Story [The Hobbit, LOTR]: A Hobbit in Ered Luin D D C 2014 Updated: 15th Dec - Final post of year

Discussion in 'Non Star Wars Fan Fiction' started by Space_Wolf, Jan 2, 2014.

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  1. Mira_Jade The NSWFF Manager With The Cape

    Manager
    Member Since:
    Jun 29, 2004
    star 4
    This was a very interesting update - I liked the inclusion of the wise woman, and her insights were straight to the bone. The whole tavern scene had a lot of local flavor to it, and was fun to read! Especially with the inclusion of the accents - well done there. I especially liked Dis and her wisdom at the end, for as much as I love Thorin, he can be a bit of a mule when he has his mind set on something. ;)

    I am looking forward to seeing Hilda's visit to the old woman - and further investigation into the necromancer. [face_thinking]

    =D=
  2. Space_Wolf Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Mar 13, 2007
    star 3
    Hilda Greenhill's Diary

    23rd Afteryule, 2940

    First of all, I don't know if I was ready to see the old woman from the evening before. I don't even know what her cryptic message means, if that makes sense. Kili is going to escort me to her grove, and Fili has been summoned to a meeting to discuss the orc activities by his Uncle.

    I saw that Thorin was sat with Bild as I passed the room she was resting up in in the cottage. Thorin thought that Kili and I were just going out to exercise the ponies and had no idea of our true purpose, which was just as well given his reaction last night. But I think he was occupied with Bild's incapacity and would not have noticed us even going out.

    I decided to bring Crowberry along. She was too large for myself or any of the dwarves to ride (even if she had been a riding horse) and there was precious little for her to do now that the farm was gone, so perhaps the druid would find a use for her.

    Trotter, as usual, accompanied us.

    We found Irieaga sat in the centre of a stone circle with a small fire and what appeared to be a bowl filled with water in front of her.

    "Welcome, hobbit," she said, turning her gaze on us. "I have been expecting you."

    "You knew we were coming?" I asked.

    "Scrying is a skill of the druids, though it is not always accurate, or can be misinterpreted. It allows us to see a great many things, including the predicament which brought you to Ered Luin."

    "You saw what happened at Hilda's farm?" Kili asked, a touch of anger in his voice. "If you have the power to see that, why didn't you stop it?"

    It was something I wanted to know the answer to as well. "In other words, what is the point in having power if you don't use it to prevent evil things from occurring?" I asked.

    "As I have already explained, Kili nephew of Thorin Oakenshield and Hilda Greenhill, I cannot interfere with the affairs of dwarves, orcs or even hobbits. I can only act when there is a danger to the fauna and flora of Middle-earth."

    "I don't trust her," Kili said in my ear. "If you don't want me to leave you here, just say the word."

    "I will be honest with you," Irieaga said. "I am an old woman, and even though I have the long life of the Dunedain, my time is coming to an end. I am obliged to pass on my knowledge to another druid before I die, and you, Hilda Greenhill, your rapport with animals makes you a suitable candidate."

    Irieaga got to her feet and using her staff as support, she walked over to Crowberry.

    "I see you have brought a friend," she said.

    I explained why I had brought her.

    "I have no use for a horse, but she is welcome to stay, as are all animals," Irieaga said.

    The old woman turned to Kili. "You have done a good deed, brining Hilda to me, dwarf, and you are a friend to animals and growing things, even if you lack the heart of a druid. However, I am forbidden to reveal druid secrets to an outsider and must ask you to leave us."

    "Will you be safe with the orcs around?" Kili asked.

    The old woman laughed. "The orcs won't bother us, and if they do, I am not as helpless as I may appear, Kili. I will send my raven when Hilda wishes to go back to Ered Luin. And don't think to spy on us from the woods. I shall know if you do."

    Kili and I said our goodbyes and I watched his departure until he was out of sight.

    "What happened to the necromancer?" I asked. The fate of the necromancer intrigued me greatly and I thought it best to ask directly.

    "He was defeated, or we at least put a stop to his attacks using the undead. If he was mortal, he would be long dead by now."

    "But you are uncertain?" I asked.

    "It is difficult to be certain of the fate of ones with power such as he."

    "Why did you tell Kili that he doesn't have the heart of a druid?"

    "On the whole, dwarves are good, but they are too easily corrupted by greed, they plunder the earth in search of wealth and don't always value the lives of other living things as they should."

    We went inside the druid's home, a ramshackle structure at the edge of the grove and Trotter followed us.

    "First, we shall discus the druid's animal companion, as I see that you already have a candidate for that."
    _____________________________________________________


    Kili's Journal

    23rd Afteryule, 2940 - Midmorning

    Along the way back, I stopped to write in my journal. I wasn't happy leaving Hilda with the old woman and have misgivings over their ability to cope with an orc attack, in spite of the old woman's assurances if one occurred, but if I stayed out in the forest, it would worry Mam and she would have dwarves out looking for us. I don't know what I am going to tell Uncle Thorin about Hilda's absence.


    23rd Afteryule, 2940 - Afternoon

    I found Mam working at the forge when I got back just after noon. The way she had been hammering at the metal when I rode up to the cottage indicated to me that something was wrong. I informed her of Hilda's whereabouts.

    "You'd best get inside," she said, laying down her tools. "Your Uncle wants to speak to you. I'll see to Bungo."

    I went inside the cottage to find my Uncle, Balin, Gloin, Dwalin, Fili and Dori gathered around a map. Uncle Thorin looked up as I entered.

    "So, the wanderer finally decides to turn up," Uncle Thorin said. "Bofur, bring Kili up to speed with what we've discussed already."

    Bofur and Bifur were in the corridor which is why I'd not seen them at first.

    "Don't worry, Kili," Bofur said to me after I had made my way over to him. "Thorin's been acting like a boar wi' a sore head all day."

    Are they ever going to let that incident with the wild boar drop?

  3. Mira_Jade The NSWFF Manager With The Cape

    Manager
    Member Since:
    Jun 29, 2004
    star 4
    This was a very interesting update. =D= I am intrigued to see what Hilda will learn at the druid's side, as I am interested to see what has been discussed in Kili's absence. [face_thinking]
  4. Space_Wolf Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Mar 13, 2007
    star 3
    This next entry should have been included in the last post, but I needed to do something with the map to include it (finding it on my computer, editing it and uploading it.) This week has not been a good one and I've been quite distracted as well. Just when you get one thing sorted out, something else comes along.The map is from the Lord of the Rings Online game.
    _________________________________________________

    Kili's Journal

    [IMG]

    While looking through the archives, I found a small map of Thorin's Gate that Ori had made a while back and put in my journal, because it would be easier to explain the plans to defend the town from attack. There are two weak points at the south of Thorin's Gate where there are passes through the mountains. The river to the west acts as a natural barrier to attack, but we can't rule out that an attack won't come from that direction, so we are planning to take a reconnaissance party out that way to look for signs of orcs. To the east, there is a pass through the mountains where there is a small elven settlement, called the Refuge of Edhelion. We trade with them sometimes, but there is an uneasy truce between them and the town. I think we tolerate each other because we both share the orcs as enemies.

    Balin has of course, sent messages to the elves of Edhelion to warn them of the recent attacks so the elves can be ready for them if they attack from the east. Personally? I think an attack from the orcs is most likely to come through the south-east pass. It is not as well guarded as the other approaches and there is no natural barrier there to hinder their passage.

    We are stepping up patrols to look for signs of the orcs and I will be going out with one again in a few days. We plan to patrol lands west of the town.

    From time to time I glanced out the of window in my room, as I update my journal, wondering what is happening to Hilda. I now regret escorting her to the druid's grove. She would be safer here. I saw that snow was once again descending from the sky.

    It is the waiting that is the hardest part, and most mentally draining. I noticed that Vif and Dwalin's son, Nali and their daughter Lyndheid were quieter than normal in the mead hall at the evening meal, as were the other children, in spite of Bofur's attempts at making them laugh. They picked up on the tension of the adults. My Uncle was absent from the mead hall that evening, and was spending the time with Bild, so Mam and Fili had the job of hosting it. Gloin and Gloa were missing as well, as they were with Gimli.

    Quite a lot of the folk in the town had moved to the mead hall, mostly the old, a few women without men in their household and those with young families as a precaution against an orc attack. I don't know if there was any difference in safety by them doing that, but they sort the comfort of numbers.

    I didn't each much, not because I was worried about an attack on Thorin's Gate. I doubted that the orcs would have the courage to attack, but because of Hilda being out there alone with nothing but an old woman, a sheepdog, a horse and a raven to protect her from harm.

    I heard a knock on the door and a moment later Mam walked in carrying a bowl of stew. I thanked her, because although I didn't feel like eating, I was hungry enough to eat it, even though I didn't want to. We talked as I ate, and somehow, she managed to get me to talk about what had been bothering me, and I think she was beginning to suss out that I had feelings for Hilda, and although I didn't want to let on, there was no hiding things from my own mother.

    --------------------------------------------------------

    Hilda Greenhill's Diary

    24th Afteryule, 2940

    Irieaga has begun to teach me a druidic language called Ogham which I am not allowed to divulge to non-druids. She is aware of my diary and tells me that if I want to write about what I learn, I should write it in Ogham. She said that it would be useful for me to keep a record of the spells I learn, and how I learnt it and how I make it work for me, because I will need to pass my knowledge on to someone else one day. She has given me books on the arcane to read, which is going quite slowly because they are written in Ogham and it will take me some time to learn it fully.

    The good thing? It takes my mind off the attack on the farm and the loss of my family. The bad? I don't like being away from Kili. I miss him.

    Yesterday she went through the various skills that she would be teaching me. A druid is forbidden to wear metal armor, as it interferes with their ability to cast spells. She told me this was one of the reasons dwarves tend to be unsuitable candidates for being a druid. They work with metals all the time. Irieaga herself is proficient with a quarterstaff and she said that she would teach it to me. I am a bit dubious over that. So far, I have proved useless with combat skills. It doesn't come naturally to me at all. She told me that all I needed was practice. I am not so sure on that account. I told her about the practice I'd had with Lyngheid and she said that quarterstaff combat was different, lighter and more reliant on agility than sword fighting. She said that without combat skills, druids, though powerful because of our spells, are vulnerable in battle.

    She told me about her animal companions - her current one was the raven. She's had many over the years of her life, the first one being a wolf. Druids have the ability to communicate and understand animals but it helped to have a natural report with them to begin with. She had many animals in the mountains that were friendly to her, including some creatures which the dwarves would have been weary of (like the wolf that had been her original animal companion). The wolf was long dead, but her descendants roamed the mountains. They avoided conflict with the dwarves, elves and men of the region, mainly because of the connection they had with the druid. I think this explained why we had so little trouble with the wolves preying on our livestock.

    If anyone had suggested to me a year ago that I would be doing this, I would not have believed them.

    --------------------------------------------------------



    Kili's Journal

    30th Afteryule, 2940 - Early Morning

    When Fili, Bofur, Dwalin, Ori, Lyngheid and I rode our ponies within sight of the lake to the west of the town, we encountered a most curious sight. A group of elves had traveled to the lake and were ice dancing on the frozen lake. Most of them appeared to be female, but I am embarrassed to admit that I had difficulty telling the genders apart. Dwalin grumbled something under his breath, something about them trespassing in dwarf lands.

    "Well, will tha look at that?" Lyngheid exclaimed. "It is positively indecent."

    "Aye, that it is," agreed her father.

    "Let's hope the ice breaks," said Bofur.

    Ori and Fili laughed, which made Dwalin glare at them.

    That was all I caught of the conversation because I was mesmerised by the graceful display. It was one of the most beautiful things I had ever seen in my life. I failed to notice that the other dwarves had started to had started to head towards the lake until Dwalin shouted at me. "Kili, stop gawking at those flipping elves," (Except he didn't use the word flipping). "And git darn 'ere!"

    "And stop pretending that staring at scantily clad elven women is a spiritual experience," Lyngheid added with disgust.

    "Has tha forgot about tha wee hobbit lassie already?" Bofur asked as I drew up along side him. "And don't mind Lyngheid -"

    A glare from Lyngheid stopped Bofur from elaborating any further.

    We left the ponies before going on.

    As we drew near, one of the elves sighted us and called a warning to the other elves. They stopped skating and gathered together. They didn't appear to have bows trained on us, so Fili, Dwalin and I adopted a casual approach as we got closer.

    "State your business, elf," Dwalin said.

    While the elf introduced himself, I noticed a raven alight in a tree nearby. The bird seemed to be watching us intently. For a brief moment, I thought of Hilda and the old woman. Could it be the same raven? I really wasn't paying much attention to what the elf was saying, and missed his name, but he did say that they were from the elven settlement to the east and had come to the lake for recreational purposes.

    "It's not really a good time to be travelling," Fili said, and assuming that they had not got Balin's message, informed them of the troubles caused by the orcs, starting with the initial reports we'd had at the beginning of (what did Hilda call it?) Foreyule, the raid on her farm, followed by the reports of the same band and ending with the most recent attack on the patrol in which Bild and Gimli had been injured.

    Throughout it all, Bofur was adding his own colourful, but grizzly embellishments to the account. One of the elven women was beginning to look rather pale as the account went on and Fili, noticing her distress, caught her as she fainted. A dark glare from Dwalin caused Bofur to finally shut his trap, but that was nothing compared to the look he gave Fili as he held the elf maiden in his arms.

    Two elf women moved forward and took her to one side to recover.

    Bofur elbowed me. "Don't have much constitution do they?"

    "Is she alright?" Ori asked.

    While we had been talking, the raven had been slowly moving closer to us and I was growing more convinced that the raven was familiar. The raven seemed to be quite agitated and I started moving towards it. Instead of moving away from me, or taking to the air as I had expected, the raven gave out a loud cry at my approach and stood its ground. It was then that I knew for sure that the raven belonged to the old woman. Did Hilda want to come back to Thorn's Gate so soon?

