Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Meddling with Middle Earth (Chapter One)

I'm quite the fan of Peter Jackson's Middle Earth movies and after The Desolation of Smaug came out in theaters I decided it was time to read The Hobbit.  There were things I liked and didn't like about the original text and after some debate I decided to write a fanfic that would go along with the Hobbit films while still incorporating some of the original ideas and plot.  It should also be noted that our beloved furbaby Twinkie died around this same time, and so this ongoing story is a way for me to process and deal with her death as well as celebrate her life.

Chapter One
          Kili awoke from a restless sleep to find his leg no longer felt as if lightning was running through it.  He lifted himself up on his elbows and looked around to find himself still in Bard’s home.  Catching Fili’s eye he smiled wanly.  “How long was I out?  I had the strangest dream that Tauriel had come to save me and I said foolish things to her after she healed me.”
          Fili tucked his hands into his armpits and ambled over to where his brother lay on Bard’s table.  “Well the thing is…Tauriel did come.  She came with Legolas and stayed to heal you after Bofur found the herbs she needed.  And you may very well have said the foolish things you think you said to her.  So if I were you I’d think of some very nice way to say thank you as she saved your life, little brother.  Tauriel was there when one of the orcs said the arrow that hit you was poisoned.  You would not have survived without her skill in healing.”  Fili gave Kili a grave look as the younger dwarf wore a look of horrified dismay.  “What did you say to her that was so very foolish?”
          Kili swallowed and replied, “I did not think it could have been her because we left the elves so far way from here.  So I spoke to the girl I thought was standing by my side and spoke of Tauriel as I imagined her, walking in starlight.  I asked if she thought Tauriel could have ever loved me, and probably offended her mightily with those words.”  How in Durin’s name am I supposed to face her again?  We talked of starlight and the Fire Moon before, but elves and dwarves have been enemies for years.  And I go and run my fool mouth off to her in my delirium.  This cannot bode well.
          Fili shot a grim smile toward his younger brother before saying “I don’t think your words are heavy on her mind right now.  Tauriel fears the dragon is on its way here and the fool townspeople have locked Bard away.  She’s gone with Oin, Bofur, and Bard’s children to do what she can to free him as he has the last black arrow that might pierce the beast before Smaug ruins the town.  Can you walk?”
          Kili slowly raised himself into a sitting position and looked around the home of Bard.  “I think I might be able to.  What happened here?”  He gingerly got off the table and Fili put an arm around him to help him to the door.
          “Those orcs from the river came after us looking for Thorin.  When they saw he wasn’t with us they took off after him.  It seems in giving in to the gold sickness our uncle may have helped to save you.  Legolas and Tauriel came to put an end to the orcs, and once Bard is free I’m sure she’ll be off after Legolas.  Last we saw of him he was going after the orc pack by himself.  But before they left to go after Thorin the orcs wrecked Bard’s house, so if we all manage to survive what’s coming, we’ll be needing to help him fix it.”
          Bofur stood by the cell Bard was locked in and looked on while Tauriel spoke to the Master and other members of Lake Town regarding her suspicions of  Smaug being on his way to them.  He took in her grace and composure even while one of her fists clenched in frustration.  It appeared that her elven heritage had little impact on these men of Lake Town and they intended to leave Bard in the cage he currently occupied.
          “Did you manage to stash that other black arrow before they nabbed you?”  Bofur asked Bard with a sympathetic smile.   Bard was in a highly anxious state knowing the deadly force of Smaug from his grandfather’s account of the attack on Dale.  He spared a glance for the dwarf before replying “My son hid it after we split.  Why don’t the two of you go and retrieve it and hopefully by the time you’ve got it I’ll be out of this mess and we can prepare Lake Town for the dragon.”
          “Not a bad plan, I’ll find your lad and we’ll secure the arrow where the Master can’t reach it.  How long do you think we have?”
          Bard shook his head in frustration.  “I don’t know.  They should already be preparing.  If Tauriel can’t get them to release me, you must ask her to get as many as she can to begin watering everything in Lake Town down.  If it’s already soaked it won’t burn.  Every barrel and container without holes needs to be filled to fight off the fire the dragon will bring.”
          Bofur gave a slight bow in Bard’s direction before approaching Tauriel and the men of Lake Town gathered around her.  She turned her head toward him and he gestured for a moment.  Looking toward the Master, Tauriel murmured for a moment alone then walked over to Bofur.  “Yes, master dwarf?” 
          “Bard has asked that we begin to soak as much of the town as possible if the Master refuses to let him out.  His thinking is that if it’s soaked it won’t burn in the dragon’s fire.  He also directed me to search out his boy so we might have our hands on the last black arrow when he does get out.  Seems like a better plan to me than wasting time talking to this lot,” he indicated the Master’s crowd with a nod of his head.
