"She walks in beauty, like the night of cloudless climes and starry skies"
"Aren't you going to search me?" the young black-haired dwarf asked the elf escorting him to his cell, "I could have anything down my trousers," he said with a flirtatious tone.
As soon as he saw the she-elf on the forest, he was infatuated. Though he had said he never cared for elf maids, this elf made a liar of him.
"Or nothing." the elf mused before she walked away.
The dwarf stared after her, until the elven prince had approached her and began speaking to her in elvish.
The dwarves began to grow more irritated as their time in the Mirkwood cells grew longer, though Kili didn't seem phased. If one were to guess, they would think he was happy about it.
Thorin had gone to speak with the king, Thranduil, and returned without the hope of a bargain.
As the night approached, the dwarves had slowly began to fall asleep in their cells, with the exception of the young dark-haired prince. The number and frequency of elves patrolling lowered. Until the red-haired she-elf returned.
Kili was throwing a small stone when she passed his cell.
"The stone in your hand," she asked, "What is it?"
The dwarf looked down and smirked, but dropped his smile when he looked back up at her, "It is a talisman. A powerful spell lies upon it, if any but a dwarf reads the runes on this stone, they will be forever cursed." he held it up for her to look at as he said the last word.
Tauriel began to walk away and Kili continued,
"Or not," she turned back around to face him, "depending on whether you believe in that kind of thing, it's just a token."
He laughed, and the elf felt a small smile creep onto her lips.
"A rune stone. My mother gave it to me so that I'd remember my promise."
"What promise?" Tauriel asked him, moving closer to the bars.
"That I would come back to her. She worries. She thinks I'm reckless."
The elf's smile grew, "Are you?"
Kili shrugged and chuckled, "Nah." he threw the stone again and didn't catch it as it fell, causing it to land outside of the bars. Tauriel stopped it with her boot and picked it up to hold it to the light. Kili stood up and pressed himself against the cell bars, taking notice of the sounds of celebrations ringing out from the woodland castle,
"Sounds like quite the party you're having up there."
The she-elf turned to him, "It is Mereth Nuin Giliath" she took another step closer to the edge of the landing, "The Feast of Starlight. All light is sacred to the Eldar, but Wood Elves love best the light of the stars."
Kili kept his gaze on her, "I always thought it is a cold light. Remote and far away."
She turned and faced him, and spoke in a harsh tone, "It is memory, precious and pure." she softened her voice as she returned his rune stone, "Like your promise."
Tauriel smiled at him, "I have walked there sometimes. Beyond the forest and up into the night. I have seen the world fall away, and the white light of forever fill the air."
She looked up toward the night, Kili had never seen anyone so beautiful and captivating. He couldn't help but smile as she explained her love for the stars, and he knew a story that would surely interest her.
"I saw a Fire Moon once. It rose over the pass near Dunland. Huge! Red and gold it was, it filled the sky..."
She sat near on the stairs outside of the cell, completely invested in what he was saying. Neither of them took note of the elf prince standing a few storeys up, with a look of sheer jealousy.
Kili continued his story and was quite happy to be talking to her about something he found beautiful, for the dwarves who weren't with him brushed it off. He didn't always fit in with his kin, while his ideals and love for food, drink, and fighting were very dwarven, his appearance needed work. So to have someone, especially someone like this Silvan Elf, sit and listen to him speak about the Fire Moon, he felt a sense of belonging.
Tauriel on the other hand never felt that distance from her people, until this day. She was a strong and capable warrior, and had never thought different of herself. It wasn't until her talk with Thranduil that she felt something drive her away from fully fitting in. Thranduil had explained that Legolas had feelings for her but their status set them apart, it didn't affect her like it might have before this company of dwarves showed up. She was intrigued by them, and had enjoyed talking to Kili more than She enjoyed a lot of conversations with her elven kin.
"...I wish I could show you." Kili told her at the end of his story, "I think you'd have loved it."
The elf looked down at the floor and smiled, imagining the Fire Moon for herself. She then looked back to the dwarf, “What is your name?” she asked.
He was surprised at the question, he did not expect that they would get acquainted while the dwarves were stuck here, but he answered anyway, “Kili, son of Dis. And yours?”
“I am Tauriel.”
Just as she said it, it was repeated from the lower landing by another voice. The elf prince had decided to stop Tauriel’s chat with their prisoner.
“You’re missing the feast.”
She stood up and looked down the stairs, “Legolas.”
“Man cerig hi? Tolo ar nin, maewado i Naug,” Legolas told her with a stern tone.
Kili looked back and forth between the two elves.
“Ben iest lîn, hîr vuin.” Tauriel complied. She looked down at Kili and nodded before walking down the stairs to join the prince. Legolas remained glaring at Kili until Tauriel walked past him. She wouldn’t return for the rest of the night.