    Suddenly, there was a blood curdling Warg howl. I have heard the call of normal wolves before, and though they can be startling, they did not frighten me as this did. I have also heard the screams of courting foxes in winter and the sound is no where near as awful as the howls of Wargs. The raven took to the air then, and I watched its flight. It was flying to the south east, in the direction of the old woman's grove. Worse still, I could see smoke rising from that place.

    "So finally, they come," Fili said. He turned to the elf he had been conversing with. "Is this all of your people?"

    "Edhelion is a small settlement, so yes."

    "Then I offer your people sanctuary at Thorin's Gate," Fili said.

    Dwalin took Fili to one side. "Your Uncle's not going to like it."

    "My Uncle's not here."

    While that exchange was taking place, I was headed towards Bungo.

    "Ey Kili, where's tha gooing?" Bofur asked.

    I learnt later that Fili told Ori and Lyngheid to escort the elves back to the Cabbage, but Lyngheid followed us anyway. I just hoped that it wasn't too late by the time we got there. Bungo can be quite fleet of foot when needed and it was only when I was about half way to the druid's grove that I noticed that the others had followed. Dwalin, on his pony, Daisy, and Lyngheid drew up on either side of me. (Dwalin swears that it was his youngest daughter who had named the beast -). Dwalin did not look happy with me and I ignored his shouts to stop, which only made him angrier. I am sure he would forgive me when he gets the chance to orcs' heads, that is, if he decides not to go for me once we get there. I slowed Bungo down as we got near the druid's grove and menacing growling could be heard up ahead. Fili and Bofur caught up with us at this point and Fili told me I was an idiot. He's probably right.

    We heard a scream coming from one of the trees and again, the menacing growling.

    "Wargs?" Lyngheid asked.

    The raven appeared again and gave out another load cry.

    "You've been following that thing?" Dwalin asked me.

    I nodded. "You recognise it?" I asked Fili.

    "Yes."

    It was at that moment that a wolverine crashed through the undergrowth towards the commotion up ahead. Fili explained to Dwalin and Bofur what had happened in the Cabbage a few nights ago.

    "The old hag whose always complaining to Thorin -" began Dwalin.

    "She's bonkers. I thought she'd kicked the bucket," Bofur said.

    "She soon will have if we don't hurry," I said.

    We spurred the ponies onward and we came upon the grove. The druid's house was aflame and the wolverine, along with a bear and a lynx were fighting with the wargs. The old woman was holding off one of the orcs with a quarterstaff. One of the wargs was leaping up at a tree and there was another scream. I drew my bow and took aim at the warg, as I figured it must have been after Hilda. I was concentrating so much on getting a good shot at the creature, that I didn't notice the orc that took a swing at me. Luckily for me, Fili had and it was the orc's head rolling on the ground and not my own.

    Lyngheid, ever fearless, barreled into the fray alongside her father, and they made a good team, Dwalin striking out at the orcs with his axes and Lyngheid fighting them with her sword.

    "Kili!"

    I looked up at the tree that the warg had been leaping at and saw Hilda sat in its branches. I called up to her to stay where she was. The fight was intense and felt like it went on a lot longer than it actually did.

    Thankfully, all of us survived, even if we did take a battering and Lyngheid in particular received a wound. The wolverine and the lynx unfortunately were wounded very badly and died from their wounds, but they didn't die a fruitless death for they had taken a warg or two with them.

    When the fight was over, Irieaga stood leaning on her staff for support as she caught her breath.

    "So Muninn alerted you," Irieaga said. Now that the fighting was over, there was whimpering that could be heard in the undergrowth.

    The raven, Muninn, landed on the ground and started hoping about. I left Fili and Dwalin talking with the old woman and investigated what the raven was trying to communicate to me. The whimpering got louder as I neared a holly bush. I pulled aside the holly branches, ignoring the prickles of the leaves and found Trotter hiding in it. Poor dog.

    Trotter thumped his tail when we saw me and started to crawl out of the undergrowth. He wagged his tail as he stood up and he let me inspect him for injury and I was glad to see that he was unhurt, but his tail soon curled up between his legs.

    Muninn cawed again and flew back to Irieaga.

    The collie followed me back to the other dwarves.

    The brown bear had since disappeared and the other dwarves were putting the fire out before it could spread to the rest of the boreal forest and the druid was inspecting the wolverine and the lynx, sadly. I am not sure that you can make friends of wild creatures, but she acted as if they were.

    Hilda had not joined us so I went over to the tree to see if there was anything wrong. In spite of the fact that his mistress was up in the tree, Trotter stayed back. I don't think he liked the sight of the dead Warg.

    "Hilda, its safe to come down," I said.

    "I know," she replied. She laughed nervously. "I think I'm stuck."

    It took some time to get Hilda down out of that blasted tree, and what made the situation worse is that Nori showed up while I was helping her down. I swear, if I hear one more sitting in a tree gag….

    I am glad that Nori escaped the Wargs, though, even if he is a nuisance. Dwalin gave Nori a right earful for deserting us, and at one point, it looked like he was going to give him a right good shoeing, with Bofur not being very helpful to the situation (as always), but Fili and I managed to talk him out of it. Just.

    Crowberry, having bolted at the scent of the Wargs, had slowly made her way back to the grove and was cropping the sparse grasses next to Bungo and Rowan. There was nothing left of the old woman's house and she reluctantly agreed to come back to Thorin's Gate with us.

    I really could do with a good pint of mead before we went to the meadhall (quite ironic, really). So we went to the Cabbage. It was late afternoon when we arrived.

    Baldric turned Nori out of the inn as soon as he stepped through the door. Ori, who had been waiting at the inn with the elves for us, was overjoyed to see his brother safe and well and left the inn with him. I'd hate to be a fly on the wall when Skafid and Dori saw him, mainly because I would have most likely get squashed when the fireworks start.

    The inn was quite crowded but fortunately, Hilda and I managed to sneak away to a quiet corner with our mead. I cannot describe how awful it was to think that the orcs could her killed her, or worse. Yes, the old woman fought off the orcs much better than I'd have given her credit for, but if not for our timely arrival, I don't think either of them would be alive now.

    "There is something I want you to do," I said, taking the opportunity to bring this up while we were alone, relatively speaking.

    "What is it?" Hilda asked.

    "Meet me at the stables at midnight," I said.

    "Why?" Hilda asked.

    I noticed that Fili was threading his way through the crowd towards us.

    "I don't really have the time to explain it now, but it's really important. Will you do it?"

    "I'll be there."

    I smiled. "Excellent."

    We had just finished the exchange when Fili sat down at our table.

    "What is it, brother?" Fili asked. "You're plotting something, I can tell."

    "We were just wondering how we are going to break the news to Uncle Thorin about the elves without him going ballistic," I said, hoping to steer Fili away from what I'd just asked Hilda to do. I think I might have taken a bit too long to answer because he didn't believe me. He looked at me, than at Hilda and back again.

    "That's not it," Fili said. "But I've a feeling you aren't going to let me in on your secrets."

    We drank one round of mead, a pint each for Fili and myself and a half for Hilda, but neither of us felt like we were quite ready to go to the meadhall, to face Uncle Thorin, so we drank another and then a third.

    "We can't spend all evening hiding here," Fili said, as he put his empty tankard in the middle of the table. "I'll go and round up our elven guests."

    30th Afteryule, 2940 - Evening

    It was not a pretty sight.

    Now, when Uncle Thorin goes ballistic, he doesn't shout at you, throws things or even uses his fists. He looks at you coldly and then, frowning, tells you exactly every thought on his mind. He can insult you and dress you down without cursing and swearing at you. He can make even innocuous words sound like an insult, words like elf, grocer and nephew, all without having to raise his voice. He can even make great praise appear to be disapproval. This time it was no different.

    "So nephews, you bring elves into my meadhall," he said. "You offer warmth, shelter, hospitality and safety to those who would see our people scrat around in poverty, rather than offer aid with their swords or larders."

    Uncle Thorin's words garnered support from the other dwarves in the hall, especially those of my uncle's and grandfather's generation, those old enough to have experienced the sack of Erebor and the years of wandering and war afterwards. Tension was so high that dwarves and elves were on the verge of drawing weapons against each other. Mam, unable to tolerate this got to her feet.

    "Sit down, brother," she said. "And cease this rudeness to our guests."

    With great reluctance, Uncle Thorin sat down on his throne and brooded, but it wasn't enough for the rest of the dwarves and the elves in the hall. Fili and I exchanged anxious glances with each other.

    "I am Dis, Lady of this hall, for my brother has no wife, and you will all heed my words," Mam said. "Violence is forbidden in this hall, and if you cannot put your differences aside, then leave this place. I offer the hall's hospitality to all our guests, the elves included, hospitality that my sons offered with good intentions -"

    "Something which they had no authority to do, sister," Uncle Thorin said.

    "The orcs are our mutual enemy and save your swords, axes, war-hammers and arrows for them," Mam continued, ignoring our Uncle and turning to the elf Lord. "Please accept my apologies, noble elf, and everything the hall has to offer."

    She placed her hand on Uncle Thorin's right shoulder and said quietly to him. "My sons may not be lords of this hall today, brother, but one of them will be king one day and reconciliation with the elves is a wise move and should be supported."

    "You are right, dear sister," Uncle Thorin said. "I let my pride get in the way of wisdom."

    "Pride and stubbornness are your biggest faults, dear brother."


    --------------------------------------------------------

    Hilda Greenhill's Diary

    30th Afteryule, 2940 - Evening

    Peace was restored somewhat after Dis stepped in, though it was quite obvious that Thorin's ill temper was still simmering below the surface. Kili sought my company, as he usually did in the meadhall and I think people was so used to it by now that no one passed comment on it, though it did draw the curiosity of the elves. Bofur, ever talkative, allowed us to have some peace, at least, by answering the questions they asked. Unfortunately, he has a habit of exaggerating a tale and bending the truth to make it sound more fantastical than it actually was, much our embarssimet and to the amusement of Fili, Ori and Gimli, until Thorin glared at them, and Dori and Gloa told them to shut up.

    The elf woman who had passed out turned out to be the elven lord's daughter, Ravauvial complained about the food - it was too heavy and greasy for her and she asked if there were any greens like cabbage to be had. I did notice Fili glancing in her direction a lot throughout the evening.

    "The only cabbage tha'll find round 'ere is t' pub," Bofur informed her.

    "There aren't any vegetables at all?" she asked.

    "Ah wouldn't sey that," Bofur replied. "There's chips, mashed 'taters, roast 'taters, boiled 'taters, 'taters in the stew. Wi would 'ave had shepherd's pie, curtsey o' our hobbit friend, but t' wargs put a stop t' that."

    One of the kitchen women was passing and Ravauvial asked her, "Excuse me, but do you have waldorf salad?"

    I don't think she had any idea of what the elf was talking about, and I must admit, that I didn't either really. She looked at the elf maiden.

    "I'm sorry, but we're fresh ought o' waldorfs," and went back to the kitchens.

    "You can always have some chips," Ori said, passing her the bowl which contained chips.

    "That's alright. I think I'll eat later," she said.

    Ori looked at Dori and his mother. "What exactly goes into a waldorf salad?" he asked tentatively.

    "Eat thi chips, Ori," his mother replied.

    "Tha'll 'ave to excuse Ori," Bofur said to the elf maiden. "His palette is not what wi' call sophisticated, even fo' dwarves!"

    "Tha soon needs t' talk, Bofur. All tha drinks is ale, beer an' mead," Nori said.

    "Please enlighten us, my dear. What goes into a waldorf salad?" Balin asked.

    "It has apples," the elf maiden said.

    "Ah good fo' meking cider an' pies!" Bofur piped up.

    "Bofur, shut thi trap!" said Nori.

    "Tha should shut thine."

    "Both o' yer shut up, or ah'll bang both thi heads together," Skafid warned.

    I heard Vif warn her youngsters to behave themselves and not to copy the behaviour of Bofur and Nori.

    Nori said something which was unrepeatable.

    "At least Ah know what an honest day's work is, which is more tha ken sey, Nori," Bofur said in reply.

    Thorin nodded to Dwalin and Dwalin turffed Nori out of the meadhall before trouble could start.

    "You was saying, my lady?" Balin said to Ravauvial.

    "The other ingredients are celery, lettuce," she answered. Ori pretended to gag at the mention of green food, which got him a dirty look from his mother and Dori.

    "Don't mind Ori. He despises green food," Bofur said. "His mam is allus trying to meke him eat it because she knows he doesn't like it."

    "He scoffs to many chips, which is why ah meke him eat his greens," Skafid replied.

    "Mam!" Ori groaned.

    "Grapes and walnuts," the elf maiden finished.

    Fili got up from his seat at that moment and I saw him head towards the kitchens.

    "Grapes meke good wine, better than any salad," said Bofur. "Though you're out of luck wi walnuts. Kili's partial to 'em scoffed the lot o'ver Yule."

    "Fili helped," Kili replied.

    Fili was gone about ten minutes before coming back with a bowl of apples, grapes and hazel nuts and gave it to Ravauvial. "I wasn't able to find lettuce and celery, and I'm afraid my brother had the last of the walnuts, but I did find some hazel nuts."

