Rhenio Mì Ennor


Chapter 014




A/N: Hello there, readers, and welcome to those who have put alerts on this since the last chapter! I think you will all like this one. I have quite a trouble to write the following ones (although I'm already up to Chapter 17), and you'll soon find out why. Enjoy!

14. The Misty Mountains cold

The slope we took to climb into the mountains as from Rivendell proved to be tricky. And extremely thin.

Many a times did I think I would fall into a ravine, before a pair of arms invariably caught me and pushed me back onto my feet.

Always the same arms.

Over and over again.

It gained me a heavy glare from none other than Thorin himself, who apparently was starting to think I did on purpose. For the sole sake of being held by Bofur for split seconds every time.

Duh. Was he wrong.

It doesn't mean I didn't like it, but that doesn't serve the tale.

Our company stopped for the night onto a larger part of the slope, where it however started to get bitter cold.

Gloin settled a pile of twigs onto the frozen ground at once, and before I could even think of sitting down, a fire was cracking, and Bombur was putting his smaller cauldron onto it.

Thorin passed the hushed words that no song would be sung that night, or shouts be heard, for the echoes were dangerous when surrounded by snow. I didn't push my luck.

I settled my bedroll close to the cliff for the night and wrapped myself into its woollen depths, one of Bilbo's blankets on top of it.

I watched as the wood cracked and creaked as humidity fell on us. My nose felt numb, I had some difficulties breathing.

But all in all, I was not unhappy that we had not yet reached the top.

A small figure settled his bedroll next to mine, then another bigger took the other spot.

Ori didn't take his mittens off, for once, and didn't take his notes out. Surely his fingers were too cold to write properly. He just did as I did – watching the flames – and soon after he had drifted off.

On my other side, Bifur was sharpening his sword without a word, merely a grunt.

On the other side of the camp, Thorin and Balin were as usual deep in conversation, and when I caught the word "Gandalf" in the middle of a moment of silence, I understood they were wondering why the wizard hadn't caught up with us yet.

And then, my eyes closed on their own accord. My fingers closed around Nenya around my neck, and I dreamt of that strange encounter I had this very morning with a fair-haired lady.

The next morning, I woke up with a start.

A finger was pushed onto my lips before I even opened my eyes, and when I did, I understood the reason at once.

I had somehow rolled during the night, to the point where one of my arms was dangerously dangling into nothing.

Above me, two grey orbs were trying not to startle me. One of Bofur's hands was gripping my arm while the other was still preventing me from yelling.

I settled my breathing and nodded when I was sure I wouldn't shout, and he released me. I sat down carefully – I was so close from the edge of the cliff it gave me nausea – and then almost jumped out of my bedroll.

Only a few dwarves were already up, among which Fili, who sauntered towards me, a concerned look of his face. "Be careful, Miss Ari, you would not wish to fall."

I nodded, then looked over at Bofur. "Thank you."

He nodded once, his eyes still grave. "Next time, tie yourself up."

I didn't have time to answer, he was already gone lighting the fire for breakfast.

This carried on for four more days. I tied myself up every night, and every morning I was gently shaken off my sleep the same way – a finger pushed to my lips.

Nothing bad ever happened, apart from Dori losing his cloak to the wind, until that very night.

I would have thought it a thunderstorm, at first, or several thunderstorms clashing together.

The rain wasn't falling, though, and this is what made it so peculiar.

I had already settled down for the night, and the wind was particularly biting. Without getting out of the somewhat warmth of my bedroll, I advanced to look down into the dim valley under our feet.

I gasped.

And noticed I wasn't alone.

To my left, Balin had crouched as well, Dwalin to his own left, and to my right were the terrible baby brothers.

Fili gasped as well. "Stone giants. I thought they were the stuff of legends!"

His murmur was hardly heard among the whistles of the wind.

Balin nodded nevertheless. "Yes, they are. And we have lived to see them."

I watched the two figure throw parts of the mountains onto each other. I made me quietly chuckle. "They look like they are playing rugby."

All the dwarves' faces were on me at once.

I cleared my throat. "It's a game. Popular in the Shire. Well, Bywater more likely than in Hobbiton anyway."

And then came the rain. Heavy and drenching us to the core.

The boulder under which we had taken cover was no good with the wind and water combined.

Soon, Thorin took the decision to move.

"This won't do at all! If we don't get blown off, or drowned, or struck by lightning, we shall be picked up by some giant and kicked sky-high for a football."

I didn't question his knowledge of that game, instead shuddered from head to toe.

Dwalin then spoke up. "We should send someone ahead of us to find somewhere safer!"

All eyes turned to me. I then shook my head violently. "No, certainly not! I do not know these parts!"

Thorin looked at me roughly. "And neither do we."

I still shook my soaked head. "I would get blown away by the wind, no mistake! And I don't have as sharp eyes as you do."

To that he seemed to ponder. "Very well. Fili, Kili, go with her."

The two brothers hurried to my side, Kili offering me a piece of rope that soon was wrapped around my waist, and tightly at that.

It appeared that walking through rain and wind was like being blind. Fili was first, I was next, and Kili closed the march, gripping the stones to make sure he would not slip.

I seemed like we had advanced miles away from our company when the slope abruptly turned, and a cave appeared before our eyes.

Fili entered it, and the wind whooshed around me one last time as I followed.

I looked around. "This looks perfect." I was checking out for what I knew should be a door. A door opening on a very dangerous part of the mountain.

Kili nodded. "We should check it for surety." He unwrapped the rope from his own waist and took out his short sword, disappearing from my sight for short seconds before he returned, a satisfied smile on his lips. "Cleared."

Fili nodded. "Yes, I think it safe enough as well. Let's get back to the others."

