the door and did not see him there. Perhaps he had already left. Something caught her eye; she approached what looked like a simple, plain golden ring. This was nothing like the rings her mother wore. she heard whispers coming from the ring as though calling to her.

“Darelle I can give what your heart desires and power above all else.”

Being the youngest she was so easily over looked. There was no way that Borin would ever opt for someone like her. She griped the ring and traced it with her fingers. A possessive, greedy feeling seemed to have settled within her. This ring was so beautiful and it was hers now. She put it on her finger and the world seemed to have gone grey and hazy, removing it she attached it to her necklace and ensured that it was hidden from sight underneath her clothes.

Quietly she slipped away from Borin’s room and made her way to her Sindarin lesson.

Borin had no use for such a ring. It should be hers; she is after all a daughter of Kings while he never really cared about such trinkets.

This was her precious and hers alone.

Chapter Text

Chapter 16: The Voice

“Unbelievable! Did you know that Flói fought a warg by his own bare hands,” gapped Vanya. Her brother looked at her as though she was insane, “You don’t actually believe what he writes, do you?”

Vanya’s sudden obsession with Flói was amusing to her kin. Borin saw him only as a fraud. He did not believe a word that he written in his own books. His boasts could be heard echoing throughout the higher levels of Erebor. Much to Dwalin’s frustration he joined the royal guard. The captain of the guard had no patience for Flói and was driving the King mad with his complaints against this Dwarf.

Darelle seemed much more withdrawn. They knew that the deaths that have occurred recently shocked her, she was the youngest and the most sensitive of them all. But she became so pale and she was so quick to anger. Her brother brushed it off as stress. Salabel was working them harder than ever.

Two more disappearances had occurred in the past months. The constant worry seemed to be etched on Thorin’s face. Borin wanted to scream in frustration, he thought that after they went through, they would finally have some peace and quiet. What was this beast that the message spoke of? Out of all of the Dwarrow in all of Erebor there was only one who know about such things.

During his history lesson, Borin decided to try his luck and ask Balin, the King’s advisor.

“Master Balin” questioned Borin, hesitantly. The aged Dwarf looked at him and nodded his head to acknowledge him. “Can you tell us about the beast that the message spoke of, so long ago?”

Balin froze. He was not expecting that question. But Borin was too curious for his own good and he knew that unless he told him something he would go and look for information.

“You all know about our adventure to retake Erebor,” he sighed. Of course they knew. It was what made the company of Thorin Oakenshield legendary. It was also why Borin’s father was so famous here. The King mentioned more than once that he owned his kingdom to his father.

“Here we faced the dragon Smaug and Bard put an end to that filth. After the Battle of the Five Armies our people could finally return home, after years of exile. But not everyone believed the mountain to be safe, before Azog died at Thorin’s hands, he said that Erebor will never know peace. Some Dwarrow refused to ever return because of this saying that the mountain is cursed, unfortunately we could not keep what was said a secret.” The aged Dwarf rubbed his face in frustration, he never believed such nonsense, Smaug was dead. “Of course not everyone believed these rumors and lies.”

“So none of this is true?” questioned Borin.

“None of it,” replied Balin firmly, “and I don’t want any of you to worry of actually go in search on who is responsible for these recent incidents.”

Borin wanted to protest and question further but before he could Frerin pinched him gently and gestured towards Balin’s facade. He then realised that Balin was frustrated and looked like he really wanted to put an end to this discussion. He knew that he should not anger the aged Dwarf, so it would be better to let go of this conversation. At least for now.

 

******************************

 

“So you really think that, the mountain may be cursed?” questioned Frerin, biting his lip anxiously.

“Of course not,” scoffed Víli. “You heard what Balin said, it’s just rumours. People invent almost anything to try and weaken Erebor.”

Borin could not say anything, he knew that Víli would not accept the truth. They were walking down a corridor, on their way back to the royal quarters. When Borin came to a sudden halt.

“Borin what is it?” said Víli, looking at him with brotherly concern.

Rip, tear,” came a hissing voice.

Borin shook his head, trying to clear his though. Maybe he was imagining. It would not be the first time. But then the hissing voice came again.

“Did you hear that?” gasped Borin. His friends looked alarmed.

“Hear what?” said Vanya, rubbing her auburn hair in confusion. Borin took off in a run.

“Borin,” snapped Frerin, “not again.”

Borin ran to where he thought that the voices were coming from. He arrived at a large empty chamber. The voices had stopped. He looked around him in confusion. Seriously? An empty chamber?

His friends entered the room soon after, gasping out of breath.

“Why are we here?”

“They stopped,” muttered Borin.

“What stopped?” said Vanya in exasperation.

“You’re telling me that you did not hear those voices?”

“No and the only place that these voices have led us is to where the treasury once was.”

The treasury was here?

“My father once stood here,” whispered Borin. He touched the wall reverently.

His friends were quiet behind him. They knew that he rarely spoke about his parents. One of the reason was because he never knew them and the only thing that he knew about them was what he has been told. Borin had a different kind of strength than that of a warrior. They did not know what it was like, growing up without parents. They could see the way the Dwobbit basked in the attention given to him by their family and friends. This was perhaps the first time where he showed any emotion over the memory of his father.

Borin looked round the empty chamber but there was nothing out of ordinary, which was strange considering that he heard that sinister voice. But it could be that he was imagining it. After all the others would have heard something if there was something out of the ordinary. He rubbed his forehead wearily, took one last glance at the chamber and turned to leave. Perhaps all of this worry was finally getting to him.

 

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Combat practice was perhaps the only lesson that the Durins preferred, Borin could spend every moment studying about history instead. But everyone insisted to have him train. One of the reasons why Borin didn’t like practice was because he couldn’t stand Dralgur’s boasting about his skill with a sword. The frustrating part was that he was actually good with a blade as for Borin he was still getting the hang of it yet. He could hear him boasting to his friends from the other side of the court yard.

“Look at him, the idiot,” muttered Frerin, rolling his eyes.

No matter how much his friends insisted that Dralgur as just a show off, Borin was aware of the truth. There was denying his prowess and his strength. Even Víli ended up bruised when he went against him. Before Borin could dwell anymore on it, Dralgur’s arrogant voice called out, “Lord Dwalin, can I practice with Master Baggins,” as he shot him a smirk.

The balding Dwarf narrowed his eyes, “I don’t think that....”

“Actually, I accept his challenge Master Dwalin,” said Borin in determination. He ignored the concerned looks that his friends were shooting him. Even Dwalin had his brows furrowed.

“Very well then, good luck laddie.” Borin grasped his wooden sword and remembered what Dwalin taught him. He let Dralgur make his first move and blocked his blow. After that it was all a dance of blocks and parries. Borin’s arms were growing tired and he was turning red under the strain yet Dralgur did not look as though he was breaking a sweat. Borin knew that he was severely outmatched when it came to size, but he had the advantage of speed. He twisted round and let him go past him. Instead of focus on his offence he made sure to avoid his blows and attempted to tire him out instead. He didn’t know how much time had passed, he was only aware of his friends cheering for him. Then he finally saw his opening, he ducked and thrust his sword forward, causing him to grunt as it hit his abdomen. The Dwobbit was out of breath but he managed to turn around when he heard the sound of clapping. Dwalin was looking at him with a wide smile and pride was etched all over his features.

“He cheated,” roared Dralgur, his face red, whether with anger or embarrassment Borin could not say.

“He did not,” said Dwalin, rolling his eyes fully accustomed to the younger Dwarf’s melodramatics.

Dralgur sneered at him and swung his sword toward Borin, causing the Dwobbit to duck and parry the blow. Borin pushed himself forward, causing Dralgur to actually stumble and snapped, “geav kurrauz baukavard.”

There was a stunned silence.

Dwalin, looked slightly pale and then said, “Víli take your cousins and Borin to your rooms. I need to have a talk with this one here.”

The eldest Durin nodded and grabbed Borin’s arms to drag him away.

“Why didn’t you tell us that you could speak black speech,” gaped Vanya, once they were out of the training grounds.

“What?” questioned Borin, looking confused.

“You spoke the language of the Orcs,” said Darelle.

“I did not.”

“Yes you did. Borin Black Speech was invented by Morgorth himself. It is the language that Sauron himself and his Orcs use. That language wasn’t heard in Erebor since Smaug himself,” explained Víli.

Borin did not know what to say. He though that he was talking common tongue, but his voice sounded harsher and different. What was happening to him?

 

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Thorin rubbed his eyes wearily.

“You were sure that it was Black Speech?” questioned the King.

Dwalin rolled his eyes, “don’t you think that I have been around Orcs long enough to know what their language sounds like?”

The Dwarf lord’s gaze hardened and said, “Ask Balin to send a letter to Gandalf. He may give us a reason behind this new development.”

“I will my Lord.” Thorin did not know what to think. He did not want that foul language anywhere near his kingdom. But what if something happened to Borin all those years ago? What if there was more to his scar than meets the eye?

Dwalin said that the boy looked shocked so he mustn’t have spoken such words intentionally. He only hoped that Gandalf would have some answers. The wizard has not showed his face in Ereor in quite some time, he only hoped that the Ravens would be able to find him.

It was late and tomorrow was going to be another day full of council meetings, yet Thorin couldn’t find it within himself to sleep. Instead he opened his drawers and pulled out a bag pack. It belonged to Bilbo, the Hobbit did not have the time to retrieve it before he threw him out of the mountain. He knew that all of the companions that journeyed to reclaim Erebor all of those years ago, missed their fourteenth companion. But he was the only one being weighed down by guilt. Bilbo reminded him of Frerin and his loss was like losing his brother twice.

He wondered what happened to that mithral shirt that he had once given him.