    He was going to pour the elf maiden some wine, but a look from his Uncle stopped him and Fili returned to his seat.
    Last edited by Space_Wolf, May 4, 2014
  5. Mira_Jade The NSWFF Manager With The Cape

    Manager
    Member Since:
    Jun 29, 2004
    star 4
    This was a very interesting development, inviting the Elves to stay in Ered Luin. I am definitely interested to see how that develops - especially with Thorin and his dislike. Interesting too are Hilda's lessons with the Druid woman. Those will certainly be some useful skills in the time to come. [face_thinking]

    I loved the naming of the raven Muninn. Nice throw-in there. =D=

    That said, I am sorry that RL is being such a pain for you right now. I hope things smooth out for you soon. =D=
  6. Space_Wolf Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Mar 13, 2007
    star 3
    I don't think that a lot of the dwarves like the idea of elves staying in Ered Luin, but in viking culture, (and Anglo-Saxon, too) people were obliged to welcome travelers (especially if they were in need) and offer hospitality because they might need the same services one day. The older dwarves are being nice to them for curtsey's sake, though the younger ones haven't developed those same prejudices. I've not done much with the background of these elves though because it's quite difficult doing it when you're writing in the first person. (They'll probably show up again at another time.) The elven lord is only a minor lord, and not connected with the Houses of Rivendell, Lorien and Mirkwood.

    There's probably some formatting problems in this (seems to happen frequently with this computer) and the computer connection is annoying me as well.

    ________________________________________


    Hilda Greenhill's Diary

    30th Afteryule, 2940 - Late Evening, approaching midnight

    One thing the orcs had not destroyed when they attacked was my diary and the books on druidic lore that Irieaga had given me. It was tempting to do some reading, but I feared that if I did so, I would fall asleep and miss my appointment with Kili. What did he want, I wondered? So I set the books with my diary by my bedside table and made a note to go looking in the library to see if there was any ueseful lore there. I doubted it, but there might be something.

    The hardest part of sneaking out to meet Kili was attempting to get out of a house full of people unnoticed. Bild and Gimli were still in the house due to their injuries, so it wasn't just Fili, Thorin and Dis I had to get past. I waited until I was sure that everyone was asleep, lit a lantern, and tiptoed down stairs. Passing Bild's room, I found that the door was open and that Thorin was in there with her. I paused, wondering how I was going to get past without being seen, but I relaxed a little when the sound of snoring told me he was asleep. Carefully, I tiptoed past and went out the front door.

    Snow had fallen again and I saw another set of footprints, bigger than mine, lead away from the house, the difference being that they didn't begin at the front door! They lead to the stable and I followed them. The snow was cold to my feet, even through the thick hair that protected them from the elements, so I walked quickly. When I got to the stable, the door was slightly ajar and I found Kili sat waiting for me on a bale of straw. The ponies were asleep and in one corner Trotter snored loudly, at least, for a dog.

    "Let's go up into the hayloft," Kili said, noticing my shivering. "It will be warmer up there."

    As Kili climbed up the ladder, I noticed that for the first time, he was clad only in a shirt and trousers.

    "Pass the lantern up," he said, when he got to the top and was lying on his stomach and leaning over the edge of the floor. I passed it up to him, barely able to lift it high enough for him to take it from me. It was a good thing that the lantern was behind glass.

    I climbed up the ladder and when I got to the top, I noticed that his coat was hung up on a nail. I also discovered that he must have put some effort into planning this because he had brought up a flask of mead, a couple of half pint tankards, some bread and cheese, and a couple of blankets, as well as his Hnefetafl set.

    "Did you ask me out here for a late night game of Hnefetafl?" I asked.

    "If you want to," Kili replied. "I really just wanted to talk."

    Kili uncorked the flask and poured us both a drink before sitting down opposite me.

    "And have something to eat and drink, I suppose?"

    Suddenly, I was overcome with a nervousness that I'd never felt before and it was kind of silly because we'd been very relaxed in each other's company up until now, but tonight there was something different about him. I noticed the same tension I was feeling in Kili.

    "This is kind of difficult for me to say," Kili began. "And there are quite a few quite a few reasons for this."

    "Go on."

    "You've been through quite a lot, recently, with the loss of your family and I didn't think it was the right time to tell you."

    My nervousness had increased and I took a sip of mead to attempt to steady my nerves, but I don't think it was helping much. I noticed Kili did the same.

    "But when I thought I lost you today, the orc attack, I realised that I'd been wrong to hold back telling you."

    "What do you mean, Kili?"

    "You see, if you'd died today, I would have lost the opportunity - you would have died without knowing - I, I couldn't live with that."

    I repeated my question and put my mead to one side.

    "I'm rambling. I'm sorry. I don't really know how to tell you what I mean." Kili said, setting his mead down as well.

    Catching on, I said, "Then show me, what you mean, Kili, or do I have to -" I had been about to say do it for you, but didn't get the chance.

    "Like this?" he asked, leaning forward and kissing me. I wrapped my arms round his shoulders. To get more comfortable, I laid down on my back, pulling him with me.

    "Exactly like this," I said, kissing him back. The nervousness hadn't gone, though.

    Kili broke off my kiss and looked down at me. "How did you I felt like this?" he asked.

    "I know, because I felt the same way when you was gorged by the boar," I replied.

    Kili grinned at me. "Then as we both feel the same way, it is silly to try and hide it from each other," he said.

    I smiled. "It is even sillier not to act on those feelings," I said, not believing that I could say such a thing.

    "How do you want me to act on them?" Kili asked.

    "Just act on them," I said.

    "Like this?" he asked, kissing me again.

    We soon got very intimate indeed.

    _______________


    Kili's Journal


    1st Solmath, 2940 - Morning

    It felt like a great weight had been lifted off me when I woke up the next morning in the barn's hayloft. I woke first and I watched Hilda as she slept peacefully. Did I write a few entries ago that the elven ice dancing was the most beautiful thing I'd ever seen? Well, I was wrong in that assessment. The morning was perfect, aside from one small thing which I was soon going to find out.

    The door to the stable creaked open.

    "Damn it, Dis, where is that boy?" I heard Uncle Thorin's raised voice. Mam's reply was indistinguishable. If he caught us up here, I was in trouble.

    "He knows it's his job to see to the ponies."

    It appears that I've over slept. Hilda woke up at the sound of voices and I gestured for her to be quiet. I had chosen the stable's hayloft as our meeting place precisely because I had to see to the ponies. What I'd not anticipated was that the delay in sleeping would make me sleep past the time I normally got up. Mam must have entered the stables because her reply was quite clear.

    "I assumed he was down here as his bed was empty when I looked in on him this morning."

    "At least he's not lazy, then," Uncle Thorin said. "Have you seen the hobbit lass this morning?"

    "No. She wasn't in her room, either."

    "I bet he's mooning around with her again. He clearly hasn't been here today."

    Uncle Thorin really didn't sound too happy with me, and I hoped he didn't decide to come up here. If he did…. I missed Mam's reply.

    "I know that, but this shirking of responsibility is intolerable. The ponies haven't had their coats brushed, there's no fresh water in the drinking through, the hay nets are empty -" there was a pause. "Their hooves haven't been picked and their oats haven't been mixed up. I'll feed them, Dis, and give them freshwater, but that's really all I have time to do."

    He didn't mention anything about cleaning the stables out, but I don't think he needed to.

    "If I see Kili, I'll send him o the stables. I'll also have a word with him as well. With Bild and Gimli at the house, I'm pressed for time as well," Mam said.

    "You shouldn't be doing Kili's work for him, Dis, so don't feel like you have to. I'll have a word or two with him myself when I catch up with him."

    Uncle Thorin's voice softened a little as he spoke to Misty.

    There was a banging on the wall outside, as if someone was knocking snow off his or her boots.

    "Maybe that's Kili now," Mam said.

    "It had better be."

    It was Fili.

    "Fili, has tha seen that brother of thine?" Uncle Thorin asked him.

    "When I saw him earlier, he said he was going up to the crafting hall with some tack that needed mending," Fili replied. Of course, it was a lie, but I was glad to see that he was willing to cover for me.

    "I'll head up there now," Uncle Thorin said. "He'd better be there."

    "You might not find him there."

    "And why not?" Uncle Thorin asked my brother.

    "He said he needed to go to the armoury to pick up replacement arrows. He used up a lot of them yesterday."

    "Which is right next to the flipping crafting hall," Uncle Thorin said. I could hear the impatience in his voice.

    "He said after that, that he was going to help Ori with his sword practice."

    "Accept Ori doesn't use a sword," was my Uncle's reply.

    "That's why he needs the practice," Fili replied.

    "A busy fellow, this brother of yours. A pity he doesn't do the tasks that have been assigned to him," Uncle Thorin said. "He'd better get his work done here by noon, or there'll be hel to pay. And he'd better not be cavorting with those elves."

    I thought I heard Fili, Mam and Uncle Thorin exit the stables, but I wasn't quite sure.

    "You know Dis, I love those sons of yours dearly as if they were my own, but sometimes -"

    We waited where we laid for a few minutes and in spite of everything, it was very difficult not to reveal our presence by bursting out laughing. I don't think Uncle Thorin would have been pleased if he'd known that we were right above him, and the more we tried to suppress our mirth, the more difficult it became.

    "Well, that was close," I said, grinning at Hilda.

    "Could you imagine what your Uncle would have done had he come up here and saw us like this?" Hilda asked.

    "He probably would have killed us," I said, getting to my feet and started to dress. I was freezing, and I'm sure Hilda was as well. With Hilda's help, I began the work of caring for the ponies.

    "Do you think he bought Fili's attempts at covering for you?"

    "Nay," I replied. "I think it would be best if we stayed out of my Uncle's way for a while and keep our heads down."

    "Agreed," Hilda replied.

    "Still, I'd better talk to Ori. Make sure that if anyone asks about this, that he'll tell them we were practicing sword-play."

    Of course, if Uncle Thorin and Mam had bothered to take notice, they would have seen that we were somewhere near by because Trotter was curled up asleep in one of the currently empty stalls.

    __________________________


    Hilda Greenhill's Diary

    1st Solmath, 2940

    Being in love is wonderful, and it is almost strange to think that the orcs are on the verge of attacking Thorin's Gate when I feel this way. It doesn't seem right, some how. What is also difficult to come to terms with is the happiness that I am feeling right now. After losing my family in such an awful manner, I didn't think that I would ever be happy again. Do I even have the right to be happy? I don't think I do, not when I can't share it with my parents and brothers. Due to my current circumstances, my love for Kili also has a lot of sadness attached to it.
  7. Mira_Jade The NSWFF Manager With The Cape

    Manager
    Member Since:
    Jun 29, 2004
    star 4
    Another wonderful update! I loved Kili and Hilda's finally giving a voice to his feelings, and the nearly getting caught was fun to read too. Fili is the best brother. :p

    =D=
  8. Space_Wolf Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Mar 13, 2007
    star 3
    Ok, I've now had a flu- like illness for a week and today it finally decides that it wants to go to the blocked/runny nose, streaming eye stage. Great!
    --------------------------------------------------------
    Kili's Journal

    2nd Solmath

    We continued to keep a careful vigilance for orcs. Even my uncle got involved. I think he wanted a break from, what he saw, as the elven intrusion into his realm, and so on the second day of Solmath we went out on a patrol. Unfortunately for my uncle, the elven lord's son, Vidar and the captain of the elven lord's guard, Adair decided to accompany us. My uncle's first instinct was to decline their request, but Mam, as she had done before, persuaded him to allow them to accompany us. The company was made up of Fili, Dwarlin, Gloin, Bofur, Bifur, Bombur, Lyngheid and myself.

    As we set out, Uncle Thorin walked beside Dwalin and Gloin. "Watch them carefully," he said in
    Khuzdul.

    "You think they may betray us?" I asked in Khuzdul.

    "I am more concerned with them surviving if we encounter orcs," Uncle Thorin replied in Khuzdul. "There is enough enmity between dwarves and elves as it is."

    "Maybe there wouldn't be a problem if there wasn't a woman among you," Vidar said in our tongue.

    "I do not doubt the loyalty or capability of any of the women of my folk, even the hobbit lass," Uncle Thorin replied. "I trust Lyngheid to watch my back. It is more than I could say for an elf."

    The insults and jibes only worsened from there on. What was incredible about it was that it didn't end up in blood shed. Dwalin looked like he wanted to bury one of his axes into the elven lord's son's skull. The elves wouldn't win, of course. There were too many dwarves present who would back Uncle Thorin up. Fili, Lyngheid and I kept out of it, and we walked ahead. I don't really understand all the hostility between my people and the elves. I can understand my Uncle's stance, though. The lack of support from the elves after the sacking of Dale and the loss of Erebor to the dragon from the elves not only caused our folk to suffer, but it helped contribute to the deaths of my great-grandmother and grandmother, if my Mam's account of events afterwards was to be believed. Dwarf women are rare and as a result, their loss is keenly felt.

    What I don't understand is the mistrust that the elves hold towards my folk. Is there something which occurred between our two people's that I've not been told? As we walked, ahead, out of earshot of our companions, I asked Fili if he knew of anything. He said that he didn't and it was as much a mystery to Lyngheid as it was to my brother and myself. Whatever it was, it must have been something so terrible that our older relatives didn't want to discuss, or it had happened such a long time ago that our folk no longer remembered what it was.

    "Whatever the reason, it is dishonourable for both of our folk to be embroiled in past grievances when we have a common enemy to fight in the orcs," I said.

    "That is what Mam thinks, and why I asked them to stay," Fili said. "If our folk are to become strong again, if we are to survive, we need to put aside the past. When I am king after Uncle Thorin, I want to reconcile those differences. I know not everyone will be in agreement, but I am glad that I can count on your support, brother."

    "You can count on mine, as well, Fili," said Lyngheid.

    "Do you think we would ever get Uncle Thorin to change his mind?" I asked.

    "I don't know," Fili said.

    Uncle Thorin is so set in his ways. I think Fili's answer was more that he thought along the same lines as I do, that we wouldn't get Uncle Thorin to change his mind, but he doesn't want to admit that it is so. I suppose that it is up to Fili and I to ensure that relations with the elves aren't damaged further than they already are. The question was, how do we begin to change things? I posed the question.