I shook my head. "I'd rather not go back into the rain, if you don't mind. Leave me here, and go back to the others."

The brothers exchanged a quick look, then shook their heads in a perfect ensemble. "No, it is too dangerous." Fili was almost glaring at me by then. "If you are attacked while we are away-"

I lifted a finger to interrupt him. "You forget that I am your Burglar. I will be perfectly fine. I will hide in a corner, and when you get back, I will have found enough dry twigs for Gloin to light a fine fire."

Fili looked over at his younger brother, who soon shrugged. "She is right, brother. Miss Ari has already proved she was a fine bow-woman."

Fili sighed. "Alright. Let's go back now, then, give them as little time as possible to come and attack you, Miss Ari."

They both kissed my knuckles before disappearing into the rainy night once again.

For my part, I launched myself at the walls, trying to find that infamous opening that led to Goblin-city. I found none.

With a contented sigh – but still a feeling of bitterness as Gollum was hiding somewhere under my feet, I slid down a wall, Sting out, and checked out for any sound that could be made by hinges turning onto themselves.

The only thing I heard, in fact, was the curses made by thirteen very wet dwarves as the first leading their company – Kili apparently – stumbled across a rock and sent them all onto the stone-floor.

It was obvious that lighting a fire in a close cave like that one would not be safe, as much as all of us wished for dried clothes.

I had no spare ones, for my part, apart perhaps from one or two of Bilbo's shirts.

I took one out of y backpack, and looked around for a spot to change without being eyed by thirteen males.

Balin caught my sight and pointed towards one end of the cave where the light seemed pretty dimmed. "You can change over there, lassie."

He himself had already taken care of his shoes and hood, which he had spread onto the ground.

I soon found out, and a blush crept up my cheek at that sight, that, for the most part, the dwarves weren't shy of showing their body. They were all stripping in front of me, safe for Ori and Dori, who were both blushing terribly in my presence. They had both frozen in place, their hoods still in hand.

I decided to exit the place when I eyed Bofur unlacing his breeches.

Later, and as I was lying into my bedroll, Bilbo's too long shirt around me, the dwarves took out their pipes and made smoke-rings, to make me laugh undoubtedly.

And then someone – I don't really remember who – asked what each and everyone of them would do with his share of Erebor's treasure.

Bofur was the first to speak, though not for himself. "Bombur wants to open a restaurant in the Blue Mountains." This provoked quite a laugh in the cave.

Dori put a hand to his younger brother's shoulder. "Ori and I will stay. Ori wished to be the royal's archivist, as for myself, I can very well see myself return to my old life as a jewel-maker."

My brows lifted at that. Never would I have thought Dori shaping fragile stones into jewels, but then, it made sense when you knew the character.

"I would probably settle down and found a family." Nori's words were strangely bitter.

"I'd let it back in its place. I've no need for coin as long as I have my axe!"

I almost snorted. Of course Dwalin would say something like that.

Bifur then said something none understood, apart from his cousin who soon translated. "Bifur wants to build a watchtower. He's always wanted to build a watchtower." To his tone, I guessed it was a little obsession none really paid attention to. "As fer me, I would open a toy shop as I did in the Blue Mountains. Would make children come barging into the city."

"I won't do much of my part either, I will stay in Erebor, see it rebuilt." I nodded towards Balin.

"I'll give it to me son. He'll use it more wisely than I, no doubt." I smirked, thinking that Gimli would surely not make anything of coins either...at least in sixty years' time.

And then, all gazes turned to me.

I took a sharp breath. "I have no idea. Perhaps I'll give it to someone else. I've never really had use of money before." No that kind of money, rather.

They all grunted their approval.

The hour was late, yet none of us wished to sleep yet.

So I started another conversation. "So, you know I'm not married, but what of you all?" I looked over at Gloin. "You are married, since you have a son, aren't you?"

He nodded. "Aye. A fine dwarf woman, if you want my opinion."

Oin nodded. "And I."

"And I." My brow furrowed at that. Balin, married? "Yes, I am married. And if everything falls into place, she will come to me when Erebor is ours once again."

And then no one else spoke up.

I chuckled a little. "Seriously, no other? Come on, none? Not even you, Thorin?"

He grunted. "I have no time for that."

"Fili? Kili?"

"We are too young to be betrothed."

"Bifur, Bofur, Bombur?"

Bofur smirked. "No woman in 'er right mind would marry my brother." A few chuckled.

Then his grey eyes locked onto mine, and I gulped, seeing the underlying message. I'm not married either.

Then Dori spoke up. "Very well. Our clothes should be dry by now." He got up and checked on it at first, breaking my daze.

The dwarves were all down for the night when I stood to put my clothes back on. Leather had quite a time to dry off when it was soaked little that.

It was still a little wet but not much. It still made then quite difficult to put back on.

After I had struggled, I came back into the middle of the cave.

Bofur had been assigned to the watch.

As usual when he was not sleeping, it seemed, he was polishing his flute.

His grey eyes lifted when he heard me come back.

I smiled down at him. "Goodnight, then, Bofur."

He smirked. "Yes, goodnight, Miss Ari."

But just as I passed him, a rumbled came from under our feet, making the stone jerk under my shoes.

I stumbled hard, trying to regain my balance, when two strong arms caught me and pulled me hard against one's chest.

Bofur's, of course.

His eyes were more serious than ever when the rumbling stopped, and were darting to every part of the cave, trying to find an anomaly.

When he found none, his eyes settled back onto me.

My hands, that had been gripping his arms hard for support, loosened altogether at the intensity of his gaze.

"Bofur..." The name erupted from my lips in a whisper.

And then, the ground gave way under our feet, and we fell...