 

******************************

 

Borin preferred not to join his companions to dinner that night. He did not want to be treated any different or to be gawked at.

The only good thing that happened was when he saw Dralgur’s panicked expression. But none of his friends looked him in the eyes after that incident. He was glad that the day was finally over and really was not looked forward for the morrow, especially considering that Dwalin insisted that he spend the next day learning with Flói instead. He could only stomach so much time with that self important Dwarf. Borin wondered if Dwalin just thought that it was a suitable punishment for his words, but he knew that it was not true. Dwalin had told them that he had to attend the council meeting with his King and did not look pleased that he was to leave their training in Flói’s hands. Well only Vanya will probably be looking forward for tomorrow’s training session. She has not stopped gushing about him which was strange considering that she prided herself in being an independent woman.

He went to bed and closed his eyes sighing in relief. Then his eyes snapped back open when he heard a hissing noise.

“Rip. Tear”

He looked around wildly. Trying to see from where the noise was coming from but he saw nothing.

That raven was right.

Erebor was not safe anymore.

Chapter Text

Chapter 17: Dark Days Ahead

Borin was getting tired of all of the looks that he was getting. He was particularly annoyed of the people giving him fearful looks, as though they expected him to turn into and orc and attack them. His friends supported him and made sure that he didn’t walk the corridors or Erebor alone. Dralgur avoided him like a plague which was fine except he heard him talking against him with other Dwarrow. He so wanted to punch that smug look from his face, but he knew that he had to control his temper.

He focused his energy on training, Dwalin treated him the same, it was as though the last training session never happened. The only difference was that Dwalin was even harsher on him to make sure he improved. Sometimes Thorin would join them in the training field and no one dared approach him with the king there.

The noises that haunted him at night seemed to be growing stronger and he could not sleep properly. His friends were worried about him; he could see it in their eyes. another thing that was on his mind was his father’s ring. He could not find it anywhere. He did not know why but he felt that he was attached to that ring, it gave him a sense of comfort. He must have misplaced it but Erebor is huge, he would not be able to find it.

Swallowing back the sudden bile that rose to his throat he tried to shake off the disappointment that he felt and then he shook his head. It was not like him to obsess over a trinket. It was not him. Perhaps losing the ring was for the best. He did not like the person he was becoming, if this was the person the ring was turning him into.

 

******************************

 

The bell rang loudly in the middle of the night. Borin woke up with a jump and rushed to open the door. The royal family was there as well, some of them still rubbing sleep from their eyes.

“What’s going on?” asked Borin, as he approached Vanya and Frerin.

“I don’t know. Uncle Thorin is not here yet, perhaps he’ll be able to tell us more,” whispered Vanya.

No sooner did she finish speaking, the king himself walked in. His brows where furrowed and he looked pale. His eyes scanned the room and he took comfort from the fact that everyone of his family was there. His eyes lingered a bit longer on Borin making him feel slightly uncomfortable.

“There has been another attack,” sighed Thorin heavily.

Darelle let out a little sob and her mother put her arm around her to offer her a bit of comfort. However she shrugged her mother’s hand off and turned to leave muttering something about feeling tired and that all she wanted to do was go to sleep. Her brother watched her leave worried, it was not like her to just leave without bothering to find out about what was happening; she usually was so full of curiosity.

“Children,” said Thorin, who also looked on in concern at his younger niece’s departure and whose eyes were hard and had a deep blue colour that Borin had never seen before, “I want you all to promise me, that none of you will wonder the halls of Erebor without an adult, I mean it.”

“Yes uncle,” said Víli, looking far more serious than Borin ever saw him.

“Who was it this time, Thorin” said Dís as she placed her arms gently on her brother’s shoulders.

“One of the guards of the main gate. I’ll be talking to his kin on the morrow, they deserve to hear the news from me.”

As everyone was heading back to their respective room, Borin looked back and couldn’t help but notice how much Thorin had aged. A shadow caught his attention; he grabbed a torch on the wall and approached the room where he saw the shadow slip in, quietly. He looked behind him and checked that no one was following him. He pushed open the door and entered the room to find that there was no one there. He walked towards a winding staircase a leaned to see if there was anyone there and flicker of gold caught his eyes just as he was going to turn and leave.

He quietly made his way downstairs and there at the boom staircase was that plain golden ring that he has been missing for the past few weeks. But how did it get all the way down there, he never once came all the way down here. The ring looked the same as ever and just as enchanting. He slipped it back in his pocket and headed back to his room, it was late he should get to sleep and wonder about his ring on the morrow after some rest.

 

******************************

 

Flói's lessons were just as dreadful and as usual. Borin kept fingering his golden ring. He did not bother to find out if someone took it, he was just glad that it was in his possession again. He felt as though a pair of eyes were watching him. But when he looked up his friends were immersed trying to make sense of what the self absorbed Dwarf was saying.

“Borin,” said Bandura, after the lesson was finally over, “Uncle Bofur said that he wanted to talk to you. Something about a swimming lesson”

Borin laughed heartily. Bofur had been trying to get him to swim for years now but he always tried to make up some excuse to avoid doing so.

“I'll be right there, I'll just drop everything in my room first.”

He placed the ring in his drawer and strapped his sword around his hip, he learnt never to travel around Erebor unarmed and especially after one that he once considered a friend betrayed him.

Borin made his way out of the royal quarters and to the mines where he knew Bofur was working.

“Bofur,” shouted Borin as he stood next to the entrance of the mines, he and his friends weren't allowed in the mines, unless they were accompanied by an adult.

“Borin, there's my favourite Dwobbit,” grinned the hatted Dwarf as he winked at him, “there's my favourite Dwobbit.”

“I'm the only Dwobbit that you know,” he laughed.

“How have you been lad, haven't seen you for quite a while.”

Borin shrugged and reassured him that he was fine, “so wha did you want to see me for Bofur?”

The mustached Dwarf looked confused, “I thought that you just dropped by to see the mines or perhaps to to accept my offer to teach how to swim,” he grinned again.

“But Bandura said that you wanted to see me,” said Borin has he ruffled his head of curls.

Bofur did not have the chance to say anything else because at that moment he heard someone shouting his name. Then there were Vanya and Frerin running towards him.

“What is it? What's wrong?”

“We don't know who has done it but you better come and look.”

Borin offered his apologies to Bofur for cutting his talk with him short and ran back to his quarters with the rest of his friends, leaving a concerned Dwarf in his wake.

 

******************************

It was a mess.

His room was in shambles. Someone had managed to break into his room. But why? What did anyone want from his room?

“Someone must have managed to slip past the guards,” said Frerin, his brow furrowed, “did they managed to take anything Borin?”

The Dwobbit rummaged through the pieces of parchment on the floor and in the drawers and he realised what was missing, his ring was gone......again. He quenched down his anger and disappointment.

“Just a small trinket,” he said hoarsely. He gestured around him and said, “I better start cleaning up this place.”

Vanya looked around and her expression was one that her mother always wore when she was frustrated. “I still don't understand how an intruder would have managed to make his way here.

“There is only one conclusion that I can draw,” said Frerin, “it must have been someone from here, who lives or works here.”

“I highly doubt that it was one of you own kin Frerin,” sighed Borin wearily “and we can't just blame the servants.” Though he could not help but suspect Bandura, she was the one who told him that Bofur wanted to speak with him, when in fact it was not true and his distraction caused him to lose the ring again. But Borin could not of the quiet Dwarrowdam consorting with the enemy. He could not help but feel frustrated that he did not take his ring with him. But was done was done and him getting all worked up and angry with himself won't solve anything.

He failed to notice the concerned look that was exchanged between siblings. They were so going to tell their eldest cousin about what happened. They knew that Borin would not want Víli to know, he hated to burden others with his problems.

They both helped him clean up his room. They cleaned up the shattered glass, threw away the thorn up parchment and after some time the room was finally returning to its original state.

Borin's head was in turmoil, was someone after his ring?

Rip,” hissed a malicious voice. Borin looked around suddenly, started. His friends looked at him in concern.

Borin did not know if he was becoming mad. No one else seemed to be hearing anything, except for him. He did not want to tell anyone that he was hearing voices again. They were concerned enough as it is that Borin could speak Black Speech, the last thing that he wanted was a rumor spreading that he was hearing voices. He did not want to be subjected to a rumor that he was behind the attacks.

Thorin did not want him to get involved. He specifically warned them to stay away. But he couldn't. He did not want to. Knowing his friends they will try to convince him otherwise and try to tell him that the best thing to do will be to leave everything in the hands of the adults. But Dwarrow are not the only ones known to be hard headed. Then again his mother was a Dwarf.

Seeing that stubborn look in their friend's eyes they could not help but feel weary, they've seen it before and normally it ended up with them getting in trouble.

Before Borin could voice his thoughts however a guard barged in and he quickly scanned the room and then harshly said, “my lords, my lady, the King asked me to take you to the healing room. Prince Víli has been attacked.”

At those words they felt their stomach drop and they glanced at each other in horror.

It was a rushed and blurred trip to the healing room where Víli was. When theysaw him they could not help but feel relieved that he was at least conscious. His mother and father were sitting down next to him. When they saw them the smiled at them gently, kissed and embraced their son and left them to give them some privacy.

“How are you feeling Víli?” questioned Vanya, anxiously.

“Oín said that I only have a broken leg and some bruised ribs. So I should be up and about soon,” grinned the young Dwarrow weakly.

“Where's Darelle?” asked Borin.

“She was here but she's in her room now. I think she still shaken up about what's happening.”

“ Víli, do you remember what happened?” asked Borin, urgently.

“Honestly, I was just walking back from the training grounds and all I saw was a great big shadow then nothing. I think I was knocked out cold. The next thing I remember was waking up here.”