    "I don't think we would get anywhere with Lord Njall," Fili said, mentioning the lord of Edhelion. "And from the exchange between Uncle Thorin and his son, I don't think I would get very far. Perhaps the key is Ravauvial?"

    I noticed that Lyngheid looked a bit crestfallen at the mention of the elf maiden, but she hid it again before Fili noticed.

    "Ravauvial?" I asked. "I don't know, Fili."

    A dwarf man and an elf lady?

    I don't think Lyngheid liked where the conversation was headed and increased her pace so that she was ahead of us. I looked around to make sure that none of the other dwarves, especially my Uncle, or Dwalin, where within ear shot, and to also ensure that the two elves wouldn't over hear us, either.

    "You can't be serious, brother," I said, quietly.

    "I only want to talk to her, Kili," Fili replied.

    "And just how do you propose to do that?" I asked. I knew that none of the dwarf women, Mam included, would ever agree to speak to the elf maiden on my brother's behalf, and it is not something that I could ever accomplish without causing trouble. Ori or Gimli might agree to do it, but it would end in the same result.

    "Hilda," was his answer. "You could ask her to talk to her."

    "Hilda?"

    "All she needs to do is ask Ravauvial to meet me so we can talk."

    "Alright. I'll ask her."

    I had the feeling that there was more to this than Fili was letting on, but I kept that suspicion to myself.

    Lyngheid got her opportunity to prove to the doubting elves that she is an excellent warrior when we came across a small group of orcs. I think my Uncle was pleased because it wiped (in his opinion), the smug, arrogant expressions off their faces, especially when she got Vidar out of trouble. The fight was nothing more than a skirmish, really and I think it allowed Uncle Thorin to let off some steam and brought my folk and the elves together for a common purpose - ridding the mountains of the orcs responsible for the attack on Hilda's home. It wasn't the end of it, though, because there was evidence of a much larger group of orcs out there. We kept one of the orcs alive and Dwalin was able to make the creature talk. He told us they were an advance party of a much larger group of orcs that was poised to attack Thorin's Gate and Edhelion. The orc then tried to attack Lyngheid and together, Uncle Thorin and Dwalin dispatched him. If there is one dwarf I would not want to get on the wrong side of, it's Dwalin.

    Uncle Thorin decided then that it would be a good idea to return to Thorin's Gate. We needed to complete the preparations to defend the town against the forthcoming battle.

    It was in the early evening when we returned. I found Hilda in the meadhall and drew her to one side. Luckily for once, no one was paying us much attention as they were more interested in Bofur's exaggerated tale of how we had defeated the group of orcs. From the snippets of the tale I caught, the orcs became an army, Dwalin defeated about fifty of them, and my Uncle killed one the size of a cave troll with his bare hands. I didn't catch what Fili and I were supposed to have done, or Lyngheid, but you can bet it was something ridiculously outrageous. He down played the part of the elves to make them look foolish and cowardly, which, along with Mam poking holes in the story, sparked off a debate, which Uncle Thorin, Dwalin, Fili and Lyngheid wisely stayed out of. I had to laugh.

    "Bofur ought to go tell that tale down at the Cabbage," I said.

    "Did it really happen like that?" Hilda asked.

    "Not at all," I replied.

    "I am glad you are safe," Hilda said.

    I glanced around, making sure that no one was listening to us. I saw that Uncle Thorin, Dwalin, Balin, Fili and Gloin were talking together in a small group - discussing plans to save Thorin's Gate, I supposed. I saw that they were joined by Lord Njall, his son and the guard. Lyngheid was talking with her sister and mother. Ori was scribbling something in his journal. It looked like he was drawing the elven women who were sat in a group together. The rest of the dwarves and elves were taking part in the stupid debate.

    "I want to talk to you outside," I said.

    We slipped out without anyone noticing we had gone. I briefly explained what Fili and I had discussed.

    "I will pass the message on. The difficulty will be catching Ravauvial on her own. She is almost always in the company of her mother or one or other of her mother's handmaidens, but I will try my best. Where would Fili want to meet with her?"

    "He wants to meet her at Edhelion Watch, and you and I will be there," I replied.




    3rd Solmath, 2940

    Hilda and I continued our romantic involvement. Most of the time we just talked, either while we cared for the ponies or walked along the more isolated mountain paths that ran around Thorin's Gate. With the threat of orcs and the coldness of winter, we didn't go far from the town and it was only for an hour or so everyday. Though it was tempting, we didn't repeat our tryst in the hayloft. It was just too risky.

    When we weren't looking after the ponies or taking a walk in the mountain passes, we spent little time together and when we did, we tried to down play it. Whether this worked or not, I don't know. I did catch Ori and asked him, that if anyone asked, we were practicing sword fighting that morning. He did ask why and I made up some story that I hoped sounded plausible.

    I did get a tongue lashing from Mam about my lateness the other day and Uncle Thorin had words with me as well. Fortunately, I don't think they caught on to what I'd really been doing, but they did notice that I was spending less time with Hilda when we took our meals in the meadhall, and I think it made Mam in particular somewhat suspicious. She never asked me about it directly, though.

    I wanted to talk to someone about what was happening between Hilda and myself, but I don't know what Uncle Thorin's reaction would be if I approached him, and I was too embarrassed to bring the subject up with Mam. Fili I knew I could talk to, but he would be just as clueless about things as myself. I couldn't talk to Bofur and Nori about it, as they would just broadcast it to everyone and Dwalin is just as likely to knock my teeth out as he is to listen to me. What a mess I'm in! It just didn't feel right at all to talk to any of the dwarf women about it. And so I found myself in Balin's office adjacent to the library one day.

    I passed Ori and Lofnheid working on some contraption which Ori called a printing press. They'd been working on it for awhile now because they wanted to find a more efficient way of producing and copying documents instead of just writing them out all the time. It looked like it was nearing completion.

    When I told Balin that I wanted to speak to him about a private matter, he hung a Do not disturb sign on the door and shut it against any unwelcome eavesdroppers. I briefly told him what it was about.

    "I wondered when you would be asking me about this," Balin said.

    "Is it that obvious?" I asked.

    "You two have been joined at the hip since you and Fili rescued her, laddie, so it's obvious," Balin replied. "The only time you aren't seen together is when you're on some kind of errand for your Uncle."

    "It's understandable that you are smitten with her, lad. There aren't many dwarf women around, especially ones close to your age and of the ones that are, Lyngheid and Lofnheid, they are blood relatives. My advice for you is that you wait a few years. Your Uncle will be sending you, Fili, Ori and Gimli and the two lasses to your cousin Dain in the Iron Hills when you are of age. It is a bigger settlement, there will be more dwarf women there and your feelings for Hilda could have burnt themselves out by then."

    I must say that I didn't like the idea of falling out of love with Hilda. It didn't even seem possible.

    "So your advice is to just wait?" I asked.

    "Aye, laddie."

    "And if I don't stop feeling what I do for Hilda?" I asked.

    "Then your Mam will have a hobbit for a daughter-in-law."

    "You don't think there will be any problems with it?" I asked.

    "There will be some objections, I am sure," Balin said.

    I thought of those fur-faced kitchen bats and I shuddered. I hoped none of the women in Dain's kingdom were like that. Besides, they shouldn't complain, really. Since every one of them were unmarried and had children (at least the ones currently young enough to have them). There were rumours that Bombur was the father, since he practically lived in the kitchens when he wasn't travelling with my Uncle. I wouldn't put it past Nori or Bofur to be responsible for some of them either.

    "Of course, laddie, I'd thought I'd better bring this up now, so you won't be caught out later. You and Fili both may be forced to make an alliance with one or more of the lesser dwarf clans and have no choice in who you marry. It wouldn't matter too much for someone like Ori, or even Gimli, because they have little chance, if ever, of sitting on the throne. A great disaster would have to befall our people if that were to happen, but you and Fili? You and your brother are a different matter entirely."

    "If that's the case, why has my Uncle never married?" I asked.

    "Your Uncle's case is complicated," Balin replied.

    Would there be room for Hilda if I had to choose someone else for political reasons? I decided then that I hated politics. Another thought struck me then. If what Balin suggested came to pass, what would become of Hilda? She had lost so much already.

    "Dwarves are a practical people, Kili. It is not as if she's an elf."

    It felt good to get it off my chest, but I am not sure if Balin's advice has helped, or just made things more complicated.

    _______________________________

    Hilda's Diary

    4th Solmath, 2940

    The threat of the orcs has not gone away. Lots of the dwarves were nervous, with the children and women wearing it more openly, except for Dis, Lyngheid, and Bild, but I could tell that they were worried. The Dwarf men did what they could to hide their worry, but weren't always as successful as they wanted to be. Bofur stopped making his jokes, Dwalin was very concerned about his young family, a concern which his brother, Balin shared. Thorin, well, he was more irritable than usual and snapped at everyone, especially those closet to him. Dis told Fili and Kili to pay no mind to it - their Uncle had a lot to deal with. As a result, Kili did more to assist Thorin than he usually did, which seemed to improve Thorin's mood some what and we kept our relationship low key and didn't spend as much time with each liked.

    It was very difficult to find the time to concentrate on my druid studies. For much of it, we needed solitude because the secrets of our arts were not to be shown to non-druids. With the orcs getting ever bolder, it was deemed too risky to spend a lot of time away from town and Irieaga and I were limited in what we could do. We did spend a lot of time in the library reading up on arcane matters, but much of the texts were in the dwarven language of Khuzdul, which neither of us could read. We were working on summoning spells, as these were one of the most important defense spells to druids and I saw Kili talking to Ori and Lofnheid. I went over to him and asked him if he could translate a scroll for me. I think had Ori or Lofnheid had been paying attention they would have stopped him from reading it, but they didn't because they were working on a strange contraption that they were inventing.

    "It's an old dialect, I'm not sure if I can help," Kili replied.

    "Maybe it would help if you read it aloud?" I suggested.

    "Alright, I'll give it a try," Kili said.

    Kili began reading it aloud, pausing at some words while he worked out what the next word should be, because either the runic spelling of the word had changed, or because it was a word which had since dropped out of common usage. We were concentrating so much on the meaning of the words on the scroll that neither of us noticed the portal that had begun to open, until Lofnheid screamed and Ori asked what Kili was doing.

    Kili dropped the scroll when he saw the pack of fiendish dire rats that had made their way through the portal. Thorin, Balin, Fili and Dwalin came out of Balin's office to see what the commotion was about as one of the rats leapt at us. Kili saw the attack coming and pushed me out of the way, only to get into the creature's path himself. Trotter snarled at and worried the rat that pinned Kili, even though it was twice his size, but it was Thorin who finally rescued his nephew. Irieaga attempted to calm the creatures, but was unsuccessful because they weren't ordinary animals.

    By this time, Ori and Lofnheid had figured out what was going on and attempted to get hold of the scroll, to close the portal to prevent more of the creatures from coming through, or to send them back, I'm not sure which, but for everyone that was dispatched, another seemed to take its place. Needless to say the library was a complete mess. Thorin, Fili and Kili fought along side each other, which was an impressive sight to see. I felt completely useless as I tried to keep out of the rats' reach. Dwalin seemed to be enjoying it. I managed to get to the scroll and passed it to Ori, and he managed at least to get the portal closed, but the rats stayed. However, when one was killed, there were no more to replace it. We would win this fight.

    Sounds of fighting brought more dwarves to the scene and the crisis was soon dealt with. Once over, I saw that the rats were bigger than me. Fortunately, aside from bites (even though these were quite painful and nasty) and scratches, no one was badly injured, and Irieaga, through the use of her healing spells and Oin were able to deal with the wounds.

    "Get them out of here and burn them," Thorin ordered, when Irieaga had seen to his wounds (he had told her to see to Kili first, because he was most badly injured). He turned to Kili. "Kili, just what were you doing?"

    "It wasn't Kili's fault," I said. "I am to blame. I asked him to translate the scroll for me."

    I expected Thorin to say something, but he didn't. He just glared at me. Kili and I offered to straighten the mess of the library out, as it was our fault, and for some reason, Ori and Lofnheid got some of the blame, as well, just for being in the vicinity. Their contraption needed repair. A lot of the furniture was broken, either accidently, or on purpose to fight the rats off. A lot of the books needed repairing as well (if it was possible) and Balin told us to put the damaged books to one side so he, Ori and Lofnheid could have a look at them later. Needless to say, Kili and I weren't allowed anywhere near the arcane section after that.

    4th (Afternoon) - 5th Solmath (Afternoon)

    By chance, I did manage to speak with Ravauvial as Kili had asked. It had been sometime on the same day of the incident in the library when we were clearing up. Ravauvial, along with the handmaidens Maeve and Eilora, had come to the library for reading material. Kili called Lofnheid over to help them find something to read, and Kili and I offered to help Ravauvial.

    "What happened? It looks like fighting in here," Ravauvial.

    "Oh it's just a slight accident," Kili said, spying Ori in Balin's office, inspecting the damaged books. "Ori was re-shelving some books, knocked over a bookcase, and brought the whole lot down. We were passing and decided to help straighten the place up again."

    "I see," the elf maiden said.

    "Are you looking for anything in particular? It might take a while to find it in all this mess," Hilda said.

    "I was looking for dwarven poetry, songs, that kind of thing. I compose music," Ravauvial replied.

    "I'll go ask Lofnheid where books like that are kept," Kili said, leaving me with the elf maiden.

    I didn't know how to bring the subject up with Ravauvial directly, so I asked her if she had seen all of Thorin's Gate yet. If I offered to show her around the place, maybe we could by chance, meet Fili and Kili at Edhelion Watch.

    "I have not had the opportunity," she replied.

    "I could show you," I replied. "I have been in Thorin's Gate now since Foreyule and I have learnt my way around quite well. Would tomorrow afternoon be convenient?"