It was the next morning that Bilbo surprised the company with the keys to their cells. Kili was happy to be out of the Mirkwood prison, though he had wished he could have talked to Tauriel again, he wanted to see her even just once more.
The thirteen dwarves clambered into the barrels in the cellar that would be heading to Lake Town one way or another. They had all been unsure if this way was the best idea, but they didn't question it after Thorin agreed with Bilbo. Shortly after getting the dwarves into the barrels, they were released into the water below, and when they were sure all fourteen members were there, they rushed with the river. It wasn’t long until an elvish horn had sounded, and the gate out of the kingdom had shut, blocking them off from their escape. The barrels had all bumped into one another when the elves at the gate drew their swords, though they would rather that than the orcs that climbed over the walls, led by Bolg. Their only saviour, it seemed, were their own fists and Bilbo’s sword, which didn’t seem like enough to take on a horde of orcs. They had jumped from the wall and into the barrels, where the company of dwarves was able to wrestle the swords from them. Kili saw the lever the elf used to close the gate, and knew that that was their way out. With a newly found sword in hand, Kili hopped on orc head and barrel until he had made it to the stairs leading to the wall, with help from his brother to keep the orcs at bay.
Bolg did not seem to like that his and his father’s prey would slip out of their grasp, and reached for his bow, equipped with a sharp arrow fixed with Morgul venom. The Gundabad orc fired one arrow into Kili’s leg, causing him to fall backward, immediately feeling the pain of the Morgul arrow. The blow had given another orc a chance to attack from the bushes, but was hit by an elvish arrow. Kili looked over to see the captain of the guard, the elf who he had just been talking to the night prior. He was torn, he felt a wave of relief that it was her to come to their rescue, as she had done with the spiders, but he knew he had a duty to fulfill, and that his loyalty lay with his kin. With the strength he had, he picked himself up and pulled the lever, freeing his companions. He jumped off the ledge into a free barrel, ripping the arrow out of his leg. He cried out, and Tauriel snapped her focus to him, but the dwarves were already moving out.
By the time they had reached the shore, Kili had thought of any alternative to take the focus away from the pain in his leg, a few of which involving removing his leg. Thorin was already trying to press on, but there had been protests because of Kili’s condition. He had moved away from the group to clear the blood from the wound, and Thorin walked over to him. Kili looked up at his uncle and managed to choke out, “I’m fine.” He was not fine.
Thorin told him to bind his wound and they would move on. More fortune found them in the form of a bargeman who would bring them to his home in Lake Town for a price.
Most of the dwarves and Bilbo had left Lake Town, though Kili couldn’t join them. Oin maintained that his top priority was the sick, and Fili’s top priority was his brother. Bofur, however had just been left behind. When they sought help, they were turned away and were forced to remain at Bard’s house.
Bofur left to find athelas to help slow the poison, when they were attacked by a vengeful horde of orcs led by Bolg, only to be taken down by the Mirkwood elves once more. When Bofur returned with the athelas plant, Tauriel went to work on Kili’s leg.
Kili couldn’t help but stare at her, she appeared to be glowing. A white light filled the room around her, it seemed like the glow from stars, and for once in his life, he never felt warmer in the starlight.
He could hear her say a desperate chant as she pressed the athelas into his leg,
“Menno o nin na hon
I eliad annen annin,
Hon lietho o ngurth”
She rewrapped his wound and left it to heal, but before she left his side, Kili looked at her.
“Tauriel?” he rested his head back on the makeshift chestnut pillow.
“You cannot be her. She is far away… She is far, far away from me. She walks in starlight in another world. It was just a dream.”
After a pause of Tauriel looking at his resting face, not knowing what to say, he reached for her hand and she brushed his with her fingertips, and he spoke again.
“Do you think she could have loved me?”
Tauriel had a stern look on her face which softened as she thought of what he said. Could she love this dwarf? Could she go against her king’s son whose feelings for her were known? She felt more for Kili than she could admit right now, and decided to leave his question unanswered. Legolas called Tauriel from the doorframe, telling her they had to go and he made his way down the stairs see where the remaining orcs ran.
Tauriel waited for Legolas to be gone before she pressed a soft kiss on Kili’s forehead and turned to follow the prince.
Kili watched her leave and smiled, knowing the answer even if she herself did not say it.
The remaining dwarves helped him recover and gather their things and planned to make their way back to Erebor, until they heard the dragon’s roar.
“A mind at peace with all below, a heart whose love is innocent!”
Translations (according to websites I found):
Man cerig hi? Tolo ar nin, maewado i Naug. = Why are you here? (informal) Come with me, take your leave of the dwarf
Ben iest lîn, hîr vuin = As you wish (formal), my lord
Menno o nin na hon I eliad annen annin, Hon lietho o ngurth = May the blessing that was given to me be sent from me to him, may he be released from death