Borin's eyes hardened. It was one thing seeing innocent Dwarrow being killed but now having his friend hurt took everything to a whole new level.

“I'm going to try and find out who's responsible for all of these attacks,” he said finally.

“But Uncle Thorin said,” started Frerin.

“I know but we have to help as much as we can..”

“So from where do we start?” grinned Vanya excitedly, she was always the first one to volunteer to break the rules readily.

At that grinned widely, knowing his next words would cause the princess to shudder in fake horror, “that's easy, we head to the library.”

Chapter Text

Chapter 18: The Ravens of Ravenhill

“Remind me again why we have to make use of the library,” muttered Frerin.

“That's typically from where you get information, brother dear,” grinned Vanya.

They've been looking at books for the past 2 weeks. Víli had left the healing ward a few days ago and would have joined them but he was ordered on bed rest by his parents and so was not able to help them.

Borin opened another book depicting the Battle of the Five Armies. He flicked through and was about to throw it back in the shelf when a handwrittin note caught his attention.

“Look at this,” muttered Borin. Drawing the attention of his Dwarrow friends.

“Pipes?” questioned Vanya in confusion. “What does that mean?”

“The pipes underneath the mountain,” snorted Frerin.

Borin tried not to feel frustrated, they've been at this for weeks and they were getting nowhere. But why would they write the word pipes in a book about one of the most famous battles in the history of Erebor. The fact that Víli did not remember anything did not help either. Whatever was causing all of these incidents and death had to be quite good at sneaking on its victims without giving them a chance to realise what was happening.

“Though there was one thing that I've realised,” said Vanya, scratching her head, “I heard Uncle Thorin complain that he can't find any of the ravens and he was not able to send a message to lord Dain. Apparently they were all migrating to Ravenhill.”

“What?” gaped Borin, “then we have to follow them.”

The Durin siblings exchanged looks. “Borin, I don't think any of the adults will allow us to go there.”

Borin rolled his eyes, “we just won't tell them.” It was not the first time that they withheld some information, not that Borin did not feel guilty about lying. But he was tiered of being treated like a child.

“Go to Ravenhill? On our own?” asked Frerin his eyes wide.

“No Borin, that place is still haunted by Azog's ghost,” snapped Vanya.

“Look we all want to reach an end to this mystery and Ravenhill is where we may get some answers. We'll ask Víli to cover for us and we'll be back well before nightfall.”

The siblings sighed n exasperation knowing that Borin would be going even if they did not accompany and Borin could be even more reckless than the both of them combined if that was possible. Borin tried to stop himself from smirking. He realised that he won this argument. He

knew that his friends could be a little overprotective and he was grateful for their fretting and worrying, even though they could be a little over bearing, but he was so grateful for all of their help. He knew that real friends were hard to come by but the loyalty of Dwarrow knows no measure. Though Borin did hate dragging them into danger he knew that he could not do with without them and they did need answers, even though he knew that Thorin would probably be furious.

There was no way round it, on the morrow they had to head off to Ravenhill.

 

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It was harder said than done, to sneak out. It was even harder to convince Víli to cover for them. It took a lot of pleading and wide eyed stares to convince him otherwise. He wanted to come with them but apart from the fact that he was still limping, they needed an alibi and he had to take care of his sister who was still distraught after his incident.

They wore cloaks and hid their faces so that they won’t be recognised. This was not something unusual or was considered suspicious a lot of travellers wore travelling cloaks,

“I’ll distract the guards,” muttered Borin.

“And how are you suppose to do that?” snapped Vanya, “everyone is on high alert after what happened in recent days. There’s no way that we’ll be able to sneak past them.”

Borin tried, he really did try not to glare at her, he could not resist shooting her an annoyed look, “so we came all of this way for nothing?”

She looked a bit sheepish at this, “erm right. I might have forgotten about the guards.”

Frerin rolled his eyes at their antics and said, “did you all forget about the secret entrance, we can use that as an exit. The guards only guard it a night so we just have to get back before it falls dark”

Borin would have slammed his head against the wall if it would not have drawn attention to himself. Seriously what was it with Durins and not thinking everything through? Shouting them a dry look Borin asked Frerin to lead the way and just like he said there weren’t any guards.

They forced the door open and the cold air entered Borin’s nostrils. he was glad that he wore the fur coat that Dís had gifted him on his last birthday. Hurriedly they made their way down the hidden staircase and they saw Dale in the distance, everyone was getting ready preparing for the anniversary of the Battle of the Five Armies. The three Eastern kingdoms always gathered together to remember the fallen on that dreadful day. Erebor was no exception; though with everything that was going Thorin barely had time observe how the preparations were going.

The road to Rvenhill was tiring, Borin wished that they had borrowed a mountain ram, though he still did not figure out how to ride one of them. The only time that he tried to ride one, he ended up on his back unable and could not move for a week with his back completely bruised, though he would not have minded riding one now since the distance was quite long.

The place was eerily quiet. As though no one ever ventured there in years. Thorin told them what happened there all of those years ago. The ice that cracked when Thorin forced his sword in the white Orc was still there, as was the remains of the bridge where Legolas defeated Bolg. Borin tried to suppress a shudder, he felt guilty bringing his friends to the place where their father, uncle and great uncle almost died. They hear croak from above them and looked up to see a large number of raven flying over their heads.

“What are two young members of the Durin line here,” said a croaky voice. There over their heads was the oldest Raven Borin had ever seen. He tried not to feel annoyed at being over looked, considering that he was not a noble but really he was standing right here, this Raven could at least acknowledge him.

“Oh wow, that’s Roäc,” whispered Frerin, “he’s the leader of the Ravens.”

Borin stepped forward and the Raven’s eyes focused on him, “welcome Borin son of Bilbo.”

“How do you know who I am?”

“Everyone knows how you stopped the Dark Lord as an infant,” said the Raven, “He was the greatest warrior of our time”.

“Sauron killed my parents, he was nothing more than a common murderer,” said Borin, coldly.

“You must be brave to speak his name or very foolish. What brings you here? I thought you were wise enough not to venture to this hill.” Borin’s eyes scanned the surroundings, remembering Dwalin’s lessons.

“Why did you leave Erebor?” The Ravens perched next to Roäc fluttered their wings nervously, “we did not want to be close to the beast,” croaked the Raven, “that fool of an adviser refused to listen to us. Children’s story he said,” he spat.

Borin narrowed his eyes at his words. He did not like the way he was talking about Balin, he was fond of the aged Dwarf and could not help but bristle in anger at his words and looking at his friends he realised that they felt the same way.

“What beast?”

“One that all fear, a being of fire that strikes fear in the hearts of all who see it.”

A dragon......the dragon from the story that Balin told them.....but it was not possible.

“Smaug was killed he was shot dead by King Bard,” denied Borin, ignoring the gasps next to him.

“So you think that his reign is over? There is a dragon within Erebor. The crown prince should be grateful that his son was not burnt alive.”

“So you abandoned the people of Erebor just to save yourself?” snapped Frerin.

“The people of Erebor are not my concern. My aim is to keep the raven safe.”

Borin felt anger well up within him and the fire burning in Frerin’s and Vanya’s eyes showed that they felt the same. He wanted to say something else, anything to make this pompous Raven realise how selfish he was being, he felt Vanya tugging on his shirt. the dragon must be travelling through the pipes, that's how the beast was travelling through the mountain, that's how it was passing unseen. 

“Borin the sun is setting we start thinking about heading back.”

“Yesss run back to your mountain, try and avoid the dark and the lower levels of the mountain at least it’s not the better half that is at risk the most.”

The Durins and Borin glared harshly at the Raven and turned to leave Ravenhill. Borin heard Vanya mutter coward under her breath. At least the Raven did not hear her. So it was a dragon? But hw come they never noticed until then? They had to hurry back to Erebor and tell Thorin what they found, he was going to be furious but hopefully he would believe them.

 

******************************

 

They managed to sneak back in from where they came; the guards were not there yet. Quickly they made their way back to the royal quarters. They realised that something was wrong before they pushed open the door.

Sigrid was embracing her son and she was sobbing harshly in his hair, while Víli was clutching his mother tightly. Fíli stood next to his wife and son looking incredibly pale and clutching a letter tightly. The King, his sister, younger nephew and niece in law were also there.

When they saw them Tauriel let out a gasp and embraced her children tightly, “where have you been?” she questioned hoarsely.

“Naneth? What happened?” asked Vanya, looking in concern.

For a moment there was silence, broken only by the noise of Sigrid’s sobs. Thorin looked grieved and gave a look that shook Borin to the core, he was not used to seeing the king like that.

“He has my sister,” said Víli wretchedly.

“What?” Frerin went pale like his cousin, while Vanya let out a broken cry.

Fíli handed them the piece of paper and there written in blood was, “her skeleton will lie in the bottom of the mountain forever.”

Borin felt his ears ringing, they were too l ate. If they gotten here sooner they might have reached her in time.

Thorin called one of the guards and ordered them to get Dwalin, his eyes hardened he was not going to lose his youngest niece without a fight either.

Borin did not know, he exchanged a look with his friends, he wasn’t going to stand down and do nothing, they were going to search for Flói and they were going to drag him to help them find the youngest Durin, for all of his talk about bravery surely he would be brave enough to face a slug. Smaug occupied the whole mountain so this dragon must be smaller. If the former company of Thorin Oakenshield were brave enough to face a huge beast, they will be brave enough to vanquish this beast.

Chapter Text

Chapter 19: Secrets of the Mountain 

The mountain was being torn apart as the guards searched for the missing princess. Borin watched as grief weighed heavily on the royal family. Thorin worked relentlessly to try and find the one who was responsible before it was too late. Sitting quietly and doing nothing was not in his nature and seeing his friends bashing their opponents in the training grounds was not helping either.