    Ravauvial agreed and I informed Kili of the time. She wanted to bring her mother and the handmaidens, but I talked her out of it - I wasn't sure if Fili wanted them there or not. I assumed that they didn't.

    Snow fall has become such a constant occurrence in the mountains that it is no longer worth noting it, but it was there the next afternoon when we made our way from the warmth of the meadhall to Edhelion Watch. We met Fili and Kili by the frozen fountain.

    I noticed that both of the brothers were armed and I looked around, expecting orcs to be everywhere. Maybe this wasn't just a good idea? I thought back to the orc attack in Irieaga's grove and shuddered. Fili asked Ravauvial if she minded having a word with him and Kili and I walked away to give them privacy, but we stayed with in sight of them incase there was trouble from the orcs. Even Trotter was uneasy, scenting the air and staying close to us. There was no bird song, and I wondered if that was because of something sinister moving in the tree-line, or because of the cold day. I felt so exposed out there and I think the recent events were catching up with me.

    Kili wrapped his arm around my shoulders and that action chased some of my apprehension away, but the uneasiness I felt still bothered me, even if it was reduced.

    Although the days had been lengthening, dusk came early and I was relieved when we were making our way back to town. If anyone asked why Ravauvial was traveling with the brothers, we had made up the story that we had come across each other on the road, and they offered to walk with us because of the orc threat. Fili and Ravauvial seemed to get on with each other. When we were in sight of the Cabbage, and in the vicinity of others, my nervousness began to recede.

    I don't know what had made me so uncomfortable out there. When I lived on the farm with my family, I often spent hours alone in the fields keeping watch over the livestock and never felt that uneasy. I suppose since the orc raid, and everything that had occurred since then, I began to see the world through different eyes. It has suddenly become a much more dangerous place.

    ____________________________________________________________

    Kili's Journal

    5th - 6th Solmath, 2940

    The orcs attacked in the night. I was sleeping and the first thing I knew about it was Mam waking me. Hilda and Fili were already awake and it was quite a sight to see Mam, Fili and Uncle Thorin fighting orcs in their nightwear. Hilda, having no weapons to fight with at all, used chairs, candlesticks, porcelain and anything else she could get her hands on to fight off the orcs that got in. Bild had recovered from her injury enough to fight side by side with Mam, but Gimli kept out of it pretty much because he was still suffering badly and lingered at the back. Trotter, I don't know what happened to him during the fighting. Fili, Uncle Thorin and myself did most of the fighting until Bofur, Bifur, Bombur and Dwalin showed up to get us out of the mess. The ponies had broken out of their stalls and I could see that the stable was alight. There was only enough time to wish that they were unhurt and would return of their own accord. Mam, Bombur and Hilda assisted Gimli and Bild along the path to the meadhall, where a better defense could be mounted.

    In the distance, I could see that the Cabbage was on fire, but Baldric had escaped unhurt and joined us as we made our way to the meadhall.

    Many dwarves, however, had not been so lucky, but fortunately, there were none that I recognised immediately and there were no children or women amongst them. It still wasn't a good sight to behold and we would have our work cut out for us dealing with their remains later. The children were up at the meadhall as it was deemed to be the best place to defend them during an attack.

    Elven archers covered our flight and someone opened the meadhall door for us. Lyngheid, Gloin, and Dori came out of the meadhall and helped fight off pursing orcs that the elven archers had missed. I had to admire Lyngheid's spirit. She would have made a good warrior queen for Fili had she not been a blood relative.

    Mam and Hilda got Gimli inside and into the waiting arms of his mother. I lingered outside until Bild, Bofur, Bifur and Bombur had gone inside, followed by Dori and Gloin. Dwalin literally had to manhandle Lyngheid to make her return to safety and Fili and I dealt with our stubborn mother. Uncle Thorin was the last dwarf to go inside the meadhall, as he wanted to ensure no one was stuck out there in need of help. Balin and Ori firmly shut the door behind him once he was inside.

    Sometime during the flight (and I must have missed it with all the chaos unfolding around me), Trotter had turned up and was sat at Hilda's feet. I was glad the dog was unharmed, but I was more relieved to see Hilda safe and sound.

    Vif was there with all her children, including Lofnheid. Skafid was wielding a pair of blood stained knitting needles. I pitied (briefly) the orc who had crossed her path. The fur-faced kitchen bats and their offspring (there were six fur-faced kitchen bats in all, five of them young, one elderly and the matron of the kitchens), and each of the young women had at least three young children, a couple of them had a baby and one looked like she had another on the way. (Or she could just have been immensely fat, it was difficult to tell). It always amazed me how Mam maintained some sense of authority over that rabble. I noticed Vif was keeping a close eye on her brood.

    Oin was bringing Uncle Thorin's spare set of armour and Mam helped him into it. It somehow made him look even more ridiculous, with his nightshirt visible beyond the end of the chain mail, but I don't think anyone had the guts to tell him.

    The elf women were huddled together in a group, the mother (the wife of the elf lord) and the handmaidens trying to keep the daughter from having a panic attack. Baldric offered her a mug of mead.

    There was no sign of Irieaga and I sincerely hoped that she wasn't among the casualties outside.

    I joined the elven archers and found myself fighting along side a pair of elf brothers called Elladan and Elrohir. Looking out, I could see the druid woman and shouted, "Keep the orcs away from her."

    I was thinking of saving her life when I shouted that, but in truth, it was her who saved the town. She called down lightening to strike the orcs down and attacked them with spheres of flame. I wasn't even aware that she possessed such magics. It gave Uncle Thorin the time he needed to plan and conduct a counter offensive on the orcs and by sun rise, the fighting was all but over.

    Many homes had been ruined beyond repair and would have to be rebuilt. The Cabbage had been completely raised to the ground, with only an out house that stored liquor remaining intact. All the ponies had bolted and we hoped that they weren't victims of the remaining orcs and wargs, for although with the druid's help and the assistance of the elves, it had been impossible to get every last one which had attacked the town. We would search for them later as the more pressing matters of seeing to the wounded and dead were our primary concern.

    Dwarves and men were found alive in the wreckage of some of the buildings and these were taken to the meadhall to be cared for by Oin and the women. The elves had lost their home as there had been no one to defend it, and as they had helped defend Thorin's Gate against the orcs, my Uncle offered them shelter until they had rebuilt their homes. It didn't make up for the lack of assistance the elves had given the dwarves in my Great Grandfather's time, but my Uncle can be gracious when he wants to be.

    Elladan and Elrohir told Fili and I about the torture of their mother at the hands of orcs as we burnt the corpses of orcs and wargs. The tale told at the Cabbage seemed even more fantastical after that. Thick black smoke and the foul smell of burning flesh gave the air an ill taint and it is not something I will forget in a hurry.

    Dead dwarves were taken into the mines for burial near the tombs of my dead kin. We got a surprise about mid morning when an Ent, known afterwards as Dvärgvän a friend of the druid's came out of the alpine forests and assisted us with the clear up. The Ent, the druid's raven, Muninn and Trotter allowed us to recover many trapped dwarves and saved a lot of lives which otherwise would have been lost.

    Night was drawing in when we retreated to the meadhall. Many dwarves had no where else to go because their home was lost, and of those that hadn't, went to the meadhall anyway because they were needed in the meadhall. Elladan and Elrohir went to sit with the other elves.

    Hilda and I had not seen each other all day and we exchanged a hug and a kiss which lasted longer than was appropriate, but no one seemed to notice or care. Then, side by side, we sat with Mam and Uncle Thorin who were talking with the druid woman. She looked drained and she explained that she had not released so much power for a long time and that it would take her a few days to recover her strength. I wondered what impact age had on it.

    Looking around the hall, most of the dwarves were huddled in small groups discussing the day's events, most with their families, or what was left of them, if they weren't tending to the injured. Those dwarves that lacked family (or were estranged in some way) were gathered around a table where Baldric had taken up residence and was behaving like it was his own personal public house. Uncle Thorin noticed, but he was too exhausted to take issue with it, - for the moment.

    Fili was talking to the elven lord's daughter and Uncle Thorin did take issue with that. He wasn't the only one, however, because the elven lord sent his daughter's handmaidens to escort her away. Uncle Thorin glared at Fili angrily when he joined us.

    The hall was as crowded as it was had been over the Yule celebration, but it lacked the air of frivolity. That evening, the headhall's atmosphere was gloomy and oppressive, and none of us felt like going to our homes, if they were still intact. I think we all needed the reassurance of the company of others.

    The dead dwarves would give the stone masons weeks of work as they made fitting monuments to the house the dead. It is not work that I envy.

    __________________________________________________________________

    Hilda's Diary

    6th Solmath - Evening

    It had been a wretched day. I have spent much of it assisting Gloin, Irieaga, Skafid, Dis, the elf women and the other dwarf women with the wounded from the battle, and there are many. Irieaga would have used her healing spells but her powers had been spent in the battle and she had nothing at all left. As yet, I have not yet mastered even the most rudimentary spells and can do nothing to help other than make them more comfortable.

    There has been no time to stop and think about what has happened and in some ways, I think that is a good thing - if I'd been allowed to stop and think, I don't think I would have been any assistance at all. The healing knowledge of the elves is tremendous, and there is no doubt in my mind that we would have lost many dwarves had we not had their help. It is something that not even Thorin could complain about. Still, it wasn't with out loss. Some of the causalities were so far gone that all we could do was make them comfortable as they died. Most of these were dwarf men, as none of the women had been in the fighting, and there were also a couple of elf casualties that didn't make it.

    Kili had spent the day looking for survivors and disposing of the slain orcs and wargs. I don't ever remember seeing him look so weary when they finished. Most of the dwarves didn't return to their homes that night and stayed in the meadhall. I was tired, but I didn't think that I could sleep. My mind was running the days events over and over again in my mind. Was there anything that I could have done differently that would have saved some dwarf's life? I don't know the answer to that.

    Eventually I did sleep, with Kili at my side, and Fili, Dis and Thorin sleeping, or rather, attempting to, nearby.
  9. Mira_Jade The NSWFF Manager With The Cape

    Manager
    Member Since:
    Jun 29, 2004
    star 4
    This was a very nice update, once again - I am just loving Hilda more and more with every update. It is excellent to see the younger generation moving on from the prejudices of their elders, and their observations were spot on in relevance to the feud between their peoples. I enjoyed too, Balin's talk with Kili. He offered very wise and fair counsel, and, as always, his character is warm and refreshing to read. [face_love] The cameo from Elladan and Elrohir made me ridiculously happy. Ridiculously so, but, I am biased. :p

    That said, I hope you feel better soon. :)
  10. Space_Wolf Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Mar 13, 2007
    star 3
    I came across a reference to Elladan and Elrohir in the time line when I was looking up information about Aragorn. (I was going to have him in the inn at the start of the story, but found it wouldn't fit into the timeline). I thought that the trouble the Orcs have caused both the dwarves and the elves would give them a reason to try and buy the hatchet.
  11. Space_Wolf Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Mar 13, 2007
    star 3
    One of the problems with this is I keep going back and adding scenes when I come across new ideas. The problem? It slows the posting scheule down and makes me more behind in the story than I was before. I have to remind myself that I don't need to have an entry for every day of the year! I was hoping to have posted the entries for the Middle-earth equivalent of May by now, but I'm still stuck in the second month, but we are getting there.
    _________________________________________

    Hilda's Diary

    7th Solmath

    I need to learn to stop jumping at every shadow, which is difficult considering recent events. I try to keep myself busy so that I can forget to be afraid but it doesn't always work, not when there reminders of the orc attack all around me.

    Dwalin had been injured in the fighting, not too badly, and he'd not intended to get the injury seen to until he got fed up of his wife's and daughters' nagging - Dwalin's words, not mine. He did not see the point in bothering Oin about it when there were others more severely hurt. As the injury wasn't that bad, Oin asked me to deal with it.

    It was the first time that I'd had a chance to talk to him properly since coming to Ered Luin. He has seen a lot of battles, that much I could tell just by looking at him, and I found him more intimidating than Thorin. The best way of describing the feeling of being in his presence is the trepidation that a stoat or a weasel would feel in the presence of a lion or a bear.

    I saw the tattoos that adorned his arms, hands and bald head as I dealt with the gash to his arm. They mainly featured the angular complexity of dwarven knotwork, and runes, and reminded me of dwarven designs which I had seen elsewhere.

    I asked him what they meant, but he wouldn't tell me directly, especially about the ones which were connected to his family and the line of Durin. He did say that they represented an important event in his life.

    "Like the loss of Erebor?" I asked. "And the War with the orcs?"

    "Aye, that's right, but they aren't all to do with battles. There is one which commemorates the marriage to my wife, and the birth of my children."

    I recalled the ones I had seen on Kili's torso when I had cared for him after his encounter with the boar. In comparison to Dwalin, he had almost none, and I suppose it was due to his age. I'd not thought to ask him about them then and I now wish that I had. I don't think that Dwalin was going to give me any more information about the ones he had.

    "Do all dwarves have them?" I asked.

    "Most do, but most do not have as many as I do, nor do most wear them as openly," Dwalin replied. "Thorin has almost the same number that I do, which is to be expected with him being king."

    _________________________________________________________________

    Kili's Journal

    7th Solmath

    The fires were still burning the next day, and it was clear that it would take some time to get the town back to normal, if such a state could ever be restored after an attack like this. I over heard Balin say that he had never expected to see dwarves and elves working together. I did wonder if Fili's idea of reconciliation with the elves would work and in spite of the devastation, it looked like things were off to a good start. I wondered how much worse it would have been had we not met the elves by chance at the end of Afteryule. We owed our survival of the raid by working together, that much I am sure of.

    Hilda had loaned me Trotter and we had been searching some ruins that we'd not got to yesterday. We found none alive this time - if we had got to them sooner, maybe there was something we could have done. The failure laid heavily on me.

