Chapter 16

The Legends Are True

The morning air was crisp and once again peaceful as the company awoke in Rivendell for what would be the last time. Clianna was already busy rolling up various bedrolls and bundling them together with twine so they would be easy to carry. She worked fast and continuously as a mother hen would when caring for her chicks, not leaving a mess in sight.

"Gandalf has just entered into council, we must move." Thorin said, grabbing his pack and hefting it up upon his shoulders.

"Alright everyone come get your packs." Clianna whispered and began to quickly hand out the equal loads, taking count of the company as she went.

"Da, Bombur, Bifur, Kili, Fili, Gloin, Oin, Nori, Ori, Dori, Balin, Dwalin, Thorin, and Bilbo." Clianna smiled to herself as she looked around the empty balcony once more and examined her work. Those that gazed upon the balcony now probably would think it had been empty this entire time and not one person had stepped foot into it.

"Clianna, we'll leave you behind if we have to." Kili teased with a smile as he waited in the back of the group.

"And wouldn't that be a shame." Fili muttered causing Clianna to roll her eyes. She hurried to pick up her own pack and sling it over she cloak covered shoulders before rushing towards them. The three of them caught up to the company and continued past many of the members so to walk behind Thorin as they quickly snuck through the valley. The path led up and around the mountain side and thinned out, the company forming on like as they began to leave wonderful view of Rivendell behind.

"Be on your guard. We're about to step over the edge of the wild. Balin, you know these paths. Lead on." Thorin gave up his spot at the head of the company to Balin, who gladly took his spot in front as to lead the company safely. Clianna sighed and stopped to quickly readjust her pack when she noticed Bilbo had also stopped, gazing back at Rivendell with certain despair.

"I'll miss it too." Clianna said, causing him to jump a bit.

"I thought you would be happy to leave the elves behind?" Bilbo looked at her and she simply shook her head.

"Well yes, but the comfort they provided is one I'll miss." She answered truthfully and Bilbo smiled, both of them looking back towards Rivendell again as they silently bid it farewell.

"Master Baggins, Clianna, I suggest you both keep up." Thorins voice snapped Clianna out of her gaze and she put a comforting hand to Bilbo's shoulder before she turned and rushed back towards Kili to walk by his side. Rivendell now completely forgotten as the quest became top priority once again.

.

"This is certainly one thing I didn't miss." Fili grumbled as he rolled his ankles for a moment. The company had been walking for miles and without the ponies it was much more tedious to travel across the rocky terrain.

"I think my feet are going to fall off." Kili hissed as he rolled his neck.

"The proud line of Durin can't walk a few miles before complaining?" Clianna joked as she walked past the boys, a content smile on her face for she was thankful for the opportunity to truly stretch her wounded leg since the injury occurred. With her system full of Valerian root tea she was ready to conquer worlds and the simple rocky path of mountains was a small obstacle to her.

"Perhaps a song would do us good!" Bofur exclaimed into the air and a series of groans followed.

"Not now Da!" Clianna shouted back, wanting to enjoy more of the silence instead of listening to her father's off key singing.

The mountains seemed to stretch for miles, their gray stone rising high into the sky, disappearing into the white clouds above. Golden grass dotted the treacherous sides and blew in the chilly wind like waves on a lake. Clianna pulled her hood up and wrapped the red cloak tightly around her to try and keep her remaining body warmth trapped around her for the sun did little to warm her on the high mountain. Even the protected soles of her feet hurt a bit from having to constantly bend around the jagged shape of rocks that dotted the path around her, but she wouldn't admit it to anyone. Instead she kept pushing on, making sure to scan the group every once in a while to count the members, ensuring herself that no one was being left behind. She was especially careful to keep an eye on Bilbo, who was closer to the back of the group and struggling a bit to keep up for he was certainly not use to walking so far. Not to mention that the poor hobbit had to deal with the terrain shoeless for hobbit preferred to leave their large feet bare. Caught in her thoughts, Clianna almost didn't hear the rumble that sounded in the distance. Most of the company had also caught wind of the sound and stopped to look for its source. Far to the east, grey storm clouds were slowly gathering and Clianna could just barely make out the bright flash of lightning within the dark mass.

"The mountain pass is not far ahead. We must make it there before the storm hits or we will be unable to cross. Hurry now." Thorin announced with urgency and the company picked up speed, walking briskly ahead.

"Come on, Clianna!" Kili grabbed a hold of her hand and held it in his as the two of them continued forward, now aware of the storm hurtling towards them.