“Where are we going Borin?” questioned Frerin, he had managed to convince them to join in the search. They did not need much convincing, their decision to do nothing was renounced the moment their family was targeted, the moment one of their own was at risk of losing her life.

“To seek the help of one who is used to facing dangers or so he says. Now we shall see what the words are worth.”

They burst into Flói’s quarters....only to find him packing.

“What are you doing?” questioned Vanya a dangerous edge in her tone; she was the one who always praised him but now her youngest cousin was missing and she came to find him cowering in his room.

“W-w-w-elll, I’m.....I’m leaving on a trip,” stuttered the Dwarf.

Borin felt anger blind him and before he knew what he was doing he drew his sword. Apparently he was not the only ones as he heard weapons being unsheathed.

“What about those legends about you. All of those stories.”

“Stories m-m-might have been exaggerated.”

“What about my sister,” cut in Víli, his eyes conveying the pain that he was feeling.

“Yes....that was rather unfortunate.”

Borin could not take it anymore; he rushed forward and before anyone could react placed his sword underneath the craven’s chin, his friends rallying behind him. “I don’t want to hear your excuses,” he snarled, "you’re coming with us.” His tone brooked no argument and his eyes were as sharp as steel.

 

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Borin lead them to the deep mines, the great raven had said that the beast dwelled deep within the mountain and the mines where the ones deep enough to hide a beast.

They approached one of the mines that had been abandoned for years. They had been told that it was highly unstable and even years since the mountain has been retaken they still have not opened it and it might have been used to hide a greater evil.

“Well nothing here except an old, abandoned mine,” said Flói with false cheer, “so we may need to turn around.”

Borin’s sword prevented him from backing away, “not so fast. You’re going in there first.”

“Are you mad? The floor can collapse; we could be trapped or lost and never found again.”

“Then it’s a good thing that you Dwarrow have stone sense. Now get in there,” he sneered.

The pompous Dwarf had no choice but to move ahead in the darkness of the mine. The others followed close to each other. A part of Borin was remorseful that he did not tell Thorin about their discovery. But how was he supposed to tell him about their trip to Ravenhill? No, their best option was to handle this on their own.

A sudden cracking noise made them all freeze in shock. Then the ground that they were standing gave way and then they were falling. Their surprised screams echoed around and finally, after what felt like mere minutes, they slammed onto the ground. Borin groaned in pain and rubbed his head that was pounding.

“Is everyone fine?” he said coughing as the dust entered his nostrils.

The mumbled replies that he received reassured him that they all survived the fall, which made him sigh in relief.

“I don’t think that Flói is moving,” said Vanya, her brow creased in concern.

Borin approached him and was about to touch his shoulder when the sharp edge of an axe.

“Flói, think about what you are doing,” snarled Víli.

“The whole world will soon know the story that happened here,” grinned the Dwarf, his eyes glinting in insanity, “how I came too late to rescue the girl, how you all tragically lost your lives. I would not worry your end will come quickly.”

Before the Dwarf could sprinkle the ground with his blood, the ground trembled again and they lost their balance and some rocks overhead fell from above them, separating him from the rest.

“Borin! Borin!”

He heard his friends calling his name repeatedly.

“I’m alright. How is everyone else over there?” he shouted back. "We’re all fine, some boulders knocked Flói unconscious though,” came the muffled voice of Frerin.

Borin peeked behind him, the route looked even darker. Swallowing back his nervousness Borin licked his dry lips and tried to quell down his fear.

“Go and get help, I’m going ahead to try and find Darelle.”

A pregnant silence followed. Then it was broken by Víli’s strangled voice, “Borin, just be careful and hand in there, we’ll be back soon with Uncle Thorin.”

Borin turned round and walked cautious along the single path in the mine. His eyesight was not as good as that of a Dwarf but he was grateful for his mother’s blood that made his eyes adjust to the dim lighting much more quickly than any other of his kin would have.

Borin grabbed his sword tightly, his knuckles turning white. He cautiously approached the end of the tunnel and came at halt at the entrance of a chamber. There, lying pale and motionless was Darelle.

Borin broke into a run run and crashed onto the ground next her. For a moment he feared that he was too late for when he touched her she was as cold as ice.

“Darelle,” he muttered, “don’t be dead, please don’t be dead.”

But she did not answer to his touch. A hissing sound made him turn round his sword raised ready to strike whoever dared approach them.

“She won’t wake,” hissed a voice, the same voice that he had been hearing for the past months. There approaching them was a dragon. It was not the same as in the stories, he expected to be much bigger but Borin knew better than to underestimate it.

“Revenge is sweet, I always wanted to make line of Durin suffer for what they did to my father.”

“Your father?” questioned Borin, a horrible feeling creeping down his spine.

“The true King Under the Mountain, Smaug.”

“But why strike now, after all of these years?”

“I was planning my revenge for years, killing some lowly Dwarf here and there that always went unnoticed. But no I realised now was the time to strike, you caused quite a stir within the mountain and I realised that you were Bilbo Baggins’ child the one who stepped between my father and ultimate destruction. Now is the time for me to take back my father’s throne.”

Borin’s head felt as though his head was spinning.

“No one ever mentioned you. You weren’t there when Erebor was reclaimed.”

The young dragon smirked in a serpentine manner, “my father hid me in this mine before he flew to his death. But that is all in the past, you’ll join you filthy parents too.”

“Not if I have anything to do with it.”

And with a battle cry Borin charged towards the dragon.

 

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Thorin was running, he would have called it walking at a brisk pace if the matter was not urgent. When his nephews and niece told him what happened, he would have screamed in frustration, if there weren’t any lords and soldiers next to him.

The fear that he felt at that time almost made him freeze. His mind blanked out and for once he was grateful for his Kingly face as his sister put it. He and his company rushed out of the room with their weapons strapped across their chests and hurried to the mine that his kin described. He forbade them from following and ordered them to stay put.

He had mixed feeling on one hand he was furious at their disobedience but on the other hand he was so proud at their loyalty towards each other. But why did they have to put themselves at risk all the time?

They finally made it to the mine and Thorin leaned over and saw where they managed to fall. How they managed to get back up again, he had no idea, it was just so deep.

“Perhaps you should stay here,” said Dwalin, his brow furrowed in concern.

The king shot him an annoyed look, as though he was going to stay here like some sort of coward.

Taking in a deep breath he began to go down slowly, praying to Mahal that he was not too late.

 

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Borin was getting tired he was dodging every attack and yet did not seem to get close enough to land an attack of his own. He had to draw him away from Darelle. Thankfully the dragon was not old enough to breathe fire. He was slammed on the ground again and he was feeling exhausted. He crawled next to his unconscious friend hoping to hold him off long enough until Thorin came.

“Ready to surrender Baggins?”

“Never,” he snarled, “not to you.”

He struggled to stand up and his hand brushed against something cold. It was the ring; it really had a habit of appearing whenever he needed it to.

“Though I’m surprised that you are trying to save this girl, she is after all responsible for all of the attacks.”

“You liar,” he hissed, “she wouldn’t, she couldn’t.”

“Yes she was the one who wrote the messages on the walls, the one who lured unsuspecting guards to their death.”

Borin did not want to believe him, why would she do something like this. Darelle was so sensitive, so kind, she would not wish to harm anyone.

“I told her to, I corrupted her mind, the greed that runs through her because of her Dwarrow blood made it so much simpler.”

Borin clutched his newly found ring tighter and glared at him with contempt. He had a weapon of his own and he could use it to his own advantage. Without thinking he wore the ring and the world immediately went hazy. The dragon’s eyes widened in surprise working to his advantage.

Approaching him, Borin struck down hard and stabbed him. The dragon roared in pain and Borin dodged again. He thrust forward and his sword went through it mouth but he did not notice the dragon’s tail approaching him rapidly. All he felt was a sudden pain at his side causing him to gasp in pain. The dragon’s tail had spikes and looking down he saw that one of them was stuck at his side.

He ripped out the ring from his finger as the pain intensified. The dragon was not moving and he let go of his sword. He collapsed next to Darelle and touched her gently and she finally stirred at his touch.

Blinking her eyes open, they first conveyed fear, then relief when she saw who it was, then shock.

“Borin,” she gasped, as she clutched him tightly.

“Go through there,” he gestured weakly behind him, “They’ll come for you.”

Darkness was approaching; he was losing a lot of blood. Darelle’s eyes were shining with unshed tears and she shook her head in denial.

That was the last thing he saw before he collapsed losing sight of everything. His last thought was that she was safe and alive.

Then he let go.

Chapter Text

Chapter 20: The Recovery

A bright light caused him to wince as he blinked his eyes open. Finally his eye sight adjusted to his surroundings. He looked around in surprise; he was not deep within the mountain. How did he end up here? He touched his side and there was no blood. He was dressed in white and when he lifted his shirt he saw that there was no wound.

“Borin,” said a gentle voice from behind him.

There standing behind him were a man and a woman. The Hobbit male looked exactly like him but with warm hazel eyes. The Dwarrowdam was very beautiful, she had auburn hair and her emerald eyes were just like his.

“Mum?” he whispered, “dad?”

They smiled at him gently with affection.

“Oh my darling boy, I wanted to see you for such a long time,” said his mother, her eyes shining with unshed tears.

“I’m dead,” whispered Borin.

“No you aren’t,” said his father, “but you are somewhere in between.”

Borin looked around at the open planes. It was so quiet, so peaceful.

“We are so proud of you, Borin,” said his father, smiling so widely and looking as though he was memorising each and every aspect of Borin’s face.

Borin felt his heart sore at his father’s words, so this is what his friends felt when they were praised by their parents. He grinned widely at his parents and extended his hand eager to touch them and feel them; however his hand went straight through them.