    Unfortunately as I was making my way back to the meadhall, with Trotter on my heals, I came across a sight that I didn't want to see - Ravauvial and Adair together. They were some distance from the main hub of Thorn's Gate and it appeared as if they had met out here to avoid enquiring eyes. I could tell by their body language that it was more than just a guard carrying out his duties. They were so engrossed in each other that they didn't even notice that I had seen them. I wondered if I should tell Fili. I knew that he liked the elf maiden, that had been obvious from the first time we met her, but now I could not help but question what she was really up to.

    Would it have worked between a dwarf and an elf anyway? From the conversation Balin and I had, I deemed it unlikely. I was still mulling over the issue when I reached the meadhall. I caught the end of Hilda's conversation with Dwalin.

    "Is something wrong?" Hilda asked me when she saw me. It was not something I wanted to discuss with anyone near by, so we found a quiet spot in the library. Fortunately, it was deserted - not even Ori and Lofnheid were there, even though if you couldn't find them, it was the place they were most likely to be.

    I told Hilda what I had seen.

    "Are you quite certain that's what you saw?" Hilda asked. "You know from experience how easy it is for people to misinterpret things that they only catch glimpses of."

    "I hope it is what you say, Hilda. The question is, should I tell Fili or not?"

    "Until you know for certain that what you sure wasn't innocent, then I don't think you should mention it," Hilda replied.

    "I suppose in the end, I can only be there for him if things go wrong," I said, but it was no comfort.

    Hilda then asked a curious question relating to dwarven tattoos, specifically those regarding runes.

    "You've spoken to Dwalin?" I asked.

    "He wouldn't tell me much," Hilda replied.

    We went to Balin's office and I shut the door and found the key that locked it. It would have been quite embarrassing had anyone walked in on us. I showed them to her (not that she hadn't already seen them, but by showing them to her, it was easier to explain what they meant.

    "The first one I had done is one that all the dwarves who are direct descendants of Durin have," I explained. "There are many who are kin to Durin's line, but they aren't directly descended from him."

    Hilda traced the lines of the tattoo with her finger. The second one was dedicated to my father, and the final one was one of my own design, one which was personal to me. I think Hilda liked that one. I kissed her, and it was very difficult not to let it go further, but it was a good thing we didn't allow it to. With great reluctance I pulled away from her.

    I had only just got fully clothed again when we heard footsteps and voices in the library. I could tell that it was my Uncle and Balin. Hilda managed to unlock the door before they noticed that anything was amiss. If it had been anyone else, then we might have got away with keeping the door locked, if we remained quiet, but not if it was Balin or my Uncle.

    Both of us must have looked somewhat guilty of something because Uncle Thorin glared at me angrily and asked Hilda why she wasn't in the meadhall where she was most needed.

    "I tell you, Balin, that youngest nephew of mine must think that I am blind if I can't see that he and the hobbit lass are up to something."

    There was another dwarf with them, a stranger. He introduced himself using his Khuzdul name. He either did not take notice that Hilda wasn't a dwarf, or he didn't care, as dwarves do not readily reveal their Khuzdul names to those not of our kind.

    "Kili, we shall speak later," my Uncle said and with that, we were dismissed. I heard Balin reprimand the dwarf for using his Khuzdul name in front of Hilda, and he replied that we had no business having a hobbit in our midst. I learnt later that the dwarf was a Firebeard, and they are known for not keeping to dwarven customs. As such, many dwarves find it difficult to trust them. I wondered what it was he wanted.

    "What was that about?" Hilda asked.

    I wasn't sure if I should explain it to her, or if I could, so I told her it was nothing. Perhaps one day I would be able to, I if I could convince my Uncle or one of the other older dwarves to allow me to. Have I told her too much already?

    Later, I did learn what the Firebeard wanted. He had come with news of a possible sighting of my Grandfather near Dunland. After discussion between my Uncle, Mam, Fili and myself it was decided that we would set out to see if the rumours were true. We needed to leave Thorin's Gate for a short while anyway, to replenish dwindling supplies which almost always happened in late winter. This year the orc attack had made things worse, but first we needed to find the ponies.

    I don't think I've seen Mam this happy since before my father died. But there was something not quite right about it. If my Grandfather was alive, why would it take this long for news of him to surface? Of course, I hoped it was true, and for Mam and Uncle Thorin that hope had turned into a certainty. The thought of a deliberate deception was not one I wanted to consider, but it is there, never the less. I don't know what to think.

    ________________________________________________________

    Hilda's Diary

    8th Solmath, 2940

    The orc attack took its toll on all of us. On the third day after the attack, Kili, Fili, Lyngheid, Lofnheid, Ori and I set out to look for the ponies. Trotter and Muninn accompanied us, Trotter following the scent trails and the raven taking to the air to search for the missing ponies. We found Minty, Rowan, Bungo, Crowberry and Dis' pony, Willow grazing in a clearing together. Bungo and Rowan whinnied at the sight of Kili and Fili and tottered towards us. Misty and Willow, not wanting to be left behind, followed them, with Crowberry a little behind. Crowberry was happy to see me and allowed me to scratch between her ears.

    "Do you think we should take them back, or continue to look?" Ori asked.

    "Take them back," Fili replied. "It's lucky we found these."

    There was a caw from Muninn and he flew a short way between the trees. We followed him and a short walk away from where we found the ponies, we came across Daisy, Myrtle, Misty, Silverfox, Aspen and Orc-crusher. Silverfox and Aspen belonged to Lyngheid and Lofnheid respectively and Orc-crusher, a bad tempered old mare that bossed the other ponies around and was known to bite anyone who tried to handle her, belonged to Bild. Kili wasn't looking forward to dealing with her, and neither were Fili and Ori. I got a little annoyed. They had the courage face down orcs, wargs and goodness knows what else, but didn't want to handle a pony?

    "Oh for goodness sake," I said. "She's just a pony. You just know how to handle them."

    "Go ahead then," said Fili. "Lets see how you deal with it."

    I reached inside my pocket and pulled out some pieces of carrot I had stored there, and holding my hand out flat, I walked towards her, talking to her. Her ears flicked and she snorted, but I continued moving forward, slowly, so as not to startle her.

    "You shouldn't really encourage her," Kili said to Fili.

    "She looks like she knows what she's doing," Fili replied.

    "I just don't want her getting hurt, that's all."

    "I can't watch this," Ori said.

    After talking to her, Orc-crusher let me stroke her as she ate the carrots and she allowed me to slip a head collar on her.

    "Someone will have to lead her," I said.

    Ori gulped at the prospect.

    "I'll do it," Kili volunteered, when no one else did. She did try to bite Kili a couple of times, and attempted to stand on his foot, but after that she seemed to get the measure of him and settled down. We found out something else as well, that Misty and Orc-crusher didn't really get along, and neither did Willow and Orc-crusher, and this affected how we travelled. Counting the ponies, there were at least ten more still unaccounted for, but we decided to get the lot we had captured back to Thorin's Gate before we lost them again. It was about mid-afternoon when we got back to town.

    A temporary shelter and paddocks had been constructed for the ponies by a dwarf experienced in caring for horses and whom had been appointed horse-master. We checked them over for any sign of injury before turning them loose. Orc-crusher, due to her temperament, was placed in a paddock on her own.

    We shared some watered down mead and while we rested, Thorin and Bild came over.

    "How many are still out there?" Thorin asked.

    "Ten, we think," Fili replied.

    "I see you managed to get Orc-crusher back. I thought I'd have to go after her myself," Bild said.

    "It was Hilda who caught her," Fili said. "And Kili led her back."

    "Good lad," Thorin said, patting Kili on the shoulder. "This almost makes up for the mess in the library and that day when I had to feed the ponies."

    I found it difficult not to choke with laughter on my mead when Thorin mentioned that as he and Bild went to talk to the horse master.

    "Are you alright, Hilda?" Ori asked.

    I exchanged a glance with Kili and that was all Fili needed.

    "I knew you two were up to something," Fili said.

    "What happened?" Ori asked.

    They had us cornered and even if we denied anything had happened, I don't think Ori or Fili, or the two dwarf sisters would have allowed it to rest. Thorin, Bild and the horse master were far enough away not to over hear us if we spoke quietly. Kili looked at me and I nodded. He made Ori and the two sisters swear to secrecy and told them what happened that night in the hayloft.

    "You're on thin ice, brother," Fili said.

    I don't think I had ever felt more embarrassed in my life. I really hoped it didn't get back to Kili's Uncle and failing that, I really, really did not want it to get back to his mother.

    ____________________________________________________________________

    Kili's Journal

    10th Solmath, 2940

    I suppose that a secret can't be kept a secret forever. It could be worse though, as Fili was soon to find out. Fili and the elven lord's daughter had been making eyes at each other, almost since the moment they met. Personally, I don't see what he finds so fascinating about her. Yes, she is pretty, but then, all elves are. What caused me to be surprised about Fili's interest in her was the apparent, for want of a better word, sissiness.

    There was no strength about her, not in the same way that Bild, Lyngheid or indeed, any of the dwarf women had. There was no hidden strength in her as far as I can see, not like that of Hilda, for instance. And she had no wit, not the kind of intelligence that Lofnheid had, for example.

    She just seemed to be a delicate flower that would wither if you breathed too strongly near her. Balin or Dori would probably have said that loneliness for women, youth and hot blood would cause a dwarf to act stupidly in matters of the heart, but even so….

    A few days after the orc attack or rather nights, Fili and the elven lord's daughter were taking a stroll in the moonlight. Elladan or Elrohir, or the guard or her brother, I'm not sure which, saw them together, just as Fili was kissing her, or her him (again, I'm not quite sure). Of course, there was a fight between my brother and the elf. Accusations of inappropriate behaviour on both sides were flung around.

    There was an awful row between my Uncle, Mam, and Fili on one side, the elven lord, his wife and his son on the other. Uncle Thorin went ballistic and only the intervention of Mam and Dwalin that prevented blood from being spilled, both elven and dwarf.

    After the row, Fili and I sat outside on the steps of the meadhall, talking it over. Some how, Fili had ended up with a split lip and a black eye. The elven lord decided to send his daughter, along with her two handmaidens and her mother to Rivendell, with Elladan and Elrohir as an escort. The worst thing? Though I didn't say this to Fili, is that I could imagine the elven lord's daughter making eyes at Elladan or Elrohir as if nothing had happened. Adair was almost as irate about the whole thing as Ravauvial's parents and brother had been, so I think what I suspected I had seen a few days ago between her and the captain was as I'd interpreted it. I should have warned Fili, but it is easy to see what I should have done after the fact. In a few days, on the 12th of Solmath, we will be celebrating Maiden's Day and this fight, in conjunction with the orc attack, has put a dampener on the celebrations.

    Due to the destruction of the Cabbage, Baldric has practically taken over the meadhall until it can be rebuilt and much to my Uncle's chagrin, he has turned it into a den of drinking to excess (not that that didn't happen before) and gambling.
  12. Nyota's Heart Combos & Paragraphs Host

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    What a tangled morasse of action and mischief--mostly by the overly flirtateous and very attractive Elven lady :p The attack and the stretched to bursting alliance seems to have put a damper on things indeed, but I love the fact that Hilda and Kili appear to be tight still LOL
  13. Mira_Jade The NSWFF Manager With The Cape

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    Jun 29, 2004
    star 4
    Oh dear. :( Poor Fili indeed for the flighty nature of the lady he was attracted to! I can easily see everything blowing up over that though - oh, the look that must have been on Thorin's face! :oops: I did like the history of the tattoos, though, and the sighting of Thrain! I can't wait for the developments there - even as tragic as they will be. I know that his is moving slowly according to your outline, but I am enjoying the extra scenes. =D= :)

    I came across a reference to Elladan and Elrohir in the time line when I was looking up information about Aragorn. (I was going to have him in the inn at the start of the story, but found it wouldn't fit into the timeline). I thought that the trouble the Orcs have caused both the dwarves and the elves would give them a reason to try and buy the hatchet.

    I loved the inclusion. Of course, my Silmarillion ficlets never stay just for the Silmarillion, and I just finished about 20,000 words between two entries for them and child!Aragorn set during the Hobbit, and so even this small cameo tickled me muchly. :p
    Last edited by Mira_Jade, May 22, 2014
  14. Space_Wolf Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Mar 13, 2007
    star 3
    I'm glad everyone is still enjoying this. I've not been well over the past few weeks and have not updated. I'm also having some problems with my computer as well. I hope to update by the end of the week (need to work out where I've got to, though....)
  15. Mira_Jade The NSWFF Manager With The Cape

    Manager
    Member Since:
    Jun 29, 2004
    star 4
    I was just thinking about your diary today, so I was glad to log on and see your note. :) I hope that you feel better soon - and that your computer issues get better. Those are never fun! [face_worried]

    We will be here when you are! [:D]
  16. Nyota's Heart Combos & Paragraphs Host

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    Do feel better soon and yes, I cannot stand! even the whisper of computer issues :p
  17. Space_Wolf Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Mar 13, 2007
    star 3
    It has been a while since I worked on this, and some of it may be garbled as a result. I would appreciate it if anyone let me know if there are any mistakes so that I can fix them. I am feeling better now and I am considering getting a new computer. (I've been needing a new one for a while anyway because the RAM memory is rubbish. I would like to get a Mac, but they're too expensive. Windows computers just aren't that secure anymore.
    _____________________________________________________________________________

    Hilda Greenhill's Diary

    15th Solmath, 2940 - Early Morning

    Late winter is a lean time in the mountains. Food is growing short because the supplies have almost run out and because the orc attacks destroyed a good portion of the food stores. I ceased having second breakfast and all those other 'extra' meals that hobbits have in comparison to other races long ago and as a result, I am becoming quite skinny. The food shortage made the dwarven celebration of Maiden's Day quite a meager affair, but it also gave Kili an excuse to shower attention on me, which I quite liked. At this time of year, hobbits usually make pancakes and after some searching, I was able to do that, though eggs were quite difficult to come by, as the chickens that the kitchen dwarves kept were still having difficulty laying after the orc attack, but my persistence paid off.