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Clianna had been in many uncomfortable positions in her life, but she considered her current situation to be the worst of them all. Her left shoulder was nearly crushed to the side of the mountain as she placed one foot in front of the other. The mountain pass had not been simply a wide path through two mountains, but a snake narrow path between a jagged mountain side and a long fall into the abyss. To make matters worse, the storm had caught up with the company as soon as they were in the pass, leaving the mountain slick with water and pelting the unsheltered company with heavy rain, leaving them soaked to the bone. The thunder was loud enough to shatter the ground around it and Clianna could barely hear anything around her except for the storm above as she huddled close to Kili, her hand still held tightly within his.

"Hold on!" Thorin shouted back to the company as he himself managed to barely find a grip on the slippery rock.

"Bilbo!" The hobbit let out a shout and Clianna turned to watch helplessly as Bilbo lost his footing, only managing to stay upon the path due to Dwalin grabbing onto his pack and pulling him back. Clianna let out a breath she had been holding in suspense once Bilbo had found his footing again, and Kili squeezed her hand in comfort.

"We must find shelter!" Thorin's shout echoed in the blowing wind.

"Keep moving, brother." Fili said, urging Kili and Clianna on from his place behind them. The three of them didn't make it a foot before Dwalin's warning reached their ears.

"Look out!" The strong dwarf had shouted and Clianna didn't have time to process it before a dark shape came hurtling towards them through the fog and rain. Clianna watched the large mountain rock collide with the rock above their heads and debris was showered over them. Clianna ducked her head and pressed herself tightly against the mountain side, trying to avoid the falling rock.

"This is no thunderstorm. It's a thunder-battle! Look!" Clianna's breath caught in her throat as she watched the mountain ahead of them break and tear from itself as a monstrous figure emerged. Made out of the very rock, the giant ripped the very point of the mountain from its place with the strength of a God and it was a sight Clianna would never forget. Clianna had grown up on stories of stone giants from her father, always believing them to be a myth and yet her they were, come to life before her own eyes.

"Well bless me. The legends are true. Giants! Stone giants!" Clianna looked back at her dad in horror.

"Get back, Da!" She shouted and stepped forward herself, but Kili pulled her back. With a terrible moan the giant hurled the rock through the air and the company watched with wide eyes as it smashed into another giant that had emerged from the mountains behind them. The giant fell back into the mountain and its rumble shook the very core of the rock, an avalanche breaking the sides of the path off. The sound of rock cracking was enough to make her look down, watching in horror as the very rock beneath her feet split and began to gap.

"Clianna, move!" Kili shouted as he grabbed her arm and yanked her hard, causing her to fall into him as the mountain continued to split.

"What's happening?" Clianna shouted as she held tight onto Kili's arms.

"Kili, grab my hand!" But it was too late, and both Clianna and Kili watched as the company was split in two. Fili and Bofur looked towards the other pair, unable to bring Clianna and Kili any closer, completely separated from their loved ones.

"Just hold on! Keep holding on!" Kili whispered to Clianna as he grabbed onto her tight, leaving no room for argument and Clianna wasn't about to let go anytime soon. Clianna paid no attention to the shouts around her, just knowing that she had to hold on for her life. As the mountain under their feet swerved right, she let out a scream, almost losing her footing among the wet rock and she recovered only to lose it again as their part of the rock collided with the mountain ledge.

"Go!" Thorin shouted, taking the opportunity to rush off the giant and onto stable ground. Kili pushed himself to his feet and grabbed Clianna, pulling her behind him as the pair rushed to the get off. Kili set one foot upon the stable ledge and the giant was moving again, its leg jerking to the left and in the slick rain, Clianna lost her grip on Kili. Thrown apart by the sudden movement, Kili landed with part of the company and Clianna landed hard on the moving stone.

"No! Clianna jump!" Kili begged of her, but it was too late and she had already drifted too far apart. She was stuck on the mountain, alone. Clianna gripped the mountain, unable to find the strength to stand up on her feet, instead lying on the small ledge. She closed her eyes and found herself praying to Mahal that it would all just end and she could be back in Kili's arms.

Then she felt herself falling. There was no sound of rocks clashing or the horrified screams of the company, there was just wind blowing against her ears. She opened her eyes to see the rock that was beneath her had disappeared and now she was simply free falling. Her scream was caught in her throat and her right hip was the first part of her body to hit the water. The freezing liquid filled every cavity, sweeping the air from her lungs and leaving her fighting for air. She broke the surface, her legs kicking and her arms flailing above her as she coughed and sputtered. She needed to swim, all she knew was that she needed to swim, but she couldn't see. The shadow had covered her gaze and she look up towards the sky, only being able to cover her head with her arms as the stone giant hit the water and the world around her vanished into darkness.