“What?” gaped Borin. “You are not dead sweetheart, you can’t touch us we are just a fragment of your imagination” said his mother.

The Dwobbit remembered his father’s earlier words, “what did you mean by not dead, this isn’t Erebor and death is the only other explanation?”

“Yavanna no of course it is not Erebor,” grinned Bilbo, “at least I’m pretty sure it isn’t I don’t remember it like this.”

“It’s your choice dear heart, you can come with us or you can return to your family.”

“You are my family,” he said hoarsely, tears going down his cheeks.

“Family can be either of blood or of choice. It’s time for you to wake up my son, your time did not come yet,” said Bilbo.

Borin felt as though he was being torn in two, these were his parents. They willingly gave up their lives for him. but they were right, he could not leave his new found family behind. He had to make sure that Darelle was fine and perhaps......endure a scolding from Thorin for his blatant disobedience. He nodded his head and turned his back on them ready to return.

“Oh and Borin,” said his father, his voice distant, “tell Thorin thank you for everything and that we parted as friends.”

 

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Thorin was quietly watching Borin breathing as he wiped sweat from his brow. Oin told him that he could look after him himself but the King refused to leave his side. His mind wondered back to the horror that he felt when he saw his youngest niece screaming as she clutched the Dwobbit close to her chest and there was so much blood. Finding his niece safe and not mortally wounded ought to have been a cause for celebration but it was not so. Borin’s state was critical and his wound got infected. Darelle was traumatized and he could hear her screaming in the middle of the night.

Oin was positive and said that his fever went down. But seeing him so still so pale, Thorin could not help but fear the worst. He could not believe that that worm had a child. A ghost sent to haunt them all nd it was only Borin’s bravery that finally rid them all from that reptile’s presence. Thorin thanked Mahal that at least the dragon did not breathe fire otherwise he would have lost all of them, the thought sending spikes of fears in his heart.

“Thorin?”

The King was interrupted from his thoughts and he looked round to see his adviser approaching him. He looked exhausted, days looking for the lost princess and even before that, trying to find the cause behind all of the mysterious deaths.

“The council are asking about you. They said that you have more important things to deal with,” his face twisted in distaste.

“The council can wait,” he said, his eyes hardening, “I’ll stay here until Borin gains consciousness.”

Balin studied him carefully, “you haven’t failed Bilbo Thorin, you love this boy as though he is one of your own.”

The King did not even bother to answer him. What happened before the Battle of the Five Armies still haunted him. The greed that drove him mad drove them all mad but him more than the rest. His crown was made of silver since he could not stomach the sight of gold.

He had his head in his hands, but a soft rustling made him look up in surprise. Borin’s face was furrowed and he was moving his hands. Relief and apprehension threatened to tear him in two. He leaned forward and gently passed his hand through his hair in a soothing manner.

“Borin,” he murmured, “can you hear me mizim?”

He was never very affectionate not even with his nephews’ children, but the events of the previous weeks changed all of that.

Borin’s eyes were scrunched shut and then achingly slowly he blinked them open. Beautiful emerald eyes were gazing wearily up at him. Hoarsely he called out for Oin.

“Borin? Can you hear me?” he repeated.

Oin came bustling in before he finished speaking, while Borin nodded his head weakly and started coughing harshly.

Thorin lifted him up gently while Oin pressed a glass of water to his lips. The Dwobbit drank greedily and when he was finished he leaned backwards and sighed in relief.

“What happened?” he questioned, his voice broke, when did talking tire him out so quickly?

“You were wounded, and you have a fever which is why you are probably feeling so confused,” said Oin, “though your fever seemed to have went down a bit.”

Borin hissed as his hands automatically went to his side. Oin eyed him in concern and turned to leave muttering about getting him something to dull the pain.

Borin was looking at him wearily as though he was expecting him to blow up at him. Wanting to put his mind at ease, he walked up to him and embraced him gently making sure not to press on his wound. He felt him stiffen and then he finally relaxed in his arms and Throin felt at ease knowing that they were going to eventually move on from this awful venture.

“Thorin, I’m so sorry that I did not tell you about what we’ve up to, I only wanted to help.”

Thorin chuckled and with a smile on his face he said, “you know Borin, sometimes you remind me a bit too much of your father. He also had this frustrating ability of thinking about others before himself.”

Borin hesitated before saying, “I saw my parents,” causing the son of Thrain to freeze. “My father said that he wanted to thank you and that he parted from you as friends.”

Thorin expected such words to grieve him even more but instead he felt them alleviate his guilt and he felt less burdened. He had no words to say, Borin’s words reminded him of how close Borin was to death but Bilbo did not hate him. Though thinking about it, Bilbo was incapable of hatred. But at least his path of redemption was not in vain, at least in spite of everything Bilbo still considered him a friend, a bittersweet feeling settled within him knowing that he had the time to make amends but he had long lost his chance.

Oin came in and made him drink some of his foul concoctions and everything immediately started going hazy. Thorin watched him drift off to sleep and with a sigh he got up and with a smile he went to inform his family that the Dwobbit had just woken up.

 

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The next time that Borin woke up he saw that there were the crown prince and his wife sitting at his bed side. They were quietly talking to each other, but their whispers came to a halt when they heard him move in bed.

The golden haired prince smiled at him widely and like his uncle embraced him gently, “I want to thank you in person Borin Baggins. You saved our daughter’s life.”

Borin tried to lift himself up from bed but he left out a hiss as pain spread through his side. Fíli pressed his hand on his shoulder and pushed him back down giving him an admonished look.

“You must rest Borin, or else Oin will have us kicked out from here,” said Sigrid, looking as elegant as ever. She was still pale faced but she was not that weeping and grieved mother that he saw before he left to look for Darelle.

“Crown prince I may be but healers are a force to be reckoned with,” said Fíli winking at him.

The doors opened and in walked the young Durin royals looking breathless; they must have ran to the healing wards.

“We’ll leave you children alone, come Fíli,” said Sigrid, pulling her husband with her and giving her daughter a tight hug before leaving the healing room.

“Borin,” said Víli, relief evident on his countenance. They rushed forward to pull him into hugs and admonish him and force him never to scare them like that again, for Mahal’s sake.

Darelle was sitting quietly, with her brother’s arms protectively around her. She waited for her kin to finish their jumbled speech before she quietly said, “thank you Borin, you saved my life.” She made no mention on the ring.

“It was nothing,” grinned Borin, relieved to see them looking well, “what happened to Flói?"

His friends exchanged looked then Vanya cleared her throat and said, “he was knocked unconscious by the collapse, but he regained consciousness much earlier than you, that’s for sure.” She fidgeted with the hem of her dress and then continued, “Thorin had him shaved and banished from all Dwarrow kingdoms for threatening us rather than protecting us.”

Borin could not help but feel sorry for him, true he tried to kill them but he was simply a prideful Dwarf wanting to make a name for himself and he lost everything because of his pride. But he did not think about anything else anymore at that moment he basked in the knowledge that they all survived this ordeal and that finally Smaug and his legacy will become nothing else but a distant memory.

Chapter Text

Chapter 21: Durin’s Day Celebration

Borin was confined to the healing rooms for almost a week. He was still very weak from all of the blood loss. All of his uncles found the time to check in on him and Thorin was almost a constant presence. He used to do the paperwork next to his bed and only left to attend council meetings. Or rather Balin had to come to drag him to the council meetings. His friends were there just as frequently keeping him company. He longed to leave the confines of this room; the walls get so boring after a certain amount of time. When finally he was allowed to leave the confines of that room he was ordered to rest. He only attended his history lessons and was strictly forbidden from going into the training grounds.

Now that the spawn of Smaug was defeated, the days were becoming lighter. The dead were respectively buried and Erebor spent a whole month in mourning and the King wore black out of respect for the diseased. After the appropriate amount of time had passed, the preparations for Durin’s day were underway. Thorin wanted the celebrations to be a huge success to put behind these past dark days.

Darelle was also recovering well. She had no recollection of what happened and Borin did not mention what the serpent said. He knew that the knowledge that she brought about the death of some of her kin would destroy her, even though she was not in her right mind. Her amnesia was a mercy. For a moment he was worried that she would ask about the ring but she did not, it was as though she never knew that it was in her possession. Borin brushed the thought away, blaming it on the trauma; perhaps forgetting was the best way to cope. She had thanked him profusely for saving her life again, her face red and Víli next to her, his arms wrapped tightly around her. The son of the Crown Prince refused to stay away from his sister. He followed her everywhere still reeling from the shock that he could have lost her.

In the aftermath of the death of Smaug’s spawn, the dragon was pulled out and Thorin ordered it to be burnt removing the stench of the beast once and for all. However Balin advised him to keep its scales to be used for armour since dragon scales were impermeable. Grudgingly the King agreed with his advisor and so a new set of armour was being made for the royal family. Having seen the horrors of war Thorin was not looking forward to use them he preferred the peace and tranquillity after the battle of the five armies in spite of that worm still hiding underground gaining its strength slowly, slowly. He refused to let any more of the darkness to encroach his home a home that was hard fought for.

 

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The celebration of Durin’s day was even bigger than ever. The celebration had always been great, year after year. Each year Borin was amazed at how much ale was drunk and it was the only time of the year where Elves, Dwarrow and Men were seen drinking together. He saw Prince Legolas chatting away with Tauriel and her husband and even Thrandiul was seen exchanging a few words with Thorin, a rare sight indeed.

Bard was anxiously hovering close to his granddaughter, having heard what happened from his daughter. Seeing her annoyed look Borin, took a sip from his goblet and went to spare her from any more constant watch, since he understood what she must have been feeling. Rallia who had been away to visit the Iron Hills had almost fainted when upon her return heard what happened. He had to endure a long lecture from her and thankfully, then was dragged away by Thorin before she could end up hoarse.