    There was a search for food at the elven settlement, but it came up empty, either because the orcs had ransacked the place, destroyed the supplies, or the supplies were eaten by wildlife, it is unclear which.

    Thorin has decided that an expedition to Bree must be mounted. He will be leading the expedition patience with the elves has grown quite thin and he's leaving Balin and Dis in charge. Fili and Kili will be going, as will Bofur, Bifur, Bombur, Gloin and Dwalin. Thorin has asked me along because they plan to use Crowberry's skills as a draught horse. We will also be passing the remains of my farm to see if there was anything left there. Bild, Lyngheid, Dori, and Oin would be accompanying us as far as the farm to take back anything we found. Ori was busy with the printing press he and Lofnheid were working on - they were planning on producing a newspaper to distribute important news around the area that documented news and other goings on. Nori would not be coming as he was part of the construction team to rebuild what the orcs had destroyed.

    Thorin has had word that his father Thrain has been seen near Dunland. He wants to go and see if the rumours are true. No one really knows for sure what has happened to Thrain. Many believe he his dead, others think he has been captured by the Orcs, or just simply wandering in the wild. A dwarf of the Firebeards, Uri's Folk, brought the news. There is something not right about it, but I can't quite put my finger on it.

    The prospect of travelling I found both exciting and daunting, and the most daunting was the idea of visiting the farm again. I wasn't sure what state I would find it in and the idea of returning to a place where my family had died filled me with dread. I don't know how I would feel about the place once I got there but at least I think I'll have some idea if I could live there again.

    The cart was loaded with tools that had been made in the forges for sale in Bree. There were some weapons amongst them, but the majority of the goods brought along for trading for food was tools and unworked ore.

    Kili rode on the cart with me for the first part of the journey, tying Bungo to the back. I was glad of his company.

    17th Solmath, 2940

    The snows had been replaced by rain once we got into the lower mountains and it was a difficult thing to keep dry. As well as my diary, I had brought along the books the druid had given me to study, but I kept them wrapped up as I didn't want them getting wet. I will not be writing long entries into my diary, either for that reason. (And I suspect that I won't have a lot of time to write, anyway). The tools had been covered in a few layers of sacking and it did help to keep much of the rain away from the tools, if not completely dry. Kili still traveled on the cart with me and we huddled together under a spare piece of sacking, but we were still soaked through.

    18th Solmath, 2940 - Day

    We came upon a sad sight. The inn where Fili, Kili, Nori and I had stayed to shelter from the snow storm before Yule had been destroyed and raided by orcs. We found the bones of the inn keeper and his wife, but they were broken and scattered over a wide area, scavenged by wild animals. We discovered honey, preserves, and grains in the cellar which were salvageable, along with wine, mead, beer and some ales, but the meat and vegetables were spoiled and that we left. I felt weird about taking the stuff, but the innkeeper no longer had any use for it. We did wonder just how far the orcs' raiding had spread.


    18th Solmath, 2940 - Evening

    Thorin didn't like the idea of lingering long in the ruins of the inn, and we pressed on, travelling longer into the evening than we normally would have. We found shelter that evening in a small cave and a stew was made from a pair of mountain hares that someone had caught. Bombur complained about the amount of stew it produced, as it was very little and Thorin told him to shut up.

    That night, I dreamed of pancakes, roast joints, fruit pies and heapings of vegetables, especially 'taters. The drawback is that I woke hungrier than ever, but at least the dreams didn't involve my family, or attacks by orcs, and that was a bonus.


    19th Solmath, 2940

    The rain hampered our progress because the cart frequently gets stuck in the mud, and I am fed up of riding in the cart. I persuaded Bofur to let me ride his pony for a while. Fili, Kili and I rode ahead, with Trotter bounding along in front of us, his nose to the ground on a scent. We decided to follow him, even if it did take us a little out of our way. It turned out that Trotter found the trail of a hart and Kili was able to bring it down with his bow.

    We stopped early that day to butcher the beast. It didn't bother me because I was used to such things happening on the farm and we ate better that night. Thorin was in a happier mood, the happiest I had seen him since the Yule celebration. We probably drank a bit too much mead and ale that evening, and made enough noise with singing to wake the dead. Thorin and Bild took the first watch that night.

    20th Solmath, 2940 - Early Morning

    The next morning I awoke with a bit of an headache and lying closer to Kili than I think I should have been. I think the secret's out now, assuming it had ever been one. No one commented on it, though, which surprised me. Perhaps it was accepted that Kili and myself are involved? I don't know and I was too self-conscious to ask.

    20th - 21st Solmath, 2940

    We came up on the farm later in the morning. The place looked so desolate without the animals. The out buildings were beyond repair, battered by the winter storms. We did see the odd bones laying about the place, wild animals that had a fondness for meat must have had a feast of what had been left of our animals. When the farm house came with in sight, Thorin called a halt and told the dwarves to wait while he, Fili, Kili and myself went forward to have a look at the place.

    The familiar dry-stone walls looked the same, and the house itself looked to be in good repair, for Thorin and the three dwarves who had been with him had boarded the place up before they left to keep out wildlife.

    Thorin led the way, as he wanted to show me where they had laid my family to rest. Kili walked along beside me, a comforting arm around my shoulders, and Fili walked behind us. I think it was as we walked that Thorin realised the depth of the bond between me and his youngest nephew, that it wasn't some trivial dalliance. I knew then that Kili would always be there for me and that I had not just lost a family, but had gained one, also. The graves came in sight, four of them next to each other.

    "We buried the older man and the woman next to each other," Thorin said, as I knelt down in front of the graves. "We figured that they were your parents. The young men we buried to the right of them. If you give me their names, I can have the stone masons make up a marker."

    "That would be good," I said. "Thank-you."

    "And now we can talk about your marriage to my nephew," Thorin said. Thorin turned to Kili. "If your mother agrees."

    "How did you know?" Kili asked.

    "I'm not blind, lad," Thorin replied. "And I know you talked it over with Balin. Of course, it won't be for some time yet, so don't do anything foolish in the mean time."

    There was a pause, before Thorin continued. "But there is one snag. We'll have to find your brother a nice dwarf lady. Can't have him cavorting with elves anymore, can we? I have written to Dain, to see what he suggests."

    Thorin gave me the key to the farm house and left us. Fili turned to Kili. "I hope Dain suggests someone who I can grow to like."

    Kili and I went up to the farmhouse to have a look around.

    "Would you want to live here, after we are married?" Kili asked when we were in the living room, a once cosy place, one once full of happy memories, now all I could see was death.

    "I don't know. I was thinking of moving out my parents' furniture and belongings - I suppose they are mine, now, and selling the place. It would have been different had they died of natural causes. I just don't feel safe here anymore."

    "That's a shame. I could see us sitting in here on a winter's night, with a roaring fire, good food and telling our children stories," Kili said.

    I laughed. "Of dragons and druids, I suppose," I replied. "I don't even know if dwarves and hobbits can have children together."

    "It would be fun to find out," Kili said, taking me in his arms and kissing me, deeply.

    "I'm sure it would," I said, and it was very tempting at that moment to lead him to my old room.

    "Aren't tha going ta get 'kettle on?" Bofur asked, poking his head round the door. "We're freezing ought 'ere!"

    And so the farmhouse was invaded by rude, but extremely friendly dwarves. As hostess, though, I don't think I was much good because the larder was badly depleted before we arrived. Most of the fresh food (or food that had been fresh shortly before my parents had been killed) had gone mouldy, so the only thing I had were preserves, pickles, oats and other types of grains. We made a stew with the last of the venison and we spent the night (at least) warm and dry with a roof over our heads.

    Kili and I retreated to my room so we could continue our conversation. He looked over the books on the shelf - most of them were fairy-tales (a girl's hopes and dreams) or books on animals and plants. There was a pile of embroidery on the bed, a Yule present I had been making for my mother. I told Kili that, and said that memories like this made it impossible to live at the farm.

    Kili enfolded me in his arms and he kissed my forehead. "What do you intend to do?" he asked.

    "I could sell the place, on the condition that my family's remains are undisturbed, and that I can visit the graves when I wish. I would like to start afresh."

    "The Shire is close to Bree. We could see if we could find a place there, though it would mean moving away from family."

    "You shouldn't have to do that," I said. "We'll make our home in the mountains."

    "I would like that," Kili said.

    "I can sell the farm and we could use the money to build our home."

    "You keep the money. There may be a time when you need it. I will see to our home. We will be needing it. We would never get enough privacy living in the same house as my mother and Uncle."

    A head poked round the door.

    "Kili, tha Uncle wants thee," said Bofur.

    "Nor here, it seems," I said. I watched Kili leave the room and sighed, wishing for what seemed like the millionth time that my parents and brothers were still alive so I could share this with them. Would I even have met Kili had they not died? What if the dwarves had come to the farm sooner that day? What if the orcs had never come our way? The fates are cruel at times, but they also place opportunities in our path as well. If I had a choice between my family and Kili, could I have chosen? That is a concept I really do not want to think about because that path would lead to insanity.

    I left my room and rejoined the dwarves. The place was a mess, but to be honest, I didn't really care because what I valued most was buried in the field outside.

    Bofur tried to cheer me up.

    "Why so glum, lassie?" he asked. "Tha'd better git rid o' that frown o' thine, or tha'll end up wi' a face as long as Thorn's, an' trust me, tha really dunt want that!"

    He passed me a half-pint mug of mead and I wondered if there would be any drink left by the time morning came with the way the dwarves were making their way through it.

    In the end, I was glad that my first visit back home was in the company of these dwarves - they at least made the place seem less desolate, even if I really didn't feel like celebrating inside.

    I slept in my own bed that night, or to put it more accurately, I tried to. It was difficult with all the conflicting thoughts chasing themselves around my head.

    There wasn't a lot of space with this many dwarves and Kili had somehow managed to get my bedroom floor as his sleeping space for the night. My tossing and turning must have kept him awake, though, because at some point he asked if I was alright. He got up then and sat on my bed beside me. We spoke in whispers and at that moment I felt like I could tell him anything and that he'd always be there. Eventually, I was able to get to sleep with the dwarf I had come to love watching over me.

    It was late when we woke and I don't think we would have emerged at all if Fili hadn't poked his head around the door.

    "We're ready to go, Kili and you two aren't up yet," he said.

    Bild, Lyngheid, Dori, and Oin had already left and Thorin was waiting for us and was starting to get a little impatient. Trotter yawned and stretched as dogs do when they are tired and I think he looked how I felt. In twenty minutes we were both ready.

    Quite unexpectedly, I saw that the dwarves had tidied up and the place looked cleaner than when we arrived.

    "Mam says we must always leave a place better than when we found it if we are visiting," Fili explained when I commented on it.

    "Cousin Balin said that it made things go a lot more smoothly during the wandering years," Kili added.

    The morning was bright and sunny, but the wind did have a bite to it. I was relieved to be leaving the farm behind.
    Nyota's Heart likes this.
  18. Mira_Jade The NSWFF Manager With The Cape

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    Jun 29, 2004
    star 4
    I did not get any sense of garbled-ness from this update. Actually, it was one of my favourites yet. :) I'm sad for the reason they have to set out for Bree, but it certainly was bittersweet for Hilda to finally lay her family to rest - you wonderfully captured the pain and the odd sort of surrealism that would come with her visiting her home once again, and my heart broke for her. :( But, not for long! I love, love, loved Thorin coming out and asking when they wanted to have their wedding - that certainly allayed her doubts! [face_laugh] (And cut through a fraction of her grief, at that - Thorin, you big ol' softie. ;) [face_love]).

    I like that she had an inkling of 'wrongness' with the reports about Thrain, too. That certainly is a sticky web there, with nothing good to be found. [face_worried]

    Wonderful update, once again! =D= I am glad that you are feeling better, and wish you well with your computer hunt. That is always as much fun as it is a headache. :p [:D]
  19. Nyota's Heart Combos & Paragraphs Host

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    Aug 31, 2004
    star 6
    Oooh, sweet! Fantabulous update. Hilda does not seem to be as burdened down by grief. Finding love and a new 'family' has gone a long way to healing past sorrows. :)
  20. Space_Wolf Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Mar 13, 2007
    star 3
    I am starting to feel better, but I don't know how well the next few postings are going to come out. I was working on them when I became ill and I've forgot what I was going to do with a lot of it now, so I would appreciate any feedback regarding plot holes, etc...
    _______________________________________

    Kili's Journal

    21st Solmath, 2040

    Fili and I have picked up signs that we are being followed. This has all of us on edge and I have loaned my knife to Hilda as she is the only one of us who is weaponless. She didn't want to take it, because she doesn't feel comfortable with it. I could understand where she was coming from - she didn't want to hurt anyone.

    "There are times when you have to lass," Dwalin said, for he overheard our conversation. "To save yourself, or someone else."

    I think Dwalin was trying to give her some encouragement, but unfortunately, Uncle Thorin over heard the conversation too. "If you are unable or unwilling to fight, you are of no use to us."

    "She's just not a fighter, Uncle," I said, not realising it was the wrong thing to say.

    "That much is clear," my Uncle replied.

    It sparked off a discussion on the usefulness of hobbits. Sometime later, while we were making camp and Fili and I were watching the ponies (a task often assigned to us), I apologised to her. It was my fault for bringing it up, I said.

    "But they are right, I am useless in a fight," Hilda said.

    "You've not lived a life of war as they have. You've never had to," I said. "I also would not say that you are useless."