          Tauriel inclined her head at his words and sent a small smile in his direction.  “It is indeed a better plan.  These men are fools.  If you can find the son I will begin to saturate the town with as much help as I can find.”  The two parted ways with Tauriel heading back towards Bard’s home to gather the remaining dwarves and Bard’s daughters.  Her hope was the daughters might rally enough townspeople to their aid to make a small dent in the drenching Bard advised.
          Oin and Bard’s daughters intercepted Fili and Kili as the pair walked to the Master’s house.  A small conference was held and the lot of them headed to the Master’s.  Before long they came upon Tauriel and Bofur who were looking for them to pass on Bard’s advice on how to deal with the dragon.  Kili was walking without help by this time and angled himself a bit behind his brother so as to attract less notice.  The perceptive elf noticed his slight movement and enquired as to how his leg was.
          “It is much better now that the poison is gone,” Kili stated after taking a startled breath.  “I owe you a great deal for saving my life,” he began, but was cut off by Tauriel’s wry smile.  “If we live through the dragon’s retaliation you and I can talk of any debt between us.  For now we must ready all we can or my saving you will have been for nothing.  Are you able to run yet, Kili?”
          An answering negative shake of his head was enough and Bofur asked the daughters if they knew of where their brother might be so they could fetch the black arrow for Bard.  They gave the best of his hiding places to the dwarf, and off Bofur went to find Baird and the last hope to slay the dragon.  After another brief discussion Oin, Fili, and the girls began running from home to home asking the Lake Town people to help prepare for the dragon’s onslaught.  “I will join you in a few moments,” Tauriel called after them.  She looked at Kili with some speculation before murmuring, “you may come with me, if you like.  There is one other thing I can do that may help these people more than banging on doors.”
          She turned and headed toward part of Lake Town that was less occupied by the townspeople.  Kili was able to stay a few paces behind her as she shortened her stride to accommodate his injury.  She stopped at a point where there was little around but the lake itself and knelt down on the dock.  Holding a hand out to Kili to keep him from getting too near, she looked down into the water and began speaking in the Elvish tongue.  While Kili stayed out of the arms length she requested, he was curious enough to want to see what was happening.  Edging silently closer to the edge he saw a ripple in the water near Tauriel.  As he stared in that direction Kili thought he saw a face in the water for a few moments, gazing up at Tauriel while she spoke.  His eyes widened and he must have made some noise because those watery eyes glanced over at him before again focusing on Tauriel.  After another few moments the face seemed to vanish and Tauriel took in a deep breath.
          “I have spoken to the Water elementals that live in the lake.  They have a vested interest in keeping this lake wholesome and the filth of a dragon’s destruction would be harmful to them.  They will help in their own way, but they will do little to defend the lives of the people who live here.  Thank you for not crowding me.  The Water folk are shy and would not have come if you had been too close.”
          Kili gazed back at the water where nothing was stirring.  “I thought I saw a face when you were speaking.  I’ve never seen anything like that before.  Are there spirits like this everywhere, or is it just being near you that brings them?”
          Tauriel gracefully rose from her sitting position and began walking back toward the populated areas of Lake Town.  “The elementals are everywhere, but dwarves cannot usually see or hear them.  It may well be that you have a closer connection to the land and water than the other dwarves, Kili.  That the elemental did not leave as soon as it sensed you is very unusual.  But I am learning that you are not like other dwarves I have met.  You notice much more than just gold and jewels where most of your kind does not.  It has been…interesting to meet you,” she continued after a slight pause.  “You have shown me that I may judge your kind too harshly, and that is an unexpected welcome.”
          Kili thought about her words as they continued to walk as quickly as his leg would allow.  “Before we ran into your guard in Mirkwood I had never met an elf.  The stories I had been told painted all of you as enemies of my people and nothing else.  I love my family and my people, but the longer I am on this quest, the more I wonder how much of what we have been told is true.”

          “We can speak more on this should we all survive the dragon,” Tauriel replied with a taut smile.  After this exchange the two began to bang on the doors nearest to them.  Most of the townspeople by this time knew of Smaug’s imminent arrival and were doing all they could to prepare for the fire drake.  Boats were being readied for women and children to cast off in, men were gathering what weapons they had, and everything that could hold water was now holding it.  The only thing left to do was await the arrival of Smaug.