Darelle looked relieved when she saw him and mumbled a small thank you. She excused herself and left her grandfather’s company.

“I know he means well,” she muttered, “but I can’t go anywhere without him or my parents or my brother around.”

“Give them some time. It will pass by time,” he said, smiling at her.

“We are lucky to have you Borin. Never doubt your place here,” she embraced him tightly and was whisked away by Vanya who was laughing away wildly.

Thorin then stood up holding his golden goblet, his silver crown shining in the light, for some odd reason the King did not wear a golden crown like the other two kings. The whole hall went silent, waiting for the royal to speak.

“My friends,” he began, his deep baritone stretching across the hall, “today we remember those who gave their blood to defend our home and our freedom. Hail the victorious dead.”

“Hail,” chorused everyone else, raising their own goblets as a sign of respect. “I would also like to remember the families of those we lost in the previous weeks." He then paused and after a few minutes said, "Borin Baggins to come here.”

Borin felt stunned, the King had thanked him privately for saving his youngest niece and he had been confined to bed rest for the days following that venture. He walked towards his adoptive uncle slowly. Thorin placed his hand on Borin’s shoulder tightly and said, “Borin Baggins son of Bilbo Baggins, you have bought honour on your family. Like your father before you, you fought for Erebor, which is why I want to publicly proclaim you as my nephew, a prince maybe not by blood but in spirit.”

The Dwobbit was openly gaping while the whole hall burst into cheers. Thorin then embraced him tightly and whispered, “I would have proclaimed your father as my brother, given the chance. It would be an honour if you would accept my request. I should have done this a long time ago”

“The honour would be mine, my lord,” he stammered.

“There is no need for formalities between us Borin, I would have you address me just like my nieces and nephews.”

Borin felt his face turn red, he never expected to become a prince. He wanted to pinch himself to see if this was a dream, but Thorin was then braiding his hair with utter surety. Borin felt the braid in wonder as the hall broke out into loud cheers. From the corner of his eyes he saw Rallia, her lips thin and smiling at him gently. The first smile that he saw on her face ever since she heard what happened. But her face conveyed another emotion, he might be mistaken but it seems as though it was pride. His friends were looking at him with jubilant expressions. They must have known that their uncle was going to publicly proclaim him as their kin.

A thought suddenly struck him....did this mean that he was going to be forced to wear a crown? He hoped not, having something heavy on his brow did not seem appealing and the number of time his friends complained about it made him realise how uncomfortable it was.

The rest of the celebration, after the King’s words, passed smoothly, well as smoothly as a Dwarrow celebration could go. Only one fist fight occurred while most of the Dwarrow were slumped over drunk. While everyone was distracted, Borin slipped away quietly since his wound was still on the mend and he was feeling tired, though he did not tell anyone, he did not want to worry them. A warm feeling settled in his stomach as he fingered his new braid. He did not need a crown; all he ever wanted was a family. Something that the Sackville Bagginses enjoyed depriving him from, well they were part of the past.

This, this was his future.

 

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Legolas approached Rallia and stood quietly next to her. They sat in a comfortable silence, like they did for so many times in the past.

“Enjoying the feast milady?” he murmured finally.

The Dwarrowdam smiled and said, “you are not one for small talk my prince.”

The Elf hesitated and then said, “I thought Erebor was safe. But ever since he got here he had to escape a mad Dwarf and apparently the shadow of Smaug still lingered.”

“Like the spiders that still linger in your forest?” she said wryly.

The Elf looked affronted but he could not think of an appropriate answer.

“Nowhere is safe anymore Legolas,” she said, looking tired as though the weight of the world was on her shoulders. “Borin is stubborn; just like his parents and like them he is loyal to a fault. I fear that that would be his downfall,” she said hoarsely.

Legolas looked at her in concern and said, “that will never happen. We will be more prepared when the time comes. Besides we have the strongest Dwarven stronghold to stand beside their new prince.”

“I must say that took me by surprise. Don’t know why Thorin encourages such behaviour.”

“I was thanking Borin for saving my niece. I’ve been meaning to call him kin for some time,” said a strong voice behind them, making them turn round in surprise.

Thorin nodded his head and handed Rallia another goblet of ale. Unlike most Dwarrow she was not used to drinking. Having lived for so long on the road she learnt that drinking dulls the senses and she always strove to stay alert and sharp.

“Borin was not expecting that,” she said taking a small sip of the ale.

“Of course he was not. He never expects anything for himself. But he more than deserves to become a prince.”

Rallia could see the affection in his eyes, that same fondness that he conveyed only to his kin. They passed the rest of the night in silent companionship, till the early hours of the morning, when they finally retired to their chambers. Sighing with relief Rallia closed her eyes and prayed to Mahal for a small measure of peace.

 

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It seems as though Mahal made a habit of not listening to her prayers. She stood at the battlements clasping a latter, her face awfully pale.

Gulping down her anxiety she made her way the throne room where she knew most of the company were at that time. Her eyes only sought that of the King who looked concerned at her appearance, even his sister was gaping at her, her eyebrows raised high.

“How many guards are outside Borin’s door?”

“Only one,” replied the Dwalin, who was behind the King, looking confused.

“That’s not enough,” she insisted, her knuckles white.

“Rallia, what’s wrong?” Thorin demanded.

“A traitor has escaped, he was being held in the dungeons of Ered Luin. He was one of Sauron’s most loyal servants and the guards said...they said that he was last heard muttering Borin’s name.”  

Chapter Text

Chapter 22: Hamfast Gamgee 

Borin did not know why he had a small troop of guards shadowing him wherever he went. Or why they were posted outside his door at night. He tried asking Thorin about them but he refused to tell him the real reason why he needed them. Perhaps this was his new way how to keep him out of danger, but he had really hoped that he had proved himself to Thorin. Or perhaps this was the way that he was going to be treated ever since Thorin proclaimed him a prince. The other Dwarrow in the mountain were certainly treating him differently. Even after so many years some Dwarrow still treated him with distrust and suspicion, however his actions beneath the mountain changed that and he was not only the boy who lived anymore, at least not to Erebor.

Another strange thing was that Legolas seemed to have found a temporary residence inside the mountain. While his father left Erebor with the rest of his kin he stayed behind. He knew that he was a close friend to the princess Tauriel some even said that he was like her brother but that did not mean that he was comfortable to stay in a mountain full of Dwarrow, like her.

His friends were not aware of what was happening either but after everything that they went through they were not overly concerned. Vanya pointed out that even Darelle had guards trailing her every move, though after almost losing her it was no surprise that Thorin wanted her to have extra protection.

He then decided to ask Rallia instead, knowing that as part of Thorin’s council she would be aware of what was going on. But she was tight lipped as well though she tried to hide it he could see the concern in her eyes.

“I assure you Borin that you need not concern yourself,” she insisted.

“I’m being followed everywhere,” he cried annoyed.

“Well it’s not as though you have not been putting yourself at risk needlessly,” she said calmly, her eyebrows raised.

“So, this is all for my protection? I’m not a child.”

“Well you are not an adult either.”

And that was the end of the discussion. He was grateful for his ring, turning invisible he was allowed a moment of peace without having others trailing behind him. it allowed him to sneak around and the fact that it remained a secret meant that he did not have to hand it over which was what would have happened if Rallia knew about it.

Another use of the ring was that he was able to wonder around and listen in on what others were saying. the fact that he walked quietly made sneaking around so much easier. Hearing someone talking, Borin approached quietly and peered through the small creak of the door.

“You think that he will make his way here?” said Thorin’s voice, while Borin was sneaking back into his room, after one of his brief excursions.

“I don’t know. Hamfast was once a good man…but he changed, in his madness became part of Sauron’s army, betraying all of his kin,” said Rallia, sounding weary.

“We need to tell Borin the truth, that Hamfast may come after him.”

“He’s still a child Dís,” replied her brother.

“That child has fought a Dwarf and a dragon, both larger than him.”

“Your sister is right Thorin, we can’t keep Borin the truth we have to tell him. Legolas is insisting that we tell him as well.”

“Remind me again why we need that Elf again?” came Thorin’s frustrated voice.

“Legolas is the only other person apart from me who knew Hamfast, his presence is needed,” insisted Rallia, sounding exasperated, as though she had this discussion before.

Borin pulled himself away from the door. This was the big secret? Some madman was after him, it explained why Thorin was having guards follow him everywhere and why Legolas was staying in the mountain. Who was this Hamfast? What did he want with him?

 

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“Hamfast Gamgee escaped to come after you?” gaped Frerin.

“It seems that way,” replied Borin, looking dejected.

“No wonder Thorin added more guards patrolling the streets and guarding every entrance in the mountain,” said Vanya, then her eyes clouded in concern and she said, “oh Borin, promise us that you won’t go looking for trouble.”

“I don’t go looking for trouble,” replied Borin indignantly, “trouble normally finds me.”

He tried to ignore the raised eyebrows directed at him. they did not say anything else since Dwalin was striding towards them to begin their training lesson.

Dwalin drilled them all afternoon, the training was more strenuous and Borin realised that he was even training them harder. Borin was exhausted by the end of it and all he wanted to do was trudge back to his room and rest. Looking at his friends he realised that they were just as tired as he was. His skills with a blade were getting even better, even Dwalin admitted his progress and he knew that the balding Dwarf did not give praise easily.

Before they left the training ground, the Dwalin placed his enormous hand on his shoulder and told him that Thorin wanted to speak with him in his personal office. Nodding his head wearily he headed there knowing what his uncle was going to talk to him about.

When he entered Thorin’s office realised that it was not only his uncle waiting for him. Rallia, Dís and Legolas were waiting for him as well.