    She wasn't. She'd acted quickly that day she'd saved my life and when one of us were hurt, or ill, she was one of the first to offer help. She has a gentle heart and it doesn't make her weak, even if the other dwarves think otherwise. It is one of the reasons I had come to love her.

    We are watchful for trouble on the road.

    22nd Solmath, 2940 - Morning

    If there was one thing that had been unexpected on this journey, it was Uncle's Thorin's blessing to marry Hilda. I thought he would be dead set against it, but he wasn't. Uncle Thorin is often stubborn in his ways, but it is not unknown for him to surprise you.

    Fili, Dwalin and I rode ahead. It was our job to ensure the way was suitable for the passage of the cart and it was Dwalin's job to ensure we didn't encounter any trouble and to get us out of it if we did. Uncle Thorin rode along side the cart with Bofur and Bifur as guards and Gloin and Bombur rode behind the cart.

    22nd Solmath, 2940 - Midday

    As we left the mountains behind us, the landscape began to loose its wildness, particularly once we had crossed the river and entered the swamps. We were on the borders of the Shire. Progress through the swamp was hampered by the cart getting stuck constantly. If progress had been bad up in the mountains, it was worse here. We constantly had to stop to dig the cart out I am writing this entry during one of those forced breaks. Had it not been for the importance of it for carrying the tools, I think we would have abandoned it.

    All of us are miserable and if there is one fault that Uncle Thorin has, it is his tendency to be snappy with everyone. I've noticed that he is worse without Mam around to deflect it. I hope his mood improves when we're past the swamp.

    22nd Solmath, 2940, Early Evening

    We are still being followed.

    There has been some discussion over the validity of the Firebeard's story. Some thought my Grandfather is dead and that looking for him will be futile. But opinion was divided on the issue. Dwalin was one of the dwarves who thought that my grandfather was dead.

    My Uncle and Dwalin then had a dreadful row. Uncle Thorin blamed Dwalin for my grandfather's disappearance - this was because Dwalin had been one of the dwarves who had accompanied my grandfather on the expedition where he had disappeared. Dwalin and the dwarves with him had searched for my grandfather when he disappeared but had found no trace of him. This didn't stop the row and sadly, only made it worse. Uncle Thorin accused Dwalin of abandoning his king, of failing in his duty. Gloin tried his best to stop the row, but Uncle Thorin and Dwalin took no notice of him and when Hilda, Fili and I tried to intercede, we were told to shut up as we were deemed too young to know anything about it. I could not think of any time I would have liked to have orcs show up so that we would have had something to divert our attention to.

    The thing is, I don't think my Uncle ever gave up hope that my grandfather is alive, and it is a crushing blow when all the evidence points otherwise.

    One question remained though. If my grandfather still lived, why had he never returned to Ered Luin? Was he ashamed of his failure? I hoped that my Uncle was right, more for his sake than anything else, but logic had to agree with Dwalin's assessment.
  21. Mira_Jade The NSWFF Manager With The Cape

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    Jun 29, 2004
    star 4
    I haven't noticed any plot holes so far - it just seems like you are setting up for the story to come. :) [face_thinking] Once again, I have a lump in my throat for what happened to Thrain. I am interested to see how that is going to develop in the chapters to come. [face_worried] But, as always, the highlight of this was Kili's relationship with Hilda. Power and might comes in many different forms, and her gentle courage makes her as strong as any dwarf trained in arms. I liked the 'usefulness of hobbits' debate. It foreshadowed Bilbo to me, which I could not help but smile for. :p

    =D=
    Last edited by Mira_Jade, Jun 9, 2014
  22. Nyota's Heart Combos & Paragraphs Host

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    Aug 31, 2004
    star 6
    Yes, that is definitely a Hobbit trademark: gentle courage and loyalty. :) Of this, Sam Gamgee could write a book. =D= :cool:
  23. Space_Wolf Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Mar 13, 2007
    star 3
    Sorry about the absence. Computer troubles, etc, meant a delay in getting the next entry written. Hopefully, I'll be able to move this on. I might be carrying this over to next year though at this rate. It has been fun to write. Oh, if I'm a bit overly harsh to Thranduil and Ori, don't take it too seriously.

    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Kili's Journal

    25th Solmath, 2040

    `We reached a part of the swamp where the ground was firmer than in other places, but it was also heavily covered in willows which did a good job of concealing our attackers when we stopped to set up camp. It was Trotter who alerted us to the danger. He must have scented them and barked loudly. Hilda tried to calm him down but he wouldn't shut up.

    Shortly after, they were on us, a band of human mercenaries. A group of them went straight for Uncle Thorin and Bofur, Bifur and Bombur went to his aid. Uncle Thorin is a brilliant swordsmen, holding them off quite well with his sword, Deathless, but even he couldn't hold out on his own. Bofur defended his king with his mattock, and Bifur used his boar spear to good effect. Bombur, who had been setting up the camp fire so he could prepare our meal with Hilda's help, took a more creative approach to the problem and used his cooking saucepan as a weapon.

    Both Fili and I wanted to go to Uncle's aid, but the other lot made straight for us. I didn't have time to use my bow, so I drew my sword instead and Fili and I fought back to back. Dwalin, good combat instructor that he his, taught us from when we first began training to defend each other like this, and so it was something that we were used to doing, and Dwalin used his great axes, Grasper and Keeper to aid us.

    I caught a glimpse of Hilda in the melee, Trotter was stood in front of her, hackles raised, ready to die defending her if need be. But that poor dog would never stand a chance against the pair of mercenaries that decided to go after her. One of them knocked Trotter aside when he lunged at him with his shield and, I watched in horror as the dog was thrown to the ground. I tried getting to her, but couldn't.

    Gloin, fortunately, had also seen what was happening and was in a better position to aid her. Oh thank Mahal for his intervention! The thought of her being cut down, or worse, in front of me was more than I could bear, and quite cowardly of the men to go after her like that. Gloin took out the man who had possibly killed Trotter, and Uncle, also seeing what had happened, took out her other attacker. Uncle Thorin, Gloin, Bofur, Bifur and Bombur then stayed near her for the rest of the encounter.

    I didn't know this at the time, as my attention had been so focused on my hobbit lass, that Fili and Dwalin had between them, saved my life several times.

    "You know, laddie, you really should pay more attention to what is happen to you in a fight," Dwalin said after the confrontation was over. The men, though fiacre opponents, did not match our skills and we dispatched all of them. Dwalin thumped me on the back to make his point.

    Hilda was knelt down beside Trotter when I got to her, with Uncle at her side, his arm around her shoulders and Bofur was examining him. I was almost too afraid to ask, because I didn't want to know it if the dog was dead, but I did anyway.

    "His he dead?" I asked.

    "Just ought cold," Bofur replied. "Though ah dare sey, he'll be bruised fo' a while."

    Fili and the others set about clearing away the bodies. They were easy to dispose of in the bogs. They were searched, because Dwalin thought that the attack had been deliberately set up to kill my Uncle, and if they could, Fili and I as well. It is possible that they trailed us to ensure who was who when they attacked and the thought was unsettling, to say the least. Nothing was found.

    Uncle Thorin and I stayed by Hilda with Trotter. He might be harsh at times, my Uncle, but his protective of those less able to defend themselves when they are in his charge and that makes him a good king. Bofur and Bifur had received minor injuries in the fighting, and Hilda helped them when the camp had been cleared of the bodies.

    This delayed us, somewhat, as we had to stay there while Trotter recovered.

    30th Solmath, 2940

    There is also an added danger to the swamp. In places the ground is so saturated that even just standing in the wrong place can cause you to sink into the ground. We had to rescue Bifur and Bofur at one point because they sank up to their waists and we almost lost Bombur in that incident as we attempted rescue. Fortunately, this never happened to any of the ponies. I don't know what we would have done if it had, as it had been difficult enough freeing Bifur, Bofur and Bombur from the mire.

    1st Rethe, 2940

    Many times we were forced to double back on ourselves and find another way through the swamps when our path was blocked by floodwaters. The ponies refused to go through it and I am glad that we didn't attempt it - there was no way of knowing how deep the water was, or if we'd get stuck in the mud below the water. And leeches were a constant problem. We mainly had the blighters attaching themselves to our legs, both dwarves, and the ponies. Hilda, in particular hated them. I even found one once on the back of my neck - I have no clue how it got there, though. Awful things. I just hoped (and I think everyone else did, too) that we wouldn't catch some illness from them.

    4th Rethe, 2940

    One good thing about the swamp was that it was abundant in wild water fowl and I had plenty of opportunity to practice with my bow. The only problem was then retrieving the things, depending on where they fell, and cooking the birds afterwards. Everything was damp in the swamp, including the wood so starting a fire was a bit of a challenge to say the least, but we at least ate better than we had before we entered the swamp.

    A mist hung around the place, especially at night. A few nights ago, a curious thing happened to Hilda, which I will relate here because of the mist. She had got lost in the mist when she took a walk while we, once again, had to dig the cart out. If it hadn't been for Trotter, I don't think we would have found her again. She told Fili and I when we found her of a great black dog, a shuck, that led her back to us. It was strange in that neither Fili nor I saw it, and Trotter never scented it. Uncle Thorin dismissed it as an over active imagination, but Hilda insisted that she had seen a black dog. We looked for it in day break, but never found a dog and we never even saw any physical signs that a dog had been there (other than Trotter, of course.)

    Ghost dogs aren't the only strange things in these swamps. We sometimes see lights in the dark, which Bofur called will-o'- the-wisps and Uncle Thorin warned us not to wander off the path after them. I don't know what they are, or what makes them, but I will be glad when we are out of these swamps.

    6th Rethe, 2940

    I was relieved, in fact, I think we all were, when we were finally out of the swamp and into the Shire proper. There was an inn close to the hobbit village near the swamp which was run by a hobbit and his wife to cater for travelers out of the north, and on their way there. It was easy for Uncle Thorin to negotiate rooms for us, a room for himself, sharing with Fili, Dwalin and I, (we didn't have the funds for separate rooms for all of us and there wasn't enough room, anyway), one for Bofur, Bifur, Bombur and Gloin and a separate one for Hilda.

    Hilda drew some strange looks from the hobbit patrons, mainly because she was dressed as dwarf women do when travelling (garments provided by Mam), and because she arrived with a group of dwarves. I hear such things just aren't done in dwarf society and Hilda told me it would be worse if they knew about the incident with the bandits before Yule, the tree incident, the attack by orcs on Thorin's Gate, her acquaintance with the druid and that it was best to make our relationship low key while we were at the inn.

    I had to ask if it had been different if we already had been married. She said it would have raised some eyebrows, as it was unexpected, but the status of being married would eventually have over come it.

    The innkeeper's wife had her work cut out for her cleaning our mud stained clothes (and she charged extra for the service, the penny-pinching old trout) but it was a relief to get out of them and to have a bath to get rid of the swamp mud. We had to borrow clothes from the innkeeper's stock of spares for travelers while our own was cleaned.

    When Hilda joined us at the table wearing 'proper' hobbit women's clothes she looked unhappy. When she asked for half a pint of mead, the tavern wench refused her and brought her tea instead. Even when she lived on the farm with her family, she was unaccustomed to wearing clothes which were considered appropriate for hobbit women.

    "I think being in the company of dwarves has loosened my social inhibitions, somewhat," she muttered.

    I hated seeing her unhappy.

    The food was better than anything I'd eaten since the Yule feast and she cheered up once she'd had something to eat.

    Some of the local hobbits came to the inn as evening came on.

    Bofur started off the evening's entertainment by singing a few dwarf ditties and the hobbits, once they had got some ale inside them, responded in kind by singing some of theirs. There was enough space to dance in the middle of the floor and some of the hobbits did so. I asked Hilda if she wanted to and we joined them. Fili, Bofur, Bifur and Bombur joined in too. Uncle Thorin, too dignified, miserable, no majestic, to engage in such things refused to, and Dwalin, well, he never did because he was too busy looking for potential threats to his king's life (and by default, Fili's and mine as well.) Gloin was of the same mind in this place, but I don't know why - the hobbits looked about as dangerous a new born litter of puppies.

    The hobbits taught us some of their tavern songs and we taught them some of our more light-hearted meadhall songs and it was a good night all round. Trotter snoozed curled up in front of the common room's fire, his tail draped over his nose.

    Later, when we were getting ready for bed, I sneaked Hilda a flask of mead and she kissed me like she did that night in the hayloft. It was very difficult to leave her door that night, and I don't think I would have if Fili hadn't dragged me away.
  24. Mira_Jade The NSWFF Manager With The Cape

    Manager
    Member Since:
    Jun 29, 2004
    star 4
    I was excited to see this updated again a few days ago, but I just now got a chance to sit down and read. :p And, that said, I would not mind seeing this diary continue into next year. Actually, I am kind of looking forward to that on a selfish note. ;)

    And this was another great update. The swamp did not sound fun at all, and it was interesting to see Hilda back with hobbit kind on the edge of the Shire after how much she has changed and grown as a character. It was interesting to see the dresses and 'tea' being forced on her, along with their thoughts of an interspecies relationship - I must confess that that is a part of hobbit culture that I have not much considered before, but it does make sense. [face_thinking] I was glad to see them rest somewhere friendly for the night, though. And Kili sneaking her the flask of mead was adorable. [face_love]
  25. Nyota's Heart Combos & Paragraphs Host

    Game Host
    Member Since:
    Aug 31, 2004
    star 6
    Hi! Whew, major relief about Trotter, Hilda did not need that loss! @};- Kili was a dear easing her discomfiture and cheering her up again. LOL She is a wonderful blend of both cultures now, richer for it too, although some narrow-minded folks might not see it that way. :rolleyes: Thorin is a gruff ol' softie that is a fact. LOL [face_shhh]
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