“Borin please take a seat,” said his Uncle, looking at him wearily, looking as though he would have preferred to be anywhere but here. “I need to tell you something.”

He hesitated, and a long pause followed. Seeing that Thorin was not going to continue anytime soon, Rallia rolled her eyes and continued in his place, “a Hobbit has escaped from the dungeons of Ered Luin.” She was looking at him closely, as though attempting to read him and then continued, “we believe that he may attempt to come here…for you.”

Borin hated it when everyone’s attention was on him and he did not feel like hiding away from a mad man. Valar he could not get one moment of peace.

“But why? I don’t even know him.”

“We don’t know lad,” sighed Thorin, “which is why you are going to listen to us and restrain yourself from wondering on you own. I mean it Borin you are to be accompanied by an adult at all times.”

“Hamfast is very unpredictable,” agreed Legolas, from where he was leaning against the wall, looking uncharacteristic serious. “He will attempt to come here and when he does we will be ready.”

Noticing their concerned looks on their faces he nodded, he was not foolish enough to put himself at risk, irrespective of what everyone else seem to think.

“This includes any trips to Dale, Borin,” said Thorin remorsefully causing the Dwobbit to gape in protest. He had been looking forward on going to a trip to Dale for so long and haven’t been out of the mountain in ages.

“I’m sorry Borin,” said Thorin, placing his hand on his shoulder and squeezed it tightly, “but this is for your protection. The guards will escort you to your room, you need your rest.”

 

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“What do you mean that you’re not coming to Dale with us?” protested Víli.

From the dismayed looks on his friends’ faces he did not know who was taking the news the worst, him or them.

“Uncle insists that I stay here, in case this Hamfast is hiding somewhere in Dale,” said Borin bitterly.

His friends exchanged concerned glances but before they could say anything else the guards came to escort them out. They bid him quiet farewells and promises that they won’t say long and will come and see him as soon as they’re back.

Finding himself alone, Borin wondered would could hold his interest for long. With a sigh he picked up a book depicting the History of Erebor and started reading. He did not know how much time had passed when a knock on the door caused him to look u in surprise. could it be that his friends returned already? He leapt out of the bed and went to open the door eager for some distraction.

There smiling down at him was Legolas.

“I thought that you might appreciate the company. Would you like to join me for a walk?”

Borin, nodded gratefully willing to accept anything that would free him from his chambers.

“I know that you may not like this Borin, but we’re just doing everything to keep you safe. I promised your parents that I would protect you from anything that would wish you harm.”

“I do not think that my father cowered from anyone. I wish that I could be brave like him.”

The Elf was quiet for a moment, looking thoughtful. “Your father might have been the bravest Hobbit that I have ever met but that does not mean that he would not have been afraid Borin. I was with him in every battle. He was scared Borin, each and every time.”

Borin thought back on what he used to hear about his father. The stories did not seem to match. Here he was considered a hero, a legend. Legolas seemed to make him sound more normal.

“Bilbo never liked war, he wished that there were other ways around it, but sometimes it was inevitable.”

They arrived at the battlements and stayed watching Dale and the forest beyond. The scenery was breath-taking and every time that he came here he always stayed captivated by the sight.

“Bilbo and Bís were kind people Borin. They may be remembered as heroes but those who really knew them can remember them best. Though your father did steal thirteen Dwarrow from under our noses.”

Borin burst in laughter, remembering his favourite story from the company’s tales, however he always heard it from the Dwarrow’s side, never from the Elves perspective. The rest of the day passed relatively quickly and when the horn was sounded, indicating the return of the Durins. Making his way back to his chambers, Borin could not wipe that smile off his face, though he did not go to Dale with his friends, he spent the day with Legolas in amiable companionship.

Yet his spirits could not help but be dampened when he heard his friend’s enthusiastic stories about their trip to Dale. They bought him some sweets and books to make up for the fact that he was not allowed to go with them. But he should not feel so resentful, besides it probably would not be long before this Hamfast will be apprehended. He will be free from all of these restraints soon enough. Or at least he hoped so.

Chapter Text

Chapter 23: Back to Dale

His hopes that Hamfast Gamgee would be caught early proved to be futile. Months passed and still from what he heard they were no closer to catching him than they were previously. Borin was feeling the constrains of being followed everywhere and not being able to go anywhere. He refrained from complaining because he knew that Thorin was only acting in his interest. Yet having a guard shadowing his every move.

His life settled in a routine that consisted of only training and lessons. Other than that he simply spent his free time in his room with only books for company. Frustration was eating him from the inside of him and he was using the ring much more frequently. His friends tried to cheer him up but their many gifts failed to lift the monotony that seemed to settle within him.

He was not the only who was frustrated, Thorin was getting even more short tempered. One Dwarf from his council suggested that they use him as bait to catch this mad man and he ended up being kicked out of the council chamber.

Things became more serious when a Raven interrupted their typical evening meal. The Raven croaked in greeting and settled in front of Thorin.

“What is it?” ordered the King not used to handling matters that had to do with his kingdom during the few moments that he had in the company of his family and friends.

“He has been sighted, my lord,” croaked the raven. Silence fell over the table.

“Who?” ordered Thorin.

“Hamfast Gamgee, my lord. There has been reports that he has crossed the Misty Mountains.”

Borin felt his stomach drop. Yet he knew that there was still Mirkwood in the way and that forest was not easy to cross. It was so easy to get lost there. So easy to end up spider food.

“I want a troop of guards patrolling every entrance. I want him apprehended before he gets close to the mountain. Sent word to Thranduil and Bard, they have to be warned.”

He ignored some of the annoyed grumbles of the surrounding Dwarrow. He knew that most of his people did not warm up to the Elves but even though he was not too fond of them himself he learned to tolerate them and work with them. Though he preferred the son to the father, at least Legolas was much more approachable.

“I’ll inform my father. No one ever managed to pass the forest without him noticing,” said Legolas, his eyes darkening.

Borin tried not to point out that he managed to pass by Rivendell without Lord Elrond noticing and he was one of the most powerful Elves in all of Arda.

Looking around the table he realised that his friends looked much more frightened than he was feeling. Borin knew that he faced off worse dangers than a Hobbit, though he still should not underestimate him. he had heard that the time he spent in a dungeon drove him insane.

The rest of dinner passed in relative silence. Borin took notice of the looks that Legolas was shooting Rallia and he realised that there was more to the story of Hamfast Gamgee.

He just wondered what it was.

 

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Borin flipped through the book that he was reading for leisure. His friends had gone to Dale again and just like last time he was forbidden to go. Even though Borin tried to understand their concern he could not help but feel annoyed at their paranoia. Legolas kept him company from time to time but even he had to go and scout the perimeters from time to time.

So here he was, confined to his chambers wondering what the outside tasted like. His friends offered to stay behind but he knew that they yearned to go outside of the mountain, just like him. they were just more fortunate in that aspect and he was not selfish enough to keep them behind, especially when they had family there.

Unconsciously he fingered his ring, then he wondered if he should use it to slip past the guards and head to Dale. It would not be the first time that he disobeyed orders. Borin set aside any guilt that he may feel at disobeying his guardians. He was tired of seeing the same four walls of his bedroom, he hopped out of bed and peeked outside the door which was cracked open. As expected there were guards posted outside his door. It seemed that Thorin thought that this Hobbit was capable of slitting his throat while he was sound asleep, Borin thought rolling his eyes in exasperation.

Slipping on his ring, the Dwobbit squeezed through the door that was ajar, making sure not to make a sound. All of the entrances of the mountain were heavily guarded, however using the secret entrance might be harder. The front gate though it was heavily guarded was still open for trade. He could not go through that way visible, but his ring made it possible.

His mind made up he wondered along the streets of Erebor till he reached the main entrance. It was as busy as any other day. Taking a deep breath, he made hs way towards the exit, his heart in his throat fearing that he was going to be caught, deep down knowing that he was being irrational, he was invisible after all.

The guards’ eyes were trained forward, and they did not even glance at him. sighing in relief, Borin finally breathed in the fresh open air. The streets of Dale where still familiar for him even though he had not been here in ages.

His first instinct was to go and look for his friends, but a thought popped up in his head, they were most likely accompanied by either their parents or with guards trailing their every step. He was sure that Thorin would not let them wonder about on their own. He wondered again whether he should tell his friends about the ring, but he once more decided against it. Seeing that he was invisible he still opted to search for the young Durins and trail after them.

He found them in one of the stores inspecting some armoury, of course they preferred to see armour rather than in a book store. He lifted his hood of the clock to cover his countenance, to prevent himself from being recognised. Seeing that they were actually alone he used that opportunity to approach them.

“Pissssst,” he hissed, causing them to jump and turn around. He would have laughed loudly at their gawking expression if he did not think that he would draw attention to himself but he could not help but snort in amusement.

“Borin? What are you doing here?” hissed Víli.

“Just wanted to see the outside of the mountain,” he grinned.

“How did you manage to sneak out?” muttered Vanya.

“Ah it’s a long story,” he replied, looking uncomfortable.

“Let’s go somewhere that is a bit quieter,” said Víli, looking around in concern, probably checking to see if there were any familiar faces.

“How come you are here all alone? I thought that you were going to have a troop of guards.”

Exchanging looks, they smiled at him sheepishly, “we might have ditched them as well.”

Borin patted the ring in his pocket, knowing that it was easier for him to sneak around guards than others. He left the armoury after his kin, in case anyone would think that he was a threat to the royals.

The impulse to wear the ring was strong however he did not know how he would explain his sudden disappearance.

Dale seemed slightly different, he did not know if it was because he was seeing it from a different lens, since in spite of the threat of Hamfast Gamgee, the East still felt safe.

They entered one of the stores and hid behind of shelves away from anyone’s sight, allowing Borin to remove his hood.

“I still think that you should have stayed within the walls of Erebor, Borin” sighed Vanya in exasperation. The Dwobbit smiled at her sheepishly and shrugged his shoulders looking unconcerned.

“Come on guys let’s have some fun.”

His friends looked at him warily, fully aware of his penchant of attracting trouble. But that did not mean that they did not join him in his excursions.

They spent the day going from store to store and even tasted some ale, taking the advantage of doing so while they were unsupervised. The loud clanking of armours caused them to stiffen while Borin immediately ducked down. Since the backs of his companions were towards him, he slipped on his ring. The world immediately went hazy.

A troop of Dwarrow guards approached them, he saw their backs stiffen and they immediately turned around. Their worried expression immediately turned to confusion, but they did not have enough time to contemplate his sudden disappearance.

“Your highnesses the King demands your presence back in the mountain.”

“Did he say why?” question Darelle, looking worried, her eyes darting around trying to catch a glimpse of the Dwobbit.

“No, he did not my lady,” replied the stoic guard.

Without wanting to wait anymore, Borin hurriedly left and made his way towards the mountain, sneaking back through the same path that he took earlier.

Out of breath he entered his room and removed his ring. The book was just where he left it and with a sigh he sat down on his bed. He needed this small adventure.

He wandered what Thorin wanted but he could not just show up in the throne room without an explanation. Yet he had to tell his friends that he made it back safe. He did not need to ponder for much longer since there was a hurried knocking on the door. There standing on the other side were his friends, looking breathless. Their expression morphed to one of relief when they saw him.

“We just wanted on check on you before going to the throne room,” said Víli, his expression giving nothing away. Since the guards where still patrolling the corridor they took care in what they were going to say.

“Throne room?” he questioned, playing along.

“Uncle Thorin, wanted to see us. Most probably to check in on us. He has been so busy we barely saw him these past few weeks.”

Borin nodded and accepted their invitation to join them. He made sure to keep a sombre look to conceal his relief at being outside. Instead he made sure to give the appearance of one who had been cooped up inside for a long time.

Thorin would not understand and besides nothing happened. His uncle looked unburdened when he saw them, for once and since there was no scowl on his face so his little excursion really did go unnoticed. He longed for all of this to be over since he hated lying. But Thorin had to learn to trust in his abilities. But for now, he did not think about his frustrations and he did not want to worry.

At this moment he wanted to spend a quiet moment with his family.

Chapter Text

Chapter 24: The Truth Revealed

His trips to Dale were going smoothly. He would sneak out after his friends and return before them. Yet such excursions were put on hold since he and his friends had a lot of responsibilities.

How he managed to keep his misbehavior a secret he was not sure. Though Thorin and Rallia both seemed suspicious of his change in attitude. His mood was much better, and he was not biting anyone’s head off all the time.

When asked about it, Borin muttered something about an interesting book that he was reading while his friends hid their snickering. The days seemed a bit brighter and despite no word about Gamgee’s arrest, Borin seemed much lighter.

When he was not learning, he was helping Ori in the library and to his excitement Thorin was even going to allow him to learn how to smith.

He had never been allowed in the forges before, Mahal know that Dís never allowed them to go close to one. Forging always held his interest, made him feel like a proper Dwarf. Thorin had his own private forge where he was willing to teach them.

Thorin only used to head down to the forge in times where he was stressed or when he was worried. He was a natural at forging and Rallia enjoyed boasting that his mother was an excellent blacksmith as well, but her craft as a jeweler exceeded all expectations. She once showed him a bracelet made by his own mother’s hand and it really was beautiful. Yet he preferred forging swords and weapons, apparently he did not have his mother’s patience.

Thorin’s compliments meant more to him than any thing else and even his friend’s envy at his skill. The heat in the forges was close to unbearable sometimes but since winter was approaching, Borin relished in the feeling of warmth.

The mountain could get cold during winter time and there were days where he had to wear shoes, though he really tried not to. Borin always got excited when Yule time was approaching, it was a time for family and this year everyone was going to be there, including Gloin and his family who were absent last year since they were visiting his wife’s family in Ered Luin.

The Yule time preparations were always a wonderful affair but only thing that was bothersome was Vanya’s constant nagging. She was the only one who did not agree with the risks that he was taking and instead preferred to insist that he should stay behind locked doors. He knew that she meant well but what was life without a little risk? She might jus be a bit jealous that the only thing that she manage to forge was a small clip and so needed to vent her frustration elsewhere.

 

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“The is going to be the best Yule ever,” said Darelle, grinning brightly.

It was good to see her smile like that. After everything that had happened they were fearful that she would be scarred forever. yet her smiles were much more frequent these days.

“Why do you say that,” replied Vanya as she tried to unsuccessfully tame her wild mane of hair. Laughing softly Darelle moved over to help her cousin braid her hair in a presentable manner.

“You just need a bit of patience, dear cousin.”

“Not everyone is a lady like you Darelle. I rather be bashing someone in the training grounds right now instead of wearing this frilly dress.”

Darelle looked at her knowing what she was thinking at that moment. Vanya always felt annoyed that she would not be allowed in the army. She fought hard when she was told that a lady should not be allowed in the training grounds and her father supported her. Eventually Thorin stepped in and ordered that both of his nieces be taught how to defend themselves. Vanya, like her parents, took to the bow and arrow. Darelle could not help but feel a bit envious at her skill in combat. She tried her best but she was weaker than the rest, even Borin who had been training for a much shorter period of time was even better than her. He cheeks warmed up at the thought of the Dwobbit. Ever since he saved her she found herself feeling awkward around him. Her mind was foggy and she could not remember what happened, all she remember was going to look for Borin since they had a lesson and then she was waking up with him bleeding out next to her. Her brother and cousins protected her from any snide comments that were said against her. Mocking her inability to protect herself. Salabel in particular was brutal at times and she refrained from telling her uncle because she did not want to be treated like a child.

They made their way to the ladies court where their mothers were waiting for them. Though Vanya was the hot headed one, the younger Durin was by no means interested in their gossip.

Their mothers were not fond of the ladies of the court, especially Tauriel since some of them looked down at her since she was an Elf, not that they could say anything with their grandmother there. Dís was a force to be reckoned with even Thorin sometimes backed away from her.

“Let’s get this over and done with,” sighed Vanya. The Dwarrowdams there were just so superficial.

They shone with the amount of jewelry that they were wearing. Their mothers and grandmother sat in the centre, looking as regal as ever though they could sense their frustration.

After Thorin reclaimed Erebor, so many of these Dwarrowdams threw themselves at the feet of the sons of Durin. When instead they married maidens outside their race, they felt insulted and started to scorn them hoping that they would turn away and would be able to take their place. But no such thing happened. Now they scurried after them hoping for a better position in the lady’s court of to meet and marry more prominent lords.

Vanya tried to stay still but with Kíli as her father, she was not well acquainted with patience and the serenity that her mother possessed. Not that Tauriel was not a strong warrior, especially when here children were threatened.

“Is there any more news about that mad man Lady Dís?”

“If there was anything of import, the King would have had you informed.”

“Why are we harboring that boy, when all he brings is trouble,” continued the snotty Dwarrow.

Both Vanya and Darelle tensed at her words, biting their lips in case they said something that they might regret. “that boy saved your princess’s life and is now a prince of Erebor, you’ll do well to remember it,” said Sigrid coldly.

The Dwarrowdam flushed in embarrassment and Darelle could not help but feel proud of her mother’s words.

Exchanging looks the cousins realised that this was going to be a long brunch. They really wished that their mothers would allow them to drink some wine, perhaps that would make the time go by faster.

 

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Borin was making his way through the royal quarters after a tiring lesson of Elvish. Salabel seemed quite willing to make up for the time where she will have to leave. She was needed back in Mirkwood, Borin tried not to look so happy about it. His friends were not as discreet.

The sound of talking gathered his attention and being the curious person that he was, he crept silently towards the ajar door.

“Does the bo….Prince Borin know why Gamgee is after him?”

“This is not something that I want to be discussed,” came Dís’ voice, sounding frustrated.

“We just wonder why he did not go to seek him out. As is the Dwarrow way.”

“What Dwarrow way? The one that will get him killed.”

“Stay out of this Elf.”

“Don’t talk to my mother like that.”

He saw Tauriel put a restraining hand on her hot-headed daughter’s arm. Not that she looked calm herself. The normal mild-mannered Elf was fuming.

“I heard the Grey wizard talking to that vagabond once,” said one blonde haired Dwarf, Borin clenched his teeth knowing that she was referring to Rallia.

“He said that Hamfast Gamgee was once a brother to Bilbo Baggins until he betrayed the Bagginses and that he was the one who sold them out to Sauron himself.”

Those words caused him to freeze and he felt faint. It could not be true. Rallia, Gandalf…someone would have told him if it were true.

He could not hold back a gasp that escaped him and his emerald eyes met those sapphire blue of the King’s sister and they widened in shock.

Then he was running, back to the sanctuary of his room. He locked the door behind him not wanted to be disturbed. Only then did he let the tears fall. He ignored the frantic knocking on his door, he did not even attempt to leave his room for dinner.

His parents were betrayed.

All this time he thought that only Sauron was to blame, it turned out to be his father’s closest friend that caused all of this.

A loud knock on his door interrupted his thoughts. It was not a knock to be ignored and slowly Borin made his way to the door and unlocked it.

There on the other side looking concerned was Thorin. Borin wished to close the door again and be left in some peace and quiet. He did not want other to placate or comfort him. but Thorin did no such thing, he simply sat down next to him. Fury ignited within him.

“I hope Hamfast Gamgee finds me,” he said harshly, causing Thorin to eye him warily, “when he does I’m going to be ready, when he does I’m going to kill him.”